Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 64
Chapter 64: Initiating a Visit
Translator: Actias-Myriea Editor: Nou
Meng Xuanzhao had men searching for Fang Xing the entire night, and not even dawn was enough to cause them to stop. Seated within the black bamboo forest, Meng Xuanzhao had been quietly drinking his wine by himself, his eyes colored a deep blood-red. It was within this forest that he had been robbed by the Black Market Bandit;it was within this forest that he had lost his face and become a laughingstock amidst his small circle of outer court friends. Everyone inside the circle had been poking fun at how not only had the Ore Essence Powder been taken from him, but even his own savings.
These circumstances gave him another reason to hate this Black Market Bandit with a passion. Even though Liu Feng wasn't able to take more than a few beatings before he died, the internal wounds Fang Xing had inflicted weren't entirely to blame;Meng Xuanzhao's wrath had pushed the beatings to be excessively harsh.
With so much hatred, even if Fang Xing were to be as close to Shijie Linyun as the rumors implied, Meng Xuanzhao still wanted to take the risk. He vowed to find Fang Xing and force the details of this Black Market Bandit from the boy.
By lunchtime, his men had gradually returned from each search point with no further news, causing Meng Xuanzhao to slam his fist on the stone table and clench his teeth in fury. ’’Nothing about him yesterday, nothing about him today.... Could he have already left the sect? But I've asked the guards!’’
’’Why are you so angry, Brother Meng? The boy can't hide forever. If he's really decided not to show himself, we can still use our connections within the sect to force him out. If he still chooses not to show, it would become grounds for expulsion and we'd just give him the title of a sect traitor. There wouldn't be many places he could hide after all that.’’ The speaker had been a young female standing beside Meng Xuanzhao, with a pale yellow dress adorning her body and disdain filling her face.
Inside the black bamboo forest's resting spot sat a squared stone table with six stone tools arranged around it, one of them seated with a female and two others with a male apiece. All of them appeared to be around the same age as Meng Xuanzhao, and their cultivation levels were all very similar. The people in this group all shared the same circle of friendship as Meng Xuanzhao, and all of them had some sort of connections within the sect, and of course these connections were all with people such as the lower-leveled elders. Birds of a feather flock together, hence it was no surprise that Meng Xuanzhao's friends all had similar backgrounds.
Surrounding the group were those who were willing to run errands in the hopes of receiving protection and resources for cultivation. Those who were under Meng Xuanzhao's influence had clearly not been enough to cover the entire sect by themselves, and despite feeling ashamed he had still been forced to ask two of his friends to lend a helping hand.
Meng Xuanzhao was obviously not nearly as calm as the young female, and he continuously lost his composure in front of everyone. He smacked the table once more before turning suddenly to his left. ’’Yu Sanliang, do you really not know where the brat is hiding?’’
To the left side of the stone table and seated on the ground was a fat, shivering man: the plump Taoist Yu, Fang Xing's only friend within the outer court. He had been brought over for questioning but had not yet been touched;since there was a possibility Fang Xing was close to Shijie Linyun, they did not dare to go overboard with any of Fang Xing's men just in case.
In fact, even if they were to find Fang Xing, unless they could confirm with certainty and evidence that he had a relationship with the Black Market Bandit, they would not dare to use any physical force upon Fang Xing, either. Not many people would have the courage to offend Xu Linyun, not even the uncles or family members that supported people like Meng Xuanzhao.
After Meng Xuanzhao turned his head away, the plump Taoist slightly relaxed. As a matter of fact, Yu had already guessed at a possible hiding spot and had only pretended not to know anything. Based on his usual self, the smart thing for him to do right now was to sell out Fang Xing's possible whereabouts for his own safety, but the plump Taoist had decided against this.
The first time Yu wanted to cut his ties of friendship had been after Fang Xing stabbed Liu Feng. The Taoist had been afraid of retaliation, and yet despite his worries Liu Feng had been left bedridden for the next two months, and Yu himself had ended up with two extra Spirit Stones.
The second time Yu wanted to cut his ties of friendship had been after Liu Feng convinced Hou Qing to take Fang Xing away for the Duty Talisman mission. During that time, he had been tortured for a good half-month while Fang Xing was considered as good as dead. Yet two weeks later, not only had Fang Xing returned alive and well, but Liu Feng had died, Hei San was intimidated into nothing more than a baby, and Fang Xing had become Shixiong Meng Xuanzhao's friend. Yu even ended up receiving ten extra Spirit Stones as a bonus.
There was also the moment at the Yunyin Summit when Lin Qinxue sought her revenge. Normally speaking, this would cause him to run away and distance himself as much as he could, since nobody wanted to offend someone from the Danxia Valley. And yet, in a twist of fate, Fang Xing managed to claim some sort of close relationship with Shijie Linyun.
The pump Taoist decided he wouldn't even think about how many extra trump cards Fang Xing had hidden, and believed that siding with Fang Xing even if it earned him another beating would be worth it in the end. He might even end up with a hundred Spirit Stones if he could just endure it to the end.
'Ever since joining the sect, I Yu Sanliang have always sought after luck and avoided calamity. Even though I smiled towards those with power and licked plenty of boots, I was still a nobody. But after befriending that little bastard of a trouble magnet, I've actually begun my path to riches. Yes... this friend is one that I will be sure to keep!' The plump Taoist once again reinforced his own thoughts. Most important of all, he believed that since there was the layer of relationship between Fang Xing and Shijie Linyun, this incident would also be turned around.
As the midday sun reached its full blaze, Meng Xuanzhao's fury had also boiled over and he had finished off quite a few drinks already. Suddenly, someone hurriedly ran over towards him while gasping for breath while pointing with great panic towards the outskirts of the black bamboo forest.
Seeing this brought Meng Xuanzhao delight. ’’You've found him?’’
Everyone else showed interest as they looked to the disciple. The plump Taoist, on the other hand, shut his eyes and prayed....
The disciple took a few more gasps of breath. ’’He... he came here on his own....’’
Meng Xuanzhao was so startled he needed a few moments to react to what he had just heard. ’’He came here on his own?’’
’’Haha, Shixiong Xuanzhao, you must be in a really good mood to invite me over for a drink!’’ At that moment, a voice rose from where the disciple had been pointing. It had come from a small figure that was swaggering towards the stone table, his little hands folded behind his back while a smirk was settled on his face, as though he was without a care in the world for anyone present.
The first person Fang Xing saw when he had drawn closer was the plump Taoist, and he immediately exclaimed, ’’Why are you everywhere?’’
The plump Taoist felt so wronged that he almost shed tears. ’’Do you not have any shame? Is that not all your fault?’’
A confirmation that the plump Taoist hadn't been harmed in any way caused Fang Xing's demeanor to relax, before he swept a cold gaze towards those sitting around the stone table. ’’I only have one friend here within the sect. Why did you invite him?’’ he asked in a neutral tone.
Meng Xuanzhao's first reaction upon seeing Fang Xing was anger, but his upbringing allowed him to push down such feelings as he groaned, ’’To invite you over, of course. I sent my men over to your cottage to invite you yesterday, yet instead of accepting my invitation, you wounded them and then left by yourself? I've been looking for you all night;where did you go?’’
Polite exchanges and pleasantries even if they were superficial and fake were the norm, and yet Meng Xuanzhao had skipped them to go straight into questioning. It seemed as though he had indeed accumulated plenty of rage in the time since.
Fang Xing tilted his head and gave a quick glance at Meng Xuanzhao before smiling and sitting himself down at one of the empty stone stools. ’’Don't mention it. Did you even ask those dogs of yours what they did? I told them I was busy yesterday and would come to join you for wine today, yet those two blind bats wanted to seize me by force! I got angry, so I decided to teach them a little lesson. Is there a problem with that?’’
Meng Xuanzhao wasn't expecting Fang Xing to actually answer his questions properly and was left dumbstruck. With a light shake of his head, he continued his interrogation, ’’I remember Shidi Fang is in the first tier, right? How did you manage to do this to two second-tier disciples? According to them... your strength definitely doesn't belong to the first tier!’’
Meng Xuanzhao's heavy gaze was locked on Fang Xing's face as he spoke. It was only because of Xu Linyun that he had to keep the veneer of politeness while trying to force the boy into incriminating himself. He needed a clear excuse if he wanted to force the Black Market Bandit's whereabouts out of Fang Xing through force.
However, Fang Xing didn't look the slightest bit concerned and continued to smile. ’’Yes, I was in tier one a month ago, but am I still in tier one now?’’
Meng Xuanzhao widened his eyes. ’’You....’’
Fang Xing laughed. ’’To tell you the truth, by the time I returned from Mount Miasma a month ago, I was already at the peak of tier two. Now that a month has passed, I've already broken through into tier three. Those two dogs of yours really weren't enough for me to even look at!’’
Hearing this, let alone Meng Xuanzhao, everyone's attention became focused on Fang Xing at once. The largest amount of suspicion was based on the speed at which Fang Xing had been improving his cultivation levels. They were originally going to question him hard on why and how he had managed to increase his tiers so quickly, yet none of them had expected him to admit it so easily and so soon. It gave the feeling of using a powerful and steady blow, yet having it slide off without effect.
’’How did you do this?’’ This time, it was a dark-faced man sitting beside Meng Xuanzhao who asked the question.
Fang Xing continued to smile. ’’I guess I can tell all of you now. When I was at Mount Miasma, I found a strange-looking spirit herb with three leaves and two flowers on a single stem. It was being guarded by a giant python that Hou Qing killed, but he didn't see the herb and I swallowed it. Then and it was painful, I tell you I had to convert all of its energy into Qi for my own use, and I was able to improve so much in one night as a result. To reach to where I am today, I'd say it would all be thanks to this strange herb.’’
’’Lies!’’ Meng Xuanzhao howled and immediately stood up. ’’Do you think I have no common sense! There is no such spirit herb that you can swallow without refining or crafting into pills! Even if you do, you'll just find all of your meridians broken from the unruly force of the essence contained inside, let alone increase your level of cultivation!’’
Everyone else had the same thought. They all looked towards Fang Xing with suspicion.
They were prepared to use force if they believed Fang Xing's upcoming answer had even a single inconsistency!
brother: not to be confused with Shixiong (martial older brother) or a brother by blood. This is a title between friends or close acquaintances (same case when calling someone sister).