A shabby little girl stood at a street corner, holding a broken porcelain bowl. She was as thin as a lath. “Could you please give me some food or coins? Have mercy on me, gentleman,” the girl asked the passerby.
However, her efforts were in vain. People were indifferent to her. Having been eating tree bark for three days, the poor girl started to feel dizzy, staggered up the street and bumped into a rich merchant carelessly. Before she apologized, the rich merchant had pushed her down to the ground brutally.
“Don’t smudge my clothes with your dirty hands, you filthy girl!” He winked at his bodyguard, who then came up and tried to shake his fist at the girl.
Pow! He punched someone in the face, not that little girl, but a man who suddenly showed up! The man was ragged and unkempt, who looked even dirtier than the girl.
“It hurts!” Lan Caihe shouted as he rubbed his swelling face.
Scared by Lan Caihe, the rich merchant took a few steps back and yelled, “Jeez! This guy just jumped out from nowhere!”
“Oh!” Lan Caihe kneeled down, crawled to the merchant and begged him by grabbing his hem. “Please, give me some coins. I haven’t eaten anything these ten days!”
“Get lost!” The rich merchant was filled with disgust at Lan Caihe; He kicked him away immediately without showing mercy.
At this moment, the merchant found that there was a stained handprint on his hem. “Teach him some manners!” He flew into a rage and pointed at Lan Caihe.
“Understood!” The bodyguard clenched his fists.
“Run.” Lan Caihe talked to the girl softly, who looked completely blank when encountering such situation. After a moment of hesitation, she closed her eyes and ran away. The bodyguard, who did not even care about the girl, kept punching Lan Caihe hard, who could just cover his head with his hands and take a beating.
After a while, the bodyguard finally stopped. The rich merchant came up to Lan Caihe and spat on him.
“You don’t deserve to live, loser!”
As both of them left, Lan Caihe sat up straight and fixed his hair to show his chiseled face. The swell on his cheek had magically gone, without any scratches.
“Let me teach this arrogant fool a lesson.”
He took out a golden fan and waved it towards a carriage; Xian energy, as black as ink, spilled out of the fan and glued to the shaft tip. Then, he pulled the carriage to him with his finger, splashing mud all over the merchant and his bodyguard, who let out a scream of terror right away.
“Woo-hoo! Hahaha...They look stupid!” Lan Caihe burst into laughter when he saw their blushing faces.
“After so many years, Humans still haven’t changed...sigh…” He heaved a sigh of disappointment as he touched his chin. Feeling someone approaching, Lan Caihe raised his eyebrows and turned around.
“Three Xian are getting closer...They’re He Xian'gu, Lü Dongbin and one more I’m not familiar with...Bad things might have happened. I better leave.”
He stood up and spinned on his toes; there was a shroud of Xian energy coming out from his golden fan. As the energy dispersed, Lan Caihe had turned himself to a petite girl.
He blended in with the crowd and headed towards the direction of the three Xian. Soon, he successfully found them——their unique dressings and power really stood out in the crowd.
Disguising as a girl, Lan Caihe bowed his head, kept a low profile and walked away. The three Xian did not even notice him at all; he passed on to a secluded alley.
“Hoho! My Xian arts are perfect.”
“Wow! Why are you here, Gao Yao?”
As Lan Caihe thought he had successfully slipped away, Gao Yao the brown-haired hound rushed into the alley and pounced on him, which made Lan Caihe lose his balance and fall down. At the same time, there was a shadow coming up to him——He Xian'gu, who stood in front of him with crossed-arms, wore a kind smile; Lü Dongbin and a strange man showed up behind him instead. “Found you, Lan Caihe,” said He Xian'gu.
“Um? He is Lan Caihe? But all I see is a little girl!” Li Tieguai, who had a bizarre-looking mechanic leg, asked in astonishment.
Lü Dongbin cut in immediately, “Lan Caihe is good at shapeshifting. He is supposed to practice Xian arts in the Heavenly Kingdom. One day, I heard that he wanted to disguise as a human to achieve his ascetic life. So he left and came to the mortal world.”
“Oh I see! Brother Lan Caihe has such a high-spirited virtue. It’s my honor to meet you!” Li Tieguai bowed to Lan Caihe excitedly, which made him feel smug about himself. Softening his own attitude, Lan Caihe turned back to his original form immediately and concealed the joy hidden in his heart.
“Well, you managed to find me. I don’t think you’re simply here to introduce Li Tieguai to me, right?”
“Of course not. I need your help.”
“Let me make it clear first. If you want me to help repel the demons, you may leave now.”
“What a lazy man…” He Xian'gu shook his head. Then, she took out a scroll holder and poured out the pieces inside. “Don’t worry. I just want you to fix this painting.”
“What?” Lan Caihe was puzzled. Therefore, He Xian'gu told him the whole story. “So, Lü Dongbin got himself into big trouble, and he’s afraid of confessing,” Lan Caihe sniggered after listening to her explanation.
“N-no, not like this...alright, alright! It’s my fault. Please help me fix it okay?” Lü Dongbin moped.
“Poor man. As your fellow brother, of course I’ll help you.”
Lan Caihe took out his golden fan and injected Xian energy into it, which shone with the inky light once again. The edges of the pieces, coated with the light, soon merged together flawlessly and returned to its original form.
“Done...but are you sure this is Taishang Laojun’s painting?” He frowned at Lü Dongbin while looking at the blurry painting. Unfortunately, they did not have a clue about it.
“What is this painting about exactly?”
All of them were pondering over the matter, but only Gao Yao knew the answer…