Volume 2, Chapter 2 – The Fairy Maiden Makes Skillful Play, Choosing the Immortal Cave
The sounds of harps and lutes, along with the voices of stringed musical instruments from the shore at the other side, gradually became louder as the ferry boat slowly approached.
A hundred female entertainers, along with the escorting warriors, stood together, encircling the white-robed female at the center; it creating a scenery like the stars revolving around the moon.
The gauze hung on the bamboo straw hat wore by this female, making anyone unable to see her appearance, but only able to imagine her graceful and wonderful curvaceous slim body in their minds. Her hand was holding the corner of the hat’s gauze as her vision was set occasionally on lake. She watched as group after group of people embarked onto the stone dike after the boats had moored.
At first, everyone on board also looked at them with great curiosity, but they gradually felt that something was not right. The only large oar that would moor at the pier was only their boat, while those people’s vision from the shore also locked toward their direction. Making everyone on the boat couldn’t help but look at each other in dismay. Was this… to greet a person on their boat?
Who was it? They looked at each other.
Various eyes then concentrated on a handsome face—red-lipped Qin Gui. Even one of them approached, cupping his hands over and spoke, “Congratulations to Senior Brother Qin.”
Qin Gui was barely able to suppress the hard throbbing of his heart as he intentionally looked astonished and said, “What does Brother Chen mean?”
“In this boat, the only distinguishable person with extraordinary appearance, and came from the Eternal West Qin Family is but Brother Qin. The person this fairy maiden would look is certainly you.” After that, Chen Xiong looked around as he stepped back and lightly laughed before speaking, “Brother Qin, if you have been boarded onto the Dragon’s Gate, please don’t forget this poor and humble me.”
“Indeed, precisely.” The people at the side then teased Qin Gui, “If it were not Senior Brother Qin, who else can it be? If you have climbed up the palace door, please don’t forget me.”
Everyone’s attention was focused on Qin Gui, as for Zhang Yan, who looked like an ordinary passerby, they disinclined to even glance at.
“Everyone, why should you tease this Qin? I know how much weight this one has, so where this one would have such a good luck? Please don’t speak some careless words so as to avoid offending the fairy maiden.” Although his words didn’t acknowledge it, however, Qin Gui’s eyes were blinking as he faintly stared at the shore’s direction. He couldn’t help but have a faint anticipation as his hand firmly grasped the boat’s rail fence, while barely able to put on appearance as if he was looking at the sky.
The ferry boat quickly reached the pier as the boat’s steward, Qin Gui, was unable to restrain his trembling hands and feet. Although he usually comes here to welcome and escort the passengers, but he was only a mortal, when has he ever seen this kind of scene?
Everyone could see that the woman in white robe walked leisurely as they held their breath with pounding hearts. The woman’s eyes looked through the gauze and swept at everyone’s face in before finally paused at Qin Gui’s direction.
“Is it really me?”
For a moment, Qin Gui could only feel that his mouth dried up as his footing was somewhat unsteady. Even though his heart was yelling that it was impossible, but he could see that this woman was seemingly walking toward his direction. He couldn’t help but feel elated, and subconsciously stepped forward. Just as he walked two steps, someone grabbed his sleeve; he couldn’t help but feel angry. He turned around and saw that his companion glanced at him with a meaningful look. Only at this time did he realize that this fairy maiden was not even look at him, but headed straight to Zhang Yan behind him. At first, his complexion was stunned and expressionless as it then blushed with embarrassment, resentment, and shame. He didn’t dare to stay here any longer as he hurriedly lifted his sleeves to cover his face and walked away with an irritated feeling.
‘I really don’t know what this person’s origin is, even the fairy maiden has taken a liking to him!’
Upon seeing Qin Gui leave in a hurry, some people accompanying him glanced at Zhang Yan several times with a variety expression of envy and jealousy in their eyes, before they finally left with a long sigh.
The woman in white robe walked gracefully and arrived in front of Zhang Yan saying countless blessings as her voice was transmitted through the bamboo hat’s gauze with a beautiful and enchanting voice, “This girl Tang Yan has seen Young Master Zhang.”
Having been greeted suddenly by this so-called fairy maiden, it made Zhang Yan frown. Such unusual matters were usually conducted by demons so he couldn’t help but raise his vigilance and coldly reply, “Who are you?”
“Your servant is a maidservant from the Eternal Beholder Immortal Cave and especially came to greet Young Master on behalf of Senior Brother Ning.” The woman took a step forward and spoke in a light and low voice, “What Senior Brother Ning meant is to make your servant… accompany Young Master Zhang in cultivation.” Having finally said that her voice turned into a whisper, seemingly full of shame and embarrassment.
Zhang Yan squinted his eyes. He had yet to do any merits, which even the sect would pay any attention to him, instead, he actually felt that something didn’t feel right.
Having such a big shot greet him might seem grand and impressive. But aside from attracting public attention, there was not the slightest advantage he could get. He just entered the Upper Court, how could he make himself widely known?
He calmly glanced around and found that many people really stopped to wait and see. This place was originally a crowded spot where people came and left, and seeing such a scene, more and more people gathered here.
Although he and Ning Chongxuan had spoken several words, but it didn’t mean it had extended to a certain degree that the other party would arrange such a gift. If this woman were to independently decide it herself, then her true intentions were worth to deeply ponder on.
He secretly sneered, he had always been ready to cope with anything by whatever means available. ‘Could it be they thought that I had no means?’
Countless thoughts flashed in his mind instantly as a trace of a smile emerged on Zhang Yan’s face, “Since Senior Brother Ning has arranged this, this one doesn’t have any objections. Lady Tang may directly call me Senior Brother.”
Tang Yan only let out an “Oh” voice as her soft voice then resounded, “Yes, Senior Brother.”
Zhang Yan asked, “You have come with so many people, do you have any place to settle down?”
“I have to move out from the Eternal Beholder Immortal Cave. However, since Senior Brother Zhang has just come from the Lower Court, you have to visit the Heaven Ascension Pavilion’s Deacon to receive your Immortal Cave.” Tang Yan looked at a small maidservant at her side and spoke, “Ling’er, show Senior Brother Zhang the way to the Heaven Ascension Pavilion.”
A petite girl from her side walked forward and spoke in a bright and clear voice, “Yes.”
Tang Yan turned her head to Zhang Yan and said, “I and the other hundreds of people here would need a sufficient Immortal Cave to accommodate all of them. In case Senior Brother forgets about something, the smart Ling’er could explain all the matters Senior Brother would like to know.”
Zhang Yan’s eyes flashed as he nodded and said, “Thank you for your trouble Lady Tang.”
Tang Yan gave a respectful gesture and replied, “Inappropriate, Senior Brother can call me Yan’er.”
Zhang Yan nodded, “Alright, Yan’er. You can wait here, I’ll come back quickly.”
Tang Yan’s beautiful face smiled behind the chiffon and spoke, “Then, I’ll be waiting for Senior Brother here.”
Directly being left behind by Zhang Yan, a tender and smart looking maidservant next to Tang Yan whispered, “Young Lady Yan, aside from his good looks, this Zhang Yan seems to have nothing special. How would Senior Brother Ning care so much about him? And this person is also rude, besides having a low-grade meridian’s type cultivation. Why would they want to tie him with you for a Dao companion? Bah, we have to endure by relying on him?”
Tang Yan lightly spoke, “Ling’er, don’t speak more words. How about the exhorted matters you have to do?”
Ling’er smiled and said, “Young Lady Yan can be at ease, I’ve notified Young Master Wang yesterday, he has conveyed a message that the arrangements have been made. This would make Zhang Yan have no other choice but completely lose face.”
Tang Yan pulled the silk gauze and said, “That’s good.” Then, she took a deep sigh, looking at the distance with blurry eyes as a trace of resolute expression flashed on her face.
Ever since she was brought here by the Dao Master Sun Zhiyan at 5 years-old to live with him, she had been cultivating since childhood. She also knew about her humble origin. However, after living in the Immortal Cave, she became aware that she would be used to attract an outstanding disciple. But since the Dao Master gave her some special preferences, she gradually had a different kind of thought. That she was far more superior than others. Who would have thought that just because of a few words from Ning Chongxuan, she was treated like cargo and was given to another, whom was not even a Radiant Qi Realm cultivator. Sadness, as well as resentment, grew in her heart.
Even though Ning Chongxuan said that Zhang Yan would have a great future, but in her view, it was just like building castles in the air—illusions. Moreover, it was precisely because she was also perfectly aware of Zhang Yan’s origin that made her even felt less optimistic about him. He was only a young cultivator without any prominent family background, with a low-grade meridian’s type. Could everyone be as amazing as Dao Master Sun?
In fact, she originally wanted to be with Ning Chongxuan, a cultivator who had reached the Third Stage of the Profound Light Realm at less than 50 years of age and could be said as an outstanding genius. However, Ning Chongxuan’s Dao heart was completely firm and perfect, leaving no space to accommodate neither other figures nor intentions. Therefore, she could only retreat and pick the next best person, of which she would desire ancient families’ juniors to form Dao companionship with. But, she would have never thought that the Dao Master would give her to Zhang Yan.
This was something she absolutely could never be reconciled with!
On the shore, she didn’t really exhibit a scheme battle with Zhang Yan. What she did was to hold him high first, so as to start layers of the plan to unfold.
Their group had more than 100 people, and regardless of any cultivation level required, the daily expenditure would be quite massive; he wouldn’t be able to support them without obtaining an excellent Immortal Cave. She had long arranged this properly, so once Zhang Yan was unable to obtain a first-class Immortal Cave to settle this group of people, she would stay here for a few days and nights as to make a ruckus and become the talk of the city; making everyone in the Azure Ocean Sect find out about this. Then, she could wait for the time that Zhang Yan would lose his face and leave her!
She was perfectly aware of the Dao Master’s personality. Had this Zhang Yan not succeed, he would be forced to be unable to get out. Not only would the Dao Master not blame her, but she would also be praised for her intelligence instead. And this way, it wouldn’t be impossible for her to re-enter the Eternal Beholder Immortal Cave.
At this time, the small girl called “Ling’er” led Zhang Yan toward the Heaven Ascension Pavilion.
The Heaven Ascension Pavilion was not located in the Nine Changes City. However, it exclusively monopolized this Spirit Peak’s summit area. Its building and courtyard occupied a vast land area with high palace towers built on both sides of the stone road. The avenue was 10 zhang (33 m) wide and made of white jade stone. Groups of cultivators were stepping on the stairs all the way from the bottom of the mountain to the summit, as on top of the building’s porch and eaves, innumerable spirit birds pecking their feathers could be seen everywhere.
“Heaven Ascension Pavilion”. These three-words-plaque hung in front of the main hall, as its writing style was as if it would fly and soar. Only by looking at it, it gave off the sensation in one’s heart to eagerly fly and soar to the sky.
Zhang Yan and Ling’er entered the main hall and clearly spoke their purpose in coming here to the child servant on duty, of whom quickly bowed and went inside to notify the head in charge. Shortly after, a thin middle-aged Daoist priest came out.
Zhang Yan looked at this man’s cultivation level and it seemed that it was equally similar with the two people who picked him up that day. They were at the Radiant Qi Realm. He then cupped his hands and spoke, “This one is Zhang Yan, I don’t know how to call the Immortal Master?”
Actually, the Deacons’ cultivation level of this Heaven Ascension Pavilion was not high. Due to the need of the sect to manage the placement of Immortal Caves for various peaks’ disciples and all sort of matters concerned, up to even managing a wide range of daily affairs. Cultivators with a deep cultivation level had not taken any interest to this position. Generally, most of the cultivators who became stewards or deacons in this place were the same as Lower Court deacons. That was, they were regarded as not being able to have any more significant advancements in their cultivation path.
The Daoist priest glanced at Zhang Yan and lightly spoke, “This poor monk is Huang Shouhe. Do you want to take any Immortal Cave mansion?”
The Daoist Priest that spoke in a light tone, “Each Immortal Cave mansion to practice have been sorted into several ranks, and are divided into the ranks: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on. However, you unfortunately came late, as all the 1st rank and 2nd rank Immortal Caves have been occupied. The only places left are only the 3rd rank and 4th rank. Do you find it appropriate to take one of them?”
Zhang Yan had yet to speak when Ling’er then snatched the dialog and shouted, “Young Master, the 3rd and 4th Immortal Cave are too small and narrow. It could only accommodate a dozen people, and the spiritual qi there is also impure. How could humans even live there?”
The Daoist priest quickly sneered and spoke in a high tone, “But now there are only these two ranked 3rd and 4th Immortal Caves available. If you wait again another few days, even these Immortal Caves would have been taken by someone else. Even if you find it unsatisfactory, you still had to live with it!”