A Life of Pride. Who is Competing? (Part 12)
A-Lan and Abels’ romance was a gift from the heavens for both of them; who could expect to find someone so similar to themselves in such a vast world and be together? While people assumed he was a three-headed monster with six arms, blew away armies with one breath and laughed as he obliterated people, A-Lan could literally feel the pain he felt on his journey to where he was and understood that was the reason he had such a big heart.
Abels’ principle was to never kill the innocent and never kill unless there was no alternative because he had been through hell and back, granting him the perspective on how precious life was that many others wouldn’t have. Ever since Luo Ming approached them a year ago, though, Abels began to change.
A-Lan didn’t trust Luo Ming, who was supposed to be training in seclusion, for a second ever since the latter approached them on his own accord in Beijiang, dressed as a common wanderer would. Although she didn’t have any evidence to suggest he would harm them, she couldn’t name any reason to trust him.
Similarly to his sword, Luo Ming’s smile was unreadable, and the fact that it was impossible to word the impression of him further fuelled A-Lan’s unease. If there was anything she gained from years and years of living on the run, it was that anything ambiguous was a hazard.
A-Lan never expected Abels to readily accept Luo Ming’s offer to cooperate after the two spent hours discussing something in private. Debate as she may, A-Lan couldn’t change Abels’ mind. It was also then that her relationship with him would change forever; their chemistry vanished without any prior signs. Howbeit, she chose to trust her man. Knowing the ordeals Abels trudged through, A-Lan had faith that her man would blaze a trail for Evil Spirits if they were ever cornered, just as he did that night they got past Baima.
Baima truly embodied his description as King of Hell – at least it was true for A-Lan. Never had she seen anyone as composed, methodical and formidable as he was, yet Abels took him on solo to ensure their men could cross the border as living people. Abels’ valiant display only called into question again why he would collaborate with Luo Ming, even taking in the risky factor that was Nanjiang’s Poison King.
As a former resident of Nanjiang, A-Lan naturally knew of the diabolic deeds associated with Nanjiang’s Poison King; the man’s appearance almost guaranteed bloodshed and tragedy. Be that as it may, nothing she asserted could deter Abels from bringing him on board. Starting from the day Poison King joined them, Abels started to keep to himself more and more, becoming too hard for her to read.
Due to River Monster, A-Lan, forcefully and recklessly unlocking her meridians that Shen Yiren sealed, she harmed herself internally to the point that she wasn’t at ten percent of her former self. To compound matters, she had to run for her life. The weakness in her legs, nevertheless, couldn’t hold a candle to the anger and sorrow inundating her as a result of her comrades’ downfall and lover’s demise. Though leaves rained down on her, she thought they were boulders. Speaking while tired and fleeing from death is folly, yet she couldn’t stop muttering Abels name, afraid she’d never get to call him again.
“You need not continue, Miss. You have reached a dead end.”
Whether it was an environmental dead end or man-made dead end made no difference because the four individuals concealing their appearances in black garments positioned themselves around A-Lan already – a formation that an expert on team fights, such as A-Lan, would immediately recognise.
A-Lan knew about the four wielding different weapons – and possibly members of different sects – serving directly under Luo Ming. After all, knowing who you are cooperating with is vital.
Luo Ming, you’re a phony. Hero, my foot. At the end of the day, you have these four assassins getting their hands dirty for you.
“Heh, Luo Ming… send you to silence me?” A-Lan couldn’t contain the anger gushing out of her mouth and eyes.
The hunky leader replied, “We dare not make assumptions as to why Master ordered your execution. With that said, would you not be happier if you were to reunite with your fallen comrades instead of living an indignant, pitiful life on the run?”
“Happier? Happier you say? Why don’t you let me kill you, and then you can come back to share how much happier you are as a dead man?”
“How enjoyable is life? How painful is death?”
“Easy for you to say!” A-Lan tripped on her first stride forward.
Once the hunky leader closed in without A-Lan even seeing his feet movement, she drew a dagger out and charged the man down, determined to take down one of them if that was all she could achieve before she had to die because she knew she couldn’t defeat a single one of them fair and square. It wasn’t just about her pride or rage; it was about proving to the world that Evil Spirits’ reputation was all a fairy tale.
The leader caught the blade aimed at his chest between two fingers. “You are tired, Miss,” he claimed as he snatched A-Lan’s dagger from her. She didn’t underestimate them; they were just beyond her expectations.
Is he an assassin from League of Assassins? He’s clearly a professional assassin from his hunting strategy, tiring me out before swooping in to finish me. Is he…
“How enjoyable is life? How painful is death?” he repeated as if he could see what was on A-Lan’s mind.
“Hahaha.” A-Lan’s laugh was all bitterness.
From him to Luo Ming and then to assassins from the kingdoms in Nanjiang. All these years of running, only to discover I never escaped the claws of fate. How laughable. All I did was take detours to my inexorable end.
“Why?! Why do all of you want me to die? Why must you kill me, my people, my friends, my lover, everyone I care about?! Hahaha, kill me! Come on! Hahahaha.”
“I beg your pardon.” The man jabbed his qi through to A-Lan.
A-Lan knew she would faint when her stomach gave out. It felt close to her innards being replaced by some kind of black hole. Then nausea crept from her abdomen to her head, and the world went black.
Is this it for me? It hurts less than I expected.
“Thanks, Ol’ Ku. You know what to report, yeah?”
“If it is your command, your subject shall oblige, my lord.”
Don’t I know this voice? Who is this lord?
What happened? Where am I? I’ve never rode a horse that could gallop so smoothly. This compares to… when Abels took me on a tour of the mountains in Beijiang using his qingong. Did his soul come to pick me up?
After a blank window, A-Lan felt uncomfortably hot – too hot for it to be winter. She figured she wasn’t dead at that point since dead bodies are cold. She opened her eyes a tad and, to her bewilderment, she saw an elder.