A Life of Pride. Who is Competing? (Part 3)
Emperor Yuansheng left with Dugu first, everyone else getting into position as per Ming Feizhen’s instructions and retreating in an arc-shape formation. As one would expect from the experienced soldiers of Evil Spirits, they split off into five teams of a hundred men, one hunting their careening prey, three cutting off the three escape routes and the last group walking down Green Prince.
Yi Wangyou, who took one side while Elder Shou, Lie Shang and Luo Siming guarded one side each of Green Prince, shouted, “Master, please decide what our next course of action should be!”
“I-I-I…” stuttered Green Prince.
Had it not for the individual covered in a black robe, Green Prince would’ve died as he didn’t even see the arrow zooming straight through Green Prince’s defence line.
“Stuttering when he’s needed. Are all descendants of Li Clan such wusses?”
“It’s a girl?” Green Prince inwardly remarked upon hearing the individual speak, late to catch on unlike Elder Shou. “Where have I heard this voice before? For some reason, I’m terrified to hear her voice,” Green Prince noted to himself.
Annoyed at the dumbfounded look on Green Prince’s face while she was deflecting a rain of arrows with her sword, she, in a low voice, asked, “Lyufei, you don’t remember me?”
“B-B-Big Sis?! Why are you here?!” Green Prince almost genuflected out of instinct
She could be gentle, but she could also be ferocious, two contrasting personalities that was even more prevalent when she was younger – Shen Yiren!
Although Shen Yiren was childhood friends with all of the Princes and Princesses, her relationship with Green Prince was different to her relationship to the others. Owing to his lack of achievements in the martial arts and literacy fields, nobody in the imperial palace liked him, and his big appetite didn’t help his case.
Every time there was a fight amongst the children in the palace, Shen Yiren was the first one to throw her hands nine times out of ten. Her parents had to plead for forgiveness on her behalf numerous times back when she was younger. Orange Prince and Green Prince were resoundingly pounded in two on one scrimmages back in the day when they challenged her, and Green Prince never forgot the fear of her savage beatings.
“I don’t know what you’re doing in Huzhou, but there are barbarians from Beijiang trying to invade our lands. Show them the balls and pride of a Prince of the Central Plain’s kingdom. Swallow your fear, and then tell everyone” – Shen Yiren put an end to using her stifled voice – “that we have to fight!”
Of the three escape teams, Yu Feiyuan’s team was bound to be the safest because of her top-notch qinggong. Plus, she had enough might to frighten off her pursuers on a single arm, so the minions learnt not to get too close. Su Xiao’s Ancient Cold was had the edge that could inflict grave injury even if he just grazed them, and his qinggong level didn’t lag behind Yu Feiyuan’s too much. Accordingly, they could stay out of harm’s way even though they couldn’t mount a meaningful offence.
The man carrying the greatest risk, of course, was Long Zaitian, yet he ceaselessly insulted his enemies and provoked them in the name of drawing the enemies away from Emperor Yuansheng. Even though Long Zaitian didn’t have the best qinggong, it was decent. Nonetheless, it was only good for dodging arrows in his situation since he had to stall the enemy for long enough for Emperor Yuansheng to finish his retreat. In other words, his ability to keep up his pace was the difference between surviving the ordeal and turning into a live acupuncture model.
“If you’re a man, put your pussy bows down and come fight me with a blade, sissies! I’ll come forward and mush you critters! If I take a single step back, I’ll call myself a pussy,” Long Zaitian provoked, playing to the pride of warriors from Beijiang. After all the talk, Long Zaitian ran another direction, albeit in the opposite direction the imperial court’s group ran. Technically, then… he didn’t run backwards.
The affronted warriors from Beijiang brandished their blades and chased Long Zaitian.
Where the hell did Ming Feizhen run off to? He looked as cool as a cucumber! Did he see this coming?
“This way, Master!”
Emperor Yuansheng and Dugu had the easiest time escaping for the reason that they didn’t have any side missions unlike the others. With Yu Feiyuan’s group assisting them, they shook off their enemies first and continued to Canhu Town.
Dugu pulled Emperor Yuansheng behind him immediately when an aroma from the green toxic smokescreen ahead alarmed him: “Who’s there?!”
“Haha.” The poison-wielding elder, who could’ve been anywhere from seventy to ninety judging from his appearance, meandered out from behind tree whilst coughing. His ability to have gotten ahead of Dugu and Emperor Yuansheng despite their speed contradicted the impression his appearance gave.
“Good, good, good.” The elder peered into the sky and mumbled, “This mist of mine that can reach the heavens from hell can also induce nausea and loss of movement in adepts even if they inhale just a small amount. To remain level headed and pick up on its smell is commendable, young man. You are blessed with a good subordinate, Mr. Li.”
“You are Nanjiang’s Poison King!” Emperor Yuansheng drew the conclusion from Poison King’s reference of his poison mist reaching the heavens from hell.
“Haha, cough, cough, this old one didn’t expect anyone to remember him after all these years as a recluse.”
Emperor Yuansheng adjusted his speech style so that he didn’t breathe too much to be on the safe side: “There are few records on you in the Central Plain since you have not been here for long. However, this one has known of you for a long time. It is an honour to meet you.”
“Hehe, cough, cough, hehehe. Honour? Everyone who encounters this old one regrets not doing more good deeds in their previous life. Do you not wonder what people will say when they learnt you came to search for Shen Yiren, yet cowered away in Jiangnan?”
“You know about what happened to Yiren?!”
“If you wish to know, feel free to investigate. Asking this old one will not get you anywhere.”
I heard Nanjiang’s Poison King is an eccentric man, so why is he speaking so politely to me. It’s as if… he knows who I am. Ah, I don’t have time for this right now.
Poison King chuckled as he stepped forward, dismissing Dugu as a threat.
“Please get back, Master. I will stop him.”
“No, no, haha, cough, cough.” Body oozing purple and green mist, Poison King went on, “You should tell him to run and keep running until this old one cannot see him because… everything this old one sets his sights on will become ashes!”
Poison King sent green and purple trails out for the first roar of the day!