The last regular chapter for this week.
Translated by: Taffy
Edited by: Zeph, Frosty
Quiz 42: Night Visit to Scarlet Dragon Pool
The chance encounter just now had allowed the driving Huang Qiao Yi to quickly find Qing Xiu Hall.
There weren’t many people in front of Qing Xiu Hall, and there were only a few motor vehicles stopped by the streetside. As there was no parking lot, they were unsure of where to park at first. Just as they were stumped, a shopkeeper happened to walk out of the hall and greeted them. He then gestured at them to park the car on a small road to the right.
After the three had gotten out of the car, the shopkeeper immediately said, “You’re Zhou Lun Yu’s classmates, right? Welcome, haha.” He laughed foolishly and introduced himself, “My last name is Zhong, and I’m the shopkeeper of Qing Xiu Hall Medicine Store.”
“Oh, Shopkeeper Zhong, hehe…” Meng Ming’s smile was somewhat dark. “There’s a question that I’ve always wanted to ask, but Zhou Lun Yu was never willing to give an answer.”
“Please ask away.”
“What shampoo does he use?”
Before they’d even entered the hall, Meng Ming had already started fooling around. This put Shopkeeper Zhong at a loss for words. He could only reply, “Ahaha, you little rascal, you’re pretty sharp. Come on then, please enter.”
The silly exchange easily pushed away troublesome matters.
The hall was rather large, and, while there were quite a few night lights placed within, it still had a dusky appearance. Shopkeeper Zhong apologized and said that this place didn’t usually have anyone come at night, so he could only invite them to rest in the hall to wait for Zhou Lun Yu to return. Afterwards, shopkeeper Zhong personally went to the front counter to steep the famous tea.
Soon afterwards, three cups of Black Lantern tea were brought over. Meng Ming immediately recalled their discussion in the car, and inspected the tea leaves. He asked, “The teapot and tea leaves all look normal. Shopkeeper Zhong, do you know of the Scarlet Dragon Pool?”
Shopkeeping Zhong said that he did.
Meng Ming asked directly, “Then you know that in order to quell the Scarlet Dragon’s anger, one must ‘retrieve all of the Black Lantern leaves blocking up the mouths of teapots. Infusing it will relax the body and soothe the mind’. What does this mean?”
Shopkeeper Zhong shook his head, and brought the teapot over for everyone to see.
He said, “I don’t know about that. I’ve tried before to use Black Lantern leaves and block the teapot mouth, and even filled the entire teapot with the leaves. It seemed like…it had been to no avail.”
Meng Ming took the teapot and carefully inspected it, but he didn’t find anything in particular. The tea leaves were very normal, and didn’t have any special effects.
Duan He took a sip of the tea and closed her eyes. After wholeheartedly experiencing it, she said, “It relaxes muscles and the mind, as well as improves blood circulation…drinking it does indeed give a very comfortable feeling. However, I don’t think it’s able to fill the body with vitality.” She’d originally thought that tasting Black Lantern tea here at Qing Xin would be different from drinking it in Lin Xian, but the reality wasn’t so. She was slightly disappointed.
“Hmph, didn’t I say already? There’s no reason to believe the words of the ancient people. You guys really thought that they were true?” Zhou Lun Yu stepped into the hall. “No point in dawdling around here. If you’re interested, we might as well go to the Dragon Pool to check it out. —Those two so-called Scarlet Dragon’s eyes are a pretty impressive sight.”
Qing Xiu Hall Medicine Store was technically Zhou Lun Yu’s home. Although the place was large, there weren’t many people at all. Judging from the color of the sky, it wasn’t that late yet. Zhou Lun Yu greeted Shopkeeper Zhong, and asked him to help prepare something in the room. He said that he’d bring his classmates on a night visit to Scarlet Dragon Pool.
Mt. Qing Xiu wasn’t far, but Scarlet Dragon Pool was at a pretty high elevation, halfway up the mountain.
They had sat through a whole day of classes, and ridden in a car for 1.5 hours, which had been tiring enough. However, since Zhou Lun Yu hadn’t visited the mountain in several months, he felt that it was still best to check for any discoveries. “If you guys don’t want to come, then you don’t have to.”
“I’ll go.” Meng Ming placed down his tea cup and said, “I’m very interested in the eyes of that legend!”
“But….” Duan He pointed at Huang Qiao Yi beside her. Huang Qiao Yi was currently sprawled across the table, fast asleep with her hand still gripping her tea cup. “Drinking this tea makes you immediately relax and feel sleepy. If it really did effectively boost vitality, Little Qiao wouldn’t have slept so easily…”
“Grandpa Zhong will bring her to rest, those that want to come, follow me,” Zhou Lun Yu said, turning around to leave Qing Xiu Hall’s door.
Meng Ming stood up, “Is Sister Duan He also coming?”
“Of course,” Duan He said.
Around 9, three figures appeared on the long and narrow path in Mt. Qing Xiu.
This was the start of Qing Xin’s winter season, so the wind blowing from the side was slightly chilly. The stone steps were uneven, and there were all types of weeds growing along the side of the road. There were also some rusty chain handrails that had been renovated multiple times that appeared in front of their eyes. The moonlight gradually turned brighter, rising higher. The trees appeared more listless, and dead leaves covered the stone steps. If this place didn’t feel like a deserted forest, perhaps it would’ve been more like a tourist scenic spot.
“Qing Xiu Hall Medicine Store,” Duan He suddenly said. “Is also your home?”
Zhou Lun Yu nodded.
Ever since Duan He had first entered Qing Xin, she’d felt that the atmosphere was somehow off. However, Zhou Lun Yu had never clearly told everyone what was going on.
Just as she was about to speak, Meng Ming interjected, “It’s not just because the medicines can’t be retrieved that the Medicine Store is on the verge of closing down, right? Zhou Lun Yu, isn’t there something else?”
Meng Ming helped ask the question for her.
Zhou Lun Yu knew that he’d have to tell them everything eventually, and saw that this was a pretty good time to do so. After a bit, he said: “Qing Xiu Hall was always known far and wide as a famous Medicine Store. Due to its existence, no public hospital in Qing Xin is in service. My parents’ generation all went out to do medicine, leaving my older brother behind to take care of Qing Xiu Hall and use his status as a member of my family to take care of patients. My older brother’s medical expertise was already enough for him to be completely independent.”
Meng Ming interrupted again, “Then you as well?”
“I only know some basics about the body’s meridians, not really anything about medicine.” Zhou Lun Yu was annoyed by the interruption, and continued, “My older brother’s name is Qiao Shun Zhi. He’s already in his last year of high school, and will be taking the college entrance exam next year. However, starting from the beginning of this year, he’s had a disease all the way up until now.”
“What sickness does he have for even Qing Xiu Hall to be unable to cure him?”
“His facial skin cannot come into contact with UV rays. In other words, he can’t go out under the sunlight. Because of this, he’s unable to continue studying,” Zhuo Lun Yu said. “This disease is something we’ve seen before, and are able to cure. However, it requires a famous and valuable medicinal ingredient on Mt. Qing Xiu—Yilan root.”
At this point, a hint of breathlessness could be heard in Zhou Lun Yu’s voice. “This kind of medicine doesn’t exist anywhere else, this is the only place. But we just happened to be lacking supplies at that time, so we had to collect it by crossing the pool on the mountain. This was also when people began spreading rumors of the pool’s Scarlet Dragon’s fury, and told us not to cross over it no matter what. I obviously didn’t believe in such things, and thus returned from Lin Xian. In the end, I also saw…”
“Mhm. That pair of red eyes constantly swimming about.”
The air felt colder and colder.
Zhou Lun Yu said, “Even though I saw them, I still don’t believe it. However, at that time, there was no longer anyone willing to bring me across the pool. I understood well that someone definitely wanted to harm Qiao Shun Zhi, and had purposely created this whole situation, inciting panic among the citizens as well.”
Meng Ming interjected again, “Harm him? They wanted to crush Qing Xiu Hall?”
Once there were no longer medicinal ingredients available, Qing Xiu Hall Medicine Store would be unable to operate as usual. After over half a year, many patients that couldn’t obtain cures would be forced to turn to other places and request for treatment. If this was really the case, Meng Ming’s and Duan He’s first reactions were the private clinic they’d encountered just earlier—Bozmann Clinic.
“That’s not necessarily true, since Qing Xiu Hall can’t be oppressed so easily. Back then, I went to investigate Qing Xin’s number one junior high school where Qiao Shun Zhi studied, and learned about someone that wanted to harm him. He’s definitely a C-type. I think his true objective…” Zhou Lun Yu lowered his head and slowly spat out, “…is the sole enrollment space for Qing Xin students to attend the Provincial University of Medicine.”
As they traveled deeper into the mountain, the amount of plants began to lessen a bit, but the brightness level didn’t increase. The moonlight was slowly being concealed by the clouds and mist on Mt. Qing Xiu. Whenever it managed to reflect off the ground, it revealed soft and moist soil.
“We’re almost there, look on the right,” Zhou Lun Yu reminded. “That’s Mt. Qing Xiu Waterfall.”
They discovered that they were currently standing next to a small pond. The rocky cliffs around them stretched high up in the air and leveled off. The corners all had quite a bit of green-colored moss growing on them.
“Waterfall?” Meng Ming found it strange. This whole time, he hadn’t even heard the sound of water. Yet now he was suddenly told that there was a waterfall, yet he couldn’t actually see it.
“The waterfall is over 100 meters tall, and the source it flows down from is the Scarlet Dragon Pool. If we continue walking upward, we’ll reach Scarlet Dragon Pool,” Zhou Lun Yu said.
“Where exactly is the water?” Meng Ming nagged incessantly.
Duan He explained, “It’s November right now, so Scarlet Dragon Pool’s water level has dropped; thus, the waterfall has also stopped flowing.”
The leading Zhou Lun Yu said, “Almost there. Scarlet Dragon? Hmph…”
After stepping over the last step, they arrived at a crude, man-made cement platform. When one raised their head, they’d see a vast pool. In the distance, it could be seen that its water was entrapped on two sides by towering cliffs, leading directly to the mountain peak. One couldn’t see any moonlight when looking upwards, but the moonlight shone through the clouds, gradually illuminating the entire surface of the pool.
This area was Mt. Qing Xiu’s Scarlet Dragon Pool. Although it was nighttime, the two visitors were still deeply drawn into this enchanting scene.
There were descending steps ahead. Zhou Lun Yu first stepped over the platform, and then continued walking downwards.
He said, “Normally, one would be able to reach the waterside just by walking down a few steps. Now that the water level has dropped, one must walk down several meters to reach it. The dock is also down there.”
The elevation here was still pretty high, and the chilliness around them increased. The trees surrounding the area were sparse, and there were some private speedboats tied by coarse ropes next to the dock. When one stood on the dock and looked straight at the waters underneath the moon, one could see the hazy fog in the distance.
Zhou Lun Yu never stopped staring straight ahead, and didn’t speak for a long time. His gaze was locked on the space between the two cliffs, on the thick fog diffusing through the air atop the water.
“Look,” He said. “Also…what kind of natural phenomenon is this exactly…!”
Meng Ming and Duan He stood behind him, looking out in the same direction.
They suddenly discovered that, in the distant waters between the cliffs, there was indeed a dragon swimming about! —Those two blurry, flashing red glows moving about in the fog were constantly and slowly gliding underneath the water. Although the dragon’s body couldn’t be clearly seen, its dazzling pair of eyes would fly from one end to the other, and occasionally return in a circle. The two eyes never once split apart. It was certain that there wasn’t anything like a boat atop the water.
“What exactly….” Meng Ming didn’t dare to believe that he’d actually seen two endlessly swimming red eyes!
Was it a natural phenomenon, or was it man-made?!
“You only see it at night? It’s not there in the daytime?” Duan He asked.
“Of course. There’s sunlight in the daytime, so how could you see any light within the fog?”
Meng Ming tossed out a suggestion, “It’s probably some people pulling tricks on the opposite shore.”
“That’s impossible.” Zhou Lun Yu walked up next to some boats, and counted a total of six. “There are only six boats, and they all have owners. Without a boat, it’s impossible to cross the pool. You must not even think of swimming; although there aren’t any fish in the pool, the mud at the bottom…” He pointed next to the dock at the silt revealed by the shallow waters. “A single step into it will cause you to get trapped, and nobody will be able to save you. Moreover, that side of the pool is very dangerous. The fog is also thick, so you can’t randomly stay there whenever you want.”
They hadn’t imagined that Scarlet Dragon Pool would be such a frightening pool.
“That means…that tea?”
“Grows in the silt on the opposite shore,” Zhou Lun Yu said. “Humans can’t go to collect it. It requires the use of red threads or some other kind of tool.”
They all watched the red glows with a feeling that its existence was completely unfathomable. They’d come here to solve this kind of superstition? Zhou Lun Yu had mentioned that, as long as others believed it was fake, they’d be able to cross the pool. Duan He asked, “Zhou Lun Yu, you said before that the Provincial University of Medicine only accepts one person from Qing Xin. Does that mean that Qiao Shun Zhi had been planning on applying to this college?”
Zhou Lun Yu nodded, “That’s right. His grades in Qing Xin are one of the best. As long as he takes the test, he’ll definitely get in. Moreover, there aren’t many that apply to that college, so as long as we investigate his few rivals….”
“Wait.” Meng Ming interrupted once again. “Didn’t you say just now that his medical expertise was already enough for him to take charge? Why does he still need to get into college?”
Both Zhou Lun Yu and Duan He immediately looked at Meng Ming with degrading looks for a long time. Meng Ming could only stare back blankly, with a vague feeling that their gazes held scorn…
“Are you dumb? If you don’t graduate from college, who would come ask you to treat them?” [Duan He]
“This whole time, Qiao Shun Zhi’s patients were all other people’s patients. He’d hide in a room and use the suspended red threads to feel their pulses and determine their condition,” Zhou Lun Yu explained. “The patients all thought that some other person was seeing the patient…”
The sound of a tree branch snapping came from behind them, shattering the night’s silence.
“Someone’s there?!” The three of them immediately turned around to look. There was indeed a figure standing behind a semi-thick tree trunk!
They’d been tailed?!
“They followed us…?”
Too suspicious! Zhou Lun Yu and Meng Ming both began to charge over. Realizing their location had been revealed, the black figure hurriedly began to flee towards the forest.
There was a pretty large distance between the two parties. In addition to the current time of the day, Zhou Lun Yu and Meng Ming would easily lose the suspicious figure if they didn’t increase their speed!”
“Vacuum Whip!” Zhou Lun Yu’s right hand waved to materialize a weapon, wanting to bind the person’s feet. The black figure was very nimble, dodging behind a tree so that the Vacuum Whip wrapped around the tree instead. Now! Zhou Lun Yu suddenly yanked the whip back hard, cutting the entire tree in half!
Before the black figure could react, the tree had collapsed, and a burning branch suddenly flew over and burned his clothes!
It was amazing coordination born of mutual understanding. Their target was now clearly within sight!
Riiiip, the black figure suddenly ripped off the burning cloth and tossed it to the side, and continued to race towards the forest.
The inside of the forest was dangerous, so they could only stop their pursuit.
They’d only just come to look at Scarlet Dragon Pool, yet someone had followed them?! Meng Ming went over to extinguish the burning cloth that had been ripped off, and gave it to the others to look at.
“What kind of clothing is this cloth from? Have you seen it before?” Duan He asked.
Zhou Lun Yu took the cloth and rubbed it, raising it to inspect it under the light for a while as well. He finally said, “As expected…”
He showed the cloth to everyone, then looked back at the red glow in the Dragon Pool. “That person just now saved us from quite a bit of work. This cloth…is the uniform from Qiao Shun Zhi’s school—Qing Xin Central High.