"That’s good. Brother Zhao can use the entirety of the meteoric iron. The heavier the weight, the better," Shi Mu spoke in a relaxed tone.
He wanted to create this weapon owing to his training of the Thirteen Series of Gale Force Blade Art as a martial arts disciple. He had mastered this technique many years ago.
He also needed this weapon owing to his Book of the Flaming Red Ape. This book also suggested an exquisite Stick-related Martial Art technique in addition to the basic practice of the art itself. So, he would need a stick to practice this Stick-related martial art technique.
Therefore, he thought of getting a weapon with a detachable long handle. He had gotten this idea from a weapon that was recorded in the ‘Secret Arts of the Zhong Clan’. This weapon was a combination of blade and stick. So now, he could attain both the arts at the same time.
The range of the attack of this long weapon would be wider. And, it would be able to show bigger advantage in a fight if it was heavy enough.
"But, the smelting process of the meteoric iron is complex and extremely time-consuming. It would take at least two months to carve this blade even though I possess the experience of from black blade’s forging," Zhao Ping thought for a while and said.
"No problem. I’ll come after two months to take it. I’ll pay you for all the expenses incurred during this period once the work is done. The reward won’t disappoint you," Shi Mu replied with a smile. He then stood-up.
"What are you saying, Brother Shi? You have an honorable status now. Your mere visitation to this shop of mine is like a live advertisement for me. The reward isn’t necessary," Zhao Ping waved his hand as he declined Shi Mu’s offer.
Shi Mu laughed out loud. But, he didn’t refuse. He then chatted with Zhao Ping for a while. After that, he got-up and took his leave.
He hesitated a little after he came out of the blacksmith’s shop. He didn’t go back to his cave-dwelling. Instead, he started to advance towards the thirteenth peak.
It was natural that he would record charm spells on his new weapon. So, he would need the venom of the golden lizard.
Shi Mu arrived at the residence of Young Master Ju after half-an-hour.
He was about to knock on the door, but stopped. He wrinkled his brows as his eyes fell on the ground in front of the stone gate of the house.
There was fine dust on the ground. But, there were no traces of footprints in front of the door. He estimated that no one had entered or exited the house for almost a month.
"Does Young Master Ju remain secluded in his house these days?" Shi Mu thought.
"Young Master Ju, disciple Shi Mu has come to visit you," he knocked on the door and yelled in a high voice.
He waited for a moment, but there was no response from inside.
Shi Mu wrinkled his brows. He shouted a few more times. But, he couldn’t hear anything; except for the sound of the wind.
"Anybody in there?" He had gone to the General Library a while ago. But, Master Ju hadn’t been there either.
Shi Mu hesitated. He then pressed his hand against the door, and pushed it.
The door wasn’t locked. It seemed to be made-up of stone, but it was much heavier; probably owing to some prohibition.
Shi Mu used half of his strength, and slowly opened the stone gate. It issued a creaking sound due to friction.
There was a hall in the entrance; it was dimly lit.
"Is Master Ju in? This disciple has come to pay you a visit." He stood on the gate, and didn’t go in. He yelled one more time.
"Is anybody coming? I’m starving to death …Alas! Oh!" a weak and rough voice was heard from the depth of the hall.
Shi Mu was startled. This voice was husky, but he had recognized the master of this voice.
Shi Mu went in. Thin layers of dust fell inside the hall as he entered. It seemed that nobody had passed from there since a long time.
Shi Mu followed the voice, and arrived at a corner of the hall. A golden cage was hung there. A colorfully feathered parrot crouched inside it. It was Cai.
"I remember you. You’re that human Shi Tou!"
Cai’s feathers were gloomy, and its aura looked dispirited. It looked towards Shi Mu. It then raised its voice as he filled with excitement.
"My name is Shi Mu." Shi Mu was startled. He didn’t know whether he should be happy or sad. But, he corrected Cai.
"Shi Mu… Shi Mu... yes. You can be anything. Just let me out quickly. Give me some food and water. It has been more than ten days since I’ve tasted water," Cai flapped its wings and shouted.
Shi Mu wrinkled his brows. But, he didn’t open the cage to free the parrot.
He waved his hand, and took out a water bag. Then, he filled the sink in the cage with water. After that, he took out some nuts, and threw them into the cage.
These nuts were Green Shuttle Fruits. Shi Mu had purchased them from a small shop. He had bought them to feed the parrot.
Cai yelled out in excitement. It went up in an impatient manner, and started to gulp down the water. It quickly drank more than half of the water in the sink. Then, it gobbled down some pieces of nuts. He came to a stop after he had eaten enough of them.
"Quack! Quack! I almost died of starvation. But now, I’ve eaten to my fill, and I feel well." Cai ate and drank to its fill. It then patted its stomach with its wings. After that, it narrowed its eyes in comfort and spoke in a loud voice.
"What’s going on here? How’s it that nobody has come here in such a long time? What about Young Master Ju?" Shi Mu asked.
"Are you talking about that damn fatty? He went to the underground secret room a month ago. But, he hasn’t come back yet. He has no sense of responsibility! He just left me to starve here." Cai looked extremely angry. And, it continued to repeat its sentence about it starving to death.
Shi Mu’s complexion changed as he heard this. He felt a bad premonition in his heart.
"Do you know what Young Master Ju is doing down there?" he asked with hesitation.
"How would I know?" Cai wasn’t in a good mood. It then shouted at Shi Mu once again to let it out of the cage.
Shi Mu didn’t pay attention to the noisy parrot. He thought for a while, and took a step forward. He then arrived in the front of a wall in the depth of the hall.
Shi Mu remembered that he had entered the underground secret room with Young Master Ju from this place.
‘Bang!’ A light sound was issued.
Shi Mu recalled the way Young Master Ju had opened the secret room last time. And, he patted a specific area of the wall with his palm.
However, nothing happened…
"Quack! Quack!" the parrot’s mocking shouts were heard from behind.
"Do you know how to open the door of the secret room?" Shi Mu turned around, and looked towards Cai.
"I know it. But, you’ll have to let me out if you want me to tell you," the parrot replied proudly.
Shi Mu let out a silent sigh. He then opened the golden cage.
The parrot flapped its wings. It then came whooshing out of the cage. It relaxed its muscles and bones by hovering and fluttering in the hall. It then let out shouts in excitement. After that, it came down in a leisurely manner.
"Well, now tell me how to open the door of the secret room," Shi Mu said.
"I’ll tell you since you’re more pleasing to the eyes than that fat person." The parrot spread out one of its one wing, and dropped it on Shi Mu’s shoulder.
"That fatty Ju is gutless. It’s quite complicated to open the door of the secret room. You would have to use many tricks at the same time in order to open it. The area that you patted was right. But, you weren’t standing at the right place," the parrot explained in a proud manner.
Shi Mu was flabbergasted. He hadn’t noticed this detail when he had entered into the secret room the last time. According to what this parrot said, Young Master Ju seemed like an extremely careful character. But, it was a secret room when the matter came to it…
Shi Mu placed his feet on the floor at the place where the parrot had indicated. He then patted the wall with his palm and exerted himself.
The wall slowly slit open with a gentle sound. It exposed a dark passage inside.
Shi Mu exposed a happy expression on his face. He was about to say something, but then his complexion changed.
There was some kind of a stink in the passage. It smelt so disgusting that he wanted to vomit.
Shi Mu covered his nose with his hand, and took a step backwards. Then, loud shouts of the parrot were heard. It spread its wings and flew out.
"This is the smell of a rotten corpse… Can it be that …?" Shi Mu looked towards the depth of the passage with flickering emotions in his eyes. Suddenly, his expressions changed as he thought of something.
He was about to enter the secret room. But then, a thought crossed his mind. He then turned around, and looked towards the parrot.
"Cai, I’m going to go down, and take a look at the situation there. I’m afraid that something unusual has happened to Young Master Ju. Do you want to come along?" Shi Mu asked as he knew that this spirit parrot was a strange creature; it knew Young Master Ju better that Shi Mu did.
"We Parrots are very neat and clean birds. We don’t go to these kinds of filthy places," Cai shuddered its tail feathers and shouted.
Shi Mu shook his head. It seemed that this parrot wasn’t only noisy, but also a coward.
He no longer paid attention to Cai. He silently activated his cultivation technique and his Real Qi to protect his body. Then, he entered into the passage.
He had come here once before. So, he walked around easily into the familiar passage. Then, he arrived outside a secret room.
He went into the secret room, and reached the point from where the rotting smell was coming.
There was a circular magic formula right in the middle of the secret room. A spirit stone was stuck into the center of the circular formula.
This spirit stone was still emitting bursts of light. It seemed that the spirit power inside them hadn’t been used-up completely. However, it seemed that this circular formula had stopped working all of a sudden.
An obese silhouette sat beside the circular formula. It was none other than Young Master Ju. The stink was coming out of his body.
Shi Mu’s complexion changed as he saw this.
He carefully sized-up the secret room. But, he didn’t find any sign of danger. Then, he quickly walked beside Master Ju’s body.
Master Ju had died a long time ago. His head was hung low. His body had already begun to rot.
Shi Mu sized-up Master Ju’s dead body. But, he didn’t find any traces of injury. It was clear that he hadn’t been killed by a man.
A silver cage was placed near Master Ju’s corpse. A three-legged lizard was lying inside that cage. Master Ju had made this golden lizard his pet. This lizard too had no breath. But, its dead body hadn’t yet started to rot. It seemed that it hadn’t been too long since it died.
Shi Mu exposed a forced smile on his face. His eyes then fell on the circular magic formula in front of Master Ju’s body. He was startled as he looked at it.
This circular formula was exactly the same that he and Master Ju had used in order to explore the land of the Dead Spirit World; it was the Mysterious Array of the Soaring Star.
"Can it be that Master Ju tried to enter the Dead Spirit World once again? I think he happened to go into some other strange space, and met with an accident there…" Shi Mu guessed.
Master Ju had told him about all kinds of dangers in different spaces when they had entered into the Dead Spirit World. It was quite common that the soul could fly away from different strange spaces and scatter.
Shi Mu’s expression became gloomy. He then sighed.
Shi Mu had good relationships with only a few elders of the Black Demon Sect; Master Ju was one of them.
Suddenly, he issued a little sound of surprise. His vision fell upon Master Ju’s left hand.
Master Ju’s dead body had become discolored and rotten. But, no traces of rotting could be seen on his left hand. It was still in its original form.