Cheng Hao slid down a nearby wall and gritted his teeth. The pain from his wounds heightened as he bumped on the stone wall. He had gotten a new key from the mysterious Elder Lao together with his clothes back then and he had finally reached the hut the Elder had prepared for him.
He closed the door and took out the magical seal that had been sealing Lu Fang’s cultivation base and set it up to block all entrances to his room. Since he now didn’t have the slightest trace of cultivation any longer, unless he lifted the bindings on his cultivation base, he could not use his own power to lay a seal and had to do things like this.
First thing first, he ate a Flesh Healing Pill to heal himself and a Sense Numbing Pill to diminish the pain. He had gotten those pills way back when he had stolen the Dimensional Pouch from Lu Biao when he first arrived at the sect.
The wound began to close, and after a few hours that Cheng Hao passed crosslegged absorbing the pill’s energy through his Dantian, he finally threw himself on the ground and laid on his back for a while.
He looked at the ceiling of his new hut: the small stone house was a tad bigger than its wooden version, but that might have been just his impression since Xiao Wu wasn’t there. Still, it was tidy, neat and, most importantly, isolated, just what he wanted!
He ate a Blood Replenishing Pill and stood up to see what the hut was like. It was already finely decorated, the bed already had mattresses as well as the shelves already holding some books. There was also a guy lying on the bed beside of him, his snores were also pretty realistic…
Cheng Hao took out a wooden bat from his Heaven&Earth pouch and approached the figure lying on the bed lifting the blunt weapon above his head “Who the hell are you???”
The man slowly opened his eyes showing no concern whatsoever about the current situation. He yawned and stretched for about a minute completely ignoring Cheng Hao. When he had finished his stretching, Cheng Hao smiled gently and asked “Would you also like a cup of tea, by any chance?”
The man yawned “Sure. Add In two teaspoons of sugar, and pour in half a cup of milk as well. If there is no milk, then prepare some coffee instead and add in four teaspoons of sugar…”.
Hearing the man had actually answered seriously, a vein popped on Cheng Hao’s forehead but he still put away his bat and sat on the bed on the other side of the room.
“Now brat, could you tell me why I woke up with an eight years old child brandishing a bat in front of my bed?” The man was probably in his late thirties or early forties, he had brown eyes and his wavy, blonde hair fell on his shoulders.
He wasn’t really the definition of handsome, but he wouldn’t displease the female population in any way if he tried to flirt with them.
“Senior, I am Cheng Hao. I have been assigned to live here by the Elder guarding the gate. As for why you woke up with a bat lifted above your head is because I was startled to find someone in the same hut as the one I had been assigned to…”
The man pondered for a bit and then sat up on his bed, staring at Cheng Hao “You don’t seem to have a cultivation… How did you get here, in the Outer Sect, with your strength? No, never mind. It’s not my business and I don’t wanna ask anyways” the man looked at the brat in front of him
“Cheng Hao… Was it? Ok. Do you by any chance know of two children about eight years old with frightening power and talent? I am looking for them”
Cheng Hao frowned “Why is senior looking for such people? Is it only because you want to get close to have them as friends when they grow up in the future?”
The blonde male shook his head “It’s something like that, just a slight bit more… Complicated. I’ll just tell you that my father is a big shot in the sect and while he has described their talent in detail, he hasn’t told me about their appearance, meaning, I am stuck until I can find out what they look like!” The man threw himself on the bed and began to stare at the ceiling.
Cheng Hao gulped and then asked “What are senior’s plans if you do find out who they are?” The man examined the child lying on the bed and then answered without thinking about it “Oh, it’s easy… Maybe harass them? Or pamper them? I don’t know, it’s my first time doing this…”
Hearing those words, Cheng Hao’s stare turned cold and ruthless. He grasped the golden drop of blood, the only weapon strong enough to fight against Cultivators that he could use, and prepared to slice the man in two.
Still, all that was done without the blonde man knowing any of it and Cheng Hao still wore a mask of confusion “Sir, why would you do that?”
The man pondered a bit and then smiled “Well, it’s not easy to explain… I will see once I meet them!” The mysterious man looked at the closed door.
“Right now though, I think it would be better to deal with the imminent threat rather than thinking about the future” the man got up and removed the clothes he was wearing, showing his toned muscles below.
Cheng Hao almost whistled when he saw the man’s body: it was not bulky or too thin, it was a body forged through fighting, not exercising. This was the body of a true Martial Artist.
He opened one of the wardrobes in the room and removed a white cloak from inside it. He put it on and he turned towards Cheng Hao “I will be done in a moment…”
Cheng Hao though, didn’t notice his smile or the ruthless glint in his gaze, instead he only had eyes on one thing: at first, the white robe seemed like a normal robe, but through a deeper investigation, one would find that on the robe, going from his left shoulder to the right ankle, there were a few blacks stripes.
Seeing them, Cheng Hao gulped “Damn! Those black strips… They couldn’t be three or two? No, they just have to be four! I have openly disrespected and even almost attacked a Core Sect Elder!”
The man’s eyes glinted in the darkness of the room and …
Outside of the stone hut, a few dozen people had gathered “Alright, everyone, be careful! We will act fast and that shameful guy will be dead before he could even say ‘help’!”
The man speaking was tall and burly, carrying a two handed sword on his back. He drew the sword from its sheath and signaled the people to prepare to break in.
“Charge!” At the yell, forty people charged towards the house, some had powerful skills that enhanced the body, some used some kind of ability to strengthen their blows and some others relied only on their physical strength.
They had a varied cultivation ranging from the Inferior stage to the Advanced stage. The leading person’s cultivation was the highest at the low level Advanced stage.
The burly man was about to kick the door open, when the door slid and opened by itself. A man in his late thirties walked out, he was tall, had medium length blonde hair and brown eyes. He looked calmly at the large group heading his way “May I ask what you disciples might be doing?”
“Shut up! Who the hell do you think you a-” the voice was cut off as his eyes widened and his mouth gaped at the sight of his clothing. He immediately knelt on the ground and kowtowed
“Esteemed Elder, I humbly apologize for my rudeness! We simply have grudges with a person that has been reported to have been sighted here! He is troublesome and a danger for everybody in this sect!”
The blonde man nodded in appreciation “I see, so you were only thinking of the sect… But you need not worry. Because that person…” He lifted a bloody head “Is already not amongst the living!”
“That’s… That’s him! Elder is really wise, to have understood with a single glance a potential threat, Elder is a dragon amongst men!” The man bowed flattering the man even more.
“Oh, oh, thank you for the praise, young man. Very well, you can go back now” the blonde man turned and headed back inside the hut. As soon as the door closed the young man lifted himself up and yelled “What are you doing still here? Scatter!”
The forty people kicked off the ground and ran away, scared that if they were even second late in leaving the area surrounding the hut they would without doubt die, just like that person they were chasing that got beheaded.
Soon, not even a shadow could be seen in a hundred meters radius around the hut.
“So… I hope that now you will tell me what is going on here and why those people were chasing you…” The blonde man walked to his bed and sat on it “… Disciple Cheng Hao?”
Cheng Hao sat on his own bed and looked in interest at the head covered in blood thrown on the ground before him “Useful technique… A bit bloody though”
“Ahaha, you’re right. It’s actually pretty not that hard to learn with the right attitude” the man waved his hand and the illusory head disappeared, leaving behind not even a stain of blood “Now, you better tell me your story. Or else, I won’t use my illusions to scare away those who come next and I will use the original instead”
Cheng Hao trembled “I have a past I prefer not to talk about, at least, not to strangers. If Elder wishes for me to speak, then please, tell me both your and your father’s name”
The man nodded his head “The first is an easy matter, I will tell you once you tell me your story. Unfortunately, I am afraid I cannot tell you my father’s name”
Cheng Hao nodded in understanding and sighed.
“Then… Elder-” “Call me Senior. It won’t matter if you are respectful or not as there is a slight chance that I might kill you afterwards” the man smiled but there wasn’t any hint of warmth on the man’s face.
“Senior…” Cheng Hao resumed “You see, it all started a few months ago. My village was raided by a few bandits and I run away and fell into a hole in the ground. It was there that I found the pill. It was a divine treasure: it allowed me to enhance my cultivation by robbing other people’s cultivation. At the time I thought that it might have been a blessing…”
Seeing the blonde man’s sharp gaze, he didn’t lie and told him his story… Well, at least he didn’t hide any of the detail from the story that Elder Lao had told him to tell others if asked about his past.
He spoke for about a few minutes and then finally got to the part of the confrontation with his ex-comrades and how he dragged himself here.
“… And that is how and why I came here” Cheng Hao concluded as cold sweat appeared on his forehead. ‘He bought it, didn’t he?’
Although his mind was a bit chaotic, his expression and his face didn’t show that at all.
The man stayed silent for a second and pondered before rising his head “You didn’t seem to have told me any lies, nor are there inconsistencies in your story, just one problem…” The man lowered his voice.
“My father sent me here but he should have covered for me and tried to let as few people as possible know about me, let alone live together with me… This doesn’t make any sense!”
Cheng Hao cursed in his mind ‘Damn, if that old guy has really screwed up because he picked up a random key I’m gonna frigging castrate him!’
The blonde Elder suddenly seemed to have been enlightened and asked “What was the name of that pill?”. Cheng Hao gulped and prayed in his mind “It is called the… Last Piece is Set”
*boom* the blonde Elder fell from his bed and when he got back up, he rushed at Cheng Hao and grabbed his shoulders. ‘Crap! This guy is actually a peak Sung stage cultivator! Even if I had my cultivation back I wouldn’t be able to compete with him!’
Cheng Hao gritted his teeth ‘Rei Hong… I am sorry…’ He closed his eyes but then he opened them in shock as he heard the question that the man threw at him “Was that elder that you spoke about’s name possibly be Lao Jianghu?”
Cheng Hao blinked a few times but then nodded “I don’t know about the Jianghu part, but he did refer to himself as Elder Lao…”
The blonde man jumped up and down from the excitement and tears even fell from his eyes “Father, you did it! You found our last piece, you found the King! The chessboard is now full and the match will soon start!”
Cheng Hao was now even more confused, but while he was shocked he could still understand a few things: apparently that man knew the mysterious Elder Lao, and they had a close relationship and it was possibly a father and son relationship!
“Senior… What is going on?” Cheng Hao finally asked. The blonde ignored him “This means that, in about two months, the plan will be able to start!”
Now Cheng Hao was even more confused but he waited, waited for that man to vent out his feelings, otherwise who knows what he could do.
After a few moments, the man recovered and smiled at Cheng Hao “My name is Bi Liang. You can call me just Bi Liang or brother Liang, there is no need for formalities, because from now on, we are on the same side! And…” The man grinned:
“Call me brother!”
Author’s Note: For references about Bi Liang, check “Chapter 5” and “Second Arc: The Gears Slowly Start To Move – Prologue”