Book 4 Chapter 11 - The Blood Flowing Beneath One’s Feet

“There is a bloody smell.”

While silently moving through the spruce trees, Lin Xi’s brows suddenly jumped. He stopped, suppressing his voice and saying to Bian Linghan.

Bian Linghan forcefully took a deep breath, and then she immediately nodded in a serious manner towards Lin Xi.

The smell of blood was extremely faint. Even in the extremely clean ice and snow weather, if one didn’t pay close attention, it would be difficult to capture.

After a bit of hesitation, he made a gesture towards Bian Linghan. The two of them separated a few dozen steps in an extremely tacit manner, proceeding towards the bloody smell in an even more careful manner.

After several breaths of time, the two of them stopped at the same time. Bian Linghan stayed in place without moving, carefully examining her surroundings. Meanwhile, Lin Xi walked up to the side of a spruce tree, squatting down.

They found the source of the bloody smell.

A small half of a snow ringed pheasant’s corpse and innards were precisely below this spruce tree. From the scattered feathers and the way it was ripped apart, it seemed like this snow pheasant was hunted by someone, a large half of it skinned and devoured alive.

Suddenly, Lin Xi crouched down again, laying flat on the snowy land, looking forward.

He discovered some unusual levels of ice and snow. After advancing a few dozen steps, some light footprints appeared in his line of sight.

He immediately made a hand signal towards Bian Linghan, and then pointed at a high elevation slope to the side. Bian Linghan immediately headed towards that hillside silently, while he also quickly followed her.

At the very top, he and Bian Linghan saw that the footprints extended all the way along a rather moderate slope, made its way through a streamlet, and then entered the spruce trees on the other side.

“Eating so much of the snow pheasant meat at once will easily make one feel unwell. Moreover, if it really was a Thunder Academy student, they likely wouldn’t leave behind a small half, they’d definitely clean it up and bring it with them.”

“Then this person has a high chance of being a prisoner.”

“Judging from the footprints, we can assume that this person was here less than two hours ago. If we follow these tracks, there is a high chance of catching up.”

After exchanging their thoughts with extremely suppressed voices, Lin Xi and Bian Linghan got off the slope, following these footprints quickly and silently.

There was only a single person’s footprints. It seemed like the prisoners really were scattered quite far from each other across this spacious Ten Fingers Ridge.

However, right when they were about to approach the streamlet formed from melted snow, Lin Xi suddenly felt as if something wasn’t quite right. However, as for what exactly was off, he couldn’t explain it at all.

Just as he was looking at the streamlet and the footprints on the other shore, his brows furrowing together, an indescribable movement suddenly appeared below his feet.

Before he could have any kind of reaction, a black spear already fiercely stabbed out from below his feet!

Previously, when Tong Wei explained the so-called Wind Scars and Falling Moon, he already told him and Bian Linghan that the hardest places to detect, the directions that were most difficult to react to, were precisely diagonally above one's head.

It was because one always looked forward, if there was any activity, they would always look around them or raise their heads, they wouldn’t immediately turn around, and then look up.

However, Tong Wei taught archery… no arrows could come from underground. That was why there was one thing he didn’t say, which was that things that stabbed out from the earth, were also the things that were most difficult to react to.

It was because very rarely did one immediately turn around, and then look downwards.

That was why the moment his breathing paused, the black spear already pierced through Lin Xi’s left calf from underground, the spear tip carrying a horrifying amount of blood as it protruded from the front of Lin Xi leg. The tremendous power produced by the spear made it impossible for Lin Xi to continue standing, his body going down on one knee.

When Bian Linghan’s cry of alarm that was especially ear-piercing sounded from within this quiet mountain field, the bloody black spear powerfully retracted, and then a figure scattered the ice and snow in an even more domineering manner, leaping out with a Black Flower Spear in hand, a border army long blade at his waist.

The deathly pale-faced Bian Linghan held a dagger in hand, blocking in front of Lin Xi whose calf had been completely penetrated through, while this domineering figure instead didn’t immediately pursue them, instead backing up two steps, holding the spear in hand. As if he was trying to dispel the chilliness around his body, he released a fierce breath, and then looked at Lin Xi with an unhurried stance, saying with a shallow laugh, “Lin Xi, I didn’t expect us to meet again so quickly.”

The one who was hiding in the snow, scattered the ice and snow in such a domineering manner, was precisely the one who was defeated by Lin Xi in Half Snow Gray Plains, Wanyan Muye.

Bian Linghan’s body was shaking slightly, waves of bitterness emerging in her mouth.

She knew that the other party had late stage Soul Knight cultivation, and his martial skill was extremely astonishing. Right now, there wasn’t much distance between Lin Xi and herself, so their bows couldn’t display any effects at all. Blood continuously poured out from Lin Xi’s foot… there was no way the two of them could defeat the other party, while once Lin Xi and herself were defeated, Green Luan Academy’s side would directly lose two people.

“I never expected to meet you so quickly either.”

Lin Xi looked at Wanyan Muye, after releasing a bitter laugh, he thought that even though he was already being quite careful, able to judge some people and matters more accurately than normal people, towards clues and tracks, he was still not as great as Hua Jiyue.

Only now did he completely understand why he felt as if something wasn’t quite right just now; the footsteps from the streamlet to where Wanyan Muye was hiding were a bit too deep.

This meant that Wanyan Muye also noticed that this snowy region had a vacant space that was naturally suitable for hiding. Thus, he purposely walked past this place, past the streamlet, and then backed up along his own footprints, only then did he hide himself. As for how he dug himself inside to prevent leaving any outside signs, Lin Xi also studied this in his Wilderness Survival course. As long as one carefully completely cut out the hard snow layer at the very top, patting the snow inside down, supporting the top with some fine branches, and then returned the frozen shell back, then this type of trap would be complete.

Hua Jiyue seemed to have a unique talent in the judgment of fine clues and traces, if she was here, she would have instinctively noticed something was off. However, Lin Xi and Bian Linghan didn’t have this talent, which was why Wanyan Muye’s ambush succeeded.

“In Half Snow Gray Plains, you stabbed me, but now, it is me who has stabbed you.” When he saw that Lin Xi still wasn’t all that panic-stricken, Wanyan Muye was also a bit surprised. However, he naturally didn’t feel like Lin Xi had any chance to turn things around. The wound this spear strike opened up was extremely great, already tearing through many great blood vessels. Forget about fighting, if Lin Xi didn’t quickly use fire to stop the bleeding, he would directly lose his life from the blood loss and coldness.

That was why a complacent expression appeared at the corners of his lips, looking at Lin Xi while saying, “Even though I just couldn’t figure out how you were able to stab me back then, you will never have a chance to stab me again after today… Even if you have some type of unique talent, once you are gone, your talent and my confusion will no longer exist either, so I don’t have to waste brainpower trying to figure it out either.”

Bian Linghan’s body suddenly went cold, able to sense Wanyan Muye’s killing intent. However, right at this time, Lin Xi still didn’t seem alarmed in the slightest, nor did he pay the injury on his leg any attention. Instead, he seriously looked at Wanyan Muye, asking, “You plan to get rid of us here?”

Wanyan Muye replied with a mocking tone. “This time, the competition between the two academies does not restrict taking lives, meanwhile, for us, you all are naturally a great enemy. That is why right now, you two can run with everything you have, but if you cannot escape and die under my hands, please do not have any complaints.”

“After saying all of this, isn’t it still that you just want to kill us.” Lin Xi looked at Wanyan Muye, his brows furrowing deeply. “It seems like you all never planned to seize victory from the prisoners right from the start, but rather only planned to kill us all.”

Wanyan Muye nodded, laughing and saying, “Instead of finding those prisoners who ran off to heaven knows where, making some tracks and letting you all bite the bait is much easier. Moreover, if all five from our Thunder Academy make it out fine, while your side’s five individuals are either crippled or dead, then the victory and defeat of this competition between our two academies will be even more apparent. How can this compare to a victory or defeat decided by one more or one less prisoner?”

Lin Xi looked at Wanyan Muye as if he was an earnest student, then seriously asked, “Then what about Helan Yuexi? The first time he saw me in Half Snow Gray Plains, he immediately wanted to kill me, why was that?”

“I would have forgotten about this if you didn’t bring it up.” Wanyan Muye laughed, and then looked at Lin Xi in an extremely meaningful manner, saying, “Brother Helan had specially instructed us that if we were to run into you in this competition, we must spare no means to kill you. As for the reason, I believe it is because you also dared to cultivate with no thought of personal safety above the snow line’s harsh environment, making him feel a bit threatened… His aspirations are a bit higher than ours, naturally, he is even more unwilling to meet any existences that can threaten him, regardless of whether it is in cultivation or in his official career.”

Bian Linghan’s current mood was extremely complicated, her thin and now purple lips were tightly pursed, her complexion even more gloomy than the distant mountains shrouded under the dark clouds. Based on her understanding of Lin Xi, she knew that there was definitely a reason why he said so much while his blood was flowing out of his body, but what exactly was this reason? Could it be that he was allowing his blood to flow out like that?

She slowly lowered her head, forcefully clenching her short sword. Her body began to shake even more intensely, unknown if it was because of fear, or because of a different reason.

“I admit that I overestimated your group’s kindness… all because he didn’t wish to see another outstanding individual, he set the resolution to kill… since I am already about to die, can you tell me where the rest of you guys went, what kind of methods you all wish to use to deal with us?” At this time, Lin Xi then asked this.

Wanyan Muye looked at Lin Xi whose face was becoming more and more pale, his voice becoming weaker and weaker, and then at Bian Linghan whose head was lowered, sensing a bit of a ‘mutual destruction’ feeling from her body, he revealed a smile. He then instead backed up two steps, holding the Black Flower Spear diagonally in front of himself, saying slowly, “There’s no harm in letting you all understand in death either… one of us has already changed into a prisoner, currently in a mountain ridge between peaks six and three. Another is moving around peak nine, his talent is night vision, his sight at night far better than that of ordinary individuals, his attacks at night are difficult for normal people to defend against. There is another who is like me, even though we don’t have any special tricks, his cultivation is a level higher than mine, at the initial stage Soul Expert level. As for Brother Helan, it was rumored that he grew up in the wilderness to begin with, living with wild beasts. His sense of smell towards blood is many times sharper than a normal person’s, able to capture even the slightest bit of bloodiness within half of a mountain peak. Right now, he isn’t near us, or else he should have already hurried over by now.”

Bian Linghan saw that the white snow at Lin Xi’s feet had already been completely dyed red, feeling that she couldn’t wait any longer. However, right at this time, she heard Lin Xi say with a voice only the two of them could hear, “Don’t take action, trust me.” 

Right when her body shook fiercely, she only heard lin Xi take a breath, and then say quietly, “You still didn’t tell me… where Helan Yuexi is right now… also, he told me he was number one in the academy, what exactly is his cultivation level? Mid stage Soul Expert?”

“Brother Helan is indeed number one among our Thunder Academy’s students.” Wanyan Muye gave Lin Xi a look and said, “He is moving between these peaks without any set plan, continuing based on his own judgment, but he should be somewhere around peak six and peak three. His cultivation level has indeed reached mid stage Soul Expert level.”

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