Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 60
Chapter 60: Riding the White Crane
The white crane flew extremely steady, and it was far more comfortable than riding on a horse. While Fang Xing was riding on the back of the crane, he could feel a cool breeze of Qi brushing lightly against his cheeks as the crane flew in and out of the mystical clouds that covered the valley. When he looked down, beneath them were sections of yellow and green that formed into sheets of land, occasionally hidden by the thick clouds of Qi while at other times displayed openly to the eye.
It was peerlessly beautiful. At the end of it, Fang Xing was still a child;he could not help but be mesmerized and awed by such a view.
Upon hearing Fang Xing's exclamation of cheer, however, the white crane had other plans.
As Fang Xing cheered, he suddenly felt the white crane accelerate like a meteor as it moved straight ahead and tilted its body towards the left. Unprepared, Fang Xing violently jolted headfirst and nearly fell from the white crane's body before it righted itself. With a loud cry, the crane increased its speed once more, yet this time it shot up towards the sky before sending itself and Fang Xing down in a nosedive towards the ground.
'Sh*t, does Xu Linyun want this crane to kill me?' Fang Xing immediately thought to himself in surprise.
It was, however, a misunderstanding. Xu Linyun had merely wanted the white crane to pick up Fang Xing from the valley entrance, yet the crane had already cultivated a small amount of Qi and was able to have basic human-like thoughts. After witnessing what had happened earlier at the Yunyin Summit and the reactions of its master afterwards, the crane had become protective of its master and wanted to teach this boy a good lesson. Of course, the white crane did not dare to truly kill the young boy;it just wanted to see the boy cry out in fear.
But Fang Xing did not care about the real reason and purpose behind all of this. After the initial surprise, he grew angry and yelled out, ’’Are you trying to kill me, you hairy animal! I'll f*cking kill you first!’’ Fang Xing flipped his body around and activated [Dragon Catching] to keep his body balanced on the crane with one hand, then pulled his dagger out from his boot and sent a stab right towards the crane's back.
The dagger may have been made from ordinary steel, but it was still considered a rare find of its kind, as it had been refined numerous times and had been a gift from Fang Xing's Uncle Sanshu for self-protection. When attacking with the aid of Qi, it was even sharper, and even though the feathers of the white crane were slippery and tough, the dagger still managed to make a clean stab into its back. Once the crane felt the sudden attack, it let out a pained cry and began flapping its wings in a disordered manner and turning its beak towards Fang Xing.
With the dagger in one hand lodged in the crane's body, Fang Xing hastily turned to his left as the beak of the crane landed on its own back. Fang Xing then took a leap using the dagger as a support and landed on the white crane's neck before locking his legs tightly around it. This was the crane's blind spot, and no matter how hard it tried, it could not reach its neck whether it tried to use its steel-like beak or its sharp claws.
’’Land, you bastard!’’ Fang Xing shouted as he plunged the dagger into the white crane's neck.
The crane released another pained cry and seemed to lose its senses from the sensation, its flight becoming disordered. Its motions did not worry Fang Xing, but seeing that the crane did not do as it was told, he believed it had not given up on the idea of killing him. Another stab went into the left side of its neck before Fang Xing twisted the dagger, causing the crane to give another sharp shriek and subconsciously turn towards the right, though its wounds caused it to fly unsteadily.
Fang Xing clung tightly onto the crane's neck and was now no longer afraid of being thrown off. Soon he realized that if he stabbed its neck on the left, the crane would fly to the right, and with a loud laughter of satisfaction he pulled his dagger free from the previous location and stabbed it into the right side, causing the crane to turn left.
’’Haha... so much fun!’’ Fang Xing could not stop smiling proudly at his new discovery. He'd found out how to control the white crane's flight path with such an obscure method, and since he was having so much fun, he was no longer in a hurry to have it landed. It must be said that although the dagger wounds were each about ten inches deep, the crane's enormous size meant that even such deep wounds on its neck caused it no serious harm.
The proud white crane was now completely tamed by Fang Xing as it flew on in despair. Suddenly, its wings gave a strong flutter and it dived towards none other than Xu Linyun's personal valley after spotting it down below;even with Fang Xing's stabs, the crane was determined to make it down at once.
After falling a thousand feet, the white crane crash-landed into a flower garden while Fang Xing was thrown off at the same time.
It was a small valley of around thirty square yards, complete with enchanting flora and fauna. At its center was a small lake with water so clear that the bottom could even be seen, and next to the lake was a three-storied wooden cottage that was painted and carved with the design of purple flowers while vibrant green vines crawled up from the cottage's base. Xu Linyun dressed in white and peeking out of her window had been the source of that surprised question after she had heard the loud disturbance from the crane's landing.
’’He'er....’’ Xu Linyun called out in concern as she flew out of her window. It didn't take long for her to land next to the white crane to check on its wounds.
At this moment, the white crane looked extremely miserable. Its back had been stabbed and blood from these wounds dyed parts of its white feathers bright red, and its neck had been stabbed no fewer than four times, all of which were still releasing fresh blood. The crane did not even have the energy to move anymore. As Xu Linyun closed in, the crane did nothing more than give a few weak, mournful sounds;sadness and pain was all it had left.
’’Did you hurt my He'er?’’ Fang Xing had been thrown some distance away since the crane had crash-landed in the garden. Just as he had managed to roll himself back up and before he managed to speak even a single word Xu Linyun furiously sent him flying into the distance with her palm.
’’I asked my He'er to pick you up from the entrance out of the kindness of my heart! How dare you do such things to it!’’ Xu Linyun was not satisfied even after her slam, and she formed a hand seal to summon her Flying Sword before aiming it at Fang Xing.
’’F*ck you, you stinky old woman! I knew you had no good intentions at all, how dare you use this animal to kill me! I hope that no man ever marries you and hope that one day you get sold to a whorehouse to be ridden by thousands of people and cursed by millions! Then die a horrible death!’’
Since Fang Xing believed that Xu Linyun had intended to draw him inside before killing him, he jumped up straight away and cursed her out to the best of his abilities. He knew he was no opponent for a core disciple in the eighth tier;if he were to take advantage of her verbally even if only for a moment then his death would not be in vain.
’’What are you on about? I asked He'er to pick you up at the entrance, as I was worried you didn't know the way to my cottage inside the valley. It was you that had ill-intentions and wounded my He'er. How did this become the other way around?’’ Hearing Fang Xing's words, Xu Linyun stopped her sword despite her growing anger from such crass language. She was faintly under the impression that if Fang Xing didn't have his reasons, he would not have acted in such a shrewish manner.
’’To pick me up, and with good intentions, you say? Good intentions your mom! This feathered animal wanted to throw me off mid-air;who picks people up like this?’’ Fang Xing sat up while facing Xu Linyun's Flying Sword, his face showing no traces of fear as he cursed her out.
’’He'er wanted to throw you off...?’’ Xu Linyun looked curiously towards the white crane. It made another mournful sound and turned its head away.
Xu Linyun was not stupid;after seeing the crane's reaction, she guessed more than half of what had actually transpired. Although she was still unable to forgive Fang Xing completely, she managed to calm down significantly and continued on, ’’He'er was born in the Qing-Yun Sect. It is only three years old and has never killed a single person. Why would it want to throw you off mid-air? It was clearly just a prank, so why did you have to wound it so badly?’’
’’A prank?’’ Fang Xing gave a cold laugh. ’’Who does a prank involving someone's life?’’
Unable to reason with Fang Xing any further, Xu Linyun stomped her feet and pulled her sword away before turning to check on the crane's wounds. With a few looks, she felt a sense of relief after discovering that even though the wounds appeared terrifying and bloody, none were bad enough to have endangered its life. After she rubbed some medicinal herbs onto each of the crane's wounds, she turned back and spoke with an imperious tone, ’’Come with me!’’
Fang Xing continued to sit on the ground, unmoved. ’’NO!’’
Xu Linyun frowned at such a response. ’’What are you playing at now?’’
’’It was your feathered animal that had wanted a piece of me first! I did all of this for self-protection, and you... you slapped me before even finding out who was at fault! Now my butt hurts so much, yet you only bothered looking after that crane of yours. You have to apologize to me!’’
’’Me? Apologize? To you?’’ Xu Linyun's eyes began to narrow;she had truly become enraged now.
The difference in their level of cultivation was obvious. Fang Xing was indeed afraid that she would really do something, and he pulled himself slightly away before speaking in an alarmed voice, ’’What? You want to kill me now?’’
Indeed, Xu Linyun's hatred towards him was now so great that she did want to murder this ungrateful brat, yet she paused. With a wave of her hand, a small medicinal bottle landed in front of Fang Xing. ’’Wherever your wound is, fix it up yourself!’’
’’Yeah, I'll do it myself. Why are you so rough?’’ Fang Xing muttered to himself as he began to pull down his pants.
Xu Linyun saw his actions and suddenly let out a shriek, ’’What are you doing!’’
’’My butt is wounded. I gotta rub the medication on my butt.’’
Xu Linyun was angry, yet also embarrassed. Once a few moments passed, she managed to squeeze out a few words, ’’Do it behind the bush!’’
’’Behind the bush?’’ Fang Xing looked around, then instead simply stood up. ’’Ah well, I'll do it when I get back.’’ Without further ado, he tucked the medicinal bottle inside his pocket without even a trace of thankfulness. All of this was under Xu Linyun's hateful gaze, but Fang Xing himself did not care;he avoided her glares completely while looking around at the environment.
’’Come with me!’’ Xu Linyun could not do anything to such a pain in the neck. After a heavy sigh, she walked off first towards the cottage.
He'er: 鹤儿 (he4 er), a nickname for the white crane. ’’He’’ in He'er means crane in Chinese. It is a common Chinese practice to nickname animals and pets by adding an ’’er’’ at the end of their literal Chinese word.