Yet Another Monster
Frankly, Si had been long eyeing the Flaming Horn tribe. Back then, when the tribe still lived in the depths of the mountain forest, they kept a relatively low profile. Plus, the Bis rarely ventured deep into the forests and interacted with the tribes. It was the huge migration of the Flaming Horns that brought them to the Bi’s attention.
Others might find competent tribes difficult to deal with and would tend to avoid them. However, it was different for the Bis. To them, powerful tribes would produce powerful resources: high-priced slaves. Every human being was judged as merchandise in their eyes.
Just like how the Feather tribe would parade avian clothes with remarkable feathers, the Bis would show off their most valuable slaves. Besides, slave masters holding higher positions would naturally be able to judge slaves more accurately. They wouldn’t be interested in regular people. For a leader figure like Si, every move was calculated. When they attack, their targeted slaves would have to be at least at the level of a tribe chief. Or else, it wouldn’t be a match for their level.
Despite everything, Ji Fang’s warning did cause Si to hesitate slightly. He did not move in straight away but instead lifted his free arm to point at the restrained Robber Seven, who was still in a cocoon of ropes. His tone was stern. “Give him to me or I’ll kill him!” Getting his bone lock stolen was probably the most embarrassing thing to happen in Si’s life!
Si could still track down the stolen bone lock through various approaches but he had no plans to let Robber Seven go unscathed. The man had stolen his prized possession! If Robber Seven were to die here, Si was confident that no one else would be able to steal the Chief’s Bone Lock from him ever again. He felt like no one else had the same capabilities to repeat this incident, not even the tribesmen in front of him.
Hence, Robber Seven must die! His death would scare off all threats and no one else would humiliate Si again in the future!
Though he could feel the murderous intent, Robber Seven barely moved. Qu Li and the others were incredibly tense. They gulped and turned to stare at Shao Xuan. Noticing that Shao Xuan had yet to move as well, they continued to stay silent.
Robber Seven looked at Shao Xuan. He would be lying if he said he wasn’t scared, pursing his lips. He knew that Shao Xuan was the decision-maker of this party. Robber Seven desired to see how Shao Xuan would let the scene unfold but he was even more worried that Shao Xuan would kill him right on the spot.
When no reply came, Si swept his gaze across Shao Xuan and the others. “So you’re not going to hand him over?”
As silence loomed again, Si swung his arm out and a nail-sized black shadow shot out of his wide black sleeve. It flew into the grass patches and began travelling towards Shao Xuan’s party.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh———
The black shadows that were projected into the grass slashed through the top of the plants. Pieces of broken off grass were sent flying everywhere on the ground like countless raindrops. Soon, the shadows landed close to the group and stabbed themselves into the dirt.
This was Si’s signal to attack!
Shao Xuan drew his sword. “Gan Qie, look after Robber Seven. Don’t let him die so easily!”
“As for you.” Shao Xuan did a quick once over Mu Fa, Qu Li and the others- “Don’t die.”
Qu Li, Lu Zhai, Ci Du and Mu Fa, who had vast experiences leading a cruise through countless storms were speechless at the differential treatment. “…”
Shao Xuan was merely asking them to look after themselves, which was totally fine. However, they were still leaders of their respective tribes. How could they tolerate such treatment? Was Gan Qie even able to fight off six people alone?
Though the moon tonight wasn’t huge, the illumination coming from the moon and the stars along with their impeccable eyesight had saved them from total blindness. Leaving Gan Qie, who possessed superior night-vision among the bunch, Ci Du and the others were well-trained with hunting in the dark. In the forests, beasts wouldn’t show mercy just because they couldn’t see well in darkness. Without the obstruction from dense foliage, the celestial illuminations tonight had brought more light than their usual hunts in the forest.
As a bonus, the Bis wasn’t blessed with amazing night-vision either. Everyone’s movements were equally limited in the dark.
The surrounding six figures had quickly moved forward as soon as the signal was received. Without lacking agility and force, they threw their metal chains out. A handful of thin hair-strand-like threads were thrown together at the same time. The thinness of it was easy to ignore but it was with these additions that the metal chains felt alive. Combined together, it created a lethal force.
If traps were said to work in links, then the threads and metal chains were the two most important elements in the Bi slave masters’ trap design. This long-standing slave-trading organisation had birthed countless experts in rope knots. Hence, they were exceptionally sensitive to details. The slightest movements would not go unnoticed by them.
Robber Seven was so happy he might explode.
Hahaha! The fight had begun!
Yet, for the sake of masking his presence, Robber Seven needed to suppress his glee. Even so, he no longer pretended to be studying constellations. He now watched the battle unfold intently while searching for a great chance to flee. He did not wish to stay behind any longer. Even if Shao Xuan wasn’t planning on handing him over to Si, Robber Seven was almost certain that things wouldn’t be any better if he ended up in the hands of the Flaming Horns. It was safer that he ran away as soon as possible.
Mu Fa paid attention to the thin strings and metal chains, silently weighing their ratio of success. He thought, “Si’s subordinates are as fearsome as rumoured. Their impressive chemistry aside, they are also very strong. They also seem to be very skilled in predicting and analyzing their enemies. They conjured up a dense net before even beginning to move in.” And they, on the other hand, were the targets aimed to be captured in the net.
With a flick of his wrist, two round palm-sized shield slid from Qu Li’s forearm to his wrist. He had requested Gongjia Ren to make this out of the Flaming Horn’s new bronze material. As Qu Li’s totemic pattern began to intensify, his whole body was inflated to the point that his fingers too were at least one circumference larger. The round shield that had initially occurred as oversized now looked appropriate.
The tip of the metal chains stabbed the ground with a pound. Three dark figures pulled and the arrowhead-like blades on the tip of the chains flew backwards, pulling out large chunks of dirt and grass along the motion. Borrowing its momentum, the three black figures inclined themselves and lunged forward.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh——-
The thrown metal chains felt like they had eyes. It changed its direction mid-air and began chasing after Qu Li and the few. Like a viper that was brandishing its venomous fang, it went in for the kill. As soon as one was bitten, one mere bite might just be enough to bring them closer to hell.
Qu Li stomped the ground and began backing away urgently. Watching the sharp metal chain stabbing into the piece of dirt that was just an arm’s length away from his toes, the man couldn’t help but shudder internally. If his response was a tad bit slower or he had not pulled sufficient distance away, his whole right leg would be nailed to the ground.
He glanced at Gan Qie from the corner of his eye. Gan Qie was still the same- expressions bland with no hint of emotional fluctuations. He looked like a lifeless stone pillar, remaining frozen at his spot. Qu Li was really impressed with Gan Qie’s calmness for the fact that he could stay so unfazed and rock-like in such a situation. Qu Li couldn’t help but think- If Gan Qie was nailed by the metal chains, would he still be able to keep his cool?
Wait. Didn’t the Flaming Horns mention that dead could not touch Gan Qie?
Another metal chain escaped the dark-clothed figure. It behaved like a slithering snake in the dark baring its sharp fangs that dripped with venom. It was heading towards Gan Qie in a beeline. More specifically, it was dashing towards Robber Seven, who was right behind Gan Qie.
Typically, the Bi slave masters would prioritize capturing their prey. If they couldn’t capture them, only then would they resort to murder. Robber Seven was an exception as Si had ordered his death. Hence, they would gladly take their time surrounding Qu Li and the others but go in for the kill once an opportunity had presented itself to kill Robber Seven!
Without relying on any tools, Gan Qie grabbed the metal chains whizzing past the top of his skull bare handed.
The metal chain lunging for Robber Seven was stopped. Its sharp arrow-end halted abruptly one step away from the robber’s position as if choked by its jugular. Immediately, the arrowhead went limp.
On the other end, the black figure pulled on the metal chain to no avail. Yet, fear did not seize the man. It was common for the metal chain to be gripped in such a manner due to its construct. Not only was he not worried but faint mocking mirth had also appeared in his eyes. With a slight movement to his hand, another metal chain wielded by the other dark figure ambushed Gan Qie like a creeping snake.
Gan Qie raised his arm to stop the second metal chain. But just as he executed that move, the gripped chain seemed to have come back to its senses. Struggling, the chain moved in an S-shaped motion and then abruptly spread open to both sides. Its outflanking tendency entangled Gan Qie!
Gan Qie’s situation didn’t go unnoticed by Ci Du. His first initial response was to rush over to help as they were all comrades after all. Plus, the Bis had outnumbered them by one more member. If Gan Qie were to lose his ability to fight, it would put their party into a position of vulnerability.
However, just as Ci Du was about to rush forward with aid, he captured a faint glimpse of Gan Qie’s bloodshot eyes. They were exceptionally obvious in the dark. It was that moment when Ci Du was reminded that Gan Qie was, in fact, built differently from them.
The Flaming Horn chief had once mentioned avoiding Gan Qie at all cost when he was in this state. Besides, Ci Du had also seen what Gan Qie was capable of during one of their hunts. The way Gan Qie slaughtered the fearsome beast was a sight that brought great fear to Ci Du. Till this day, Ci Du was still terrified of him.
Noticing Ci Du moving away, Qu Li and Lu Zhai seemed to have arrived at the same thought. They began pausing their tracks.
Robber Seven, who was still delighted by the events, suddenly felt a chill and shivered.
Wrapped in chains, Gan Qie was not the least bit anxious. However, the odd red glow in his eyes was brightening. It looked like gooey blood clots that were threatening to seep out.
Crack… Crack… Crack!
Bones were heard moving around. Soon, phalanges that were glistening with metallic lustre emerged from Gan Qie’s hand. The projections looked to be half an arm long. Like a sharp knife out of its sheath, it flashed a horrifying cold light under the pale moonlight!
An eerie roar rumbled out of his throat, sound waves emitted out from his long fangs. It blasted out and began spreading towards its surroundings. The sound was deafening! The metal chains wrapped around Gan Qie began to let out weak crackling noises as if about to shatter in the next second.
Sand-yellow flames began manifesting around Gan Qie, causing everything in his proximity to turn dry and cold. The grass patched beneath his feet was losing moisture at an alarming rate due to the high heat. Its colour went from a brilliant green to a wilted yellow in less than a breath’s time.
Robber Seven, who was the nearest to Gan Qie, felt his facial skin went tight. It was so tight that it felt like it was going to crack open. Not even his large amounts of cold sweat could soothe the tension.
The six dark figures abruptly stopped their footsteps, their feet as if nailed to the ground. Their Xi-like curved brows were raised high as they stared at Gan Qie with unmasked shock. They were so horrified by the turn of events that their pupils contracted. They were absolutely thrown off by the scene before them.
What tribe was he from?!
Was this… Was this really human?!
Was he part beast?
No, there was no way he was part beast. They had captured so many human-beast hybrid slaves and had never once encountered this peculiar phenomenon. This wasn’t something they were familiar with. This was not even the humankind they were all too familiar with either! So what exactly was this? A monster?
The dark-clothed bunch weren’t the only ones in shock. Even Robber Seven, who had been feigning calmness since the beginning, was experiencing intense goosebumps from the sheer absurdity and uncertainty of the current situation. His heart was screaming for him to run away immediately!
Suddenly, everything cooled down. Time felt like it was moving slower and the night clouds moved to cover the two incomplete moons. Even the stars seemed to be hiding away in fear. Everything looked dark and dull.
The night was even darker now.
No one dared to move. The six dark-clothed figures were probably calculating Gan Qie’s present threat.
Robber Seven stared at the frozen battle in front with droplets of cold sweat.
Help! Another monster!
He really wished to whistle for help. A demotion was worth it if it meant he could survive this. Sadly, would the other robbers pick up on his whistle here? For the sake of a smooth escape after getting ahold of the Chief’s Bone Lock, Robber Seven had specifically chosen a route with fewer comrades. He feared that even if he went out of breath whistling, no one would come to his aid.
At this moment, Robber Seven had deeply felt this——- *No Zuo No Die.
[*TL Note: literal translation: no do, no die; the original text here was a popular Chinese meme that literally translates to that in English. It bears a similar meaning to ‘play stupid games, win stupid prizes.’]