A month had passed ever since Xiao Wu had joined the sect. She was now eight and a half years old and her cultivation had also reached the peak level Inferior stage.
In that one month since she had been together with Cheng Hao, she had come to notice a few strange things about the mysterious boy: sometimes, he would easily be enraged with strangers for the smallest of things, other times his eyes would suddenly grow dim and he would start to cry, as if he had remembered something painful. Others even, he would simply stare blankly at the ceiling lazily, murmuring to himself for hours.
He was with no doubt weird, eccentric even, yet he did nothing to hide that. When she asked where he had met Goldy, he would smile and then say.
“Oh him? I was kind of running for my life and then I met that bastard. Oh maybe I shouldn’t say anything about him being on the verge of starving… He probably wouldn’t be able to… stomach it!” At that he would suddenly laugh as if he had heard the best joke in the world.
Still, there was no doubt that Cheng Hao was a genius. Decades and hundreds of years worth of memories seemed to reside within his mind and, after thinking about it for quite some time, Xiao Wu had no choice but decide it was simply some kind of inborn memories, something akin to a person’s memories from a past life or something.
Still, this eccentric boy was the person she trusted the most. The reason was simple: he spared no effort to aid her and Lu Fang, even if it meant risking his own life or getting in trouble. During the month, Cheng Hao, Goldy and Xiao Wu had gone to the Sixth Ring’s marketplace to check the place out…
Ten men hiding their faces with masks suddenly jumped out from the bushes onto the road: they all held large knives which they swung around to intimidate the two children that were trying to get back home.
“Now, now, leave all you have here and we will let you leave alive!” The biggest of the group of bandits walked towards them and pointed the knife at Cheng Hao’s face.
The boy had quickly put himself in between the attackers and Xiao Wu, thus the small girl couldn’t see the ruthless expression in the boy’s eyes “Fellow disciples, don’t bite more than you can chew. You can take whatever you want from me but leave the girl alone”
Seeing that, the bandits laughed and attacked. Thug #1 jumped in the air and brought the knife down towards the boy’s head. Cheng Hao sidestepped dodging the weapon with ease as the blade embedded itself into the ground. The boy lifted his right leg and kicked the knife, breaking it into countless shards.
He then proceeded to block the next two attacks by blocking the edges with his index and middle finger of both his hands. He pulled hard and the bandits lost their weapons to the child. He kept dodging and breaking the weapons for a full minute, and after that minute, the only people panting and out of breath were none other… Than the nine bandits that had attacked him!
Cheng Hao only defended and didn’t answer killing intent with his own, instead he just parried or dodged the blows, which was also humiliating for them.
Finally, the rogues got pissed off and charged towards the ‘defenseless’ Xiao Wu, those who still had their weapons slashing madly, those who didn’t throwing the heaviest punch they could throw.
Xiao Wu backed away and was about to summon the Black Dragon Sword and White Tree Shield when a shadow blew past her.
“You guys know what? I really hate the number nine… I should fix that so that you are not nine anymore, shouldn’t I?”
A few flashes appeared and disappeared, moving at extremely fast speed and the eight heads of those who had attacked Xiao Wu fell on the ground.
Standing in the middle of eight corpses was the young boy with long, black hair and pure golden eyes, his hands dirtied with blood as his Copper Fleshly Body allowed him to tear apart flesh of those bandits of low cultivation with ease.
The only two people of the group of ten left alive saw the scene and they immediately threw themselves on the ground kowtowing. Fortunately for them, they didn’t attack Xiao Wu and the killing intent that Cheng Hao had shown while killing their other eight comrades had already dissipated.
After they begged and offered all their belongings to Cheng Hao. However, the boy gladly let them keep their things as a repayment for their comrades’ lives and let them go. The bandits bowed and tears of joy fell from their faces as they ran away, swearing in their heart not to anger this monster again!
From that one could see that although Cheng Hao harbored little to no killing intent against his own enemies, he would still snap in rage whenever someone attacked his friends. Leave my friends alone, you shall be spared. Attack them, you won’t die with intact corpses.
You could trusts someone with that philosophy more than you could trust someone related to you by blood. After all, although blood is thicker than water, your family might betray you but someone that places more value on your own life than his own, is somebody that will never betray you no matter the circumstances.
Anyways, Xiao Wu was currently meditating on her bed. She had just come back from her ‘Blue Robed Night Challenger’ nightly routine and was currently recuperating the energy she spent while fighting as her second identity. Observant people would notice that the blue robed night challenger’s opponents had slightly higher cultivation every day that passed.
Although the Night Challenger might struggle against an high level Basic stage cultivator one night, the next she may effortlessly defeat low level Advanced cultivators!
It was that kind of genius that made others sigh in envy and hit their thighs in admiration. Such a genius kept growing and growing each day, every day slightly stronger than the day before.
At the moment, the few people still able to hold their own against the Night Challenger in the Sixth Ring were less than a hundred and most of them were old cultivators at the end of their days.
It could be said that, except from Cheng Hao, in her generation Xiao Wu was the strongest, nobody having the same age as her could hold a candle to her in a fight.
Still that was, after all, without counting Cheng Hao. The little child’s cultivation had already reached the high level Basic stage, meaning few people below the Superior stage could hold their own when going against him unless he used the golden blades or fought while the temporary buff gained after a breakthrough.
A particularly weak low level Superior stage cultivator might find himself in trouble when fighting against him.
Genius? At eight years of age, most children would be playing outside, let alone cultivate. They would be geniuses if they could hold a sword with one hand and swing it properly.
Monster? An eight years old monster, what would he be able to do? Fight and adult equally, even though a child is way weaker and less experienced than a full grown man is? Now, that could be considered a monster!
Still, Cheng Hao could almost slay people two whole stages above him and much older than he was with only a small amount of effort.
Such titles were worthless to someone like him. He was no genius. He was no monster. He was a Demon in human form!
Xiao Wu’s cultivation was, instead, at a peak Inferior cultivation, just a few steps below the Basic stage. Although a month had passed, she had close to no progress in cultivation as Cheng Hao had suggested her to train her newfound abilities instead. The Black Dragon Swords and White Tree Shields were powerful weapon when fighting up to the Advanced stage, but after that she would have no more cards up her sleeves.
That is why Cheng Hao had told her to focus on the Purple Moonlight Senses Enhancing Technique. The technique itself was a body enhancing skill, but its secrets didn’t lay only in the strengthening of the fleshly body.
If cultivated constantly, after only a few years of hard work, it would get to a stage where you could enhance your five senses by dozens, even hundreds of times! If one reached that state, time would seem to slow down and one would be able to easily notice the slightest changes in the air surrounding them, literally, a god-tier(Note: not God stage) skill!
Let alone head-on strikes, even surprise attacks coming from a blind spot would be easily dodged if one could fully cultivate this technique. Of course, it had its detrimental effects, some of them being rapid exhaustion due to the massive amount of energy spent to keep up the skill and greater weaknesses to attacks aimed to block or damage the five senses.
Still, its power should not be underestimated. Although she just barely could not defeat Superior stage cultivators like Cheng Hao could thanks to his powerful fleshly body and unique skills, it also meant that anyone under that stage would have to be many times more careful than when facing ordinary opponents.
That was why, although the process was slow and not constant due to enlightenment being random, she could slowly challenge stronger and stronger cultivators just like tonight’s last opponent.
Zan Tai Long, twenty five years old, the genius of the Zan clan, officially recognized as one of the most powerful Vacant Sect members of the Mysterious Light-Shadow Sect. A renowned genius that would be considered as having pretty good talent even in the Inner Sect, was defeated in a single strike.
Advanced stage defeated in a single strike… What power would be needed to do that? Since Zan Tai Long was a mid level Advanced stage cultivator himself, the cultivation to knock him out with a single strike would have been at the very least a peak level Advanced stage expert. But such a powerful expert would have already have become well known in the Vacant Sect’s Sixth Ring in no time at all.
But the shocking news was that the cultivation of that expert was neither peak Advanced stage neither Superior stage. It was peak Inferior stage. When the following morning he woke up from his comatose state, Zan Tai Long finally shone light on the mystery regarding the cultivation of the Blue Robed Night Challenger!
As he hid his head in shame, he spoke and his exact words were these: “I could have never imagined such a monster was hiding itself in the Sixth Ring. I have nothing to say: yesterday, Advanced stage lost to Inferior stage. That is right, the Blue Robed Night Challenger is a cultivator at the Inferior stage! I feel no frustration or anger, only a bit of shame, but that doesn’t matter. Why? Because I know that yesterday I got to fight a true genius!”
Although everybody knew of Xiao Wu defeating Tai Long with one strike, Xiao Wu and Xiao Wu alone knew how difficult that was. She had prepared in advance, bringing out the Purple Moon as soon as the fight started. With that, her vision had become many times sharper than it had been before, meaning she could see all her opponent’s openings and weak points.
After knowing that, she just needed to dodge the first strike and throw out her own full power punch at the closest weak point she could hit, the temple. That knocked out the opponent immediately but it also told her one thing.
She could take by surprise her opponents and defeat them with one hit if she aimed well, but her own full power strike at an opponent’s weak point only managed to knock him out! If the enemy had a body strong enough to resist the strike just like Lu Fang had, she could do nothing but endlessly throw punches at his or her body, yet she would not be able to harm him in the least!
Fortunately, she hid her abilities deeply, so nobody knew that her strength was, thanks to her senses being enhanced during the battle, so most people still thought that her physical strength greatly surpassed the norm, leaving her the advantage of surprise.
“Xiao Wu” A raspy voice came from behind the door. Xiao Wu’s eyes lit up and she ran straight to the door and as she opened it she also opening her arms to hug the person in front of her.
Cheng Hao had spent most of the last month away in many trips around the region of the Four Divine Beasts mountain range. Last time, he had only come back for two days and had left for more than a week, only to apparently come back now.
“Big brother Cheng Hao, you are b-” Xiao Wu stopped for a moment before smiling and then telling the old person in front of her “I will not fall the same trick twice! Take your mask off, Brother!”
In front of her there was an old man with an hunched back and long white hair. He had decaying teeth and his fingers were so bony they looked like a skeleton’s fingers. The old man looked surprised for a bit but then suddenly laughed.
Xiao Wu crossed her hands in front of her chest, faked a pout and looked at him as if she had been wronged “If you play such games on me again, I will really stop cooking for everyone!”
“Kukuku… Hihihi!”As he chuckled, the old man’s hunched back straightened, his fingers became a young man’s healthy hands, his fake lower jaw full of decaying teeth fell off revealing two perfectly sane and straight white rows and even his voice went back from the aged and unpleasant raspy chuckling to a young child’s hearty laugh.
He threw off his beggar clothes and revealed the Sect Robes. Only then did he hug Xiao Wu and laughed with her.
“You are finally back!” Although she previously faked anger, as soon as she felt Cheng Hao’s body in her arms she couldn’t help but be happy. He wasn’t just a friend for her. He was also her big brother that she never had, a caring father and also a kind teacher!
Although she was too young to truly feel attracted by Cheng Hao in that way, she still loved him much more than a sister would love her big brother.
“So… where’s Goldy?” Asked Xiao Wu. Cheng Hao shook his shoulders “Sealed him in a collapsing Ancient Temple…”
Xiao Wu was startled for a bit and then she yelled “Wha-?”
“Ssssh” Cheng Hao smiled, a really cold smile, hugged her tighter and then patted her head “He survived being thrown in a river while tied to a rock, he will be ju~ust fiiine~”
An ancient looking temple was slowly sinking underground. Suddenly, the main gates made of rock which had been closed shut by a certain someone burst open: pieces of rock and marble flew everywhere and a cloud of dust rose. Soon after that, a black and grey blur shot out.
It was a snake, a meter and a half long, and it was covered in debris and dust which had turned its once golden scales completely grey and black.
“Cough cough!” The beast coughed out dust and even small rocks and then lifted his head. As soon as it saw the surrounding bare land without a single tree present, it trembled and let out a loud yell of rage “CHENG HAO, YOU FU***** CUNT, HOW COULD YOU LEAVE ME BACK THERE!!!”
Suddenly, the sound of dozens of wings flapping came from above and the Heavenly Devouring Dragon, a prideful Primordial Heavenly Beast looked up frightened and annoyed “Fu**! They are back! Damn, Cheng Hao, I will kill you later!”
It shot towards the horizon at full speed and a pack of winged baboons followed. They had golden fur and carried harpoons made out of bones. They were only two meters tall but they all emitted the aura of a Sung stage monstrous beast. Dozens of such monkeys varing in low, mid, high or even peak Sung stage cultivation were a group that even powerful families would not dare anger under any circumstances.
“You frigging monkeys! Just leave me the hell alone you idiot baboons, you retarded, furry pests, can’t you understand who I am? Bow down now!”
“Aaaaagh! Aaaaaagh! (Monkey’s screeches)”
“Aaaaa! Cheng Hao you will pay for this!”
“Yeah, I’m sure he’s fine” Cheng Hao finally broke the embrace and once again grabbed Xiao Wu’s shoulders “Xiao Wu. Did you make any breakthrough in an higher stage?” The girl shook her head and Cheng Hao sighed in relief.
“Fortunately you didn’t… Ok, sis! Do you know what will happen a few days from now?” Cheng Hao questioned.
Xiao Wu nodded and then replied “It will be time to take the Outer sect exam, the trial to join the outer sect! Only then will we be true Mysterious Light-Shadow Sect disciples!”
“And that is exactly why” Cheng Hao said “I will help you breakthrough now!”
“But brother!” The girl replied in confusion ” With the help of my Martial Ways I can easily beat most of the powerful genius around he-”
“And that is the exact problem! Right now, you rely too much on your Martial Ways! Tell me, apart from the techniques from the Purple Moon and Black Dragon and White Tree scriptures, what else do you have?”
Xiao Wu wanted to protest but she knew her brother was right. Except from the skills that needed the two Martial Ways or at least even only one of them or its illusory projection to work, she truly had no other way to defend herself!
“But why, brother? Why can’t we use our Martial Ways? Wouldn’t that make everything else much easier?” The girl inquired.
Cheng Hao shook his head as he smiled and then asked “Sister, did you grow dumb the few days I was gone? If we use the Martial Ways in front of a crowd, it is highly likely someone will recognize them for what they are and send people to capture us to keep them for themselves! Remember that they are Heavenly Treasures!”
Xiao Wu looked down and she was embarrassed after Cheng Hao explained everything to her. He was right, she should have indeed thought of that!
“That is why I have prepared a special method just for you!”
The boy hit his chest with his palm.
“You practiced fighting with that… Black Dragon Sword, was it?” Cheng Hao asked and seeing Xiao Wu nod, he sighed happily: finally, he could rest! His rigid shoulders finally relaxed and he spit out a mouthful of black blood.
He lost his balance due to a sudden burst of weakness and almost fell on his back.
“Brother!” Xiao Wu grabbed him and tried to drag him to his bed but he shook his head
“Don’t! I’m not injured see?” He pointed at his body as he smiled.
“I’m just… a bit tired! Now I still have things to tell you before the exam starts! First of all… the… technique I am going to teach you is not that much different from when you condense… the Martial Way’s illusory copies, it just has a few inconsistencies… in the… power source. Now… Cough! Cough!” Two more mouthful of blood were spat out and Cheng Hao’s face turned pale.
Xiao Wu caught him before he could fall on the ground and, as she did that, Cheng Hao gritted his teeth, almost passing out from the pain and the blood loss, and pushed his middle and index finger on the girl’s forehead, .
Then and only then did he allow himself to lose consciousness and pass out in Xiao Wu’s arms. The girl at that moment was actually trying to hold her scream in as burning pain came from her forehead. She suddenly could not resist anymore and cried out.
“Yaaaaaaagh!” She yelled for a few minutes before passing out as well…
She finally calmed down and when she came back to, she saw Lu Fang’s broad back as he nursed Cheng Hao. He was currently making the child eat a green pellet smelling of medicinal herbs such as the prickling aroma of Green Qilin Roots(Note: original. Precious plant used to heal internal wounds and ease Qi circulation) and the like. His expression was severe and when he turned towards her, he mouthed: “Internal Injuries, pretty serious”
His expression then softened, pointing at her forehead and mouthed “Don’t let him go through all this trouble for nothing”
Xiao Wu nodded and bowed “Thank you”
She turned her back to Cheng Hao and tears streamed down from her face and she held her hands on her bosom. Her eyes glimmered determined and she sat on the floor as she examined the information Cheng Hao risked his life for.
In her mind, strings of words had appeared, just like with the Purple Moonlight Senses Enhancing Technique, this time though, three big words were spelled out, standing out from the rest: External Aura Manipulation.
Author’s Note: nope, nothing this time.