Chapter 177: A Hidden Paradise
Henyee Translations Henyee Translations
“My apologies, Mr. Chen and Miss Zhou. My sister has been upset about our father’s sickness and therefore is a little edgy. please forgive him.”
Zhu Yuntao apologized.
Zhou Jin Yi was touched by his fumble words, and even Chen Fan nodded in approval. Such was the right attitude of an heir from a powerful family. Only those who lacked forbearance and abilities would act disdainfully and presumptuously.
“What kind of ailment does your father have? Why do you have to look for medicine here?” Chen Fan asked.
At Chen Fan’s level, if he was not interested in a matter, he would never speak a single word. The fact that he asked the man a question meant that he was open to help him out. If Zhu Yuntao knew Chen Fan’s power, he might be ecstatic by now. Zhu Yuntao shook his head and said with a wry smile: “It’s not an ailment; it’s some kind of unknown poison. The Daoist Elder Xian from the Purple-Gold Daoist Temple is our family friend, and he suspected that our father had been cursed by a spell from the Miao’s Land or worse, it could be a Magus Poison. Due to its otherworldly nature, he suggested us to look for help at the Medicine God Valley Sect.”
“It is poison then.” Zhou Jin Yi nodded.
No wonder that girl was so cautious. Her father was not poisoned by any ordinary venom, it sounded more like a curse spell or some kind of Magus Poison. It was obvious that someone wanted to harm their father, and her caution was justified.
“I wonder where Mr. Chen and Miss Zhou come from? And what brings you two to the Medicine God Valley Sect?” Zhu Yuntao suddenly asked with a more serious tone.
“I am from Chu Zhou City and as for my reason to visit Medicine God Valley Sect…” Chen Fan kept his silence and didn’t say more. Zhu Yuntao noticed Chen Fan’s reluctance and therefore decided to leave it at that. He asked again: “Chu Zhou City? The same Chu Zhou City from Jiang Nan Province? I know a guy called Boss Yan from there; he owns a textile company.”
“Fatty Yan.” Chen Fan nodded.
“That’s right, that is the same Boss Yan. So you are indeed from the Chu Zhou City.” Zhu Yuntao heaved a sigh.
Fatty Yan was a reputable businessman in Chu Zhou City, but rarely anyone outside of Chu Zhou City knew his name. The fact that Chen Fan could blurt out his nickname meant that he was really from Chu Zhou City. Fortunately, the Zhu family had only allies, but no rivals in Chu Zhou City.
Zhu Yuntao put on an even warmer smile after he had cleared up the suspicions.
He was a well educated young man with great attention to detail and had a greater sense of humor. Even Chen Fan felt relaxed enough to chime in on the conversation. However, his sister still crossed her arms over her chest and was sullen and quiet. Although she didn’t speak a word, the sharpness in her gaze was hard to miss.
“They are brother and sister. One is candid and gentle; the other was disdainful and arrogant. They must have had very different upbringings.” Chen Fan lamented.
Zhu Yuntao was brought up as the heir of the family; his eloquent and articulated words, as well as his breadth of knowledge, were impressive even among the elites.
No family heirs Chen Fan had met on his second life, such as Li Yichen or Chu Minhui would compare to the dashing young man in front of him. Even in his distant memory, only Shen Junwen could have rivaled his overall competency.
His sister Zhu Ruohan was above average looks. Her white Channel dress complemented the meticulous makeup on her face. Although she was brought up in the same family, neither her wits nor personality even came close to her brother. Chen Fan reckoned that the Zhu family didn’t put too much attention on the girl’s upbringing and their only hope for her was to form an alliance with another powerful family using her marriage.
“Well, since we are heading toward the same place, why don’t we travel together?”
After dinner was over, Zhu Yuntao asked abruptly.
Zhou Jin Yi was down for it. She had enough of Chen Fan’s cold shoulder and Tong Shan’s stoic and expressionless face. It would be nice to have some new faces to travel with. Plus, the young man was well learned and had excellent manners; it was a delight to chat with him.
Zhu Ruohan pouted sullenly, and she kept her silent protest.
Chen Fan nodded distractedly. Therefore they drove the Land Rover to join the Zhu family’s convey and headed toward Shan Yang County. It was midnight when they finally arrived at the Shan Yang County.
The Zhu family had booked the best luxurious hotel at the Shan Yang County, and Zhu Yuntao even booked rooms for Chen Fan and his companions. Although the money he saved was nothing to Chen Fan, he noticed Zhu Yuntao’s social skills and his ability to influence others using small favors.
On the second day, the convoy rolled out of the parking lot toward the Lin Shan village.
When they finally got there, Zhu Yuntao started to look for a travel guide to lead them into the mountain. Chen Fan dismissed the Chauffer and returned the Land Rover back to the rental company. The path in the mountains was not suited for motor vehicles. Even the car with the best off-road ability wouldn’t be able to make it far in the woods.
Due to the frequent need for guides, many locals had taken up the job to meet the demand. Therefore, it wasn’t long before they had hired a guide.
“I have walked this way many times, and every time it was with rich people from the city like you bunch! They all say that they are here to ask for a cure from Sages living in the mountain. However, most visitors did not have what the sages were looking for in exchange, and therefore, they had to return empty handed.”
The guide was a wizened man called Old Li.
He muttered as he drew a cloud of smoke from the expensive cigarette that the Zhu had given him as a token of goodwill.
“There are… sages in the mountain?” Zhu Yuntao asked curiously.
“Why, of course! The elders of the Medicine God Valley Sect are powerful sages. They can summon fire and commanding the flow of water, and of course, they are sages.” Old Li said enviously.
“One year, one of those sage elders came into our village, and he said the young lad of my neighbor, Old Wang had the innard— or was it Inner Talent for cultivation. So the elder took him into the valley. There were over a dozen villages scattered in the mountains between here and yonder, any family who had a lad that was chosen by the sages would suddenly become well off.”
Chen Fan was not surprised by the information Old Li had offered.
As a prestigious sect that controlled the art of Elixir Brewing, the Medicine God Valley Sect would not lack wealth. The rich families would line up to offer them tributes in order to get on their good side. A tiny fraction of this huge fortune would make any ordinary village family an epitome of opulence.
“So these sages will only help me if I have something they want?” Zhu Yuntao asked with furrowed brows.
He had hoped that the Medicine God Valley Sect would be much more of an altruistic sect, much like those traditional Chinese medicine doctors who cure patients for free.
“Of course. They are sages, so don’t think you can attract them with money and what have you.” Old Li said as he waggled his head.
“Humph! I don’t believe you. If one million is not enough, we will offer ten million; if ten million is not enough, we will offer them a hundred million. We will bring them a hundred million in cash and put it right in front of their doorstep; then we will talk.” Zhu Ruohan said with a cold smirk.
“Hehe… you can take your hundred million and go home right now.” To her surprise, Old Li snorted and said: “There was a rich man from Hong Kong… what was their name?… Zhen or Zhong… I can’t remember. But they hired me just like you bunch did and they offered the sages a billion for one of their cures. Guess what? The sages kicked them out nonetheless.”
“From Hong Kong and their last name is Zhen? Could it be the Zhen Family of Hong Kong?” Zhu Yuntao asked abruptly.
“That’s right. That’s their name. They said their old grandpa is dying, so the granddaughter came to ask for a pill to save the old man. She had the same idea as this young lady here and tried to impress the sages with money and the like. But she was driven out of the valley and was forbidden to ever set foot into the Medicine God Valley Sect again.” Old Li said.
Zhu Ruohan was suddenly at a loss for words and even Zhu Yuntao face changed color.
The Zhen family of Hong Kong was the real top dog in China. Lord Zhen was a reputable member of the Chinese community across the globe. The few billion-dollar businesses of the Zhu family could not compare.
Chen Fan was taken aback as well. He didn’t think that the Zhen family would have come this far to look for a cure. He looked to Zhou Jin Yi and noticed the pride in her eyes and her smug face that read: “I told you so, Don’t mess with the Medicine God Valley Sect!”
Chen Fan was lighthearted by her look. Why would he be even the slightest concerned if the Zhen family had to beg the Medicine God Valley Sect for what they wanted? All he had to do was to show up at their doorstep, take what he wanted, and leave. There was nothing the Medicine God Valley Sect could do to stop him.
Seeing the distressed face of his usually proud sister, Zhu Yuntao turned down a notch from his sister’s braggy tone and asked: “Elder Li, in your opinion, what should we bring into the mountain to please the elders?”
It was the first time anyone ever called Old Lin elder, and this person was the heir of a powerful family. Such honorable treatment made his face bloom.
“You asked the right person! Based on my experience, I don’t think the sages are at all interested in money. However, if you offer them jade, or precious herbs or antiques and Dharma Artifacts, they will most likely accept them.”
“Antique, herbs, jades, and Dharma Artifacts… Ok…” Zhu Yuntao heaved a sigh.
Although Dharma Artifacts and herbs were hard to come by, antiques and jade were readily available on any market. Thanks to Daoist Elder Xian’s suggestion, he had brought with him many precious jade stones on the trip. Now he felt lucky to have asked Daoist Elder Xian about more details before he left for his mission, otherwise if he thought only as much as his sister did, he would end up being thrown out of the sect’s gate.
After everyone had was ready for the trip, they started toward their destination.
There was only one way that led to the Medicine God Valley Sect. It was a very torturous path that was riddled with patches of poisonous mist. Without a good guide, they would easily get themselves into trouble. Worse, many deadly beasts and poisonous snakes lurked behind the bushes, without Old Li’s cautious eyes and their perceived strength in numbers, someone on the team might have already been injured.
“I wager only a martial artist could have traveled on this path. It’s deadly for any ordinary person.” Chen Fan thought to himself.
The perfect hideout deep in the woods and a large number of martial artists, such as those dozen Dao-Reaching Level cultivators, had given the Medicine God Vally Sect an unmatched defensive advantage. No wonder they could have survived centuries and still thrive.
After two days of trudging through the mountain path, they have finally arrived at the entrance to the Medicine God Vally Sect.
Old Li pointed to the valley in the distance and said: “There! That’s the Medicine God Valley. I won’t be able to get in with you. You have to ask permission first.”
Everyone looked toward the direction where Old Li pointed. A cliff shear drop blocked their way, and only a small entrance was chiseled into to the cliff, serving as the entrance. However, even the entrance was blocked by a large wall made out of stones.
The stone wall was about five meters in height, and it encircled the entire valley. On the other side of the wall was a peaceful paradise.
“It’s breathtaking.” Zhu Ruohan exclaimed.
Suddenly, a few shadows appeared on the top of the wall. They jumped off the lip of the wall and then charged toward the visitors like galloping horses.