Chapter 47 A Thousand Scars
Pian Zi was not as talented in music as Di Ku nor was his cultivation towards a musically inclined style. Hence he did not take his Chinese fiddle out, instead, Pian Zi portrayed his Nettled Nautilus Style and reached out for a cutlass from his storage ring.
Since he knew that his teacher and Di Ku would be aiding him, Pian Zi decided to be reckless and immediately used a Cutlass Art, 'Scramble of the Nettled Nautilus'. The skill allowed him to gain a burst of high speed like a jetstream propelling the nautilus towards the ants.
The fire wyrm ant stood no chance against him as Pian Zi cut off its legs before it even got the chance to react. Despite the haemolymph oozing out of its legs, it was able to overturn its body and shoot a blast of fire at Pian Zi after he went to a halt from his skill.
The burning incurred from the wyrm fire ant was sufficient to inflict a large amount of damage on Pian Zi. Unlike Hong Deng Long, whose style was the Wobbling Wombat, Pian Zi did not have any resistance against elemental damage causing him to scream in pain. The Ice Wyrm Ant took the opportunity to gather ice energy within its organs to shoot but an ethereal large weasel ambushed the ice wyrm ant from its back and bit it hard.
The ice blast missed Pian Zi which allowed him to recover a little. "Thanks, Di Ku!" Di Ku was using his bamboo flute to summon and command an ethereal weasel to stop the attack of the wyrm ant, allowing Pian Zi to throw his cutlass into the wyrm ant's body. Pian Zi then gave a punch to its head, causing it to be knocked down.
He later plunged the cutlass further into the ice wyrm ant and it was unable to move any further. When he turned to see the fire wyrm ant, he saw his music teacher had one of his foot on top of the ant's body. The ant was already dead.
"Pian Zi, you have done enough. Let Di Ku handle the rest. Just wait for the battle to end, and you can eat your curry rice." Pu Ting beckoned Pian Zi to stand on the sidelines to see the entire battle unfold.
Customers who were chilling at the bar counter started to recognise that the trio who went into the dungeon made significant progress against the ants. They began to gather around Station 5 to watch a possible first dungeon clear.
A command was given again by Di Ku by blowing a single sound from his flute and the ethereal weasel started to zigzag around the grass fields to attack the Zither Mistress. Unfortunately, the Great White Snake slammed its tail on the ground causing the ethereal image of a weasel to disappear from the impact of the attack.
This time round, the Zither Mistress gave a short glance to Di Ku before she returned to playing her zither. Her medley changed to a heavier darker tone and Di Ku started to play a proper song instead of summoning an ethereal weasel again.
Somehow, the Great White Snake sensed that Zither Mistress would like to battle head to head with Di Ku so it retreated a little, giving some space for their duel.
The sound of warm spring that was carried through the wind at the start of the instance began to become sorrowful and Di Ku responded by starting his performance with a slow and mellow melody to complement with Zither Mistress's tune. However, the sorrow Di Ku felt from Zither Mistress was neither cold nor sad, it was just bittersweet.
Through the Chi of Music, both the spectators Pian Zi and Pu Ting could hear and feel the emotions of both musicians as if they were signifying the end of spring and the start of a separate season, the chorus of autumn.
As if the grasslands were alive, they reacted to the chi of the music battle and the surroundings slowly transformed. The sakura blossom tree withered completely, making it bare while flowers in the grass fields bloomed to colours of yellow and blue and even the winds were slightly chilly. The short transformation of the grassland was a sight to behold that even the customers at Station 5 who were enjoying the melody, were in awe with it.
As the music continued on, Di Ku decided to be more aggressive in his conversation with Zither Mistress as he would like to know her technical skills in playing. So he started to play a more serious and yet fuming tone. His Chi turned deadly and the intent to kill could be felt even by the snake.
The Zither Mistress noticed the abrupt change of music but continued her tune to paint a picture of regret as it became the one to follow up on Di Ku's advance.
Di Ku's flute play was forceful and he gave no quarters for Zither Mistress to rest as he reached to the climax of his song. However, he was very surprised a monster was able to sync with him despite not knowing the song he was playing. She was able to ad lib at her own pace without being pressured by his advances.
Pu Ting folded his arms and saw how calm Zither Mistress was during her play. If she really competed with Di Ku, there was a chance Di Ku might actually meet his match.
Di Ku became a little frustrated by how Zither Mistress transitioned so well into his song that he did become unstable in his techniques and began to play with his emotions instead. However, the emotions he started showing was repressed feelings of jealousy, anger, guilt and loneliness.
Those emotions were repressed by his family expectations, the desire for normalcy in life and the despise he had for people not as talented as him.
The chi resonance in his music turned erratic and even the grasslands reacted to it. Flowers withered immediately, the grass turned black and the soil started to stink. The ethereal weasel was also accidentally summoned and Di Ku's emotions in the chi corrupted it to be disobedient, threatening and combative. It immediately headed straight for the Zither Mistress.
Pian Zi was shocked. He has never seen Di Ku look so troubled and uncontrolled in his music career before and he looked at Pu Ting, hoping he might do something for Di Ku. Yet, Pu Ting stood there listening to the music intently.
The Great White Snake intercepted the ethereal weasel and both were locked in combat. The Zither Mistress immediately responded with a tune of her own when she heard Di Ku's music. Her emotions of extreme pure loneliness leaked a little from her chi of music but it was mainly focused at her recipient. The flowers right beside her maintained its vibrance of autumn.
Upon hearing her reply, Di Ku was shaken. An image of her trying her very best to be included in the society, the need for survival for the sake of normalcy in life and her longing to have her legs back flooded his mind. Her emotion of loneliness was so strong that Di Ku could not bear the weight of her music.
He eventually fell to the ground on his knees feeling all cold and wanting to cry. The emotions eluded from her chi of music was strong enough to affect Di Ku mentally. At this moment, Pu Ting appeared and shot pure energy blast of chi towards Zither Mistress which caused a large explosion.
"We would like to forfeit this dungeon." Pu Ting shouted out loud and a confirmation message was read out by a lady announcer. "Yes, we are sure."
All three came back safely from Station 5 with customers facing them befuddled. Some were tearing while others felt miserable. "Looks like the Zither Mistress has a lot more experience in the manipulation of chi in her music than expected."
"Behind that face of her probably lies a thousand of scars which could be not heal with just time. However, I would feel bad that if we left the shop just like this. Let me play a song to calm the whole lot of you." Pu Ting took out his Gu Qin, a type of zither whose music is similar to a cello, from his storage ring.
He placed his Gu Qin at the bar counter and played a tune with chi infused in it which slowly calmed the customers and even boosted their chi generation, making them feeling energetic again.
"This guy is not a simple person." Jin closed his eyes to appreciate the music.