As the Third Eye scanned the ancient booklet, which bore the signs of many ages, Li Mu saw that there was an absurd interlayer sandwiched between two pages made of the strange material. In the interlayer hid a bizarre picture. It appeared to be something between a star map and a landscape drawing, which was quite complex. But what astounded Li Mu most was the title on the top part.
It said ‘Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration.’
The name of the picture was clearly the Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration.
The reason that Li Mu was shocked by it was that the title was not written in any language of this world.
Instead… It was written in Chinese, a language of the Earth.
“How is that possible?”
“Is this an object of the ancient Earth which then strayed to this planet?”
Li Mu was stunned.
“This is really a pleasant surprise!”
He continued to operate the Third Eye to examine the picture.
Soon, he made another discovery.
The Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration hiding in the ancient paper material grew more and more distinct. Li Mu quickly realized that he got it wrong before. The Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration was not in an interlayer but was directly merged into the page of the Gists of the Meditation Illustrations of the Nine Heavens in Chong Ming through a specific intriguing manual method.
Therefore, even if the pages were ripped apart, there would be no way to find the Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration. Only when perusing it through the Third Eye, which could see through the pages, could the picture be perceived.
The picture, which was the precious treasure of the royal family in Western Qin and even the emperor spoke highly of, must have been studied by a load of royal experts, geniuses, and nobles. If it was simply embedded in an interlayer between the pages, it would have long since been discovered before it fell to the hands of that frustrated Her Highness and was transferred to him.
The Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration was probably ‘the thing contained the supreme secret of the Spiritual Qi in nature’ the emperor referred to. To put it in other words, in the past, someone had penetrated the mysteries about the illustration. Still, then, the secret failed to be passed down, and the younger generations did not even know the existence of the Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration.
Li Mu decided not to fuss about the reason why the illustration bore the language of the Earth.
He started to ponder over what kind of secret the Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration could hold.
His curiosity was quite intense.
He just loved studying those strange and mysterious objects.
“It appears to be a Meditation Illustration… A Meditation Illustration from the Earth?”
Although he had achieved nothing in the practice of the meditating approaches he attained before, he already got a clear idea about meditating art. After he pored over the Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration, he drew the conclusion that it ought to be a Meditation Illustration.
That discovery came as a minor disappointment to Li Mu, because his prior attempts had proved that he had zero talent in meditation.
Nonetheless, he could not help giving it a few glimpses.
After all, it was a picture being so carefully concealed and closely connected to the Earth. Taking a few more glances would not waste a lot of time.
As Li Mu’s Third Eye ran down the picture, he began to focus his mind on meditation.
In the inky blue-black grounding of the Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration, which resembled the starry sky, strewed thickly-dotted white light spots. Those light spots seemed to scatter across the whole picture in a peculiar, unordered fashion. Amidst them, there sprinkled some colorful dots. The illustration looked just like a modern splash-ink themed chaos and disorder, which was slightly weird.
At first, Li Mu did not detect anything noteworthy.
But soon, Li Mu felt everything suddenly vanished as that picture evolved into the dark, boundless universe, and he was instantly sucked into a twinkling galaxy and started falling, falling in the eternity…
Li Mu quickly went into a state of tranquility.
“Greetings to Miss Hua.”
Xu Er gave a deep bow.
Qing Feng had led him to the backyard of the county government to visit Shangguan Yuting.
“Brother Xu Er, what brought you here?” “Did you come with Madam Bai? Where is she?” asked Shangguan Yuting. At the sight of her old acquaintance, she turned elated and welcomed Xu Er in with great hospitality.
“Madam Bai didn’t come. I’m here to deliver a letter.” Xu Er behaved very courteously.
Back then, when Hua Xiangrong was still in the Holy House, she was a kind and warmhearted girl who gave a helping hand to many people. Xu Er was one of those who received Hua Xiangrong’s grace. Now, seeing that Hua Xiangrong had lived a better life, he was sincerely happy for the beautiful and caring girl.
“Sister Qin’er was also a kind and good-natured girl. But why did she get to live such a miserable life?”
Upon learning that Bai Xuan did not come along with him, Shangguan Yuting was a little disappointed. She soon added, “Are Madam Bai and those girls doing okay?” During those days in the Holy House, she had made a few bosom friends.
“They’re fine, fine, only that…” Xu Er hesitated a moment and told Shangguan Yuting about the death of Qin’er.
At his account, Shangguan Yuting’s countenance instantly altered.
“How could that happen? Sister Qin’er…” She found it very hard to accept the fact.
Before she left the Holy House, Madam Bai already planned to let Qin’er take over her place and become the signature of the brand when she was gone. Thus, in those days before she took her departure, Madam Bai deliberately asked Qin’er to spend some time with her and learn from her. Although the two did not get so close as birth sisters, Shangguan Yuting did think highly of the new girl. She was benevolent and elegant, and she was soft on the outside but firm on the inside. But she never knew such a tragedy could… Well, the god of destiny always made fools of the people with his mercilessness.
Xu Er irresistibly chimed in, “Miss Hua, you got to return justice to Qin’er. That Young Master Huang is simply trash…”
Being a nobody, he had no idea how terrifying Huang Wenyuan’s antecedents were.
At his words, Shangguan Yuting looked very pensive.
About a hundred miles away from Taibai County…
Huang Wenyuan was riding on a horse, a wine gourd dangling in his hand. He looked at the green mountains and clean rivers in the distance, feeling quite at ease. He was enjoying his freedom like a bird just released from the cage. The pleasure in those long decades he spent in practice in the Guanshan Pasture could never be comparable to the delight he had in the past ten days after entering the society, could it?
Usually, traveling from the capital, Chang’an City, to Taibai County cost no more than two days. But Huang Wenyuan, accompanied by his guards, servants, and several maids, made a sightseeing tour out of the journey. As they stopped here and there to enjoy the view and the food, they had not reached their destination after setting off for four days.
“Traveling around the world with two gourds of wine, adventuring in the green mountains with only one sword! Haw-haw!”
Riding on the back of a horse, Huang Wenyuan reckoned he had a very unrestrained elegance.
He had started a journey with wine in one hand, a sword in another, and beautiful girls on his heels.
That was the life he craved.
“Young Master, we’re going a bit too slow.” A one-eyed older man with gray hair could not stand it anymore and reminded him.
The older man was heavyset like a wild lion. There was a deep scar on his face that might have cut to his bones. The scar stretched from his skull to the corner of his mouth, as if someone had almost chopped off his head. And the eye he had lost was engulfed by the long scar. Thus, even though his hair had turned gray and white, his image was rather ferocious.
“No hurry. We’re in no hurry. Haha!” said Huang Wenyuan leisurely.
He asked the maids to set up a sumptuous banquet right on the roadside and began to drink alone.
A crane’s cry was heard from the sky.
A massive white crane swiftly descended from the midair and flapped its wings while flying over the heads of Huang Wenyuan and his men in circles. On the back of the crane sat an old man carrying a sword on his shoulder. His heard and beard were all white, giving him the air of an immortal free from vulgarity. The old man had a benign face, florid countenance, white hair but a youthful complexion.
“Elder Liu!” hailed Huang Wenyuan, who already got to his feet.
“Wenyuan, why haven’t you arrived in Taibai County? Upon Elder Huang’s entrust, I’ve set for Taibai County to find you. But halfway to the county, I sensed your aura.” The older man with white hair and a youthful face was from the Guanshan Pasture, one of the Holy Clans. He was an outfield elder with profound cultivation.
The Elder Huang he mentioned was Huang Wenyuan’s grandfather, who was then a powerful deputy head of the Guanshan Pasture.
“I’ve traveled at an unhurried pace to learn the way from the view and comprehend the ways of people,” answered Huang Wenyuan unabashed.
Elder Liu already had a rough idea of what Huang Wenyuan was really doing with a glance at his traveling team. After all, every year, many of those outstanding disciples who were allowed to enter society to further their practice indulged themselves in the colorful secular life and got addicted to it. He had seen a ton of such disciples like that.
“A huge change has occurred in Taibai County. Elder Huang asked you to go there within the shortest time and take the office of the county government to keep the whole county under control,” explained Elder Liu. His full name was Liu Chong. In his early days, he was not a member of the Guanshan Pasture but a rogue cultivator. Later, thanks to the recommendation of Huang Wenyuan’s grandfather, he joined the Guanshan Pasture, and hence took command from Huang Wenyuan’s father. Since the two got on very well, Elder Liu adored Huang Wenyuan as well.
“Great change? What great change?” asked Huang Wenyuan, surprised.
Elder Liu Chong shouted, “Our Holy Clan’s Sky-inspecting Mirror has sensed that the environment in Taibai County is changing. It seemed that it is on the verge of developing into a new blessed place…”
“What?” cried Huang Wenyuan in astonishment.
“This is truly a big deal!”
“A new blessed place?”
“Whoa, that’s huge!”
That the top nine Holy Clans overtook all the other sects and factions and became the top nine was because each of the clans had taken up a blessed place as their sacred practice area. Due to the holy place, they managed to cultivate a great number of impressive experts all those years and dominated the world. The various wonders of a blessed place were beyond the imagination of ordinary people, but the number of such blessed places was tiny.
The appearance of a new blessed place would absolutely cause a great sensation across the land.
Even the top nine Holy Clans that were held in awe by most of the practitioners were all casting a covetous eye at any new blessed place.
But, the thing was, how could a blessed place come into being so easily?
“Is it true? There is no mistake or anything?” Huang Wenyuan still found the news quite unbelievable.
Liu Chong said, “There is no mistake in this matter. Head Huang has verified it himself. Such a sign was already captured by the mirror half a month ago. That’s the precise reason that he sent you to Taibai County. If the new blessed place finalizes there when you already take place into your hand, then you’ll receive endless benefits from it in the future.”
“So, that is what it boils down to!”
Huang Wenyuan finally understood why his grandfather had sent him to this remote and desolated county.
He had misunderstood his grandfather’s grand arrangement.
“Then, let’s hurry to Taibai County and gain control over the newly evolved blessed place before anyone else discovers it!” Suddenly, Huang Wenyuan could not wait to go to Taibai County.
Liu Chong encouraged, “Good. And I’m here to assist you. I’ve been told that the current county magistrate is that Li Mu who murdered the second prince. That man must be eradicated. When we get the place, we’ll deliver his head to the imperial court of Western Qin. Then we will achieve two things at one stroke. And your name will also be known by the masses. So, this is an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Huang Wenyuan roared with laughter. “Sound great. Elder Liu does have a point. But I will not only kill Li Mu but also take his woman. He’s got a woman called Hua Xiangrong. That girl is of peerless beauty. Nobody can be as attractive as she is. I must have her.”