"Right," Shi Mu replied in a forthright manner.
"Shi Tou, look at the man's cuff." Cai clung to Shi Mu's clothes and sent a message to him Mu through his mind.
Shi Mu's eyes moved and fell on the middle-aged man's cuff. He saw that a very small demon-faced design was embroidered on his cuff.
"Does Your Excellency belong to Heavenly Demon Sect?" Shi Mu had already anticipated this, but he was more convinced now.
"Right, this old man guards Auspicious River Mountain Pass's Lord. Who could have thought that the surviving member of the Dark Moon Cult would have the courage to appear in the territory of our Great Qin Kingdom so blatantly? Your courage is indeed worth praising," the middle-aged man spoke-up with a smile.
"A surviving member of the Dark Moon Cult? Your Excellency seems to have misunderstood something. This Shi doesn't belong to the Dark Moon Cult. I'm a disciple of the Black Demon Sect which is situated in the eastern peninsula of the continent. My Sect is one of the branches of the Heavenly Demon Sect. So, I am heading to Heavenly Demon Sect to take part in Demon Yang ceremony," Shi Mu was startled at first. Then, he explained.
"Black Demon Sect's disciple?" the middle-aged man froze for a moment as he heard these words.
But then, he sneered and said, "Your graceful words won't help you in getting away under a false pretense. You had summoned the Demon King at the Ascension to Immortality Auction in the Heavenly Yu City. And, you had slaughtered innumerable people as a result. I'm afraid that this matter has spread throughout the Eastern continent by now. Various sects have jointly issued a 'seize and kill order'. In fact, they have offered a bounty to pursue and exterminate the surviving members of your Dark Moon Cult. And, your name is also one of them."
The middle-aged man said, and a burst of light began to move on the jade slip. Then, it condensed into a light screen, and Shi Mu's image emerged on top of it. Also, a few lines of small characters appeared beside the image. It was exactly like what the middle-aged man had just explained.
The bounty was also mentioned in the bottom of that slip - ten thousand spirit stones, a bottle of Soul Refining Pill, and a top-grade spirit tool!
Shi Mu felt a slight chill in his heart. This situation had gone far beyond his expectations.
"Well, I told you these things because I wanted your ghost to know. After all, the time of your death has arrived," A ray of light flashed in the middle-aged man's hand and a brown magic wand appeared in his hand. It emitted a wisp of formidable magic power wave.
The expression in Shi Mu's eyes immediately returned to its original state as he saw this.
He decided that he first had to deal with the immediate situation no matter what.
"Cai, you go and remain in midair for a while. I can't take care of you while fighting," Shi Mu relayed this message to Cai through his mind.
Cai complied with his words. He spread his wings and took off towards the sky.
A burst of red luminescence emerged on Shi Mu's body. His whole body had seemingly turned into a huge mass of blazing-red flame.
"Oh, I hadn't thought that your martial arts cultivation would be pretty good as well, but..." A strange gleam flashed across the middle-aged man's eyes and he waved his wand.
Suddenly, the ground below Shi Mu's feet quivered. Then, a large yellow luminescence darted out of the ground under his feet. It formed a brown-colored magic circle, and enveloped Shi Mu's body completely.
Shi Mu's body submerged in the magic circle. Then, a wisp of massive force fell on his body, and he felt as if he had fallen into the muddy swamp. In fact, it seemed too difficult to even budge an inch.
Shi Mu's complexion profoundly changed. He exerted his full might to stimulate the flow of Real Qi within his body. A red radiance bubbled-up on the surface of his body as a result. But, it was still useless.
The pressure from the radiance of the magic circle was getting increasingly bigger. In this meantime, a yellow luminescence flashed on the nearby ground, and the yellow jade scepter began to slowly emerge.
"So, that's how it is..."
Shi Mu secretly cursed himself in his heart. The fact was that he hadn't even noticed that the middle-aged man had secretly put his plan into action a long time ago.
"My yellow scepter contains the 'Cage of Hell'. It's an Earth-grade martial art. You can't shake it off so easily. So, just give up!" the middle-aged man laughed in a strange manner. Then, the shadow of six stars appeared behind his head with a flash of light. Simultaneously, he mumbled something and the wand in his hand exuded magnificent yellow luminescence.
Then, countless masses of yellow light emerged around Shi Mu's feeble body. After that, the middle-aged man floated towards Shi Mu while reading an incantation aloud.
Shi Mu felt that an intense Earth-attribute aura had rushed forth towards him. He was alarmed by it. His body was unable to make any movement, but he could still cast magic arts.
He turned his head and spouted several clouds of white Qi from his mouth in quick succession to hit those masses of yellow light.
"Bang Bang" a series of loud rumbling sound rang out!
His Qi Explosion Technique exploded one after another. But, they couldn't affect these masses of yellow light. Instead, the yellow lights easily penetrated these explosions and bombarded on Shi Mu's body.
A stone-like shell sprouted on Shi Mu's arm. Then, it began to quickly spread towards his whole body.
Shi Mu's body turned into a stone statue within a couple of seconds.
The middle-aged man finally felt relieved. He then waved his hand and the yellow jade scepter shot back and fell in his hand.
The yellow-colored magic circle on the ground also dissipated.
But, the middle-aged man's complexion looked pale. It was apparently because this secret technique he had cast must've needed a large consumption of his spirit power.
"Elder Feng indeed possesses remarkable skills and abilities. His magic power is matchless!" the slim young man exclaimed in flattery.
"It was only natural that this old man would get hold of him. Besides, he's just a trivial boy. So, it was quite easy to grab him," the middle-aged man laughed in a self-complementing manner.
However, he felt a bit strange in his heart. He couldn't understand why Shi Mu hadn't summoned the Dead Spirit creatures for his help. However, he felt that Shi Mu may have needed more time to summon them.
However, he had trapped the opposite party with his Petrifaction Technique. This technique was already classified as a high-grade magic technique. Moreover, this was one of the unique techniques that had earned name and fame for him. So, there was no way an average person could break it.
"Well, we'll take this person back to the city. And, we will make the following plans later," the middle-aged man said while waving his hand.
The two young men complied and walked toward Shi Mu.
However, a light "Click" sound was heard.
Suddenly, a crack appeared on the surface of Shi Mu's statue. Then, the crack spread throughout his body.
The middle-aged man's complexion turned pale as he saw this scene.
Then, the statue exploded with a loud sound "Bang" before the middle-aged man could do something. And, fragments of stone blotted out the whole sky as they showered in all directions.
Those two young disciples of the Heavenly Demon Sect received the worst part of this explosion since their bodies were hit by numerous fragments of the statue's covering. They issued a miserable scream in agony as they were sent flying backwards by its impact.
Shi Mu staggered and came out amid the shower of stone fragments. His body was covered with a layer of black scales.
Shi Mu issued a loud shout, and the extended blade in his right hand exuded a burst of blazing flame. Then, he flicked his arm flick, and a half-moon-shaped blade-light darted out towards the middle-aged man. Simultaneously, a golden light flashed in Shi Mu's left hand, and a golden magic charm appeared.
Shi Mu had seized this magic charm from the plump Taoist man of the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult. It was a Space Teleportation Magic Charm. The quality of this magic charm was far superior to his silver-colored Instant Teleportation Magic charm.
Shi Mu pinched and crushed the golden-colored magic charm. A mass of golden light emerged and wrapped his whole body the next moment.
Then, a dull thumping sound was heard. The yellow luminescence flashed on the middle-aged man's jade scepter, and crushed the half-moon-shaped blade-light into pieces. However, Shi Mu's silhouette had already vanished into thin air as soon as the golden light had shrouded his whole body.
The middle-aged man fumed in rage.
Those two young disciples struggled for some time. Then, they slowly crawled to their feet while issuing groaning sounds.
However, their injuries weren't serious. The slim young man glanced at the middle-aged man, and noticed that the opposite party was blazing with a fit of anger. So, he acted tactfully, and chose to remain silent for the time being.
"Uncle, how did Shi Mu succeed in breaking free from your petrifaction seal by using sheer force? Also, what's with that strange appearance of his?" the slim young man had remained silent, but the thin eye-browed young man opened his mouth and asked.
The brows and eyes of this man looked slender. In fact, his appearance bore a slight resemblance to this sinister-faced middle-aged man.
"This should be the barbarian race's secret technique that is stemmed from the eastern Barbarian Wasteland. A person can seal a beast soul within his body. Then, he can make use of that beast soul's strength to strengthen his own body at the time of battles," the middle-aged man replied after a momentary hesitation.
"I didn't expect this person not only practice both martial and magic arts… But, he's also proficient in many secret techniques. Is he genuinely a follower of the Dark Moon Cult?" the thin eye-browed young man asked.
"How could a handful of people dare to take shelter right under the nose of the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult if there were no such tricks in their arsenal? And, don't forget that the entire Heavenly Yu City had plunged into to a total chaos and destruction because of them. Countless talented disciples who had gathered there to participate in the Ascension to Immortality Ceremony were massacred in this disastrous incident. Many of these disciples would have become their new disciples. This loss can't be underestimated. The fact is that the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult's strength is severely mutilated, and its prestige has also sharply dropped," the middle-aged man said.
"It seems that this is a good thing for our Heavenly Demon Sect!" the thin eye-browed young man said.
"Such a lamentable misfortune befell the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult. But, this is a good thing for our Heavenly Demon Sect. However, the Dark Moon Cult is the common enemy of both the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult and our Heavenly Demon Sect. So, we have to be on our guards," the middle-aged man spoke-up.
"What a pity that we let that boy Shi Mu slip away..." the thin-eyebrow young man sighed as he said.
"Return to the mountain pass." The middle-aged man remained silent for a moment. He didn't try to pursue Shi Mu. He simply waved his hand, and the two men walked towards the Auspicious River mountain pass.
The golden-colored magic charm that Shi Mu had used was a kind of high-ranked Teleportation charm. So, the range of its teleportation distance was quite large. Therefore, there would basically be no hope of find him if this middle-aged man were to attempt carrying out this task alone.
A hundred or more miles outside the Mountain Pass… a person's shadow appeared from the void with a flash. This person was Shi Mu.
He looked towards the surrounding a few times, and found that this place was a desolate mountain valley. So, he heaved a sigh of relief.
He then thought of something, and the snake-scales on his body quickly receded as he retracted the beast mode.
Then, Shi Mu stood silently in the place. The cloudy look gradually faded from his face.
He hadn't expected that the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult and the Heavenly Demon Sect would join hands and issue an order for his arrest. And, their collaboration had perhaps stemmed from Shi Mu's frequent meetings with Liu An.
Shi Mu felt that it was pointless to think about these things since the most important matter was that he hadn't gotten caught.
However, this also meant that he couldn't take shelter either in the Lu Shan Kingdom or in the Great Qin Kingdom. The bounty of a spirit tool and spirit stones was too tempting. Perhaps, such an alluring bounty would have tempted many Earth-grade warriors by now.
And, the most unfortunate matter was that Shi Mu's plan had been shattered in its entirety. His plan to go the Heavenly Demon Sect to attend the Demon Yang Ceremony seemed to have become a soap bubble at this time.
Shi Mu let out a long sigh after a long time.
A little black dot appeared in the far off sky at this very moment. It flew over and arrived close to valley after some time. This black dot was actually Cai.
"Hu hu... I think I might die of exhaustion..." Cai landed on Shi Mu's shoulder, and complained while gasping for breath.
"Shi Tou, what's this about? How did you become a member of the Dark Moon Cult?" Cai asked after he had stabilized his breath.
"How do I know? It seems that the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult's people know that I was in touch with Liu An and others. Moreover, there is the possibility that Princess Yue Ni would've been the one who had leaked this matter."
"What would you do now? Won't you be chased down by people everywhere?" Cai shouted.
"It seems like that now," Shi Mu replied after a momentary consideration.