An icy cold voice traveled through the air. The sound was as crisp as thunder and as deadly as lightning. Every pair of eyes lit up, including the hopeless gaze of the village mayor who was one step away from death. His gaze of desperation turned to hope as a giant rock finally settled.
After two months together, they knew this was the voice of Ling Xian.
Even though the villagers had no clear idea of the actual depth of Ling Xian’s power, the three-eyed golden lion was enough to prove that Ling Xian’s might was a force to be reckoned with. He was more than a match for this ninth-realm visitor, and thus everyone in the village let out a collective sigh of relief.
"Who said that? Show yourself!"
The youth hollered, his face glum. But he nonetheless retracted his attacking foot, fearing the threat was true.
"Are you looking for me?"
The same icy voice sounded again as a ghostly figure dressed in white landed swiftly in front of the hollering nomad. The nomad shivered slightly. But before he could react, an enormous hand came crashing down on him with a force of a million mountains.
The hand landed squarely on the young nomad’s face. The muscles on his cheek rippled. Blood seeped out the corners of his lips.
This scene had occurred too swiftly for anyone to react. All people could register was the sound of a hand-slap followed by the nomadic youth flying haplessly backward through the air.
"Who are you?"
The elderly leader of the nomadic gang asked sternly as he eyed the young man up and down, ignoring his grandson who was crying bloody murder below his feet. He suddenly felt a wave of pressure.
It was the type of pressure that stemmed from the fear of the unknown.
"You don’t deserve to know who I am."
Ling Xian disappeared as the sound of his voice fell. But when he reappeared in the next instant, he was standing over the fallen youth. Grabbing him by the throat, Ling Xian lifted him up into the air and said, coldly, "A dog who barks behind its master. But too bad, you’re worse than a dog."
Another firm slap landed on the nomad’s cheek. This time, the bones in his face cracked open.
"Good! What a great beating!"
"Ha ha, well done. Ling Xian, kill him!"
"Well done, teach this kid the price of arrogance. Teach him a lesson from all of us!"
The villagers were ecstatic. Ling Xian had beaten out their hatred for this boy along with the boy’s teeth. This was a feeling especially shared by the mayor and his granddaughter.
The villagers had contained their anger towards this boy in particular. They resisted the urge to pounce on him because of the boy’s powerful grandfather. With Ling Xian’s arrival, the tides had turned. This had brought much jubilation to the village crowd.
"Ahek…hek…let me go."
The young nomad was turning red from a lack of oxygen. He stared at Ling Xian, eyes filled with hatred.
"Who are you really? Let go of my grandson!"
Seeing his grandson desperately gasping for air, the elderly man finally broke his silence.
Ling Xian let out an icy smile. He didn’t know and didn’t need to know the full story behind this confrontation. The behaviors of this kid alone were reason enough to kill him.
"Correct, young man, I suggest you let go of my grandson at once. If you killed him, you and everyone behind you would be buried with him." The elderly man smirked. After a close examination, he discovered that Ling Xian was still only an adolescent. Even if he was the best of his generation, he couldn’t be any more powerful than himself.
Of course, the moment he convinced himself of this, he returned to his arrogant self, as if everything and everyone in this world had to submit themselves to him.
"Really, then I should just let go."
Ling Xian let out a mischievous smile and under the watchful eye of the elder, slowly lowered the hanging youth towards the ground and let go of his grip. But immediately after releasing him, without shifting his eyes from the youth’s fearful gaze, Ling Xian swung his wrist and hit the young squarely in the face one last time. The youth flew backward through the air, landing a dozen meters behind the crowd.
His ribs shattered instantly. But he had yet to die. Ling Xian did not want him to die so painlessly. He wanted the youth to pay for what he’d done. He wanted to watch him die slowly and hopelessly.
The smirk on the elder’s face vanished instantaneously. His killer gaze fixated on Ling Xian. Such gaze sent shivers down the spines of each cultivator present at the battle.
When Ling Xian released his grandson, he imagined it was out of fear. But just as he smirked in satisfaction, he could never have guessed that Ling Xian would attack his grandson one more time to render him practically dead.
He didn’t need to look. He knew his grandson was near death. He wasn’t dead already because his attacker had wanted it this way. His attacker intentionally severed all his bones without puncturing his vitals.
That was his grandson!
How could he not be infuriated? How could it not hurt?
"I want you dead!"
The elder summoned all his might and released them through his temples. His gray hair danced wildly under the unstoppable force, a force that shattered mountain tops and tossed giant rocks into the swirling wind.
"You dare display the depth of your meek powers to me? You can’t wait to die!" Ling Xian shouted, releasing his foundational level supremacy.
The earth trembled. The air froze. Every spectator felt himself weakening at the knees as if they instinctively wanted to bow to such a god of war.
In the next instant, the elder flew backward and smashed into a tree. As he attempted to list himself after hitting solid ground, he expelled a huge splatter of blood out of his mouth.
No, he would be spitting blood if the battle had been based on momentum alone.
The elder lifted his head with much difficulty. He looked back at Ling Xian, swallowing blood and spit back down his throat. His body began to tremble in fear.
As for his followers, each was as dazed and confused as the next. Then, following the word "foundational". The nomad gang let in a sharp, collective inhale.
The word had such an invisible pull that everyone present sighed in bewilderment.
In such an isolated, humble region, a cultivator of the ninth realm was so rare that they were often considered demi-gods. As for foundational level cultivators, they existed only in myths.
But now, such a cultivator had graced them with his presence, an adolescent barely 16 years of age nonetheless. How could these villages and nomads not be disconcerted?
This was unbelievable!
Ling Xian said without giving the elderly man a second look. Instead, he walked towards the youth, now on his last breaths.
A killer like Vanquisher of Life was no match for him. This ninth-realm cultivator was mad to challenge him.
He was already spitting blood. There was no reason to keep attacking him. If Ling Xian had wanted, he could have ended the elder’s life with a gentle flick of his finger.
"You…you devil, don’t come near me, don’t!"
The youth watched his grandfather, whom he had perceived as undefeatable his entire life, fall so easily against this devil of a person. He couldn’t stop shivering as Ling Xian approached.
"Why, you feel the fear now?"
Ling Xian sneered. He felt no mercy. Such a wicked person did not deserve sympathy.
If he hadn’t arrived in time, everyone in this village would have died. Su Zi would have been enslaved. Perhaps she would have rather committed suicide instead, and that would be her miserable end.
None of these possibilities was one that Ling Xian had wanted to see.
Therefore, he needed these wicked beings to experience the most hopeless and painful deaths.
"Let me…ehem, ehem, please, I beg you, let me go."
The youth pleaded, his voice broken and terrified.
"Let you go? Even if I did, the Heavens won’t." Ling Xian bent down to observe him closely and continued, "I already said this once. You are a dog who barks behind its master. But you are worse than a dog. Do you see now? I can kill your grandfather as easily as I kill a dog."
"Ehem, ehem, it’s my fault, all my fault. I beg you to spare me." The youth said hopelessly. He was indeed hopeless. His last glimmer of hope vanished with the crushing blow Ling Xian dealt that nearly killed his grandfather. His pride, his ego, all vanished in one strike.
He had always hidden behind his mighty grandfather and done all the evil he could think of without any fear of retribution. But today, he witnessed with his own eyes the defeat of his protector. His life and all his dreams had been dashed in a single moment.
"Do you feel hopeless? Well, I won’t wait a moment longer. It’s your time to die. Remember, in your next life, be a good man. If you can’t be a good man, at least be a smart man."
Ling Xian shook his head slowly from one side to the other. Pointing his finger at the young nomad’s throat, he drew a line from left to right. Instantly, a slash appeared across the youth’s throat. Blood gushed out. The youth took his last breath.
The elder let out a heart-wrenching scream. He had gone mad. Summoning the last of his might, the elderly leader stood up and charged at Ling Xian head on.
"If you hadn’t been this malicious, how could I be this cruel?" Ling Xian reflected calmly. Without a moment of hesitation, he struck one last blow onto the chest of the old man.
Blood stained the surrounding trees and grass. The elder fell to the ground, every last of his bones now snapped in half.
A gentle breeze touched the air. The world fell into a deafening silence. All eyes were fixated on the young man in white. The gang who had arrived with the nomadic elder and his grandson froze.
"They are dead. There’s no reason for the rest of you to live."
As his words trailed off into the wind, Ling Xian turned to look at the uninvited men of the mountains. With a flick of his finger, the Flame of Purity blasted out of thin air and turned the men into dust.