The thunderous sound of these two powerful punches flying towards each other came to an abrupt stop the moment they met.
A stony-faced Wen Leyang confronted a stock-still Yu Lingzi. The whole scene looked almost like a freeze-framed moment in a movie with the only exception of the little red sword which was still flying around drunkenly. The suspense was intense and the spectators could not help but hold their breath.
It was completely silent for a moment…
Just when they felt they couldn’t hold their breaths any longer, a series of dull thuds suddenly burst upon the air and echoes all the way to the endless mountains.
Yu Lingzi let out a terrifying scream and twisted in midair before falling to the ground. He began to roll around on the ground in pain and the bloody mud from the previous fights was all over his body. His once composed expression that was filled with awe-inspiring righteousness was now distorted by a horrifying grimace. It was truly a horrible sight.
His right arm which had met Wen Leyang’s fist was shrinking visibly before the naked eye. The arm was radiating alternatively with a grayish-white and dark light, the whole arm was being corroded from the flesh to the bones!
Moments later, the unconscious Yu Lingzi had collapsed and his entire arm had turned into pieces of charred black bones.
The Flying Red Sword swayed erratically in midair before letting a wail and dropped to the ground.
You’ve Got Me , which was squeezed in Wen Leyang’s chest all this while, cheered loudly and came out from its hiding place. It immediately pounced on the Flying Red Sword and rolled its plump body all over the blade greedily. The sword moved and looked like it wanted to fly back up into the sky but failed and fell back to the ground again.
The group of priests were terrified – they had always worshipped and respected their Senior Martial Brother, Yu Lingzi. Out of all of them, his cultivation level was the highest. No one could have imagined that the infamous Firetail Flying Red Sword would inexplicably become the drunken sword and that their Senior Martial Brother would turn into a one-armed warrior. The mountain village’s youngster, whom they considered as a fool earlier on, made them shudder right now!
Suddenly, with a loud howl, more than a dozen flying swords flew up into the sky!
The priests began making the sword-controlling gesture simultaneously. They were desperately trying to overcome their enemies and save their Senior Martial Brother. In a blink of an eye, the village youngster, who had been standing in the middle of the arena staring foolishly at the insect rolling itself around on the flying sword, had suddenly turned into a blurry shadow and appeared at their side like a ghost!
Cries of pain were heard one after another and minutes later, all the flying swords began falling from the sky.
All of the priests were hunched over, holding onto their arms while sweat dripped off their faces. Wen Leyang had broken their fingers which had been performing the sword-controlling gesture!
Everyone in the Wen family, from the youngest to the oldest, were completely shocked at what had just happened. Despite being in pain, Wen Tunhai broke into a fit of laughter and only stopped when he started cramping up. He then turned his head and shouted, “Come out Wen Yiban! We’ll leave these priests to you!”
The cheering came to an abrupt stop as fear replaced the jubilant expressions on the Wen family’s faces. The crowd parted to form a clear path and eventually, a bald man who had only a few scraggly strands of long hair on his head made his way through the crowd. He was thin with a severely hunched back that made him appear half the height of a fully-grown adult, hence his name of Wen Yiban (one-half).
Wen Yiban had a hideous grin on his face and Wen Leyang shot a sympathetic look at the huddled priests.
Wen Yiban was diagnosed with a mysterious illness since he was small and only half of his body grew normally. All the nutrients were consumed by the healthy half, leaving the other half wilted and hanging loosely on his body. If it were not for the Wen’s Medicinal Stone Technique that kept him alive, he would have had no chance of growing up.
Wen Yiban specializes in criminal law and nothing can escape his special interrogation technique. Even the Wen family hesitate to talk about him and would use his name to threaten disobedient children.
More than a dozen strong men came over and quickly stripped the clothes off the group of priests as a precaution against any other hidden talismans or magic tools. Under Wen Xiaoyi’s instruction, someone brought over a big pail of pig’s blood and they soaked all the confiscated flying swords, talismans and magical apparatus in it.
You’ve Got Me finally finished venting out its ‘insect’s desire’, and crawled contentedly from the Firetail Flying Red Sword back into Wen Leyang’s chest. It then fell asleep. In the meantime, one could see that the original flaming lines which were on the Flying Red Sword had disappeared entirely.
Not understanding what had just happened, Wen Tunhai jokingly scolded the Buddha’s Light Bug, “Little bug, you even know how to return Qi!”
Stunned, Wen Leyang asked, “First Uncle, what is catching your breath 1 ?”
Wen Tunhai sleazily laughed with a lewd expression and said slowly, “When you’ve just finished ‘that’ activity, and you take a short nap by lying quietly and focusing on the breathing. You’ll then wake up with your body full of Qi!”
Wen Leyang immediately giggled with an abashed manner.
Wen Xiaoyi totally did not get the meaning behind Wen Tunhai’s joke and shook her head saying, “I think the bug was eating!”
Leaving the topic on the about Buddha’s Light Bug, Wen Tunhai looked at Wen Xiaoyi and asked with a smile, “Who’re you, little girl?”
Wen Leyang quickly proceeded to introduce her. Little Ya Tou had heard of First Uncle a long time ago. She obediently knelt down on the ground and kowtowed, “It’s my pleasure meeting you, First Uncle!”
Wen Tunhai accepted her greeting and glanced at the wrapped package on her back. He asked, “Is that the big-muzzled blunderbuss from the Wen Forest? Can that thing even fire?”
Wen Xiaoyi nodded her head in excitement, “Yes, of course! But the recoil is too powerful!”
Laughing out loud, Wen Tunhai said, “Good girl! I have a small gift for you later. You’ve been with your Fourth Grandpa for so many years and would’ve seen some amazing things, so long as you don’t laugh at me for being a country bumpkin.” He then turned to Wen Leyang and nimbly wriggled his fingers around, which mimicked Wen Leyang’s movements when he attacked the Flying Red Sword earlier. Wen Tunhai asked, “How’d you turn that flying sword into… A drunken sword?”
Wen Leyang shook his head with a wry smile, “Well, as you know that’s the move from The Faulty Punch. I didn’t know it would affect the flying sword either.”
Pondering on that for a while, Wen Tunhai nodded thoughtfully, “I’ll also give it a try the next time.” Though he was not able to clearly see the Flying Red Sword’s movements, he had no problems with the ordinary flying swords. If this approach can really overcome the menace of the flying swords, he will not be caught off guard again when faced with the same attack in the future.
Wen Leyang quickly added, “The Qi of the flying swords seems to be able to counter-charge, so you’ve got to be careful.”
Not expressing an opinion, Wen Tunhai waved it off, “Lift me up, we’ll talk when we get home!” Wen Nine and Wen Thirteen happily helped their Big Brother to his feet.
As they were heading to First Uncle’s house, Wen Leyang briefly explained his encounter at the Red Leaves Forest.
Wen Xiaoyi then continued the story from the point when Wen Leyang had lost consciousness, and told them about the Return-to-Before Herb’s fruits and how she used them to keep him alive for a hundred days. While she was narrating the two foolish uncles were proudly manipulating their marionettes to support the story.
First Uncle’s mouth hung wide open and his expressions were changing all along with the narration. Many a time, Wen Nine would look into First Uncle’s mouth while manipulating the marionette and even pointed a finger and showed his other foolish brother, “Look, the palatine uvula.”
Wen Tunhai let out a long sigh and nodded solemnly to Wen Xiaoyi, “Little Ya Tou, you have my gratitude for saving my nephew’s life.”
Xiaoyi’s pretty face blushed instantly and shook her head shyly, “If he didn’t have the Return-to-Before fruits with him, and also if the two uncles weren’t experts at manipulating a human puppet, there was… I didn’t do anything, actually.”
Extending his hand, Wen Leyang gently touched the fringe of little Ya Tou’s hair. He had lived with the little girl for over half a year, the gratitude he feels for her could no longer be expressed with words. In his mind, little Ya Tou has become an important member of his closest family. He then said, “First Uncle, Fourth Grandpa asked me to pass you the box containing the Return-to-Before fruits…”
Wen Tunhai interrupted while waving his hand, “It’s an ancestral directive. The people from the square unintentionally discovered a strain of the Return-to-Before Herb in the mountain. Ever since that day, Fourth Grandpa had placed some people from the Death Trademark to guard that area. For us, the Wen family, who had made our name through poisons and to have this precious herb appearing in our backyard, you have to secure it no matter the costs! However, when the fruits were almost fully ripe, something happened and it attracted the attention of a few other experts and master cultivators. A precious rare herb like this is bound to be coveted by many.
Wen Leyang nodded, “Yes, indeed. The people from the Death Trademark were attacked by The Green Head Widow spell, and there was the Spirit Guiding Light that appeared at the Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death.”
Wen Tunhai looked at him with surprise and said, “Not bad at all, boy. I was caught by surprise when you appeared just now and didn’t have time to pay attention to it. You’ve really learned some things from your stay at the Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death.”
Wen Leyang immediately shook his head and clarified, “Not me, it’s Xiaoyi who told me all of this, including the Return-to-Before Herb’s fruit. She’s been studying at the square for more than ten years and her knowledge and theoretical understanding is remarkable!”
Wen Tunhai looked at little Ya Tou in surprise, apart from kindness, there was also a sense of importance and value in his eyes. He asked her, “What’s the other name for the Corpse Poison from the Yin Chi?”
Without thinking, Xiaoyi immediately answered, “It’s also called the Death Poison. Poisons can be differentiated into Life and Death categories, the Life Poisons consists of the Five Elements of Poison, which is the type of poison that Wen Bucao is cultivating. Whereas, all the toxins that are derived from corpses are categorized as Death Poisons, which differs from what the Wen Bucao cultivate.”
Upon answering that little Ya Tou was stunned for a while, then her face lit up suddenly as she smiled, “Thank you, First Uncle for your advice!” She then bowed her head with utmost respect, “I read all those books just to pass time without much consideration and I merely just memorized them without really understanding them…”
Wen Thirteen stared in confusion, “What advice did Big Brother give you?”
Wen Nine looked at First Uncle instead and asked, “Big Brother, please give me some advice as well,”
Xiaoyi looked at Wen Leyang and giggled, “First, you were bitten by the Yin Chi and the Corpse Poison in your body was beyond rescue. Not long after, you were stung countless times by the hundreds of poisonous vermin from the Sickness Trademark. The poisons from the Five Elements entered your body through those bites and stings. These extreme poisons reacted in your body in an antagonistic way which somehow spared your life. The Return-to-Before Herb’s fruits helped sustain your life for another hundred days which eventually allowed The Faulty Punch to refine the poisons into your body.”
In fact, Wen Leyang had benefited far more through this. The process of having inimical poisons reacting in one’s body which were then cultivated into the body had a far greater impact than only refining a single poison from the Five Elements. Wen Leyang had unknowingly and fortuitously gained an excellent foundation for his body.
If he had been bitten by an extremely poisonous bug like the Buddha’s Light Fly, followed by his extraordinary encounters on that day, the best result they could have hoped for was that the poison would be compatible with his physique. If he then successfully cultivated the poison into his body using The Faulty Punch, it would have transformed his body into a physique that was more inclined towards one of poison from the Five Elements. Therefore, following this process would have limited his room for progress in the future
The entanglement of the Life Poisons and Death Poison in his body and the subsequent cultivation of the combined poisons into his flesh and bones with The Faulty Punch has completely eliminated the attributes of the Five Elements from his body. It can be concluded that the nature of Wen Leyang’s body is now a completely new combination with unlimited potential for future progress.
Having said that, his method of cultivation would be a problem for him in the future. Being the pioneer of this technique, it was akin to being the first person to have tasted a crab and would have to put in more effort to figure out the location of the meat and the edible parts.
“What about future? What should I do?” This was Wen Leyang’s biggest concern at the moment.
Wen Tunhai hesitated for a moment and shook his head solemnly, “No one’s ever done anything like this before. Even if Wen Lazi was resuscitated, I’m afraid he also wouldn’t know what to do next. It’ll be better if you stop cultivating poisons into your body for the time being until the return of the four Elders. Then, we’ll discuss this further.”
At this moment, there was a knock on the wooden door and Wen Yiban limped in and whispered, “I’m done with the interrogation.” His raspy voice was like the horrible cry of an owl that had been thrown into boiling oil in its sleep. There was a quality of hoarseness and sharpness which sent anyone shivering upon hearing it.
Surprised, Wen Xiaoyi asked, “That was fast! What did you ask them?”
Wen Yiban opened his mouth halfway and sent a horrible smile towards Xiaoyi, “I asked them about everything.”
Wen Xiaoyi gave a soft cry of shock and fell on her butt onto the ground, her face was pale and drained.
Feeling stubborn, Wen Thirteen jumped up and ran to the front of Wen Yiban, “Then tell me this: for the priest who was carrying two pieces of glass with him, what was his mother’s name and his father’s job?”
Wen Yiban answered unhurriedly, “His mother’s surname is Zhao and his father worked as a bus driver who died in a road accident seventeen years ago.”
Wen Nine jumped onto the ground with a thud and ran outside, “I’ll go ask and see if it’s true!”
Ignoring his two foolish brothers, Wen Tunhai asked Wen Yiban, “What can you tell me about them?”
Wen Yiban was starting to look as though he was getting tired of standing and took a sit on a chair without asking, “The Sun Dynasty Palace is a cultivation sect with three hundred members. The head of the sect is Master Huoyang along with nine other martial brothers. Those who had attacked the Wen family are their disciples who were led by a senior, Yu Lingzi. They were telling the truth about a junior apprentice who was killed on the Nine Peaks Mountain. These people all have a strange ability which allows them to send a spirit message back to the sect before they die. After receiving such a message, Master Huoyang ordered the priests to investigate the Nine Peaks Mountain.”
Frowning, Wen Leyang wanted to interrupt and ask something but was stopped by Wen Tunhai who said, “Don’t interrupt him.”
Indeed, Wen Yiban cast a look of disdain at Wen Leyang before continuing, “Master Huoyang had instructed them to buy some time by destroying the Wen village slowly. Yu Lingzi did not know the exact reason behind this order, but it seemed to be aimed at luring someone out. That’s all we know for now; I will continue to interrogate them until you capture the leaders of the Sun Dynasty Palace.”
“As for the disciple who was killed on the mountain,” Wen Yiban indeed was a professional who laid out every single main point without being asked. He continued, “A few months ago, he had received an order from the Master to bring a group of men and enter the Nine Peaks Mountain. Yu Lingzi does not know the purpose of sending the apprentice there, but he said that this particular disciple was an intelligent guy and had their Master’s favor.
After Wen Yiban had completed his report, he went into his thought with his eyes closed as if to recall anything that he had missed out, “Oh, Yu Lingzi also mentioned that the cultivators nowadays, regardless of being benevolent or evil, are categorized into two types. One of them is referred to as the Mountain Sect, these cultivate deep in the mountains and rarely appear in the outside world. The other one is referred to as the World Sect, and these cultivators hide amongst the normal people and practice their arts secretly. The Sun Dynasty Palace belong to the Mountain Sect.”
Wen Nine ran back at this moment and shouted out aloud with a shocked expression, “He got it all correct! The mother’s surname of that guy is indeed Zhao!”
Wen Yiban stood up slowly and asked everyone with a sly smirk, “Is there anything else you’d want to know?”
Nodding his head, Wen Leyang asked, “Yes. How’d you make them confess so fast?”
With a weird smile, Wen Yiban replied, “If you somehow end up in my hands someday, you’ll know it eventually.” With that, he turned around and limped off.
All of Wen Leyang’s hair stood up immediately. Shuddering, he took out a carrot and started munching to calm himself down.
Frowning, Wen Tunhai proceeded to ask about the details on that fateful stormy night. These include asking about the color of the Spirit Guiding Light, the degree of decomposition of the giant serpent’s corpse, amongst other details.
Wen Leyang answered honestly to every question and finally shook his head and said, “I feel that the Baby Faced Man and the Spirit Guiding Light of the Luo are not from the same party.”
Wen Tunhai looked at him and said, “Who told you the Spirit Guiding Light is from the Luo?”
Surprised, Wen Leyang went, “Isn’t the Spirit Guiding Light the unique secret skill from the Luo at Crow Ridge…”
Wen Tunhai grunted, “Which of the Luo will be stupid enough to let out the Spirit Guiding Light during a thunderstorm?”
Wen Leyang was completely confused and stammered, “You… you’re saying, other than the Luo, there’s still…”
First Uncle to cut his nephew off while shaking his head, “The Spirit Guiding Light, the Yin Chi and the Baby Faced Man from the Sun Dynasty Palace; all these things have become tangled up in a mess…”
Wen Leyang interrupted his uncle’s thoughts, “And the people from the Death Trademark were hit with The Green Head Widow spell, which is dark magic from the Miao.” Wen Tunhai stopped him there and said, “Firstly, regarding The Green Head Widow spell, Fourth Elder Wen will handle it on his own so don’t you worry about it. Secondly, the idiot who had set off the Spirit Guiding Light in a thunderstorm is also nothing to be worried about, we will find them soon enough. Lastly, it’s the priests from the Sun Dynasty Palace that worries me…”
A cultivation clan from a Mountain Sect who had sent two groups of people all the way to the Nine Peaks Mountain. One of them claimed to be here for revenge, but instead of a clear-cut attack, they came up with plans akin to courting a spouse instead. The Baby Faced Man who had been ordered by his Master to infiltrate the Red Leaves Forest must be part of a bigger plot.
With a solemn look, Wen Leyang said, “First Uncle, I’d like to go check out the Sun Dynasty Palace.”
If these words were heard by cultivators who had no knowledge about the sect, they will be laughing out loud thinking that Wen Leyang wants to go look at the palatine uvula.
Whether it is the cultivators of the Mountain Sect who hides in the mountains or those in the World Sect that mixes around with normal people, they all have a vastly superior view of themselves when compared to ordinary people. In their lofty ideals, even the Wen Bucao, which has a heritage of passing down unique skills for more than a thousand years, was no better than a tribe of monkeys compared to the cultivators who were of the human realm.
Right now, the monkey realm had been disturbed by a human and a monkey has decided to go into the human realm to seek information and capture a few other humans along the way. But what the humans did not know was that Wen Leyang, who had volunteered to enter the human realm, was one hell of an exquisite rarity in the monkey realm.
Wen Tunhai disagreed, “There is a more urgent thing than the Sun Dynasty Palace that you will need to handle first.”
Stunned for a while, Wen Leyang recalled with horror in his eyes, “You mean the four Grandpas?”
Wen Tunhai nodded his head slowly and his bantering look was replaced by a worried and heavily concerned expression, “It has been more than four months since the three Grandpas from the village and Fourth Elder Wen left the mountain together with the people from Death Trademark. By right, they should be back by now.”
Wen Leyang’s body twitched as if he wanted to set off immediately but he steadied himself, “Where did the four Grandpas go? And what did they need to do?”
“There’d been a continuous downpour at the Mount Emei in early spring and it caused a landslide on Zhanyan Peak. A group of stranded tourists accidentally discovered a cave at the summit.” Taking a deep breath, Wen Tunhai slowly began the story.
Due to the landslide, an ancient cave hidden at the summit of Zhanyan Peak was exposed. There was evidence of human activity in the cave with some blurred and distinctive murals on both sides of the wall. Several bold tourists decided to go deeper into the cave. However, upon emerging from the cave, they could not stop tears from rolling continuously down from their faces and these tears gradually turned into red tears, then purple tears and finally became black tears.
Wen Leyang looked with horror at Wen Xiaoyi who was beside him, “That… that’s like the effect of the Plague Ointment of the Wen!” The Plague Ointment was not originally invented by the Wen but was inherited from Ancestor Tuoxie. Several key ingredients needed for the prescription of this poison can no longer be found. Other than the Wen, there was no one else in the whole world that could neither refine nor release this poison that should no longer exist in this world!