The lightning stopped? Shi Yan couldn’t help but notice that there were no longer any claps of thunder. Selene’s root barrier slowly dived back underground, seeing that it was safe again.
Shi Yan, using Selene as a support, slowly inched his way to a standing position. Selene naturally tried to help Shi Yan get up. She moved under Shi Yan to use her head to push the boy.
We got no time to lose! The ape, whether alive or dead is seriously injured. Now’s that chance to strike while we can.
Shi Yan slowly moved forward, staggering a little. Selene naturally accompanied him towards the mountain valley. Seeing Shi Yan’s injuries, Selene could not help but be worried. She decided to follow Shi Yan, at least till the edge of the mountain valley. However, as her roots moved, the huge creaking sound alerted Shi Yan causing him to shout in warning. “Selene! Don’t move from here”.
Shi Yan had no desire to involve Selene in this mess. He had no certainty that he and Selene would survive if they went. Likewise, even if they’d passed the test, could they bring Selene along with them? Shi Yan did not wish for Selene to take an unnecessary risk, especially if it would not bring any benefits to her in the end.
Selene hesitated but chose to be obedient. She no longer pursued Shi Yan. The roots in the air dived down yet again, signaling that she was going to stay put.
~ back in the mountain valley,
Hati appeared yet again in front of Byakko. He poured some of his Qi energy into Byakko’s body. The Qi energy slowly circulated inside the battered body, relieving the pain and healing his wounds. Gradually, Byakko’s expression changed from frowning to that of tranquillity.
After 3 hours of healing, Byakko managed to open his eyes. His burnt skin had already returned to its former white with black stripes. Internal organs had mostly been healed. Seeing Hati in front of him, Byakko bowed in gratitude. It was unnecessary for Hati to heal him, as this body had already been damaged beyond repair, especially after using all his Blood Essence. This body will never again have its former luster.
Blood Essence was a symbol of vitality within a body. Each person had a limited amount. Even in dire situations, Cultivators would always hesitate to burn their Blood Essence. Everyone was well aware that burning their Blood Essence would not only reduce their lifespan, their own combat prowess would drop as well. Their bodies will grow weaker and never again regain its former strength.
Hati grinned “don’t misunderstand me old friend, I only healed you to make sure that my successor will have an entire corpse”.
Byakko chuckled “ha, ha. Why don’t you help me bathe before presenting my body to the boy?”. Byakko slowly got off the ape, but noticed something startling “Still breathing?”.
Hati quickly took a blade out of his ring and slashed the ape. However, he was stopped by Byakko. “Wait!”, the gigantic white tiger shouted. Hati froze, milliseconds away from beheading the ape. “What? You want to leave him alive?” Hati asked in a cold voice.
Byakko shook his head. “It’s not what you think. I’m planning on leaving him to that boy”. Hati’s eyebrows rose, “you expect him to come here?”.
Byakko looked towards the direction of Selene, “It’s not that I expect him to come here. It’s that he will come. Although he is calculative and cunning, he has a vicious will. When he feels threatened, he will take any risk to survive”.
Hati understood Byakko’s intention. Leaving the ape half-dead will leave Shi Yan a chance to pass the test. Even if he were to attack the ape now, with his physical ability, it would be close to impossible for him to kill the ape. The toughness of ape’s physic simply surpasses anything an uncultivated human could injure. “It seems that the boy is really lucky!”.
“No. it does not all depend on luck”. Byakko closed his eyes. “All my attacks must have attracted a lot of unnecessary attention. Since they were able to find my guardian and poison him, it is to be expected that they will arrive in 3 to 4 days’ time. It will depend on his determination to reach here and kill the ape before that time. Once he is here, I can also return back to my main soul”.
Hati raised his hand and covered his mouth, pondering, “it will be rather troublesome if they arrive before Shi Yan and Shi Yin passes the test. In case they fail to kill any demonic beast in the three days, let’s discuss a backup plan”.
Byakko stared with interest. Ensuring his daughter’s survival was his utmost priority. “What do you have in mind?”
Hati gave a smile that wasn’t a smile.
~ At the entrance of the mountain valley.
It’s been 3 hours since the lightning barrage had stopped. Shi Yan was occasionally looking up at the forest canopy, checking to see if there were any flashes of light. Thankfully, the battle seemed to had already ended.
Shi Yin walked on the ground, not daring to jump into Shi Yan’s arms. Currently, Shi Yan was still struggling to move. Each step took focus and resilience. If one were to check his back, they would see that it had already swelled up till it was black and blue. His abdomen was also not much better.
Throughout the trip, Shi Yan have been thinking to himself. How possible is it to kill the ape and survive?
[Coming close to the ape is no good. A cornered animal is the most dangerous kind of animal. Even if he saw me as nothing the first time we met, if he felt even the slightest bit of threat from me, he would have me eliminated. The cloak should do the trick… I need to ask how Byakko noticed me the previous time…
How about killing that ape? I’m certain that a frontal assault would be suicidal…
Then what about an attack from a distance?
That’s it! The killing doesn’t need to be near. It could be done from far.] Shi Yan smiled. He finally saw a method which gave him the hope of survival.
~ two days later,
Shi Yan had picking up the pace. His body felt a little better after some rest and herbal ointments. He had been on the lookout for all kinds of herbs or materials, that could be used to heal himself or to kill the ape. Thanks to the shockwave of the roar, many tall trees were uprooted. This was especially the case for those nearer to the battle zone. Some of those trees that managed to stay intact would shelter the herbs or plants behind them. These exposed trees made it easier for Shi Yan to find the herbs and materials he needed.
The undamaged zones behind the intact trees pointed to the direction of the shockwave, giving Shi Yan a clear route to follow. Naturally, this greatly shortened the travel time Shi Yan needed to take. He had previously expected it to take around 4 days of travelling. However, that was taking into account being lost. With clear directions towards the battle ground, it only took these two days to finally catch a glimpse of an entirely torched barren land.
[It seems that we’ve made it… Damn! What kind of battle did those two fight? There’s no signs of life here! Everything is burnt down. I’m guessing that the huge crater over there used to be an entire mountain…] The boy could not help but gasp at the destruction wrought to the environment by those two.
Shi Yan’s vision swept across the entire land to find three small shadows.
[It seems like they should be over there.]
Shi Yan hid by the bushes and focused on crafting. Shi Yin understood that Shi Yan needed to focus. Thus, she willingly left him alone to search for food.
Shi Yan had just completed the objects that he planned to make. Since he had no way to test the product, he made a fair number of them.
These things were fist sized and had an outer appearance of a clump of dried leaves with a long dried up vine attached to them. In total, Shi Yan made 12 of them. When he was done, Shi Yin appeared out of the bushes. In her mouth was a green colored fresh fruit. She must have travelled quite a distance to get it, since everything close by would had been damaged from the battle. It seems that she had waited for the perfect opportunity to present the fruit to Shi Yan.
Shi Yan knew that Shi Yin could not hear him but still muttered the words “thanks”. He bent down, picked the fruit out of her mouth and gave her a peck on the forehead. Shi Yin’s eyes became crescent like, expressing that all her hard work was not in vain.
After the meal, Shi Yan checked the wind direction before moving off.
~ At the middle of the battle-grounds,
“It seems that the boy is here as you said”.
Byakko chuckled “Ha, ha. It seems like you really don’t know him as well as I do!”.
Hati smiled wearily “It seems that I really don’t understand this boy too well…”.
Byakko gave a satisfactory look, “so where is he now?”
Hati stood there, not responding for a while. He suddenly lifted his arm to point in a direction. “He’s over there but he is not approaching us… Strange, he seemed to have stopped moving. The little fox has also headed in another direction”.
Byakko gave a puzzling look. “Maybe it’s time for dinner? No… judging from that boy, he must have something up his sleeve.”
Hati nodded his head in agreement. “That boy is too crafty… Such a young age and already so astute…”.
Byakko sighed “The hardships he has gone through must have forced him. Otherwise, no child would be that cautious all the time”. Byakko stood up and prepared to walk towards Shi Yan to integrate back into his main soul. However, Hati raised his armed to indicated Byakko to stop,
“Wait. We shouldn’t interfere. Let us see what the boy is planning to do”.
Byakko stopped moving and lay down. Grumbling “Hati, what are you planning?”.
Hati just grinned at Byakko and turned back to look at Shi Yan. “I’ll be back. I want to have a look at what this crafty little devil is doing”. Soon, Hati disappeared into thin air, not leaving a single trace.
Byakko just closed his eyes and ignored Hati. He was also curious as to what Shi Yan was planning. However, owing a favor to Hati was something he did not like. Therefore, he laid down and patiently waited for Shi Yan to come on his own.
~ At the edge of the battle-ground,
Shi Yan bit into his finger and applied the blood onto his cloak. Using a dried up wooden board as a platform, he placed all 12 of his constructs on it. He tied one end of some remaining dried up vines to the corners of the wooden board and the other end to his waist. Naturally, he picked Shi Yin up and hugged her inside the cloak. Ensuring that she was well hidden.
Shi Yan walked for 2 hours before reaching a satisfactory location. In these two hours, he continued to apply blood onto the cloak. His face was already pale from the blood loss. Shi Yin, of course tried to help him, biting into her little forelegs and applying onto the cloak. However, Shi Yan held her even more tightly after noticing her self-injured arm. Thus, preventing her from biting herself again. Shi Yin of coursed tried to struggle but Shi Yan’s grip did not loosen. She could only reluctantly give up.
Using one hand, Shi Yan dug 12 holes in a straight line, each 500 meters apart from the other. He left one of his weird contraptions inside each hole. Meanwhile, all the contraption’s vines were connected to one single spot in the forest. After placing down the final contraption, Shi Yan took the vine and ran to that spot.
It was time! Shi Yan grinned. Using his dagger, he carved out some wooden shavings from a nearby dried tree. He clumped up all the wooden shavings into the vine intersection and used a nearby dried stick to rub vigorously onto the wooden shavings. Smoke started to form. Due to the heat from the battle, the smoke developed by Shi Yan was camouflaged by the many random flame spots in the forest.
A small flame arose and it quickly travelled down the dried vines, causing the leaf contraptions to start burning one by one. The one closest to Shi Yan was the first to be caught on fire, creating smoke. This smoke was unlike ordinary smoke. Although it was the same color as ordinary smoke, it was much denser. Instead of raising up into the air, the smoke sank down to the ground. With each contraption burning, more smoke was produced. Gradually, in front of Shi Yan, was a thick smoke screen that he could not see through. The smoke moved in the direction of the wind, moving towards the three dark figures Shi Yan previously saw from afar.
[I’m not too sure who the third person was but hopefully, they wouldn’t notice this poison fog. I know Byakko wouldn’t die from this since his main soul is already with me. I don’t think I will feel guilty about injuring his remnant soul. Either ways, with this, we should be able to pass the test and leave this place soon.]
Due to the darkness, Shi Yan was unable to notice that the number of figures reduced from 3 to 2. Naturally, he did not notice that Hati had been floating above him the whole time. Although Hati was not threatened by the poison, he felt fear from Shi Yan. [This kid is too much! To think he would burn Emberlight to poison us!]
Shi Yan naturally learnt the ability to identify and use Emberlight from the herb shop keeper back in Nan Dynasty. Emberlight was a type of herb that would naturally look like a red or orange ember. Herbalist could only tell them apart from regular embers when they try to move the Emberlight. Emberlights were herbs, thus they have roots. The roots, which also had the appearance of amber, would be strong enough to hold the Emberlight onto the ground even when kicked. Emberlights would glow at night, making them a beautiful accessory or decoration. However, when the roots of the plant are burnt, the Emberlight produce a dense fog. This fog is extremely poisonous, capable of melting the blood vessels in the body when exposed.
Hati immediately flew back to Byakko, and told him about Shi Yan’s plans.
Byakko was also stunned by Shi Yan’s actions but he immediately laughed “That boy! Ha! It seems that I’ve really found a good successor!”.
Hati was also delighted. How many 7-year-olds were able to come up with such a plan? Shi Yan’s intelligence and wits far exceed his own expectations. Could he even ask for a better successor to take over the inheritance? How long does he have to wait for someone like Shi Yan to challenge the tomb? However, the thought of the next test made Hati sighed “If only we could just let him pass right now…”.
Byakko did not know the contents to next test but how could he let such potential like Shi Yan die? Frowning, “I don’t know what’s the next test but I have decided to support him with all my might”.
Hati stared at Byakko. “Do you plan to interfere with our trial?”.
Byakko did not respond and moved towards the ape. He dexterously dug out the ape’s Beast Core, preventing the circulation of its Qi. He claws the limbs of the ape off, not allowing it any chance to escape or resist the poison fog. The unconscious Demonic Beast seemed to wince in pain but Byakko completely ignored it. “Does this answer your question?”.
Byakko brought his head forward, taking up the toddler sized Beast Core in his jaw, indicating for Hati to receive it. Circulating his Qi around the core, Hati gently raised it out from Byakko’s mouth and placed it into the black ring on his left hand.
Hati sighed. He too understood the sudden change in Byakko’s attitude. If it was him, he would also do the same. The only problem was his brother. That stubborn fellow will absolutely not allow Byakko to interfere with the trials.
Hati closed his eyes and took a few seconds to make his decision. “It seems that both of us will once again be allies”.
Byakko’s eyes widened and lips formed a wide smile. “It seems that we have come to an agreement. Don’t worry, I will make sure your brother doesn’t find out!”.
Hati formed a weary smile and disappeared again.
Byakko smirked, turned around and jumped up into the sky.