“Wake up! Hei Wen wake up!” Multiple voices shouted.
Hei Wen’s eyes suddenly opened wide, and he sat up straight. He looked around and saw all of his companions surrounding him, while Hei Bao had his hands on his shoulders and was shaking him. Hei Wen’s eyes were bloodshot and his nose was bleeding.
Lin Mu was woken up by the commotion that was happening in the room a while back. He had been cultivating the entire night and had been sitting in the same position. When he woke up, he saw one of the members of the Hei Corps trying to wake up Hei Wen, who had apparently fallen asleep on the bed near him.
Hei Wen was not responding and was bleeding from his nose as well. Lin Mu did not know what happened and guessed the worst.
‘Was he perhaps affected by some kind of poison?’ Lin Mu thought to himself.
“Hmm, that’s difficult to say. Heavens know that you two came in contact with multiple poisons last night, it could have been one of them.” Xukong replied.
By now, the frantic shouting of Hei Wen’s companion had attracted the attention of other people as well. Even Hei Bao had reached there and had taken over the duty to try and wake Hei Wen up. Seeing that Hei Wen was still not responding to Hei Bao’s and other attempts, Lin Mu decided to tell them.
“He may be affected by some kind of poison. Perhaps the same one that affected the town’s residents.” Lin Mu stated.
Hei Bao and the others listened to his words and turned around.
“Yes, of course, they did tell us that before.” Hei Shi spoke.
“It could indeed be the same poison that’s affecting the residents, but still, why is he bleeding from his nose?” Another member added.
“Whatever it may be, at least he’s still breathing. Let’s try a few other methods, Hei Fen go and get some of the smelling salts.” Hei Bao ordered one of his companions.
The man named Hei Fen instantly left the room and rushed to get the smelling salts. He returned a minute later with a small vial of smelling salts in his hand. Hei Fen then handed the vial to Hei Bao, who popped its cork open and held it under the nose of Hei Wen, while the others shouted.
Suddenly Hei Wen shot up and sat upright. The others looked at his blood-shot eyes, which had a hint of madness mixed in them. Hei Shi gulped and looked at the distressed expression of Hei Wen.
“What happened to you, Hei Wen?” Hei Bao asked.
Hei Wen did not speak for a minute as it took him a while to return to his senses and determine where he was.
“I’m… I’m back? I’M BACK!” Hei Wen exclaimed in relief.
At this point, Hei Bao was getting seriously worried about Hei Wen’s condition. He was really starting to think that Lin Mu’s suggestion that Hei Wen got poisoned was true. Hei Bao nudged Hei Wen, prompting him to speak.
“I… I was in a different place. A nightmare perhaps.” Hei Wen spoke between his breaths.
Hei Bao saw that Hei Wen was not in the right condition to talk, thus let him rest.
“Come talk to me later when you’re fine. For now, just rest.” Hei Bao ordered.
Hei Wen just nodded and did not speak anything. He laid down back on the bed and thought about what he had experienced.
‘What was that? Was that just a dream? It certainly didn’t feel like it. The pain, it was too real.’ Hei Wen thought.
‘It only happened because I kept on listening to the esoteric chants that Lin Mu was uttering. I need to inform the captain and the leader about this. He is potentially much more dangerous than we think.’ Hei Wen determined.
The other members of the Hei corps except for Hei Shi had left the room along with Hei Bao. Hei Shi was currently standing beside Lin Mu and was talking to him.
“This thing about Hei Wen, do you really think it was caused due to some kind of poison?” Hei Shi asked.
“It seemed like it at first, but I don’t know anymore. I thought he was also affected by the same kind of condition that the townsmen are suffering.” Lin Mu replied.
“It is somewhat similar to it, but the bleeding that happened does not match and neither does him awakening because of the smelling salts.” Hei Shi spoke.
“That’s true. Oh yes, what’s the time now? It should be nearly morning, I think.” Lin Mu asked.
Lin Mu actually could not tell the time, as he was rather lost in his cultivation. He had felt that he progressed a little in his comprehension of the Severing heart sutra somehow. He could feel that his sensitivity has been enhanced by a certain amount.
“It will be morning in an hour, the sun has not risen yet.” Hei Shi answered.
“Has your leader not arrived yet?” Lin Mu questioned.
“She should be arriving anytime now.” Hei Shi answered.
While talking with Hei Shi, Lin Mu could not help but look at the scar on her face. When he originally came to the safe house, everyone was still wearing their masks, thus he had not seen anyone’s faces then. Only when he was disturbed by the frantic shouting of the people and stopped his cultivation session, did he see some of their faces.
Though even now, except for Hei Wen, Hei Bao, and Hei Shi he still hadn’t seen the other’s faces. Hei Shi saw that Lin Mu kept on looking at her face and knew that it was because of the scar. She didn’t mind it as she had already come to terms with it and was used to it. Though, wearing the mask still helped save her some time, as she didn’t have to explain it to people every time.
“I got it when I was around your age.” Hei Shi spoke.
Lin Mu snapped from his thought upon hearing Hei Shi speak.
“Uh, got what?” Lin Mu awkwardly spoke.
“The scar you’ve been looking at.” Hei Shi spoke in a slightly mocking tone.
Lin Mu felt a little embarrassed at being caught, but did not deny it.
“How did you get it then? If you don’t mind me asking.” Lin Mu probed.
“My village was attacked by some unknown people a long time ago. I was the only survivor.” Hei Shi replied with an emotionless tone.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Lin Mu apologized in sympathy.
“It doesn’t matter now, it all happened a long time ago.” Hei Shi replied while shaking her head.
“At least I met the lord because of it.” Hei Shi added with respect in her eyes.
“Speaking of your lord, what kind of person is he?” Lin Mu asked curiously, while his eyes flickered with a strange gleam and his lips moved inaudibly.
Hei Shi was looking away from Lin Mu’s face currently, thus did not notice the look in his eyes. She just felt strangely calm and relaxed, which made her wonder why.
“Our lord is a benevolent person who helped us in our most desperate times. He pulled us from the depths of despair and gave us our current standing. He taught us to cultivate, and we pledged to join him in fulfilling his goals. We owe our lives to him.” Hei Shi spoke in a deeply respectful tone that bordered on obsession.
Hei Shi didn’t even realize that what she was uttering in her current state. She just kept on uttering without stopping. Though most of what she spoke of was the praises of their ‘Lord’.
She only stopped when she was called by one of her companions. She then nodded to Lin Mu absentmindedly and went to attend to her companion.
Only after she left the room, did she suddenly think,
“Why did I just say all that? That isn’t like me.” Hei Shi thought with alarm.
After Hei Shi was gone from the room, Lin Mu spoke in his mind.
“You were right, senior. They seem abnormally obsessed with this ‘Lord’ of theirs.”
“Hmm, at least your Calming heart sutra helped us in determining this. Though I would say you should stay alert when meeting the leader of their group.” Xukong replied.
Indeed, Lin Mu had just used the calming heart sutra to influence the mind of Hei Shi. Senior Xukong had just suggested him to try using it on people while asking them questions.
Lin Mu had seen the effects of the Calming heart sutra before, but this was another addition method that Senior Xukong had come up with. Xukong had been analyzing the effects of the sutras every time Lin Mu used them and had concluded that they could be used to influence the mind of a person.
Xukong knew that it won’t be a hundred percent effective, but knew that if it was used in the right situation, while asking the right questions, it could be rather effective.
The first attempt had proved that the calming heart sutra could be used in this method as well.