LOOG Chapter – 56

Previous Chapter Next Chapter


Chapter 56: A Vial

Bao regained consciousness the next day, but was so weak that she could barely say more than a word or two before closing her eyes again.

Alchemist Yang, Smiling Luo, and the other doctors tended her wound and attempted to treat the poison, but nothing they had done so far seemed to do any good. On the second day, the veins leading up her arm toward her neck were starting to turn dark. Sunan was already getting a very bad feeling.

The mood in the cave complex had turned very grim. The Eyes of the Phoenix returned to the clearing where the fight took place, and found that although the body of the man Bao had killed remained in place, the two horses were gone. They tracked the horses some distance to the northwest before the trail vanished.

Meanwhile, upon being questioned, Alchemist Yang revealed that he’d sold a large amount of sulphur to a maker of fans named An Jian. However, when Sunan sent men to bring An Jian to him for questioning, the man was nowhere to be found.

Sunan ground his teeth in frustration.

By the third day, the darkness of Bao’s veins had spread closer toward the base of her neck.

Supposedly, the most famous doctor in the land lived far to the south in the Zun Valley, but a journey like that could take a month, and Bao already seemed to be hovering on the brink of death.

Regardless of what challenges Sunan had faced up to this point, he’d always felt as if he had options to pick from, or opportunities to seek. But in this situation, he felt completely helpless. He could do little more than sit at Bao’s bedside and watch over her.

When everyone else left the room and no one was around to see, he would reach out and hold her hand in his.

“Come on, Bao,” he said quietly. “You tamed a Demon Phoenix, you can beat a little poison, right?”

**

An Jian was heading east, cursing under his breath in words that didn’t even exist in this time.

“I got too eager,” he muttered under his breath. “Lost my patience. Well it won’t happen again. Enough of these games. I’ll just go to the King of the Pure Ones and reveal the truth. Consequences be damned.”

His first goal was to get out of the Mount Fohe region. Aware that people from the two sects would be looking for him, and might even be trying to track him down, he stayed away from anything that even resembled a path.

The day after he left the caves, he reached the foothills of Mount Fohe, and was starting to breathe easier. Until he rounded a mountain boulder and saw a woman standing about six meters ahead of him.

She was middle-aged, her long black hair bound at the top of her head, her gray robes functional and nondescript. She held a sheathed jian sword in her left hand.

Inwardly, An Jian’s heart sank, but outwardly, he maintained a calm expression. “Greetings, fellow traveler.”

The woman looked back at him with a cool expression. “I have to admit that your choice of names was clever. Arrogant, but clever.”

There’s no point in trying to keep up the facade, he thought. Reaching down slowly, he pulled a fan out of his belt and began to slowly cool himself. “So you brushed up on your Classical Fei, I see.”

“Yes. I should have thought earlier about how ‘An Jian’ is Classical Fei for ‘Hidden Arrow’.Your face is different, but your voice is the same. I can only imagine what lengths the Demon Emperor of the future went to send you back here.”

“And I can only imagine what it’s been like to hide in the shadows like you have for the past… how long has it been for you? Twenty years. Thirty?”

“I’m happy to pay the price. The Demon Emperor will not be allowed to succeed. I will guide Bao and Sunan to fulfilling their destiny.”

An Jian stopped fanning himself. “You’re trying to change the flow of time, girl. Bao and Sunan’s fate has already been set. You’re actually interfering with their destiny. Back when we first met, things were… rushed. May I ask for your honored surname?”

“Hui.” 1

Fanning himself again, An Jian took a step forward. “I have a question for you, Miss Hui. Are you a murderer?”

“Excuse me?”

“It’s a simple question. Here we are in the middle of nowhere, two enemies whose differences couldn’t ever possibly be reconciled. Are you going to simply cut me down in cold blood? That’s called murder. Is that what the Dragon-Phoenix Sect has become? A bunch of murderers?”

Hui chuckled coldly, slowly reaching her right hand over to grip the hilt of her sword. “You are a Profound Master, Hidden Arrow. Not a helpless baby.”

An Jian shook his head slowly. “Come now, Hui. I know that you can sense the truth. I have no martial arts abilities. My kung fu is gone, and I’ll never get it back. That was the price to be paid for my journey back in time. I am like any other frail mortal. After all the years that have passed, you have surely become a Profound Master yourself by now, so you should be able to sense it with ease. I couldn’t fight you even if I wanted to, and you could kill me as easily as turning over your hand.”

He took another step forward.

Hui’s eyes flashed with a dark light. “Stop right there.”

“Or what?” An Jian said, smiling coldly. “You’ll murder me? I’m no martial artist any more, just a maker of fans.”

“You’re one of the greatest villains in the world. Probably second only to the Demon Emperor himself. Killing you wouldn’t be murder. It would be carrying out a death sentence that was issued upon you by all righteous sects of the martial world.”

An Jian stepped forward again. “We aren’t in that world, Hui. We’re in a different world, and a different time. I’m not the Profound Master, you are. Think about it. You might well be the most powerful martial artist alive. Why don’t we work together? You know the truth! The Demon Emperor isn’t what the stories make him out to be. With our knowledge, we could steer him in a new direction. Maybe Sunan and Bao don’t need to be his enemy! Maybe–”

Without any warning, An Jian suddenly swept his fan through the air, simultaneously pushing his thumb down onto a tiny button at the base of the fan. Instantly, a faint whirring sound could be heard, and then a blast of needles shot out of the top of the fan.

The three steps he had just taken had halved the distance between himself and Hui, putting him only about three meters away from her, the perfect range for such an attack. The needles screamed through the air, spiralling out to form a deadly net.

However, An Jian’s suppositions had been correct. Hui was now a Profound Master, and had spent decades focused on almost nothing but training.

“Deflecting Canopy!” she barked, spinning her sword out in front of her.

-Ping Ping Ping-

One after another, the needles were deflected, with the majority of them flying back toward An Jian himself.

He grunted with pain as he felt himself being stabbed in the shoulder, the thigh, the forearm, and other places.

In the blink of an eye, the fight was over.

An Jian lay prone, staring up into the sky. The needles in his fan had been coated with Hellebore, one of the most lethal poisons to ever be devised by men. He could already feel his throat swelling up, and his heart twitching with pain.

Hand trembling, he reached into his robe to where a small vial rested, which was the antidote. He managed to pull the antidote out, but before he could unstopper the cork, Hui loomed over him, the blade of her sword pushing against his wrist, preventing him from opening the vial.

This can’t be it. I can’t die here, like this.

“A liar and a manipulator down to your last breath,” Hui said. “I guess that’s what I should expect from the infamous Hidden Arrow.”

An Jian’s mind raced. “I know how to get back to the future,” he said.

“I don’t believe you.”

“Let me take the antidote. Then tie me up. I promise, there is a path home.”

Hui smiled sadly. “Even if there is, I don’t want to walk it. I’ve made peace with myself. I will live out my days in this time. I will make sure Bao and Sunan fulfill their destiny.” Oh so slowly, she reached down and took the vial out of An Jian’s hand. “And I will also see the world rid of one of the vilest evildoers to ever walk its lands.”

Hui dropped the vial down onto the ground and then stepped on it with her heel, crushing it.

An Jian looked up at the clouds.

So this is how it ends?

**

Sunan paced back and forth in front of the cave entrance as he waited for the approaching group to arrive. Scouts had brought word that, at long last, Sun Mai and Mao Yun were had returned. Sunan almost couldn’t suppress the urge to run out and meet them.

Sun Mai was in the lead, riding next to Wang Tian. Behind him were Mao Yun and a grim looking fellow wearing scholarly robes similar to the type Sun Mai favored. Further back was a man with one leg and a crutch slung over his shoulder.

Sun Mai was smiling broadly, but as he got closer and saw the worry on Sunan’s face, his smile began to fade.

The group stopped a few paces away from Sunan, where Sun Mai said, “Greetings, Brother Sunan. Allow me to introduce Du Qian, scholar and former court official.”

Sunan’s jaw was clenched a bit tighter than normal as he clasped hands formally. “Greetings, Master Du.”

“Greetings, Sect Leader.”

Sun Mai, never one to beat around the bush, said, “What happened?”

“It’s Bao,” Sunan replied. “She was poisoned.”

“What?!” Mao Yun exclaimed, leaping off of his horse. “Has she been treated?”

Sunan shook his head. “No treatments seem to have any effect.”

Sun Mai dismounted, as did the rest of the group. “What type of poison?”

Sunan shook his head. “We don’t know. According to the men who were with her, she was cut by the knife of a Bone Slicer. The wound turned black, and her veins are going dark.”

“Vosh Sap,” Du Qian said.

Sunan looked over at him. “What’s that?”

Du Qian stepped forward. He had hard eyes, and eyebrows that tilted up in menacing fashion. His thin lips seemed to be constantly pursed, and he walked with his back as straight as a board. “The poison that Bone Slicers use for assassinations. It’s Vosh Sap.” With that he reached into his robe and pulled out a vial. “This is the antidote.”

Sunan’s eyes narrowed. “You just so happened to have the antidote to the Bone Slicer’s poison, tucked away in your robe, in the exact moment in which one of our people was poisoned.”

“Sunan,” said Sun Mai, “Du Qian used to be an official in the Demon Emperor’s court. He has access to many secrets, and many resources.”

Sunan’s heart began to thump in his chest. “You trust him?” he asked of Sun Mai. Sun Mai nodded.

Du Qian looked Sunan in the eye. “Truth be told, Sect Leader, the wise choice would be to distrust me. But if Heroine Bao has been poisoned by Vosh Sap, then she is in mortal danger. How long ago did it happen?”

“Three days.”

“There’s still time. Vosh Sap comes from… a different Realm, and works more slowly here than in the land of its origin.”

“A different Realm?” Sunan frowned slightly. “You mean the Perfect Realm?”

Sun Mai guffawed. “Come on, Sunan, you know that the Perfect Realm isn’t real.”

Du Qian looked over at Sun Mai. “This again?”

Sun Mai’s eyes flashed. “Didn’t we agree not to get into this argument again, Du Qian?”

After a moment Du Qian nodded. Looking back at Sunan, he said, “I’m not referring to the Perfect Realm. Nor the Imperfect Realm, nor the Lower Realms. The Demon Emperor and his Ogre Generals come from another place entirely, and that is also where the Vosh Sap poison comes from.

“As part of my plan to escape from the court, I procured a few vials of this antidote, just in case the Bone Slicers came after me. Which they did. Luckily for me, I fled to a place where even they didn’t dare to enter.

“However, that’s a story for another time. If Heroine Bao was poisoned three days ago, then we need to administer the antidote immediately.”

He held the vial out toward Sunan.

Get behind-the-scenes info and material for your Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate session at the Bedrock Blog. This update has a “Sun Mai-style sayings of Kong Zhi” generator. It’s definitely worth checking out. Incidentally, Kong Zhi is obviously the WHOG version of Confucius, in case you didn’t realize that already XD

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

  1. Hidden Arrrow and Hui both appeared in the prologue.

Advertisement

2 thoughts on “LOOG Chapter – 56” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

  1. So thats how it is.. i finally understand. Hui was sent back in the past. I did not took note of the year in the prologue. Because id read it months ago or maybe more than a year. Now i just understood everything. Maybe because master deathblade before was still translating ISSTH and was slowly updating his novel. Many thanks master deathblade for a really wonderful novel.. 🙂

Leave a Reply