"Hoho, for someone of your old age Brother Gu, your heart still remains young, such spirit!" the gaunt old man gave a fist salute as he chuckled.
Gu Yue waved it off. "As old as I may be, I am still a man after all. You haven't feasted your eyes upon this Second Lady Xiao, Brother Ding. She truly is the Great Ji's number one beauty. Across entire nations and cities, her features are far greater than that of the moon. Only His Holiness Kong Hai could deal with her, if it were me, I wouldn't be able to bring myself to kill her!"
"It can't be that exaggerated?" the gaunt Elder Ding shook his head in disbelief.
Gu Yu scoffed. "You'd better believe it, Brother Ding. Second Lady Xiao was a true noble, only a rare few have truly seen her, why does her name weigh on such a grand scale? It's all due to her undeniable beauty! No matter how many maidens there are in all of Fairy's Capital, even in the imperial residence, in the palace, where maidens roam all around, compared to Second Lady Xiao, none could hold a candle to her! As one who bore semblance in figure to that of famed trees, there's no doubt about it!"
"Has the emperor himself seen Second Lady Xiao?" Ding Jian asked.
Gu Yue shook his head. "From what I can tell, he hasn't."
"Oh? Then how did they meet?" Ding Jian asked.
"I've heard that the Emperor saw Second Lady Xiao when he was young when he was still an infant. Now that I think about it, I feel like the Emperor has never seen Second Lady Xiao in her adulthood, otherwise, he wouldn't have been so cruel towards her!" Gu Yue shook his head and continued.
"The Emperor has huge ambitions, why would he turn his attention towards romantic affairs?" Ding Jian huffed.
Gu Yue sneered. "For a beauty such as Second Lady Xiao, one could abandon an entire nation just for her."
"You're truly smitten by Second Lady Xiao, Brother Gu!" Ding Jian shook his head in amusement.
"Wait till you see her for yourself." Gu Yue scoffed.
As the two chatted, they arrived at a fresh mound of dirt.
Gu Yue pointed towards it and sneered melancholically. "This is it"
No matter how beautiful the maiden might have been, all that lives returns to the earth as a pile of soil, in the end, it was truly a pity.
Ding Jian laid a cursory glance at the spot. "Alright, let's dig them up!"
Gu Yue clasped both hands together and softly murmured a few words.
He prayed for Second Lady Xiao's spirit in the heavens to not be offended, as he was only acting under orders. This unsurprisingly irritated Ding Jian, who felt that that was an act of cowardice, ill-befitting the look of a Grandmaster in the slightest.
"Allow me!" Ding Jian boomed with his deep voice.
The moment he had both his hands outstretched, his skin clung tightly to his bones, as if there were nothing underneath the skin. Similar to an eagle's talons, Ding Jian's hands became a pair of claws.
The pair of claws viciously dug at the earth, the soil beneath them as soft as tofu in comparison. Before long, he had dug up a large pit.
Ding Jian stepped into the pit to continue digging, and spoke at the same time, "Brother Gu, you've really done some work with this."
Gu Yue's expression stiffened.
At once, Ding Jian felt there was something off, so he tilted his head up to look at the man.
Gu Yu replied in a heavy voice, "Brother Ding, they're gone!"
"Gone?" Ding Jian's expression changed ever so slightly.
Gu Yue pointed below Ding Jian's feet. "You've already dug far past the supposed point, I didn't bury them this deep! Where are they?"
Ding Jian leaped back up onto the grassy fields, his face stiffened. "This isn't good!"
"... Brother Ding, are you saying, that they're not dead yet?" Gu Yue stuttered.
Gu Yue heaved a sigh of relief in his mind, however, as Xiao Shi's perfect, beautiful features dazzled before his mind's eye. For this sort of beauty to return to life, this was a blessing indeed!
Ding Jian said, "Did someone save them?"
Gu Yue shook his head. "I've kept this place on watch for two full days and nights, no one has passed by At the time His Holiness Kong Hai hunted down Chu Li for that whole duration and killed both of them here in the end. His Holiness Kong Hai has reached nirvana, and his voice shook everyone, the entire Horse Racing Town knows of this! After killing them, His Holiness Kong Hai returned directly to the Titanium Temple. I then buried the two, examining them thoroughly their bodies had hardened into corpses, not even the Spirit Blessing Pills could have saved them!"
"Utterly dead and with nobody to rescue them... Where are the bodies?" Ding Jian scoffed.
His gaze pierced into Gu Yue, and suspicion surfaced in his eyes.
Gu Yue then understood the meaning behind his glare. He furrowed his brows and said, "Brother Ding, you suspect this to be of my doing?"
"Nothing else concerns me, I only wish to chop their heads off and bring them to the Emperor," Ding Jian replied.
"Brother Ding, you must be thinking that I saved them, aren't you? If I can't seem to even care for the rebirth of a Phoenix, why would I save a dead person?" Gu Yue replied coldly. He brushed his snow-white beard, his eyes squinted.
"Right, right, Brother Gu, of course, I wouldn't suspect you of doing such a thing. You wouldn't do such a thing no matter how careless you are! Yet where did the bodies go?" Ding Jian wore a thin smile.
"I have an idea. Let's ask of His Holiness Kong Hai's assistance again, all will be known when he uses his All-Seeing Divine Power," Gu Yu replied coldly.
"Fair point. A pity that His Holiness Kong Hai has returned to his temple. Since it has come to this, how about we pay a visit to the Titanium Temple?" Ding Jian nodded.
"We'll go if we must! ... Only, His Holiness Kong Hai has decided to close himself off. I wonder if it's possible to get him to come out." Gu Yu sneered.
Ding Jian stared at him, doubt filled his gaze. "Closed himself off?"
Gu Yue said, "An epiphany came to His Holiness Kong Hai, he may become Buddha."
"Hoho" Ding Jian laughed so much, yet his worn skin did not seem to move.
How convenient, closing himself off, hoho!
"Let us go, and try to ask of His Holiness Kong Hai!" Gu Yue scoffed in anger.
The two turned to leave the mountainside.
Xiao Shi looked at Chu Li. "We can't fake our deaths anymore!"
At first, he had hoped that with his death, Emperor An would be satisfied, thus they would encounter no further trouble from the man.
Never could Chu Li have imagined that Emperor An would be this cautious, enough for him to examine them one more time. Now that they had been exposed, any plans to live out their peaceful days had come to nothing!
Xiao Shi asked, "Are we moving?"
Chu Li shook his head. "No need to hurry."
"Are we supposed to wait for more of them to come up here? If that old monk comes after us again, we won't be so lucky next time around!" Xiao Shi said.
Chu Li grinned.
The Titanium Temple was a temple which surrounded one half of a mountainside. It was hard to picture that ancient ruins such as these, accented with somewhat shabby temples, could belong to one of the Big Four Factions.
Gu Yue and Ding Jian arrived before the Titanium Temple and knocked on the tightly shut door.
The door they knocked on had been worn through time; only a few patches of its original red color remained.
After a short while, a wrinkly old monk opened the door. His sluggish movements made it seem like he was on the cusp of losing his ability to walk.
Gu Yue greeted with Anjali Mudra. "Greetings Your Holiness, us two would like to humbly request a visit to His Holiness Kong Hai."
"Kong Hai? Who's Kong Hai?" the old monk's vision was blurry, he replied slowly.
Gu Yue spoke sternly, "His Holiness Kong Hai had returned to the temple a few days ago, and said that he would go into isolation. I am in need of urgent assistance, as such I could only resort to disturbing His Holiness Kong Hai's meditation, please forgive us for our intrusion!"
"Oh I shall go and seek out if there is such a person named Kong Hai." the old monk slowly nodded and said.
"Many thanks, Your Holiness." Gu Yue once again greeted him with Anjali Mudra.
The old monk shut the door once more, his sluggish footsteps dwindling into the distance.
Ding Jian glanced at this Titanium Temple and raised a questioning brow towards Gu Yue.
Gu Yue laughed as he spoke, "Does Brother Ding believe we have come to the wrong place?"
"Is this place really the Titanium Temple?" Ding Jian asked.
Cracks littered the walls around the Temple as if it would fall apart at any given moment. It was obvious that this place was ill-maintained, even neglected, for all of it would have been repaired earlier then.
Gu Yue said, "Brother Ding, the Titanium Temple is different from the Tempest Temple, you'll know soon enough."
Ding Jian shook his head and replied, "I would like to see this myself."
His thoughts floated back to that old monk. "But to have a senile old geezer stationed at the door, aren't they inconveniencing others?"
"Perhaps there is a deeper meaning behind it," Gu Yue replied.
The two did not find anything off-putting about the old monk, he was just nothing more than a senile monk, not someone of high importance.
After a while, the old man once again appeared behind the door and allowed their entry. "Head straight to a left turning, the second room is where Kong Hai resides."
"Many thanks, Your Holiness," Gu Yue hastily replied.
The two entered the compound.
They arrived at a wide, spacious interior; a few small statues of Buddha littered the hall, and a few young ramaas were chasing each other about around the Buddha spire, their gleeful laughter reached the ears of all as if the Temple itself lacked a supposedly ever-present, usual, solemn air.