He saw that Young Master Ju had grasped a blood-red token in his left hand.
The surface of the token was emanating an intermittent burst of faint-red light; as if a kind of liquid had penetrated the palm of Young Mater Ju.
Shi Mu was startled. He carefully pulled the token from Young Master Ju’s hand after a momentary hesitation.
The token was rectangular in shape, and three inches in size. An odd pattern was portrayed on one of its sides; it looked like a ghost-shaped humanoid monster. Some strange letters in a strange font were carved on the other side of the token; they were extremely small in size, and looked like tiny flies. Shi Mu had never come across such a weird language in his entire life.
He grasped the blood-red token in his hand; he felt a wisp of ice-cold feeling that was being transmitted by the token. The token was also emitting a faint-red radiance; it had already engulfed his palm. However, the radiance didn’t seep into Shi Mu’s hand – like it had been seeping into Young Master Ju’s hand.
Shi Mu carefully sized-up the token a couple of times. He then shook his head. He was about to place the token back. Suddenly, his complexion changed as his eyes fell on Young Master Ju’s left hand.
He hadn’t even noticed when Young Master Ju’s left hand had changed, and had become the same as the other parts of his body. The originally smooth skin now looked clearly limped and relaxed. Also, a faint-blue color had appeared on the surface of his left hand; it was emitting bursts of nasty odor.
"How can it be? Don’t tell me it happened because I separated this token from his hand?" Shi Mu was left dumbstruck.
He looked at the blood-red token once again. He felt that it looked mystical. This token seemed to have the ability to preserve the corpse from decaying.
Shi Mu shook his head. This thing looked pretty good and useful, but it was Young Master Ju’s relic. So, Shi Mu couldn’t take it away. Therefore, he carefully put it back into Young Master Ju’s left hand.
He then stood-up, and turned around to walk outside the secret room.
Young Master Ju commanded an extraordinary status since he was a Spirit Grade Magician. But, he had been found dead in his own residence. Shi Mu was the first person who had found his body. So, it was his responsibility to report this incident to the Sect.
Shi Mu walked out of the secret room’s passageway, and arrived in the stone room.
"What’s the situation in the secret room? How’s that obese man Ju?" The parrot flew over as soon as Shi Mu appeared.
"Young Master Ju is dead. His body has already started to rot," Shi Mu shook his head and replied with a sigh.
The parrot’s body became stiff as it heard these words. Then, a trace of low-spirited and crestfallen look floated into its big eyes.
Shi Mu didn’t pay much attention to the parrot. He hurried out of the stone house, and walked toward the Sect’s Law Enforcement Hall.
He arrived at Young Master Ju’s dwelling place along with a gray-robed old man half-an-hour later.
The gray-robed old man was Elder Zhen Xing – one of the judges in the recent annual competition. He was the Law Enforcement Elder of the Black Demon Sect’s Law Enforcement Hall.
The two hurriedly entered the stone house, and arrived at the entrance of the secret room.
Shi Mu felt surprised as he noticed that the parrot had fled away. They had walked all the way to this stone house, but he hadn’t seen even the slightest trace of the parrot anywhere.
"Is this the place?" Shi Mu was in a state of shock. The gray-robed old man’s vision drifted towards the secret room’s passageway. He then said with a solemn expression on his face.
"Yes," Shi Mu quickly regained his composure and replied.
The grey-robed man nodded, and took a step to walk in.
Both of them soon arrived inside the secret room. The grey-robed old man’s emotions were stirred-up as his vision fell on Young Master Ju’s dead body.
He waved his hand, and a mass of white radiance fled from his hand. It shrouded the dead body of Young Master Ju.
Then, the grey-robed old man raised his hand once again, and the white radiance dispersed.
"Master Ju seems to have died long ago. I think that it should’ve been almost one month since his death. There’s not the slightest trace of injuries on his body. The cause of his death should’ve been dissipated by now," the grey-robed old man said thoughtfully.
Shi Mu felt a bit more convinced about his own prediction as he heard these words.
The gray-robed old man’s eyes shifted towards Shi Mu as he asked, "Young Master Shi, what brought you here today?"
"This disciple just happened to pay a visit to Young Master Ju today. I knocked on the door for a long time, but nobody responded. Then, I noticed that the front door wasn’t locked. So, I went in without any permission. I used to study formula arts with Young Master Ju. So, I knew the location of his secret room. I had never expected that I would witness such a scene when I would come in, "Shi Mu replied with a sigh.
"So, that’s how it is. Thanks to you, otherwise it can’t be known when the corpse of Master Ju would’ve been discovered." The gray-robed old man wanted to ask something else. But, he thought of something, and dropped the plan of further questioning. He then said while nodding his head.
"Master Zhen is over-praising me. It was my responsibility to report this incident to the Sect," Shi Mu said.
"I’ll inform this matter to the Sect. I’ll ask them to make arrangements for the funeral of Master Ju." The grey-robed old man waved his hand in order to indicate Shi Mu to leave.
"Elder Zhen, this disciple had a purpose behind visiting Master Ju today. My intention was to obtain a little venom of the golden lizard in order to make a magic tool. The lizard in the cage is the same Golden lizard that I mentioned. It’s also dead now. Would you please allow me to take away the venom pouch from within its body? "Shi Mu’s eyes flashed as he pointed his finger at the silver cage on the ground.
The gray-robed old man turned his gaze towards the golden lizard and nodded as he heard these words.
"Thank you, Elder Zhen." Shi Mu’s face beamed with happiness. He then cupped his hands in obeisance and replied.
After that, he opened the cage and pulled the golden lizard’s body out of it. Then, he fished out a hilted dagger, and carefully pricked the lower abdomen of the golden lizard on the left side. He slit open a hole with a little difficulty. This revealed the red and white flesh of the lizard.
Shi Mu had hunted and killed plenty of lizards while he was in the barbarians’ wasteland. So, he had developed a good understanding of the internal organs of these beasts.
The golden lizard was a metal-attribute strange beast. The texture of its skin was as solid as a metal. Therefore, there wasn’t the tiniest sign of decay on its body.
Shi Mu rummaged through its body for a moment; as if he was looking for something. Suddenly, his face blazed with exhilaration. He carefully delimited several cuts on the lizard’s lower abdomen with his dagger. After that, he extracted a fist-sized yellow ball from inside its body. The ball was exuding a whiff of strange odor; it was the venom pouch of the lizard.
Shi Mu’s complexion gleamed with a blissful expression. He took out a jade box, and placed the venom pouch carefully inside it. Then, he received the box in his Storage Ring.
"Thank you so much for your help, Elder Zhen." Shi Mu rose to his feet and walked over to the grey-robed old man. He then clasped his hands across his chest, and spoke with veneration.
The gray-robed old man was absorbed in examining the obese man Ju’s body. So, he looked lost in thoughts. But, he regained his composure as he heard Shi Mu’s words.
"It’s just a trivial matter. Young Master Shi doesn’t have to be so formal. Anyways, it’s not suitable for you to stay here any longer as the presence of the dead Qi seems to be quite heavy here. You better leave as soon as possible. Leave the rest to this old man," the grey-robed old man said.
"Yes." Shi Mu nodded. He then glanced at Master Ju’s corpse, and let out a sigh in his heart. After that, he turned around and walked towards the exit.
He stepped out of the stone house after a while. Then, his face regained its calmness.
It could be said that life and death had always accompanied him everywhere throughout his journey of practice. So, Shi Mu wasn’t a sentimental person.
He descended the mountain while walking along the road. Suddenly, a burst of wings-flapping sounds transmitted from behind him. A feathered parrot flew out of the woods close to the mountain. It then appeared in front of Shi Mu; it was Cai.
"Cai, why did you fly over here?" The tips of Shi Mu’s eyebrows twitched.
"A foul smell had permeated the entire house. So, I couldn’t stay there any longer," Cai shouted in reply.
"Young Master Ju is dead. Why weren’t you sent back to your dimension automatically?" Shi Mu thought of something and asked.
"Humph! That obese man has died a sudden and violent death. So, I’m unable to leave this world and return to my own place," Cai replied while issuing crying sounds of ‘wa wa’. Its eyes revealed a dejected look.
"Can something like this happen?" Shi Mu felt a little surprised. But, he had already guessed this.
This parrot and the golden lizard were living creatures. They didn’t require a huge consumption of spirit power of the spell caster. Therefore, Young Master Ju had been able to keep these two creatures at his side as pets for such a long time.
Cai couldn’t return to his dimension as Young Master Ju was dead now.
"So, what's your next plan?" Shi Mu fired another question.
"I’m unfamiliar to this place. So, I intend to accept a Master again. I think that you’re more pleasing to the eye. So, I would like to follow you from now on," Cai said while fluttering its wings.
"Follow me? Absolutely not!" Shi Mu froze to the spot for a moment. He turned down this proposal even without giving it a second thought.
The parrot was extremely uproarious. Moreover, Young Master Ju had once told him that Cai wasn’t bestowed with any special ability apart from the fact that he was very talkative and highly intelligence. Therefore, it would be exceedingly bothersome to let it tag along with him.
"What?! I – a Noble Male Parrot – would like to follow you. How did you dare to turn your back on me?" Cai issued a ‘wa wa’ shout in a furious manner.
"Do you possess any other ability apart from being utterly talkative?" Shi Mu gave a supercilious look, and asked in an irritated tone.
"Hmm… That obese man Ju told you that I’m a useless creature, and you believed him? You’re very naïve. Why would that obese man Ju summon this honorable bird to this world at such a great expense if I was such a futile creature?" the parrot sneered as it said.
"What do you mean?" Shi Mu was dumbfounded. He then asked tentatively.
"The special ability of our Gossiping Parrot Race is to share vision with our Master. We’re able to share the vision with our Master for some time through the power of contract once we sign a contract with a human," the parrot said haughtily.
Shi Mu opened his eyes wide as he heard these words; his heart thumped in astonishment.
Having such a spirit pet on his side was equivalent to having an additional pair of eyes if the words spoken by the parrot were true.
Moreover, the parrot could fly. This ability made it quite suitable to be a spy.
"Is it the truth?" Shi Mu remained silent for a moment. He then asked.
"Of course it is. Why I would deceive you," the parrot replied contemptuously.
"In that case, you’re indeed quite useful. So, it's alright for you to follow me... But, you didn’t hesitate to disclose this special ability of yours to me. It seems that you’ve chosen to follow me not only because you’re new to this world; there must be some other reason, right? "Shi Mu nodded and asked.
The parrot rolled its eyes. It then said, "Of course. There’s something I need you to do for me."
"What's that? You better spit out everything clearly," Shi Mu said with an expressionless face.
"This honorable Bird was used by the obese man Ju for despicable means and deceiving this world. This place is not my native place. I chose you because I’ve seen you do things your ability. But, you’ve to promise me something. You’ll have to send me back to my own world once you acquire enough strength," the parrot looked solemn as it said.
"According to Young Master Ju, a person needs to fulfill three major conditions in order to perform this. I neither have the remains of a powerful creature from your dimension, nor do I know the exact position of your dimension. Then, how would I send you back?" Shi Mu was speechless.
"Everything depends upon the human effort. But, you’re not strong enough to accomplish that. You’ll certainly find ways to fulfill these conditions when the time comes," the parrot said.
A trace of amazement appeared on Shi Mu’s face. His eyes flickered as he sized-up the parrot. He then nodded and replied, "Fine, I promise you."
The parrot quacked and flapped its wings twice. It seemed as if it was delighted.
Shi Mu swept his gaze all around. After that, a streak of black light emerged on his hand as he mumbled something. It quickly condensed into a black charm character; it was the charm character that was used to establish a contract between the master and servant.
He then flicked his hand, and the black charm character drifted toward the parrot's head.
The parrot was very complaint. It let the character seep into its head easily; regardless of what it was.
A wisp of Shi Mu’s spirit melted into the parrot’s spirit along with the contract. Therefore, the master and the servant’s spirit got connected with a thread of contract.