CHAPTER 113: COMPANION TO HEAVEN MOUNTAIN
Wang Liao Ming and Chen Yanghua are heading to the Xenosian Desert to watch the martial art meet.
It is one of the most talked about event since the Western Serpent announce it a few years ago, during her clash with the Southern Healer.
Many of their friends have gone there before them.
From what Liao Ming heard many reputable schools is joining. Even the 5 Righteous Sect all joins.
Since they came from Northern Chu it has took them many month before they arrived here in Zettel. They also have to contend with the bounty put on their heads by the Southern Tai.
From what they heard many martial art school is participating in the Meet to become famous or maybe even dreaming to take one of the title of the Immortal after all Southern Healer is rumored not to participate.
The disciple of Eastern Devil and Northern Badger also will participate. In the Martial Art world who does not know Thunder Step Liao Bao?
And who in the martial art world does not know Veiled Little Devil, the disciple of Eastern Devil who is known to be very beautiful, the exotic disciple of the Eastern Devil.
The school like Ermeishan, Lishan, Sun Moon Sect and many more will battle each other for the prize.
They are excited to see all this exciting matches. Maybe if they are lucky they get to be acquainted with some expert and then they can ask their help or maybe recruit them into their organization.
They are walking along the forest at the night and the wind blows strong. They are also tired and exhausted.
‘We need to make camp Yanghua’
‘Yes, I agree. It is about to get dark.’ Yanghua nodded while looking overhead.
They make camp, pull out some bread and eat in silence. Then after the bread is eaten, Yanghua ask Liao Ming, one who he believe more experience than him in the matter of the martial art world
‘Who do you think will win this martial art meet Brother Liao Ming?’
‘Hmm’ Liao Ming considers.
‘Probably Northern Badger. If not him maybe Eastern Devil.’
‘Why not the Western Serpent?’
‘Don’t you hear? She is heavily injured by Northern Badger in their last meeting. I was there.’
‘Brother Liao Ming was there?’
‘Yes, after all isn’t Northern Badger is one of our organization close friend? Their battle was like a raging god fighting with each other. The forest looks like two great armies clashed there’
Yanghua nodded again.
‘But then wouldn’t Northern Badger also injured? How could Brother make the judgment that Northern Badger might even have the chance to win?’
‘He is injured, but not too severely. Not to mention, he is one of the oldest member of the Immortals. The oldest is of course the Southern Healer; Abbot Montesquieu. Eastern Devil on the other hand is on his prime condition, young though not too young thirty and seven, and not to mention his technique is acknowledged to be very vicious. Every one of the 4 immortals is even said try not to offend him too much. He is also very mysterious both in technique ad personality.’
‘Hmm, that is true’ Yanghua said, clearly admiring his Senior Disciple analysis.
‘But why are so many schools participating? Isn’t this Meet is to determine who is the strongest among the Four Immortals?’
‘Well, that is true. But to make it interesting Western Serpent offers the Annals of Divine Medicine and Internal Energy Rejuvenating Pill both created by the Poison Lord, her father to those who win. Both are a prize that is very precious’
‘But even so, won’t one of the Four Immortals win?’
‘HAHAHAHA. That is true. Which is why Western Serpent is making a tournament. Anyone who wins the tournament can challenge one of the Four Immortals to take their title or be content with the winning in the tournament and take those two precious treasures as their compensation.’
‘If they win the tournament they have to choose?’
‘Yes, title or treasure. Of course if any one of the martial art school representative win, surely they will pick the treasure. After all they knew their limit. Why rushing to their own funeral? The power of the Four Immortals is like the force of nature. They are not many experts like them. This is why so many people in the martial art world do not dare offend any of the Four Immortals. This is why they bowed their head to Western Serpent even though she is younger than them. One could say their strength is equal to an army.’
‘Why didn’t they join the Kingdom guard then? Helping the Kingdom?’
‘It is worldly matter to these experts. They rather train and fight among them then embroiled in the dirty politics of Kings and noble.’
“Hmm” Yanghua nodded. But then his mind remembers something, a rumour he had heard before in a teahouse, a few years ago.
‘But I heard there is a noble lord whose strength is not weaker than you, but also a lord of a large territory. Our teacher always says that involving ourselves in the matter of the worldly matters will make our concentration dull and we will not improve but from what I heard of this lord he has renown in the martial art world even though he rarely interferes in the matter of our world’
‘You mean Arial the Dragon?’
‘Yes, that is his name!’ Yanghua exclaimed.
‘He might be a genius, that is why he could be like that. After all, Eastern Devil in his youth once serves the Kingdom and Northern Badger himself sometimes helps our organization.’
They are pondering this when suddenly they felt their heart constricting and then suddenly they are attacked with a feeling of dread.
They suddenly unconsciously kneel to the ground by the sheer pressure of this energy. Wang Liao Ming quickly cupped his hand.
In his mind, there is some expert here. After all it is not such coincidence. This expert might also going to the martial art meet. He dare not offend.
‘Junior name is Wang Liao Ming. Here is my Junior Brother, Chen Yanghua. I beg expert to let us off.’
He said but no one reply but then suddenly the energy dissipated. For a few minutes they do not dare to make any sudden moves, fearing that the expert is testing them. But after a while they began to believe that the expert have let them off.
‘What’s that?’ Yanghua said clearly puzzled and fearful, remembering the feeling he felt. His heart constricted, his hand trembling, a sense of an impending death. That is what he feel when he was attacked by that feeling
For a while Liao Ming and Yanghua look around their vicinity to see if someone is looking at them but then they could sense it.
A malevolent storm of internal energy is concentrated not far away from them.
‘Did you feel that, Brother Liao Ming?’
‘Hmm’ he nodded
They quickly ran to that area. Every time their step nearing that place, they could sense the internal energy.
Malevolent like a storm. A terrifying amount of internal energy is being used right now. Liao Ming shudders to think who this person is.
He almost wanted to run but his curiosities get the best of him. He wanted to know who this expert is.
Hiding behind a large tree, they peek around that area. They could see a tent and they could sense that wherever this energy came from, it is from that tent.
They peek from the safety of the huge tree.
And then they see a young man, sitting cross legged, in that tent his aura is red while around him leaves and stones gravitates towards him, even one of the large boulder is rising about two meter from the ground, showing whoever this young man is, he has massive internal energy to make thing rise.
The leaves around the energy swirl and sway as they form a circle around the energy.
‘An expert’ Wang Liao Ming muttered
‘Expert? This young man?’
‘Ssh.. Don’t let him hear you. Appearance can be deceiving. It is clear to me that this young man is an expert. My teacher Iron Body Lion once said to me that the pinnacle of internal energy manipulation is air manipulation. After all in story of legends didn’t Levitia fly when he fought dragon. And for this young man to achieve power that enables him to manipulate the air around him of course he is an expert.’
Liao Ming has no scuffle to admit that this young man is an expert. Even though clearly he is older than that young man, he knows he has to show respect to the young man. After all power is the true rule of the martial art world.
Yanghua nodded again.
‘So is he the one who attack us?’
‘No. He must unconsciously attack us when he is training. We were unlucky enough to be around the area when we are attack by his technique. He must be practicing a high level technique to expense such amount of internal energy.’
‘Should we approach him?’
‘Let us approach him when he is done. We don’t want this expert to misunderstand our intention.’
So they sit in around the bushes marveling the young man, looking at him with admiration and envy.
After all the young man is clearly superior than them in the matter of internal energy. Hours they waited. Slowly the area around the tent is calming itself down.
The huge boulder slowly coming down and the leaves and the small stone also began coming down slowly. It seems his training is at an end. The storm has ended.
Then the young man open his eye and smiling.
‘I have understood a little about the use of Imposing Presence’ the young man said to himself, happy and excited, not yet sensing the two man.
Then suddenly, his face expression changed, his hand grip his word, like realizing he is being watched, he quickly said
‘Who’s there? Show yourself!’
‘Forgive us, young hero’ there are two silhouettes coming out from the nearby tree.
‘We didn’t mean to disturb your training so we wait for you to finish. My name is Wang Liao Ming and this is my Younger Disciple Brother Chen Yanghua. We make camp not far from here.’
He said humbly.
Liao Ming knows he is older than this young man but he also know this young man is clearly more powerful than him and he does not want to offend him. And Arial knows that too.
‘May I know your venerable name, expert?’ He said.
‘Why do you want to know?’ Arial reply harshly
‘Did we offend you?’ Liao Ming said, looking at Arial annoyed face.
He said. And from his body the Imposing Presence internal energy swooshed around this two people and for a moment all they feel is dread.
‘For..gi..ve us then.’ He said stuttering. He felt if this expert is angry, then maybe they will not leave this area without their lives.
‘Then we will take our leave’ Liao Ming said, knowing this is the only thing he can do.
To leave so the expert might cool down and quickly he grab Yanghua sleeve to make him leave with him.
Yanghua sense Liao Ming nervousness and Yanghua himself feel that to remain longer here, might prove deadly to them.
They are eager to leave the area.
Arial could see that these two men is martial artist, the people of the martial art world. Both of those men, frozen.
Arial quickly calm himself down, concealing Imposing Presence.
‘Yes?’ Liao Ming asks, now confident that the expert has calmed himself down since he no longer could sense that malevolent energy.
‘My name is Arial. Forgive me for my rudeness but rarely one watches me when I am training so you could understand my annoyance. I assure a few moments ago, was an accidental release of my energy’
Arial quickly changes his attitude.
‘Yes, of course. Do not mind it’ and they stopped trying to leave the area. Then suddenly it struck Liao Ming
‘Arial? Arial the Dragon!’
‘Oh’ Arial said amused
‘You know me?’
‘Of course! Of course! Your conflict with the Western Serpent at Linzi Temple is famous in the martial art world.’
‘Oh, how did they know it was me? I didn’t tell them my name.’
‘First of course they didn’t know but some information broker hired by some school finally found who you are.’
‘School of martial arts? Why go to such lengths?’
‘This school wanted to recruit you but when they heard you are a ruler of a large region with tens of thousands of army, these schools give up.’
‘HAHAHA, is that so’ Arial laugh.
Yanghua and Liao Ming also laugh. They were just talking about him. The rumours are true.
He really is talented in internal energy matters. He must have gained some insight while staying at Linzi Temple.
‘Are both of you going to the Martial Art Meet?’ Arial suddenly ask.
‘Yes’ Liao Ming said excitedly.
After all it seems this young man anger has dissipated and he seems clearly engaged speaking with him.
‘Please sit Liao Ming, Chen Yanghua.’
‘We will be honour to.’
‘No, the honour is mine’
So both of them sit while Arial give them a flasks of wine.
‘To think I could meet someone who has the same destination as me.’ Arial said, clearly happy that someone is also going to the Martial Art Meet
‘If you don’t mind me saying this, Lord Arial will you let both of us accompany you?’ Arial grin.
Liao Ming wanted to follow Arial because there is safety in numbers and as they both is following forest path, mostly there is some risk in encountering a bandit
Arial is also happy that Liao Ming ask this of him. Of course this is his intention. After all, he needed someone from the martial art world to show him the way.
Truthfully he knows where the Desert is. But what he didn’t know is where the Heaven Mountain, the place of the Meet is and he can learn the way of life of the martial art world if both of these men follow him.
‘Of course,’ Arial said
‘The more the merrier.’
So both of those men brought their camp supplies to Arial area and they talk to each other that night telling Arial of the news around the martial art world.
The story of Liao Bao marrying the Chu Princess and his battle with the disciple of Western Serpent.
How the Western Serpent went to Northern Badger to seek redress on the wrong committed on her disciple.
The story of how they both fight and Western Serpent got her injury. All of this and more. Arial did not know that Liao Bao is well known in the martial art world.
People called him the Thunder Step Liao Bao, disciple of Northern Badger.
Heh, I didn’t know he is famous in the martial art world circle Arial mused. That morning after they woke up from their sleep they continued their journey.
Usually in this kind of month, winter comes to his castle but now all he could feel is heat.
Though the heat doesn’t bother him much, he could not say the same about the two people behind him, sweating profusely, their clothes wet with their sweat.
Their breath is panting and one could see the effort both of these men to keep walking. Step by step they walk enduring the heat.
The Xenos desert.
One of the hottest places in Human Continent, maybe the hottest place in the human continent.
No one knows how it is formed. Any scholars who learn history will tell that Xenos desert is the remnant of a ruined Empire, the Xenosian Empire.
Mikael once told the story to Arial. It is one of Arial most favorite story about the First Generation.
The King of the First Generation destroys the Empire in one day, sending spears of Gods from the Sky obliterating everything to dust and ashes.
Looking back and seeing the two men struggling to keep walking, cast doubt on Arial. Will we reach the Heaven Mountains with this speed? Arial mused
Who knows? Maybe they have already started the Martial Art Meets? In the past month they have encountered many bandits’ mostly weak bandits.
Arial could say that both of these men behind him could be said as strong or maybe even important figure in the martial art world. But Arial knows that their strength compare to him is nothing threatening.
‘Is it going to be long?’ Arial ask.
‘Do not worry my lord. The Heaven Mountain is in the middle of the Xenos Desert. In one day journey we will reach there.’
‘Hmm’ Arial said.
‘Can you tell me a little about the Heaven Mountain?’
‘Of course, Lord Arial.’ Liao Ming said, eager to tell the story of the miraculous Heaven Mountain.
‘It is said it is the only place in the Desert that have water, and it is highly beautiful. It has waterfall, high hills, forest, bamboo tree, stones, bag stones, dark caves and huge caverns, an oasis for the thirsty, a sanctuary for those who want to train their arts. No one knows how it is created or why it is the only place around the desert that has trees like the Kingdom but no one cares about such matter my lord.’
He heard about the Heaven Mountains description and from the description Arial believes it is kind of like the mountain range in the human continent.
‘Is there any city in the Xenos desert, brother?’ Liao Ming shakes his head and then said to his brother.
‘No, there isn’t. Most of the people in the desert live a nomadic lifestyle, always moving. But mostly around the Heaven Mountain there is some small settlement after all the Heaven Mountain has a water source.’
Yanghua nodded listening to the explanation.
Arial knows why Western Serpent picks the Heaven Mountain as the place of the Martial Art meet.
It is because Western Serpent who live around the Western Sea and she must have been coming countless time to Xenos Desert.
Xenos desert is a tough place to live and harder to traverse. Only the strong dares come. Maybe it is a sick way for Western Serpent…no…no, it must be a test for Western Serpent to differentiate the weak and the strong.
Only the strong can come to her martial art meet. This is surely her intention.
‘We need to take a rest a few hours from now before we resume our journey tomorrow’ Arial declared.
The sun is coming down. The cold air is descending upon them. Both of the people behind him nodded.
Arial could also train again. Yesterday he has managed to fuse the two sword technique Sweeping Star and Light Strike into his Heaven Punishment style.
Today he is about to once again improve Imposing Presence. Of all his technique this is one of the most difficult techniques he has ever seen.
And since he creates the technique, it is relying on his understanding completely for this technique to become high level technique.
They set their tent a few meters apart because they all know that Arial is always practicing at night and they know how fearsome the aura he emitted.
Arial is siting cross legged in his tent. He take a deep breath, feeling the wind, the blood coursing through his vein, feeling the power of the universe coursing through him and then he close his eyes and the Imaginary Scape is in front of him.
Emptiness. All there is in the Scape is darkness. Arial think of a water fall and suddenly the scenery change to a water fall.
This is better.
Arial sit cross legged in one of the rock and one clone is formed in the creek below the waterfall.
Arial think of the Firehorse horde and suddenly his clone is on a collision course with the horde of stampeding angry firehorse.
Arial let it simulate. Again. Again. Again he thought. Every time his clone failed to stop the horde with Imposing Presence Arial change again his thoughts.
Trying to choose, to determine the most effective way to employ the technique while releasing Killing Intent powerful enough to subdue the Horde.
This is hard.
To fuse Heave Punishment Style with other swordsmanship technique is not a hard task for him after all Arial learn all the swordsmanship technique in the Vern Imperial Library and he understands the basic of swordsmanship and so naturally it comes easy for him.
But Imposing Presence proves to be difficult for him to understand.
But still he perseveres. On the outside however the two man look at Arial tent and they could feel the energy in that tent and they look at the tent and they could see the sand rising up.
‘It seems Lord Arial is improving’ Liao Ming said
‘How do you know, Brother?’
‘A few days ago, he also trained and did you see the sand rising up higher than his tent? No, right? Today it is rising up surpassing his tent. With this alone we can be assured that Lord Arial is improving. Truly an expert. So young to be so talented.’
Liao Ming sighed. Truly the world is vast.
But he could not blame Arial. After all in this journey how many times have Arial save him from the bandits.
Liao Ming looks at the far horizon. Tomorrow they will reach Heaven Mountain. Judging from the urgency of Arial, Liao Ming is sure that Arial is participating. Maybe a new legend will be born that day.