Chapter 144 - Snipe!
This unforeseen event threw the wolf soldiers into a panic, anxious about any arrows that may shoot up from nowhere at anytime.
All of a sudden, the earth quaked with a loud boom, and the twenty wolf warriors, who were at the front of the troop quickly galloped to the dead body.
"What's up?" Fei Du rushed to the front, but before anyone could answer him, he saw the largel body of his man lying lifeless on the ground. He gaped, but before he could utter something, another air-piercing sound came, accompanied by a black beam that whizzed into another rider's chest. The soldier was given no time to react, but was knocked straight off his wolf, being nailed into the ground like the previous stout barbarian. The arrow had been shot accurately into his heart, and, after a few twitches, he heaved his last breath.
"There!" Fei Du turned his head to find the archer, and vaguely he saw a moving form on a hilltop in the distance.
He was right. There was a small hill, approximately one mile away, on whose top a black-cloaked youth stood in the wind. In his hand was a yellow-hued giant bow. This was Shi Mu. He had pursued the wolf riders for a whole night on his Four Odds, without once closing his eyes to sleep. Eventually, after a long and arduous journey, he had neared his prey.
At this moment, his pupils were golden. The eyes he cast into the distance were sharp and cold.
Draw an arrow, put it on the string, and then pull the string back. All the movements he had rehearsed a hundred times in his mind on the way here.
Just as all the wolf riders were straining their eyes to stare in the direction pointed by Fei Du, another black beam sprang to life from Shi Mu's hands, rending the air and, unleashing its simmering power.
The black light whistled through the air, and another wolf rider was nailed to the ground.
"Use your shields! Now!" Fei Du roared, infuriated.
The wolf riders were shivering in their boots, but the loud command dragged them out of their frightened trance. Without a word, they hurriedly grabbed at the round, blackish iron shield hung on their riding wolves' reins, and propped the shields in front of their chests.
"Foot soldiers stay here! The rest, follow me!" Fei Du thundered, with a gloomy face, and gave his wolf a hard kick. Immediately the troop galloped in the direction of the hill.
In theory, the arrow had to cover an interval of roughly a thousand meters, without losing its remarkable speed, to shoot three people precisely through their hearts. Plus, by the looks of it, the giant bow should weigh at least fifty kilograms! Such a powerful weapon was rarely seen in the wasteland, and, even if one has it, even an advanced Houtian Warrior would not have the superhuman eyesight needed to achieve such a long-range shot!
Such appalling thoughts jumbled his mind as Fei Du rode on hastily. If he failed to approach the archer before getting shot, all the remaining twenty-odd wolf warriors would probably be decimated.
On the other side, looking at the wolf riders coming his way with shields held in front of their heads, Shi Mu's lips curled up in a disdainful smile. To him, those riders were puppies crouching behind their shields, driven by their master. Without hesitation, he grabbed at his back and withdrew a green arrow from the quiver. It was a Wind-Chasing Arrow.
The string quivered in the wind, and the bowstring was pulled back as far as possible.
Shi Mu's spiritual power swarmed into the bow, and the Air-Piercing Bow instantaneously glowed white. Multitudes of tiny magic characters lit up the arrow, causing it to rotate slowly.
The long arrow turned into a green shadow, flying off at an ever faster speed than the previous arrows.
A dull thud started the riders. Turning their heads, they found that one of their fellow warriors had been pinned to the ground, penetrated by a green arrow. A new rider died, but the way he died was no different from previous ones. More startling, the iron shield, which was as thick as ten centimeters, was effortlessly shot through! The huge opening told them that they were nothing to this archer.
Fei Du was profoundly shocked this time. The magic characters on the arrow blew chills into his bones. He narrowed his eyes in alarm.
"It's a black magic arrow!" Someone shouted out the truth. And this scared some of the more death-fearing riders down from their wolves, recoiling under their giant beasts.
"Get up! You cowards! Keep rushing! Or I'll end your lives here!" Fei Du berated angrily. This even harsher prospect raised the deserters up from the ground, and they could only steel themselves to move forward. Though, at heart, they were complaining bitterly.
All this time, Fei Du's face had been creased in rage, yet, not matter how he searched his memory, he could not figure out the origin of this deadly killer. After thinking about it for a while, he gave up, and comforted himself that, because the tough bow required a large amount of strength to use, the archer must be nearing his limits. Moreover, magical arrows are not mass produced, so probably the archer probably only has few left with him.
"Fan out! Let's besiege him!" Fei Du ordered, irritation in his voice, and he himself went straight for Shi Mu. He did not shield his body, but simply held a fifteen foot long, greenish black iron axe. The axe's surface was bathed in a thin layer of black light.
The wolf riders were the cream of the Heavenly Wolf Tribe's military force, each - that is, except those who had been scared down their wolves - being brave and skillful in warfare. At Fei Du's command, they immediately scattered into small groups, circling the hill in the shape of a fan. The distance of a mile was soon covered with the wolf's speed.
Shi Mu smirked seeing the black spots of the barbarians growing larger with every breath. Unexpectedly, he lay down the bow. Four successive shots had, indeed, made his arms sore and stiff. This time, he opened his mouth and whistled a long, clear tune. Shortly afterwards, behind the bush at his back, the Four Odds darted out.
Shi Mu mounted the beast, which then turned abruptly to run at full speed. The Four Odds was originally a faster runner than a wolf, thus, the besieging tactic was rendered futile.
Fei Fu was immediately filled with anger and humiliation. Two sounds rang out, almost simultaneously. It turned out that Shi Mu had shot two arrows successively, with just a flip of his wrist.
Two heart-renting cries! One arrow passed straightly through the iron shield into a wolf rider's belly, whereas the other hit on another rider's forehead. Both riders rolled down off their startled wolves.
This proved to be an absolute disgrace for Fei Du. But he restrained his anger and shouted at the top of his lung, "Go ahead! Don't Stop!" Meanwhile, he thrust his hand into his shirt and took out a patch of black hide, on which were drawn twisted patterns, which looked like wriggling earthworms.
Fei Du was irresolute for a moment, looking at the hide, but the cloud of hesitation quickly lifted from his eyes, and he opened his mouth to bite the tip of his tongue. A drop of fresh blood soon dripped on the hide. At the same time, he pulled at his reins and stayed at the back of the wolves.
Black lights glowed on the hide, and the patterns seemed to have awakened. Fei Du chanted some incantation, and the lights on the hide grew brighter and brighter. At last, with a small explosion, the hide caught fire. Amid the blazing flames, the hide transformed into a colossal black bird, its entire body burning with black flames. After stretching out its formidible wings, the bird dived down on Shi Mu at an incredible speed.
Fei Du sneered slyly, but the smile wavered when he looked around.
During the short time when he activated the spell, wolf riders' bodies had littered the ground. Only six or seven were alive, technically speaking.
"You bastard, go to hell!" The commander's face contorted before the outrageous scene, and, with a loud bellow, he threw himself down on Shi Mu. At this juncture, Shi Mu had run out of his Wind-Chasing Arrows, so the sudden appearance of the black bird in midair caught him unguarded. There was a gleam of fear in his eyes.
The giant bird was rather quick despite its huge body. In a few breaths, it had reached the hill, and, with a shrill cry, it's burning talons scratched down at Shi Mu rapidly. Shi Mu let out a threatening shout and his arms bulked up with black lights shining around them. He made a quick and accurate grab at the black blade hung over his shoulder, then hacked into the sky.
Red lights glinted, clashing with the talons!
Shi Mu felt a powerful jerk, and a brute force traveled to his body via the black blade, almost throwing his blade into the air. The Four Odds also staggered awkwardly. Shi Mu's heart throbbed. In a great fluster he grasped the blade's handle with full strength.
The black bird was also shocked back into the air, but, after a tumble, the impact was canceled out, and it, once again, swooped down, not giving Shi Mu a respite. The black talons traced two arches of black flames.
Shi Mu had no choice but to transfer his magic power wildly into the blade. As a result, the weapon was empowered instantaneously, its lights shining glaringly. Again he wielded the blade to meet the talons. But this time, his other hand had produced several blue charms in preparation.
An explosion resounded as the bird's burning talons struck the black once more. Red and black flames flashed and flickered, then both were jolted backwards.
His chance came! Shi Mu threw out the blue charms in his other hand, bombarding the bird with them. Immediately, white ice cones appeared, shooting towards the black bird. The short distance made the bird unable to dodge. None of the ice cones missed the target, and, amid cracking sounds, the bird howled bitterly.
Later, as the momentum of the ice cones decreased, the ice would melt before they touched the bird's body. But, similarly, the bird's flames flickered unstably and dimmed.
This should have been an ingenious tactic, but Fei Du and his remaining fellow barbarians seized the chance to launch a second round of attacks.
Shi Mu gritted his teeth, filled with fierce hate. Each time his hands swung wildly in the air, a charm would be unleashed, darting towards the bird with its particular magic. For a time, the sky was filled with the beautiful glow of all the colors of the rainbow: the Charm of Fire Ball, the Charm of Water Arrow, the Charm of Ice Cone, the Charm of Whirlwind, the Charm of Thunder, etc. Though these were all low-level magic charms, hence their showy appearances and short effects, the endless number of them was powerful in its own right. In a twinkle, the black bird was submerged in the turbulent tides of the charms. Finally, after a few seconds, the black bird could not hold on any longer. With a sad cry, its body exploded from within, turning into black flames that clouded the sky.
Shi Mu propped himself against a rock, panting for breath. It was a marvelous sight to watch the magic bird explode, causing fireworks in the sky. But before he could find his breath, a high-pitched sound reached his ears from behind, and a white bone spear suddenly appeared at a distance] shorter than three meters. A cold chill whizzed up his spine.
By reflex, Shi Mu held the Four Odd's neck tightly, and his body lay prone on its back.
The spear whistled narrowly past his back, leaving a slash on his cloak. Before Shi Mu knew it, the next attack had come, with this spearhead coming lower than earlier one as it thrust towards Shi Mu's waist.
There was no chance to dodge it. He raised his black blade behind his body in an attempt to ward off the spearhead!
Shi Mu was thrown from his Four Odds, rolling about the ground until he was temporarily out of strength. The spear seemed to have still injured him seriously. Greatly terrified, the Four Odds abandoned his master and dashed off without turning its head. It's speed even quicker than before.
Faraway, Fei Du gasped with his hands resting on his hips, and his wolf also staggered for several steps, before rising back to its full height. The spear art he had just deployed was no ordinary spear art, but an art that was unique to his tribe, named "The Shooting Star Spear Art", which required a great amount of energy to use.
Seeing that Shi Mu was lying half-dead on the ground, the remaining six wolf riders were filled with joy. Exhilarated, they pounced on Shi Mu one after one, howling. The all wanted the honor of saying that they were the one who killed this mighty foe.
So the six wolf riders attacked Shi Mu fervently. It was hard to tell which one was the first to near the target. As the riders raised them into the air, their knives caught light in mid air, glinting and flashing. Shi Mu soon had six shining daggers bearing down on him.