Book 1 Chapter 12: Li Chengfeng
In a simple and crude house in the village, Bai Yunfei was sitting with legs crossed on a bed, recovering the soulforce he had used in the battle just then and at the same time pondering on what had just happened.
The task of handling those bandits' corpses had already been given to the villagers. Several people in the village including the village chief were severely injured but fortunately nobody had died.
When that youngster called Xiao Feng came to his senses, seeing corpses all over the ground, after knowing that all of them had been killed by himself, he vomited nonstop for over ten minutes. In fact, when Bai Yunfei saw those bodies which had been badly mutilated by his hacking, he was terrified inside too.
But the youngster did not regret killing those bandits at all. After vomiting, he still had an indifferent expression when looking at those corpses. Bai Yunfei could tell that his hatred for these bandits had reached an unimaginable level.
The youngster's name was Li Chengfeng. Originally he had lived in a hamlet beside Mt. Blackwood. But later, the bandits had broken in the village, burning, killing and pillaging. He had been hung up by those frenzied bandits and could only watch his family members get murdered one by one. His sister had even been violated before her death. Those bandits had not killed him but they had made him live in endless pain.
Half a year ago, he had come to this village. Only after he and Ling'er had fallen in love with each other had he gradually walked out from the shadow of that traumatic experience to start a new life. But what had happened today seemed to have caused him to relapsed into his old self. Plunged into a state of madness by the explosion of his hatred, he had killed all of the bandits knocked down by Bai Yunfei.
After being told about what had happened to him by the villagers, Bai Yunfei became rather emotional too. No wonder even though the people in the village had been afraid of him at that time, they did not react strongly against him afterwards at all. Those bandits were simply not worthy of compassion. It was impossible to tell exactly how many human lives they had killed and how many happy families they had destroyed.
Knocks at the door interrupted Bai Yunfei's train of thought. He raised his head, saying: "Come in."
After seeing the visitor, his eyes flashed with a tinge of an indescribable feeling. He said indifferently: "Why do you want to see me?"
The visitor was about the same age as Bai Yunfei. His shoulder-length hair, which should look elegant, was somewhat disheveled at the moment. There was a hint of profound sadness on his rather handsome face and his eyes appeared to have an unalterable hatred concealed in them. Because his body was injured, his face was slightly haggard - This was none other than Li Chengfeng.
After entering the room, he stood at the door and said to Bai Yunfei: "Young hero Bai, the bandit you brought back has woken up. We interrogated him and learned that they are from the Blackwood Stronghold on Mt. Blackwood. There are still twenty to thirty of them in a grove to the west of the village. If they know about the situation here, it's very likely that they will attack our village. Village chief told me to ask you if you have any solution..."
Bai Yunfei was stupefied. He had not expected that gang of bandits to still have associates, and over twenty people at that.
"Do you know how powerful they are?" Bai Yunfei asked after thinking for a while.
"That man said, their hallmaster Zhong over there is a soul cultivator of the late Soul Apprentice stage..." At this point, Li Chengfeng seemed to be somewhat afraid.
"You know about soul cultivators?" Judging from his current manner, obviously he knew about the fearsomeness of soul cultivators.
"I do... It's said that the chieftain of the Blackwood Stronghold bandits is a soul cultivator of the middle Soul Warrior stage with enough power to lift cauldrons, split boulders and tear wild beasts apart alive; the vice-chieftain is a late Soul Personage; the four hallmasters under them are all soul cultivators too. That hallmaster Zhong outside the village is one of them." At this point, Li Chengfeng's eyes showed a deep hatred: "Besides, that hallmaster Zhong was the leader of the bandit group that destroyed my former village and ruined my family!"
Bai Yunfei was somewhat preoccupied listening to him. He had not thought that a bandit group would be so powerful. Fortunately he had not been stupid enough to go and tackle them directly. Now it looked like he would also have to be extremely careful even when getting rid of small groups of bandits coming down from the mountain. Could it be soul cultivators were so widespread?
Moreover, there was even a hallmaster of the late Soul Apprentice stage not far from here. Compared to him, Bai Yunfei would probably be no match for him in a one-on-one fight. After all, they were basically not on the same level in real combat experience. However, he had the upgraded items, so the victor could only be decided after they had fought each other.
"Young hero Bai, you... are a soul cultivator too, right? Can you deal with that bandit group outside the village?" Li Chengfeng asked somewhat urgently. After all, at the moment, all the people in the village were staking their lives on this mysterious youngster. He really could not imagine how terrible it would be if those utterly inhuman bandits rushed into the village - He really could not bear to once again lose someone he loved.
Bai Yunfei raised his head and looked at him but did not answer his question. His eyes glittering, it seemed he was considering a certain decision.
"Do you want to get revenge with your own hands? Do you want to protect what is important to you with your own power?"
"What?" These words, said by Bai Yunfei after keeping silent for a long time, stupefied Li Chengfeng then sent a tremble through his entire body. He asked with a mixed expression of excitement, pleasant surprise and hope: "You mean..."
Bai Yunfei said with a nod: "Your soulforce has awakened. I can teach you the method of soul cultivation, allowing you to become a real soul cultivator."
With a flop, Li Chengfeng knelt down in front of Bai Yunfei, ready to kowtow in salute.
However, when he was just halfway through bowing down, he was held back. It turned out Bai Yunfei had already dashed up to him at some point and stopped him from kowtowing.
"I didn't mean I'd take you as my disciple at all. You don't need to bow to me. I can't accept it. I've decided to teach you that method because I'll probably need your power in the upcoming battle. Besides... I can understand your feelings to some extent so I just want to help you a bit out of convenience..."
With a shake of Bai Yunfei's wrist, a gray scroll appeared in his hand. He passed it to Li Chengfeng, saying: "At the moment you can feel a special force in your body, right? That's your soulforce. Pour soulforce into this scroll and you'll be able to learn the skin and flesh control method of the Soul Apprentice stage. This scroll is still useful to me so at the moment I can't give it to you permanently. Just return it to me tomorrow."
Looking at Li Chengfeng's expression, Bai Yunfei thought for a while then continued: "You go and tell the villagers to pile the bodies of those bandits up at the entrance of the village. I think... this should be able to stop those men for a night. Tomorrow, if you have gained some understanding of soulforce, the two of us should be able to deal with them by teaming up. But if they want to attack the village tonight, then I'll have no choice but to fight them with all my might..."
... ... ... ...
The bright moon was hanging high in the starry sky. In the grove, the several campfires were already about to go out. Hallmaster Zhong said with a somewhat solemn expression while staring at the campfire in front of him: "This Tang Gui still hasn't returned yet... Could it be, something unexpected has happened?"
At this moment, a clatter of horse hooves was heard. This was the man sent out to scout the situation coming back. Hallmaster Zhong raised his head to look at him. Not waiting for him to ask first, with a terrified expression, that man said in a trembling voice even before getting off the horse: "Dead... They're dead! Tang Gui and those brothers are all dead!"
These words shouted by him woke all the men who were about to sleep up with a start. They gathered around him successively. That man took a breath and continued: "The bodies of Tang Gui and the others have been piled up at the entrance of the village. They... they're all dead!"
Only now did everybody understand completely. They were all shocked.
"What did you say? Those ten something men are all dead?"
"Did you get it wrong? Tang Gui isn't weak. Ordinary people are simply no match for him!"
"It's just a small village. How could it have possibly killed them all?!"
"Get your weapons ready, everybody! Let's go to that village and have a look. If it's true, let's exterminate them to avenge Tang Gui and those brothers!"
"Don't panic. There may be some expert over there..."
"All of you shut up for me!" hallmaster Zhong shouted his command angrily upon seeing everybody thrown into disorder. The expression on his face was very unsightly. As soon as he shouted, the grove quieted down.
Hallmaster Zhong looked at that man who had gone to scout previously, saying: "Did you really see their bodies? Are there any other circumstances?"
"It was really their bodies. I... I was afraid there would be danger so I didn't get too close to them and didn't dare to act rashly. Then I immediately came back to report to you, Hallmaster."
After listening to what he said, hallmaster Zhong did not say anything again. He lowered his head and pondered expressionlessly: "Someone who can kill the thirteen of them including Tang Gui is definitely not weak. Maybe... that's a soul cultivator! What's their purpose in piling the corpses up outside? To anger us to lead us into attacking then ambush us? Or to frighten us so that we won't dare to act rashly?"
After a long time, he lifted his head and swept his eyes over everybody, saying: "We're not familiar with this place so attacking at night would put us at a disadvantage. We'll rest for a night. At dawn tomorrow, we'll kill our way into the village! They have provoked our Blackwood Stronghold. We'll definitely destroy their village and kill them all!"
... ... ... ...
Because Bai Yunfei did not know when the bandits outside the village would come to attack, he did not sleep at all. Instead, he sat on the bed practicing cultivation while always paying attention to the situation outside. To him now, not sleeping for a day or two would not affect him too much.
The enemies were a hallmaster of the late Soul Apprentice stage and over twenty other vicious bandits. If he was on his own, he would definitely be no match for them. Hopefully in a night's time Li Chengfeng could roughly grasp how to use soulforce and to control the skin and flesh. If that was the case, there would be two soul cultivators on this side, and when they cooperated with each other... they could win!
With a thought, Bai Yunfei took out from the interspatial ring a +9 dagger: "I can't use too much soulforce. But if I have one more weapon with an additional attribute, I'd have a greater chance of winning. Let's upgrade this just once and see!"
"Item grade: Normal.
"Upgrade level: +10.
"Additional damage: 27.
"+10 Additional effect: Attacks have a 2% chance of slowing the target's speed for 10 seconds.
"Upgrade requirement: 15 soul points."
"Successful!" Bai Yunfei was delighted, "Speed reduction... A pretty good effect.
"Then... Let's be ready to welcome the first real battle in my life!"
... ... ... ...
The next day, when light had just appeared, Bai Yunfei called Li Chengfeng out. He had been practicing for a whole night. Judging from his vigorous expression, his training seemed to have gone rather well. Bai Yunfei asked: "How's your training?"
Li Chengfeng respectfully handed the scroll to him, saying: "I have memorized the method for soulforce cultivation and the first level of body control. After a night of practicing, the injuries on my body have healed. I have consolidated my early Soul Apprentice stage and can already control my skin and flesh to a simple extent as well."
Afterwards, he walked towards a washbasin-sized rock on one side and raised his right fist. It swelled up in an instant and he smashed it down violently. Amidst soft cracks, the rock was broken into pieces. He picked up a piece about the size of an egg and squeezed with force. A large amount of very small fragments then fell down.
Bai Yunfei was somewhat amazed. After just a night, except for having healed his injuries, Li Chengfeng could even grasp the first level of body control to such an extent. To him, this was rather unexpected.
"Not bad, given your current power, those ordinary bandits are already no match for you. Even though you lack real combat experience, using your speed and strength, and something I'm about to give you, it shouldn't be difficult for you to deal with them.
Last night they didn't attack so they'll definitely come not long after dawn. At that time, we..."
After explaining everything clearly, Bai Yunfei patted his shoulder with a solemn expression.
"The safety of this village will depend on the cooperation of the two of us."
"Then, let's fight with all our might!"