The Rising Sun Mountain was situated approximately five thousand miles away from Chong Ming town. A round trip would take a few days' time. By the time he would return from his trip, Xiao Qi and Su Ru might have already left the Public House.
The Rising Sun Mountain was directly connected to the Multiform Demon Lord. Could it be that he really left an inheritance there?
What else was the Multiform Demon Lord capable of? It was beyond his knowledge. However, that mysterious face-changing technique intrigued him. If he acquired that ability, he would be able to transform himself. Combining that with his Omniscient Mirror, he would be able to do so much more!
From the gazebo, he stood up and walked out with his hands crossed behind his back. His usually composed mind suddenly became turbulent with emotions, a mix of reluctance, frustration, and anxiety. Those emotions were merged into a big mess in his mind which made him feel increasingly annoyed.
Then, he heard two knocks on the door. The door swung open and Xiao Qi gracefully entered the courtyard. She was wearing a white gown.
She slowly walked towards Chu Li; her beautiful face was edging closer to his until they were only a few inches apart. Her faint fragrance spread to his nostrils.
Xiao Qi felt a strange guilt upon seeing Chu Li's straight face and icy gaze. She explained, "The master from the Snow Lunar Pavilion has sent me a letter. She notified me that she was injured and would need to undergo isolated cultivation. So, she wants us to head over as soon as possible... Once she starts the isolation, she doesn't know how long it would take until she comes out of it."
Chu Li reached out his hand and invited her to sit down. He frowned. "She sustained severe injuries?"
Xiao Qi nodded gently.
"Not everything can go smoothly in this world." Chu Li let out a long sigh. "When will you leave?"
"I've already returned a letter to ask if there's any way to delay it." Xiao Qi furrowed her brows and said, "If there isn't another way. I think we'll need to leave in approximately six days."
"Six days..." Chu Li felt like he had chewed on
Xiao Qi replied, "I didn't want to tell you earlier so that your emotions wouldn't be affected. Separation is inevitable for people like us. We both knew this day would eventually come."
Chu Li mumbled, "Six days..."
Xiao Qi glanced at him.
Chu Li said, "But I'm almost there! I'm slowly having a deeper understanding of the elemental formations. While you're still around, let me perform a formation and hide the Jade Guardian Island. The outsiders won't be able to enter the island, and only you can reopen the entry when you come back in the future."
He had already anticipated the arrival of this day and was well-prepared for it. Previously, he was frustrated that she had chosen not to tell him about the matter. Since she would be leaving soon, he would not stop her or do anything else.
"The Forfeited Perception Formation and Deranged Five Elements Formation." Chu Li wanted to adopt the formations from Tai Hua Valley because they could be perfected within six days. If he used other formations, he would not be able to finish them on time. More so, their powers were unknown yet too.
"... Alright." Xiao Qi could not turn him down.
Chu Li became silent.
Xiao Qi opened her mouth, but no words came out. She did not know what to say.
There was nothing but silence at the gazebo. A breeze blew past and the green bamboos gently hit against each other, producing a clear sound. It was as if time was frozen still; the two of them sat there quietly, facing each other.
"Pa!" Suddenly, Xue Ling pushed the door open and entered. When she saw Chu Li and Xiao Qi, she quickly performed a curtsy as a salute.
Xiao Qi waved her hand, then quickly stood up. "Chu Li, don't be too hard on yourself with the matters regarding Old Quan. If there isn't another way, just send my Second Sister away."
Chu Li nodded.
"I'm off." Xiao Qi made her way towards the door and left the courtyard.
Xue Ling blinked her bright eyes; her head full of questions. She felt that the Third Lady was acting very strangely today, but she did not know why. It was unlike the usual her.
"Stop figuring things out. How's it with Bi Liu?"
"Sister Bi Liu has agreed."
"Then good. Let's carry out the next step!" Chu Li said.
Xue Ling exclaimed excitedly, "Alright!"
"Calm down, don't be overly excited," Chu Li replied.
"Yes, Master!" Xue Ling said. She was still in euphoria.
Stacking two formations was not a difficult task for Chu Li, especially after he had combined it with Tai Hua Valley's formations. After five days, he had finished setting up the formations. The Jade Guardian Island instantly disappeared from the crowd's view.
The original position where the island was situated at turned into a flat surface of clear lake water. It looked exactly like the rest of the lake.
Even if a boat was to pass by that place, nobody would notice the island. The boats would naturally steer away from that spot, and the people on the boat would not realize that anything was amiss.
After witnessing Chu Li's formations first-hand, Xiao Tieying was awe-struck as it was truly legendary. The powers were incredible, and by defensive terms, it was enough to take on a Grandmaster.
Xiao Tieying asked Zhao Qingshan and his men to try and break into the island, but they could not find an entry point.
As far as Xiao Tieying knew, people who knew how to perform formations were extremely scarce. Even if there were such people, they would be hiding away in the Imperial Court, Imperial House, or in the four major sects. Though there would not be many of them, only a few.
Now that their Public House had the protection of formations, they were officially a level above the other Public Houses. The usage of formations alone would ensure that their Public House would be retained forever.
Xiao Tieying turned around and asked, "Chu Li, would you be able to envelop our whole Public House under one of your formations?"
They all stood at the shore opposite the Jade Guardian Island, and they could not make out any clear differences compared to before the formation was used.
Chu Li replied, "That will be possible, but I feel that I should wait. Allow me to improve my elemental formation techniques for a little bit more so that I can make a stronger formation."
"Take it one step at a time. Covering up the islands like you did with Jade Guardian Island would be enough for now," Xiao Tieying said. Though deep down, he could not wait.
With the protection of elemental formation, the Public House would not require Grandmasters to guard them. The three Grandmasters who were originally stationed there would then be free to go out on missions. The Public House's strength would increase by a great degree, and they could finally be on the same level as their competitors.
"... That's good too." Chu Li said, "We only need to set them up at important islands. If we do this for all islands, it would be more inconvenient instead."
"It's better to be safe than sorry. I don't care about the inconvenience, just set up formations for all islands!"Xiao Tieying smiled as he said, "I'm sorry for the trouble, Chu Li!"
Chu Li could only accept the fact and nod helplessly. He pondered how he could get the job done swiftly and effectively.
"Master, I want to go outside and take walk around for a bit. I need some space to think it through, then only I'll start setting up the formations," Chu Li requested.
"No problem." Xiao Tieying said, "But you must get this done as soon as you can."
"Sure." Chu Li nodded.
Chu Li had intended to combine and utilize the Tai Hua Valley formations. With three overlapping formations, the powers produced would be marvelous. If he could achieve that in his elemental formation, the resulting effect should be enough to fulfill Xiao Tieying's request.
The moon shined brilliantly as it hung high up in the sky like a lunar ice wheel.
The gentle moonlight spilled into the house, casting various shapes of silhouettes on the furniture. Chu Li sat on the couch, and his breathing was faint. The entire house was silent.
Suddenly, he opened his eyes.
In his mind, he saw Xiao Qi and Su Ru both wearing plain-colored gowns. Their faces were slightly yellowish, like night pearls covered with sand. However, the usual brilliant glow on their faces vanished almost entirely.
On top of that, the gowns they wore were wide and loose, which hid away their slender figure. Amongst the crowd, they looked indifferent.
They stealthily crept out of Stargazing Tower without startling any of the maids. They then came to a small boat in which they hopped onto and started to row away from the shore.
Xiao Qi stood at the front end of the boat. Her bright eyes were gazing towards the Thousand Herb Garden in front of them. She did not move.
Chu Li sighed. He gently levitated to the shore and stood on top of a tree branch.
The moonlight gleamed like water, splashing down a silvery band on his green robe. Xiao Qi could see him clearly from afar, and a smile was etched out on her face. She waved towards Chu Li.
Chu Li waved back at her.
Then, Su Ru saw him too. She gave him a single wave before she turned away.
The two ladies slowly moved away from sight and disappeared into the inky darkness beyond. Chu Li watched as they rowed away with an indescribable sadness filling his heart. At that moment, he felt empty inside. Anxiety began to munch on his heartbroken soul.
Suddenly, he had a strong urge to rush off and catch up to them to leave with them. However, his rationale took over and prevented that. He stood there and watched them leave.
The night breeze gently caressed pass the surface of the lake. It brought a chilly sensation onto his face.
Chu Li stood rooted to the branch. As the branch slightly shook up and down, his body followed the movement.
He did not move until the break of dawn, when the maids of the tower started their shifts. He gently hopped down from the tree and made his way back to Thousand Herb Garden.
Xue Ling was already up and was practicing her martial arts. When she saw him coming in, she opened her mouth to say something but did not manage to speak as Chu Li quickly waved her off. He went straight into the house.
Xue Ling noticed that his expressions were strange. Even though she thought hard, she could not figure out why he was unhappy.
Chu Li laid down on his bed for a few minutes. It did not take long for him to calm his emotions. Soon, he recovered his senses and was back to his former self.
When they were having lunch, Chu Li told Xue Ling, "I'll be going out tomorrow. The Lady and Chief Su have already left the island. You need to keep it a secret."
It finally dawned on Xue Ling as to why he was sad. She quietly watched his expressions.
Chu Li pretended that he did not know. He wanted to go up the Rising Sun Mountain later and check if there was anything there.
The others before him had failed to find anything there, but maybe he could discover something.
With his Omniscient Mirror activated, he could now see everything within five miles of him. He could even see five miles above and below him. The vision field granted by the Omniscient Mirror was like a giant sphere.
The hills and forests could not obstruct his view. He could clearly see every inch of soil on the Rising Sun Mountain with the Omniscient Mirror. If there were any secret scriptures hidden up there, it would not escape the scope of the Omniscient Mirror.