In a remote jungle nestled between the Chu State and Whitewater City within the Da Xuan Country, a thin and frail figure was leaning against a thick tree trunk. Both of his legs were spread apart in a relaxed manner.
This figure belonged to a thirteen or fourteen year old teenager.
Aside from his unusually pale face, the boy had fairly common facial features. His clothes were loose fitting and a bright shining steel sword was carelessly thrown by his side.
The sword, although shiny, was also stained with spots of dried, black blood.
A strip of cloth was wrapped around the teenager’s shoulder, multiple times, forming a makeshift tourniquet. Even though it was tight, fresh blood still leaked out.
Closing his eyes, the young man became motionless against the tree trunk, as if he was taking a nap.
Suddenly, a slight “shaa… shaa…” sound came from within the jungle. Something was rapidly approaching the young man.
The young man opened his eyes and jumped up, while his toe instinctively flicked to the side.
The steel sword shot up and rested snugly within the young man’s palm.
The young man looked in the direction of the sound and without hesitation, leaped in the other direction. With just a few steps, he disappeared into the jungle.
After a while, a group of black-armored warriors appeared from the jungle brush, moving in a tight battle formation.
There were only twenty warriors, but everyone in their group was tall and sturdy with looks that matched those of seasoned veterans. It was clear that they were soldiers who were used to bloodshed.
They came out from one side of the jungle. After a low grunt from one of them, all twenty of them stopped and stood perfectly straight in the same spot.
At the same time, one of the young warriors hastily stepped forward and squatted down in front of where the youth once rested. Using his hands, he quickly dug through the teen’s resting place before soon standing up again.
“General Wang, the fugitive has only recently fled. If we were to leave now, we might be able to catch him.” The warrior reported to the only member within their group who was not wearing a black helmet and was instead showing off his bald head.
While the warriors were relatively tall, compared to this two meter giant next to them, they were much shorter in comparison. They were like children standing in front of an adult.
“Hmph, there is no need to chase him. We’ve already secured the surrounding cities. No matter how cunning this brat is, he won’t be able to escape. To that side, General Situ has already been waiting for a long time. Now, all we have to do is to slowly make our way over to him.” The giant man snorted while staring in the direction the young man had escaped in.
“Sir, this is a huge criminal that the state demands be apprehended. If we capture him, we will have accomplished something great. Are we really going to give our prize away to General Situ?” An armored warrior asked after a moments hesitation.
“Something great? No matter. Whether General Situ gets our prize or not will depend on if he has the capability required to capture the fugitive. Regardless, let us slow down a bit so that we might be able to catch them both tired.” The giant man said without emotion while wiping his bald head.
“Sir, what do you mean by that? General Situ has far more people than we do. Even if that young man knows a few skills, how will it be possible for him to stand against General Situ?” Astounded, the young soldier stared at his commanding officer.
“Yu Xin, you’ve been by my side for quite some time now and I can tell that you are quite strong. However, if you were wanted by the government, what is the most you would be able to face and still be able to get away safely?” The gigantic man didn’t answer the young soldier directly, instead he replied with a deep question.
TL: Yu Xin is not an important name – no need to remember it.
“If I were fighting general detectives, then I could handle about seven or eight of them without a problem. However, if they numbered over ten, I would start having problems.” The young soldier wasn’t sure where his superior was going with his question but regardless he answered the question.
“Seven or eight! Hah. Ever since the arrest warrant for this kid was issued, the number of general detectives killed while trying to capture him has already surpassed that paltry amount by tenfold!” The giant man roared with laughter, coldly explaining why he asked his original question.
“The general detectives have all been trained by specialists, though they cannot compare to us of the Black Tiger Guard, they definitely aren’t as weak as the average person!” The young soldier’s face revealed a look of disbelief, he couldn’t understand how this youngster could be that strong.
“This youth, he originally escaped from Savage Island, which in itself is no small feat. The island was originally designed to be a prison for the most diabolical of people; each prisoner locked away there possesses great talent and power. Never should they be underestimated.” The giant coldly stated.
“What? He escaped from Savage Island!?”
The young soldier sucked in a breath and suddenly, another thought came to him. Hastily, he asked,
“Sir, I’ve heard that Savage Island sank overnight, and didn’t they say that all of the prisoners sank with the island? The infamous Dead Sea surrounds it; a special Ebony Boat is required to traverse the waters. Nothing else is capable of staying afloat.”
“I’m not too sure of that myself, but other than that young man, at least ten others escaped from the Dead Sea. If it weren’t for the fact that we accidentally found one of the escapees and interrogated him for information, I’m afraid that the Courts would not have known about this at all. Consequently, the Black Tiger Guard would not have been sent to patrol this place either. No matter though, that young man we have to capture is the weakest criminal that escaped. Although he set up false trails and set us back half a month, all we need to do now is to head straight and we’ll find him. And once we do, he’s as good as dead.” Shaking his head, the giant man slapped the back of his black spear.
“Of course, who doesn’t know that Sir is ranked within the top hundred in the entire state?” The young soldier praised the giant man as his respect for the tall soldier floated onto his face.
“Stop flattering me! We should get going!” Waving his fanlike hand, the giant man rather bluntly commanded the soldiers to move out.
Saluting, the young soldier returned to his spot among the others.
Immediately the soldiers returned to their formation and each soldier quickly disappeared into the jungle.
One cup of tea later, the soldiers left the jungle and entered a small but spacious meadow. The sight that greeted them left all of them stunned.
TL: Cup of tea later = time it takes for tea to cool/finish infusing
The meadow which originally had been lush green and had bloomed with plant life, was now dyed crimson red!
In the middle of all the blood, the corpses of similarly dressed black armored soldiers were scattered across the ground.
On each of their faces horrified expressions remained. It was as if they had seen a truly dreadful sight before they died.
Each corpse had a thumb-sized hole in their throat with blood still pouring out.
“Altogether there are thirty corpses here, all of them under General Situ’s command. It seems that not one was spared; however, General Situ’s body is not among the corpses here.”
The young soldier named Yu Xin reported with a pale and disturbed face after he had quickly moved around the corpses and examined them.
The giant man’s face dropped as he heard the report. Glancing to the other side of the meadow something caught his eye. He quickly made his way over.
Without hesitation the other soldiers followed him, but they were on their guard and much more cautious than before.
The giant man quickly thundered to the tree and after looking down, his face twisted in anger and grief.
There, under the tree, was the withered body of a black armored soldier with a steel sword pierced through his throat, pinning him to the tree.
Near the tree, a long but pale silver blade was stabbed into the ground.
The rigid hands of the middle-aged man were grasping the sword’s blade. Every single finger bore multiple cuts and his eyes stared straight ahead even though his breathing had ceased long ago.
Liu Ming was quickly jumping through the jungle and his entire body felt sore. Even the spoils of his battle, another silver blade, began to feel heavier and heavier in his hand.
Although he had trained himself in swordsmanship for five to six years and was able to kill all of the warriors who were waiting for him, the ferocity of the warriors was beyond his expectation.
Even after he used a hit and run tactic to kill off all of the warriors, the leader of the warriors kept on pursuing him without fear for his own life.
This forced him to use a secret technique he had learned on Savage Island, one that burned his potential and reopened his old wound. Even using that technique he was still only barely able to kill that leader.
TL: Yes burning his potential (he will be less able/agile for another few days)
Using such a technique overworked his adolescent body; he wouldn’t last much longer at this rate.
When Liu Ming thought about the aftereffects, he couldn’t help but take a glance at his shoulder.
The layered cloth strips wrapped around his shoulder were soaked with blood, and at the same time, waves of pain kept on pulsating from his arm.
Even with his stubborn personality, enduring the burning aftereffects was simply too much.
Black Tiger Warriors deserved their title as Da Xuan’s elites. They were far superior compared to the normal government detectives that had chased after him before.
The him right now could only hope that the slaughter earlier made the other Black Tiger Warriors wary of him; too scared to pursue him closely.
Once one or two more days passed, the aftereffects of the ‘Air Closure Technique’ would wear off and he could jump into a nearby river to escape.
Although Liu Ming wasn’t very old, he had learned quite a few rare and non-mainstream techniques.
TL: Non-mainstream = not popular/not extremely useful in a lot of circumstances
If he hadn’t, even with someone protecting him on Savage Island, he wouldn’t have been able to survive there for seven to eight years as a child.
As Liu Ming thought back, the scarred face of a man floated before his eyes. Even though his demeanor was quite ferocious, when Liu Ming remembered him, his heart felt warm.
Suddenly, Liu Ming’s face turned dark and his body, which had been speeding forward, twisted itself to shift to the left and curled into a ball during the process.
At the same time, “shou shou” sounds rang out ahead of him.
A dozen, half foot long crossbow bolts shot out in front of him. They came whizzing out of the jungle with a couple of flashes and barely passed by the young man. Instead they pierced into a grey white tree behind him.
The bolts were shining coldly under the sun—it was obvious that they were made of high grade steel. Most of the bolts were stuck to the tree and were still quivering slightly.
“Who is it?”
The young man coldly called out as he tumbled into a nearby bush and pressed his silver blade out in front of him.
“Pretty good. No wonder you were able to live for so long under the pursuit of Black Tiger Warriors. However, now that you’ve met the two of us, prepare to die.” A sharp feminine voice came from ahead and two shadows, one of a man and the other of a woman, flickered out from a tree ahead of the young man.