Chapter 28: Confrontation
With her fingers still held firmly around the young boy’s neck, a low growl appeared in the woman’s throat as she slowly withdrew her shaking hands. Within her eyes the insanity had been suppressed and instead profound sadness flooded in like a tide.
The woman swiftly raised her hand, and with a sharp nail stretched out, swinging down fluidly, she cut a fine line on Hui Yue’s cheek.
Small blotches of blood started to drip from this cut, painting his snow-white skin crimson, but even then Hui Yue did not wake up.
A sigh of vexation escaped the lips of the intruder, as she lifted her outstretched finger and made a beckoning gesture towards the wound. Three drops of blood slowly rose from the wound on Hui Yue’s cheek before they started to float towards her.
As the three drops of blood came closer, the woman gently touched her belt and one jade vial appeared in her hand. The three drops of blood trickled down the neck of the vial before the woman sealed it with spiritual power.
Just like how she had arrived, this stranger moved towards the window and stood there for a short while, tarrying reluctantly, gazing at the sky. Eventually she turned her head and looked at the sleeping boy, an emotionally rich and ineffable expression appeared on her face.
“Stay alive, little lord. At least till we meet again,” she whispered before faintly mumbling a few words. As she mouthed out the words, a large inscription array lighted up, releasing the courtyard from a temporary spell.
Upon exiting the window, big hazel-brown eagle-like wings sprouted from the woman’s back and with a few flaps she was soaring high into the sky, the moonlight spraying her figure silver for a moment.
Unlike the previous visit, this woman no longer flew back to Riluo City and disappeared into the darkness, instead she flew towards the cold north. Towards the mountain range which separated the Taiyang Kingdom from Shenyuan.
Hui Yue’s heavy eyelids slowly opened, crusted by overnight rheum, greeted by the rising sun from outside his window. Usually, when Hui Yue allowed himself to sleep, he would be fully rested and energized after a good night of sleep, however, this morning an inexplicable feeling kept making his hair stand on end; random shivers ran down his spine and his heart pounded harshly.
This feeling was not completely unfamiliar to Hui Yue, as he alertly examined his entire courtyard. This was the exact same feeling he had when he stood face to face with the seven black-cloaked men, although this time it seemed even more dangerous. The feeling of immense danger crawled within Hui Yue’s skin and once he looked in the mirror his eyes widened as the small wound came into his line of sight.
The shock within his eyes quickly turned into a chilled hatred, his pupils contracting. Someone has been in here last night, Hui Yue thought with a murderous expression appearing on his face. The one night he had been asleep was the one night a visitor had arrived.
Having lived in this world for so long allowed Hui Yue to know that there was no such thing as a coincidence and that the person who had visited him last night obviously had kept him under surveillance.
I must hurry, Hui Yue thought with certainty, I must become much stronger. The decisiveness within his eyes shone out. Hui Yue quickly gathered his clothes, washed his face and stepped into the early morning air.
‘I am sure that this azure figurine has something to do with Deng Wu’s cultivation speed,’ Lan Feng commented from within the Qi cave, ‘we need to speak with the two of them together. If we do not we might get cheated.’
‘The two of them? How can we speak with a figurine?’ Hui Yue asked with scrunched eyebrows. He had long since understood that the item was far from the norm, but to directly speak with it was something which he had not expected.
‘Don’t worry your white little head about this,’ Lan Feng said with a snicker, ‘this is good luck for us. Very good luck indeed. I’ll explain it to you when we manage to catch Deng Wu and sit down for our lovely talk.’
“Younger Brother Hui Yue!” A voice called cheerfully just as Hui Yue stepped out of the courtyard. Hui Yue flinched, staring blankly as he turned around and spotted Ma Kong running towards him with a big grin on his usually calm face.
“They want to go for it!” he said breathlessly as he leaned forward and held his knees in his hands to catch his breath. It was obvious to Hui Yue that Ma Kong had run all the way from his own mountaintop to Hui Yue’s abode. A breeze of warm air surrounded Hui Yue and it also quelled some of the hatefulness surging within him after the devastating discovery just prior.
However, to see Ma Kong rushing all the way for the sake of speaking with him was something that warmed his heart; he allowed the warmth to sink in and let go of his worries. At least for now.
“What is wrong?” Hui Yue asked with a raised brow, as he looked at the panting Ma Kong. Usually he would not have been short of breath if he had just run, Ma Kong was a cultivator after all. However, for him to be this much out of breath could only be caused by him sprinting at his top speed the entire way.
“I got the reply from the elders,” Ma Kong smiled, his breath finally steady. The two made their way towards a nearby cafeteria where they could eat breakfast together while discussing the matters mentioned by Ma Kong.
“We have had multiple elders spend some time calculating the potential and premise of your insurance concept, and they were supposed to give the results at a family meeting last night.” Ma Kong said, his eyes shining with excitement. Hui Yue could not help but lightly chuckle. The always stoic Ma Kong turned into a boy who acted his age whenever they were dealing with their insurance project.
“The mathematics are quite solid, and as long as this unknown expert doesn’t go around annihilating any more noble family compounds then we should be up and running within a few years.” Ma Kong’s eyes still glistened as he looked at Hui Yue. “We need you to come visit us and sign a contract, but there are a few things the elders require.”
As soon as Ma Kong mentioned the contract, his excitement quickly got contained and he began to behave in a very respectable, dignified manner. Ma Kong did all this unconsciously, and Hui Yue whistled with raised eyebrows. This young friend of his was definitely plenty skilled in controlling and masking his emotions.
“The contract will give you three percentages of the revenue instead of one, but the reason we changed it to three is because it is not only profits. If we are to fail miserably with this idea, then you are to pay three percentages of the loss.”
Hearing this made Hui Yue suddenly gain respect for the Black Market Auction House. Hui Yue had been aware that it was a great business. However, only now did he understand just how thorough they were with their commerce and investments.
This question about the contract was obviously a way to test Hui Yue. If this child was being used as a way to make the Ma family lose money, then at least he would also lose money by doing so. At the same time, if he truly was imparting such a great idea, as the calculations promised, then he did indeed deserve the three percentages.
Ma Kong was obviously uncomfortable about imposing such a rule on a friend of his, however, he was a member of the Ma family and understood how important it was for their family to be able to keep up their growth. The Ma family sought to expand their reach to other major cities within the Taiyang Kingdom, after all.
The two boys were seated for the rest of their breakfast while reaching a consensus that Hui Yue would follow Ma Kong to sign a contract the following day off from lectures.
After the agreement, Hui Yue excused himself as he moved towards the mountaintop where Deng Wu’s courtyard was located.
Knocking on the courtyard door yielded no response, however, Hui Yue did not give up just like that. He stayed outside and knocked the door with a few minutes break in-between, knowing that Deng Wu could hear him.
While waiting, Hui Yue looked around at his surroundings. At the time he started attending the academy, it had been at the warmest month of summer, and more than a month had passed since then. In this time Hui Yue had managed to sell two skills and rely on that money to buy pills which helped his cultivation to climb into the ranks of an eight-star Student.
It had taken Hui Yue ten years of painstaking cultivation to reach the fifth-star Student rank. However, in the passage of this month alone, he was now an eight-star Student. His training speed was definitely astonishing.
Hui Yue had broken into the sixth-star rank on his own. Lan Feng had caused him to reach the seventh star, and by consuming medicinal pills, Hui Yue reached the peak of the eight star.
During all this time, Wang Ju Long had been cultivating without end, working his fingers to the bone, but even while doing so, he was still only at the peak of the eight-star Student rank.
A satisfied smile appeared on Hui Yue’s lips. He was now certain that he could defeat Wang Ju Long if they were to fight again according to his assessment, and he once again knocked on Deng Wu’s door.
Once again, there was no response and Hui Yue started to get a little annoyed. It was no longer the warmest time of summer, and the morning wind was slightly chilled, causing the boy to become greatly annoyed
“Big brother Deng Wu!” he called as loudly as he could, causing a lot of people to look at him with an odd expression, “If you do not let me in I guess we have to talk over the gate.”
Hearing this, the courtyard door suddenly opened and a grumpy looking Deng Wu was standing in the doorway, wearing his clothes in a disheveled mess and clearly had just rushed out from his bedroom.
In contrast to Deng Wu, Hui Yue was neatly dressed with a clean and washed face. His face was not grumpy but filled with smiles and laughter which in turn felt as if someone dropped a bucket of cold water on Deng Wu.
“Close the door after you,” Deng Wu grumbled as he turned around, allowing Hui Yue to follow. The big smile on Hui Yue’s face was retracting little at a time and instead the young face was filled with an alertness that did not suit a boy his age.
Finally, the two entered the house and sat down in front of each other. Neither spoke as they just observed the other. Deng Wu had completely discarded his usual, arrogant attitude, and instead he looked as alert as Hui Yue.
‘Give him the ring back’ Lan Feng said and Hui Yue quickly followed the order. The ring contained a black memory stone and Deng Wu grew increasingly worried as he saw Hui Yue playing around with it.
“How much did you figure out?” Deng Wu finally sighed as Hui Yue tossed the ring towards him. With a practiced move, Deng Wu caught the ring and looked at it tentatively. Last time he had touched it; it had scorched his finger. The burn mark was still visible, but this time no heat was emitted from the ring and Deng Wu allowed it to slip back onto the injured finger.