Chapter 969: Hub of Freedom
The group quickly passed the corner and arrived by the carriage waiting area.
What awaited them there was an extremely ordinary and tattered carriage.
The driver’s fingernails were filled with dirt, and the smell of horse manure filled the air.
Pei You subconsciously frowned.
He really couldn't associate such a sloppy place with the entertainment district Gao Ying had spoken of.
However, Gao Ying didn’t pay the driver any attention and went straight in.
The boss inside was drinking some wine.
He didn’t pay them much attention when they came in.
But when Gao Ying took out the vouchers he had previously received from Purple Tea Pavilion, the boss immediately became serious and said, “Sirs, this way please.”
He had his subordinates take over for him, then led them to the rear courtyard.
In the courtyard were two carriages.
Behind them were many trees and even some flowers Zu An didn’t recognize.
The air there was much fresher.
The horses were clearly of a higher grade, and their manes were combed nicely and tidily.
Their bellies were full, indicating that they were well-fed.
These were horses that had been raised carefully, completely different from the horses outside.
But the carriages were even more eye-catching.
They weren’t like ordinary carriages; they had no windows, and looked more like large metal pots.
The boss walked over and said, “Everyone can see that all of our carriages are first-rate, and so the fare will naturally be different as well.”
“I wonder how much that is” Gao Ying asked.
The boss stretched out three fingers and said, “Three taels of gold, three taels of silver.”
Pei You frowned. This guy is a freaking robber! Not even the best carriages in the capital are this expensive! But he knew that the conversation was probably just another coded message, so he forcefully endured the urge to lash out.
Zu An had a strange expression as he thought, What kind of relationship do you have with the Heaven and Earth Society…
Gao Ying shook his head and said, “A carriage as great as this is worth more than that, so we’ll take this carriage.
You don’t need to call over any other guests.
Every one of us will pay you five taels of gold and five taels of silver.”
The boss immediately gave him a big thumbs up and said, “Our guests today really are outstanding heroes.
I wonder what you all do for a living”
Gao Ying replied, “I rely on the four famous mountains; my friends come from places with golden and silver mountains.
My loyalty to my friends is as sturdy as Mount Ding; a meeting with my friends is like a trip to Mount Liang.”
Mount Ding was a grand and towering mountain in this world.
The sacrificial offerings of the court’s officials would often be conducted there.
It was similar to Mount Tai in the mythology of Zu An’s previous world.
As for Mount Liang, it was a place where great heroes gathered.
It was a place that symbolized loyalty and brotherhood.
A polite smile immediately appeared on the boss’ face when he heard that.
He quickly produced a pile of masks and said to the three of them, “Esteemed guests, please choose a mask to wear.”
Zu An realized that they had already changed from being ‘guests’ to ‘esteemed guests’, and the tone the other party used had become much more respectful.
The other party had probably already approved of their identities.
Pei You frowned.
“What is the meaning of this”
The boss explained with a smile, “The place you’re about to go to is one where it isn’t convenient to show your face around.
In order to ensure the safety of all of the guests, everyone wears a mask to hide their identities.”
“Interesting.” Zu An chuckled.
He picked a fox-shaped mask and put it on.
When he thought of Daji, he suddenly felt a strange sense of intimacy with foxes.
Gao Ying chose a tiger mask.
Seeing that the other two had already chosen masks, even though Pei You was still confused, he chose one as well.
The one he chose was a white ghost mask.
Zu An couldn't help but chuckle.
This was an outwardly cold and gloomy, but inwardly passionate young man after all.
The mask matched his nature really well.
After the three of them entered the carriage, there was a loud bang as the door was closed from the outside.
Then, a faint light began shining above them.
Upon closer inspection, there were actually some small luminescent beads above their heads.
Pei You said with a sigh of admiration, “How extravagant; they actually used luminescent beads to light up the inside of a carriage!”
Zu An said, “It’s probably because they had no choice.
This entire place is enclosed without letting even a strand of light in.
They had to add some luminescent beads in order to not make the guests inside feel as if they were being locked up in a jail cell.”
Pei You couldn't help but feel surprised.
He examined the place on his own and saw that sure enough, there wasn’t even a single crack.
He tried to spread out his senses through ki, but his expression quickly changed.
He exclaimed, “My ki can’t leave this place; I can’t sense anything outside!”
“There’s no need to worry,” Gao Ying explained.
“The carriage itself has special sealing runes engraved on it, specially designed to isolate the auras of cultivators.
It’s to prevent people from finding out the path to the Hub of Freedom.”
A sealed carriage could only block the sight of ordinary people.
Cultivators could use their auras to sense their surroundings, so that was why the Hub of Freedom needed such two-fold insurance.
Zu An tried it out himself.
Sure enough, his aura couldn't pass through the carriage either.
He suddenly thought of something and tried to use his jade badge ability.
Soon afterward, a strange scene entered his view.
Trees fell away rapidly behind them, as well as the ground.
Zu An was happy.
If he wanted to control some creatures of lower intelligence, the best targets were naturally the horses that pulled the carriage.
He hadn’t expected the jade badge’s ability to be able to break through the sealed carriage!
As for the strange scene he saw, it was because of the horse’s point of view.
Ever since he had obtained the jade badge, he had seen things from all sorts of different angles, with the most exaggerated being the compound eyes of a fly.
There had been countless pocket-sized scenes packed together, carrying enough information to make his head explode.
“What if they had some bad intentions” Pei You asked worriedly.
They were in a completely sealed carriage, so they had no idea what was going on outside.
It really was way too dangerous.
“Don’t worry, they have their reputation to uphold.
Nothing bad will happen,” Gao Ying consoled him.
Zu An said with a chuckle, “Brother Gao, it looks like you’re a veteran in this field.
With your nature, I didn’t expect you to be someone who frequented this kind of place.
Why do you know this path so well”
Gao Ying sighed.
“It’s because I came here with Liu Yao in the past.
You two know that he was never too interested in cultivation, but he was a master in these areas.
I was traveling with him and had to watch over him, so I ended up experiencing some stuff myself.”
Zu An thought, No wonder. However, when the three of them recalled Liu Yao’s sacrifice in the dungeon, the atmosphere in the carriage suddenly became strange.
The carriage eventually stopped.
Pei You was nervous and expectant at the same time, asking, “Are we there”
“I think there’s still a bit more to go.” Gao Ying had experience in the matter.
Zu An saw the exterior through the horse’s view.
They had ended up entering an area filled with unmanaged tombs.
Crows flew past from time to time.
Together with the will-o’-the-wisps and the fog that filled the place, the atmosphere was incredibly sinister and frightening.
He sighed in praise.
The place they had chosen really was great.
Ordinary people wouldn’t dare to approach, and the authorities would never expect that someone would build an entertainment district right by an abandoned graveyard.
The carriage stopped in front of a comparatively large mound.
Then, an opening suddenly appeared in the mound, and the carriage slowly drove forward.
After they passed through a long tunnel, the world suddenly lit up.
The driver said from the front of the carriage, “Esteemed guests, we have arrived.”
The carriage doors opened with a crash.
The three inside exchanged a look, then got off the carriage one after another.
Soon, several maids came out to greet them.
These maids wore masks as well, but their masks only covered their eyes, leaving their noses and enticing red lips exposed.
The maids were dressed in rather revealing outfits that would make even ordinary brothel women flush red from embarrassment and anger.
Their outfits didn’t have much material, and they were transparent as well, only covering the most important areas.
The maids’ slender and graceful waists were visible, as well as their long and fair legs.
Zu An felt a mysterious sense of familiarity.
He felt as if he had returned to his previous world, where the girls were all dressed in bunny suits.
Pei You’s eyes immediately widened when he saw how skimpily the maids were dressed, as well as the flirtatious way they walked.
When had he ever seen something like that “Northern babes have long legs after all! The rumors were completely true!”
“Young masters, this way, please!” The maids greeted them in order, their voices extremely sweet.
The Heaven and Earth Society is the name of a secret fraternal society, but the name is more popularly associated with the Triad gangs in modern China and Hong Kong. ☜