Chapter 319 Feel Free to Visit Me Again!
When Qiu Yin, Guo Yuqing, and his family arrived at the scene, Li Mu had calmed his nerves.
The protective deployment in the Knife Hut was again in operation after it repaired itself.
Truthfully, if Li Mu had been there when the break-in occurred, perhaps Jiang Qiubai would not have cracked the Earth Evil Polaris Formation that effortlessly. Li Mu had observed the place carefully and came to the conclusion that the method that pasture legend adopted to trespass the place was quite simple—just break through it by force.
Although Shangguan Yuting and Qing Feng could both control the Earth Evil Polaris Formation, the two’s proficiency was a far cry from Li Mu’s. If the Earth Evil Polaris Formation operated by Li Mu could be as menacing as a nuclear bomb, the one driven by them were barely as powerful as a hand grenade.
“Third brother, are you okay?” Qiu Yin said to Li Mu in a concerned voice. His eyes soon landed on the row of letters pieced together by the leaves on the floor. Suddenly, he lost all his consoling words.
Guo Yuqing and Liu Zhiyuan also noticed that message.
“How reckless I was!”
Guo Yuqing instantly felt a twinge of guilt.
He knew very well what kind of man his junior fellow apprentice was. He would never stop until he reached his goal. Even though that man was already an esteemed Sage, he would stoop to any foul means. Thus, Guo Yuqing reckoned he should have known that his junior fellow apprentice could not have left without a fight.
Yet, he did neglect that possibility.
If he had realized that at an earlier time, Jiang Qiubai might not be able to spot the opportunity.
“Brother Qing…” Liu Zhiyuan called, gazing up at her husband.
She had heard of the stories about Li Mu and Hua Xiangrong. According to varied tales, it was certain that because of Hua Xiangrong, Li Mu refused the tempting offer of the second prince. And later, to protect the beauty, he stormed out and decisively killed that powerful prince. That showed how deep a relationship they had entered. As a female, Liu Zhiyuan quite appreciated that love story.
However, now, Hua Xiangrong had been taken away.
She could imagine how miserable Li Mu felt at the moment.
“Big brother, second brother,” Li Mu said in a cool voice as he lifted a hand and wiped off the letters on the floor, “seems I have to take a journey to the vast pasture.”
The incident completely messed up his plan.
Ideally, he prepared to hide in the Taibai Mountain area for ages to practice martial arts. When he had fully mastered the marvelous martial arts, he would go out and get the better of the rest of martial experts. When that day came, even Sages were just nobodies in his eyes. After all, due to the completed Dragon-assembling Pattern, the Taibai Mountain area was already converted into a blessed place.
But right now…
Even though he had not married Shangguan Yuting, that was not an excuse for him to continue hiding in his comfort zone.
Anyway, how could he call himself a man if he cringed at home while his loved one had been kidnapped?
“You have no chance to get her out without giving him the key to the Grave of the Immortal King.” Guo Yuqing said with a complexed look. “Third brother, don’t rush to make any decision on this matter. We should give the matter further thought. You alone can hardly rescue Yuting from the Wolf Temple.”
Li Mu nodded and answered, “I know. A plan is necessary.”
But he did not ask Guo Yuqing for the alleged key to the Grave of the Immortal King.
Although he had no idea what kind of inside story was behind that key, he easily registered it was not simple after giving it a thought, for Guo Yuqing did not turn in the key even when his wife and children were at stake.
Qiu Yin just patted his chest and suggested, “Third brother, I, your second brother, will accompany you on that journey. When our broadswords unite, even the severest trials are not fearful at all, are they?”
Laughing loudly, Li Mu said, “Great!”
Guo Yuqing gritted his teeth and pledged, “I’ll go with you as well. How can we three brothers be separated?” He was the only one who knew clearly how dreadful that junior fellow apprentice of his was. And only he had witnessed what kind of horror Jiang Qiubai introduced when he was studying in the Everlasting Heaven.
Liu Zhiyuan cast a look at her husband but did not say a word.
Years ago, her husband had sworn to never step a foot on the vast pasture. Nonetheless, for the sake of his brother, that vow would be broken.
“May he be blessed. He would not do it if he didn’t have to. Don’t let those promised punishment befall on him!”
Then what about stopping her husband to go to the pasture?
Well, that thought did not even cross Liu Zhiyuan’s mind.
Because as a man, he had something he must do.
And as a woman, she had something she must never do.
Her man was a hero. So she could not make him less a hero by tying him up with her sentiments.
Li Mu nodded again and said, “Thank you, big brother, second brother. Let’s discuss this in detail before we make any decision.” By then, Li Mu still did not know Guo Yuqing had once sworn to never enter the vast pasture.
Anyway, he could not jump the gun on that matter.
He himself also needed to make some preparations.
Therefore, the three sworn brothers went into the Knife Hut to have a meeting.
And thanks to Qing Feng’s prompt arrangement, the incident was not disclosed to anyone else. So no one outside the county government learned about it.
Only Xu Wan’er, Xin’er the maid, Lu Shengnan, and other girls were still deeply perturbed.
With tears brimming her eyes, Xin’er implored, “Young Master, you just have to bring my mistress back…” She was worried about Shangguan Yuting’s safety.
Li Mu said, “Relax, the one who took Ting’er away is a Sage. He certainly has the breadth of mind of a Sage and won’t go hard on her.” Considering Jiang Qiubai’s status, even though he had ambushed the Knife Hut, he could not do anything out of line to Shangguan Yuting.
Guo Yuqing chimed in, “Right, you can rest assured on that point. Missy Hua won’t be put under any insult in the Wolf Temple.”
He knew his junior fellow apprentice was not a man who would cross the bottom line.
Li Mu, however, turned embarrassed.
“Big bro probably doesn’t know what’s the underlying meaning of that phrase on Earth, does he?”
At last, after a quick discussion, the three decided to set for the vast pasture to execute the rescue mission in ten days.
Guo Yuqing and family also settled down in the Knife Hut.
Considering what had just occurred, they could no longer stay in the Eagle Beak Village as the other villagers must have noticed that they were not ordinary people. If the two ran into them again, they would not treat them with the same attitude as before. In turn, their return would disrupt the tranquility of the entire Eagle Beak Village.
Moreover, since Guo Yuqing was determined to enter the vast pasture again, leaving Liu Zhiyuan and the kids in the Eagle Beak Village was not a safe strategy. Now that the Knife Hut was guarded by a miraculous deployment and Liu Zhiyuan was a Holy Woman in the Wendao Academy, she was up to the job of operating the Earth Evil, though her cultivation was not that amazing as Guo Yuqing’s. Although she might not do it as neatly as Li Mu could, she could bring most of its power into full play. Even if a Sage came to attack it, he could not destroy it in a short span.
Qiu Yin alone returned to the Guanshan Pasture right off.
He had to go back and make some preparations.
The three had made an appointment to meet at Longcheng Pass, a heavily-guarded County at the margin of the Western Qin Empire in ten days.
In the next few days, Li Mu did nothing except getting ready for the journey.
The first preparation he did was rearrange the Earth Evil Polaris Formation that protected the Knife Hut to enhance its power. As the geomancy deployment—the Dragon-assembling Patter—kept working, the Spiritual Qi inside the Knife Hut was such that it raged like wild tides. Even the sacred practice bases in many large sects did not have such rich Spiritual Qi. As the Earth Evil Polaris Formation absorbed the power of heaven and earth, its power continuously grew larger. Every now and then, Li Mu came to the deployment to modify and improve it himself.
A couple of days later, the Earth Evil Polaris Formation was times more powerful than it was before.
Nevertheless, Li Mu remained alarmed after Jiang Qiubai broke into the huge deployment in the Knife Hut.
Those legendary experts at the peak of the martial arts practice might crack the tactical deployment by force even though Li Mu had changed it… So, he was well aware that he could not afford to be careless for a second time.
After he finished upgrading the deployment, Li Mu taught Liu Zhiyuan the method of operating the Earth Evil Polaris Formation.
Liu Zhiyuan was the Holy Woman of the Wendao Academy, which was one of the top nine Holy Clans. Back then, she was also a young expert who was widely known in Jianghu. Her cultivation had reached the fourth-step of the Celestial Being Realm. Adding that she was exceedingly smart and insightful, and her understanding of martial arts and knowledge of the theories were way superior to Li Mu’s, she soon got the hang of controlling the deployment.
“Third brother-in-law, is it really you who set up this tactical deployment?” Liu Zhiyuan asked with utter astonishment. After she learned the true power of the deployment, she kind of could not believe it that she could almost put herself in an invincible position against a Sage with the help of the deployment. “How could such a star deployment exist in the world?”
“If a warlock’s star deployment could be such potent, then, how come the warlocks who cultivate magic are kept done-trodden by those martial practitioners? How could they simply get to do some subsidiary work like setting up small deployments, curving patterns, studying alchemy, and refining weapons?”
Li Mu also registered her surprise. But he merely hedged, “I once got a secret manual on tactical deployments from the outer world. And I set the deployment up according to the illustrations in that manual. That’s why it is so mighty.”
He just told her a white lie.
Now was still not the time to reveal his true origin, especially when the messenger of Lord Qu in the Southern Chu had somehow unintentionally mentioned to him that what huge trouble an Earth resident would be in after his identity was exposed. Therefore, Li Mu grew more prudent when it came to that issue.
In the last couple of days, Li Mu settled all the affairs in Taibai county and made a public announcement saying that he would take a closed-door training for a while.
Ever since Li Mu gained the lord title, Taibai County was no longer called a county but Taibai City.
Five days later, Li Mu received the letter Qiu Yin sent from Guanshan City.
After reading the letter, Li Mu finally released Huang Shengyi, the Fire Devil.
“Feel free to come back and be my guest again.” Li Mu saw him off, feeling sad about the parting.
Huang Shengyi’s face darkened and hit the road without looking back.
All that happened to him after he came to Taibai City was a total nightmare. He felt relieved that he was allowed to go back. By the time, he even had no will for revenge. Half of the reason for that was Li Mu’s harsh beating, the other half was the powers Li Mu demonstrated struck him as frightening. He now felt so small and helpless that he knew it was hopeless to seek retaliation.
“Do visit me again!” Li Mu waved at him with a sense of reluctance to part.
He escorted Huang Shengyi out of Taibai City in person.
When bypassers caught that sight, their eyes nearly popped out of their heads.
“What is going on?”
“How come these two sworn enemies suddenly get so attached?”
“Didn’t Huang Shengyi the Fire Devil just wish to flay Li Mu alive and drink his blood on the other day?”
“Or else, that future leader of the Guanshan Master named Qiu Yin has come to Taibai City for the purpose of solving their dispute? So now Taibai City and Guanshan City joined hands?”
“Alas, I really don’t want to let you go.” Li Mu sighed.
He did mean it.
Because what an outstanding slave Huang Shengyi was! He had high cultivation and broad horizon. He listened to Li Mu’s orders and never asked anything for return. Where could he ever find such a Semi-Sage as his slave? If it had not been the request of the master of his second sworn brother, Li Mu truly did not intend to set Huang Shengyi free so early.
Two more days flew by.
Zhao Yu, the top disciple of the Taibai Sword Faction, escorted his younger sister, Zhao Ling, back to Taibai City in person.
One day later, Li Mu sent away two old friends, Dong Rui and Xu Sheng. That marked an end of the mission of the crown prince’s diplomatic corps. Given that Li Mu was going into another closed-door training, the two old men chose to leave him alone for some time. But before they took their departure, they made a deal with Li Mu that they would resign when they went back to the capital and then come to Taibai City to spend some leisure time.
Taibai City had nearly become a blessed place. The two were both witted and perceptive, so how could they not see the advantages of practicing in the place?
On the ninth day, which was one day before the designated date of Li Mu and Guo Yuqing’s departure, a piece of news that could stir the entire Western Qin Empire bandied about as fast as a tornado.