"Or do you think it's a waste to soak in these medicinal herbs alone?"
Xiao Chen couldn't help feeling a jolt in his heart as he stared into her bewitching eyes. In his mind, a shameful scene took shape...
Xiao Chen shuddered and yelled, "Please! No matter what, you're still an Elder of the Three Pure Sect! Can you stop trying to take advantage of your disciple all the time?!"
"What I mean to say that you can salvage some of them for next time if you think it's too wasteful. What are you thinking..." Bai Ying waved her hand with a yawn. "Forget it. I'm going back for a nap. Yell if you need anything. Bye."
Xiao Chen hung his head, shook his head, and sighed. "This woman..." But when he turned around to look at the barrel full of herbs, he couldn't help getting a warm feeling in his heart. In the past few months, she would make him cough up money whenever they went to the mess hall. So she had been saving her money to prepare all these herbs for him...
Xiao Chen removed his clothes and entered the tub. He immediately felt a pain rising in him as if there were 10,000 needles pricking his skin. Moments later, he felt as every inch of his skin and internal organs were burning as if he was in a furnace.
White smoke rose from his head as sweat slid off his face. There were several times on the surface was fluent. He nearly jumped out of the barrel on several occasions but then he would think of Bai Ying. If a delicate woman like her could bear it, this amount of pain felt insignificant. Compared to the heartache he felt when he saw Yunyin slamming his sword on her head that day, this pain was nothing.
Four hours passed and the sun was rising high outside. Xiao Chen had nearly jumped out in an instant and noisily splashed water all over the place.
Right then, he felt like a newborn. He looked at his hands, which had cast off to reveal a layer of newly-born skin. His body had been different from ordinary people in the first place and his fighting ability was impressive. Thus, he was nicknamed the "Undead Body" among the Xiao family. Now, after the medicinal bath, he was confident that he could block Immortal's Swords and magic treasures with his palm alone in the future.
"Not bad. You lasted for an entire four hours," said a faint voice. The voice came from the cave entrance.
"I...! Pervert! Peeping tom!" Xiao Chen swiftly put on his clothes. Bai Ying walked in with a solemn expression and sized him up. "Not bad. Had I known this earlier, I would've thrown in more heart-burning grass."
"What? You threw in heart-burning grass?"
Xiao Chen wanted to swear at her. There was no use for the heart-burning grass in a bath. The only effect was giving the user a crushing pain. This woman had deliberately added the grass into the bath!
Bai Ying shook her hand. "That's enough. Stop that resentful look. If I don't throw in some heart-burning grass, what if you fall asleep while soaking? Wouldn't that render your effort useless?"
Her words might be reasonable but Xiao Chen still wanted to throw her to the ground, and then do a little something...
"Forget it. Let's go, kid. I'll treat you to the signature dish exclusive to the Moon-watch Peak: 'Dragon Soaring Over Four Seas'."
Would a fire finally be lit inside the mess hall of the Moon-watch Peak? But why did Xiao Chen feel like the dish would be a complete mess after learning its name?
Just like that, an hour passed.
"Please! Elder Bai, stop fooling around. Let's hurry and go before the mess hall of the Star-picking Peak closes its doors..."
"Oh, let's not. It's so expensive to eat at the mess hall of the Star-picking Peak. Besides, look at how cute this mudfish is. Look, look. It's even opening its mouth to smile at you..."
"I... You're the only one who finds it cute! Moreover! Look how tragic its death is! How is it smiling?!"
"Ahem. Forgive my disturbance." Right then, a disciple of the Black Dragon Peak appeared at the door.
Bai Ying turned around. "A disciple of the Black Dragon Peak? What business do you have?"
The refined-looking disciple of the Black Dragon Peak replied a little awkwardly, "Oh... Well, First Elder requests both Third Elder and Junior Brother's presence at the Three Pure Hall."
Bai Ying frowned. "Is it severe? Did he say what for?"
"Oh... It seems to be about Junior Brother and Senior Brother Mo. He requests that Third Elder come immediately without delay."
The two of them arrived at the Three Pure Hall half an hour later, where the rest of the Elders were already present along with Chu Hanyan and Mo Yu. There was already a crowd of Inner Disciples gathered outside the hall.
Fourth Elder coughed and got up. "Here's the case. Since three months have passed, we hope to hold the first competition between Xiao Chen and Mo Yu. Of course, the competition isn't about battling."
Xiao Chen glanced at Chu Hanyan. The Elders must have been so busy that they had exhausted themselves in recent days. Where would they find the leisurely mood to hold this competition? It seemed like she was the one who proposed it. Hehe, she could do as she pleased.
Bai Ying also took a nonchalant glance at Chu Hanyan. "Oh, whatever. Counter water with arms, soldiers with an earth weir..." A disciple next to her whispered, "Third Elder, it's 'counter soldiers with arms, water with an earth weir'..."
"It's the same!" Bai Ying raised her hand. "Let's talk about the rules of the competition!"
Chu Hanyan took a step forward. "The rules are very simple. The competition will last for three days. The two of them need to go down the back mountain to collect Three Immortal Leaves. The one with the bigger collection wins."
Many people outside the hall began whispering. There were many prohibitions under the back mountain. It was an extremely dangerous place. Even the Elders wouldn't visit under normal circumstances.
There was a small smile on Mo Yu's face. Looking confident as ever, he turned his head to look at Xiao Chen. "What do you think? Do you dare to answer my challenge, Junior Brother Xiao?"
Xiao Chen glanced at him and flashed him a faint smile. "Why not?"
Seeing that both sides had no objection, Second Elders got up and solemnly said, "The back mountain is the forbidden territory of the sect. Furthermore, there are many prohibition formations placed by successive Sect Leaders over the years. Both of you aren't allowed to go near dangerous areas or your souls would dissipate. Do you hear me?"
"I understand!" the two men said in unison, looking at each other as they spoke. There was a barely detectable murderous glint in Mo Yu's eyes but Xiao Chen wasn't afraid in the slightest.
Early the next morning when the two of them were ready, they came to the edge of a cliff in the back mountain under the company of the Elders and many other disciples. Their clothing flapped noisily as they faced the cold mountain wind.
Many disciples had begun discussing in quiet voices, speculating on the winner this time. Some said that Xiao Chen had shown an astonishing performance from the beginning while others said that Mo Yu had built sufficient cultivation. Moreover, he had a good grasp of the terrain after spending all these years near Lingtai Mountain.
In short, everyone had their own opinion. They only closed their mouths after First Elder raised his hand, indicating for silence. With a solemn look, he said, "The competition begins now. Remember not to go near dangerous areas or secretly battle down there!"
With that, the two men stepped on their flying swords and flew in two different directions.
The mountain wind whistled. First Elder stared at Chu Hanyan who stood on the edge of the cliff and sighed softly before turning around to leave.
Bai Ying stood with her hands clasped behind her back as she looked in the direction that Xiao Chen fell. The white mist was so dense that she couldn't see anything. No trace of emotion could be seen on her face. Standing next to her was Luo Shangyan, Li Muxue, Xiao Wan'er, and the rest.
It took Xiao Chen exactly half an hour to fall to the ground from the towering peak of Lingtai Mountain. He found himself in what seemed like an ancient forest, where the trees that reached high to the sky were covered in vines. The ground under his feet was damp and the air was filled with the smell of rotting greenery.
When the sun rose, this place was bound to be suffocating. Xiao Chen immediately covered his nose with his sleeve before using his lightness skill to venture out of the forest. Gradually, he no longer felt the pull of the formations of the Three Pure Sect. Neither was he able to use his flying sword.
Two hours later, he arrived at a clear creek flowing between two mountains. He squatted down and carried water to his mouth with his hands. He then took out the Nine Streams Talisman and recited a spell. The talisman turned into nine streams of red lights that penetrated the water.
This was the talisman that he rushed overnight to create, used to lay down a formation. The Three Immortals Leaves were necessary items in the making of Spirit-recalling Elixir. He wasn't in a hurry to collect those leaves. Instead, he was waiting for his enemy to come out of his hiding place. This competition was certainly not as calm as it appeared.
By the time sunset rolled around, Xiao Chen had no idea where he was. He could only be sure that he was still inside the parameters of Lingtai Mountain. On his journey, he found that there were restrictive formations placed in many places. The formations were so incredibly powerful that even he was helpless against them.
Right after he took a few mouthfuls of water to drink, he heard the rustling of leaves in the forest behind him. However, there was no breeze in front of him.
"Hehe, are you finally making an appearance?"