The Elder lent his support to the Master of the Jin family. Then, he too left the hall. After that, he arrived in the middle of the courtyard. He looked in the direction of the hall with an ugly expression on his face. A terrified look flashed across his eyes.
The other members of the Jin family noticed that the Elder and the Master of the Jin hadn’t yet departed the vicinity. They looked at each other in dismay. But, they had no alternative but to wait outside.
Shi Mu sat alone in the hall. He closed his eyes to rest.
A sound of light and graceful footsteps was heard from outside after a short period of time. Shi Mu opened his eyes as he heard the sound. Then, Aunt Zhen’s silhouette appeared at the gateway of the hall.
Shi Mu hadn’t seen Aunt Zhen for several years; but her appearance hadn’t changed much in these years. Her face looked colorless and sallow owing to the house-arrest. Shi Mu couldn’t even determine her Qi at first.
"Aunt Zhen!" Shi Mu quickly stood-up.
"Are you really Shi Mu?" Aunt Zhen came close to Shi Mu, and sized him up. She still couldn’t believe that Shi Mu stood in front of him. She then asked in a hesitant manner.
Shi Mu was fourteen or fifteen years old when he had left the Feng City. Now, he was around twenty years old. Moreover, he had had a number of experiences in the Black Demon Sect and the barbarian wasteland. So, his stature and skin- color had greatly changed. No wonder Aunt Zhen couldn’t recognize him.
"Aunt Zhen, it’s me. You had to suffer all these years because of me. I feel extremely apologetic in my heart," Shi Mu grinned and replied in an apologetic tone.
"Silly child, I feel that I owe you something because I couldn’t protect you from whatever happened back then. Fortunately, your misfortune has turned into a blessing. Otherwise, how would I have faced your father in the Heaven?" Aunt Zhen shook her head and sighed.
Then, both of them exchanged greetings. They got along with each other quite well.
Aunt Zhen asked Shi Mu about his life in the past few years. Shi Mu didn’t hide anything, and told her about his experiences during the past years.
Aunt Zhen became more and more astonished as she continued to listen to Shi Mu’s stories. She had never thought that Shi Mu would experience so many things in the short span of a few years. His cultivation had reached the Hou Tian advanced-stage, while she was a Hou Tian consummate-level warrior. However, her strength still wasn’t much in comparison to his’.
"That’s right. Is Sister Yu Huan at home right now?" Shi Mu asked after a short while.
"Yu Huan got admitted into the Kai Yuan Martial Arts School shortly after you left. She hasn’t returned home since the past two or three years owing to the invasion of the barbarian race," Aunt Zhen’s eyes seemed to be missing her daughter as she spoke.
"Aunt Zhen, it seems that you’re not aware that the human and barbarian races have formed an alliance. So, there’ll be no war between these two races for some time. Sister Yu Huan may come back to see you soon," Shi Mu told her after he had given it some thought.
The news of the human and barbarian races forming an alliance hadn’t been officially announced in public as yet. So, Aunt Zhen was startled as she heard the news. Then, her face exposed a gratified look.
Shi Mu then took out several magic charms, a jade bottle, and a long green whip from his bosom. He handed them over to Aunt Zhen.
Aunt Zhen stared blankly at him.
"Aunt Zhen, I was just passing through Feng City. I’ll not stay here for too long. There are some Element Tempering pills in this bottle. They’ll help you make a progress with your cultivation. There are also a few magic charms… and a magic tool that you can use," Shi Mu said with a smile.
The Element Tempering pills were strong cultivation pills that Shi Mu had obtained from the barbarian race. They were extremely useful for Hou Tian martial arts, and were similar to Bone Tempering Pills.
A complex expression appeared on Aunt Zhen’s face. She hesitated a little. Then, she received the bottle and opened its lid. A faint sweet smell hit her face. Her expression changed as the real Qi undulated in her body.
After that, she picked-up the magic charms and the green whip and started to inspect them. She was shocked.
The magic charms provided by Shi Mu were low-level charms, but their price was extremely high. The Jin family was very rich, but it couldn’t afford to possess these many low-level magic charms at the same time.
The long green whip was a magic tool that had been refined in the Fierce Snake Tribe. It was almost equivalent to a middle-level magic tool.
There were very few magic tools in the Jin family. However, they didn’t possess a single magic tool of this level.
"These things are extremely precious. You should take them back. Your Aunt Zhen can’t accept them." Aunt Zhen handed the things back to Shi Mu. She then said.
"Aunt Zhen, you don’t need to be formal with me. These things are precious… but they aren’t much useful to me now. Don’t worry… and just accept them," Shi Mu smiled and replied.
"If that’s the case… then I’ll receive them." Aunt Zhen hesitated a little. But then, she received those things.
Shi Mu smiled faintly. Then, he thought of something and said with a dull expression, "Aunt Zhen, there’s one matter about which I need your help."
"Tell me. Your Aunt Zhen will help you as long as she can..."
"Is it possible that Aunt Zhen would bother to help me in distributing these belongings among the families of the members of the Golden Dragon Gang?" Shi Mu took out a silver note and golden foliage from his bosom, and handed them over to Aunt Zhen. He then told Aunt Zhen about the matter of the Golden Dragon Gang and the Wu family.
Shi Mu had murdered a large number of people. He was under the control of Feng Li’s necklace while murdering those people, but he had killed those people with his own hands.
The people of the Wu family were guilty and deserved the punishment. The Golden Dragon Gang was usually tyrannical, but they weren’t guilty to deserve the death punishment. Now, their families were full of orphans and widows. Shi Mu decided to do his best to compensate their loss. He had thought about it, and decided that only Aunt Zhen was suitable for this job.
Aunt Zhen’s expressions changed. She then nodded in agreement.
"Thank you so much, Aunt Zhen." Shi Mu felt relaxed in his heart. He then smiled gratefully, and stood-up.
"Shi Mu, are you going to leave?" Aunt Zhen seemed unwilling to let him go.
"Yes, Aunt Zhen. I hope to see you again. Take care." Shi Mu nodded. He then cupped his hands in greeting towards Aunt Zhen, and took a step forward towards the exit of the hall.
The people of the Jin family were still gathered at the gate of the courtyard. Their expressions changed as they saw that Shi Mu was coming out.
"I’m sparing you for the sake of Aunt Zhen. I’ll come back if I ever come to know that you dared to direct your anger against Aunt Zhen and Yu Huan… I’ll come back even if I am at the other end of the earth. Then, I won’t let you go easily… like I did today." Shi Mu swept his vision towards the people present on the spot. After that, his vision fell on the Elder. He then said coldly.
The Master of Jin family was terrified; he agreed immediately. The Elder didn’t say anything. The rest of the men also agreed as they saw this.
Shi Mu turned around to look towards Aunt Zhen through the gate and nodded. Then, his figure flashed, and jumped on the wall. After that, he faded away into the distance.
A black carriage left Feng city half-an-hour later.
Shi Mu turned around and looked towards the city. It was almost dusk. The afterglow of the setting sun made the entire city look dim-sighted with a layer of golden light.
Shi Mu seemed to be in low spirits. He soon turned back his head.
His intersection with the people of Feng city would be lesser and lesser as he’d journey farther and farther in his pursuit of martial arts.
Suddenly, Shi Mu’s heart felt a sense of loneliness; he had never felt like this before.
He raised the tip of his brow, and looked towards a barren hill in the vicinity of the road. He could faintly see a shabby and old temple on the hilltop.
An unusual color appeared in Shi Mu’s eyes. This was the same temple where he had met Zhong Xiu and her father for the first time.
Zhong Xiu’s figure appeared in his mind. He hadn’t seen her since he had left for his journey in a hurry.
Shi Mu remained motionless for a moment. He then shook the reins of his horses, and changed the direction of his carriage. After that, he headed in the southwest direction – towards the Wonderful Sound Sect.
It was night. The carriage was parked in a wilderness. A pair of dark horses was tethered to an old tree.
Shi Mu exposed an exhausted expression on his face, and sat down on a huge stone.
Shi Mu’s cultivation made it impossible for him to get tired so easily. But, he felt excessively drained put owing to the influence of the evil spirit that had infiltrated his body during the daytime.
Shi Mu took out a pill. He was about to consume it when his vision fell on the surrounding wilderness. He then wrinkled his eyebrows.
This place was far away from the city. However, it couldn’t be said that there no danger here.
Suddenly, the thought of Yan Luo crossed Shi Mu’s mind; he didn’t know why it had happened. Then, a feeling of guilt welled-up in his heart.
Yan Luo had blocked a fatal blow and had been seriously injured that day in the forbidden area of the Portal of the Brave Warriors while fighting with the three-headed ominous beast.
After that, Shi Mu had left the forbidden area. Then, he had removed the curse. He had forgotten about Yan Luo in a rush to flee from the forbidden area.
Shi Mu mumbled to himself as this thought crossed his mind. He then waved his hand.
Then, a black fog appeared on the ground in front of him. After that, a human-skeleton slowly appeared out of the fog.
The skeleton was dressed in a white armor made-up of bones. It was holding a bone-spear in his hand. Two sky-blue flames were flickering in its eye-sockets.
Shi Mu was surprised. This skeleton didn’t look like the old Yan Luo. But, the spirit-mark engraved by Shi Mu was present on its body.
Shi Mu called out in an uncertain manner.
Yan Luo seemed to have clearly heard what Shi Mu had said. It slanted its head, and sized him up for a few minutes. Then, its figure disappeared.
It appeared in front of Shi Mu the next moment, and hugged Shi Mu.
Shi Mu was surprised. Real Qi raged-up in his body; he was just about to push Yan Luo away.
Suddenly, Yan Luo tightened its grip on his body. It seemed to have no intention to attack him even though it was hugging him tightly. Its bony arms were only holding Shi Mu in a casual embrace.
A doubt emerged in Shi Mu’s heart. Yan Luo had never behaved in this manner before. Moreover, it had never reacted with such a fast speed. Shi Mu couldn’t understand what had happened to Yan Luo after its fight with the three-headed ominous python.
He was about to push Yan Luo away in order to examine it carefully.
Suddenly, Yan Luo loosened its arms from his body. It then withdrew, and appeared several feet away.
Shi Mu touched his waist, and realized that the beast soul bag suspended around his waist was missing. It was now in Yan Luo’s hand.
The soul-flames flickered a few times in Yan Luo’s eye-sockets. It then pulled open the bag of beast souls, opened its mouth, and issued an attractive force.
The light balls of the beast-souls started to flow out of the bag into Yan Luo’s mouth.
The blue color of Yan Luo’s soul-flames changed as it continued to swallow the beast-souls. Its color seemed to have deepened from before.
Yan Luo looked into the sky, and issued a long and noiseless whistle after it had consumed half of the beast-souls. Suddenly, its body started to emit a formidable aura that started to spread in the surroundings. This aura aroused a strong airflow. The dust rolled-up on the ground; even the stones were sent flying.
Shi Mu looked greatly surprised. Yan Luo’s aura was tremendous. It had already reached the Xian Tian level.
Shi Mu couldn’t understand how Yan Luo – a small skeleton – had reached the Xian Tian level in the Dead Spirit World.
Shi Mu couldn’t believe it. But, the aura emitted by Yan Luo’s body was real.