Shangguan Yuting nodded earnestly.
But Li Mu could tell that she was merely supportive of him. As to whether she could recover her cultivation or not, she did not care about it very much. Perhaps the only thing that drove her to proceed with the practice was merely the wish to assist Li Mu.
She was a simple and innocent girl.
But it was probably her innocence that made her free of distracting thoughts. With that dedication and her Natural Taoist Figure, it was no wonder that her previous progress on the Xiantian Skill was so fast and pronounced.
Then, Li Mu passed on the authentic first level of the Xiantian Skill to Shangguan Yuting.
He also taught her the Lifting Pole Style of the Zhenwu Boxing.
This time, with the experience of the prior teaching, Li Mu not only asked Shangguan Yuting to strengthen her spiritual force but also her mortal body.
Li Mu had realized that as he rose to fame, the opponents he had to face were also much stronger. Thus, he couldn’t keep Shangguan Yuting under his wings all the time. To protect her, she had to go through hard training. Since steeling her was Li Mu’s original intention, he needed to figure out a way to eradicate the girl’s weakness in pursuing the martial arts.
And what had been Shangguan Yuting’s weakness?
It was certainly not the lack of experience, for she would amass it sooner or later. Her biggest weakness was her fragile human body.
If it could be said that the delicate body was the weak point of all warlocks and sorceresses, then, Shangguan Yuting had magnified that weak point to the utmost. But it took her barely one month to evolve from a prostitute who could not catch her breath after dancing into a brilliant sorceress who could fight against a Natural Expert.
Hence, Li Mu hoped to build up Shangguan Yutin’s flesh with the Zhenwu Boxing.
Only when a sorceress gained a powerfully built body could she become really formidable.
The only thing erratic was…
“At the moment, even I can’t ascertain the state of your Sea of Consciousness in the Mud-pill Palace. Generally, when your Mud-pill Palace is smashed, your spiritual force will completely disband. And before you rebuild the Mud-pill Palace, your Sea of Consciousness must be in a state of chaos and so cannot produce any spiritual force. However, it turns out that even though you have not restored your Mud-pill Palace, there is already a wisp of spiritual force in your Sea of Consciousness. I guess maybe it has something to do with the treatment I gave you…” added Li Mu.
As the two of them faced each other undressed, Li Mu’s spiritual force poured into Shangguan Yuting, and then, perhaps due to the merge of Li Mu’s Yang qi and Shangguan Yuting’s Yin qi, a very eccentric wisp of spiritual force came into being. Surprisingly, that wisp of spiritual force was not subject to Li Mu’s control, and it refused to retreat from Shangguan Yuting’s Sea of Consciousness.
What was more bizarre was that Li Mu found he, too, had the same wisp of spiritual force in his own Sea of Consciousness.
It did not obey his command, either.
That profoundly puzzled Li Mu.
When he finished teaching Shangguan Yuting the real first level of Xiantian Skill and the Lifting Pole Style of the Zhenwu Boxing, Li Mu also helped her with a health examination. After confirming that there were no serious problems, the treatment eventually came to an end.
“You’re rather weak at the moment. You need to take a good rest and eat more, especially those of high nutritious value, to replenish your blood and qi.” Li Mu smiled at her and continued, “Since you’re starting with the Zhenwu Boxing, recently, you’ll easily feel hungry. But don’t worry about keeping your body in shape and eat as more as you can.”
As the two conversed, they walked out of the practice room.
At the sight of them, Xin’er, the maid who was wiping tears, abruptly dashed towards them.
Xu Wan’er and the other girls also broke into whoops of delight when they saw Shangguan Yuting had rallied.
During the past few days, Shangguan Yuting had taught them Cultivation Methods and took good care of them. Therefore, she had won the girls’ respects.
“Please don’t disclose the news that Ting’er is healed to anyone else.” Li Mu told the girls.
Daji, the small white fox, barked with excitement and jumped over to Li Mu’s arms, pressing its head against his palm. The little fox had also been injured before, but it was cured at a fantastic speed. Now, it could already skip and jump about.
As they talked, a man’s voice drifted in the yard from the outside.
It was Zheng Cunjian’s hail.
Li Mu opened the door of the yard to let the scholar in and then led him to the study.
Shangguan Yuting and the other girls, who were chatting and laughing, retreated to the opposite wing.
They all knew Zheng Cunjian and were accustomed to the long private meeting Li Mu had with him every time the scholar came to the Shack. Apparently, the two were discussing serious businesses, so the girls certainly would not disturb them.
In the study…
“Still no clues?” asked Li Mu with a frown.
Slightly scared, Zheng Cunjian answered, “Although I do have some influence in Chang’an, experts in the Celestial Being Realm are beyond my reach. So, I’m afraid I need more time.”
“The gold fingerprint that can poke a hole in the sky is a very distinctive mark, isn’t it?” inquired Li Mu with disappointment.
A little distressed, Zheng Cunjian explained, “There are some experts in the Celestial Being Realm guarding the Chang’an, but seldom have they struck. And these days, Chang’an has welcomed in too many strange experts. Given that Celestial Beings can conceal their aura, ordinary people have no means to track them down. I’ve combed through all the Celestial Beings who have revealed themselves in Chang’an, but none of them strikes like the one you encountered yesterday.”
Li Mu breathed a long sigh.
“Keep on looking.” He said flatly.
Zheng Cunjian hurriedly took the order.
He could tell Li Mu was trying to rein in his anger.
On that day, the pressure Li Mu imposed upon him was higher than any time before, because just yesterday Li Mu killed a Celestial Being.
The ordinary beings and ordinary martial practitioners and sects might merely have a heated discussion about that incident for a while and say things like ‘Li Mu has established another legend’ or ‘Li Mu’s future is unlimited now that he can already kill a Celestial Being at such a young age.’ However, those who truly understood the unlying meaning of the case would realize what terrifying news that incident conveyed.
For instance, when Li Mu killed the prince of Lord Zhenxi, considering he was just a normal Natural Expert, the high-level officials of the empire would weigh up the cost and the benefit and probably let Lord Zhenxi handle Li Mu, not caring for Li Mu’s life at all. But now, Li Mu had killed a Celestial Being. The officials might need to reconsider their judgment.
“Oh, Your Honor, I’ve found out the background of the little white fox,” reported Zheng Cunjian.
Li Mu looked up at him.
Zheng Cunjian went on, “It turns out not to be a pet living in a certain rich family in the city. Instead… Well, days ago, when the patrolling regiment was searching for the evil remainders of the Tang family, a lot of demons lurking in the city were found by accident. The little white fox is the child of a female fox demon. Its father was the president of the Clean Spring Chamber of Commerce. But all of its family members were killed by the patrolling regiment except for it. I suppose it must have suffered that extreme shock and surrendered to atavism, so it resumed the shape of a fox…”
Li Mu did not know what to say.
“It turns out to be like that!”
He had also heard about the crackdown upon the demon races and the Clean Spring Chamber of Commerce for its gang up with the demon races in the early days.
But he never knew the little white fox had such a story.
“Young Master, anyone who colludes with the demon races, commits a felony. The more powerful he is, the more severe his sin will be. So, perhaps we should turn the little white fox in. I’ve got wind of it that someone in the patrolling regiment has had a rough idea of its whereabouts…” suggested Zheng Cunjian.
The demon races were the mortal enemy of humankind. No matter who befriended with them, he would be committing inexcusable wrongdoing.
That was an unshakable law not only in the Western Qin Empire but also in all the other human societies on the Divine Land.
Zheng Cunjian had made himself clear that Li Mu shall take the matter with extra care. He had better hand in the little white fox, for someone had already noticed that it was hiding in Li Mu’s place. If that man made an issue of this fact, Li Mu would be in a quite disadvantageous position, and the fame and reputation he earned would all go to waste.
Li Mu considered his proposition for a moment and smiled with ease. “Then, let those patrolling guys come to me.”
He would not turn in the little fox.
Now that he already lost the chrysanthemum leopard, he could not afford to lose another animal friend.
Back then on Earth, the old faker had described the demon races intermittently through all his braggings. According to his account, the demon races were somewhat decent creatures. In the vast universe, they were a major intellectual group. Like humankind, there were also good and evil demons. And the old faker seemed to think very highly of the demon races.
Therefore, influenced by what he heard all day long, Li Mu had no objection against the demon races.
Even though the little white fox was a demon, he did not mind that.
At Li Mu’s words, Zheng Cunjian basically learned his attitude towards the issue. He sighed internally and gave up on persuading him.
“Young Master, in light of this mystery, there is a man who might be able to help you locate who left the gold fingerprint.” Zheng Cunjian said after an instant of hesitation.
“Who is it?” asked Li Mu.
“His Lordship possesses great power in Chang’an. He has one rare treasure called Sky-stabilizing Mirror, which is a magic instrument jointly build by the top nine Holy Clans. It can monitor any energy fluctuation a Celestial Being produces from the city…” said Zheng Cunjian.
“The darn magistrate?”
Without realizing it, Li Mu rubbed his temples.
“Get my order out. The Xiongfeng Martial Art Club has run around with the evil remainders of the Tang family. The patrolling regiment will besiege the martial art club, allowing only entries but not exits. In three days, we will launch a general attack. I want the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club to be flattened in three days, and not a chicken in it will be spared.”
The second prince issued that order moment he completed his closed-door training and marched out of the secret chamber.
“Uh?…” The remark threw Liu Chenglong in a daze.
“Xiongfeng Martial Arts Club?”
He had heard of that martial institution. But as far as he knew, it was merely a social group comprised of a bunch of frustrated loungers in Jianghu. Some of its members were indeed tough and known for their recalcitrance. They had an odd temper. That proprietor of the club, in particular, was really out of the ordinary. Though she was a woman, she liked frequenting the brothels and was in debt for the expenses of those visits.
Nevertheless, he had not yet obtained any news implying that the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club was sheltering the evil remainders of the Tang family.
For the moment, he had no idea what the second prince was getting at.
“Does His Highness merely want to find an excuse to root out the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club?”
“Or he has some other reasons for giving such an instruct?”
Liu Chenglong dared not badger the second prince with more questions, so he hurried to pass on the order.
Soon, the members of the patrolling regiment speedily assembled at a large scale.
The lane outside the gate of the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club was instantly crammed by soldiers wearing dark armors with star deployment patterns. The place was bristled with a forest of broadswords and spears and drowned by a sea of halberds and swords. Killing intent loomed over the spot, and large crowds of soldiers surrounded the building. The military warlocks set up star deployments. Then, the troops moved the Star-demolishing Cannons to the right spots and loaded them. Next, the arrow deployments and the shield deployments took their places orderly. The field battle army operated like a precise machine, gradually baring their bone-chilling fangs.
At such a sight, the passersby all turned pale and took a detour.
Meanwhile, the news that the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club was in league with the evil remainders of the Tang family had also bandied about in the entire city.
“Boss! We’re in trouble! The patrolling regiment has besieged our club!” cried the Marvelous Mathematician, who galloped into the yard desperately.
Tan Yanzi’s face suddenly hardened.
An uproar broke out in the whole Xiongfeng Martial Art Club.