Li Chengfeng leapt before Grand Senior Brother, reaching out to grab him but Grand Senior Brother disappeared into thin air. He heard a voice above his head.
“You can’t even pass this? Hidden Sword Court will fall with or without you!”
Li Chengfeng looked up in surprise to see Grand Senior Brother standing on the statue with the sword, looking down at them like a human looking down at tiny ants.
Chengfeng wanted to rage until he realised he did not have any advantage against Grand Senior Brother who was so far above. Nor was he stronger in terms of capabilities. He swallowed his anger and placed Zhao Xiaobao gently on the ground, falling to his knees. “Grand Senior Brother, please save Xiaobao, I beg you! I swear I won’t ever betray Hidden Sword Court! If I am every disloyal, the heavens will strike me with lightning and tear my soul to pieces!”
Zhao Xiaobao was already at the brink of death. He coughed up blood and struggled to say, “Y-young Master, d-don’t…”
Chengfeng’s eyes turned red, turning around to yell at Xiaobao. “Shut up! You shut up!”
Zhao Xiaobao forced a smile and struggled to say, “D-don’t… beg… Y-young Master… X-xiaobao is f-fine…”
Chengfeng roared with tears in his eyes, “I told you to shut up! You’re not dead yet so you’re still my servant! Shut up and that’s an order!”
Zhao Xiaobao was also tearing up, gazing pitifully at Li Chengfeng. His blood had already flowed backwards into his throat, causing him to cough. Blood spurted out of his throat. He had a lot to tell Chengfeng but he could no longer speak at this point. He couldn’t see Chengfeng clearly anymore, and he recalled the moment they first met more than ten years ago.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
“Zhao… Z-zhao Xiaobao?”
“That’s such a feminine name! Your parents must be very mean to give you such a girly name!”
“Oh… I… d-don’t have any parents…”
“Sigh, how pitiful. Hey, remember this. Now that you’re with me, and I’m the boss on this turf, just tell me if anyone bullies you! I’ll beat them up! Remember, only we bully them, never the other way round! Do you hear me?”
“My goodness, look at you! I feel like I’m going against the law of nature if I don’t bully you!”
“Hey, why are you kneeling? Get up?”
“But I did something wrong.”
“Then fix it, don’t just kneel for no reason! Are you dumb? Or spineless?”
“Just stand up! Remember this! A man does not kneel! We only kneel for the heavens, the earth and our parents but no one else! Do you hear me?!”
Young Master...A man does not kneel, have you forgotten?
A tear fell from Xiaobao’s eye as the world darkened before him. The last thing he saw was a ray of golden light.
At the peak of Chengfeng’s panic, a ray of light shot at them from Grand Senior Brother. It was a Fulu Seal. It stuck to Xiaobao’s body and burned up instantly, though it did not burn his clothes. After it burned up, the golden inscriptions remained on his body, flowing into him like water.
Li Chengfeng was ecstatic. The blood flowing out of Xiaobao decreased and in a few moments, the blood flow stopped. Before Chengfeng could celebrate, Grand Senior Brother’s voice rang, “He lost too much blood and his internal organs are damaged too severely. Can’t save him. Go prepare for his funeral.”
“That’s impossible!” Li Chengfeng shot up and roared, “Grand Senior Brother, you must have a way to save him! As long as you can save him, I’ll do whatever you ask of me!”
Grand Senior Brother replied flatly, “Every Hidden Sword Court disciple must understand that they may die anytime, given our treacherous cultivation path!”
“I…” Li Chengfeng almost cussed him out but swallowed his words once more. “The Spiritual Mountain Sect is huge and powerful, I refuse to believe no one can save him!”
Grand Senior Brother fell silent for a moment. “I do not know spells to raise the dead and the martial uncles aren’t here. Even if you go to the other courts, they still will be helpless in the face of such severe injury.”
Chengfeng could not stand any longer. He felt a chill from his head to toe but GRand Senior Brother’s next sentence brought him back to life.
“At this point, only Grand Senior Sister from Hidden Beauty Court can save him but it’ll be useless to go to her. She’s known for her icy lack of compassion. She would never help you. That’s why you should…”
Before he could finish, Chengfeng picked Xiaobao up and rushed out. Grand Senior Brother watched him with a complex expression, then after a long pause, he sighed.
Su You and the rest of the people in Yanjian Hall all shuddered. They wanted to slip away quietly but Grand Senior Brother said coldly, “All of you are disciples of the Hidden Sword Court for many years, yet you all are worse than a newcomer. And you needed him to save you! Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves?”
Su You and the rest hung their heads shamefully without a word.
“Same thing. Go to the back mountain.” Grand Senior Brother disappeared from the statue, leaving them all with ashen and desperate faces.
Li Chengfeng carried Xiaobao and sprinted like a madman. When he arrived at his quarters, he looked like he was fished out of water, all drenched in sweat and almost dehydrated. Su Yuehan, who was decorating the house, was shocked.
“Young Master, what happened?” Su Yuehan dropped the bottles in her hand and rushed forward. Her heart skipped a beat the moment she saw Zhao Xiaobao, whose face was as white as a sheet. She knew it was a fatal injury.
Li Chengfeng was surprised to see Su Yuehan back so early but there was no time to think. He placed Xiaobao carefully on the door plank with a layer of hay. Then, he took out some Jinchuang Medicine from his pouch to apply it on Xiaobao’s wounds and bandaged them.
Su Yuehan had never seen Chengfeng this distraught, not when he met the Grim Stork, not when he was fighting for his life, not when the fish swallowed him into its stomach and not when countless little black fishes were chomping on his legs. He had never been this panicked and desperate before.
It was only at this moment she sensed his fragility and helplessness. That he was just a twenty-year-old boy.
Chengfeng’s hands trembled hard when he tore the bandage off, almost unable to rip it. She sighed, took the cloth and ripped it. Without looking up, he thanked her and carefully bandaged Zhao Xiaobao.
Su Yuehan’s chest tightened, puzzled why Li Chengfeng would say ‘thank you’. However, it was not an appropriate time to ask. Although she felt like Zhao Xiaobao had brought a lot of trouble and inconvenience to her, during the few days he was here, she realised she had laughed more than she ever did in the one hundred years she had lived. Sometimes, when she watched this pair’s antics, she would suddenly feel a peculiar admiration. Even she did not know why.
She wanted to save him. But she couldn’t.
If she saved Zhao Xiaobao, her identity would be exposed. Demons were not like magical beasts. While most magical beasts could be tamed, demons could not. And when humans and demons came together, it always ended up in bloody wars and violent brawls.
There were only two endings: the demon snatches the human’s internal alchemy and becomes many times stronger, or the human snatches the demon’s Yuan alchemy to be made into ultimate pills.
And there was a law in Daqi: anyone who harboured demons would have their entire families killed!
Su Yuehan did not want to take this risk. She was not fully recovered either, having depleted her Yuan Qi to save Chengfeng. If she saved Xiaobao, she would suffer permanent trauma. She was not willing to pay this huge price, and Xiaobao was not as important to her.
Perhaps, to a heartless thousand-faced demon, no one was important.
She thought about all this quietly, feeling deep sorrow. If she gets captured one day and her internal alchemy is extracted, her soul would cease to exist. No one would care about her this deeply nor willing to go to such lengths to save her.
The blurry figure surfaced in her mind again as she slowly sank into the depths of sorrow.