In the carriage, Junior Leopard sat cross-legged. He had made up his mind, so he left the capital city quickly.
He planned to first go back to Yunzhou, settling those people from Zhonghe City. There were 20 or 30 of them, actually not a large group of people. Then, he wanted to check his fief, which was his own property. Though he had no clue of where it was, he had to go there someday. If the fief was not bad, he intended to settle there for a while.
Just as he had thought before, the memories of his previous life had not been erased when he entered this new world from the old world, when he transformed into a baby from a man in his 40s. Thus, he had little sense of belonging in this new world.
Therefore, he had no sense of security. Over the years, he had been working hard to strengthen his power; with a bit of luck, but mostly by hard work. As he became stronger, he felt more safe. Now, he needed to pursue a sense of belonging in this foreign world, which could not be given by others but could only come from himself.
The carriage did not run fast on the official road but was somewhat jolty, and the space inside was quite roomy, matching up with his status as a viscount. There was not much difference in terms of the rank of nobility between the Jin, even on the Central Plains, and ancient China in his previous life. They were: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron from the top on down. Now, he at least ranked fifth as a viscount, so his carriage could not be anything less. Otherwise, it would not only make him lose face, but also the face of the imperial court.
This carriage was his new purchase and was totally worth the money. It was not too luxurious, but roomy with a soft couch and a small side table, in which people could sit, sleep or stand. It should be noted that on the edge of the soft couch hid a row of secret cabinets, being pretty useful in storing a few odds and ends, which were expected to be to a lady's liking.
Junior Leopard had his eye on the carriage mainly due to its outstanding feature of being enclosed. Inside was covered tightly by thick felt and cotton fabric, and it was separated into a private and quiet space.
Junior Leopard always favored private and quiet places with minimal interference from the outside world.
"F*ck, what season is it! There are still bugs!"
A small spinning spider was slowly crawling up from the curtain-covered window, making it all the way up to the soft couch. Junior Leopard was going to flick it away, probably to its death, when a quirky idea struck his mind.
Between his fingers flashed a dark-green, luminous spot, which was not Internal Qi but a thought.
The thought was just like a wisp of fire.
It disappeared into the spider's body in the twinkling of an eye.
Subsequently, a very strange feeling passed through the thought. At that moment, he became a spider in some way, along with the spider's sense of touch, smell, and vision.
However, it only remained for a second.
His thought died in an instant, going down with which was a similar matter. The process was like an oil drop dripping into water, popping and then disappearing.
The lifeless spider fell from the wall, motionless. Junior Leopard could still feel its breath of life. The spider was alive with no soul.
The matter that together went down with the divine thought was the spider's soul.
Well, how about taking your soul out?
Then, Junior Leopard opened the sedan curtain, lifted his hands with his palm wide open toward the roadside, and sucked in a few spiders, crickets, and the like.
After taking them, Junior Leopard started his Fiery Eyes, pumping out the spirit of a spider, and forced his thought into the spider's body. It worked this time.
Through this piece of divine thought, Junior Leopard had made himself a spider to some degree. But it did not feel good because right now the spider's head was suffering a great deal of pain as if it was about to explode at any moment.
Unsurprisingly, the spider burst apart with a slight crack. But this time, it did no harm to Junior Leopard's thought, which had been retrieved by its owner timely.
After pulling the thought back to his divine thoughts, he was hit again by a strange feeling—the feeling of being a spider for a few seconds.
Although it's just a piece of thought, it is still too much for these fragile insects. What if I try something stronger other than fragile insects?
He repeated the whole procedure on other captured insects, but the results were pretty much the same, with the only difference lying in the time period before dying. However, he managed to control the cricket to move it forward a bit.
These very steps offered him a new inspiration out of his previous whimsy.
If I were able to find a few new creatures that could withstand my thoughts, wouldn't it be the same as creating several animal-like incarnations of myself?
Upon thinking this, he became excited and his mind started to get fired-up.
"His Excellency, Songjiang City is ahead. We shall rest there for a night!" said Zhu Ba outside of the carriage.
"Well, all right!" Leopard replied.
Now he could not wait to catch some cats and dogs for experiments.
Songjiang City was a small town in central Jin, whose gate had already been shut in the middle of the night. However, Junior Leopard served as a Level Five Viscount, who had the power to command the opening of the gate at midnight.
Entering the city, he ran into some city officials serving as magistrate and garrison, who graciously offered an invitation to rest for the night in the government house. Junior Leopard refused them after a perfunctory small talk. Later, Zhu Ba reported to him that he had checked into an inn.
Songjiang City was a small city with few inns. There was only one inn available to receive so many people at midnight. That was Yuewen Inn, whose spelling was just a word different from that of the most well-known chain inn in Jianghu—Yuelai Inn, or the so-called Happiness Inn.
Junior Leopard and his followers checked into the courtyard, the only spacious courtyard in Yuewen Inn, and the only one that could accommodate so many people in Songjiang City.
It took a while to properly allocate rooms for everyone, but none of the details bothered Junior Leopard because his room was no doubt the deluxe suite among all the kinds of rooms.
The Deluxe Suite was spacious and truly deserved its title with a decent study and a reception room.
His facial expression was slightly changed as he was stepping in the door, and suddenly showed a trace of weirdness. But such weirdness was gone in no time and he walked straight toward the bed like everything was fine.
There was a hanger at the bedside. Junior Leopard took off his coat, hung it up, and walked toward the table located in the middle of the room.
The teapot and cup on the table were well-placed with hot water.
Reaching for the teapot, Junior Leopard murmured, "That's very considerate!"
The moment the teapot was picked up, a bright green light that was hidden below the teapot shot at his wrist.
It was so incredibly fast that even Junior Leopard could not escape even with mental preparation.
A bit of numbness went through his right arm almost in the blink of an eye.
What a strong poison!
With a closer look, Junior Leopard had seen through the green light, which turned out to be a green, bean-sized spider.
At this point, the dark green spider, stiffening all over, was biting tightly on Junior Leopard right wrist.
Logically speaking, this spider's light should go out as fast as before after it had bitten him.
At the moment, Junior Leopard had independently defended himself through his Poison Cold Shield while being bitten.
The green spider was extremely virulent. However, Junior Leopard had always carefully nourished the Poison-absorbing Green Bead and successfully cultivated the Poison Cold Shield. Therefore, this virulence could at most paralyze his right hand before being fully absorbed by the shield. Then, Junior Leopard's right hand returned to normal while the spider was frozen by the shield with no jumping ability at all.
"What a sophisticated plot!" Junior Leopard remarked. He smiled and flicked the poor green creature onto the table top.
My team didn't go in secrecy, so they must have figured out that we would spend the night in this courtyard in Yuewen Inn based on our numbers and routes. Even more, they expected that I would be at the Deluxe Suite in accordance with my status. Therefore, they plotted it all to hide the strange spider below the teapot, sat back and waited, only waiting for me to pour some water to consummate their plan of a one-hit kill!
It did not take long for Junior Leopard to see through this little game—a simple but good scheme.
It seems that whoever wants me dead holds high expectations of you, poor thing!
Junior Leopard looked at the stiff, dark green spider and remembered its origin.
It's among the five green-scaled poisonous creatures, one of the most vicious and poisonous creatures in the world. Sadly enough, it never occurred to you that I have the Poison-absorbing Green Bead with me!
Junior Leopard was shielded by the Poison Cold Shield and carried the Poison-absorbing Green Bead with him, and was absolutely familiar with poison. In addition, the appearance of that spider was nothing but conspicuous, which made it easy to spot its origin.
The mixture of five green-scaled poisonous creatures was known as one of the top nine poisons in the world.
The reason was that only when synthesized by all five green-scaled poisonous creatures could such a toxin be listed as one of the top nine poisons. While the individuality of the five, though they could easily bring down Level Seven or Eight experts, was still far away from the top nine.
The poison that could cause the death of Level Nine experts instantly won the glory of being one of the top nine poisons. If this time Junior Leopard was hit by one of those, he could die soon before his Poison-absorbing Green Bead could dissolve it.
Junior Leopard's right arm did become numb for a little while.
That was because the toxin had spread beyond his right arm before the Poison-absorbing Green Bead could fully absorb the poison.
The Poison-absorbing Green Bead was able to detoxify every sort of toxin, but it required time.
Junior Leopard was not eager to find out who was behind all of this. He stared at the stiff Green-scaled Poisonous Tarantula, twitching his mouth twice.
Normal spiders cannot bear my thoughts. I wonder whether a Green-scaled Poisonous Tarantula could!
As he thought of it, he immediately started his Fiery Eyes, sucked out the soul of the Green-scaled Poisonous Tarantula and controlled it with a thought.
Oh, it is so cold!
An odd coldness came from the spider's body, and almost froze his thought to nothing.
"Amazing! The Poison Cold Shield is really tough!" Junior Leopard said to himself and lifted his hand, subsequently, he covered the table with a stream of heat flow. It was after a while before his thought regained its vitality and passed its feelings to the divine thoughts of Junior Leopard.
It was a strange feeling. After the Green-scaled Poisonous Tarantula came back to life, Junior Leopard tried to control its body with difficulties, and did not take long to get familiar with the feeling. The feeling was different from the Reining Flying Sword, which enabled him to feel just like a spider with the thought, including its compound eyes, its poisonous gland, as well as the shrill and anxious noise around the spider.
It was the noise which could only be heard by a Green-scaled Poisonous Tarantula. After hearing it, Junior Leopard felt the spider's eagerness to leave.
However, it was limited to its body.
Its soul has been extracted by Junior Leopard and thus had disappeared. Now, the thought of Junior Leopard controlled everything, with its old soul being replaced.
Replacing its soul with a thought made the spider an extension of Junior Leopard's body. If there existed any inhibition in its soul, it would naturally dissipate. Let alone Junior Leopard could tell from the spider that there existed no inhibitions or any spiritual contact like the one shared by him with Little Du. The spider was simply tamed.
It should be noted that whether setting inhibitions on souls or sharing spiritual contact with another, like the one Junior Leopard and Little Du owned, they were both rare and superior means in Jianghu, and the masters of which could be counted on one hand. The most frequently used method for poisonous insects and vicious beasts was domestication, similar to taming a hound.
Evidently, based on the reaction of spider's body toward the noise around him, the noise was a signal, a command noise that could only be heard by spiders.
When Junior Leopard thought of this, the Green-scaled Poisonous Tarantula jumped a few times and got used to the new body. Then, it took a high jump with its eight legs and shot out the window like a green light.
The source would soon be found by following the sound. However, Junior Leopard felt funny during the process.
There were two strange findings. First, controlling the creature was nothing like the Reining Sword. The latter was just a weapon, making him able to move when reining it. In contrast, as for the former, he needed to concentrate several times more than he did with the Reining Sword and remain unmoving, totally engrossed. Only by doing so could he fully control the thought and manipulate the spider's body. Second, the Green-scaled Poisonous Tarantula had already been severely infected by the Poison Cold Shield. It did not occur to him at first, but the spider was actually dying after strenuous movements.
Fortunately, the spider moved fast and its journey never went beyond the inn, meaning that the plotter was nearby. So, the spider finished its job successfully in its last moments.
It was another courtyard at the inn. Both the courtyard and its room were way smaller and lower graded than Junior Leopard's. With a dark oil lamp, Junior Leopard was able to identify the face of the only man in the room.
He was an ordinary man in his 30s or 40s, who looked like a farmer that had just gotten out of the field. His eyes were flashing a very cold light, and scary somehow.
The spider fell straight down to the ground after jumping into the room. Through the thought, Junior Leopard could feel its last extreme affliction—its organs evidently had been completely exhausted by the Evil Qi of the Poison Cold Shield. That long jump was like the last radiance of a setting sun.
That man did not see it coming, shockingly witnessing the dispirited Green-scaled Poisonous Tarantula. Then, he tried to take a closer look at it by grabbing the spider into his palm, only to feel a tingle at his fingertips, which fiercely stretched all the way to his arm.
With a muffled shout, he walked backward two steps, waved his left hand, and pulled out a dagger. He cut off his right arm from the elbow resolutely with a chilling light.
What a calm and ruthless man! He only grunted once with one clear cut of his forearm. After that, he stepped back to the bedside, tossed the knife aside, and groped out a white porcelain bottle. After biting off the plug, he poured some powder into his mouth several times and the rest onto his wound.
He was so busy dealing with his freshly-cut wound that he did not even raise his head to notice that in front of him, his assassination target was smiling and looking at him. It was tense and horrifying.
He instantly quivered inside and started to get the knife with his left hand out of instinct. But he quit trying to reach the knife and in turn looked at Junior Leopard with a bitter smile.
"Slap!" A heavy slap hit him directly in the face, shoving him to the corner.
"Why do you want to kill me?"
"A lot of people want to kill you!" he said. Being slapped to the corner with his left cheek instantly swelling up, he was still deadpan and looked cool.
"You're just the type I hate the most, with a poker face acting like a superman!" Junior Leopard smiled grimly and said. Suddenly, he released an intangible force lifting the man toward himself, buckled the man's throat precisely, and asked, "Who sent you on this mission? Who wants me dead? If you ever want to walk out of here alive, you shall answer me, otherwise, I won't show any mercy!"
"Will you spare my life?"
The man's expression finally changed a bit and he asked surprisingly.
"Only if you're telling the truth!"
"I honestly don't know. I'm simply following orders."
"I'm from the Cool Breeze Gang!"
The man was tossed to the ground after Junior Leopard loosened his hands.
The Cool Breeze Gang was one of the famous killer organizations in Jianghu. The way that the Cool Breeze Gang recruited killers was just like the way that the Immortal Palace did, with expert-gathering, and the members and capabilities of which were both daunting. The killers were assigned with different murder missions. It was reported that an expert at Level Eight served at the Cool Breeze Gang.
A Level Eight expert who was serving as a killer?
No one had heard of such a shameless person, who totally discarded the face of Level Eight experts. Nevertheless, it was true that people were invincible when they did not care a damn thing about self-dignity. Almost no one could stand unscathed in front of an expert and professional killer as strong as Level Eight. However, rare dirty jobs would go to such hands.
The world was not black or white. A Level Eight killer did not get his hands dirty easily, who could not even be called upon with the combined influence of three powerful and well-known families, let alone anyone or any single power.
Not to mention that such a figure would not kill to his liking without limits due to his high status in expertise. The case otherwise would incur the wrath of the public. Therefore, this expert barely did the killing, only serving as a deterrence on behalf of the Cool Breeze Gang.
If he was really a member of the Cool Breeze Gang, he would not know the client behind the curtain. It was known that the Cool Breeze Gang only revealed a client's target to the killer, and never information about the client.
"As it's the case, please take a message for me to your superior that he should kill the client and send his head to me!" said Junior Leopard grimly. Then, before he could react, the man was tossed out of the window to the ground brutally with the sounds of broken bones.
The heavy fling broke at least one-third of his bones.
That man spurted out a mouthful of blood and took quite a while to get on his feet.
Fixing his eyes on the inn with a flash of reluctance, he was about to leave when he again heard the low but clear voice of Junior Leopard. "Don't forget to tell your superior that I would love to trample down the Cool Breeze Gang if he can't accomplish the mission within a month."
Though it was a low voice, it frightened the man for a moment and an incredible look of disbelief appeared on his face.
How arrogant that was!
Founded 300 years ago, the Cool Breeze Gang had gotten a perfect record in completing murder missions. There were at least 12 Level Seven experts and six Level Eight experts among the murdered men over the years.
For 300 years, never ever had a person or a power, though holding the utmost resentment to the Cool Breeze Gang, said something as arrogant as that.
How to define the words: trample down the Cool Breeze Gang?
By saying it out loud?
The Cool Breeze Gang was known for having a Level Eight killer and several Level Seven professional killers.
Level Seven experts could be counted as the ones with superb power in the martial arts world, while Level Seven killers showed way more deterrence than common Level Seven experts.
In addition, the Cool Breeze Gang was indeed a killer organization with a notorious name for methods of murder. It could be assumed that there were more astonishing talents or means to keep this organization standing steadily for over three centuries. Thus, never ever would someone, or wealthy and powerful families, or major sects in the martial arts world go against the Cool Breeze Gang easily. But now, how did Junior Leopard dare to speak with such boldness?
Of course, Junior Leopard was not just being hot-headed, because he could ask for help from the Immortal Palace when things really went that bad. It was something that he could afford. Let alone, he did not consider the killer organization a big deal for his present strength.
In the eyes of an outsider, it seemed to be a mysterious organization. But it was quite the opposite in his eyes.
There only remained two things to take care of before his trampling down of the Cool Breeze Gang. First thing was getting its address. The second was protecting his own family in the meantime.
Both of them could be handled by the Immortal Palace.
Compared with asking for an expert of the Immortal Palace to storm the Cool Breeze Gang, it cost much less to trust them with protecting his own family and finding the address.
"How dare you mess with me when I did nothing wrong to you! If I choose to not avenge myself and show my power, then maybe someday anyone, whether strong or weak, would dare to provoke me," Junior Leopard said to himself.
It was reasonable for him to spread such aggressive words.
The reason why the Cool Breeze Gang was so famous, besides its extraordinary strength, resided in its obsession with completing the missions. Those people would try their best to finish the job once a mission was received. If the first killer failed to do it, more killers would follow him to finish the job until it was done.
Hence, there were bound to be more killers, such as fire-playing or water-playing killers, coming for Junior Leopard's life after this poison-player's death. To Junior Leopard, this was not a fun game to play for a long time. A definitive solution would be better.
Moreover, it greatly annoyed him that he was wanted by the Cool Breeze Gang under somebody's order since he had no previous history with the organization.
Tit for tat is fair play!
That was the principle held by Junior Leopard. "Since you came for me without legitimacy, it would be fair to kick your ass back to defend my titles."
Needless to say that he was totally competent to do so.
Would it be dumb to assume that an organization could be invincible forever based on merely 300 years of foundation? If not for some remaining leverage, such an organization would have been gone a long time ago.