Chapter 36: Noxious Cockscomb
Special guest chapter by Hiyono
For Guan Yang, one of the Seven Martial Saints, to suffer such a disgrace at the hands of two brats… This had to be the greatest humiliation of his entire life.
Guan Yang’s blade trembled as it slashed down in a raging blaze at Lin Mu Yu.
However, Lin Mu Yu simply avoided taking the attack head-on. With an backstep, he hopped out of its attack range.
Lin Mu Yu grabbed Chu Yao by the waist and slipped away using Starfall Steps.
“Don’t even think of getting away, you shameless brat!”
Guan Yang was furious. Rousing his energy, he dashed after them with his long blade in hand. Little did he know that energy had begun to steadily leak from the wound on his back.
After running for nearly twenty li, Lin Mu Yu finally stopped. Putting Chu Yao down, he turned back to look at the panting Guan Yang. Unhurriedly, he unsheathed his steel sword.
“Had enough running?” Guan Yang sneered as he raised his cutlass. “Since you’re done running, then it’s time for you to die!”
Lin Mu Yu’s face lit up with an jubilant smile
Trampling wild grass underfoot, Lin Mu Yu leapt up with his lightning-charged sword. Electricity sparked through the air. This was his strongest attack skill, the secret art he had received from Qu Chu – Lightning Chop!
Lightning surged forth from the sword and passed through the handle of the blade. Guan Yang’s arms were shocked numb while his blade flew out of his hand. He was speechless at the situation’s complete reversal. Somehow, this youngster’s energy levels were greatly above his own.
“How is this be possible?!” he fumed.
Lin Mu Yu sneered. His left hand swiped through the air. Accompanied by a sharp whistling sound, the Sonic Blade flew straight at Guan Yang.
Guan Yang frantically rushed for his his cutlass. Picking it up, he turned to parry the incoming blade.
Sparks flew as the cutlass clashed with the whirling blade and knocked it off course.
Lin Mu Yu speedily lifted his left fist, and subsequently two Sonic Punches blasted through the air. The first forced Guan Yang to raise his energy to protect his body. Had he failed to do so, this attack would have pulverized his insides. In contrast, the second sonic knuckle landed precisely on the Sonic Blade!
The Sonic Blade swept past like the God of Death to claim what it was owed, and sliced open Guan Yang’s neck in the process. Blood squirted out of his cut artery like a blood fountain. Though he tried desperately to cover the wound with his hand in hopes to staunch the flow, it was naturally pointless. Just before his consciousness faded, he heard Lin Mu Yu state with indifferent, “This was how Hua Tian died as well.”
Rage filled Guan Yang’s face. Collapsing to his knees, he fell limply to the floor. Yet another powerful soul died under the cold steel of the Sonic Blade.
Catching the returning blade, Lin Mu Yu broke it down into four flying knives before storing back in his pouch. Walking up to the corpse, he rummaged through Guan Yang’s personal bag. There he found a dozen or so gold Yin coins and two gold Yin notes worth 100 gold Yin and 150 gold Yin respectively. He would never have guessed that one of the Seven Martial Saints was this poor. Nevertheless, wasting nothing, Lin Mu Yu stuffed it all into his bag.
Chu Yao looked at Guan Yang’s corpse. “To risk one’s life for the pursuit of money… Is that truly worth it?”
A faint smile appeared on Lin Mu Yu’s face. “That’s only because we won. Otherwise, he would have turned in our heads for the one hundred thousand golden Yin bounty. In that case, he would have been the real winner.”
“Mm. Let’s not waste any more time here!”
Before they had walked too far, Lin Mu Yu suddenly came to a stop. Sniffing the air repeatedly, he laughed, “Chu Yao, I think I’ve found what I’ve been looking for!”
“Heartbreak Orchid!” she cried happily.
Tracing the scent to the foot of an ancient, thousand-year old tree, they found an orchid. Heartbreak Orchid, similar to Dragon Tongue fungi, was incredibly poisonous. When synthesized into the poison known as Intoxicating Breeze, the result was actually not a noxious poison. Instead, Intoxicating Breeze was a sedative that numbed the senses, slowed movement, and was overall far less lethal.
Lin Mu Yu didn’t rush to brewing the concoction, instead choosing to continue searching the forest with Chu Yao.
Later that night, they found another medicinal ingredient: Focus Flower, a 6th-rank ingredient. These past few days, Chu Yao had thoroughly memorized the contents of the Medicine God’s Index. The Focus Flower was used to create a rare solid-form drug called Focus Powder. In an instant, Chu Yao understood Lin Mu Yu’s intention: Using the Focus Powder, one was capable of nullifying the effects of Intoxicating Breeze. As such, it was necessary to first take Focus Powder before attempting to produce Intoxicating Breeze, lest they be poisoned in the process.
The two found a mountain cave and proceeded to cushion the ground with dry grass. Lin Mu Yu secretly rejoiced that it was still only autumn, for if it was winter, he wouldn’t know how he and Chu Yao would survive in this desolate locale.
Having hunted a wild boar during the day, they set down a slab of its plump meat into a pot to cook. Of late, the two had come to a mutual understanding: Chu Yao would take care of the cooking while Lin Mu Yu was responsible for keeping guard and potion-making.
Slowly, Lin Mu Yu extracted the medicine cores from a pile of Focus Flowers, which in turn were mixed with spring water. The creation of Focus Powder was extraordinarily simple: one just had to ferment Focus Flower cores in spring water. However, the required level of purity from Focus Flower core was extremely high, a level that normal alchemists would not be able to produce. In comparison, Lin Mu Yu had the Essence Purification Technique, and had long since attained completely mastery over refining medicine cores. As a result, crafting Focus Powder was a simple task in his eyes.
Having filled two bottles with Focus Powder, Lin Mu Yu and Chu Yao each drank one, then began to concoct the poison.
With extreme caution, he extracted cores from both plants. Placing the two different medicine cores in a small bottle, he carefully ground them into a fine powder. Since Intoxicating Breeze was both colorless and odorless as well as the fact that the two of them had already ingested the Focus Powder, he didn’t feel much of a difference. After refining several bottles’ worth, he handed them to Chu Yao with a warning, “If we run into a strong enemy, sprinkle this onto the ground. The antidote effects of Focus Powder will be effective for 48 hours, so the two of us will be fine since we had a bottle each.”
Chu Yao followed his directions. Without her realizing it, this junior of hers had become her pillar of strength. She knew that this little junior was definitely hiding some secrets, but she was not about to ask if he wasn’t going to tell her.
The night passed quickly. The next morning, Lin Mu Yu awoke early to find that his power had mostly recovered. He had reached level 39’s strength. With a little luck, he’d be able to step into the realm of a level 40 Battle Master! All it would take was an encounter with an appropriately strong spirit beast. By killing it and absorbing its spirit, he would be able to break through!
If there was one thing that the Seven Star Forest did not lack, that was undoubtedly spirit beasts!
Right now, there was something he needed to verify: whether or not Intoxicating Breeze would work on spirit beasts. In <Conquest>, Intoxicating Breeze was a top-tier poison, and was incredibly effective against other players. It was capable of weakening its target considerably, allowing a weaker player to overcome a stronger one. Would it work on spirit beasts, though? Heaven knows! There was only one way to find out: trying it first hand.
Guan Yang was bad enough alone, but what kind of person would be next? Perhaps they’d be even stronger. Lin Mu Yu was certain of one thing: he needed to get stronger or he still wouldn’t be able to take Chu Yao out of this forest.
Stepping out of the cave, an arrow suddenly sped towards his head.
Lin Mu Yu dodged backward with the Butterfly Step, and the arrow pierced into a boulder. The force behind this shot was frightening. He quickly pulled out his steel sword and, his voice low, said, “Wait here, Chu Yao!”
In the next instant, he dashed out like a fully-strung arrow. Hidden within the forest growth was a hunter, who was most likely another mercenary.
As he raised a palm, green vines rose. Unable to hide any longer, the mercenary discarded his bow and pulled out his sword and began to swing wildly at the surrounding vines. However, there were too many and the count increased with each passing moment. The vines’ thorns pierced his body as his defense gave way.
“Aah aah aah…”
As tragic cry sounded in the air, this wandering mercenary, a 32nd level Battle Adept, pleaded for his life, “Young warrior Lin, please spare my life! I won’t attack you again! Have mercy! I was just in it for the money, I meant no ill!”
“To kill for a monetary reward is not an ill meaning?”
Lin Mu Yu raised his sword. With an calm expression on his face, he pointed at Chu Yao who was behind him. “If you had successfully killed me with your ambush, would you not have cut off her lovely head?”
“I… I might have…”
“That’s all the answer I need.”
A faint smile appeared on Lin Mu Yu’s face. Stabbed his sword forward, the cold steel pierced straight through the mercenary’s heart.
He didn’t dare to be merciful. If he had let this man go, then he might have returned with many more mercenaries at his side. Anyway, it’s not like these wandering mercenary types were good people. More importantly still, he had to eliminate all who hunted them in order to instill fear in those who were still chasing them. Accordingly, if the worst came to the worst, he’d kill. He couldn’t afford to be too soft-hearted.
Holding his bloody blade aloft, Lin Mu Yu turned and walked to Chu Yao’s side. With a weak laugh, he said, “Chu Yao, do you think I’m cruel?”
Chu Yao looked at his trembling hand, and could not help but feel her heart twist. Her eyes red, she replied, “Never. Ah Yu, I know that you when you kill, it’s on my behalf.”
He didn’t reply. How could he possibly want to kill? With every person that he’s killed, his fear grew that much stronger. With every death, his guilty conscience grew that much greater. Every night, in his dreams, he saw people who came to demand his life. From the first moment they’d set foot in this Seven Star Forest, he had not had a good night’s rest. Rest was but a extravagant wish. At this moment, thinking back to Qu Chu’s inability to sleep at night, he seemed to have understood something. Perhaps it was truth that behind every person’s back was an unspeakable secret that hangs on their conscience.
They continued northward. After some dozens of li, he suddenly noticed that the scene around them looked as though it had been transformed. A field of decadent vegetation lay before them. Breathing deeply, he warned, “Be careful. There’s something extraordinarily poisonous around here.”
“What could it be?” Chu Yao asked, frightened.
Lin Mu Yu laughed and comforted her. “There’s no need to be so worried. We’ve already taken the Focus Powder so we should be relatively impervious to poisons for now. Relax.”
Continuing ahead, the plants in their immediate surroundings had all withered in corruption. They were closing in on the poisonous plant.
“Careful, we’re here.”
He pointed far ahead at a dark red plant and asked with a laugh, “Can you guess what that is?”
Chu Yao’s mouth opened wide, “I, I don’t know…”
“Noxious Cockscomb, a plant-type spirit beast, and one that’s lived for at least 2000 years!”