Chapter 35 – A Weakling’s Counterattack
A bold green pine stood proudly in the loose mountainous soil between plates of giant rocks. The seemingly endless mountain range rested like a coiling dragon within the Seven Star Forest. Because of the recent heavy downpour, small buds of violet tree fungus grew out of dry tree trunks and emitted an unusual aroma through the air.
Under the rock cliff, two mercenaries in tattered armor spared no effort as they paced excitedly with their weapons in hand. Wang Bao and Lu Shun were mercenaries who worked in the Silver Fir area. They often accepted assassination missions from the tavern, but would also rob and kill on duller days. These guys were characteristic of typical mercenaries: a bunch of crazies unbound by the Empire’s laws.
Ever since the establishment of the Empire by the First Emperor, he allowed anyone to become wandering mercenaries giving up their martial attire and donning grey robes. In order to preserve the Empire’s militaristic mentality, these wandering mercenaries were not bound by the Empire’s regulations. The mercenaries would not be punished by the Empire for their misdeeds, but the Empire allowed others to kill or place bounties on mercenaries as they wish. As such, the Empire became this world that followed the laws of the jungle: a world where the strong preys upon the weak. But because of this, citizens of the Empire all became revering of military skills, thus allowing the Temple to always have any battle-ready warriors ready to join their ranks.
To the north of the Empire was the vast Northern Desert inhabited by uncivilized herdsmen. To the south was the Wilderness Thicket inhabited by the Barbarian race. They were both opponents that one should not trifle with, so it stood to prove that the only reason these tribes would bow before the Empire was because of the militaristic fascination of the Empire. A strong army was something those nomadic tribes could never deal with.
Wang Bao squeezed his long dao under his armpits as he fished out a piece of paper from his breast pocket. Looking at the bounty, he said with a frown, “Did we lose track of them? How could it be that it’s been three days but we’ve still not been able to find that Lin Mu Yu kid?”
Lun Shun shook his head, “There’s no way we lost him. My Firewood Hound’s sense of smell is peerless so we will definitely catch up soon.”
Wang Bao couldn’t help but sneer, “Your stupid Firewood Hound is just a 10th rank stray and you dare to call yourself peerless? You ain’t afraid of being made a laughingstock? Let’s go. If we can really find Lin Mu Yu and cut him down with one chop, then the two of us will never have to worry about anything for the rest of our lives. One hundred gold Yin! It’s enough to buy us a huge mansion in the Capital and even buy something like 20 mistresses. We’ll be able to drink until we drop!”
Lun Shuan laughed grimly, but did not say anything in return.
Right at this moment, heavy footsteps were heard from behind them. A man with a long dao caught up with them and shouted, “Hey! The two of you, stand where you are!”
Wang Bao and Lun Shuan immediately stopped moving and looked warily at the newcomer. They’ve already lost in terms of pressure when they saw that the other person was holding a long dao that must have weighed at least a hundred catty (about 50kg). This man’s strength was complete above the level of the two mercenaries.
“Have you guys seen this kid?” The newcomer took out an exact copy of the bounty that the two had in their pocket.
Wang Bao squinted his eyes and smiled, “I haven’t see him. This… this older brother’s blade is quite big. Could you be the legendary Guan Yang of the Seven Martial Saints?”
Guan Yan laughed, “You guys recognized me huh? You two are both here to hunt Lin Mu Yu aren’t you?”
“Yeah!” Wang Bao laughed out loud, “It won’t be too long now. Lin Mu Yu is just ahead. He might be able to use a crappy sword to kill Hua Wan and Hua Tian, so you can imagine how great his strength is. Since we’re all here to kill him, why don’t we… work together? How about it?”
Guan Yang nodded, “That sounds good too. One more person is one more teammate.”
Wang Bao’s face lit up with a smile, but did not noticed the hint of murderous intent that flashed through the corner of Guan Yang’s mouth.
“Then I’ll be in your care. Perhaps you two could lead the way.”
When Wang Bao turned around, a burning heat passed through his back and he felt an excruciating pain in his chest. Looking down, he saw a stream of flames slowly prying through his armor, then a part of the sharp blade pierced through his heart. Wang Bao did not even have a chance to cry out in pain before he fell down in a limp.
“Bastard, you dare to back stab us!?”
Lun Shuan growled in anger. His sword dashed like a snake towards Guan Yang’s underarms.
“Looking to die aren’t you!”
Guan Yang’s speed was more than fast. Swinging the long blade along with Wang Bao’s impaled corpse, he shook off Lun Shuan’s sword with a loud clash. His abrupt kick made Lun Shuan take several steps back. Following up with the attack, Guan Yang dragged his sword behind him while throwing out a flame-covered punch onto Lun Shuan’s chest!
Blood splattered on the floor as the blaze-coated fist punched through Lun Shuan and instantly burnt his internal organs charcoal black.
Pulling his forearm out, Guan Yang did not even spare another look at Lun Shuan’s falling corpse and muttered, “You think I would have to split the bounty with you bunch of trash for a mere Lin Mu Yu?”
Carrying his long blade, he quickly left the scene.
“Finally found it!”
Lin Mu Yu gleefully climbed onto a thousand-year snag.
“Ah Yu, what did you find?” Chu Yao asked with a puzzled look as she stood under the tree.
Lin Mu Yu pulled out his sword and carefully dug out the reddish purple tree fungi on the tree. Following that, those fungi pieces fell one by one to the ground. He quickly alerted, “Chu Yao, don’t use your hand to touch those things!”
Chu Yao tilted her head to look at these strange looking fungi and had a sudden realization, “Good heavens, is this a kind of medicinal ingredient? I’ve seen it in the Medicine God Index before. I think it was… a poison. Dragon Tongue, isn’t it?”
Lin Mu Yu leapt off the tree and smiled, “That’s right. This is Dragon Tongue. It’s an extremely poisonous medicinal herb.”
“What are you using these Dragon Tongue fungi for?”
“Brewing poison?” Chu Yao gasped and spoke in a scolding tone, “Ah Yu, Grandpa had taught us that we are medicinemen. We must practice medicine for the good of the world, so how could you use your skills for making poisons?”
Lin Mu Yu faintly smiled as he placed his hand on Chu Yao’s shoulder, “Older sister, I don’t know how many people are after our heads right now. If we don’t arm ourselves with some poisons, I’m afraid we won’t even have a chance to do good with our medicine knowledge.”
“Then what kind of poison are you going to make?”
“Intoxicating Breeze. Level 7 potion. Scattering with the wind, it can cause delirium and slow down the subject’s movement speed. It is colorless and odorless, so normally no one would be able to discover it. However, I still need to find a dose of Heartbreak Orchid before I can complete the Intoxicating Breeze recipe.”
Chu Yao recalled with difficulty, “The Medicine Index had a record of Heartbreak Orchid. This kind of orchid seemingly only bloom at night. Its aroma is very strange, almost a little foul.”
“It’s about to be night soon.” Lin Mu Yu looked up at the sky and said. “Dragon Tongue and Heartbreak Orchid are both poisonous things. If there are Dragon Tongues here, then there must also be some Heartbreak Orchid around here. We should be able to find some soon.
As he spoke, Lin Mu Yu wrapped the Dragon Tongue fungi in leaves and stored them in his pouch.
Just as he finished this process, he suddenly noticed a wave of strong murderous intent behind him.
Quickly pushing Chu Yao aside, Lin Mu Yu didn’t even waste time to think before turning around and calling out his martial spirit. The Ebony Scale appeared on the gourd and the gourd wall transformed into a defensive barrier with the defensive capability of an iron wall!
Sparks flew as a heavy blade struck forcefully onto the Ebony Scale and split open several cracks on the shell. One could tell with just this hit that the attacker was much stronger than Hua Tian!
After the flames dissipated, the blade-wielding Guan Yang coldly stood before Lin Mu Yu. He had a faint smile on his face as he said, “As expected of the one who killed Hua Tian. You have some real skill, but with just this much capability, you probably couldn’t kill Hua Tian right? Heh, looks like you must have gotten lucky.”
“Who are you?”
Lin Mu Yu pulled out his steel sword and calmly asked.
“I am Guan Yang, one of the Seven. I’ve come to get both you and that little girl’s heads!” Guan Yang took out a sheet of paper. Looking down at the portrait on the bounty, then looking up at Lin Mu Yu, Guan Yan laughed after comparing a few more times, “Looks like it’s you. Take this time to say anything you might want to say before you die, or else you won’t have another chance later.”
“That’s what I wanted to say to you.”
Lin Mu Yu proudly stood on his ground as rows of lightning appeared on his steel sword.
Guan Yang had seen through the facade. He knew that Lin Mu Yu’s power was only at that of a level 38 Battle Elder, whereas he was a genuine level 48 Battle Saint. He was able to completely suppress his opponent’s power and immediately summoned his martial spirit. A wolf-like spirit appeared on Guan Yang’s blade, making it look extra sinister.
“Die, you punk!”
Guan Yang roared in anger, then manipulated his energy before him and stabbed with his blade.
Lin Mu Yu had been practicing Wind Sword Style for several days, so he was already somewhat familiar with this kind of impromptu combat. Utilizing the art of Wind Sword, he retreated like a flash of lightning and warded off the enemy’s blade attack. However, Guan Yang continued his relentless assault and attacked with countless raging flames after his wolf spirit growled fiercely.
Lin Mu Yu had completely entered a defensive position. After being shaken back several steps, his arms were numb from Guan Yang’s overwhelming strength. He silently gathered his energy as three vines erupted from the ground.
Guan Yang laughed heartily as he stomped the ground with his long boots. Flames spread out from the impact and burnt off all of the vines. He sneered, “You can only do this much? I guess we really have to say good bye now.”
Lin Mu Yu softly huffed as gourd vines appeared from every direction.
Guan Yang similarly growled and spewd flames all around as his beast spirit roared angrily. The strength of a level 48 Battle Saint was truly exceptional. The dark night sky was lit brightly by the raging flames while Lin Mu Yu’s gourd vines had mostly been turned into ashes. Only a few strands were still slithering like poisonous snakes.
In the energy ripple, Lin Mu Yu had activated Starfall Steps and dashed towards Guan Yang. Swinging his sword out before him, he used Lightning Chop!
Guan Yang lifted his palm and forcibly smacked aside the Lightning Chop. However, that was not Lin Mu Yu’s only skill. By slightly shifting his sword, Lin Mu Yu made it so that Guan Yang’s blade lost its aim. At the same time, he used Flash Step. When he appeared behind Guan Yang, there was already a longsword striking down onto the Martial Saint’s back!
Embers danced wildly in the subsequent crash. The steel sword was not able to pierce Guan Yang’s energy barrier. The man was much too strong compared to Lin Mu Yu.
“Chu Yao, Yang Gate Point!”
Right as he took an attack to his back, Lin Mu Yu created a perfect opportunity as Guan Yang had let his guard down. Yang Gate point was the acupuncture weak point on the back, so this was the exact once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity that Lin Mu Yu was looking for.
A silver needle quickly buried itself into the Yang Gate point. Guan Yang shook in surprise. At the next moment, a green vine burst out of the ground and coiled around him. The thorns on the vine used the Yang Gate point as the breakthrough point and began to embed itself into Guan Yang’s skin.
Guan Yang fell into a frenzy.