Chapter 50: Old Acquaintances

Following the green dressed girl’s utterance of those two words, a half translucent layer of blackish smoke immediately spread outwards, blotting the sky for Lei Wujie and Xiao Se as it passed over their wide as saucers eyes. Lei Wujie’s eyes only grew wider as he turned towards Xiao Se. In turn, Xiao Se, frowned and muttered in a low voice, “Secret Arts? The Barrier of Naraka?”

If the martial arts could be considered orthodox, then the Daoist arts would be those that intruded upon the realm of the supernatural. In which case, the secret arts would most definitely be that of the unorthodox. Even the Rakshasa arts which Wuxin practised were considered heresy despite being a mix of martial arts and secret arts. However, those who truly cultivated the secret arts were far and few between. 

It was said that only the Astrologians of the Astrologer’s Temple and a few roaming Secret Arts Masters could count as accomplished within this field. The reasons were twofold. One, cultivating the secret arts required an astronomically high level of mental prowess; the ordinary did not possess such a level. Two, practising the secret arts went against the laws of heaven. More often than not, these practitioners had a gaunt countenance and a bony figure to match. In the end, all that awaited them was a gruesome death. Yet here stood a green robed girl that definitely wasn’t old, and she was supposed to be one of those far and few between masters of the secret arts?

Not only that, those two words she uttered were clearly Naraka! Xiao Se himself had once heard these words uttered, but from the lips of someone who sent chills down his spine. 

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By the time that black haze had enveloped them, Sikong Qianluo had made her arrival. However, she didn’t seem to notice the unusual black haze at all. She merely swept her eyes across the courtyard before smiling faintly at the green robes girl, “How are you doing, Big Sister Ye?”

“Lady Qianluo.”

Having said that, the lady in question was still busy scouring the courtyard, eyes narrowed in suspicion and spear spinning about in unease. Xiao Se and Lei Wujie both exchanged a look with each other. By now, both of them had a rough understanding of what this Secret Art was supposed to do; that smoky haze was obscuring them from the outside world. They could see through the haze from within but those without couldn’t see in, neither could they even see the haze itself. By every account, such a feat was beyond what normal martial arts could achieve, was it any wonder then that the masses feared such practitioners.

In the end, Sikong Qianluo gave up. Brows furrowed in unwilling resignation, she faced the green dressed girl and said, “Big Sister Ye, if you ever see a couple of brats pass by, be sure to inform me right away!”

The green dressed girl covered her mouth and giggled, “Exactly what kind of brats are they?”

“One of them wears a red shirt, the other a blue, both of them ragged. The first carries a sword and the other has a staff hanging by his hips. Both scoundrels if I’ve ever seen one!”

Xiao Se immediately rolled his eyes while Lei Wujie tried once more to draw out his sword.

The green dressed girl thought about it for a second then shook her head, “I haven’t actually seen a pair matching that description. If I do, you can be sure I’ll inform you right away.”

“Alright. The weather’s bad these few days, Big Sister should rest more when she can.” Having finally given up, she whipped her body around and leapt out of the courtyard.

It was then that Xiao Se and Lei Wujie walked out from beneath the haze, yet the moment they did so, they found that the haze still clung to them like a persistent spiderweb. Slightly panicked, they tried to shake it off. Suddenly, Sikong Qianluo barged into the courtyard once more. Yet all she saw was that same empty courtyard and that same elegant green dressed girl. The girl smiled at her, “What’s the matter, Lady Qianluo?”

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Sikong Qianluo stepped into the courtyard, picked up a tiny bell from the ground and said, “I dropped this little thing just now.” Having said that, she closed the door behind her and left.

The green dressed girl finally waved her sleeves lightly and the black haze dissipated. “My Barrier of Naraka is merely at the beginner’s level so it’s still unable to completely hide your aura. Young though she might be, Sikong Qianluo has already received the inheritance of the Spear Immortal. That was how she was able to pick up a faint hint of your presence and return back to check.”

Lei Wujie nodded his head and cupped his fists, “You have our thanks, my lady. If I may be so bold as to ask for the lady’s name…”

“That was nothing to be concerned about.” The green dressed lady shook her head. “That wasn’t the first time that I’ve seen Lady Qianluo, I’m accustomed to her behavior by now.”

“We’re off then.” Xiao Se tugged on Lei Wujie before saying to the lady, “Many thanks.”

“Give me a second…” Lei Wujie tried to resist the youth but was immediately dragged to his feet again. The two leapt into the air but he still turned around one last time to get one last hasty look at her. All he saw was that girl standing there with a slight smile on her face.

A long while later, the girl finally turned around, pushed the door to her house open and entered it. “It really has been a while, hasn’t it…” She quietly muttered to herself.

By then, Lei Wujie and Xiao Se had already passed by several other estates and naturally couldn’t hear what she just said. In fact, Lei Wujie was still rather miffed by what had just happened, “Why did you drag me away like that?!”

“Don’t tell me, you were planning to ask for her name, weren’t you? Then her age, and lastly whether she was married?” Xiao Se coldly laughed. “But she clearly didn’t answer your question just now. Besides, she was very clear that she didn’t help us out on purpose – she doesn’t want to get involved with us at all. Would you rather we stand there and annoy her further? It’s not hard for you to see her again. If Sikong Qianluo knows her, you can just as well ask Tang Lian about her.”

“Ask me what?” A deep but familiar voice spoke up at that point, and the two of them immediately halted. In the distance, they found a figure holding onto a jug of wine and smiling back at them. 

“Senior Brother.”

“I’m not sure if I should even be the Senior Brother of someone who can’t even beat Sikong Qianluo.” Tang Lian chuckled before tossing the jug of wine at Lei Wujie.

The boy quickly caught the jug and took a swig of it, “If I still had the Murderous Dread Sword with me, I could at least force a draw.”

“Why?” Tang Lian suddenly became solemn, “why won’t you draw your sword?”

Lei Wujie lowered the jug and sighed, “This sword.”

“Rainfall?”

“That’s right, my teacher said that this sword comes from the Sword Spirit Clan, it’s a sword which chooses its owner. Unless I have the will to do so, I can’t draw it.” Looking down at his sword, he found it deathly silent, not at all like the longsword that was humming nonstop not too long ago when faced against the Silvery Moon.

“The swords forged by the Li Clan definitely aren’t like any other swords out there. It is said that for the last stage of forging, the blacksmith would slice his palm and feed his blood to the sword. That is why the final name of the sword contains an essence within it. I’ve even heard of two ancient swords, Spirit Conversion and Soul Destruction, that were raised by feeding humans to it.” Xiao Se softly stated

Tang Lian laughed, “With your talent, drawing your sword is only a matter of time. It’s rare that you can come down the mountain, how about we have a drink?”

At that, Lei Wujie’s eyes sparkled. “I actually know of a decent wine cellar in the lower city.”

“The same one where you advanced a whole tier just by drinking a cup of wine?” Tang Lian asked.

“That’s right, the Eastward Bar. But I have a condition for bringing you there -there’s something I wish to ask about.” Lei Wujie said.

Xiao Se merely snorted at that, he had never expected Lei Wujie to be so smitten with the girl. Yet, what Lei Wujie was about to say shocked him more.

“Exactly what is the story behind Lei Hong, Zhao Yuzhen and Li Hanyi?”

Tang Lian was stunned for a second, then he merely nodded his head and smiled, “That’s true, their story isn’t just something you can hear about in some teahouse.”


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