Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 256
Chapter 256: Catching The Bird
Despite having plugged her ears, Yun Ruoyan could still hear a little of the soul-stealing bird’s birdcall, and she began to feel a little dizzy. Li Mo reached out and touched her temples, infusing a small amount of spiritual energy to clear her head.
He repeated the gesture with Zhuo Yifeng, clearing up his somewhat dazed eyes.
Zhuo Yifeng glanced askance at Li Mo, who retracted his fingers. Without meeting eyes with Zhuo Yifeng, he murmured, “Be careful—don’t be caught by its voice.”
Zhuo Yifeng turned back to the bird, his face expressionless. It gyrated above the soul-stealing patch, continuing its birdcall as it did so. Li Mo was almost entirely unaffected, and Yun Ruoyan and Zhuo Yifeng both supplemented their mental defenses with spiritual energy.
However, the birdcall clearly had an effect on the bewitching flowers. Despite sensing some danger and revealing their tendrils, they were waving around with abandon. The soul-stealing bird was about thrice the size of a large eagle, but it was still far smaller compared to the fire hog that had appeared earlier. It easily dodged and weaved around the tendrils that chased after it.
Suddenly, the bird’s eyes lit up, and it dove at a bright red bewitching flower, plucking out a red seed from its center before it could react.
“That’s a bewitching flower’s seed,” Qiuqiu informed Yun Ruoyan.
Yun Ruoyan looked carefully at the seed that the soul-stealing bird swallowed as it flew away. Meanwhile, the bewitching flower rapidly withered at a rate visible to the naked eye. The bird seemed particularly excited, producing a longer, deeper birdcall than before.
“Mistress, be careful. The more such seeds a soul-stealing bird consumes, the stronger its sleep-inducing power,” Qiuqiu reminded.
Because of Qiuqiu’s reminder, Yun Ruoyan was able to strengthen her mental defenses in time, but Zhuo Yifeng fell unconscious to the ground.
“Zhuo Yifeng, Zhuo Yifeng!” Yun Ruoyan shook him urgently, to no avail.
“There’s nothing you can do now. This time, he’ll fall asleep for at least sixteen hours,” Li Mo commented.
During the course of their conversation, the soul-stealing bird had managed to consume three more bewitching flowers. As Qiuqiu had stated, its ability grew stronger and stronger with each seed at a surprisingly rapid pace. After crying out twice more, Yun Ruoyan was feeling faint even with her mental defenses shored up as much as possible, but the soul-stealing bird only seemed more excited.
“Bear with it a moment longer,” Li Mo whispered, transmitting another thread of spiritual energy to her.
By the time the soul-stealing bird consumed its seventh seed, something unusual happened: out of the center of the patch of flowers emerged an unusually large vine, which whipped toward the bird, which barely dodged the attack at the cost of a few feathers.
After the vine popped up, so too did a large, multicolored bewitching flower.
“The evolved form of the bewitching flower!” Qiuqiu and Li Mo called out again.
Even without an explanation, Yun Ruoyan could tell that this bewitching flower had to be superior to all the others. After the soul-stealing bird had destroyed seven bewitching flowers in a row, the evolved flower was so angry that it had finally revealed itself!
“For a soul-stealing bird to reach maturity, it has to consume the seed of an evolved bewitching flower,” Li Mo began. “I’ve tried to tame a mature soul-stealing bird for quite a while, and I’ve finally found a good opportunity!”
The evolved flower’s vine continued trying to strike at the bird, but it was unable to land any hits after losing the element of surprise. Despite its girth, the vine moved astonishingly rapidly. Combined with the attacks of the other, smaller vines, the soul-stealing bird was having quite a difficult time dodging all the attacks.
“Yan’er, stay here and shield yourself well.” Li Mo suddenly shot out of the bush and flew into the patch of flowers.
“Li Mo, be careful!”
With a glowing finger on his right hand as a sword, Li Mo shredded the vines attacking him. With his left hand, he burned the remnants of those vines to a crisp. No longer hindered by the smaller vines, the soul-stealing bird began to fight in earnest with the evolved bewitching flower, using its long, sharp beak to peck at its engorged vine.
The vine secreted more of its green acid to try and defend against the attacks, but it was ineffective against the soul-stealing bird’s beak. While the bird and vine tangled with each other, Li Mo had easily dealt with the vines attacking him and had made his way to the evolved flower.
He extended both hands at the center of the flower, and white spiritual energy in the shape of a cyclone drilled into it. At the same time, the vine stopped attacking the bird and began heading for Li Mo’s exposed back, while the evolved flower tried to close up its petals and retreat underground.
While Li Mo continued trying to retrieve the evolved flower seed with one hand, he turned and began shooting fireballs, volley after volley, at the vine aiming for his back.
Yun Ruoyan stared agog at the sight: she had seen Li Mo use his cyclone technique, and she had seen him use his fireball technique, but never both at once. That a person was able to command a single type of attuned spiritual energy was rare enough, but Li Mo could use two types at the same time!
As he continued shooting out fireballs at the vine, he kept increasing the penetrating power of his cyclone. Yun Ruoyan watched the fight with bated breath; just as she began to worry about Li Mo running out of spiritual energy, a multicolored, speckled pearl slowly emerged from the center of the evolved flower and fell into Li Mo’s hands.
The moment it did so, the evolved flower and its engorged vine suddenly began to wither. In seconds, the vibrant flowerbed had turned into barren land.
Li Mo raised the five-colored jewel in his hand as he stared at the soul-stealing bird.
“Submit to me, and this evolved flower seed will be yours!”
The soul-stealing bird’s golden eyes grew sharp. With a caw, it rushed toward Li Mo, who quickly dodged the bird’s attack on his sword.
That caw struck Yun Ruoyan like an ice pick to her head, making her feel as if her brain had been submerged in ice water. Suddenly, her somewhat dazed mind became crystal-clear again.
“Ah!” Zhuo Yifeng jerked out of his stupor with a painful wince. He tried to stand up, but Yun Ruoyan held him down.
“Don’t move. Look there.” Yun Ruoyan pointed at the sky.
Where Yun Ruoyan was pointing, Zhuo Yifeng could see Li Mo facing off with a soul-stealing bird. It knew that its sleep-inducing caw wouldn’t be effective against Li Mo, so it switched to another call that would make one mentally alert at the cost of hurting one’s brain.
Instead of hurting Li Mo, however, it only managed to hurt Zhuo Yifeng and Yun Ruoyan instead. They clutched their ears in pain, trying to prevent the sound that struck their brains as though icy needles were stabbing them.
In mid-air, Li Mo rushed toward the bird while completely ignoring its caw. When the bird found that even this attack was ineffective, it jumped in fright and abruptly closed its mouth. By that time, however, Li Mo had already flown right up to it and leaped onto its back. AS the bird thrashed about, Li Mo began pounding its forehead.
The young bird’s golden eyes turned blood-red, then brown. It finally stopped struggling, then slowly landed on the ground. As Li Mo leaped off the bird, Yun Ruoyan ran over to him in excitement.
“I did it!” Li Mo exclaimed triumphantly.
Yun Ruoyan burst into a smile, trying to pet the bird’s brain. It dodged, then abruptly let out a shrill caw that left both Yun Ruoyan and Zhuo Yifeng clutching their heads in pain.
Only after what seemed like an eternity did the icy pain finally subside.
“This bird’s really quite amazing!” Yun Ruoyan didn’t dare to try petting the bird any further.
“Yan’er, take this.” Li Mo handed her the evolved bewitching flower’s seed, a multicolored jewel.
“If you use this to make a bewitching potion, I bet you could paralyze even Li Mo himself,” Qiuqiu exclaimed.
“Yan’er, feed it to the soul-stealing bird,” Li Mo murmured. “Then, it’ll be close to you.”
Yun Ruoyan nodded, smiling. As she turned to the bird, it became so excited upon seeing the seed in her hands that its feathers all became disordered.
It opened its mouth slightly and repeatedly made small burbling noises, as though it were softly whispering to Yun Ruoyan, or as though it were a young fledgeling begging for food.
“In the future, don’t let out such frightening caws out of nowhere, alright?” Yun Ruoyan extended her hand, and the soul-stealing bird obediently put its head underneath her fingers.
Yun Ruoyan lightly patted the bird on its head, and it flashed its golden eyes at her winningly.
“Alright, here you go!” She held the evolved flower seed right up to its beak, and the bird opened its beak wide and engulfed Yun Ruoyan’s arm.
Zhuo Yifeng, standing right behind Yun Ruoyan, shouted as he tried to pull her back, but Li Mo stopped him. Yun Ruoyan could feel the soul-stealing bird’s soft tongue wrapping around her hand, giving her an itchy sensation. Once she released the seed, that soft tongue immediately swallowed it. The bird released Yun Ruoyan’s hand, then inclined its head as if to caw.
Yun Ruoyan was so scared that she immediately held her hands up to her ears, but the soul-stealing bird didn’t make any noise. Instead, it leaped off the ground and soared into the sky. When Yun Ruoyan inclined her head, she could see that it had broken through the dense foliage by brute force, leaving behind a bird-shaped hole through which she could see the bird’s silhouette amidst the blinding sunlight.
“Li Mo,” Yun Ruoyan asked, her head still inclined. “Is it going to return?”