Chapter 90: Six Riders
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: - -
A road was separating the dense reeds from a pine forest. At this point, white snow was covering the leaves on the pine trees and were falling to the ground.
Six people were on horses, and were perfectly still, waiting for a command. The leader of the group had a pair of beady eyes, and a strong and muscular frame, with killing aura radiating from him. He turned around and asked, "Has the Dao leader arrived?"
"I shall ask now!" A ride took a piece of paper, folded it up before tying it the feet of the pigeon. He then released the pigeon, as it flew up and away.
The riders could clearly hear the sound of fighting coming from the reeds just beside the road. The leader amongst the riders then laughed coldly, "That person is being attacked by the gangsters now. Indeed, using stealth is such a good method. All we had to do was to send someone to spread some rumors and their entire group fell for it."
"Although I wonder how they knew Wealth County was attacked by pirates sent by us, Hou Mansion troops."
"And since they are so passionate and upset, why didn't they just kill the pirates, or come directly to Hou Mansion to deal with us. Truth be told, they are just a bunch of people who only dares to bully people weaker than them. They're afraid to face us."
"Thankfully the Dao leader sent word so that we can use these people. If not, it would be hard to get rid of them anyway. Now that they've attacked the official and High Scholar, no matter how many of them are dead, it would not be traced back to Hou Mansion."
When they heard this, everyone agreed, "Your excellency is right. Although these fighters are not military grade, to be able to escape with their lives from Wealth County shows that they at least have some substance. Killing them all isn't going to be easy."
"Now that these two sides are fighting to death, we can pick off the remaining survivors and kill them easily. Be it the High Scholar or these fighters." Following this voice, everyone among them laughed. Using the wolf to deal with the lion. Whoever ends up victorious in that fight would have to face them still.
"Oh, the killing sounds have stopped. That's fast?" The leader's face fell as he waved a hand. Everything was silent. They all looked in the direction of the reeds, their killing aura was very strong.
There was nobody left on the boat as water started entering the boat. Pei Zi Yun changed out of his wet clothes and put on fresh new clothes. He then took the bag and placed some silver and the documents within.
As he walked through the reeds, he discovered an empty wine bottle and a dead chicken. Snow was still beating down upon the reeds. He could see the bowl fragments scattered all around him. He understood that these men had undertaken a blood oath to each other.
Pei Zi Yun stepped across the snow and through the reeds, everything around him was white. After killing so many people, and witnessing a beautiful scene before him, he broke out into a poem composing mood, "The northern end of the country, with its splendid scenery and a thousand of miles of snow, creates a serene setting under the strong gale......"
He was only on his third line when his facial expression turned. He looked down and heard the sound of arrows flying in the sky, "Woosh woosh", as several arrows pierced the snow laden ground. The few arrows completely missed him.
The next moment, he heard the sound of horse hooves as six riders appeared before him. The leader among them was all smiles, "It's been a long time since I've heard the wondrous poetry of Master Top Scorer. It's pity it was cut short. I shall kill Top Scorer."
These six riders radiated killing aura, and Pei Zi Yun knew they were here to claim his life. He sighed as he drew his sword, its blade reflecting light as it was drawn.
After killing the thugs, he had intended to ride the boat to his destination, but the boat was damaged and sank soon after. Hence he rested for sometime before setting off. Who would've expected six riders to appear before him. Pei Zi Yun took a few steps back.
Riding on horse back was an effective advanatge when it came to battling on flat ground. It was however severely restricted in such an area, where it was swampy and full of dense vegetations. The six of them had charged towards him the moment their leader finished his sentence. With their swords in their hands, they spurred their horses towards him. The sound of horses galloping towards him was as ferocious as thunder.
"Blinding Light Technique!"
A flash of bright light emanated from Pei Zi Yun, blinding everyone approaching him. Even the horses whinnied in fear. Cracks began to form on their formation. Instead of retreating, Pei Zi Yun advanced, his sword raised.
"Zhng" His long sword flashed in a frenzy as he passed through a rider, stabbing him in between the ribs, "Pu!" The tip of the sword met with the rider's heavy armor. If this was any other normal sword, it would not have been able to penetrate the armor. Although there was a resistance, Pei Zi Yun jabbed hard and the tip of the sword penetrated the armor, and lodged right into the rider's side.
"Ah....." The rider trembled as he fell headfirst. Only then did their shadows break apart. With a wave of his hands, he dispatched his hidden weapon.
"This is bad, this person has demonic magic. Get in formation!" The leader shouted. Pei Zi Yun felt the heavy armor worn by the soldier and knew that they were all wearing the same armor. Hence, he directed his hidden weapon towards the horses.
The effectiveness of the Blinding Light Technique began to wore off. As soon as they regained their vision, they saw the hidden weapon soaring towards their horses as they shouted, "This idiot has the audacity!"
"Pu, pu" Three horses were hit by Pei Zi Yun's hidden weapon, as they screamed in pain. Pei Zi Yun retreated into the dense reeds around him in a bid to seek cover.
"Not good, he's gone into the reeds to hide. Chase after him, if he manages to escape, that spells trouble for us." The three horses refused to obey commands and were still thrashing about in agony. The leader then ordered, "Dismount from your horses. Kill him."
The leader jumped off his horse and landed on the ground. Without any hesitation he plunged his sword into the heart of his horse. Fresh blood splashed everywhere. The look of anger on the leader's face was almost palpable. They outnumbered him six to one, and they were on horseback. Even after cutting of his exit route and ambushing him here, where they had little pressure on them, they failed to capture him due to his demonic blinding light magic. He then touched the blade of his sword, his face radiated evil intentions.
"Leader, he had gone into the reeds and we cannot see him from here. Let's not go in yet. Let's wait for the Dao leader to come before killing him." A rider said, apprehensive about chasing after this slippery person within such thick vegetation.
"We've been shown grace by Master Hou, how can we give up so easily?" The team leader shouted coldly, "This person has just been through a series of close quarter combat with the thugs from Wealth County. His strength and energy should be fading by now. What he was doing was just stalling tactics. Do not be afraid."
Pei Zi Yun had buried all the weapons he had gathered from the fight with the thugs earlier on. It was still snowing heavily, as he placed the daggers and swords on the ground before burying them. He left the point of the swords sticking out of the ground. As long as these men chase him into the reeds, they will be in trouble.
The five of them walked into the reeds cautiously. These men were alert and were constantly whistling to each other to give an indication of their positions. They were all whistling at the same time.
Pei Zi Yun hid himself in the thickness of the reeds and listened to their whistles. These men were experienced in such battles and had surrounded him, intending to trap him like a fish in a net. Once he kills any of them, the rest would know his position and surround him. Such a tactic showed that these men were not random fighters, but rather seasoned soldiers. They were all extremely attentive, for a slight mistake would cause them their lives.
Pei Zi Yun remained still, pondering hard. Snow was still falling gracefully to the ground. All of a sudden, he saw some movement of reeds in a particular direction. Pei Zi Yun reacted and sprung in that same direction, agile as a cat.
He then saw a man carefully observing his surroundings, looking around himself as often as he could, whistling at the same time, to alert his companions of his surroundings.
Pei Zi Yun took a deep breath and watched him quietly. He thought to himself, "These are soldiers!"
He was able to deduce this not because they were wearing armor, but by their body language and the way they conducted themselves.
Martial arts fighters, bandits and pirates all kill anyone who gets in their way. The difference between these people and soldiers was that soldiers did not have to consider the law. The rest had to conceal and cover their tracks, whereas soldiers can blatantly kill and be immune to the consequences. It was easy to sniff these soldiers out when they're so confident and indiscreet.
This man was very close to Pei Zi Yun. Just after he whistled, Pei Zi Yun sprang out and stabbed him.
This man managed to see Pei Zi Yun and in that split second, was too shocked to react. He was stabbed in that moment of hesitation. Just as he was about to shout, Pei Zi Yun grabbed his neck and forced him down on his knees. Pei Zi Yun maintained a tight grip on his throat, so he was unable to make a sound. He tumbled over and fell dead soon after.
There was some noise coming some distance away, and the rest of the soldiers were alerted to it, "The movement here is just a damned wild chicken."
There was a shocked gasp, followed by a howl of agony. Someone else shouted, "This person has buried some blades in the ground. Be careful."
Pei Zi Yun rejoiced silently. He felt extremely drained and fatigued, furthermore he could feel his Dao Energy weakening. It was supposed to be a simple journey to the capital and did not expect to be caught in such a predicament.
The whistles continued ringing all around him. There were only four whistles now. And there was more movement in the thicket near Pei Zi Yun. He ducked down and hid beneath the reeds. Under the dense reeds made a perfect area for Pei Zi Yun to hide and launch an ambush.
The four of them started converging on Pei Zi Yun. He listened closely to their footsteps, before plunging a sword out and stabbing the soldier nearest to him in the abdomen. The soldier cried out in pain before reacting, "He is...."
Pei Zi Yun then twisted the sword before pulling it out. He could hear the soldier gasp in pain before doubling over, and spitting blood from his mouth. He died soon after.
"Three left!" Pei Zi Yun was keeping track in his head. These men were seasoned soldiers who had ridden horses to take him on. Pei Zi Yun, who had depleted his strength and Dao energy was no match for them head on. He thus had to hide in the reeds and launch ambush attacks. Only while using this method did he stand a chance of survival.
Someone then shouted, "Do not be afraid, this person can only launch sneak attacks to kill us. He cannot use his Dao Arts anymore. He is an easy kill."
Pei Zi Yun sniggered to himself, he couldn't stop his stealth attacks. Should the six of them band together to fight him, it would be hard for Pei Zi Yun to emerge victorious, and yet they did not work together.
"Go to hel!" Pei Zi Yun dashed out in anger, his sword a blur.
"Zhng!" He did the same to this soldier, stabbing out ferociously from underneath the reeds. This soldier however, had quick reflexes and countered his advance. Pei Zi Yun gave a cold harrumph. This man was strong, as though he had been gifted unnatural strength.
Although the 7th and 8th cultivation step cultivated extraordinary strength that can split bows, lift heavy boulders, wear heavy armor and even kill in and out of battlefields without tiring easily, some people were born with this strength.
"Although some people may be naturally gifted this strength, it does not mean they are able to withstand Dao Arts." Pei Zi Yun summoned the last of his Dao energy and imbued it into his strike.
"Zhng!" Their swords crossed again. The leader of the soldiers suddenly felt his strength evaporating from him. In a split second, his body felt extremely weak and feeble. Although in that fraction of a second he had lost his strength, it was enough for Pei Zi Yun to take advantage of it.
"Pu" Cold steel penetrated his body, as the sword pierced through his chest and exited from his back. Pei Zi Yun gave a shout, as blood streamed down the corners of his mouth. There were still two soldiers behind him.
"Leader!" The both of them shouted simultaneously. One of them then shouted, "Kill him!"
The flash of the blade was cold and emotionless. Pei Zi Yun stood there, he watched as one of the soldiers fled in fear.
"Tao Zi, hurry, this man is already......."
Pei Zi Yun brought down his sword once more as sparks burst forth. Pei Zi Yun withdrew his sword and struck once more, the cold blade pierced through the heart of his opponent. The soldier let out a groan, and felt the cold steel in his chest. When he looked down, he saw that the blade had passed through his armor and exited from his back. He then fell flat to the ground and stopped breathing.
"This is not right, this person's demonic powers is so strong. I have to report to Master Hou. We have to surround and kill him with a large force. That's the only way, if not we will find it hard to kill him." The fleeing soldier thought to himself as he ran out of the reeds. A horse was standing before him. He whistled loudly and the horse ran towards him.
Just as he was about to climb over the the horse, he heard a sound, and a single root sprouted from the ground, twirling around his legs. He then heard a cold voice, "Who sent you?"
This soldier stopped trying to climb. He did not reply. With a loud shout, he turned around. Before he could do anything, he saw the sword descend upon him.
With a loud crack, the sword landed on his shoulder. He had been slashed, and fell to the ground.
"Speak up!" Pei Zi Yun approached him steadily. This man forced a laugh. He then deftly whipped out a dagger and stabbed himself deep in his heart, he then fell over and died.
This man tried running away, but it was only a short term solution to his problems. It was clear that he was afraid to die, and yet took his own life. Pei Zi Yun felt bewildered. Snow was still falling to the ground, falling onto his face. It melted on his skin as water droplets dripped down. He had removed his woven clothes long before, after the previous battle. He then started singing, "The wind brings with it a deep cold, a soldier moves forward and never backwards."
He then jumped onto a horse as he started riding forward. Pei Zi Yun was indeed afraid. If there was another wave of assault, even if it was lowly skilled bandits, Pei Zi Yun might not be able to hold on, as he was completely drained.