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Chapter 152 - Medication
As soon as Lu Mingshu got off the stage, Tan Yubing rushed over to hold her.
Lu Mingshu bowed to the three chaperones before making her way back to get treatment.
"Who's plotting against you? That was too dirty!" Tan Yubing yelled as she put Lu Mingshu down and shut the door.
Lu Mingshu smiled at her while untying her belt. "Kou Wei was plotted against more than ten times. This is just a small thing."
"Let me." Tan Yubing took over and carefully took off the clothes that were sticking to Lu Mingshu's wound. "There were such matters?"
"Yeah." Kou Wei said it during one of their meetings. It's just that he was so skillful and daring that n.o.body had ever succeeded against him, so it wasn't well remembered.
After checking all of Mingshu's injuries, Tan Yubing heaved a sigh of relief. "It's not serious, you've just lost too much blood. You should take some medicine to enrich your blood."
Just then, somebody knocked on her door.
Tan Yubing let Lu Mingshu rest while she went to get the door.
A servant girl was at the door. Upon seeing Tan Yubing, she bowed and showed the items in her hand. "Miss, this servant has received orders to send Miss Lu some medicine."
"Received orders? Whose orders?" Tan Yubing was still shocked by the story about Kou Wei being plotted against, so she was more alert now.
"Young Master said that Miss Lu would know who he is after receiving the medicine."
Tan Yubing hesitated and looked at Lu Mingshu.
"Is there a token?" Lu Mingshu's voice rang from the room.
The servant girl stared blankly at Tan Yubing. "This… Young Master was so worried about Miss that he rushed me here, so he must have forgotten to pa.s.s me the token."
"Miss, please leave," Lu Mingshu replied coldly. "Nine Jade Palace may be poor, but we still have medicine."
"Senior Aunt Tan, please send her off."
Hearing Lu Mingshu, Tan Yubing hesitated no more. "Please leave."
The door closed right in the servant girl's face.
Tan Yubing walked toward her. "Junior Niece Lu, are you sure it's alright?"
Lu Mingshu fidgeted with the concealed weapon from her earlier fight and shrugged. "Who cares. She was clearly hiding the head and showing the tail."
(Idiom meaning "to tell a half-truth")
She didn't suspect anything at first, but after seeing Tan Yubing acting suspicious, Lu Mingshu asked a question to the servant girl. Who knew she would get such an interesting answer?
"This… Young Master was so worried about Miss that he rushed me here, so he must have forgotten to pa.s.s me the token." …if I was actually interested in Xie Lianzhen, I would be on cloud nine. However, Xie Lianzhen wouldn't act in such a heavy-handed way. That day when we met at the greenhouse, he only hinted at it, so why would he let a servant girl say something so blatant?
Tan Yubing nodded and got somebody to send some water over.
As soon as the water was sent over, somebody knocked on the door again. Tan Yubing went to open it and saw another servant girl standing outside.
"What do you want?" The constant knocking on the door annoyed Tan Yubing.
This servant girl took out a few bottles of medicine as well. "This servant received orders to send Miss some medicine…."
"Token?" Tan Yubing tried not to snap at her.
The servant girl took a piece of jade out of her pocket.
Seeing that she really did have a token, Tan Yubing hesitated for a while before taking the jade to Lu Mingshu. "Junior Niece Lu, take a look."
Lu Mingshu took a look at the jade and nodded her head. "Accept it."
Tan Yubing nodded and accepted the medicine.
The servant girl continued, "This is Coagulation Cream, to be applied on the wound." The servant girl then pointed to another box, "This is a Yiyang Pill, for enriching one's blood. And this is a patch that you can bring with you anywhere. The next time Miss Lu is injured, she can just apply it without having to bandage."
Tan Yubing went back to the room to continue cleaning Lu Mingshu's wounds.
Lu Mingshu suddenly pointed at the medicine that was sent to her. "Just use this."
Tan Yubing looked at her in shock, but she did as she was told and bandaged it for Lu Mingshu.
After changing, Lu Mingshu took the other medicine. Seeing that she still looked pale, Tan Yubing advised her to stay in. "Junior Niece Lu, stay in today. Anyone who still wants to have a match with you today would be way too thick-skinned."
Lu Mingshu nodded. "Thanks, Senior Aunt Tan."
Tan Yubing smiled at her. "We are from the same sect, what's there to thank?"
But Tan Yubing never expected Lu Mingshu to reply with, "Yes… the same sect. It's hard for me to be able to thank someone from the same sect."
Tan Yubing thought of Lu Mingshu's situation and sighed. The line of Golden Door may be almost insignificant in Nine Jade Palace, and they didn't have many resources either. However, Tan Yubing's Senior Sisters and Brothers showered her with love, unlike Lu Mingshu, who only had Gao Xiang by her side.
To Lu Mingshu, Nine Jade Palace wasn't a shelter over her head; it was more like a jail. To her, leaving Nine Jade Palace may be the best solution.
Tan Yubing sighed. Suddenly, a thought appeared in her mind.
"Junior Niece Lu…"
Seeing her hem and haw, Lu Mingshu just spoke up, "Senior Aunt Tan, feel free to say anything that's on your mind."
"Sorry for poking my nose into your business." Tan Yubing asked cautiously, "Is it the Alioth Star Lord who sent the medicine over?"
Lu Mingshu nodded. "The last one was."
"You've met before?"
"Senior Aunt Tan," Lu Mingshu cut her off. "Since the last one was from him, who do you think the first one was from?"
Tan Yubing stared at her blankly. She realized how complicated all this was.
Lu Mingshu sighed. It was obvious who the first sender was. Other than that crazy State Master Jia Yan, who would pretend to be the Alioth Star Lord? She just couldn't understand what this State Master had in her mind. If you like somebody, why don't you just go for it? What's the point of coming after me? Moreover, me and Xie Lianzhen… it isn't even like what she thinks, and even if it was, she should go after him and capture his heart, not me! Finding trouble with me is just a waste of her time.
She heard Tan Yubing continue, "I just wanted to suggest that, if he's really interested in you, maybe you could take this chance to leave Nine Jade Palace. However, the Seventh Truth Platform is also a mess…."
Lu Mingshu looked at her and laughed sarcastically. "Why… why does everyone say such things?"
"Must I do that in order to leave the Nine Jade Palace?" she asked softly. "The only way to leave my prison is by marrying someone?"
Tan Yubing sighed. "That's not what I meant. There are other ways, of course. It's just that this is the best choice for you given your current situation."
"But what am I if I do that?" she mumbled, as if talking to herself. "Using marriage to escape trouble… isn't that like selling myself? Is it because the reason is much more n.o.ble, that's why it isn't considered selling myself? Why does everyone give me the same suggestion?"
Tan Yubing was taken aback by her answer. After realizing Mingshu's thoughts, Tan Yubing sighed. "Junior Niece Lu, we are all just commoners. What else can we do? We can't avoid all this. The world has its own rules, and we are just like dust. All we can do is follow the rules."
Lu Mingshu smiled and shook her head. "But that's boring. I do not want to live a life like that."
"Junior Niece Lu…" Hearing her answer, Tan Yubing started worrying for her. "Your mind is a bit scary…."
"Token!?" State Master Jia Yan screamed. "She and Cousin have a keepsake? I knew it! It's all fake! Thick skin, I must…"
Suddenly, the door was kicked open, revealing Xie Lianzhen on his wheelchair and the teenager who kicked the door open.
Xie Lianzhen smiled mirthlessly at her, "You must what? Come, share with me. I want to know too."
Chapter 153 - Stranger
"Cousin…" State Master Jia Yan mumbled, staring blankly at him. She still hadn't recovered from the shock.
Xie Lianzhen continued to smile at her brilliantly. "Hmm?"
State Master Jia Yan looked at him, then back to the teenager who kicked open her door. As if she had found a target to get angry at; "Xie Zhanghui! How dare you trample on my door!"
The teenager who trampled her door went back to stand behind Xie Lianzhen. He looked around as if it had nothing to do with him.
"Jia Yan," Xie Lianzhen cut her off. He sounded calm, as if nothing had happened. However, from his tone, one could tell that he was just acting calm.
"Cousin!" State Master Jia Yan panicked. "I… I'm not planning anything…."
Xie Lianzhen looked at the teenager behind him. "Zhanghui."
The teenager behind him answered, "Yes," as he made his way forward.
Not only was Xie Zhanghui tall, he had long limbs and an expressionless face. State Master Jia Yan felt oppressed by him and kept retreating while screaming. "Xie Zhanghui! What are you trying to do?"
Xie Zhanghui didn't even spare her a look. He s.n.a.t.c.hed the box of medicine over from the servant girl and poured the medicine out to have a sniff. "Young Master, there's Fire Fox Vine's powder added to it."
"Fire Fox Vine…" Xie Lianzhen smiled with exaggeration. "The best medicine to improve blood flow. Wow. Perfect for someone covered in cuts."
His smile gave State Master Jia Yan goose b.u.mps. "Cousin…"
"I heard you made a bet with her, huh?"
State Master Jia Yan lowered her head in silence, not daring to look into his eyes.
"And you used my name to send her a special medicine, huh? If she really used it, not only today, she wouldn't need to go for any of the remaining matches because there's no doubt she would lose." Xie Lianzhen looked into her eyes and smiled. "Jia Yan, you're really something!"
He spoke without any emotion, as if he was an iceberg.
This wasn't the first time State Master Jia Yan heard him speak like this. However, in the past, he only spoke like this to outsiders, not her. Back then, she felt satisfied to see it, but when the arrow was pointed at her, her heart sank. It was as if the whole world had crashed down on her.
"Cousin…" she pleaded. "I, I don't like her, can you not…?"
"Have you ever liked anyone?" Xie Lianzhen looked into her eyes coldly. "Ever since the queen started picking out a bride for me, how many have you liked?"
"I… I didn't do anything to her, just that…"
"Just that she wouldn't be able continue the matches." Xie Lianzhen continued in monotone. The smile on his face was soon gone. "Jia Yan, you were born under a lucky star, with a golden spoon in your mouth and everyone doting on you. Everything has gone as you wished your entire life, and now you think my life should be as you wish too?"
"So what if she can't compete!?" State Master Jia Yan retorted in anger. This was the first time in her life that she had been chided. "Not like she would die! And getting into the New Generation Ranking is just to feed her ego, what's the big deal?"
Xie Lianzhen sneered. He gave her a cold stare. "Of course it's no big deal to you. You're the only State Master in a royal family; you can have whatever you want. As soon as you started cultivating, you were given everything that could help you and anything that you asked for no matter how rare or expensive the things were. But some people don't even have access to any resources. Even basic resources are difficult for her to get. Even an ordinary weapon costs an arm and a leg for some people…. The New Generation Ranking may just be chicken ribs to you, but it may be an important step to some in their lives."
Xie Lianzhen paused for a while before continuing. "You're also wrong. Not competing will kill her by changing her fate. She's trying hard to get out of the mess that she's being forced into, and here you are trying to take away her only chance."
State Master Jia Yan's eyes were dripping with tears. She trembled, but she didn't dare to say anything else. She only looked at him with grievance.
"Even I have my limits," Xie Lianzhen continued calmly. "Yes, I remember all that you've done for me and all the care you've shown me. But that doesn't mean that I have to tolerate all your actions. There are many powerful people in this world. You may be from a royal family, but so what? Even I, an Alioth Star Lord that's not even fit for my position, can decide to not tolerate you, let alone people with actual power. This is my last warning; if you choose to ignore it, then don't blame me for being unkind."
Xie Lianzhen signaled Xie Zhanghui to push him out.
"Cousin!" State Master Jia Yan's tears burst forth like water from a dam as she called out to him. In her entire life, she had never been treated this way before.
But that didn't stop Xie Lianzhen. He went further and further until he could no longer be seen.
"State Master…" The servant girl was at a loss. She wanted to calm her down, but she did not dare.
"Get lost!" State Master Jia Yan pushed her away and ran away sobbing.
"State Master, State Master!" The servant girl hurried after her.
The matches were still in progress on the rooftop.
"Young Master, should we go back and watch the matches?"
It was inappropriate for a Star Lord to just leave during the middle of a match, but if State Master Jia Yan hadn't suddenly left, Xie Lianzhen wouldn't have left either.
Xie Lianzhen didn't respond. He then pointed to another direction after a few moments. "Let's go there."
Xie Zhanghui looked at him in shock, but he remained silent and pushed the wheelchair.
As they were reaching the courtyard where the Nine Jade Palace team was temporarily staying, Xie Lianzhen held his hand up, and both of them stopped under a tree outside the courtyard.
Xie Lianzhen kept quiet, and Xie Zhanghui kept quiet too.
Silence then took over the area. If someone saw this scene, it was just two guys staring into s.p.a.ce, one standing and one sitting.
After a few moments, Xie Lianzhen suddenly started, "Am I a disgusting person?" It was a bit soft, so Xie Zhanghui couldn't tell if he was just mumbling to himself or asking. "In front of Jia Yan, I said all that as if I am devoted to righteousness, but honestly, what's the difference between me and her? Jia Yan keeps suppressing Lu Mingshu because she doesn't like her, while I kept teasing her because I find her interesting, and I even tried to help and protect her without her consent. In the end, I am just as disgusting as Jia Yan. A selfish human being who only cares about himself."
Xie Zhanghui kept quiet.
"Why is there a person like her in this world?" Xie Lianzhen lowered his head and looked at the piece of jade in his hand. "Her father remarried, biting the hand that fed him. Her family members were all dead, but she still wasn't treated properly. She had an even-tougher life than me, so why can she still… shine so brightly? Zhanghui, why am I so bad?"
"No," Xie Zhanghui answered without hesitating. "You're shining brightly too."
"Hah…" Xie Lianzhen sneered. "Why do you even bother trying to make me feel better…? Xie Xingchen… Xie Xingchen…. She must have great foresight to give me such a name."
(Xing means "star" and Chen means "drown")
"I'm such a despicable person." He smiled, but his eyes are dull. "No wonder she likes him, not me."
Chapter 154 - It's All Fine?
Tan Yubing's guess was correct; n.o.body challenged Lu Mingshu after her fight. She was injured under the eyes of every partic.i.p.ant. Whoever dared to challenge her despite that would be seen as the epitome of shameless.
The games of the world indeed had their own rules and regulations, and the Qilin Festival was no exception. No matter how many dirty secrets were hidden below, they should at least remain magnificent on the surface. Otherwise, how could the New Generation Ranking mean anything?
The skies soon darkened, and the chaperones sent someone to check on Lu Mingshu, except for An Tongchen, who came down personally.
"You should work on your defense," An Tongchen started. "It's good to be an elite in one area, but it probably won't get you to the top."
"Thanks, Senior Uncle An."
All sorts of feelings welled up in Lu Mingshu's heart. In other people's eyes, An Tongchen was someone cold and nasty, but to her and her master, it was a totally different story.
An Tongchen didn't stay for long. "Rest early. There's a high chance that someone will challenge you tomorrow."
An Tongchen waved his hand to indicate that she didn't need to send him off, then left.
Lu Mingshu took a pouch that An Tongchen left behind. She opened it up to reveal a box of ointment and a thin disk
She took it out to have a better look. The disk was smaller than her palm, and it was dark green with a complex rune on it.
"Spiritual Tool…" she murmured.
Spiritual Tool - a tool that arose during the war between mankind and the barbarians when mankind's development was at its apex. Back then, with a Spiritual Tool, one could demonstrate extraordinary skills without using much mystic force. Spiritual Tools were a heroic contribution to mankind winning war. As time pa.s.sed, the rune-carving industry started to wane, so Spiritual Tools were hardly seen anymore.
This Spiritual Tool was definitely not newly made. Looking at its condition, it must have been at least a hundred years old.
Mystic force rushed forth from her palm, and gold rays of light surrounded the disk. This inconspicuous Spiritual Tool shone brightly on her palm. Lu Mingshu flicked it lightly, and as if it was alive, the disk jumped on her palm like a paper frog and blinked continuously.
Such a treasure! If I had this with me earlier, I wouldn't have been injured.
"I owe him so much!" Lu Mingshu sighed and grabbed the disk in her hand.
If she was An Tongchen's disciple, it would be a different story, but she wasn't.
"Whatever. When there are too many debts, one stops worrying." Lu Mingshu placed the disk back into the pouch.
As she was about to go into the Heavenly Wheel, someone came to her door.
When she opened the door, the servant girl who came over that day was standing outside. "Miss Lu, someone instructed this servant to pa.s.s you something."
She pa.s.sed a roll of silk to Lu Mingshu and left hurriedly after bowing.
Lu Mingshu closed the door and opened the silk.
It was filled with writings that had the same font as the one on the back of book she received a couple days ago. Each and every stroke was clearly and neatly written. One could tell that the owner of this text had great patience.
The things written on the silk got straight to the point. It was about the situation that Huo Jiang was in, and who he had met before and during the Qilin Festival.
Lu Mingshu blinked her eyes.
Should she consider herself lucky? Even though she had always been in desperate situations, there was always someone there for her. An Tongchen was helping her because of her master, while the other one was someone whom she wanted to avoid but couldn't.
Whatever. It's not like I'm forcing him to do this. He can do whatever he wants. She crushed the silk and went into the Heavenly Wheel.
"Do you know what this is?" Lu Mingshu took out the concealed weapons.
The concealed weapons were the ones that Huo Jiang injured her with earlier. To say that they were concealed weapons though… they were rough and looked cheap. They didn't look like plum blossom darts nor money darts. They just looked unfinished.
"Golden Crystal Extract," Xiao Sang replied in monotone. "Extremely good at conducting mystic force; the energy loss is almost zero. The material is extremely durable. It's the best quality material."
Lu Mingshu's eyes widened. Xiao Sang had high standards; her comments took into account everything in the world. This was the first time that she had said that Lu Mingshu's item was something more than a basic material.
"Xiao Sang, could I use it to craft a sword?"
"Yes, but you need to have at least a middle-cla.s.s tool refining technique."
According to Xiao Sang's standard, "middle-cla.s.s tool refining technique" refered to the grandmaster level of tool refining. Finding a tool refining grandmaster to craft a sword for her? Maybe even Fu Shangqin couldn't get one to do it.
"And you don't have enough of it. If you want to craft a sword, you need at least three of those things in your hand."
Lu Mingshu bit her lips. "Xiao Sang, is this hard to get? How much points are needed to exchange for this in the Heavenly Wheel?"
"Best quality stuff is rare. You will need up to thirty million points to be able to exchange for it."
"…" Lu Mingshu kept quiet. She had already spent more than six months trying to pay off her debt of one thousand. Thirty million was obviously impossible for her.
From this information, it was obvious that this Golden Crystal Extract was a high-cla.s.s material, and only someone with a high cultivation would have access to it. Adding on what Xiao Sang said about the tool refining standard, if was successful, it would be the best quality weapon.
Lu Mingshu bit her lips. "Could I find someone to craft a sword through the Heavenly Wheel?"
"Yes," Xiao Sang replied. "You could use your points and set it up on the forum as a task for someone to pick up, or you could wait for the Heavenly Wheel to come out with a new recipe for crafting a sword that can increase your percentage of succeeding. "
"How many points are needed?"
"The forum is a place for those who have access to the Heavenly Wheel to communicate with each other. One can do a deal with points or objects there. A crafting recipe will cost about a thousand to a million points."
Way cheaper than I thought it would be.
She was definitely going to craft a sword. Her current weapon was still usable, but it couldn't bring her very far. A weapon was a martial artist's life. Anyone who aspired to break through the Spirit Realm would have a good weapon, regardless of whether it was the sect that gave them a precious tool or whether they collected the materials themselves like Kou Wei, who started immediately when he entered the Harmonization Realm.
After setting her goal, Lu Mingshu spent half a night in the Heavenly Wheel and went out to rest after she recovered.
The next morning, when she took off the bandage, the wound was gone, and not even a scar was left.
Tan Yubing came over early to help her clean her wound, but she was taken aback by what she saw.
"Wow…! What kind of medicine did you take? It's so powerful."
"Secret medicine of the Seventh Truth Platform." Lu Mingshu smiled.
Tan Yubing bit her lips. Lu Mingshu changed and walked toward the door, ignoring Tan Yubing's looks. "Senior Aunt Tan, let's get going."
On the second day of the challenges, the matches were still interesting. After a few rounds, Lin Zixin flipped open the name list that was just sent to him and looked at the clerk in shock. "Are you sure this is what was sent?"
The clerk nodded. "Sir, I've asked, and she said that it's not against the rules…."