Chapter 504 - Villa of Conscience
Lu Chen’s residence outside Jadeite Forest City had a very unique name – Villa of Conscience. Its door, made of firewood, was half open and trees were planted all around the fences. A mild fragrance pervaded the air. The whole place was like a Xanadu.
To the left of the door were the words "Bridge Between Life And Death", and to its right were the words "Ceaseless Yin and Yang". Above was a big bolded word: "Conscience".
Villa of Conscience seldom received visitors, except for those who came specially to seek medical treatment. Lu Chen was very reputable, but had been in seclusion in recent years and practically never accepted patients.
The clear moonlight sprinkled over the courtyard. The three of them sat facing one another, sipping on their wine.
Lu Chen’s features were similar to Mingxiu’s, save for the more robust lines on his face. He had a more scholarly aura, his black long hair grazing his shoulders. He wore a loose white robe and wooden clogs, an uninhibited scholarly vibe surrounding him.
Lu Chen and Yu Mingqiu had many things to tell each other, but neither knew where to start. Yu Mingqiu had even more words for Mingxiu, but was similarly unable to start. The words turned to wine when they reached the corner of his mouth.
The brother and sister started speaking first.
Lu Chen spoke to Mingxiu in a somewhat reproachful manner. "You were too rash, sister. Fortunately nothing cropped up this time, or else it would’ve been dangerous. They were all fearless soldiers. I’ll go investigate properly."
Mingxiu stuck out her tongue mischievously. "Other than Brother Mingqiu, I have other preparations."
Her childlike attitude only came out before her older brother. He’d been taking care of and pampering her since young, so they were very close. Compared to their scheming and astute parents, Mingxiu trusted her brother more.
Lu Chen said what he did out of habit. He knew his sister wasn’t an impulsive person and that she had back up. With a loving smile, he continued, "Say it. You never come for nothing. You’re definitely not here to visit me."
Mingxiu told Lu Chen about Ai Hui and his face turned serious. Even Yu Mingqiu, who had been drowning his sorrows in wine, couldn’t help but put his cup down.
"Night Moth Fruit is very troublesome." Lu Chen sighed. "Borrowing the force of lightning to deal with it is a bold move that I’ve not thought of or tried. Judging from the result, he probably has suppressed it, but because the Nature’s lightning is too aggressive, I’m afraid his injuries are not light, even if he practices lightning. Even if he doesn’t lose his life, his five residences and eight palaces won’t be able to endure it."
Mingxiu instantly became anxious. "Then what should we do?"
"If his five residences and eight palaces are severely injured, I can’t do anything." Lu Chen shook his head and continued regretfully, "The five residences and eight palaces are like the skeleton of a human. If not many areas have been injured then there might still be cures, but if the damage is critical, they’re basically untreatable. The residences and palaces are linked and subtly related. Rebuilding the connection is not something that can be done."
Yu Mingqiu, who’d been quiet since he’d entered, spoke suddenly. "I don’t see it that way."
The siblings looked toward him simultaneously.
Yu Mingxiu added, "Do not forget that Senior Le Buleng had also been severely injured before. Ai Hui is tough and durable, not someone who would easily concede defeat."
Ai Hui had left a deep impression on him.
"I hope so." Lu Chen nodded. He hadn’t interacted with Ai Hui and so knew little about him. He turned to Mingxiu and said, "Take three Vitality Branches when you leave. The rest is up to him."
Mingxiu responded cheerily, "Thank you Brother!"
The Vitality Branches were Lu Chen’s treasured lucky charms. Giving Mingxiu three at once was really an expensive gesture. Vitality Branches were even more famous than Night Moth Fruits. They were known to revive patients with only one breath. Each branch contained a wisp of original life force. It was the source of life of all living things.
Lu Chen had invented these Vitality Branches upon mastering the art of healing.
Even Grandmaster Dai was full of praises for them, believing that they were the mark of a new era.
Seeing his sister’s joyful look, Lu Chen shook his head and turned to the rather foreign Yu Mingqiu. "You’re finally back. Where have you been all these years?"
"Deep within the Wilderness." Yu Mingqiu picked up a wine cup with both hands before draining it in one gulp. His faint stubble made him look quite different. "I was very curious to see what’s further inside and so I went to explore."
Lu Chen sized him up before breaking into a smile. "Not easy eh, coming back alive."
Yu Mingqiu burst into laughter and replied ruefully, "Yeah, I came back alive."
The siblings could hear the sorrow in his voice. He must have been through a lot of tribulations in there. The words "deep within the Wilderness" seemed to have a magical power that captured everybody’s attention. Even Lu Chen, who stayed out of worldly affairs, appeared interested.
Yu Mingqiu wasn’t a habitually silent person to begin with, so as he started speaking, he became more lively too.
He talked about some of his experiences living deep within the Wilderness. Out of the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of Mingxiu looking engrossed, and so he spoke more energetically and expressively. He was naturally a comical person, so he quickly got everybody laughing.
Yu Mingqiu was rather distracted, as if he’d gone back to when he was young.
Faraway in Fishback City, the lights were brightly lit within the night. It was an exceptionally striking sight.
The duo was still worried about finding the wrong place, so they heaved a sigh of relief upon seeing the city.
The Xiahou brothers slowed down. Ever since Xiahou Jun noticed something amiss, the two paid extra attention to their surroundings and quickly found many rivals.
Xiahou Jie asked eagerly, "Quite a number of small ants, should we evacuate?"
Xiahou Jun shook his head. "There must be some strong players lying in ambush, so don’t be careless. Plus, this is too big of an offense so do not expose your identity, or else we won’t have a life to live even if we do survive."
"Mhmm", Xiahou Jie acknowledged, his eyes recovering their calm.
Snow lava brought a lot of benefits, so many were lusting over it and becoming restless. No one dared to openly seize the snow lava, however, since Shi Beihai had passed away not long ago and Shi Xueman had stepped into the battlefield. Those who tried robbing snow lava now would certainly be criticized by the masses.
The Xiahou brothers knew the pros and cons very well. If the world knew that they had mounted a sneak attack on Central Pine Valley, no one would publicly accept or provide asylum for them.
Before they came, they had already been told this repeatedly.
Xiahou Jun said in a low voice, "We don’t have to rush. Let’s wait for others to make a move. When the situation turns chaotic, that’s when we act."
Xiahou Jie nodded in understanding.
While he had an irritable temperament, he was like a totally different person in combat. He became extremely calm and tolerant.
They carefully avoided their rivals and approached Fishback City, only concealing themselves upon reaching the foot of the mountain. They were experts at ambushing, so no one was alarmed by their movements.
They hid behind a rock, becoming one with the darkness. They were only a few hundred meters away from Fishback City. This distance, to them, could be closed within the blink of an eye.
They were like seasoned hunters, waiting for the others to take action first.
Time passed, but there were still no movements.
The Xiahou brothers weren’t the least bit impatient. Instead, they became increasingly alert, evidence that they weren’t forces to be reckoned with. They made eye contact and saw the seriousness in each other’s eyes.
The prey was very delicate and harmless. The other hunters were the dangerous ones.
It wasn’t just the two of them; the rest also had the same judgment, which explained why there hadn’t been any action yet.
Xiahou Jie said suddenly, "Brother, something’s not quite right."
Xiahou Jun jolted and asked hurriedly, "Someone made a move?"
"No." With a doubtful look on his face, he continued, "This city… seems too quiet."
Xiahou Jun paused for a moment before looking around with rapt attention. The lights were still brightly lit but there was no sound at all, only dead silence.
At this distance, they should be able to hear the voices of the citizens, but no matter how he pricked up his ears there were none.
A chill rose up Xiahou Jun’s back. An ambush!
He had a premonition at this point.
Could it be that Central Pine Valley still had some kind of force left?
He did some calculations in his mind. There was only one Master, Mister Dou, left in Central Pine Valley. Needless to say, Master Dou’s abilities were great and on par to the brothers’, but it would be difficult for a pair of fists to deal with two. Plus, there were so many people lying in ambush. If they made use of this advantage, Master Dou simply wouldn’t be able to raise any waves.
Or was it that their information was wrong?
They were worried about Le Buleng returning unexpectedly. No one wanted to bump into that freak. If not for the fact that the higher ups had guaranteed them over and over again that Le Buleng was waiting to go all out with Dai Gang, they absolutely wouldn’t have accepted this task.
Suddenly, Xiahou Jun’s heart quivered. He looked toward the mountain ridge up front.
A ball of black shadow squirmed soundlessly. They wouldn’t have noticed it if they weren’t experts in ambushes and if they weren’t highly focused.
They jolted, their eyes wide open.
Someone had made a move!
It was just in time for them to get an idea of the situation in the city.
It wasn’t only the Xiahou brothers; there were many pairs of eyes watching within the darkness. They were looking at the brightly lit city as they, too, realized that something was amiss.
On the mountain top.
Above the spot where Iron Lady had bid farewell to Ai Hui, the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda rested horizontally.
Ai Hui had not expected Great Sword’s first battle to happen at this time and place, or that he would face such strong rivals.
The snow covered mountains and the image of a beautiful woman fading faraway into the snow flashed across his eyes.
His bright-as-stars eyes gazed into the distance, toward the direction of the Wall of North Sea.
He patted the metal basket below him.
The members who’d long been prepared stood up at once, their elemental energy and physical strength a hundred percent recovered. While they couldn’t yet see their enemy, they knew it was coming.
Gu Xuan included, everyone was rolling up their sleeves and rubbing their fists, eager for action.
Sword of Lightning’s first battle!
Looking down from the mountain top, their field of vision was optimal. Those with good eyesight, like Gu Xuan, caught sight of a shadow under the lights. The enemy is here indeed!
Ai Hui waved the Edgeless Sword in his hands, an imposing aura instantly pervading the air. Everybody became alert and grabbed the swords in their hands tightly. They were highly focused; that was the signal to get ready for battle.
A melodious sword chime sounded from the Blackfish Mouth Volcano’s volcanic crater, breaking the silence of the night.