Shi Mu felt a little strange in his heart. Why did he have such kind of a dream? Was it possible that it had something to do with the Xian Tian tiger that he had encountered during the day?
He closed his eyes, and examined the insides of his body. He found that there was nothing different in his body. Then, he slowly opened his eyes. And, a thoughtful look flashed through them.
Two months later…
Shi Mu and the other four people finally arrived at the end of the widely-spread Black Rock Mountains.
These people had encountered several vicious beast attacks during their journey. But, they hadn’t come across any beast as vicious as that four-eyed tiger. Moreover, there had been nothing that Jin Xiao Chai and Shi Mu hadn’t been able to deal with.
There was a hilly zone with hills of different heights near the mouth of the valley. But, its view was blocked, and couldn’t be seen clearly.
"Finally, we’re here. Shi Tou, for how long do we have to walk in this Wasteland? Let’s go out. I want to take a bath. I feel dirty from inside." Jin Xiao Chai had trotted to the mouth of the valley. She stretched her body, turned around as she spoke.
"Cai is also going to freshen-up. I’m really dirty too." Cai sat on Jin Xiao Chai’s shoulder. It flapped its wings, and shouted.
"We would have to move in the south-west direction for a month, and pass through the marsh land along the journey. Then, we would go out of the Wasteland," Shi Mu walked to a side and said.
He didn’t know where to begin. He got confused between Cai and Jin Xiao Chai. Jin Xiao Chai had also begun to call him Shi Tou like Cai used to.
But, Shi Mu was glad as his ears could stay away from the continuous noise. After all, this parrot was extremely noisy.
Mo Ning and Bai Shui Xiu followed behind Shi Mu. They had fought side-by-side with Shi Mu during this period of time. So, both of them had becomea little close to him.
"What is this?" Jin Xiao Chai was about to move away from the mouth of the valley. Suddenly, she stopped walking and said.
"A ‘Shi’ awaits Your Excellency in the Black Demon Sect!’ Black Demon Sect’s Shi… isn’t this you, Shi Tou?" Cai’s voice was heard.
Shi Mu’s complexion changed as he heard Cai’s words. He increased his pace, and moved away from the mouth of the valley.
He saw a ten feet high boulder between the two short hills; it was at a distance of hundred feet from him. The boulder had been placed on the ground in a tilting manner. A row of characters in a wild and sharp font could be clearly seen on its surface.
"There’s a problem. The Earth-ranked warrior Zha Gu of the Fierce Snake Tribe must be nearby." Shi Mu’s complexion changed. He then said in a heavy tone.
"Who? An Earth-ranked warrior?" Jin Xiao Chai was startled.
Mo Ning and Bai Shui Xiu rushed from behind as they heard this. Their complexions had changed as well.
"It’s an emergency. There’s no time for an explanation. Zha Gu is looking for me. So, he mustn’t create trouble for you. Sister Jin, you should run away along with Mo Ning and the others. We should move separately." An idea crossed Shi Mu’s mind. He calmed down and said.
"Master Jin, it won’t make a difference if we die. But, the mission of the Sect makes a difference. We can’t compete with this Earth-level expert." Mo Ning and Bai Shui Xiu looked at each other. Then, they took a few steps forward towards Jin Xiao Chai and said.
"Mo Ning, you run away with Bai Shui Xiu. Brother Shi and I can compete with Zha Gu together. I – Jin Xiao Chai – am not afraid of anyone; no matter how strong he is." Jin Xiao Chai shot a glance at that boulder as she said.
"Sister Jin, Mo Ning is right. We should give importance to the mission that the Sect has assigned to us. Moreover, that matter …please Sister Jin." Shi Mu looked towards Jin Xiao Chai with tranquil expressions on his face. He then cupped his hands, and said.
"Alright, I understand. Take care of yourself… Hope to see you soon." Jin Xiao Chai became silent for a moment. Then, she nodded in serious manner, and turned around towards Mo Ning and Bai Shui Xiu. After that, she started to walk towards the other side of the mountain.
Mo Ning and Bai Shui Xiu cupped their hands towards Shi Mu as a greeting before they left. Mo Ning’s expressions were complex. It seemed that he was eager to leave from there. Bai Shui Xiu spoke-up in a low voice, "Take care".
The parrot Cai flew in the air. It looked towards Jin Xiao Chai and the other two people as they walked away. Then, it looked towards Shi Mu. It finally stopped flying, and sat on Shi Mu’s shoulder.
"Cai, aren’t you afraid?" Shi Mu said.
"We – the parrot clan – are very brave. We can’t abandon our battle companions and run away before the battle." The parrot stuck out its chest. It then said in a stern manner.
Shi Mu didn’t say anything.
"But, Cai is useless for you. It’s better that we go our separate ways. Shi Tou, Cai can think of ways to take revenge if something happens to you," the parrot changed the topic of discussion and said.
It shook one of its wings as it spoke. It then flew away.
Shi Mu lifted his left hand, and shot his forefinger. Regiments of white Qi masses flashed on his fingernail. Soon, they transformed into white thin chains, and caught the parrot.
"Master, what are you doing?" the parrot lost its head in fear, and shouted.
"Cai, fly a bit higher. See if there’s any danger. Figure out the situation, and tell me without any delay," Shi Mu said with a smile.
The parrot seemed to be unwilling at first. But, it then agreed. After that, the white chains around its body loosened-up. It flapped its wings, and flew higher.
Shi Mu closed his eyes. He opened them after a short while. He then rushed in the opposite direction of where Jin Xiao Chai and the others had gone. His speed was so fast that it seemed as if he was flying.
He moved along the mountain-hill in a zig-zag manner for a long while. Suddenly, he seemed to have been distracted by something, and his footsteps came to a stop.
The characters on the piece of the boulder appeared in front of him once again.
His complexion changed. He clenched his teeth, and changed his direction. He then started to rush once again.
He changed his direction several times as he ran. But, that piece of boulder continued to follow him like a shadow follows a body even though Cai’s vision would show Shi Mu nothing in the direction he’d chose.
Shi Mu stopped walking, and stood on a leveled ground between the small hills. His complexion had sunk.
He looked at the piece of the boulder. Then, he took out the short stick and the black blade from his back. He united them together. They formed into an extended blade with a long hilt.
Suddenly, an ice-cold aura of killing was felt from behind his body.
Shi Mu felt afraid in his heart. He turned around, and saw a middle-aged barbarian with a vertical and twisted long braid. This man was standing around a hundred feet away from him. He had scars around his green, cold, and gloomy eyes. His eyes looked like the eyes of a snake.
Shi Mu felt as if he was being stared at by this man. And, this left him to feel a slight chill in his heart.
This man gave him a sense of oppression. It was little modest than the Great Elder of the Black Demon Sect. But, the Earth-rank power existed inside him.
"Your Excellency, who are you? What are you doing here?" Shi Mu asked with an expressionless face.
"Didn’t you ask me to find you? So, I’ve come," the middle-aged barbarian replied. Then, he waved his hand, and a long green whip appeared in it.
"So, Your Excellency is Zha Gu. I’ve known your name for a long time," Shi Mu said. He gripped his extended blade in his hands. He then made a position by raising his hands.
"Hehe… Interesting! Listen… I’ll do you a favor and I will use this boulder to make a gravestone for you if you’ll be able to escape three moves of mine," Zha Gu laughed and said.
The ground on the side of his foot was split open as he spoke. Then, seventeen or eighteen thick green cane vines came out while breaking the ground. They then got wrapped around Zha Gu’s body.
After that, several other cane vines came out breaking the ground, and rushed towards Shi Mu. Shi Mu jumped-up. He then shot himself towards Zha Gu. The meteoric blade in his hand released red rays of light. One could hardly look straight at them.
He shouted. Then, his extended blade transformed into a red light. And, it went towards Zha Gu in order to behead him.
A half-moon-shaped blade-light emerged. It carried heat-waves along with it. It then severed the cane vines that surrounded Zha Gu’s body.
‘Bang!’ A loud sound echoed.
The blade-light exploded, and split open. It then transformed into segments of fire-cloud. After that, it trapped Zha Gu.
Shi Mu didn’t reveal a happy expression on his face. Instead, he hit his feet on the ground, and shot himself backwards. He then mumbled something, and pointed his finger towards a place in front of him.
Zha Gu’s body released a green light. And, the fire-clouds rolling around his body were dispersed as this happened.
After that, he grasped the long green whip in his hand, and put it in front of him horizontally in order to defend himself.
The cane vines tied around Zha Gu’s body had already broken apart, and fallen on the ground.
The green whip formed a green light shield around his body. The half-moon-shaped blade-light couldn’t do the slightest damage to the shield of green light. It couldn’t even touch his clothes.
But then, a black Qi flashed behind his body. And, the silhouette of a skeleton appeared out of it. This skeleton had a green flower on its head, and a bone-spear in its hand. It was none other than Yan Luo.
Soul-flames of deep-blue color flashed in Yan Luo’s eye-sockets. Waves of black light appeared from the spear in its hand. The light then transformed into a black flowing light. Suddenly, it went piercing towards Zha Gu’s back.
Zha Gu was amazed and terrified at the same time. He tilted his body in order to dodge the attack. A green light flashed from the whip in his hand at the same time. The tip of the whip stretched out, and went thrashing towards the head of the bone-spear.
But, who would’ve imagined that the bone-spear would change its direction a flash? It dodged the attack of the whip. Then, a black light flashed, and went piercing towards Zha Gu’s left leg.
The light rays tried to protect Zha Gu’s body from the bone-spear. But, it seemed to be useless.
Zha Gu issued a roar. Then, a green light was released from his body. After that, the light got condensed into the loft-sized virtual shadow of a green snake.
The spiritual energy violently undulated in the surroundings as soon as the virtual shadow appeared. Some waves of ripples also appeared in the air.
"Martial Arts Phasing Technique!" Shi Mu felt afraid in his heart.
This virtual shadow of the green snake was the symbol of an Earth-ranked warrior. Martial Arts Phasing was performed by condensing and conjoining the Real Qi, the thoughts, and the Martial Techniques.
"You dared to injure me! I won’t forgive you," Zha Gu’s bitter voice resounded amid the Martial Arts Phasing.
A hole had appeared on Zha Gu’s left leg. And, blood was gushing out of his wound.
The tail of the virtual shadow of the huge green snake was moving to-and-fro. The snake-tail was as thick as a millstone. And, it went charging towards Yan Luo at a lightning-fast speed.
A ray of light flashed on Yan Luo’s body. And, its figure suddenly disappeared.
The snake-tail bombarded on the ground. A several feet deep pit was formed where it had hit the ground.
"Well!" Zha Gu issued a sound of surprise.
He couldn’t see Yan Luo’s movements clearly even with his cultivation of the Earth Rank realm. In fact, it had seemed that Yan Luo had disappeared into nothingness.
Zha Gu became angry at this.
However, Shi Mu had taken advantage of the time the skeleton had engaged Zha Gu. And, he fled towards a distant place with a lightning speed. He was extraordinarily fast; so much so that he had covered a distance of a hundred feet in the blink of an eye.
Zha Gu had been left enraged by this. The green light flashed on his body once again. The Martial Arts Phasing dispersed, and disappeared into thin air.
His complexion became a little pale. But, he immediately resumed it to normal.
The Martial Arts Phasing Technique had consumed-up a great amount of his real Qi. He couldn’t fully use both the skills together while making an attack even with his current cultivation.
Zha Gu moved his body. He wanted to chase after Shi Mu. But, he stumbled. Then, a gloomy and cold feeling rose from the wound in his left leg. The wound had paralyzed him. Moreover, his power had converged, and spread in the surroundings.
He felt surprised.
He also felt a little dizziness. Some kind of a strange energy seemed to be entering into his wound. This energy finally touched his mind.