Chapter 23: Crafty Old Woman
His voice had just fallen when Gu Hao angrily shouted, “Stinkin’ brat! What are you trying to say!?” At the side, the beauty, Ning Yan’s face turned red then white. Her eyes turned cold with a flustered anger expression. There was not a trace remaining of any previous grace.
Liu Feizhou spread out his hands. “It’s exactly what it sounds like.”
Ning Yan and Gu Hao’s ambiguous relationship was practically a living example of a toad getting to eat swan meat.
Gu Hao was originally a first rank alchemist’s medicine wight. He ended up with a body covered with poisonous sores that was too appalling to endure, yet he still didn’t die. Then, he actually managed to use the attributes of those medicinal dregs to refine a pill and poison that alchemist to death. Afterwards, in a lucky encounter, he met Dan Fengyan and became his second disciple.
Gu Hao has already been a disciple for ten years. Although he was the second disciple, his pill refining level was actually the highest. These years, for the sake of treating the poison sores that were left from his time as a medicine wight, he had put in all his effort. However, no matter what he did, some things were impossible to fully cure. What Gu Hao hated the most was when others said he was ugly. Right now, although Liu Feizhou didn’t say it straight out, the implied meaning in his words practically had the effect of stabbing a hornet’s nest. In reality, Gu Hao still counted as an inspiring role model. It was a pity that he became psychologically twisted and was the most vicious and merciless out of Master Dan’s four disciples. Towards beautiful things, he either wanted to possess them all, or destroy them all.
He was ugly, yet he simply liked the very opposite so his artifact was a long feather. When he first pulled it out, Su Tingyun blinked as she looked at it, feeling that it was rather like the golden pheasant feathers Beijing opera actors stuck on their heads. The bright-colored end was colored pure gold and the edges of the feather were tinted a little cinnabar-colored. It was extremely beautiful, to the point it hurt the eyes.
It was clearly a feather, yet the moment Gu Hao grasped and pierced it forward, it became hard as a sharp sword. Liu Feizhou was unflustered and didn’t bother to try and dodge. “What Master hates the most is when people of the same sect mutually destroy one another. Second Senior Brother should think things through carefully.”
Liu Feizhou didn’t even furrow his brows when that feather reached his neck, his manner still cold and arrogant. Su Tingyun’s throat involuntarily made swallowing motion as she watched. During the moment of imminent peril, the rigid as iron feather suddenly became soft and brushed past Liu Feizhou’s throat without leaving a mark just like a real feather.
Ning Yan had already grabbed Gu Hao’s hand. “Second Senior Brother, you must not be rash.”
If they fought among themselves, Master would definitely expel them. He might even personally dispose of them.
Ning Yan’s sleeves were wide and flowed. When she lifted her hand to grab Gu Hao’s arm, her jade arm was half exposed. The exquisite lotus arm, beneath the sunlight, glowed slightly like a tender scallion as her slender fingers firmly grabbed Gu Hao’s sleeve.
When Gu Hao lowered his head, upon seeing that snow-like arm, he inhaled so sharply the poison ulcers on his face trembled. He retrieved his artifact and rubbed Ning Yan’s arm in a soothing gesture, and even kneaded it a bit before turning back towards Liu Feizhou with a cold humph. “Junior Brother Liu has nothing but a skilled mouth. The competition is next month, so why don’t we two brothers make a little bet?”
His eyes were fixated on Liu Feizhou’s face as he spat out the words through gritted teeth.
Liu Feizhou spread his hands, unconcerned, and laughed. “You think people would bet just if you say to bet? Without anything to gain from it, who would bet with you?”
Liu Feizhou had pretty good looks. Even though he wasn’t attractive in a heroic-looking way, his features were charming in an unfeminine way that gave off a demonic and frivolous feeling. His slender eyeline would become very captivating especially when he smiled like this.
Originally, Su Tingyun felt that he was still a long way from being on par with Su Lijiang. However, with Gu Hao here to act as a point of contrast, Liu Feizhou had completely ascended to another level.
“You want some benefits, was it?” Gu Hao’s expression was dark as he glared at Liu Feizhou. His eyes were triangle shaped and his eyelids were wide, causing his eyes to seem even smaller. Due to having medicine tested out on him for years on end, his eyeballs were dyed yellow. Now, when he looked at people, his gaze was extremely horrifying. Gu Hao dug out a purple square cauldron. “If you win, this fourth rank Purple Dragon Cauldron is yours.”
Although the Purple Dragon Cauldron was dark, it was made to be very delicate and exquisite. All four legs were were engraved with dragon and phoenix designs, making it look very charming in an antique way.
“I’ll gift you this medicine. If you lose, you’ll eat it right then right there in front of all of us.” After Gu Hao finished speaking, a dark black medicinal pill floated to the sky above the cauldron. That pill was the size of a marble and didn’t have the fresh fragrance usual spirit medicine had. Although Su Tingyun wasn’t familiar with medicine pills, she was still able to tell that the pill was probably a poison pill that harmed the taker’s body or cultivation.
Liu Feizhou took a look at that pill then burst out laughing. “You merely brought out a fourth rank cauldron, yet you want me to eat the Poison Toad Pill you refined? Second Senior Brother, isn’t the abacus you’re using to count your chickens before they’re hatched ringing out a little too loudly?”
“Then what do you offer?” Gu Hao’s expression was unfriendly. “This pill will only cause ulcers to appear on your head, it’s not like it’ll affect your cultivation. Yet you disdain it for not being enough even though I’m offering a fourth rank cauldron in exchange?”
Liu Feizhou couldn’t even bring himself to put in the effort to glance at him. He turned to Ning Yan and smiled sweetly as he waved his hand. “Third Senior Sister, I’ll gift you a fourth rank artifact if you eat that pill for me. How about it?”
Ning Yan was infuriated to the point her hands trembled. “Liu Feizhou, you shouldn’t bully too intolerably!”
Liu Feizhou shrugged upon hearing this and turned to look towards Su Tingyun. “Damned old woman, do you want to eat it?”
Eat? Rather eat you, damned devil!
From the start, her current face was already black and ugly. If she ended up having so many poison ulcers as well, she wouldn’t be able to face anyone in the future and will have to bury her face in the ground. Liu Feizhou smugly lifted his brows upon seeing the old woman lower her head and attempt to shrink her sturdy body with an expression as if a live quail had been stuffed down her throat. “If Second Senior Brother insists on setting that as the stake, it’s not unacceptable. However, that fourth rank cauldron definitely won’t do. Let’s just use your first rate pill flame, the Incense Wood Flame, to gamble.”
Gu Hao’s originally chilly face was now almost about to drip water from repressed rage. He put on a fake smile as he said, “Looks like Junior Brother has always been longing for that Incense Wood Flame of mine ah. Well, let’s just see if you have the ability to get it.” His pill refining skill was the highest of the four. Meanwhile, Liu Feizhou had just became a disciple for two years. So what if his natural aptitude was high? He definitely wouldn’t be a match for him. Gu Hao retrieved the medicine cauldron and at the same time, threw that black medicinal pill into the air a couple times like a toy. “Since I’ve taken out a first rate pill flame, then Junior Brother should also add a little to the stakes. That Black Iron Wood will do.”
The Black Iron Wood would increase the pill fire quality by a fixed percentage when combined with a pill flame. It was also a very precious item.
Only now did Liu Feizhou hesitate slightly. However, this one instant of hesitation was enough to attract the opponent’s mocking. Ning Yan said with an overbearing air, “What? Junior Brother doesn’t dare to bet now?”
Liu Feizhou suddenly lifted his head, his eyes lit like torches. “Alright.”
After both sides agreed on the bet stakes, Gu Hao and Ning Yan left holding hands. Liu Feizhou stood expressionlessly in the field without moving, like a scarecrow that was stabbed into the soil. Su Tingyun watched for quite a while and discovered that he didn’t even blink, nor did he shift his eyes at all. It was like someone had put a paralysis spell on him.
The setting sun cast a layer of multicolored light over him. After a long while, those fine thick lashes softly blinked, shattering the tranquil moment of the evening like a stone that was thrown in a calm lake. Liu Feizhou started laughing loudly, completely destroying the last trace of tranquility in the valley. When the sun set completely, he turn to look at Su Tingyun and spoke slowly. “If I lose, you will die.”
At this time, since the sun had set, the sky was dark and caused Liu Feizhou’s expression to be dark as water. Su Tingyun was originally crouched on the floor, but now, she got to her feet. “Before, you only told me to grow the medicinal plants. I’ve already grown them! How can you be like this!?”
She rolled up her sleeves and started arguing. “The bet is something you accepted on your own. If you don’t have the confidence, you shouldn’t have agreed to it ah! If you lose, it’s only because your skill can’t compare to theirs. Why do you have to blame me!?” Su Tingyun, in that moment, seemed to have forgotten that this wasn’t a place where reason mattered. However, her twenty-five years of life experience caused her to have a conditioned reflex way of thinking. Only after she finished speaking did her heart violently flop from Liu Feizhou’s ominous stare.
Liu Feizhou gave a light laugh. “Old woman, it’s your skill that can’t compare to others. What are you blaming me for?”
He walked to Su Tingyun and pressed a hand on her shoulder. “If your cultivation was higher than mine, would you still be threatened by me?” As he spoke, Liu Feizhou pressed down with force. Right after he pressed down, he saw that Su Tingyun’s face had already turned pale, her eyelids withdrew back and she was pained to the point white foam was almost coming out of her mouth.
Liu Feizhou: “…”
He was just getting ready to use a bit of strength to scare her a little. This old thing was seriously too cunning. Didn’t she know that humans need face, trees need skin… (aka, have some shame)
From Liu Feizhou’s point of view, Su Tingyun’s pained to the point she was grimacing expression was way too cooperative. He knitted his brows and released her, then threw a low level Revival Pill to her. “Gu Hao will definitely spread the news of our bet everywhere. When the time comes, someone might start a betting collection. When you have time, go outside and listen around. If there’s a spectator bet, then bet all of this.”
After Liu Feizhou finished speaking, he threw another bag to Su Tingyun who caught it with one hand. After he left, she opened it to look inside and found that it was a high grade spirit stone. Low grade spirit stones were faint green, mid grade were light blue and high grade were blue with purple in the middle. Just this one piece of spirit stone was worth an amount that many low ranking cultivators wouldn’t be able to earn in the course of their entire lifetime.
It was just that Liu Feizhou didn’t say who to bet on ah. Su Tingyun’s mouth silently tugged downwards. No matter how she looked at it, Gu Hao’s chance of victory seemed to be greater. Even though Su Tingyun didn’t know that much, she still knew that Gu Hao had the highest skill out of Dan Fengyang’s four disciples. As for the weakest disciple, that was Liu Feizhou, who had entered apprenticeship the latest.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Proofread by Sigil
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