Chapter 18: King Hunter, Zhan Beiye
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Why wasn’t he guarded then? The men Qi Xunyi had sent to trail him had long been taken away by his own guard, and he had even diverted Qi Xunyi’s attention and troops, so why have these two appeared here?
Yuan Zhaoxu unsealed the man’s acupuncture point and started interrogating him. After some time he found out that Sir Fang was obsequious, and hence, a well-liked subordinate of Qi Xunyi. He had caught his master casting an unusual glance at Meng Fuyao in the day and had taken it into his own hands to plan a surprise. He had contacted the subordinate awaiting their arrival from Qi mansion in secret, via pigeon post, and had plotted to ambush Meng Fuyao on both routes between the Mystic Essence Mountain and Yanjing.
Yuan Zhaoxu’s guard had focused his energy on diverting those at the back and hadn’t expected more to be waiting at the front.
The man’s explanation had infuriated her, and she gave him a good hard kick in return before mumbling hesitantly, “Eh, he doesn’t deserve a death sentence, but it’s going to be troublesome if I spare him. What to do?”
Yuan Zhaoxu smiled and leaned over, his fingers giving the top of the man’s head a light flick. “All done.”
He explained in a voice as weightless as a cloud, “His memories of tonight will all be in disorder so don’t worry. He’s not going to report what he’s unsure of.”
Meng Fuyao stared at him, aware that he had just dealt the man’s all-knowing acupuncture point a heavy blow to permanently disrupt his memory. The technique seemed simple but was, in fact, superlative – any less or more force to his flick would’ve produced opposite results. While she could probably do it upon reaching the sixth level of “Cleaving Nine Heavens”, that degree of lightness was something she couldn’t achieve for sure.
The more they spent time together, the more mysterious he seemed.
She turned her eyes toward him as if trying to figure him out, but he was already walking over to the man in gray. A few steps later, however, he added, “Very beautiful.”
“What’s very beautiful?” Meng Fuyao asked expressionlessly.
Yuan Zhaoxu and Lord Yuan Bao exchanged glances, the latter revealing his big, snow-white teeth and raising his stumpy leg up for her to see.
At the same time, Yuan Zhaoxu answered casually, “I meant the thighs.”
“Peeping Tom! You peeping Tom! Peep? How dare you peep? I’m going to throw a punch so hard that you’ll fly a kilometer away. I’m not going to stop until I see blood.”
Just like that, the unlucky man in gray became a sandbag with which she practiced her punches on. The locust tree, to which he was tied to, had also fallen victim to her endless curses.
As if lacking in shame and guilt, the tree simply stood tall and still.
The man in gray was quickly woken up by her attacks, and started screaming the moment his eyes shot open, “I didn’t steal! I didn’t steal!”
“I know you didn’t steal,” Meng Fuyao eyed him coldly. “But your belongings have been stolen by me.”
Without holding back, she picked out the valuables from a messy pile of items and kept them for herself. Upon seeing that the man in gray turned pale. He pled after some time, “Now that you’ve gotten all the stuff, please let me go. I need to run for my life!”
“Run for your life?” Meng Fuyao asked in surprise. “Your sneaky behavior had nothing to do with us?”
“Where am I supposed to find the time to raid you guys?” he glared at her, the veins on his forehead popping. “Do you have the money? Do you have the body? Do you have anything that’s worth stealing? I’m the master of Godly Palm Sect after all.”
Meng Fuyao looked at herself and then Yuan Zhaoxu, and felt that they should be considered good-looking. ‘Are his eyes even working? How strange.’
“Eh, Sect Master. Why were you squatting in that corner earlier then?”
The man in gray spat, “What bad luck!”
After a whole exchange, Meng Fuyao finally understood that the man in gray had been accused of stealing an item that belonged to the emperor’s attendant, Sir Ye Buqi, and was being pursued by people from Tiansha Nation. He had fled from Yanjing and been trying to shrug them off this whole way but to no avail.
“Bah, how wretched of me. I had contacted An Mei for help and arranged to meet him here, but he’s nowhere to be found.”
“An Mei? World’s number 1 killer?” Meng Fuyao asked in astonishment. “You managed to hire him? Amazing, but then again, what have you stolen from Sir Ye? Judging from their relentless pursuit, it must be a treasured object.”
The man’s expression changed, hesitation evident in his face. After a brief pause, he continued, “I did not contact An Mei. He agreed to help, in order to repay a favor that my friend had done him in the past. As for the treasured object… I heard that it’s a medal to enter national borders .”
The last few words made Meng Fuyao’s heart skip a beat.
She subconsciously reached into her clothes but retracted her hand halfway.
As if unbothered by her action, Yuan Zhaoxu smiled. “You didn’t steal it?”
“Oh,” Yuan Zhaoxu expressed before going over to hold Meng Fuyao’s hand. Turning around to leave, he added, “You can relay that to Zhan Beiye when he gets here. Hope he’ll believe your story.”
At that, he pulled Meng Fuyao away without looking back. The man’s face changed again and again. When he saw that they were really about to leave, and remembered that he was still being tied to a tree and was at a dead end, he swallowed his saliva. He lifted his neck and shouted, “Wait, wait!”
The two continued forward as if they had both gone deaf.
“Release me first!”
“There’s no reason for us to waste time on an insincere person,” Meng Fuyao commented timely without turning back.
In a split second, Meng Fuyao was back at the tree. Patting his face, she smiled. “That’s a good boy.”
The man in gray started bitterly, “I… think it’s stolen, but it wasn’t me but someone under me. But he’s gone missing and the item… it’s gone too.”
Meng Fuyao threw him a glance before sneaking a glimpse of Yuan Zhaoxu, afraid that he would probe for the last location of the man’s subordinate.
Fortunately, that topic did not come up. Meng Fuyao heaved a secret sigh of relief and felt the object in her robe. She had been wondering why such a small character like him could possess such a precious item. Now that she was certain about the authenticity of it, Meng Fuyao was pleased with her accidental harvest.
Meng Fuyao and Yuan Zhaoxu untied him and made more inquiries. The man in gray was Yao Xun. He was born into Masked Shark Clan and even had a rather reputable sect, the Godly Palm Sect, working under him. The Godly Palm Sect was basically an assembly of pickpockets.
Yao Xun had a strange appearance but his way of thinking aligned with that of a seaman. He was simple and straightforward. “Since you know about the Tiansha Nation’s king hunter, Zhan Beiye, I’m sure you’re not ordinary as well. Help me get rid of these soldiers and the Godly Palm Sect will be at your mercy!”
Yuan Zhaoxu cast him a glance, still deep in thought. Suddenly, he questioned, “Aren’t you waiting for An Mei? He’s a man of his word, so I’m sure he’ll appear.”
“I’ll be dead if I pin my hopes on him–––” Yao Xun snorted, but before he could finish, his face turned stiff.
All three of them fell into silence.
Storm-like clatterings of hooves echoed from afar, warning them of the fast-approaching cavalry. The horsewhipping sounds trebled within their chests.
There was a horse that sprinted more urgently, producing hissing wind and thunder-like claps, and reaching the forest in no time.
Because of its extreme speed, the horse couldn’t slow down and continued dashing ahead. The horse rider abruptly jerked his arm and pulled the reins. Upon the tightening of the reins into a pencil-straight line, the horse trembled ceaselessly and raised its head, neighing majestically. It then lifted its front hooves high up, forcing the rider into a difficult position. Nevertheless, the rider kept his back upright and remained still.
A wave of horsemen arrived behind him and started to pull the reins, “Cha!” The clatterings of hooves came to a stop simultaneously.
Excellent horse riding techniques.
At this point, the clouds had dispersed, and the splendidly bright moon was fully visible. Papercut silhouettes of the leading man and horse’s bodies had been drawn out by the moonlight.
As the moonlight spread further and onto the rider’s feet, it could be seen that he was sitting high up and was dressed in a black robe that completely blended in with the night sky. He had a cold and solemn quality about him, his whole body exuding an oppressively murderous aura and determined existence. The night breeze ruffled his sleeves, which broke into a wild dance with his ink-black hair.
Despite being a distance away from him, they could feel him “watching”.
Watching the three of them.
Amid the stillness, he shouted in a deep voice, “Tiansha, Zhan Beiye!”
“What an authoritative air,” Meng Fuyao murmured. “I know you’re Zhan Beiye… eh, who’s Zhan Beiye?”
Yao Xun had long lost all his calm. Shrinking behind a tree, he answered through his trembling lips, “The devil’s here…”
Yuan Zhaoxu’s eyes flickered as he reached into his clothes for two masks. He handed one over to Meng Fuyao.
In response to her doubtful glance, Yuan Zhaoxu lifted his brows. “You don’t want to get targeted by this difficult fellow, do you?”
Meng Fuyao hurriedly fixed it onto her face and the moment she put it on she felt a sharp sword-like gaze shooting over and stunning her, as though she had been stabbed by a nail. At the same time, a low growl exploded, and before it faded, a black light flashed across the sky, generating a gale that split the sky and swooped toward the three of them like a lightning bolt.
Meng Fuyao slapped Yao Xun so hard that he collapsed to the ground.
The black light was nearing, and judging from the flickering light and passing shadows, it was an iron pike whose blade had been removed. Instead, an abundance of energy had been channeled into it. It had raised a gust of wind from afar, which swept across the field and toward the three of them.
What an exaggerating move.
Meng Fuyao threw herself forward, slapping her sleeves horizontally, in hope of intercepting the pike with the least amount of force required. Before she could reach it, the wind brought by the pike had already blown her hair behind like a flag. Since she couldn’t even open her eyes, she shut them. Nevertheless, just like the pike, she did not evade or give way.
A resounding clang echoed amid a splattering of fireworks. In it stood a person, laughing coldly but powerfully, “Who’s learning my ways?” At that, his sleeves rolled up like angry dragons.
Meng Fuyao collided with the pike, the intense energy on the latter instantly crashing into her chest like waves. She felt the air being drawn out of her chest as she stumbled a few steps backward. Her arms and legs turned limp, and she couldn’t raise her sword. The opponent’s attack was ferocious, and she was left in a momentary shock. She heard a low laugh and caught a glimpse of a light purple robe flashing. Yuan Zhaoxu had floated by.
That was true floating. Meng Fuyao had never seen such a nimble yet elegant motion. He looked as though he could be an immortal from the nine heavens, dancing in the sky with indescribable confidence and ease, without compromising on speed. In fact, he was moving at light speed. In the blink of an eye, he had disappeared from her side and reappeared right in front of Zhan Beiye.