Chapter 25: The Mysterious Daoist Temple
Translator: Noodletown Translated Editor: Noodletown Translated
Zhao Yanzi was completely at ease. She was jumping and leaping, leading everyone else. Today, she was wearing a short skirt that was sewed together with cotton and denim fabrics, displaying her silky, slender calves. Out of her low cut and vest-like sleeveless shirt came two plump arms and a good portion of skin. It was a little alluring. For a girl her age, or for Hao Ren who was relatively conservative, her choice of outfit seemed rather bold.
On the other hand, the Roman sandals on her feet craftily balanced out her sexiness with the liveliness of youth. Along with her springing and bouncing, the slippers were flopping like two fluttering butterflies.
It was nice to have a mother who was a designer. With such casual mix and match of an outfit, not only did Zhao Yanzi not look awkward, she actually looked like a pretty little catalog model.
In comparison, Hao Ren couldn’t be more unfashionable. He was wearing a shirt that hadn’t been washed in three days, a pair of wrinkly jeans, and a pair of dirty running shoes.
The only thing about him that could attract any attention was the little pink backpack on his back. However, that was also Zhao Yanzi’s item. Speaking of that, it was indeed strange enough for a guy like him to be wearing a pink backpack.
As Zhao Yanzi rushed ahead, Zhao Guang and Zhao Hongyu were walking side by side with Hao Ren. While Zhao Guang’s outfit was business casual, Zhao Hongyu went for a young athletic feel; it was almost impossible to tell that she was already the mother of a middle-schooler.
They continued climbing up the flights of stone stairs and finally arrived at the ticket office for the tourist attraction.
Zhao Yanzi was already standing right next to the window of the ticket office, impatiently waiting for her parents to go purchase tickets. Her inability to hold herself back reminded Hao Ren of the times when he went sightseeing with his parents in his childhood.
Zhao Guang walked over calmly and bought four admissions tickets at once. Hao Ren felt a little uncomfortable that his ticket was paid for. But at a time like this, he did not want to put up a hypocritical fight over anything unnecessary.
Through the mountain gates, they continued moving up along the stairs.
The sight was undeniably magnificent. Their surrounding was saturated with greenness; as a result, even the air was giving off a hint of coolness. The reappearing stream was meandering downwards along the trail, generating a pleasantly clear and melodious sound by their feet.
With her mouth wide open, Zhao Yanzi started taking in exaggeratedly deep breaths of fresh air. Hao Ren couldn’t help but smile at her innocent and childish behavior.
It was incredibly relaxing and satisfying for them to be one with nature again after having spent a long time living in the city.
Hand-in-hand, Zhao Hongyu and Zhao Guang were taking their time to admire and appreciate the scenery around them. Since Hao Ren did not want to walk beside Zhao Yanzi, he strolled behind them. Similarly, Zhao Yanzi did not want to be stuck with Hao Ren either. Thus, she was like an excited small animal, sprinting and exploring ahead.
“Zi, slow down!” Zhao Hongyu cautioned,
“Mom! There is a cave here!” Zhao Yanzi screamed passionately from ahead.
Zhao Hongyu let out a chuckle. She turned around and waved at Hao Ren before walking ahead to join Zhao Yanzi. “This cave was created due to the impact of the underground water. Streams in the mountain have formed secret paths inside the mountain. When they run into fragile and worn-out rocks, they would burst through. What we have seen on our way here are tributaries; the real water streams are all contained on the inside of the mountain…”
“How come there is no water in it then?” Zhao Yanzi asked curiously.
“That is because the size and impact of the water streams also depend on the season. When the water stream is affluent, the water will seep through. Of course, it could also be that the stream had been diverted. In other words, this was formerly an exit that had become blocked off from the inside due to a small-scale landslide,” Zhao Hongyu explained patiently.
While nodding her head, Zhao Yanzi’s eyes lit up as if she had just discovered a new continent. She pointed ahead, “Look, there is some writing over there!”
“‘Earthly Paradise’, this was supposedly inscribed by the famous poet Du Fu of the Tang dynasty. There used to be a Daoist temple here called ‘Celestial Cloud Temple’…” Zhao Hongyu patiently elaborated as she walked.
Blinking her big eyes, Zhao Yanzi was able to keep calm and followed her mother closely, observing and listening.
Hao Ren was in awe. He was surprised that Zhao Hongyu was so knowledgeable. Not only was she successful in architectural designs, but she was also very eloquent when it came to astronomy-geology, culture, and humanity.
As a result, they advanced quickly as Zhao Hongyu interpreted along the way. Moreover, she was often able to branch off from one point to pass on more information to Zhao Yanzi. Her voice was gentle and pleasant; even Hao Ren was enchanted and had learned a lot from listening to her.
After walking for about two hours, they reached the halfway point and decided to go eat at a small restaurant on the mountain.
Their tables were planted outside and underneath an awning. While they were devouring the vegetables and rice, they were also able to appreciate the magnificent views of GreenStone Mountain.
Hao Ren had been trapped in school for far too long. Today’s opportunity to travel with the Zhao Family had his eyes and mind refreshed by the green mountain and clear streams; he became cheerful as well.
“There is a Daoist temple on top of this mountain called ‘Heavenly Oneness Temple’. It was said that Daoist Master Zhang had once cultivated here. The biggest palace in this Daoist temple is called the ‘Founder’s Palace’. All of its shingles were covered with rolled gold. They have a pine tree that is two thousand years old as well. Moreover, there is a monument that was inscribed by Daoist Master Zhang himself…”
As he was eating, Zhao Guang suddenly became enthusiastic and pointed out to Zhao Yanzi.
“That is fun!” Zhao Yanzi looked to her father in anticipation, “Let’s go check it out after we finish eating!”
“It takes three hours to get up there. Since there are no cable cars here, your mom and I will pass on this one. We plan to walk up a little more, but then we will take our time to go back down and get some rest at the hotel,” Zhao Guang replied.
“Awww…” Zhao Yanzi was obviously disappointed.
“Or you can ask Hao Ren to go with you?” Zhao Hongyu suggested.
“Who needs his company!” Gritting her teeth, Zhao Yanzi declared, “I will go by myself!”
“No way. We would be worried if you went up there yourself!” Zhao Hongyu denied Zhao Yanzi’s proposition resolutely.
Knowing that she could not defy her parents, Zhao Yanzi sulkily lowered her head in silence.
After their meal, they continued the climb. After walking for about half an hour and having checked out “Elder Lord Cave” that had immense history, Zhao Guang and Zhao Hongyu were ready to leave.
As much as Zhao Yanzi wanted to continue upwards and to explore the Daoist temple on top of the mountain, she could only follow her parents’ order now that they have decided to call it a day.
Seeing that Zhao Yanzi was upset and was pouting her lips, Zhao Hongyu said, “How about… we make an exception and let you continue your tour here on the mountain?”
Zhao Yanzi’s eyes lit up instantaneously, and a bright smile started blooming across her face.
“But there is one condition; Ren has to stay with you. Otherwise, we will be worried,” Zhao Hongyu added.
Biting her lip, Zhao Yanzi struggled for a few seconds but finally concurred, “Fine, I want to see what’s up there!”
A shade of joy appeared on Zhao Hongyu’s face as she turned to Hao Ren. “Ren, please stay with Zi. Come back down as soon as you reach the top of the mountain. Give us a call if you need anything. At your pace, four hours should be enough for you to go up and get back down to here. It takes approximately two more hours to get down to the foot of the mountain so that it would be six hours in total. We’ll expect you to be back in the hotel by seven o’clock.”
Actually, Hao Ren did not want to go back to the hotel so early, either; it was a rare chance for him to be able to be immersed in nature. Therefore, he nodded at Zhao Hongyu assuredly and said, “Yes, auntie. I will try my best to look after Zi.”
Zhao Guang gave Hao Ren a light encouraging nod before turning around and leaving with Zhao Hongyu.
Hao Ren knew very well that Zhao Yanzi’s parents were trying to create opportunities for him and Zhao Yanzi to get to know each other through spending time alone. However, he did not want to overthink it as all he wanted now was to visit the legendary Daoist temple.
Likewise, Zhao Yanzi was thinking the same thing. Now that her parents had walked far away, she started shouting at Hao Ren, “Come on, hurry up! Don’t be a slowpoke and hold me back!”
After briefly rolling his eyes at her, Hao Ren looked up at the endless trail and took a step forward.