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At the foot of a mountain, the sounds of clashing blades and swords echoed sharply through the air. As Yan Beihong walked nearer, he quickly pulled Miao Yi along and crouched behind a large boulder. They could see more than ten people fighting with great intensity at the mountain’s base. Loud piercing screams continuously resounded as they fought.

A plant, with red stone branches and gem leaves, blossomed at the slope of the steep mountain, emitting a gentle radiance. It was obvious to see why they were fighting each other to this extent.

Immortal herb? Miao Yi’s eyes brightened as he stared at the gentle light glowing at the side of the steep slope. He was about to stretch out his finger to remind Yan Beihong, but the man silenced him, swiftly covering his mouth with his hand, signalling Miao Yi to stay quiet. 

 Yan Beihong took a quick glance at the immortal herb, before focusing his attention to the crowd slaughtering each other. His hand tightened on the shaft of his blade, as he silently waited for the time to strike. 

 Amidst the massacre was a skilled expert, who single-handedly cut down a series of ten people, all while jumping and dodging their attacks. At the end, he lifted his sword and surveyed his surroundings one more time. After ensuring there were no more opponents, he made his way towards the immortal herb growing on the steep slope. 



 Right at the moment he let his guard down, Yan Beihong rushed out from his hiding spot. With his blade drawn, he leapt through the air, slashing furiously with his sword.

The person’s reaction was fast, he turned around and raised his sword to parry the blows with a “clang”, and immediately engaged Yan Beihong in a vicious melee.

Instantly, the light and shadow of the sword and blade clashed until they were inseparable. The man’s skill was obviously above Yan Beihong’s. Even after his recent fierce battle, he still had the strength to block Yan Beihong’s heavy attacks. Furthermore, the speed of his attacks were much faster as well。

It wasn’t long until Yan Beihong was losing the battle, and in the end the man swiftly kicked the blade from his hands, sending it flying.

When the man’s sword came slashing down onto Yan Beihong’s neck, he frantically gripped the man’s wrist with both hands,as he moved his thigh to capture the man’s incoming kick. Their bodies were pressed against each other as he held onto the sword which had already cut through the skin of his neck. Blood flowed out of the corner of his mouth, while his eyes were filled with fury. 

Both of them were locked in a stalemate, with Yan Beihong on the verge of losing ground, when suddenly the man flung his feet out and kicked behind him. 

Bang! Miao Yi, who rushed in for an attempted sneak attack, was thrown backwards.

But a butcher knife protruded from the man’s back, blood flowing out profusely from his waist.

The man clutched at his abdomen, roughly turning his head to glare in the direction of Miao Yi, who was struggling to get up from the ground. His face was ablaze with anger, his eyes instantly reddening, as if he himself was a man-devouring beast. 

 “Die!’ 

With his opponent out of breath, Yan Beihong couldn’t miss this opportunity before him, and with a mighty roar, he grabbed the wrist of his opponent’s sword-holding hand, and elbowed him on the chest, causing him to stagger backwards.

Using this chance, Yan Beihong snatched away his opponent’s sword and leapt, and with both hands gripping the weapon, he slashed at the man with all his might.

Puff! The expert was cut in half, from the shoulder down.

Blood splashed into the wind, the victor was decided. Yan Beihong balanced himself with his sword while gasping for air, laughing heartily as he watched Miao Yi clutch his chest, pain clearly showing on his face, a faint trace of blood at the corner of his mouth.

The feeling of walking out alive after a life and death situation made him laugh even more heartily.

After ripping out part of his clothing to make a simple bandage for his wound, Yan Beihong picked up what was left of his opponent’s food, walked up to Miao Yi, and helped him up by grabbing him by the wrist.

After checking Miao Yi’s pulse, in a sudden move, he struck Miao Yi’s stomach with his palm.

“Wah…” Miao Yi coughed out a mouthful of blood, but felt relieved from the earlier grave discomfort on his chest that felt like a brewing storm of seas and rivers. His shortness of breath was gone in an instant.

“Risking your life to save me even though we’re strangers, was it worth it?” Yan Beihong grinned, staring at the pale-faced Miao Yi. 

Miao Yi wiped away the trace of blood from his mouth and rolled his eyes at him, he had never met someone so heartless.“You’re strong, I need you as my bodyguard,” he snapped at Yan Beihong. 

Yan Beihong pointed his sword at his fallen foe, and answered in a low voice, “He was way better than me, wouldn’t it be a safer bet for you to help him?”

Miao Yi replied with an unreadable expression, “The fact that he was stronger was exactly why he didn’t need my help. On the other hand, I’ve just saved your life!”

“Kid, you’re a sensible person, hahaha!” Yan Beihong looked up into the sky and let out a maniacal laugh. He slapped Miao Yi on the back and continued, “Come on, don’t act like a sissy, it’s just some minor internal injuries, you won’t die from it!”

With his feelings of caution towards Miao Yi completely gone, he turned back towards the steep slope and plucked the immortal herb, and the two of them marveled at its beauty.

The immortal herb was not even half the length of a chopstick, with nine branches and a leaf on each. Faintly glowing, it was clear and beautiful, with its gold branches and jade leaves. The floating light particles around the immortal herb looked like dancing fireflies, or the stars that lit up the night sky, which was probably the plant’s namesake, “Glorious Star”. 

This was the first time the both of them had come across such a treasure. It was only after they shoved their noses closer to the herb that they detected a faint fragrance emanating from the herb, a soothing fragrance able to slip into the depth of their hearts. It was different from the scent of wildflowers that easily attracted butterflies and bees.

“This is good stuff! No wonder it’s known as an immortal herb.” Yan Beihong sighed, and put it away after letting Miao Yi indulge in its fragrance for a few moments.

Miao Yi stared at him with wide eyes as he wrapped a cloth around the immortal herb, and tucked it into his clothes.

Noticing the curious glance that Miao Yi was shooting his way, Yan Beihong, who made the immortal herb his own without consulting his partner, coughed with an apologetic expression and said, “Erm, this one is mine, the next one that we come across will be yours.”

Miao Yi looked at the path they had come from and asked, “You have obtained the immortal herb, aren’t you going back?”

“Do you think of me as someone unloyal?” asked Yan Beihong as he brazenly pushed Miao Yi forward, “I will continue acting as your bodyguard until you get your share, and we will go back together. But after all is said and done, do not double-cross me for my share of the immortal herb or I will not be responsible for my actions.”

Miao Yi was left speechless. It was his misfortune that he could not best the other guy. If their situation was reversed, he would never have the guts to claim the immortal herb as his own without Miao Yi’s permission.

Yan Beihong did not go back on his own words. From the following day onwards, he robbed every person that they came across, as if trying his best to help Miao Yi in his quest to obtain an immortal herb.

Quoting Yan Beihong’s words, “Let’s ascend to immortality together!”

Up until now, almost everybody still looking for the immortal herbs were the “poor” ones; they did not have the herb, and therefore it was fruitless to steal from them.

From the very beginning, he didn’t go back on his own words, yet Yan Beihong still broke his promise in the end.

The duo reached the furthest corner of the safe zone marked on the map, and only God knew what would happen beyond that point.

Yan Beihong and Miao Yi stood at the top of a hill, stopping at the edge of the safe zone, surrounded by fine mist.

The concealed horizon was a mysterious realm. Yan Beihong mumbled under his breath, “Brother, it’s not that I don’t want to keep my promise, but I advise you to turn back. This place only stays open for a month, and it’s been half a month since then. We have no idea how long it will take back down the path, and we won’t be able to return if we’re late... I will do my best on our way back, perhaps we can still snag an immortal herb.”

Miao Yi could understand where his thoughts were leading to, Yan Beihong had already fulfilled his loyalty by accompanying him this far, but...

“Do you not hear something?” Miao Yi exploded with a loud “Huh!”, while pointing towards the danger zone full of the unknown. “The sound seems to be coming from that direction.” 

“Sound? What sound?” Yan Beihong was puzzled, he turned his head left and right to catch the source of the sound, his eyebrows slowly creasing, “I don’t hear any sound!”

“You don’t?” Miao Yi was puzzled,and he once again tilted his head and listened carefully.

A flurry of “ding ding dong dong” tones flowed into his ears, like rushing water from the mountains, the different notes sounded passionate, tender and as soft as water, together forming a perfect rhythm. It appeared to be the sound of a person strumming a qin. 

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