A Life of Pride. Who is Competing? (Part 5)
“Kill these cornholes!”
“Fire at him! Don’t let him get away!”
“Abels isn’t worth crap! Stupid Spirits have no balls!” Long Zaitian slighted.
It was an absolute circus in the woods with shouting, arrows flying and footsteps that shook the earth spreading in multiple directions. River Monster’s other subordinates weren’t much better off compared to her, though the same could be said for Long Zaitian.
Because he had to hold back to stall the enemy, Long Zaitian’s task to defend himself whilst taunting and running wore him out faster than if he were to perform just one task. Thus, he noticed the gap between him and his predators gradually diminished after a big lap. What started off as a run and insult mission deteriorated into a laborious power jog, stumble, tripping – even rolling on the ground.
“Wait, wait, let’s talk this out!” Long Zaitian urged.
“Who did you say isn’t worth crap, you loudmouth?”
“My bad, my bad, it was a slip of the tongue. I was saying that Abels isn’t crap… He’s dog constipation!”
“Put more arrows in him than he has blood cells!”
Twenty of Evil Spirits’ archers fired an array of arrows in a specific formation to trap Long Zatian and end him. They guffawed as he dropped to the ground and rolled what appeared to be random directions, scaring off dirt. To their bewilderment, even though mud found its way onto his clothing without an issue, their finishing shots couldn’t find their target, with him dodging hundreds of arrows by millimetres.
Speed was the only key to survival in a hail of arrows; reaction sped was also paramount. Long Zaitian, who was a step away from knocking on Divine Realm’s doors, evaded the arrows so quickly that one might think he was equipped with foresight or enacting a choreographed routine with his team.
The person who bequeathed Long Zaitian’s life-saving style to him was a broke daoist whom he donated a pouch of money to after finding himself wanting to help the man at the eatery of a daoist monastery. The daoist at the back of the Guandi shrine at the foot of the abandoned mountain next to Mount Zisheng gave Long Zaitian a thin yellow book – Racoon Dog Tumbling – as repayment for the donation.
Racoon Dog Tumbling paled in comparison to qinggong and movement for close-quarters combat. The style separated itself from the pack through its unorthodox learning structure, requiring its student to start from within – creating an armour of qi as opposed to training limbs. Typically, qi armour strength derived from internal strength reaching a certain extent. The reasons some were impregnable to blades, while some were vulnerable to club-type weapons, needed to be assessed on an individual basis.
Qi armours needed to be consciously manipulated and maintained – generally speaking for those who focus on developing an armoured body. The downside to focusing solely on developing armour was that their armour couldn’t match someone who obtained their qi armour via developing their internal strength.
Racoon Dog Tumbling broke the mould because it only worked when trying to run from something or someone – also because the armour stuck to the user’s body through linking up with their qi. As a result, in exchange for higher sensitivity, since it was linked to its user, it sacrificed a degree of robustness. Whenever the layer of qi protecting the practitioner’s body felt a hit, they’d roll along the ground on instinct. Hence, Long Zaitian avoided the arrows by only a hair’s breadth.
“Screw it. He has the luck of the devil. Draw your melee weapons, and butcher him!”
Long Zaitian was literally a magic fish on a chopping board. Regardless, there was a limit to how much internal energy one had. No matter how much energy he had, he was fighting two hundred men who were cycling between squads to ensure they went at him in tip-top condition, while he didn’t have anyone to switch out with for time to recover.
Unsurprisingly, Long Zaitian could barely roll after constantly dodging for a while. Even if he could still roll, they also had long enough to figure out his pattern, meaning they could divide themselves and conquer; there are only so many directions one can move, after all.
Exhausted, Long Zaitian let his fatigue put him on his back. Even though he was defenceless, Evil Spirits’ team nervously circled around him, afraid he was playing possum after his stupendous performance.
“Freaking tired me out. I can’t believe how long it took to corner this guy.”
“I ought to cut him three times, at least.”
“I’ll start.” Evil Spirits’ warrior closed in and said, “Do a better job of picking your opponents next time, dimwit.” The soldier then swung down, only to go zooming toward the clouds.
“I don’t get it,” Long Zaitian blearily remarked from the ground. His extended arm flopped to the ground after he punched the soldier, a sign that he was spent. His pale countenance further reinforced the fact that he was done, though there was not a single trace of fear to be found on his face. Eyes on the ground, he jibed, “I’ll bully you goons any day of the weak. You ever seen a soldier run from a thug?”
“Screw speaking to him. Kill him!”
None of them went in to finish their prey because of Long Zaitian’s tone that set off alarms in their heads. From their perspective, they had become the predator staring at them before they knew it.
With the corner of his lips hiked up, Long Zaitian, in a low voice, commanded, “Kill them.”
Succeeding the simultaneous response from the group in hiding, the sound of sharp blades puncturing Evil Spirits’ men and their cries one by one resonated toward Long Zaitian and into his ears. Bloodless husks piled up on top of each other once they let out their death throes.
“Do a better job of picking your opponents next time, dimwits.”
The strewn bodies revealed Long Zaitian standing at the centre with one of bandits at his mercy, smothered in his own blood. Around them were over three thousand soldiers wearing black armour doused in blood, the mythical qilin beast on their shoulder armour still begging for more blood and broadswords hanging from their waists, ready to feast on flesh. Qilins are a mythical creature in the realm of man and a creature seldom seen in heaven that only flashes its fangs when summoned. Qilins are mythical beings but bloodthirsty Qilin Guards are not.
Guandi – Also known as Guan Yu.