Chapter 279: The Leader of the Millennium Pavilion
Clan Leader? Ling Zhang was amazed. This young man was the leader of the Millennium Pavilion?
This came as much less of a surprise to Yuwen Tong than it did to Ling Zhang, for the former had some time ago anticipated it.
“I chanced upon them outside, so I took them in,” said the young man – no, the leader of the Millennium Pavilion – in a natural tone of voice.
Ling Zhang had always believed the leader of the Millennium Pavilion was a geriatric older than his grandfather. It’d never crossed his mind that the clan leader was actually a young man appearing to be about his age.
“Grandfather, is this really… your leader?”
Fully aware of why Ling Zhang was so surprised, Ji Yin replied, “The Clan Leader’s prowess as an internal energy cultivator is matchless, which is why he looks young. Actually he’s a few years older than him.”
Ji Yin was referring to Yuwen Tong, who was twenty-six or twenty-seven. Being a few years older than Yuwen Tong meant that the clan leader was about thirty, but he seemed to be twenty…
The clan leader tossed a bland glance at Ji Yin. “What do you mean, I look young? I am young, okay? And by the way, you’ve already come back, why are you still wearing that old face of yours, Prime Elder?”
Ji Yin ripped off his mask, revealing a young face. People who didn’t know him would believe him to be thirty or so. If it weren’t for the faint crow’s feet, he would’ve looked even younger. Ling Zhang, though having seen his grandfather’s true face once, was still shocked by this sight. Given that even his grandfather could slow aging to this extent, the youthfulness of the leader of the Millennium Pavilion was quite understandable.Read more chapters at L istnovel.com
Ji Yin had come in to seek an audience with the clan leader, but unexpectedly, the clan leader had been absent all morning. What with his superb kung fu, nobody had known where he’d gone. Ji Yin, after waiting for a whole morning, had run out of patience and planned to directly bring his grandson and Yuwen Tong inside. He hadn’t expected that he’d run into them at this lake.
“Clan Leader, I wonder if I could arrange for my grandson to meet his father first,” said Ji Yin.
Ling Zhang, who had got used to Ji Yin’s senile face on their way to this place, was rather unaccustomed to Ji Yin’s true, young face and kept feeling a little weird, but before long, Ji Yin’s words diverted his attention away and he looked at the clan leader.
The main reason why he’d come here was to take his father back home. Of course, there was also another very important reason – to petition the leader of the Millennium Pavilion to agree to use the rare crude drug to treat his father’s mental disorder.
“Clan Leader, we came here to–”
Maybe because the clan leader had been acting like an unbuttoned and uninhibited youngster instead of a commanding and dignified leader from the very beginning, and had never abused his consummate kung fu to impose his will on anybody, Ling Zhang’s tension had been alleviated considerably without him noticing, which was why he involuntarily started to make a request.
But the clan leader raised his hand and interrupted Ling Zhang, “I know why you came here, and we’ll talk about that later. Right now I have to send Cong back home first. You may go with the Prime Elder to see your father first. And, my name is Ji Yanlai. You two are not members of the Millennium Pavilion, so there’s no need for you to address me as ‘Clan Leader’.”
Ji Yanlai was looking at Ling Zhang and Yuwen Tong with a placid face, but Ling Zhang discerned that the calm expression in his eyes brooked no argument.
“I see. We’ll be waiting for your message, Brother Ji,” said Yuwen Tong.
Ji Yanlai briefly bobbed his head and then walked hand in hand with Cong onto the bridge leading to the island at the center of the lake. Color the bird, standing on his shoulder, raised its head and let out a long squeak and with that, twittering of all descriptions came in succession from the island and the surroundings of the lake which had originally been in a hush, birds of a variety of colors flying up. In just a few moments, the sky above the lake was swarming with all kinds of birds which were circling around, making a spectacular sight.
His hand held by Ji Yanlai, Cong looked back at Ling Zhang and waved him goodbye with his other plump hand.
Ling Zhang raised his hand and lightly waved back.
Ji Yin waited until Ji Yanlai and Cong reached the island to say, “Now that the Clan Leader said he’d talk with you later, it means he’s willing to hear you out. Don’t worry. There is a chance.”
Ling Zhang collected his thoughts and nodded. “Thank you, Grandfather.”
“You don’t ever have to say thank you to your grandfather, silly boy. Your father lives in a separate house on this side. There are a physician and a servant tending him. Come with me.”
Ji Yin took them back to that orchard, crossed it to the other side and arrived at the gateway of a quiet courtyard house, which seemed more or less like a country cottage. People could easily tell that a lot of efforts had been put into the layout of it. The fence around the front yard was entwined with morning glory which were in blossom. A scholar-like, middle-aged man with a mustache, clothed in light blue robes, was laying medicinal herbs on the ground in the yard to dry them in the sun. He scrutinized and sniffed at every one of the herbs with a conscientious bearing, the bitter smell of the herbs wafting over the fence.
As the three of them arrived, the middle-aged scholar-like man heard the movement and looked in their direction. His eyes first fell on Ji Yin, then moved to Ling Zhang and Yuwen Tong and eventually lingered on Ling Zhang for a brief moment before he made a slight bow to Ji Yin and said, “Prime Elder.”
Ji Yin led Ling Zhang and Yuwen Tong into the front yard and introduced them to each other. “This is Mr. Mu, a famous physician in our clan. He’s the one who’s been treating your father all along. It’s because of his efforts that your father’s condition has been kept under control for all these years. Xiao Mu, this is my grandson. His name’s Ling Zhang. He’s just reached adulthood and managed to get to the second layer of the mental cultivation method of internal energy after cultivating it for less than half a year. A quite talented boy, right?”
There was ill-concealed pride in Ji Yin’s tone when he introduced Ling Zhang.
A hint of amazement appeared on Mr. Mu’s serious face. He carefully sized up Ling Zhang once again. “Seriously? Less than half a year?”
“Absolutely. It was after I found him that I had him start cultivating,” replied Ji Yin.
Mr. Mu inclined his head. “Then he’s indeed uncommonly gifted. It’s been a long time since the last time we had a clan member endowed with the Blood of the Phoenix Clan as strong as the Clan Leader’s. Pity he didn’t start cultivating earlier, otherwise he would probably have made some great achievement by now.”
“With my help, his starting cultivation at a later age wouldn’t be too big a problem. I’m sure some day his internal energy will achieve perfection,” said Ji Yin.
Ling Zhang had humbly made a bow with hands folded in front to Mr. Mu when the latter’s eyes had been appraising him, and his gaze had been unnoticeably roaming over Mr. Mu as well. His surname was Mu, not Ji, which meant that not everybody in this place bore the surname Ji, or in other words, not everybody was a descendant of a foreseer possessing the Blood of the Phoenix Clan.
“With Prime Elder guiding him, he naturally has nothing to worry about. I could tell that Childe Ling’s meridians are thick and robust, and all his acupoints are unobstructed. His constitutional foundation is very good, too,” observed Mr. Mu.
A memory stirred in Ling Zhang. He owed all this to Yuwen Tong.
“This is…” Mr. Mu looked at Yuwen Tong.
“This is Yuwen Tong, my grandson’s betrothed,” responded Ji Yin.
Ling Zhang gave an unnoticeable blink. This way of introduction was… quite new. This was the first time that he’d hear anybody introduce Yuwen Tong by saying who he was to Ling Zhang.
Composed and unhurried, Yuwen Tong made a bow with hands folded in front to Mr. Mu. Of course he’d grasped the undertone in Ji Yin’s words, but he was not the kind of person who’d be bothered by a trifle of this sort. In fact, being introduced this way struck him as pretty pleasant.
Eyes gleaming briefly, Mr. Mu tossed Yuwen Tong another glance. “It turns out you’re the renowned Supreme Commander of Armed Forces of the Great Yue.”
“That’s just a fancy title. It’s nothing worth mentioning,” said Yuwen Tong.
While they were talking, Ling Zhang was secretly looking into the house out of the corner of his eye. They’d been talking outside for a few moments now, but there hadn’t been any movement inside the house. The sound of fairly even breathing was all he could hear from there, as though someone was asleep.
Uncontrollably, Ling Zhang’s heart began fluttering. He was having mixed feelings, but it was undeniable that he was mostly nervous. It’d been many years since he’d last clapped eyes on that man. His memories of his father’s voice and looks had blurred a long time ago. The only thing he remembered vividly about that man was the frightening madness on his face when he’d set the books in the study on fire. Over the past so many years, he had more than once pictured what it’d be like when he was reunited with this man, but none of his previous imaginations about it had been as real as the one he had at this moment.
Hands balling into fists in spite of himself, Ling Zhang’s eyes flashed squarely at the house, as though boring into the walls to see something clearly.
Yuwen Tong took his clenched fist into his palm and, patting it consolingly, said to Mr. Mu, “Mr. Mu, may I ask if Uncle Ling is in this house?”
Mr. Mu, having noticed the look on Ling Zhang’s face some time ago, gave a nod. “He drank some decoction an hour ago and is now sleeping. Ya went outside to do the laundry. He’s the only one in the room.”
“The servant responsible for tending him. Come. I’ll take you inside to see him.”
Mr. Mu turned around and made towards the doors.
Ling Zhang tentatively raised his foot only to find that it felt a lot heavier than usual. Only at this moment did he come to realize he was so tense that his movement of his foot was rather stiff.
Yuwen Tong, holding Ling Zhang’s hand in a tender but firm way, accompanied him towards the house.
Ling Zhang proceeded step by step, his eyes appraising every detail of this house. His gaze seemed to have taken in everything but he also felt as though nothing had been written into his memory. Hearing the sound of that breathing, he slightly gritted his teeth. There seemed to be a lump in his throat which felt sore and miserable. A flood of miscellaneous thoughts came rushing into his mind, throwing it into such a whirl that he was unable to figure out what he should do.
Mr. Mu led them through the doors, across the living room, and into a broad bedroom in the rear. The furnishings and decorations of the bedroom were not complex. They were fairly simple, actually. Apart from daily necessities, there was nothing else. Edges of everything in this room had been filed away. They’d all been rendered smooth, as though to prevent someone from getting hurt when they bumped against something.
Both the table and the chairs were made of very sturdy wood and Ling Zhang could tell at a glance that they were very heavy. The tea set on the table was quite plain. Against the wall stood a wooden cupboard which was solid and difficult to move. And then there was the bed.
There were no hangings. Made of the same wood as that of the cupboard, the broad bed was also difficult to move. Attached to one of the bedposts was a thread on which there was a knot. Ling Zhang looked along the thread and found that it stretched to the living room. There was a bell tied to it, which clearly was used to attract the servant’s attention.
Quietly lying in the bed was a man. He was not very strong – fairly thin, actually. His arms were naked, rather pasty and unhealthy. There was a little bell tied to his foot with a length of red string as well, so that whenever he moved, the bell would jingle telling people where its bearer was.