Chapter 40: Striking the Tiger
Encirclement hunting was really exciting, although the patrolling of the surroundings was the complete opposite.
While thousands of beast ran amok inside, those in the surroundings could only kill the occasional few that had escaped the encirclement and spent most of their time just counting ants out of boredom.
The team dispersed; Yi Jiao went the same way as Lu Mingshu.
After one round of patrolling, seeing that nothing was out of order, Yi Jiao fished out a paper bag. "Look!" It was actually a bag of melon seeds!
As the two squatted down to munch on melon seeds, Lu Mingshu asked, "Senior Sister, do we just keep watch like this?"
"Since we got this task assigned to us, what choice do we have?" The bored to death Yi Jiao spit out the melon seed shell.
Lu Mingshu hung her head down listlessly. She did not attend the hunt in order to idle her time away. As Liu Jizhen could not cultivate, there were no offerings for Green Jade Valley. Thus, the resources she could use for cultivation were limited. This hunt was not only a chance for her to temper her skill but also a convenient opportunity to acquire more resources. For the small-scale hunt in the Heavenly Wheel was ultimate, a secret to be kept.
Yi Jiao stole a glance at her, and said, "Given your identity, you should be pretty clear that it would be strange if nobody tried to suppress you, don't you? Even if they don't suppress you out in the open, such a small trick requires no effort at all to pull. Plus, their identity won't be revealed either. Convenient, isn't it?"
Lu Mingshu was stunned for a moment. "This was intentional?"
"Not sure." Yi Jiao continued to crack the melon seeds. "Someone naturally had to patrol the surroundings, so it isn't strange for a small team like us to be assigned such a task."
Thus, it would be an upright action, even if someone were to raise their doubts?
"But, there is still Gao Xiang and Senior Brother Shao!" Lu Mingshu turned her head over and spotted Shao Zhengyang's faintly discernible silhouette patrolling alongside Wei Peng in the mountain forest, quite a distance away.
Yi Jiao scoffed, "Seems like you don't know the current situation. Elder Yu Wen's faction has been so greatly suppressed these few years, that they had to tuck their tails in and lower their heads! As for Junior Brother Gao, why do you think the Grand Elder made such an arrangement?"
Lu Mingshu wasn't dumb but she just didn't have any sources of information. Hence, with a little hint from Yi Jiao, she understood right away. "Martial Grandfather Zhuo had the intention of protecting me, by letting Gao Xiang stay with me? Or is it an intention to protect Senior Brother Shao?"
As long as Zhuo Jiangui was around, nobody would attempt anything in fear of offending the line of Willow Woods. Although Zhuo Jiangui did not meddle in the sect's power struggle, with his position in the sect, every faction had to show him respect. By letting Gao Xiang enter this small team, he was declaring his stand – the little ones had to be protected even if their masters were given up on.
"Though I don't know who he intends to protect, the meaning of his action should be so." Yi Jiao continued, "Don't judge by how nice I am to you now. I won't be having any dealings with you anymore once we return to the sect. I don't have any Grand Elder backing me up, so who would be responsible if I were to be a target because I got too close to you?"
Lu Mingshu silently lowered her head. What Yi Jiao said were all facts.
Living together for so many days, they naturally cared for each other. Looking at her current state, Yi Jiao sighed, "You really should not have stayed in the Nine Jade Palace. Given your talent, even the top 3 sects would gladly accept you. Why bother suffering here …"
Foreknowledge can't be bought even with a lot of money, furthermore, Lu Mingshu knew nothing at all four years ago. As a pampered miss, Lu Qingyi – who had never left the small town before – did not have enough knowledge and experience. She still believed in the saying ‘Blood is thicker than water'. All she thought was that, since she was on her deathbed, her daughter had to ultimately be entrusted to her ex-husband – her daughter's only blood relative.
As she spoke, a light flashed in Yi Jiao's eye, and she abruptly jumped up.
Lu Mingshu mimicked her actions, standing up swiftly and nimbly turning her body to the side.
A beast roar accompanied by the wind hit them head-on.
Lu Mingshu unsheathed her sword and went into a fighting stance.
Yet, the only thing she heard was a loud shout, "Don't touch it!"
The shout startled her for a moment. When she looked around again, the ferocious beast was already next to her. Thankfully, she avoided the onslaught by taking a quick step back.
A youth suddenly appeared from the forest; he resolutely rushed forward, leapt8 up and slashed at the ferocious beast.
With its path being obstructed, the ferocious beast could only turn around and pounce in the opposite direction.
The youth's two attendants trailed closely behind him.
The expression in Lu Mingshu's eyes changed the minute she saw the youth. Her grip on the sword tightened.
This White Lined Tiger stuck in between the Inner Breath Realm and the Harmonization Realm, did not possess a lot of strength. It merely had a fierce nature, born with the disposition of a mighty tiger.
The youth hurriedly lept back, barely escaping the lightning fast White lined tiger by a hair's breadth.
The human and the beast were fully engrossed in the fight.
Suddenly, the slash of the youth's sword coincidentally landed on a giant stone and split it into two halves!
Yi Jiao's face went pale, and she whispered, "What strong force!"
The Inner Breath Realm had two stages; one was tempering one's physique, while the other involved cultivating one's mystic force. Only when a Martial Practitioner gathered enough mystic force to cleanse their corporeal body and entered the Harmonization Realm, would he be different from a mortal. Otherwise, he would just be a slightly stronger martial arts user.
The youth might still be in the Inner Breath Realm, but his force could rival a mediocre Harmonization Realm practitioner.
To have such strength in the Inner Breath Realm required not only an extremely fine body constitution, but it required one to temper one's body in herb baths from a young age. Even so, less than one in ten thousand people could achieve such a complexion— Lu Mingshu and Gao Xiang were not able to do so.
Yi Jiao looked at Lu Mingshu with a complex expression.
The two attendants caught up soon after. However, they did not join the fight, only guarding by the side with weapons in hand.
The smart White Lined Tiger feinted a movement and sent the youth, who attacked him flying, before turning on his heels and escaping.
Coincidentally, the direction it was escaping towards, was exactly where Lu Mingshu stood— Perhaps this wasn't a coincidence, as she was the weak link among the people present. Hence, her direction was naturally the best escape route.
"Dodge!" The youth shouted.
As the fishy breath hit her in the face, Lu Mingshu instinctively unsheathed her sword. She did not strike out, but instead, dodged and rolled out from underneath the tiger's belly.
The youth heaved a sigh of relief upon seeing Lu Mingshu roll out from underneath the tiger's belly. He lifted his sword and was about to walk over, when the White Lined Tiger let out an anguished howl and fell to the ground, motionless.
The youth was stunned. "What's going on?"
Fresh blood gushed out from the White Lined Tiger's belly, quickly spilling onto the ground, and forming a small puddle.
By the other side, Lu Mingshu leapt up with fresh blood dripping from the sword in her hands.
The complexion of the youth, as well as his two attendants, flipped one-eighty degrees.
One of the attendants went up and turned the White Lined Tiger over with a raise of his palm, only to see a long wound on the tiger's belly running from its throat to its tail drenching it with blood.
The entire scene was caught up in a weird silence.
Holding onto her chin, Yi Jiao's eyeballs almost popped out from shock.
I had long since known this girl was different from ordinary kids, but isn't she a little too awesome? To think that she can take a half-step Harmonization Realm ferocious beast down in one blow! Will the young master be angered to death?
That's right, the youth was the sect leader's son, Fu Mingtang.
His expression clearly showed his current helplessness. He previously asked her not to meddle, and if Lu Mingshu had struck out, he could still berate her. However, all she did was unsheathe her sword and roll once, and it was also under the circumstance of her being attacked by the White Lined Tiger. He was unsure whether that could be counted as striking out, but if it was not counted as striking out, what exactly was going on for the White Lined Tiger to be cut open with just a casual slide of her sword?
Furthermore, he still lagged behind after striking out for so long. Yet, the other party who was about the same age and realm as him, could kill with just a roll. If he were to berate her, wouldn't he appear incompetent ...
"You …" Fu Mingtang opened his mouth, but no words came out.
He did not recognize Lu Mingshu, but his two attendants did. The two glanced at each other; one lifted up the White Lined Tiger, while the other told Fu Mingtang, "Young Master, let's go back first, now that the White Lined Tiger had died."
Fu Mingtang still wanted to say something, when that person continued, "Second Miss instructed us to protect you well."
At the thought of his Aunt's temper, Fu Mingtang fell silent. Before he left, he turned around to look at Lu Mingshu, with a slight intention of asking for her name. Yet, he felt that he would be unable to find a way out of this embarrassing situation if he were to do so. Hence, he decided to bring his depressing mood as well as his refreshed three views, away with him, and he walked away.