Chapter 80: Encountering the Enemy
This command medallion was equivalent to having Sect Leader Wang’s personal authority. To possess the medallion enabled one to command all the disciples with a rank lower than an Elder. This fatty happened to be Sect Leader Wang’s trusted aide, who was rumored to be Sect Leader Wang’s close cousin. Therefore, any orders or messages that Sect Leader Wang had would be communicated through this man.
Not long ago, Sect Leader Wang had granted this command medallion in a hurry, relying on the fatty to ask Elder Li, who was up on the mountaintop, to discuss certain matters. However, after this fatty finished relaying orders, he felt that immediately hurrying back after sunset would be too exhausting. By taking advantage of the dutiful trust bestowed on him, he stayed at Elder Li’s mansion to take a moment of rest before returning down the mountain.
Elder Li helplessly accommodated him because he did not dare to offend him. He arranged for Zhang Xiuer and several other disciples to take him down the mountain as soon the sun set.
After a short amount of time, however, momentous changes occurred on the mountaintop due to the Feral Wolf Gang’s assault. This fatty’s cowardice was incomparable, so naturally, he was unwilling to return alone.
However, the people in the courtyard were the many family members of the disciples belonging to the Seven Mystery Sect. Most of them did not know any martial arts, and because of their inability, they lost their heads from fear once the sound of chaos reached them. What could they possibly do?
Fortunately, Ma Rong was quite decisive. He promptly requested help from the twenty disciples that Li Feiyu left under his control and gathered all of them together. Since they were all rounded up, they were prevented from running amok in the night and encountering any mishaps.
Because this place was quite remote and built on the mountain pass, these people would not understand anything that was going on. Even if they had heard the alarm and the loud battle cries, in the end, all the noise belonged to affairs that happened outside—they wouldn’t understand what was happening.
Thus, after Ma Rong had quickly finished analyzing the situation, he planned to dispatch a few people to go outside and ask around for news. At this time, the fatty, who was incapable of even the slightest ability in martial arts, acted under false pretenses. Not only did he prevent them from scouting for information, he also relied on the command medallion to snatch away Ma Rong’s authority over these Outer Sect junior disciples. After that, he planned to secure the location and bury his head in the sand.
Ma Rong knew the importance of having accurate information about the enemy. He tried discussing this matter of importance several times with the fatty, but the fatty was too scared to care. Because the fatty was abusing the authority of Sect Leader Wang’s command medallion, Ma Rong wasn’t even allowed to personally scout around. It seemed apparent that the fatty thought Ma Rong was his personal guard for the preservation of his life.
As such, Ma Rong was inside the living room, as anxious as a cat on a hot tin roof, and walked around in circles. Nevertheless, he still followed this ignorant fatty. In the Seven Mysteries Sect, harsh discipline was given to those who disobeyed orders and took actions without permission.
Light offenses were punished by the destruction of one’s cultivation and expulsion from the sect. However, it would be difficult to preserve one’s life if he or she had committed a heavy offense because the only punishment available was beheading the offender. Ma Rong was fully aware that the world-shaking events occurring outside could likely be a matter of life or death for the sect, but he was unable to move a single step.
At this moment, Ma Rong wished that he could slap this so called “superior” to death. Meanwhile, Han Li and Li Feiyu did not have the slightest knowledge about what was happening, so they were hurrying to Elder Lil’s residence as a result.
On the journey there, they met several bandits and had to either avoid or dodge around their enemies. They also hid their tracks as frequently as possible. When they were only a li away (half a kilometer) from Elder Li’s residence, they ran directly into a group of black-clothed people and thus were unable to conceal their presence. This was their first encounter with the enemy.
Currently, there were over ten black-clothed people holding steel sabers. They surrounded Han Li, Li Feiyu, and Crooked Soul from every direction.
From examining their footwork, it seemed to Han Li that those who had a single line of white embroidery on their sleeves were the weakest of the group as well as the majority of the members. The martial artists with two white lines embroidered on their sleeves were a little stronger, but the strongest opponents were the ones with three white lines. It was clear that the man with scars on his face was the leader of this group.
As the scar-faced leader carefully sized up the men whom he had surrounded, he secretly felt somewhat baffled.
It was not surprising that the scar-faced leader felt this way. Standing in the middle of the trio, Li Feiyu had disheveled hair, and his appearance was dirty and worn; he looked as if he were a cook from the mountains. Han Li’s eyes were emotionless, while his skin was dark like a farmer who did not know martial arts. However, their lofty builds had produced greater pressure. They also wore bamboo hats. Besides them was a bloodstained Crooked Soul.
Standing together, these three seemed out of place as they stood together. Even though the scar-faced leader had plenty of experience in Jiang Hu, he was somewhat puzzled.
He sent a gaze toward his subordinates, signalling at them to not let their guard down. He then loudly yelled toward the opposing party, “Regardless of who you are, the Seven Mysteries Sect has already fallen. Surrender and your lives will be spared!”
Han Li smiled, turned his head to Li Feiyu, and said, “Who will handle this? Or would you rather have Crooked Soul take care of this?”
As Li Feiyu heard his words, his eyes flashed with an ominous glint. He sternly replied, “From these people’s clothes, they should be low level disciples of the Broken Water Sect. I’ve hunted and killed bandits from the Feral Wolf Gang for a long time. Let me vent my resentments onto them. Besides, it just so happens that I have a use for their weapons.”
By the time Li Feiyu had finished talking, the enemy forces were fanned out like a rainbow. In a blink of an eye, Li Feiyu was already in front of the closest man dressed in black.
The man in black was surprised and almost forgot about flourishing his steel saber. However, he found that the saber in his hands were suddenly in the hands of his enemy. He hastily recoiled in panic, but it was already too late. A line of light flashed, separating his head from his body.
With a series of movements that were neat, nimble, and as quick as lightning, Li Feiyu had already killed many of the Broken Water Sect disciples with the stolen saber before they could react against him.
The complexions of the people who remained began to greatly change, especially the leader with the disfigured face. Because his martial arts were far greater than the others, his heart had sunk the furthest. He clearly remembered encountering disastrous experts in the past. Back then, he couldn’t contend against them in the least; therefore he decisively commanded, “Everyone, retreat! Scatter! Quickly send out the signal and call the experts for reinforcements.”
This sentence caught the attention of the other men in black clothes, and they quickly fell back. Because of their original positioning in a circle, they scattered in all directions, fleeing rapidly. Some had run to the side, grabbing something from their bosom. They seemed to have fished out the so-called signal.
A black-clothed man with two embroidered lines ran the fastest. With just a few steps, he had already fled several zhang.
(TL: 1 zhang is equal to 10 chi, or 3.58 meters)
He secretly rejoiced, thinking that there was some hope in fleeing for his life. However, he failed to notice a cool feeling on the back of his neck. A half-inch point pierced through his adam’s apple and then immediately disappeared without a trace. Seeing this, he couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with shock. He wanted to yell at the top of his lungs, but suddenly he couldn’t feel his body. Losing all his strength, he stared helplessly at his body as he slowly collapsed, his back limp on the floor. He was no longer capable of moving even a single step.
At this moment, he realized that a sword had unexpectedly penetrated his throat.
This black-clothed person felt unresigned. He had obviously escaped the furthest, so how could he have died so quickly?
With great effort, he turned his head to the side. Facing death’s door, he saw in his final moments an intermittent shadow that had appeared behind the second furthermost distant black-clothed man. With a slash as light as a feather, the shadow flashed and faded away. After that, another fellow sect disciple appeared, and a similar white light flashed. The sword pierced the throat of a fellow sect disciple yet again. Like him, their bodies fell onto the meadow with blood leaking from their throats.
After witnessing the shadow’s assassinations, this black-clothed man smiled and accepted his death because he knew he would not die alone. Soon he would be accompany by many others. That shadow was like a demon, and it was unlikely that a single one of the black-clothed disciples could slip away from this demon’s grasp.