Roughly a fortnight ago.
“Help!” Nine-Lives Cat Fiend screamed at the top of her lungs, yet only a small indifferent group went to her location.
“You useless sacks of crap!”
The group didn’t know who to help because imperial troops had the place surrounded, and their leaders hadn’t given any orders. The imperial troops’ leaders were in cahoots with Fiends’ Genesis’ leader, so they couldn’t publicly assist Fiends’ Genesis. Therefore, the best they could do was stop their soldiers from advancing under the pretext of staying out of danger.
“Damn it! Let’s go!” Nine-Lives Cat Fiend dragged Drought Demon, who was stunned in place, along.
If their allies weren’t so useless, Drought Demon wouldn’t have been hurt so bad. To be fair, though, who would’ve expected the tides to turn the way they did when Fiends’ Genesis had an overwhelming advantage at the start.
Fiends’ Genesis didn’t expect Hong Jiu to actually turn around and fight Drought Demon when the latter provoked Hong Jiu. Suffice to say, nobody dared to get in between them once they started throwing cannonballs at each other as if they had unlimited ammo.
Owing to his prior injuries, Hong Jiu, despite perennially leaking blood from his mouth onto himself, gained ascendance, but he couldn’t capitalise to finish the job. Drought Demon, on the contrary, didn’t mind a protracted battle since he had refined his internal energy for decades already. For some reason, though, Hong Jiu’s morale seemed to rise with each passing second. Eventually, Hong Jiu managed to smash through Drought Demon’s true qi armour and tagged Drought Demon.
Never in Drought Demon’s life had he met an opponent who could grow under those dangerous and disadvantageous circumstances. What’s more, his opponent was able to neutralise his yin qi, come up with new ways to dismantle his attacks on the fly and even win an exchange.
Right after tagging Drought Demon, Hong Jiu jumped onto the horse carriage, howled and then departed with his allies. Hence, Nine-Lives Cat Fiend had to flee the scene with Drought Demon even though she knew the imperial troops wouldn’t attack them.
The Stars’ mission at the estate outside the capital was to tie Fiends’ Genesis to Wondrous Warrior Estate. If they failed, then the team in the capital would be in a pinch. Now that they failed the simple task and cost Drought Demon his health, their plans were derailed.
“We have drugs? Anything? Tear me a bit of cloth. I can’t stop his bleeding!” It took Master Qi about an hour to nurse Hong Jiu’s wounds while they continued speeding in the opposite direction Nine-Lives Cat Fiend went. In the end, she had to use her cold internal energy to bring his bleeding under control.
When Hong Jiu finally came around, the first thing he voiced was, “Xiaoyu, you remember which way they went?”
While Fang Xiaoyu didn’t pay particular attention, he did pay some attention, so he knew which way they went. “They went northeast. Brother Hong, what do you need to know for?”
“Northeast? Heh, that makes things easier. Hear that, Guan Ning? We’re heading northeast.”
“You’re still gasping blood,” Master Qi sadly expressed.
“Hahah- ha… ha… ha…” What was supposed to be a hearty laugh ended up becoming Hong Jiu’s wheezing session. “So what? As a girl, you lose quite a bit of blood monthly. Why should I be afraid of losing some blood?”
“Gasping blood” was an oversimplification of Hong Jiu’s condition. To say he “jumped” onto the carriage was a bit of a stretch because it was closer to him throwing himself onto it and rolling in. Had Master Qi not quickly reduced his landing’s impact, he would’ve gone through the carriage. Now, he was gasping more blood with each gasp.
Drought Demon was accomplished before Jiang Chen further developed his skillset. In his fight with Hong Jiu, he used his Drought Energy to avoid fatal damage whilst utilising thirteen different types of yin energy to keep Hong Jiu occupied with defusing attacks.
“You know your condition best. Even an untrained man could kill you in your current state, so why don’t you stop acting tough?!”
Hong Jiu opened his mouth to argue, only for blood to spill out again.
“See?! See?! See?!” Master Qi had no time to think of what else to say as she was busy wiping his blood.
Hong Jiu grabbed Master Qi’s wrist. He was out of energy, yet she couldn’t break free. With his sincere gaze on her, he uttered, “He… is targeting my brother… I can’t leave him be.”
“What can you do in your current state besides dying?” Truthfully, Master Qi was usually friendly, but she couldn’t stop herself speaking to Hong Jiu in a scathing tone for a reason unbeknownst to her.
“… Haha, I can’t die. The entire group wanted me to die, but here I am, alive and kicking. Xiaoyu, help me up.”
Fang Xiaoyu checked what sort of face Master Qi had on before daring to help Hong Jiu sit up.
Hong Jiu inhaled deeply, exhaled slowly, then assumed a serious expression. “See? I’m fine now. Let’s go.”
“I object,” asserted Master Qi.
“Miss Wen, last I checked, we aren’t close.”
Master Qi jolted. “That being the case, what I want to do is none of your concern. If you want to leave, you’ll have to get through me.”
Hong Jiu and Master Qi stared at each other for a while. Subsequently, Hong Jiu heaved a breath and conveyed, “I must go. Miss Wen, I know you’re kind at heart, but now is not the time for it.”
“Your brother is in the capital. Even if they want to harm him, northeast is the opposite direction of the capital.”
“Is a few hundred kilometres any sort of worthy obstacle for League of Assassins’ best assassin?”
While Master Qi had no retort on hand, their coach said, “I have, uh, an immature suggestion.”
Master Qi: “Go ahead.”
“We are not too far from Valley of Yearning. How about we head there? We can nurse our injuries without worrying about anyone disturbing us. And, well, how do I put it…” Guan Ning scratched his cheek. “It’s the only route I know.”
Master Qi was on board; however, Hong Jiu spoke out first. “Why would we go there? I’m going after the assassin.”
Master Qi, Fang Xiaoyu and Guan Ning: “You put a sock in it!”
Hong Jiu: Are my ideas that bad?