Chapter 34 – Fire Fox’s Sneak Attack
After three days and three nights of heavy rain, the sky finally cleared up on the fourth day.
Deep within the mountains of Seven Star Forest, a boy and a girl were slowly making their way through the trees.
Lin Mu Yu had basically healed from his injuries, but he still could not use too much strength, or else he would risk opening up the wounds again. Carrying a slightly large backpack, he asked with a smile, “So heavy, Chu Yao, what did you buy?”
Chu Yao made a face and laughed, “I could only take advantage of the dark of night to shop for supplies at nearby villages, so I couldn’t buy much. One pan, two bowls, a bit of salt and oils, and a slightly crude tent. I also bought you a cloak, since the nights in Seven Star Forest are going to be colder now that it’s about to be autumn.”
Lin Mu Yu nodded and said, “That is good enough. Did you see any bounty for our heads?”
Chu Yao nodded heavily and laughed, “One hundred thousand gold Yin. I didn’t think our lives would be worth so much. I heard that even hunters are considering tracking us down. Luckily for us, the portraits on the bounties don’t even look like us. Furthermore, it’s a good thing that I have short hair now, or else I would have been immediately recognized. Oh, and I heard from those hunters that a lot of mercenaries have entered the forest as well. Even the legendary Seven Martial Saints agreed to join up with the hunting party. I don’t even know if we can make it to the Capital’s border at this rate.”
“Seven Martial Saints? What’s that?”
“They are well-known figures in the mercenary community who were given the title of Seven Martial Saints by the other mercs. Those 7 are all among Seven Star Forest region’s strongest. Even the weakest one is many times stronger than Hawkeye.”
“So it’s like that…”
Lin Mu Yu silently clenched his fist, but returned with a smile, “If they are actually coming at us for the money, then they can’t complain about the methods I’m going to use.”
Chu Yao nodded, “Yeah.” She had gone through so much recently that she’d already gotten used to the bloodshed.
Approaching noon, the two finally crossed three mountains and had seemingly gotten much deeper into Seven Star Forest. This was not a good thing at any rate, since thousand-years-old spirit beasts roam the deep forest. Those were not things that Lin Mu Yu could handle.
Along the side of the road, Lin Mu Yu kept on plucking leaves from the roadside trees. After taking a light sniff, he would frown without saying anything.
“Ah Yu, what in the world are you looking for?” Chu Yao finally could not resist and asked.
“Fire Fox. A 600-years-old Fire Fox is stalking us.”
“Ah?” Chu Yao gasped in surprise.
Lin Mu Yu continued explaining, “I was collecting leaves from a type of tree called the palm tree. Those leaves are the favorite food of Fire Foxes. The older the palm, the more the fox is fond of it. Furthermore, if a Fire Fox is nearby, the palm leaves would release a refreshing fragrance that would penetrate deeply into the heart. Logically, this Fire Fox is no more than two Li (1km) away from here.”
“No wonder there is a sweet aroma in the air!”
“Yeah. We probably walked into this Fire Fox’s territory, so it wants to hunt us down. Luckily, we have some use for it since a Fire Fox’s spirit melds pretty well with your Violet Mink spirit. Refining it should be enough to greatly boost your ability, so the hunter is going to become the hunted today.”
“But…” Chu Yao blinked nervously, “The instructor from Silver Fir’s Temple said that if one absorbs beast spirits too frequently, the body and spirit would not be able to handle that much exertion.”
“Don’t worry.” Lin Mu Yu smiled, “Believe me. Chu Yao, you still have a lot of room for improvement.”
“Oh, okay then…”
At noon, the two had lunch under a rocky overhang. The meal was two pieces of roast beef with some fresh water in their water gourds. It wasn’t much, but for Lin Mu Yu and Chu Yao, this was already a pretty good change of palate. In the last few days of heavy rain, they were able to eat one meal a day at most. The meals weren’t even good either, since all they had were cold and dry buns.
Though he was munching on the beef, Lin Mu Yu’s gaze fell in another direction. “Chu Yao, be careful. That Fire Fox is here. It can attack us at any time, and it’s most definitely going to be a sneak attack.”
Chu Yao nodded in acknowledgment and a single silver needle appeared in her hand. Her needle throw had quite a bit of effectiveness within 20 meters, but she was a little lacking in strength if she wanted to throw any further.
Suddenly, a ball of fire appeared in the distance. It was a fox covered in blazing flames. This 600-years-old Fire Fox screeched loudly and spat out a huge ball of flames.
Lin Mu Yu reacted quickly and leapt off the rock. Calling forth the Green Gourd, a piece of Ebony Scale instantly formed before him and nullified the Fire Fox’s fireball. At the same time, Lin Mu Yu threw out the Sonic Blade, and watched as it sped along with a hiss at the Fire Fox’s head.
This little fellow had survived for a few hundred years after all, so it had long awakened its higher intelligence. It dodged smartly into the bushes to avoid the Sonic Blade, but Lin Mu Yu had already accounted for that, and countless thorny vines bursted out from the ground. The Thorn-empowered Binding Roots quickly bound the Fire Fox in the blink of an eye.
Its cries became louder as its flames incessantly burned the gourd vines. Chu Yao yelled anxiously, “Ah Yu, be careful of its Flame Charge!”
Lin Mu Yu threw a punch through the air and created a ripple in the air. The returning Sonic Blade quickly changed direction after it was hit and sliced down the Fire Fox’s back. Fresh blood instantly splattered around, as the fox whimpered in pain.
“Stab it in the eye with your needle!” Lin Mu Yu shouted..
Chu Yao quickly flicked her wrist and the silver needle flew out from her hand. In the next second, the Fire Fox cried out miserably. Lin Mu Yu dashed behind it and raised Starfall Steps to its highest speed. Lightning sparked on his sword as he swung down swiftly, and was greeted with a tearing sound as the fox head flew off like a bobble-head. At the same time, a huge wave of raging flames surged out..
Luckily, Ebony Scale had formed in time, or else burns would have been inevitable. Lin Mu Yu stood where he was and looked at the surrounding patches of darkened earth. He could not help but be speechless at the aftermath.
Sure enough, I can’t underestimate even a 600-years-old spirit beast, or else I’m going to fall head first before it.
“Chu Yao, quickly refine the beast spirit.”
Chu Yao quickly sat down beside the fox’s corpse and evoked her Violet Mink. The mink voraciously devoured the Fire Fox’s spirit energy, as Lin Mu Yu posed himself to look like he was standing guard.
His actual intention was to call out Lulu and summon the Refining Cauldron to help Chu Yao absorb spirit energy. With Chu Yao’s current capacity, she would not be able to completely take in this Fire Fox’s spirit energy. However, the Refining Cauldron was like a giant container that first smelt the beast energy, then filtered out the purest essence for her to absorb. Furthermore, it shielded Chu Yao from the beast spirit’s backlash.
Chu Yao’s body trembled slightly as she refined, because this Fire Fox was a great challenge for her current ability. However, she could feel a wave of powerful energy helping her through the ordeal. Although she could not see its origins, she had a good guess of who it was.
Lin Mu Yu closed his eyes and controlled his strength as he searched the Fire Fox’s beast spirit. Suddenly, a wave of scorching heat raged frantically within. Exactly what he was looking for! Using the strength of his mind, he grabbed hold of this ball of energy that was the Fire Fox’s essence. Dream on if you think you can leave this Refining Cauldron, silly fox!
Lin Mu Yu’s Refining Cauldron snugly held onto the Fire Fox essence as if it was a giant invisible hand, and gradually supplied Chu Yao with this precious essence for her to slowly absorb.
After nearly two hours of cultivation, the ordeal was finally completed.
The moment that Chu Yao opened her eyes, she was ecstatic, “Ah Yu, I successfully refined the Fire Fox spirit! Oh my, Violet has actually learned a new skill. Flame Charge!”
Lin Mu Yu chuckled inwardly. Didn’t Tang Xiao Xi’s Firefox also know this skill?
“Congratulations Chu Yao. What is your actual power level now?”
Chu Yao opened her palm and allowed her energy to freely flow out, “I’m at least a level 27 Battle Spirit now, so perhaps it won’t be long before I step into Earth realm!”
Lin Mu Yu smiled happily, “You still have to practice your needle throwing technique to the point that you can accurately shoot dead a target within 50 meters. This way, our cooperation will be even more successful. Let’s move, we can’t stay here for too long.”
As for Lin Mu Yu himself, he didn’t know what level of Battle Elder he was, due to the lack of a measuring crystal. But with the amount of spirit beasts he had killed and absorbed in the last few days, his strength had increased a lot. He should have at least reached level 36 at this point, right? Moreover, surviving multiple encounters by a thread was greatly beneficial to his martial growth.
As such, the two continued hiking through the mountain, without any idea of the danger that was closing in on them.
An hour later, deep within Seven Star Forest,
In the overgrown woodlands, a 40-years-old warrior walked over with his longsword in hand. He had a face covered with a scruffy beard, but his eyes were radiating with energy. Looking at the ash pile in the distance, he quickly dashed over and saw the Fire Fox’s corpse on the ground. Bending down to sniff for a scent, a crude smile appeared on the man’s face, “Heh, it’s been dead for no more than 3 hours. This wound looks like a sword wound too. I, Guan Yang, have finally found you, Lin Mu Yu!”
As he spoke, he dashed towards the distance as his sword whistled in the air.
The Whispering Rain was a building located between Green Mountain and Lake Water, and was the most classy establishment in the whole Capital. However, it was not a place that normal people could enter. Those with the qualifications were either rich or of noble lineage.
On the pavilion, there stood a beautiful young girl dressed in a flaming red gown. She was staring at a pool of clear spring water, when she suddenly swished her red sleeves into motion and asked with knit brows, “Still no information on Lin Mu Yu?”
A lightly-armored man knelt down on one knee and bowed, “Nothing for the time being. Princess Xi, rumor has it that the Seven Martial Saints of the mercenaries have left to hunt down that kid called Lin Mu Yu.”
Tang Xiao Xi bit on her red lips. “How many horsemen did Gramps send to protect me?”
“800 men, Princess.”
“Send them all out and find Lin Mu Yu even if they have to look through the whole Seven Star Forest!”
“But… Then there is no one else left to protect you, Princess…”
Tang Xiao Xi struck her fist down abruptly and smashed a piece of the railing into bits. Her charming face was full of anger, “Send them all. Do I have to repeat myself? Do I have to ask her Highness Yin for an order before you will go?”
“No, Princess. I will go immediately!”
Tang Xiao Xi stood alone in the hallway and looked to the far south. Suddenly she shook as she mumbled, “Old Qu, it would be great if you were here right now. Do you know that your proudest disciple is in the clutches of great enemies right now?”