“Sister Ruoyan, is that you? You’ve come to save me!” The moment Yun Ruoyan unlocked the wagon containing Lin Qingxue, she leapt into her embrace. Yun Ruoyan patted her back, consoling her.
“Don’t worry, Qingxue, we’re safe. I’ll take you away.”
“Thank you for saving our lives,” a female voice called out. Yun Ruoyan turned around to see Xue Ji, her face mostly restored.
“No problem. Where are all of you headed?”
Xue Ji walked up to Yun Ruoyan. “We have a big heist to pull off, and we’d like your help. Would you be willing?”
“What sort of heist?”
“Stealing spirit crystals.” Xue Ji explained what she knew about spirit crystals, and how one of her ancestors had once brought back two high-grade spiritual crystals and given it to Xue Ji and the fatty. “Cultivating with these spirit crystals will undoubtedly bring our cultivation to another level,” Xue Ji replied, and the fatty, Black, and the other cultivators in her group agreed. Lin Qingxue and Zhuo Yifeng were tempted to participate: although they hadn’t ever cultivated using spirit crystals, hearing others talking about them had whetted their appetite.
“This is a rare opportunity,” Zhuo Yifeng began. “Spirit crystals will definitely be important for our survival on the Mingyuan continent, and they’ll be able to help us break through bottlenecks in our cultivation.”
After thinking about it for a moment, compelled by the eagerness of the gazes staring at her, she finally nodded and agreed.
Black, the fatty, and two other hulks dressed in beast pelts dressed in the dead swordsmen’s clothing. Meanwhile, Yun Ruoyan entered the prisoners’ wagon, and the procession continued toward its final destination. While in the wagon, Yun Ruoyan hurriedly wrote a letter to Li Mo, explaining what had happened and what she was about to do. Then, she strapped it to Mo’er’s foot and had him fly back to Li Mo.
Yun Ruoyan sat in the wagon as she watched Mo’er’s shadow vanish into the horizon. It was the first time she and Li Mo had been separated for so long ever since their marriage, and Yun Ruoyan couldn’t help thinking of him. I wonder if he’s saved Master Qin yet? I hope he’ll be able to come back to me soon...
After Lin Tianming entered a state of suspended animation, he never woke up. Li Mo and Qin Feng didn’t know how long they spent in the prison cell; the only occurrence of note was that someone had brought them a single meal not too long ago.
Li Mo handed his food to Qin Feng. Despite its being crude and coarse, Qin Feng seemed to treat it like a delicacy, savoring every bite. Neither of them touched Lin Tianming’s food; Qin Feng told Li Mo that Lin Tianming would eat it once he woke.
After another interminable period of time, Li Mo’s superficial injuries healed, but not the damage to his heart. As Li Mo sat cross-legged and meditated quietly, footsteps could be heard approaching the cell.
“Oh? They’re sending us food more often now,” Qin Feng replied happily.
However, what awaited them wasn’t food, but a swordsman. He opened the door to the cell and hollered to Li Mo, “Come out!”
Li Mo followed the swordsman to the scene of a banquet, one that the Pi household was hosting. The other six great families were all in attendance.
“This is an expert among my slaves,” Pi Yan introduced, pointing to Li Mo as he spoke to the heads of the other families. “Are all of you still interested in the competition among our slaves discussed earlier?”
Apparently, the guests had been bored of more conventional entertainment like watching performers sing and dance, and one had proposed a fight between their slaves.
“Of course!” the Wang family head exclaimed. “They’re just slaves, so we can simply throw them away if they die. I’ll send one up to compete with him!”
He made a hand signal, and a stout, sturdy middle-aged man walked out from behind him and stood by Li Mo’s side. Just like Li Mo, he was hiding his cultivation, so neither man knew each other’s strength.
“This fight is to the death. Begin!” Pi Yan announced.
The short, stout man was clearly a seasoned slave in these matches, because the moment Pi Yan announced the start of the match, he darted straight toward Li Mo. A mud-yellow glow stained his hands, as he sent a rapid flurry of punches and kicks toward Li Mo.
Li Mo easily dodged them all. “You’re no match for me. Admit defeat.”
“These fights are always to the death.” The man grit his teeth, then began attacking even more quickly without holding back at all. However, the difference between their cultivation was simply too immense. The moment he attacked, Li Mo could tell that he was only a peak eighth-rank blademaster, and Li Mo could easily defeat him.
Li Mo grabbed the man’s fists, which were superficially fast but had no substantial strength behind them, and twisted them until his wrists broke.
The stout man’s face turned half-feral as he tried to bear with the pain, then switched to kicking Li Mo. Only when Li Mo smashed his kneecaps in did the other slave finally crumple to the ground.
“The Pi slave wins!” someone shouted, and two men stepped up to drag the stout man away.
“Useless piece of trash!” the head of the Wang family shouted. He drew a dagger and stabbed the man in the heart in front of everyone present. The defeated slave died instantly. “Toss him in the forest and let the wild dogs feast on him.” The Wang family head dismissed the two men, waving his hand in annoyance.
Li Mo frowned, and he stared coldly at the Wang family head. Noticing his impertinence, the Wang family head thundered, “What are you looking at?! When you lose, this will be your outcome too. Defeated slaves are useless!”
Li Mo easily won the next three bouts: his opponents were all from lower realms, and tended to either be eighth- or ninth-rank blademasters at the most. Despite his injury, Li Mo was a second-rank sword saint, so how could he compare to any of them? Each of the defeated slaves was killed in plain sight.
The last bout was against a slave of the Feng family, and a handsome man in a silk robe walked up to Li Mo.
“Long time no see.” The man bowed slightly to Li Mo, who nodded back: the man had been one of the victims of Zong Yang’s attack while he was suffering from the effects of the corpse poison.
“Fortunately, we’re both alive, but you’re no match for me either.”
“That’s not a problem,” the man replied. “My master is benevolent, and Feng Bo’s my uncle. He’ll take care of me, so feel free to attack.”
Li Mo couldn’t help turning to the head of the Feng family, an old man who nevertheless seemed to be hale and hearty. Feng Bo stood behind him, and Feng Mian by his side. Based on their ages, Feng Mian seemed to be the head’s grandson.
Unlike the other slaves, the man didn’t rush at Li Mo. Instead, he stood where he was and began an incantation that sprouted vines from all around him. Half of the vines formed a woven shield in front of him, and the other half began attacking Li Mo like an octopus.
Li Mo allowed the vines to entrap him and pull him toward the handsome man. As the vines wrapped around him, a near-invisible layer of ice encased Li Mo’s body. The vines began to wrap more and more tightly around him, growing a layer of spikes as they did so. If not for Li Mo’s protective layer of ice, he might really have been pierced to death.
However, the defense of a second-rank sword saint was extraordinary, and his offensive capabilities were far beyond what any ninth-rank blademaster could accomplish. With his bare hands, he tore one of the thickest vines away from him, then stepped out from the entrapment. Subsequently, he tore apart the shield of vines around the handsome man, as though he were saving him from an onslaught of vines. “If your master won’t kill you, why don’t you surrender now?”
“Oh, I couldn’t. That would violate the spirit of these battles.”
“In that case, pardon my offense.” Li Mo dragged the man out from behind his shield and knocked him onto the ground. He raised a fist and was about to pummel him when the head of the Feng family interrupted the match.
“Hold it. My slave admits defeat.”
The handsome man stepped behind the head of the Feng family, leaving Li Mo alone on stage.
“The Pi slave is the final victor!” someone announced.
“Not bad,” Pi Yan praised, pleased that his slave had achieved total dominance in all five matches. As the victor, what prize do you desire?”
“I’d like two people,” Li Mo volunteered.
“The two slaves kept in the prison with me.”
“Ridiculous! Slaves can’t own slaves,” the Wang family head retorted.
“I’d like for them to be freed, along with me. Is that an acceptable request?” Li Mo clarified.
“Brother Pi, your slave’s performance was indeed excellent,” the head of the Feng family murmured.
Pi Yan nodded his head in approval.Previous Chapter Next Chapter