Chapter 59: Climbing the Precipice
Since Yan Wugui had shown the way before, Lu Mingshu knew the location of the Snow Winged Cloud-treading Horse's nest.
From where they had exited the underground tunnel, there was an extremely steep precipice. The nest of the Snow Winged Cloud-treading Horse was right at its apex.
The only problem was that precipice was arduous to climb. Not only did it have lots of thorny vines hanging off it, but there were also lots of ferocious birds resting on it. If one wanted to climb up, they had to be careful of both the thorny vines as well as the ferocious birds.
Lu Mingshu observed the surroundings. The majority of those ferocious birds are not too strong — most of them are either at the Body Tempering or the Inner Breath Realm; only a minority are in the Harmonization Realm. Strong demonic beasts would stake claims to their territory. As the saying goes: "if two men ride on a horse, one must ride behind". Hence, there weren't any Spirit Realm ferocious bird on the precipice — even if there were, it would have been watched carefully by the sect's experts.
"Look over there." Lu Mingshu pointed towards the mouth of the cave at the peak of the precipice.
Gao Xiang was overjoyed. "It must be there! Master and the others were heading there earlier!"
The two climbed over the rugged hill and arrived at the base of the precipice.
Lu Mingshu hesitated for a moment, thinking of whether she should leave the cub at the base, just in case it could accidentally get hurt while she climbed the precipice. But when she thought of it, If I place it here with no one to watch over it, what if it gets taken away by other ferocious beasts? It's still better to bring it along, it isn't too big anyway, so it's not tiring to bring it along. I'll just have to be more careful.
"Lend me your leather pocket."
Gao Xiang was curious. "What do you want the leather pocket for?" Contrary to his words, he still took the leather pocket off his back and passed it over to her.
Lu Mingshu returned the items inside the pocket to him, before placing the cub inside. Leaving only its head exposed, she tied it to her chest. She did not carry it on her back because she was worried it might be injured by the ferocious birds.
She was not a compassionate person, but she just felt that she could sympathize with this cub. The beast cave had been practically swept clean by the encirclement hunting. Its parents were most likely dead.
"Ah!" Gao Xiang shouted out lowly.
"There's poison on these thorns!" He pointed at the thorny vines.
The vines were densely packed with thorns. They could easily prick one's skin.
They were each wearing open finger leather gloves, which was why Gao Xiang's finger became red and swollen with just one careless touch of the thorns.
Lu Mingshu took a look at his wound. "Does it hurt?"
"It does not, but it has gone numb; My finger now could not feel anything." Gao Xiang fished out his reserve injury medicine. "Help me find one that detoxifies poison."
Lu Mingshu took out the medicine powder, while Gao Xiang had already tightly tied the tip of his injured finger, forcing the poisoned blood out. Once they applied the medicine and bandaged it well, Gao Xiang wiggled his fingers. "It's okay now."
Relieved, Lu Mingshu took a look at the precipice once again. Although the thorny vines were not deadly, it's paralysis effect was very strong. It would be very troublesome if one got injured by them, so they had to be careful while climbing up. However, these thorny vines were practically covering the whole precipice, leaving them with little space to manoeuvre. Adding the need to evade the ferocious birds, the difficulty level of climbing up was not low.
Gao Xiang suddenly became alert. "They are also here."
Lu Mingshu followed his gaze, and her expression turned icy cold immediately.
There was a total of three people approaching, yet she only recognized Fu Mingtang.
Forget it if it had been someone else, but Fu Mingtang was not someone she would admit defeat to.
Fu Mingtang was also stunned for a moment when he saw her.
A single reminder from Rui Xiang that day, made him realize who Lu Mingshu was. These few years, he had on and off heard some whisperings and knew that his father had had a wife and child before he married his mother. Everyone said that family relied on force to bully others and was snobbish. They had chased his father out of the house themselves, yet came over to slander him. In the end, they had even forced him to let Lu Mingshu stay at Nine Jade Palace with their death.
From his personal standpoint, Fu Mingtang would naturally dislike his so-called ‘sister'. Although he did not get as fiery with anger as to want to kill her like his twin sister did, he similarly loathed her existence. With his father having an ex-wife, his mother would become a second wife. Then wouldn't he and his sister be of lower status than Lu Mingshu?
Fu Mingtang furrowed his brows, he could lose to someone else, but he definitely was not keen on losing to this so-called ‘elder sister'!
"We can't climb this precipice filled with all these thorny vines just like that!" Gao Xiang mumbled, "It's a little dangerous …"
He had not finished speaking when he saw Lu Mingshu already trying her hand at climbing. She pulled herself up on a rock and started going up.
Gao Xiang was greatly alarmed. "You're climbing just like that?"
"Any other ideas?" Lu Mingshu asked.
Gao Xiang often saw her come up with odd ideas, so he thought she would find a solution this time as well. However, his master had told him that he needed to rely on himself more, hence he was giving his all, trying to find a way out. But to think that Lu Mingshu immediately tried her hand out at climbing.
"This precipice is so steep, and it's hard to climb because of the thorny vines, so we can only force our way through." Lu Mingshu pulled out the dagger and pried a larger hole in the rocks before placing her foot there.
"Alright, let's go." Gao Xiang tightened his leather boots and followed her.
On the other side, Fu Mingtang's group, who had seen them starting to climb, also began their ascent.
The dagger left behind by Yan Wugui was so sharp, that it could easily cut through iron as if it was mud. Lu Mingshu quickly dug out a small hole that was sufficient for her to step on, and while holding onto her dagger with her mouth, she began climbing up.
When she saw Gao Xiang following her, she said, "Don't be in a hurry to dig a hole too. When those ferocious birds fly over later, I might not have enough hands to handle them. Let's divide up the work; I'll dig the holes, while you deal with the birds."
After a slight hesitation, Gao Xiang agreed. "Okay."
They had grown up together, so they were both very clear of the other's strength. Speaking purely about swordsmanship, he was a little hesitant with dividing the work this way.
Once they had climbed roughly ten meters, they rested on a small tree that had taken root in the rock strata.
"Look over there." Gao Xiang pointed at a rock that was protruding out. "We can throw a rope up. This would make it much easier to climb."
Lu Mingshu made a rough estimate of the distance. "There's a ferocious bird up there; we will be attacked."
"It doesn't matter, let me handle it." Gao Xiang volunteered. He took a rope out and made a knot.
On the other side, Fu Mingtang and another two youths were also adjusting their climbing steps. As they continued climbing up, they were finally discovered by someone.
The Spirit Realm elders were currently encircling a few precious beasts and birds — the four hall heads each commanded large hunting troops trying progressively to close the encirclement hunt. Some were wiping out whatever remained in the beast cave, some looked for the spiritual land, and some cleaning up the battlefield.
Suddenly, someone shouted out in astonishment when they saw the youths hanging on the precipice. "Look over there, that is …"
"Has someone already gone to the Snow Winged Cloud-treading Horse's nest?"
"Not yet, we are still cleaning up here and don't have the time to go there."
"Then what's with those people?"
Someone who had good eyesight and could clearly see the people climbing, turned pale with fright. "It's a few kids! young master, I see young master!"
When the news reached Zhou Yinru's ears, her complexion turned pale immediately. "What's happening? Where are the people following the eldest young master?!"
"This servant will go and call them right away." Rui Xiang also went pale with fright and hastily went off to find them.
After a short while, she came back with a few people.
When the few attendants saw Zhou Yinru, they immediately kneeled down to beg for forgiveness. "This wretched subordinate deserves death for not watching over eldest young master well."
Zhou Yinru was already extremely angry. "You did not watch over well?! Are you all trash?!"
The attendants were silently drowning in regrets. They had originally forbidden Fu Mingtang from joining, but no matter how good of a temperament Fu Mingtang had, he was after all still a young master that been held highly since childhood. Thus, he had high ambitions. With how Gao Xiang continuously incited him, how could Fu Mingtang back down from the challenge? In the end, Fu Mintang and his few companions pretended to be chased by ferocious beasts to send them away. By the time the subordinates found out they had been lured into a trap, Fu Mingtang had already disappeared.