Chapter 21: The Strength of a Saint Ranked Expert
The warm winds, that had previously proved this night to be yet another mild summer night, had turned into a frozen gale that stabbed through Hui Yue’s skin as if it contained icicles.
The expression that usually stayed indifferent was now alert. His eyes were shining with acumen. Hui Yue retreated a few steps to the side, so as to allow all seven men to be within his eyesight.
While taking a defensive stance, Hui Yue observed the men in front of him in much more detail than he had done before. Their black cloaks were made from a glistening material with black inscriptions woven upon them, emitting a silvery light. These black inscriptions seemed to be releasing some kind of spiritual force, which caused the air around the men to fluctuate slightly.
However, these men were completely covered by these cloaks, disallowing even one patch of skin to be visible. No shine from the eyes could be seen from within their hoods, nor could any sound of breathing be heard. Even while looking closer at these cloaked men, it was still impossible for Hui Yue to sense even the slightest bit of cultivation base from within.
Hui Yue took a deep breath, and forced his body into tranquillity. Deep within Hui Yue’s Qi cave was the Qi spiral, containing the essence which had meticulously been refined through years of hard work into a high quality Qi.
Although this Qi only amounted to a six-star Student Ranked cultivator, the quality allowed Hui Yue to use it much more efficiently. Currently, the Qi spiral was swirling around like a hurricane, as it had been forcefully merged together with Lan Feng’s aura, but ever so slowly, small strands of Qi released themselves from the hurricane and coursed through his meridians in a scrupulous and exceedingly controlled manner.
The men surrounding Hui Yue were extremely alert and observing this ‘expert’ in front of them closely. They were in the dark as to what was happening within his Qi cave, and although they had the numbers advantage, they thought they were inferior to the expert in brute strength, and did not wish to make the first move.
The Qi that had spread through Hui Yue’s body started to gather between his palms, in which a small fire sparked to life, fuelled by the aura of Lan Feng which caused it to grow at a much more rapid pace than ever before.
Together with the incipient Fire Spark, small white twirls of Qi gathered at Hui Yue’s feet and slowly fastened themselves to his ankles, verifying that Velocity Flow had been primed for use.
The small flame growing between Hui Yue’s palms did not seem to cause the seven black cloaked men much trepidation at first, as they easily noticed how the skill was a low ranked martial art skill. Unfortunately, this small spark grew into an explosive flame within mere seconds, and while the flame was growing, Velocity Flow being let loose took Hui Yue out of reach of the surrounding men.
Although this one move had been performed within the blink of an eye, the seven men expressed no sign of surprise or annoyance, resuming the pursuit in a heartbeat.
The lack of a reaction caused Hui Yue to frown slightly as a he felt a sense of danger creep up on him from behind. However, where the lack of a reaction was unforeseen, their swift reaction had been within Hui Yue’s expectations, and he acted accordingly, releasing the explosive flame which had grown to the limit of his control.
As the flame left Hui Yue’s palm, a smile appeared on his face and he shot a large strand of Qi from the releasing palm into the flame, allowing it to grow beyond his control and made it explode with a strength far superior to the six-star Student rank he was.
Hui Yue himself could not help but being secretly impressed with himself. Although his attack was far from strong enough to defeat any of their pursuers, it was enough to slow them down, and even cause them to avoid the explosion, in turn allowing Hui Yue to increase the distance between the pursuer and the pursued.
If anyone had been capable of observing this chase, they would say that Hui Yue was lenient and soft as he was trying to escape from weaker experts. However, although Lan Feng had merged Hui Yue’s and his aura together, it was still impossible for Hui Yue to make full use of Lan Feng’s cultivation.
This had caused all the skills that Hui Yue used to be a creation of his own cultivation base, but they still contained the aura of a saint ranked expert.
Although the explosion caused by Fire Spark had created a head start for Hui Yue, he noticed that the gap was closing rapidly, and he fleetly created another Fire Spark, which he fused with Lan Feng’s affinity once more, and created another explosion.
This time the explosion caused almost no disturbance to the pursuing men; however, Hui Yue smirked as he had achieved his goal. A copy split up from Hui Yue and moved into an alleyway.
This copy was a result of his complete mastery of Velocity Flow, and although it had no use in combat, nor would it survive more than one hit, it still looked exactly like Hui Yue, so much so that even the aura had the oppressiveness of a saint ranked expert.
A martial attack skill capable of producing a copy like this was rare, but Hui Yue sighed dejectedly when the cloaked men once again displayed a lack of ambivalence. Wordlessly, three of the cloaked men split up from the group and started to chase down the copy.
‘Dammit, those fuckers are really pushing me to my limits,’ Lan Feng growled from within Hui Yue’s dantian cave. The phoenix looked much paler than usual, his celestial shine had dimmed and his blue eyes were teeming with exhaustion from maintaining their merged aura for such a long time.
‘Screw it, stop!’ Lan Feng continued his scolding, but Hui Yue did not have the time to focus on the frustrated bird right now; he felt that these black cloaked men were anything but ordinary, and he definitely needed to escape from them as soon as possible.
‘I said stop, you useless son of a bitch!’ Lan Feng swore at Hui Yue, ‘I can’t keep this fucking merge going any longer, just let me roast those cunts!’ Although they were currently rushing away, Hui Yue could not avoid feeling slightly uncomfortable by the abuse he was currently suffering.
Lan Feng’s distress was understandable, however. To merge the two auras, Lan Feng needed to constantly keep his entire cultivation base in rotation, forcing it to encase Hui Yue’s Qi spiral.
Although it might not sound too hard, it was a cultivation base which relied on spiritual energy, and usually spiritual energy would manifest as a sea within Lan Feng’s soul, not a swirling case around a Qi spiral. Currently Lan Feng’s focus was drawn to the max, and the spiritual energy was constantly trying to escape, to burst out, causing the already hot-tempered Lan Feng to become even more so.
The fact that Lan Feng had constantly rotated his sea into an abnormal shape for more than a full day had caused that his previously abundant spiritual energy sea had become thin and unreliable.
Even Hui Yue’s student ranked Qi spiral was capable of almost breaking through. If he was capable of breaking through the remaining energy, how would Lan Feng be able to handle the seven men which were following them?
Hui Yue was well aware of Lan Feng’s destructive power, however to fuel this power, spiritual energy was needed, and Lan Feng had used up the majority of his spiritual energy already. Hui Yue did not wish for Lan Feng to use the rest, unless he was absolutely certain that he could not get away on his own.
Hui Yue gritted his teeth and sighed deeply. The men behind him caused an unexplainable fear to creep up on him, as if nothing was exactly as it seemed, and at the same time, he had to deal with the frustrated blue bird within his Qi cave which was rapidly emptying.
Fatigue was slowly making its way through the young child’s body, and the speed with which the short legs were moving was drastically slowing down. A flash of resilience appeared within his blue eyes, and Hui Yue forced the final strands of Qi to his feet, before he once again shot away as a beam of light.
This was unfortunately the last struggle which Hui Yue could put up, and within a few seconds he was once again surrounded by seven black cloaked men. Hate and helplessness welled up within Hui Yue’s eyes as he had not even noticed the final three men re-joining the rest during the hectic chase.
Gritting his teeth, Hui Yue looked at the men, anticipating their next move, however just like before, these men did nothing apart from surrounding him. An eerie silence had appeared within the empty street, both sides tentatively awaiting the other’s action.
‘FUCK YOUR FATHER!’ Lan Feng roared within Hui Yue’s body, and an explosive force was released. Without any warning a massive sea of fire seemed to have forced Hui Yue to enter his usual state of meditation where he controlled his consciousness instead of his body. Shock and disbelief filled Hui Yue’s soul as he feared that Lan Feng was harming their body. No matter how much he tried, he was unable to connect to Lan Feng’s soul – the only thing he felt was a roaring fire.
Unlike how Hui Yue usually could force his consciousness back and retake his body, this time it was impossible. The Qi cave was covered by scorching hot blue flames and although Hui Yue had not touched them, he knew by intuition that they were deadly.
The shock and terror subsided and was replaced by astonishment. The body which Hui Yue had no control over was currently buzzing with unrestrained energy, so much energy was compressed within this tiny body that steam was starting to appear on the white skin.
Constant energy ripples caused the air around Hui Yue’s body to distort and become obscured, making it impossible to truly see what Hui Yue looked like, even if he had removed his conical hat.
“I warned you before,” A rumbling voice sounded from Hui Yue’s mouth, and the Hui Yue who was only a consciousness within the Qi Cave was shocked upon hearing it. This was Lan Feng’s voice, but although the voice belonged to Lan Feng, it felt so foreign as it was spoken out loud.
To see things with eyes that was not his, to sense things with senses that did not belong to him. To speak words that he did not say. These feelings were all new to Hui Yue, and he finally understood which kind of life Lan Feng had been living for the past ten years.
Suddenly, Hui Yue felt how the sea of hellfire that was currently surrounding him started to move through the meridians in a pattern all too similar to the modified Fire Spark which he had previously created, and as he noticed the pattern, he also felt how his hands suddenly were parallel to each other, exactly as if he himself was about to practice Fire Spark, however, this time, he had done absolutely nothing for it to happen.
The first spark that appeared was even larger than the highest capacity that Hui Yue was currently capable of producing, and this flame was expanding rapidly, so rapidly that it started to suck up the ice cold air that was left within the empty streets. This wind flowed around the flame, which no longer was between the two palms, but raised above Lan Feng and Hui Yue’s head, where the flame had turned into an orb of scorching hot fire, radiating like a sun.
“Boom.” As soon as the words exited Lan Feng’s mouth, the small sun which was currently hovering above their head shot towards the men who were standing in front of him. Unfortunately, they had enough time to react to the fire, and they managed to flee to one side, allowing the small sun to pass past them and detonate against the wall.
The wall itself was built of stone, and the stone turned into molten lava as soon they got in contact with the fire orb, allowing it to run rampant in the family compound which was located on the other side.
As soon as the wall had collapsed, a warm breeze suddenly appeared, bringing along loud voices from all over the city, causing the eerie silence to disappear.
Hui Yue had once again gained control of his body, and Lan Feng was sitting within the dantian cave, his feathers grey and his appearance unsightly.
The seven black cloaked men were nowhere to be seen, and second after second caused multiple screams to appear from within the burning family compound.
Hui Yue quickly turned away and decided that it was time for him to leave, but as he turned around, he felt a hand on his shoulder, causing him to tense up once more.
‘Seriously, you caused such a huge fire but you still missed?’ Hui Yue swore as he knew that the men had finally caught him,
‘It’s your fault for practicing such trash skills in the first place,’ Lan Feng retorted, although he was exhausted, he still did not cope well with being given the blame, ‘also have a look at the pretty boy, I doubt he is here to cause trouble.’ With that, Lan Feng decided to lay down and go to sleep, causing Hui Yue to feel slightly surprised.
“We better get out of here,” a familiar voice said close to Hui Yue’s ear, and the white-haired boy looked with surprised at Deng Wu who had appeared out of nowhere. “I live next door,” he said as an explanation upon seeing the doubt currently spread across Hui Yue’s face.
For once, the carefree and playful expression on Deng Wu’s face had been replaced with a serious one as he dragged his schoolmate through a few alleyways and finally entered a backdoor in one of the stone walls, leading into a massive family compound which easily could be compared to the City Lord’s mansion.
“Wait here,” Deng Wu whispered before he moved towards a few patrolling guards. The men were out of range from Hui Yue, and he could not eavesdrop on what was said, however, the guards showed utter shock and disbelief on their faces as they glanced towards the squatting Hui Yue who was still wearing the same clothes that he had worn during the auction. After a few moments, the guards instantly disappeared and Deng Wu returned.
“Come stay with me at my courtyard tonight. We’ll go by whatever inn you have your items at tomorrow on the way back to the Academy. For now, this is the safest place for you to be.” Having said that, Deng Wu did not wait for a reply before he dragged the younger boy by the hand and hurried towards his courtyard.
“What did you just say?!” Deng Tsang Ying exclaimed, shocked upon seeing two guards who were kneeling on the floor in front of him.
“The young master just brought back the revered expert that the city is talking about, and he has told no one to bother them tonight at his courtyard.” The guard continued with a trembling voice, fearing the reaction of the family leader.
But contrary to expectations, Deng Tsang Ying did not get mad about this matter, instead he laughed heartily and asked these guards to describe the expert they had seen. Upon hearing about the conical hat and the blue clothes, the mood of the family leader had grown ecstatic. His son had not lied when he previously had claimed to know this expert. This was a great pawn which had swam into his hands.
“Why would you sell two high grade skills?” Deng Wu asked curiously after bringing Hui Yue back to his courtyard. He even went as far as to personally prepare a room for his guest instead of bringing in servants to do such toilsome work.
“The skills are useless,” Hui Yue said with a shrug, “they were tailored to the creator and the only ones who will learn how to unlock it is those who has no use for it.”
Hui Yue could have lied, but currently he had a feeling that Deng Wu was repaying the gratitude for giving his family face earlier, and when treated with respect, Hui Yue would definitely return that respect to the giver.
Hearing that the skills were useless caused a slight calm to appear within Deng Wu’s eyes, and he nodded slightly, before his face was struck with grief,
“You scoundrel! You made my father-in-law pay such a tremendous price for something useless?” he cried out, causing Hui Yue to laugh, finally feeling slightly relaxed after the eventful day.
“He did not buy it,” Hui Yue said while laughing softly, “he brought some black cloaked men who bought it instead. They were the ones who caused this ruckus tonight, too,” Hui Yue explained.
“Could have fooled me, I was sure it was you,” Deng Wu said smilingly, causing Hui Yue to answer with a shrug and feigning innocence.
“Me? No never! How would a weak person such as me have the power to create such destruction?” Deng Wu did not answer but replied with a grin before he kicked Hui Yue out of the room.
“Get some proper sleep. And be glad you did not explode my home. If you had, I would have handed your head to the black cloaked men on a silver platter!”
Hui Yue grinned as he left the room and moved towards his own, but on the way a thought suddenly struck him and his grin turned into a cheeky smile which held no good intentions.
Previously, it was obvious that the family which had been hit by the fire orb had lost a great deal of their valuables, however, these men were not only losing valuables, they were also losing their home and the opportunity to rebuild. The following days other families would bid and buy the ground, and this once prominent family would have to move out of Riluo City and become a minor noble family.
This was very depressing news for the family in question, however, as soon as Hui Yue heard that it belonged to Shan Ping, he no longer felt any kind of pity. Instead, he felt as if he had gotten an epiphany.
In a world such as this where people could die right and left, insurance ought to be of great interest. That could be life insurance to take care of one’s family, should the unfortunate happen, or even home insurance in case a disaster such as Lan Feng would happen.
Thinking it through, no matter how much Hui Yue considered it, he could not help but be truly grateful and happy about this sudden idea, and he swore that when Lan Feng woke up, the two of them needed a good discussion about this subject.
Hui Yue was happy as he sat on top of the bed, but although he was happy about his current idea, a new stubbornness had been born within him. Today had been the first day where he had been in real danger, however, what he had experienced was not something he himself could have dealt with.
Today he had survived, owing it all to Lan Feng who had used up the spiritual power that he had spent ten years to refine, and although he was still capable of refining more spiritual power, it would take years before Lan Feng would be capable of saving Hui Yue again.
Hui Yue needed strength. After finally realizing just how badly he needed strength, he quickly picked up his golden memory stone which contained money and bound it to himself with Qi before he put it into his pocket and sighed deeply.
Today was no day for sleep, instead he started the painstakingly slow cultivation. Tomorrow he would be able to purchase his first medicinal pill.
Far away in a mountain built of ice and snow sat a young man who seemed to be around twenty years of age. In his hand was a glass of wine, and he was absentmindedly swirling it around while looking into the distance.
In front of him was a memory stone which contained a message that he had received moments before. A recording of a fight which had occurred within Riluo City.
“Return quickly,” the young man finally said, “Return and give me the skills so that I can see whether it is him or not.”