Chapter 57: Hero
Xu Min looked behind him and saw the women holding the children; they covered their eyes so as not to let them see the corpses. The eyes of these women, previously filled with despair and hopelessness, were now filled with a slight tinge of hope.
All the women were doing their absolute best to make the children quiet while they observed Xu Min from time to time. The young man had just changed from being a rogue cultivator to a hero for the small group of people.
Although Xu Min wished to pay more attention to the women, he suddenly heard the sounds of loud voices which were laughing and joking between one another; three voices could be heard, but Xu Min was unaware of whether or not there were more experts than that. There might be some quiet people within the group. He knew that he could not afford to be complacent. If he wished to keep these people alive, then he had to keep battling.
Keeping his eyes on the road in front of him, Xu Min soon saw the shadows coming his way and gritted his teeth. There had been a few quiet people in the group. 'Cao Cao, I'll need you to deal with two of them. I'll deal with the rest.' He called out, and the snake nodded his head. Usually he would have joked about saying that he would take care of all of them, but this time, it was serious. The citizens behind them depended on their strength, and they could not afford to screw up.
As the experts moved in front of the alleyway, Xu Min's eyes locked onto the first person and with a stomp on the ground, he shot forward with lightning speed. With the sword in his hands, he chopped down upon his first target. Stumbling backward, the first expert Xu Min had locked onto opened his mouth, but no sound was emitted since his body was split into two. A green flash appeared by his side, and two of the group's members plummeted to the ground as the snake once more returned to his neck.
Xu Min, being grateful that Cao Cao took care of the two others, instantly changed his direction and sliced through the neck of another opponent.
"Quick sound the alarm!" one of the surviving people ordered through gritted teeth. His hands wielded a battle axe while the other surviving member was wielding a one hand sword.
'More than expected, Cao Cao you take care of one while I’ll get the other,' Xu Min called out. Without waiting for an answer, the snake around his throat once more turned into a streak of green light which caused the axe-wielding man to collapse.
"I should have brought the alarm!" The last surviving person complained as he turned tail and tried to run away. But, how could Xu Min let him run away? If he escaped, multiple experts would be coming this way in a few moments. So, Xu Min chased after him and quickly ended the expert’s life.
'We can't keep going on like this,' Xu Min complained. 'We will die ıf we stay within this alleyway. I need to get them out somehow.'
Taking all the corpses and stacking them in another alleyway, Xu Min made sure to take all the valuables on the corpses, including a small emblem which clearly was the alarm they had spoken about before. Breaking this emblem would cause multiple experts to come rushing to the location.
Moving back to the alleyway where there were many women and children, Xu Min moved towards them; some seemed scared while others appeared hopeful.
"I need help if I am to get you all away from here alive," he said quietly, "We cannot stay within this alleyway. We will be noticed, but I also know that we cannot exit through the gates. I am not strong enough to jump the city walls with you on my back, so I need to know if there is any way to exit this city without going through the entrances?"
The question was reasonable. Many mansions were likely to have hidden exits as well as other places scattered throughout the city. These young women and children were clearly working as maids or something similar, so they should know of at least one way, but no one said a thing.
Sighing Xu Min was about to give up when a girl who seemed to be no more than fourteen years of age stepped forward.
"The trickster's lair has an exit." she said hesitatingly, "I am quite sure that the trickster and his friends have already left.I don't think that the soldiers as well should have too much of interest in a lair down in our quarters of the city. It smells too much, and it is poor. If we move through the alleyways we should be able to make it out within an hour," the girl explained. Xu Min was excited to hear this.
"That is what we will do," he said with a nod. Some of the other poor exchanged glances. They were clearly uncertain whether or not they should follow, but soon all of them had determined expressions on their faces. They were not going just to wait for their death. If they were to die, they would die trying to escape.
Xu Min was satisfied as he saw the change in the women. He and the young fourteen-year-old girl went to the front. "Show me the way but stay close behind me. Although we are moving through the alleyways, we might run into groups of warriors."
The young girl nodded her head. Walking just behind Xu Min, she pointed out which alleyways they should go.
Since they were traveling through the alleyways, they did not encounter many mercenaries. However, they often had to stop and wait for patrols to walk past if they crossed the main road. Screams could be heard throughout the city. The smell of charred corpses and metallic blood wafted through the entire city. This scent was accompanied by the sounds of shouts and a horrendous laughter from the soldiers.
Lifting his arm, Xu Min made everyone stop. Even the children who had been previously sobbing were now completely quiet. It was as if they had understood how important this was, so they dared not utter any sound. The group concealed themselves in the shadows of the houses. These alleyways were made for the sake of throwing grime and sewage into, and a foul stench masked their movements. No expert wished to enter these back alleyways. Furthermore, they didn't expect anyone to be hiding within them. Even if they were hiding, they had to come out sooner or later. Going into the grime was something these exalted killers would never think of.
"Okay stop for a moment, everyone," Xu Min whispered, "we need to cross the main road to be able to get to the next set of buildings." His face was ugly to behold as he inched closer and closer to the main road. One patrol of Warriors after another moved in front of their hiding place. He could not help but frown.
Crossing the road, Xu Min realized he needed to battle a group of Warriors. However, even though he needed to battle these Warriors, there was a limit for how long they could battle before a new patrol would walk by. Even Xu Min could only deal with one group at a time.
Waiting for the perfect time, Xu Min saw only one group of Warriors walking past, and he instantly flew into action. His sword was unsheathed, and Qi was swirling around Xu Min's body which fortified his strength.
"A Warrior is coming our way!" a young man called out. He was wearing the soldier uniform and had three stars embroidered upon the shoulder. He was a three-star Warrior, and looking at Xu Min, he could easily sense that this incoming Warrior was weaker than him. "Don't call for reinforcement. Let us deal with this guy on our own. There has been a lack of cultivators, and all we have found are old people and women. I wonder if all the experts spent their time running away."
The other experts grinned. All of them rushed to fight with Xu Min. 'Cao Cao take care of the three on the right, and leave the others to me,' Xu Min ordered before he turned around and rushed towards the left side. Sword in hand and Qi strengthening his arms making the chop he made as powerful as if Xu Min was a three-star warrior, he engaged the men in battle. Whereas with Cao Cao, a green flash appeared and his three targets collapsed on the ground.
The speaker who wanted to fight alone suddenly clutched an emblem in his hands, but before he had the time to break it his hands went limp. He fell on the ground. Getting rid of the other Warriors was as easy, and the first and he quickly returned to
Xu Min gestured to the women and the children to cross the street. They all rushed past the usually very trafficked road and into another set of alleyways. "We need to hurry now," Xu Min stated. He led them deeper and deeper into the maze of backstreets and alleyways towards the trickster's lair.
This time, it had been impossible for him to hide the corpses, and he knew that soon they would be pursued by Warriors. It was only a matter of who would move the fastest. Xu Min's eyes turned serious as he gently hurried the common women and children further and further to the edge of town.
"We need to make one more turn, and then we will be free," the young woman hopefully said, anticipation resonating in her voice. All the women behind Hui Yue were also filled with hope. However, Xu Min was silent. He felt as though it had all been too simple, too easy, but he dared not say anything. Perhaps these women and children were all innocent and blessed by the heavens with good luck.
Just as he was about to reach the mansion, he finally heard the sound of experts rushing their way. Stopping, Xu Min looked behind them; his action instantly caused the hope within the women's eyes to become fearful once more.
"Don't worry, and keep moving forward. I will hold the guards here. Get as far away as you can and don't stop before you are in another city or found a village that will take you in. If anyone tries to threaten you, tell them that you are under the protection of Xu Min, a cultivator who will catch up with you soon." Xu Min asserted He then handed the alarm he had stolen to one of the women. "If they are harming you break this emblem. The Snow Mountain's Warriors will come instantly."
Hearing this, the woman was frightened, but she nodded her head and accepted the emblem. "Hurry go now!" Xu Min ordered. The women and children then rushed forward leaving Xu Min behind. The fourteen-year-old looked back. Her eyes were filled with gratitude, but she did not linger and rushed forward, entering a back door into the trickster's lair.
As to who the trickster was, Xu Min did not know, but he knew that the women were finally safe. Turning around, he unsheathed his sword. 'This time, we are in for it, my friend,' Xu Min said to Cao Cao. 'I'm sorry, but I need you to go all out. We don't know how many we are up against, but we need to hold out until the women and children have escaped. Only then can we escape as well.'
'Don't worry about it!' Cao Cao said with a smile on his snake-face. 'I have wanted an all out battle for some time. Let us show them how strong we are! There is no way we can allow these weak Warriors to overpower us!'