In front of the gates to a luxurious inn in Mo City—
What was once a busy street bustling with people was now a chaotic turmoil of scattered objects and people. Stalls and their wares were strewn about haphazardly, and bystanders were ducking behind the closest shelter they could find, whether that be in a shop or a nearby street corner. However, no matter where they were every one of them was filled with fright that didn’t seem like it’d leave them any time soon.
Came the cry of Xiao Bai as it tried to ascend to the sky. Its left wing was bent at an unnatural angle, but it didn’t seem to notice. A sliver of blood was also coming out of its beak, indicating that it had sustained some sort of internal injury.
“Xiao Bai, don’t go! You can’t catch up! Let me heal your wounds!”
This time, Kou Tingting’s voice could be heard calling out as she tried to grab ahold of Xiao Bai with her left hand. Her right hand was glowing bright with a bright blue color as she pressed it to Xiao Bai’s belly where two puncture wounds could be seen!
Kou Tingting was trying her best to stop tears from trailing down her face. She firmly bit her lower lip with her teeth and forced her soulforce to heal the practically life-threatening wounds on Xiao Bai.
Not too far away on the right, against the walls of the inn sat an individual splattered with blood as he tried to heal his wounds. This person was Wu Gang.
From the sky came two bright-green lights. In moments, they landed on the streets and disappeared upon contact. They soon reappeared revealing the figures of Bai Yunfei and Jing Mingfeng.
Noticing the wounds on Xiao Bai, Bai Yunfei’s eyes dilated in shock. Scanning his surroundings anxiously, he asked the girl healing Xiao Bai, “Tingting, what happened? Where’s Xinyun!?”
“Ah! Yunfei, you’re back!” Kou Tingting exclaimed in relieved joy at the sound of Bai Yunfei’s voice. She rose from the ground, but then when she remembered that Xiao Bai still needed to be healed and sat back down. “Yunfei,” she tilted her head instead, “Xinyun… Xinyun was kidnapped!”
“What!?” Bai Yunfei exclaimed. In no time at all, he was right beside Kou Tingting with his hand gripping her left wrist, “What do you mean kidnapped!? Who, and where!?”
“Ah! It… it hurts! Let go, Yunfei…”
Realizing what he was doing after her pained yelp, Bai Yunfei released her wrist with an apologetic look, “Sorry, Tingting. I didn’t mean to… but please, tell me. What happened?”
“Well…” Kou Tingting spoke as she healed Xiao Bai’s wound, “After you left, Xinyun and I waited for you here, but then a person came out of nowhere and kidnapped Xinyun without a word. He… he was strong, maybe an early-stage Soul Exalt. We weren’t a match for him. Xiao Bai was nearly killed protecting Xinyun, and the Wu were helpless to stop him.
“I… I think he knows who I am, so he didn’t hurt me too badly. I’m sorry, Yunfei… I’m not suited to fighting, so I wasn’t able to help Xinyun…”
“Don’t say that now. Don’t blame yourself.” Bai Yunfei comforted her, “As long as you’re okay, that’s good. Do you know who that person was?”
The apologetic look on her face increased, “I… I don’t know…”
“He’s Ta Shan the ‘Stone Asura’!”
A voice called out to Bai Yunfei from the side. Bai Yunfei turned his head and saw a heavily injured Wu Gang. Wu Gang’s face was still dreadfully white, and his footsteps were uneven as he forced himself to walk toward Bai Yunfei.
“Brot… brother Bai… I’m sorry,” he apologized, “I wasn’t able to protect miss Tang…”
When he had come across Bai Yunfei here, he had been on his way to request assistance from the Tang. After Bai Yunfei and Jing Mingfeng left, he was left alone with Tang Xinyun and Kou Tingting, and thus, he had been unable to leave. Furthermore, manners dictated that he stayed around to protect the two, but the man that came was just far too strong. He was left with wounds all over when he tried protecting Tang Xinyun.
“There’s no need to apologize, brother Wu. I know you tried your best.” Bai Yunfei replied, “Who did you say the kidnapper was?”
“If I’m not wrong, he’s the criminal that the government has a warrant for, Ta Shan the ‘Stone Asura’!” Wu Gang spoke without mincing his words. “He’s a very well-known soul cultivator in the Forest Pass Province. An early-stage Soul Exalt with the earth affinity, and he loves to kill. People say he once killed an entire clan over a disagreement or say he kills people for their treasures. He’s an unredeemable criminal, but a strong one. He always evades capture and commits acts of crime wherever he goes. I never thought that he’d end up in Mo City or that he would try to kidnap miss Tang…”
Bai Yunfei’s heart skipped a beat, and his face grew unsightly for a moment as he listened to these new developments. Managing to turn his head, Bai Yunfei asked Kou Tingting, “Tingting, where did they go, and how long has it been?”
“The… the east. I think it’s been about half an hour by now…” Kou Tingting pointed to the east blankly before realizing what Bai Yunfei was about to do, “Ah! Yunfei, don’t tell me you’re going to go after them!? You can’t! He’s a Soul Exalt. You’re no match for him! Brother Wu already sent someone to notify the Tang. I’m sure they’ll send someone to help. You sho—”
Before she could even finish what she was saying, Bai Yunfei had declined to listen to her plan. The Tempest Sword reappeared once again, and as soon as he stepped on it, he took off in a flash.
Xiao Bai chose that time to cry out loud in an anxious chirp. While it didn’t try to fly up with Bai Yunfei, Xiao Bai pointed its beak in a completely different direction than to the east.
“Eh?” Bai Yunfei uttered in surprise. Comparing this direction to what Kou Tingting had said before, he asked, “Xiao Bai, you’re saying Xinyun isn’t to the east, but to the… the north!?”
“Chirp!” Xiao Bai answered affirmatively with a nod of its head.
Thanks to the soul contract between it and Tang Xinyun, Xiao Bai could tell where she was at any time.
That meant that Ta Shan had turned a different direction after getting away.
Nodding his thanks to Xiao Bai, Bai Yunfei said, “Don’t worry. I’ll make sure I’ll bring Xinyun back safe and sound!”
As he was about to take off, Bai Yunfei felt the space behind the Tempest Sword dip slightly. Turning, he saw Jing Mingfeng stepping onto the sword.
“Less talking, more moving. I’m going for sure. A second pair of hands never hurts, so get to it!” Jing Mingfeng slapped Bai Yunfei on the shoulder before he could even say anything.
Reluctance flashed across Bai Yunfei’s eyes. This ordeal wasn’t as simple as getting back the fireseed spirit mushroom; the enemy they faced now was an early-stage Soul Exalt and there might very well be more than one enemy.
The fact that Jing Mingfeng was willing to face such risks with Bai Yunfei was enough to fill him with gratitude and friendship.
Turning to the north, Bai Yunfei’s eyes narrowed frostily. Pressing down on the sword, he commanded it to fly off into the sky.
A single streak of green light could be seen trailing across the clear sky like a shooting star. Though many people saw the streak, the sight was only for a moment before it disappeared into a small line.
Within this green light, Bai Yunfei was steering the sword with an extremely serious expression on his face. The cold wind cut into his body like a knife. It whistled past his ears like the screams of a banshee, but he didn’t seem to notice. Ten minutes had already passed since he and Jing Mingfeng had started their journey, but no words had been exchanged. Disjointed in his thoughts, Bai Yunfei tried to think of a way to best deal with this situation.
It was then a small spark of light entered his eyes as though he had come to a conclusion. Shaking his right hand, a small black dagger appeared in it. It was Jing Mingfeng’s Blackwind Dagger!
Shifting perpendicular to how he had been standing, Bai Yunfei handed the dagger to Jing Mingfeng.
“Eh? Ol’Bai, this is…” Jing Mingfeng muttered to him as he took the dagger, but before he could say anything more, what Bai Yunfei did next caused him to cry out in alarm, “What are you doing!?”
As soon as Bai Yunfei handed him the Blackwind Dagger, his right hand shook again to take out another object.
This object was…