Youth in White. Beasts of the Dark Forest. (Part 3)
“What was that again? Hero Has No Regrets? Excellent skill. You’re an excellent swordsman at such a young age.” The man in black didn’t show any signs of anger.
Sima Huai flitted up to Lian Zhuiyue’s side and signalled for the latter to sheath his sword using his eyes. “You don’t seem bothered despite it being sliced in eight. If anything, your reaction makes it seem as though it deserved to die.”
“It did, haha. It made my commute here uncomfortable, so why shouldn’t it be killed? Thank you for killing it.”
Teng Ji ranted, “Your underhanded tactics aren’t worth piss. If you’re a real man, fight me man to man. Give me three free shots to start. Let’s see if you can keep your head on your shoulders.”
“I am terrible at fighting one on one. I prefer ganging up.”
“Perfect. Four of us against you is ganging up, right? Let’s rumble!”
Lian Zhuiyue placed his hands behind his backs, suggesting they should exclude him from the quartet.
“Third Brother,” Tianfeng Xuanyuan whispered, “I can still smell it.”
Because Tianfeng Xuanyuan was pure-minded, his telegnosis was a lot sharper compared to his siblings. When it came to Six Evils, his sensitivity towards them was second only to Ming Feizhen.
Surely nobody from their group invited the man in black. Breaking the taboo of sneak attacking in the martial world is the equivalent of courting death, yet he remained aloof after they thwarted his attempt. As such, Sima Huai couldn’t help suspecting the man had another trick up his sleeve. Moreover, the man said he was releasing “cattle” to “graze”, which was plural. One snake wasn’t plural…
“Excellent insight, Mr. Sima, hohoho,” the mystery man commended.
Sima Huai kept a straight face, though he was alarmed. Unlike Hong Jiu, Lian Zhuiyue respected all the rules of the pugilistic world and always introduced himself as Mount Daluo’s disciples. Therefore, his appearance and skills were easily recognisable. In turn, if the man discerned “Hero Has No Regrets” was from Empty Palms famous twin – Swordless – then it was nothing surprising. Mr. Sima was a name Sima Huai used exclusively at Night Fortress. That being the case, the mystery man already looked into their profiles. In turn, this meeting was no coincidence.
Seemingly reading Sima Huai’s mind again, the man said, “Not bad, truly a man deserving of respect. Full points, except you’re wrong about one thing. It’s true I want to kill you, but it’s also true I’m letting my cattle graze tonight. It just so happens that both events are taking place simultaneously. Frankly, I don’t need a plan to kill you. I can do it whenever I please.”
“Let’s hear how.”
“I like your guts. What if I told you the little baby Hero Lian killed was not the only one, not one tenth, not even one hundredth of the group?”
Like an orchestra, rustling grass accompanied rhythmic hisses while a variety of coloured scales wove around on the ground, taking up all of the earth. The sweet smell emanating from the snakes’ bodies was somehow sweet unlike the gag-inducing stench from before. Howbeit, Teng Ji noticed his vision becoming a blur and frustration seizing him when he inhaled only a small amount of the toxin.
Sima Huai ceased inhalation. “Hero Li, do not breathe in. The poison on the snakes is called ‘thousand bats autumn companion’. It draws more venomous snakes over whilst causing harm to humans. If you breathe in the poison from a lot of them, the impact will be severe.”
Unlike Mount Daluo’s three unbothered disciples, Teng Ji could already tell how dangerous it was since he was already gagging involuntarily. He rarely brushed up on poison knowledge because his internal energy was potent enough to neutralise many poisons. In his defence, ‘thousand bats autumn companion’ was no common poison. He pinched his nose and thundered, “Pussies use poison! You scheming cornhole!”
“Heh, you truly are Gu Wuzhu’s mighty subordinate. I admire you for not crumbling and begging for mercy,” the mystery man remarked.
The appearance of an army of snakes was more than enough to plunge a target into despair, much less them hissing constantly.
“For you to keep up your derision and try to win when you are outnumbered is also admirable,” Sima Huai said.
Tianfeng Xuanyuan stood to the posterior left, while Lian Zhuiyue stood to the posterior right as they would in a roll-call lineup, where they needed to stand in spots according to seniority.
“I’m curious: how am I at the numbers disadvantage, Mr. Sima?”
“Allow me to enlighten you. Heavenly Wind Advent. Argent Moon Gem!”
Metal rattled as a group emerged from trees. The mystery man bound back before a hail of arrows punctured him. The fierce snakes cried as they helplessly succumbed to their injuries.
Sima Huai locked eyes with the squinting, savage man and grinned. “Thankfully, we can finally make use of the months’ of preparation. I’ve been waiting for you, Shaman Faith’s Death Spirit Shaman.”