"Chu Li!" Siao Qi hurriedly reached out a hand towards him.
Before Chu Li could hit the ground, Siao Qi was quick enough to catch him. She lowered him down slowly.
Everyone was astonished.
The crowd from a distance away exclaimed in shock. They wanted to swarm in towards him to see what was going on, but Siao Tieying shouted and stopped them in time. Everyone stared at Chu Li's limp body.
Chu Li laid on the ground, his body stiff. His eyes were shut, and he remained there, still.
Mulin recovered his senses in time and rushed to grab Chu Li's wrist. He felt at it.
Siao Qi grabbed his other wrist, trying to feel for a pulse.
The two creased their eyebrows, then looked at each other.
Siao Tieying asked anxiously, "Is he alright?"
"Try using the Spirit Blessing Pill!" Mulin suggested, as he took out a small white jade porcelain. He poured out a pill, then pushed it into Chu Li's mouth.
But Chu Li's jaws were tight shut. It would not open even after Mulin had hit his cheek's acupuncture point.
"Come over, help me pry open his mouth!" Mulin sounded very concerned.
Siao Tieying ordered, "Lin Quan!"
Lin Quan nodded, then went towards Chu Li with Siao Tieying.
They feared that they would injure Chu Li's lips, hence they controlled the amount of force they were using, opening them cautiously.
Mulin grew annoyed, "We don't have time to play around like that! Just force them open, I don't care if you break his lips!"
Siao Qi said, "Brother, stop wasting time. Chu Li's heart stopped beating."
Upon hearing that, Siao Tieying increased his strength and forced open a small opening.
Mulin quickly squeezed in the pill, then injected some of his inner strength into him. But it dissipated quickly, as Chu Li's body had lost all signs of life. He looked lifeless.
Mulin let loose of his grip, his face looking dreadful. In a fit of rage, he threw the small porcelain bottle, breaking it into pieces.
Siao Qi started cultivating and circulated her inner strength onto him, but Chu Li's body did not give any response. It seemed that the small bolt of lightning that zapped onto Chu Li had really took his life away.
"Sister?" Siao Shi saw the dejected look on Siao Qi's face and asked, "Chu Li, he's------?"
Siao Qi shook her head, "He's dead."
"Sister!" Siao Shi said, "So many lightning strikes just now and he didn't die. How could he have died now?"
It was truly ironic. The consecutive, ferocious strikes of lightning bolt could not even get to him. But now, he succumbed to his death because of a tiny hit of lightning. How puzzling!
Siao Tieying felt on Chu Li's chest for any signs of breath or a heartbeat. He repeated the action again after cultivating his inner strength. In the end, he shook his head in the direction of Siao Shi, "Second sister, I'm afraid he's really dead."
"No way!" Siao Shi yelled.
Siao Tieying sighed, "He had performed the Eclipse Purloin, and knew what his fate was going to be. I'm sorry!"
"You cannot bring a dead man back to life." Mulin scoffed coldly. "Young Chu had defied the laws of nature; hence he must be punished. Nobody can bring him back now!"
"Second sister, your body is still weak. Don't be too upset."
"I just feel that life isn't fair." Siao Shi looked at Chu Li, she sighed, "He shouldn't have died!"
"As long as he felt it's worth." Siao Qi replied flatly.
Siao Shi sighed, "He was a smart and capable man. If he was still alive, he could've contributed a lot more to the Public House. Why did he have to sacrifice for a useless person like me..."
"Who said you're useless?!" Siao Tieying stopped her angrily, "Second sister, stop uttering nonsense!...Chu Li gave away his life to save yours. All we could offer him now is a grandiose burial. Stop ranting about everything else. Go back and have some rest!"
The crowd around them was plunged into a heated discussion. They all seem to agree on how unbelievable that was.
Chu Li shot to fame like a shooting star. Of recent times, he had become the household name in the Yi Public House. But now, he had died such a strange death. He managed to survive through the massive thunder that rocked both heaven and earth, but fell at the very last moment, under the hands of a tiny lightning bolt.
Siao Tieying looked at the unusually calm Siao Qi and consoled her, "My condolences, third sister!"
He knew very well, that of all the people present, the most heartbroken one would be none other than his third sister. She might seem calm about what happened, but he knew that it was a big blow for her. She was only containing her emotions with her heart technique.
Siao Qi said coolly, "I wish to send him on his final journey personally."
"Sure." Siao Tieying nodded gently.
Siao Qi bent down to pick Chu Li up, then walked outwards slowly. The crowd automatically parted, providing her a way through. They watched them silently, feeling sorry for the two.
Siao Qi hopped onto the small boat. Soon, she reached the Island of Jade. She made her way straight to the Glory's Will Courtyard.
Xue Linge answered the door. When she saw what laid in front of her, her eyes widened. She cried out, "Master!"
Siao Qi entered without saying anything. She put Chu Li down under the Glory's Will Tree.
She still had a glimmer of hope left in her. The Glory's Will Tree had always been mysterious, and Chu Li had always enjoyed relaxing under the tree. Maybe the Glory's Will tree could save him.
"Master he...?" Xue Linge's face was awfully pale, her voice trembling.
Siao Qi lifted her head and looked at her, "He's dead."
"But. How..." Xue Linge could not believe it, "Master was incredibly skilled at levitation."
"No matter how good he was, he still could not avoid fate." Siao Qi shook her head and said flatly. "Don't cry Can you take out a cushion for me please?"
"Sure." Xue Linge gritted hard on her teeth, trying to hold back her sobs.
She went inside the house and took out several cushions, laying them under the tree. She then helped Siao Qi put Chu Li on top of the cushions. Xue Linge stared blankly at Chu Li's peaceful looking face. Then, the floodgates of sorrows flung open, as tears started streaming down her face.
Siao Qi sat beside Chu Li, but she remained silent. Memories from the past started flooding into her mind. She continued cultivating the heart technique to oppress her overwhelming sadness.
After a brief while, Su Ru suddenly opened the door and walked in. "Lady Siao, Chu Li he------?"
Siao Qi did not mutter a single word. She sat still like a statue.
Su Ru then glanced at the teary-eyed Xue Linge. She walked towards Chu Li and felt his wrist for a pulse. Then, her face turned glum.
"Don't speak, be quiet!"
Su Ru sighed. She stood aside, fixing her stare on Chu Li, anticipating that he would suddenly open his eyes and smile back at her.
Time passed slowly. Soon it was sunset, the landscape was showered in twilight. It would soon be nightfall.
It seemed like the atmosphere in the Glory's Will Courtyard froze. The three ladies stood still, not making a single movement.
A bright moon hung high up the sky, its gentle moonlight bathing them softly.
The moonlight gradually shifted, and soon it was the break of dawn. The Sun slowly crept up from behind the hills. Unknowingly, one night had passed. The morning dews dripped down onto their clothes.
Su Ru used her hand to wipe away the dewdrops. She suppressed her grief and finally spoke, "Lady Siao, go back and have some rest. A dead man will not come back alive."
After a night long's wait, she had finally accepted the harsh reality.
Chu Li had indeed left the world. But her days were not over yet. She could not bear letting grief consume herself. She needed to cheer up and recover her emotions.
Xue Linge slowly asked, "Lady, who killed Chu Li?"
Siao Qi turned around and looked at her, answering flatly, "No, he had no enemies."
"No enemies?" Su Ru frowned, "Don't tell me he died because of a disease?"
Siao Qi waved at her lazily, "You'll get to know of the full story in near future."
She found it hard to pick herself up. Even with the heart technique, she still could not get rid of the immense despair. She did not feel like talking, nor moving.
Xue Linge took out her handkerchief. She bent down to help Chu Li wipe his face clean.
Suddenly, she lifted her head and exclaimed, "Lady, his body is still warm!"
Siao Qi jolted and went forth to look at Chu Li. His face indeed felt as warm as a living man.
Her eyes turned bright, and she proceeded to check his wrist for pulse, his chest for heartbeat, and then under his nose for breath.
There were not any signs of heartbeat or breath. But chances are, he was not dead yet. Because if he was, his body would be a lot stiffer.
"Master Chu Li is not dead yet, right?" Xue Linge gave Siao Qi a hopeful look.
Siao Qi calmly replied, "Nope, not yet!"
Xue Linge let out a long sigh of relief. For a moment then, her body went limp, she sat onto the ground beside Chu Li.
Siao Qi started cultivating and circulated her inner strength, injecting some of it into Chu Li's body. However, Chu Li did not give any sort of response, he still looked lifeless.
But his body was far from stiff, so she remained hopeful. It was very likely that Chu Li was not dead yet, but only out cold, in a very mysterious way that she had not seen before.
Su Ru eyes gleamed brightly when she asked, "Lady, when would he be awake?"
"I don't know." Siao Qi shook her head, "But don't disturb him, let him stay as he is right now."
"Yes." Xue Linge nodded quickly.
Siao Qi added, "You must count on him alone to awaken himself."
Suddenly, she sensed a strong intuition inside her, telling her that Chu Li would wake up!
After that, she picked herself up from the ground, "Please, take good care of Chu Li!"
When she returned to the Stargazing Tower, she saw Siao Tieying waiting for her at the first floor.
"Third sister." Siao Tieying raised his arm and waved at her, "Let's discuss Chu Li's funeral."
"He's not dead." Siao Qi replied.
Siao Tieying was taken aback by what she said. He sighed and shook his head, looking at Siao Qi sympathetically.