Xiao Chen turned furious, "Speak clearly! What happened!"
"The princes, Prince Zhao! Ye Shaochong has taken them!" Wang Yue said, worried and agitated.
"What..." Xiao Cheng waved his hand, summoning to him his Unsullied that tore out of his cottage through the window. It flew to his hand, and Xiao Chen sped out of the courtyard.
"Young Master!" Lil Ruo cried from behind. Yet Xiao Chen was no longer in sight.
With his Immortal-override Steps, Xiao Chen increased his pace. A quarter-hour later, he reached the Sky-gazing Gorge, finding that everyone was standing at the center region of the valley. There was a crowd of people watching and murmuring to each other.
There were a few trees at the center which the crowd formed a ring around. There he saw the three princes tied to the trees, hanging from the trees' branches. There was another rowdy mob standing around them. There was Ye Shaochong, the leader of the mob, who hissed menacingly at the princes, "Very good, eh? How dare you peddle your wares in my territory without asking for my permission?"
"Ptui!" Prince Zhao spat a mouthful of blood at him and snarled, "Ye Shaochong! Kill me today if you dare! I will make sure that your entire family is executed if I were to abandon my studies here one day! None of your kin will be left!"
"Execution of my family?" Ye Shaochong smirked and delivered a blow with his fist to the prince's abdomen.
"Argh!" Prince Zhao vomited blood once again, no longer being able to speak. Hanging beside him, Princes Qi and Yan were so terrified that their faces were deathly pale, speechless with fear.
"Heh heh! Slice off his hands! Let the message be loud and clear: I, Ye Shaochong is king here!" He motioned to two of his minions, who drew their sword and began swinging their swords at Prince Zhao's arm.
Just when everyone held their breaths, a white flash zipped through the air. There were two loud clangs; the swords of Ye Shaochong's two minions broke. Like a lively serpent, the white flash veered and circled around the three large trees, snipping off the ropes that held the three princes.
There was another flash: it was the fleeting shadow of a stranger appearing out of nowhere. He took hold of the falling Prince Zhao and snapped the ropes binding him into shreds with his spiritual powers.
Prince Zhao slowly opened his eyes, his breath still weak and slow, "Senior Brother Xiao..."
"Speak no more!" Xiao Chen channeled some of his True Energy into him. Blood trickled out of his ears, nose, and mouth; this told Xiao Chen that Prince Zhao had suffered some internal injuries.
Xiao Chen took out some of the healing elixirs that Mu Chengxue once left him and slipped one into the prince's mouth.
"You again, boy?" Ye Shaochong paced imperiously towards them.
Xiao Chen cracked his knuckles and slowly placed Prince Zhao on to the ground. He turned slowly, his gaze so hollow and deadly that everyone nearby could not help shivering.
Ye Shaochong snickered, "Heh heh... I once said, there are surely people who are tired of living. So well then..." He had not finished, but he lunged forward.
"Oh!" Everyone held their breaths. Everything then happened so swiftly in a blink of an eye.
"To Hell you go!" Xiao Chen roared. He leaped into the air and landed a kick into his opponent's stomach, sending him into a crash meters away. Crashing into the ground, blood oozed incessantly from Ye Shaochong's mouth.
The newer disciples who have been cowering not far behind swiftly came forward. Some helped remove the ropes that bound Princes Qi and Yan while some other rushed to help Prince Zhao up. Xiao Chen stood there alone. A wisp of black fumes appeared to be whirling over his forehead as his eyes took a dark purplish hue; even the twelve Spiritual Meridians in his body began to exude twelve dark and sinister True Qi auras.
Winds began to blow and howl as if in resonance to the growing presence emanating from him, both terrible and terrifying. Disciples, old and new alike, were shuddered by the change in his demeanor. The Xiao Chen now reminded them of a word most feared by all - Evil!
"Kill him!" Ye Shaochong cried. Dozens of his minions drew their swords and pounced at Xiao Chen.
"Heh..." Xiao Chen let out a sinister hiss. Unsullied shot into the air as a white bolt of light, weaving through the mob and left nothing but blood and carnage in its wake. Screams and shrieks filled the air as the putrid stench of blood filled the nostrils of everyone watching. More than half of the dozen men have their ears severed; some even had their limbs cloven off.
Ye Shaochong could hardly believe what he saw; his eyes wide and his face swept with panic and terror. He had never been so afraid in his life. He felt nothing but regret, knowing that he should not have angered Xiao Chen.
"Rest with peace in Hell!" Xiao Chen snarled. Like a bolt of lightning, he appeared before Ye Shaochong and delivered a blow to his quarry's face with his fist.
Ye Shaochong frantically raised his arms, hoping to shield himself from the blow. Yet his powers - lV 2 Qi Refining Realm - that derived from the use of Qi-refining Pills rather than scrupulous hard work were no match for Xiao Chen's. Sounds of cracking bones filled the air; it appears that the bones of his wrist were crushed.
Relentlessly without an ounce of mercy, Xiao Chen landed blow after blow upon the face of his prey that Ye Shaochong's face was bloodied and battered. Everyone watching the spectacle was stunned into silence with fear and awe.
"Heh... Let me help you become a common man, instead of leaving you here to be a bane to all that walks this lands!" Xiao Chen spat dangerously. He channeled more True Energy into his arms and began to strike at his vital points.
There were gasps from the crowd, "He intends to destroy Ye Shaochong's Spiritual Meridian!"
Just then, two young men in white rushed out from the midst of the thronging onlookers, "No more, Junior Brother! Stay your hand!"
Xiao Chen glowered at the two, noticing that they were followers of Zhuo Wuhen. Coldly, he growled, "What is this? Are you here to beg mercy for him?"
"No! Please listen to me, Junior Brother. You can hew at his limbs and sever his arms, but you must never destroy his Spiritual Meridian lest you will be branded as one of the dark side!"
"I see..." Xiao Chen rose to his feet. The black aura that was swirling over his forehead was no more, and his eyes had returned to normal. He threw a look at Princes Qi and Yan and barked, "Beat him to his death! I will revive him when he is close to death! Let the beating continue when he is revived!"
Without further encouragement, the two princes dashed forward and began pummeling Ye Shaochong. Recovering slowly after being fed some elixirs, Prince Zhao too got to his feet and scurried over, giving Ye Shaochong more than a dozen slaps on his cheeks, "You insolent dog! Not even my father, the king, had ever beaten me! Also, you even slapped my face!" He continued landing blows on Ye Shaochong's face.
Before long, Ye Shaochong fainted from the abuse, his life hanging on a thread. Xiao Chen cast the unconscious Ye Shaochong a sharp glare and flicked an elixir into his mouth with his fingers, "Continue!"
The brutal spectacle stunned everyone present. This was simply too appalling! That was Ye Shaochong! The kingpin of the entire southern side of the Sunset Peak!
There he stood, Xiao Chen, so stern and overbearing that Ye Shaochong's merry men could not dare move. Minutes passed and the beatings began to slow down; the princes were exhausted from the exertion. They sat on the ground, breathing hard. Despite his face bloodied and mangled, Ye Shaochong whimpered, "F-find... f-find my brother..." He had barely finished and he blacked out for good.
A few young men bolted forward and carried Ye Shaochong off. Strong winds continued billowing as the grass was damp and moist with all the blood that came from him.
From within the crowd of onlookers, some began to bleat and whine with fear, "He is finished. Ye Fei will be coming out any moment now when his solitary training is complete. By now, he should be at Lv 5 Qi Refining Realm..."
Xiao Chen stepped towards the crowd. His voice thundered, "Listen well! From this day forth, this area in the center is my domain! Anyone who angers me will not be able to escape my wrath!"
The crowd swiftly sundered and everyone quickly left, fearful of spending another moment in the central region. Whispers could be heard warning some of the junior disciples, "This person has a strong murderous aura! Anger him not if you may!"
The three princes walked up to Xiao Chen. Prince Zhao was the first to speak. He said quietly, "Err... Senior Brother Xiao... You looked very cruel and frightening just now..."
Xiao Chen heaved a long and heavy breath, wondering to himself as well, "Why was I so overcame with such a strong lust for blood? I have never encountered such before. Moreover, the Mystic Diabolic Enchantment had roused on its own..."
"Let us go now. We shall linger no more today."
Then again, this was hardly the first time that blood was spilled at the Sky-gazing Gorge. There have been numerous conflicts years ago between the northern and southern gangs of the Sunset Peak that have resulted in severed limbs and maiming. Still, no Elders would intervene unless lives were lost or any disciples' Spiritual Meridians were destroyed.
That night, Xiao Chen rolled on his bed. He could not sleep as the scenes from the incidents in the day replayed in his mind again and again. "Why have I became so cruel?" He asked himself.
Cruelty and malice would creep into his heart sometimes ever since he inadvertently found the Mystic Diabolic Enchantment in the ancient catacombs of the Xiao Family. Many times he had tried to forget about the cultivation method, still, he could not; as if the learnings of the accursed skill had been etched deep into his mind.
He woke up the next morning, sweating profusely from a terrible nightmare. In his dreams, he saw a man sharing his exact appearance, wielding a demonic halberd. Evil aura in the form of black fumes circled and coiled around him like a serpent as he inflicted carnage and destruction upon the Mystic Cyan Sect!
"Are you up, Young Master?" Lil Ruo's voice came from the outside, "You are still not yet an Inner Disciple, Young Master. You do not have a Master yet."
Beads of cold sweat covered his haggard face. Wiping off the sweat he muttered, "So it is only a dream, eh..."
He did not go to the Sky-gazing Gorge at day. The entire day he seemed troubled and daze for the nightmare that he encountered in the night seemed so true to him as if it was a true memory. He could see the halls collapsing into ruin and the peaks of the mountains that the stronghold of the Mystic Cyan Sect crumbled into despair. All his fellow disciples were sprawled on the ground, lying dead in pools of blood, bloodied and cleaved; even his own Master was...
"What's wrong with you today, Young Master? You even held your chopsticks upside-down..."
Xiao Chen awoke from his stupor and feigned a smile, "It's all right. Ah, yes. What day is it, Lil Ruo?" He had been so busy with his training and meditation that he had not kept track of the dates. He had been here for almost a month.
"It is the twenty-six of April today. Heh heh. We have been here for a month without knowing it, Young Master," said Lil Ruo, giggling.
Xiao Chen nodded. It was the end of the month. There was an errand that he must complete today.