"I told you there is no way you can run away from me. The game of cat and rats has just begun."
The voice of the Red Robed Elder emerged beside the two's ears. There was a hint of coldness and a lot of anger that made Si Tu Nan and Ling Xian jump a little.
"He sure found us fast." Ling Xian frowned as his brain worked like electric circuits trying to figure out a way to deal with the situation.
"Crap, my injury is only half healed, so I am definitely not well enough to be his opponent. I'm afraid we will die here." Si Tu Nan had a somber look.
"Don't say such discouraging things. There is always a path in the mountains for a car to pass, we will not die here." Ling Xian was fearless, thinking that if anything, he could always summon the Keeper of Land and Sea. However, with Si Tu Nan beside him, it wasn't very convenient to do so.
A lightning bolt jolted from the clouds.
Ling Xian extended both of his wings. With one sleeve, he scooped the purple cauldron and the other three Dans of Life and Growth into his pouch. He then grabbed Si Tu Nan's shoulder and then disappeared from the cave.
In the next moment, thunder stroked down, collapsing the cave.
"Haha, I sure want to see where you are running off to!" The Red Robed Elder looked down at them from above, his eyes filled with ruthlessness.
Ling Xian grinned and mocked, "You sure do not go away. Even a dog's nose isn't as sensitive as yours."
"You!" Red Robed Elder was furious. He cursed, "Bastard, watch me tear up your mouth!"
"I will wait for you. But, do you mind telling me how you were able to find us so fast?" Ling Xian asked him the question. Under normal circumstances, he should've been tied down for half an hour. Even though his spirits and capabilities were strong, it was still impossible to sniff them out in such a short period of time. There must be some kind of trick to this.
"Telling you is no harm since you are going to die anyways. I will let you guys be ghosts who know how they died." Red Robed Elder smiled ferociously and arrogantly said, "You really think that with a God Binding Silk on my wrist, everything will turn out okay for you two? You underestimate me. When I was battling Si Tu Nan, I placed the Incense of Pursuit in his clothes. To try and get coy with me! You are a bit too inexperienced for that!"
"Incense of Pursuit…" Ling Xian suddenly realized and said, "No wonder you found us at such a fast speed. You planted an incense on him..."
The Incense of Pursuit was a common object cultivators use as a pursuit tool. The incense itself was colorless and odorless, lasts for a very long time and difficult to conceal once it is placed on someone. Usually, the incense took effect for ten days and was therefore deemed to be the best strategy to use during pursuits.
This incense was very rare and was usually used when chasing after mythical creatures. It was a surprise to see that the Red Robed Elder, who was most certainly going to win the fight, using the object on Si Tu Nan. He must've done it as a backup plan. His carefulness was respectable.
"Dammit, when did you use that thing on me?" Shame flashed across Si Tu Nan's old face. "Ling Xian, I'm sorry I let you down."
"Elder, this incense is colorless and odorless; almost impossible to notice it being used. It's not your fault. Also, now is not the time to talk about this. We should try and figure out a way to get out of here alive." Ling Xian smiled. What happened was in the past. Trying to push the fault on someone was pointless.
"Aye…" Si Tu Nan sighed deeply and said, "There isn't a way out. My capability was already lacking compared to his, and now that I'm wounded, I am no opponent of his."
"I guess there is only one way then," Ling Xian frowned and muttered in a quiet voice, "Elder, we will run separately. One person dying is better than both of us dying."
"Run separately?" Si Tu Nan was a little startled, but after analyzing the situation, he decided this wasn't a bad idea.
"I will do all I can to anger him in a bit. You should take this opportunity to run away and do your best to run in a straight line instead of trying to hide or go zig zag ways. Because you have the incense planted on you, no matter where you go, he will find you. So you might as well run straight to get further in a shorter period of time," Ling Xian said in a serious tone.
"Yes, I understand," Ti Su Nan nodded heavily and then paused. "So what you mean is that you will anger him so he chases after you?"
"Correct." determination filled Ling Xian's eyes.
"No, definitely not!" Si Tu Nan rejected sternly despite the appreciative look he had on his face. Even though he was terrified of death, he did not want Ling Xian to sacrifice his life for him.
"Elder…" Ling Xian bitterly chuckled. He knew that Si Tu Nan misunderstood. To help Si Tu Nan by luring away Red Robed Elder was only half the story. More than that, he was planning on using the time he had alone to summon the Keeper of Land and Sea and kill the Red Robed Elder.
Gawking at the handsome youth before him, Si Tu Nan was more than thankful. "Ling Xian, I know that you mean well. But how can I let you sacrifice your life for someone like me? I cannot accept your proposal. Your training is still low, even if you do succeed in distracting him, you will not buy me too much time and will lose your life in the process. I am being haunted by the Incense of Pursuit. After he kills you, he will definitely find me, and we will both end up dying. Why don't I act as the diversion and you run instead?"
Ling Xian felt a wave of warmth. He straightened his back and displayed his confidence in front of Si Tu Nan, "Elder, please do not worry. I never do things I'm not certain about. Since I decided to distract him, it means I have a plan that can both protect myself and let you run away."
Maybe it was the confidence Ling Xian showed that infected Si Tu Nan, or maybe he's learned to trust Ling Xian throughout this rough journey, Si Tu Nan was overjoyed to hear Ling Xian's confirmation. He was silent for a while before asking in a low voice, "Are you sure?"
"Yes," Ling Xian said seriously.
"Okay, then I will choose to trust you," Si Tu Nan nodded, and as if making a vow, he said genuinely, "If I escape today and you die in his hands, then I promise to use all my resources to track him down and kill him. No matter how long it takes me or where it takes me, I will avenge you!"
"Elder stop worrying. It's not that easy to kill me." Ling Xian faintly grinned, his gaze growing more confident.
"What are you two whispering about? Exchanging your last words?" The Red Robed Elder chuckled strangely.
"Sorry, I'm afraid I have to disappoint you," Ling Xian smirked. "We were just discussing how we should punish you traitorous being."
"You are trying to anger me, aren't you?" Red Robed Elder snickered. "I would have to disappoint you as well then. I am not a person to waste my breath arguing with someone near death."
"Oh really?" Ling Xian laughed coldly as he secretly placed the Dans of Life and Growth into Si Tu Nan's hand and extended his Winged Blitz, "Who dies and who lives is not for sure yet. If you dare, come after me."
"I see, so you plan to run separately," Red Robed Elder focused his gaze onto Si Tu Nan, who was ready to dash, "It is a good plan. Sadly, neither of you will get away."
"Why don't you come and try," Ling Xian waved his arm and signaled for Si Tu Nan to start running. Then he fluttered his wings, shooting down white feathers aimed at the Red Robed Elder.
"Easy tricks." The Red Robed Elder twisted his sleeve around. Wind started to howl and shielded him from the godly feathers Ling Xian shot down.
Using this chance, Si Tu Nan used all his mana, and at lightning speed, he ran toward the direction of the Wan Jian House.
Before leaving, he glanced at Ling Xian with a look that was very emotionally complex. He then raced toward the North and didn't look back.
He swore on his life that if anything were to happen to Ling Xian, he would use all he has to kill the Red Robed Elder and grind his bones until they were dust.
Watching Si Tu Nan run away, Red Robed Elder did not chase after him. Even though his hatred toward him ran ocean deep, he was more determined to get his hands on Ling Xian's Eyes of Execution. He decided to steal those eyes first, and then run to Si Tu Nan.
"I told you there is no way he can get away. He fell victim to my incense, and I can track him down any time I want. After I take your Eyes of Execution, I will move on to killing him. I am sure that the face he makes when he sees your Eyes of Execution on my body is going to be exhilarating," The Red Robed Elder laughed a little. He was certain of his victory.
Now that Si Tu Nan's silhouette could no longer be seen, Ling Xian sighed in relief. "How are you so certain that you can kill me?"
"There are many powerful and monstrous treasures in this community that enable weaklings to outpower stronger beings. But, there isn't anything that could help a weakling surpass two levels of differences. The distance between the meditation and the completion level is huge. It is not a gap anyone can just overcome with the help of a treasure," The Red Robed Elder brushed off Ling Xian's question as he arrogantly sneered.
"Who said I plan on using a treasure?" Ling Xian coldly snickered, "You have pursued me for a long time, and you are greedy for wanting my Eyes of Execution. You really do deserve death. Why don't I end your life as a traitor?"
"Hahaha, this is so laughable. I can't, I am going to die from laughing," The Red Robed Elder held his stomach and bellowed loudly. He laughed for a very long time before his face reverted to normal, "I have to admit, you are very courageous. However, with only meditation leveled training, you dare to challenge me? Sadly, you don't have the capability that matches your courage. You are just overestimating yourself."
"Overestimating or underestimating myself, you will find out soon." Ling Xian grinned from ear to ear. Glaring at the Red Robed Elder, a victorious smile was smeared across his face. He extended both of his arms and softly said the words:
"Come out, Keeper of Land and Sea!"
A breeze blew by. The atmosphere was a little nippy.
The Red Robed Elder was a little agitated at first, but after seeing that nothing was happening, he couldn't help it but burst out laughing. He pointed his finger at Ling Xian, and with the other hand, he held onto his stomach. "Haha, I am dying. Are you trying to be funny? Are you trying to make me laugh?"
Ling Xian's brain went blank. In his mind, he started begging, [Keeper, keeper, stop joking with me. My life is depending on you. If you don't come out now, I will have to die here.]
After a long silence, a distant voice rose in his mind.
[Who do you think I am? Your pet…?]
[No… No! Of course not.] Ling Xian guiltily laughed. He knew then that his "Come out, Keeper of Land and Sea" had angered the Untainted. He quickly explained himself, [I only said that because I thought it would make me look super cool. I did not mean to offend Goddess you in any way.]
[You were careless with your words, I do not want to make a fuss about it. However, I have already helped you out once. The danger you are about to face you will have to overcome yourself.]
The Untainted stopped making any more comments after her final statement. No matter how much Ling Xian cried out, she did not make a sound.
[Goddess, why were you so cruel? This is about life and death!]
Ling Xian looked extremely bitter. Peeking at the still laughing Red Robed Elder, he waved his hand and said, "Um… you look very handsome laughing. Keep laughing and take your time. There is no rush. I have something else to do so I will leave first."
"You want to go now? It's too late." Red Robed Elder stepped in front of the bitter looking youth in a split second and grabbed Ling Xian's neck with his hand.
Ling Xian groaned. The Winged Blitzed emitted an infinite amount of light and helped him dodge the Elder's hand and carried him away at a fast speed.
"No wonder others compare the Winged Blitz with the Kun Hawk. It sure is fast, unnaturally fast." The Elder was in awe for a minute as his greed deepened. He pictured himself possessing the Eyes of Execution and imagined how much stronger he would get. If he had the Winged Blitz, there wasn't a single spot in the world he couldn't get himself to.
"Haha, child, hand over your Eyes of Execution!"
The Red Robed Elder bellowed once again with his chin up before he dashed forward and chased after the winged shadow.