Within a serene and secluded valley, with a brilliant white snow cover around it. Two youths who already had their whole body covered in snow, treaded in the snow as they traveled. The age of the two youths was not really big, being about the 16 and 17.
Within the deep valley, the ground was bumpy since it’s surface was uneven and with the thick snow covering the ground, it made travelling to be very inconvenient here. But the two youths however ran as fast as flying. Their nimble figures, as they traveled, made them appear similar to fishes being in water.
“Zi Chen, you did not see wrong, right? In this big cold weather, don’t make us run an errand for nothing!” One of the youths suddenly started to talk as they sped along their course.
“You can be reassured, Zhao Can, I saw it with my own two eyes, there is no way I will be wrong!” The youth with the name Zi Chen solemnly vowed.
“If that’s the case, then good!” Zhao Can nodded his head.
Both of them sped up, crossing over one valley to another, the snowfall getting heavier and heavier as they traveled.
Within a serene and secluded valley, remote from any civilization, and with the cold winter, there were rarely any trace of footprint, and only quietness in the area.
However on the same day and time, there were actually another two figures speeding through the snow.
“Hey hey, how ironic, that Zi Chen, who within the Outer Sect disciples has the reputation of being extremely cautious and careful, who would have thought, that he would actually die here!”
These two people were both wearing green clothes, outside the green clothes there was a layer of animal skin to bind them, very similar to the dressing of the previous two youths.
“This is called ‘one may know a person for a long time without understanding his true nature’ and also called ‘incautious in making friends’!” The other youth coldly laughed.
Both of them quickly faded away into the heavy snow.
The color of the sky was getting darker. Zi Chen who was leading at the front of the road suddenly came to a halt.
“Have we finally arrived?” Seeing Zi Chen suddenly stop, Zhao Can’s eyes flickered with a radiance as he impatiently asked.
“Not yet, there is still some distance that needs to be covered. Let’s eat something first, then find a place with a shelter to avoid the snow and, rest for a day before we continue travelling tomorrow.” Zi Chen brushed away the snow accumulated on his body.
On their backs, they were both carrying a cloth bag. Zi Chen took some food out from his bag to eat.
“Zi Chen, with the cold weather and frozen ground, I feel that we should proceed forward on our journey earlier!” Zhao Can absentmindedly ate his rations before he hesitated for a while and finally said.
“Why, are you afraid that someone will come and rob us? You can be at ease! This place we are at is so remote, that even fierce beasts may not necessarily be able to be find. Otherwise that Snow Ginseng would not still be in the possession of a rank five fierce beast.” Grabbing some clean snow from the floor, Zi Chen stuffed it into his mouth. The penetrating chill reached into Zi Chen’s heart and bone, which caused him to tremble for a bit.
“We must take caution in everything. After all, it is a 500 year old Snow Ginseng, which is why we should be more careful. What if the ice bear suddenly woke up from his sleep and started eating the Snow Ginseng?” Zhao Can stated with concern.
“This should be very unlikely… right…?” Zi Chen was also starting to hesitate.
The possibility of this kind of thing happening is very low, but it also cannot be eliminated that this kind of thing may happen.
“Alright, let’s continue on our journey then!”
To raise insurance that no problem will arise from getting the Snow Ginseng, Zi Chen hesitated no more and decided to hasten on the journey. This made Zhao Can finally able to relax a bit as he let out a loose breath.
Going against the cold wind and snowstorm, both of them once again started to move forward to their destination.
Some time after the two of them had left, at the same spot appeared two figures.
“They recently stopped here. What a close call, fortunately we ate some rations and got delayed for a bit.” Gazing upon the messy deep footprints on the ground, the expression on both their faces changed.
If not for the fact that they ate some rations and got delayed for a while, the two of them might have gotten discovered already.
“We should slow down our speed, and wait for Zhao Can to signal us!”
A night with only silence.
Early morning on the second day, bright light shone down from the sky and cold wind whistled. The whistling of the cold wind made loud noises but the snow was falling faster.
Zi Chen and Zhao Can currently stood on a mountain top.
“Have we finally reached?” The gaze in Zhao Can’s eyes turned fervent.
“Yeah!” Zi Chen nodded his head, his eyes contained a trace of excitement. He used his finger and pointed towards the mountain top ahead and said: “It’s just at the front. On the day when I was searching for spiritual medicine around here, I unintentionally found it. Just over that mountain top, after reaching the valley, and we will finally arrive.”
The two of them were Outer Sect Disciples who belonged to the Ling Wu Sect. They put in a lot of effort in the past several years just so that they will be able to one day advance into Inner Sect Disciples. At present, one Snow Ginseng is already enough for the both of them to once again make a breakthrough in their current strength and enter into the Inner Sect to learn higher rank martial skills, techniques and get more cultivation resources.
As far as they were concerned, to be able to enter into the Inner Sect was all Ling Wu Sect Outer Sect Disciples’ goal. Now that Zi Chen’s goal is only a mountain away from him, Zi Chen felt emotionally excited.
“Take out the bewitching powder right now, let’s prepare to set off.” Zi Chen loudly shouted: “Ling Wu Sect’s Inner Sect, I, Zi Chen, am coming now!”
“Ha Ha, I, Zhao Can, am come now too!”
Zhao Can laughed loudly as he walked towards the side of Zi Chen and extended his arm seemingly wanting to have a brotherly hug.
Zi Chen, too, laughed happily and spread out his arms.
One step, two step, three step, Zhao Can walked towards Zi Chen and between the laughter in his eyes suddenly flashed a cold glint. The hands that were supposed to embrace Zi Chen suddenly flashed with a dim white light.
This is Zhen Qi.
The sudden change happened too suddenly, Zi Chen could not even react to it and was already hit by a great amount of Zhen Qi and pushed to the back, falling down from the summit and leaving a big human shaped imprint on the thick accumulated snow.
Zhao Can’s sneak attack on Zi Chen made Zi Chen sustain injuries in a flash.
A mouthful of fresh blood was spit out by Zi Chen, causing his complexion to turn deathly pale.
Zi Chen looked towards Zhao Can, wanting to say something but at that moment, Zhao Can’s eyes flickered with a cold glint and moved towards Zi Chen while circulating the Zhen Qi within his body as he used his palm to hit Zi Chen’s dantian.
A sound similar to air being torn echoed out, whirling Zhen Qi was wreaking havoc in Zi Chen’s dantian and vessels. Zi Chen’s vessels suffered damage and his dantian got crippled.
Fast, it all happened just too fast. It was so fast that Zi Chen did not even have the chance to react all.
After Zhao Can sneak attacked Zi Chen, he quickly added another blow to Zi Chen, which then crippled Zi Chen and while all of this happened, Zi Chen was only able to say a single word, “you”.
Zi Chen coughed out a big mouthful of blood, in his eyes, as he was about die , only dejection could be seen. Years of hard work and bitter cultivation of Zhen Qi all got destroyed just like this. He was no different from a crippled person right now.
Yet the person who crippled him was his friend, his brother!
The previous viciousness and mercilessness on Zhao Can’s face suddenly diminished as a bit of guilt and shame appeared as he said softly: “Zi Chen, you must not blame me.”
“Why…Why…For what reason…?”
Zi Chen collapsed on the ground, his eyes filled with despair after being shocked that this happened. He did not believe that, Zhao Can, the person who he had viewed as his very own brother had plotted against him.
“Because he wants to find a supporter to support on, he wants to be able to mix around in the Inner Sect as smooth as possible and rise to power!”
Just at this moment, a voice suddenly appeared from below the peak of the mountain. Immediately following up were two figures who just ran and jumped a few times, and already reached the peak where Zi Chen and Zhao Can were at.
“The two of you came rather early.” Zhao Can said coldly upon seeing the two of them arrive.
“Hey, hey. Originally we wanted to wait for your signal before coming, but while we were at the side of the mountain, we saw you already started dealing with him so we just came up.” One of them said while laughing.
“Supp…Supporter? Don’t tell me that being able to enter into the Inner Sect is still not enough for you Zhao Can?” Zi Chen with a face full of despair and remorse. Zi Chen regretted that he had called upon Zhao Can to come with him, regretted that he and Zhao Can were friend, regretted that he had treated Zhao Can as his own brother this whole entire time.
“Of course it is not enough. Inner Sect disciples, other than having more cultivation resources, the rest is all the same as Outer Sect disciples where there is both dispute and conflict.”
Zhao Can’s guilty expression had already became tranquil, and he said indifferently: “Originally my purpose was to enter into Inner Sect which was my goal. If there was no incident, two years later I would then have been able to enter into the Inner Sect. But because of your Snow Ginseng, I had to advance by plan by two years.”
“Competition within the Inner Sect is tough. There are many disciples who have died within the Inner Sect due to getting schemed, angering wrong people, and losing in fights. If I entered Inner Sect, perhaps I may need to be cautious and timid for a few years before being able to find a supporter to lean on. But your Snow Ginseng is useful to Wang Xiong Senior, he can back me up so I would save another few years.
“To be able to save a few years of time, not needing to worry about gaining respect from others, and I can even cultivate peacefully. Such a huge benefit in exchange for it, I just need you to die. You say, such a huge benefit for me, do you think I will not take the benefit for myself?” Zhao Can had an evil grin on his face and eyes.
Within the eyes of Zi Chen was pain and suffering, “I was the one who found the Snow Ginseng, I was also the one who called you here, and yet you actually instead harmed me, I have wrongly trusted you Zhao Can!”
“That’s right! That’s why it is said that in this world, no one can be trusted. Sometimes your kin may even harm you, let alone friends, right Zi Chen? The thing that happened today is just a lesson for you, but sadly for you, you will never have the chance to learn from this lesson anymore!” Zhao Can said coldly.
Zi Chen did not say anything, his entire life was already finished because, he trusted the wrong person whom he had mistaken as his own brother.
“Let’s go!” Gazing towards the despairing Zi Chen, on Zhao Can’s face there was only a sneer.
“Go? You are just going to let him go? You only crippled his dantian and miracles still exists in this world. Dantian getting crippled but when coming upon a miracle, there is still a chance to recover.” One of the youth bantered.
“What you said is correct, to cut grass you need to eliminate the roots!” Zhao Can suddenly turned back with a dense killing intent hidden in his eyes.
“Zhao Can, we are brothers.” Zi Chen’s heart thoroughly turned as cold as ice and snow as he spoke.
“That’s right. Brothers are meant to be betrayed when there’s a benefit.” Zhao Can’s eyes had no more mercy but only cold killing intent.
A cold light flashed and a short dagger stabbed into the Zi Chen’s abdomen, which pierced through his dantian. Dark red blood flew out from his stomach and soaked the clothes.
Zi Chen’s eyes suddenly opened wide, a gale of cold wind passed by and his breathing momentarily stopped.
Zi Chen’s life force dissipated.
Zhao Can indifferently pulled out his dagger and kicked Zi Chen off the summit of the mountain.
Using the snow to wipe away the blood on his dagger, Zhao Can turned around and walked down the mountain.
Zhao Can’s viciousness and merciless attitude made the 2 other youths not able to resist but tremble for a bit. Both of them looked at one another and both saw fear in each other’s eyes.