Chapter 24: Assassin
Translator: Nyoi_Bo_Studio Editor: Nyoi_Bo_Studio
Mr. Ha’s corpse lay on the bed, covered by a cotton blanket, with only his feet poking out. The smell of blood was faint, meaning the assassin had done some cleanup. Fan Xian would have missed it had he not developed a sharp nose while under Fei Jie’s tutelage.
Fan Xian stood quietly in the corner. The darkness hid the assassin, and also Fan Xian.
Trying to mimic blind Wu Zhu’s techniques, Fan Xian relaxed himself as much as possible. Zhenqi flowed slowly inside his body as his heartbeat merged with the noises outside.
The assassin should still be around; the Overwatch Council’s secret agents were always thorough. After poisoning Fan Xian, they would certainly stay until the night in order to ensure the bastard son was dead, after which they would leave Danzhou under the cover of darkness. Since the assassin was posing as Mr. Ha’s nephew, they must be familiar with the layout of the building, so they wouldn’t want to change observation spots.
Unfortunately, Fan Xian couldn’t have expected how things would develop. He studied the room carefully. Other than Mr. Ha’s cold body on the bed, there were no other people in the room.
He slowly followed the wall, moving further into the room, careful not to noisily bump into any furniture. His eyes glanced over some inconspicuous corners of the ceiling.
He snuck along the wall to the window where light shone through. Mr. Ha obviously wasn’t rich enough to afford more windows, so the room was poorly lit. Fan Xian stood beside the window, hiding his presence by taking advantage of the contrast between light and dark.
After standing there for a long time, he frowned. Had he been wrong? Perhaps that poison-toting assassin was long gone. If that was the case, coming to the house right away instead of keeping Zhou under watch was obviously the wrong move.
Fan Xian walked to the bed, wanting to take a look at how poor old Mr. Ha died. But he became tenser the closer he got to the bed. He heard the sound of suppressed breathing. Because of the noises from the market outside, the breathing wasn’t audible until Fan Xian closed in.
The assassin hid behind Mr. Ha’s body when he noticed someone had entered the house.
The breathing behind the body was extremely steady; about seven breaths per minute. If Fan Xian didn’t have his unusually abundant zhenqi enhancing his hearing, he never would have noticed.
Fan Xian stopped, staring at the bed. He didn’t know if it was a trap.
From outside came the lively calls of merchants. Fan Xian could pick out the faint sound of a certain carriage.
He knew there was a market directly in front of this building, and that a horse-drawn carriage would have trouble navigating down the narrow road, and thus waited quietly with his dagger.
The assassin also waited quietly. He didn’t see who entered the room, but at this point he could tell that the intruder was equally patient. A long time later he started to feel like he had underestimated the dangers of Danzhou. He regretted remaining here to ensure the death of his target.
As the carriage passed through the market, the merchants on both sides began to hurl insults at the driver, who was obviously vexed. If he wasn’t short on time, he never would have taken this route.
With great difficulty, the merchants cleared a path for the carriage. The driver thanked them and was ready to proceed. However, the carriage smashed a crate of eggs, infuriating the egg merchant. The merchant held onto the reins, refusing to let go. The market descended into chaos.
Meanwhile, in the house beside the marketplace…
Hearing the disturbance outside, Fan Xian took advantage of the noise and brought his right foot down hard. He vaulted himself to the side of the bed and mercilessly thrust a thin dagger into the area behind Mr. Ha’s body!
At that instant, Fan Xian got a clear look at the assassin’s face. His eyes were cold and the brows above them were a little messy. Fan Xian could tell he was relatively young. His appearance was average, with slightly thick lips and dry skin.
Caught completely off guard, the assassin suddenly moved his right hand. A small, black crossbow bolt burst out of the blanket, flying straight at Fan Xian’s face — Fan Xian had already landed with his arm up; his entire torso was defenseless.
The bolt sped like a beam of light!
Fan Xian started to react as soon as the bolt was fired. For five years, Wu Zhu had beaten him with a stick that swung much faster than this bolt. When he landed, he didn’t put all of his body weight down, and his other foot didn’t come down. Twisting his toes, with his entire body stuck in a powerless position in the air, he retreated a few inches to the right.
The bolt brushed past Fan Xian’s left cheek, burying itself deep into the roof with a dull thud.
The assassin was absolutely astonished. He couldn’t believe that the person who came was this attractive youth who should have already been felled by poison. What was even more unbelievable was that this kid could dodge a point-blank, concealed crossbow shot!
Presently, Fan Xian’s dagger plunged deep into the assassin’s body with a disgusting, muffled sound. Fan Xian felt like he was stabbing into a slab of pork with a kitchen knife. Because he had to dodge the arrow, Fan Xian’s aim was off and he stabbed the assassin in the shoulder; he was still alive.
The assassin writhed like an eel in water. He readied his left hand to give Fan Xian a lethal strike — but the pain in his shoulder combined with the force of being slammed into the bed caused him to fall. The concealed crossbow slipped out of his fingers.
He braced himself, but when he tried to get up, the pain was more intense than he ever could have imagined. Moreover… that boy’s dagger had pierced through his shoulder and stuck into the bed. He had been pinned to the bed alive!
With the assassin completely neutralized, Fan Xian’s left hand clutched around his throat. The assassin finally showed his fear of death. His thick lips parted slightly, as if wanting to say something.
Fan Xian’s heart tightened as he felt a chill. He didn’t give the assassin the chance to talk or retaliate. With a crunch, Fan Xian broke the assassin’s neck. His head slumped to the side and he died instantly.
Fan Xian kept his hand on the assassin’s broken neck for a moment, feeling the crushed pieces of bone. As the assassin’s blood gradually cooled down, Fan Xian finally removed his hand and crouched over, panting heavily.