Book 1 Chapter 17: Declare war on the Blackwood Stronghold!
However, Bai Yunfei and Li Chengfeng had come here to save these women, how could they possibly let him succeed like this?
A blue light cut across in front of Tiger Li. Afterwards, his right arm dropped down, powerless. A cold feeling began to spread out from his left arm. He was not even in any pain and only felt cold almost to the point of going numb. He halted his steps and looked in stupefaction at a round hole in his elbow. There was a blank expression in his eyes.
Since sending Tiger Li flying with a punch earlier, Bai Yunfei had been paying attention to his every move. He had noticed those several young women on one side earlier and had been worried that if he rushed up and fought the enemy, they would very likely be injured, therefore he had not acted rashly all along. He put his right hand behind his back without a sound. With a shake of his hand, the Glacial Pricker appeared in his hand.
The moment Tiger Li's body moved, Bai Yunfei flicked his right hand like lightning. As soon as the enemy reached out his arm, the Glacial Pricker came like a flash and pierced through it.
After throwing the Glacial Pricker out, Bai Yunfei immediately rushed up after it. Giving Tiger Li basically no time to react, he hit him in the stomach with a full-power kick, sending him flying directly up into the air at an angle!
Bai Yunfei did not pause at all. He gave chase urgently. When he had run over ten meters, he suddenly thrust the spear in his hand out, piercing it into the chest of Tiger Li, who was about to fall to the ground.
Tiger Li's entire body was suspended in midair. Various beams of red light shone out from inside his body. An explosion suddenly rang out and blood was scattered all over a small area like a rain, mixed with various bone and flesh fragments.
His body had been shattered!
... ... ... ...
After watching the group of women who were yet to recover from their fright disappear in the direction of the village while assisting each other, Li Chengfeng turned to Bai Yunfei, asking: "Yunfei, what are we going to do next? We can reach the foot of Mt. Blackwood going east for another half day. Must we get there quickly?"
Bai Yunfei cast a look at the corpses all over the ground. After contemplating with his head lowered for a long time, he said with a shake of his head: "No, we're going to wait here, staying by a stump waiting for more hares! We've already killed two hallmasters of the Blackwood Stronghold. If I guess correctly, we can still wait for another one..."
Even though Li Chengfeng did not understand what 'staying by a stump waiting for more hares' meant, he knew that Bai Yunfei wanted to wait here for more bandits to come again then exterminate them in an ambush.
"Alright, I'll do what you say. But next time, if there's really a hallmaster, let me have a fight with him first. I feel that I'm already about to reach the middle Soul Apprentice stage. If I can gain some understanding of soulforce during combat, I should be able to have a breakthrough very quickly. If at that time I'm really no match for him, you can intervene to help me."
Bai Yunfei was stupefied with a rather happy expression on his face: "Oh? You're about to have a breakthrough so soon? Good, then after you reach the middle Soul Apprentice stage, we'll kill our way up the Blackwood Stronghold!"
... ... ... ...
Tu Dazhuang, one of the four hallmasters of the Blackwood Stronghold, was nicknamed 'Butcher' because his weapons were relatively special. They were unexpectedly a pair of butcher knives. Someone who did not know about him would really think that he was a butcher.
At the moment, he was leading twelve henchmen galloping on a mountain path.
"That damned Tiger Li, he even secretly took his men and went down from the mountain without Chieftain's knowledge. Though he got Vice-Chieftain's permission, he still hasn't returned for a day and night. What's really happened? Could it be something has really happened?" Tu Dazhuang was thinking with a somewhat impatient expression while riding a horse, his face ugly and ferocious and full of whiskers.
"Hallmaster, there seems to be someone in that vacant area up ahead... They are our stronghold's men!"
Hearing this, Tu Dazhuang raised his head to take a look. Indeed, there seemed to be many people lying in disorder in a vacant area not far up ahead. Even though he could not see the situation clearly, he could tell that they were none other than bandits from the Blackwood Stronghold.
"Oh? Could it be this whole bunch of bastards got drunk and have been sleeping ever since? Impossible! Quickly go take a look!" Tu Dazhuang gave an order. His group of mounted men sped up and rushed into the vacant area.
When they just approached those men who were lying on the ground, a bloody stench rushed into their noses. Tu Dazhuang's expression immediately changed. When they came near them, they suddenly discovered that there were corpses all over the ground.
Moreover, these corpses had obviously been manipulated by someone to make it impossible to see clearly from afar that they were already dead...
"This is bad! It's an ambush! Everybody prep..."
It seemed all bandits' warnings just could not be finished, or perhaps Bai Yunfei never gave them a chance to finish what they were saying. The moment Tu Dazhuang uttered a word of warning, two silhouettes suddenly jumped out from within the pile of corpses and rushed straight at the bandits not far in front of them.
Bai Yunfei fought without any suspense. The ordinary bandits were handled by him easily.
The battle between Li Chengfeng and Tu Dazhuang, however, was rather long. In fact, Li Chengfeng was a bit weaker than his opponent, but after ending his fight, Bai Yunfei had been watching their fight on one side while holding his spear, making it impossible for Tu Dazhuang to focus his mind on fighting.
Tu Dazhuang felt like his hands and feet were bound, but Li Chengfeng were fighting to his heart's content. His two daggers flew up and down, causing one wound after another on the opponent's body. Of course, there were quite a few wounds on his body too, but he had an advantage over his opponent, namely, he was wearing an upgraded soft armor on his body.
As they kept fighting each other, Li Chengfeng's speed and strength suddenly unexpectedly improved quite a lot. Bai Yunfei was happy inside: "I didn't think he'd make a breakthrough to reach the middle Soul Apprentice stage right in the middle of a fight!"
When one was rising, the other was falling. Tu Dazhuang was gradually put at a disadvantage. Eventually, relying on the additional effects of the two daggers, Li Chengfeng made him bleed to death!
When the fighting had finished, Bai Yunfei lifted an unconscious bandit up and threw him to one side - this was the only bandit he had not killed. Then he took out a bottle of medicine and gave it to Li Chengfeng, saying: "Let's rest for a while. After that, we'll learn about some circumstances of the Blackwood Stronghold..."
... ... ... ...
In a spacious hall in the Blackwood Stronghold, a middle-aged man who looked gentle and cultivated was sitting in the head position. He was none other than the chieftain of the Blackwood Stronghold, Han Xiao. In the first subordinate chair on the left, there was a burly man with a yellow face. This was the vice-chieftain Yang Tian. Next after him was an ordinary-looking middle-aged man. He was the only remaining of the four hallmasters in the stronghold, Xiao Chen.
At the moment, these men were all listening with solemn expressions to the report of a bandit in the hall.
Han Xiao's expression became more and more unsightly. Eventually, he could not help smashing an armrest of the chair he was sitting in with a smack of his palm and roaring exasperatedly: "Who can tell me what's going on?! Tiger Li went down from the mountain without permission and hasn't returned. Butcher was sent to look for him but hasn't been heard from ever since either. Even the several batches of men sent afterwards to probe into the situation have all gone missing in action... What's happened?! Could it be there are fierce floods and savage beasts at the foot of the mountain? They have all gone missing without a trace. Does someone want to target our Blackwood Stronghold?!"
Han Xiao's elegant-looking face was now somewhat ferocious. When his eyes swept over that man who was reporting, he immediately felt like he had fallen into an ice cellar. He sat on the floor with a dreadfully pale face, his entire body trembling: "Chief... Chieftain, I, I don't know either..."
"Don't be agitated, Chieftain. If there's really a strong enemy outside, then we must not lose our presence of mind." That rude-looking vice-chieftain Yang Tian was unexpectedly rather calm at the moment. After stopping Han Xiao from getting mad, he continued: "The current situation is unclear, so we must not throw ourselves into disarray and let the enemy take advantage of this."
"Do you have any opinions?" Han Xiao asked after calming down a bit.
"Hallmaster Li and hallmaster Tu haven't returned. I think it's most likely they have already met with accidents. They are late Soul Apprentices and have several dozen subordinates, but none of them has returned. My guess is that the enemy are very likely soul cultivators too, and not weak ones at that. The most important thing is, they have very likely come here to specifically target our Blackwood Stronghold!"
"But, the big powers in the several cities nearby all know that our Blackwood Stronghold is backed by our school. Even the local authorities turn a blind eye to us. Who would want to target us?"
"The enemy have eliminated all the men we've sent to probe, naturally because they don't want us to know their identities, and also because they want to put us under a mental strain. I feel that we'd better not send anyone down from the mountain again. Let's strengthen the defense on the mountain and see if we can lure the enemy into going up the mountain. But..."
"But what?" Han Xiao asked doubtfully on seeing his somewhat unsightly expression.
"Hallmaster Zhong escorted the tributes back into the school. He should have already returned to the stronghold. But now I'm afraid..."
"What?!" Han Xiao was so shocked that he stood up all of a sudden, stared at Yang Tian and asked: "You mean, even hallmaster Zhong has also fallen victim to the enemy?"
After seeing Yang Tian nod, Han Xiao sat back down in a somewhat dejected manner and waved his hand to everybody, saying: "All of you can leave. Just do as Vice-Chieftain said. Strengthen the defense on the mountain and report immediately if there's an infiltrator!"
... ... ... ...
At a secret place in the forest at the foot of Mt. Blackwood, from here, it was possible to see the only road leading up the mountain.
After practicing spear techniques, Bai Yunfei was leaning on a tree resting. Li Chengfeng looked at him and asked somewhat doubtfully: "Yunfei, those bandits haven't made a move for three days already. Are we going to keep watching at the foot of the mountain like this? Though we have brought quite a lot of food with us, it's nothing compared to those bandits', right? What are we going to do if they don't come down from the mountain for a month or two?"
Bai Yunfei took out his bag of water, drank a gulp and said smilingly: "Don't worry. It's those bandits who should worry. We already learned a bit about the situation on the mountain. Of the soul cultivators on the mountain at the moment, that late Soul Personage vice-chieftain alone is enough to draw both of us into an arduous struggle, not to mention that middle Soul Warrior chieftain. There's also a late Soul Apprentice hallmaster. If we charge up rashly, it's very likely we'll put ourselves in danger..."
"Are these bits of information we extorted useful? What if we have been deceived?" Li Chengfeng asked somewhat doubtfully.
"We can't trust them completely, but they're not totally useless. At least we know roughly the power of the bandits on the mountain, the general terrain and some secret spots to keep watch. Looks like they won't come down from the mountain of their own accord. Then, tonight let's go for a walk on the mountain."
Late at night, a soundly sleeping Han Xiao was suddenly woken up with a start by a clamor. He quickly stood up with vigilance. When he had just put on his clothes, knocks on the door rang out. A bandit reported outside the door: "Chieftain, someone has gone up the mountain secretly! Hallmaster Xiao has already rushed to the site of the incident!"
When Han Xiao arrived at the hall of the stronghold, vice-chieftain Yang Tian happened to arrive at the same time as him. After seeing Han Xiao, Yang Tian said with a somewhat anxious expression: "Chieftain, let's hurry over there. That boor Xiao Chen unexpectedly didn't wait for our arrangements and has gone there without permission. Now we can only hope that he can stall the intruder until we arrive..."
Bringing along a group of bandits, the two of them immediately rushed out of the stronghold. Before they saw the site of the fight, they already vaguely heard a roar of war cries and continuous miserable yells.
There was only a road leading up Mt. Blackwood, and it was narrow at the bottom and wide at the top. At the moment, there was a group of over a hundred bandits at a narrow junction, but most of them were crowded at the back. There were only a few dozen bandits really fighting at the forefront.
Li Chengfeng was dashing back and forth like a fast and nimble hunting leopard. The daggers in his hands seemed to draw blood every time he struck a blow. Almost all the bandits he came near were killed by him.
Not far behind him, holding the Fire-tipped Spear, Bai Yunfei was fighting a man who also used a spear. The man who was fighting him was none other than Xiao Chen.
Bai Yunfei was even more powerful than Xiao Chen, but his spear techniques were obviously not as skillful as the opponent's. Therefore, as he held back on purpose, the two of them were also locked in a close fight.
After piercing his spear through a bandit who wanted to sneakily attack him, Bai Yunfei crouched down, avoiding a horizontal sweep of Xiao Chen's spear. At the same time, he forced the opponent to retreat several steps with a horizontal sweep. Raising his head looking towards the top of the mountain, he could vaguely see a large group of bandits coming in flocks.
Bai Yunfei struck several blows at Xiao Chen continuously with his spear then grabbed up a bandit who wanted to sneakily attack him and threw him towards the opponent. He turned to Li Chengfeng and shouted: "It's about time. Prepare to retreat!" At the same time, he turned around, ready to run away.
"Want to flee? Not so easy!" Having smacked that man away, Xiao Chen shouted loudly as soon as he heard that Bai Yunfei wanted to withdraw. He thrust his spear at Bai Yunfei's back.
But he did not know that the moment Bai Yunfei turned around, a faint smile appeared on the corners of his mouth!
Using that one step he had taken as the axis, he turned around abruptly. The Fire-tipped Spear in his hand was swung in a crimson arc, deflecting the incoming spear off to one side.
The huge force coming through the body of the spear frightened Xiao Chen. Then his face was full of shock - all along, the opponent unexpectedly had not gone all out! Just when he wanted to back off, Bai Yunfei pushed his feet against the ground and rushed straight up to his face instead of pulling the spear back and attacking with it.
Under the opponent's terrified look, Bai Yunfei lifted his right fist and struck a devastating blow at his totally defenseless chest.
Overlapping Waves Art, Threefold Fist Force!
The spear slipped off Xiao Chen's hand. An area on his chest curved inwards in a strange manner and he was sent flying on his back while vomiting blood.
Having practiced the Threefold Fist Force for the last several days, now Bai Yunfei did not need buffer time anymore after he used it. He shook his spear, thrusting it repeatedly at the opponent's body, which was still in midair after being sent flying.
Various bloody holes appeared on Xiao Chen's body, but he had no reaction. Obviously he was already dead, but Bai Yunfei did not stop at all. When he thrust the spear out for the sixth time, his eyes glittered and he shouted fiercely: "Burst!"
Under the gaze of a whole group of dumbstruck bandits, Xiao Chen's body exploded into pieces in the blink of an eye. A rain of blood then fell down over a small area, wetting the heads and faces of all the bandits.
This was the first scene Han Xiao and Yang Tian saw upon arriving at the site of the battle.
Bai Yunfei cast a look at the large group of bandits who had just appeared in his field of vision in the distance then turned around without hesitation. He and Li Chengfeng disappeared together on the path at the foot of the mountain. Not a single bandit dared to go to pursue and attack them.
From the foot of the mountain, distant, resounding words then came into the ears of all the bandits who had just arrived on the mountain.
"Three days from now, we'll destroy the Blackwood Stronghold! Anyone who will still be on the mountain will be... killed!"