Chen Xue returned to the small courtyard and to find Su Ru standing by the door in her apricot colored gown. Her slender and elegant frame pushed the door open to enter the premise.
"Chief!" Chen Xue called out and went towards Su Ru to greet her.
"You went to the Hall again today, Chen Xue?" Su Ru asked as she smiled.
Chen Xue said, "I helped Master to thank Sun Jun and Wang Xuanyi. He gifted each of them a Spirit Blessing Pill."
"How generous." Su Ru shook her head as she broke into a smile.
Chen Xue scoffed, "No one can stop my Master once he has decided on something."
Su Ru pursed her lips and smiled, "Look at how unwilling you are. Don't worry. Do you think he ever actually lacks in Spirit Blessing Pills?"
Both of them chatted as they pushed the door open to enter the courtyard.
Chu Li was on the short couch cross-legged under the Spirit Blessing Tree. He was focused on channeling his spiritual energy. He looked like an old monk meditating with his solemn features.
He slowly opened his eyes and smiled at Su Ru. He then looked at Chen Xue.
Chen Xue quickly reported, "I have already given it to them as you requested. Don't worry, I was polite."
Chu Li nodded with satisfaction.
Su Ru said, "Chu Li, you need to heal even quicker. We've already found traces of the Thunder Guiding Blade. Lady Siao wants to start her journey tomorrow!"
"You've found it already? That fast?" Chu Li was surprised.
How was the Grandmaster's hideout snuffed out so easily? Even if it was the work of the Public House, it was still a little quick.
Su Ru smiled, "We were sort of lucky. We didn't expect to find it so quickly."
"How did you find it?"
"A Protector heard about it in a mission, along through his journey. He simply asked around and someone told him the location of the Thunder Guiding Blade. It's at Phoenix Mountain."
Su Ru said, "We're still unsure of his exact location, but he's most probably living in the area. Lady Siao plans on finding the place right after we reach there. This is to prevent them from alerting any enemies."
Chu Li said, "Such a coincidence..?"
"Maybe even God wants to help Lady Siao." She smiled.
Chu Li shook his head as he furrowed his brows. He then kept silent.
"Are you not happy finding out about the news, Chu Li?" She tilted her head and looked at him, "Why are you looking like that?"
"I'm afraid that we might be celebrating over nothing." Chu Li said.
Su Ru said, "We need to hide the news from Lady Siao Shi. We'll wait until after we have retrieved the Thunder Guiding Blade. When will you be healed? Can you make it by tomorrow? If you can't, Lady Siao will travel by herself."
Chu Li furrowed his brows.
Su Ru said, "Don't worry. Of course, we'd bring a few more Grandmasters."
Chu Li muttered for a moment. "Alright. We'll start our journey tomorrow!"
"Will your wounds be cured by then?"
"Hmm, I'll try to heal them."
"You better not do anything stupid." Su Ru said, "Lady Siao said your wound needs to be healed gradually. You can't rush it!"
"I have my ways." Chu Li reassured her.
"Alright then. I'll report to Lady Siao." Su Ru looked at him, worried. She stood up and bid farewell before she left.
The sun shone brilliantly for the following morning. Its golden rays painted courtyard with a lustrous yellow.
Chu Li then slowly awakened from his meditation under the Glory's Will tree.
After a night's effort, the Perishable Touch was removed.
He slowly recovered from his injury because he wanted to assess the mysterious power of the Perishable Touch. He wanted to experience the meaning of death but was worried about
Siao Qi going off to find the Thunder Guiding Blade alone. So he unwillingly gave up on the task and completely cleanse himself of the Perishable Touch.
Chu Li wanted to follow Siao Qi not because he was worried about her wit. She was definitely no fool as she has the ability to decipher one's inner thoughts. Deceiving her was not an easy task and anyone would be needing luck just to trick Siao Qi. However with Chu Li as her companion, he would able to divert any dangerous situation to their advantage.
Fleeing definitely was their best option but Chu Li is counted as assurance of Siao Qi's safety.
Siao Qi and Su Ru arrived at the small courtyard. Siao Qi was clad in white and exuded a lovely aroma. She shyly looked at Chu Li. "Have your wounds healed?"
Chu Li nodded.
Siao Qi then sat at the side of the couch. She then placed her soft fingers on Chu Li's palms to check his vitals. She felt the fierce and raging inner energy within him and nodded in satisfaction.
As Siao Qi placed her hands on him, Chu Li became half numb. He tried to control his manic heartbeat. He did not want Siao Qi to sense anything odd.
"It's much better now." Siao Qi then withdrew her delicate fingers. She lightly nodded, "Do you want to follow me to Phoenix Mountain?"
Chu Li smiled, "Of course."
Siao Qi said, "The Temple of Tempest is still probably looking for opportunities to kill you."
Chu Li smiled but did not answer. He was not afraid of the Temple's pursuit to eradicate him.
However, he needed to be more cautious in the future.
"Very well. It's just the two of us then." Siao Qi said, "We depart and return as quickly as possible. We'll move in secret. Going undetected will cause less trouble for us in the long run."
Chu Li said, "Lady Siao, please hire some Grandmaster Protectors."
Siao Qi furrowed her brows and glared at him.
Chu Li said, "I'm worried if Lu Yurong is connected somehow to all of this. What if the Thunder Guiding Blade was just something made up by Lu Yurong's men?"
"Hmm--?" Siao Qi was startled.
She may be smart but she was not great at predicting enemy plans. Siao Qi was good at seeing through people and countering their maneuvers head on. However, she lacked the skill in deceiving enemies on her first move. She was nowhere close to Lu Yurong's level in countering his cunning tricks and plots.
Chu Li shook his head, "Even if Lu Yurong has nothing to do with this, we still need to be careful of the Thunder Guiding Blade. We don't know what their true intentions are and it has been more than ten years. We're not exactly sure if his relationship with the High Duke remains unchanged."
Siao Qi continued to contemplate.
Since Chu Li mentioned the problem, she realized that she needed to be more careful. Lu Yurong has a lot of tricks up his sleeves. Siao Qi further contemplates how fragile the situation is. If Chu Li was able to expect Lu Yurong's plans, then so will Lu Yurong.
Chu Li turned to look at her.
After a moment, Siao Qi shook her head, "I think it's better if we both go!"
Chu Li felt helpless with her decision but gave a forced smile.
Siao Qi said, "If this really is a trap by Lu Yurong, we'll leave as soon as something feels off. The mission would be jeopardized if Elder Zhao Qingshan and his men followed us.
Furthermore, they wouldn't be much help in a case of an ambush. If we move quietly, it'll be harder to corner us."
If the both of them moved simultaneously, they could hide their tracks and allow someone to escape to call for backup. If they went with Zhao Qingshan, it would grab too much attention.
Their tracks would then easily be easily followed by others.
If this really was Lu Yurong's plan, the best possible outcome for the mission would be a stalemate. It was still impossible to pull a win from the Hu Ren Public House. Instead of forcing a draw, there was no point in wasting time against them. They might not have conducted the mission in the first place.
Chu Li could tell that Siao Qi had already made her decision. He could only nod in agreement.
Chen Xue had just finished the packing. She coldly handed the bundle of materials to Chu Li.
Chu Li stared at her and took it. He exited the small courtyard with Siao Qi and boarded the
Gaily-Painted Pleasure-Boat located in the deep end of the woods.
Su Ru was already in the Gaily-Painted Pleasure-Boat with two fine horses with her. She wore a light green gown.
Chu Li could tell that the horses were taken from the Phoenix Tree Faction. They were very fine steeds.
The Gaily-Painted Pleasure-Boat slowly rowed away from the Guardian of Jade Island and sailed off into the lake. Chu Li and the other two entered the cabin.
Siao Qi sat on the short couch next to the window. Chu Li was just a table away, opposite of her.
Su Ru served them two cups of tea and stood to the side.
Chu Li smiled, "Is the Chief coming along too?"
Su Ru rolled her eyes at him, "What's the point? I'd just be a burden!"
Chu Li smiled. He predicted that she was going to complain.
Siao Qi added, "You only have yourself to blame for not putting any effort into your martial arts. At your best, it's still average. Big missions would be impossible for you."
Su Ru replied with anger, "Who on earth is comparable to the both of you!? I don't have such natural born abilities!"
Siao Qi stared at her, "Chu Li, Phoenix Mountain is two thousand miles away. If we're fast enough, we can reach it by tomorrow."
Chu Li said, "I'm just afraid that it won't be easy to find him after we enter the mountain."
Siao Qi said, "Sister Siao Shi's condition isn't faring well. We need to speed up."
Chu Li furrowed his brows, "Is Lady Siao Shi ill?"
Siao Qi sighed, "She was inflicted with typhoid fever yesterday. It's because of the current solar flare. It got her by chance. We weren't able to prevent it."
Chu Li's expression became serious.
Siao Shi's body was very weak. Typhoid fever was nothing to normal folks, but to Siao Shi, it was a serious threat.
"She should be able to survive with Elder Mulin's care." Siao Qi said, "But after this attack, what about the next time? She's getting visibly weaker."
Chu Li nodded slowly. His heart dropped with the news.
The Gaily-Painted Pleasure-Boat quietly sailed. In the time it took to finish a cup of tea, the pleasure-boat had reached the shore.
Chu Li and Siao Qi got off and saddled on the steeds. They waved their hands to bid farewell to Su Ru. They galloped along the small road as they left. In the blink of an eye, they were already out of Su Ru's field of vision, leaving only trails of smoke and dust behind them.