The rims of Ao Xie Yun's eyes became red while he was thinking this.
All of his protectors had died. He was on his own now; he had lost all support.
Moreover, his home was too far away!
He was only a man now — just Ao Xie Yun. He wasn't the Eldest Young Master of the Ao Clan. He wasn't the number-one master of the younger generation in these circumstances. And, he wasn't the outstanding and elegant Evil Young Master.
He was only a man on the run now. And, there were several thousand people… several thousand experts after this young master. They had been chasing and besieging him. And, they desired to capture and kill him.
Ao Xie Yun had discovered his true potential in these extremely harsh circumstances!
It had been fifteen days since Du Qing Yun had bravely sacrificed himself. Ao Xie Yun had thought of crying out loud countless times during these fifteen days. But, he knew that he mustn't cry. After all, the smell of his tears wouldn't stay hidden from Ou Du Xiao of the Poison Spirit Clan even if he wept in silence.
Therefore, he had no choice but to abandon everything — including his anger and sadness. He had to escape with all of his strength. He had to rush out, and seek his own way of survival using the entirety of his knowledge.
These fifteen days had felt like fifteen years to him… or maybe even more than that.
He had taught himself how to spend his physical strength with care while escaping... how to cover his body odor… how to hide his entire body amidst grass… how to exploit the characteristics of mountains and water… how to make use of the reflection of sunlight to camouflage himself in order to avoid being surrounded…
He had never thought about these things before.
He now knew that Ao Clan was no longer threatening like before even though it was the number-one clan. There was nothing extraordinary about the Ao Clan, and there was nothing extraordinary about him.
Ao Clan would become another set of ruins if it were to be destroyed. And, Ao Xie Yun would become another rotten and smelly corpse if he were to die… In fact, he would be no different from the beggars who kneel down at other people's feet every day.
Everyone is equal in front of a coffin!
Ao Xie Yun had suffered over a hundred siege attacks during these fifteen days. And, he had thought that he was going to die at least a dozen times. But, he had managed to make narrow escapes every time.
He was feeling the warmth and coolness of the river water on the wounds on his body at this moment. And, a kind of 'secure' feeling finally arose deep in his heart regardless of the fact that this feeling of security might collapse at any moment…
He finally had the time to think about a few matters.
Ao Xie Yun felt extremely sad on recalling the fights in which Du Qing Yun and Qin Zhan had died. [Du Qing Yun and Qin Zhan shouldn't have died so early. But, they died without hesitation. Why…?]
Du Qing Yun and Qin Zhan had known that they were going to die when he had diverted his way to the north in order to escape the enemy since the other party was still chasing them on a large scale.
And, they had wanted to impart their wisdom onto Ao Xie Yun before dying.
Moreover, they knew that three people couldn't escape as easily as a person alone could.
They wished that Ao Xie Yun would continue to escape for as long as he could!
However, Ao Xie Yun would've been virtually dependent on them as long as they were at his side… even if he didn't wish to do so. And, that would've prevented the full stimulation of his potential. Consequently, they would've had no way out at the time when they would've gotten completely surrounded by the enemy. And, all three of them would've been done for!
Therefore, Du Qing Yun and Qin Zhan had used actual combats and autonomous escape technique. They wanted Ao Xie Yun to improve himself by practice! Ao Xie Yun's chances of escaping alone would be ten-folds more than escaping along with the two as long as he could comprehend and grasp the true essence of these skills.
Therefore, Du Qing Yun had chosen to sacrifice himself even though he didn't need to do so!
And, he had left the Young Clan Lord by himself by doing so…
[It would be disloyal of us to abandon you when there's still hope. But, we would be fulfilling our responsibility if we abandon you to go on your own at a time of absolute helplessness.]
[Your soul will be ignited by our warm-blooded sacrifices. And, your potential will be stimulated by our deaths.]
This was what the two old men hadn't said, and would never be able to say. But, Ao Xie Yun was hearing this in his heart at the moment.
Tears were silently streaming down, and blending into the water. Ao Xie Yun had finally allowed his tears to flow without worry on such a night and in such an environment...
Shedding tears had become a kind of luxury in such an escape!
The river was flowing with gurgling sounds of water. Ao Xie Yun was trying his hardest to relax himself. He was trying his utmost to heal his injuries, and regain his physical strength.
Suddenly, a feeling of danger struck his heart. So, he immediately held his breath. Then, he noiselessly slid down under water. He felt something hard under the tips of his toes. It seemed that he had touched a big stone under water. Ao Xie Yun's heart moved. He silently swam down, and put out his hand out to touch it. It was a big stone. There was an empty hole below it. And, a whirlpool had formed there. The river water was continuously swirling, and flowing downwards in waves.
Ao Xie Yun cautiously controlled himself. He took advantage of the flow of water, and very carefully squeezed his body under that big stone. Then, he carefully extended the reed only slightly out of the water's surface. After that, he remained motionless.
The water at this place would sooner or later become shallow since the river water was slowly flowing downwards. And, he would certainly be dead if he was found. Besides, the sky would be bright during daytime. So, he would be a sitting duck in the river water when the morning would come.
He had barely hidden here when a few rustling sounds were heard. Several people had arrived at the shore of the river. The sounds of their sleeves being brushed over by the wind echoed. It seemed that a few dozen people had arrived here.
"Did you find him?" someone asked in a low and deep voice. This sound passed through the river, and reached Ao Xie Yun's ears. This voice sounded very strange. But, Ao Xie Yun had still heard it. Whose voice is this?
[It is the voice of the Young Black Devil!]
"So it is you!" Ao Xie Yun was under the stone in the water at this time. He had secretly clenched his teeth. But, he didn't dare to move even one bit. In fact, he had also slowed down his heartbeat.
His mortal enemies were right on top of his head at the moment. So, he would certainly die if he was found.
"We didn't find him," another person replied. His voice was full of suspicions. Ao Xie Yun could imagine that this person was perplexed and astonished. In fact, he could sense that this person had frowned even though these people were away from the river.
[Ou Du Xiao!]
Ao Xie Yun's heart convulsed in rage.
[He used to be my friend once… my companion…]
"Didn't you say that this strategy is foolproof? How long would it take?" A person snorted.
"This is very strange! I would sprinkle 'Thousand Days Marker' on Ao Xie Yun's body from time to time when we were together. The traces of this marker don't stay for a thousand days. It is obviously an exaggeration. However, its smell doesn't vanish for at least a year. Moreover, the target is unable to sense that smell… We have used that smell to wipe out his people during these days. But, I don't understand how Ao Xie Yun managed to lose this smell?" Ou Du Xiao doubtfully said.
Ao Xie Yun nearly vomited out blood.
[So, this was all because of me!]
[So, Ou Di Xiao has been plotting against me for so long. Such scheming… such long-term plotting…]
[No wonder he would always meet me by chance, and then do a few things with me… I had thought that we had been brought together by fate… Moreover, Ou Du Xiao would behave very sincerely towards me whenever he would appear. He would blindly follow me everywhere. He always gave me importance. Therefore, I used to invite him to every good event. For instance, in the gambling event on Mt. Dingjun…]
[He had behaved in a very understanding manner after we had suffered a loss in that gambling. And, he never doubted me!]
[I can't even imagine all this. He turned out to be so heartless that he trapped me in this chase! All those coincidental encounters, and those pinpoint besieges during this chase… the root of all of this is these words of Ou Du Xiao – I would sprinkle 'Thousand Days Marker' on his body from time to time!]
[So, it was me all along! I've brought tragedy upon everyone!]
[Now that I think about it… It seems that the pursuers would quickly catch up with me every time I would think of fleeing.] Ao Xie Yun's heart almost bled in regret! [Why did I not think of this earlier?]
He then heard a voice saying, "You're indeed the Poison Spirit. Ao Xie Yun is truly blessed to have a friend like you! I see… so… Brother Ou wasn't flattering Ao Xie Yun this entire time, right? Ha ha, Ao Xie Yun has always been so proud of his wisdom. But, he couldn't have imagined that he was being played by Brother Ou for all these years. Perhaps, he still hasn't found out. Ou Brother is indeed very talented!"
This voice was somewhat wild. It was the voice of the Young Clan Lord of Tu Clan – Tu Qian Hao.
Ou Du Xiao replied in a somewhat angry voice, "Nonsense! Is there anyone in a position such as ours that doesn't guard themselves? Our entire clans could get destroyed if we make even one inattentive move! Who dares to handle matters recklessly? Moreover, only you know that I have secretly plotted against Ao Xie Yun… But, can you say with confidence that he has always considered me his brother?"
He continued in an angered tone, "We are standing together at this time. But, would we dare to show our back to each other? Tu Qian Hao, what is the meaning of what you had just said?"
Tu Qian Hao snorted. He was about to speak something when Meng Luo joined the conversation, "Brother Ou's words are fully understandable. After all, we are doing everything for the sake of our clans. Besides, it's Brother Ou's unintentional act of planting a marker on Ao Xie Yun that is making our hunt so smooth. So, Brother Ou has given a lot of contribution to our cause."
After that, Tu Qian Hao didn't speak anything further.
Ao Xie Yun gently sighed underwater. He laughed at himself. [Ou Du Xiao, I didn't regard you as a real brother. But, I had been sincerely wanting to bond with you for some time…]
"But, Ao Xie Yun has disappeared now. Brother Ou, you understand this 'Thousand Days Marker' the most. Under what circumstances do these 'Thousand Days Marker' disappear?"
Ao Xie Yun listened to Ou Du Xiao saying, "One has to either obtain the antidote… or stay in water for at least a day to get rid of it! And, that's because its smell penetrates deep into the flesh, and blends with the person's own smell.
"Another method is to simply stay submerged in water. The clear water isolates the smell, and stops it from spreading. Ao Xie Yun hasn't gotten the time to soak in water for a day since we had started to chase him. Moreover, Ao Xie Yun had slid down from that hillside as per the various traces that we have found. After that, he must have fallen into water… There is a river here. And, Ao Xie Yun should be in this river. But, I've lost track of him because of this…"
Ao Xie Yun's heart fiercely jumped whilst he remained underwater. And, his complexion also turned deathly pale!