Mo Ahshi strode towards the large box hovering above the living room. Seconds later, Mo Ahshi stopped in front of the box and began stroking its surface with her hand. "Hah! I never thought I'd live to see this day!" Mo Ahshi unleashed a peal of mirthless laughter. "The great Ao Wushuang, completely at my mercy!!" Mo Ahshi removed her hand from the box's surface. "Oh... Don't you worry, Ao Wushuang. I won't kill you just yet. I want you to see with your own eyes how I destroy everything you hold dear!" Mo Ahshi's eyes glinted murderously. "I will kill every single person you know, starting with that disciple of yours!" Mo Ahshi unleashed another round laughter. "And then? Heh. And then I will tear the Fox Zen School apart, brick by brick. And you're going to watch, Ao Wushuang. You're going to watch as I take everything away from you. Everything, you hear me?" Mo Ahshi tapped the surface of the box with a finger. "Everything!!!"
Mo Ahshi lowered her finger and flipped over her hand; the box shrank and transformed back to a clock before landing on Mo Ahshi's waiting palm. Then, with a quick flicked of her wrist, the clock slid back into Mo Ahshi's sleeve. An eerie silence swathed the living room, which was now bereft of Ao Wushuang's existence.
Mo Ahshi stood at the center of the living room, her eyes scanning all over the place. Finally, her eyes settled on one of the bedrooms whose door was closed.
A smirk tugged at the corners of Mo Ahshi's lips.
"Come out now, you foolish child!" Mo Ahshi said loudly. "I know you're here!"
Mo Ahshi rotated her wrist so that her right palm was facing the ceiling. Wisps of green mist rose from the surface of Mo Ahshi's palm, forming a swirling ball.
"I managed to seal your master away," Mo Ahshi said loudly. "Do you actually think you stand a chance against me?"
Seconds passed in silence.
Mo Ahshi floated across the living room towards the bedroom, and then hovered just in front of the closed door. Above her palm, the green ball of mist continued to swirl.
"You know I have ways to flush you out," Mo Ahshi drawled. "So why don't you make things easier for the both of us and come out willingly. I don't want to have to use my spells on you..."
A smug look spread across Mo Ahshi's face. A bunch of scare tactics should work on that timid child, Mo Ahshi thought.
A minute later, the smug look on Mo Ahshi's face turned into a scowl.
"Still not coming out, huh?" Mo Ahshi released a low growl. "You forced my hand, then!"
The green ball of mist shot out of Mo Ahshi's palm and spread out to all corners of the room like tendrils.
"Hah!" The bedroom door split asunder the moment Mo Ahshi's flung her arm upwards.
"Final warning," Mo Ahshi growled. "Step out of the room. Now!"
Seconds later, Su Chan's head poked out from behind the door jamb.
Overwhelmed by a sense of smug satisfaction, Mo Ahshi withdrew the green mists and lowered her hand. Mo Ahshi stepped towards the door, reveling in the way in which Su Chan lips were trembling in fear.
"Now, now..." Mo Ahshi drawled. "Don't be afraid, dear child. I still have some use for you!"
"Ahhhh!" Su Chan screamed when Mo Ahshi burst forward with astounding speed.
However, instead of striking the acupoint she'd been aiming for, Mo Ahshi's fingers went through Su Chan's body. A split second later, Su Chan's body flickered a few times before vanishing entirely.
A talisman fluttered in front of Mo Ahshi's face.
Mo Ahshi's angry scream shook the entire room. She snatched the talisman from the air and crumpled it into a ball.
The ball burst into flames a second later.
"Gu Feng!!!" Mo Ahshi shouted at the front door. "Get your lazy ass in here!"
The front door creaked open, and Gu Feng stepped in.
"Find the girl and bring her to me!" Mo Ahshi snarled. "She most likely has the sword."
Su Chan moved swiftly and soundlessly down the mountain trail. Night had fallen, as evident from the darkness surrounding her. Which meant that she'd been running for at least two hours. On the bright side, she was nearly at the foot of Mount Tianlong. Suddenly, Su Chan froze. A split second later, she gasped and whirled around, though she didn't know why she did it; even without the darkness, she was too far down the mountain to see the Fox Zen School.
Her clone's memories came flooding into her mind, which meant that it had just been destroyed.
Su Chan's knees buckled, and she crumbled to the ground in a sobbing heap. Her clone had heard everything from inside the bedroom.
"No, Master..." Su Chan sobbed. "Please, no..."
Not now, Chan'er. Not here. Hide... Hide... Don't let them find you...
Su Chan crawled along the ground, not knowing at all where she was heading since it was dark and her vision was blurry with tears. She fumbled around in the darkness, ignoring the sting in her knees as they scraped along pebbles and loose twigs. About a minute later, her hands finally touched something solid—some kind of huge rock.
Hide, Chan'er... Hide...
Su Chan scrambled to her feet and moved off the trail. She claimed a spot behind the rock and pressed her back against its hard surface. By then, her sobs had reduced to whimpers and sniffs, though the sharp ache inside her chest persisted. Su Chan had no idea what sort of trickery Mo-shibo had employed, but that evil witch had managed to capture Master. Her clone did hear something about a threaded hairpin and some traversing soul thingy, but Su Chan hadn't a single clue what those terms meant. All she knew was that Mo-shibo was in possession of several magical weapons: that hairpin; that unknown thingy that she used to capture Master; and soon, even Bahuang.
Su Chan had no idea what Master had done with Bahuang, but Mo-shibo couldn't seem to find it back at their quarters. At least that was what Su Chan had assumed, since the evil witch was demanding Master for it.
Maybe Master had hidden it somewhere. Master was a genius after all...
For a fleeting moment, Su Chan allowed herself to believe that perhaps Master could somehow escape from captivity. Master was clever and full of tricks. Maybe Master would escape soon and come find her in Dongwu City?
Alas, the weight of reality crashed down on Su Chan's optimism. There wasn't a single sign of Master when her clone had stepped out of the bedroom earlier. Even Master's scent was gone. It was like Master never even existed.
Su Chan's shoulders trembled once again.
"It's all your fault, Chan'er..." Sobs overwhelmed her for a moment. "I... I shouldn't have run. I should've gone to Master's aid, and then perhaps Master wouldn't be..."
You fool! Su Chan chided herself. Master told you to run, remember? You promised her that you'd listen to everything she says! So suck it up and keep moving!
Su Chan sniffed and ran the back of her hand over her eyes to dry her tears.
What would be the point in revealing her presence? Su Chan stood no chance against Mo-shibo; she'd be dead as soon as she showed herself.
Relief coursed through Su Chan, and she exhaled shakily.
Indeed, Master was wise when she gave Su Chan the cue to run. Su Chan could see it clearly now, Master's game plan. Su Chan's escape was probably Master's only chance of surviving. She was no use to Master dead, after all! Only by escaping could Su Chan seek external help and then come to Master's rescue.
Su Chan gazed upwards at the night sky, wondering when the Heavenly Thunder would come.
Yundong would definitely help her. The Jindan's Heir was a force to be reckoned with. Even Master acknowledged his strength. Plus, there was now an alliance between Yundong and Zi Yuan, so maybe Zi Yuan would lend a hand as well. Oh, and Ruan Hongling!
Let's see here...
The Fan of Seven Treasures should've recognized Yundong as its owner by now, which meant there would be would be at least… three weapons on their side? Yes. Three magical weapons on their side, assuming that Yundong had returned the damask back to Ruan Hongling. Well, Zi Yuan might possess more than one magical weapon, but she was only referring to the bare minimum here.
But first, Su Chan had to get off this mountain and get to some place safe. The whole plan would be foiled if she got caught by Mo-shibo now.
Anger rose inside Su Chan at the thought of Mo-shibo.
"Mo Ahshi..." Su Chan growled, forgoing the honorific.
How dare she. How dare she mess with one of the two people Su Chan ever loved. How dare she!
Su Chan rose to her feet and unclenched her fists. She took a deep breath and performed a few hand signs.
The Shadow Cloak.
A spell that would allow Su Chan to conceal her Qi and, quite literally, cloak her presence. Master had taught her that spell years ago.
After taking one last look at the summit of Mount Tianlong, Su Chan turned around and moved stealthily down the mountain path.
Su Chan would obey every single one of Master's orders except for one.
Hang on tight, Master. Chan'er is coming back for you...
Gu Feng strode into Mo Ahshi's quarters.
"Did you find the girl?" Mo Ahshi asked without turning around to face her visitor.
Gu Feng shook his head. "No."
Mo Ahshi spun around abruptly and shot a murderous glare at the man. "What do you mean, no?"
"I've looked everywhere," Gu Feng retorted. "But there aren't any signs of the girl. She's covered her tracks well."
Mo Ahshi's face twisted in disgust.
"Ugh! You useless piece of trash!" Mo Ahshi growled. "You can't even do one thing right!"
Gu Feng's eyes darted to Mo Ahshi's face briefly before he let out a mocking snort.
"Don't think you can start ordering me around," Gu Feng sneered. "Don't forget that I'm from the Wanxiang Sect." Gu Feng glared at Mo Ahshi. "You have no authority over me!"
Mo Ahshi's arm twitched against her side.
Gu Feng failed to notice Mo Ahshi's rising anger as he continued his mockery. "Besides... Weren't you the one who allowed the girl to escape in the first place?" Gu Feng smirked. "Yeah, that's right. She escaped from right under your nose!"
A vicious look spread across Mo Ahshi's face as she glared daggers at Gu Feng. "What did you say?!"
Gu Feng scrambled backwards in fear. "W- Whoa, whoa... W- What do you think you're doing? Y-You wouldn't dare harm a single hair on me!"
Mo Ahshi took a few steps closer despite Gu Feng's warning.
Suddenly, Gu Feng stopped moving backwards and held his ground. "Fine! Come on, then! Kill me! Let's see how you handle it when the Great Seer starts suspecting something fishy."
Mo Ahshi halted her steps and stared at Gu Feng. A smug look began to take shape on Gu Feng's face.
"That's right..." Gu Feng said. "Think about how much your plans would be affected if the Great Seer starts poking his nose around."
Mo Ahshi schooled her features and took a deep breath.
"I'll let you off the hook this time," Mo Ahshi grumbled, then paused to look at Gu Feng. "Alert the Great Six. Tell them that there's been a change of plans. The joint assault on the Fox Zen School will be moved ahead of schedule!"
"Who do you think you are? The head honcho of the Cultivation world?" Gu Feng sneered. "You think you can order the Great Six around and have them do your bidding?" Gu Feng snorted. "You overestimate yourself."
Mo Ahshi burst forward and hoisted Gu Feng upwards by his throat.
Gu Feng gasped and started thrashing against her tight grip. "L- Let... me... go..."
"You fool!" Mo Ahshi snarled. "The Great Six should feel lucky to have me on their side! They couldn't even find the Fox Zen School's location let alone launch an all-out assault on it if I hadn't infiltrated the foul place in advance!" Mo Ahshi tightened her fingers around Gu Feng's neck. The act drew a sharp gasp from Gu Feng. "Who do you take Liu Ye for, huh? You think the Great Seer is a fool like you? I've just sealed Ao Wushuang away, and her annoying disciple is gone without a trace! It's just a matter of time before Liu Ye notices something wrong. We're gonna miss our opening if we don't move the attack ahead of schedule."
Gu Feng gasped for air and kicked out with his legs. "L- Let me go! Y- You... You'll only make things worse if… if you kill me..." Gu Feng gasped again. "How... are you... going... t- to explain it to Liu Ye if... if I go missing too?"
Mo Ahshi released a roar and flung Gu Feng away. A loud crash sounded, followed by a series of coughs.
Mo Ahshi pointed her finger at the man sprawled on the floor. "I would've ended your pathetic life ages ago if it wasn't for the fact that you're still of some use to me." Mo Ahshi lowered her finger and laughed darkly. "The Wanxiang Sect? You're threatening me with that pathetic little sect of yours? Give me a break!" Mo Ahshi shot the man a menacing look. "Even the Head of your miserable little sect have to bow to me let alone a nobody like you!" Mo Ahshi pointed her finger at Gu Feng. "I've been planning this for nine years. So if you dare do something to jeopardize my plans, if you so much as get in my way? You mark my words, I'll make you suffer a death so slow and painful that you'll be begging me for death!"
Gu Feng recovered from his coughing fit and stood up from the floor with shaky legs. "U- Understood. Destroying the Fox Zen School is the Great Six's common goal. I- I'll notify them right away!"
Mo Ahshi turned around with a flick of her sleeve.
"Two weeks," she said. "Two weeks, and not any longer. With the Great Six attacking it from the outside and me launching an assault from the inside? We can end this foul school once and for all!"