The Secret of the Phoenix Clan
“You’ve already seen that I’m not a true human,” Feng Nu said with a sad laugh, her shivering intensifying. Her scorching hot body was now cold.
Nian Bing took Feng Nu into his arms. Feng Nu didn’t resist, leaning against Nian Bing’s left shoulder and feeling the heat of his body. “Nian Bing, how do you know about the existence of the Dragon People?”
At the moment, Nian Bing didn’t care about his own safety. When his right shoulder was pierced by the Dragon Guiding Arrow, he had already threw away all his burdens. Just like he said, even if he left here alive he was a useless person. Not considering, about his parents’ revenge, it was unknown whether he could even take care of himself.
He hugged Feng Nu, like they were lovers. Seeking joy amidst the sorrow. Nian Bing smiled faintly and wrapped another strip of rough cloth around his shoulder. He explained, “I heard about them from Mao Mao’s father…” He elaborated on what happened after he and Feng Nu parted aways in Ice Snow City, how he met Mao Mao as well as her father the dragon summoner Li De.
“So it was like that. No wonder you knew about the Dragon people. Nian Bing, now that we’re here, I have no need to hide anything from you. You should have heard Elder Jin Ni say it already. He’s right, I’m from the Phoenix Clan. Just like the greater dragons, phoenixes were once lived on this continent. Though, unlike dragons, there is only one phoenix. Or, more accurately, there can only ever be one fire phoenix.
“However, phoenix and dragons are different as phoenixes can never die, existing without limits. However, when Lord Phoenix participated in an ancient war, it received unrecoverable wounds from protecting the humans. Its soul was directly harmed by the attack, so it could not even use its karmic rebirth ability to continue living. Without any other alternative, Lord Phoenix left behind its bloodline to humans. That is to say, my Pheonix Clan are actually humans who possess the pure bloodline of the phoenix.
“The Dragon People and our situation is different. They obtained only an extremely small portion of the dragon’s bloodline, just like iron-backed land dragons. We have superhuman abilities. The Dragon People possess strong defense and attack power, but besides their bodies resembling dragons scales, they don’t have any other part of the dragons’ strength. Dragons are the strongest beings on the whole continent and always have been. How could they give their abilities to humans?
“But our Phoenix Clan are in a different position. What we possess is the true power of the Phoenix. The majority of us, like the Dragon People, inherited only a small portion of the Phoenix’s ability, but an extremely small part of my kinsmen have truly inherited the Phoenix’ bloodline. Through continuous evolution, we could even become true phoenixes. These people are the royalty of the Phoenix Clan.”
Nian Bing inhaled deeply. Compared to Zi La De’s description, Feng Nu’s account was much more succinct and clear. “So you are saying you are part of the royalty of the Phoenix Clan? So the wings on your back were results of your evolution?”
Feng Nu nodded, then sighed lightly. “I really didn’t think that the first time I would use the Phoenix’s power was actually against the Dragon people. Actually, our Phoenix Clan and the Dragon People have a very good relationship. The ancestor phoenix was the Dragon God’s disciple. Although the phoenix’s power will never be stronger than a true divine dragon, a phoenix has its own special abilities.
“I’m a member of the phoenix royalty and have a Nine Heavenly Flame Body, but my length of cultivation is too short. Hastily using the Phoenix’s power has caused extreme harm to my body. Before I thought that I could bring you with me, but after retracting the Wings of the Phoenix I found that I don’t have the strength to leave here. Truly evolving to a phoenix is very difficult. Ever since the ancestor phoenix passed down its bloodline, not a single member of the royalty has successfully achieved the impressive feat of bringing the phoenix to the continent once more.”
Nian Bing paused in consideration. “Feng Nu, the True Sun Knife’s Flame God’s stone is the purest form of fire element. It might be able to assist you in recovering your strength. What conditions are needed for you to become a phoenix? What stage are you in evolution?” While talking, he took out the True Sun Knife and passed it to Feng Nu.
Feng Nu looked at the softly glowing Flame God’s Stone. With a faint smile, she replied, “Thank you, Nian Bing. The Phoenix’s power is too mysterious. When the ancestor phoenix passed down its bloodline, it truly died. Even Elder doesn’t know how to truly evolve into a phoenix. They just told me to become a true phoenix I must evolve nine times. Every time I evolve, I will possess another one of the Phoenix’s ability. When I evolve the final time, I will shed my human body and become a true fire phoenix.
“Right now I have only completed the first evolution. The phoenix wings you saw right now are the second evolution. The greatest genius of my predecessors only managed to complete five evolutions. I never believed that I would be able to reach the highest ninth evolution; I just want to get stronger to protect my clan.
“After all, there are at least seven branches of Dragon People, whereas there is only one Phoenix Clan. Those despicable humans thirst for our blood so they can possess the strength of a Phoenix clansmen. Thus the existence of our Phoenix Clan has become more secretive. I am a royal warrior of the Phoenix Clan, so I need to become stronger to protect my clansmen.
Nian Bing nodded and answered, “So it was like that. Feng Nu, you possess near Martial Saint strength, is that because of the first evolution? If you complete the second evolution, would you regain your previous strength?”
Feng Nu smiled bitterly, “Quit dreaming. The evolution can only increase my abilities, but not my strength. If I want to become stronger, I have to cultivate. Even If I could truly complete the second evolution and completely control the Wings of the Phoenix, I would need a long time of training to use it in battle.
“There’s nothing in this world that can be gained without hard work, even if it’s our Phoenix Clan. The reason why I could use such strength earlier was because I ignited my phoenix blood, but it’s not really part of my strength. So, even though I look fine now, I have lost no less blood than you.
“The Flame God’s Stone will help me increase my strength, but it cannot produce new blood. The Phoenix Clan blood ignition is only a last resort to save our lives since it consumes our vitality. Without three months I won’t be able to recover.
Nian Bing smiled. “It seems we can only stay here and live our lives together. Feng Nu, did you call me out because you wanted to tell me your life’s history before we died?”
Feng Nu rolled her eyes at him. “Of course not. I called you out to discuss how we could survive. Although we’ve already entered the death trap, our chances of escaping aren’t zero.”
Nian Bing’s heart thumped and looked at his surroundings. Although they went several hundred meters into the cave, the cave walls seemed to be extremely special; they were embedded with faint red specks of light, and the fire element here was extremely lively. Using this weak red light, he could manage to make out the things around him. “Feng Nu, do you mean you want to dig a tunnel out of the cave?”
“Quit dreaming. Could it be you haven’t noticed how hard the rock is here? And we’re in the belly of a mountain. Even if we used Heavenly Flame, True Sun, etc. it would be impossible to dig out of here. I think the reason why it’s so warm here must be related to the composition of the mountain. And just food alone will prevent us from holding on. You’re smart, can’t you think of something else?”
His eyes lit up as he came to a great realization. “Since we can’t go out, we should go in deeper. There might be another way out inside. Since we already came in, we should go see our treasure trove.”
Feng Nu smiled. “I was thinking the same thing. If my guess isn’t wrong, a fire sub-dragon must live inside here, the one Jin Ni called Lord Dragon. Sub-dragons are higher ranked than land dragons, but they aren’t true greater dragons. Since there is a sub-dragon here, there must be a way out. Sub-dragons are also called flying dragons. They can fly, but they are very lazy. They sleep for several months at a time. They’re close relatives of greater dragons, so Dragon People all search for sub-dragons.
“For them to call it Lord Dragon, this sub-dragon must be extremely strong as well as smart. Although they aren’t true dragons, they possess some of the greater dragon’s abilities. They cannot be compared to golden-backed land dragon king you spoke of before; they’re, at the very least, stronger. But sub-dragons are very big, so they definitely couldn’t come out of this narrow cave. Although we’re already in deep in the cave, don’t you feel the air is very clear? If I am right, that sub-dragon should be asleep in the deepest part of the cave. There should be a large path there to leave the cave. That’s the place we want to find.”
Nian Bing’s eyes shone brightly. If he could, who would want to stay in this accursed place? Moreover, Long Ling had said that a rank 8 light spell could completely heal his wound. If he lived, he had hope! Despite the excitement because of this new plan, he didn’t lose his cool. He nodded. “That’s good. Let’s rest first and recover our strength before going in deeper. As long as we find a path, we can use magic to fly out, and get everyone out of this cave.”
She nodded. “Ever since I saw that the Fire Dragon People stopped chasing after us I got this idea, but right now there are some things we need to pay attention too. The most important is that now we absolutely cannot alert the sub-dragon. If we do, even if were at our optimum state we wouldn’t be the sub-dragon’s opponent. We would die ugly deaths.”
Nian Bing nodded. “You’re knowledgeable about dragons. If there is any problem just say it and I will help you. I think that President Ka Luo and them will also cooperate.”
Feng Nu said, “Remember what Ka Luo promised you before? He wasn’t wrong; the treasure trove really is here. The sub-dragon’s intelligence is close to a greater dragon, so it has the same hobbies as a greater dragon. That is, collecting precious items. Since this is a sub-dragon’s lair, that treasure trove is possibly larger than I imagined. The sub-dragon sleeps very deeply, but if someone dares touch its treasure, even if it’s just one gold coin, it’ll immediately wake up.”
Nian Bing was dumbfounded. “No way, dragons are so greedy?”
A smiled spread across her face. “Dragons have had the nickname ‘misers’ since forever, this isn’t strange at all. So if we want to leave here alive, no one can touch the treasures. Otherwise, everyone will die. Sub-dragons will never show mercy on anyone who dares infringe on their belongings. Those mercenaries I don’t know very well. Enough to stand against a common enemy when faced with a shared enemy, but in case we are faced with the lure of the treasure, whether or not they can resist touching it will affect us. Do you get what I am saying?”
He nodded. “You are afraid someone will try to profit from this. Your worry is completely reasonable. Not just them, if I saw a magic book that I really needed, I might not be able to stop myself.”
She giggled. “So you would become greedy?”
He squeezed Feng Nu and closed his eyes. “I just want to be like this forever. Feng Nu, I feel that my time of freedom won’t last too long. If I could live here, I would probably be able to have a choice in my feelings.”
Feng Nu fell silent. After a long time, she said, “I know. Actually, yesterday night your expression told me a lot. She really is a good girl. For her to treat you that way, she is truly worthy of your love. I congratulate you.”
Nian Bing didn’t say anything. When he learned of Feng Nu’s identity, he truly understood just how different their worlds were. He didn’t want to hurt Long Ling any more, so now he could only treasure his last moments with Feng Nu.
Outside the cave. Jin Ni let one of his kinsmen help him apply medicine to his wound.
“Elder, are we just going to wait here?” asked one of the Fire Dragon People warriors.
Jin Ni’s expression was somewhat pained. The strength of the mercenaries were outside of his expectations, especially Feng Nu and the berserker Zi Qing Jian. If not for them, they would already be buried here.