Lin Luoran asks the fisherman about the whereabouts of the Dragon Palace as if she is joking, which confuses Rong Donglin. However, the fisherman butts the cigarette and smiles hard till his eyes become a seam.
“What a visionary girl you are… Only I can take you to this place. Well, the price…” His coldness shrinks away and his eyes squeeze so hard that it leaves only a slit. Rong Donglin finds his smile obscene yet Lin Luoran’s eyes light up instantly.
They have only the records on the bamboo sheets which says that countless treasure will be found in the Dragon Palace under Dongting Lake. Yet the Dongting Lake covers too vast an area, making it difficult to find the palace.
Although Xin Yuanping said about working together, Lin Luoran already learned not to be led by other people.
Even if Xin Yuanping can bring her to the palace, she still needs a plan B.
As a hindsight, Lin Luoran don’t even know what prompted her to ask the fisherman about the palace and she actually believed in what he said.
Liao is laughing even more, “Since we have a connection, I will give you a discount. I will bring you to the palace if you give me so much money. How’s that sound for you?”
Liao shows three fingers and makes a swirl.
“Three hundred?” Rong Donglin is frugal but not exactly stingy. Three hundred for the location of Dragon Palace is a bargain.
“Three hundred? Are you dreaming? It is the very palace where the Dragon King lives! Thirty thousand, you know? Thirty thousand!”
Liao says in a particularly high pitch by the lake in the dim late night. Several feeding egrets are alarmed by his voice and fly away. Rong Donglin opens his eyes wide furiously.
“You might as well rob someone for that!”
This slippery old man might have gone mad. How dares he fleece Miss Lin? He may lose his life by doing so.
Liao has eyes as large as Rong Donglin’s when he stares. There is no trace of the honesty of a fisherman on him. Rong Donglin feel like they are two rabbits at a loss, led by this slippery fisherman to a trap that can make him a fortune.
Clearly, he is not the only one that thinks in that way.
As the boats of the fishermen are not far from each other, it is no big deal when they talked in low voice. But since Liao said aloud, it certainly caught the attention of the other fishermen.
Thirty thousand yuan. How much pounds of crayfish costs thirty thousand? Liao dares to offer such a price — does this ever happen to anyone? Maybe they have a shot on this too.
The indifferent fishermen who turned down Lin Luoran are so regretful. They started to yell passionately.
“Hi, there! Where are you going? Liao asks for thirty thousand, but we charge you only three thousand…”
“I agree. It’s late in the night. Liao is old. He’s not as fast as the youngsters. Why don’t you let my son, Huasheng, take you there? ”
“How old is your Huasheng? Can he even move the paddle? What about my…”
Wealth tempts human heart. Thirty thousand yuan may only worth a square meter of an apartment in the capital. Yet for these fishermen, three thousand may ask them to take anyone to wherever they like around the Dongting Lake.
Now, as everyone is competing for the money, no one cares about their neighborhood relationship. Therefore, the lake starts to be noisy with the two being the center of spotlights.
The dim light shines through the vintage glass lantern, which is a necessity for the people here. As they have no electricity on the boats, this kind of lantern can keep off the wind. These lanterns are lit one by one. The lakeside is lively as if they were celebrating the Spring Festival.
Lin Luoran smiles slightly, watching the fishermen argue with each other. She keeps silent and intends to see how Liao solve the problem.
Liao does not disappoint her. He sneers.
“It is the Dragon Palace that she wants to go. Do you want to take her there for thirty thousand?”
The nearest fisherwoman chills, feeling the wind of tonight is particularly cold. She goes back to the cabin and no longer wants to be part of it.
The words of Liao drop a “missile of silence” to the crowd. One moment ago the bank was bustling like celebrating the Spring Festival, but now it falls to quietness with the atmosphere of a graveyard.
“Mr. Liao, here’s thirty thousand. If it is convenient to you, shall we go tonight?”
Having seen the situation, Lin Luoran brings three wads of money from the bag and puts it in front of Liao.
Her purse cannot possibly fit thirty thousand yuan of cash. They are taken not from the bag. It is emergency money she put in the space ahead of time. Ever since she had the experience of getting by in Norway penniless by stealing clothes from other people and following the bus to come back, she has realized that being a cultivator doesn’t mean detaching from the secular world. If she doesn’t want to resort to force, money works without borders.
Rong Donglin has always known that the Lins are rich. However, giving money randomly like this makes the outsider like him feel reluctant yet he cannot interfere.
Liao takes the money as fast as he can and counts it twice as if he was afraid of missing one note or two, which makes Rong Donglin turn away his face to look at the lake.
The profiteer Liao finally smiles contently. He puts the money away and says to his patron with a big smile.
“I’ll take you there right away!”
Lin Luoran agrees naturally. Rong Donglin follows suit.
The worn-out paddle is propelling in the water, then they realize that this boat has no engine.
Does that mean that he will use the paddle to take them to the palace? Rong Donglin feels like this is the most absurd thing in the world. How did the whole thing go south exactly?
Yeah… It’s because Miss Lin suddenly wanted to buy fish from these fishermen. They ate an overcharged meal, and then Lin acted as if she had been possessed, starting to ask them about the palace… Rong Donglin feels there’s something wrong, yet he cannot put his finger on it.
Liao propels the boat rhythmically. Although it marches not as fast as those with engines, Lin Luoran senses that they are not going at a low speed.
Looking back at the bank, they can see only the obscure light shine dimly amid a film of mist. Accompanied by the murmur of water, they are already far from the bank.
“Mr. Liao, why did they flinch as soon as they heard about the Dragon Palace?”
Liao sneers while propelling the boat, “The ones who depend their lives on the river values nothing but the protection of the Dragon King… The palace is the place for the people who are drown to death. Of course they don’t want to go.”
Rong Donglin wants to ask why he is not afraid at all. Then again, he thinks of him as an old man making a living by fishing, and there is not even an engine installed on the boat. He decides to let go of the stingy question.
The mist grows thicker and they pass by large fishing boats that work day and night. The water is not as peaceful as usual. The little boat bumps with the wave as if they were going to turn over at any moment.
During midnight, the vague outline of an island appears.
Rong Donglin feels cold and sleepy, Yawning.
“Where are we?”
Liao moors at pier and laughs. “You youngsters really should read more. Even we fishermen know this is Mount Jun.”
Mount Jun? Rong Donglin becomes sober. The special sign for tourist attractions written in white on a blue board is standing on the pier dock, stating “Mount Jun” clearly.
He was at peace when he didn’t know about this fact. Once he sees it, he becomes furious. “Are you saying that the palace is on Mount Jun?”
Liao nods with the you-finally-come-round expression.
A flash of anger surges inside Rong Donglin. Mount Jun in Dongting Lake is just as famous as Yueyang Tower, which cannot be ignored by tourists. Liao is now suggesting that the Palace of Dragon King is on one of the busiest scenic spots —what makes him even angrier is that if one buys tickets at Yueyang Tower, it only takes dozens of yuan to travel through Mount Jun. While this old fisherman charged them thirty thousand?!
He turns around only to see Lin Luoran show the expression of confusion and then epiphany with her eyes fixed on the island.
“Yeah… There are no other entrances except here. I should have known that…”