Helpless, A Hero Sheds Tears of Shame (Part 1).
A man in black rafted across the lake to reach the estate on Taihau’s riverbank, while the chilly wind played a tune on the water consisting of varying cadences and pitches. The number of yellow lights needed to providing vision in the spacious abode was enough to overwhelm the forgiving fog.
Upon reaching the estate, the man in black leapt straight onto the roof tiles almost as light as a feather. The silver rays revealed that he didn’t have any intention of hiding his identity for his black attire was actually a black brocade robe that would be popular among wealthy elders. Was it worth painstakingly dressing up for the occasion? Hard to say. If someone who knew him ran into him, though, there was no doubt they could identify based on his sword oozing heat as though it needed a release, not that there were many who could identify it.
Luo Yan jumped straight into a well, indicating he had been there enough times to know his way around. The further down he went, the wider the tunnel opened until he could easily somersault and land standing, hands held behind his back to assert his dominance. He discharged a small spurt of energy to bring in some silver light to, at least, have the silhouette of the bottom in sight.
The well was… well, a well, except there was an extra hole on the wall that was just large enough for an adult to crawl through. Similarly to the well, the hole expanded the further Luo Yan went in until he could stand. He continued on for a little while longer before coming to a stop as going further down only led to a dead end. He, of course, was privy to the fact as he was in Luo Clan’s secret passage for ambushing invaders.
Luo Yan tapped a metal board somewhere along the tunnel three times lightly then five times hard, activating the stone wall’s mechanism that opened two folding doors for him to slip through. Six hundred tall, buff male pugilists were seated inside and evidently not from the Central Plain. Though severely outnumbered, Luo Yan marginalised the hostile men and made his way to the iron door on the other end of the stone room.
“Yo, Luo Clan’s second master?” cockily remarked the sentry. “Should’ve told me so that I could give a heads up. I can’t open the door that the door is locked. Go sit on that rock over there and wait.”
“That won’t be necessary. I don’t need an outsider to open my clan’s door.”
“If you had a key, th-”
Bang! Luo Yan busted the door down with a heat-enhanced palm strike.
“Hmph.” Luo Yan stopped at the door for he picked up the strong smell of herbs.
The secret room was supposed to be the temporary resting place of Luo Clan’s leader, but the group that took over the place constantly riddled it with smoke ever since they took over.
A hunch-backed elder stirred the stuff inside the large cauldron dead centre of the room using a long and thick wooden ladle, generating pink and green smoke columns. Perhaps it was due to the pink mist smelling nice and intoxicating, while touching the green smoke had the same effects as cutting onions, that the two were cat and mouse with each other. That being said, the elder didn’t show any signs of comfort as he constantly stirred. As the elder stirred, the end of the ladle in the cauldron that could withstand metal or iron hacking it would gradually decay. Luo Yan recognised it as a poisonous mist originating in Nanjiang that required him to use all of his energy to not barf in spite of him standing at the door.
A tall and tough man sat cross-legged on a stone chair that he layered with a white tiger’s fur at the other end of the room, meditating while keeping his appearance hidden from the light. He raised his chin and inhaled the poison mist in the air, intensifying the red on his cheeks. There was no need to wonder if he practiced an unorthodox style since there was no chance an orthodox style would have such a practice.
The man revealed his face that was more frightening than the poison mist that he took close to an hour to finish inhaling. The left side of his face swelled up and turned as red as blood, skin looking as though it was having spasms. The right side of his face sunk into a convex shape as his skin aged rapidly until his right side was gaunt that it resembled a painted skeleton.
The man opened his eyes and threw a dual palm strike, switching over the sides that his face was swollen and sunken. The two conditions started to ease off until his face returned to its concealed state, and the venomous vibe vanished.
In Nanjiang, they feed scorching scorpions near their volcano poison for every meal of the day and then pit over a hundred of them against each other in a battle royale. The winner, which they called the scorching scorpion king, was then subjected to the same treatment for a second cycle among ninety-nine other scorching scorpion kings. They aptly named the resulting pink poison that was produced the way gu poisons were created “crimson scorpion blood”.
The green poison was extracted from snake venom, one that was Nanjiang’s Myriad Gu Poison King’s secret treasure. He raised a black dove three decades ago and came across a skeleton golden silkworm one day. He had his black dove hunt the golden silkworm, yet the two kept their distance from each other. It wasn’t until later that he noticed a small green snake – a jadeite unicorn snake – creeping up behind his poisonous dove. In one sleek motion, the snake bit the two nemeses, killing them both and then draining their respective venoms.
The glistening snake murdered everything it sprayed its corrosive green smoke onto, so Myriad Gu Poison King decided to subdue it and still raises it to this day, raising it from a tiny snake to a giant snake over ten metres long.
The man had the elder chuck both venoms into the cauldron after letting them sit for a hundred days prior to simmering them with more venomous herbs. The man’s purpose in consuming the poison was to forcibly remove his limiters so that he could upgrade his strength. Needless to say, the man was one of the few individuals out there capable of employing the method without dying owing to his solid foundation. Even Luo Yan couldn’t see the man eluding the after effects sooner or later as a result of the strategy.
The man inhaled the lingering poison over the course of fifteen more minutes and then exhaled a breath of relief, his qi having turned red – obviously poisonous. He, however, was immune to the red poison, the proof being in the pudding.
“What did you come here for?”
Luo Yan finally advanced and sat in a seat several metres away then threw a bag to the ground, giving off the sound of metal rattling upon impact: “Widow Broadsword and White Sword.”
A smile spread across the man’s lips: “They dead?”
“One is. I defeated the other one, but he should be up by now.”
The man slouched onto an angle: “What are you here for if he’s not dead?”
“Don’t push it… Abels!”
Abels flashed the pearls in the corner of his lips: “Is it really wise to give me that attitude, conspirator? Have you forgotten how to treat your ally? If you have, I’m more than happy to remind you just as I taught you the first time we met at Sword Spirit House.”
After his first defeat at Abels’ hand, which was when he sought out Luo Ming for an explanation as to why they had to host Refining Divine Convention, Luo Yan lost another four times, losing in fewer moves each time, with the best record being thirty exchanges.
Luo Ming personally told Luo Yan that he wanted to ally with Abels. That was why Luo Yan was still alive.
“How many weapons do you want until you’re satisfied?! I’ve stolen dozens for you already. Why do you keep forcing me to carry out these dishonourable deeds when you have far more to choose from once the convention starts?”
“Pretty close now. As for your question, I have three things to say.” Abels sneeringly raised a finger and enlightened, “First, there will be too many orthodox sects at the event, including Wudang and Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary, so it’s tough to snatch their weapons there. If you don’t want Luo Sword Manor to become the martial world’s public enemy, you best stop with your pessimism.
“Second, those who can’t even identify you during your scrap aren’t qualified to produce a sword nerve. Turning back now will save their companions’ lives. They should be thankful I’m sparing lives from the orthodox sects.
“Third… Haha, I wanted to see the proud second master of Luo Clan reluctantly cut people down for me. I’m happier than I expected to be.”
“I’ve had enough of you!”