While they were all struggling to respond to the sudden change in circumstances, one of the men was helping the man who had been thrown against the wall. He suddenly called out, “Boss, Rong has been poisoned, and the antidote pill isn’t working!”
The leader of the little group was knocked back a half-step by this revelation. Everyone in their little group turned around in unison to examine their friend. The man who spoke pulled open the man’s robes and grabbed the shirt underneath. He tore it away and revealed to the others a trio of green splotches on the poisoned man’s chest, the shape of them reminiscent of blooming roses. Then he suddenly cried out and held out his hands. Green splotches began to form on his fingers and then drifted together underneath his skin to form into the shape of a rose on the back of each of his hands. With terrifying speed, the others in the group leapt back. The torn off shirt was laying on the ground and it was dripping a green liquid. It had already spread to one of their companions and they didn’t want to be next!
What had once been an intimidating array of burly young men here to intimidate, had become a timid crowd pressed up against the walls of the courtyard, fighting their desire to immediately flee. The lead man seemed to have lost much of his arrogant confidence, but he still held himself proudly and spoke with conviction, “It seems we underestimated you, Elder. Forgive these Juniors for misbehaving. A magnanimous person like you wouldn’t hold it against us. Can you please provide the antidote?”
Despite his words, he didn’t say them with any humility. Sage wasn’t going to let off this group so easily. Even if he didn’t have a grudge with the Chong Wu, he wouldn’t be so nice to a bunch of ruffians. Instead, he just snorted, “You little brats still think you’re worthy of speaking with me, let alone making requests after assaulting my people? Don’t you worry, they will still live for quite a few months, maybe a few years if they’re lucky. Now, unless you wish to end up like them, scram!”
To punctuate his sentence, Sage used the Law of Corruption to magnify the poison within the two men and also all the many minor aches or injuries the group of Wu men had built up within their bodies. A few of them even yelped in fear and pain, running away without waiting for an order from their boss. The little leader cursed under his breath and fled with them, not a single one of them waiting for their poisoned comrades, putting a wide gap between them in fear of being the next that the poison might spread to.
Tujiu had a pleased smile on his pale face. The poison continued to spread through his body, but he was still quite happy with the result of their confrontation. He took another look at the black mark spreading on his arm and then lifted his other hand into the air, “It’s alright. It’s just an arm. Don’t feel bad for me, those bastards probably wouldn’t have traded you the real antidote anyway.”
He gathered a fiery energy onto his hand and readied his nerves, looking as if he was about to slice off his own arm to fight the poison. Sage turned back from where he was making sure the Wu were completely gone and not planning a counter-attack. He rushed forward and grasped Tujiu’s hand, “Stop! While I admire your courage, don’t make needless sacrifices! We don’t need their antidote, I can remove the poison.”
Tujiu suddenly smiled and his face brightened, “Really? I don’t have to lose my wing?”
While he had been acting tough, for Tujiu the loss of an arm would be devastating. In his human form it would be extremely inconvenient, but for his true form such a loss would be absolutely terrible. For a bird, flying was everything. Without one of his wings he would be little more than trash to other birds. To find out that he wouldn’t have to suffer that crippling state made him cry out with joy, and it was only through some careful breathing that he managed to keep from shedding tears.
Sage nodded and helped Tujiu to his feet, “I just wanted to make sure they left. Come inside.” They walked back into the manor and Sage took Tujiu into his cultivation room, sealing the Formation Arrays and then putting down a few more of his own before taking Tujiu into the Universe Ring and leaving a pair of Dragoons wearing heavy cloaks as their stand-ins. He hadn’t yet been able to completely decipher the formations in the manor, so he took a few precautions to cover his tracks.
While treating Tujiu’s poison, he would be quite vulnerable so he chose to take him into the Universe Ring to protect them both. Curing Tujiu was quite simple, just like that fellow in the Thundercloud Sect, Sage used the ‘Living Tallow’ technique. A slow and delicate method that extracted all of the toxins from Tujiu by absorbing them into his own body. It was used by Elders to save their weaker Juniors, fighting a poison with their much stronger body. It was a move to sacrifice oneself to save another. A candle illuminates others at the cost of burning itself up.
Of course, for Sage, the downside of the technique was negligible. The poison from the Wu’s Centipede was merely a material for his Blood of the Nine Pits. All it did was give him another piece to experiment with, but he doubted it was very impressive in comparison to the vicious poisons he’d ‘received’ from Guan Zhenyan. It took about an hour for all of the poison to be extracted completely from Tujiu. The Living Tallow technique was not very efficient, since even the creator had little cause to use it more than a few times. Every tiny little strand of energy and toxin from the poison had to be carefully extracted from the bloodstream, meridians, flesh, organs, even the bones and skin. Even if it didn’t taint such places, they still had to be checked.
Once they were finished, Sage handed Tujiu some pills to restore his energy, “You can stay in here and recuperate.”
“No, I must go back with you. I can’t just disappear, we can’t give them any room to suspect anything like this place.”
Sage trusted the Tiankong Siblings implicitly, and they all knew quite a few of his secrets. He’d told them which things were unusual, but it wasn’t until spending a few years roaming around the outside world that they came to know how miraculous both the Universe Ring and Sage’s Inner World were.
When they had just left the Universe Ring for a short while, Sage was surprised by a powerful aura rushing towards his courtyard. He walked back out into the entrance yard and told Tujiu to stay inside the house. A moment later, that powerful force fell down into his yard from the sky. Sage felt the undulations of law energy around the man, but he couldn’t quite make out what exactly it was. Where he passed it looked like a cloud had formed and Sage felt a little splash of moisture when the man touched down. The man was wearing the same outfit as those from before along with their signature mask so Sage immediately knew who had come to visit.
Sage bowed his head and cupped his fist in greeting, “Lang Sheng greets the Wu Elder.”
Not only did he recognize his faction, Sage also picked out some of the decorations on the man’s clothing as one of the three Elders of the Centipede faction. It seems those men worked pretty quick to get their Elder involved in just a couple hours. From the force of the man’s aura, which he was unabashedly emitting, he was actually slightly more powerful than Sage. The man was far from polite, speaking brusquely, “You poisoned the people of the Wu?”