Chapter 7: The Scholar (3)
The scholar nodded and laughed. “Fate must have led us to meet, so treat it as a welcome gift. Keep it as a souvenir. ”
They had yet to exchange a few words, let alone the origin of each other’s background, and he was already giving him gifts? Miao Yi felt the guy was a bit peculiar, but the item he gifted didn’t look too bad. It might even be of value, so he accepted it without hesitation.
He proceeded to take the item into his hand, feigning generosity as he wore it around his neck, thanking the scholar on the spot.
The scholar turned on his heels and set off, walking towards the edge of the cliff. Both his cloak and beautiful hair fluttered amidst the clouds and mist, giving the impression of an Immortal with an extraordinary temperament.
He lowered his gaze, scanning from the cliff’s point to halfway down the mountain. There grew five plants, each emitting a faint golden glow around them, which the cultivators revered as a divine healing medicine called the Glorious Star immortal herb. It was also one of the items that Miao Yi came here to seek.
His back turned against Miao Yi, the scholar faced the mountainside and with a mere snap of his fingers, three of the five immortal herbs instantly turned to dust by a strange, unexplainable force. Only two immortal herbs remained.
This item that was dreamt of by many, was destroyed with a mere snap of his fingers.
He left two of the immortal herbs behind, not for any other reason than that Miao Yi had said he had two siblings. He wanted to see how Miao Yi would make his decision.
The scholar pointed towards the mountainside and without turning his head, said in a seemingly passing remark, “Little Brother, come here and take a look.”
Miao Yi still remained vigilant in the presence of this peculiar man, never letting go of the butcher knife in his hand. He walked over, keeping his distance between them, and looked towards the direction the man pointed his finger at. His gaze stilled at once as he cried out involuntarily, “Immortal herb! It’s the immortal herb!” And there were even two of them.
But he soon quickly caught on that something was amiss so he turned to stare at the scholar, asking, “Why didn’t you gather them? Did you not come here because of these treasures?”
“Clothes can easily get dirty if you climb up and down.”
The scholar gave a reason which Miao Yi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at, turned on his heels and walked off.
Mouth agape, Miao Yi was speechless. He watched the receding figure of the scholar smugly strolling away, and finally understood why the man was clean. Coming to this place where the plants were carbonized and where every slow step taken can easily get a person smeared in black, the man could still manage to be untainted by even a speck of dust. He must have a strong obsession with cleanliness.
Yet Miao Yi still felt heavily dubious about it, if the man was scared of getting dirty then why did he still venture here? Was there some kind of ruse at play?
“Where are you going?” Miao Yi gave chase till he reached the side of the stairs and watched the scholar retreat swiftly down the mountain. He yelled, “Why don’t we go together?”
“Fate ends not when the Immortal Hero has a path to walk, a boat made of white bones sails the boundless sea of blood! Little Brother, till we meet again.”
The scholar’s voice resounded from afar.
Miao Yi subconsciously glanced back at the words on the large stone behind him, and turned to gaze at the bottom of the mountain again, realizing that the scholar had already disappeared into the mist.
Currently, he wasn’t in the mood to think about anything else. Who cared if the man was scheming or not, he would think about it later because right now, he needed to gather the two immortal herbs first.
Turning to run towards the side of the cliff, he strapped the butcher knife to his waist and used all four limbs to slowly and carefully climb down.
The mountain was not extremely steep, leading Miao Yi to successfully feel his way towards the immortal herbs. His eyes gleamed as his heart pounded in excitement.
During his travels, he had witnessed with his own eyes many men fighting life and death struggles for this item. It was unclear as to how many men had lost their lives to fight for just one immortal herb alone, and now he had found two of them in short order. It was hard for him to contain his excitement.
He had seen the immortal herb Yan Beihong had snagged before, but it wasn’t as big as the two immortal herbs he was seeing in front of him now.
WIth his body pressed against the cliff, Miao Yi was not in the mood to admire the two immortal herbs he had just gathered. The scholar had left him anxious and slightly worried about the generosity he had shown him earlier. He then quickly tore off a cloth and wrapped the immortal herbs inside it, hiding it in his clothes.
After ensuring that the immortal herbs were safely tucked away, he proceeded to climb up for a short distance before he suddenly felt the wind rise and clouds beginning to gather at his side.
Windy? As he turned his head to look, what he saw almost scared the living daylights out of him.
A Hell Mantis as long as two zhang was suspended in the air behind him, flapping its wings. Green eyes on a three horned head locked onto him, and its razor sharp mouth was chewing incessantly.
I’m finished! Miao Yi lowered his head and cast a look at the lake at the bottom of the mountain. He was going to die no matter which way he went, so he might as well give one last shot. Hardening his heart, he loosened his grip on the cliff, immediately jumping down into the lake below.
Just as he was about to fall and crash onto the surface of the lake, he felt his body suddenly come to a halt mid-air before ascending once more.
Miao Yi went mad. His finger was already able to touch the lake’s surface. He struggled in his efforts to reach his hand out towards the water, desperately hoping to dive into the lake. But in the end it was all futile, as his body was swiftly dragged away from the surface just within his arm’s reach.
Who would have thought that the Hell Mantis would save Miao Yi from drowning himself in the lake? Sharp barbs covered its four limbs, and they wrapped around Miao Yi as it swiftly swept past the surface of the lake into the far-off distance.
He had finally managed to gather the immortal herbs after great difficulty, but who knew he would fall once again into a Hell Mantis’s grasp.
Miao Yi felt close to tears. Pulling out the butcher knife strapped to his waist, he aggressively slashed twice at the limbs holding onto him, hoping that the Hell Mantis would loosen its grip, and eventually drop him into the lake below.
Two clangs sounded out, and to his surprise, the places where his butcher knife had slashed unexpectedly produced sparks, as though he was hacking at metal. However, he still didn’t manage to leave any trace of a mark on it. Instead, it caused the Hell Mantis, who was flying at a fast speed, to lower its head and gaze at its abdomen.
Getting stared at by those horrific green eyes, Miao Yi’s expression went rigid, his raised butcher knife frozen still. He didn’t dare to simply slash around furiously anymore, in fear of being strangled to death.
The Hell Mantis suddenly hastened its speed, flying past clouds and through the mist. Strong gusts of wind hit Miao Yi’s face upfront till he couldn’t even open his eyes, his body quaking from coldness.
He wasn’t sure how long they flew. After sensing that their speed had slowed down, he opened his eyes only to discover that the Hell Mantis was swooping down to a lower altitude in a sudden movement.
Seeing that he was about to crash into the ground, Miao Yi felt his heart dragged to his throat.
All of a sudden, the Hell Mantis turned over in the air, negating the force of the fall, and at the same time, its four limbs loosened its grip on Miao Yi.
After falling flat on his face onto the ground, Miao Yi struggled to get back up on his feet, spitting out a couple mouthfuls of mud. His movements were swift as he instinctively flipped over to see what the Hell Mantis wanted to do with him.
“....” In the end, he didn’t get to see anything because the Hell Mantis had disappeared completely, leaving no trace behind. He had no clue as to where the Hell Mantis had gone to. And the most unbelievable thing was...
Miao Yi widened his eyes as he looked straight ahead. He moved his cold, numbed limbs, and then staggered out of the boundless mist.
Before his eyes, a jostling crowd of onlookers stared straight at him from outside.
Behind the crowd was the familiar Ancient City. When the Boundless Secular World lifted its seal, he had set off from here.
Abruptly turning his head to look behind him, he was greeted with the boundless mist.
He rubbed his eyes hard, even doing a double take, thinking this was all in his imagination. After a number of confirmations ensuring that he wasn’t seeing things, it finally hit him that he had just come out of the place. He had actually come out? The Hell Mantis had actually unintentionally sent him out?
“Eldest Zhang, is that you?”
A woman with a scarf wrapped around her head kept her gaze on the horrible looking Miao Yi, seemingly afraid to confirm whether it was really him.
Another reason she didn’t dare confirm his identity was because all the plants in the Boundless Secular World had been carbonized, turning them black in color. Those who entered all reappeared as if they had just come out from a coal mine. If it weren’t for the fact that the butcher knife strapped to Miao Yi’s waist looked familiar in her eyes, the woman would not have bothered to open her mouth to ask.
As to why she had called Miao Yi, Eldest Zhang, it was because Miao Yi had a younger brother and sister. His brother’s name was called Zheng Fengbao, who was fourteen years old, while his sister was only twelve years of age, called Lu Xuexin.