Chapter 185: How Unreasonable!
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
Xiao Budian plucked the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb, and rubbed its thin bamboo-like leaves between his fingers. He grinned to himself, "It's just like what that person said. This is a rare treasure."
He scanned his surroundings shiftily with his large round eyes, "Well, I should leave now. That person should be returning anytime now."
With that, Xiao Budian slipped out of the mansion and disappeared amongst the crowds on the street.
Lin Feng gazed at Xiao Budian's back in silence, and as he noticed Miao Shihao's vision shifting towards him, he coughed to clear his throat. "Ahem, how embarrassing."
Miao Shihao grinned widely and said, "Not at all. I'm actually quite fond of this brat."
Lin Feng forced a hollow laugh, and thought to himself, "My poor disciple, you're being admired by such a sissy. I don't even know whether this is a blessing or a curse."
"Eh?" While attempting to entertain Miao Shihao with this awkward conversation, Lin Feng suddenly recalled something and gazed into the distance. He saw a group of people walking towards the mansion, and judging by the confident demeanour of the man right at the front of the group, Lin Feng knew that the mansion's owner had returned.
The owner was dressed completely in green, with a long sword secured to his waist by a blue ribbon. A ray of sword radiance shot up from his head all the way to the sky, as if opening the doors to heaven and drawing in the celestial spiritual energy from above.
This was a trait unique to cultivators of the Heavenly Sword Sect, or more specifically, sword cultivators who have already formed their Aurous Cores.
Behind him was a crowd of over ten people with nonuniform clothes and varying levels of mastery. Most of them, however, seemed incredibly intimidating, as if they all had their long blades drawn and ready to kill.
Among them were four Elders who were not ostentatiously flaunting their overpowering aura like the others, like razor-sharp swords kept in the scabbard. But if they needed to, their contained powers could explode violently, making them even more frightening than their haughtier counterparts.
With their sword radiance permanently exposed, the spiritual essence within is consequently more scattered, making it more vulnerable to erosion from the elements. Eventually, it would become blunt and useless.
But these four Elders were all cultivators at the Aurous Core stage, and could effectively contain their own mana and Sword Qi to prevent any leakage. Only during battle do they unleash their blinding and decimating sword radiance.
In doing so, their blades become even sharper and deadlier than before.
Everyone in this group shared one similarity - all of them yielded long swords. Regardless of whether the swords were secured at their waists or slung behind their backs, the swords all looked identical, as if they had been manufactured on an assembly line.
An ancient yet regal pattern depicting the mountains and rivers was carved onto each of their scabbards. This was the symbol of the Mount Shu Sword Sect.
These sword cultivators were all Mount Shu cultivators.
The Heavenly Sword Sect cultivator leading the way chuckled, "The 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb has been transplanted to my secret chamber. It still needs a little more time before it's completely ripe. My four respected seniors may lodge in my mansion for a few days."
"Once the Spiritual Conference is over, the spiritual herb should be completely matured by then."
One of the four Mount Shu Sword Sect elders stroked his long beard and nodded in satisfaction. "Thank you for the trouble you've taken, Fu Shuo."
Fu Shuo, the Heavenly Sword Sect cultivator, smiled and replied, "Since I wish to dedicate myself to Mount Shu, I can't possibly pay them a visit empty-handed. I just hope that the Baizhen Elder can put in a good word for me then."
His words were too direct, causing the various Mount Shu sword cultivators to curl their lips secretly in disgust.
Nonetheless, they were still very satisfied. After all, being able to obtain the Heavenly Sword Sect's most precious spiritual herb was certainly no small achievement.
The four Aurous Core elders looked at each other, and all of them cracked a bright contented smile.
"The Heavenly Sword Sect's strength has been rising fast in recent years, and their actions have also become increasingly presumptuous. They even tried to usurp our sect's position as the First Holy Land for Sword Art. It's time we teach them a lesson, and let them know that they should never challenge the authority of Mount Shu." The Baizhen Elder stroked his long beard and thought to himself, "Without the advantage bestowed by the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb and the Celestial Elixir, the Heavenly Sword Sect is incapable of causing any real harm."
The Mount Shu Sword Sect has been coveting the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb for a very long time, repeatedly formulating various strategies to secure it. They just have not confronted the Heavenly Sword Sect to demand for it.
The Heavenly Sword Sect was naturally well-guarded and under strict surveillance. Even if there were deserters attempting to flee to Mount Shu, no one would be able to take a single leaf from the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb out of the Heavenly Sword Sect.
But this time, Fu Shuo managed to extract an entire plant. Even though this was just a seedling, it has aroused the Mount Shu Sect's strong interest.
With that thought in mind, the Baizhen Elder gave a very straightforward answer. "You need not worry one bit. I will put in a good word for you in front of the Grandmaster. If it concerns the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb, even the Holy Masters may make an exception to welcome you."
Upon hearing this, Fu Shuo was elated, but he did not lose his cool and simply nodded, then raised his hand and gestured towards the elders. "Respected Elders, allow me to bring you to the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb. This way please ..."
Fu Shuo suddenly froze without even completing his sentence. After carefully sensed his surroundings, he broke out in cold sweat.
He could sense that the Heavenly Stairs Sword Formation, which he installed to defend the mansion, had been broken by an intruder.
"Calm down, calm down!" Fu Shuo bit his tongue and forced himself to regain his composure. Even though he felt incredibly frantic, he could not reveal his anxiety in front of the Mount Shu cultivators.
He was still desperately clinging on to the improbable possibility that the intruder did not notice the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb hidden in his secret chamber.
In fact, besides the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb, Fu Shuo also hid various talismans, spiritual herbs and other precious treasures around his mansion.
Fu Shuo was now begging the heavens, hoping that the intruder stole something else from the mansion. He didn't care if everything else was lost, but the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb must be left intact.
Especially since this herb only needed a few days more to reach maturity. If the herb was stolen, it would waste all the effort and time poured in to nurture it.
"Please follow me." Fu Shuo's heart was palpitating wildly, but he maintained a perfectly calm and confident composure as he led the group into the mansion.
Unfortunately, Mister Fu Shuo was so nervous that he did not notice that he was no longer walking in a straight line.
He led the cultivators into the main building of the mansion, and then straight down to the secret chamber. When he slammed the doors open, Fu Shuo almost collapsed in shock.
There was only a large depression in the ground at the centre of the empty chamber. The 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb was gone. Even the roots were all dug out.
When the Mount Shu sword cultivators entered the room after Fu Shuo and saw the cold barren chamber, their faces turned red.
The Baizhen Elder raised his eyebrows in vexation and asked, "Fu Shuo, what is going on?"
"Some bastard dug up the herb while I was away!" Fu Shuo's face was burning with resentment and he started hyperventilating in sheer anger. His body's sword Qi was surging uncontrollably, with the overwhelming power forcing the Mount Shu cultivators with lower mastery levels in the Foundation Establishment stage backwards.
Even though he already anticipated this outcome, Fu Shuo was still falling into hysteria. His eyes were seething with rage, wanting so hard to tear the thief apart and to peel the skin off that bastard's body.
He deserted from the Heavenly Sword Sect to join the Mount Shu Sword Sect. To the Heavenly Sword Sect, this was a crime worthy of death. With his previous sect being so desperate to slaughter him, his only chance of survival is to receive protection from the Mount Shu Sword Sect.
But after losing the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb, his golden ticket for salvation, the Mount Shu may no longer defend him with all their might.
The Mount Shu Sword Sect and the Heavenly Sword Sect might not be on good terms, but they are still members of the Nine Heavenly Sword Alliance. Furthermore, the Mount Shu Sword Sect is the leader of the Alliance, and sheltering a traitorous deserter from an ally sect is most certainly unacceptable.
Only the 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb would give the Mount Shu Sect enough reason to shield him from his pursuers.
Now with the herb missing, an ominous shadow of death loomed over Fu Shuo, making him nearly breathless.
"The spiritual energy in the soil hasn't dissipated completely. The herb thief hasn't gone far, chase after him! There's still a chance to get the herb back!
Fu Shuo screamed in exasperation and, without even waiting for the Mount Shu Elders, morphed into a ray of sword radiance and rocketed upwards, bursting straight through the floorboards and the roof of the mansion, into the sky.
The Mount Shu Elders glanced at each other and nodded in unison. Since Fu Shuo already abandoned the Heavenly Sword Sect, there would be no one else left in the world willing to protect him if he tries anything funny with the Mount Shu Sect too.
"It looks like someone has really stolen the herb." The Baizhen Elder said solemnly. "The 'Nine Steps to Heaven' Herb is extremely important to us. Let's go after him. We must retrieve the herb, it already belongs to Mount Shu. The herb thief will pay the price with his blood!"
Over ten rays of sword radiance rose into the air and propelled towards the direction that Fu Shuo flew off in.
"Xiao Budian strolled down the streets and contemplated to himself, "Hm, I'll bring this back for Master. But since there are eight segments in total, should I eat one segment first?"
As he was mulling over this, Xiao Budian suddenly sensed a murderous blast of energy lunging at him from behind. He turned around and saw an azure ray of sword radiance slicing through the skies, tearing through the clouds, and flying straight towards him.
A middle-aged man in green robes was riding on the sword radiance. It was indeed Fu Shuo. After a sweeping scan of the area with his mana, he quickly spotted the herb that Xiao Budian was carrying and roared maliciously, "You little pest, put down that herb!"
Xiao Budian spat out his tongue in response, and kicked up a storm of wind and thunder with his feet. He picked up speed instantly and slipped away without a trace.
Fu Shuo was smouldering in fury, and bellowed, "Heavenly Sword Teleportation Technique!"
He charged upwards into the skies and fused with his sword radiance in mid-air, morphing into a resplendent ray of azure light and pierced down through the clouds.
Fu Shuo's Heavenly Sword Teleportation Technique possessed extreme levels of speed as fast as lightning. In a blink of an eye, he had already caught up with Xiao Budian.
Xiao Budian turned around and exclaimed unhappily, "You are so unreasonable. Herbs are grown to be eaten, you're so petty!"
Such a bold and indignant statement inflamed Fu Shuo to the point where he almost vomited blood, nearly causing him to separate from his sword radiance.
"Eat this instead!" Fu Shuo's bloodshot eyes glared menacingly at Xiao Budian and with a swipe of his fist, the attacking power of his sword mastery of the initial Aurous Core stages soared to its peak. Fu Shuo was about to pierce Xiao Budian to death with one blow of his sword.
"How dare you steal my herb, I'll kill you ten thousand times!"
Xiao Budian snickered and flipped out his hand to reveal a golden plate.
The golden plate glowed brilliantly, and a ferocious tiger shimmering in a coat of pure gold light leapt out from the plate. Its thunderous roar shook the earth and reverberated through the lands, and countless gusts of winds sliced Fu Shuo's sword radiance into pathetic little bits like razor-sharp knives.
The giant golden tiger glared venomously at Fu Shuo with its piercing eyes, with its overpowering aura making Fu Shuo weak in his knees.
"The ... the peak of the Aurous Core stage?!" Fu Shuo's eyes were bulging from their sockets.
With a powerful swipe of its massive paw, the giant tiger sent Fu Shuo's sword radiance flying backwards as if it was swatting a fly.