Chapter 48: Young Man
Lu Mingshu realized that this young man was a Harmonization Realm practitioner, and the weapon in his hands was not a sword like she thought it was, but a saber. The body of a saber was long and narrow like a sword, but it was sharpened only on one side and enabled one to strike with more ease.
"Tsk, to go as far as to attract a Specter, you're really unlucky! However, meeting me also means that you're still lucky."
When she saw the Specter catch up, Lu Mingshu was initially already really nervous. Unexpectedly, this young man took the initiative to rush up and fight the Specter without the slightest hesitation.
With the flying afterimage of the sword, it was hard to distinguish between the Specter's image and the young man's image. The criss-cross of mystic forces resembled lightning – rising instantaneously, then falling instantaneously.
Lu Mingshu looked on at the scene in shock.
While she was in shock, the young man was in shock too.
He found something was amiss as he exchanged blows with the Specter. Not only did this Specter move sluggishly, but it also carried injuries as well. A Specter was hard to deal with because of its extraordinary strength and lightning speed. Moreover, it was clad in a body of black skin that had extraordinary defences that rendered it to be practically untouchable.
If his eyes were not playing tricks on him, this little maiden had just reached the Inner Breath Realm and would have had a large strength disparity with the Specter. It was no easy matter for her to even flee from the Specter, but she even injured the other party?
His knife light that was akin to snow soared into the sky, analogous with the sound of thunder.
The moment Lu Mingshu's eyes registered the knife's light, the knife had already been swung down and landed on the Specter's other arm.
"Sploosh." The black skin ripped open and black blood spurted everywhere.
"Man, this is smelly!" The young man scrunched his nose in disgust but did not cease his hand movement as he brought his knife down once more. In the blink of an eye, countless mystic rays assaulted the Specter, with each ray landing on the same point as the previous.
The Specter's long arm was disconnected and flew off from its body.
A loud screech sounded out once again. The Specter sank into a deranged state after having both of its arms torn away.
The young man took the opportunity to chase after it and attacked. Positioning his knife towards the Specter's thin and narrow neck, he swung down.
In the quiet of the deep valley, Lu Mingshu could distinctly hear her own breathing.
From the moment when the Specter caught up to her, to this moment where it was beheaded by the young man, not even fifteen minutes had passed.
The young man sheathed his knife and walked to her. "Little maiden, how are you going to thank me now that I've solved your huge problem?"
Lu Mingshu only discovered now that the stature of the other party was not lower than her own master's; it was the standard figure of an adult. His age might've been a bit older than her estimate, but his youthful energy made him feel more like a teenager to Lu Mingshu.
She pondered slightly and asked a question in return. "Big brother, you're not a disciple of Nine Jade Palace, right?"
The man was startled into a pause. Afterwards, he laughed at her meaningfully. "You're young but pretty observant. Why, do you want to threaten me?"
"Of course not." Lu Mingshu thanked him earnestly. "Many thanks to big brother for saving me. May I know the name of my benefactor? Just so I can return the favour in future."
"No need!" The young man waved his hand. "I was just bored out of my wits when you appeared. Why don't you stay behind to accompany me, and we'll take it as you repay the favour?"
The moment Lu Mingshu heard these words, her hairs all stood up on one end.
"What's going through your mind now, hm?" The young man crossed his arms over his chest, looking at her engrossingly. "Look at your board of a chest before your thoughts run wild. What exactly can a gentleman like me do to you?"
The young man read her expression and laughed out loud, "Even if I let you leave, you have to be able to leave on your own two feet too!"
With this reminder from him, Lu Mingshu realized that she couldn't even stand up! It was as if her whole body had given up on her from total exhaustion. There were numerous wounds that burned like scorching heat on her back and her four limbs from the tumble.
The man squatted down, grabbed her leg and pressed on them to examine for broken bones.
His press made Lu Mingshu sharply inhale a breath of cold air from the piercing pain; she almost couldn't withhold her shout. It's so painful! I must have fractured it from the impact of tumbling down the valley.
"From the looks of things, it is a bone fracture. You'll be immobile for at least three to five days." The young man tore open her pant legs. As he applied pressure on her wound, threads of mystic rays passed through his palm to permeate her bruised purple wound.
"It's nothing grave," he said, "I can heal it for you."
Lu Mingshu stared at him, still wary as she was, waiting for him to raise his conditions for healing her.
The young man's expression was filled with helplessness at that point. "I say, you're so young, but why do you read so much into a pure intention? Can't I be a good man?"
Lu Mingshu said, "Thank you then, big brother." Those might have been her words, but her expression remained the same – suspicious.
He pointed at her angrily, as if he wanted to say something but could not find the right words to say. In the end, he said resentfully, "Forget it, forget it. I'll just take it as my bad luck for meeting you!"
He got up and walked out of the small cavity under the rock precipice to squat by the Specter's corpse. After flipping the corpse over a few times, he grabbed the long arm that still remained on the Specter and pulled out her sword.
"Medium grade mystic weapon with fine quality material. If not for the mistake made when smelting the metal, it could be rated as high-grade." The young man flicked the sword blade that was dull of any brilliance, "However, it has turned into the trash from corrosion. What a pity."
The weaponry of this world was divided into low class ordinary steel, then mystic weapon, then treasure tool, and then finally, spirit weapon. Each type of class would be further divided into three grades: high, medium, and low. Ordinary steel could only be used in practice, and a mystic weapon would be able to sustain the mystic force of a practitioner.
A spirit weapon was hard to come by, and each spirit weapon would have their own world-famous legendary tale. A majority of the Spirit and Assimilation Realm experts would only own a treasure tool. Practitioners in the Harmonization Realm couldn't use ordinary steel anymore, and therefore they would carry a mystic weapon. However, it was not easy for an Inner Breath Realm to obtain a mystic weapon. Hence, if Lu Mingshu was seen carrying the ordinary steel weapon distributed by the sect after returning from the spring hunt since this sword was given to her by her master before she had left, she would have to apply for reimbursement.
Presently, this mystic weapon was from Lu Mingshu's master. Hence, she would have to apply for reimbursement once she returned.
The young man threw the sword back to her. "Keep it as a memento."
Then, he left while carrying the Specter's corpse.
When he came back a while later, he had changed his top, and all traces of a corpse was gone. He carried a porcelain bowl with green content inside, that looked like mashed grass stalks.
The young man squatted down once again and applied the sticky green content in the bowl to Lu Mingshu's wound. Once done, he bandaged and fixated two twigs to the sides of her fractured leg.
"This is my own secret recipe. I guarantee you you'll recover in three days."
Lu Mingshu finally thanked him sincerely. "Thank you very much, big brother, for your timely help. I apologize for offending you before."
The young man waved his hand. "Don't worry about it! As the bigger person, I won't be calculative with a little maiden like you." Then he continued, "You are a disciple of Nine Jade Palace? Why aren't you accompanied by a teacher or senior when you're only in the Inner Breath Realm?"
"My seniors have been dispatched to attend to another task. I was together with my fellow apprentices when we ran into some bad luck …" Lu Mingshu did not elaborate further as discovering the beast cave was a big matter. It wouldn't be convenient to tell an outsider about it.
"Your strength isn't bad at all to be able to run so far, even under the pursuit of a Specter! How rare for Nine Jade Palace to have such a disciple." This young man's tone was one of age and wisdom as if Nine Jade Palace was of not much of a significance in his eyes.
Lu Mingshu laughed dryly. "May I know how to address big brother?"
"Haven't you just been calling me big brother like we are old friends?" When he was done with bandaging her wound, the young man took a wet handkerchief and started wiping his hands clean multiple times. Speaking of it, this was obviously the wilderness, yet he was clean and tidy from head to toe. Not even a speck of dust could be seen from his hair to his clothing — it was as if this man had mysophobia.*
1What a strange man, running to the wilderness even when he has mysophobia.
Once he was done wiping his hands, the young man threw the handkerchief behind him with a flick of his wrist and said, "Just call me Yan Wugui. What about you?"
"... So it's Brother Yan. My surname is Lu, Lu Mingshu." She stared at his knife for a few seconds. "Brother Yan does not seem to be from Xichuan, are you from Zhongzhou?"
"Don't need to sound me out!" Yan Wugui said, "I am from Seven Truths Platform."
He's indeed from Seven Truths Platform. Lu Mingshu secretly sighed in her heart: As long as he's not someone from an unknown origin.
Yan Wugui, who had seen through her scepticism, said, "I've entered a bottleneck in my knife technique. That's why I stayed back for seclusion training." He glanced over at her and continued, "You're only so young, don't read too much into things! Be careful to not grow old too fast!"