Then, his eyes met Elder Jin Xiao Chai’s eyes; she was beside the Great Elder.
Jin Xiao Chai playfully winked at Shi Mu. She then exposed a smile from the corner of her mouth.
Shi Mu felt surprised, and looked away.
"There’s no need to be so polite." The middle-aged man sized Shi Mu up and down. He then replied while exposing a smiling expression on his face.
Shi Mu stood straight. He walked up to Mo Ning and others, and stood beside them.
The three of them looked towards Shi Mu; they all bore different expressions on their faces.
The injuries on Mo Ning’s body had been healed by now. But, he looked towards Shi Mu with an uncomfortable expression on his face…
Qian Xiong and Bai Shui Xiu were quite friendly towards Shi Mu. So, they smiled at him as a greeting.
"Shi Mu, your real Qi is quite vigorous. Moreover, your spirit power is formidable. Good!" the middle-aged man observed in a dull tone.
"Thank you for the compliment, Great Elder," Shi Mu cupped his hands and replied; his tone was neither too humble nor pushy.
The expressions of the middle-aged man changed. It seemed as if Shi Mu’s calmness was beyond his expectations. After all, he was standing in front of the Xian Tian elders of the Sect. So, he must’ve been fearful and anxious.
The middle-aged man glanced towards the Head of the Black Demon Sect. The Sect Head understood the meaning behind his glance. So, he took a step forward.
"The four of you have been called here because there’s something important we wish to tell you," the Sect Head said with a dignified face.
Shi Mu and the other three people were surprised as they heard this. They exerted themselves to listen with rapt attention.
"You probably know this already – our Black Demon Sect was created thousands of years ago. But, the origin of this Sect isn’t from Yan nation. It was inherited from the Heavenly Demon Sect," the Sect Head said.
Shi Mu and others looked at each other. They already knew about this. But, the Sect Head must surely have something else to say.
"The Heavenly Demon Sect is situated in the central mainland. Our Black demon Sect is a branch of the Heavenly Demon Sect. So, our Sect has been connected to the Heavenly Demon Sect since ages. After a while, the Heavenly Demon Sect started to hold a Demon Yang Ceremony once in every thirty years. And, every branch of the Heavenly Demon Sect gathers together in this ceremony. Then, the main stream disciples compete to obtain a Holy Demon Yang Fruit. This fruit would help you improve your cultivation by a big margin; so much so that a main stream disciple might get an opportunity to become a true disciple of the sect," the Sect Head continued to speak.
Shi Mu had already guessed about this matter.
Mo Ning and the others also felt the same way. Their faces exposed emotional colors.
"The Great Elder and I have discussed it, and we’ve decided that the four of you will participate in this ceremony as representatives of our Sect – under the guidance of elder Jin Xiao Chai," the Sect Head said.
Shi Mu’s expressions brightened-up. He felt a little excited in his heart.
The Da Qi kingdom and its two neighbors were situated in a remote area of the Dong Zhou continent as per Shi Mu’s knowledge. And, there was scarcity of resources in the territory of these three remote kingdoms. Moreover, this territory was less fertile than the land of the central continent.
Shi Mu had admired the central mainland since a long time. And, he had always wanted to go there and see it. But, he had never got the opportunity. So, he didn’t wish to miss this opportunity now.
Mo Ning and the other two people also had excited colors on their faces.
"We’ll follow this order since it has been issued by the Great Elder and the Sect Head. But, when will we start our journey?" Shi Mu said.
"The Demon Yang ceremony would be held soon. It’s a long journey. You’d have to start it after two months. Otherwise, you’ll be late. I’ve called you here to inform you about this matter so that you can go ahead of the schedule, and make some preparations in advance," the Great Elder smiled and said.
"Yes," Shi Mu and the other three people said in unison.
The Head of the Black Demon Sect spoke a few more sentences to Shi Mu and others. Then, he allowed them leave along with Jin Xiao Chai.
They eventually walked out of the hall. Now, only the Great Elder and the Sect Head were left in the hall.
"Great Elder, the Demon Yang ceremony is a rare opportunity. You should only send Xiao Chai since she’s a Xian Tian warrior. Shi Mu and others are at the consummate level of the Hou Tian realm. Isn’t it inappropriate to send all of them?" the Sect Head spoke-up with a slight sense of hesitation. He then continued, "Perhaps, a few disciples should be replaced by Tiger Bone and Ning Ping since those two are Xian Tian disciples."
"I’ve already decided and set the candidates," the Great Elder said slowly.
"Alright," the Sect Head replied promptly. He then bid him farewell and left.
The Great Elder looked at the disciples outside the main hall once the Sect Head had walked away; his expressions were as tranquil as water. It couldn’t be determined what he was thinking about.
Shi Mu left the main hall, and greeted Qian Xiong, Bai Shui Xiu, and others. After that, he went in the direction of his cave-dwelling.
A golden shadow flashed. Then, the silhouette of Jin Xiao Chai appeared in front of Shi Mu. She then blocked his way.
Shi Mu hopped, and hastily stopped walking. He had been walking so fast that he almost bumped into Jin Xiao Chai. There was very less distance between the two of them at this moment as a result. Then, an alluring mild fragrance entered his nose.
Shi Mu exposed a forced smile, and took a step backwards.
Mo Ning and the other two people looked towards Shi Mu and Jin Xiao Chai. They exposed colors of astonishment in their eyes. Then, all the three people started to walk faster. Their silhouettes soon disappeared into the distance.
Shi Mu looked at the three of them walking away. He tried to move the corner of his mouth for a while, but finally let out a sigh. He then said, "I don’t know why Elder Jin called after me. Do you wish to say something to me?"
Jin Xiao Chai didn’t reply. Instead, she touched her chin, and sized Shi Mu up and down.
"I gifted you that Qian Yuan pill. You haven’t taken it yet, right?" Jin Xiao Chai wrinkled her brows and said.
"The Qian Yuan pill is a magic potion to break through the bottleneck of the Xian Tian realm. Right now, my cultivation is still far from the crucial point. So, I’d have to wait for a while before using it. I want to thank Elder Jin for the present," Shi Mu nodded, and changed the topic of discussion. He then faced Jin Xiao Chai, and bowed before her to show his gratitude.
"When are you going to try to break through the bottleneck of the Xian Tian realm?" Jin Xiao Chai’s complexion sank. She then asked.
"I was planning to spend a little time, and then try to break through the Xian Tian realm after two or three months. But now, I’ll have to leave for the Demonic Sect. So, I’ll probably make a breakthrough after that." Shi Mu felt a little strange as Jin Xiao Chai asked about the degree of the progress in his cultivation. But, he replied in an honest manner.
"I’m not delighted as your progress towards the Xian Tian bottleneck is going slow." Jin Xiao Chai’s complexion became cold as she heard this. She then spoke in resentful tone.
Shi Mu hadn’t expected that Jin Xiao Chai would turn hostile. So, he was startled.
"I’ve always considered you to be a skillful man. I didn’t expect you to handle this in a womanish way. Let it be. I shouldn’t have had hopes from you… " Jin Xiao Chai stared at Shi Mu ferociously. She no longer paid attention to him. She turned around, and walked angrily towards the other side of the main hall.
Shi Mu looked at Jin Xiao Chai’s departing figure. She seemed like an unfathomable mystery to him. He didn’t understand when and how he had provoked this woman.
He thought for a while. But, he couldn’t make any sense of the matter. So, he shook his head, and walked down the hill.
Shi Mu turned down every organization and entity of the Sect that tried to hire him to make charms for them over the next few days. He continued to practice the Art of Accumulating Spirit Power. Moreover, he studied the ‘Secret Art of Charm Magic’ in his cave-dwelling.
Shi Mu stood beside the stone-desk in a private room with a solemn and respectful expression on his face. Several folded charm papers of animal-hide were neatly arranged on the desk. Magic ink and magic pen were placed beside those papers.
Shi Mu had brought these charm papers from the Wasteland. There was a pack of black folded animal-hide among these papers; it was made-up of a small lump of skin of the three-headed ominous python.
According to Shi Mu’s estimation, he could make a magic charm by using the skin of the three-headed ominous python of the Xian Tian middle-level. The power of that magic charm would be equivalent to that of a high-grade magic charm.
Shi Mu took a deep breath. A golden light shone brightly in his eyes. He then took out the piece of the animal-skin charm paper. After that, he carefully spread it out on the desk.
He picked the magic pen in his right hand, and dipped it into the magic ink. He held a spirit stone of metal attribute in his left hand. Then, he slowly started to draw.
Shi Mu drew a Golden Star Charm; it was a defensive magic charm. It was considered to be an advanced version of the Golden Armor Magic Charm.
Ten days later…
All the animal-hide charm papers – including the one that was made-up of the skin of the three-headed ominous python – had already been used-up. More than half of the magic charms had got damaged in the process of making them.
Shi Mu had been able to produce eight middle-grade magic charms from the skin of the three-headed ominous python. Five of them were the cane vine magic charms. They could be used to attack the enemy. The other three were Golden Star Charms.
He had drawn more than twenty magic charms on the ordinary animal-skin. But, all of them were middle-level fire-attribute attacking magic charms; they were called the Fire Spear Charms.
Shi Mu looked a little tired. He felt relaxed in his heart as he saw the thirty middle-level magic charms on the desk.
The central area of the mainland was quite far. It wasn’t known how many untold dangers and difficulties would come along the way. These magic charms could at least make him feel him a little secure.
He waved his hand, and kept the magic charms in his storage ring. After that, he walked over to the stone-bed in his private room.
He lay down on the stone-bed, and entered into his dreamland.
A few hours later…
Shi Mu turned over, and got-up. He then sat cross-legged on the stone-bed.
He started to think about something. After that, he closed his eyes, and the records of the ‘Art of Flaming Red Ape’ appeared in his mind. He then started to comprehend it.
Shi Mu opened his eyes. He then wrinkled his brows. He seemed to be thinking about something.
The Art of Flaming Red Ape had turned out to be far more exquisite than his imagination. This cultivation technique was divided into twelve layers; there were boundaries after every three layers. He would enter into the Xian Tian realm once he reached the seventh layer. In fact, he could even advance his cultivation to the Earth Grade with this technique.
The practice of this cultivation art could make the practitioner’s body encounter changes with advancement of each level. It would promote his fire-element induction power. Moreover, it would upgrade the might of his Fire Attribute Martial Skills.
Shi Mu felt that the basics of this technique were similar to those of Magic cultivation techniques in some aspects.
Shi Mu would get to study the Xian Tian Martial Skill – ‘The Art of Seven Killing Sticks’ – once he reached the seventh layer of this cultivation technique. This was also the reason why he had forged the short meteoric stick. Moreover, he would get to study a martial skill called the ‘The True Flame of Primal Chaos’ once he reached the tenth layer.
But, a place with a fire-based spiritual essence would be needed in order to practice this cultivation art. A great amount of All Yang Pills would be required otherwise.
Shi Mu had heard about a place which possessed the fire-based spiritual essence when Zhao Ping had accidently mentioned about it in his blacksmith shop. It was said that there was an area inside the valley after the third peak of the mountain where special pills and magic tools were made. Only the disciples of the second grade or higher had the qualifications to use it.
Shi Mu got-up while thinking about these things. He then arrived at the doorway of his private room. Suddenly, a black light flashed on the prohibition token in his hand. After that, the stone-gate was opened by the black light.
Bang! Bang!’ The sounds of shifting of the mountain-rocks were heard.
The stone-gate of the private room opened with a loud rumble. Shi Mu’s figure flashed and went outside.
Then, sounds of the shifting of the mountain-rocks was heard from behind him. The mountain-wall regained its original shape; not even a small crack could be seen on its surface.
Shi Mu exited his cave residence, and walked down the hill.
He returned to his cave-dwelling after an hour. He had already gathered thirty Concentrated Yang Pills in his storage ring. These were one of the most common kinds of All Yang Pills.
Suddenly, he thought of Cai and gave a command to it. After that, he left the cave-dwelling once again.