The Sage Who Transcended Samsara Chapter 427 - Not Human
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Chapter 427: Not Human
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
“a.s.sa.s.sination?” The inexperienced fledglings could hardly believe their ears. From Min Renlong, who came from origins of reputable pedigree, to Yuanyang, who grew up from the wildlands of the South, the notion of taking a life was but a shred of fantasy that once flashed through their minds. The revelation of actually carrying out the deed left them slightly trembling as they froze, perplexed, not knowing whether they should be excited or scared. Their quivering gazes fell upon their new guide, Meng Qi.
The dispirited laziness and the buoyant demeanor of their guide hardly projected any shred of strength despite having a sword at hand. Still, his jovial att.i.tude and warmth swept away all fear and dread that they had about him.
Meng Qi poured himself a cup of tea. Smiling with eyes that turned into curved slits, he took a sip and surveyed his gra.s.shoppers. “Don’t look at me. I am but a mere guide in your lofty quests. I shall not be involved in the proceedings of your quest. From now on, you will learn to make a.s.sessments, devise strategies and complete tasks on your own.”
In the main world, the term “guide” came into perception from Buddhism teachings, which told of tales of the Buddha who strove to lead humanity into enlightenment and deliver themselves from the torment of suffering and misery. None of the youngsters had any difficulty understanding Meng Qi’s first advising, save for Yuanyang who took a little longer to dissect his message after listening to his final sentence.
The skittish novices still glanced at each other hesitantly. Being the most eloquent of the four, Yuanyang indignantly expressed, “In the wildlands of the South where I come from, we first study and understand the habits and dispositions of our prey or enemy, then learn about the surroundings before we team up on a ferocious beast or enemy of opposing tribes. We cannot brashly rush into things.”
Being in close proximity to the boundaries and numerous dealings with people of the Jin Empire, her tribe was familiar with the speech of the locality. Nevertheless, the Dominator of Samsara in the Six Realms who watched over them closely translated their words into the tongue most commonly spoken by all.
“She speaks the truth. We know nothing about the environment here. Everything about the surroundings, the Iron Heart Hall, and the Evil-Parting Sword are foreign to us. We lack even the tiniest bit of knowledge to exploit.” Min Renlong voiced his agreement while his eyes studied their situation. By the advice of his elders in the ways of Jianghu, he would search for someone that to have considerable tales or news in this rowdy and bustling saloon.
He swiftly rose from his chair and began to leave.
“Young Master Min, where are you going?” Weng Lingyu asked nervously.
A daughter of a common armed-escort, Weng Lingyu had yet to unseal any of her Apertures, nor had she glimpsed the ways or the nature of the world. She would have crumbled in despair if not for the three fellow members of her company who were equally fresh saplings themselves and the presence of their guide, Meng Qi. Watching Min Renlong rise from his seat greatly unsettled her.
Min Renlong replied with a little grin, “To procure some information, of course.”
“You are familiar with those who operate around here?” the words slipped from Wu Xiuxian’s lips anxiously.
Meng Qi kept to himself as he observed the youngsters bicker and discuss the plan. The unforgettable memories of himself and his team from years before brought a smile to his face as he fiddled with his teacup.
“Of course not. But you would be amazed by the wonders that money can perform.” He confidently replied, patting his bulging pouch.
“Let us order some food. One should not a.s.sa.s.sinate on an empty stomach,” Meng Qi suddenly interjected.
Min Renlong nodded silently and turned to look for the tavernkeeper.
The rest of the team looked at each other hesitantly. A moment of silence ensued before the disciple of the less prominent sect, Wu Xiuxian, asked hastily, “Dear sir, did you mean to say-?”
He unconsciously looked at Meng Qi.
Meng Qi gently nodded in return, gesturing for him to continue.
“According to your explanation, dear sir, missions a.s.signed by the Dominator of the Six Realms would hardly be simple, but they would not exceed the limits of our abilities. Discounting the matter of foreign a.s.sistance and the current lack of sufficient information, there are ample opportunities to carry out the a.s.sa.s.sination, providing we play our cards right. Treading dangerously, the repercussions could be deadly and severe. So, Fu Cuo should be slightly stronger than all four of us together. With Young Master Min’s presence, and the Chieftain’s protection detail, our target should be between the levels of the Fourth and Sixth Apertures.”
Meng Qi was slightly impressed by his deductions. Being able to enlighten and unseal his first Aperture before the age of twenty, Wu Xiuxian would surely be the apple of the elders’ eyes despite being under the tutelage of a less prominent school. His teachers and elders would have showered him with much attention and guidance to nurture as valuable a talent as he. His accurate deductions of the matter at hand seemed to be a testament to that.
He stole another look at Meng Qi again, seeking approval, as he shyly continued, “Therefore, I would guess that the Elders and Chiefs of the Iron Heart Hall have reached the Seventh and Eighth Apertures at least, or even the Ninth. We shall wait for the results of Young Master Min’s delving to ascertain my a.s.sumptions and learn of the Iron Heart Hall’s standing in Jianghu and the size of their organization. But we need not fear since the appearance of foes over the levels of the Sixth Apertures would be rare. The burden should fall on you, dear sir, even if we happen to chance upon one so formidable.”
Meng Qi nodded, still smiling lazily. The approval of his a.s.sessment indicated that they need not be concerned about the possibility of facing enemies above the Sixth Aperture level.
“Could it be possible that the Evil-Parting Sword is only the Chieftain in name, despite lacking the necessary skills and powers?” Weng Lingyu whispered curiously. She had no less experience in witnessing leaders of certain organizations who lacked the skills and strength to justify their position and standing.
“Without a doubt. Despite having skills to be one of the best ten warriors of the tribe, my father was not elected an Elder of the tribe only because he had offended the Chieftain of the tribe.” Even Yuanyang enthusiastically joined the discussion.
Meng Qi watched with interest as the three were filled with renewed confidence and pa.s.sion. They began to speak at length about the mission while Meng Qi observed from beside. Their lively chatter further coaxed memories of the time he had tried to pretend to be a strategist and lead his team. How bizarre the wheels of Fate were! To think that he was now the very one ahead of his team in direct skirmishes and confrontations!
Among their bantering, Meng Qi slipped in more advice, “You shall also have to take into account the exceptional facets of the training and cultivation of the people of this dimension or world. You should not expect the enemies of each realm to practice their martial techniques and skills the same way we do.”
“There are other cultivation methods?” Both Weng Lingyu and Wu Xiuxian were startled.
Yuanyang of the Southern Wilderness nodded as her gaze wandered. She was no stranger to myriads of training methods and cultivation techniques. Savage demons and wild beasts roamed about unrestrained and the innumerable tribes that lived around her folk were adept in different and peculiar methods of training and discipline, one of which was the breeding and use of Gu Poison bugs. One could intertwine his or her life force and energy to a poison bug and enhance one’s own powers by feeding and nurturing the it with poison, medicine or even flesh and blood.
Meng Qi took notice of her silence and the dreamy eyes of her drifting thoughts. He smiled at her, “I trust Miss Yuan is no stranger to different methods of training and cultivation. It is known that the Blood-Robe Cult, which practices in peculiar and strange ways, prevail with pride in the mysterious depths of the Southern Wilderness.”
The Blood-Robed Cult was one of the Nine Evil Paths. Long ago, they were driven from the Central Plains before they ventured south. They sought refuge in perilous treacherous shrubbery of the Southern Wilderness and had restored their dominance. There, His Eminence, the master of the accursed sect, had achieved new strength and claimed the Real Body of the Blood Sea Rakshasa and a.s.serted lords.h.i.+p over the wild lands.
Indeed, wors.h.i.+ppers of the Nine Evil Paths enhanced their powers using unorthodox and vile methods. Saving themselves time and effort to achieve Dharmakaya, many among them managed to attain amazing power over their more righteous and legitimate counterparts of the righteous path. But as time pa.s.sed, many of their endeavors later proved woeful with less-than-favorable outcomes. In addition, their incessant schemes to rid themselves of one another had made them the main antagonists of all societies and civilizations.
Yuanyang meekly replied to Meng Qi’s remarks, “Yes sir. I have witnessed acolytes and disciples of the Blood-Robed Cult imprinting upon their own bodies strange and mysterious charms and talismans by stinging their skins and flesh with smoldering needles…”
It did not take long for Min Renlong to return. He wore a delighted expression that suggested good news. Reaching his companions, he spoke in a hushed tone, “I return with good news. The Iron Heart Hall leads a Heterodox coalition and its chiefs are some of the best experts in this dimension. The levels of their actual strengths are unknown. This is not the site of its main headquarters but this city remains under their influence and will. Fu Cuo, the Evil-Parting Sword who rules this city like an emperor, is believed to have unsealed both his Eye and Ear Apertures…”
With new information to lubricate their discussion, the four rookies continued with intense fervor, oblivious to the crowd of other visitors to the saloon.
Moments later, stewards arrived at their table with food and wine. The hungry four fell into an epicurean binge that b.u.t.tered their continued discussions. Meng Qi smiled quietly. He picked up a pair of chopsticks and joined his fellow companions in the inhalation of food himself.
“Therefore, for the business at hand, our remaining concern is daily habits and customary practices of Fu Cuo. We will learn and discover any opportunities and openings for the deed!” exclaimed Min Renlong heartily. Chest-pounding confidence and burning excitement swelled with intense fire within him as he reflected on his first quest in Jianghu!
At the other side of the table, Weng Lingyu was troubled by a shred of apprehension at her first stint of adventure. She turned to Meng Qi, “Dear sir, what do you think of our progress?”
“Adequate,” replied Meng Qi, placing down his chopsticks. His smile did not wane when he continued, “But you have committed three blunders.”
The comment hit them hard, especially Min Renlong, who could hardly believe his ears. “What were our mistakes?”
Without so much as a glance at them, Meng Qi tinkered with a wine cup as his explanation flowed, “First, the secrecy of the deed is paramount. To discuss your plans openly in public is to allow any potential foes and enemies the knowledge of your objectives.”
A sudden darkness fell over them. Their heads flailed wildly as they looked at their surroundings. In the midst of their lively chatter and voracious eating, they had failed to realize that the visitors to the saloon had left, leaving only empty chairs and tables.
An imaginary icy gale seemed to have blown past them as spine-tingling fear welled up in them. Their faces grew pale as words momentarily escaped them until Weng Lingyu stammered, “We, we thought… Since you are present…”
“We have been inappropriate behaving like this. The revelation of the Six Realms of Samsara is still surreal to us, like a fantasy that has come to life beyond our wildest dreams. We have been brash and careless,” said Yuanyang as the weight of guilt and remorse took over. Her temperament had turned to a polar opposite from before.
Meng Qi continued, “Secondly, you have been correct in deciding to procure information. But you are but strangers in a foreign land. Have you any concerns about whether or not your source is in cahoots with Evil-Parting Sword? One should ascertain the veracity of the information procured by obtaining them and comparing them with different sources. Furthermore, directly tendering your inquiries without any form of cover and guise will surely pique the suspicion and interest of any hostile parties or even the target, putting the entire mission and your lives in jeopardy.”
This could not have come without years of experience navigating through the treacherous rapids of Jianghu.
Min Renlong’s body wobbled. His face remained pale as Death. He had been warned and instructed by his elders of the very same thing, but he had failed miserably in his first endeavor.
“Thirdly,” Meng Qi savagely droned on, still wearing his smile, “you have made no attempt to test the food for poison or drugs. Surely you are aware that you are not enjoying food in the safety and the sanctuary of your own residence?”
“What?” The four froze at the implication of that statement. Shock quickly turned into fear. They could not move. Weariness and sleepiness came down on them like a cloud and every ounce of strength seemed to have left their limbs.
Inspired by their boiling adrenaline during their conversation, and sedated by the absence of danger, the innocent saplings of Jianghu had failed to remember the most important rule of survival. Inundated with regret, they could not help but wish for another chance, a wish that seemed distant and faint.
Only Min Renlong refused to give in to his fate. With strong resolve, he tried his best to stand up and draw his sword to defend his companions in regret. Still, despite his determination to overcome both the effects of the drug and his contrition, his knees failed him and crumbled. In contrast, his companions were not able to exert any strength to stand despite their best efforts.
“You managed to stand despite consuming Muscle-Softening Powder? Could it be that you’ve noticed our ploy?” A curious voice rang from the back as the perpetrators revealed themselves. The tavernkeeper with a dark complexion approached them. A beautiful woman clad in pink stood beside him as the rest of the people in the inn silently slipped away.
“Cursed thieves! How dare you drug us!” Min Renlong roared with the last ounce of defiance left in him.
Meng Qi raised his head as he smiled at the deceitful pair, “Steamed beef with Muscle-Softening Powder… I would not consume it with relish. There’s a strange sourness to the dish. But the powder would go well with the bamboo shoot soup. It has a pa.s.sable exotic taste to it.”
“He actually consumed the powder, but has nothing to bother at all, even appraising the taste of the food…” The tanned tavernkeeper remained rooted to his spot, bewildered. The woman in pink, however, turned violent and attacked, attempting to incapacitate the only enemy who had been unscathed by their initial gambit.
“Pop!” She was delighted when her palms found their mark, hitting her foe with the greatest force and malice she could muster. But her joy faded as quickly as it came when her foe did not bulge at the force of her strike. As if immune to her a.s.sault, her enemy continued tasting his soup calmly.
“No wonder they dare to plot against the Chieftain!”
“But he has not retaliated! He must have been injured by the strike!”
The pair’s eyes met. She drew her sword while her partner brandished his twin daggers. Surrounding Meng Qi, they rained a flurry of bladed attacks onto him like a cyclone of blades.
The blades clanged loudly as the pair hacked and slashed with great ferocity. But neither sword nor daggers left any more than a scratch on Meng Qi. Weng Lingyu and her incapacitated companions could only watch with fear, worry, and disbelief.
Bracing himself for another a.s.sault, the dark tavernkeeper thrust at Meng Qi’s eyes with gritted teeth, the weak points of the protection skills.
With the stillness of a quiet lake, Meng Qi closed his eyes and awaited his a.s.sailant’s pierce.
“Clang!” Meng Qi appeared to not have moved even a single inch. The tavernkeeper staggered backward in fear, noticing the now blunt edges of his dagger. No human possessed such invincibility!
Unaffected by her partner’s horrors and doubt, the woman in pink hurled forward with another strike of her own. She tried to thrust her blade into Meng Qi’s mouth and out the back of his head!
“Snap!” Meng Qi bit harshly at the blade of the woman’s sword. The tip instantly snapped off by the force of Meng Qi’s teeth.
Meng Qi chewed at the sword tip in his mouth and spewed forth a crumpled lump of steel. He smiled at the stunned woman, “Crunchy…”
Fear and panic gripped the tanned tavernkeeper. He erupted in a deafening howl and lunged at Meng Qi with the forefinger and the middle finger of his right hand thrust forward. The force of his frantic a.s.sault formed a corkscrew-like aura that would void Meng Qi’s protection skills.
“Crack!” He fell to the floor clutching his injured hand to his chest as he writhed in pain, rolling on the floor. The fracture of his fingers caused his hands to take on a grotesque appearance.
A terrifying scream spread through the empty saloon. In her fit of panic and horror, the woman in pink shrieked,
“You, you are not human!”
Either a demonic fiend, or a deity of the immortals!
Min Renlong and his companions were petrified by the events that transpired before them like a bizarre and outlandish dream. The thought that they were still laboring under the effects of the drug seemed to have escaped them.
The Sage Who Transcended Samsara Chapter 427 - Not Human
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The Sage Who Transcended Samsara Chapter 427 - Not Human summary
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