The three foreigners, Kris, John, and Alba, followed in Li Yundong's footsteps all the way to Dongwu City. They knew that the Taoist assembly would be held the next day, so they first found a hotel to have a good sleep at.
Early before the Taoist assembly began, the three of them left. They walked along the ancient canal of Dongwu City and headed for the New City Bridge pier.
Along the way, the three constantly snapped photos with their cameras and mobile phones, admiring the beautiful scenery of the thousand-year-old city.
As she took pictures with her mobile phone, Alba sighed sincerely. "It's so gorgeous. This city is so wonderful. I hadn't been expecting there to be such a beautiful city in China."
John nodded and said appreciatively, "I have been to Tiannan City before. In my opinion, Tiannan City is a developed, modern city. It is making fast economic progress, but it feels no different from the cities back in America. If the citizens within behave like westerners, you can't tell whether it's a Chinese city or an American one. But Dongwu is different. This city has a strong oriental style, which makes me feel like I have returned to ancient China."
Since Kris had been teased by her grandmother when she had returned to America last time, she had put in a lot of hard work on studying various aspects of China’s culture, history, and customs. She smiled and acted as a temporary tour guide.
She said with a grin, "Dongwu is a city rich with resources, outstanding people, and stunning locations. In 514 AD, Fu Chai King Wu founded this city here. Since then, this city has been a famous cultural, economic and political hotspot for the country. "
The three foreigners, with their deep-set eyes and high noses, walked slowly along the willow bank of the moat of Dongwu City. John and Alba were listening carefully to Kris' introduction to this famous Chinese city.
Kris had an outstanding appearance and a tall frame. As she walked along the embankment, she spoke with fervor and assurance, attracting the attention of quite a few people. She said in a clear voice, "Dongwu City has always been very prosperous and has been developed since ancient times, so it's sometimes referred to as paradise on earth. Furthermore, it has always been famous for its beautiful scenery and elegant landscapes and architecture. Everyone admires Jiangnan architecture and recognizes it as the best in the world, and Dongwu's architecture is the best in Jiangnan."
Kris pointed at the bridge that spanned over the moat, as well as the arc bridge that could be seen from anywhere along the road. "In the 13th century, Marco Polo came here just because he had seen the characteristics of the river village in this ancient city, and he praised Dongwu City as the Oriental Venice in The Travels of Marco Polo."
Alba then said with a smile. "I've been to Venice before. It's beautiful there too. The style there is certainly different from here, but I'd be hard pressed to say which is better."
The three talked and laughed as they strolled a few kilometers down the moat. Eventually, they arrived at the pier of the New City Bridge.
As soon as they arrived, the three of them saw that the pier was surrounded by various luxurious clubs and entertainment venues and didn't at all seem like a gathering place for cultivators.
Alba looked around and couldn't help but ask curiously, "Is this really the venue for the Taoist assembly? It's being held in... a dance bar?"
John was also confused. He looked left and right, and couldn't help but ask wonderingly, "Didn't that guy say the Taoist assembly was held on a cruise ship last time? So where's the boat now?"
Kris couldn't help but smile bitterly. "John, don't joke around. Look carefully. This is a moat. Where would you find a luxurious cruise ship here? Do you think a tanker like the Titanic can get into such a moat? The Titanic would completely block it, you know?"
John glanced around and suddenly saw a medium-sized cruise ship docked near the pier of the New City Bridge. The cruise ship had two floors. There was a large terrace on the upper floor, which was obviously built for the purpose of tourists enjoying the scenery near the river. Below it was a closed passenger cabin, which could accommodate about three or four hundred people.
John pointed at the cruise ship and asked curiously, "Hey, is that it?"
Kris and Alba looked in the direction he was pointing, then nodded at the same time. "Could be. We can ask them!"
The three of them quickly started to move. Just as they were about to pass the pier, they suddenly they saw two people dressed up as tourists approaching them. One was fat and the other was thin, and the two of them looked them up and down and then blocked their way.
Seeing this, Kris immediately asked in fluent Chinese, "Hello, may I ask if the Taoist assembly is being held here?"
The two men were stunned, they looked at each other in disbelief and exclaimed at the same time, "Who are you? How do you know about the Taoist assembly?"
John quickly leaned over and started to say shamelessly, "We are..."
Fearing that he might be about to act rashly, Kris quickly stomped on John's foot with the point of one of her high-heeled shoes, causing him to scrunch up his facial features from the pain.
Kris then pulled the aggrieved but tearless John behind her and said with a smile, "I'm Philadelphia Daily's intern reporter, Kris. These two are my colleagues. We heard that today the ancient Taoist assembly is going to be held by the Chinese Taoists. We wanted to interview you, but we don't know..."
Before she could finish her explanation, the two men said impatiently, "What is the Taoist assembly? We've never heard of such a thing! Go away. It's not open today. Didn't you see the sign?"
With this, he pointed to the sign hanging in the ticket office that read, "Closed for Business".
Kris was stunned. Just as she was about to say something else, the two men started swinging their arms and chasing them out. At the same time, a luxury Benz stopped by the road near the pier, and several men and women in suits and shoes hopped out.
As soon as the two men saw these people, they were immediately stunned and greeted them with smiles. They cupped their hands and said humbly, "May I ask which sect of the Tao is here?"
The leader was a square-faced man with sword-shaped brows. He cupped his hands and said, "I'm Du Fei from the Quanzhen Dragon Sect!"
The two people who welcomed the guests smiled and carried on cupping their hands. "It turns out to be monkey-face Zhenren Du. I'm sorry, it's an honor to meet you!"
Du Fei introduced the short man next to him and said, "This is my Shidee, Yue Sheng, who is known as the Erlang with three eyes!"
"Ah!" One of the fat men said with a serious look. "It turns out that the Zhen Ren Three-eyed is here! Forgive me!"
Yue Sheng was not tall, but his arrogance was excessive. He glanced at the two of them proudly and snorted. Then put his nose in the air and no longer looked at them.
The two of them seemed to know about Yue Sheng's temperament, so they didn't take any notice and just smiled.
Du Fei then introduced a woman wearing a smart suit beside him. He smiled and said, "And this is my Shimei, Wei Qing."
Wei Qing's face was daubed with light makeup. She smiled sweetly and said, "I'm not a famous cultivator. I'm just here to join in the fun with my Shishiong. I don't have any special nickname; you can just call me Wei Qing."
Seeing that she was young, beautiful, optimistic and approachable, completely contrasting with Yue Sheng's arrogance, that two people laughed heartily and said in friendly tones, "No problem, no problem!"
Wei Qing approached the two of them very familiarly and asked curiously, "Hey, are the other sects here yet?"
The thinner one laughed and said, "The Yin Yang Sect from Mount Wuhua has arrived, and so have the Qingwei Sect. There are also people from the Donghua Sect, the Donghai sect, the Penglai Sect, the Jinshan Sect, the Louguan sect, the Qingshui Sect, and a few others."
When Yue Sheng heard this, he snorted and sneered in a low voice, "They're just a bunch of nobodies..."
The two of them glanced at Yue Sheng as secret anger roiled in their hearts, "So, in this world, only your Quanzhen Dragon Sect is a large sect, and you, Yue Sheng, are a famous cultivator. Aren't the rest worth anything?"
Sensing the awkward atmosphere, Wei Qing rolled her eyes and tried to calm the situation with a smile. "Oh, so many amazing people are here. It's so lively! I was thinking we'd be here early! I wonder if Zhenren Li has arrived yet?"
The two people in charge of welcoming the guests looked at each other in confusion. "Zhenren Li? Who's that? Which sect is Zhenren Li from?"
At this time, Yue Sheng couldn't help snorting derisively. "Who in the world deserves to be called Zhenren Li?"
The two welcomers were inner disciples of the External Alchemy's Gezao Sect. Their strength was extraordinary, so they had been sent to receive the guests. Otherwise, if they were seen by other sects' cultivators, they would think that the Gezao Sect's cultivators were unbearable!
However, neither of them had expected that even though they had such a Cultivation Quotient, Yue Sheng would not think highly of them. In fact, no cultivator surnamed Li could be influential in his eyes!
There was no end to his arrogance!
The most annoying thing was that the both of them were surnamed Li, so this sentence was like a slap in the face for them！
The fat man suppressed his anger and said, "I haven't asked you, Zhenren Yue, which person surnamed Li in this world is qualified to be called Zhenren Li?"
When Wei Qing saw that the two of them were about to get into an altercation, she quickly cut in with a smile, "Oh, of course it's Li Yundong. It's my fault that I didn't ask clearly. It's Li Yundong!"
Upon hearing this, the expressions of the two members of the External Alchemy's Gezao Sect suddenly changed. The fat one asked seriously, "Is it Li Yundong, the leader of the Fox Zen School from Mount Tianlong?"
The skinny man asked, "Is it Li Yundong, who made a scene in our Zu Ting on Mount Gezao?"
Hearing this, Wei Qing complained in her heart, "Oh crud, how could I have forgotten that Li Yundong holds a grudge against the Gezao Sect? Why did I just rub it in?"
Wei Qing laughed awkwardly, "Ah, I guess it's that Li Yundong, ah, haha..."
The two men snorted and the fat man sneered. "So it turns out that it's that Zhenren Li. I was wondering who could catch Zhenren Yue's eye! I heard that Zhenren Yue and Zhenren Li had a fight last time, and Zhenren Yue suffered a little loss. Is that so? No wonder you can't forget him!"
The thinner man scoffed as well. "It's fine if he doesn't come, but if he does, I'll let him have a taste of the real strength of our External Alchemy. Does he really think that there are no powerful people in our Gezao Sect?"
Yue Sheng glanced at the two of them and laughed coldly to himself. Just as he was about to speak, he suddenly heard a clear voice ringing out from afar. With a strong Sichuan accent, that man laughed heartily and said, "Which one of you is audacious enough to look down upon the Gezao Sect of External Alchemy's leader? Don't you know that an outsider, however strong, should always respect the locals?"
They looked in the direction of the voice and saw three young men in Daopaos walking over slowly. The leader was tall and slender. He was handsome and had an extraordinary temperament. A longsword wrapped in gray cloth was on his back, looking unremarkable.
The fat man cupped his hands and asked, "May I know who you are?"
The leading man formed a palm with one hand, bowed, and said with a smile, "I'm Zhang Cunyi from the Qingyang Palace of Chengdu in Sichuan province!"
When everyone heard this, they were suddenly shocked. They all looked at Zhang Cunyi and thought, "Is that Zhang Cunyi, the future leader of the Qingcheng Sect who said he would win first place at the Taoist assembly?"
They looked the man up and down, only to see that he was in good spirits and his eyes were shining. He stood before them, and he was really dignified and had the demeanor of a master from a noble and decent sect. He could be called a first-class master of the cultivation world.
But there were many sects in the Taoist assembly, and there were many masters. Zhang Cunyi had dared to boast that he would win first place because there was no doubt that he was relying on the most powerful magical weapon of the Qingcheng Sect, the Sanhuang Sword!
Everyone's eyes finally fell on the item wrapped in gray cloth on Zhang Cunyi's back. It was the inconspicuous Sanhuang Sword. They thought to themselves, "Is this the famous Sanhuang Sword, known as the best magical item in the world?"