Chapter 235: Predator

Chapter 235: Predator [Volume 4 – Perpetual Conflict]    

The young girl’s chest wildly undulated as she took deep breaths. There was a different kind of charm in her youth and inexperience. A pair of glistening dark eyes was shifting between Qianye and the ground before him. “I… I think we’ve met before…”

Qianye replied without any shift in his voice, “Where do you think we’ve met before?” He wasn’t less surprised despite having guessed that the young girl had already recognized him.

Due to his vampire constitution, Qianye had undergone a lot of changes after coming of age. Even Song Zining, despite being his schoolmate for many years, had to sound him out in order to confirm. This gifted little girl’s intuition was powerful that it made one’s hair stand on end. 

The young lady seemingly drummed up her courage and said with much difficulty, “I think… when we were very young, you gave me… bread.”

“Mm…” Qianye neither confirmed nor denied. “You’ve entered the Bai clan?”

The girl nodded. “I was recently fortunate enough to meet Big Sister Aotu. She brought me back to the Bai clan and provided me with food, training, and medicines. Bai Kongzhao is the name they gave me.”

“You’re indeed fortunate,” Qianye said indifferently. He then asked, “You actually aren’t that young if I remember correctly.”

Bai Kongzhao replied obediently, “I stayed in the junkyard for many years after you left. There was barely enough food to survive there. When I grew up and could go further out, I left that place and drifted everywhere in search of food. I’ve been in the Bai clan for less than a year and it was only there that I had ever eaten until I was full. Perhaps I couldn’t grow up because I was eating too little all these years.”

The girl’s tone was very calm as she spoke, and her expression also calmed down gradually. These few words encompassed the ten-odd years of her life.

With that, the silence between the two resumed once again.

Qianye was still maintaining his leisurely posture as he gazed silently at Bai Kongzhao. The young girl, on the other hand, was looking downward at her toes with her hands behind her. She seemed like a small animal before a powerful predator, abandoning all resistance and waiting to be slaughtered.  

This awkward silence was so stifling that it gave one the urge to scream out loud.

Qianye exhaled deeply and said with a spurious smile, “Good, very good. Extremely well done. You actually didn’t give me any reason to kill you at all. You don’t even have any killing intent. How rare.” 

Bai Kongzhao breathed a sigh of relief. Although she was pouting timidly, the line drawn by her pink lips almost seemed like a smile.

Qianye said indifferently. “I’m not one to look back. So, let bygones be bygones. Don’t give me a reason to kill you if we meet again in the future.”

“I won't!” the little girl said confidently.

Qianye’s smile suddenly deepened as he said, “Me being in a bad mood is also a reason.”

Bai Kongzhao immediately became silent. She lowered her head and didn’t say anything.

“Goddammit!” Certain profanities poured out of her mouth after Qianye left.

Bai Kongzhao peeked at Qianye’s back. In her eyes, Qianye was leaving in a hurry and his defenses weren’t tight enough. At a glance, there were at least four or five openings she could exploit.

However, she quietly tightened her fist and, using the fullest extent of her willpower, forced herself to lower her head again. Her nails had even dug into her palm, causing a moist sensation to emerge there.

After walking for a certain distance, Qianye turned back and found Bai Kongzhao still standing silently and obediently at her original position. He shook his head and hastened his steps.

This little girl still astonished Qianye even after so many years. She definitely wasn’t harboring good intentions when she chased after him on her own, but she didn’t reveal even a shred of hostility. Afterwards, she took on a defenseless attitude and almost made others feel as if she was really here to apologize.

Qianye’s conscience made it difficult for him to take action against a non-hostile person for no obvious reason. Furthermore, after some deeper thought, he wondered if he really could kill this girl with astonishing combat instincts in one blow. If he couldn’t, it would be giving the other party an opportunity to exploit.

This was a rare capability. Bai Kongzhao, with her gifted intuition, would definitely find her opponent’s weak point in the end and tip the scales in her favor.

By the time Bai Kongzhao returned to the valley, Bai Lun had already ordered his subordinates to gather the dark race corpses into a pile. Some wooden stakes had been erected nearby and two vampires were currently tied upon them. Two Bai clan soldiers had slashed open several wounds on the vampires’ bodies and were dripping silver into them.

After seeing Bai Kongzhao return, Bai Lun hurriedly came over to ask, “Miss Kongzhao, are you alright? You look pale.”

Bai Kongzhao shook her head and replied, “I’m fine. I only went out to look around. Have we found any clues?”

Bai Lun shook his head. “No. It seems these two vampires don’t know anything either. We have to continue searching.”

“Since they don’t know anything, then ‘entertain’ them a while longer. Additionally, I feel tired. Let’s camp here tonight,” said Bai Kongzhao. 

Bai Lun immediately ordered his subordinates to set up a tent. He had already traveled with the girl for some time. Even a battle-hardened veteran like him felt deeply apprehensive of her bloodthirsty methods. Bai Lun felt that her future prospects were unlimited even without her relationship with Bai Aotu. He knew that, even if he didn’t fawn over her, he definitely shouldn’t offend her.

Bai Kongzhao entered her tent, drew the curtain, and poured herself a cup of water.

However, the water in the cup wasn’t very calm—it shook and splashed toward the sides. Bai Kongzhao hadn’t even drunk the water but her chest was already wet. She shifted her eyes in a daze and found that her hands, which had pierced through countless hearts, were shaking uncontrollably at this moment.

She quickly realized that she was afraid.

Fear wasn’t an odd emotion. Bai Kongzhao had never felt even a tiny bit of security in her life. It was precisely this fear of danger that allowed her to survive extremely adverse situations. But according to her memory, the fear she was feeling now was different from that which she had ever felt before.

She replaced the splashing cup of water onto the table and subconsciously applied some strength in order to stabilize it. With a crackle, the steel cup was swiftly flattened.

Bai Kongzhao held onto her trembling right hand using her left. She sat up straight and tried hard to ponder what it was that she was afraid of.

Was it that person? He whom she had immediately recognized.

She knew from her life’s experience that she could only rely on herself. If any notion emerged in her mind, then it was the truth. Strict logic and plentiful reasoning—all of them were fake.

Thus, she chased after him when her instincts told her that this man was deadly and dangerous. The whole interaction was full of danger. Although Qianye didn’t reveal the slightest bit of murderous intent, she knew that she couldn’t afford even a single incorrect response. Otherwise, the proverbial blade’s edge she felt at her back on the battlefield would immediately transform into a sharp sword to pierce her heart. [1]

However, Bai Kongzhao also believed Qianye wouldn’t actually move against her. That was because she understood people quite well and knew how much damage her underaged external appearance could cause. But even so, she was still afraid, very much afraid. Now that she thought about it, she probably wasn’t that confident.

This was the first time Bai Kongzhao’s intuition had fallen short. She began to wonder why she had immediately associated this Eagleshot-wielding warrior and the young boy from the junkyard. 

Those eyes! It was as if a bolt of lightning suddenly struck past Bai Kongzhao’s mind. At the same time, she discovered just what she was so afraid of. It was actually his eyes!

Why was she feeling this way?

Bai Kongzhao recalled, in detail, Qianye’s weapons, build, and methods. Those were the details used to judge a warrior’s strength. Qianye was powerful and his movements agile. His arms and legs were abnormally strong. The pair of pistols and the Radiant Edge were extraordinary, but it didn’t stir any intense reaction from her.

Qianye’s eyes were ordinary. Perhaps other people would even feel that his eyes were beautiful but they held little meaning to Bai Kongzhao without any special ability. If she had to point out one thing she thought was special about them, it was that they were exceptionally limpid, almost like a flawless piece of crystal.   

But those eyes were precisely what made Bai Kongzhao afraid.

Was she afraid of a special ability that her instincts couldn’t detect? Or was she apprehensive of the absolutely tranquil but not lifeless look in his eyes?

Bai Kongzhao couldn’t remember at all just how many people she had killed. To her, survival and a full stomach were the only things that mattered—all obstructions had to be eliminated. Among them were all kinds of humans and dark race members. Every victim responded differently—some were shocked, some cursed maliciously, some were resolute, while others fought with her in a bloody battle until the very end. Bai Kongzhao had also seen more than just a few unyielding characters capable of continuing the battle in good cheer even with broken hands and legs. In the end, all of them had died in her hands.

The girl had always believed that among humans, or even among all living creatures, there were only two types—one that she could kill right away, and another that she would kill in the future. Therefore, her opponents’ condition and resolution hardly affected her.    

But none of these could explain why she had recalled that small matter from so many years ago and why she was afraid of those eyes.

The young lady pondered for a long time but ultimately found no answers. She knew one thing for certain. If the situation from back then were to repeat, that person absolutely wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger. 

Over ten years had passed. She had changed and so had he.

Bai Kongzhao didn’t sleep well that whole night.

In the distant wilderness, Qianye was crouching on a large mountain rock and gazing at the valley below. He felt no sleepiness at all. His heart was rolling with killing intent and wracked by an inexplicable sense of vexation. A voice in his mind was telling him to turn back, kill Bai Kongzhao, and be rid of a potential trouble.

Qianye controlled his agitation. Since that time he was invaded by the dark blood, he especially abhorred such uncontrollable emotions. He was terrified of losing his mind and falling into the darkness.

He was also felt quite odd. Why did he erupt with such intense killing intent only after leaving the young girl? In truth, both of them were kids back then and weren’t exactly clear as to what they were doing. And there wasn’t any conflict during their second encounter. If one were to search for malicious intent, it was actually him who had aimed at the girl numerous times during that battle.

After careful thought, that kind of killing intent seemed to be a hostility that had been branded into his survival instincts.

This killing intent made him unsettled and agitated. He had to try quite hard in order to suppress the urge to hunt down and kill Bai Kongzhao. Additionally, he felt quite conflicted. With the girl’s frightening intuition, he would likely have little to show for his troubles if he went over right now. But if he didn’t go, she would just stay there without moving. 

Qianye shook his head amidst the cool night breeze, sweeping away his almost ridiculous notions. He began to climb and leap through the mountainous terrain. Since he couldn’t sleep, he might as well go about and see if some unlucky dark race soldiers would bump into the muzzle of his gun.

He didn’t find any unlucky dark race warriors but instead discovered two unfortunate beasts.

Near a canyon on the neighboring mountain ridge, he saw a natural cave halfway up the mountain with two giant pythons lazily moving around within it.

[1] 如芒刺背 - Literally means a blade’s tip/edge at one’s back. It describes an intense sense of uneasiness.

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