Siao Qi looked at him, "Let's carry on!"
Chu Li said, "Why don't I help you hit the acupuncture point for sleep. After you've slept, you'll feel much better."
"No, no need to." Siao Qi replied.
Chu Li could see how determined she was, so he stopped forcing her. It would be better to just stop talking her out of it.
The Imminent Skyline skill move was stretched to the limits. They were travelling at an electrifying speed and looked like a dash of shadow traversing the landscape, shuttling from one place to another. Within each blink, they would travel another two miles, and in between two blinks it would only take a few seconds.
The heart technique that Siao Qi had cultivated was mystical, it made her body strong and able to withstand discomfort. Hence, she was fast to adapt to the swift movements Chu Li was bringing her at. However, she was still unable to make out her surroundings most of the time, as all she could see were flashes of objects and shadows as they travelled. In the end, she chose to close her eyes instead. The floodgates of memories opened, as flashbacks of her sister, Siao Shi's sweet smiles floated into her mind.
From that day onwards, the two sisters would be separated forever, by heaven and earth. Even though Siao Qi could still control her feelings by cultivating heart techniques, the overwhelming grief was still too much for her to contain. It towered on her like a huge lap of wave.
Siao Qi's Jade of Life had broken into two. After approximately a day's time, the two finally reached the Yi Public House. By the time they were stepping into the Wind Tower, their faces looked extremely pale.
At the main lounge of the ground floor, they could see Guo Mulin, Zhao Qingshan and Lin Quan, who looked downcast.
Mulin's face was especially grim, he gritted on his teeth so hard that everyone could hear the sound.
He had been taking care of Siao Shi all these years, painstakingly putting every effort he could to provide her the greatest of care and love. The two's relationship was as close as that of her and Master Siao's. Now that Siao Shi had died, he put all the blame on himself. He despised himself for being incapable of protecting her.
Zhao Qingshan on the other hand, was silently cultivating a recuperation technique, but he too felt extremely sad at Lady Siao Shi's demise. He felt that it was really a shame that she died at such a young and tender age, there was still so much ahead of her.
Lin Quan's face looked extremely gloomy. From time to time, he would glance upstairs. He knew that the death of Lady Siao Shi would be too much for Master Siao to bear. If anything were to happen to Master Siao, it would spell the end for the Yi Public House.
Chu Li and Siao Qi appeared in front of the three men.
"Third Lady!" Lin Quan stared at her widely, and hurriedly went in front to give her a salute. "Lady Siao, you're finally back. Quick, go upstairs and see Master Siao."
"My sister, she...?" Siao Qi tried to keep her composure and asked.
Lin Quan hesitated for a second, then shook his head, "It's better that you go upstairs and see for yourself, my Lady."
Siao Qi turned her glance back at Chu Li, who was behind her.
Chu Li said, "I shall go up and see what I can do!"
Mulin sighed, "Young Chu, the Second Lady had passed. You won't be able to do anything for her up there."
"Not even a slightest of hope?" Chu Li frowned.
In his mind though, he could already see Lady Siao Shi. She looked like she was in a sweet dream, but she showed no signs of life. Laid on the bed was only a beautiful but empty shell of her body.
Mulin shook his head.
"I've heard that there is this kind of secret technique, called the 'Eclipse Purloin'. Have you heard of such thing, Elder Guo?" Chu Li enquired.
Mulin creased his eyebrow and asked, "Even you know of this?"
"I would like to give it a try!" Chu Li said.
Mulin shook his head, "Trading one life for another. It will halve your own life vitality!"
"Why not." Chu Li replied casually, "My life is not worth as much as that of the Second Lady's!"
"Only the greatest enlightened masters could pull that off." Mulin said.
Chu Li replied, "I know, but I would like to try!"
Mulin said, "You know the outcome of this. No matter Lady Siao Shi gets revived or not, you would still die!"
"Elder Guo, cut the crap. Quick, tell me about it!" Chu Li said.
Siao Qi gave them a puzzled look, "Eclipse Purloin? What's that?"
"Third Lady, it is a secret technique that allows the user to exchange their life for another's." Mulin shook his head, "Only the enlightened masters are capable of performing it."
Siao Qi glanced back at Chu Li, and said, "A dead person cannot come back to life. Chu Li, stop messing around!"
Chu Li replied, "What if the Second Lady was not destined to die yet?"
"You don't want to live anymore?" Siao Qi scoffed.
Siao Qi was grief-stricken by her sister's demise, but her mind was still rational. She would not want Chu Li to attempt such an outrageous act.
Chu Li laughed, "I'm tough, I won't die so easily."
In his mind palace, he kept records of this specific secret technique. It was not really a technique that trades one life for another, as described by Mulin. In fact, it was a technique of summoning a dead person's soul. The process would take about six days. Once he had gathered all the fragments of soul scattered around heaven and earth, he could regroup them back to her body, and make her live again.
But that technique would be an act of defying the laws of nature. It would enrage the skies and trigger a heavy thunderstorm.
The fury of the thunder from above would be extremely ferocious. Even the best enlightened masters were not able to withstand its devastating power, hence the old saying that the technique was a direct trade of one life for another.
The reason Chu Li dared to perform the technique was because he had the Scripture of Life and Death. He felt that he would not die so easily.
"Even a top-notch enlightened master would succumb to the wrath of the skies. What makes you think that you would survive?" Mulin sneered at him, and continued, "I know you have a special kinship with Lady Siao Shi, but she's already dead. Not even an enlightened master can bring her back. Just accept the reality!"
Chu Li creased his eyebrow and asked, "Elder Guo, are you sure you really know how to about this secret technique?"
"...sure, just wait and see!" Mulin gave him a dead stare. He then turned around and exited the door.
Chu Li turned around and looked at Siao Qi, "Lady Siao, why don't you go up first?"
Siao Qi shook her head, then slowly ascended the stairs to the third floor. In the room, she saw the heartbroken Siao Tieying embracing Siao Shi. He curled up beside her, crying silent tears, his body trembling with despair.
"Big brother." She walked towards Siao Tieying, then patted on his shoulder.
Siao Tieying's head was buried in Siao Shi's shoulder, he did not move when he was called by his sister.
Siao Qi let out a sigh. She stood beside the bed and accompanied his grieving brother. The atmosphere of the room came to a standstill, and all she could hear were the choked-up cries of her brother.
Mulin slowly made his way back to the first floor. He tossed a thin book across the room.
Chu Li reached out his hands and caught the book. He then lowered his head and flipped through it.
Mulin shook his head.
He dared to give the book to Chu Li because he was confident that there was no way Chu Li could perform the technique. Mulin had looked down on Chu Li. He knew that only the strongest enlightened masters would be able to perform it, and Chu Li did not fall under that category. Because of that, he did not even have to fear that Chu Li would be exposed to any sort of harm.
But little did he know, that Chu Li had a deep cultivation of austerities. Whatever an enlightened master could do, it was highly probable that he could do too. But still, there existed a wide gap between the boundaries of innate mastery and the boundaries of enlightened mastery. No matter how strong Chu Li was, he would not be able to pull it off.
After he finished reading it, Chu Li passed back the book to Mulin and said, "Elder Guo, I would like to give it a go!"
"You really want to try?" Mulin raised an eyebrow and asked.
Chu Li replied calmly, "Yes!"
"You're really out of your mind!" Mulin shook his head and said, "Quit messing around, Master Siao and the Third Lady are still grieving."
Chu Li shook his head.
Mulin creased his eyebrow and looked at him, "Even if you had succeeded, you wouldn't live too!"
"I understand." Chu Li said.
"Right, you won't give up as long as you don't get to try!" Mulin scoffed at him, "Let's go up then!"
Chu Li gave him a fist salute, then slowly climbed up the stairs to the third floor.
Lin Quan stomped on his feet, and nervously said, "Elder Guo, how could you stand watching that Chu Li wreak havoc?!"
"He was too engrossed in his feelings for the Second Lady. He won't stop until he gets to attempt the technique. Just let him go ahead and do it!" Mulin shook his head and sighed.
"Sigh..., If he keeps on messing around like that, Master Siao would be pissed." Lin Quan said, "Now's not the right time to enrage Master Siao, you don't know what he's capable of!"
Mulin let out a scoff, "Chu Li's only intention was to save the Second Lady. Why would Master Siao be angry?!"
Chu Li stepped into the third floor.
Siao Tieying and Siao Qi were so overwhelmed with sorrow that they did not realize his presence.
Chu Li did not want to disturb them, so he sat down with his legs crossed. He started picturing a Buddha statue in his mind.
At first, his imagination was blurred, there was only a vague outline of the statue's figure. It seemed like there was an unknown force obstructing him from picturing the statue. The scene felt similar as the time when he was picturing the Scripture of Life and Death a long while back.
He kept calm and remained patient. He slowly forced his way through the obstructing force. It felt like he was looking at the statue from afar, and with every step, he was moving closer towards it. His view of the statue slowly became clearer. And finally, he had broken free of everything in his way, and could now make out every detail of the statue. It presented almost vividly in his mind.
The statue's facial features were now clear. He saw that it was standing in mid-air. The statue was performing a series of hand gestures, just like a summoning technique. But Chu Li did not manage to remember the whole sequence of hand gestures. All that he remembered was the statue's extremely fierce expression.
Chu Li put his hands together and imitated the statue's hands gestures. He started mumbling a string of weird incantations. "Mo------Mi------Ba------Lo------Mo------!"
He started the first syllable with a low tone. Then, with each subsequent syllable, his tone gradually lowered. Until the very last syllable of the incantation, there was no sound at all, as if he did not even say it out.
Suddenly, it felt like an invisible wave of force was awakened from the vast nothingness surrounding him. The force started swarming onto him from all four directions.
All the windows in the house were shut tightly, but out of the blue, a huge gust started brewing. In the blink of an eye, the gentle gust turned into a violent storm. The curtains and everyone's clothes started swaying at the force of the wind.
The grieving duo turned around and glanced at Chu Li, wondering what was happening.
Chu Li imitated the same fierce expression on the statue's face, then performing the final step of the sequence of hand gestures. Immediately after, he pointed a finger straight at Siao Shi, and shouted, "Charge!"
The gust of storm all around Chu Li obeyed his order, as they gushed rapidly towards the direction of Siao Shi.
The storm now transformed into a small tornado, it casted Siao Tieying and Siao Qi about three steps backwards from the bed. Siao Shi was now at the eye of the tornado. And all around her, the winds gushed violently, However, Siao Shi appeared untouched, and her clothes did not sway at all. She was slowly lifted to about a meter high in the air. Then she stopped mid-air, and she laid there quietly.
Siao Tieying stared widely with his reddish, teary eyes. He was astonished by the scene before him.
Siao Qi too looked confused. But she could make an educated guess, that Chu Li was performing that secret technique he had mentioned earlier. It looked like that he was going to succeed.
Chu Li swapped his hand gestures with a great deal of difficulty. Then, he shouted, "Return!"
A wormhole appeared about an inch above Siao Shi's head. Within the second, it sucked in all the wind, devouring the tornado entirely. After that, the whirlpool shrunk into three bright spots, which then seeped into Siao Shi's head.
Siao Shi landed onto the bed with a loud thud.
Siao Tieying did not have time to react, and he furiously slapped himself in the cheek. He dashed across the room to have a look at Siao Shi.
Siao Qi followed her brother. She looked curiously at Siao Shi.
Chu Li was still sat on the floor nearby, cross-legged. But his face was pale, as the energy all around him started surging into his body, helping him recover the strength that was drained from his body.
Siao Shi's face became flourished. It was entirely different from the greenish, lifeless face she had moments ago.
Under Siao Tieying and Siao Qi's stares, Siao Shi's eyelashes moved slightly. She then slowly opened her eyes. She gazed at her two siblings blankly.
The two were beaming with joy. They edged closer to her and grabbed her hand to theirs.
"Big Brother, Third Sister..." Siao Shi's vision slowly became clearer. She looked very confused on seeing the delighted expressions on her siblings' faces.
Just then, the sky started rumbling. Suddenly, the sky turned ominously dark, looming with grotesque rainclouds.
Chu Li opened his eyes, "Lady Siao, bring Lady Siao Shi and leave!"
Siao Qi turned back at him, "Chu Li, you..."
Chu Li ushered her, "Quick, you guys go first!"
Siao Tieying threw a glance at Chu Li, then at Siao Qi, "Third Sister?"
Siao Qi asked, "You've performed the Eclipse Purloin technique, haven't you?"
Chu Li nodded in response, then smiled widely at Siao Shi, "Second Lady, congratulations."
Siao Shi smiled back at him, "I was brought back from the dead?"
Her sweet smile was captivating. It felt like the dimly lit house was suddenly illuminated brightly by that smile. The beauty was beyond description.
When darkness gradually crept into her dreams, Siao Shi felt like she was devoured by darkness. It felt like she was plunged into a bottomless pit.At that moment, she knew, that she would never wake up to see another sunrise again. She genuinely thought that she would be trapped forever in an eternal slumber.
But she did not know how long it lasted. Suddenly, a beam of light shattered through the darkness, guiding her forward, and finally leading her to a giant door. Then, in a snap, she woke up.
The loud thunder continued to crackle. It sounded louder this time, as if the thunderstorm was inching closer to them every minute.
Chu Li said, "Second Lady, you guys should leave this place now."
"Chu Li, you've saved me again?" Siao Shi asked.
Chu Li smiled. He looked skywards and urged them once more, "Hurry up! Lady Siao, Lady Siao Shi, Master Siao, leave now before it's too late!"
Siao Qi tightened her lips and looked at Chu Li.
"Boom..." The thunder sounded closer than before. Now, it felt like it was directly above them, as the whole of Wind Tower started shaking.
Chu Li's expressions turned worse. He rushed them, "Lady Siao!"
"Right!" Siao Qi snapped out of her gaze at Chu Li. She took a deep breath, "Brother, let's go!"
Siao Tieying frowned, "What is going on?"
"I'll explain later!" Siao Qi cut him short, then carried Siao Shi in her arms and made her way towards the door. When she was about to step out of the room, she managed to steal another glance back at Chu Li, "Don't die, please!"
Chu Li smiled.