Shortly after Hei jumped down from the treehouse, he saw things start to move slowly.
The leaves that were falling from the trees slowed down by a fraction.
‘Mm? The danger detection ability?”
This was a familiar thing to Hei. Whenever he was being attacked, things would start to move slowly.
As he looked around, he failed to notice anything approaching him, so he decided to expand his spiritual perception, in hopes of finding the threat.
As he did so, he could hear the sounds around him.
[So, when’s the wedding?]
[Mm. I’ll need to pick out a proper dress.]
[Hmph. You’re all lacking in preparation. I already have five dresses to choose from.]
‘What’s this? I thought they wanted to get away from their marriage arrangements.’
[I’m going to the peak of this world and I can’t bear to walk it alone.]
[Will you walk beside me?]
‘Hmm? Isn’t this? …’
Hei was starting to understand the situation. It seemed his words had been misinterpreted.
‘How did they deform them to that extent though?’
[Then you even asked if we could come along, you silly girl.]
[And what did he say?]
[I only want you, my love. Kyaa!]
Hei was now thinking of going back to correct the situation. He didn’t need any of these kinds of misunderstandings cropping up. They would only be troublesome.
Then he heard Yunru’s voice.
[When did he say any of that?]
‘A reasonable one.’
[He didn’t say with his words, he said it with his heart!]
[Mm. Behind that cold tone, is a man in love.]
At this point, Hei’s footsteps stopped. He wanted to stop this thing from progressing any further.
As he turned around, he had Yunru’s words again.
[That’s not what it is at all.]
With these words, everything returned to normal. Hei didn’t notice any more slowed movements.
‘The danger has passed?’
Hei was intrigued by this new functionality of the danger detector. He had never experienced it activating outside of combat.
From what he could tell, the misunderstanding was considered to be dangerous, but Yunru’s interpretation of the situation cleared the danger.
‘She seems to be practical.’
It seemed, even surrounded by a bunch of impractical people, Yunru was still able to be practical.
This was a quality Hei liked.
He retracted his spiritual perception, and turned around, thinking about this new ability, and how he would be able to utilise it.
He wondered why it had never activated this way before. Surely, he had a few enemies who would talk about him privately. Wouldn’t that be considered more dangerous than a simple misunderstanding?
He decided he would try to figure out exactly how it worked later. This kind of indirect danger wasn’t too much of a concern.
Not long later, the cat caught up with Hei and jumped on his shoulder.
It just so happened that Hei was walking in the correct direction, so there was no need for words.
Seeing that Hei seemed to have no problem with it being on his shoulder, it decided to see how far it could take things.
It climbed up to his head, and after a little while of no reaction, it decided to make itself comfortable.
It stretched its paws and purred with pleasure.
The top of the head was a much more comfortable position than the shoulders. It had a bigger surface area, which the cat could use to lay down.
It also enjoyed the up-and-down motions of Hei’s walking.
After a while, Hei had finished thinking about the danger detection ability.
‘As always, Mother was right. I do tend to immerse myself too deeply into things, causing me to become unaware of my surroundings.’
Hei realised that there was a passenger resting on his head. This concerned him because he hadn’t felt it approach.
Imagine if there was an enemy who was able to get close to him in the same way. By the time the danger detection ability had activated, it would already be too late.
Hei reached his hand up above his head and picked the cat up by the scruff of its neck before bringing it in front of his face.
“What are you doing?”
The cat made a confused expression.
“Mm? I was resting. It’s been a long day.”
“Eh? I don’t need to walk in order to guide you, right? And you have a perfectly fine head that you’re not using, Mister.”
This reminded Hei that he never liked cats. They always seemed to be arrogant little things that acted like they owned the place no matter where they went.
Apparently, the same went for his head.
This time, Hei released the cat, letting it fall to the ground.
“Ah! My leg. My leg, Mister. Oh, my poor leg.”
The cat wailed in agony as it rolled around on the floor.
Hei decided to ignore it and keep walking. This charade was useless.
Seeing this, the cat got up on three of its legs and started limping towards Hei.
It spoke with much effort.
“Even though… I am injured like this. I will still… fulfil my duty. Rest assured, Mister… I will guide you to the boy.”
Hei continued on his way, ignoring the cat.
Hei could hear the cat say these words under its breath.
“Sigh. My wife and kids were relying on my income. Now that I’m injured like this, how will they eat?”
Hei ignored it.
“Think of the children, Mister. The children! All I ask that you lend me a shoulder. Just a shoulder so that I can rest enough to be able to see their faces once more.”
Hei didn’t know what to do with this thing. It didn’t seem it would be stopping anytime soon, so, for the sake of peace and quiet, he decided to just give it what it wanted.
He used his Qi to pick it up and placed it on his shoulder.
“Do you really have a wife and children?”
“It’s a pleasure doing business with you, Mister.”
From there, the two walked in silence for a while, until the cat pointed in a certain direction.
“We need to go that way.”
“The direction has changed?”
“How do you know?”
Hei had been interested in how this cat was able to locate things.
Finding the missing disciples was understandable. Maybe the cat had just happened to see them.
But finding this boy was a different matter entirely. Especially since the cat had reported that the direction had changed. This meant it was actively tracking him rather than having used its prior knowledge of the situation.
Hei could think of two possibilities.
One, the cat had an extremely wide spiritual perception and was able to monitor the goings-on in the forest. And two, the cat was using some technique, maybe similar to what he and the other envoys could use to find each other.
The answer the cat gave didn’t do him any favours.
Hei decided to give up on asking. He wasn’t one to persist on things like this. If someone wanted to withhold information from him, then he would either find out on his own, or he didn’t care about it anymore.
In this case, he didn’t care about it anymore.
It didn’t take too long for the two to reach their destination.
Where they stopped, was a section of the forest, much like every other section.
There were trees and bushes, but a distinct lack of people.
“You wanted to find the boy, right?”
“Then this is the place.”
Hei looked around. He couldn’t see any signs of people being here.
“Is there some formation here?”
Hei decided to extend his spiritual perception as far as he could, while still maintaining his alertness to the stones.
Even after that, he still couldn’t see any trace of a person here.
Ignoring the possibility of the cat completely wasting his time, Hei was starting to believe it was using some kind of divination technique. Possibly being able to see into the future.
But still, it wouldn’t explain how it was able to know where things would occur. Even if it were able to see the future, it would still have to have witnessed the events when they occurred in the future, right?
Maybe it was able to see future events within its spiritual perception, but then that would raise its own questions.
Hei decided it was better not to think about these things.
Fumbling around in ignorance and trying to come up with theories wasn’t a productive use of time. After all, he had very little experience with these kinds of techniques.
It was possible that he would come across them in the future, in a more concrete form. Then he would decide if he wanted to learn more.
With that, and under the assumption that the person he was looking for would appear eventually, Hei jumped up to a tree branch.
He then used all of the methods at his disposal to conceal his presence.
After waiting for a long while, Hei could hear some sounds off in the distance.
Before long, they came closer and closer.
Hei extended his spiritual perception and was able to see that it was a young man being pursued by an older man.
“You think you can kill my Zhu Clan’s people and get away with it?”
The older man launched a sword strike, which tore through the trees and bushes, before striking the boy.
The boy was flung through the forest and landed a few metres in front of Hei and the cat, leaving a path of cut down trees.
He stabbed his sword into the ground and got up with much effort.
His body was covered in blood, maybe his own, maybe his enemies’, but nonetheless, he looked worse for wear.
“So only your Zhu Clan can kill people, but no one can kill you?”
‘Most people probably operate that way.’
Hei was starting to question the boy’s competency.
Who would say ‘we can kill you, but you can also kill us’?
“I’ll cut off that sharp tongue of yours!”
Now the competency of the older man was being questioned.
It seemed they were both about as sharp as Onyx.
After the older man said those words, the two entered a melee.
They exchanged sword moves, going back and forth.
After a while, it was clear that the older man had the upper hand.
The cat turned to Hei with a raised brow.
“Isn’t this the person you are looking for?”
“He doesn’t seem to be doing so good.”
“Aren’t you going to help him?”
The cat watched as the boy’s situation became worse and worse.
“If he is unable to handle this by himself, then I have no use for him.”
What Hei was looking for, wasn’t just someone who had a grudge with the Zhu Clan. He wanted a main character.
No main character would lose to a fodder character like this, so if he was who Hei was looking for, he would pull something out of thin air and achieve victory.
Things continued in a similar fashion. The boy would constantly get beaten down, but he would stand back up ready to fight again.
Eventually, the older man started to lose steam. He was beginning to run out of Qi.
“If I do not kill you today, I’m not surnamed Zhu.”
The man then bit his tongue and spat some blood onto his sword.
He then activated a very flashy move.
Seeing this, the cat turned to Hei once more.
“You’re really not going to do anything?”
“But… That boy is about to die…”
Hei had seen something on the boy, which convinced him that he probably wasn’t going to die.
The cat, on the other hand, could only see one outcome to this fight. And it didn’t involve the boy walking away unharmed.
As the cat had expected, after the older man used his move, both fighters ended up with swords in their chests.
The old man’s eyes were opened wide as he fell to the floor, lifeless.
The boy stammered a few steps back before falling, his skin pale, back resting on a tree and the sword through his chest. Motionless.
“See? I told you.”
The cat couldn’t help but shake its head. What was Hei thinking?
He wasted all of this effort looking for this boy, only to let him die.
The cat wanted to suggest they leave. It knew about several other people who were also fighting against the Zhu Clan, so it wanted to take Hei to another one.
Though it had already completed the transaction, if Hei was unsatisfied with the results, then it had to find another one.
This was the essence of maintaining a good relationship with a goldmi- client.
It was about to make the suggestion when it saw a strange light, which transformed into an indistinct human form.
That light hovered above the boy and seemed to pull the sword out of his chest, before letting out a sigh and entering his body.
The cat watched as the sword wound healed and colour returned to the boy’s face.
“See? I told you.”
The cat turned to Hei with wide eyes.
“How did you know that was going to happen?”