The next morning, after having breakfast, Leanne handed two snow chickens to Chu Li.
He arrived at East Garden early.
Lee Yue was delighted to see him and brewed the snow chicken stew for him. The two then sat together and started chatting. Until today, Chu Li still had not let go of his duty at East Garden, so he would visit the place from time to time.
It was noon. Chu Li and Lee Yue sat at a kiosk in the garden as they savored on the chicken stew. They munched on the chicken while drinking wine, chatting happily. By the time they finished their meal, it was already afternoon.
The two then went inside the garden to finish up some work. When they were done, it was dusk.
Chu Li strolled out of East Garden when nightfall descended upon the place. He arrived at Leisure Cloud Pub.
The atmosphere at the pub was buzzing as usual.
He lifted the doorway curtain and walked into the pub. She saw Sue and Yan standing beside each other, looking as pretty as flowers.
Their eyes widened when they saw Chen Ying, and they were about to approach him.
Chu Li quickly waved his hand, signaling them not to draw attention to his arrival, he would look for a seat himself. Sue grinned at him, as she stayed put at her place.
He walked towards the main lounge, only to find that almost all the tables at the sides were fully occupied. The only seats left were right in the middle of the lounge. When he was just about to settle down at an empty table, he heard a sweet sound calling out to him, "Master Chu!"
Chu Li raised her head, and he saw a beautiful girl standing gracefully not far away. She wore a pure white gown. It was He Binghua.
Chu Li smiled and waved at her.
He Binghua walked towards him elegantly, smiling, "Master Chu, what a coincidence!"
Chu Li smiled, "It really is. Have you found your master?"
He Binghua smiled sweetly at him, "Yes, my master is just right over there. Why don't you join our table, Master Chu?"
Chu Li replied, "Your valley leader is here too, right?"
If Tai Hua Valley's leader was there too, it would surely be awkward. He would rather not meet her.
"Yes, our valley leader is here too." He Binghua smiled, "Don't worry, she had been wanting to meet you in person too. Just follow me."
"Alright then." Chu Li said.
He Binghua gracefully led him to one of the side rooms.
It was a round table half-surrounded by three bamboo divider screens, and there were four people sitting there.When they saw He Binghua entering the room, Sun Lihua and Fei stood up in surprise, staring their eyes widely, "Master Chu?"
Chu Li gave them a fist salute and smiled.
Besides Sun Lihua and Fei, there were two other women. One a middle-aged woman and another a gorgeous young woman.
The middle-aged woman still had some charm left, as she flashed a sweet smile at Chu Li.
The young woman was exceptionally gorgeous, but she had an ice-cold demeanor. She looked uninterested to talk to other people.
He Binghua proceeded to introduce each of them to Chu Li, then she took a seat.
The middle-aged woman was an elder of Tai Hua Valley, Fong Xiaofeng Qin. While the young woman was in fact the valley leader of Tai Hua Valley, Mei Aoshuang.
Fong Xiaofeng smiled sweetly at Chu Li, "Master Chu, many thanks to you for rescuing my three disciples, not once, but twice. I'm not sure how to repay you, so allow me to drink a toast to you!"
She raised her silver cup and gulped down the wine.
"You're too humble, elder Qin." Chu Li accepted the toast and finished his wine too.
Fong Xiaofeng put down her silver cup and said, "This time, valley leader and I went out of the valley to meet with an old friend. The three of them did not fancy journeying with an old lady like me, so they picked another path. But unfortunately, the young ones were too impulsive and had accidentally wiped out the Solace Hill faction, drawing unwanted attention from the Green Hill faction in the process."
Chu Li caressed his chin and said, "The Solace Hill faction always had a bad reputation. It's just out of my expectations that they would be that evil."
In actual, the government were partly to blame for their lack of competence. They did nothing about Solace Hill despite knowing what they had done.
Over centuries, since the inception of the Great Ji dynasty, the courthouse officials had lost their integrity. If you pick ten officials out and execute all of them, there may be a few who were wrongly accused. But if you execute one every two officials, there would not be any innocent ones. Corruption had crept deep into the governing ranks, many of them often turned a blind eye to state affairs.
Chu Li may be a Rank 2 Scribe of the public house, but the affairs of the courthouse were far out of his jurisdiction. He could do nothing but watch from the sides.
Criminals like the Solace hill faction should had been properly dealt with since the very beginning.
This was a different situation than the Raging Tiger Entrapment.There were innate masters in the entrapment, so they were targets of the public house. But in this case, there were no innate masters in Solace Hill faction, hence it was the courthouse's responsibility.
Fong Xiaofeng said, "Green Hill faction are cold-blooded in their ways. If not for you, Master Chu, I'm afraid we would've already lost these three young lives sitting right here. They were ignorant about the dangers out there in the martial arts world, how foolish!"
Chu Li said, "It looks like the Green Hill faction wouldn't stop bothering you any time soon."
"Just let them come!" Fong Xiaofeng laughed gently.
She was a grandmaster, so she was naturally not afraid of Green Hill faction.
Chu Li had his head full of questions. The Tai Hua Valley was only a second-class faction, but how did they have two grandmasters?
It was already surprising enough that Fong Xiaofeng was a grandmaster herself. Worse off, even Mei Aoshuang was one. She was only about the same age as him, but she had already broken through the boundaries of a grandmaster. No wonder she was so famous in the martial arts world.
Mei Aoshuang's character was exactly like her name, a stone-cold persona. When introduced by He Binghua earlier, she had only responded by nodding gently, not speaking even a single word.
Chu Li did not need to use the Omniscient Mirror to figure out that she was a reserved person, and disliked the noisy atmosphere outside. To make matters worse, their company, Chu Li was a scribe from the public house.
She spoke faintly, "Elder Qin."
Fong Xiaofeng gently slapped her own forehead, as she smiled and said, "Sigh, look at me, it's true what they say that old people do like to talk much."
She took out a small, emerald green jade bottle from her sleeves, putting it onto the table. "Master Chu, I'm not sure if anything was enough to repay your good deeds, but may I present you with this bottle of Taihua Gold Pills, a secret recipe of spirit medicine from our Tai Hua Valley. It could enhance a person's physicality, transforming them into a whole new person. Take it as a token of appreciation from us. We hope you will accept it."
Chu Li gave her a closed fist salute, "Thank you, Elder Qin."
He reached out his hand and picked up the emerald green jade bottle, keeping it in his sleeves. Although he was not sure what kind of spirit medicine the Taihua Gold Pill was, but since they gave him as an appreciation for saving lives, it must be something rare."
He activated his Omniscient Mirror, and he saw how unwilling Fong Xiaofeng was to give him the pills.
These Taihua Gold Pills could alter the physical properties of one's body, allowing someone who did not cultivate their body to become as if they did. It could serve a lot of purposes. Because of how rare the medicine was, Tai Hua Valley could only manage to cultivate and produce two to three pills per year. And now, they had given it all to Chu Li one shot.
On seeing how eager Chu Li accepted their gift, Fong Xiaofeng's smile broadened. "Master Chu, you've achieved Rank 2 as a scribe of the public house at such a young age, very impressive indeed."
Chu Li smiled, "It was all luck. I happened to set a few merits for the public house."
He stood up and gave them a fist salute, "Then, I shall not bother you ladies anymore for the rest of the night."
Right at that moment, Chen Ying walked in gracefully, donned in a pure white gown. When she saw Chu Li, she grinned, "Master, so you're here... You recognize Leader Mei?"
Chu Li smiled. He turned around and prepared to leave.
"Hold on!" Aoshuang suddenly shouted.
Chu Li turned around and looked at her. It was the first time she had spoken. Her voice was husky but somewhat magnetic, it sounded attractive.
Aoshuang said, "Young Chen Ying, so he is the master that you speak of?"
"That's right, it's him." Chen Ying smiled as she answered, "I didn't quite expect that you'll recognize Master Chu."
"So, it was him who refused to let me recruit you?"
Chen Ying smiled embarrassingly, "No, leader Mei. It was me who didn't want to join."
"You think you could fool me?" Aoshuang scoffed, turning her head towards Chu Li, "Master Chu, I still can't quite believe you are Young Chen Ying's master."
Chu Li replied, "I thank you for the kindness, Leader Mei."
"Why won't you let her?" Aoshuang said. "My Tai Hua Valley may not be a first-class faction, but we weren't too bad either. How could we have made Chen Ying suffer?"
Chu Li waved his hand, "I'm afraid that's not quite the case, Leader Mei. I just didn't want her to step into this mess."
Fong Xiaofeng smiled and interrupted them, "Master Chu, come here, sit down and have a talk... I can't believe this coincidence. Our valley leader saw something in young Chen Ying, so she felt that it would be a waste if she remains in this pub. She wishes to sharpen her potentials, hence the recruitment proposal."
Chu Li replied, "The people in the martial arts world won't stop killing each other. It's not suitable for Chen Ying."
"Chen Ying has great potential. She will be able to outperform me in the future." Aoshuang said. "It is almost certain that she would become a grandmaster. How could you bear keeping her locked up in this place, serving customers forever?"
Chu Li smiled, "I know precisely how hard it is to become a grandmaster. An ocean of suffering awaits, forget about it."
Aoshuang narrowed her eyes, and said coldly, "You're just afraid that she might outperform you, right?"
Chu Li was taken aback by the statement. He then managed a smile and said, "Let's just say you're right."
"A narrow-minded freak, how disgusting!" Aoshuang smirked.
"Leader!" Fong Xiaofeng hurriedly waved her hand, she smiled at Chu Li apologizingly. "Master Chu, please don't take her words for real. Our leader has bad temper. What she really meant was that she couldn't bear letting a good talent waste herself away here."
Chu Li replied, "Elder Qin, I feel that Chen Ying is doing very well here. It may only be a lowly job of serving customers, but there weren't any trouble-makers here, and she wouldn't need to go through all those nonsensical killings or precarious situations. It's good that she could lead a peaceful life."
"You have no ambitions!" Aoshuang slighted him.
Chu Li ignored her and gave a Fong Xiaofeng a fist salute. "I should be on my way now, farewell."
"Halt!" Aoshuang scoffed.
Chu Li twisted his head around and glanced at her, "Leader Mei, what seems to be the problem?"
Aoshuang said coldly, "Young Chen Ying has all the rights to make life decisions herself. Who are you to stop her?"
Chu Li waved his hand, "Then let her decide for herself."
"You know she would still listen to what you say!" Aoshuang scoffed.
Chu Li smiled, "Then, there's nothing I could do."
Aoshuang was extremely furious at him, as she gave him a fierce stare.
It was hard to scout for a great talent like Chen Ying. Once she had learned the heart techniques of Tai Hua Valley, she would make stunning improvements, and then go all the way to break through the grandmaster's boundary in no time.
Such a gifted person she was, but she could only continue serving dishes to customers. What a waste!
She knew that overreacting at this issue would only pull Chen Ying further away from her. So, she could only persevere and contain her anger. But no matter how much she tried, fury was piling up quick inside her.
She took in a huge breath, her arrogant chest rising slightly. She oppressed the towering inferno of hatred inside her chest, and then said in a low voice, "Tell me, what can I do to change your mind?"
Chu Li shook his head, "I'm afraid I have to burst your bubble. Farewell."
A reddish shadow flashed across the room, a sweet aroma filling the air. Aoshuang dashed to the doorway and blocked Chu Li in his path, staring coldly at him.
Chu Li smiled as he looked at her, he looked calm.
Fong Xiaofeng hurriedly went in front and pulled Aoshuang away. She smiled and said, "There must be a way to talk through this. Leader, calm down for a bit. Let me negotiate with Master Chu."
Chu Li said, "Elder Qin, there's nothing else to talk about. Things will remain as I said. Goodbye."
After he finished speaking, he stepped out of the side room. He made his way to the exit of the pub with large strides.
Chen Ying and Lee Yue hurriedly went up to Chu Li.
Chen Ying called out to him guiltily, "Master..."
Chu Li smiled and said, "It seems that Leader Mei indeed admires you a lot. She was about to start a big quarrel."
Chen Ying said apologizing, "I promise I will explain myself to Leader Mei."
Chu Li said, "No use saying anything to her. She had made up her mind that she must take you in... By the way, I want you to stay inside the public house for a few days, so she wouldn't cause you any trouble!"
Aoshuang had broken through the boundaries of a grandmaster at such a young age, hence she was arrogant. Moreover, she was a valley leader, so all her life she obtained everything that she wanted with ease. It explained why she found it hard to come to terms with rejection. She could do all sorts of crazy things to achieve what she wanted, even if it meant forcefully kidnapping Chen Ying away.
Chen Ying said, "Leader Mei is not that kind of person."
"I really hope not." Chu Li said. He waved his hand and exited Leisure Cloud Pub.