Chapter 24: The Messenger
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: Maggie
"Who is it?"
Uncle Xu said as he turned around, terrified. His arms were crossed in front of his chest and he was looking in the direction of the voice.
An inconspicuous, dumpy older man could be seen standing in the shade of the room's corner. He wore a grey robe, and was looking at Uncle Xu and his nephew with a poker face.
Wang Tian Hao was more astonished than his uncle at the sudden appearance of the old man. He had been facing that direction, but hadn't seen the grey-robed man until he made his voice heard. Could the elder man know how to make himself invisible?
"The secret art of 'Hiding in the Shade'? May I know who I have the honour of meeting here? Can I help you with something?" Uncle Xu asked as he enunciated each word slowly and clearly. His eyes were fixed on the elderly man.
"No need to be flustered. I am Han Wu from Kai Yuan Martial Arts School," the dumpy old man laughed in a low voice, and then lifted his hand quickly.
Consequently, a silver ray of light dashed towards Uncle Xu. He caught it with a simple movement of his arm, acting almost automatically. The light turned out to be a triangle shaped identity card which was made out of silver and was as big as a palm. Two characters were carved on one side of the card, "Kai Yuan." On the other side, only one character had been carved, "Wu".
"Kai Yuan's identity card! So you really have come from the Kai Yuan Martial Arts School. However, I can't help but wonder what brings you to my home?" asked Uncle Xu as he observed the card carefully, letting out a relieved sigh.
"As a Hou Tian Warrior, I guess Brother Xu mustn't be strange to, or mustn't be unfamiliar to the surging the tide of the blood vessels" the dumpy man lifted one of his arms and said in a slow voice.
Suddenly a puffing sound was heard.
The bare part of his arm began to display some green patterns, with each one moving like a living thing. Grass began to then sprout out of his skin, growing up to an inch high! It was a scary sight indeed.
"Grass growing from flesh, and the surging tide of blood vessels? I understand now. You are a messenger from the school," Uncle Xu blurted out his findings as he saw the man. His face then expressed sudden enlightenment. However, Wang Tian Hao was still completely in the dark.
"Ha ha, it seems that there will be no need for me to explain to you why your nephew can inspire his ancestors' blood without any difficulty. I'm here to deliver a message from the alliance of the five martial arts schools' elders: It is now certain that the tide of the 'wild blood' has arrived. Therefore, all martial arts schools will open their Blood Halls, and send messengers to seek every possible blood warrior from amongst the Martial Disciples. Once a Martial Disciple is identified as a promising blood warrior, he can get enrolled into one of the schools without taking the enrolment test. Also, he will be receiving a lot more resources than the ordinary Martial Disciples," the stumpy elder man pronounced his message, his expression growing more serious.
"So the Blood Halls have really been opened! Then the three big sects will also open their gates, right?" Uncle Xu murmured. It had become difficult to gauge his mood now.
"Why, do you want to send your good nephew to the sects? Don't forget about who gave the Wang Family their title of the 'Clan of Blood Warriors', and who has been providing them with the money and food for the past three hundred years," Han Wu reproached with a stern face.
"Certainly not! We of the Wang clan have been protected by the court. So whenever there is a blood warrior in our family, we shall send him to the Blood Hall as soon as possible," Uncle Xu reacted instantly, offering his flattery.
"You must remember that! Now let's test and see if young master Wang has really inspired his Blood's Blaze; and see how pure his blood is," Han Wu's stern look eased up when he heard the respectful promise. He turned up his palm and an emerald green wooden bowl appeared atop his hand.
"Can I ask you one thing? As a blood warrior, what will offer me the best opportunities for progress, the three sects or the Blood Hall?" Wang Tian Hao calmly asked as he finally perceived their conversation.
"The three sects do all they can to mystify themselves to those of us not in a sect, which is why their actual strengths are unknown. However, they treat blood warriors casually, and pay lesser attention to them than our martial arts schools. After all, the sects have both blood warriors as well as magicians, as suggested by a rumour, who take up more of their resources. So only a small part of the resources is saved up to supply for the blood warriors. Our martial arts schools have done a lot of research on some famous blood warriors, and have created many peculiar martial arts that can add power to one's blood. So, what do we do? We simply add wings to a tiger to make it stronger. You'll never regret it if you come to our Blood Halls," Han Wu explained to Wang Tian Hao with a lot of patience, displaying amiable manners.
"If that is the case, I'll enter the Hall," Wang Tian Hao gave a casual nod on hearing the old man.
Uncle Xu could only twitch his mouth, unable to utter any disapproving words.
"Ha ha, that's quite sensible, young master Wang! Now please drip one drop of your blood into the bowl," the stumpy old man laughed delightedly as he passed his green bowl to Wang Tian Hao. The young man immediately bit his finger to make it bleed, and one drop of his blood fell into the bowl.
The drop disappeared into the bowl after a flash, and a puff of red fog emanated from the bowl. The puff rose to the height of a half inch, and then began turning into blazes after a swirl. The blazes didn't seem to be dispersing...
"You are indeed a promising 'blood warrior of the fire', and the purity of your blood belongs to the intermediate level. I'm afraid that the details can only be made clear at the Blood Hall, after some professional tests have been conducted. But still, I would like to congratulate you. You are entitled to get enrolled and be provided with the top-rated resources from the school if you even have an average level," Han Wu said after having recovered from the initial shock, only to be overjoyed over his finding.
Although the scene of the stumpy old man's blood-awakening had seemed quite enigmatic, he only ranked at the eighth grade of the elementary level. Otherwise he wouldn't have been a mere messenger. However, if he could manage to bring a blood warrior of the intermediate level back to his school, he would be offered a high reward.
"The intermediate level? That sounds fair enough," Wang Tian Hao's seemingly calm face concealed a grain of excitement. After all, there had only been one blood warrior among his ancestors who had made his family famous with an intermediate level of the sixth grade.
"Well, if you rank among the intermediate blood warriors, I wonder what rank your defeater would belong to," Han Wu said, deep in thought.
"What? Do you mean that there are other messengers in the city?" Uncle Xu asked, quite confused.
"Yes, indeed. I have one fellow companion in the city. He initially had to go on an errand to another city, but he offered to come here as soon as he heard about Shi Mu's great strength. Considering his amazing fights during this tide of 'wild blood', we both have come to think that it is likely that Shi Mu is a blood warrior as well." the stumpy elder man said with a smile.
Wang Tian Hao and Uncle Xu were quite astonished when they heard this, and couldn't help but gape at each other.
*In the backyard of the Liu Feng club*
Shi Mu was staring at a wooden stick that had been cut into pieces, as well as an ordinary long knife. The knife was inserted halfway into the ground. Shi Mu was unable to close his mouth for a long time.
"So this is the 'Blade-Throwing' Art?"
"Exactly. Though it may not be much to look at, but you just witnessed ten years of my experience in the skill. The key lies in grasping the right moment to apply the art, as well as the way you throw it. It is quite tricky as you may lose your weapon if the knife you throw misses its target. But ever since I accomplished the art, I have used it thrice, and never has my enemy been able to escape," Li Cang Hai said in a proud tone.
"That's brilliant! It really does catch an opponent off guard. Please teach me the basics," Shi Mu asked as he bowed, finally coming to himself and regaining his normal colour.
In reality, the sharpness of the art far surpassed what he had expected at the moment.
"Ha ha. I won't hold anything from you anymore because you have already won the championship for our Liu Feng club. Now listen well, for I'll tell you the essence of the art."
It took Li Cang Hai a good hour to explain the key points, meanwhile he kept picking up his long knife and performing the movements personally for Shi Mu, repeating each one until Shi Mu began to get the hang of it.
Shi Mu was about to begin practising when suddenly one their club's Martial Disciple came into the yard. He hurriedly told Li Cang Hai, "Master, someone claiming to be the blood messenger is out at the gate. He asked for Shi Mu."
"The blood messenger?" Li Cang Hai said, astonished at the title.
"Instructor Li, do you know what a blood messenger is?" Shi Mu was somewhat surprised.
"I'll tell you later. For now you should go and see the man. It seems like maybe your chance has come," Li Cang Hai replied after a long sigh, his facial expression changing several times before he could speak.
"My chance?" Shi Mu said suspiciously, blinking his eyes.
"Yes. I can only tell you that the messenger comes from one of the five martial arts schools. If he considers you promising, you can get enrolled into the martial art school immediately. You will then be offered resources inaccessible to ordinary Martial Disciples," Li Cang Hai said, his voice carrying a lot of authority.
"I will see him because master has asked me to," Shi Mu answered his instructor directly after thinking for a while, even though the news had come as a surprise to him.
The two of them then left the yard and headed straight to the club's gate.
Shi Mu saw two men engaged in a conversation when he entered the hall behind the gate. One of them was the red-faced instructor Min, while the other was a red-robed man, most of whose face was covered by a straw hat.
"Brother Li, Shi Mu, so you have come. This is Messenger Zhao from the Blood Hall," instructor Min greeted as he saw them come in, and introduced them in a cheerful tone.
"Since the messenger from the Blood Hall has come personally, I am guessing that 'the event' has taken place?" Li Cang Hai asked the messenger in a serious tone as he walked a few steps forward to greet him.
"Instructor Li is really no ordinary warrior, so I won't waste any more time exchanging pleasantries. I want to test this Martial Disciple in order to determine if he will really be a blood warrior in the future. If that turns out to be the case, I'll take him to the Hall with me, and make him a powerful warrior," the man in the straw hat made the announcement in a straightforward manner as he lifted his head slightly, revealing the exceedingly cold square-face beneath it.
"Alright. If the boy's chance has come, I won't stand in the way. Shi Mu, just do as Messenger Zhao asks," Li Cang Hai nodded his agreement.
Shi Mu also nodded silently as he gave the straw hat man a brief look.
It seemed as if straw hat man didn't really care at all about their response. He took out an emerald colored bowl from his sleeves and demanded, "Little boy, drip one drop of your blood into this. Then we'll see if you are a blood warrior."
After taking a deep breath Shi Mu drew his long knife from his waist, and swiftly cut his finger. The cut made an inch length wound on his finger, and a drop of blood instantly fell into the bowl.