Chapter 126: Talking About the Old Days
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: Novel Saga
"Congratulations, Brother Shi. I didn't know that you had such a deep knowledge of making magic charms. You can guide a few people here if you've some free time." Feng Li came over to Shi Mu with a smile on his face. He then said.
"Brother Feng is over-praising me. We can both consult with each other," Shi Mu replied politely. Feng Li then bid him goodbye and left.
"Brother Shi, please come with me. I need to talk to you about the independent stone chamber," Qing Feng approached Shi Mu once everyone had left. He then started to walk in the direction of the stone chamber.
Shi Mu followed him. They arrived at the entrance of the stone chamber after a while.
Shi Mu raised his head and saw a carved inscription in the center of the stone chamber's door. The word 'Earth' was inscribed in a green-blue color.
They pushed the 'Earth' inscription on the door, and entered the room. The room was more than a hundred feet wide. It was fully equipped; except for the ordinary stone bed and a few other things. Several kinds of facilities to prepare paper charms were available in the room.
A magic spell was carved on all the four walls of the room. It seemed to be the same restoration spell that Qing Feng had mentioned before.
"You'll receive an identity token for the Rat's Nest stronghold. You'll also need it in order to activate the restoration spell on the walls of this room," Qing Feng said. He then took out a token from his bosom, and handed it over to Shi Mu; it looked like a jade ornament.
Shi Mu nodded and received the token. He then started to stimulate his magic power in order to pour it into the token. After that, he raised the token in the air and shook it.
Suddenly, a white light spurted out of the white jade ornament, and dispersed in all the directions.
The charm spell on the four walls started to brighten-up. A cool breeze emerged, and started to blow gently in the room.
Shi Mu felt it over his body. He felt as if his spirit had become rejuvenated. He could sense that the restoration of his magic power and physical strength would take about one-third of the usual time inside this room.
Shi Mu nodded. He seemed to be satisfied with the environment of the room.
"Well, Brother Shi has undertaken a long journey. Moreover, he had to participate in a competition as soon as he arrived. You must be extremely tired. Take rest now. Wait till tomorrow... I'll come and assign you a task," Qing Feng explained to Shi Mu. Then, he left the room.
Shi Mu examined the stone chamber. Then, he pushed open the door and walked out.
He had planned to observe the entire stronghold since he was free until the next day.
The same night... in the 'Earth' stone chamber...
Shi Mu sat cross-legged on his bed. He was practicing the Art of Breeding Heavenly Elephants using his real Qi. He opened his eyes after a long while.
He had got a rough idea of the situation in the stronghold since he had explored it in detail.
This stronghold was spread in all directions - East, West, North and South. However, there was only a single gateway for the entire stronghold. This place looked similar to a rat's burrow. It had rightly been named 'the rat's nest'.
The charm magicians were required to complete the tasks assigned to them by Senior Master Fang Shang during the daytime. After that, they were free to do anything.
A few charm magicians practiced cultivation arts in their leisure time. A few disciples took-up small tasks from the jade wall in the hall where charm papers were made in order to earn extra feat points.
Moreover, the nearby Lan City was the home of one of the largest strongholds of the union. So, it was convenient for the charm magicians to use their accumulated feat points in exchange for a lot of practice resources from the stronghold - besides purchasing supplements for making paper charms.
This was the perfect environment for Shi Mu. He had already reached the fourth level of the Art of Breeding Heavenly Elephants. However, he was stuck in a bottleneck. So, he needed regular time to concentrate on the practice of cultivating his art.
Shi Mu's brows wrinkled as Jin Xiao Chai's silhouette appeared before his eyes. The woman had been looking at him in such a manner that he felt a little scared in his heart.
Fortunately, Jin Xiao Chai hadn't been selected by the union as an elder of this stronghold. So, Shi Mu was a little relieved.
However, he couldn't point out the time when he must've attracted the attention of this Xian Tian warrior.
This thought continued to trouble Shi Mu. Suddenly, he heard a knock on the door of his stone chamber.
His eyes moved. He stood-up to open the door. He opened the door to find a youth standing outside. It was Feng Li.
"Oh! Brother Feng, please come in." Shi Mu's face didn't reveal any unusual expressions. Instead, he greeted Feng Li with a smile on his face. He then stepped aside to let Feng Li enter.
"I've come here to see you. I hope I'm not disturbing Brother Shi..."
"How can you disturb me? I've just arrived here. There are several important matters which I wish to discuss with Brother Feng."
They greeted each other, and sat down at the stone table.
"Oh! I never thought that we - the school apprentices - will meet again. It feels as if we're having a reunion. Tell me, did you really kill Jin Tian? The Wu family was extremely offended. The two families had promised big rewards for your capture. In fact, I heard that they had sent great warriors from their clans to chase after you ... But, Brother Shi escaped... and joined the Black Demon Sect." Feng Li started to recall their days in Feng city. He sighed as he spoke.
"It was a coincidence. I was saved by luck." Shi Mu recalled the past days. He sighed as a beautiful figure flashed through his mind.
Then, Shi Mu narrated the incidents that had led him to join the Black Demon Sect. He also told him about his meaningful relationship with Zhong Xiu.
According to Miss Ke, Zhong Xiu had gained a lot of attention after being taken to the Tian Yin Sect by Ye Hong Yao. And, this was all because of her strong bloodline. She had been a part of the Sect since then. She hadn't been sent to the battlefield at the time of the barbarians' invasion.
So, Shi Mu didn't need to worry about her safety. In fact, one couldn't get close to her easily.
Shi Mu continued to think about the matter. Feng Li continued to chat with a neutral expression on his face. They both shared stories about how they joined their Sects.
According to Feng Li, the Black Fox had been wiped-out by another gang a year after Shi Mu left the Feng city. More-than-half of the members of the Black Fox were killed in the attack. Only a few had been able to escape.
Feng Li was one of the lucky people. He had then joined a robbers' gang to save himself from the enemies. He was a powerful youngster. So, he had become the leader of a small group. They had once robbed a few travelers. There was a young man among the travelers, and that man had an identity token of the Black Turtle Sect. Feng Li had taken his token from him. After that, he had joined the Black Turtle Sect.
Shi Mu didn't believe Feng Li's words; especially the story of him joining the Black Turtle Sect. But, he didn't think about getting into the depth of the story.
"Brother Shi has changed a lot in these years. I almost didn't recognize you when I met you," Feng Li said with a smile.
"The same is with you, Brother Feng. The Black Turtle Sect deserves its position among the great seven Sects. The cultivation technique in that Sect is extremely mysterious. It can make one feel youthful," Shi Mu said. It seemed as if he wanted to ask something.
"Hehe... This is the effect of my cultivation technique. It's called the Secret Art of Rising Sun. There's no use of this art... except for gaining a youthful body," Feng Li explained with a forced smile on his face.
"Oh! So, that's how it is... By the way, does Brother Feng know how Aunt Zhen and my younger sister are doing these days? They were facing difficult times back then. I too had unknowingly brought a lot of trouble on them," Shi Mu nodded his head and asked in a hesitant manner.
Aunt Zhen had been very good to him back then. And, Shi Yu Huan was Shi Mu's only blood relative. So, Shi Mu was extremely concerned about them.
"When Brother Shi killed Jin Tian... it was considered to be an enormous thing in Feng city. Even the ancestors of the Jin family were startled. Your Aunt Zhen also received its implication. But, her punishment wasn't too severe. She was forbidden from the Jin clan. Your younger sister Shi Yu Huan got enrolled into the Kai Yuan Martial Arts School. But, I have no idea how they're doing these days," Feng Li thought for a while and said.
Shi Mu let out a sigh of relief as he heard these words.
They continued to chat for some time. Then, Feng Li bid Shi Mu goodbye and left the room.
It was late night. Not a single sound could be heard. The moon shone brightly in the sky.
There was an exit in the western part of the Rat's Nest stronghold. A shadow quietly escaped from the exit, and rushed into the mountainous region. It was none other than Shi Mu.
He had climbed halfway through the mountain peak within a short span of time. He then found a flat surface, and sat down cross-legged.
The moon light shone brightly on his body. Shi Mu finally entered into his dreamland.
The Dead Spirit World...
There was a section of plain land near a tall mountain peak. There were several potholes on the surface of the land. Moreover, there was a ten-feet-wide puddle near the foot of the mountain.
Several skeletal remains were scattered in a haphazard manner at the edge of that puddle. The skeletons seemed to be of different sizes. If the scattered bones were joined together to form complete skeletons... then it could be estimated that a total of six human skeletons lay near the puddle.
Air bubbles emerged from the surface of the water in a continuous manner. Nothing unusual could be seen; except for the fact that the color of the water was an abnormal red.
Yan Luo lay under the puddle. It was opening and closing its mouth in a continuous manner. It seemed to be inhaling the bloody water. It then rose to in order to spit out the blood.
It continued to inhale and spit out the blood for a while. After that, the red color of the water started to become a little dull.
The color of the water in the small puddle eventually became transparent. The redness in the water seemed to have completely disappeared.
Suddenly, the green flame in Yan Luo's eye sockets flickered. It then stood-up, and stepped out of the puddle.
Two years had passed since Shi Mu had placed a contract on Yan Luo.
Yan Luo didn't seem much different than before. But, its body had become firmer, and the soul flame in its eyes had become stronger.
Now, Yan Luo had a blade on its sides. It also had a simple and crude bone armor wrapped around its body. The armor covered its arms, pelvis and other important joints.
Yan Luo looked at the puddle.
The light of the twelve round blood moons was shining on the surface of the water.
Suddenly, the transparency of the water started to fade, and it started to turn red once again. However, it was turning red at a very slow rate. The time it would take to transform into complete red couldn't be estimated.
Yan Luo looked away from the surface of the water. It didn't seem to be interested in it anymore. It then turned around, and started to walk towards a distant place.
At the hillside near the Rat's Nest stronghold...
The sky was clear.
Shi Mu's body shook as he came back from his dreamland.
One month later... inside the stone chamber...
Shi Mu sat on the stone bed with a white jade porcelain bottle in his hand. He seemed to be lost in thoughts.
He had been using his splendid paper-charm-making skills to help the stronghold in completing the emergency tasks assigned by the union. He had gained recognition from Master Fang Shang and the other Charm Masters in the stronghold.
Now, he was in a similar position as that of the other two spirit-ranked Charm Masters under Master Fang Shang's supervision. He was free to use all the materials in the storehouse at his will - for the purpose of making paper charms. But, he was required to sacrifice his feat points if he wanted to use the materials for himself.
The union had issued a red-lettered task a few days ago. Shi Mu had broken all records in completing this task. So, the union had also broken the rules, and had awarded him for making an exceptional contribution in the success of the task. He had been rewarded with a Breakthrough Pill.
Breakthrough Pill ¬- as the name suggests - helped a warrior in breaking through a bottleneck at different levels. Its effect was more remarkable for the Hou Tian Warriors. It was very rare as it was extremely difficult to refine.
Shi Mu was hopeful that he would break through the fourth level of the Art of Breeding Heavenly Elephants with the help of this pill.
Shi Mu put the porcelain bottle aside. He seemed to have taken a decision. He sat down in his stone bed, and exhibited the meditative posture. He then closed his eyes, and started to adjust his breathing.