At the edge of a very dense part of the forest, a series of rushing footsteps could be heard startling the nearby animals. Soon, the thickets were brushed away to reveal a large man swiftly running into a clearing.
This orange-robed man stood two meters tall with four equally muscled limbs. His head was clean-shaven, and his face wore over a dozen scars. The most intimidating one was a large cut from his left eye down to his chin.
The expression on his face made him look like a sinister person even with how fast he was running.
More importantly, there was a single figure in white draped over his shoulder.
It was Tang Xinyun.
By extension, this meant that this bulky man was the one Wu Gang had called the ‘Stone Asura,’ Ta Shan.
On top of his shoulder, Both of Tang Xinyun’s arms had been tied behind her back. Helpless in captivity, Tang Xinyun tried her best to struggle, but to no avail.
Not only was Ta Shan a large man, he was also very fast. His feet looked as though the wind was carrying him, and with each step, the ground beneath him seemed to echo with his footsteps. His feet weren’t stomping down with much force, yet there was enough weight to leave behind a series of unusually deep footprints
”Almost there now, just need to hand this woman off to the junior headmaster and the job is done…” Ta Shan’s eyes stared up at a nearby mountain. “I guess I should thank the Tang and their auction house. Who knew kidnapping someone in Mo City would be so easy? Even the eyes of the officials were too busy to keep track of things. Did they really think no one would attempt a kidnapping at this time?
“Hehe… what a beautiful finish to this job. I wonder if I can get a bit more for that? Maybe some medicines or a secret technique that’ll help me become a mid-stage Soul Exalt!” The thought of finishing this job so beautifully left Ta Shan hopeful of a wonderful reward, which added a jump to his step.
“It’s little wonder how the junior headmaster got his title if he can afford to touch a daughter of the Tang. Does he like her? Is she just a toy, or a slave to play around with?”
“Who’s there!?” Snapping out of his thoughts, Ta Shan came to a sudden stop as his eyes honed in on a mound to his right. “It’s no use hiding, I can sense you! Come on out or else!”
Even as he spoke, an orange light was emanating from his body while his right foot menacingly dug half an inch into the ground.
“Hiss… it’s little wonder you’re a Soul Exalt with sensitivity like that.” An eery voice piped up in response to Ta Shan before a skinny-looking figure with a pointed head appeared. Two squinty eyes stared at the larger man with a gloomy look, “You were too slow, Ta Shan. Due to your slowness, the junior headmaster has sent me out to find you…”
“Hidden Snake, it’s you!” Ta Shan’s eyebrows knit together in annoyance, “Who’re you calling slow? I haven’t took a break ever since I kidnapped this woman. I did change routes several times to shake off the pursuers from the Tang, but that didn’t take up any time at all; did you want me to waste my energy to try to skywalk!?”
Annoyance came easy to Ta Shan when Hidden Snake was involved. The man loved to hide his aura to nearly undetectable levels, and even though Hidden Snake was only an early-stage Soul Ancestor, he had been fortunate enough to gain favor with the junior headmaster first.
The way Hidden Snake was talking to him and the way he was using the junior headmaster as a means of pressure made Ta Shan angry enough to rip off his head off…
“Hiss… did the Tang’s men find you?” Hidden Snake rasped; he enjoyed adding the ‘hiss’ to the beginning of his words like a snake would —perhaps the reason for his current epithet.
“Pah, what do you think? You see anyone chasing me right now?” Annoyed, Ta Shan spat out his next few words.
“Hiss… that’s good then. Let’s get going and hand this woman to the jun—” Halfway through his words, Hidden Snake whirled around with eyes wide-open, staring behind Ta Shan, “Hiss!! Ta Shan! You said no one was following you? Then what is this!?”
“Eh?” Turning around at the same time as Hidden Snake, Ta Shan’s eyes narrowed when he saw a single streak of green light coming toward them from several kilometers away!
“A flying soul armament!!” Ta Shan exclaimed; he hadn’t thought that someone would’ve chased him all the way here.
“Hiss! Ta Shan, you brought back trouble, so you deal with it!” Hidden Snake squinted. He sounded annoyed, but at the same time, it looked as if he was happy that Ta Shan would have to deal with this trouble.
As fast as he spoke, Hidden Snake began to retreat into the shadows.
“No need to tell me twice! Of course I’ll deal with this!” Ta Shan snorted. Tossing Tang Xinyun to Hidden Snake, he started for the flying object, “You take the woman to the junior headmaster. I’ll come after I deal with them!”
Upon catching Tang Xinyun, a lecherous look crawled across Hidden Snake’s face. Since she was to be the junior headmaster’s toy, Hidden Snake didn’t dare try to ‘enjoy’ the prize before he did, so he took her under the shoulder and hid in a small mound.
That left Ta Shan to stand in place. His eyes stared down the flying sword, several hundred meters away.
When he saw one rider on it, Ta Shan’s lips curled in a sinister smile, and his entire frame prepared for a fight.
His right hand came up to reveal a yellow iron rod about a meter long. Blazing with an orange light, the strength radiating from the weapon was visible to the naked eye.
“Ha!” Grunting, Ta Shan stabbed his rod into the ground, transmitting a great amount of elemental earth from his arm to the rod and from the rod into the earth. As soon as the elemental earth made contact with the ground, it started to vibrate and shake, like it was trying to pull the surroundings onto the rod. After several moments, the iron rod was nearly fully encapsulated by the earth before it turned into a substance as hard as rock!!
By the time Ta Shan pulled the rod from the ground, it was no longer just a rod; instead, it was a sword with stone as the blade!
Clasping the hilt of the rock sword, Ta Shan stared at the incoming people with a bloodthirsty expression. The muscles in his right hand rapidly began to expand and contract, and with a mighty push against the ground, he launched himself into the air like an orange bullet that was headed to strike down the incoming green light!
A halo of red light came forth from the green light as Ta Shan approached. From the red light came a shining red spear that stabbed at Ta Shan’s giant blade!
As big as it was, the sword had no real ‘tip’ or ‘edge’ to speak of, so it was powerless to stop the spear from stabbing straight through it!
Frowning at the sight, Ta Shan was prepared to ‘slap’ the spear when, out of the corner of his eyes, something caused him to start in fright.
An orange platform formed right underneath his feet, and with no hesitation, Ta Shan leaped back in retreat!
A wave of elemental fire exploded out of the spear when it hit his sword. Though the explosion hadn’t severely hurt Ta Shan, the concussive shock had numbed his sword-hand. His weapon had nearly detached from his grasp due to the force, but with several retreating steps, Ta Shan was able to regain both his footing and keep ahold of his weapon. He stared strangely at the person who had attacked him.
“What a soul armament!” Eyes flickering with interest, Ta Shan stared first at the half-broken stone sword of his before looking up at the man holding the spear. “But the owner is quite weak, haha! A mid-stage Soul Ancestor!? If you’re going to come at me with strength like that, prepare to feel what death is like!!”
Pushing against the ground as he spoke, Ta Shan’s body flew like a speeding bullet while his soul armament dragged against the ground below. Twinkling with orange light as it did, Ta Shan reformed the sword before bringing it up to swing down onto his enemy!
The person wielding the spear against Ta Shan was naturally Bai Yunfei.
By sensing the presence of the Yun’s Soul Ring and making use of the speed of the Tempest Sword, Bai Yunfei was able to catch up to Tang Xinyun’s kidnapper. When he first arrived, Bai Yunfei had originally planned to skip by Ta Shan to save Tang Xinyun, but that wouldn’t be possible. Thus, he now chose to fight.
Jing Mingfeng was nowhere to be found. It seemed that he already jumped off the Tempest Sword. No one knew where he was hiding now.
“He’s fast!” Bai Yunfei thought in surprise after witnessing Ta Shan’s the reaction speed. Bai Yunfei made use of the Wave Treading Steps to move off to the side to dodge since his enemy was moving quicker and quicker.
The sword nearly grazed Bai Yunfei’s body on its way down, but before Bai Yunfei could take advantage of the missed strike, he realized that something was amiss and hastily pulled out the Cataclysmic Seal. As soon as the brick appeared, he activated the +12 effect so that a barrier appeared about three inches away from his body.
Before the giant sword could hit the ground, the trajectory of the blade turned at a sharp right angle to slash into Bai Yunfei’s body!
The sword looked incredibly heavy, but in Ta Shan’s hands, it seemed no different than someone wielding air!
Even more incredible was the fact that when the sword changed trajectory, an orange glow of light filled the top of the sword before the stone jutted out to form a ‘point’!
No longer did it seem apt to call this weapon a sword, perhaps the fang of a giant wolf would make more sense!
There was a loud bang when the weapon made contact with Bai Yunfei’s barrier. Despite barrier’s protection, Bai Yunfei was sent flying several meters through the air before his Fire-tipped Spear stabbed into the ground to anchor his body.
Petering to an eventual stop, the unharmed Bai Yunfei was surprised to see a sign of a dent in the orange barrier around him!!
“He’s… he’s strong!! Is this what it means to be a Soul Exalt?” Bai Yunfei thought to himself as he looked at the damage on the barrier. As he inspected the damage, a pained expression started to appear on his face.
“If the enemy is this strong, will… will I be able to win?”