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Yi Yun was slightly taken aback when he heard the elder's voice. Although he had been nervous, he did not show in on his face. He never expected the elder to guess that he had hid in the tea shop because he had encountered an enemy. This was probably the reason why he did not come forward to welcome him right away.
Yi Yun did not reply to his question and instead said, "Old Sir, I am indeed thirsty. Please bring me some tea and food.
"Sir, it's just ordinary, bland tea and food. I hope you will not despise it."
With that said, the elder went to prepare a pot of tea and some dried fruits.
The tea was ordinary spirit tea but it took on a different fragrance when brewed by the elder. Yi Yun swirled the tea leaves within his bowl and drank a mouthful. He nodded and said, "Good tea."
The elder shook his head and said, "Sir, don't embarrass me. To someone of your status, how can this tea be enjoyable?"
Yi Yun put down the bowl of tea and looked at the elder. Although he was advanced in age, his flames of vitality were not to the point of being snuffed out yet. He still had a few more centuries left in him.
Yi Yun said, "Drinking tea is all about one's state of mind. Taking that into account, the tea itself isn't of great importance. Just like you, Old Sir. You are able to keep a tea shop in Martial City, where each square inch is worth its weight in gold. However, the tea and food you sell here don't cost much. Such a business model should not be able to pay the rent. If you did not have a good state of mind, I'm afraid you would not still be in business."
Upon hearing Yi Yun's words, the elder gave a wry laugh. "Sir, this tea shop is mine. I do not need to pay rent…"
Yi Yun was somewhat shocked when he heard that. There was no need to ask further. Shops in Martial City were sold for very high prices. The old man was only at the Yuan foundation realm; yet, he owned such a shop?
"My son left it for me to run." The elder waved his hand before bringing some jerky to Yi Yun.
Yi Yun did not press further when he noticed that the elder was not willing to elaborate. He instead asked, "Old Sir, do you know where in Martial City I might be able to buy top-grade treasured herbs?"
"Top-grade treasured herbs… If you want the best, you'll have to go into the inner city of Martial City. It's also the sixth city district of Martial Numinous Palace. The palace covers a large area of Martial City. However, getting into the inner city requires an Entry Pass…"
"Entry Pass? How do I get one?" Yi Yun had seen special markings around the sixth district on the map. However, the map did not provide any instruction on obtaining access into the inner city.
"Martial Numinous Palace allows warriors to submit applications every year. After a period of examination, they will release Entry Passes to the qualified applicants. However, the examination's criteria are rather strict. Besides, the most recent examination period has ended. You will probably not be able to get one."
Yi Yun was stumped when he heard the elder's explanation. He never expected the Martial Numinous clan to be that particular. An Entry Pass was needed just to enter the inner city. Furthermore, the distribution of the passes was such a tedious process.
The elder seemed to read Yi Yun's mind for he said, "The Martial Numinous clan is an ancient clan. They have a special blood lineage and some excellent talent. In fact, they do not think much of outsiders. There are some outsiders that have become Martial Numinous Elders, but in general they are often ostracized and repressed. More than ninety percent of the people in the sixth district are Martial Numinous clansmen."
The elder said this leisurely, but Yi Yun was shocked hearing this. The elder's cultivation level was very low but he knew so many things.
He glanced at the elder's dantian. He was not a person who had lost his cultivation after being injured. He really was just a warrior with a low cultivation level. He did not have any martial talent either.
"Old Sir, thank you for telling me this much. It looks like I can only seek out other places."
Yi Yun did not wish to waste him time waiting for a few materials. He had considered sneaking into the inner city but there was just too much risk, considering that Myriad God Patriarch was in the city. He decided against it.
Yi Yun was planning to pay and depart when the elder said, "Sir, there's no need for you to leave. I happen to have an Entry Pass. I have no use for it and can give it to you."
"Oh?" Yi Yun gave the elder an odd glance. This old man even had an Entry Pass? Didn't he just say that the the examinations for obtaining one were very stringent?
The elder said, "It was also given to me by my son. I guess you can consider him a member of the Martial Numinous clan…"
So that's how it is…
Yi Yun nodded. He sensed that this man's flames of vitality were a little more vigorous than a typical Yuan foundation realm elder's. Perhaps he had eaten some pills that extended his lifespan. Such pills could very likely be a gift from his son.
The son sure was filial. He gave his father a tea shop, medicinal pills, and an Entry Pass.
"Sir, I can give it to you if you follow me home…"
As the elder said that, he prepared to close his shop.
It was just past noon, so when he saw the elder closing the doors, Yi Yun said sheepishly, "Old Sir, there's no rush. You have only done business for half a day. I can wait till night time."
The elder shook his head. "It's fine. It's not like there are any customers. My son left this tea shop to me, giving me a place to chat with a few old friends. It also lets me provide the warriors with low cultivation levels who frequently come and go from Martial City a place to rest their feet. However, business has suffered recently. There aren't many people so it's alright even if I shut the store…"
As the elder spoke, he slowly pulled the latch on the door.
He brought Yi Yun through a few small alleys and into a yard. The yard wasn't large but there was a towering tree planted in the middle of it. Its lush crown sheltered the entire yard, casting cool shadows and giving off a soft fragrance.
"It's quite a nice place to live," thought Yi Yun sincerely. The cost of such an exquisite residence in Martial City was definitely high. From the looks of it, the elder's son was quite capable.
With the grinding sounds of a wooden spool's spinning, the elder pushed open the yard door. A young lady dressed in a flowery dress was washing a towel in a basin of water she had just drawn.
She looked about fifteen and was filled with a youthful, vibrant energy.
She pursed her lips when she saw the elder enter, as though she was about to say something. However, she stopped the moment she saw Yi Yun standing behind him.
"Grandfather, who is this…"
The young lady looked mentally frail and appeared delicate. However, she turned wary when she saw Yi Yun.
"He's a guest of mine. He's not a bad guy. Xiaoxiao, serve him a bowl of tea," the elder said before he said to Yi Yun, "Sir, please wait in the guest hall. Let me get the Entry Pass."
Yi Yun cupped his fists and bowed. "Thank you, Old Sir. Might I know how much the Entry Pass will be…"
"You don't have to pay. It's not going to any use with me. Since I have no need to enter the inner city, I might as well give it to you."
As the elder spoke, he walked to a side room.
Yi Yun glanced at the elder's back. From the looks of it, the elder had quite a fulfilling life. He had a filial and outstanding son who provided for him. However, he had a nagging feeling that there was something troubling the elder.
Yi Yun focused slightly. Out of curiosity, he watched the young girl enter a room. He sensed breathing, albeit very weak, coming from the room. It implied that there was someone living in there.
Yi Yun could not help but sweep with his perception. Immediately, he saw the scene within the room. He was taken aback by what greeted him.
He saw a pale-looking young man with protruded blood vessels lying on a bed. And the young girl was kneeling by his side, wringing the towel dry after she carefully wiped the young man's body.
The man did not seem aware of it. If not for his weak breathing, Yi Yun would have thought he was already dead.
The young man was extremely sick!
"Father… quickly get up. I beg of you. If you don't get well, what will Grandfather and I do…"
The girl wiped the man's face as her tears could not help but stream down. Yi Yun was stunned as he watched.
The young man was the elder's son?
He recalled the expression of the elder whenever he mentioned his son. It was not one of pride but that of a heavy heart. Yi Yun instantly understood that the elder's son was already bedridden and unconscious.
Yi Yun could not help but scan the young man's dantian. He was surprised to see a Dao Palace.
A second-storey Dao Palace.
In comparison to the elder's age, the young man was definitely not more than a few centuries old. To reach the second-storey of the Dao Palace at that age made him a rare genius.
It was quite a pity that such a genius would suddenly fall unconscious and be on the brink of death.
Yi Yun felt his heart wince for no clear reason when he saw the young girl weeping as she worked hard at wiping her father's face.
Such a young man was the pillar of support for his family. If he fell, the daughter and father he left behind would probably lead a hard life in Martial City.
Thinking back to the elder who sold low-grade spirit tea and his back when he closed the tea shop, Yi Yun felt a soft spot in his heart stir…
"Sir, here is the Entry Pass."
The elder walked into the guest hall and held a bronze token. The words 'Martial Numinous' were engraved on its front.
"Xiaoxiao, why haven't you brewed the tea?" asked the elder.
Xiaoxiao hurriedly wiped her tears and took out some tea leaves and boiling water to bring to the guest hall.
When Yi Yun saw the girl's red puffy eyes, he was at a loss for words. He took the tea the girl handed him and fell silent for a moment. He asked the elder, "Old Sir, can you tell me about your son?"
Upon hearing Yi Yun's inquiry, the elder was stunned. He immediately guessed that Yi Yun had seen his bedridden son.
He shook his head and said, "There's nothing much to say. Perhaps fate wasn't on his side and gave him a short life… He had quite extraordinary talent and appeared to have obtained some opportunities. At a young age, he was roped in by the Martial Numinous clan and was simply dazzling. After he gained standing in the Martial Numinous clan, he moved me to Martial City. He even opened a tea shop for me. I could chat with old friends whenever I was bored. Later, he married a gorgeous wife and had a daughter. I thought I was blessed to have such a son but fortune is fickle. While he was out on experiential training, he was heavily injured, reducing him to his present state. In the beginning, the Martial Numinous clan was willing to treat him but two years ago, the Martial Numinous clan announced that he was incurable. I brought him back home and have been taking care of him to this day…"