Chapter 796: Invaders
"I'm warning you again, this is private property owned by the Coiling Dragon Clan, and completely off-limits. Anyone who forcibly enters will be treated as an invader! We will not be responsible for any consequences that may ensue!" Captain Zhang was resolute. Although the other side had considerable numbers and seemed stronger than his men, this territory was still his responsibility. He couldn’t tolerate any trespassers. Moreover, he had a mission now. This area was temporarily under the jurisdiction of Pill King Zhen, an honored guest of the clan lord. More importantly, Pill King Zhen was an easygoing man who had been quite amiable towards him. Captain Zhang was flattered by the treatment, and it made the resolution to fulfill his responsibilities all the stronger.
The men opposite him were dressed in hunting gear. The one leading them was an one-eyed man with a burly figure and an intimidatingly arrogant demeanor. "Oh shut your mouth! We were hunting a true saint rank spirit beast and almost killed it, but it disappeared into the surroundings of this area. We suspect foul play. You must be the ones hiding our prey!"
"Yes, hand it over straight away. You should pay attention to your own abilities before trying to rob us of our prize!"
Captain Zhang was upset by their fabrications. "I've been here for a very long while, and I've seen no spirit beast at all! Enough idle talk, leave or die!"
"Die? Be careful when you brag, you might hurt your tongue! Threatening us when you're just a band of measly pushovers? What a joke!" The one-eyed man snickered and waved a hand. The dozen or so people around him swiftly scattered, a brutish grin on each face. Evidently, they considered Captain Zhang and his men to be beneath them.
Captain Zhang was furious, raising a hand in counter to their movements. "Men, form up!"
His troops had drilled together for a long time and thus were well-coordinated. Though their individual strengths could not compare to those of the opposing side, their synchronicity in combat made them formidable. The one-eyed man laughed, a sound between a cackle and a snarl. He grasped the air, and an enormous mountain-splitting axe appeared. With a single shake of his arms, he transformed as he flared his aura and qi. The act burst the seams on his clothes, sprinkling the rags into the winds. His rippling musculature had the texture of steel, and gave off the impression of boundless strength. Arm outstretched to the sky, the one-eyed man bellowed to his subordinates, "Brothers, hold the line! I'm heading in!"
With a thunderous shout, the man slammed his mountain splitter into the ground. The ground cracked instantaneously, growing into long fissures that snaked outwards with maddening speed. A black blast of qi burst out of the axe, hurtling towards his opponent like a herd of oxen.
"Out of my way!" The one-eyed man stomped upon the earth and sped forward with impossible haste, cutting into Captain Zhang's formation with a single swing. The splendid dark arc that the axe traced through the air was accompanied by the cracking of necks. Captain Zhang's warriors were cut down like wooden stakes, unable to react. Eight heads were swept up by the axe, forever parting with their owners and flying towards the firmament. The one-eyed man savagely chortled, "Break, break, break! I'll destroy you all!”
His axe pounded the air like a pestle. The airborne heads were smashed to smithereens like melons and onlookers were showered with flesh and bone. The goriness of the scene ignited the one-eyed man's bestial side. He threw his head back in laughter, and the bloodthirst in his eyes intensified. The people behind him barked in support. "Boss Hong’s Universe Axe isn't just for show! That was a slaughter!"
"Tsk tsk, I’m itching for a fight too now!”
"Leave some for us, boss!"
Captain Zhang was secretly surprised by the one-eyed man's viciousness. He was a fourth rank sage realm expert, but this Boss Hong carried himself like a seventh level sage realm expert. The captain’s heart dripped with blood upon seeing his troops’ lives being reaped like wheat. With a flourish of his silver blade, he cried out, "Everyone back off, I'll handle him!"
Drawing a half-moon of glistening white steel, Captain Zhang swept his sword towards the one-eyed man, creating room for his soldiers to back off. However, his men didn't quite share the same idea. His troops were loyal to the death, and their wills iron. The ferocity of their enemy only steeled their resolve. Upon seeing their peers decapitated, they were willing to fight to the last man. "Captain, please retreat! We will keep him occupied!"
The guards didn’t retreat beneath the one-eyed man's blows as they yelled, rather frantically advancing, rushing towards their enemy. Like enraged beasts, they had nothing in sight but blood. They were willing to lay down their very lives.
"Useless ants!" The one-eyed man sneered. He swept the axe in his hand towards the warriors that came towards him in a wide, horizontal swing. It whipped up a whirlwind that caught eight men within. "Die!"
The axe was outlined in muted brilliance, shimmering like innumerable black carp scales in water. But at this very moment—
An unexpected ray of light slammed into the blade of the axe. The sudden interruption seemed to bind the axe with an unseen force as its momentum stalled. When experts traded blows, victory or defeat was decided in an instant. In that instant, the eight men who previously were sentenced to certain death saw an opportunity to attack. All kinds of weapons flew towards the one-eyed man in a flurry.
Greatly shocked by this turn of events, the man pushed both arms forward, intercepting the attacks with his axe. At the same time, his body bent as he hurtled backwards. His reaction was fairly quick, but even so, two swords managed to breach his defenses.
Pfft! Pfft! One swish had cut his arm, and the other, his leg. However, his defenses were formidable. The power behind the two swords wasn't weak by any means, but they had only managed to slice skin and flesh, and wasn’t a serious injury.
"Boss!" His henchman were astonished by the turn of events, dashing to his side. The one-eyed man held up a hand to stop them, scanning his surroundings before locking onto the northern skies.
Jiang Chen and Huang'er glided side by side towards the gathered men. Captain Zhang's eyes lit up with a mixture of pleasant surprise and mild shame. He had been unable to perform his duties to the fullest, and the pill king had been disturbed.
"Pill King Zhen, my incompetence has caused your inconvenience."
Jiang Chen's expression was contrite. "Captain Zhang, it is I who should apologize. You lost several brothers for nothing because of me."
Hearing his words alleviated some of Captain Zhang's sadness and brought warmth to his heart. On the other side, the one-eyed man and his underlings examined Jiang Chen with odd looks. More accurately, they were examining the girl at his side. Their eyes were shifty and deranged, the light of madness slowly shining out of their eyes, highlighting the men's wretched and brusque manners. Though Huang'er had made some alterations to her original appearance, the radiance of her exquisite beauty couldn’t be masked.
"Boss, this is the girl."
"Heh heh, so she came out on her own. Saves us the time of searching inside. This is the time for us to shine in front of the young clan lord, boss!"
"A girl as pretty as this is hard to find in Veluriyam Capital, tsk. Where did this beauty come from?"
"Truly. Her composure, countenance, and physique are unrivaled! The other women at the young clan lord's side just cannot compare."
"Let's do it, boss!" Hong's followers all had brazen looks on their faces as they openly leered at Huang’er, almost as if they thought that Jiang Chen, Captain Zhang, and his men were already dead. The latter group was completely ignored.
Having lived on Myriad Abyss Island since her childhood, Huang'er was brought up as a lady in her family. Though she was designated as a cultivation vessel for another since birth, her highborn status meant that ordinary commoners had no place before her.
In the few years off the island spent in travel with Elder Shun, she’d lived reclusively, without seeing many people. Certainly, she hadn't been exposed this kind of coarseness on her travels. Hearing the complete lack of respect and utter rudeness from these scoundrels, even someone as serene as her felt a little upset. Before now, her good-naturedness had stopped her from stooping to the level of any brutes that'd crossed her path. But now that her and Jiang Chen's hearts were aligned, and their emotions known to each other, she was upset at the things said of her in front of the man she loved.
"Don't get angry. I'll deal with it." Holding Huang'er's slender hands lightly, Jiang Chen gave her a consoling look.
Like a streak of sunlight, his gesture brightened Huang'er's mood considerably. "Alright." She nodded gently in acquiescence. Huang'er wasn't someone naturally delicate, nor did she like to purely rely on others. However, she was perfectly happy to act both ways in front of the person she liked. She knew that Jiang Chen was afraid of her harming her consciousness if she grew angry and triggered the Hundred Generations Curse again.
"Brat, you better let go of that girl. If you know what's good for you, scram!"
"Girl, this brat doesn't look impressive at all. He probably has no status either, huh? Being with him doesn't seem worthwhile. Why not come with us to our young clan lord instead? He has enough riches to last more than ten lifetimes!"
"Hey, boss, isn't she a flower stuck on a heap of cow dung?" Another guy smacked his lips, smirking at Jiang Chen.
Jiang Chen already considered them dead men in his heart. Unprovoked by the man, he asked quietly, "So you're saying, you made up your words about hunting, and your true quarry is us?"
Boss Hong had recovered by now, and snickered in response. He locked eyes with Jiang Chen, his gaze vicious and harsh. "Kid, were you responsible for that trick earlier?"
"Answer my question first," Jiang Chen said coldly.
Boss Hong looked unimpressed by his tone and burst out in raucous laughter. "Ah, you’re smarter than you look! Why don't you look yourself in the mirror first, kid. What makes you think you're worthy of a girl as pretty as her, hmm? How's that saying go?"
"A man’s wealth is his own ruin when it causes greed in others." An underling stepped up, affecting a foppish air as he quoted.
"Aha, yes, that's the right of it. Kid, you have no ability, and you don't look like the heir to a noble house either, but you're bringing a beauty everywhere you go. That's your crime!" Boss Hong gazed at Huang'er openly, making no attempt to hide the perverseness in his gaze. The occasional smacking of his lips only added fuel to the fire.