Ubiquitous Obvious Traps
The persuasion speech I prepared went to waste because Yan Jiangnan didn’t even bat an eye when he heard the target was arguably the strongest individual.
“It’s unarguable that you’ve improved quite fast recently, but you’re quite drunk on your power. Not even Lang Qing scares you?”
“… Not entirely. It’ is just… In your opinion, who do you think is stronger?”
Is that a trick question? Have you no shame?
“Previously, if ten of you were to fight one of him, there’d be nine corpses of you and one’s ashes.”
Given Yan Jiangnan’s former temperament, the moment Lang Qing beheaded the first one, the remaining nine would’ve fled helter skelter.
“Three of the current you against one Lang Qing, there’s a chance you might be able to exhaust him to death.”
That didn’t mean that Lang Qing was three times stronger than Yan Jiangnan. That was factoring in their experience, knowledge, skills, strategies and the sort. Even if you created two clones of the same person, there would be a flaw to exploit as long as they were working together.
From what I could discern, Lang Qing’s experience in real combat surpassed his actual combat skills. Such an opponent was hard to mentally shake up and was tough to outwit. As long as he could inhibit Yan Jiangnan’s strengths and maximise his own, killing four Yan Jiangnan’s was definitely within the realm of reality for him.
“I thought the gap would be larger. I feel reassured to hear that.”
“Did you hear me properly? I said three of you might have a chance. There’s only one of you, though.”
“That makes me feel even more confident. Since there is a big large gap between us, the primary effort will not be my responsibility.”
Do I need to add “improves cognitive function” as one of the benefits of my formula? He sounds smarter than when I first met him.
“Having worked with you until now, unbelievable things have become very believable.” Yan Jiangnan smiled. “Tiangou and Kuanggu Sheng lost to you. You are leading Zero around by the nose. As long as I follow your instructions, is our victory not guaranteed?”
Okay, I need to add “improves cognitive function” as one of the benefits of my formula!
“Glad to hear you’re quick on the uptake. All right. You will need to fight, but we need to lay some groundwork first.”
“I knew it.”
Seeing how excited he is, am I usually underhanded in my approaches?
“Since we have time, let’s go now.” I wrapped some tools up in a bag, tossed it to Yan Jiangnan and then headed out to our destination.
Yours truly wasn’t an expert on playing dirty. Yours truly’s main strategy revolved around plain and honest tactics.
Truthfully speaking, I didn’t know much about Lang Qing. I sort of remembered his Cross Phantom Whatever Broadsword, moniker however. Apparently, he was practically unmatched thus far. He seldom formed any friendships and operated solo. I had no clue how Jiang Chen convinced him to work for him. While I had yet to see him wield a broadsword, based on his tactics, there was no mistake he wielded a broadsword.
Quietly, I informed, “He wields a broadsword. I’m guessing he’ll try to finish you in the first exchange.”
“Is that the style of broadsword wielders?”
“Always. That’s how I roll.”
“For that reason, we need to make his first attack fail. As long as you can weather his first attack, the rest is easy. Until then, employ various strategies to set a clever trap. Once he loses his cool, his attack will fail.”
“But even if I survive the first attack… the remaining attacks…”
“What remaining attacks? Who keeps slashing after their first attack fails? Name a broadsword wielder who’s that shameless.”
I saw a droplet of sweat flow down the side of Yan Jiangnan’s face.
“I am starting to feel concerned now…”
“About what? Give me the bag.”
We had arrived at the very place Kuanggu Sheng and Tiangou threw down, which was also the scheduled arena for tomorrow.
I pulled the bag off Yan Jiangnan’s shoulder and emptied it out onto the ground.
“And these are…?”
“The magic tools we need.”
Yan Jiangnan scrutinised the dark, plain, straight items that had the smell of soil on them and then asked, “… A… shovel?”
I shook my head, then pointed to the item next to it. “And a pickaxe.”
Seemingly following my train of thought, Yan Jiangnan licked his lips, tilted his head a few times and finally queried, “The clever trap of ours is…”
“Correct.” I picked up a shovel and passed one to Yan Jiangnan. “Dig.”
“You dig here. I’ll dig over there.”
“Time is of the essence. Get digging.” With that, I strolled off with my shovel.
“Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait!”
I looked over my shoulder. “What?”
“Elder, may I ask, will there be another trap in addition to the holes we dig?”
“Are we going to bury something in the holes, then?”
“No. What would you bury?”
Yan Jiangnan narrowed his eyes as if he just got punched three times.
By the time I had two shovels, I looked over to see Yan Jiangnan still had yet to start. “Any other questions?”
“Can I opt out?”
Man, what is your problem? Why are you suddenly backing out?
“You’re too soft. You can’t kill someone you don’t have a grudge with? What are you ever going to accomplish in life? Besides, you just need to cripple him, not kill him. Do you cherish life that much?”
“I am cherishing my own life!”
“We are digging holes to defeat someone of his calibre?!”
I flapped my eyelids. “You have a better idea?”
“Stop standing around. Get cracking.”
I dug all night, went back for a respite and then came back later to continue where we left off. We were around half way done with what I wanted by the end of the second shift.
While I was satisfied with the ten-odd holes, Yan Jiangnan wore a deadpan look.
“What’s the matter?”
Yan Jiangnan shook his head. “Elder, I can easily hop over these holes… Lang Qing is three times better than I am.”
“Even if he was ten times better, he’d still fall in: even a tiger wouldn’t be able to escape its fate.”
“Not even a dog would fall into these tiny holes! Elder, have I done something wrong? Are you trying to get rid of me?”
“Hohoho, what are you up to, my brothers?”
I didn’t mention I heard Gu Xianxian approaching because it was Gu Xianxian. As he wasn’t privy to what happened between us, Yan Jiangnan immediately sent me questions with his gaze after flinching. I shook my head to indicate not to harm Gu Xianxian.
Cackling, Gu Xianxian inquired, “Coming up with ways to cheat against Lang Qing, aren’t ya? Let me join. I am the main protagonist of this arc, after all!”
As soon as I saw Gu Xianxian stride toward us, I warned, “Stop. We’re only half done.”
Gu Xianxian looked down and remarked, “Yo, there are holes in the ground.”
Yan Jiangnan grabbed his own face. “Not even someone with a dead brain would fall in!”
Gu Xianxian stepped to his left and then jumped. We heard a crack and then heard him tumbling a dozen times and still going.
Yan Jiangnan’s mouth hung open.
I grumbled, “I told you we aren’t done. Stop ruining our progress.”