Li Mu was thoroughly overbearing. He did not reason with Huang Wenyuan but struck again.
Step by step, he advanced upon Huang Wenyuan. Every time he took a stride, the sky and the earth shook violently, as though the whole Taibai County was trembling as his footsteps landed on the land. It was an extremely absurd aura. The aura that only genuine experts in martial art could sense.
Huang Wenyuan also felt like his rage was at the bursting point.
None of those speeches he prepared beforehand came in handy. According to his plan, he would relentlessly insult Li Mu before killing him. But to his great surprise, the current case was completely beyond his anticipation and out of his control. Instead of humiliating Li Mu, he and his guard were disgraced.
“I want you dead!”
Watching his old guard with white hair and a scar being severely maimed by the government soldiers, Huang Wenyuan was incensed.
His internal qi began to circulate around him. Abruptly, a wave of energy surged under his feet.
Rows of rock spikes as sharp as steel broadsword sprang out from the earth and lunged at Li Mu.
They were the Earth Spikes!
“What a child’s play!”
Li Mu snorted. Without looking, he stamped down and directly crushed those rock spikes into the dirt.
Huang Wenyuan’s face took on a shade of fear.
When he entered the Celestial Being Realm and started to practice the invigoration of archaeus in five organs, the principle qi he chose was not the Kidney Qi, which normal experts would pick, but the Spleen Qi.
According to Taoism, the spleen housed one’s intent; the acquired was wild guesses, the natural was solid faith. Once one emptied all his desires, his intent would be firm. The Spleen Qi was the earth archaeus of the central emperor, so it was of the earth element. It was quite firm and forceful, very useful in sneak attacks and hard to guard against. That art was the top defensive skill in the Celestial Being Realm. Thus, as long as Huang Wenyuan set his feet on the ground, unless his opponent’s cultivation was way superior to him, on no account could he be defeated.
The earth spikes that sprouted out from the ground under his manipulation were as lethal as magic weapons. Even a Celestial Being might get his feet pierced if he was caught off his guard. But Li Mu was walking on those spikes as though he was treading on a mud road… “Is he wearing some magic iron boots?”
“Go to hell!”
Orange internal qi flowed around Huang Wenyuan. Again, he tramped on the earth.
Crack, crack, crack!
Scores of rock spikes shaped like broadswords and spears bounced up again under Li Mu’s feet, reflecting chilling light.
Meanwhile, on Li Mu’s all sides, rock spikes popped up and shot at him. Taking the shape of broadswords, spears, swords, halberds, battle-axes, hooks, forks, arrows, and all kinds of weapons, the thickly-dotted spikes swept towards Li Mu like a swarm of locust and engulfed his whole body in a trice.
The maneuver of a Celestial Being was indeed horrible.
Clink, clink, clink!
Jets of broadsword light flashed around Li Mu.
Twenty-four flying broadswords swooped about Li Mu as rapidly as shooting stars. The blade light they issued formed a shield, which instantly crumpled anything that approached him within a meter and caused the broken pieces to bounce off.
After observing the combat among the three peak Celestial Beings in Chang’an City, Li Mu’s present control over his strength had reached perfection. The fine skills he used were not less than those peak Celestial Beings. By then, it could be said that the Broadsword-commanding Skill Li Mu performed had reached the pinnacle of the technical effect.
The broadsword light flashed like shots of lightning. Whatever that came into contact with it was reduced to dust.
No matter what shape those rock spikes took or how furiously they charged at Li Mu, they still could not wedge into anywhere near him.
Li Mu marched forward, wrapped in a shield of broadsword light. For the moment, he looked just like the God of War.
In a second, the whirling rock spikes vanished like smoke being cleared away by the wind.
Li Mu’s eyes flashed dangerously. The twenty-four flying broadswords swiftly split in two, and one of the clusters hurtled straight at Huang Wenyuan.
“Humph!” sniffed Huang Wenyuan, outraged.
Running his Cultivation Method, he tapped the ground with the tip of his toes and lines of orange rock walls sprouted up from the earth, which shielded him like the city walls.
A trace of cold sneer curled Li Mu’s lips.
“Crap! The walls can’t block them… Wenyuan, step aside!” yelled Elder Liu Chong, who had promptly noticed the befalling disaster. The sword he had carried on his back turned into a stream of electric light and thrust at the twelve flying broadswords. Meanwhile, he cast his Cultivation Method and raced towards Huang Wenyuan like a jet of lightning and shoved him sideways.
In that instant, the rock walls in front of him shattered into pieces. A touch of silver glinted past, and he felt his shoulder went numb.
An immense force of inertia stole over Liu Chong, towing him backward.
But thanks to his rich combat experience, he turned on the power of heaven and earth and quickly regained his balance despite that strong force. Yet, as he lowered his eyes, he found there was a hole in his shoulder, which was fully penetrated and was oozing blood. It was precisely left by Li Mu’s flying broadsword.
He slowly raised his head in disbelief.
“I, a fourth-step Celestial Being at the peak, failed to throw off that slash of his flying broadsword?”
“With my protective internal qi and the successful integration of the four kinds of qi, I still failed to block the attack of that flying broadsword?”
“That was merely a flying broadsword sent by a boy, a Natural Expert who is far from the Celestial Being Realm!”
However, when he looked up, his expression changed in an instant. He looked even more incredulous.
Because he saw Huang Wenyuan, who was pushed out of harm’s way by him and should have escaped from the kiss of that flying broadsword, curiously, was seized by Li Mu by the neck. The latter was grabbing him singlehandedly as if picking up a chicken.
Further, at the moment, Li Mu was staring at him with a tinge of a scornful look.
“You…” Liu Chong’s lips parted but no words were uttered.
He could not believe Li Mu had done it.
He, an expert in the Natural Realm, captured a first-step Celestial Being protected by another fourth-step Celestial Being alive and also injured that fourth-step Celestial Being. How could it be?
That was as ridiculous as alleging that a kid could talk the moment he came to this world.
Nonetheless, that kind of thing had just happened before him.
The injury in Liu Chong’s shoulder was healing rapidly, which was visible to the naked eyes.
Given that the Spiritual Qi in Taibai County was unprecedentedly rich, Liu Chong could attract as much power of heaven and earth as he wished. Therefore, that kind of injury could be cured in just moments.
“How did you do it?” He still could not work it out.
From the information he acquired, the reason Li Mu succeeded in murdering the second prince was that the latter had consumed most of his energy fighting Li Gang, the Secular Sword Whiz, and Xu Sheng, the Sky-cracking Punch, before he was killed by Li Mu under the help of his most valuable treasure. So, Liu Chong had acted cautiously today. When Li Mu took on that old guard with white hair and a scar, he chose to stand back so as to observe Li Mu’s strength. But the thing was Li Mu already go this way even without using that so-called most valuable treasure.
Li Mu snickered but did not say a word.
Ignoring Liu Chong’s question, Li Mu gripped Huang Wenyuan by the neck and dragged him as if hauling a mangy dog to the bodies of the sixteen innocent victims.
“Get on your knees, apologize, and confess your guilt.” Li Mu added weight on the hand gripping his neck and forced him to drop to his knees.
Huang Wenyuan got all steamed up and flailed around like mad. He shouted, “Li Mu, you’re courting death here. How dare you humiliate me like this…?”
Li Mu gave him two kicks that directly broke his knees. Then, with a pound on his back, Huang Wenyuan’s broken bones sank into the flagstone. Blood gushed out like streams. Huang Wenyuan yelped out of pain, his forehead instantly wet with cold perspiration.
“If you do have guts, kill me! Kill me! Ahhh!” Huang Wenyuan jeered. His face contorted sinisterly as though a howling wild wolf. His eyes were transfixed upon Li Mu, exuding killing intent and bitter hatred.
But Li Mu paid no attention to that. He simply wrenched Huang Wenyuan’s head downwards as he said, “The first bow.”
Huang Wenyuan’s head bent down under the pressure and collided with the flagstone, breaking it in fragments. Then, as if a discarded turnip, his head plunged in the muddy earth.
Li Mu yanked him up by the hair and forced him down again.
“Ow… Li Mu, you… I’d rather be killed than be insulted. Kill me! Haw-haw-haw, I’m from the Guangshan… Oh…” Huang Wenyuan struggled with all his might. Nevertheless, for the second time, Li Mu grabbed his head and pushed it down until it was buried in the fragmented stones and the dirt. Certainly, Huang Wenyuan’s opened mouth was stuffed with a great amount of dirt.
Liu Chong’s expression changed several times as he watched the punishment.
He was thunderstruck by the power Li Mu demonstrated. Since he was still observing, he did not see the need to strike recklessly without one hundred percent assurance, provided that Huang Wenyuan was in no dire danger.
For the third time, Li Mu pressed Huang Wenyuan’s head down.
Then, he paused for a second, as if something just occurred to him. He muttered to himself, “That’s not right. Bow to heaven and earth is a ceremony during weddings. He is offering an apology, so what he needs to do is supposed to be kowtowing… Well, I phrased it wrongly. The prior ones don’t count. I’m sorry, please repeat that process once more…”
At that, Huang Wenyuan went stupefied.
“If it’s wrong, it’s you to blame! Why should I do it again?”
However, Li Mu did not give him any chance to defend himself and forcefully slammed his head into the stones and the dirt. He said, “The first kowtow is a gesture of you regretting killing all those innocent men.”
After the three kowtows, Huang Wenyuan’s eyes started bleeding, cheeks swelled up, and his face was so badly scratched by the fragmented stones that it was out of recognition, for Li Mu had deliberately added more force when pressing his head to the ground.
“Your Excellency, it’s enough.” Liu Chong finally found his voice. He seized backhand the pine-pattered sword suspending in midair and said, “Stop at where it should. Don’t go too far even though you are on the moral high ground.”
Li Mu darted him a disdainful look and said, “What if I don’t toe the line?”
“You…” Liu Chong drew a deep breath and bellowed, “I don’t care you achieved this by what means today. Even if you are on par with a Sage, you can’t avoid your doom. I suggest you releasing Young Master Huang now. He is the grandson of Huang Shengyi, Deputy Head of the Guanshan Pasture. You should think the consequence over before you act!”
His voice was carried around like thunderclaps, causing the heads of those in the vicinity to be in a whirl.
“That’s a Holy Clan of the empire!”
That pasture had risen high above the masses. It was like a sacred mountain that could only be looked up to.
Deputy Head of the Guanshan Pasture was one of the top famous figures on the entire Divine Land.
His status was not much interior to that of a royal member.
Accordingly, the grandson of Deputy Head of the pasture was a staggering big shot.
All of a sudden, the families who were weeping over the bodies and cursing Huang Wenyuan subconsciously shut their mouths. The onlookers around them also backed away despite themselves. Even Feng Yuanxing, Ma Junwu, Zhen Meng, and Qing Feng turned ashen-faced in that instant.
“How could it turn out like this?”
“He is the grandson of Deputy Head of the Guanshan Pasture. This is…” Feng Yuanxing and the other officials had guessed that Huang Wenyuan might be something. But never did they know he was such a big shot. For them, the impact of the truth was so devastating that it felt like… the sky had just collapsed.
For a while, the place was immersed in dead silence.
That old guard with white hair and a scar had passed out due to the unbearable pain.
Huang Wenyuan burst out laughing. His laughter carried a note of mockery, malice, and undisguised gleefulness. He barked, “Li Mu, now you know who you’re messing with, don’t you? But even if you kneel at my feet and beg me to forgive you, I won’t lay you off.”
He locked his eyes upon Li Mu, hoping to see him turn panic-stricken and begin to wail and whine.
However, Li Mu’s face merely showed bland indifference.
He contradicted, “Really? How impressive your identity is! But you’d better be aware of this. The last one I killed was called Qin Fan.”
Huang Wenyuan was petrified and soon paled with panic.