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Apparently, this cellar was a place to burn the corpses so as to destroy the evidence of their crimes.
Li Mu's heart sank.
"c.r.a.p! Qiu Yi might have already been dead. The odds are against us."
He quickly reinforced the Searching Incantation and the hair continued to lead them forward. At last, they came to a heap of bodies.
The hair zoomed into the heap of bodies and disappeared from sight.
By his side, Xia Ju also figured out what might happened to Qiu Yi. Instantly, her face paled and tears rolled down her cheeks in silence.
Li Mu clenched his teeth and boldly began to ferret in the heap of corpses.
At the bottom of the heap, a girl in a light green maid uniform was lying face down in a pool of blood and her breathing had long gone. The hair dwelled on her, while blood was still oozing out from her body. Li Mu turned her over to see that she was a fair-skinned ordinary-looking girl. Her eyes were closed, and her hair which was stained by blood and mud was drooping on her forehead...
She was Qiu Yi.
Li Mu recognized her at first glance.
Because in the file Zheng Cunjian gave him contained a portrait of Qiu Yi.
Clearly, the poor maid had died a nasty death.
Her body was covered with gashes left by swords. She must have been cut by extremely swift sword skills. The attacker sliced her a thousand times and left numerous marks on her, but none of those wounds were fatal. It was obvious that she was a live target for the disciples to practice sword skills. And what took her life was the last move. It was divided into three steps, each of which hit her heart, throat, and between the eyebrows respectively.
Due to the pain and terror, Qiu Yi's face was screwed up and already stiffened.
Li Mu could imagine what kind of abuse the poor girl had suffered when she was alive.
Virtually, this was a murder with appalling maltreatment.
"No! Sister Qiu Yi..." Xia Ju could no longer suppress her sorrow and cried out loud.
Li Mu's vision also became blurred by tears.
He balled up his fists.
"Heaven Sword Martial Club..." He had an impulse of destroying everything before him.
At that point, those guards who were busy burning the bodies dozens of meters away at the furnaces heard Xia Ju's cry. Finally noticing there were some intruders, they were alerted at once.
"Who is there?" One of the guards shouted.
"d.a.m.n, someone has broken in. What the h.e.l.l are the guards outside doing?" complained a guard.
"Stop him! Don't let him escape!" growled another one.
Scores of guards who were incinerating the bodies brandished the iron hooks that they used to yank the dead over as they rushed towards Li Mu and Xia Ju.
Li Mu spun abruptly, killing intent surging in his eyes.
"Taoist magic arts · Dragon Whirlwind!"
A tornado instantly emerged from his palm. Roaring like a dragon, it whirled across the entire cellar. The visible cyan whirlwind in the shape of a dragon swept through the room. With vague growls of a dragon, it scooped up all the guards destroying the bodies and sent them into the blazing furnaces.
At once, howls of pain and despair were heard.
A dozen men on fire dashed out from the furnaces while shrieking wildly.
Their ear-splitting cries startled the patrolling guards out of the underground maze.
Soon, footsteps sounded as a large number of guards proceeded towards the cellar.
"Young Master..." Xia Ju was immediately put on her guard and turned to Li Mu. Despite her grief over Qiu Yi's tragic death, now she was more concerned about Li Mu's safety. If they were exposed in the underground maze, it could be highly dangerous, and she had no idea what to do.
But Li Mu comforted, "Don't worry. I've promised that I'll take Sister Qiu Yi home, so I'll certainly make it happen."
Actually, he had already made his mind.
Xia Ju simply a.s.sumed that Li Mu was going to bring Qiu Yi's body back. But shortly, she widened her eyes and clapped her hands over her mouth in disbelief.
"Open the door of the nether world. Release liveness from heaven. If the soul heard me, come to your corporeal body. The way of heaven is unique, while the way of underworld is compa.s.sionate. Today I write a letter to welcome my old friend back. The Black and White Impermanence, please return her to the mortal world... The soul of the dead, come back!"
Then, Li Mu bit her index finger and started to write with that finger in the air.
Curiously, the air seemed to have turned into a sheet of blank paper. When he applied beads of his blood in the air, they did not fall down or scatter around but formed scarlet marks. In no time, an abstruse and intricate figure had been drawn up.
The moment the figure was finished, an extremely mystical power rippled through the air. A vague dark door gradually appeared in the middle of the corpses. Behind the door, many shadows could be seen, which looked like the materialized ghosts.
By then, Li Mu's forehead was already thickly dotted with beads of sweat.
He just cast the Spirit-trapping Spell.
It was one of the magic spells the old faker had pa.s.sed on to him. Casting this spell would cost the warlock tons of spiritual force, but it could force the soul of the recently deceased person to come back. Although it could not really bring the dead back, it enabled the warlock to keep the soul in the world, which meant the dead still had a shred of hope of resurrection. If some favorable turn appeared in the future or certain incredibly powerful person changed the fate of the deceased, he or she might have a chance to come back to life.
But of course, since that was a defy of nature, some consequences would ensue from casting such spell.
Thus, the old faker had warned him that he must be careful when doing the Spirit-rapping Spell.
By that time, throngs of armored soldiers had flooded into the entrance of the cellar with all kinds of weapons.
Without flickering his eyes upon the enemy, Li Mu casually threw a punch backward.
The powerful punch turned into a huge fist and rumbled out. It directly bombarded all the armored opponents that just dashed in the room into pieces in an instant. The terrifying energy generated from the punch also blasted the entrance of the cellar into crumbles, creating a round tunnel that was five meters in diameter, stretching to several hundred meters away and piercing through more than half of the underground maze. In the blink of an eye, those armored soldiers flooding in were reduced to blood and dust.
The current Li Mu had obtained great attainments in both Taoist magic arts and physical martial arts. Thus, once his corporeal power burst out, it poured like mountain torrents.
Now, the outside quieted down a little.
The blood on the Spirit-trapping Figure he drew was fading. Shadows that seemed to be numerous faint ghosts were s.h.i.+mmering behind the dark door floating over the heap of bodies, but there appeared to be a force that was blocking them inside, which prevented them from breaking free.
"The power is not enough."
A tip that the old faker once told him suddenly occurred to Li Mu. Resolutely, he bit the tip of his tongue and spat a mouthful of fresh blood onto the Spirit-trapping Figure in the air.
"My blood is your guide... Qiu Yi, you still won't come back?"
Li Mu shouted.
The Spirit-trapping Figure transformed into a jet of light and shot straight into the dark door.
In an instant, ripples emerged behind the door, and a shadow struggled its way out. Slowly, it drifted to Li Mu and Xia Ju. Then, the ripples spread through the shadow and gradually turned it into a human figure. The body and facial features could be seen vaguely, which were exactly the same as Qiu Yi's.
"Sister Qiu Yi?" Xia Ju stared at the shadow with rounded eyes.
"Is this... the soul of Sister Qiu Yi?"
"Unbelievable! In this world, there are really... ghosts?"
Qiu Yi's soul just gazed at the two. Her lips parted and closed repeatedly, but she uttered no audible words.
"Young Master, she..." Xia Ju looked at Li Mu with confusion.
"Souls of the dead can't communicate with those alive. She is dead, and this image is merely a weak shadow of her energy which preserved some of her vigor of life. She can hear what you're saying, but she is unable to produce soundwaves with her mouth, and that's why you can't hear her." Li Mu explained to her.
As he said that, he released his spiritual force and talked with the soul through Taoist magic arts. Soon, he learned who the murder was that killed Qiu Yi.
Sure enough, it was Zhang Chuixue.
"I'll avenge you," promised Li Mu. Then, he conjured a seal and put Qiu Yi's soul into her body before saying, "I can only store Sister Qiu Yi's soul in her body for now. When we get back, I will make a Taoist instrument to hold and nourish it."
Xia Ju nodded hard.
What she had witnessed and experienced today practically overturned all of her old perceptions.
The Young Master that had been gone for eight years had returned as a completely different person. He not only had stunning strength but also incredulous magic powers... She could not help but wonder what on earth the Young Master Li had been through over the past eight years.
After that, Li Mu put some clothes on Qiu Yi's body and carried her in his arms before heading for the outside with Xia Ju.
However, at that precise moment, a deep roar was heard from behind a pile of corpses to the side of the cellar.
"Huh?" Li Mu was surprised.
The roar somehow sounded familiar to him.
He then walked to the back side of the corpses. Surely, he spotted an 'acquaintance'.
It was Wu Biao's black chrysanthemum leopard.
On that day Li Mu killed Wu Biao, the head of the Qingfeng Citadel, his chrysanthemum leopard s.h.i.+elded its owner and was gravely injured. After the fight, Li Mu took it along and gave it medical treatment. He intended to keep it with him since then, whereas, the chrysanthemum leopard was pretty loyal to its old master and did not want to live with the killer of its owner. Later, it went to the mountains and disappeared.
It took Li Mu by utter surprise that it was also here.
It was plain that the leopard was captured here by the experts of the Heaven Sword Martial Club to be a practicing target. Each inch of its skin was wounded by swords, and one of its hind legs was almost snapped. One of its eyes was stabbed blind. And there was a gash that was about a meter long on its abdomen, nearly revealing its bowel. A pool of blood was formed beneath it. Clearly, it was heavily injured and unable to move at all. It might not hang in here for long.
"What an unlucky leopard!"
Li Mu shook his head.
Meanwhile, the chrysanthemum leopard also recognized Li Mu. It raised its head and fixed its large black gem-like eyes upon Li Mu, disclosing its strong desire for life without words.
"Fine, I'll save your life again. Well, seems that even though you've abandoned a thousand times, I'll still welcome you like the first day we met." Li Mu shrugged and let loose of a laugh. He immediately forged a Vigor Seal and planted it into the head of the chrysanthemum leopard.
The condition of the chrysanthemum leopard was temporally stabilized, and it also recovered some of its strength.
The power of the Taoist magic arts the old faker taught Li Mu was really amazing.
The beast gave an energetic roar.
Then, it got to its feet and perked up. The gash on its belly had stopped bleeding, so it looked much better.
This black chrysanthemum leopard was scarce in the mountains. It was discovered by the experts of the Heaven Sword Martial Club by accident. They tried to tame it first, hoping to turn it into their ride. But unfortunately, its wild nature did not allow that. In the end, it served as a target for the disciples. However, after being rescued by Li Mu, the large beast that was over a meter in height brushed its head against Li Mu's arm affectionately and stuck out its tongue to lick his hand. Then, it sat on its hind legs, looking quite submissive.
Li Mu was overjoyed to see its obedience.
"This big cat finally came around!"
"Good boy! You do know who you're dealing with... Well, how are your injuries? Are you okay to carry a person?" Li Mu stroked its head softly. "Wow, it's downy. Haha, those silly Earth residents keeping cats as their pets always brag about how adorable their kittens are. But who has ever had such a rare, ma.s.sive cat as a pet? I totally outplayed them!"
The chrysanthemum leopard let loose of a deep grunt, indicating a 'Yes'.
Li Mu placed Qiu Yi's body on its back, and then, helped Xia Ju ride it.
At this time, a lot of footsteps sounded from the damaged maze outside the cellar. At least four or five hundred people were coming in. Judging by their extraordinary light footsteps, Li Mu could tell that they were all martial arts experts. Besides, there were a couple of powerful shots of internal qi. They were so mighty that Li Mu could feel the immense pressure they produced from afar as they were rapidly closing in.
They were the experts in the Master Realm.
Four experts in the Master Realm had appeared simultaneously.
It was beyond question that the strength of the Heaven Sword Martial Club was much more superb than that of the Dafeng Commerce of Chamber. After all, the former was a martial arts inst.i.tution, while the latter was financial establishment. The ways in which they developed were completely different in the first place.
Watching the troops drawing nearer and nearer, Li Mu's eyes were blazing with killing intent.
"Come, we'll blaze a way out!"
He rubbed the head of the chrysanthemum leopard before marching towards the outside.
Growling angrily, the beast trailed on his heels and stepped out of the cellar, too.
It had been captured here to suffer. Now, it wanted revenge as well.