Yin Ci was very curious.
He knew that Shi Jingzhi was intelligent and not to be underestimated. He also knew that the more one spoke, the more mistakes they made, and that he should throw out a smoke bomb and leave the scene as soon as possible.
But he was just too curious - what had Shi Jingzhi done to him? And how did he view Yin Ci as his disciple?
So he laughed recklessly, "He's probably been killed by me."
How would Shi Jingzhi react? Would he be surprised, regretful, fearful, or...
Suddenly, a strong killing intent burst forth.
The half-flagpole instantly stabbed towards Yin Ci's throat, but Yin Ci pinched it with two fingers and stopped it firmly.
"Kid, you're still no match for me." Shi Jingzhi cautiously moved his steps, and the eternal lamp in the tomb illuminated his face. He wasn't wearing his Nuo mask, and his face was flickering in the dim light, with an especially strong demonic aura.
"I know," he said hoarsely, his tone completely different from his usual self.
Yin Ci was slightly taken aback.
He had never seen such anger from Shi Jingzhi before.
In Yin Ci's impression, his easygoing master was always joking around. This was the first time Shi Jingzhi had shown anger in front of him.
And it was a murderous anger.
Shi Jingzhi said he knew, but he didn't show any signs of backing down.
He refused to let go of the flagpole, his gaze like that of a vicious wolf choosing its prey.
All of this, just for a disciple he had only been with for less than a month?
Yin Ci's interest was piqued. He decisively pulled the flagpole back, but unexpectedly, Shi Jingzhi held on tight and charged straight at him.
Yin Ci smoothly sidestepped and hooked his waist, using one finger on his left hand to firmly press Shi Jingzhi's shoulder against the stone pillar.
Leaning forward, Yin Ci was almost nose-to-nose with Shi Jingzhi. "Since you know, why dare to provoke me?"
Shi Jingzhi struggled a few times, his voice tinged with blood. "I can't kill you, but I can still injure you."
"You two have a deep master-disciple relationship."
Shi Jingzhi whispered, "It doesn't matter if it's deep or not, he's 'mine'."
Yin Ci: "..."
What the heck, why hadn't he heard of this before?
As soon as his mind wandered, a layer of golden flames rose around Shi Jingzhi's body, and his amber eyes almost turned gold. The golden flames were scorching, and Shi Jingzhi struggled fiercely, just pressing on his shoulders alone wouldn't be enough to hold him down.
He needs to find a better place to hold him down and make him behave.
Moving his left hand up, Yin Ci held down Shi Jingzhi's chin, forcing him to expose his throat. Just as his right hand was about to clamp down on Shi Jingzhi's neck, he suddenly turned his head and bit down hard on Yin Ci's left thumb.
Shi Jingzhi's bite was incredibly strong, and his teeth instantly broke through the skin and into the bone, staining his lips with fresh blood. The blood flowed down his chin, illuminated by the golden flames.
Yin Ci could feel the scorching heat of Shi Jingzhi's tongue. He seemed to be burning up, like a moth drawn to a flame.
With a cold snort, Yin Ci firmly pressed down on Shi Jingzhi's neck with his right hand, allowing him to continue biting.
Leaving a wound is better. Later, when the wound disappears without a trace, the suspicion of 'Yin Ci from the mountains' will be even smaller.
"Forget it, I only killed a few Ling Sect members. Seeing your behavior, you don't seem like a Ling Sect person," Yin Ci said, seeing the man becoming more and more out of control and not wanting to play too recklessly.
Shi Jingzhi's state was obviously not right.
Even before, he was cautious and cherished his life.
Even if he occasionally said a few silly things, Yin Ci knew in his heart that they were just acquaintances with some good feelings towards each other. They were still guarded against each other and had not yet fully committed themselves.
During these days, Shi Jingzhi had not shown any unusual interest in "the Yin Ci from the mountains".
With just this kind of relationship, would it make Shi Jingzhi abandon his fear of death and go all out like this?
Moreover, his current state was more like being possessed by a demon than being overwhelmed with grief.
...Was this loss of control caused by the death of the disciple, or the loss of his possessions?
Yin Ci felt a faint chill on his back from this abnormal person. On the other hand, with Yin Ci's denial, Shi Jingzhi finally relaxed.
He licked the blood on his lips, his face full of suspicion: "There's his scent on you."
Yin Ci narrowed his eyes: "Scent? This place is full of the smell of blood, where would the scent come from?"
Shi Jingzhi said coldly: "I applied a special-scented ointment on him, I couldn't be wrong. You definitely had contact with him."
He knew it, the strange-smelling burn ointment had some trick in it.
The ointment was applied to the Ghost Skin Suit, and his hands inevitably touched some of the scent. Yin Ci sneered and grabbed Shi Jingzhi's collar, lifting him up and hiding his healing thumb in the process.
"I have no need to deceive you. You're young and won't have taken on a disciple for many years. Why are you so worked up? Do you have a thing with your disciple?"
Shi Jingzhi tightened his grip on Yin Ci's wrist with great force. "Ah Ci saved my life, understands my emotions, and even cooks delicious food..."
He smiled slightly, and the madness in his eyes dissipated a bit. "He is 'my' disciple. As his master, I cannot betray him."
Upon hearing this, the smile on Yin Ci's face gradually disappeared.
At that moment, another "Parting Sorrow" was activated, and the dull sound of friction echoed in the hall.
Coincidentally, it was about time for the Ghost Skin Suit to dry.
Yin Ci looked coldly at Shi Jingzhi and said, "I find you somewhat pleasing to the eye, so I'll spare you this time."
He released his cheap master and fiercely slammed a palm towards Shi Jingzhi's original position. The shattered stones flew everywhere, and a large piece was broken from the stone pillar. The entire pillar cracked and slowly toppled over.
At the same time, Yin Ci threw down his smoke bomb, and the gray-white smoke instantly filled the space. Taking advantage of the smoke, Yin Ci quickly returned to the room. He put on his freshly dried Ghost Skin Coat and lay down next to the monk, pretending to be unconscious.
Shi Jingzhi soon found his way over.
"Ah Ci, Ah Ci," he shook Yin Ci's body and slapped his face. "Wake up!"
"...Shizun, even if I'm awake, you'll just knock me out again," Yin Ci said, his anger rising as he was slapped.
He had no choice but to open his eyes. Shi Jingzhi's anger had dissipated, and his previous crazed appearance seemed like an illusion. He checked Yin Ci's pulse and let out a sigh of relief: "Are you injured?"
Yin Ci gritted his teeth: "My face hurts."
"It's good that you're okay, it's good that you're okay. What happened here?" Shi Jingzhi asked.
"I woke up early and saw people from the Ling Sect, so I hid first," Yin Ci rubbed his face and dragged out a pre-prepared story. "Halfway through, the elder from the Ling Sect found me, but another person jumped out. A person in white clothes, without many weapons."
"He fought with the Ling Sect's people, knocked out the master monk, and I was also knocked out... that's all I remember."
The monk next to him also woke up, clasping his hands together: "The young benefactor speaks the truth. I too saw that person in white. Unfortunately, my skills were no match for his and he knocked me out with one palm."
After the monk finished speaking, he looked up at the empty space and muttered softly, "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form."
"Perhaps a skilled expert snuck in anonymously," Shi Jingzhi's expression was innocent and calm. "It has nothing to do with us. Let's go, we'll leave."
This was the familiar Shi Jingzhi once again.
Yin Ci didn't immediately sit up and asked, "Shizun, how did you get out?"
"Me? I fell with the people from Prince Rong's Manor. They happen to have some knowledge about these things and didn't think much of our small sect. I just took advantage of the situation," he replied.
"Oops? Oh, I came too hastily and forgot to put it on." Shi Jingzhi scratched his head apologetically, smiling brightly.
The monk turned his back and said softly, "Form is emptiness--"
Shi Jingzhi quickly put on his mask and said, "Ah Ci, come on, I'll carry you up."
Yin Ci obediently extended a hand for Shi Jingzhi to pull him up. He looked straight into his eyes and said, "Shizun really came to pick me up."
"Of course." Shi Jingzhi's tone was light and cheerful. "I am your master, after all."
Yin Ci took two steps forward and almost leaned in to Shi Jingzhi's ear, asking straightforwardly, "I was just wondering, why did Shizun make me wear the Buddhist bead?"
With a smile on his face, Shi Jingzhi gripped Yin Ci's shoulders with both hands and said, "If I were to take away your Buddhist bead, wouldn't you feel anxious? Afraid that I might abandon you or something. As a good master, there's no reason to make my disciple feel afraid, right?"
Yin Ci remained silent, staring fixedly at him.
Just a moment ago, he was the "strange man in white" and there was no need for Shi Jingzhi to put on an act in front of him. Shi Jingzhi's words were sincere, but this sincerity was somewhat inexplicable and made people feel a little uneasy.
Unaware of Yin Ci's thoughts, Shi Jingzhi held onto his disciple's hand.
"Ah Ci, hold on a little longer. We've already reached the entrance to the third floor...now, do you believe in me?"
"I will never let you down."
Yin Ci reflexively wanted to pull his hand away, but he held back. In the end, his hand trembled in Shi Jingzhi's palm.
At first, he followed Shi Jingzhi for seven parts utility and three parts interest. Later on, perhaps the ratio of "utility" and "interest" could be fifty-fifty, but it still didn't exceed the realm of "finding entertainment".
Now, among these reasons, a rather dark one emerged - he wanted to see if this person would fulfill his promise before he died.
People change. Shi Jingzhi was still too young. He didn't know that some promises should not be given lightly.
I won't let you down, I won't let you down.
If he looked at the recent past, Sun Huaijin also said this sentence. But he always performed small acts behind his back, Yin Ci actually saw them but didn't bother to expose him.
As for the person who said this sentence first...
Yin Ci stopped reminiscing and pulled out his most harmless smile, mixing in just the right amount of gratitude.
"I believe Shizun."
I definitely won't believe you.
Shi Jingzhi had fully recovered and lifted Yin Ci and the monk up to meet the people from Taiheng Sect and Jianchen Temple.
Shi Zhongyu was talking to Master Juehui when she saw that the two people of Ku Mountain Sect were safe and sound. She stopped talking and smiled, "You two are really lucky."
Yan Qing's divination was quite accurate. Taiheng Sect was indeed blessed with good fortune this time, and not many people were injured.
Shi Jingzhi couldn't hold back his curiosity and asked, "Miss Shi, how did you break the 'Parting Sorrow'?"
"Thanks to the masters of Jianchen Temple. They have been practicing asceticism for years, with heavy sand hoops bound to their limbs. The sand hoops are extremely heavy, more than enough to deal with stone pillars."
Yin Ci: "..."
He had completely forgotten about this matter. If he had remembered, he might have been able to avoid losing a few legs.
Shi Jingzhi didn't understand the pain of his disciple and continued happily, "That leaves only the people from Ling Sect, Red Hook Sect, and Yueshui Bureau."
As soon as he finished speaking, the fourth "Parting Sorrow" slowly descended, and the strong smell of blood filled the air.
The Dark Blood Witch was the first to jump out, her eyes scanning the Taiheng Sect and Jianchen Temple disciples, clearly counting the number of people.
In the end, there was a hint of regret in her gaze.
"Let's go," she said, shaking off the blood on her hands. "We've finally reached the end of this Ghost Tomb."
The author has something to say:
There was a reason why the fox was seen as a monster by his brothers! Xu Jingming wouldn't act ruthlessly just because of a prophecy... The reason is unclear, to be explained later.
Yin Ci: Is there something going on between you and your disciple?
Many years later, Shi Jingzhi confirmed, "Indeed."
Happy readers make me float like a cloud in the sky. If you enjoy my translations and want to read them more quickly, I'll translate bonus chapters as a thank you for coffee!
Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@eyks.