Chapter 110: The assassin exceeds all expectations Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
If pesticide was added to tea, it'd definitely change the color and flavor. Even a tiny amount would be acrid to the nose. But if pesticide was sprayed onto tea trees, then the harvested tea leaves that were treated and dried before being steeped in water wouldn't carry any taste of pesticides at all. If there were enough trace amounts of pesticide in the composition of the tea leaves, a test would reveal it in the tea or tea leaves. Long term usage of pesticide-treated tea leaves would definitely build up and affect the body.
But what if the pesticide was replaced by a toxin like Ten-Thousand Snake Poison? Would it have the same effects? Could tea leaves containing Ten-Thousand Snake Poison be steeped without changing their scent, color, or flavor? Could only a precise and specific analysis be used to reveal traces of poison?
Han Yuxi's eyes opened wide in great alarm. "This must be it!"
Mu Qingwu was completely baffled. "Esteemed wangfei, what are you talking about?"
Han Yunxi was about to explain when a swift gust of wind suddenly came towards her back.
"Esteemed wangfei, watch out!" Mu Qingwu cried, suddenly pushing Han Yunxi towards the tea plants and shielding her with his body. His experience in the battlefield meant that he caught the sound of arrows being shot in the air.
When Mu Qingwu turned to protect Han Yunxi, he unsheathed his sword at the same time to viciously hit aside the approaching arrow. His movements were direct and efficient, beautiful to see. The arrow had been diverted, but there was no signs of the assassin. Everything before them looked empty beyond tea trees and more tea trees. It was very quiet.
Without the slightest hesitation, Mu Qingwu surveyed his surroundings while shouting, "Someone call the guards, there's an assassin!"
Two tea masters on the side immediately turned to run. Before the plantation's guards could arrive, an arrow flew out from the right. Mu Qingwu knocked it aside with his sword again. With esteemed wangfei by his side, he couldn't just chase after the culprit. But it'd be extremely disadvantageous to move from their location, so he could only stay in place until the rescue troops arrived. Luckily, he'd judged from the speed of the arrows that there was only one assassin. Nestled in the tea tree, Han Yunxi didn't dare to move a muscle. She admitted that she was a coward. She didn't know a bit of martial arts, so she'd be a goner if she wasn't careful!
"Esteemed wangfei, the rescue troops will arrive immediately. I've caused you to suffer," Mu Qingwu said in a low tone.
"It's...it's fine! You be careful," Han Yunxi was very uncomfortable. She was bent over at a 90 degree angle, the tea tree poking into her stomach in a way that made her want to throw up.
Shinnnng! Another arrow came from the left!
Mu Qingwu hit it aside and demanded coldly, "Who is it! Sneaky and base, what kind of hero are you?!"
Han Yunxi sweatdropped...their attacker was an assassin, so why would they care about being a proper hero? This was obviously someone whose skills were limited after failing a sneak attack, so all they could do was keep shooting arrows. Otherwise, wouldn't they take the chance before the backup arrived to fight a quick battle to force the outcome? Han Yunxi had never met with an assassin or scenes of slaughter, so this made her much more relieved.
But Mu Qingwu suddenly grew alarmed and muttered, "Esteemed wangfei, quite a few people have come! Apologies for the offense!"
Han Yunxi didn't understand. Mu Qingwu turned around and gathered her into his arms before taking to the skies. At the same time, arrows flew at them from all directions, shua, shua, shuaa!, whipping past the wind incessantly! Mu Qingwu held Han Yunxi tightly against him, his other hand using the sword to deflect the arrows as he dodged and swerved.
Han Yunxi's head was buried in his chest as he violently dodged up and hid down, spinning and turning so much that her head grew dizzy and swollen. She couldn't see what was happening, but clearly heard the sword as it made contact with the arrows. Clang! Clang! Clang! They came in rapid bursts, an intense, sharp, sound.
There were actually this many people in hiding, but were they after her or Mu Qingwu?
Mu Qingwu concentrated his full attention on warding off the attacks while the assassins remained hidden amongst the tea trees. They were using crossbows that made it easy to fire arrows. The reason they hadn't moved earlier was because they were afraid of exposing themselves too early to hurt him. They were waiting for him to lower his guard before using all their firepower. It was clear that these assassins knew his moves well!
Were these the same bunch who'd targeted him in the capital city last time?
Right now, Mu Qingwu couldn't be bothered to think too much. His most important task was to protect esteemed wangfei so she wouldn't get hurt. Otherwise, he wouldn't be able to explain himself to the Duke of Qin. The number of arrows increased steadily, making it impossible for Mu Qingwu to escape, much less find a chance to counterattack. All he could do was ward them off. His only relief was the fact that this was the plantation, so the rescue troops would arrive very soon. If they were in the middle of nowhere, he wouldn't be able to last long against such strength.
"Hurry! They're hiding in the tea trees!"
"Split up and search!"
Soon enough, fierce orders rang out from the plantation's management, the manager's spokesperson and guard of honor Guard Shangguan. He was a man around 40 years old with an upside-down V-shaped mustache, his face filled with solemn respect. A single flip had him sailing into the air while he drew his sword to assist Mu Qingwu and give out commands at the same time. Immediately afterwards, a large group of black-robed guards charged down from the mountaintop, each strong and vigorous. They carried swords and sabres as they entered the thick undergrowth of the tea trees. The emergence of the reinforcements was followed by a strange whistle. At this sound, the arrows immediately stopped firing. A masked assassin suddenly stood up from cover amongst the tea trees and began to retreat. Guard Shangguan immediately gave chase, throwing his sword before him until it stabbed straight through the assassin's back. When he caught up, it was to pull out his sword and fend off incoming arrows before he rushed forward and rested the blade against another assassin's neck.
"Don't move or it'll be only death for you!" Guard Shangguan said coldly.
In these situations, they had to leave a prisoner alive to talk. Capturing one live assassin was more important than killing all of them. But not only did the assassin not turn back, they even approached the sword on purpose and slit their own neck against the edge to commit suicide! Guard Shangguan was shocked but had no time to think it over. He chased after another nearby assassin while his guards started fighting with the rest. The clashing of weapons rose one after the other. Mu Qingwu wanted to join in as well, but he held himself back. He had to protect esteemed wangfei.
He shielded her form as they left the battlegrounds behind to land on a section of level ground higher up. As soon as they landed, he released her with a serious look. "Esteemed wangfei has suffered."
"I'm fine, I'm fine. It's all thanks to you!" Han Yunxi patted her chest, still feeling a bit shaken.
She thought there was only one assassin, but who knew they'd hidden so many? Luckily, there were relief troops, or else nobody would even realize if they died. Looking at the fierce scenes of batting beneath them, Mu Qingwu still didn't dare to be careless, but inspected his surroundings as he stood. Soon enough, another batch of reinforcements appeared, surrounding the mountain perimeter so that it was impossible for the assassins to escape. The assassins gradually retreated until they were amassed together. They didn't give up their attacks, but stood back to back as they kept shooting arrows, forcing the teashop guards to approach with caution. Han Yunxi and Mu Qingwu watched, both worried over whether Guard Shangguan would be able to nab a survivor.
"Young General, these people are after you, right?" Han Yunxi asked in a low voice. She knew she'd offended a few people too, but it wasn't enough to force a whole score of assassins to kill her. After all, assassinating a wangfei was a serious crime. Light cases got off with executing three generations of one's family, while heavier ones meted the death of an entire clan.
"Un, they understand me very well," Mu Qingwu said lightly, his eyes on the battlefield.
Judt then, Han Yunxi heard the dootdootdoot of an alarm by her ears. It was warning her that poison was approaching quickly at high speeds from behind them. Han Yunxi didn't react in time beyond a single glance backwards.
"Ah!" she shouted, and pushed aside Mu Qingwu with strength she didn't know she had. Not expecting this, Mu Qingwu was shoved onto the ground. At the same time, a sharp sword came shooting past, aimed right at the position where Mu Qingwu had been standing. If not for Han Yunxi's shove, the aftermath...would have been unthinkable! This person had been able to get close enough to take Mu Qingwu's life without him noticing?
What kind of high-level expert was this?
The sword-wielding assassin turned out to be a black-robed female. Without a doubt, her martial arts skills were superior to Mu Qingwu's. In a flash, she'd grabbed Han Yunxi's hand!
"Release me! Let me go!" Han Yunxi cried, struggling violently in fear. So these assassins weren't aiming for Mu Qingwu, but for her!
Nobody expected this to happen. This female assassin was the true killer! The rest were all there as cover! Even Guard Shangguan looked over in shock. Mu Qingwu reacted swiftly, grabbing his sword as he made to get up. In response, the female assassin tugged on Han Yunxi's hand as she turned sideways and stabbed towards Mu Qingwu with her own weapon.
Everything happened too quickly. Mu Qingwu had no choice; he'd rather get stabbed if it meant he could protect esteemed wangfei. He didn't dodge the sword, but allowed his shoulder guard to meet the weapon while his own aimed for the assassin's heart.
In the midst of this chaos, Han Yunxi warned, "Be careful of poison on the sword, it'll kill you!"
Mu Qingwu was distracted by her words. At the critical second before the two swords met their targets, the assassin deflected Mu Qingwu's weapon with her own. At the same time, she drew Han Yunxi into her embrace and turned to escape!
Mu Qingwu was truly frightened as he recovered his position. At the same time, Guard Shangguan flew past him in pursuit. Mu Qingwu didn't delay but did his best to give chase, but the female assassin's speed was extremely fast. Neither Mu Qingwu nor Guard Shangguan could catch up to her. Seeing that they were about to leave the Celestial Fragrance Teashop behind them, the two added on a burst of speed, but still couldn't make it. They could only see the departing figures head towards the barren hills in the distance and disappear.
It was over!
Guard Shangguan fell panting to the ground, his face ghastly white. Qin Wangfei had been kidnapped from the Celestial Fragrance teashop. How could he assume the burden of such a responsibility? Mu Qingwu's face was even whiter than Guard Shangguan's. In hindsight, he realized that these assassins were targeting esteemed wangfei!
They exchanged glances, neither one seeing a red shadow that swept past them into the barren hills.
Quickly, the two men recalled the rest of the assassins trapped in the south mountains. Sad to say, by the time they hurried back, there was nothing but a pile of corpses. All of the assassins had committed suicide.
"Useless!" Guard Shangguan was so angry that he sent a retainer flying with his kick.
Mu Qingwu clenched his fist so hard that the joints cracked, voice cold. "Scour the mountains! Guard Shangguan, quickly search the hills for me! And also, send people to report to the Duke of Qin's estate!"
When he finished, he didn't bother to catch his breath, but headed straight for the barren hills. Guard Shangguan didn't dare delay either and arranged everything immediately. He then flew towards the summit of the west mountains. After such a calamity, the owner needed to be informed!