When Li Mu came to the front gate of the Hanshan Academy, President Tie Zhan, several administrators of the academy, He Yunxiang, and some experts from the Qing Sha Clan were already waiting in the wings.
“Li Mu, you…” Tie Zhan opened his mouth to speak.
Li Mu, however, immediately released his qi. As a torrent of forceful qi rolled out, he bellowed, “Screw off!”
Tie Zhan and the others felt as if an invisible mountain had collapsed before them. When the dreadful power fell upon them, some squirted blood from their mouth and was sent flying backward before hitting the hard stone walls beside the gate.
“You…” Tie Zhan slipped from the stone wall as blood spilled out of the corners of his mouth. At that moment, he was almost incandescent with rage.
He Yunxiang’s expression changed drastically. He demanded, “Li Mu, what do you mean by this? My master, the Red-hair Killing God, is staying right in the Hanshan Academy. With him being here, how dare you defy President Tie like this?”
Li Mu’s eyes turned frosty. He remarked, “On the other day, you just swaggered around in the Fengming Academy. You snatched their plaque, subdued them with violence, and brought the guiders of the Fengming Academy to their knees at the gate and crumbled their prayer bones. What was all that about then?”
“I…” He Yunxiang found words failed him at that moment.
“You dog with double standards!” cursed Li Mu, though the others did not understand it. Then, he lifted a hand and pointed a finger over everyone’s head. Suddenly, a jet of broadsword qi shot out from thin air.
The plaque hanging over the front gate of the Hanshan Academy blew open and turned into fine powder.
“It’s impolite not to make a return for what one receives. As the ancient saint said, we should return good for good, return evil for evil… And that is my reciprocation for what you did to the plaque at the Fengming Academy.” Li Mu said blandly.
People from the Hanshan Academy were all glaring at Li Mu and baring their teeth, but none of them was bold enough to stop him.
They had a taste of being bullied by the stronger.
“You… My master is in this academy. Now that you did this, my master won’t let you go without heavy punishment!” cried He Yunxiang with mingled scare and indignation. In his view, Li Mu was way too imperious.
“You pupil who likes to tell your parents on others… Get on your knees!”
Li Mu, who was then riding on the chrysanthemum leopard, pressed his hand against the air.
He Yunxiang instantly sensed an overwhelming weight of a falling mountain was falling upon him. He hurriedly gathered all his Natural Realm strength to boost his internal qi. A wisp of Natural qi started circulating in his meridians, trying to resist the impact. However, the force Li Mu imposed upon him was so horrible that he felt his defense was caving in.
“Ahhh…” He roared and flailed wildly, driving his internal qi to the maximum. Nevertheless, his body started shaking uncontrollably, and his knees gradually bent.
In a few more seconds, He Yunxiang’s knees would give way under the force.
“Young man, why do you have to be so pushy?”
A voice with a strong note of majesty was carried over across several kilometers from the heart of the Hanshan Academy.
At the same time, a jet of red light shot over to the gate in a trice.
The air was divided in two by that jet of light as if it were water, leaving a track in between.
“Master!” He Yunxiang yelled in ecstasy.
His master finally made a move.
The members of the Hanshan Academy and the experts of the Qing Sha Clan all looked thrilled by that man’s appearance.
But Li Mu burst into a roar of laughter. “The timing of the old guy can’t be better! I just beat up the kid… Well, I’ve waited long for you!” He flipped his hand and grabbed the thin air. Then, the Samsara Knife kept in the specially-made space sheath on the back of the chrysanthemum leopard emerged. The large scarlet blade indicated its unique power. Li Mu caught it and hacked.
He did the Dao-Drawing Chopping.
Intangible qi crushed with the red light. Intimidating waves of energy blast in midair, giving rise to air turbulence.
The place around the front gate of the Hanshan Academy was in great chaos, as an earthquake-stricken or a flood-stricken area. The flagstone-paved ground cracked, and the earth and the mountains trembled. Tie Zhan and the others were scooped up to the air like wheat being uprooted by a hurricane. They all vomited blood and flew backward until clashing with the stone walls. The experts of the Qing Sha Clan who had been on their guard long before the blow still spilled blood from their mouth and stumbled back, despite their attempt to fend off the force by timely assembling their strength.
As the two top experts dueled, even the remnant of the energy waves they created was as terrifying as a penalty imposed by God.
Only the spot where Li Mu stood was intact, for a curved layer of Natural qi erected three meters away from him had blocked all the turbulent airflow.
In front of him, He Yunxiang had already knelt on the ground, without strength to move at all. His face was screwed up with audacity, and both his knees were broken, kneeling in a pool of blood.
Li Mu just gave him a taste of his own medicine.
“Unrivaled expert in the Celestial Being Realm? Humph, I’ve seen others much better than this!”
Li Mu swiftly shoved the broadsword back to the sheath with a calm face, so it seemed that he was under no pressure after that blow.
Through the simultaneous strike and counterstrike in midair, it was clear that Li Mu was equally powerful as that expert in the Celestial Being Realm.
After realizing that, Tie Zhan and the others, who were severely injured and were coughing up blood, were too astounded to feel their pain. ‘It was the Red-hair Killing God, Zhang Bulao, who launched a strike just now. Any casual attack of this expert in the Celestial Being Realm should have smashed him in pieces. But it was neutralized by Li Mu’s casual wave of a broadsword…’
But truthfully, Li Mu knew well that he was not that calm as he looked.
‘That was merely one strike the opponent launched from several kilometers away.’
‘The fearsome power of the Celestial Being is surely not exaggerated.’
Even so, Li Mu was not scared.
Because he still got his ace card.
The voice of the Red-hair Killing God sounded again, but this time it carried a hint of annoyance.
Riding on the chrysanthemum leopard, Li Mu was with his internal qi stirring. His voice was reverberating through the entire Hanshan Academy. He sarcastically answered back, “Man of righteousness shall shovel even the bumpy road and eradicate the injustice. Today, I’m here to ask who it is that has forced my friend to be some fu*king furnace… Do you want to bully my friend? But did you ask for my permission?”
At his words, Dean Qu, Lei Yinyin, and those from the Fengming Academy all felt their boil boiled, and veins expanded.
‘How gallant Li Mu is to venture the Jianghu and seek candid gratitude and hatred!’
‘That’s what a martial arts expert should be like!’ They exclaimed inwardly.
“I never need anyone’s permission to do anything. I act at my will!”
As those words sounded, the Red-hair Killing God, Zhang Bulao, slowly strolled out of the Hanshan Academy.
He was a heavyset middle-aged man. There was nothing special about his looks, but he seemed quite gentle and refined, giving the others an impression that he was a learned and graceful scholar. If merely judging by his features, it was hard to connect that man with the killing god who slaughtered many men. However, his long scarlet hair billowed as though a flow of blood swirling over his head. It coated him with a red glow, rendering him an unbeatable cut-throat marching out of a fierce battle.
When that man arrived, the spine-tingling atmosphere filled with killing intent that Li Mu created at the gate of the Hanshan Academy instantly melted away.
Tie Zhan and the others felt a load was off their shoulder, and the pressure suffocating pressure vanished, too.
He Yunxiang also struggled to his feet in spite of the unbearable pain and dragged himself up to the Red-hair Killing God, Zhang Bulao, and whispered furiously, “Master, I…”
But Zhang Bulao waved him down.
He Yunxiang dared not proceed with his complaint and staggered to stand behind his master with the head drooping on his shoulder.
He was also aware that his performance was too degrading.
Zhang Bulao was slightly disappointed.
He had planned to cultivate He Yunxiang for a little longer. And when the boy learned how to behave and maintain a claim mind, he would send him to Li Mu in person to take back all those Li Mu had snatched away from him. That way, He Yunxiang would be able to establish a right spirit for martial arts and overcome his inner fears. However, based on what just happened, Zhang Bulao knew He Yunxiang might never achieve that for the rest of his lifetime.
He was a little annoyed as Li Mu’s mightiness turned out to be more incredible than he assumed.
But what was more exasperating was that He Yunxiang was indeed a good-for-nothing.
“Is it you who killed Wei Chong, an elder of a branch of our sect?”
The Red-hair Killing God stared at Li Mu while releasing invisible pressure. As if a divine mountain in the primitive times just fell, the overwhelming energy waves pelted at Li Mu. Zhang Bulao was not a member of the Hanshan Academy, so he certainly would not strike on the excuse of sticking up for that impertinent institution. Instead, he justified his act with the rightful revenge for his sect. By doing that, he was aboveboard and did not have to worry about the others denouncing him for bullying the weak.
Li Mu flung an arm, and a shot of broadsword light burst out from his fingertip.
The invisible pressure spreading through the air was suddenly cut in two. Like a bypass flow, it then headed forward from Li Mu’s both sides.
“Well, are you talking about that darn fatty wielding a hammer? Right, that son of a bitch was really a pest, so I blasted him with a punch,” Li Mu answered frankly, “There were no bit of bone fractures left of him.”
“Good, very good.” The Red-hair Killing God looked still quite unruffled. He nodded and continued, “For all those decades, you are the first junior who has the guts to speak so vulgarly in my presence.”
Li Mu smirked and returned, “Perhaps it’s because you didn’t meet many juniors those years.”
“You’re a boy with some backbone. Much better than this worthless disciple of mine. I do rate highly of you. Boy, you’d better end your life with your hand now, for that’s a less bitter way to die,” said the Red-hair Killing God. “If you are taken to my Qing Sha Clan, you’ll have to experience all the seventy-two inhumane tortures. The feeling of being torn between life and death is not what you would like.”
When He Yunxiang and the others came to him after being insulted one by one back in the Fengming Academy, Zhang Bulao was infuriated, but he did not consider rushing out to kill Li Mu in person. The reason was no other than his esteem—in the eyes of such an expert in the Celestial Being Realm, a junior in the lower Natural Realm like Li Mu was not worth enough for him to take the field.
Therefore, frankly, this time the purpose of him bringing He Yunxiang and the other disciples to the academy was to steel the young generation and assess the new talents.
He Yunxiang was a disciple he took in just a few years ago, who probably would be his last disciple and the potential sect future leader. He Yunxiang did behave well. His martial arts progressed very rapidly, and he had good senses in dealing with other people. Although Zhang Bulao declared that he had come to the Hanshan Academy to avenge the elder of a branch, that was just an excuse. His hidden agenda was to let his favorite disciple stamp on Li Mu’s body and rise to fame.
However, as the saying went, comparisons are odious.
Compared with Li Mu, the obedient and diligent He Yunxiang paled at once. He was not on the same level as Li Mu was.
That founding gave Zhang Bulao a pang of disappointment and compelled him to take the matter into his hand.
When Li Mu heard his ‘kind advice,’ he irresistibly broke out laughing and then said in contempt, “You tell me to commit suicide? Are you off your rocker? If duels in Jianghu merely focused on the titles, ages, and realms of the combatants, what would you duel for? In that case, when we encounter each other and introduce ourselves, the party less renowned shall just cut his own throat…”
The Red-hair Killing God finally lost it.
During the past decades, he had practically confined himself in his sect and enjoyed everyone’s respect and admiration. When had he ever been mocked like that?
Once the Celestial Being went ballistic, the sky might collapse, and the earth might cave in.
Then, Zhang Bulao eyed him with a bit more intensity, and another wave of raging qi broke out. Indescribable pressure descended upon Li Mu as if it had fallen from the top of the sky. Moreover, what made horrified was that the land within a radius of three meters under his feet sank half a meter. The chrysanthemum leopard yelped in despair, no longer able to stand steadily on four paws.