Off in a hidden forest cave several hundred meters west of Mt. Crimson—
Just barely visible in the dim light of the cave was a single person. His back was against the cave wall, and his head bobbed down with his hair splayed across his face.
If his chest wasn’t still rhythmically rising and falling, anyone would’ve thought that he was dead.
The face behind the hair was vaguely familiar.
This was the man Bai Yunfei had chased down; a man saved at the very last second… Zhang Zhenshan!!
As of right now, he looked far more pathetic than before.
Approximately six days had passed since that fateful night… had it been six days?
Zhang Zhenshan couldn’t be sure. He had only the slightest bit of light to help him tell the time. He hadn’t left the cave since he had made it there to begin with.
In fact, he could hardly even move.
There were two reasons for that.
First, he was physically incapable of moving.
Second, he didn’t want to move.
From the far corner of his eye was a single shadow. It sat in the corner of the cave on his right, all but hidden until Zhang Zhenshan looked directly at that corner!!
The figure’s shoulder was practically a shadow of the cave itself; Zhang Zhenshan never would’ve noticed anyone else in the cave if he hadn’t been looking around carefully.
Even then, the ‘presence’ of a human couldn’t be felt when he looked at the shadow!
In any case, this shadow was the one responsible for carrying him to the cave. Back when Zhang Zhenshan decided to blow himself up to take Bai Yunfei with him, a powerful aura had stopped him from going through with the act.
He woke back up when he was in this cave after had had been unceremoniously thrown to the side like a pile of trash.
Thus, he lived.
But not without the consequences of his actions.
The majority of his fruits of training had been ruined with the act of self-detonation. The remaining bits were pretty much neglectable.
With the soulforce he had left, he could hardly be considered a Soul Apprentice.
Combined with the heavy wounds on his body, he was weaker than a regular person by this point.
Zhang Zhenshan wasn’t a man who wanted to die. His actions before weren’t that of a fearless man, but a desperate one. Hence, why he kept a sliver of hope, so that he could live; that he wouldn’t ‘die again.’
The man in the cave with him clearly didn’t want him to die either, but that much was obvious. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have saved Zhang Zhenshan to begin with. The food and water being brought to him was also very clearly meant to feed an alive person rather than a dead one.
Aside from this, the man didn’t speak to Zhang Zhenshan at all. Zhang Zhenshan didn’t even know how tall, how skinny, how old, or even what gender this person was.
If Zhang Zhenshan had to guess, this person was waiting for someone.
For the first time in six days, Zhang Zhenshan heard a sound. It was a sound that was very low in pitch, but it was audible nonetheless.
Within a second, Zhang Zhenshan saw the figure step from the corner of the cave to the entrance. He was dressed completely in black, but his face wasn’t very spry. His back was hunched, and judging from the voice, the speaker was an old man.
When this man spoke, Zhang Zhenshan could clearly see that the light that remained in on the one corner of the cave was being obscured just enough to hide the details of a second person outside the cave.
“How is he?”
A young but robust voice.
This speaker was a considerably young man.
“He’s crippled as a soul cultivator, but everything else is fine.” The first man replied to the second.
The one known as junior headmaster nodded his head. With two steps into the cave, he was in front of Zhang Zhenshan.
“Do you want revenge?”
He spoke after a careful observation.
“Eh?” Zhang Zhenshan hadn’t expected those four words.
“Do you wish to fight the killer of your son again? Your enemy who left you in this state? Don’t you want to have him beg for death before tearing him from limb to limb?”
Zhang Zhenshan heard this last part all too clearly. Previously inert in motion, his body was now shaking minutely with emotions.
He wasn’t stupid enough to say anything along the lines of, ‘what do you mean’ or ‘how am I going to do that?’
In either case, all he could think about was his most hated foe.
Practically snarling with fury in his eyes, Zhang Zhenshan responded.
“Even if it means sacrificing everything? Selling your soul? Becoming a servant or slave? A demon? How does that sound?”
“Doesn’t sound bad at all!!”
“Aaah… very good, this is the kind of hatred and darkness I like…”
A smile appeared on the youth’s face as he turned to the mysterious person next to him, “Gui Wei, he will from today on travel with you. I want you to turn him into a Soul Ancestor within one year!”
“Yes, junior headmaster!”
In astonishment, Zhang Zhenshan couldn’t help but look up at the young man’s face.
His words weren’t the only thing that surprised Zhang Zhenshan, but his face as well!
By borrowing just enough light from the outside, he was able to see enough of the young man’s face…
Only to realize that he had seen this man’s face before! And not too long ago!
Within the Crafting School in fact!
This man had been there when Bai Yunfei was there!
This man has been with the junior headmaster of the Beast Taming School!
Mo Ni and Gui Wei exchanged several words with one another before the latter turned back to Zhang Zhenshan.
“From henceforth, I will be your master. You will throw away everything from your past life but the hatred in your heart. You will obey my commands and do nothing without my say!
“From henceforth, your name shall be… Gui Pu!”
Three days had passed since Zhang Zhenshan’s new lease on life. Yu Fei and his school were just leaving the Crafting School.
Two days after that, Huangfu Nan finally finished crafting a high-earth tier soul armament for Lin Dongxiao.
He and Mo Ni both left the Crafting School after that.
The days were back to normal now.
Bai Yunfei was at a considerably nice level of understanding of the Dual Flame Arts, and within a month, he was able to undergo the practical training portion under the strict guidance of Zi Jin.
It was then that he experienced the first pleasant surprise.
When he recalled the essence fireseed from his Cataclysmic Seal back to his body, it went into the origin acupoint as he expected, but no explosion occurred. By following the directions listed in the Dual Flame Arts scroll, he was able to keep the two fireseeds in a strange equilibrium with one another.
That equilibrium was maintained for a short amount of time before the pressure was far too much for Bai Yunfei to control, forcing him to release the fireseed back to his Cataclysmic Seal.
The fact that Bai Yunfei was able to do this in the first place was enough to make Zi Jin proud.
He said that such a feat was what the Dual Flame Arts was capable of. Back when their predecessor first conceived this technique, he was unable to accomplish it himself. The Dual Flame Arts was just one of those things that required specific conditions to learn. Aside from Bai Yunfei’s special circumstances, no one else was able to have two fully useable fireseed essences without it blowing up. Only Bai Yunfei’s lifebound armament was capable of housing a fully grown essence fireseed.
The reason why Bai Yunfei was able to house it there was still a complete enigma that even Zi Jin couldn’t answer.
After several days of close observation, Zi Jin gave up and allowed Bai Yunfei to train without his supervision.
“Knock knock knock!”
Three knocks on the door.
From his seat on his bed, Bai Yunfei looked up from the gray scroll in his hands, “Come in, Xinyun.”
The door opened to reveal a smiling Tang Xinyun, “Yunfei, are you ready to go?”
“Go? Go where?”
“Did… didn’t you say we’d go to Mt. Maple today? Did you forget?”
“Haha, how could I forget? I’ll be right there, Xinyun, just hold on. I need to finish this painting.”
“Okay…” Looking at the scroll Bai Yunfei had on the table, Tang Xinyun asked, “Yunfei, what are you drawing?”
From what she could see on the drawing, there was a spiral-shaped diagram that she’d never seen before. Everything painted on the scroll in fact looked foreign to her.
“Ah well, it’s the component designs for a soul armament.”
“Soul armament? Designs?”
“Yeah, I don’t feel like working on the Dual Flame Arts all the time since it takes me away from my regular training, so I thought I’d design something in the meanwhile. Since my training’s not done, I’ve enough time to craft some stuff, so I should be able to follow these designs to make some decent soul armaments.”
“Oh…” Nodding because she sort of understood him, Tang Xinyun asked again, “Then what kind of soul armament are you designing? It looks strange. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a soul armament like this before?”
“It’s a lance.” Bai Yunfei smiled.
TL Note: Both spear/lance and gun share the same character in Chinese. This is due to the invention of the fire lance: the ancestor of all firearms.
“A lance?” Tang Xinyun stared at the painting, “This is a lance?” She asked in confusion.
“Haha, it’s not the same type of ‘lance’ you’re thinking of like my Fire-tipped Spear.” Bai Yunfei chuckled.
Finishing off the painting with a final stroke, he gave the it a look over before nodding his head in satisfaction.
“It’s name is the… Desert Eagle!!”
Meanwhile, in a secluded village of the Northern Cliff Province—
“Unc… Uncle Zhang… what are you doing!? Do-don’t come any closer! Do-aaah!!”
At first, the terrified whimper of a person could be heard.
Then the whimper turned into a blood-curling howl.
A bloodied arm was holding the face of a young man, hoisting him into the air. From the cracks between the fingers holding his face up, the terrified eyes of a young man could be seen in his final moments. A black wisp was coming out of his corpse in a shaky stream before flowing into the arm of the person holding the corpse up.
At the foot of this person was yet another icy-cold corpse!
After the black wisp was absorbed, the figure tossed the corpse to the ground. The corpse had been living just moments ago, but its entire body was an unhealthy shade of gray now. Even its muscles looked as withered and decayed as a mummy!
Both of the fresh corpses had extremely familiar faces.
They were… Yu Fei from the Glacial School and his son!!
“Hehe… hehehehe…” An eerie and terrifying voice erupted from the bloody figure. Even with all of the clothing and blood on him, the shaking of his body could clearly be seen. He was an extremely terrifying sight to behold with two corpses beneath him.
“Kekekeke… Bai Yunfei… blood spilt by you will be in turn spilt from you! Wash your neck and wait for a living hell!!”
End of Book Three.