A Rare Sumptuous Meal
“Why won’t you believe me?!”
“Okay, okay, okay, how skilled are you?”
I had spent ages contemplating how to answer the question already. “… I don’t want to talk about my martial arts skills. For all questions pertaining to my martial arts, I can only say, ‘See for yourself, and make your own judgement. Do not tell anybody.’ I only ask that you keep to yourself whether you see me as weak or strong, competent or incompetent. Do not share. That is my only request.”
Shen Yiren came forward and tapped me on the shoulder: “It’s okay. I won’t tell anyone.”
I wasn’t asking you to keep me being piss weak a secret! Stop giving me that pitiful look!
“That’s all I have to ask for today. We have plenty of time in the future to converse more. For now…” Shen Yiren got up to stretch out and scrutinise the room. “We need to find a way out of here.”
“Oh?” I folded my arms. “Didn’t you say there’s no escape once eternal stone descends?”
“Though eternal stone is indestructible, this is only a stone door. Humans make trap mechanisms, so… We only have enough water and rations to last for seven days, at most. Therefore, we should have enough time to find clues. We’ve only been searching in this main room. I’d say we have a chance of finding clues in the other rooms. What say you?”
“You have my vote. You’ve forgotten something, though.”
“When Poison King came out from that room and discovered the eternal stone had been lowered, he looked more despaired than witnessing his mother have an affair.”
“I get it, b-”
“No, I’m not implying that, just because he can’t find an exit, we can’t find one. All I’m trying to point out is that, since he wasn’t cognisant of the fact that it had already dropped, he must’ve entered ahead of us. Why would he be here if he entered prior?”
“Hmm… You make an intriguing point. He wasn’t surprised to see us. What would he be doing here?”
I waited for Shen Yiren to look me in the eye then led her eyes to the room Poison King came out from.
“Mm… There must be something hidden in there but what?”
“Two animals if I’m correct.”
Judging from the sound of the relatively long animal, I’d bet it was a snake. The tiny one had to be a bug, insect or something comparable. I guess it didn’t matter since Boss went straight in – until the smell of poison permeating the air prompted her to stop, that is.
“You said you’re immune to poison, right? You can neutralise this if you could digest Poison King’s poison back there, yeah?”
… Yeah, I can, but can you not get into the habit of making me a poison solution so fast?! Name one person who’s ever signed up for this!
Despite my protests, Shen Yiren wasn’t actually ruthless; she constantly monitored my reaction when I absorbed the poison in case it harmed me.
Once I was done, I slapped the wall to transfer it out of my body.
Shen Yiren came in with a candle. “What is this place? … Why are there so many bones of, I don’t know, littered here?”
“Judging from their states, I can conclude they died in the last six months from skin corrosion,” I answered.
“Ah, I remember hearing one of Nanjiang’s Poison King’s two primary poison animals is a giant green python that spits out an erosive toxin. It wasn’t on him when he found us, so be careful, though I doubt he left it here. Seeing as there is poison mist in here, there must be poisonous things.”
“Yeah, I felt ticklish ever since setting foot in here.”
We had to split up due to investigate the large space.
As Shen Yiren investigated a route, she learnt that the secret chamber was linked to other ones in a big ring design. If Poison King’s tools and books weren’t enough evidence to indicate he concocted his wicked formulas here, then there was plenty of poison to nail him.
Every step she took, Shen Yiren prayed she wouldn’t bump into Poison King’s yang-poison scorching scorpion or yin-poison giant green python. If someone wanted to earn ten years’ worth of internal energy potency overnight, they’d want those two. Otherwise, they were more threatening than Poison King because one drop from them was enough to kill.
Subsequent to checking out a number of rooms, Shen Yiren found a cauldron in one, albeit only with traces of poison still lingering – not that it was less any nauseating. The room looked more private and closer to Poison King’s personality. Sadly, there were plenty of pills but no clues for an exit.
Shen Yiren briskly made her way to the end of the room to find a shiny, solid sword that was light enough to be perfect for swordswomen. Since even its length was perfect for her height, she decided to make off with it. When she went to grab it, however, she found there was a sheet of paper attached to it. She wrapped her hand up to take the letter, consequently learning the reason Luo Ming decided to host Refining Divine Convention.
Most probably, this is a letter Luo Ming wrote for himself and gave to Poison King as a symbol of faith for their collaboration. This quality sword must be what he gave Poison King to blackmail him with if he ever rescinded on their agreement. I need to show Feizhen this.
Ming Feizhen was nowhere to be seen when Shen Yiren went back the way she came. Instead, she spotted a small, red insect among the pile of white bones – the crimson-blood scorpion, except it was a squashed version.
I knew Poison King would’ve had his pets here! That being the case, where’s his python? As I didn’t see it on my route, it must be this way.
Shen Yiren made a beeline to the source of the scream to see a green python – a dead one – coiled around Ming Feizhen. She had her hand ready to draw her sword, only to hear him order, “Open your mouth.” She did as she was told and then had something squeal-worthy bitter shoved into her mouth.
“Oh, Boss, you’re here.”
“Wh-what did you just feed me?”
“Oh, I found a snake. Its gall was fresh, so I dug it out. I swear it’s marvellous for neutralising poison and even better here because of all the poison around. It’s good for you.”
Shen Yiren gulped down the gall as if it was a rock. “How did it g-”
“Oh, this long, shiny, green, three-horned python was coiled up by the corner when I came in, and it suddenly spat at me, so I had to hack it.”
The sum of the severed part on the ground and part wreathed around Ming Feizhen would easily be ten metres long.
This guy is ser-
“This is several days’ worth of food. I was going to cook up some snake soup. Boss, how do you prefer your snake?”
Shen Yiren decided to withhold her opinion after contemplation.
“See for yourself, and make your own judgement…” Don’t tell me…
Shen Yiren spotted a crimson scorpion claw on Ming Feizhen’s neck.
I’m pretty sure the scorpion is lethally poisonous…
“… Steamed… plus some alcohol.”
Chinese sword (jian) lengths – When it comes to single-handed Chinese swords/broadswords, you want the tip to reach up to your ear lobe or, at most, the top of your ear when hold the sword in bingbu (stand to attention), which is the starting position you usually see in taolus (i.e. feet together, hands by your sword, hand at the sword guard).