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Miao Yi’s eyes widened as he stared deep into the mist. He pointed once more and cried out in surprise, “There’s someone playing a qin inside!”  

“Playing a qin?” Yan Beihong was speechless. Seeing that Miao Yi did not seem to be lying, he hurriedly dug out his ears with a finger and calmed his heart, focused on listening to the sound.

After several moments, he still didn’t hear anything, not even the sound of someone farting much less the melody from a qin. He couldn’t help but eye Miao Yi suspiciously. “Little Brother, aren’t you imagining things?”

 But Miao Yi was sure that he wasn’t mistaken. He pointed excitedly towards the direction in front of him and said, “Somebody is playing a qin in there, which means there’s also a safe zone just ahead. Let’s go take a look again. Fewer people have set foot over there, which means there’s a higher chance of finding the immortal herb.” 

When he turned around, he noticed that Yan Beihong’s expression had slowly darkened. He wasn’t sure what he’d said to trigger this reaction. 



What he didn’t know was that Yan Beihong hadn’t heard a sound at all. He was a man who clearly knew the difference between gratitude and grudges. This kind of man wouldn’t often allow sand to enter his eyes. 

He was fine with being dragged around as a bodyguard. All Miao Yi needed to do was be blunt about it and the matter would be easily settled. But with Miao Yi’s ‘excuse’, Yan Beihong felt that he was harboring evil intentions instead. 

Yan Beihong had already experienced first-hand Miao Yi’s scheme in using another person’s knife to kill others. And now, he had an immortal herb in his possession. If by any chance this kid was starting to harbor evil thoughts, then in all likelihood, allowing himself to be careless now would bring about its own setbacks.

Which was why the trust he had managed to build up with Miao Yi was immediately gone in that instant. He put down his bag on the spot, took out some food to stuff in his arms, and then chucked the majority of the rations along with the bag at Miao Yi’s feet.

“Since Little Brother chooses not to heed my advice, this is all I can do for now. May we meet again in the near future!” 

As soon as Yan Beihong finished, he turned and strode away without looking back.

Miao Yi couldn’t make heads or tails of his sudden change in attitude, why did he suddenly turn against him?  

He still couldn’t figure out what went wrong, even as he stared with his own eyes at Yan Beihong’s retreating figure disappearing into the mist. He could only assume Yan Beihong did not wish to risk his life accompanying him anymore. 

Half a month already went by and yet, he still couldn’t manage to find even one immortal herb. Should he give chase to Yan Beihong, or should he continue searching? WIth Yan Beihong’s skills, he would probably be safer by his side on the trip back.

Miao Yi stood alone, hesitating for a long while at the top of the mountain. As he thought about the future of his younger brother and sister, he turned his head and looked towards the place where the qin's melody had travelled from, whispering softly to himself, “A place that others have dared to go, how can I be afraid to go alone?”

Looking up at the sky, he took a deep breath. He strengthened his determination, picked up the bag and flung it over his shoulders, and then strode downhill following the direction of the qin’s melody.

As soon as he reached the bottom of the mountain, from afar the qin's melody went into disarray, as if it were momentarily restless. But immediately after, it quickly went back to normal. 

After Miao Yi walked for a distance, he discovered that the area’s terrain was abnormally even.

He continued to follow the direction where the qin's melody came from, but even after walking at length, it still sounded like it was just ahead, as though no one would be able to get close to it. He began to feel suspicious as to whether he had heard wrongly and that it was in fact, not a qin's melody at all.  

Miao Yi couldn’t help but hesitate. 

In a place not far from him, where the dense mist swirled around the towering mountain peak, there was a platform. On the platform was a stone table, where an enormous ancient qin lay, which measured up to be about one zhang long.  

The body of the old ancient qin was embossed with depictions of the sun, the moon and the stars, along with the deep blue sea and mulberry fields.

Above the deep blue sea, rose three dragon heads, each turned back to gaze mightily at the sun, moon and stars. 

The bodies of the three dragons brazenly made up the three different colored strings strummed onto the qin, thus making the instrument exquisitely unparalleled. 

Upon moving closer, one would find that in addition to the life-like and finely sculpted dragon heads, the strings resembled four scaley and curling dragon claws. In a moment of carelessness, one could even mistakenly think that the strings had actually been transformed from a dragon turned small.  

It was easy to see that eight dragon strings were meant to be on the ancient qin, but for unknown reasons this ancient qin, which rivalled the works of god, was apparently missing five dragon strings. Only three remained.  

A tall man dressed in a plain white robe, stood beside the ancient qin lying on top of the stone table. He wore a plain, green cloak, all thin and worn-out, over his robes. The way he was dressed was very ordinary, and if it weren’t for his hairstyle, it would be easy for people to mistake him as a poor, but cleanly dressed, scholar. 

His long, clean hair was draped over his shoulders and fell down his waist, and his plump forehead gleamed brightly. 

It was a shame that the snow-colored hair touching his temples ruined the beauty of his long and glossy-black locks. 

The silvery hair covered his temples, with each lock of hair hanging on both sides at the front of his chest. Another lock of white hair was tucked away at the back of his head and tied into a small knot, thus restricting the black hair so that it would be draped over his back to prevent the strands from getting messy. 

Although the face of the ‘scholar’ looked to be that of a mature, middle-aged man, he was so handsome to the point his looks were indescribable. 

His nose was well formed, with a hint of firmness between his eyes that also radiated a hint of softness at the same time. His slanted eyes displayed a tinge of coldness in them. His firm cheeks appeared to be as tender as the rivers and mountains, with full lips that would make any beauty fall for him with just a kiss. 

It was difficult to describe the impression he gave to others, but one glance was enough to tell that he exuded both an air of righteousness and of sinister intent. Both co-existed within him, along with nobility and normalcy, with both arrogance and gentleness, and certainly without lacking a chivalrous spirit and a tender form. When he glanced back, he would unknowingly reveal a look of scrutiny at the whole world in an imposing manner.

There was a phrase called ‘gratifying beauty’, but his form of gratifying beauty and the way it was used to a describe a woman, were different from each other.

There existed another phrase, which was normally used to describe a woman but could also be used on him as well; above all else, he was completely and utterly enchanting!

This was a man of unparalleled looks within his generation, a feat difficult to find in this world!

On the misty summit, the scholar stood straight by the side of the ancient qin lying on top of the stone table, his eyes gazing far off into the distance. With one hand placed behind his back, the five fingers from his other hand lightly played with the three strings, as light as a cloud or the breeze. The qin's melody that Miao Yi had heard earlier originated from him. 

With the mountain as a center, within a twenty-mile radius there was a basin. The qin's melody he produced was akin to those soundwaves released by a bat, so anyone who trespassed would not be able to escape his ears. 

He was unable to determine whether Miao Yi was led here by the melody, because there was a chance that he had come here by mistake. However, he was able to sense Miao Yi’s excessive hesitation. 

He raised the hand behind his back to his chest, gently pulling free the knotted ribbon of his cloak and untying it. Throughout this, the five fingers casually playing with the strings did not cease their movements. 

The cloak floated on its own, drifting away from his shoulders into the dense mist.

Miao Yi, who had stopped in hesitation, became startled when he noticed that the qin's melody seemed to have moved and changed to a different direction. 

What was going on here? Miao Yi scratched his head, a little perturbed as he looked around his surroundings. Finally, he decided to put on a bold front, forcing himself to once again move in the direction the qin’s melody was coming from.

The mountaintop scholar’s downcast eyes flickered for a moment, as he slowly tilted his head to face towards Miao Yi’s direction.

Confirming that Miao Yi’s disturbed state was influenced by the qin's melody, he appeared calm on the surface yet his emotions were seemingly affected as his hand played faster for a few minutes, the melody starting to sound a bit hurried. 

The qin's melody kept changing directions, as though someone was literally running around with the qin. Miao Yi, attracted by the sound, quickly hastened his pace, with a strong urge to find out exactly who had the leisurely mood to play a qin at a place like this.

There was a chance that he himself had not noticed that the qin’s melody had led him off the Z-shaped route.

And right along the exterior of the Z-shaped route: a large number of black mantises, each of large and frightening physiques, as if they were wearing armor. All were armed with sickles and barbed limbs, their feelers and horns coming into contact with each other. Some of them were mating, while some chewed and preyed upon bloody corpses with their frighteningly razor-sharp teeth. 

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