Chapter 116 - Meeting After Long Separation
The snake fell onto the ground with a thud. It had some black burns on the its tail and a lot of broken scales. Unfortunately, rather than sapping it's strength, searing pain seemed to have only encouraged its fierceness. It hissed as it opened its fierce mouth, its body twining around a tree, ready to launch a counter-blow.
At that time, green light appeared near the tree, and some wide vines rapidly broke out from the earth. They wound tightly around the body of the snake, precluding any of its movements. The snake seemed quite alarmed, giving off a frightened expression, like a human's, and in it's desperation, it wriggled with great force to try and break the vines. Many had cracked, and it seemed that the remaining vines would not hold much longer.
"Brother Shi, do it now!" A clear shout came from the thick bushes, and Shi Mu could not be more acquainted with voice - it was Ke Er's. Shi Mu sprang up and in no time had approached the black snake. He wielded his blade and the burning weapon suddenly became blurred, again spouting thirteen beams of red light. He gave a low shout, and the beams gathered into one wide streak of red light, rapidly cutting at the vital organs of the snake, like a lightning bolt.
The tree that the black snake was wound around snapped in half, falling onto the ground heavily, the a burnt cut seared into it. The body of the snake was also cut in half, each half twisting and turning on the ground. It did not rest in peace until after quivering vehemently for some time.
Shi Mu exhaled a long breath. The snake being unreasonably solid and quick, without the fire of the black blade to cut through it, and Ke Er's timely help, he would have gone through a bitter fight. But just as he was secretly celebrating his escape, a clear crack disturbed him. The heavenly fire stone embedded on his blade had just broken.
Shi Mu frowned, sighing with a heartache. He had increased the power of his last cut by fully harnessing the energy of the stone, and now he had finally exhausted the spirit power in the stone. Unfortunately, he had no fire stone to replenish the blade, however, the fierce enemy had already been killed.
He put the black blade back to its sheath and looked expectantly at the thick forest nearby. Two slim figures emerged side by side, which were none other than Ke Er and the inscrutable girl of the Tianyin Sect.
"Thanks to sister Ke for her assistance." Shi Mu cupped his hands to Ke Er and nodded to the girl of Tianyin Sect in greeting.
"Brother Shi, I know you will be safe. Well, what about the provisions in the stronghold?" Though a little pale, Ke Er's face wore a cheerful expression.
"Don't mention the mission. We'd never thought there was a Xiantian barbarian guarding the place, and we were all in a hurry to flee, having no time to attend the mission at all." Shi Mu forced a smile and explained.
"A Xiantian warrior!" Ke Er and the inscrutable girl both changed their look with a jolt.
"Maybe there was something wrong with the information from the union. The black snake is just a monster the man keeps." Shi Mu sighed softly and said.
"And what about the others? Had they...." Ke Er was shocked.
"We had set apart to run away. I don't know if they can escape, but I think there is little chance." Shi Mu shook his head and answered.
Ke Er looked dejected as she heard these disheartening words.
"If the black snake was a monster kept by the barbarian warrior, we must leave here right now!" The girl from Tianyin Sect suddenly suggested in a quavering voice.
"Sister Qi, is there any danger?" Ke Er was taken aback again. Shi Mu also looked at the girl trying to figure out her suggestion.
"I've heard from my mentor about how the barbarians keep their monsters. There seems to be some connection between monsters and their owners. If the monster dies, its owner will know it, even if he is a hundred kilometers away. Therefore he may soon arrive here!" The girl explained seriously.
"Then what are we waiting for, let's leave here now!" Ke Er turned pale as she was made aware of the condition.
Shi Mu and the girl named Qi apparently could not agree more. But a murderous air burst forth from the thick forest just as they were about to leave. Shi Mu turned around as fast as he could, and rapidly drew his blade, putting it in front of his chest. Ke Er and the other girl also readied themselves for the incoming enemy, however scared they were, one raising her magic cane and the other drawing a thin sword.
A shadow flashed across the air all of a sudden, and in no time a man in black had showed his presence in front of the three disciples, with something like a blue head in his hand. Shi Mu stole a glance and felt his heart in his mouth. The thing in his hand was precisely the head of White Jade, frozen by some blue ice while still retaining the terrified face on it, reluctant to accept his doom. The eyes were still widely opened, but had lost every last trace of luster.
The two girls' faces turned ghastly pale once they saw clearly the head. At the same time, the man in black also moaned his pet's death in distress, clenching his fists as he saw the body, which was now cut into halves.
Peng! As a clear sound came, White Jade's head and the ice around it broke into pieces which then scattered onto the ground.
"Well, I never thought I could have misjudged you. You've killed my pet, so you should just die together with it!" The man glared at Shi Mu and cursed.
Shi Mu felt as if he was being stared at by a venomous snake, and a shudder went through his spine. But he soon activated the Art of the Heavenly Elephant and the unease faded away. Unhesitatingly, he whispered to the two girls, "Run, right now!"
Ke Er hesitated for a while but the girl name Qi rapidly grabbed her arm and rushed away.
"Don't dream of escaping now, all of you will die today for killing my pet!" The man laughed wildly, and there was dark blue light screen shining around his body. He raised one hand and instantly a great deal of real Qi of the Xiantian level formed a big blue palm and sent it toward them.
The air around the three suddenly grew thick and sticky, a formidable force rolling onto them, like a mountain collapsing, pressing in on them. Shi Mu just felt all his blood burning and bubbling as those flew back into his heart, and his own Qi proved too weak to stand a single blow in front of such a force that could topple the mountains and overturn the seas. In desperation he activated the real Qi in his body to the limit and his body expanded twofold to instill all his magic power to his black blade.
The black blade soon was burning with a flame half a meter high. Shi Mu shouted with his eyes widely opened and then sent a burning cut at the incoming big palm in midair.
Boom! A great noise reverberated in the woods. The flames above the black blade were all dispersed, and Shi Mu spit blood as his body was sent flying several meters before he finally recovered his balance. Though Shi Mu had managed to take the strike, albeit with much difficulty, Ke Er and the other girl were not able to protect themselves and were thus struck into the air, falling dozens of meters away and losing consciousness.
The corners of Shi Mu's eyes twitched in pain as he saw the scene, but his body did not move.
"You are quite smart, being able to bear one strike of mine."The man in black seemed quite amazed, but he soon recovered, sneering, and lost no time in making a second attack.
Shi Mu gritted his teeth, a fierce look flashing across his eyes. Fumbling with one hand at his back, he threw out one cut without warning. A silver light shot up into the air, flying while revolving toward the blue palm. Taking the chance, Shi Mu rolled aside to the trees near him.
The man in black frowned as he saw what Shi Mu did, but the silver light had hit the palm head-on. With an ear-deafening noise, the silver blade turned into a shining purple light, blowing up like a small burning sun. Meanwhile, a wave of scorching flames spread out, engulfing the blue palm in no time.
A great force of heated air soon spread out and forced the man to step back. As dust was sent flying, the man found one of his arms to be slightly burnt. The explosion of the silver blade could equal one powerful strike of a Xiantian saint! This both shocked and enraged the man, and he shouted and took out a pair of blue gloves with a flash of red light. He punched heavily at Shi Mu, and the strike, which seemed to be solid, was so rapid that Shi Mu hardly had time to defend himself. His countenance changed greatly, and had only time to put his black blade in front of his chest.
The blue fist hit heavily on his body and Shi Mu felt like he had been struck by a thunderbolt, as his body was knocked through the air, like a leaf. His body thumped against the trees and did not fall onto the ground until after breaking several big tree's trunks.
Wriggling on the ground, he spit out blood, feeling that his bones might have all been broken. If he was not so physically strong he may have been already dead. But he was now no different from a dead man as all his sinews had been broken and he could hardly move for a while.
As a shadow whizzed forward to stand in front of him, the man in black appeared without making a sound. He looked more brutal at the moment, raising his one fist again. Shi Mu smiled bitterly to himself and closed his eyes, resigning himself to his fate, dreaming of a sweet death. But at just the same time, something broke through the air, stopping his mind's travels. An ice flower suddenly appeared above the man's head, descending while revolving. The man was profoundly shocked and pointed at the ground with one foot to move several meters away like a startled big bird.
"Who is there?" He cast scathing looks in all direction, searching anxiously for the newcomer. But no one replied, except that the ice flower kept glistening in the air without a pause, and ice crystals emerged one by one, shooting to the black-cloaked men like arrows that knew their target.
The man's face twisted in alarm, and blue light shone even more brightly than ever all over his body. He raised one hand and a blue palm darted toward the ice flowers.
As the sound of the clash rang out, two light balls, of blue and white respectively, stroke each other amid an icy wind that could cut one to the bone, and which dressed the trees nearby with a layer of frost. The man in black gave a muffled snort, and reluctantly stepped back.
Shi Mu, who had been lying on the ground, was shocked to his very marrow as he saw the white ice flowers, and a strong yearning came over him, like a tidal wave that denied any struggle. Suppressing the excruciating pain all over his body, he managed to raise his head.
The leaves rustled, and out came a girl who looked like a nymph, dressed in white, and barefooted, taking slow and graceful steps. Her beautiful eyes glittered and in her slim hand was a short jade ruler. As she took each step, puffs of mist floated around her body.
Shi Mu was suddenly dumbfounded and frozen to the spot. His eyes were riveted on the barefooted girl and could not be moved away by any force under the heavens.