It took two days for Lin Yun to arrive at Cloud Horizon Mountain using the Wild Goose Art, a whole three days fewer the last time he made this journey. However, the challenge had just begun. With Lin Yun’s fifth stage cultivation, dealing with an ordinary demonic beast in the sixth was already tough, let alone the Flaming Inked Tigers. Fortunately, Lin Yun’s training with the tiger in the painting had made him practically immune to beasts’ killing aura, especially if it was another tiger.
Upon arriving, he started his hunt immediately. Flaming Inked Tigers were experts in stealth and he couldn’t waste any time if he hoped to make it back in time for the mid-year test.
Several days passed with no results. He had found and killed several other demonic beasts, but the Flaming Inked Tigers still eluded him. The Flowing Wind sword had made quick work of fifth stage beasts and below, but he was still having trouble fighting those in the Sixth Stage of the Martial Path. Only a little, though.
A tiger! He would recognize that roar anywhere.
A ferocious tiger came slinking through the forest and stopped just ahead of him.
“It can’t be that easy, right?” Lin Yun couldn’t believe it. He had spent days looking in vain and one just sauntered out of the brush right in front of him. It was almost as if the Flaming Inked Tiger had been hunting him!
Something was wrong, though. The beast was injured already and seemed to be wary of something off in the distance. Was someone else hunting the tigers?
This complicated things. Lin Yun had been hoping to avoid unnecessary conflicts and knew he might have to make some tough decisions in order to do so.
The Flaming Ink Tiger, on the other hand, was more concerned with the here and now and saw Lin Yun’s hesitation as an opportunity to attack. The tiger was like lightning as it leapt through the trees and its terrifying aura came crashing down on Lin Yun as it approached.
Lin Yun remained composed as he unsheathed Flower Burial and coiled his body. Executing the Flowing Wind Sword, he darted through the forest like a swallow, leaving behind an afterimages as he went. Using the foliage as cover, he intercepted the tiger from a blind spot. In a single exchange he left dozens of wounds on the Flaming Inked Tiger.
The wounds he left cut deep, much deeper than any of the other wounds. The tiger howled in pain.
With the fight over, Lin Yun had some time to think. It looked like the Flaming Inked Tiger had been gravely injured before facing him. It would have been a much more difficult fight otherwise.
Tap.. Tap.. Tap...
Lin Yun was jarred from contemplation by the sound of hurried footsteps. Lin Yun turned just as four men came bursting from the underbrush. A young, well dressed man led the group over to the tiger’s corpse. It was easy to tell he was their master, the air about him and the swagger to his walk screamed nobility.
As the noble approached, he laughed, “You beast! Did you think that you can run from me? Now, you’re dead!”
Lin Yun could tell this man was going to be a problem the second he laid eyes on him. The fact that the group had not even acknowledged his presence meant he was most likely about to be cheated out of his share of the corpse. He had landed the killing blow, after all. Surely he deserved a portion of the spoils.
“Friend, I was the one who killed the Flaming Inked Tiger,” he interjected.
“Watch your tongue, cur! How dare you take credit for my spectacular triumph over this dreaded Flaming Inked Tiger! Are you tired of living?!” the young man screamed, his face flush with rage. He had not expected Lin Yun to speak up. After all, strange, dirty men out wandering in the woods should know their place.
“How about this? I need the claws for my mission. How about I take the claws and you can have the rest?” Lin Yun proposed. Finding just one Flaming Inked Tiger had taken days, he did not want to give up on this opportunity.
That was until Lin Yun’s gaze happened to fall onto the pattern embroidered on the young man’s clothes. His eyes widened when he saw the word ‘Yun’ embroidered on top of waves on the sleeve. Taking a closer look at the group, he saw the man who had run away after Lin Yun had killed his friend.
Lin Yun’s heart skipped a beat. Sure enough, the man from the other day started whispering to the young patriarch of the Yun Clan.
The young patriarch of the Yun Clan turned to Lin Yun and sneered, “What a coincidence. You killed someone of my Yun Clan, and yet you dare to covet my Flaming Inked Tiger? Very well, it has been a long time since someone has gone against my Yun Clan!”
The young patriarch unleashed his sixth stage aura as he charged Lin Yun, fist at the ready. His punch let out an ear-piercing scream as it traveled. Evidently, he was trying to catch Lin Yun off guard.
Unfortunately, Lin Yun had been on alert from the moment they stepped from the trees. He met the punch with his Ferocious Tiger Fist. He was only a few steps from achieving complete mastery of it and was interested to see how it would match up against another person.
Over the past few days, he’d also been using low-grade spiritual stones to aid him in cultivating the Pure Yang Art, averaging about 20 a day. With his Pure Yang Art at the third stage, his internal energy was even fiercer.
The two fists clashed, and the young patriarch of the Yun Clan let out a pathetic yelp as he was thrown into his men’s arms. His right arm was clearly broken in multiple places. Blood poured from his mouth as he let out delicate, little sobs.
“R-run, you idiots!” The young patriarch of the Yun Clan was terrified. He was only arrogant because he saw that Lin Yun was only an outer disciple of the Azure Sky Sect. He never expected someone in such a low position could be so terrifying. His face was pale as his followers carried him off.
Lin Yun frowned but he decided not to give chase. Turning to the corpse of the Flaming Inked Tiger, he took out his dagger and began harvesting its materials.
“I’d better get this over with before I attract more unwanted attention.”
“Damn it! An outer disciple of the Azure Sky Sect dared bully me! ME!” The young patriarch of the Yun Clan cursed, holding back tears. His body was still trembling. “Trash! All of you are worthless! Aren’t you supposed to be sixth stage cultivators? The clan has spent so many resources on you, but you guys can’t even defeat an outer disciple of the Azure Sky Sect? What the hell do I pay you for?!”
The young patriarch then turned to the man who had encountered Lin Yun before, “And you! When I ordered you to find the Bloody Lily, not only was it taken away, one of my family’s servants got killed. You trash! You ugly, garbage person!”
The Yun Clan was extremely influential in Clear Water City and was well known throughout the Aquasky Nation. In the grand scheme of things, it was only inferior to the four great sects. The young patriarch of the Yun Clan had never been so humiliated in all of his pampered life.
The three followers hung their heads in shame. When they saw what had happened to the young master’s arm after a single punch, they knew that there was no way they could defeat Lin Yun, even if they ganged up on him.
The man who had previously escaped from Lin Yun spoke out, “Young master, that guy must be an elite in the sect. He’s probably a descendant of an Elder or Hall Master or something! Those guys are terrifying! It’s the only logical conclusion.”
“Do you think I don’t already know that? Do you think I’m blind? I figured that out way before you did! We need to teach that loser a lesson.. Men, brainstorm with me!” the young patriarch of the Yun Clan roared.
The few of them looked at each other, but no one said anything. If they were in Clear Water City, everything would be so much easier. Out here in the wilderness, without any backup, none of them dared to take revenge against Lin Yun.
Suddenly, one of the men’s face lit up. Excitedly, he said, “I have an idea! It’s risky, but if it’s successful that fellow will definitely die a miserable death.”