Chapter 26: Passing Fish Eyes Off as Pearls
Zhu Xianyao hurried back with You Tianyang, her expression extremely solemn.
The alley wasn't far from the castle, but this short distance was going to be fraught with danger.
They had just gotten out of the alleyway when the first attack struck.
A streak of snowy light flashed through the air, piercing towards Zhu Xianyao.
At the same time, a shrill metallic shriek rang through the air; it was an arrow flying right at Zhu Xianyao.
"It's them!" Zhu Xianyao yelled.
It was the people who had tried to assassinate Zhu Xianyao earlier in the castle.
As expected, they hadn't left yet.
As expected, they hadn't given up yet!
As expected, they chose this moment to attack. At this critical moment, they were going straight for the jugular!
The blade descended with an astonishing killing intent towards Zhu Xianyao's arm.
If that strike landed, she would be dead for sure.
Even so, at this moment, Zhu Xianyao suddenly stopped in place.
She raised her hand and pointed off towards the side.
The blade light froze in place, as if time had suddenly stopped.
Cracks began to appear in the air.
They began to spread outwards radially like a spiderweb.
The blade strike was frigid; it was fierce; it was sharp; it was austere.
However, this powerful blade strike seemed frozen in time, as if it were stopped by an invisible force. All it could do was shine brilliantly in front of Zhu Xianyao's body.
Zhu Xianyao even said, "You've already come for me twice. Did you think I wouldn't be prepared?"
She jabbed her finger out again.
It penetrated the spiderweb, causing a brilliant light to burst forth.
Heavenly Fox Finger!
The assailant hiding in the dark let out a shrill screech that was abruptly cut off. A person's figure arced through the air as blood sprayed everywhere.
From beginning to end, Zhu Xianyao had totally ignored the arrow that was shot at her.
The arrow had come at her from the front.
It was released second but arrived first, approaching Zhu Xianyao even faster than the initial blade strike had.
However, it also had no way to advance.
That was because Zhao Jingwen acted.
As soon as the arrow appeared, Zhao Jingwen moved to intercept it, piercing forwards with his Cloud-Sundering Spear. The tip of the spear then slammed into the arrow with extreme precision.
Just as that arrow was about to collide with the spear, another small arrow shot was spat out from the first arrow towards Zhao Jingwen's forehead.
Zhao Jingwen ignored it and continued to jab forwards. The larger arrow shattered, but the small arrow continued to fly forwards.
Zhao Jingwen opened his mouth and caught the arrow between his teeth.
Then, he charged forwards.
The people ambushing them had fired the arrow four hundred feet away, which was quite the distance. However, Zhao Jingwen only took three strides, covering fifty feet with the first, a hundred fifty with the second, and reaching the archer with the third. The long spear in his hand jabbed forwards again at the archer's head.
The archer hurriedly retreated, drawing the bow tight in his hands and unleashing another arrow. Zhao Jingwen opened his mouth and spat out the small arrow, which collided with the other arrow. The archer retreated again, with Zhao Jingwen in hot pursuit. The Cloud-Sundering Spear jabbed forth repeatedly, lightning-fast and leaving behind thousands of afterimages. Each strike was more powerful than the last, until the bow finally shattered, and seven or eight bloody holes appeared on the archer's chest as blood poured out from his wounds.
At the same time, Culler and Ba Lieyuan attacked, but they approached from the left side and from behind, respectively.
Tens of assassins came pouring out from behind walls and out through windows and doors, charging at the small group. Their strength was only so-so, but they were incredibly courageous, and their weapons were all dipped in poison. Even the tiniest wound could cause the poison to take effect and kill its target.
However, the Zhu Clan and the Sand Race individuals were prepared.
Sand began to fly through the air as the Sand Race soldiers simultaneously exerted their control over it, forming large walls of sand that obscured eyesight and decreased speed.
Ba Lieyuan howled madly and slammed the ground with his fists. An intense wave of flames spurted forth from the ground, leaping towards the oncoming assassins.
The Zhu Clan's guards all joined in on the fray, keeping the assassins at bay.
Even as her strike connected, Zhu Xianyao muttered to herself, "Lightning Blade and Heartless Arrow? They're from the Temple of No Return."
Like the Immortal Temple, the Temple of No Return was also a well-known assassin organization; the only difference was that the former could be found all over human-owned territory, while the latter only operated in Long Sang Country. Whether it was in terms of influence or status, they were vastly inferior in both to the Immortal Temple.
Apparently, every assassin from the Temple of No Return had a special kind of medicine that they would take before a battle. If they failed, they would die. Only the most elite assassins would be allowed to retreat if they weren't able to accomplish their mission.
The blade-wielding assassin was obviously one of these elites — upon seeing that his strike was ineffective, he immediately retreated.
Zhao Jingwen wanted to chase him, but he saw a few black orbs fly at them and explode amongst the small group, causing dense black smoke plumes to encircle them.
"Don't chase after them!" Zhu Xianyao yelled. "Everyone stay on guard!"
Gradually, the clamor of fighting calmed down. When the black fog had dissipated, they were greeted by the sight of the ground littered with corpses.
Most of them were the Temple of No Return's assassins.
The true mission of these assassins wasn't to kill but rather to protect the retreat of the two elite assassins. Only after those two had successfully escaped would they be allowed to retreat. Even though the battle had only lasted a short time, it had still left behind quite a few corpses.
"Is everyone alright?" Zhu Xianyao asked.
"We're alright, but Yuan Gang's leg was injured," one of the guards replied.
Zhu Xianyao walked over to the guard called Yuan Gang, inspected his leg, then said, "It seems like the wound isn't too serious. Feng Yun, help him back to the castle."
Yuan Gang stood up with some effort and said, "Many thanks for the Young Miss's concern, but I can walk myself and don't need anyone to support me."
As he spoke, he pushed aside Feng Yun, who had come to support him.
Feng Yun said helplessly, "Brother, why put on such a tough front? Don't slow everyone else down because of your pride."
Yuan Gang said, "I know. You guys just go on; there's no need to wait for me. It's only my leg that's been wounded. I'll get there eventually even if it takes me a bit longer."
"What are you saying? We're all brothers. How could we leave you here?"
However, Yuan Gang's expression sank. "What are you saying? Everyone is here to protect Young Miss, and guaranteeing her safety is the number one priority. What is my life worth? Why burden yourselves with me? Right now, Prince You is injured and people are trying to ambush the Young Miss, so what are you doing messing around here? I'm just a lowly guard. Who would try and assassinate me?"
Everyone was momentarily stunned by what he said, but they agreed that it made sense and everyone glanced at Zhu Xianyao.
Zhu Xianyao saw Yuan Gang's resolute attitude and knew that she wouldn't be able to convince him otherwise, so she nodded. "Alright, we'll leave first and take Tianyang to see Old Ye."
Everyone began to run towards the ancient castle.
As he watched them leave, Yuan Gang's expression suddenly flickered strangely.
He took a few step backwards, then entered a nearby dumpling store that had been half-destroyed and picked up a few of the boards lying on the ground. Underneath those boards was an unconscious Yuan Gang.
The one who was still conscious was obviously Su Chen.
Su Chen spoke into the transmission Origin Tool, "The goods are underneath the dumpling store's floorboards. Take good care of it for me; don't make things hard for me again."
"We'll be right there," Shi Mingfeng's voice came through from the other end. "You're quite lucky to find another opportunity to get back in after leaving."
"You're the ones who are lucky. I was originally planning on letting your men charge forward on a suicide mission to cover my tracks," Su Chen laughed.