“Your Majesty, Luo Ming is still there. Returning now is…”
Emperor Yuansheng disputed, “It’ll be fine with him accompanying us.”
Long Zaitian felt nothing but scepticism toward the bouncing bamboo in front of them. If anything, he questioned, that blithering skeleton, who can’t even recognise His Majesty, is the state preceptor people revere as a deity, Lai Jingzhen?
Shen Yiren and Emperor Yuansheng were mutually surprised when they ran into each other, and both of them started checking on the other immediately.
“State Preceptor Lai F-, Lai is also here?” Shen Yiren only recalled Lai Jingzhen from her childhood as he was on good terms with her father, often dined at their place and performed divinations for them – though his prophecies were difficult to grasp due to his habit. People called Lai Jingzhen “Mad Daoist” because he supposedly couldn’t construct a coherent paragraph when his second sentence would always deviate from the topic of his first sentence.
“With State Preceptor Lai here, there is no need to worry for Luo Ming is not his match.”
“You are looking for… Abels?” Shen Yiren and Emperor Yuansheng saw Lai Jingzhen strut over to River Monster and Mountain Monster, performing seals or something with his hands.
“Hello, hello, hello, this old daoist has a question for you.” Lai Jingzhen looked to be in his early thirties, at most, despite referring to himself as old, and was arguably more of a stud than Ming Feizhen. “Hey, uh, Bodhi Abels around?”
“Don’t know.” River Monster wasn’t going to trust someone she didn’t recognise all of a sudden.
“Who gives a toss? Buzz off,” responded Mountain Monster.
“I’m sure my divination is correct. We should’ve met by now,” Lai Jingzhen mumbled with his head in his hands, walking straight past Abels.
“… You sure we can rely on him?” Shen Yiren inquired.
Emperor Yuansheng: “… I think?”
They could feel the heat and see the dense smoke connected to the sky from kilometres away.
“What happened? It’s like… a natural disaster occurred here,” Emperor Yuansheng uttered.
Shen Yiren feigned deaf.
Upon seeing the state of the ring’s exterior, the Qilin Guards thought they were in the lair of a beast. Never before had they seen lava, flames and smoke blend together with the sky and earth so naturally. That definitely couldn’t be how the human realm was supposed to look.
“Someone is lying in the ring!” Ye Luo yelled.
Shen Yiren’s heart paused for several seconds as she imagined the worst. Lai Jingzhen already went up to the person on the ground, covering her line of sight, much to her irritation. He commented, “Isn’t this Luo Sword Manor’s blacksmith? Why did he smash his own cauldron, and why is he lying on the ground?”
Abels and Shen Yiren regarded each other with their gaze: Ming Feizhen won!
“I heard this punk has been out of it ever since his lady died, but this is a whole new definition of abnormal,” Lai Jingzhen said to Mountain Monster behind him whilst nodding. “Yep, that means he’s crazy.”
Mountain Monster: “That’s the same crap, nutcase!”
Yu Jian arrived at Luo Ming’s side and set down Feng Jian’s body. Despite her poor condition due to her injuries, she was piercing Luo Ming with her eyes. “Move… I’m going to kill him.”
“State Preceptor Lai, keep Luo Ming alive!” Emperor Yuansheng ordered.
“State Preceptor Lai? Who is that? The name sounds familiar.” Lai Jingzhen stroked his chin.
“Nutjob! Useless when needed!”
Shen Yiren understood what Emperor Yuansheng was thinking and, consequently, flew up to the ring to stop Yu Jian creating a hole in Luo Ming’s throat. Mountain Monster, not wanting to owe Shen Yiren and company, reached for Yu Jian’s hand. Meanwhile, Ye Luo drew back her loaded bowstring. Unfortunately, Yu Jian had inherited Feng Jian’s incredible speed. Luo Ming’s fate was all but sealed when Lai Jingzhen suddenly exclaimed, “Aren’t I State Preceptor Lai?!” and kicked the blood out of Yu Jian, sending her up and away.
Lai Jingzhen slowly chambered his leg and set it back down. He whipped aside the bottom part of his shirt and saluted Emperor Yuansheng: “Your Majesty, your loyal vassal, Lai Jingzhen, is present!”
“… Y-you can be at ease,” replied Emperor Yuansheng. It’s never easy with him…
“Y-you’re with him?” Yu Jian’s speech was tough to discern with the blood coming out together with her words. Lai Jingzhen had completely floored her with his kick.
Lai Jingzhen shook his head: “No. Although I’ve known the blacksmith for a long time, we don’t meet a lot and aren’t friends. Why do you want to kill him again?”
“He killed my senior!”
Lai Jingzhen tapped Feng Jian with his foot: “You mean this guy?”
“Don’t touch him!” Yu Jian’s anger only further restricted her movement.
Lai Jingzhen did laps around Feng Jian: “He was caught in the chest, and it’s the work of the blacksmith. This is going to cost two silvers.”
Lai Jingzhen snatched Yujing from Shen Yiren’s belt without her even being aware until she saw it. He performed a finger divination whilst muttering, “Blood lost from the heart must be replaced with blood from a heart. This senior guy’s blood doesn’t counteract mine. Perfect. You a lucky guy, but this old daoist isn’t so lucky.”
Lai Jingzhen suddenly thrust Yujing through his heart, yet none of the blood spilling onto his clothing even bothered him. “Smooth sword,” he praised. Upon seeing everyone taken aback, he added, “I meant that it’s not that bad.”
“Enough of your drivel! Wh-what are you doing?!” cried Yu Jian.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Lai Jingzhen pulled Yujing out of his body. To their amazement, his bloody stuck to the sword, never dripping anywhere else. “Which means I’m resuscitating him.”
Lai Jingzhen pulled Yujing out so slowly that they could see the change to his flesh as he pulled it out. The bloodstains on his clothing erased themselves as he pulled the sword out; it was comparable to watching him reverse time. Scarlet droplets made their way into the hole in his chest once he finished pulling the sword out, and his chest aperture closed itself.
The blood on Yujing dripped onto Feng Jian’s chest wound, repeating what they witnessed earlier. That being said, Feng Jian’s chest wound had yet to fully by the time Lai Jingzhen pulled Yujing out.
“Dang, this is going to take a bit of effort. His foundation may be decent, but the onus is on him to decide if he lives or dies.” Lai Jingzhen, now glowing white, struck eight of Feng Jian’s accupoints with his hands to siphon internal energy over, thereby expediting the closing of Feng Jian’s chest hole.
The hole in Feng Jian’s chest didn’t close as fast as Lai Jingzhen’s. Nevertheless, in the best case scenario, he would only have a scar there in the future.
Emperor Yuansheng didn’t find the exhibition surprising in the slightest since he already knew what Lai Jingzhen was capable of. Emperor Yuansheng’s concern was on Lai Jingzhen’s mention of the Supreme Saints Guild; if it was true, then another fight was likely to break out.
Calculating using his fingers, Lai Jingzhen took two steps to the left and then two to the right before stopping in front of Abels. “Bodhi Abels?” he asked without looking down at the person in question.
Abels grabbed River Monster, who was going to deny, and answered, “Yes.”
“Good. Bodhi Abels, per the orders of the Supreme Saints Guild, I am here to pass a notification on to you.” Lai Jingzhen took out a scrunched up sheet of paper with smudged text, forcing him to squint: “By decision of Supreme Saints Guild, your rank as one of the Supreme Ten Saints is hereby revoked. In other words” – Lai Jingzhen looked down at Abels – “You’re fired.”
Mountain Monster blustered, “You done yet?! Do you have anything pertinent to say?!”
Seldom were the rankings in Supreme Ten Saints altered owing to how competent each one of them was – not to account for their backing. Whenever one of them was removed, they would be slowly removed.
Nobody questioned Abels’ place on the ranking as he was part of Beijiang’s imperial family as the uncle of the reigning monarch, possessed Tiezhen Kingdom’s national treasure, was the uncle of Beijiang’s reigning monarch and was undefeated in Beijiang. The trip to Jiangnan cost him his undefeated record and Evil Spirits. Consequently, Supreme Saints Guild perceived his influence in the pugilistic world to no longer be close to what it was.
Abels looked down: “Rescind it, then. I have my own life to live, and I don’t need a title to do so.”
“Glad to hear. Glad to hear. Okay, moving on. Second…” Lai Jingzhen stretched his hand out: “Hand over your Supreme Saint Dark Iron Token. Should you refuse, you will be executed here and now.”
State Preceptor Lai F- – Shen Yiren was about to say Lai Fengzi (Nutcase Lai)