Chapter 94 Vowing to the Stone and the WaterSitting by Guo Yuqing, the older brother he just met one day ago, Li Mu felt more relaxed than ever.
He unconsciously put aside his vigilance and concerns. It was the first time Li Mu felt he was not suffocating under the weight of the secrets he had been carrying since he landed on this planet. He was fully at ease to indulge himself a little.
Guo Yuqing had long taught Li Mu the Heart Heavenly Shoot.
The latter already learned it by heart.
That martial art technique was quite profound and exquisite. No one could fully digest it in a short duration. Thus, it would take Li Mu a lengthy period of time to grasp it steadily. But once he mastered it, its power would be stunning, and that undoubtedly would be a huge progress in Li Mu’s pursuit of martial arts.
On top of that archery skill, Guo Yuqing also told Li Mu everything he knew about martial arts and passed all his relevant insight and knowledge to Li Mu without any reserve.
Reciprocally, Li Mu also shared with Guo Yuqing all the Ways, techniques, and tactics the old faker once mentioned to him, except for his Earth-resident identity and the Xiantian Skill and the Zhenwu Boxing Skill due to the significance of those secrets.
Every single word from the old faker was quite a shock to Guo Yuqing.
Li Mu might not yet realize how remarkable those words were, because his current cultivation and achievement were rather limited. But for Guo Yuqing, the wisdom in their remarks was refreshing and enlightening, which dispelled the clouds and let him see the sun.
The questions and bottlenecks that had bothered him for a long time suddenly dissolved.
“Wonderful! If I knew it earlier, I would be able to turn the table at that time.”
When Guo Yuqing heard the most brilliant part, he was overjoyed by his sudden comprehension and jumped up despite himself.
“Brother Li, you’re learning from which faction? The martial art attainments of your master are simply otherworldly! His views and theories are so magnificent that even the heads of current top nine Holy Clans will probably be amazed if they ever have a chance to hear them.” Guo Yuqing exclaimed.
Li Mu said, “My master is a very mysterious expert. His whereabouts are uncertain. Even I can’t catch sight of him very often, nor do I know his true identity.” Then, he gave a rough description of the wrenched image of the old faker but, of course, he did not disclose the fact that at this moment the old faker was not on this planet.
Actually, Li Mu felt somewhat guilty for keeping those secrets from Guo Yuqing.
Because Guo Yuqing did not hold anything back from him.
But given that the secrets were of great importance and had nothing to do with anyone on this planet other than himself, Li Mu decided to keep them to himself for the moment after giving it a thought. He would come clear later when the timing was right.
“Many skilled experts in the world like hiding their traces. Your master must be the same. He is certainly a miraculous man with extraordinary cultivation and knowledge,” sighed Guo Yuqing with emotions. “Brother Li, you’re kind of a disciple of a distinguished master. What a pleasant surprise! Come on, one more shot!”
“Certainly.” Li Mu held up his bowl.
Practicing the Xiantian Skill and the Zhenwu Boxing Skill not only had strengthened his body but upgraded his capacity for liquor to an amazing extent. By now, he had already finished six jars of strong alcohol as he and Guo Yuqing chatted and practiced archery, but he only felt slightly drunk.
After guzzling down another bowl of wine, Guo Yuqing felt even more high-spirited. He let out a hearty laugh before saying, “Brother Li, though we’ve met just for one day, we already have so much to tell each other and I feel like you are one of my old friends. If you don’t mind, why not we become sworn brothers and vow to the river and the rock?”
Delighted to hear that suggestion, Li Mu got to his feet and said, “That’s also my wish. I was just too timid to say it.”
Guo Yuqing laughed out loud.
All of a sudden, he stretched his fingers and sharp arrow energy started surging. Then, he casually grabbed at the cave wall and extracted a table-sized rectangular stone that was cut neatly with his arrow energy. After the stone landed on the ground in front of them, he began to do further incisions by pointing at different parts with the arrow energy. In an instant, an ancient-styled incense burner appeared before them.
Using the same method, he made two other bowls out of the stone wall.
The stone bowls would be their witnesses.
Then, Li Mu scooped up some water from the underground river behind the Nine-dragons Fall and poured it into the incense burner.
The water would bear the witness, too.
He also filled the two stone bowls with the delicious wine.
After that, he abruptly cut his wrist and let one drop of his blood fall into one stone bowl.
Guo Yuqing went stupefied as he saw Li Mou’s act. Obviously, there was no such kind of vowing ceremony in this world. But he immediately caught on what Li Mou just did. Thrilled by that gesture, he also slit a vein and mixed the wine with his drop of blood.
Blood had very special meanings in this world full of martial arts.
Bloodline also played an irreplaceable role throughout the evolution history of every species.
With all the preparations ready, the two kneeled down in front of the stone-made incense burner.
“To heaven and earth, to the stone the underground river, I, Earth-resident Li Mu, want to be Guo Yuqing’s sworn brother and go through thick and thin with him. Although we were not born on the same date of the same year, I hope I can die on the same date of the same year as he does.”
Li Mu said his oath aloud, his face excited but solemn.
Under the effect of alcohol, he just recited in exaltation the most touching and wide-spread oath that the three famous sworn brothers made in a peach garden in ancient times.
Guo Yuqing, however, was dazed when he captured the word ‘Earth-resident’. Nevertheless, he didn’t give it too much thinking and simply assumed Earth was just the name of a place on this planet. He never expected this little guy could make such a long and moving vow. In spite of the fact that he was touched, he hesitated before saying his vow.
“Brother Guo, what’s the matter?” Li Mu stared at him anxiously.
Guo Yuqing said undecidedly, “Brother Li, I…”
He trailed off, feeling it too hard to say out loud.
He was well aware of his conundrum. Someone from Jianghu had spotted the traces of him and his wife. Soon, killers of a variety of the Holy Clans would find them. When that time came, even if he obtained the instruction of Tianjizi, the most powerful diviner, he might not make a narrow escape. Since it was possible that he would soon be killed, how could he let Li Mu vow to die on the same day as he would?
“Brother Guo, I know what might be bothering you.”
Li Mu noted with a comforting smile.
During his days on Earth, he had read numerous martial arts novels. In those novels, hiding by living in seclusion was not much a good choice. For instance, the six-fingered zither player in the teleplay, and Zhang Cuishan and his wife in the Heavenly Sword and Dragon Slaying Saber, all had a nasty end once their traces were exposed or they re-enter the world of Jianghu.
Guo Yuqing was worrying that the vow would implicate Li Mou if one day he were hunted down.
“Brother Guo, good brothers are loyal to each other.” Quite unbashful, Li Mu copied the phrase of Wei Xiaobao, a character in The Deer and the Cauldron. “Now that we decided to be sworn brothers, we are supposed to share our good and bad time together. If I only wanted to enjoy your help but not to take the responsibility of being your brother, then, I wouldn’t have done the vow. Come on, you’re a tough guy from the vast pasture, why being so hesitant?”
After hearing Li Mou’s persuasion, Guo Yuqing realized this young man deserved more credits than he thought at first. He laughed and then replied, “Terrific. I’ve ventured in this world for decades, but today I was not big-hearted as you. You’re right, I shouldn’t have thought that way…”
He repeated Li Mu’s oath seriously in a booming voice.
The two drained their bowl of wine and blood and tossed them on the ground.
“Big brother, I pay my tribute.” Li Mu saluted earnestly.
Guo Yuqing guffawed and then hugged his sworn brother before shouting, “Never knew I could befriend a genius like you when I’ve lost my old buddies and been forced to hide in Taibai Mountain. Today, I’m really having the time of my life. Brother, drink as much as you like. Let’s get wasted!”
“Great!” Li Mu also roared with laughter.
Back then when he was still on Earth, he read the novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils and watched its teleplay from the beginning to the end. In that great battle when the hero Qiao Feng first met the little monk named Xu Zhu, he was able to laugh out loud and swear to be Xu Zhu’s sworn brother under that dangerous circumstance. Li Mou took Qiao Feng, an unbeatable man who liked laughing and drinking, as the real hero. Today, he sort of felt the same spirit.
Li Mu had seen a bit of that hero Qiao Feng in Guo Yuqing.
He continued to exchange notes on martial arts with his sworn brother as they drank as much as they liked.
That made their brotherhood burgeon.
It had already been four days since Li Mu left his county. He should have returned by now, and he was indeed concerned about what could happen in the county government. But after giving it a though, he believed everything was under control—after all, with that fierce battle he just won, those gangs could not rock the boat for the moment. Therefore, he stopped worrying and repelled the thought of heading home early.
“Little brother, you are completely healed. But this is not the place you should stay. I suggest that you go back to the county first thing tomorrow morning. As to me, well, I still have some issued to deal with.” Guo Yuqing said with a beam.
“Sure.” Since his sworn brother advised that, Li Mu finally came to realize that it was time to head back.
Time was ticking by.
The sun was starting to blaze.
Being hung up on the very end of the pole, with his arms tightly fixed on his back by a thick and strong rope, Qing Feng was in great pain. His whole body was exposed in the burning sunlight and whipping wind. Adding that he was still suffering from the injury in his mouth and the deprivation of food and water, he had only a faint breath of life left.
The sun was grilling him like real flames.
He felt spasms of dizziness gripped his mind.
For a boy merely around 10, physical torture like that was undoubtedly the most horrible nightmare.
Qing Feng felt his vigor of life was draining away from him bit by bit like grains of sand in a sandglass.
However, he was not in fear.
He had no trepidation, either.
Instead, he was still feeling sorry for Ma Junwu and the others while blaming himself for underestimating their opponent.
He also had faith in his Young Master, firmly believing that he would come back to fix this.
At this point, what he worried was not his own life but the inhumane treatment Ma Junwu, Feng Yuanxing, and Zhen Meng was receiving in the prison.
“Hang in there, I have to hang in there… until Young Master comes back… to save Uncle Ma and the others.”
“I… must stay alive… to make up to them…”
Qing Feng repeated those words in his mind.
Now, his willpower was taking the most ruthless test and training.
He was suffering quietly. He was waiting…
No matter how much longer he had to wait, he knew he must not give up the hope for being alive.
He just had to stay alive.
As long as he was alive, he had the chance to avenge and rescue the others.
In the county government prison.
Ma Junwu, who had lost an arm, was now covered in cuts and marks of whips, broadswords, and branding irons. He no longer had an inch of intact skin over his body. Given that he had already lost a large amount of blood when his arm was hacked off, he thoroughly passed out after the new round of torture. Under Li Bing’s command, the guards poured several buckets of icy water onto him, whereas, that still failed to bring his senses back.
“Fu*k, he died too soon.”
Li Bing barked with a leer, discontented with the performance of his prey.
Then, he turned to look at Feng Yuanxing and Zhen Meng, who were both hung up on the rack by an iron chain.
They seemed not much better off than Ma Junwu. The nonstop torture and interrogation had put their bodies on the verge of falling apart. But surprisingly, their inexplicably strong willpower was still keeping them going.