In the yard of the old county government…
Shangguan Yuting’s heart, which had leaped to her throat, finally fell to its normal position. She had considered that once she found Li Mu was no match for Huang Shengyi, she would do everything she could to protect Li Mu, even if that meant sacrificing her life. But at the moment, she could finally rest assured.
To her, neither the rise of Taibai County nor a leap along the social ladder mattered. Like all the other girls who were infatuated with love, the only wish she had was her lover could go back to her safe and sound.
His safety weighed more than anything else.
Meanwhile, Xu Wan’er, Xin’er the maid, and the other girls all broke into whoops of cheer.
During those days in Taibai County, they had finally retrieved their old carefree lifestyle. There they were treated with respect, enjoying freedom, and no longer needing to walk on eggshells. Since that was all attributable to Li Mu, the girls were also concerned about him. Although they did not have that deep relationship with Li Mu as Shangguan Yuting did, their affections were sincere.
The little attendant, instead, sighed deeply with relief.
But a trace of suspicion instantly flashed across his eyes.
“It’s good that Young Master is getting stronger and stronger. Yet, his strength growth is kind of abnormal, kind of strange. Is he still the Young Master I knew?”
He rubbed his nose, perplexed.
Right at that moment, Li Mu marched in dragging the unconscious Huang Shengyi, the Fire Devil. When he saw the faces of the girls, he was a little moved.
Yet, he was truly busy that day.
He nonchalantly pointed at the white crane that trailed after him and sent a connotative remark to the girls, “I’ll let you borrow my big bird for fun… Now, I’ve got to go.”
Then, he entered the training room, dragging Huang Shengyi behind him.
Li Mu’s training room was usually inaccessible to other people.
Given that Huang Shengyi was a Semi-Sage, his strength was stunning and his ace cards and instruments were innumerable. Li Mu dared not handle him carelessly. To prevent him from waking up and escaping, Li Mu had to go through a lot of trouble.
But thanks to the fact that every wisp of Spiritual Qi in the yard was under his control. The mansion was the core of the Dragon-assembling Pattern in the whole Taibai Mountain. Not until he directed the power of the tactical deployment to the place—to set up dozens of seals, tactical deployments, incantations, and doubled checking everything—did he feel relieved.
After rummaging and taking out all the storage instruments the Semi-Sage carried, and putting them away temporarily, Li Mu rushed to the weapon-refining room to see his Samsara Knife under refinement.
The heat generated by the flames in the weapon-refining room was overwhelming.
The Five Elements Sky-flipping Seal was suspending in the center of the room. The part dominated by the fire element was releasing a blazing fire, which enveloped the Samsara Knife, along with scores of other weapons and precious metals to refine them nonstop.
By then, most of the weapons were melted and had lost their original shapes. The Spiritual Qi fluctuations inside the weapons had been absorbed by the Samsara Knife. All the essence of the weapons had already merged into the broadsword, and so did the wondrous materials.
“It’s not too late after all.”
Li Mu took a look at the weapons and knew what he had to do.
He conjured dozens of handprints in a row and sent them into the Five Elements Sky-flipping Seal. The flames in the fire part were in full blaze, issuing more heat than ever. Within two hours, all the weapons and materials were incorporated into the Samsara Knife. The metal essence spinning off from the weapons was also taken in by the broadsword.
The Samsara Knife began to change.
The blade and the edge were coarser and thicker than before. Its size had reached a colossal scale.
That was just normal.
Because in the refining process, the Samsara Knife had taken in so many new substances.
Li Mu tossed away the waste that had lost all Spiritual Power. Then, he concentrated on refining the Samsara Knife alone.
The Samsara Knife carried a score of Taoist magic arts and tactical deployments that were Li Mu’s original creations.
During the refining, he managed to do two things at the same time. As he operated the fire of the Five Elements Sky-flipping Seal to purify the blade with one hand, he also injected an array of Taoist magic arts gestures to enhance the tactical deployments inside the broadsword. Every now and then, the Samsara Knife came out as one and then split up into twenty flying broadswords of a smaller size.
Another six hours passed by.
Since it was winter, the daytime was short. The darkness soon descended on the land.
At nightfall, Li Mu completed his work.
The Samsara Knife quietly floated over the center of the tactical deployment.
Having undergone six hours’ worth of refining, the impurities in the Samsara Knife had all spun off, leaving only the purest substance in it. It carried inexpressible intelligence after the process. But the size was even smaller than before. It was about the width of his five fingers and around four and a half feet. The blade was smooth as the surface of a tranquil lake. Although it was as thin as a sheet of paper, the hardness was extremely high.
Li Mu beckoned the Samsara Knife over. The weapon instantly turned into a jet of light and leaped into his palm.
As the broadsword buzzed softly, the surface of the blade seemed to be rippling. Then, it let loose the merest broadsword cry with a trace of affection.
“The broadsword cried like a dragon, so it must have acquired a high-level intelligence… It already has the unique feature of the best Spiritual-tier weapons.”
Li Mu was overjoyed.
The longer he gazed at the weapon he forged on his own, the fonder he was of it.
Then, his spiritual force seeped into the broadsword to examine every part of it.
Sure enough, the spiritual force and internal qi conductivity of the broadsword were top-of-the-range.
He brushed his fingertip against the blade. Blood immediately beaded in a line on his skin.
“How sharp the blade is!”
Li Mu exclaimed inwardly.
His body was invulnerable as the strongest gold and iron. High-classed weapons could hardly leave an indentation on his skin. But when the Samsara Knife came into contact with it, a bleeding slash instantly appeared. It was evident that the Samsara Knife was extremely sharp.
“Can the body of a Sage withstand the razor-edged Samsara Knife?”
Li Mu was tickled by that idea.
“Uh-huh! That’s it! Don’t I have a subject ready for the experiment?”
Li Mu’s eyes lit up.
Carrying the Samsara Knife, he strode out of the weapon-refining room to fetch the unconscious Huang Shengyi. He planned to do the experiment on the Semi-Sage to see if his body could withstand the sharp Samsara Knife which had been injected with his internal qi.
Huang Shengyi woke up from the coma due to the headache, as if his skull were about to burst open.
He had not experienced that pain for years.
For a moment, his mind was blank. A few seconds later, he suddenly recalled all that had happened on that day. In a trice, Huang Shengyi’s fury blazed like fire. It was a total nightmare for him to take such an insult.
“Li Mu, we’re at daggers drawn now. I shall finish you off!”
He hissed that remark through tightly gnashed teeth.
Based on the state of his insides, Huang Shengyi knew he had become a captive.
That sounded just absurd. In his glossary, the word ‘captive’ had never shown up. Yet, by that time, he was reduced into one by the cruel reality.
“Humph, it is the dumbest decision you’ve made ever, simply imprisoning me here instead of killing me. When I break out, I’ll do in everyone who is close to you…” Huang Shengyi snorted and swore inwardly.
Then, he began to try some secret methods to undo the seal that froze his power.
However, at that precise moment, the door was flung open.
Li Mu stalked in.
Huang Shengyi let out a disdainful sniff and glowered at Li Mu, flames of fury almost squirting from his eyes. He bellowed, “You’d better release me now, otherwise… Em? Hey, hey, hey! What are you doing? You… Stop! Stop it!”
Before his threat was uttered, it turned into a howl of slight panic.
Because Li Mu approached him with a long, shining broadsword and hacked on his thigh without a word.
Scarlet blood gushed out.
“Ahh…!” groaned Huang Shengyi subconsciously.
It had been about five decades since he last experienced the feeling called pain. He was not afraid of being injured, but the fierce manner Li Mu carried when he flung the broadsword at him without notice was truly a little formidable.
“Oh? The blade does cut your flesh…” Li Mu muttered with satisfaction.
Looking at Huang Shengyi apologetically, he said, “Excuse me, I just wanted to try this broadsword out. I just refined it, was unsure about its power. I hope you don’t mind that…”
Huang Shengyi: “…”
Then, Li Mu raised the broadsword and threw a few more strikes at Huang Shengyi.
Several broadsword cuts quickly emerged on the body of the Semi-Sage. His skin and flesh were cut open, blood trickling down from the wounds.
“You…” Huang Shengyi questioned as a chill was sent down his spine. “What on earth are you up to?”
But Li Mu continued to talk to himself. “Um, it seems that the body of a Semi-Sage can’t withstand this broadsword, even without infusing internal qi. I wonder if the body of a real Sage can take on the broadsword… Come to think of it, a Semi-Sage’s bones are supposed to be as hard as a Sage’s, aren’t they?”
Holding the broadsword, he darted a glimpse at Huang Shengyi’s legs.
Catching on his intention, Huang Shengyi was horror-stricken at once.
After all, Sages also feared death.
He reckoned Li Mu was completely insane.
From the start of their battle to that moment… Li Mu was considering trying the broadsword out upon him!
As he was still paralyzed by the shock, Li Mu’s broadsword already hacked at him. With a crack, the Samsara Knife cut into his flesh and sank into the bone…
“Whoa, the bone of a Semi-Sage is really hard!” exclaimed Li Mu in amazement.
After that, he drew the broadsword out, ready for the next hack.
At that, Huang Shengyi almost jumped out of his skin.
In truth, he would not be scared by any kind of torture, but what Li Mu was doing to him was beyond his endurance. He had never seen anyone who simply slashed him several times with that broadsword void of a word. “If he keeps trying it out on me, I will be chopped into human mince when he gets the results he desires, won’t I?”
“Stop! Hey, I said stop! Li Mu, Sages do not take insults. You should not go too far with this,” Huang Shengyi barked, “Not to mention I am a representative of the Guanshan Pasture. I…”
Li Mu swung the blade at his leg again.
Eventually, the bone was cut through.
Li Mu crouched down to examine the gash. He muttered thoughtfully, “Seems that it needs at least three hacks to break a bone of a Semi-Sage. But if the blade is instilled with internal qi…” With that, a jet of broadsword light gleamed on the smooth blade of the Samsara Knife. That was what could be perceived when it was filled with internal qi and it became more powerful.
At the moment, Huang Shengyi was chilled to the marrow.
It was an utter nightmare, to have fallen into the hands of such a lunatic.
“Hold it! Hold it I say! I have been practicing the power of the fiery fire, so I’m good at weapon-refining. You just want to refine your broadsword, don’t you? I can tell you what you need to do… I know all about the way of refining and producing the Primitive Gold of All Creatures,” Huang Shengyi cried.
His head was aching, his heart and all other organs prickling as well…
He was scared, really scared, so he started to bargain with Li Mu. That was an inexplicit gesture of admitting his defeat.
“Huh?” Li Mu looked at him in astonishment, “The power of greedy guts? Eating food can create a power to refine things?”
“Fiery fire! It’s fiery fire! The way to control flames!” snapped Huang Shengyi, who was really going nuts.
“Oh,” Li Mu slowly withdrew the Samsara Knife he held up and said with a hesitant look, “Do you truly understand the method to create the Primitive Gold of All Creatures? Are you serious? Though I’m not well-educated, you can’t fool me.”
“Yes, I do, I do! I am the number one weapon-refining master in Guanshan City. Let’s settle this civilly. What broadsword do you want to refine? I can assist you…” said Huang Shengyi sincerely.
“What the hell is this!”
Even in his dreams, Huang Shengyi never knew he would one day stoop down so low.
“Okay. Now that you implored so hard, I will mercifully grant you a chance to be spared.” Li Mu finally put his Samsara Knife away. Then, gazing at Huang Shengyi ‘s badly lacerated leg, he remarked without feeling sorry at all, “Look, you’re not a kid anymore, but how can you be so short of vision? You should have told me that at the beginning. If you told me earlier, I wouldn’t have tried out the broadsword on you. It’s you to blame… Fine, I’ll roughly bind up your wounds first.”
At that remark, Huang Shengyi felt like weeping but had no tears.
He had never ever been so miserable.
Moments later, Huang Shengyi’s left leg was clumsily wrapped up like a white-versioned Chinese sticky-rice dumpling.
In the next few days, Li Mu enjoyed some very splendid moments.
He kept Huang Shengyi, whose power was restricted, in the weapon-refining room and discussed with him all kinds of plans day and night. They repeatedly modified and perfected the plans to refine the Samsara Knife again.
The respectable Semi-Sage swallowed his pride and became a slave.
Li Mu could not help but smile whenever he thought of it.
Plus, how insightful, knowledgable and experienced a Semi-Sage was!
In fact, Li Mu lacerating him was not solely aimed at trying the broadsword out. Most importantly, he needed to exploit the Semi-Sage’s value to the utmost, to fleece him of all his whits. That was Li Mu’s real agenda.