Book 1 Chapter 19: The time was ripe; infiltrate the stronghold
Within the next three days, some bandits indeed could not endure the fear in their hearts anymore and wanted to secretly flee down the mountain. They were basically the bandits who had witnessed with their own eyes the fight between Bai Yunfei and Xiao Chen.
When the first twelve men took advantage of the night to stealthily go out of the stronghold, they were detected, captured and brought back. Han Xiao immediately gave an order to kill them all for betraying the stronghold.
This ruthless act really deterred some bandits who had been scared out of their wits by Bai Yunfei from fleeing, but the panic in the entire stronghold had not lessened one bit. Instead, because it had been building up for several days, it was more intense now than ever.
The day after the third day was Bai Yunfei's 'appointment day'. Almost all the bandits in the stronghold had not slept for a night. Now, even when they walked, they looked around a few times at every step for fear that the enemy would storm the place suddenly and execute them.
But... Bai Yunfei failed to keep the appointment.
After a day of being on the alert and combat-ready, everybody realized that this was just the enemy deliberately making things look mysterious. They could not help letting out sighs of relief. However, on the fifth day, when they had yet to loosen up completely, Bai Yunfei and Li Chengfeng killed their way up Mt. Blackwood again!
They raided two patrolling groups of bandits then immediately fled when they saw the chieftain and vice-chieftain appear!
For the next three days, the bandits in the Blackwood Stronghold simply had to live in deep distress because the enemy could charge up the mountain at any time, and instead of attacking the stronghold, they would kill the ones on patrol near the foot of the mountain then withdraw. The chieftain and vice-chieftain once waited with their men for an entire day at the entrance but nothing happened at all. As soon as they returned to the stronghold, they enemy came out again...
Unexpectedly, when Han Xiao and Yang Tian regained their composure, there were already fewer than two hundred men left in the stronghold.
In the hall of the stronghold, Yang Tian looked at the pieces of the tables and chairs destroyed by Han Xiao in his anger all over the floor then said slowly: "Chieftain, if this goes on, we simply can only wait for our deaths. I think the two of us must take a risk and scout around..."
"Oh? What do you mean?" Han Xiao asked after suppressing the fury in his mind.
"Clearly the enemy are certain that we don't dare to come down from the mountain to counterattack so they use this 'cut flesh with a blunt knife' kind of tactic. In the end, when our stronghold has seriously weakened and lost most of its fighting power, they will go up the mountain to attack again, destroying our Blackwood Stronghold at one stroke. At this point, if we take our subordinates and rush down, we'll most probably fall into the enemy's trap. So, I think only you and I should go down from the mountain to scout around."
Yang Tian paused for a while then continued: "Given our skills, even if the enemy has set up an ambush, we can still get away as long as we're cautious. At least, we'll be able to learn a bit about the general situation of the enemy to decide how to fight them later."
Han Xiao's mind was already in complete chaos at the moment. He thought for a while then said with a nod: "Alright! Just do as you say. So when do we start?"
Yang Tian observed the color of the sky and said: "It's already night now. We'll go down from the mountain to scout at about 3 a.m.!"
When Yang Tian walked out of the hall, he looked somewhat frustrated and worried. In fact, he basically did not want to go down from the mountain to scout. He had said that they could get away if they were a bit cautious only to console his chieftain, otherwise, he would have taken this measure right from the beginning. But now, he had no choice but to do this. However, as soon as he thought about that crimson spear, he could not help shivering inside, wondering if he himself could ward it off in an ambush...
... ... ... ...
At the foot of the mountain, Bai Yunfei and Li Chengfeng were slowly heading up the mountain in secret under the cover of the night.
"Following the plan, tonight we're destroying this Blackwood Stronghold once and for all!"
After practicing for the last several days, Bai Yunfei and Li Chengfeng had already reached the middle Soul Personage stage and the late Soul Apprentice stage respectively. Therefore, according to their original plan, they had a detailed discussion and decided to launch a full-scale attack on the stronghold tonight.
Of course killing their way up directly was out of the question. Even though now Bai Yunfei was already powerful enough to deal with that vice-chieftain, if the middle Soul Warrior chieftain joined the fight, even if he and Li Chengfeng teamed up, they would not necessarily emerge victorious, not to mention the fact that there were still more than a hundred ordinary bandits.
Therefore, they finally decided that Bai Yunfei would infiltrate into the stronghold first and find an opportunity to kill the vice-chieftain. If he succeeded, tonight they would definitely be able to destroy the Blackwood Stronghold completely!
Thanks to the sneak attack tactic they had been using for the last several days, they were rather familiar with the entrance area. Add to that the intelligence they had extorted earlier, and Bai Yunfei already had a general idea of the situation on the entire Mt. Blackwood.
Now the patrol intensity of those bandits was obviously much weaker than before. This coupled with his nimbleness and stealth allowed Bai Yunfei to infiltrate into the stronghold without being detected by anybody.
Although he already had a layout of the stronghold's interior in his mind, upon really entering it, he felt that this stronghold was rather large. He had to carefully avoid the bandits who were patrolling back and forth too, so after going for a while, he felt somewhat confused and disoriented.
Now he had no choice but to plan to capture a bandit and extract the location of the vice-chieftain's dwelling place from him.
When he arrived at the side of a room, some food smells came out from inside. Apparently this was the kitchen. Moreover, there were vague sounds of movements inside.
"It's already night now. Most of the bandits are resting. Could it be someone got hungry and ran over here to find something to eat? This is just right. I choose you!"
After looking around, Bai Yunfei carefully pushed open that unlatched door. He rushed in like a flash then dashed up to the back of the person in the room and covered the target's mouth with his left hand. When he lifted his right hand, the Glacial Pricker had already appeared in his hand. He put it on that person's neck and shouted in a low voice: "Don't make a sound! Or I'll kill you right away!"
Captured all of a sudden, that person let out muffled shouts instinctively. However, after hearing his words, they stopped doing this at once obediently, but they could not stop their body from trembling all over.
"Oh?" Only thanks to the dim moonlight outside the window did Bai Yunfei see clearly that the target was unexpectedly a woman!
Could it be this was a female bandit?
Bai Yunfei was doubtful for a short while, but then he said threateningly: "I'll let go of you now. Don't shout! Or I'll kill you just like I killed other bandits!"
That woman was trembling nonstop in fear, but after hearing these words, she was stupefied for a while then unexpectedly relaxed. Without struggling, she nodded slightly.
Bai Yunfei slowly loosened the hand which was covering her mouth, but the Glacial Pricker still had yet to move away from her neck. If she dared to shout for help, he would kill her instantly.
That women slightly gasped for air then said in a low voice: "You... You are the person who wants to destroy the stronghold? You... You have come to rescue us?"
"Oh?" Bai Yunfei was stupefied. What did she mean? Seeing that this woman did not want to shout for help, he put the pricker down a bit then took half a step backwards. Only now did he see clearly the woman in front of him.
This was an ordinary middle-aged woman dressed in somewhat shabby clothes. She was looking at Bai Yunfei with an expression full of hope. No matter how he looked at her, she resembled a virtuous woman in a common village instead of a bandit.
"You're not a bandit? Who are you?" Bai Yunfei asked in a low voice.
"I... I came from the Cheng village a hundred kilometers to the west side of Mt. Blackwood. A year ago, the bandits captured me and brought me up into the stronghold to do the washing and cooking for them. Besides myself, there are still many people locked up in this stronghold. It's still tolerable for old people like me because we're only in charge of the rough work and the food. But... those young women, not only are they forced to work, they are also tortured... I beg of you, please save them!" The middle-aged woman implored in a low voice as if she was clutching at the only life-saving straw.
Unexpectedly, there were still many abducted women in this stronghold!