Chapter 110: Miss Ke
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: Novel Saga
Shi Mu noticed a blue light's flash in the roots of the tree; it turned out to be a big hole. It was an entrance to a dark tunnel. A three-meter-wide hole had appeared in the roots out of thin air. A stone staircase could be seen inside the hole.
Shi Mu entered the tunnel.
The air in the tunnel rippled as Shi Mu stepped inside. The entrance of the tunnel became fuzzy, and then vanished without a trace.
Shi Mu passed through a short passageway, and arrived at a spacious underground space.
The walls of the tunnel were embedded with a number of ores. They were emitting a white light, and were illuminating the dark underground space.
The underground tunnel seemed to be a deserted mine; it was completely dry from the inside. There were traces of excavation on the surrounding walls. Moreover, there were around a dozen shabby stone rooms in the tunnel.
A crude stone table and a few stone stools were laid in the depth of this underground space. Seven or eight people sat around the table. They seemed to be discussing something. They turned their heads in Shi Mu's direction as they heard the sound of his footsteps.
The hazy expressions on the faces of these people could be seen vividly in the sparkling silver radiance of the surrounding stones.
These people looked extremely young. Each one of them was around seventeen or eighteen years old. They wore different uniforms; this meant that they belonged to different Sects.
Some of the disciples smiled as they saw Shi Mu. They greeted him with a smile.
"Brother Shi, your return from this mission was delayed in comparison with your previous ones."
"Look at his face. It seems that he has successfully completed his mission again... right?"
Shi Mu smiled and nodded to the surrounding people. Then, he acknowledged the disciples who had greeted him.
"Ah... Brother Shi, are you injured?" a delightful female voice rang-out. It belonged to a sixteen or seventeen years old girl. She wore a green robe.
Her bright eyes flickered like a star. She had a pointed nose and fair skin. Her skin seemed as soft as cream. She had an exquisite figure. She was looking at Shi Mu's right arm; it was smeared with blood.
There was a long wound on his arm. It looked distinct even though the blood had dried-up. It was indeed a ghastly sight.
"It's just a little bruise. There's nothing to worry about. I would still like to thank Miss Ke for her concern," Shi Mu looked at his wound, and replied with a faint smile.
The delicate eyebrows of the green-robed girl wrinkled; it seemed as if she wanted to say something. Suddenly, a young man stood-up; he had been seated beside the beautiful girl. He had been quiet till now. The surrounding people became silent as they saw this.
"Brother Shi, have you accomplished your mission?" The young man was dressed in the blue uniform of the Black Turtle Sect. He asked in a bitter tone.
Shi Mu wrinkled his eyebrows. His facial expressions turned indifferent. He pulled out a silver-embedded bone token from his bosom, and handed it over to the blue-robed youth.
The youth received the token. He examined it carefully a few times. Then, he took out a one-foot-wide round jade plate from his clothes. After that, he took out a short silver stick, and touched the plate with it.
'Buzz!' a humming sound was heard.
Suddenly, a luminescent layer of white light emerged on the surface of the plate. The light then condensed into a two-feet-long light screen in the air. Several lines of text started to appear on it. They were the missions that had been assigned to these disciples. The assigned missions were recorded on the screen.
Everyone's eyes lit-up brightly as they looked at the light screen.
The blue-robed youth pointed the silver stick at one of the missions; it involved the ambushing of the barbarian's patrolling troops.
The light-screen sparkled, and spouted out a group of light beams. The light beams transformed into the shadow of a young barbarian and an image of an especially-made bone token. Some strange characters could be seen on the surface of the token. The image of the silver-embedded bone token and the token in the young man's hand were an exact match.
The young man compared the image with the token in his hand. The corner of his eyes twitched slightly. His facial expression became indifferent as he gave a reluctant nod. He then recited an incantation, and pointed the silver stick at the screen.
The light-screen flashed, and that mission disappeared from the screen.
Shi Mu fished out a palm-sized black token from his bosom, and tossed it over to the blue-robed young man.
Shi Mu's name was mentioned on one side of the token. A few cloud-shaped strange magic characters were carved on the other side. Number '452' was etched in the center of the token in silver letters.
The young man's complexion darkened, but he didn't say anything. He gently touched Shi Mu's token with the silver stick.
A silver light sparkled as the number on the token was increased by twenty points. Now, there was number '472' on the token.
A black light flashed as the young man tossed the token back towards Shi Mu.
Shi Mu caught the token without even exchanging looks with the young man. Then, he bowed to the surrounding people and began to depart.
The war with the barbarian race had started the same year. Several large-scale confrontations had erupted between the barbarians and the armies of the three Kingdoms during this period. Moreover, the union formed-and-headed by the seven big Sects had waged three large-scale battles against the eight tribes of the barbarian race.
The outcome of the three battles had turned out to be detrimental for both sides. Both the sides had suffered major losses. Several Earth Grade Warriors had been wounded badly. Moreover, both the sides had lost several Xian Tian warriors.
The human race had more powerful Earth Grade warriors than the barbarian race. However, Mang Shang - the top barbarian warrior - had an extraordinary strength. Even the most formidable Earth Grade Human warriors didn't stand any chance against him.
Therefore, both the sides had reached a mutual agreement after the third major battle. An ingenious balance had been attained as a result.
Suddenly, both the sides had stopped dispatching the warriors of Xian Tian level or above to the battlefield. Instead, the Hou Tian warriors from both sides had become the main fighting force on the battlefield.
The human race had started to dispatch massive numbers of Hou Tian warriors to the war-ridden areas of the three kingdoms; especially the ones that had been occupied by the barbarians. They constantly raided the barbarian's strongholds, and assassinated their Totem Warriors. Their aim was to undermine their strength bit-by-bit.
However, the barbarians had adopted the same policy. Therefore, the large-scale battles had ceased to take place. Instead, small battles had started to burst-out on a daily basis.
The union of the seven big sects had decided to mobilize the disciples of various sects to fight against the barbarians jointly in order to resist the invasion in an effective manner. The elders of the seven sects had arrived at an unprecedented agreement. They had decided to integrate the manpower and resources of the seven sects. Then, they had set-up the union missions with a special meritorious system.
The elders of all sects had unified their disciples and distributed them into several small teams. The team-members were supposed to work together peacefully. Each team was assigned various missions, and was directed to coordinate with the official armies of the Three Kingdoms. These teams were sent to fight against the barbarian's invasion.
There was also a 'mission system'. The union rewarded a disciple with 'feat points' once he or she completed the assigned mission. These 'feat points' were to be exchanged for training resources from the union's strongholds or their respective Sects.
The missions issued by the union differed on the basis of their difficulty levels. The most dangerous task was to be assigned to the forefront with instructions to infiltrate deep into the barbarian's strongholds - like Shi Mu's team.
However, no one had specifically targeted Shi Mu in terms of sending him on such a perilous mission. Instead, the union had issued this death order to the disciples of all the sects in order to resist the barbarians in an effective manner. The sects had made a rule - every disciple had to stay at the battlefront for at least one year before they could apply for a transfer to some other place.
This mine tunnel was one of the secret strongholds on their frontline. Several disciples of various sects were gathered here as a team. Most of them were primary or junior stage Hou Tian warriors; they constituted a group of formidable and elite warriors. They were mostly assigned to assassinate barbarian totem warriors and gather top intelligence about the enemy. Therefore, this group was the strongest stronghold of the union.
The blue-robed young disciple was named Bai Yu Xiu. He belonged to the Black Turtle Sect. He was the dominant one in this group since he had reached the advanced stage of the Hou Tian level. Therefore, he was nominated as the leader of this team by the union.
However, he wasn't on good terms with Shi Mu. In fact, their relationship was extremely cold.
The green-robed young girl was named Ke. She was a wood-style magician-practitioner of the Tian Yin Sect. She excelled at Healing Magic with her wood-style magic art. She was one of the two magicians in this stronghold. She had become quite popular among the male disciples of this stronghold because of her splendid beauty and elegance.
Shi Mu was the only other magician in this stronghold. Therefore, the two of them had a lot of things in common. Moreover, Shi Mu had been concerned about Zhong Xiu - who was also the member of the Tian Yin Sect. So, he had taken initiative to communicate with Ke more than anyone else. Therefore, both of them were on good terms.
"Brother Shi, wait! Let me see your wound." Ke approached Shi Mu, and held his wounded arm without any hesitation. Then, she started to examine his wound.
Bai Yu Xiu was upset to see this.
Shi Mu didn't reject her help. He stood motionless and allowed her to examine his wound.
It was a long wound, but it wasn't deep. Moreover, there was no indication of poisoning.
Ke felt relaxed. She extended her slender finger towards the wound. Then, she started to chant delightful words of a strange incantation.
Suddenly, a ball of hazy-green light emanated out of her fingertip. She slowly moved her finger along with the green light around the wound. Then, the green beam of light enveloped Shi Mu's wound.
Shi Mu felt a cool sensation and an irresistible itch in his wound. It was hard to endure this feeling. Surprisingly, his wound was rapidly healed - only a slight scar was left behind on his arm.
He knew that the scar would disappear within three to four days.
"Sister Ke's wood-style Healing Technique is truly amazing. Thank you so much..." Shi Mu didn't feel the slightest pain as he swung his arm. Then, he smiled and complemented.
"Brother Shi, you don't have to be so polite. I should rather thank you for bestowing so many paper charms on me during my previous missions," Ke smiled and replied. Her curved eyebrows quivered slightly.
"Oh! Sister Ke is so biased. She always calls us 'fellow apprentices'. But, when she meets with 'someone'... she changes her term for addressing, and calls him 'brother'." A strange laughter burst-out in the crowd.
Ke turned around and pulled a face at the other disciples as she heard these words.
Her playful expressions were a sharp contrast to her pretty appearance. This constituted a unique aura around her that made even Shi Mu's heart skip a beat.
However, her playful appearance made Bai Yu Xiu's complexion even more unsightly.
"Sister Ke, you can call me 'Brother' Guan too," a person with a huge built and plump body teased her with a grin.
Ke turned around and looked at him without saying a word. Then, she bid Shi Mu goodbye and walked in the direction of her room.
Another girl stood-up, and left along with Ke. She had a petite stature, and a cold face. She was dressed in a white robe. The two of them whispered to each other as they walked out of the room.
This white-robed girl seldom spoke. Shi Mu knew that she was a female disciple of the Tian Yin Sect, and was on good terms with Ke.
Shi Mu also turned around and advanced towards his stone room without responding to anyone.
His room was situated deep inside the mine; it was the most peaceful area of this tunnel.
Shi Mu changed into clean clothes as soon as he entered his room.
Suddenly, someone knocked on his door.
Shi Mu frowned. He opened the door, and found a young Taoist warrior standing at his door. A sword was hung on the youth's back.
"Brother Shi, I know you've just returned from a mission. So, I didn't wish to disturb you. But, I've just received a mission; it's a difficult one. So, I'm in a desperate need of a Golden Armor Charm..." the young Taoist requested in an embarrassed tone.
"Brother Qin, you don't need to be so formal. Just come in with your materials," Shi Mu invited him inside. Then, he sat down by his stone table and said with a smile.
This stronghold was set-up very deep inside the enemy-occupied territory. Shi Mu was the only person who could make paper charms in this stronghold. So, all the disciples had to ask Shi Mu for charms. Therefore, Shi Mu held a high status in the stronghold, and everyone was polite to him.
After all, a paper charm could determine a life-and-death situation in the battlefield.