Chapter 99 Giving the Wretched a Taste of His Own MedicineZheng Cunjian’s expression altered drastically.
Up to now, he had been fairly polite to Li Mu and tried to avoid being openly hostile against him. That was simply because he preferred to play safe. As a matter of fact, he was not afraid of Li Mu.
More often than not, the Heartless Scholar liked solving issues with certain scheme or manipulative maneuver, even when he was absolutely positive about his chances.
Because watching the excited faces of his opponents suddenly turn alarmed and then desperate always gave him the strongest sense of achievement. Whenever he saw those who dared not voice their fury and chose to disguise it with their fawning faces, he felt exhilarated.
However, now, a man he regarded as a filthy rat, a subject of his play, commanded him to kneel down. It was utterly unbelievable. After a brief moment of shock and puzzle, Zheng Cunjian was quickly gripped by immense rage.
“How dare Li Mu treatment me like this?” The scholar could not figure out why Li Mu was being so unscrupulous.
“Haha, Li Mu, are you out of your mind?”
Clenching his chest, Chu Shufeng stalked to the side of Zheng Cunjian and gloated with a cold smile, “Do you have any idea about who Mr. Zheng is? Do you know that even the magistrate of Chang’an holds Mr. Zheng in high regard? None of the county officials in the Chang’an government dare to have a second opinion about what Mr. Zheng said. Don’t you know…”
Li Mu cast his eyes on this hook-nosed choppy middle-aged man and snorted, “Well, don’t you know that a walk-on like you should keep your mouth shut? It’s not your turn to make a point. With one more jibber-jabber, today will be the date of your death anniversary. You understand?”
Chu Shufeng’s face paled as he heard those remarks.
Although he did not know what the jibber-jabber meant, he deduced the gist of it based on Li Mu’s impatient tone.
Feeling Li Mu’s intense stare, Chu Shufeng moved his lips tentatively but failed to say a word.
“Good, that’s what I want. Being a walk-on, you should know your place.”
Li Mu commented, his expression totally condescending.
He felt talking to a lackey like Chu Shufeng was a waste of his breath.
Then, he turned to Zheng Cunjian and demanded, “You’re not getting on your knees, are you?”
Zheng Cunjian sneered loftily. “When I was in the Chang’an government, I never knelt before anyone except for magistrate of Chang’an. But who do you think you are? How dare you ask me to…”
“You’re sure a chatterbox.” Li Mu interrupted him.
He instantly whizzed to the front of Zheng Cunjian as if he was a flying ghost and held up a palm to make a punch.
Airflow zoomed in all directions.
An oval protective shield appeared over Zheng Cunjian, which was gleaming light blue. It wrapped around Zheng Cunjian and blocked Li Mu’s attack.
“Is this a Super Power Shield?”
Li Mu was a little surprised.
He never expected Zheng Cunjian could produce a Super Power Shield given that the scholar was not a warlock. “So, how did he do that?”
“Humph, do you really think I would come to this place without any precautionary measures?”
Zheng Cunjian laughed scornfully before he continued, “I’ve seen tons of mad boors just like you. With no possession but your worthless life, you think you have no scruples… However, fine chinaware will never try to collide with a piece of crockery. If I didn’t prepare any defensive method, how could I have…”
Before the scholar could finish his words, a loud rattle sounded. The next second, cracks began to spread across the light blue Super Power Shield and it crumbled into small pieces like a broken jade.
Li Mu withdrew his palm, satisfied with his extraordinary strength.
Just now, he only used less than one-tenth of his real power.
The Super Power Shield the scholar cast was similar to the protective cover that blind Taoist and that middle-aged warlock in cyan produced back then. If Li Mu had to deal with it several days ago, he might find it a little challenging. But now that his strength had grown more than ten times than before and his martial art comprehension had also deepened thanks to Guo Yuqing’s instructs, destroying a Super Power Shield at that level was just a piece of cake.
Not to mention that Zheng Cunjian was not the warlock that conjured the shield.
In fact, that light blue shield was activated by dint of external power.
After taking the punch, segments of the light blue shield shimmered and scattered away.
At the same time, a blue jade pendant Zheng Cunjian was wearing shattered into ashes and drifted away with a waft of wind.
A large bead of cold sweat dropped down from the scholar’s forehead.
His face took on a horrified look.
“My Orchid Shield is sm-smashed?” He could not believe his eyes.
“I…” Zheng Cunjian stuttered shakily, his face terror-stricken. He stepped back subconsciously as if he had been scared out of his wits.
At that precise moment, a mechanical noise like a snap of a hair sounded.
A bunch of flying needles as thickly-dotted as ox hair abruptly shot out from behind Zheng Cunjian’s shoulder. Glinting poisonous blue in the sun, the fine needles crossed the short distance between the two in less than a second and neatly sank into Li Mu’s chest.
“Hahaha, do you really believe I only got one Super Power Shield as protection?”
Zheng Cunjian recovered his chilling smile and added, “The Gadfly Poisonous Needles is specifically devised to undermine qi defenses. Even a top-ranking master will lose his protection once he is hit by the poisonous needles. And the poison will sip into his veins and flow across his body, causing a both tickling and pricking sensation as unbearable as being nibbled by ants…”
“Oh, really?” Li Mu casually brushed off the blue needles biting into his chest and said in a sarcastic tone, “What else do you have? Bring it on. I’ll play along.”
Those words rendered Zheng Cunjian dumbfounded.
“How… how could you possibly… you…” Spluttered the scholar, who was truly starting to feel frightened.
“The Gadfly Needles that are specialized in crippling martial art experts’ internal qi failed to penetrate Li Mu’s body?”
“Why did that happen?”
“Could it be that Li Mu has been wearing some kind of flak vest?” Zheng Cunjian deduced.
“You go to hell!”
He hollered, his face screwing up in wrath.
Shortly afterward, his body began to quaver slightly. As each of his joints gave an unexpected shake, a different type of hidden weapons lunged out from his body parts, including mist with varied toxicity and three poisonous ant-sized bugs, which kept screeching and flapping their tiny wings on their way to attack Li Mu.
To everyone’s astonishment, Li Mu remained still, not even trying to dodge any of the poisonous weapons.
The weapons hit his body.
The toxic mist sprayed on his face.
The venomous bugs gnawed his neck.
Li Mu calmly lifted a hand and swatted the flying bugs as if they were just mosquitos.
After handling the pests, he drew a long breath and inhaled all the toxic mist. Then, he breathed out the mist through his nostrils.
He even spat out several smoke rings skillfully. Those smoke rings stacked one on top of another and fluttered in the air for quite a while before they dissolved.
He then nonchalantly straightened his clothes and let all the hidden weapons fall onto the ground.
Those hidden weapons barely pierced Li Mu’s clothes and left not even a scratch on his skin.
Li Mu was actually a brand new man now. He had cracked his bones and smashed his flesh and then remodeled them. As if he had been rebirthed, his body became tough as iron-built. The impurities piled in his body were cleaned up, and his old injuries were all healed. Adding that Li Mu utilized the Xiantian Skil to reshape his body with the Spiritual Qi in this world, he practically gained an invulnerable body.
The rebirth experience occurred during his stay in that cave of the Nine-dragons Fall. It could be said that Li Mu had faced the most tragic moment in that cave since he came to this world, but that miserable moment later became the biggest opportunity to level up his strength. He managed to overcome the hardships that normal people might not encounter in a lifetime and was rewarded.
During the process, he also picked up the third movement of the Zhenwu Boxing, the Cracking Sky, and brought the power of his corporeal body to a higher level. Later on, whenever he was put on guard, his skin turned as hard as steel. In that state, even if a whiz at the Joint-thoughts level hacked him with his sword, the most serious injury he would suffer was a dent in his skin. That kind of hack would not be able to cut his skin, let alone the attack launched by the mechanics.
Now that the hidden weapons could not harm Li Mu, nor could a few bugs achieve it.
As to the toxic mist…
Well, with the help of the breathing exercise of the Xiantian Skill, Li Mu could inhale all the toxic air in this world and then rid all of it by exhaling. This way, the toxics could not invade his organs at all.
But no one could deny that the means Zheng Cunjian employed was insidious.
If it were any other martial artist or even a first-rate master at Master Realm, he would have died six times under the scholar’s close-range attacks.
However, this time his opponent was Li Mu.
“Have you done with your show?”
Li Mu mocked.
Zheng Cunjian’s blood grew steadily colder and colder.
He just could not understand why his tricks and means did not work on Li Mu.
“Is it possible that this Li Mu has already exceeded the Master Realm and reached the Great Master Realm?”
“Is he a 14-year-old Great Master?”
Zheng Cunjian was startled by that thought.
At that point, he finally realized on his visit to Taibai County he had provoked a little monster that he should not have.
“I…” He turned to look at Li Mu and attempted to say something.
But with a shadow of a smile, Li Mu cut him off, “As I’ve told you, speak only after you get on your knees.”
Upon hearing that command, Zheng Cunjian’s face turned scarlet with embarrassment.
Of course, he wanted to refuse.
Because once he knelt before Li Mu, the terrifying Heartless Scholar image he had maintained in the Chang’an government would fall apart in an instant. As everyone knew, prestige was hard to establish but easy to be ruined.
If he gave in and dropped onto his knees today, later when the officials met him, deep down, they would probably belittle him regardless of how anxious they seemed to cozy up to him and hold him in awe.
Nevertheless, he was certainly smart enough to know that he had no choice but to yield under that circumstance.
After all, the little monster before him had no scruples whatsoever.
With that in mind, Zheng Cunjian took a deep breath to force himself to accept his defeat.
“I am merely one of the common folks. When I come across your honor, I am supposed to be on my knees…” As he said that, he bent the knees, ready to kneel down.
The clever scholar believed he already save some face for himself by deliberately emphasizing that he was a common folk while Li Mu was the noble county magistrate. Even if stories about today’s incident got out, no one would say he, a titless civilian, should not have knelt down before the county magistrate officially appointed by the empire. On the contrary, people would praise him for staying humble despite his distinguished status.
But what the scholar did not expect was Li Mu had no intention to leave a way out for him. Frostily, Li Mu said, “It’s too late.”
Clear cracks of bones sounded.
As a pain beyond any description shot up from Zheng Cunjian’s body and spread, he weakly slumped to the ground.
To his disbelief, Zheng Cunjian saw his legs were bent at an alarming angle. His kneecaps were completed shattered by the kick, his shanks also broken, blood streaming down the broken bone that had protruded the flesh and the skin. Immediately, Zheng Cunjian’s robe were dyed red by his blood and so was the ground beneath his knees.
At that scene, Li Mu darted back to Qing Feng in a flash.
“That contemptible wretch! Never learn until I get violent.”
Glaring at the Heartless Scholar, Li Mu scolded with despise.
“Ah? Aaaah, I…” Only at that point did Zheng Cunjian take in what had happened. He instantly began shrieking with utmost fear and making some odd noises like a panic-stricken beast that had fallen in a trap.
The scholar was used to watching others whine and wail in front of himself.
Over the years, it was the first time he found himself in such a helpless and vulnerable position.
“This is the honorable scholar from the Chang’an government? Well, he is trash.” Li Mu spat, his eyes sweeping across Chu Shufeng and the other officials as well as those allegedly elite black-armored soldiers. Then, he ordered with absolute authority, “Get on your knees! Everybody! Otherwise, you will all be like this Zheng something.”