The man was tall, about two meters tall. He wore a scarlet robe that had many holes left by a sharp blade. Behind every hole hid cut after cut, some of which had not stopped bleeding and blood were still oozing out. His face was rough and his chin bristled with stubble like a needle. It seemed like he had not shaved for a long time, nor did he care, so he appeared messy. He had a random bun on his head that was held in place with a red wooden hairpin. At the beginning, his face wore an unhealthy blush. But now, his face turned ghastly pale. Although he was still tall and sturdy, he gave one the sense that he was on the verge of collapsing.
The most eye-catching thing was a very deep sword wound that ran from his right shoulder all the way down to his left rib. The wound was not fully healed, and the blood seeped through the scarlet robe and stained it, making it look even bloodier.
Junior Leopard thought of the legend of Jianghu that he had recently heard in the Wu's ironware shop. Looking at the man again, Junior Leopard realized he had met a troublemaker.
"I just wanted to go home and pay a visit to my parents. How could I have encountered such circumstances? Was it my personality, or was it just my bad luck?"
"You seem like you are not in the least bit scared!"
"I am scared. In the beginning, I was so scared to the point of death!" Junior Leopard said, but Junior Leopard had no trace of fear on his face." Later on, I figured if you wanted to kill me, you would have simply thrown me down, there was no need to do anything else!"
When the man heard this, there was a twinkle in his eye and the man said, "Looks like you are still young, firmly composed, and I still do not know who your teacher is. Through your Internal Qi and your approach, you must be from the Wu Family."
"You discern well. I am indeed of the Wu's, however, I am just a beginner blacksmith!" said Junior Leopard. Although the Wu's were still big predators in Yunzhou, when faced by such a fierce person as Xue Wuya, still there was no deterrence.
"I see! No wonder you only practiced the basic Nine Dragons Heavenly Fire Technique. If you are a green hand, you are not a real Wu's disciple. Little guy, are you willing to be my apprentice?"
The leap is really too big. Should I acknowledge him as my teacher?
Is it possible that I was born with a spiritual root, gathering all Spiritual Qi between heaven and earth, a genius born in a thousand years? So when these great men see me they want to make me there apprentice so that they can finally close the gate?!
Junior Leopard said to himself secretly.
"I think you have a flexible mind, a calm disposition and you are a rare talent. It would be a pity to kill you. Presently, I am seriously injured and I need a person around!"
After hearing the man's words, Junior Leopard had no choice but to accept his proposal. Could he really disagree with the man, acting like the character in the story, with the hope that the man would beg him to agree? According to the man's personality, he feared that if he said no, he would be killed. So he had to meet the man's demands. He bowed before the man and addressed him as his teacher.
The man was very satisfied to see that Junior Leopard was so well-informed and said, "Since you have taken me as your teacher, I can't treat you unfairly. This coal dagger is my gift to you!"
After saying that, he raised his hand and tossed Junior Leopard the coal dagger.
"It is a coal dagger!" As soon as the dagger landed in his hand, Junior leopard felt his hand sink and the slippery coldness of the dagger in his hand made him stare and he drew out the dagger and wiped the thin blade carefully. "It is a fine blade, worthy of being called a wizard's weapon."
Junior Leopard knew that he was not capable of forging that superior weapon, but as a blacksmith, he still had the basic ability to discern a product. When he saw it, he was sure that this small dagger in his hand was still undergoing at least a couple of more refinements. Otherwise, it would not have this kind of texture.
The style of the dagger in his hand was common. It was only 0.33-meter long, black and shiny, with a sharp edge between the blade and metallic handle. Its handle was made of metal materials, different from other parts of the dagger. His hand was so small that he could not grasp the dagger completely.
Waving the dagger randomly, he was shocked by the tiny and sharp sound the dagger made. "What a sharp thing!"
"Don't show it off, put it away!"
"Yes, sir!" Junior Leopard said hurriedly putting the sword into the sheath. The sheath was extraordinary, made of a kind of unknown hide. The spotted lines on the scabbard looked like crocodile skin, but were much finer than the skin of a crocodile.
"Teacher, you — !"
The man seemed to know what Junior Leopard wanted to ask, but before he had finished, the man said, "I'm Xue Wuya, the master of the Dark Sect, deputy suzerain of the sea of blood, known as the seventh Dark Lord of the Dark Sect. Now I am your teacher, so you are the third-generation disciple of the Dark Sect. In our Dark Sect, you only need to be loyal to the master's home gate. If you are, you can do what you want to do, and nobody will restrain you. Do you understand?"
"Yes!" Junior Leopard with a broad grin, secretly thought, "It's really Xue Wuya! It seems that Jianghu's legend is true. Indeed, he is being hunted. I wonder where the White Blademaster, Lu Shaoyou, is now. But now, although Lu Shaoyou runs into Misty Mountain, he may not find Xue Wuya. In this way, I am at least safer."
Xue Wuya did not know what Junior Leopard was thinking now, and said, "Well, now I'm ready to recuperate. You go outside and help me find some living creatures!"
"Living creatures?" Junior Leopard looked up, puzzled. "What kind of living creatures does the teacher want?"
"Any kind of bird or beast, as long as it is alive, it will do!" Xue Wuya said, with a paler face. He was so weak that his tall body wobbled. Then without saying a word, he sat down on the ground and regulated his breathing.
Now, Junior Leopard dared not utter a sound but walked straight out of the valley, not thinking of escaping. He was deep in Misty Mountain, where could he possibly run to? It was better to obediently remain at the master's side, that was a much safer choice.
The diameter of the valley was not large. Out of the valley, there was a cluster of a jungle, in which spread towering trees, about 9.9 to 16.5 meters high. It was the time when spring and summer met and fine rains blew. There were numerous branches and leaves interweaving together. It was so thick that people here could not tell whether or not it was daytime.
Junior Leopard did not dare to go deep. He walked around the periphery of the jungle. Maybe it was his good luck that he met a few rabbits. He was a hunter by nature, and although he had never hunted wild beasts before, from an early age catching rabbits was his specialty. Now that he practiced martial arts, he was able to catch one of those unfortunate rabbits with little effort and brought it to the valley.
Xue Wuya still sat cross-legged down in the valley. After recuperating, he looked much better than before. Xue Wuya looked at the rabbits Junior Leopard held and frowned, but he did not say anything. He raised the four fingers of his right hand, and Junior Leopard only saw that a bloody light from Xue Wuya's fingertips cut the rabbits' necks directly. Xue Wuya sucked the blood of the rabbits into his mouth, just like a whale sucking water.
"Not enough!" when the blood came into his mouth, he glanced at Junior Leopard and said. "I need more fresh living animals!"
Junior Leopard dared not ask any more questions. He went back into the thicket, a little deeper than before, and this time he was so lucky that he caught an adult white deer. This white deer was indeed unlucky and, although it ran at a good speed, it still got caught by Junior Leopard's Kunai indiscriminate eyes while in the thick familiar forest.