Chapter 354: The Chase

Despite following behind the prisoners’ wagons for many days, Yun Ruoyan never found a chance to rescue Zhuo Yifeng and Lin Qingchen. The four swordsmen guarding the wagons were all ninth-rank blademasters, and Yun Ruoyan was only at the level of an early eighth rank. Without any other choice, she could only doggedly pursue the wagons in hopes of an opportunity surfacing.

As the wagons stopped for lunch, and one of the wagon drivers went to pee, Yun Ruoyan used one of her poisons to bewitch him. From him, Yun Ruoyan found out that they were heading to one of the largest spirit crystal mines owned by the Pi family, and they were only two days away from their destination.

Yun Ruoyan couldn’t help turning anxious: if the wagons successfully made it to their destination, it was unlikely that she would have any further opportunity to save Zhuo Yifeng and Lin Qingchen.

That night, Yun Ruoyan snuck a little closer to the wagons. In the past, for safety reasons, she had been following the wagons a fair distance back. Only occasionally would she head closer to the wagons to check in on Zhuo Yifeng and Lin Qingxue.

The wagons had stopped by a small road by a valley, and the wagon drivers and the swordsmen were gathered around a campfire as they ate meat and drank wine. Yun Ruoyan watched them, perched atop a small hill to the south, thinking that it would have been easy to deal with this situation if only her cultivation were more advanced than theirs.

As she watched them eat and drink, she wondered if she would be able to find some opportunity to poison them. Over the last few nights, Yun Ruoyan had refined and concocted a wide variety of poisons, which were all currently stored in her silver bracelet. According to Qiuqiu, poisoning those ninth-rank blademasters to death wouldn’t be difficult, as long as she could get them to ingest it.

Yun Ruoyan had toyed with the idea of having Mo’er do it, but the bird was so cowardly that it would always turn tail and run in a dangerous situation. Looks like I’ll have to rely on myself, Yun Ruoyan sighed, casting her glance toward the swordsmen and wagon drivers again. Suddenly, a gaze met hers. Yun Ruoyan jumped up in fright, immediately retreating from her spot and flying away.

The man who had shot her the gaze, a long-faced, somewhat creepy-looking man, immediately gave chase behind her. Ninth-rank blademasters naturally flew far faster than eighth-rank ones, but the Scarlet Eye was so legendary a sword that it could make up for the difference. However, Yun Ruoyan wasn’t able to shake the man off; she was barely able to maintain the distance between them.

The swordsman followed Yun Ruoyan until midnight, when her reserves of spiritual energy began to flag. Finally, her speed began to drop, and the swordsman behind her leered as he caught up. 

“Miss, don’t try to run,” he called out, his voice as creepy as his face. “You’ll never be able to escape my grasp, haha!”

As the creep laughed, Yun Ruoyan could feel the distance between them shrinking noticeably. As a red sword aura flashed past her, Yun Ruoyan immediately slowed to a halt: the path in front of her had been blocked off by that long-faced swordsman.

She descended to the ground, not seeing a path out of this situation. If she didn’t fly, she would be able to conserve a little more of her spiritual energy. 

“Well? I told you, didn’t I? You won’t be able to escape. Don’t worry, I go easy on beautiful women like you.” Following Yun Ruoyan, the long-faced swordsman also descended. He stood not thirty feet from her, and was walking steadily closer.

Yun Ruoyan stared at the man. This guard was particularly odious, because she had seen him shoot lascivious glances at Lin Qingxue more than once. When he got particularly handsy, Zhuo Yifeng had defended Lin Qingxue and received a beating for his troubles.

“Actually, I’ve already started keeping an eye on you a few days ago,” the swordsmen said. “But you’re quite alert, aren’t you? I’ve tried to get close to you a few times before, but you’ve always escaped in time. This time, though…” The long-faced guard scanned Yun Ruoyan’s body up and down. “You female groundhogs are far cuter and more petite than women on the Mingyuan continent. I love women like you, so petite and small. You’re far easier to digest when I eat you up.”

“Oh?” Yun Ruoyan chuckled coldly. “Be careful that I don’t break your teeth on the way down.”

“With a fiery temper, too! I’m coming for you, little darling!” The guard waved a hand at Yun Ruoyan, lobbing a dozen small fireballs in her direction. They spun rapidly in the air and were so hot that a warm gust of wind blew in Yun Ruoyan’s face far before the attack landed.

Just like Yun Ruoyan, the long-faced guard was also a cultivator specialized in fire. Although he looked creepy, his attacks were surprisingly vicious, as though he had no intention of going easy on her.

Yun Ruoyan was forced to retreat. With the Scarlet Eye in her hand, she barely blocked the fireballs that flew in her direction.

“Oh? Your reaction speed isn’t too bad.” The guard darted forward. “Then take this.”

What next shot toward Yun Ruoyan were a dozen larger fireballs. Yun Ruoyan used her own fireball technique to counter the attack, but her fireballs were only at most half the size of the guard’s. They were swallowed up almost instantaneously, even as Yun Ruoyan continued to back up to buy time for herself. 

She waved the Scarlet Eye in an arc around her, instantly forming a wall of fire. The Scarlet Eye was imbued with its own spiritual flame, one that was far more potent than could be conjured up by standard techniques. As expected, the fireballs were consumed by the wall of fire created by the Scarlet Eye.

“What a powerful spiritual sword…” Greed was evident on the guard’s features. Once he caught Yun Ruoyan and had his way with her, he would kill her and seize the Scarlet Eye for himself. “Don’t blame me for being vicious.” 

The guard curled his fingers, and a long spear appeared from thin air. He twirled the spear in an arc, igniting a flame on its tip. Then, he struck at Yun Ruoyan.

Yun Ruoyan tried to dodge with her Scarlet Eye, but the trajectory of the attack seemed like a fish darting through water, and her haphazard defenses clearly weren’t up to par. Not only was this long-faced guard a ninth-rank blademaster, he was also highly proficient with the spear.

Yun Ruoyan’s clothes caught on fire. As she retreated, she continued trying to use the Scarlet Eye to defend her vitals as she patted at the flames on her clothes to smother them.

Although the long-faced guard was intending to kill Yun Ruoyan, he was greedy for her beauty, so he tried to avoid her face as much as possible. This was obvious to Yun Ruoyan from the lascivious glances he was shooting her, so instead of dodging, she began to launch a counter-attack.

As expected, the long-faced guard instantly drew back. Yun Ruoyan dodged his spear, found a gap in his defenses, and rapidly thrust the Scarlet Eye toward his chest.

The long-faced guard leapt back even as he tried to use the butt of his spear to block Yun Ruoyan’s wrist. She let go of the Scarlet Eye, then shot it forward with her other hand. Yun Ruoyan’s palm strike had been infused with much of her spiritual energy. The Scarlet Eye absorbed this energy and seemed to fly toward the long-faced guard like a shooting star.

The guard’s eyes opened wide as he tried to dodge toward the side, but not quickly enough for the Scarlet Eye to slice off his nose.

“Argh!” he yelled in pain, clutching his nose. When he removed his hand, half a charred nose lay in his palm, and on his face was a cauterized stump. Without his nose, his already long face seemed at once sinister and comical.

“You brat, you disfigured me! I’m going to kill you!” When the guard next turned to Yun Ruoyan, he was filled with bloodthirst.

Yun Ruoyan’s right hand was injured, and she couldn’t wield her sword. The Scarlet Eye flew toward her left hand, and she held it horizontally in front of herself in a defensive stance.

“Die!” The long-faced guard thrust his spear straight at Yun Ruoyan. When she tried to defend with her blade, he easily knocked it away. The spearhead struck Yun Ruoyan’s chest—and remained there.

Luckily, the guard clearly didn’t intend on killing Yun Ruoyan immediately, and he extinguished the fire on the spearhead in time. Yun Ruoyan was forced back by the attack, stumbling. Because the spearhead was still embedded in her chest, when the guard then twisted the spear so that it pointed straight up into the sky, she too became suspended in midair. Large quantities of blood streamed down the spear and dripped onto the guard’s hand, causing him to become even more excited. 

The intense pain and loss of blood caused Yun Ruoyan to waver from consciousness. The guard slammed the spear against the ground, causing her to fall in an ungainly heap.

The long-faced guard walked to her side and began kicking at her body. Yun Ruoyan curled up like a shrimp, the loss of blood turning her face a stark white but not seeming to affect any of her beauty. Her chest was dyed red with blood, and her appearance was almost beautiful in its tragedy. 

The long-faced guard seemed to turn more and more excited. He kicked at the wound on Yun Ruoyan’s chest, sending spasms of pain throughout her body. Her brain turned white, her vision blurred; the wound on her chest, injured once and again, fountained with blood.

“Look at how much blood there is!” The long-faced guard’s face was almost ecstatic in pleasure. “I’ll pierce your heart and watch you slowly bleed to death!” He held his spear right above her chest.

“Child, I’m the only one who can save you now!” a voice suddenly rang out in Yun Ruoyan’s mind, the demonic eye that Yun Ruoyan had been trying to suppress.

“The demonic dragon elder tasked me with remaining in your body and protecting your life, but as a shred of a soul, I can only do so thrice. You’ve already expended my protection twice, and this will be your final lifeline. Child, recognize your mission and remember that you’re a descendant of the demonic dragons!”

“Die!” the long-faced guard yelled, stabbing the spearhead directly toward her heart. Before it penetrated her flesh again, a blood-red aura pulsed from Yun Ruoyan’s body, blocking the blow...

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