Mu Yu wasn’t needed anywhere, so he stayed to train with his seniors. It was pretty much the old days all over, except the devilish twists weren’t around to jape and there was Lie Shang, whom Mu Yu couldn’t see eye to eye with. With Qiao Xue joining them, Mu Yu started to feel he was betraying Tian Ran.
Everything was heading in a positive direction. Once Feng Haochen restored his cultivation, he could do so much and would be reunited with his daughter.
A sprout from the willow tree Mu Yu sat under landed on his shoulder. The grass moved in steady waves as it resonated with his spiritual energy. He had adapted to the black and white spiritual energy. The black spiritual energy tried to devour him, but the white spiritual energy would keep the former at bay so that Mu Yu was safe.
For some reason, Mu Yu’s eyelid kept twitching, perturbing him throughout the day. Dustfallen Mental Cultivation couldn’t shake off the ominous feeling.
“What’s wrong? I noticed your unrest,” Qiao Xue asked from behind.
Mu Yu opened his eyes and wrinkled his forehead. He shook his head and answered, “I’m not sure. Maybe I’m feeling under the weather.”
The sky was gloomy, and the air was stifling. Mu Yu’s optimism was lost beneath the thunder that rolled behind the dark, ragged clouds as if heavy squalls of rain were imminent.
Qiao Xue sat opposite Mu Yu and gazed at the low sky. Next, she shifted her line of sight down to Mu Yu and offered, “You want my help? I don’t have Xuan Ming’s Death by Emotions ability anymore; however, I discovered that I can placate emotions to a limited extent.”
“I’ll be in your care, then.”
Qiao Xue gently placed a hand on Mu Yu’s chest and transfused blue energy from her head into his chest. The energy was rather chilly, yet it was able to slow his heart rate and ease his tension.
“Mu Yu, Rou Anna bore a grudge against you for touching her chest. Are you going to bear a grudge against Qiao Xue now?” Xiaoshuai popped out and asked.
“One more word out of you, and I might just whack you,” Mu Yu responded.
Qiao Xue caressed Xiaoshuai’s head with her free hand. “Xiaoshuai, the winning fish told me they know you and like you.”
“I always said lots of people like me. Can you call them here? I want to ask them what they like about me,” Xiaoshuai declared, standing akimbo with a smirk on his mug.
Qiao Xue dimpled. “I think it will rain soon. They’ll be able to come out when it does. I don’t want to wake them from their slumber.”
Xiaoshuai took out a drumstick and merrily dug in. “Sleeping when there are so many drumsticks to enjoy, how silly.”
“… Uncle White Ape told me to return in a few days. I surmise something must have come up. I think I will have to pass on the infiltration mission with you.”
“What’s Old Furry rushing you for?”
“I don’t know. I’ll ask him tomorrow.”
“Okay, remind him to be sensible and not be such a jerk while you’re at it.”
“Pffthaha, whenever Uncle White Ape mentions you, the word he uses most is ‘jerk’. You two sure speak the same way.”
Mu Yu shrugged.
While Mu Yu had calmed down slightly, he still couldn’t shake off the ominous feeling – though he didn’t verbalise it.
Thunder started rumble in the charcoal sky again…
Poison mist and wild beasts still ruled Ku Mu Valley. Formations set up to hamper trespassers were still active.
“We’ve been on the go for the entire day. Up ahead is the valley I used to reside at; let’s take a break there.”
“Yes, Sir Ku Mu.”
The three descended onto the peak of the valley. Ku Mu executed a series of complex formations and instructed, “Wait here for me. I’ll be back right away.”
“Yes, Sir Ku Mu.”
Ku Mu went to the celestial fiend tree and dug up a maroon gem that acted as the valley’s formation foundation. Frowning, he muttered, “It’s almost out of spiritual qi. I can’t use it many more times.”
Ku Mu sensed a familiar and faint energy on him ever since Elder Leng left. He knew better than anyone else that the energy was a formation’s energy, one designed to track him.
“Who’s searching for me? This isn’t from a Dragon Searching Formation since that’s cast in a fixed location. Whoever it is has been moving all this time. They must be tracing my original spiritual energy, but who would have it?”
Original spiritual energy was spiritual energy that one had cast out of their body, then stashed in a formation. It was stored and only used when large volumes of spiritual energy were required for a formation.
“I’ve only used my original spiritual energy once. There are only a few suspects. Feng Haochen and Xie Bulao wouldn’t look for me. Chen Tiandao wouldn’t, either, while Illusionary Clear Rain isn’t around. There’s only one suspect left.”
Ku Mu levitated the maroon gem and slashed an inscription into the gem. At the same time it flashed red, countless formation patterns covered him and imbued themselves into him. It took nearly two hours for the formation patterns coiling around him to scatter. After a violent quake, the formations in the valley were cancelled. Ku Mu fused the gem with his body.
Ku Mu’s two bodyguards entered the valley upon hearing the quaking to find him sitting silently beneath the celestial fiend tree.
“Sir Ku Mu, are you all right?”
Since the two didn’t receive a response, they assumed Ku Mu was meditating and sat down to wait. Before they could get comfortable, two jets of qi were fired their way.
“Who goes there?”
The two drew their weapons to intercept, but they didn’t see anyone. Once they retreated back to Ku Mu’s side, they shuddered. They had been impaled with a sword, and the wielder injected his spiritual qi into them to wreak havoc in their vitals.
Thud! The two bodyguards never moved again.
Tian Budai appeared before Ku Mu with a smile and bowed. “Greetings, Elder Eternally Youthful Ku Mu.”