Chapter 158 - The Blood Fog
The bare-headed man was profoundly shocked. He was more than familiar with the voice - it belonged to the thin guy from the Fiery Snake tribe. In a flurry of alarm, Bare Head, with his bare head glimmering and cold shivering down his spine, fumbled around his waist for a secret weapon he always carried with him.
In the next moment, a white light shot up towards the red flame like an arrow. It was a boomerang made of bone, emitting blinding white light!
A thud was heard as the boomerang hit on the tree trunk. Evidently, it had missed its target. When the bare-headed man approached the tree in a few flashes, he could see no one there except his murmured companions. The thin one lied on the ground with a deep wound in his chest that almost split his body open, utterly breathless. The other two that had been crunched by the tree were already quite dead.
Bare Head gritted his teeth with intense hatred; his face contorted in an upsurge of extreme emotions. Just then, clashes of weapons, mixed with Mang Kun's occasional angry shouts, reverberated in a nearby dense wood. Without thinking, Bare Head rushed to the place with long and desperate strides. In the next moment, he saw Mang Kun fighting fiercely with a man who had bushy eyebrows and a pair of large and concentrated eyes. This was exactly the Shi Mu they had been after!
Mang Kun was still shutting his eyes tight, and around the corners of his eyes were some white power stubbornly stuck there. But at the moment, Mang Kun's body had bulked up to the double size of its original; the muscles all protruded madly. His two strong arms, with blue veins visible on them, had turned to a pale green. Two curved and sharp horns had thrusted from his forehead. The black axe in his hand was swishing like crazy, forming a screen of dense shadows that shielded him in.
On the opposite, his opponent Shi Mu was wielding a long blade that had red flames swirling around it. The blade was moving so fast that red shadows kept sprouting up towards Mang Kun and caught the latter in a storm of red flames. Fully engaged in the battle, though he had heard someone approaching, Shi Mu could not afford to attend to the new comer.
Bare Head gloated over Shi Mus weak point with a wicked smile on his face. He could not wait to throw himself upon his mortal enemy.
"Huowu, youve come at just the right moment! Help me get rid of this man!" After shooting a glance at the bare-headed man, Shi Mu allowed himself a moment to think before he shouted loudly with surprised expression, his eyes shining excitedly.
The bare head was caught unguarded, frozen in confusion. But soon he knew it was a trick, and his face dropped in angry humiliation. Simultaneously, Mang Kun let out an annoyed cry. By the next moment, a layer of black glow had emerged around his axe.
Hearing this, Mang Kun immediately threw out several successive blows, each with the momentum of a thunder; some seven or eight black shadows shot from all directions towards Shi Mu as well as the coming figure behind him.
"Brother Mang, its me! Dont fall for the guys trick!" Bare Head could only try to duck the blows in a great haste, yelling anxiously. Mang Kun slowed down his movements after hearing Bare Heads warnings, and for a moment he was nonplussed while he held his axe in hand. But this proved to be a deadly pause when his opponents black blade had seized the chance to penetrate his chest. Immediately, blood gushed out violently, and Shi Mu had already approached him to deal him the last blow.
Mang Kun's body stiffened, and then he spat blood helplessly like a defenceless soldier. In the next moment, a red flame sprang up and traced a smooth arc in the air, cutting Mang Kun's body into halves from the waist. The bulky body thudded down unto the ground.
Shi Mu swung his arm to throw off the blood from his black blade, his face totally unperturbed. Then after taking a deep breath, he turned his cold eyes to the last enemy to kill.
Bare Head shivered, and his eyes spoke of extreme fear. Involuntarily, he stepped back slowly.
"You must have pursued me to avenge your young master's death." Shi Mu walked toward Bare Head with easy but steady steps, asking in a flat voice.
Bare Head changed his countenance after hearing his young master mentioned by the sworn enemy, and he stepped back once more in anger and fear.
"If so, go and see your young master now!" Shi Mu's eyes shone mercilessly, and in a flash of his figure, he had come to Bare Head's front. The red glow of the black blade stirred once, and thirteen overlaying blade shadows emerged cascading down at the fear-stricken barbarian heavily.
As if spell-bound by Shi Mu's cold air, Bare Head failed in reacting at the first moment. However, before the blade shadows hurt him, he managed to break the spell while shouting angrily. Brandishing the green whip ceaselessly, he produced a screen of green whip shadows that protected him from without.
The grating noise of friction echoed in the bush, and Bare Head repelled Shi Mu's blow successively. The latter would not let go of him easily, of course. Without hesitation, Shi Mu narrowed his eyes and activated his real qi. As a result, the thirteen black shadows suddenly gathered as one giant red flame that stormed down to the bare head.
Instantly, Bare Head felt a scathing hot air blowing against his face. He was startled, and the green whip in his hand took on a green blow. Bare Head swung his arm in exasperation, and a thick whip shadow emerged in the air, rushing towards the incoming red flame. Simultaneously, the tattoo of red viper on his red arm also worked up, and all over his skin scales sprouted - Bare Head had stimulated his totem power!
However, before he went through the preparation procedures, his eyes caught Shi Mu aiming at him with a black cylinder in his other hand! This was outrageously horrifying! Bare Head stood on the spot in a panic.
The next moment, Shi Mu shook the black cylinder vehemently, and a blackish thing shot out of the cylinder with hellish roars, dashing to Bare Head's chest at lightening speed that almost blotted out the sky and the land with its overwhelming blackness.
Within so small a distance, how could Bare Head escape unharmed?
Craccccck! The black shadow pierced the red scales on Bare Head's skin like a breeze, throwing the big barbarian backwards until he fell heavily on the ground several meters away. On his chest were countless tiny holes that reminded one of the honeycomb. Through the holes blood was oozing out like little trickles.
Bare Head then experienced some painful twitches, thus could only convey his dying message through his vicious eyes riveted on Shi Mu. After a minute, the luster in Bare Head's eyes faded, filled with the resentment that had sent the two men into a life-or-death war. Eventually, his body grew hard and motionless.
ED: Pretty sure that rigor mortis doesnt set in that quickly... xD
Shi Mu let out a long breath, and weariness finally overwhelmed him. Faced with five Houtian warriors of late stage, this would have been an otherwise prolonged battle had he not resorted to some artifice which saved him much energy to further deal with any multiple-headed viper above Xiantian level. Even so, this series of fighting had also exhausted all his energies for the time being. Although much of his real qi was retained, his spirit power was virtually running out.
For some time to follow, he just stood there while breathing deeply and slowly. It was not until a good two hours had passed, did the weariness on his face began to retire bit by bit. After a prolonged resting period, he returned to his normal cool face. Subsequently, Shi Mu rummaged in the five barbarians' bodies, and gathered a small pile of spoils. The five Soul-Sealing Bags were bulging with animal souls already captured by the five barbarians, though the souls were all weak ones of some primary- or middle-staged Houtian beasts. Without the luxury of enough time to think about it, Shi Mu unthinkingly poured all the souls from the five bags into his own. After doing this, he turned his eyes to other spoils for an inspection.
Five weapons had been gathered at his feet. Among them the green whip of Bare Head and the black axe of Mang Kun were inscribed with black magic characters, suggesting their status as black magic weapons. The other three were just ordinary ones. Apart from the weapons, Shi Mu also scraped together a thick wad of golden leaves: two charms of black hide which had the same black magic characters on them. It's highly likely that they should be identical. Judging from the magic energies emitted from them, the charms should be rather powerful. Bare Head must have lost the chance to use them before he got killed.
Shi Mu took the two charms without scruples, calculating in his mind an opportune moment to try them. He also stored up the golden leaves, but not all of the weapons, from which he only picked up the portable green whip, leaving the others as they were on the ground. After taking a brief rest, Shi Mu marched out of the valley with renewed vigor.
Half a day later.
Deep in a dim forest, Shi Mu was leaning against a tree-top, overlooking the distance with limpid golden eyes. After a moment, he clambered down the giant tree dexterously, taking the north direction.
From what he had observed, his current location was less than a day's journey from the middle region designated by the map, where it was the sole place to hunt for multiple-headed vipers if they did exist.
Thinking this, Shi Mu took a deep breath but failed in calming his mind - something unknown was clearly fretting his mind. He paused in confusion, a sense of insecurity welling up in his heart.
The next moment, he was shocked to the fact that the environment had been enveloped by a vague, pale red fog without his noticing it. More alarmingly, the fog was thickening at a speed that even naked eyes were able to detect. Shi Mu was given quite a turn, and reflexively looked up over the close-packed dark treetops where the sky had turned blood-red.
Shi Mu knitted brows, and immediately his memory about the red fog was jogged; Before he set out, shaman Yanya of the Blue Teeth tribe had told him of some hazards lurking in the forbidden space. Among them, this kind of unexpected blood-red fog that dropped abruptly from the clouds was mentioned. Any warriors below Xiantian level, totem warriors and aboriginal beasts included, would lost their nature and be overcome with bloodthirst and frenzy. However, the fog would cover an area of 5 kilometers at most. Out of whose boundary was where one would retrieve his sanity.
Thoughts and ideas flitted through his mind in a single moment, and without hesitation, he took out a Body-Lifting Charm drawn on a piece of hide and stuck it to his skin. Immediately, the charm turned into a green light screen that sheltered him in. By the next breath, his body had grown as light as a fallen leave that floated towards the boundary of the fog.
However, as time ticked by, the fog around him did not show any sign of thinning. Although he was holding back his breath as best as he could, Shi Mu could not help but inhale some of the blood fog, which, even only of a minimal amount, still made him uncontrollably agitated. A desire for blood and killing grew increasingly strong in his heart and body.
This was the first time he was ever under such a control, and the inside irritation was only compounded by a lack of remedial strategy. For a time, he was thrown into an utter disorientation.
Just then, at the critical juncture, the crystal bead that he had been storing in his shirt gave a sudden jolt. Immediately, a cool air pierced him to the heart, followed by a comforting stream of coolness that traveled throughout his body. In an instant, his mind was settled; the reddish glow in his eyes died down gradually.
However, before he had a jubilant moment, a black shadow quickly passed his one corner of the eye. Immediately, his left hand threw out a crystal white light.
Peng! Then a bitter cry of a beast rang out, followed by a form the size of a wolf that was struck flying into the air.
Simultaneously, he swished his black blade in his right hand, and another black shadow that was swooping down upon him was cut into halves. The odorous smell of blood immediately permeated the air.
However, the next second, shrill cries echoed from all directions around him, and this time came more black shadows that moved at an alarming speed to besiege him. By then, Shi Mu abruptly found out that the beasts attacking him were about a hundred fox-like animals with grey hair, each at least at primary stage of Houtian level, not to mention some that had reached the middle stage. These fox-like creatures had blood-red eyes and slobbering mouths - obviously under the spell of the blood fog.
Even worse was that in the distance where the red fog blurred his view, more such creatures were peering through the dense air, howling menacingly.