Trying To Tame An Evil Overlord 88 Winding Canyons

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"-m sorry."

Liu Sumeng woke to a strange scene. Yuan Xuelan was hunched over him and there was the ghosting feeling of fingers in his hair.

He squinted, half asleep, and was struggling to get his bearings. At first he thought he was dreaming. An embarra.s.sing tired groan came out as he forced the tiredness away. But Yuan Xuelan was still there watching over him.

Liu Sumeng sat up. Had he slept in too long? A light wave of panic shot through his veins. "What time?"

But Yuan Xuelan was strangely quiet and was slow to reply, "It's morning."

When he looked around he saw that it was quite bright. Early morning had long pa.s.sed though Huo Tang was still there asleep on the pillow.

Liu Sumeng got up at once, "We should go."

But then paused when Yuan Xuelan failed to answer. Liu Sumeng felt eyes on him even when he wasn't speaking or looking at the younger cultivator.

Awkwardly, he looked over his shoulder. Yuan Xuelan still watched him from the side of the bed. The expression he wore was strange.

But eventually Xuelan rose to his feet and nodded, "Okay. Just lead the way and I'll follow you."

Something fluttered in his chest but Liu Sumeng kept his face straight and nodded in return. It was about time they left the inn.

Haishang was a province hugged by long mountain ranges and the roaring coast. And the Wayward Wind Temple was nestled within the depths of a complex web of canyons that funneled thundering winds.

And unlike the abode of the Ascending Dawn sect, it was far from civilization, even more so than the Hidden Mist Manor.

Xiao Hei made it to the closest village that counted more sheep than men.

She left behind a long message of deep apologies to the Chen Princess, who had actually treated her quite kindly during the time of her stay. She toned down her appearance. While it was difficult to change her facial features, she could use her ability to alter her body shape. Gone was the ma.s.sive rack and instead she went with a more boyish and androgynous body, making sure she looked as forgettable as possible.

Xiao Hei didn't want to stop but she really needed to gather more information before rus.h.i.+ng into danger.

A dark dread curled in her heart.

Her brother wasn't far. She could scent him in the air.

And Xiao Hei didn't want to be caught by him, not yet.

So she could do nothing but spend some time in the village. A family was kind enough to offer her shelter for the night in exchange for watching over a herd of sheep while they carried on with other tasks.

Xiao Hei was almost tempted to buy their donkey. It would help her get to her destination faster without having to undo the transformation.

But was it really worth it? Would the evil bucking donkey really let her ride it?

Xiao Hei grumbled and rested her face in her palms. The tree she sat under was providing good shade but wasn't doing a good job at keeping her company.


She had to go about her next move carefully.

The sheep grazed peacefully as she watched over them. A fit of strange jealousy haunted her and she sighed.

Honestly? This entire thing blew!

If only Zhao Fanyu wasn't such an idiot and if only her brother wasn't a psychopath, maybe Xiao Hei could still spend her days lazing around and catching gossip while taking an afternoon nap out in the fields.

Even now, she was pretending really hard that the old wives gossip about their sons-in-law wasn't interesting.

She stared out vacantly and suddenly cried out in frustration, hands tearing at her hair.

Argh! Xiao Hei wasn't made to do things like this! Xiao Hei wasn't the heroic type or the scheming type! She was just sneaky sometimes, that's all! She wasn't good for anything else aside from gossip!

In fact, she could hear voices approaching from behind. Wait a moment, they were extremely familiar!

"Hey, look! That granny over there is selling some steamed buns. You haven't eaten all day! Let's get something…Okay? Please?"

"...I'm fine."

"No! Not eating is not fine at all. Hey, Sumeng! Are you listening to me? Don't just walk off, please come back?"

"Hmph. The one time rude-boy makes a reasonable suggestion you choose not to listen to him. Very interesting."

"...No one asked you, d.a.m.n chicken."

Xiao Hei wanted to jump up in joy! To think the Ivory Sword Saint really got her message and responded! She knew the man had a decent head of his shoulders. And there was even Young Master Yuan with him as well! How spicy--

Wait no, that wasn't where her mind should be headed at all. She got up from her spot with too much vigor and spooked the surrounding sheep.

Xiao Hei swore as she tried to corral them back together.

In the meantime, Liu Sumeng finally relented and waited for Yuan Xuelan to buy them some fresh steamed buns.

He might not have eaten the whole day but in truth, he had no appet.i.te. But seeing Yuan Xuelan run over with two steaming buns in hand was suitably heartwarming enough for Liu Sumeng to smile and take the offer of food without further complaint.

He would forgive Huo Tang as well, for pecking at it without manners.

At least, Yuan Xuelan hadn't nagged him about staying here to get some rest.

If Liu Sumeng really thought about it, Yuan Xuelan's behavior was quite strange and a little jarring. And while emperor Taixu had been oppressively domineering… this Yuan Xuelan was insistent but also forbearing.

The Wayward Wind Temple was still a ways out but he knew the directions roughly from the few visits he made with his s.h.i.+zun when Liu Sumeng was a child.

Speaking of his s.h.i.+zun, there hadn't been news of Liu Langce for months now. Where was that man? Was he not close to Zhao Fanyu?

But the Ivory Sword Saint supposed he should have expected the Guanghai Elder to be one s.h.i.+rking off responsibility, even when the life of his close friend was in jeopardy. Such was that man's terrible personality.

Liu Sumeng banished the thoughts from his mind and decided to focus on the road. They were about to leave the bounds of the village when a voice shouted from behind, "Wait!"

It was difficult to tell if the person was a girl or a boy, with soft features but none too feminine. They wore a plain tunic and hair tied back away from the face. Nothing fancy. Liu Sumeng was caught with an itching suspicion that there was something incredibly familiar about this person. But he was unable to pinpoint why.

The person stopped in front of them and was not intimidated when Yuan Xuelan crossed his arms and glared.

They shouted, "Please take me with you!"

Unluckily for the newcomer, the two male cultivators had already learned their lesson with one whiny and clingy Nan Chang. In unison they said, "No."

Xiao Hei, at a loss, simply exclaimed in frustration, "Huh!? Why not!"

In the end, Xiao Hei tagged along. Liu Sumeng learned she was a girl after all. She introduced herself a little awkwardly, "You can call me Xiao H-Hao."

"..." And so they called her Xiao Hao.

Unlike Nan Chang, she was not seeking adventure and only wanted someone to travel with her as far down the winding canyons as possible. She said that she had family on the other side of the province.

It was harmless enough and if the girl planned to travel the roads on her own anyway, then it wouldn't hurt to escort her half the way.

But the nagging feeling of familiarity refused to go away.

"I heard there are many spiritual beasts around these parts," Xiao Hao chirped, "Especially spiritual birds."

"You hear that, annoying chicken? Your brethren are here."

Small flickers of spark twinkled around the angry little phoenix, "What brethren!? I'll have you know, I have no relations to some silly bird-brained fools. Do not lower me to such standards!"

The bickering between the phoenix and Yuan Xuelan filled the gaps of any awkward silences. Liu Sumeng wondered if it was a crime to feel relaxed. He should be more anxious.

The main path along the canyon floor was not too narrow and well-traveled. Shrubs and trees hugged the sides of the cliffs but were not nearly as dense and oppressive as the foliage from Hidden Mist's forest.

The cliff sides were towering, monumental, and eternal in their beauty; tall and steep, hugged by flicks of low-hanging clouds. The wind was currently calm but each gust echoed through the chamber of canyons and threatened to build up into something more frightening.

They came upon a fork where the main trail led beyond the canyons and towards vast valleys and farmland.

"Thank you, Young Masters!" Xiao Hao bowed and waved at the same time, "Xiao Hao will be on her way now."

They watched her figure disappear over the horizon before going on their own way.

The Ivory Sword Saint still couldn't shake off the feeling of familiarity and turned to Yuan Xuelan to ask, "What do you think?"

Xuelan frowned, "Did you think she was suspicious?" There was nothing accusatory about his tone of voice but Liu Sumeng felt his stomach drop just a little as he recalled their arguments over Peng Jipei.

"No. Just…familiar."

"Hmm." Yuan Xuelan pressed his lips together in thought. He too thought there was something off about her but couldn't quite put a finger on it. But she didn't seem malicious or harmful so he supposed it was okay.

They continued down the path that became wider and more precarious as they went. Flat grounds turned into steep slopes until they found a trail that climbed the tall cliff walls. While it would be faster on flying swords, Liu Sumeng was worried about raising too much of an alarm.

The Wayward Wind Temple was not far now. That was the location that Yuan Xuelan's findings were pointing them toward. And Liu Sumeng was not surprised. The treasure that Zhao Fanyu worked so tirelessly to hide and protect was waiting there to be found.


Trying To Tame An Evil Overlord 88 Winding Canyons

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Trying To Tame An Evil Overlord 88 Winding Canyons summary

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