Holding the sword, Claire’s first thought was to put it back immediately.
The next moment, Claire froze. A cold wind blew at her back. Claire slowly, slowly, lowered her head, and looked at the sword in her hand blankly, her mind refusing to operate.
Didn’t only people with Li blood could it pull it out? Didn’t they need that determined will and powerful strength? So why did it fall out when she just touched it?
Claire turned her head mechanically, her body stiff, and saw the colorful expressions of the people down there. Especially Li Yuewen; she was staring wide-eyed at the sword in Claire’s hand.
“Uh…… Didn’t only people from the Li clan could pull it out? The sword made a mistake, should I, uh, put it back?” Claire asked weakly. Li Yuewen looked as if she was going to eat Claire alive.
“The, the sword chose you as its owner!” Summer stammered, pointing at the sword in Claire’s hand, her eyes full of shock and disbelief. The others’ minds were also blank, and they just stared at Claire.
“I, I, I’ll put it back right now…… ” Claire’s expression was innocent as she said weakly.
“You! You little brat!” Li Yuewen, furious, suddenly grabbed Claire by the collar, and started shaking her fiercely, “What do you think the treasured sword of the Li clan is? Putting it back? It actually chose you, chose you as its owner! Is this some kind of joke? Is there still justice in this world?!”
Li Yuewen’s furious shriek echoed in the cave. Claire was dizzy from all the shaking but didn’t dare say anything in reply.
“Okay, Yuewen, it’s a fact now that the sword chose Claire as its owner. We can’t change anything.” Li Mingyu’s voice sounded softly.
Li Yuewen let go of Claire’s collar angrily, still staring at Claire furiously.
Claire looked at the treasured sword in her hand and twitched her lip. She wanted to say, I didn’t want the sword to choose me as its owner either. But when she met Li Yuewen’s furious gaze, she smartly swallowed this sentence back.
“What happened? I thought the sword would only choose people from the Li clan as its owner? Why would it let me pull it out?” Claire looked confusedly at the sword in her hand and asked, puzzled.
“Of course you can…… ” Li Yuewen shouted angrily, about to say something, but Li Mingyu yelled in low voice.
“Yuewen!” Li Mingyu’s expression was very complicated. He said in a deep tone, “The Tidal Sword chose Claire as its owner. That’s a fact. Since it already chose her, there must be a reason. It’s just that we don’t know what that reason might be.”
Claire watched the two suspiciously. Both their expressions were complex, and she felt as if they were hiding something. But she couldn’t say what exactly they were hiding.
“This is an artifact? I don’t feel anything different about it.” Claire raised the Tidal Sword and waved it in the air.
“The Tidal Sword is a growth weapon. You have to keep growing and practicing for it to grow and release its full power. That’s why it’s called an artifact. Looking at it now, the Tidal Sword is only an ordinary sword in your hands.” Li Yuewen replied sourly.
Sure enough, the Tidal Sword, which had been glowing silver, slowly became dull, and changed back into a most ordinary long sword.
Claire waved the Tidal Sword around a bit. Humph, looking down on people even though it’s only a sword. But this was the first time she heard of a growth weapon.
“But, what are you going to do now? You wanted to find this sword to revive the Li clan. Now you have to return empty-handed.” Although Claire was frustrated at the Tidal Sword in her hand, she immediately thought of this. Claire looked at the Li siblings with worry.
“Now we can only take one step at a time. We’ll try our best. If fate wants the Li clan to fall…… ” Li Mingyu’s voice had a hint of desolation.
“Brother! No! I won’t let the Li clan fall!” Li Yuewan exclaimed hastily.
Claire watched the scene in front her, a complicated feeling in her heart. If not for the sword going crazy and choosing her as its owner, things wouldn’t be like this!
“Can, can I do something for you?” At last, Claire still asked softly.
“No, fate let the sword choose you as its owner…… ” Li Mingyu answered in a low voice. But before he could finish, Li Yuewen cut him off.
“Of course you must do something for us. You must take responsibility!” Li Yuewen shouted loudly, humphing angrily.
“Yes, yes, I will take responsibility, it’s my fault.” Claire nodded continously, “Then what can I do for you?”
“Three months later, at the martial arts tournament between the four major clans, you must represent the Li clan! And use this Tidal Sword!” Li Yuewen stated indignantly.
“What?” Claire opened and closed her mouth, then stared at Li Yuewen, “Outsiders can represent your Li clan in the tournament?”
“Who said you were an outsider?!” Quick to speaking her mind, Li Yuewen almost said something again, but after getting Li Mingyu’s warning gaze she changed the rest of the sentence and shouted angrily, “Our Li clan’s Tidal Sword already chose you as its owner! So you count as half a Li person! What’s wrong with you representing us?”
“Really?” Claire blinked and looked at the ordinary Tidal Sword in her hand, feeling very innocent.
“Really! You little brat, getting an advantage and pretending to be innocent! Now the artifact already chose you as its owner, so shouldn’t you do something for our Li clan?” Li Yuewen was exasperated and frustrated.
“Oh, that seems to make some sense.” Claire stroked her chin and sighed, “Fine, I will represent you at the tournament three months later.”
“Good.” Li Yuewen nodded satisfyingly.
Li Mingyu was still in shock and hadn’t realized what had happened. But the two already settled everything just like that?!
“But, you are much too weak now. You can’t even exercise half the power of the Tidal Sword. So in the next three months, I will make you practice!” Li Yuewen’s eyes lit up as she spoke ‘savagely’.
Claire twitched her lip, feeling her future going dark all of a sudden. Claire looked at the sword in her hand plaintively, cursing in her heart about her wretched hand. When her feet felt numb, she could have leaned on anything, but she had to lean on this damn treasured sword. Now she was dragged down the water! She was innocent! So depressing!
Everyone turned their compassionate gazes on Claire. Camille shrugged his shoulders slightly, sympathetic but unable to help. Jean’s gaze was very self-explanatory: no matter where Miss goes, I will follow!
“For the next two months, we will go to Lost Mountain Range, and the last month we’ll go back to the Li clan to practice.” Li Yuewen announced fiercely.
Claire was wordless.
“Then let’s go out now. How do we get out?” Claire looked at the huge, semi-circle slide, baffled.
“There are stairs over there.” Camille smiled gently and pointed at a long flight of stairs nearby.
Everyone turned their heads, and sure enough, there was a long, neat flight of stairs besides the slide. Everyone was depressed. They suddenly felt that the person who designed this cave and set the barrier had a repulsive addiction. There were stairs, but he had to let the people enjoy that butt-hurting slide.
Just then, a huge sound came from the cave entrance, and then the cave started shaking violently. Stones and rocks dropped from the ceiling and the whole cave seemed to collapse.
“It’s collapsing! Aaaaaaaah!” Summer screamed.
Claire waved her hand and set up a barrier, enveloping everyone inside.
“It’s the people from the Hua clan!” Li Yuewen’s expression was icy as she stated surely.
Everyone was shocked. Claire was also doubtful, “It can’t be. There is no hiding place on the sea. If a ship comes close we’re bound to notice. Our captain and sailors were all carefully chosen by the castellan, all of them loyal soldiers of the empire.”
The stones landed with thuds on the barrier. Although the cave was shaking and seemed very dangerous, it didn’t collapse. But the light at the cave entrance became smaller and smaller, until at last the entrance was buried.
“There’s only one possibility, that they have spies among the crewmen.” Li Yuewen’s expression became even colder.
“Impossible.” Camille said gently, “I’ve looked at every single person the castellan chose, and all of them are citizens of the empire, pure Amparklanders. Their backgrounds are all clear.”
“Not an actual spy, but mentally!” Li Yuewen squeezed a sentence out through her teeth.
At this time, the cave finally quieted down. Rocks were strewn across the ground, the entrance also blocked firmly.
“What do you mean?” Claire detected something wrong in Li Yuewen’s words.
“The Hua clan has an advanced evil spell, that enables the spell caster to attach his own conscious onto another person, and control that person’s body by devouring its original conscious.” Li Mingyu’s face was a little ugly as he said in a deep voice, “Never thought that they were willing to set down such a high stake to stop us. Sending people who knew such advanced magic!”
So it’s a contest between mental power? Claire understood a bit.
“What if the other person’s mental power is stronger than his?” Claire asked immediately while opening the barrier.
“Then it would backfire and eat up his own conscious. The worst, he dies; the least, dementia. So that’s why they don’t dare to use it easily. This time they chose those sailors, afraid to try it on any of you.” Li Yuewen humphed coldly, “They probably wanted to blow up this cave and bury us alive, but this cave didn’t collapse that easily. So they must be waiting at the cave entrance, ready to ambush us.”
“Then let’s go out and kill them!” Dragon Ben said darkly.
“This magic is interesting.” Walter grinned, interested. As a dark magician, he would obviously want to see for himself such an evil spell; and it would be even better if he could learn it.
“I’m more interested in where the real body of that spell caster is.” A creepy smile appeared on Claire’s face, and she said softly, “If we destroy that person’s body, what will happen to the consciousness he left in other people’s bodies?”
After hearing to Claire’s sentence, everyone felt cold in their hearts.
“Let’s go. We can talk about it when we get out!” Claire carried the ordinary Tidal Sword on her shoulder and walked in front.