Sending the Divine

Sending the Divine

Chapter 69 - Broken Horse

Upon seeing the dagger, the leader on the ground chuckled through the pain, "Why didn't you just watch from the sidelines? Protecting a useless little fool, you are all seeking death..."

However, what happened next almost made him bite his tongue.

Yin Ci maintained the motion of holding the dagger between his two fingers, and sword energy surged around him, leaving deep sword marks in the mud. Even though he had no inner strength, the burst of killing intent was no less than that of the dagger.

Then, he coldly snorted and exerted force with his shoulder and wrist. The dagger flashed with a cold light and was thrown back in its original direction.

The frosty blade shattered the wind, and there was a faint sound of breaking through the air.

When experts clash, they can tell each other's strength with just one move. The dagger that was shot back was so intimidating that the vague aura in the distance instantly dissipated and disappeared without a trace.

The three "mountain bandits" were losing hope, and their aura suddenly weakened.

They seemed to be grinding their teeth, but Su Si coldly laughed and pressed on their acupoints, then dislocated their jaws one by one and pulled out three bloody venomous teeth. The leader was about to lose too much blood, so Su Si grabbed a handful of still-hot wood ash and pressed it directly onto the wound.

The "mountain bandits'" drool mixed with blood, and their eyes were dripping with resentment.

On the other side, Shi Jingzhi was rubbing his hands together, planning to avenge his soup. Unexpectedly, Yin Ci immediately fought back and scared off the skilled opponent who had come, causing him to lose some of his spirit.

He ignored the three people at his feet and turned dejectedly towards Yin Ci. The latter showed a faint smile towards him, and the gloomy and sinister aura that had just accumulated disappeared without a trace.

To Su Si and Yan Qing, this was nothing out of the ordinary. But Jin Lan's impression of the Ku Mountain Sect was still stuck on their temporarily-formed sect in the Ghost Tomb, where he only knew that Shi Jingzhi could barely fight. Who knew that after about a month of not seeing them, the Ku Mountain Sect had gained another skilled expert.

Forget about the person who threw back the dagger, whose face was as beautiful as an immortal, leaving others who saw him holding their breath. And don't even mention the exaggeratedly beautiful face of Sect Leader Shi. Even the newly dressed servants were as charming as peach blossoms, not like ordinary people.

... Suspicious sect members had increased again.

The group of people looked so beautiful that it was creepy, and they happened to be crowded in the desolate wilderness and dilapidated houses, looking like the beginning of a supernatural story. Jin Lan quickly took a step back, his instinct to exorcise demons and monsters following his heart's rapid beating.

He didn't even care about the enemy anymore, his gaze fixed on Yan Qing, his face full of fear and hesitation - "Is your Ku Mountain Sect really not from any demonic mountain?"

Yan Qing slowly turned away, avoiding his questioning gaze.

Meanwhile, Sect Leader Shi had recovered from his grief over the soup and spoke up amiably, "Brother Jin, this group of people seems to be up to no good. I'm sure there's a reason for it. Can I take a look at those medicinal herbs?"

Jin Lan didn't know whether to be grateful or wary, his tone wavering, "Y-yes, please take a look. Senior Sister entrusted it to me, I w-wouldn't dare to hide anything."

As he handed over the medicine box, his eyes even scanned the other three people behind him, as if trying to find the tail of a demon.

Shi Jingzhi was used to this and left with an even brighter smile, then began examining the medicinal herb.

As Jin Lan had said, this box of medicine was just that - medicine. The herbs were very precious, but they were all things that could be bought in the world, without any rare and elusive items like the Ice Peak Snake Lotus. There was nothing strange mixed in with the herbs, and the box material was expensive, but there were no hidden compartments.

This box of medicine was just like Shi Zhongyu herself - proper and orderly.

"They're all just mild nourishing herbs," Shi Jingzhi carefully sniffed and then sealed the box back up.

"It's no wonder the Taiheng Sect is so wealthy. This box of medicine is worth at least seven or eight hundred taels of silver."

Jin Lan giggled uncontrollably.

Shi Jingzhi added, "The only thing is that the dosage is quite large, and these herbs aren't specific to any particular illness. They can only be used to prolong life. Is someone in your sect seriously ill?"

Jin Lan looked away and didn't utter a sound.

"These three are assassins from the Red Hook Sect, with scorpion tattoos on their bodies," Su Si pulled at their clothes. "Their skills are not very good, they must be the lowest level. They work in groups of three in disguise, and secretly bring along a skilled fighter. This is a typical assassination technique of the Red Hook Sect."

As a fugitive young sect heir, he sold out the Red Hook Sect more readily than anyone else.

Although they were not qualified to know Su Si's identity, the three assassins could still guess that he was once an insider of the Red Hook Sect. They immediately became agitated, writhing on the ground, their resentment turning into disgust.

Su Si pretended not to see: "But even the lowest level assassin would have no problem killing this little brother. Although the Red Hook Sect is a demon cult, they still have their own rules and wouldn't do such a boring thing as robbing. I think what's being targeted is not the medicine, but this little brother's life."

"Nonsense! I, Jin Lan, have no enemies and no status. Why would anyone go to such lengths to kill me? Besides, even if I can't deliver this box of medicine, it won't really affect that person--"

At this point, Jin Lan hurriedly closed his mouth and looked at the ground.

Shi Jingzhi and Yin Ci exchanged a glance.

Yin Ci said, "Su Si, do you have confidence in prying open the mouths of these three people?"

"It's impossible. If they were tortured and easily betrayed their clients, the 'Red Scorpion Feet' wouldn't be able to command such a high fee. Rules are rules, even if the Dark Blood Witch herself came, these three also wouldn't sell out their employer."

"I thought as much."

Even if these three were lying, there was no way to verify it. Seeing that his rules were being strictly followed, Yin Ci didn't know whether to feel pleased or helpless.

"These three have some principles. Since our Sect's information cannot be exposed, let's give them a quick death."

Jin Lan was still considered a member of the righteous sect, so he quickly spoke up: "There's no need for that. Taiheng can handle it. If I don't return on time, my senior sister will definitely send someone..."

Before he could finish his sentence, Su Si swiftly snapped the necks of the three assassins, silencing them forever.

Jin Lan took a step back, pressing himself against the wall.

...This was definitely a demon cult.

Until the sound of horses came from outside, Jin Lan remained glued to the wall like a protruding mural.

As Jin Lan had predicted, Taiheng had indeed sent people to find him. However, the two who arrived were not just any lackeys, but important figures in Taiheng - senior disciple Shi Zhongyu and Taiheng's top-ranked Qu Duanyun.

"Sister Senior!" Upon seeing his savior, Jin Lan hugged the box tightly, finally feeling a sense of returning to reality from the world of monsters.

When he turned his head, the four members of Ku Mountain Sect had already put on their Nuo masks, transforming from celestial beings to demons and monsters. Shi Jingzhi boldly unfurled his 'Cure All With Healing' flag, specifically to indicate his identity.

Jin Lan: "..." Why didn't he get this treatment?

Shi Zhongyu was dressed in martial attire and didn't look too pleased. As soon as she saw the flag, she dismounted and saluted Shi Jingzhi: "Sect Leader Shi."

Qu Duanyun sat on his horse and asked, "Are you Shi Jingzhi from the Ku Mountain Sect?"

Shi Jingzhi replied calmly, "Yes, I am."

Qu Duanyun then introduced himself politely, "I am Qu Duanyun, it's an honor to meet you."

Unlike the gloomy expression of Shi Zhongyu, Qu Duanyun smiled politely and dismounted from his horse.

Through the Nuo mask, Yin Ci silently observed Qu Duanyun.

This man had sword-like eyebrows and starry eyes, with a heroic and vigorous appearance, typical of the Qu family.

One hundred years ago, Taiheng Sect's Qu Tinglei, Yan Budu, Kongshi, and himself were known as the Four Heroes. Qu Duanyun was Qu Tinglei's direct descendant and his martial arts skills ranked among the top ten of the younger generation. He was also courteous and had a good reputation, not inferior to Shi Zhongyu.

It was rumored that Taiheng held him in high regard and had already designated him as the next Sect Leader of the Taiheng Sect.

Yin Ci swept his gaze to the side and sure enough, Su Si had already hidden behind Yan Qing, half-covering himself with the Compassion Stone Sword, his whole body on edge. Yan Qing clearly knew Qu Duanyun's identity and considerately stepped forward, making his friend less conspicuous.

"Senior Sister, Senior Qu, why have you both come?" Jin Lan was surprised and delighted.

"We were just on our way to the Qu Family's other house, and since you haven't returned for so long, we decided to look for you along the way." Shi Zhongyu had a stern expression. "You smell strongly of blood, how did you end up in such a sorry state?"

"Don't stand here asking questions." Qu Duanyun intervened, "It's damp outside, let's go to my family's house, avoid the rain, warm up by the fire, and chat over tea."

Shi Zhongyu pursed her lips into a thin line and after a moment, she sighed and agreed.

Half an hour later, they arrived at Qu Family's other house.

The house was located near the wilderness, adjacent to a small grove, with a serene and elegant atmosphere. The interior was heated by braziers, without any annoying dampness, and the air was filled with a faint pine fragrance.

The furniture in the room was ordinary in material, but the design was antique and elegant. There were no delicate maidservants in the courtyard, only a few kind-hearted old servants, and the tea and snacks were also of ordinary styles.

This place was different from the simple direction of Jianchen Temple, but it exuded the same pure aura.

At the table, while listening to Jin Lan's rambling about the ins and outs, Shi Zhongyu didn't even touch her tea, letting the water slowly cool down.

"Jin Lan is incapable, and we've troubled everyone from the Ku Mountain Sect to take care of him." She lowered her head and thanked them on behalf of Jin Lan.

Qu Duanyun shook his head and handed Shi Zhongyu a cup of hot tea. "So it was the Red Hook Sect causing trouble. That old witch suffered a loss in the search for the treasure map and now she's taking it out on us... Sect Leader Shi, aren't your two servants coming to have tea? Our house doesn't have such strict rooles."

"No need. Just now my sect's white goose demon suffered a shock and they need to take care of him," Shi Jingzhi's mouth twitched.

What a joke, those two kids were descendants of the Yan family and the young heir of the Red Hook Sect. They would rather hide in the stove together than be discovered by Qu Duanyun. If he found out their identities, the next generation of the martial arts world's battle between good and evil could start early.

Qu Duanyun didn't force it. "Alright, later I'll have someone prepare some warm food to drive away the cold and send it to them separately."

The case of Jin Lan was already suspicious, and with the appearance of two talented Taiheng Sect members, the strangeness of the matter doubled. Unfortunately, Shi Zhongyu had transformed into a tricky and evasive person, refusing to mention anything about the medicinal herbs. Shi Jingzhi had no choice but to give up on trying to investigate further.

The Taiheng Sect members were honest, but not foolish. Clearly, there were some internal matters within Taiheng that were not suitable to be shared with outsiders. If they were to be forced to reveal these secrets, it would only waste the hard-earned goodwill.

"To be honest, I came to Taiheng for two reasons," Shi Jingzhi began, following the prepared script. "I have obtained the treasure map rubbings that Miss Shi left at Jianchen Temple. However, there were some issues at the temple that made it difficult to deliver them in a timely manner. So, I decided to bring them myself."

Shi Zhongyu didn't delve deeper and absentmindedly replied, "Mm, thank you for your trouble, Sect Leader Shi."

"There is one more thing. Our sect is planning to head north to visit a member of the Mi Mountain Sect. However, the journey is long and the weather is harsh. Therefore, we would like to borrow some Arrow Horses..."

With a creak, Shi Zhongyu pushed her chair back and stood up. She shed her previous despondent demeanor and gripped the table with both hands, her eyes burning with intensity. "The Mi Mountain Sect has always been reclusive and unwilling to meet outsiders. How do you expect to find them?"

Shi Jingzhi replied, "I happen to know someone who is acquainted with a member of their sect. They helped us write a letter of introduction."

Shi Zhongyu's expression softened slightly in relief. "I-"

"Senior Sister," Qu Duanyun interjected with a warning tone.

Shi Zhongyu didn't back down. "What's wrong? This could be a chance for us to make a connection. Lending two Arrow Horses isn't exactly a waste of resources, is it? I won't drag anyone else into this. I'll go alone."

Qu Duanyun shook his head helplessly, "Sect Leader Shi is still here, let's talk about this later."

"Sect Leader Shi is not someone who forgets his principles for money. He is trustworthy. I saw it with my own eyes." Shi Zhongyu gritted her teeth.

"Duanyun, if you don't believe him, you should at least believe in the Buddha's Heart Formation of Jianchen Temple and the discerning eye of Abbot Juefei... That Abbot understands karma and wouldn't casually write a letter of introduction for someone. Remember when I wanted to seek help from Abbot Juefei before? You guys stopped me with this reason, didn't you?'"

"That's a different matter. Besides, even if we find someone from the Mi Mountain Sect, they may not have a solution. Senior Sister, please calm down--"

Jin Lan lowered his head and didn't dare to say a word.

Shi Jingzhi put down his teacup decisively, "Stop beating around the bush and just say it. What illness does your Sect Leader have?"

The two from the Taiheng Sect froze in mid-air.

"Others may be unable to tell, but I've eaten...prescibed similar medicine to this, and can guess it. Those medicines can prolong one's life, but those who rely on them are often suffering from strange illnesses and are at the end of their rope. They have no other options but to use this medicine to continue living."

"If it were your elderly relatives, the expense would be too high. Taiheng Sect may not be poor, but you wouldn't waste money on personal matters. Not to mention Jin Lan, even the both of you are behaving in such a secretive manner, so it's not hard to guess."

Qu Duanyun rubbed his forehead and looked pained. "Senior Sister, I told you not to bring this up anymore."

"You invited me to your private courtyard this time, wasn't it following the instructions of the elders, to discuss this matter with me privately? If Sect Leader Shi has a solution, I don't see the need to hide it."

Shi Zhongyu said calmly.

"It's true, our sect leader suddenly suffered from the 'Broken Horse' syndrome and even our top doctors were helpless. If we don't find the root of the problem soon, even the best medicine won't be able to save him for long."

"'Broken Horse' syndrome?" asked Shi Jingzhi curiously.

Qu Duanyun let out a deep sigh, "It's just a term used within the Taiheng Sect. Even the strongest and healthiest horse, once it breaks its leg, can only wait helplessly for death. Our sect leader is already old, and although he was still energetic just a few days ago, he couldn't withstand the sudden illness."

Shi Jingzhi asked, "Since it's a matter concerning the sect leader, why did you stop Miss Shi from trying to save him?"

"Sect Leader Shi, you don't understand. The 'Broken Horse' is a rare condition, and even among the common people, it's much harder to save an elderly person who has suffered an injury or illness than a regular person."

Qu Duanyun shook his head.

"People have their own destiny. Even if we can save the Sect Leader Qi, his vitality is greatly damaged and he won't live much longer. This matter has cost a lot and our efforts will ultimately be in vain. The elders are considering the sect's interests, that's why they sent me to persuade Senior Sister."

"At least let Sect Leader Qi regain consciousness and make his own decision." Shi Zhongyu said coldly.

"Sect Leader Qi is highly respected. For decades, he has managed our sect very well. Now that he's in trouble and the cause of his illness is not even clear, are you going to give up on him? My Shi family has some savings. If you think the cost is too high, I'll use my own money to support him."

"Senior Sister, you're being too stubborn and it will only harm the overall situation. Even if Sect Leader Qi wakes up, he will definitely give up. He treasures Taiheng Sect too much and wouldn't harm others for his own sake... Our sect has already invested a lot for the treasure map, and we really can't handle this matter."

With a cold sneer, Shi Zhongyu said, "What a generous proposal. Duanyun, mark my words, I will investigate this matter thoroughly. I spent my own money, and if anyone has a problem with that, they can come and tell me themselves."

Qu Duanyun furrowed his brow slightly and spoke sternly, "Sect Leader Qi's life is important, but so is Jin lan's life. If it weren't for your insistence, our Sect's disciples wouldn't have been sent on a fixed route every day, only to be targeted by the Red Hook Sect.

"If it weren't for the help of these members of the Ku Mountain Sect today, we would have only been able to collect Jin Lan's body. Can the Shi family also bear the responsibility for these lives?"

Shi Zhongyu's face turned pale, and she clenched her fist, revealing the veins on her fair hand.

"If this time after heading to the Mi Mountain Sect, I still can't find out the resason for his illness, I will publicly apologize and leave the Taiheng Sect. If any of our disciples die during this time, I will personally go to their families and kneel to them.

"But to save Sect Leader Qi is our duty, and on this point, I, Shi Zhongyu, will not back down."

Shi Zhongyu stood tall with a straight back. Despite being a delicate woman, her aura was so strong that it was almost intimidating, like an impenetrable fortress. Qu Duanyun remained silent, his face filled with helplessness.

Yin Ci finally understood the subtle atmosphere between the two. However, as an outsider, he didn't really care about whether Sect Leader Qi lived or died. Compared to the internal conflicts within Taiheng, he was more concerned about another matter ——

The fact that the Abbot had been cursed and burned to death by golden flames. And now, with Sect Leader Qi suddenly falling ill, if it weren't for Shi Zhongyu's stubbornness and determination to snatch him back from the hands of the King of Hell, Taiheng Sect would have already changed leadership.

At a young age, Qu Duanyun lacked the experience to command respect from others. Compared to the older generation of masters like Sect Leader Qi, he was no match. As a result, Taiheng Sect would not be as pitiful as Jianchen Temple, but it would have lost some of its former glory.

Was it a coincidence?

Shi Jingzhi clearly did not want to get involved in this matter. He simply cleared his throat and said, "If Miss Shi is willing to lend us her Arrow Horses, my sect is also willing to bring you along."

"Then it's settled. We can't delay any longer. We'll leave tomorrow. Jin Lan, go back and tell our people that from now on, when delivering medicine, there must be at least three escorts. Don't cut off the life-saving medicine. I'll come up with a solution."

Shi Zhongyu spoke coldly and did not look at Qu Duanyun.

"I'll go send a message to prepare the Arrow Horses."

Qu Duanyun did not stop him. "...I understand."

After Shi Zhongyu left, Qu Duanyun let out long sigh. He turned to Shi Jingzhi and said, "I intended to be a good host, but ended up talking about our own conflicts for half the time. I must have made a fool of myself in front of Sect Leader Shi."

He scratched his head in distress.

"Senior Sister's words were not without reason. Sect Leader Qi has been generous to us, but the situation is really bad... sigh, when we go to the Mi Mountain Sect, please take good care of Senior Sister on my behalf, and I'll thank you in advance."

Qu Duanyun lowered his head gravely and bowed.

Shi Jingzhi stared at him for a while, then returned the bow with equal courtesy.

"I will naturally do my best," he replied.


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