“Peng!” The blade rumbled as it clashed with the spear. The blood-red shadows were dispersing, revealing a bruised spearhead. Shi Mu spread his fist and grabbed hold of the retreating spearhead, giving it a sturdy pull. The vague figure in the smoke quivered, and out staggered a broad-shouldered barbarian, clutching the handle of the spear with a stupefied face. He had his clothes stripped to the waist, and the strong arms were full of blue veins, which were protruding from his dark skin. He was one of the Totem warriors guarding the north exit, a Houtian warrior at his advanced stage, and was powerfully built. Even so, in front of Shi Mu’s horrific force, that had just been upgraded by the Art of the Strong Ape, the barbarian was just like a defenceless child.
The barbarian was still at loss when Shi Mu’s fist thrust forward again with lightning speed, catching him helplessly unprepared. The barbarian, in a great surprise and alarm, let his spear thud onto the ground, and crossed his bare arms in front of his chest, in an attempt to resist the blow. However, with a dull thud, his muscular arms fractured instantly under the brutal force, and the fist sunk into his chest. The burly man howled in pain at the heavy blow, and was struck into the air like a leaf, slapping against the stone wall before his body slipped onto the ground, like mud. Writhing wretchedly, he spat blood and then heaved out his last breath.
Therefore, Shi Mu finished the powerful Totem warrior of late Houtian stage with a single blow. All he had used was his real qi and his superhuman strength. This easily-won victory threw the other disciples into a momentary confusion, but, after a second, they all came to themselves, cheering enthusiastically. The morale was, thus, tremendously boosted, but their short celebration also gave the other barbarians enough time to respond, and they had quickly surrounded them, like a surging wave, howling and roaring.
“Let’s cleave out way through!” Shi Mu uttered a booming shout, pulled out his black blade, and activated the Great Fire Formula on it, throwing himself into the herd of barbarians. A stab of red lights glared! With his current cultivation, along with the consummated Thirteen Series of Gale Force Blade Art, enabled him to roll through the herd of barbarians like a wolf through a herd of sheep. In a split-second, two Totem warriors had been cut into several pieces by his black blade.
But the disciples following him were more like a flock of sheep than fierce wolves. With the exception of Feng Li and Mountain Green, who were capable warriors, the other Adepts were wounded easily among these bestial barbarians. One Adept from the Wind and Fire Sect got stabbed on his arm, and immediately fell on the ground, paralyzed with fright, shrieking like a large bird. The barbarian beside him struck like a ferocious eagle, swooping down upon him with his bulky mace. The Adept, horror-stricken, sprawled on the ground without even trying to dodge, watching the mace coming at him with wide eyes.
Shi Mu saw the scene from a short distance away. Knitting his brows in exasperation, he swayed his arm, shot his body out, like a streak of light, and flung his black blade at the eagle-like barbarian. With a crisp sound, the mace flew out, broken in halves. The barbarian’s arm hand was cut off his arm, and was thrown skyward, blood spurting from the wound. “Get up! If you want to live, then don’t just lie there! Charge forward!” Shi Mu picked up the paralyzed Adept, shouting in great anger, like the parent of the timid bird who would throw his baby bird down a cliff to teach it how to fly.
The baby-bird Adept was dragged out of his trance, and finally came to himself in Shi Mu’s arms. Without a word of protest he rushed out of the exit with a pair of haggard eyes.
Shi Mu remained on the spot for another moment to clear the road for his other baby birds. His arm shook and the black blade produced several black shadows that rolled the chasing barbarians to all directions, badly injured. Then with a flash of his body, Shi Mu, once again, dived into the doorway, then back to the front of his group. At this moment, all the disciples had made it to the exit, and, with some effort, they would be able to break through the encirclement.
However, just then Shi Mu felt his heart throb involuntarily, and his hairs stood on end. A green light stabbed toward his eyes. His muscles tightened, and he intuitively ducked aside, simultaneously thrusting his black blade forward. There was a clash of steel amid sparkles of flame. Shi Mu felt his body shaken, and his thumbs sore and feeble. But the green light was also struck flying backward, sinking into the wall beside him and leaving a fist-size black hole on the wall. It had completely merged into the wall, far too deep to be seen with the eye.
Shi Mu titled his head back to the exit, and found a pair of bloodthirsty eyes glowering at him. A young green-skinned barbarian was blocking the way to the outside.
The young barbarian did not seem very strong, and by his emitted qi he was probably only a mid-level Houtian Warrior, but the white bone bow held in his hand was no ordinary weapon. It had numerous tiny magic characters carved on the surface, and the magic power stirring inside the bow seemed able to beat his black blade. Without doubt, this should be a mid-tier magical weapon!
More alarming was the quiver hung at his waist, containing ten-odd green arrows which were also carved with bean-size magic characters, giving off strong ripples of magic power. These were all magic arrows!
No time to marvel at the enemy’s stuff. The sooner he dealt a blow, the likelier he would win. Shi Mu stepped on the ground abruptly and his body shot forward like an arrow that had left the string, dashing to the green-skinned barbarian.
The barbarian was caught unprepared by this sudden attack, and, having no time to knock an arrow on his bow, he groped at his back hastily and produced a bronze mace, which was twice as long as a human mace. Brown characters were glittering on it, which proved it to be a low-tier magical weapon.
“Go to hell!” The green-skinned barbarian cursed loudly, and, without thinking, he shoved the mace at Shi Mu’s chest. However, the target did not try to duck and, unexpectedly, gave his black blade a sudden, powerful jerk, producing a swirl of red lights that dazzled the barbarian’s eyes. Soon the red lights swirled toward the barbarian’s head like a whirlwind, with a momentum that overrode the opponent’s attack.
The green-skinned barbarians was profoundly shocked, and hurriedly drew back his mace to resist the red lights. However, to his surprise again, the swirling of the lights snapped, and Shi Mu had taken back the blade to hold it with both hands. Then his body quickly leaped up into the air, then nosedived down at the barbarian’s head. He had learned this movement from Wu Tong, who had practiced the Art of the Roaring Eagle. And Shi Mu’s technique was quite good. His body looked just like a huge black eagle.
The green-skinned barbarian was panic-stricken, and he held up his mace to greet the blade. The brown characters on it shone furiously, and a column of yellow light burst forth, hitting the descending black blade. The lights clashed, and were soon blasted apart. The violent shock sent the green-skinned barbarian flying straight backward, bumping heavily against a rock, his mouth full of blood.
Shi Mu did not pursue him and sprang out of the exit,shouting, “fan out!” At his command, the disciples all rushed out of the exit and ran to all directions. Shi Mu himself also darted toward the dense forest. But a thought suddenly stuck him, and, just in case, he threw out a curved silver dagger. The dagger swirled, flying toward the green-skinned barbarian lying powerless beside the rock.
“Young master, watch out!” A burly old man sprang out, sheltering the green-skinned barbarian in front of him, the huge axe in his hand swatting down the incoming silver dagger.
The dagger, upon clashing with the axe, immediately exploded, and roaring flames leaped up into the air, quickly spreading in all directions. The old barbarian was filled with fear, but, catching a glimpse of the green-skinned barbarian at his back, who was still only half-conscious, he grit his teeth in determination and did not budge an inch.
The blast quickly died down. The explosion had jerked the green-skinned barbarian back to consciousness.
“Young master, are you alright? Good, good...” The old man put on a strained smile, and, as he finished speaking, he fell down at the young barbarian’s side.
“Uncle Iron!” The green-skinned barbarian cried in despair, and hurriedly supported the old man. Suddenly, his body quivered in great distress and anger and his face turned ghastly pale. The old man’s back was blasted open, flesh exposed and burned. Even the bones and organs could be seen. Behind him was a giant pit, and smoke was swirling menacingly in its depths. The stones and soil were all burnt. The young barbarian was grief-stricken at the scene, his eyes bloodshot.
“It’s that human! I know him! Uncle Iron, hold on! I’ll kill that human to avenge you!” The green-skinned barbarian gritted his teeth and spat out the words in a quivering voice. He was painfully aware that the old man was severely injured. Unless they had a high-grade Adept here to cure him with magic, there was no way Uncle Iron could live. Gently he let the old man lie on the ground, and the fire of hatred started smoldering in his tearful eyes. He felt a hot wrath of blaze light up in his heart, and his body started glowing with red light. Scales slowly emerged all over his skin, and his pupils looked like two flickering fires. His mouth widened, and out danced a thin forked tongue, swishing threateningly in the air.
“Don’t, young master...” The old barbarian made an effort to murmur something, but his thin voice did not reach the mad young barbarian’s ears. The latter had already sprang forward, bolting in the direction where Shi Mu had fled. He was using his full speed, and his body disappeared into the distance in a blink of an eye. The old man stared hard at the receding figure, his chest heaving. He struggled to make even the slightest sound as life was leaving him fast. The luster in his eyes gradually died.
Shi Mu halted for a breath when he traveled over ten miles from the stronghold. He thought it temporarily danger-free to take a break. He took a deep breath, and lifted his eyes over the bushes, back towards the direction of the stronghold. In the sky above the stronghold, a black cloud and a green cloud were involved in violent clashes, emitting glaring light every now and then. Though it was over ten miles away, the loud noises of their clashes still traveled all the way here. A yearning gleam twinkled in Shi Mu’s eyes as he stood watching the two forms hovering and fighting in the sky. These were the exemplar of real warriors, roaring in the highest of heavens, and shaking the earth with their great might. With a wave of their hands, the mountains crashed, and the seas split. He gazed at the clouds for a while, then withdrew his eyes and returned to the present. It was no longer safe to linger here. He had to tramp forward.
Just then, a high-pitched noise rang out from behind, and a green light flew to his front at a horribly high speed. Shi Mu quickly stooped near the ground and threw himself into a nearby bush. The green light whistled past him, thudding into the dense forest. Shi Mu minimized his breathing behind a thick shrub, lying prone on the ground. He knew who had come. The combination of the middle-level magic bow and the low-level arrows could even beat a high-level magical weapon. A moment ago, out of fear of that green-skinned barbarian, he had used one of his Moonlight Sea Chestnut Daggers. He was bitterly disappointed that the attack had failed.
A rustling sound came from the shrubs behind, and the green-skinned barbarian came out with unhurried steps. By now, the red glow over his body had grown glaringly bright, forming a red screen around him. Shi Mu was slightly startled at the sight from the bushes.
“Human, stop hiding. Come and receive your death. How dare you to kill Uncle Iron!” The green-skinned barbarian’s eyes were full of hatred, and he swept around the bushes and fixed his eyes precisely in the direction where Shi Mu was concealing. His lips curled up in a grim sneer, and losing no time he nocked another arrow. A dazzling blue light shot up, landing after a flash in the shrub where Shi Mu was in. It came so quickly that Shi Mu failed to completely dodge the arrow. His left arm was pierced, and blood started gushing out. Fortunately the arrow had missed his bones.
Shi Mu uttered a painful groan, and his eyes glinted in rage. Though unclear of the method by which the green-skinned barbarian had found him, Shi Mu knew it was useless for him to hide any more. The barbarian certainly would find him again.
Without waiting, he activated the real qi in his body, and the energy rippled out, causing all the blades of grass to tremble and wave, as if a storm was coming through the forest. Dust was blown all over the sky, obscuring the area in a cloud of dust. Then, out of the dust, a figure swooped down on the green-skinned barbarian.