Chapter 145 - Survival
However, at the last second something unexpected happened!
Shi Mu, who had been lying prone on the ground, seeming to be half-dead, abruptly sprang up, like an energetic fish, and his arms waved from side to side, scattering two large handfuls of some white powder, which then showered on the six wolf riders' bodies. The riders felt a sharp sting in their eyes which made them close their eyes.
"No!" Fei Du cried to himself, seeing this from afar. He dismounted his giant wolf at lightning speed, and threw himself upon Shi Mu, like a huge black kite.
Just then Shi Mu leaped up into midair and his body spinned around like a top. The wind whistled, making some flapping sounds. The next moment, a flame emerged as his black blade drew an arc in the air. Seen from afar, it was as if a miniature rainbow had blossomed. Subsequently, the rainbow enlarged at a remarkable speed, turning into a three meter long blade that swept horizontally outward. The glint and flash of the meteoric metal engulfed the six wolf riders.
Crunching sounds were heard, and the flames turned into dazzling fireworks in the air. Afterwards, it could be clearly seen that the six rider's bodies had all been cut in half through the waist. For a moment there was a rain of blood that dyed the land red.
"Ah!" Failing to save his men at the last second, Fei Du uttered a devastated cry. Pain was gnawing at him inside his head. He gave a angry shout, and the green axe in his hand stabbed trhough the air, leaving a black beam. The air hissed with scathing heat as the axe plummeted down toward Shi Mu's head.
The previous strike had used much of his energy, and when Fei Du's blow came, Shi Mu had just planted his feet on the ground to steady himself. Therefore, it was impossible for him to dodge the incoming axe. His mind quickly worked out an idea, and, gritting his teeth, he let his inertia push him several inches forward, while he himself lifted the black blade again, producing a red light that met the axe head-on.
The weapons clanged loudly, and the force of the impact knocked Shi Mu back three steps. He halted, and his face flushed in exertion.
Fei Fu was swooping down in midair at the time, so the clash sent him flying backward too, and as he flew back, he tumbled through the air. Blood ran to his face, and his arm, holding the green iron axe, felt sore and numb. This was no ordinary axe, despite its average looks. It was made from several ores which were unique to the barbarian wastelands, hence its enormous weight - about five hundred kilograms. But the clash he just had with Shi Mu's blade suggested to him that the blade was an equally immense weight. But, judging from the qi emitted by Shi Mu, he was, at best, a mid-stage Totem warrior of Houtian Level.
"May I ask your excellency's identity? Why are you attacking our Heavenly Wolf Tribe?" Fei Du took a deep breath. He did not deem Shi Mu a powerful enemy until now. With some respect and awe, he ventured a question in a deep voice, while simultaneously stimulating his senseless arms.
Shi Mu didn't show the slightest intention of giving an answer. He stomped hard on the ground, and a pit, several meters deep, was formed.
Without delay, he flashed in front of Fei Du, like a black lightning, the black blade in his hand glowing blindly with magic characters.
"Courting death!" Fei Du's face dropped. He sneered sardonically, assured that Shi Mu's actual strength would not be higher than that of a mid-stage Houtian warrior. He felt that the only reason Shi My seemed to have a high cultivation was because of his amazing physical strength, which was probably being boosted by some Totem.
Filled with confidence, Fei Du shouted loudly, and his axe flashed through the air, producing three blackish shadows that struck at Shi Mu's head, chest, and stomach respectively.
Shi Mu's eyes glittered gold, and the black blade was instantly engulfed by blazing flames, which seemed to be quivering in excitement. At the same time, a red light appeared, which quickly separated into thirteen shadows, which rolled upward, forming a vortex of light and completely engulfing the three axe shadows!
"No! You are not a barbarian! You are a human!" Fei Du yelled with fury, a stunned expression on his face. He had experience with fighting humans on the battlefront, and, thus, was clear on the differences between the two side's tactics. The barbarians' martial arts were, normally, simple and crude, beating the enemies with overwhelming strength. Delicate arts and nimble movements were not their thing.
At this moment, the axe shadows became tangled with the blade shadows, making a chain of loud clangs.
Fei Du had a lot of experience from his past battles on the human front, and had polished his arts to rival that of the humans.
Eventually, the three axe shadows flashed and vanished, though the blade shadows had become greatly diminished in strength, the remaining ones still stuck on toward the axe's handle. A mighty force was transmitted through the axe, paralyzing Fei Du's arm. Pushed to his limits, his eyes glared, and he shouted out loudly. His eyes soon glowed dimly green, and became cold and sharp, like a wild beast.
Simultaneously, his body bulked up, growing to twice his normal size. His feet and hands were covered with a thin layer of green hair. His nails became like talons, glinting menacingly.
Evidently Fei Du had aroused his Totem, so his hugely reinforced physical strength assisted him in successfully standing his ground.
His thick arms swayed, and the axe in his hand transformed into a blue blur, pounding against the black blade like a bolt of lightning.
There was an earth-shaking boom, and the black blade was thrown back like a feather, as was Shi Mu's body. This renewed Fei Du's confidence, which was clearly seen in his fiercely glowing eyes. Letting the momentum of his attack carry him forward, he intended to crush Shi Mu's head with one blow.
In response to this utter confidence, Shi Mu opened his mouth and shot out a ball of white breath. The ball quickly whistled through the air and exploded in Fei Du's face.
Shi Mu shouted excitedly, looking at Fei Du's bleeding face with a small bit of satisfaction. Though he was aware that this Air Explosion Art could, at best, be counted a diversion before someone at the level of a consummate stage Houtian warrior. Though not lethal, it certainly was painful.
Fei Du uttered a bitter cry, but since he had aroused his Totem, his speed of reaction had been accelerated. A disfigured face poised no difficulty for him to move, as his legs were healthy. He pushed hard off the ground, shooting his body backward.
But the enemy wouldn't let up. Shi Mu also pushed off the ground to shoot himself backward, while, at the same time, throwing out a curved silver dagger in his left hand. The dagger flew swirling toward Fei Du, who, for the moment, had lost his eyesight. But he heard something buzzing by, and the sound reminded him of the sneaky human gadgets.
He wielded his axe, and, with absolute precision, hit the curved dagger dead-on.
A thunderous noise rang out, and the knife burst into a large, red cloud, which enveloped Fei Du.
A sneer played around Shi Mu's lips. He clearly understood the power of a Moonlight Sea Chestnut Dagger. This was, regretfully, the last one he had with him. There was no way he could forge these daggers in the barbarian wasteland.
[TL: Zhao Ping, I miss You!!!!]
A high-pitched cry came from the cloud. The next moment, Fei Du rushed out of the whirlwind, his body completely burnt. He was running for his life off into the distance. His body was so burned that is was impossible to distinguish the original man.
A black light pierced the air and caught up with Fei Du in no time. The man was quickly nailed into the ground, a black arrow sticking out from his back.
Exhausted, Shi Mu let his strained arms slowly droop down. The part between his right thumb and index finger was bleeding heavily, this resulted from his jarringly fierce clash with Fei Du's axe.
His eyes narrowed, and he scampered to the body. He had no doubt that the man was truly dead. Who could survive a Moonlight Sea Chestnut dagger and a Wind-Chasing Arrow?
Shi Mu snorted. Why did you slaughter the innocent Black Raven Tribe? As he did so, he deserved this capital punishment.
He wielded his blade backhand, and cut off Fei Du's head. As the chief criminal, his head is needed to appease the dead spirits of the murdered barbarians. Shi Mu peeled off Fei Du's clothes and wrapped them around the hideous head.
With a clear sound a small black parcel dropped from Fei Du's clothes.
Shi Mu raised his eyebrows and carefully picked it up with a cloth.
The parcel contained a thick wad of golden leaves, as well as a black cylinder, which was about half an inch long. Shi Mu;s face lit up. The wasteland had a lot of gold, so, naturally, they do business with gold. This was was a large amount of money. The silver notes he had had already been used up exchanging for Bone-Tempering Pills. Also, silver notes were not accepted in this land. With the golden leaves, he could replenish his supplies in the barbarians' markets along the road.
Thus, he cheerfully stored the leaves, and then he picked up the black cylinder to study it. It felt cold to the touch and had the smooth texture of metal.
The more closely he examined it, the more tense his eyes became.
He cautiously turned it over. On its bottom was an opening the size of a small finger.
He was greatly shocked, and his face contorted. But then the muscles around his mouth relaxed into a broad grin.
He had presumed it to be a container, but upon looking closer, it had proved to be a rare gadget with a powerful background. It was called The Black Lotus Firing Tube, a deadly hidden weapon he had seen in the Secret Arts of the Zhong Clan. It was even ranked above the Moonlight Sea Chestnut Dagger. Its only limitation was that it could only be activated within a small distance, and required a lot of preparation time.
Shi Mu was overjoyed at his find. Now that he had run out of the Moonlight Sea Chestnut Daggers, this newly gained tool would quickly become useful.
He decided to conduct a more full examination at a later time, storing the object with great care. The "treacherous" Four Odds had also returned, at some unknown time, crestfallen. Shi Mu did not blame it, but felt rather amused instead. So the two of them rode back, retrieving the Wind-Chasing arrows along the way, and not forgetting to grab any treasure on the riders' bodies. In this way, Shi Mu, once again, found his way back to wealth.
Under the hills, hundreds of foot soldiers of the Heavenly Wolf Tribe were looking into the distance, their eyes widely opened. [TL: At which time Shi Mu was still scouring the bodies for treasure.] Anxiety was eating away at their hearts. It had been a full hour since their general led the riders off to chase the mysterious archer. For the first half hour, they could still faintly hear the sounds of fighting, but then came a dead silence, as if the wolves had been eaten up along with their masters.
Just as these barbarian foot soldiers were on pins and needles, a form appeared on a hilltop, galloping towards them. The form approached at an alarming speed.
The soldiers blanched in terror, confused about what had happened.
Black arrows shot up from the mysterious man's hand, each penetrating a foot soldier with mighty force. Sometimes one arrow would cost two lives of the barbarians, which only accentuated how terrifying this archer was.
In a flash, over ten barbarians were killed.
"Run!" The soldiers shouted out in terror. Before this mysterious man, every last bit of courage was stripped away. Within a very short span of time, the land where the troop once lingered was emptied, leaving only the one hundred captives of the Black Raven Tribe.
Shi Mu came up to the captives and took off his mask.
"You... You are Master Mu!"
These women were familiar with Shi Mu's face, and so they shrieked out joyfully. The children all began to jump about merrily.
"I'm sorry you have suffered this much. I'm here to bring you back," Jumping down from the Four Odds, Shi Mu spoke in a soft voice.
This was met with a momentary silence. Then they broke forth in shouts of joy, and many were hugging each other with tears of joy in their eyes. Though at heart they were painfully aware that their tribe had been destroyed, the freedom Shi Mu had won for them was still greatly cherished.
"Thanks you, brave warrior Mu! You are the Balute sent by our Raven God!" The women had calmed down more or less, and all hurriedly bowed to Shi Mu with their children. There were filled with ap reverence and gratitude could be seen in their eyes. Shi Mu was able to kill over twenty wolf riders all by himself! They were sure that he had been sent by the Raven God.
"Don't mention it." Shi Mu waved his hands, and spoke with a cool face.