The five walked in silence.
The cat, followed by Hei, followed by the three senior sisters.
As they progressed, the senior sisters couldn’t help but notice that they were going in the direction of their hideout.
They spoke to each other in private using their Qi.
“Do you think…”
“Is it possible?”
“But I’ve never heard of one this far down.”
They had found it strange that the cat appeared after Hei made those strange growling noises and the fact that he and the cat seemed to know each other gave them an idea of what was happening.
But they had never heard of an instance like this so far down in the lower continent.
After a while, the cat stopped.
“It’s up there.”
Hei looked up, and he saw a treehouse hidden amongst the leaves of the trees.
Before long, five people jumped out of the treehouse and landed on the ground in front of Hei and the others.
Counting five and not six, Hei looked up to the treehouse.
His spiritual perception was telling him that there was another person there, but they were lying down and seemed to have no intention of coming down.
‘Looks like everybody’s here.’
Hei was pleased that the number added up to 9. That meant his mission was all but completed.
Noticing that Hei was looking up, one of the people spoke.
“Who are you, and what do you want here?”
At this point, Hei could feel resistance coming from the three behind him.
He decided to release them and spoke of his intentions.
“I am a disciple of the Radiant Jade Sect and I have been sent on a mission to find nine missing disciples.”
The three ran and joined their companions.
Hei threw over his identity jade.
“A male disciple? Please.”
“I was invited to the sect by Peak Leader Jingfei. As peak leader of the Man Peak, she is able to invite male disciples into the sect.”
“Senior Sister Jingfei?”
A similar situation occurred to what had happened with the first three he came across.
They seemed to all know who Jingfei was.
After taking a look at Hei’s identity jade, they passed it back.
“What if we don’t want to go?”
Hearing that they didn’t want to go, there were a few things Hei could do with the situation. But first of all:
“Your agreement isn’t necessary.”
Beneath Hei’s feet, the ground turned black and the blackness expanded until it reached the feet of the eight disciples standing opposite him.
The cat was startled and jumped away from the area, but the eight were unable to do the same.
After the ground became black, black flames started to arise and the disciples could feel themselves sinking into the ground.
This was the result of Hei trying not to use Unlimited Chain Works while he was in disguise.
He came up with this new technique, which was a modification of Unlimited Chain Works, that used flames instead of chains.
These flames were not hot and didn’t burn things, but the fact that they were cold was jarring in and of itself.
The sinking feeling the disciples were feeling was because of Chain Swamp, which used movements to mimic quicksand.
They weren’t really sinking into the ground. Instead, they were being transported into Hei’s storage space.
As the flames climbed onto their bodies, they struggled to free themselves, but they soon realised that resistance was futile.
With no other choices, they could only rely on the words he had said.
One of them cried out.
“If you are really our junior brother, then please don’t take us back there!”
This was exactly what Hei was looking for. It was important that they knew he had the ability to take them away regardless of their will.
The disciples quickly felt themselves rising back to the ground, as the flames disappeared, and all returned to normal.
They were surprised that he actually let them go. They were sure he was trying to fool them into believing he was from the sect but was actually the enemy.
The fact that he let them go, even when he was fully in control of the situation, removed that possibility from their minds.
Unless he was a twisted individual who enjoyed toying with the emotions of his victims, he wasn’t their enemy.
“Why is it that you don’t want to return to the sect?”
Seeing that Hei was open to discussion, they wasted no time in telling him of their situation.
“We don’t want to return to the sect because the sect isn’t a safe place for us.”
“Mm. A while back, all of us had marriage arrangements, which we were being forced to accept.”
“On top of that, they had captured our families and warned us against telling anyone in the sect about our situation.”
“And the worst part is, the vice sect leader was the one who told us all of this!”
“We tried to go and find help outside of the sect, but we were ambushed on the way.”
“You’ve heard of those kidnappings? They were the work of the Zhu Clan! And what’s worse, the sect seems to be involved in it!”
“Mm. We only managed to narrowly escape capture thanks to a fortunate accident. If not, we don’t know what would have happened to us.”
“We’ve been living in hiding ever since, moving from place to place whenever things looked sticky.”
The disciples seemed to be hiding nothing as they told Hei the entire story.
Hearing the explanations, Hei had a few questions.
“So, you’re living here in fear, leaving your families high and dry?”
These words seemed to anger the disciples.
They all clench their fists.
“What do you expect us to do?”
“Our enemies are everywhere. It’s dangerous enough to even communicate with the people we know.”
“Mm. We could just end up dragging them into it.”
“And we’re up against the Zhu Clan! How are we going to say anything against them, who have an impeccable reputation?”
Hei wasn’t moved by their passionate responses. He just wanted to see if he was dealing with idiots.
Since they knew that they were powerless, it was easy enough.
He released his aura as an envoy, wrapping around the five new disciples.
Unfortunately, none of them were vassals.
“So, all of you are from outside the sect?”
Hei would find it extremely strange if this were able to happen to those born and raised within the sect.
They would have had far too many connections to be the target of this kind of scheme.
“Then how were you able to escape capture?”
He wanted to know this. After all, even the sect leader herself fell into the hands of the enemy.
“When we were being attacked, we were saved by a boy who was passing by. He killed our pursuers and let us go free.”
Hei had a follow-up question.
“Did that person have a good reason to do so? Or was he just a random passer-by?”
“… We don’t know. But he did say he wouldn’t let the same thing that happened his sister happen to anyone else.”
This was exactly what Hei wanted to hear. He now had his next target.
“Do you know where this boy operates? Have you had any contact with him after that initial contact?”
“No. We haven’t seen him again.”
Hei was disappointed to hear this, but another of the disciples had something to add.
“But he seemed to be very used to combat in the forest. I would assume he trains in the forests a lot.”
‘That will do.’
It wasn’t much to go on, but it was more than nothing.
At this point, one of the five new disciples spoke to the girl Hei had followed.
“Did you bring the medicine?”
Another added on.
“That’s right! Things aren’t looking good.”
“Mm. I brought it. We’ll have to thank Auntie Feng.”
All of a sudden, Hei’s presence seemed to be of no importance.
All eight disciples headed up to the treehouse in a flash.
Hei decided to follow them, and the cat tagged along.
When he got there, he saw that the one who hadn’t come down was in pretty bad shape.
Her face was the only one that wasn’t covered by a mask. It was very red and she was sweating profusely.
She seemed to be very frail at this time.
Having decided that he wasn’t a threat, the others removed their masks as well.
They all had concerned expressions as they looked at their companion.
One of them raised the poorly girl’s head.
“Come, Yunru. Yuke has bought some medicine for you.”
The poorly girl, Yunru slowly opened her eyes. It seemed she had great difficulty in moving.
The one named Yuke pulled a pouch from her spatial ring and poured the powder that it held onto a sheet of paper, before gently pouring it into Yunru’s mouth.
After that was done, Yunru fell back to sleep and the other girls had solemn expressions.
“This isn’t going to work. We need to find another way.”
“But this is all we can afford. Unless we sell our spatial rings, we won’t be able to get anything better.”
“Then maybe we should sell them.”
“But we can’t even be sure if it will work. We don’t even know what Yunru’s affliction is.”
“But we have to try! It’s only because of her that…”
After those words, the room became silent.
Hei, not wanting to lose one of his mission objectives, decided to ask what was going on.
“Tell me what happened.”
There was a long pause before one of them spoke.
“It was back when we were first attacked. The enemy used a strong technique which would have taken our lives, but Sister Yunru used a forbidden technique, sacrificing herself for us.”
“Mm. No matter what we do, we can’t seem to alleviate her symptoms. This whole time, we’ve only been able to temporarily reduce her pain but never able to cure the underlying problem.”
Hei now understood why they had taken the security risk of going into the city.
They surely knew that it could lead to their location being discovered, but for their friend who sacrificed herself for them, they had to try.
“Let me take a look.”
“What are you talking about? This isn’t a game!”
After having seen his identity jade, they all knew he was only 10 years old.
While he may be powerful, that didn’t mean he was good at everything.
The simple fact that he was at the Radiant Jade Sect itself went to show that he wasn’t from some prestigious family clan.
Thus, with his young age, he couldn’t have much experience in medicine.
“Does it sound like I’m playing?”
Hei’s cold voice permeated the room.
It was one that didn’t allow any objection.
Still, they couldn’t just let him do as he pleased with their friend, their sister.
It wasn’t until Yunru herself spoke that they stopped.
“I… trust him…”
The others were startled.
“Sister Yunru, just get some rest.”
“Mm. Try not to speak.”
It wasn’t just the others were surprised. Hei was also curious.
He expanded his aura as an envoy.
‘So, it does work.’
Yunru was emitting a faint blue aura. This was the evidence of her being a non-titled envoy.
Hei repeated himself.
“Let me take a look.”
With Yunru having spoken, the others couldn’t refuse.
They could only move away and watch nervously as Hei sat in front of Yunru.
“This will be quite intrusive.”
Yunru slightly nodded her head.
Hei extended his hand and took hers. It was very warm.
He activated Bai’s Marionette ability to hijack her circulation paths.
Yunru closed her eyes.
He had developed an extension to Bai’s Marionette ability, which allowed him to extend his spiritual perception within the bodies of others.
This required full cooperation on the others party’s side.
This was not something most cultivators were willing to do, as it would mean all of their secrets would be revealed.
But in this case, Hei being a titled envoy and Yunru being a non-titled envoy seemed to make it easier for them to form a bond.
This was what Hei assumed had allowed her to say that she trusted him, even after having only known him for mere moments.
As he extended his spiritual perception within Yunru’s body, he could see the damage that had been done to it.
Yunru could feel Hei’s spiritual perception and where it roamed.
Hei could tell that she was feeling very uncomfortable right now, and that was only fair. What he was doing was similar to seeing her naked, but on a much more intimate level.
Even still, he was very thorough in his examination.
After a long while, he had created a model of her body inside his mind.
‘To still be alive after all this. Her will to live must be quite strong.’
Even her cultivation was completely destroyed. Her spirit roots having taken major damage.
Hei was no doctor, but he was sure that most people would have long since passed away had they suffered the same injuries Yunru had.
He released her hand, and both could feel the loss of each other’s warmth.
Seeing that Hei seemed to have finished what he was doing, the others couldn’t help but ask.
“How is it?”
“Will Sister Yunru be okay?”
Hei turned to them.
“Her situation is very serious.”
Hearing this, the mood in the room sank.
“But there is hope.”
Hearing this, all of their eyes lit up.
Even Yunru’s eyes open slightly.
“How can we help? Do you need us to do anything?”
“Mm. No matter what it is, we’ll do it for sure!”
“The best thing you can do is to be quiet. I will handle it.”
The others immediately close their mouths.
Hei closed his eyes and began to think of solutions for Yunru’s problems.
After having read the alchemy books in the sect up to the two-star level, he had gained quite a bit of experience.
That, combined with his comprehension ability he gained from Crystalia, meant he was able to come up with pill formulas to cause specific changes.
After a while of coming up with trial formulas and simulating their effects on his model of Yunru’s body, he came up with a suitable formula.
He pulled out his cauldron from his storage space and lit it with his internal flame.
After it had warmed up to a sufficient level, he started adding some of the natural treasures he had found in the forest.
Seeing this, everyone in the room was stunned.
That was especially so for the cat.
The young ladies in the room could hear it meowing up a storm.
“Thousand Eyes Speckled Grass?! Moonlight Ginseng?! This! Violet Decadence Luscious Jade? What are you doing? Why are you wasting all of these things on a human?”
Then the cat realised something.
“Ah! You’re also human…”
At first, it had assumed Hei was a spirit beast in human form, but now that it took a closer look, it was evident that Hei was human.
He ignored the cat.
He focused on refining the best pill he could make.
After having refined at the pill, a bright glow came from the cauldron.
Everyone was shocked.
“A peerless grade pill?”
“Even the elders can't forge one of those!”
“Just what in the world is this? Are you really 10 years old?”
He ignored these people.
He turned to Yunru and gently placed the pill in her mouth.
“This should heal your wounds. Your spirit roots, on the other hand-”
Yunru interrupted Hei by placing her hand on his.
It had only been a few moments since she had taken the medicine, but she was already visibly better.
She shook her head.
“You have already done enough. I never expected to be able to live. Thank you for-”
She was giving her heartfelt thanks to Hei, but he ignored her words.
“Your spirit roots, on the other hand, will require a different approach.”
It wasn’t just Yunru who was shocked. Everyone in the room, excluding the cat, had their eyes opened wide.
“You… can heal my spirit roots?”
“It shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“…” The others
“(✪ᆺ✪)” The cat