Jin County was a county in the southeast of the Great Zhao Kingdom. It was called Jin County because the county was located next to the Jin River.
In the early morning, a thin layer of smoky mist shrouded the water surface of the Jin River. At the far horizon where the water and sky met, a merchant ship slowly approached and docked at the pier before long.
An old man dressed in a short robe got off the ship carrying a bag, followed by two young men in their twenties behind him. The two young men were none other than Jing Yue and Qin Yanzhi, who were still in a state of ignorance at this time.
Just now, after they entered the rock wall that suddenly cracked open, they inexplicably appeared on the ship. Just as they were about to communicate, an old man found them, saying that they had arrived in Jin County, and asked the two young masters to disembark.
Young masters? It seemed that they had a new identity in the illusory realm.
Jing Yue only knew that the third level was an illusionary realm, but the exact changes were unspecified. After all, the verses recorded on several maps were never repeated. In other words, the illusions experienced by everyone in the past were different.
At this time, the old man came forward again, handed the bag to the two of them, and said in a guilty tone, “Eldest young master, little young master, this one can only send you here. Although Madam is no longer alive, her spirit in heaven will surely watch over you. You must pull yourselves together!”
What the heck? Don’t understand! To save the trouble, Jing Yue simply hypnotized the old man.
Although he was not good at hypnosis, it was easy to compel a mortal with no cultivation. Seeing the old man’s eyes started to go slack, he asked, “Who are you and who are we? Why are we here?”
The old man immediately explained the causes and consequences in great detail.
It turned out that he was originally a servant of the Wanchun Distillery in Jiangnan. Wanchun Distillery was an imperial merchant and all liquor produced was supplied to and consumed by the royal family, and could be considered a large business. As for Jing Yue and Qin Yanzhi’s current identities, they were the eldest son of the Wan family, Wan Jing, second son Wan Qin, and their father was the family head of Wanchun Distillery - Wan Changpeng.
When Wan Changpeng was young, the Wan family was just a winemaking workshop. Wan Changpeng's father was very ambitious. In order to get a precious wine recipe, he arranged a marriage for Wan Changpeng.
That family's surname was Chen. The ancestors once brewed wine for the former royal family, but with the establishment of the new dynasty, the Chen family gradually declined. The old master of the Chen family had not remarried since the death of his wife and only had one daughter. Wan Changpeng’s father thought that if the Chen family’s recipe was to be passed down, it would definitely be handed over to the daughter. If the Chen family married into the Wan family, wouldn’t the Wan family benefit from it?
Sure enough, things turned out that way. There were several precious wine recipes in Madam Chen's dowry. The Wan family relied on these recipes to brew new wine and in just twenty years, the Wanchun Distillery became famous all over the world. One of the wine recipes was renamed Wanchun wine by the Wan family, which the royal family fortunately took a fancy to. The Wan family transformed into a royal merchant and became more wealthy and powerful.
Although the Wan family’s outcome today was not entirely dependent on the Chen family, they deserved credit for it. However, not only was Wan Changpeng not grateful, but he kept guarding against the Chen family. After his father passed away, he colluded with the officials behind the scenes, made up a false charge to arrest the old master of the Chen family, forcing him to reveal if there were any other wine recipes in the Chen family. Old master Chen couldn’t stand the shock and eventually died in prison.
After old master Chen died, the last remaining value of the Chen family was gone, and Wan Changpeng exposed his ugly face. In order to help his beloved concubine to the top, he even forced Madam Chen to step down.
Madam Chen was heartbroken. After marrying into the Wan family, she had been a good wife and mother, and abided by the rules. She didn’t know that the gentle husband and harmonious family were all false pretenses. She wanted to save it at first, but then, she learned the truth about Father Chen's death from the concubine.
Madam Chen was devastated. In a fit of rage, she took Wan family to court and killed herself by hitting her head on the wall outside the courthouse.
Madam Chen's unpredictable behavior caused huge trouble to the Wan family. Wan Changpeng went around looking for connections, spent a lot of money to get rid of the disaster, and even slandered the Chen family before this matter came to an end.
Although they suffered heavy losses, the Wan family somehow retained the name as the imperial merchant. Wan Changpeng even retaliated by driving Madam Chen's two sons away and promoted the concubine as the official wife, and continued living his wealthy life.
As for Wan Jing and Wan Qin, they were sent back to Madam Chen's hometown in Jin County, resulting in this scene at hand.
Jing Yue frowned when he heard this and inexplicably felt an extra layer of cause and effect added to him. Moreover, the spiritual energy of his body was also sealed and he was no different from an ordinary mortal.
He glanced at Qin Yanzhi and the other party nodded slightly.
It seemed that the inability to use spells was a restriction imposed on them by the illusionary realm. Jing Yue was not surprised by this. The maps had mentioned that the illusionary realm would have different constraints depending on the level of the realm.
Now that the spiritual energy was sealed, the old servant's hypnotism was also naturally released. He nagged quite a lot before taking a birdcage out of nowhere with a little blue chicken inside. At this time, it was grabbing onto the iron cage with its wings, lying on the edge of the cage, tears falling in the wind.
Jing Yue, “…”
Old servant, “Eldest young master, this one is incompetent and can’t help you much, but you love this bird the most and I took the liberty to bring it with me.”
Jing Yue, “…”
Old servant, “Now, the two young masters can only go to the Apricot Blossom Village to stay for a while. I once heard the madam mention that there is still an ancestral house of the Chen family in the village.” He looked at them compassionately. “In a few days, when the master's anger has subsided and everything has calmed down, I’ll return to pick up the two young masters.”
The old servant comforted the two of them before saying goodbye solemnly, sighing as he went back to the boat.
Jing Yue looked at the other party's back, as well as the crowd walking to and fro the dock, and couldn't help but recall an illusion he had encountered in the Tianzhu grand formation.
At that time, he possessed a young man named Charles, and the illusion was only the size of a city.
But the illusion he was in today was much larger and their physical bodies had been transported into it. Even the identities in the illusion seemed to have been specially prepared for them, one named Jing, and the other named Qin, which just fitted their original surnames. There were also some changes in appearance, making them look more ordinary.
Even blue phoenix was included in this illusion.
What surprised him even more was that the illusion realm could control cause and effect. He thought about it and said, “I suspect that the Six Wheel Secret Realm is actually a rootless secret realm.”
Qin Yanzhi, “What is a rootless secret realm?”
Jing Yue, “The rootless secret realm is the creation of heaven and earth, also considered a small realm in the void universe. Because it could form laws of its own, it can continuously repair and recycle itself, and can also create things, people, create illusory worlds, and even control cause and effect.”
Qin Yanzhi nodded thoughtfully, “In that case, do we have to solve the karma of the two brothers before we can leave?”
Jing Yue, “Most likely. I just don’t know what their cause and effect are.”
After returning to Jing Yue’s hands, blue phoenix grew bold again. At this time, it leaned back on a wooden branch in the cage, cocked its legs, and said, “Hmph, of course, we need to seek revenge on the slag scum and slap the face of the Wan family. Then, we seek justice for the Chen family, bring the Chen family’s wine recipes to glory, embark on the journey to the pinnacle of life, and marry the fair rich maiden…”
Jing Yue, “…”
Although this was in line with Ji-ji’s normal trope, why the hell did he inexplicably feel that it should be done this way? However…
“Marry the fair rich maiden?”
Blue phoenix changed the high-and-mighty posture and jumped in panic, “No, no, Jing-jing! These mortal women are not worthy of you, don't marry them! You should be looking at fairies!”
Jing Yue, “… Oh.”
Since blue phoenix had pointed out the general direction and Jing Yue couldn't find a point to refute, he didn’t think too much about it. With the baggage in hand, he and Qin Yanzhi headed to Apricot Blossom Village. It just so happened that the poem on the rock wall also had the words ‘Apricot Blossom Village’, which corresponded to the clue.
Upon inquiry, Apricot Blossom Village was quite far away from Jin County. Fortunately, there was some silver in the baggage, so they rented an ox cart.
It was around the time of the Tomb-sweeping Festival and spring rain lingered in the sky, moistening the earth.
Eight hours later, they arrived at Apricot Blossom Village.
Two people and a phoenix stood in front of the dilapidated house, looked at the cobwebs all over the rotten wood and bricks, and all they could think of was the word ‘miserable’.
Although they still had their Qiankun bag with them, without any spiritual energy in this realm, they couldn’t use the cleaning talisman. They had to borrow some tools from the neighbors and were busy until the evening before they managed to clean up the courtyard, living room, and inner room.
Qin Yanzhi looked at the sky and said, “Ge, it's late. Let's wash up and go to bed.”
Jing Yue, “Why sleep? Aren’t you going to practice?”
Qin Yanzhi, “How to practice without spiritual energy?”
Jing Yue, “You can practice with your sword in the yard.”
Qin Yanzhi, “If you practice your sword in the courtyard and the village people notice it, wouldn't it arouse suspicion if it reaches the ears of the Wan family? I think neither Wan Jing nor Wan Qin knows martial arts.”
Jing Yue thought about it. That’s right, they couldn’t crush the persona, so he nodded, “Let’s wash up and sleep then.”
There was only one bed in the inner room and of course, the two would sleep together.
As soon as Jing Yue lied down flat, Qin Yanzhi climbed up, propped up on his side, and stared down at Jing Yue. “Ge, we haven't slept together for a long time. When I was a child, you’d always hold me and sleep until dawn.”
Jing Yue closed his eyes and mercilessly said, “Not really, I’d go to practice as soon as you fell asleep.”
Qin Yanzhi's expression faltered. “But I see you still hugging me every day when I woke up.”
Jing Yue, “I told Ji-ji to keep an eye on you. As soon as you were about to wake up, I’d hurry to hold you. Otherwise, I’m afraid you’d cause a scene.”
Qin Yanzhi, “…”
Jing Yue, “Speaking of which, where’s Ji-ji?”
Qin Yanzhi paused suspiciously and said lightly, “I don’t know, maybe it’s loitering outside.”
After saying this, he lay down and quickly closed his eyes.
Jing Yue pondered. Ji-ji loved to eavesdrop and there was no danger in the village. It was probably looking for something new, so he didn’t bother about it anymore.
A night without dreams. Nearing dawn, a miserable scream suddenly rang in his divine consciousness and awakened Jing Yue.