Su Ru said, "I'll lend you the book for several days. But don't let anyone know about it, because it belongs to the Lady!"
"I've already noted down all of it." Chu Li smiled and passed the book back to her, "Thank you Chief, and to the Lady too."
Su Ru reached out and took the book back, keeping it in her sleeves, "Ah, I forgot that you have a photographic memory. The Lady asked me to convey to you that cultivation of the body should only be done promptly, don't mess up your priorities, focus on mastering the Sentient Menace move."
"Of course." Chu Li nodded slowly.
He pictured the Art of White Tiger again, the six postures of the tigers vividly presenting in his mind.
But this time, he used his Omniscient Mirror technique, and he noticed a large surge of invisible energy out of nowhere, just like countless discrete needles piercing into his body.
After these needles had pierced through his flesh, his body started experiencing changes. Although minute, these changes could not escape the Omniscient Mirror technique, his flesh became increasingly dense and compact. It was as if the impurities were purged from his body.
Su Ru saw him close his eyes. She knew that he was trying to picture it again She shook her head.
It was always frustrating to compare yourself with other people. She had tried cultivating the Art of White Tiger before, but it was in avail. She could not even make out an imagination of the pictures, and once she had closed her eyes, all she saw was darkness.
Chu Li suddenly opened his eyes, the spark in his eyes flashing once then vanished.
"How was it?" Su Ru asked.
Chu Li shook his head, "It was a little weird."
"Why was it?"
"It felt like something was missing," Chu Li locked his eyebrows and lowered his voice, "...This Art of White Tiger manual, it's incomplete, isn't it?"
"You could make out that?" Su Ru was surprised.
Chu Li said, "Don't tell me, that it's really incomplete?"
"Yes, this is only the first half of it." Su Ru nodded and said, "Everyone out there thought that the Art of White Tiger was lost forever. To be able recover the first volume was already considered very lucky. We had never heard of the second volume."
Chu Li creased his brows.
Su Ru said, "The Lady said that this volume is already devastatingly powerful and would be sufficient for you to cultivate the Sentient Menace. She told me that there was no need to seek for the other half."
Chu Li was silent.
Su Ru rolled her eyes and said, "What? You still want to look for the second volume?"
Chu Li said, "Without the second volume, I feel insecure."
Many ancient techniques were treacherous to learn and have hidden traps all over them. For some of the better ones, there could be an obscure sentence at the very end. If you did not notice it, you could be steered away and ultimately fail in its cultivation. While many others had embedded meanings, which were extremely hard to make out. Some of the worse ones did not even mention any hidden information. It was not recorded on paper but was only passed down orally from generation to generation. It was a precaution to prevent outsiders from stealing their secret techniques.
Although the Nan Zheng barbarian folk were straightforward in their ways, but still, they should not be underestimated, the precautionary traps could be there.
"Geez, Chu Li..." Su Ru shook her head, "That's the problem with smart people, always full of doubts!"
Chu Li smiled, "That second volume, not a single news at all?"
Su Ru shook her head, "Nope."
Chu Li creased his brows. He was silent.
Su Ru said, "Things like these are always hard to investigate. Just think about it, if someone had obtained a secret technique, would he tell somebody else about it? Besides, that certain someone only possesses a half of the art, just like you, would he dare to cultivate it? If he doesn't, then how would people ever find out that he has that second volume?"
Chu Li shook his head, "Not necessarily."
The Art of White Tiger was very mythical. If someone had obtained this ancient technique, chances were that they could not resist the temptation. However dangerous it might be, they would attempt to cultivate it too. Under such a huge temptation, many would rather gamble with fate.
Su Ru rolled her eyes again and said, "Whatever it was, I did not hear any news about it."
Chu Li said, "Then, who in the martial arts world is well known for cultivation of the body?...If that guy had cultivated the Art of White Tiger, it would be hard for him to maintain a low profile."
"Body cultivation is arduous, nowadays there were only few." Su Ru creased her brows and thought of it, she picked on her fingers and said, "Let me recall, 'Iron Skull' Hu Jing, 'Iron Fist' Little Bai and 'Three-Eyed Dragon' Cheng Wenhui, there should be only these three who are famous with it. The rest didn't make the cut."
Chu Li proclaimed, "The hidden technique should be in the hands of one of these three."
"Your imaginations have gone wild!" Su Ru shook her head and stopped smiling.
Chu Li spoke, "Do you have intel on the three of them?"
Su Ru watched how serious his face was, and replied, "Alright, let me retrieve them for you."
"Thank you, Chief!" Chu Li gave her a fist salute.
Su Ru rolled her eyes and slowly walked away. Before long, she returned with three notebooks, and handed them to Chu Li, "There you go!"
Chu Li took them over and flipped through them, soon he had finished reading the contents of the books, and the newfound information were photocopied into his mind. He gave the books back to Su Ru, and said, "Are they all assassins?"
"Body cultivators are skilled at killing. Plus, the cultivation requires lots of money. If one was not born in a rich family, he or she could only rely on criminal ways to fund themselves. Whatever they do, they would be able to make a fortune out of it!"
"That's true..." Chu Li nodded.
Body cultivators and martial artists differ in their appearance. The latter would look more energetic in person, with eyes that glow brightly. Especially those who had achieved innate mastery, their temples and the top of their head would appear different.
For body cultivators, they could not cultivate their inner strength, but only their physical form. From the outside, they may look unhealthy, like a patient with malnutrition. That was the fact that they were especially hard to expect, as their appearance would easily deceive you, making you believe that they are not a threat.
On top of that, a martial artist would typically look down on a body cultivator, thinking that they were far more superior than their counterparts.
Body cultivators had lightning speed and immense strength, but the potentials of their powers were limited, and would not match a martial artist as time progressed. But at the earlier stages they would have the upper hand over their counterparts. If people like them had mastered a skill that would kill someone in one hit, they would be extremely dangerous, and it would be difficult to defend against them.
"The second half of the manual could be in that Cheng Wenhui's hands." Chu Li said in a low tone.
"Why would you say so?" Su Ru smiled.
She did not buy his word at all. It was merely a speculation. It was foolish of him to think that it would be so easy to predict who had possession of the second manual.
"Hu Jing cultivates his head, while Little Bai cultivates his hands. Only this Cheng Wenhui is different, he has quick speed and mighty strength. There's not one part of his body which stands out, so by this rationale, he should have cultivated the Art of White Tiger."
"What if he had cultivated something else instead?"
"I've seen all the secret techniques in the Hall of Martial Arts. Of all the body cultivation techniques, they all hardly pose any threats to a martials arts master. So, indeed body cultivation is arduous. But for this Cheng Wenhui, his body cultivation technique was far more powerful than all the other techniques I've read about, so there's a high chance that it could be the Art of White Tiger!"
"Alright, alright. Let's say we assume it's him." Su Ru waved her hand, "But you would not be able to locate this guy, because he's an assassin. His would be extremely stealthy in his whereabouts."
"With the resources of our Public House, we still couldn't?"
"Really, we won't be able to." Su Ru shook her head.
Chu Li burst into laughter.
"What are you laughing about?!" Su Ru was annoyed as she sneered, "If we're talking about Hu Jing or Little Bai, they would be found with just a little bit of effort. But for Cheng Wenhui, he's a very mysterious person, and super cunning. Till today, no one really knows how he actually looks like in person!"
Chu Li smiled, "Then, I'm more convinced that he has the Art of White Tiger manual now. Even if he doesn't, the technique that he had cultivated was still worth a learn, since it was so powerful."
"You want to find him and kill him?" Su Ru cocked her head and looked at Chu Li, "Just for a cultivation technique?"
"If he was a righteous person, I wouldn't do that. But he's an assassin, so I shouldn't hold back."
"Then it's a shame that we wouldn't be able to find him." Su Ru rubbed her lips, "Don't waste your time, alright?"
Chu Li smiled.
Su Ru saw how confident he was, and added, "What thoughts are you having again?"
Chu Li said, "Such a notorious person, you shouldn't approach him, you should let him approach you instead."
"Nonsense!" Su Ru shook her head.
"But he's an assassin. He should give his clients a way to find him, right?"
"I heard how he does business. Clients will write down the name of the person they want to kill at the back of a bank note. Then, they will deposit it into the Flying Dragon Bank. If the bank note was refunded, it would mean that he rejected the job. But if the bank note was accepted, it would mean that he'll do it.
"Flying Dragon Bank..." Chu Li creased his eyebrows and said, "Hmm, it looks like he has connections everywhere."
Su Ru nodded, "The Flying Dragon Bank has branches all over the world. Not only in our place here, they had branches in the Bei Li and Nan Zheng districts too. They are a force to be reckoned with, so don't even think of messing with them!"
Chu Li caressed his chin.
"So, you still want to go after him?"
"I will offer ten thousand taels, for him to assassinate me."
"This method had been used before, by people who wanted to seek revenge for their associates who were assassinated by Cheng Wenhui. But in the end, they really end up losing their lives!" Su Ru scoffed, "That is why nobody dared to pull off the same trick again. Ever wondered why Cheng Wenhui is called the 'Three-Eyed Dragon'? It's because he had always managed to spot out the traps his enemies had laid out for him, which was why nobody could capture him!"
"That made me want to try it even more." Chu Li said.
Su Ru rolled her eyes and said, "Chu Li, if you really insist, then I'll have no choice but to tell the Lady about it."
Chu Li looked at her.
Su Ru watched him calmly.
Chu Li could see how resolute she was, and smiled, "Fine, I'll reconsider."
Su Ru gave him a dead stare.
Chu Li waved his hand and smiled, "Right, I should get going then, to cultivate the upper half of the manual. I won't be looking for Cheng Wenhui!"
Su Ru scoffed, "If you lie to me, you know what's going to happen!"
"For sure!" Chu Li nodded hurriedly.
He had not put away his desire to look for Ding Weisong. But at the time being, it was not the right thing to do. He could not turn a deaf ear on Su Ru's warning, as she did it for his own good.
With the Omniscient Mirror, he should be able to detect any danger amid cultivating the Art of White Tiger. He would then be able to stop hos cultivation in time. Besides, the six pictures from this first manual was already intriguing enough for him. It was enough to keep him at bay for a long while.
But once he had the chance, he would go out and seek for Ding Weisong. By that time, Su Ru would not be able to stop him either.
The East Garden looked picturesque at dusk.
The waning sunlight showered the flora in a rosy red hue. The lake was tinted in reddish-orange, which occasionally shimmered with golden streaks of light. The willows by the lake danced with the breeze, looking graceful.
Chu Li was sitting beside the lake. He cultivated the Art of White Tiger under a willow tree.
Through picturing the Art of White Tiger, streaks of energy surged into his body from the surroundings. He felt his body changing, and as he cultivated it further, the changes became more and more prominent. His flesh and blood felt more pure and elegant.
Suddenly, he felt something. He opened his eyes, and saw a boat coming from a stone's throw away. On the boat he saw the beautiful Zhao Ying, who was wearing a green dress. From afar, she raised her arm and waved towards him.
Chu Li smiled and waved back at her.
Zhao Ying was soon in front of him, and she had a soothing fragrance. She asked, "Brother, since when were you back here?"
"I just reached." Chu Li smiled, "I haven't congratulated you, sister."
Zhao Ying smiled, "You could see it, brother?"
"Innate mastery." Chu Li watched her, and smiled, "That's something worth celebrating."
"All thanks to your Tendon-Clearing Pill, brother." Zhao Ying smiled sheepishly.
Chu Li waved his hand.
"Brother, let's go downtown for a walk." Zhao Ying smiled, "How about, we go to the New Moon Brothel?"
Chu Li raised an eyebrow.
Zhao Ying grinned, "You have never been there?"
"How would you know if I had been there?" Chu Li smiled.
Zhao Ying made a face and scoffed.
Chu Li said, "That time, I was there for some serious business."
Zhao Ying pouted her tiny lips.
She was jealous. The first thing he did when he had returned was not to meet her, but to visit the New Moon Brothel instead? Sigh...
When she thought of it, she felt angry and disappointed at the same time.
Chu Li sighed, "You can't tell anyone else about this!"
"your secret is safe with me!" Zhao Ying hurriedly explained.
Chu Li smiled, "I was there under Chief's orders, it was a secret mission."
Zhao Ying pouted again, staring at him.
Chu Li waved away and looked speechless. Zhao Ying scoffed, and stopped asking him further. She knew that he could not tell her more.