Chapter 579: Jiang Chen, You Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing!
Du Lihuang’s miraculous revival had been followed by Mu Gaoqi’s bizarre disappearance. If Wei Qing still couldn’t put two and two together and realize someone had it out for him, he would’ve truly lived his life in vain.
“Who, who is it?!” Even the always calm and collected Wei Qing began to panic in the face of such bizarre happenings. He stood in the middle of the clearing, exercising every last bit of consciousness as he swiveled his head to and fro in an attempt to find the culprit.
Sounds broke through the air as several throwing daggers hurtled toward him with the strength to shatter stars. A grave killing intent permeated the woods, startling Wei Qing. He didn’t lose control and dodged the throwing daggers with quick footwork. Wei Qing focused his vision on where the throwing daggers came from, and shot several arrows in that direction.
About to stabilize his footing, Wei Qing felt as though his feet were imprisoned. He couldn’t move them in the slightest. Startled, he looked at his feet. Vines were already tightly wrapped around the lower half of his legs, and they seemed to be climbing up higher and higher.
It’s him! was all he could think of as an exceedingly humiliating memory flashed through his mind. Wei Qing was scared out of his wits as he raised the short sword in his hand, preparing to cut down at the vines. However, countless vines surged up to entwine around his body, entangling his waist, chest, arms, and finally his neck. Any part of his body that could exert force was tightly locked down, leaving Wei Qing unable to struggle free no matter how he tried.
“Jiang Chen, Jiang Chen!” Wei Qing was about to lose his mind. Wei Qing still vividly remembered the first time he’d chased after Jiang Chen. How he had fallen victim to those vines, much like how he had now. He fell for Jiang Chen’s petty trick again! Wei Qing’s heart sank as the words of advice from Elder Wu Hen ran through his mind: If you ever run into that Jiang Chen again, turn around and run. Run as fast and as far as you possibly can!
Wei Qing had never taken the advice to heart, instead telling himself Elder Wu Hen had tried to take a swing at his self confidence by throwing around wildly exaggerated words of ‘advice’. With the belief that Elder Wu Hen had merely used him to build up the reputation of others, he set off to redeem himself. His plan was simple. He would hunt down Mu Gaoqi and use him to get to Jiang Chen. Once he had his hands on Jiang Chen, he would kill him, take the sky rank herb, and show Elder Wu Hen how wrong he was!
It only dawned on him now that Elder Wu Hen was merely looking after his own. He felt like a fool, falling for the same deadly trick twice. Wei Qing knew his life was quickly coming to an end.
Last time, he’d been lucky enough to receive help from Elder Wu Hen to break free. This time around, he was all alone; there was no backup. No matter what method he employed, there was no way reinforcements would arrive in time.
Back when he’d chased down Mu Gaoqi and plotted against Du Lihuang, he had done so flawlessly. He felt as though everything beneath the heavens was within his grasp. Whether it was Mu Gaoqi at the minor origin realm or Du Lihuang at the peak of the origin realm, both had been his toys to play with. Wei Qing’s confidence had soared to new heights over these last few days.
Wei Qing struggled with all his might, but he knew like no other how hopeless the situation was. He was caught by the Lotus, something even geniuses at first level sage realm might not be able to struggle free from! Anxiety filled his every vein. Wei Qing knew he would be dead if he couldn’t struggle free of these vines. He greatly regretted not taking Elder Wu Hen’s words of advice to heart. I should just have let him be, damnit!
Wei Qing saw a person dash out of the thick growth and come to a standstill about 50 meters in front of him. It was Jiang Chen!
Fire spat from Wei Qing’s eyes as they were locked onto Jiang Chen. “Jiang Chen, can you only hide in the shadows and ambush people? Fight me fair and square, if you dare!”
Jiang Chen laughed leisurely, a hint of ridicule in his eyes. “There might be those with the right to say that, but you, Wei Qing, don’t make me laugh! All you have up your sleeves are tricks and unorthodox methods, when have you ever fought fair and square? Do you want me to believe Du Lihuang died to you in a fair fight?”
Wei Qing’s face alternated between ashen-pale and beet red, he couldn’t refute a word Jiang Chen had said.
“What are you going to do?” He rasped out.
“What do you think?” Jiang Chen still wore that same, small smile on his face as he closed the distance.
Wei Qing’s thoughts spun rapidly. He’d set up the poison formation such that it covered roughly thirty meters around him. If Jiang Chen walked within its range, then he might have the chance to make a comeback. He carefully hid any of trace of it on his face, instead shifting it to a darkened expression, “Don’t tell me you’re feeling indignant about Du Lihuang?”
“The hell does Du Lihuang have to do with me? You chased after Mu Gaoqi because of me, no? Since you’re looking for me, how can I not give you face and not show up?” The smile at the corners of Jiang Chen’s mouth raised Wei Qing’s hackles like nothing he’d ever encountered before. He had always fancied himself a smart man, but it was only now that he realized how far away he was from Jiang Chen’s level.
The mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind.
He’d thought he was truly something because he’d taken out Du Lihuang and captured Mu Gaoqi in one fell swoop. But Jiang Chen was fully aware of everything, since he’d been waiting in the background. Worst of all, Wei Qing had had no idea he’d been there!
Wei Qing’s confidence hit an all-time low as he finished his mental comparison. He could only pray that Jiang Chen would enter the poison formation’s range and be attacked. As long as Jiang Chen was attacked by the formation, he could still see hope of killing Jiang Chen in return.
Jiang Chen’s small smile morphed into a bizarre grin. “Are you thinking that you can turn the tables if I walk into your poison formation?” It was like his gaze could pierce right through Wei Qing’s thoughts.
These words stabbed into Wei Qing like a claymore into his gut, savagely cutting through his final layer of defense as if it was nothing more than a thin veneer of paper.
“You…” Wei Qing’s eyes widened in shocked disbelief. He felt winded, as if a sledgehammer had just smashed into his chest. His poison formation may have been set up on the spur of the moment, but he was sure it was done subtly enough to not leave any clues behind. But Jiang Chen had seen through it with one glance! He’d identified Wei Qing’s trump card before the trump card could even be slapped down. Like an inflated balloon suddenly pricked, Wei Qing lost his authoritative air as his face grew ashen. Yet, he kept doggedly muttering, “Jiang Chen, you can’t kill me! You absolutely can’t kill me!”
“Give me one reason why not.” Jiang Chen’s deep gaze was in and of itself proof of his resolution and determination.
“If you kill me, you’ll ignite a sect war!” Desperate, Wei Qing blurted out the first thing that came to his mind.
Jiang Chen couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of that particular excuse. “I seem to recall that both Mu Gaoqi and Du Lihuang used these excuses before. Now, how did you respond back then?”
Mu Gaoqi and Du Lihuang had indeed mentioned sect wars, but Wei Qing had been full of pride as their presumptive killer, and had responded in a high and mighty fashion. To think that karma had struck so quickly, and that he was now the prey for others to slaughter as they would. The words he’d used to reject Mu Gaoqi and Du Lihuang were now nothing more than utter jokes.
“You… if you kill me, my Walkabout Sect will surely be able to find that you did it!” Wei Qing’s rising panic was evident.
“I seem to recall someone making fun of a mere fifth level origin realm ant all this time. Kill you? I don’t think anyone would even give it the benefit of the doubt if that idea was raised!” Jiang Chen’s bizarre grin was now turning supercilious as he mocked Wei Qing’s excuses.
Wei Qing crowed in delight, “Jiang Chen, you wolf in sheep’s clothing! Elder Wu Hen has long since reminded me to be careful of you. If you kill me, then you’re the first person that Elder Wu Hen will suspect!”
“So what?” Jiang Chen’s turned stormy. “Will that old fox stop pursuing me if I don’t kill you? Will he stop coveting my sky rank spirit herb?”
Wei Qing was completely nonplussed. His eyes suddenly gleamed as his panicked brain finally gave him something to use. “If you kill me, then no one will be able to cure Mu Gaoqi’s poison! Killing me means killing one of your peers!”
“Is that so?” Jiang Chen’s smile changed yet again as he took out a pill flask. “Oh, what’s this? I seem to have had the antidote to the Spirit Restraint Powder for a long time now? What a wonderful surprise!”
He’d obtained this antidote from Wei Wudao back at the wood spirit spring and had used one dose on Long Xiaoxuan. Jiang Chen had always felt that there would be a use for the remaining flask one day, so he’d kept it close at hand. Who would’ve thought that it would come in handy so quickly?
“Where did you get that antidote from?” Wei Qing was flabbergasted as deeply rooted fear and despair dawned in his eyes. Mu Gaoqi’s poison was his last ace. Now that it too had proven useless, he knew that it was over for him.
“Someone called Wei Wudao gifted it to me.”
Wei Qing trembled all over. “You… you even killed Elder Wudao?! No wonder, no wonder…” His eyes were now devoid of everything but despair. He truly regretted his behavior that had led to this situation, and wished with all his heart that he had listened to Elder Wu Hen.
Jiang Chen made a quick hand seal, and several fire lotuses suddenly drew themselves erect. A concentrated burst of flames spat form them, instantly reducing Wei Qing to ash. Thanks to the soundproof barriers around the place, he evaporated from the world without even a scream to mark his departure.
Jiang Chen really hadn’t planned on moving against Wei Qing at all, since the poison from Divine Tree of Dreams would ensure that Wei Qing would die after ten days to half a month when the poison took effect. However, this fellow’s ruthless ambition had finally elicited Jiang Chen’s fury.
Mu Gaoqi had watched all of this occur in the distance with an ever increasing knot of emotions. He’d despaired initially, convinced that his road would end here. But to think, Brother Chen had saved him again! That overweening Wei Qing had been as week as a newly born lamb in front of Jiang Chen and had been burnt to a crisp. What was true strength? This was true strength!
“Are you feeling a bit better, Gaoqi?” Jiang Chen had annihilated Wei Qing without the slightest ripple of emotion, akin to slapping a mosquito to death. His expression was relaxed and at ease, like he’d done nothing of particular note.
“Brother Chen, I’m much better.” The medicine was to be taken internally and applied externally. Wei Wudao’s antidote was the real deal.
“Mm, have a seat. I’ll see what other easy pickings there are around here.” Jiang Chen walked over to where Wei Qing had died and picked up a few storage rings.
“Be careful, Brother Chen! There’s poison on them!” Mu Gaoqi hastily reminded.
Jiang Chen faint smile emanated confidence as he waved Mu Gaoqi’s concerns away. “No worries, these small poisons won’t stump me.”
He’d refined the Golden Cicada’s blood and was now impervious to almost all poisons. How would he care about this little smear of poison? Jiang Chen also picked up Du Lihuang and Wei Qing’s storage rings. There weren’t that many items in Du Lihuang’s ring, but Jiang Chen took out the two earth rank spirit herbs.
“Presents for everyone. Gaoqi, take this. You can use this advanced Purple Ganoderma to refine the Immortal Pill and cure most of the poison.”
Mu Gaoqi started as a wave of warm emotion flowed through him. “Brother Chen, first you save me, and now you gift me the spoils. I….” Mu Gaoqi sniffed, tears rising up to assault him. Brother to brother, Brother Chen’s care for him was even warmer than that of blood brothers. Ever since visiting the wood spirit spring, it’d always been Brother Chen taking care of him, helping him, and saving him at critical moments. If it wasn’t for Brother Chen, Mu Gaoqi felt that he would’ve died three to four times over already in the dark depths of this jianghu.