Chapter 122 - Two Fair Ladies
At the same time, deep in the Green Sky Mountain, in the Qing prefecture of the Heavenly Qi Country.
The mountain was extremely high, stretching up into the clouds. On its peak, there stood a palace which was surrounded by a number of other buildings. Various people were hurrying to and fro. This was the headquarters of the union of the seven sects.
Separate from every other building was a lofty palace that stood under the cover of mighty trees, emanating a different air which made it stick out from all the nearby buildings. The palace had its back against a precipice, and no disciples were on guard there. Right at this moment, snatches of an angry argument could be heard from inside the palace.
Suddenly something rattled like a cup breaking, and, at the same time, the back door of the palace was silently opened, and two beautiful figures rushed out and stepped quickly towards a bamboo bush near the precipice, not once turning their heads.
One of the girls was dressed in white clothes and had a graceful air that made her resemble a heavenly goddess rather than an ordinary worldly girl. She was the Devil Witch of Tianyin. Compared to her, her companion's face may attract less attention, but her figure was rather alluring, and her every action seemed to be full of seductive charm. She was Jin Xiaochai of the Black Demon Sect.
"Those old fools always quarrel a lot about such issues, but get nowhere in the end. All they how to do is 'weighing the risks', and worrying about gains and losses. It's so dull to talk with them!" Jin Xiaochai pursed her rosy lips indignantly.
"Don't ask too much from them. If it is not for the invasion of the barbarians, the seven sects would not just quarrel with their mouths." The Devil Witch smiled, as if alluding to some past event in a mocking tone.
"Well, you are right! We shall thank the barbarians a lot because now the two of us can talk like this." Jin Xiao Chai turned to the Devil Witch, and spoke with a lovely and innocent face.
"You are not a little girl any more, so don't say such words lightly, like a brainless animal. The barbarian invasion is not a minor matter. All seven sects were likely to be destroyed if we didn't work together to deal with it." The Devil Witch frowned and gently scolded Jin Xiaochai, as if she was teaching her a lesson.
"They are just a bunch of barbarous animals. Thus, they are not that big of a deal!" Jin curled her lips and spoke in disapproval.
As the two girls bickered playfully, they soon came into the bamboo forest. The green bamboo was swaying gently in the wind, which gave the forest a more enchanting and secluded air, and only made the girls seem even more attractive.
"I have just heard that the body of Shang Heng, who was called Cold Sword, has been found in the Yue Yang mountains of the Fu prefecture. Did you do it? " Jin suddenly ventured a question.
"That guy! Humph! He was as sly as a fox. I don't know why Yun Er was cheated by his flattery so easily that time. He was residing in the Fu prefecture under an assumed name, but, luckily, the barbarians had driven him out, or I would not have found him without difficulty." The Devil Witch's eyes glinted coldly, though she did not deny or admit her doing verbally.
"Humph, men are always unfaithful heartbreakers! By killing him, you were letting him off lightly! He deserves nothing less than dismemberment and that his soul be imprisoned in my Black Snake Jar, tortured by the poison forever! It was such a pity Yun Er died for such a bastard!" Jin Xiaochai wore a cold face and cursed scathingly.
The Devil Witch's eyes flashed tentatively as she heard these words, and a pair of warm, stubborn eyes suddenly emerged in her thoughts. Her heart felt heavy and her chest became tight.
Jin Xiaochai did not notice the subtle change in the Devil Witch's expression, as she went on to say, "I heard that the only disciple of Yun Er was still fighting the barbarians on the battlefront. I had seen her once, that girl called Xuan Er. She seems to share a similar characters with her master, Yun Er. Being the same obstinate, silly girl. Why don't you transfer her to a safer place?"
"I had tried, but she was even more stubborn than Lan Yun. She insisted in hardening herself through life-and-death battles." The Devil Witch sighed with regret.
Hearing this, Jin Xiaochai could only sigh resignedly.
"Alas... anyway it's not that bad for her. If she does not experience the experience the hardships of fighting, she may not make much further. During these two years of fighting against the barbarians, many young disciples in the union of the seven sects have made much progress, and a number of new seeds have appeared." The Devil Witch said slowly.
"It makes sense then. Well, you have been more attentive to the routine business of your sect recently. I have not seen you care about young disciples before." Jin Xiaochai narrowed her eyes suspiciously.
"My master was hurt by Wild Killer, and has not recovered yet, so, naturally, I must share part of her responsibilities." The Devil Witch's voice was calm and flat.
"Oh, if so, I wonder which disciple in the seven sects could win your favor. Just tell me, I know you have keen eyes." Jin Xiaochai asked curiously.
"About half a year ago, Xuan Er was on a hard mission, which was making a surprise attack on a barbarian stronghold. I was worried about her, so I followed her team. There was a disciple of your sect who was quite strong and brave, and stood out amongst his companions. His name was... Shi Mu" The Devil Witch did not reply for a while, as if reluctant to speak the name.
"Shi Mu? I have heard this name. What is he like?" Jin Xiaochai seemed to be interested now, her bright eyes twinkling excitedly.
"He was quite tall, with bronze skin and decent features, and was good at using a blade. Oh, he's also a Charm Adept." The Devil Witch frowned.
"Oh, it was him. I remember him now. He made quite an impression on me. He should thank me for bringing him to our Black Demon Sect," Jin Xiaochai gave the name some thought and smiled delightedly, clapping her hands. But soon her delicate brows frowned as a thought dawned on her, and she asked, throwing a suspicious look at the Devil Witch, "Snow, you seem to care about this disciple named Shi Mu. Usually you don't remember an ordinary disciple's looks so clearly."?
"I just think he has potential and remembered that he was a disciple of your Black Demon Sect. So I thought I'd remind you to pay attention to him." The Devil Witch responded with the same flat tone, ignoring the touch of suspicion in Jin Xiao Chai's words.
Suddenly, the Devil Witch's eyes were dazed as a figure flashed in front of her, blocking her way. It was Jin Xiaochai.
"Snow, you promised me when we were children that the two of us should stay together forever and that you should never fall in love with anyone else. Don't you remember your words?"?Jin Xiao Chai asked sadly, and the look she gave the Devil Witch grew more intense and fervent. Meanwhile, she stretched out her hand to touch the pure white face of the Devil Witch.
The Devil Witch immediately shunned her hand, stepping back while slapping Jin Xiaochai's reaching hand away. "It was just a childish joke. Do not take it so seriously ever again. I don't want to ever hear you mention it again." Her face became as as cold as jade in the winter. Then she dismissed Jin Xiaochai by saying that she still had things to handle and quickly left.
Jin Xiao Chai watched the receding figure motionlessly, and, after a few minutes, she stamped her foot furiously. Her ample breasts rose and fell, and there was an extremely menacing light crossing her charming eyes.
After a short while, her face became calm again, and there was no trace of anger discernible at all. As she began to walk away, a broad smile covered her face.
[ED: I think Jin Xiaochai is a yandere... That is actually quite terrifying. o.o ]
Shi Mu had been carefully choosing remote paths for the past three days, and had just arrived at a secret mountain cave late at night. The stronghold was much larger than the underground mine he had been in, and it was one of the most important strongholds of the union in the Rui prefecture. There were more than a hundred disciples here and there was an accomplished warrior of Houtian to in charge!
Shi Mu's identity as the Flaming Blade, and his special identity as a Charm Adept, had earned him quite a bit of fame. Therefore, when many disciples saw him in such a bad state, they showed shocked faces but none dared to pry. Shi Mu had set out with a team of twenty disciples, but now he had come back by himself, full of wounds. What this meant was quite evident.
"What? I can't believe this!"
Before long, a loud and clear voice, filled with shock and anger, came from a stone room deep in the cave.
The one who was yelling was named Jin Chen, and he looked to be about thirty years old. He was big and tall and quite muscular, looking even stronger than the barbarians. Shi Mu was quite tall, but he was a head taller than Shi Mu when he stood beside him.
"I will report this to the union, and it is to your credit that you were able to bring back this message. You will get ten extra points added to the basic rewards. Have a rest here and don't bother about going out for more missions." Jin Chen's voice resounded.
Shi Mu thanked him, receiving the identity token and stepping back.
After a while, in another stone room, Shi Mu was stripped to the waist and sitting on a stone bed with his legs crossed.
Now the wounds all over his body had stopped bleeding, only leaving scars and bruises covering his skin, which was quite a breath-taking sight.
He picked up a soft-textured golden armor from the ragged clothes tainted with blood on the floor, his eyes glowing painfully.
During his past two years on the battlefront, he had gone through more than a hundred battles, and he owed it all to this armor that he had avoided being badly wounded, but the armor was now badly slashed.
The battle this time was one of the most fierce ones he had been in, apart from the meeting with Zong Yuan when he and his team members burnt the provision of the barbarians that year. However, the soft armor had now been rendered too tattered to be of any more use.
Shi Mu forced a smile and put the golden armor aside. He then fished around in a bag under his bed and took out a green bottle, applying the ointment within to his wounds. After a while, refreshing feelings began to cool the wounds. This ointment was given to him by Ke Er the day when she was transferred, by the order of her sect, to another stronghold. The medicine was quite efficient at healing wounds of blades, but it was no match for the Ke Er's curing magic. He could not help but think of the days that the two of them had fought side by side. If she was here, she would not leave his wounds unatended like this.
Shi Mu sighed and shook his head, starting to activate the real qi in his body to heal himself, in coordination with the ointment.
After he had taken the pill the Devil Witch gave him, his Ape Bloodline had been strengthened a little. His practice of the Art of the Heavenly Elephant had also benefited a lot from this, increasing his self-healing power.
Together with his physical strength, which was, usually, quite quick in rebounding, he had almost recovered from the wounds in just four days.
During this period he had not been idle. He spent most of his time drawing another set of low-level charms, since the charms he had with him were used up in the raid a few days ago.
He had also not forgotten about the special Moonlight Sea Chestnut daggers he needed. He had asked Zhao Ping to make some more before he took the last mission, and it was only due to the intense warfare that he had no opportunities to return to his sect to fetch them.