Youth in White. Beasts of the Dark Forest. (Part 1)
The forest leaves resembled dancers accompanying a performance between two martial artists. The clash of their weapons and snapping branches kept the leaves in rhythm.
Who the hell is this kid? God damn, he’s tough.
Teng Ji had been on a roll – a second Zhao Zilong – recently thanks to Shaman Monarch and his Divine Consort sharing everyone’s weaknesses, disciplines, levels and the flaws in their formations. Even though they gradually strengthened their rear, he was still able to startle them each time. After all, he was akin to a ghost that could come and go as he fancied.
Besides pocketing a handsome sum for his work, the maids Shaman Monarch sent Teng Ji were always praising him and offering to cook for him. In addition, he made two significant improvements in his skills thanks to Shaman Monarch’s pointers when he had plateaued for a decade. Reliving the glory days similar to the days under Gu Wuzhu prompted Teng Ji to consider a life as Shaman Monarch’s vassal henceforth. Although his subordinates were ruthless, they were softer than the bandits under Gu Wuzhu.
Teng Ji’s streak of good luck ended when a young swordsman adorning white from head to toe stepped up to the plate. Teng Ji had no clue how the swordsman found him, but the polite swordsman was a tough nut to crack.
“This one is the sixth disciple of Mount Daluo’s Huayu of the World – Lian Zhuiyue. Please go easy on him.”
The girls squealed no matter what minor things Lian Zhuiyue said or did.
“Go easy on you, my foot!”
Teng Ji hated hypocritical, sanctimonious scholars with a vengeance, so he couldn’t even be bothered remembering Lian Zhuiyue’s name.
Teng Ji went for Lian Zhuiyue’s head; however, Lian Zhuiyue caught the broadsword between two fingers, denying it another inch. If Teng Ji was educated, he’d be able to identify Savage Slay’s “Conqueror Finger”, a technique that embraced flexibility.
Lian Zhuiyue furrowed his brows. “This is our first time meeting. Why are you trying to kill this one?”
Humiliated, Teng Ji pulled his broadsword out, then started swinging again.
If not counting Tianfeng Xuanyuan mimicking Sima Huai, there were two Mount Daluo disciples back at camp with knitted brows.
“What’s going on?” Tianfeng Xuanyuan repeated after Sima Huai.
Sima Huai smacked his brother over the head. “Is this the right time for games?!” He then stomped on Tianfeng Xuanyuan’s foot. “What stupidity is Sixth up to now?”
Xia’er: “Right?! The beast has awoken, yet he’s gone off to fight my brother’s subordinate! What an idiot!”
Because Teng Ji had become a thorn in the side of Emperor Yuansheng’s group with his ever-increasing skill and experience as a bandit, Lian Zhuiyue, being the heralded handsome, skilled defender of justice he was, offered to persuade Teng Ji to turn over a new leaf. He asserted Teng Ji wasn’t a bad man but was still unable to see an alternative lifestyle after his bloody history.
It wouldn’t matter if the circumstances difference, but there was a dragon roar just days ago that was audible to everyone. While others might’ve been confused, Mount Daluo’s disciples’ tensions were running high already for a safe haven no longer existed in Nanjiang.
In spite of his concern, Sima Huai still couldn’t resist admonishing Xia’er. “Enough. Sixth has nothing on you. Even if he was here, he wouldn’t be able to offer any brighter ideas.”
“Did I ask him to come up with a plan?” Xia’er pouted. “I want him to protect me! If I was going to depend on you to protect me, I’d be eaten eight times!”
“How would you be eaten eight times with me here? At most, you’d be eaten once!”
“Isn’t that the same thing?!”
Tianfeng Xuanyuan took out a pear to fulfil his quota of one pear per day, but he spent ages staring at it as if it reminded him of Ming Feizhen. Ming Feizhen told him he’d be back when Tianfeng Xuanyuan finished the basket of pears. Suddenly, he dropped the pear when his hand instinctively flinched. He went from happy to concerned and then despair. He tucked his chin into his collarbone and then bolted out.
“What’s Fifth Brother’s deal?”
“Crud! Fifth’s senses are sharper than ours. He must’ve sensed something. After him!”
Sima Huai only needed a couple of steps to catch up to Tianfeng Xuanyuan. Owing to his qinggong specialty, Sima Huai’s sense of smell was heightened beyond others, which was how he noticed an odd smell. Coming from the forest was the faint, yet impossible to miss, stench of wild beasts.
Zhao Zilong – Also known as Zhao Yun. Teng Ji’s infiltration behind enemy lines is being compared to the story of Zhao Zilong breaking through Cao Cao’s forces to rescue Liu Chan during the escape from Changban.