Chapter 3 – Blade of Music (III)
Diarra angrily said, “Rufete, you should not be unduly. Do not forget that in the beginning you also came from here.”
The one called Rufete was an Indigo Rank Mage Scholar who appeared to be 50-60 years old. His stature was not tall, but arrogant and overbearing. On his chest was a flame emblem indicating that he was a Fire Mage Scholar. With two hands behind his back, his face had an air of haughtiness as he said disdainfully, “Correct, I originated from here as well. Even to this day, I couldn’t be happier that I made the decision to leave. As you see, does this magic guild even befit its national status? There’s only the three of you. Furthermore, after all these years, you still haven’t broken pass the Cyan Rank. What’s more you are probably not even at the peak of the Cyan Rank. Diarra, do not continue to be obstinate; follow us to Wavast. The Wavast Royal Family absolutely values talented mages. You would surely be looked upon favourably.”
“Praise Blue Dias. Rufete, you are an Arcadian. Don’t tell me that you forgot your roots?” Diarra’s voice trembled. After all, he was facing Rufete, who had been one of Arcadia’s most promising mages. But now, he was Wavast’s emissary here in Arcadia.
Rufete sneered, “Looks like you haven’t changed and just as stubborn. Where is the president of your guild? Summon him. If he is able to defeat me, then we will immediately leave. If not, do not blame me for being rude.”
Diarra angrily said, “Rufete, do not forget that this is Arcadia, not Wavast. How dare you be impolite?” His heart could not help but be sorrowful. Currently, Arcadia had already fallen so low that it could be bullied to such a degree.
Rufete thickly said, “We are here representing the Kingdom of Wavest in negotiations with Arcadia. With our status as an official emissary, even if we were to kill you, I’m afraid the Arcadian Royal Family will not dare to do anything about it. Could it be that your so-called president is a headless turtle? Does he not have the guts to accept my challenge?”
“Grandfather Qin is not a coward. I accept your challenge in his place.” Just as Diarra was about to erupt in anger, a clear, bright, beautiful voice echoed from outside the door. It was precisely Ye Yin Zhu that spoke.
With the sudden arrival of the voice, all of the mages in the hall immediately looked in the direction of the door to see that the elegant Yin Zhu and the stoic, tall Zi had already walked in.
Zi merely stood by Yin Zhu’s side. Now, he had returned to his previous demeanor in Desolate Jade Sea, quiet and reserved without saying a word.
Yin Zhu glared at Rufete. Since he was born, he only had contact with his family, Zi, and Qin Shang. Qin Shang cared for him and taught him in every possible way. He spent the most time with Qin Shang. In Yin Zhu’s heart, Qin Shang was already close family, and although he did not understand what it means to be a headless turtle, he knew it was not a compliment.
Rufete, somewhat amazed, looked at Yin Zhu. This handsome young man adorned in a white gown entered through the door, projecting upon people a bright feeling. Especially his two clear, black eyes which easily imparted a feeling of deep profoundness upon people.
“Did I mishear? You want to challenge me?”
Yin Zhu nodded seriously and said, “Grandfather Qin is not present, so I will take his place and accept your challenge.”
“You, a youngster?” Diarra asked Yin Zhu.
Yin Zhu looked at Diarra and softly smiled, but he did not reply. Instead, he immediately took a seat on the ground. He did not understand social etiquette. In his heart there was only anger towards Rufete, and he did not want to waste any more time to challenge him.
Everyone was somewhat surprised as the reddish-brown Thundering Spring Zither appeared above his legs, already floating in the air.
The Thundering Spring Zither was 39 inches long, 7 inches wide at the shoulder, and 4.5 inches wide at the tail. It was reddish brown in color with fine segmented lines forming a snakeskin-like pattern. On the back of the zither, above the dragon pond, were two characters, “Thundering Spring.” The zither’s thirteen zither string tuning pegs were inlaid with white jade. One of the five treasured zithers of the Zither Sect, it could produce a pure and soft sound. For a Divine Music mage, the zither was his magical staff.
“I’m about to start.” Yin Zhu’s left hand hung suspended above the zither body as his right hand lightly flicked the strings, producing a deep rich sound hum. Dark red rays of light were emitted from Yin Zhu’s body and lingered in the air, his eyes already glazing over to focus solely on the strings above. In merely an instant, his resentment completely vanished, and his graceful, aristocratic temperament with a gentle and sorrowful air appeared. Unfortunately, the six mages across from him only saw the red radiance emitting from him and did not take notice of his change in expressions.
What does this dark red magical strength mean? It was the lowest level of the Red Rank, that’s all. Even if he was at the Advanced Level Red Rank, he would still be an ordinary mage, not even an intermediate mage. Rufete and 6 of the mages present were at least Advanced Mages. But this handsome young man appeared to be a Divine Music mage. Yin Zhu’s body began emitting rays of light. They couldn’t help but burst into laughter as they stood up.
“Ah, it’s you. Praise Blue Dias,” Diarra widened his eyes in amazement. He looked at Yin Zhu’s hands and his eight fingers, suddenly realizing who this child before his eyes was. However, before he could stop him, the zither music already began to fill the air.
With Yin Zhu’s mind devoted completely to the zither, he already forgot about his surroundings, possibly neglecting everything of the outside world. His heart harmonized with the heartstrings of the zither, and his mind recalled Qin Shang’s profound teachings regarding the correlation between the fingers and the strings, sound and denotation, form and spirit, virtue and art. His mouth muttered, “The essence of music should have a deep profoundness.”
In the blink of an eye, the guild hall brightened. Light emitted from two locations; the first came from the magical tessellation in the middle of the guild hall, and the other from Yin Zhu’s seven-stringed Thundering Spring Zither resting upon his knees. Silver light blossomed momentarily as Yin Zhu’s voice containing countless magical power roared. The contemptful eyes froze in a flash. A string of low sinuous and endlessly touching zither music rose in a spiral along with the dark red light, making the whole guild hall interior sparkle.
The melody was somewhat sorrowful, but nevertheless it was immensely profound. This was the same song Yin Zhu used to bid farewell to his friends in the bamboo forest, <<Three Variations at Yangguan>>. But with a different mentality and different zither, the effect was completely distinct. Now this sad and gentle air thickened in a split second. At once, everyone present felt heavy in their hearts. Even the air elemental magic was affected as it became sluggish and thick.
Rufete’s eyebrows furrowed. He discovered with astonishment that the zither music made his mood somewhat frenetic, altering the atmosphere in general. His heart became frightened. Apparently this young Divine Music mage was not simple. Unfortunately, he did not turn around to look at his comrades. If he did, perhaps he would have attached more importance to Yin Zhu. The two Green Rank mages already held lifeless look in their eyes, their faces which were brimming with heartily laughter now motionless. In addition, the three Yellow Rank mages already had glazed eyes while their bodies began to lightly sway involuntarily. Clearly they were already losing control of their bodies.
Spirit mages held the nickname of mage killer. For someone to face a spirit mage’s chants was easier said than done.
Rufete could only give voice to the first section of the magic chant before he was overwhelmed. Horrified, he found that the bizarre zither music interrupted his magical chant which was how he communicated with air elemental magic, via special intonations. Predispositioned to the heaven and earth, magic could be persuaded to connect to the elemental magics. He was unable to complete a chant even though his spirit power was exceedingly strong. Rufete couldn’t help but be somewhat panicked.