Chapter 67: A Graceful Refusal
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: - -
"Brother Xiao, our Blood Dragon Gang has two magicians. So, the matter of mutual exchange won't be an issue. And you'll be entitled to receive some free pills every month if you join our gang. This Spirit-Strengthening Pill is one of them," Qu Kun hurriedly said as he saw Xiao Ming getting convinced by Jin Huan.
"Brother Xiao, the Holy Spirit Association also provides various kinds of pills like the Spirit-Strengthening Pill to our magicians every month; for free. We also have a practice-manuscript of a Spirit-Grade magician; it belonged to one of our senior disciples from many years ago. You can borrow it at any time if you join us," Jin Huan said proudly.
An envious expression could be seen on the faces of the surrounding disciples as they saw two major associations compete to convince Xiao Ming to join them.
However, Bai Shi stood beside his friend with a smile on his face. He was genuinely happy for his friend. He had even forgotten that his moment in the spot-light had nearly been snatched by Xiao Ming.
"A manuscript of a Spirit-Grade magician!" Xiao Ming was exhilarated. He turned his gaze and looked at Bai Shi for support.
Bai Shi remained silent. However, he gave him a slight nod.
Qu Kun was furious. He shouted in his heart for his bad luck. He was about to say something when Xiao Ming's voice burst out, "Senior Jin has invited me very earnestly... So, this younger brother won't turn down his offer. I'll be glad to join the Holy Spirit Association." Jin Huan was delighted as heard this.
"Brother Xiao has taken a sensible decision. You won't regret it... Now, may I ask whether or not Brother Bai intends to join our association?" the golden-haired youngster asked with a smile as he shifted his vision towards Bai Shi.
"I'll be glad to be a part of your association since my friend Brother Xiao is also willing to join it," Bai Shi replied with a smile.
The golden-haired youngster felt delighted as he heard his reply.
This left Qu Kun in an awkward position. His embarrassment took away the color of his face. His complexion became as dark as a black pot. However, he couldn't launch his counter in front of so many people. Suddenly, he caught a glimpse of Lan Feng. She was conversing with a girl in the crowd. His eyes brightened up. A trace of a smile appeared on his face as he walked towards her.
"Miss Lan, long-time no-see. The magical power of your blood seems even more exquisite than before," Qu Kun said with a smile.
"Senior Qu is overpraising me," she turned her head and replied in a cheerful manner.
"Miss Lan possesses an outstanding natural talent. You should be ranked among the best of the new disciples. Oh... by the way... may I know what you have decided regarding joining our Blood Dragon Gang?" Qu Kun asked with a smile.
"Well, that..." Lan Feng's vision moved. However, she didn't reply immediately; it seemed as if she was still considering the proposal.
"Miss Lan, I've a piece of advice for you. There isn't any difference between your current strength and that of the other new disciples. But, your strength will progress once you get help from some external force. Practicing by yourself won't be beneficial. After all, it's very difficult to achieve something great without anyone's help," Qu Kun stated in a dignified tone.
Lan Feng's beautiful eyes flickered as she cast her glance towards Bai Shi and Xiao Ming. She hesitated for a while. But then, she seemed to have taken a decision. She replied with a smile, "This young girl won't dare to turn down such a genuine offer since senior Qu has invited me again and again; it would be very disrespectful."
"Great! Sister Lan, the president of our Blood Dragon Gang happens to be in the valley today. Let's go and meet him. Our leader is a heroic person who upholds justice. He would be delighted to know that an extraordinary blood warrior like you is willing to be a part of our group," Qu Kun made the invitation in a cheerful manner.
Lan Feng didn't hesitate. She turned around and walked towards the mountain valley with Qu Kun after she had exchanged a few words with the girl she had been talking to.
The golden-haired youngster snorted contemptuously as he saw Qu Kun walk away. Then, he turned around and continued to talk with Bai Shi and Xiao Ming in a low voice.
The other disciples departed with despondent hearts since there was nothing left to witness.
Shi Mu too felt awkward. So, he bid his goodbye to Bai Shi and turned around to leave.
"Brother Shi, hold on for a second," Bai Shi's eyes flickered as he called-out to stop Shi Mu. Then, he turned around and whispered a few words to the golden-haired youngster.
The golden-haired youngster looked at Shi Mu with glimmer in his eyes. Then, he walked up to him.
"So, you are Brother Shi Mu? I heard from Brother Bai that you possess an uncommon strength. He said that you are a blood warrior as well. You are the one who had firmly received Qu Kun's punch on the entrance day. You may join our Holy Spirit Association if you wish," the golden-haired youngster stated in a generous manner.
Shi Mu was dumbfounded. Numerous thoughts bubbled-up in his mind as he tried to reach a conclusion. Finally, he clasped his hands across his chest respectfully and said with a smile, "Brother Jin has overpraised me. I was born with great physical strength. I have practiced a physical art that has made my skin very tough. That's why, I was able to receive Senior Qu's punch. But, it's mere a superficial strength. In fact, I don't possess any remarkable talent. So, I am afraid that I might disappoint Senior Jin and Brother Bai."
He smiled apologetically as he looked at Bai Shi.
A surprised look crossed Jin Huan's face. However, he didn't lose his temper because of Shi Mu's refusal. He said instead, "All human beings have their own aspirations. So, I won't force you to join us."
It was useless for him to strengthen a low-grade blood warrior's body. Therefore, he didn't go so far as to invite Shi Mu again and again.
Bai Shi let out a sigh as he saw that Shi Mu had refused the invitation. However, he didn't say anything. He turned his head and joined Jin Huan and others in conversation.
Shi Mu was struck by a variety of feelings as he saw Xiao Ming, Bai Shi and others being indulged in a passionate conversation. He felt disheartened. Then, he turned around and walked away.
However, he had only covered a little distance when a person's voice was heard from behind him, "Hehe... Brother Shi, wait a moment."
Shi Mu turned around to see a youngster with rough facial features approach him; that youngster was Huo Mao.
"Senior Huo, I had never thought that you would belong to the Holy Spirit Association," Shi Mu said with a smile.
Shi Mu hadn't harbored a favorable impression of Huo Mao because of his addiction for wine and straightforward nature.
"There's nothing to be so proud of. I only run errands for the association," Huo Mao waved his hand as he replied.
Shi Mu was startled. He was about to say something when Huo Mao let out a sigh. Then, he looked around and said in a whispering tone, "Brother Shi, you have joined this Sect recently. So, you aren't aware that both the Holy Spirit Association and the Blood Dragon Gang are very powerful groups. But, you won't get anything from them if you don't have an extraordinary talent. You'll be pushed aside. In fact, you may even get bullied by others. I personally suggest that you decline every call to participate in the gang-fights... if needed. You might as well stay away from all the groups and practice by yourself. You will enjoy more freedom this way. I personally think that Brother Shi did the right thing by refusing the invitation."
"Senior Huo, thanks a lot for your guidance," Shi Mu nodded and said in a soft voice.
Shi Mu had declined Jin Huan's invitation for two reasons - firstly, he was reluctant to rely on a 'condescending' help because of his self-respect; secondly, his refusal had stemmed from the same consideration which was made clear by Huo Mao's words.
After all, his practicing speed was restricted because of his wasted blood. His practice would've been further hampered if he were to use his precious time and energy to assist his group.
"Senior Huo, please excuse me. I have something to do. So, I'll take my leave. I'll certainly invite you for a cup of drink the next time we meet," Shi Mu looked in the direction of the Bluestone Plaza as he said.
"Hehe... I think Brother Shi wants to go there to buy pills, right? What a coincidence! I have to go there as well... Let's go together," Huo Mao said with a soft chuckle.
They started to chat as they walked towards the Bluestone Plaza.
"Brother Shi, I didn't ask you before - where do you hail from? The price of the pills required to practice the Art of Breeding Heavenly Elephants is not cheap. Could it be that brother Shi belongs to a respected family?" Huo Mao asked inquisitively.