Chapter 379: Exposed
A large group of humans and horses whizzed past on the the road, kicking up the yellow dust covering the road. Laughter and curses repeatedly resounded along the way.
At the back of the group of humans and horses, there were some people pushing the horse carts and carrying robes. They did not wear the same clothing as those mercenaries in front of them. This was because they were merely some servants responsible for washing clothes, preparing food, and building tents within the Mercenary Company. Among this group of servants, whose faces were covered with dust, a person pushing a cart while wearing a broken hat on his head suddenly looked up. Other than a pair of black colored eyes being clearly visible, the remainder of his dust covered face was nearly completely hidden under some yellow soil. At a glance, he did not appear any different from the servants with wooden expressions beside him.
"It is indeed worthy of being called the fortress which guards the borders. This size really causes one to suckle his tongue. It is far from what the cities within the Jia Ma Empire can compare with." As he eyed the city wall, which appeared even larger and more imposing as he moved closer, the man suddenly sighed softly. Hearing this voice, this person was actually Xiao Yan. Looking at the situation, it appeared that he planned to rely on this mercenary company and sneak into the final fortress of the empire.
The group grew increasingly nearer to the city wall within the yellow dust. When they were a few hundred meters from the enormous city gate, Xiao Yan narrowed his eyes and watched the sky above the city wall. There appeared to be a faint, shapeless, energy fluctuation there.
"There are indeed energy sensors. It is fortunate that I did not try to forcefully fly over. Otherwise, those invisible energy sensors might have immediately exposed me. With the special crossbow equipment that these kind of military fortresses have been equipped with, I would likely become a target for them to wildly shoot at should I be discovered." Xiao Yan frowned slightly. If he were to borrow Yao Lao's strength, an ordinary bow would have difficulty hurting him. However, this kind of rare metal equipment that was specially manufactured would cause him great fear, should he be caught in an unprepared position. After all, Yao Lao's energy could only allow Xiao Yan to unleash strength, but it would not cause his body to be strengthened to the point where it could contend head on with a crossbow. Moreover, as such a large empire, it was difficult for one to believe that there was nothing in this fortress that could deal with a high class strong person. Xiao Yan had heard of those so called 'Air Splitting Three Continuous Crossbows', 'God Fire Bow', 'Soul Piercing Arrow', etc. It was just that these kinds of mysterious equipment were too difficult to create. Therefore, there was only a small number of units equipped with them and Xiao Yan had never had the chance the personally feel the power of them.
As his distance to the city gate grew increasingly close, Xiao Yan's gaze also landed on that towering city gate. When he saw the defenses of the city gate, which could be considered to be extremely fortified, his brows knit tightly together.
When he was around one hundred meters away from the city wall, the quickly moving large group of men and horses finally came to a slow stop. Two men walked out from the front of the crowd of mercenaries. After which, they waved and led the company toward the city gate.
The two men appeared to be the leaders of the mercenary company. Seeing the manner in which the two of them smiled as they conversed with the guards, it appeared that they were quite familiar with one another. It was likely that this was not the first time they had come to the 'Zhen Gui Pass'.
The two of them conversed with the guards for a long while before the hands of the cold-faced guards moved a little, seeming as if something had been shoved into his hands from the leader of the mercenary company. Only then did the latter hesitate a little before nodding. He displayed a hand signal to those behind him. The barricades and other things behind him were moved aside.
"Hu." Seeing that the guards actually did not search the company, Xiao Yan could not resist heaving a sigh of relief. His tensed up body also became much more relaxed. The perspiration filled hand of his held the handle of the cart tightly as he hurriedly lowered his head, pushed the cart and followed the company as they walked toward the tunnel under the city's gate.
Just as the group was about to enter into the city gate's tunnel, however, a cold, stern cry suddenly sounded, frightening the group at the front until they hurriedly came to a stop.
"Who is the one who allowed them to carelessly enter the city?"
As the cry sounded, the sounds of many suits of armor colliding suddenly resounded from the dark, black city entrance. A moment later, dozens of fully-armed, elite soldiers held long lances in their hands and blocked the city's gate. A young man with a dark and solemn face slowly walked out and glanced at the mercenary company in a dark and cold manner.
"Ke ke, it is young master Meng La. I have not seen you for a few months, but your appearance is really becoming more and more powerful." Seeing that his company was being blocked, the Company Leader of the mercenary company hurriedly walked out. When he saw the dark and solemn-faced young man, a smile was hurriedly revealed on his face as he spoke in a fawning manner.
"Ba Nu, enough of your nonsense. In the past, letting you pass was not a big matter, but today, I cannot allow you to do so. Father said that anyone who wants to enter the 'Zhen Gui Pass' must undergo a strict check." The young man laughed coldly. Immediately, he took out a piece of white-colored, announcement paper and threw it to the guard. He said in an evil manner, "Go and search every one of them once. Kill anyone who looks like the person on the drawing on the spot!"
That guard carefully received the announcement paper, and smiled helplessly toward the company leader called Ba Nu. After which, he waved his hand and the nearly one hundred guards at the city's gate raised the long spears in their hands, and began to search the company.
"This is bad." Xiao Yan's quietly cursed to himself when the young man had appeared earlier. Unexpectedly, things were really as he had imagined. The Misty Cloud Sect's wanted order had already been transmitted to the border of the empire.
The guards came searching one at a time from the front of the company. They held the drawing and compared it for a long while before letting them pass. Although these mercenaries were somewhat annoyed by their actions, they did not dare to behave atrociously here. They knew full well that if they were to anger this young man, their mercenary company would likely not even be able to leave the city. Should those tens of thousands of soldiers charge at them, even a strong Dou Wang would have to temporarily take shelter. Only a few strong people were like those legendary people who could contend against ten thousand people by himself.
That young man called Meng La, had his hands supported behind him. His eyes were so cold that they were like poisonous snakes. His footsteps crossed one after the other as he slowly followed the company and walked down. Suddenly, his footsteps came to a stop. His gaze swept over the servants, whose bodies were emitting a musty smell and whose faces were covered in yellow dirt. In a cold voice, he said, "Clean your faces!"
"This young man's scheming is quite deep and doesn't have the slightest haughtiness that those young masters within the empire have." Seeing that Meng La was actually unconcerned about his own status and directly came to the side of these low-status servants, Xiao Yan could not resist frowning. In his heart, he felt that things were very troublesome. If they were to continue checking in this manner, he would sooner or later be exposed. The result for being exposed in such a place was not good.
Hearing Meng La's cry, those servants with stiff expressions hurriedly lowered their heads timidly. After which, they used their sleeves and quickly wiped off the yellow grime which masked their faces.
Meng La's dark, cold gaze slowly swept across the faces of those servants. A moment later, he shook his head with some disappointment. He was just about to withdraw his gaze, when his eyes suddenly stilled. He tilted his head slightly and stared at a gray-robed servant at the back of the group of people. In a cold voice, he said, "You, lift your head."
Upon hearing his cry, the people surrounding the city gate threw their gazes over. The mercenaries also turned their stunned gazes toward this servant of lowly status.
The gray-robed servant sighed gently, and could only raise his head. The face whose features were covered by the yellow soil revealed a pair of dark, black indifferent pupils like the night.
Meng La's gaze came into contact with those dark black pupils. He was initially startled. The black-colored eyes that were drawn within the drawing surfaced within his mind in a lightning-like manner. His expression changed immediately. The fights to death in battlefields throughout the years had endowed him with keen senses. Therefore, as a seemingly conditional reflex, his toes came into contact with the ground and his body shot backward. While his body shot back, a sharp, ear-piercing sound shouted from his throat, "Catch him! He is Xiao Yan!"
His reaction may have been extremely keen, but his strength was after all merely at the Dou Shi class. Therefore, when his body had just pulled back, Xiao Yan let out a cold laughter. His body swayed slightly and caught up to Meng La in a ghost-like manner. His hand was like an eagle claw which shot out explosively with speed like lightning and heavily smashed into the latter's chest. Immediately, a mouthful of fresh blood was spat out from Meng La's throat. His face had turned a ghastly white.
Failing to take Meng La's life in one blow, Xiao Yan was just about to pounce forward when Meng La hurriedly flashed his body and went behind the back of the soldiers. It was really not normal for a Dou Shi to have such an agile body.
Over ten, sharp, long spears that carried the faint glow of Dou Qi viciously pierced toward Xiao Yan's head. The routes of the spears were deadly and were filled with killing aura. They were indeed worthy of being soldiers who had lived on the battlefield. Just this pressure and coordination alone was something that ordinary soldiers could not compare with.
Xiao Yan twisted his head. Although he had dodged the long spears, Xiao Yan's attack was also blocked. As he saw those soldiers gathering together hurriedly, he could only knit his brows together and pulled back quite some distance.
Outside the city gate, everyone were staring at this split second change with stunned faces. This was especially when they saw that Meng La, who was called the most outstanding person among the younger generation at 'Gui Meng Pass', being seriously wounded in one strike. The expressions on their faces became slightly sluggish after that.
"Xiao Yan? He is that Xiao Yan? That Xiao Yan who killed Yun Leng from the Misty Cloud Sect who was a Dou Wang?" Suddenly, there was someone from within the mercenary company who abruptly shouted out loud. Immediately, numerous fiery eyes were brought up. Hearing the voice, it did not appear to have too much greed. Instead, it contained a taste of worship.
As the shout from this mercenary fell, the surroundings immediately turned into an uproar. Numerous gazes that contained various different emotions stared intently at Xiao Yan. The thing that shook the Jia Ma Empire recently was naturally and undoubtedly the matter of Xiao Yan charging up against the Misty Cloud Sect. Following the issue of the wanted order from the Misty Cloud Sect, almost every citizen in the Jia Ma Empire knew that whoever was able to provide information regarding Xiao Yan to the Misty Cloud Sect would be able to obtain a Xuan Class Qi Method to practice Dou Qi. A Qi Method of this class was equivalent to hundreds of thousands of gold coins on the market. Moreover, it was a situation where there was a demand for it, but a lack of supply to meet that demand.
This generous reward was sufficient enough for many people to risk their lives.
"Xiao Yan, this 'Zhen Gui Pass' has tens of thousands of armed soldiers. You will never be able to escape!" Meng La's expression swelled purple as he glanced at Xiao Yan in a vicious manner. His voice was hoarse as he spoke.
"Young Master Meng La, I want to know something. These soldiers at the 'Zhen Gui Pass' clearly belongs to the officials of the empire. When had it become a dog to help work for the Misty Cloud Sect? I think that if this matter was to be sent to the Jia Ma Empire's Imperial family, I'm afraid that even your father would be severely punished, no?" Xiao Yan wiped the yellow dirt off of his face. His gaze swept over the hundreds of elite soldiers who were blocking the city gate as he coldly laughed.
Upon hearing Xiao Yan's cold laughter, the soldiers were also startled. Immediately, they became a little hesitant. According to procedures, they were indeed soldiers belonging to the Jia Ma Empire, and had nothing to do with the Misty Cloud Sect. That wanted order was not recognized by the officials. Putting it this way, capturing Xiao Yan was basically something illegal.
"Ke ke, what a sharp-tongued young man!" Just when the soldiers were hesitating, a dark and cold laughter suddenly sounded from within the tunnel behind the city gate. Immediately, a middle-aged man wearing silver armor strode out. His gaze coldly swept over Xiao Yan and cried out, "I am the deputy commander of the 'Zhen Gui Pass', Meng Li. You have trespassed into an important city. According to our empire's law, you should be arrested. I advise you to allow yourself to be arrested without a fight to avoid bringing pain to yourself."
"You are Meng Li? That dog of the Misty Cloud Sect?" Xiao Yan's gaze swept over Meng Li's body and sensed the faint breath that was coming from his body. He muttered in his heart, "Seeing his Qi, he should be around a two or three star Dou Ling."
"Take him down!" Meng Li's expression was slightly dark and solemn as he let out a thick laugh. He ceased speaking any nonsense and cried out directly.
Upon hearing Meng Li's order, a few hundred fully armed elite soldiers came swarming out from within the dark black tunnel under the city wall once again. After which, they surrounded Xiao Yan layer upon layer. The long, sharp lances in their hands were flashing with a thick and cold luster as the sunlight reflected off of them.
"Since sneaking in has failed, I can only forcefully charge through."
The killing aura that shot up to the heavens from the surroundings caused Xiao Yan's expression to gradually become cold. He moved both his hands and an enormous Heavy Xuan Ruler flashed and appeared. He waved the heavy ruler and it made a 'hu hu' wind sound.
As he eyed Xiao Yan, who had drawn his weapon, Meng Li laughed coldly. A few days ago, he had received Yun Shan's message. According to what the latter had told him, the current Xiao Yan was injured in the big fight at the Misty Cloud Sect and could no longer display the terrifying strength he had used to fight with Yun Shan. It was only due to this that Meng Li dared to agree to this killing order. Otherwise, even if he was given a couple more levels of courage, he would not dare to block Xiao Yan, even in his prime condition. After all, a strong person who could fight with a Dou Zong was not someone that could be held back even by using all of the warriors within this fortress.
Just as those warriors, whose entire bodies were filled with a bloody aura, were about to begin the charge to kill, a stern cry suddenly sounded explosively. Immediately, a shadow descended from the sky like an iron pagoda and heavily smashed into the ground. He shook the entire ground until it swayed. His gaze swept across his surroundings and finally stopped on Meng Li's body. He laughed coldly, "Meng Li, my 'Silver Armor Army' are not people under the Misty Cloud Sect. If you want to curry favor with the Misty Cloud Sect, take action yourself. Do not have the delusion that you can use my people to act as stepping stones for yourself."
"Mu Tie, you..." Seeing burly, large man who had appeared, Meng Li's expression immediately became green as he angrily cried out.
"Hmph, 'Silver Armor Army', withdraw!" Ignoring him, that burly man who was called Mu Tie turned around, and cried toward the elite warriors who had surrounded Xiao Yan in their midst.
"Yes, Lord Commander!" Those warriors did not have the slightest hesitation when they heard his order. They emitted a 'shua' sound, and stored their lances. Their voices were so orderly that there was not the slightest echo. They then quietly pulled back into the tunnel of the city gate and did not move, just like wooden pillars. Seeing the action of these warriors, it was clear that this person called Mu Tie had a reputation that far exceeded Meng Li's.
"You are called Xiao Yan, right? Ha ha, little fellow, you have courage. In so many years, you are the first person to embarrass the Misty Could Sect in such a manner. If I were not dictated by my status, I would invite you to have a few drinks with me." The large man, who was like an iron pagoda, laughed out loudly toward Xiao Yan. His laughter was like thunder.
"Thank you, Commander Mu Tie." The situation, which had suddenly turned for the better, caused Xiao Yan to be startled. When he saw that Mu Tie's face did not appear to have any malice, he immediately smiled and replied courteously.
"You need not thank me. This is just within my job scope. If the Misty Cloud Sect's wanted order was recognized by the officials, then and only then can I capture you. However, it is fortunate..." Mu Tie waved his hand. He glanced at the green faced Meng Li and smiled as he said, "As long as you can escape from this fellow's hands, there will no longer be anyone in this 'Zhen Gui Pass' who will stop you."
"Thank you very much for this." A dense expression involuntarily appeared on Xiao Yan's face as he heard this. He turned his head and eyed Meng Li before saying softly, "Deputy Commander Meng Li, if you want to take my head to get a reward from the Misty Cloud Sect, come and attack me by yourself."
"Little bastard, how arrogant. Today, I don't believe that I cannot settle this injured body of yours!"
Meng Li's face was alternating between green and white. He did not think that he would actually loop himself into the matter. Honestly speaking, in his heart, he was a little afraid of the tactics that Xiao Yan used. After all, even a strong person like Yun Leng had died by Xiao Yan's hands. If he were to soften at this kind of moment, it was likely that his reputation within the 'Zhen Gui Pass' would drop all the way to the bottom of the valley. Therefore, even though he felt uncertain in his heart, he could only harden the skin on his head and step forward.