The man was dressed in a black robe with a black fur collar. He was wearing a vermilion red jade crown on his head and silver brocade boots on his feet. There was a wicked smile on his face as he looked down upon them. He looked like a lord standing high above the masses, or even a refined young master.
“Wen Changchu!” Delighted, Song Ci took two steps towards him.
This was probably Wen Changchu’s real appearance. A corner of Wen Changchu’s lips curled up to reveal half of a wolf fang. He said to Song Ci, “It had only been a moment since we last saw each other. How did you turn out like this?”
”You still dare to bring it up. How could you let others take me away for no apparent reason? That was dangerous!” A disgruntled Song Ci pouted.
He no longer felt pain from the wound on his neck. However, he had not been able to heal the wound that quickly, so it was still a terrifying sight to behold. Wen Changchu furrowed his brows as he looked at Qingyuan and clicked his tongue. “She didn’t hold back at all. We might as well just kill this kind of women.”
Song Ci nodded his head in agreement.
“Wen Changchu, what does this have to do with you? Don’t meddle.” The man likely knew Wen Changchu; his expression had turned ugly when he saw Wen Changchu standing on the demonic beast’s corpse.
“Qingqiu Sheng, aren’t you here for that piece of Devil Seal fragment? We have the same goals, so why am I meddling?” Wen Changchu looked at him with disdain. He jumped off from the demonic beast’s body and strode a few steps towards Song Ci. He jabbed his chin towards Qingyuan. “And that woman. I feel uncomfortable just by looking at her. I want to kill her. Do you have any objections?”
“I won’t stop you from killing whoever you want. But I must get my hands on that fragment.” Qingqiu Sheng said. “Our purposes are more or less the same. You want the fragment to secure your father’s throne, while I want it to dethrone the Demon King. We can join forces. There’s no need for us to fight each other to the death.”
“Are you qualified to talk terms with me?” Wen Changchu turned down the opening offered by Qingqiu Sheng. “You may be fearless enough to have designs on the Demon King’s throne, but I don’t want to send myself to my grave together with you.”
Qingqiu Sheng scoffed. “At the very least, you are the son of the Devil King. Are you that gutless?”
Song Ci looked at Wen Changchu in surprise and recalled how Wen Changchu had turned into a wolf pup after Rong Bai had stepped on him. Who would have expected him to be a devil and the son of the Devil King at that?
One really should not judge a book by its cover.
“It’s none of your business.” Wen Changchu rebuked and raised his right hand. A thick, dark purple fog appeared and turned into a blade half the size of the man. It bent into a beautiful arc, much like the moon on the first day of the lunar month. He grasped the hilt and said without looking back, “Go find your Master Rong.”
Song Ci’s heart felt warm. He wanted to give Wen Changchu a thumb up, but time did not permit him to stay. So he ran off with the lantern in his arms.
Qingqiu Sheng threw a look at Qingyuan. “Stop him.”
Qingyuan nodded her head in response and chased after Song Ci. Her qinggong1 was good, so it was a breeze for her to close the distance between them. But no matter what, Song Ci was also a master at fleeing. The harder Qingyuan chased after him, the faster he ran.
Just as Qingyuan was about to reach out and grab Song Ci’s collar, Wen Changchu suddenly appeared before her. The crescent-shaped blade in his hand cleaved down on her arm.
Qingyuan hastily retracted her hand and took several steps back. The curved blade stabbed into the land, with half of it buried in the soil.
Wen Changchu pulled the blade out and backhandedly gripped the hilt as he swiftly whacked Qingyuan on the side of her face. Unable to dodge in time, she felt a sharp pain in her face as if her chin had been broken off. The force of the blow flung her to a corner of the grassland.
She rolled over and was about to get up when Wen Changchu pressed the blade against her neck. The sharp, cold blade stuck close to her fair neck; if she had moved just a fraction, it would have punctured her flesh.
Wen Changchu towered over her and looked at her with contempt. “Where have you hidden Zhu Yishu?”
Qingyuan felt the fear in her heart, but she put on a composed front. “I locked him up because I didn’t want him to get hurt…”
“Cut the crap!” Wen Changchu was running out of patience. “I’m asking where you hid him, not why you hid him! Spit it out!”
He moved the blade forward, and a smear of red trickled down her wound. Qingyuan replied hastily, “In the dungeon at the back of the mountain!”
On hearing that, the corner of his mouth curled up. “Then, I’ll now settle accounts with you for the time you whipped me.”
“Stop!” Dai Yanxing hurried towards them. The tip of his sword blocked Wen Changchu’s blade. “Don’t kill her!”
“She colluded with those demons to destroy Mo Yao. Why are you pretending to be a bodhisattva here instead of protecting those children?” Wen Changchu was puzzled.
“Qingyuan is a part of Mo Yao after all. Mo Yao should be the one to decide her punishment. When the sect leader returns…”
“You…” Wen Changchu was not a good-tempered person. He was about to berate Dai Yanxing when he was interrupted by Song Ci, who dashed past him.
“Brother Changchu, help—” For some reason, Song Ci had turned back in a wild sprint.
Wen Changchu looked back and saw Qingqiu Sheng hot on Song Ci’s trail. He abandoned the idea of ending Qingyuan’s life for the time being and pursued Qingqiu Sheng with the blade in his hand.
When Qingqiu Sheng saw him chasing him, he turned his hand over and lifted it. His action upheaved the turf of grass on the ground and turned it into a wall several feet high. Wen Changchu brandished his blade to split the wall of grass in the middle and kept up with his pursuit.
Qingqiu Sheng was a four-tailed fox after all. It took him only a flicker of effort to reach Song Ci. He grabbed Song Ci by the shoulder with his claws and dug them into his flesh until there were five bloodied holes.
Then, pulling Song Ci by his shoulder, he turned him around as his other claw went right for Song Ci’s heart. Terrified, Song Ci used his hands to protect his chest, but then, his hand stalled when he remembered that the lantern was still in his arms. In that momentary lapse, Qingqiu Sheng’s long and sharp was already pressing on Song Ci’s clothes.
The next moment, a faint red light shone from within his clothes and ward off Qingqiu Sheng’s claws. Qingqiu Sheng was stunned for a brief moment before he extended his claws again. This time, Song Ci reacted in time and brandished his hand to block him. A blue flame suddenly lit up the dark night with an unusually beautiful color.
Its killing power was immense.
Qingqiu Sheng retreated in a hurry, but a lock of long hair on his face was still singed. The scorching heat made him frown in astonishment. “The blue flame of Tushan?!”
Wen Changchu came hacking at him with the blade. Qingqiu Sheng could not dodge it in time. Dazzling light burst forth from his hands, raising a gust of fierce wind that propelled that burst of energy towards the perimeter.
Wen Changchu blocked the blow with his blade. Even with the blade anchored into the ground, the impact forced him back. It was only after his blade gouged out a long furrow on the ground that he came to a stop. Kneeling on the ground, he felt a dull pain in his chest. He knew that his previous injury had not fully healed; he was only forcing himself to push on.
Qingyuan and Dai Yanxing were both caught in the wave of attack. The impact flung them far away. They coughed out a mouthful of fresh blood when they came to a stop.
Song Ci was not hurt, but he was thrown off by the force and fell to the ground with his head spinning. Even as he tumbled, he did not forget to protect the lantern. But when he sat up and looked at it, he saw that the lantern had long been crushed by him. He panicked and carefully held the lantern up. “Sorry, sorry. I didn’t do it on purpose.”
“Why are you kneeling on the ground?” A man suddenly walked up to him, and a pair of black boots and the hem of a snow-white attire appeared in his vision.
As soon as Song Ci heard this voice, he leaped to his feet in surprise. “Master Rong!”
Every time Rong Bai appeared, he always did so in silence. There were no theatrics and no commotion. Yet, it was this kind of soundless appearance that would always stir Song Ci’s emotions.
Just a moment earlier, he had been terror-stricken; the next moment, he was dauntless.
Rong Bai had reverted to that Daoist priest’s appearance. His divine face harbored a smile as his eyes seemed to glitter with starlight. He looked up and down at Song Ci and laughed. “Didn’t I tell you to wait for me in the building?”
“How can I sit still when something big has happened outside? Won’t I be just waiting for death if I remain in the building?” Song Ci muttered an excuse. Then, as if offering a treasure to Rong Bai, he held up the lantern he had been protecting. “Master Rong, I found the Devil Seal fragment! It’s in the lantern.”
The battered and shapeless lantern was still glowing. The blood that had dripped from Song Ci earlier had long dried up, and the lantern was so misshapen it looked hideous.
Rong Bai only took a look at it before his sight returned to Song Ci’s face. Traces of a smile lit up his eyes when he saw Song Ci’s sparkling eyes.
On the other side, Qingqiu Sheng had wanted to hunt down and kill Song Ci, but when he saw the man beside him, he halted in his tracks. Fear quickly overtook his entire face. He said in a voice quivering with disbelief. “Rong… Rong Bai…”
With almost no hesitation, he was about to turn and make his escape when his eyes met Rong Bai’s gaze. Even though they were a distance away, the murderous look in Rong Bai’s eyes did not lessen.
Rong Bai did not take the lantern. He raised his left hand slightly and a long bow appeared instantly. Its entire body was black, and there were exquisite motifs engraved at the upper and lower corners of the bow, spreading to the handle of the bow. His right hand conjured up a long arrow that was similarly black. He mounted it on the bow, took aim at Qingqiu Sheng, and drew the bow.
On seeing this, Qingqiu Sheng trembled. He lifted his hand, which was shaking out of fear, and hurled up layers of turf to form a wall in an attempt to block Rong Bai’s attack.
The instant he turned to flee, the black arrow left the bow, leaving a trail of white light like a shooting star across the night sky. It broke through layers upon layers of grass walls as the howling wind followed in its path. It hit the bullseye, right at Qingqiu Sheng’s chest, and penetrated his body. Qingqiu Sheng let out a shrill cry, and blue flames engulfed his body. The flames instantaneously burned him until nothing was left of him except for a glowing dark red pearl floating in midair.
Wen Changchu felt the impact of that force and watched as Qingqiu Sheng was burned to ashes by the blue flame. His expression changed instantly.
A moment later, the grass wall collapsed. Song Ci was bewildered to see only a bead left at the spot where Qingqiu Sheng had been standing. “Where is he? Did he flee?”
“He’s dead.” Rong Bai said in a light tone. He put his hand down and the black bow vanished. Only then did he take the lantern in Song Ci’s hands.
The light from the lantern brightened as it floated in the air above Rong Bai’s palm. After it had slowly rotated twice, a small stone with a peculiar shape emerged from inside the lantern.
Song Ci noted that the stone was the same as the one Lu Shaoqing had taken out. That was how he knew this was the Devil Seal fragment they were talking about.
After the stone was taken out, the lantern dimmed and a wisp of white smoke drifted out of it. When the white smoke landed, a man appeared before them.
This man was Fu Chi, who had been sealed in the lantern. However, he seemed different from the man Song Ci had met earlier in the lantern. His handsome face was masked with a layer of frostiness and malice, and his body language exuded aloofness and unapproachability.
Song Ci did not dare to speak to him.
Fu Chi’s eyes roamed about and stopped on Dai Yanxing, who was a distance away. There was a flash of a figure as he disappeared from his original spot and reappeared before Dai Yanxing.
“What situation is this? He doesn’t feel amicable to me.” Song Ci muttered.
“His soul was damaged after he plucked out his own immortal bone. Someone made use of the powers of the Devil Seal fragment to seal him within the lantern. His soul was restored after a long period of self-cultivation. However, the evil aura of a myriad of demons and devil had tainted him, that’s why his temperament is now unstable.” Rong Bai explained at a slow pace.
Now that Rong Bai had said so, Song Ci was even more curious. He was dying to know how the three of them would finally sort out their complicated relationship. Thus, he raised his foot and walked over.
“Next time, learn to fight back.” Giving in to Song Ci’s curiosity, Rong Bai walked beside him and touched the wound on his neck with his fingertips. “Even if you have never fought before, you should learn to fight.”
Song Ci’s heart stirred. He grinned and shrank his neck back, then nodded and replied, “I’ll keep in mind. I’ll learn.”