The Sage Who Transcended Samsara Chapter 477
The two servants were holding an invitation each, their heads hanging low. They appeared to be courteous and servile, but they couldn’t help following Meng Qi’s shadow with their eyes.
What an exaggeratedly frightening reputation! They couldn’t help feeling astonished and confused.
Being servants of the Su family, it wasn’t like they had never seen invitations from aristocratic families and important ministers. Duke Su was the deputy commander of the imperial guards in the palace, while Fifth Master was one of the Eight Distinguished Super Arresters. If they received invitations from significant individuals, it would’ve never shocked them.
Second Young Master had just returned to the manor but the Ruan family from Langya as well as the newly-appointed politician had already sent their invitations, even directly naming him as the receiver. Everyone knew what this indicated.
This was, apparent for all to see, favoritism!
This was the display of the friendship between them!
Why would the invitations come today, of all days, otherwise?
To think Second Young Master would be favored this greatly by two aristocratic families! How shocking!
Duke Su Li’s expression eased, even becoming somewhat relaxed. The state of mutual hostility earlier, the first wife who was nearing madness, as well as a domineering son that was difficult to tame it all gave him a headache. His mother’s idea was good, but it was nevertheless restricted to Luoyang, making it too narrow an idea.
“Since the Langya Duke’s Mansion and Minister Wang have kindly invited you, you mustn’t forget your etiquette, Ziyuan. If you can’t make it to either of them, you must personally write them with a letter of apology.” He appeared to be happy to see the invitations accepted and had changed the way he addressed Wang Zai’s father as well.
However, this passed the headache to Meng Qi instead. Which family’s invitation should he accept?
He accepted the invitations from the servants and carefully examined them. He noticed that the Ruan family’s invitation didn’t indicate the exact date and time. In other words, he could pay a visit any time. On the other hand, Wang Zai’s father indicated clearly that it was an invitation to a banquet.
“Then let’s visit the little glutton’s home first and see if she has something important to say…”He made a swift decision.
He felt refreshed all over after leaving the Su family manor. The history of this family was a complete mess, so much so that it gave him an irritating headache. He felt like his hands were tied in this family and that everything he did would be sloppy and ineffective.
“This can be considered as the karma of your ‘gift’ to your physical body…”Thinking about this, Meng Qi’s thoughts suddenly became lively and he felt as if he could become enlightened. Unconsciously, he had become curious about the history of Su Ziyuan and had the urge to examine his childhood room.“I wonder if you’ve any unrealized wishes? If you do, let me do them in your place…”
Once this idea came to his mind, he suddenly looked around with a jolt. Everything around him seemed to have become illusory and gloomy as the roots of karma danced around like threads of silk.
Somewhat understanding the situation, he lifted his head and looked at the setting sun. He quietly muttered to himself,
“I’m always one step away from achieving a breakthrough. Besides the slight error in controlling the fire and the lack of grinding, I fear there’s still the karma of my physical body that is hampering my progress. Kungfu cultivation, after all, takes the body as its foundation. The Vital Spirit and the physical body mix together to connect with heaven and earth, where the interior would be bright and the exterior conspicuous. If the physical body becomes burdened with too many ‘burdens’, breakthrough naturally becomes harder…
Once he had understood this point, Meng Qi became impatient to visit Su Ziyuan’s childhood room.
He took in a deep breath and steadied his mind. Stepping out to leave the manor, he turned down the offer to take the horse or carriage and dashed to the Langya Duke’s Mansion located on the Zither Lane.
The Langya Duke’s Mansion wasn’t large, but it was a quiet place amid the chaos. The path that led there was winding as if leading to a remote spot, which was calming to visitors. Thus, the mansion was also known as the Courtyard of Calm. The Warbling Mountain was even further away, where every zither sound was quiet and calm!
“You’re here, Master Su?” There was a baby-faced young man of 17 or 18 standing at the entrance. When he saw Meng Qi, he appeared to be agitated as if he felt honored to have known him. That incited jealousy in the other youngsters standing by the entrance.
Meng Qi thought for a moment before recalling who the young man was and smiled at him. “Xiao Zhong, have you been doing well, studying the art in the Ruan manor? How many new “no’s” has the Doctor Zhong now?”
The young man was none other than Zhong Wei, the son of the ‘Nine-no’s Doctor’ Zhong Taiping. Thanks to Meng Qi’s help, he was able to enter the Ruan family as an apprentice Foreign Official.
Zhong Wei puffed up his chest, wearing an expression that said, ‘Look, Killing Blade knows me’ as he said, “The Ruan family treats everyone justly. If you work hard, you’ll definitely gain the fruits of your labor. Compared to my progress at home, I’ve seen a tremendous growth in my strength. I enlightened my Eye Aperture half a year ago.”
“Father became a Foreign Official of the Ruan family and he’s currently in Luoyang as well.”
Meng Qi was smiling as he nodded. It seemed that the odd-tempered Zhong Taiping couldn’t resist the temptation of becoming an Exterior master in the end and entered the Ruan family as a Foreign Official. Based on what Zhong Taiping had said, though his family’s cultivation method couldn’t be replaced, he had more hope of achieving what he wanted thanks to the grandmasters and Peerless Master Pros of the Ruan family guiding him in things he had overlooked.
The Ruan family evidently also favored the medically talented Zhong Taiping.
“Then I must congratulate you,” Meng Qi replied casually, yet the youngsters who had been shying away thought that he was modest, receptive, and heroic.
Zhong Wei grinned so hard that his eyes nearly disappeared. He instantly led Meng Qi inside the mansion on a trail through the woods, where they could faintly hear the sound of zither playing.
Suddenly recalling something, Zhong Wei asked in a whisper, “Master Su, have you heard anything about Duan Rui after he was kidnapped?”
Duan Rui had cultivated the Muscle-bone Strengthening Scripture in the reversed order and became demonic. His personality was split into two, one of which was the devilish Shaolin Huntsmen.
“No.” Whether through the Six Fan School or other channels of information, Meng Qi had found no news of Duan Rui.
Zhong Wei’s voice became even quieter. “I seemed to have spotted Duan Rui’s rear figure when I went grave-sweeping last year, but because everything happened in haste, I couldn’t confirm if it was him. That was why I kept it to myself.”
There was no no indication in his expression that he couldn’t confirm the identity of the figure. He was obviously dying to tell Master Su!
“You’ve done well,” Meng Qi praised.
Duan Rui was involved in the issue of the traitor of the Shaolin Temple. This was a grave matter. It was a good thing that only he and Zhong Wei knew about Duan Rui’s whereabouts. Later, he would inform his Master through his Junior Brother and let him make the decision.
Nine months ago, Zhen Hui, the Six Apertures master who practiced the Flower-pinching Finger, left his sect to begin traveling. Unfortunately, Meng Qi had gone to North Zhou Dynasty. He heard that Zhen Hui had opened his Seven Apertures and succeeded in stepping into his Inner World. Using the might of his Flower-pinching Finger of the Shaolin’s 72 Ultimate Arts, he entered the top 20 of the Ranking List of Young Masters, surpassing Yao Xingliu aka Youth Yao. Of course, he wasn’t a match for Yang He, who had entered the top 10 with his Eight Apertures enlightened.
Taking a turn into a secluded lane, they walked towards a lake which had a small pavilion beside it. The pavilion was constructed following the ups and downs of the terrain, in harmony with the law of heaven and earth. It appeared to one half of a whole with the hazy water of the lake.
“Isn’t it a banquet?” Meng Qi was, after all, someone who had once been to Su Garden as banquet guests. This seemed more like a place to entertain guests in private, not a place to hold banquets.
Zhong Wei smiled. “It’s a private invitation.”
“Huh?”Meng Qi furrowed his brows. Did the little glutton really have something important to tell him?
Entering the pavilion, the first person Meng Qi saw was an old man. His face was thin and decorated with a white beard yet was spirited without looking old and weary. If the old man’s beard was dyed black, he would believe it if he was told the old man was in his forties.
The old man exuded an impressive momentum, giving rise to an illusory zither sound resounding inside the pavilion. Meng Qi subconsciously turned his attention to him.
Ruan Yushu, in her usual white clothes and cold demeanor, was standing beside the old man. With her beautiful appearance and vitality, she resembled a moon fairy.
The old man’s gaze was so sharp, it was as if he could burn a hole through Meng Qi. He smoothened his beard with his fingers and chuckled. “To have achieved such realm before you’re even 20 years old, you’re doing pretty well. I don’t know how many years it has been since I last saw someone with your progress. In the past, Su Wuming had also become a Life-risking Hermetic Training in his early twenties.”
“Many thanks for your compliment,” Meng Qi said, putting on a show of being respectful of his elders.
“This is my father’s brother, my Eldest Uncle, ‘Idle Palm’ Hong Lusi,” Ruan Yushu opened her mouth to introduce the two.
The son of the Old Madam of the Ruan family married and birthed at an older age. Ruan Yushu’s father, despite being the son of the first wife, was the youngest of his generation and there was a large age gap to his older brothers. It was reasonable for Ruan Yushu’s Eldest Uncle to look like he was her grandfather instead.
Meng Qi quietly heaved a sigh of relief, having thought that it was Old Master of the family that he was meeting. The Old Master was a famed individual who was in the top 10 of the Terrestrial Rankings many years ago. Though he had long retreated in his family mansion, never made a move, or got involved in external affairs in many years, no one would dare to belittle him.
Ruan Yushu’s Eldest Uncle laughed heartily. “The 21st Young Lady of my family has high standards and rarely becomes involved with people. I’m naturally curious about the person who’s repeatedly on the receiving end of her expectations. That’s why I was presumptuous enough to invite you here for a meeting.”
“Now that I’ve seen you, I see that your reputation is well-deserved. With my wish fulfilled, I shall leave now.”
He laughed as he abruptly took his leave, not at all interested in trying to receive Meng Qi as a guest.
Meng Qi wiped an imaginary cold sweat. “I’d heard there are many quirky individuals in the Ruan family. I see that the rumors are true.”
“I’m the one who asked Eldest Uncle to meet you today, ” Ruan Yushu replied placidly.
“Huh?” Meng Qi looked at her doubtfully.
“It’s your first day of returning to the Su family,” Ruan Yushu replied matter-of-factly.
“Is she worried about the Su family making things hard on me…”Meng Qi was moved and smiled sweetly. “How smart and attentive.”
Ruan Yushu didn’t reveal a smile, but she closed her eyes, making them seem like crescent moons.
After a quick chat, Meng Qi told her about the invitation from Wang Zai’s father. Ruan Yushu was as puzzled as he was even after pondering over it. The Wang family had always been a family of etiquette throughout all its generations and it didn’t seem like it was their way to send an invitation on the first day that one returns home.
With such confusion in mind, Meng Qi finally arrived at the Huan Duke’s Mansion. In the main hall, he met Wang Wenxian, Wang Zai’s father as well as the current Minister of Revenue.
With his square face, Wang Wenxian seemed to be made out of the same mold as his son. However, he had a beard and a mature temperament.
He engaged him in small talk before inviting him for a meal, his every movement in accordance with etiquette. He followed the custom of not speaking during a meal to a tee, influencing Meng Qi to be serious as well. However, he didn’t find it inconvenient at all.
Meng Qi finally found a chance to ask his question when the meal was over. “Uncle, has Brother Wang Zai arrived in Luoyang?”
He had assumed that it was Wang Zai who instigated his father to send the invitation, but it seemed that he was wrong.
“He’s rushing to Luoyang to make it to the Sumptuous Fruits Banquet,” Wang Wenxian replied unhurriedly.
“What exactly is the Sumptuous Fruits Banquet?” Meng Qi seized the opportunity to ask.
Wang Wenxian shook his head. “The Emperor has his own thoughts. I have no idea what, only that the ministers and princes are allowed to bring a guest to the banquet each. Since my son has missed the Military Selectee the last time, he plans to take a shortcut to promotion through this banquet.”
Wang Zai had felt a deep sense of inadequacy after losing to Meng Qi and dropped the Military Selectee in favor of traveling.
“What a mysterious Sumptuous Fruits Banquet…”Meng Qi frowned. He then changed the topic and said, “I’m wondering if there’s a reason for this meeting.”
“I was curious since I’ve heard my son repeatedly praised you in his letters. Your speech this morning also deeply moved me,” Wang Wenxian replied.
“Huh?” Meng Qi looked at him in berwilderment.
Wang Wenxian smoothened his beard with his hand and said, “You have lofty ambitions outside of aristocratic families. Others may think of you as saying empty words to frighten others, but I believe otherwise. Even without the chains of nobility, we can improve our station in life step by step. What is there that we can’t achieve?”
“The orthodox way is through the nobility, that much is true. Yet in this day and age, who in the Wang family can disregard my words?”
Meng Qi began to understand that Wang Wenxian was worried about his son’s close friend walking on the wrong path and used his own experience to encourage the friend. Simultaneously, Wang Wenxian was also preventing internal disorder in the Su family.
“What a true Confucian master…”
“Many thanks to you, Uncle, for your reminder. Kungfu is my passion, and wealth and luxury don’t bother me,” Meng Qi replied earnestly.
Wang Wenxian nodded. “There’s something else I need to remind you of. The Head of Escorts of the Escort Agency of Central Province was an old friend of mine. He died tragically outside Luoyang before the help that I sent arrived. The perpetrators were the Destruction Sect and the Luo Denomination.”
“You need to be even more careful considering your enmity with them. Though Luoyang is safe, its security isn’t absolute. If they move fast enough and go into hiding, they can still do it. Take what happened a few days ago for example. A Foreign Official of Prince Jin was killed in broad daylight.”
“I’m the one who killed him…”Meng Qi thought to himself. He frowned. For the issue of the Escort Agency of Central Province to draw the attention of the Luo Denomination and the Destruction Sect, it seemed like it wasn’t a simple matter. Gu Changqing was carrying half of the escort item. Would he be in danger?
He fell into silence. He decided to trust ‘Noble Spirit’ and Wang Zai and came clean about the matter of saving Gu Changqing in its entirety.
“Find your friend as soon as possible and send him to my mansion,” Wang Wenxian said without the slightest hint of hesitation.
Meng Qi didn’t know where Gu Changqing was hiding at the moment, only a way to contact him. Being an official, Wang Wenxian’s every movement would be the center of attention. Thus, he didn’t go looking for Gu Changqing immediately.
But Wang Wenxian did leave behind a promise. “If you need me to take action, please tell me frankly.”
Meng Qi thanked him and left, walking in the direction of the Su family manor. The day had already darkened, lit only by the moonlight.
As he contemplated the matter, he quickened his pace and decided to contact Gu Changqing tonight. He eventually made his way to the river bank by the city walls and saw the clear water rippling with waves.
The surface of water reflected Meng Qi’s figure, startling him. He and Wang Wenxian knew about one half of the escort item being in the hands of Gu Changqing, but the Luo Denomination and the Destruction Sect didn’t. They might believe that he had taken it for himself!
“This is bad! The one in danger isn’t Changqing but me…”Meng Qi was on high alert and operated his Energy, Qi, Spirit and Will to sense his surroundings. He was terrified that Gu Xiaosang would instantly appear.
He left the river bank and decided to first return to his family manor and invite Wang Wenxian to find Gu Changqing together tomorrow!
He inexplicably began feeling jittery after taking a few steps. If not for him being on guard earlier, he wouldn’t have had such a feeling!
Just then, bolts of Purple Thunder burst around him and a series of masked men flew down from the trees next to him.
“Thunder God from the Ninth Heaven?”
“The Exterior experts from the Myths?”
The thunder blade made five simultaneous strokes. Purple thunder burst forth and swallowed the entire river bank!