Chapter 194 – Counter attack
Elder Xu chased after Pei Zi Yun that very night. The next day at dawn, he arrived at Mei Shan town.
“Elder Xu, we’ve already checked it out properly. Our target is hiding in the mountains.” One of the men beside Elder Xu spoke out as he pointed towards the dark and barely visible mountains ahead. “Elder Xu, that’s Mei Shan mountain. Although it isn’t big, there aren’t any proper roads with rocks and boulders everywhere. Wild grass and trees cover the entire mountain as well.”
“I’ve done my research on this Pei Zi Yun. Based on what I found out, he’s extremely sly and crafty. He will use the environment to his advantage. His purpose in leading us to Mei Shan mountain must be to repeat what he did to King Lu’s eunuch, blowing us up.”
“Since he’s already entered the mountain, why not we set some fires around to force him out.” One of the Daoists asked.
Hearing this, Elder Xu paused in consideration, “Razing down an entire mountain would cause too much movement. Even though we have King Lu supporting us, we won’t be able to cover up something as serious as burning down an entire mountain. We have the support of the imperial court but we shouldn’t act too rashly.”
“Besides, if we start burning, we might give this person a chance to escape amidst all the chaos. We should only use that as a last resort.”
“Elder Xu, what should we do now?” A Daoist then asked.
“What’s around this area?”
“Because of the Mei Shan mountain, this place is called Mei Shan town. Although it was called a town, it’s much smaller with only two hundred households.”
Elder Xu looked icily towards the mountain before eyeing the town, “Is there anywhere to stay in for the night?”
“Elder Xu, there’s an inn with seven or eight rooms. Though, If you’re looking for a resting place for the night, there’s also a temple up ahead. I’ve already taken a look at it, and it was probably built by the citizens here. We can stay there!”
“We’re at war!” Elder Xu looked at the streets, his expression was unclear. “How could I stay at an inn? Let’s put up with the temple!”
Everyone around heard the command and led him towards the temple. As they walked across the town, people could be seen going about their daily routines.
Everyone else were having their meals as Elder Xu asked, “What’s the situation with the Fate Lantern?”
“It shows that this person has entered Mei Shan mountain, and isn’t running anymore. It’s clear that he’s planning a counter attack, and is using the rough landscape of the mountains to launch an offensive.”
“What a devious and cunning person.” Elder Xu laughed out. “But he’s going to be undone by his own cleverness.”
“After placing a curse upon the Fate Lantern, I need time and distance in order for it to be effective. Now that he’s staying put and thinking of attacking us, it gives me a chance to strike.”
He then ordered, “When you’ve finished eating, surround the mountain. Teams of five, and distribute these communication talismans around. At the same time, use the whistles and form up in the triangle formation.”
“Elder Xu, most of these men don’t have Dao arts. If we allow them to use the talisman, it might damage their lifespans.” A Daoist stepped forward and voiced his concern.
When Elder Xu heard this words, he glared at him, “Kindness doesn’t command an army. Whenever we go to war, lives would be lost. If you wish to be so kind, why not you go in their places?”
The Daoist’s face turned pale as he hurriedly replied, “Elder, I don’t dare to.”
Elder Xu then turned back and commanded coldly, “As for swordsmen, we shall divide you into groups of two. The seven of you, split into three groups. The last remaining person shall stay here.”
Everyone present shouted out loudly in acknowledgement, “Yes, Elder Xu.”
The few Daoist swordsman then dashed towards the mountain.
Elder Xu then spoke out once more, “Today will be the day he loses his life. I didn’t expect him to be so daring, to think of mounting an attack against us at such a crucial point, although it’s going to be futile. It’s just a pity that Jian An was killed by this person.”
“What Elder Xu means to say is that this person is fearless. But even such a person would find it hard to survive when he meets us, Dark Altar Sect.” The remaining Daoist swordsman spoke out.
Hearing him speak, everyone around smiled as Elder Xu waved a hand, “All of you be alert. We haven’t even killed him yet but all of you are already so relaxed. We must not let him escape.”
“Elder Xu, this Pei Zi Yun’s fighting skills are very strong, and we must not underestimate him in order to prevent him from escaping. Now that we have the time and distance to properly allow the curse to sink in, we shouldn’t delay any further.” A Daoist on his left spoke out.
Elder Xu nodded his head in agreement, “Indeed we shouldn’t delay any further. He’s already a Yin Master and might even have a special weapon. Normal spells wouldn’t be able to do much to the Fate Lantern. But I have a demonic curse which can be placed on the lantern and cause him to hallucinate. He would find it hard to differentiate between illusions and reality. But I will not be able to hold the curse by myself for long. I would need all of you to help.”
Elder Xu stretched out a hand to retrieve a cursed bone and knocked it on a surface. The cursed bone instantly burst into green flames, as it became more intense by the second. At the peak of the flames, it transformed into black mass of dark energy. Many faces could be seen within the black energy, as they struggled.
Elder Xu used the cursed bone to touch the flame within the Fate Lantern. Instantly, the flame started taking on a green tinge as part of the bone melted into the flame of the lantern.
Elder Xu’s face started sweating. The minute the pair of Daoist saw that, they knew that he was facing a strong amount of resistance. They both placed their hands over his to assist him.
“Boom” The green flames expanded many times.
Mei Shan Mountain, Forested Area
The five blades wielding men were searching within the forests. All of them bore a look of anger on their faces as they clutched onto their blades tightly. Although they were fresh, it was clear that they had undergone rigorous training of some sort. Their movements were precise and calculated. Each of them was strong and muscular, and extremely agile as well.
Although it was late in the night, the men were all extremely active and alert. Their eyes glimmered as they scanned the area for any sign of movements.
At this point, a shadow appeared right behind the group of men. One of them seemed to notice a movement behind and turned around, but didn’t see anything.
He then heaved a sigh of relief as he turned back to the front and resumed his search. All of a sudden, a hand appeared and grabbed him by the neck. Just as he was about to struggle, he felt something cold on his neck, as though something was dripping down.
The shadow then allowed the dead man to drop soundlessly before chasing after the rest of them.
“Cheng An, have you seen anything?” One of the men in front asked. When he turned around to check if his partner was behind him, a chill ran down his spine. Someone he didn’t recognize was standing right in front of him. He wanted to scream out.
A hand pressed against his mouth, preventing him from screaming out. A blade then sank into his flesh and through his heart, as a soft “pu” sound could be heard.
He then gently eased the body down onto the ground. At this point the group leader felt something wasn’t right, as the footsteps behind him seemed to have been reduced. He then heard something rustle as he turned around. He froze in fear before regaining his senses several seconds later as he shouted out, “Someone’s behind, formation!”
When he finished shouting, he turned around and saw Pei Zi Yun charging towards his men. With deft and stealthy strides, he charged towards two men. The pair of men in front of their team leader froze in fear, and wanted to run for their lives.
Pei Zi Yun’s shadow moved fluidly before appearing once again. With a flash of his blade, he felled the pair of knife wielding men effortlessly as blood splashed all around.
The leader hurriedly placed the whistle within his mouth as he retrieved the flare. In the next moment, the gleam of the blade could be seen again as a sword plunged into the chest of the team leader, and exited from his back.
Large mouthfuls of blood foamed up from his mouth as the talisman beside him burned up.
“Damn it!” Pei Zi Yun wasn’t fast enough to stop the talisman from burning, and giving away his current location. Instantly, his shadow darted straight back into the forested away. About three hundred meters away, a pair of swordsmen were alerted of his presence with the enchanted compasses in their possession.
They both looked at each other and one of them blew viciously on his whistle before they chased after him. Following the sound of the whistle everyone else started swarming towards it. They acted like a net, trying to catch Pei Zi Yun.
‘Even if you wish to keep your nets, you have to make sure that your nets are able to contain the fish. Even if your nets managed to wrap around the fishes, but couldn’t contain them, what’s the point?’
‘With my current strength, unless all pursuers are extremely proficient swordsmen, they wouldn’t be able to contain me.’
‘Since all these men are quite weak, I can kill them one by one easily. Once I’ve killed all these unworthy fighters, I can make my way back to the sect.’ Pei Zi Yun understood his plan and wasn’t very worried. With a deft leap, he disappeared into the dark of the night.
At this point a group of five men moved along quickly. Their speed were in sync with each other. All of a sudden, one of them screamed out as it was hoisted up into the air. With a loud thud, something stabbed into him as he groaned in pain before his body fell to the ground limp.
The remaining four of them paused in shock.
The sky was dark, and neither of them saw what happened. One of them approached and shouted, “It’s a trap!”
Before his words could even be heard, he let out a painful scream, as if he had just been struck by something as powerful as lightning, ‘Throwing weapons!’
The three of them were frightened out of their wits as they scrambled to flee in different directions. One of them blew on the whistle. After several blasts of the whistle, another thud could be heard. With a gleam of the sword, the blade ran through his right chest, causing his entire torso to split open and he fell down with a crash.
‘Idiot, such threats can’t even be compared to the last time I was surrounded by the eunuchs on the mountain.’
‘Because the Imperial Court had such frightening numbers. Every time tens of them die, more would spring out in their stead. No matter how skilled I am in dealing with the huge numbers, I could keep going on for days and months and wouldn’t be able to kill them all completely. If I didn’t take drastic measures I would’ve been surrounded and died.’
‘Although your skills are slightly stronger than soldiers, to someone like me with Dao techniques and sword skills of the ‘Master’ Realm, you’re nothing more than a few foot soldiers.’
What were successful military strategies? Using a large force to overcome a smaller force, or a stronger army to overcome a weaker army. Since Pei Zi Yun was a skilled military strategist and not someone competing in a fair competition, this wasn’t a question of fairness. He would use whatever advantage he could find to overcome his enemies. Besides, using so many men against just him was already unfair towards him.
Pei Zi Yun maintained an expressionless face as he turned his body and counter attacked. Instantly, he heard a pair of anguished cries as two men fell to the ground and died. Pei Zi Yun looked down at his robes and saw some blood. Although the group of men had seen two of their fellow fighters die, they still pressed on and charged towards Pei Zi Yun. Seeing that they were coming for him, his shadow moved in a blur as he dashed back into the dense forests.
Several critters were croaking within the lush forests. There were some other sounds coming a distance away, and was rather indistinct. An entire fresh group of fighters were coursing through the forests. A torch in one hand and a blade in the other, they occasionally slashed across at the grass in order to get a better view.
The group leader felt something amiss as he raised his head and looked far across, “Eh? The ninth group hasn’t responded?”
The group leader had a wary look on his face as he gazed around. His heart was fluttering within his chest. Everything was silent around him. A fighter then stepped forward, “Yes, leader. They haven’t responded.”
The leader then handed his whistle to this fighter and commanded, “Something probably happened up ahead. Blow on the whistle again, and see if you can get a response from them.”
Just as the leader spoke out, he retrieved the flare gun from his robes and took several steps into the pitch black forest. Swear beads were forming on his forehead. Everything was still.
The leader drew his blade and asked coldly, “Who’s there?”
The five fighters with him drew their blades simultaneously as well. Just then, a fighter not from their group appeared from beyond the darkness. He seemed to have many wounds on his body as he called out to them, “Hurry, shoot out the flare gun. Pei Zi Yun has attacked us.”
“What?” The leader then clutched onto the flare gun nervously and raised it above his head. Just before he could fire it, he was stabbed by that same wounded fighter.
“Pu!” The fighter twisted the blade, which had embedded itself deep within his chest. He gave a loud groan as he fell to the ground. With his dying breath, he still instructed the rest of his men, “Quick, blow on the whistle.”
The fighters behind realized that Pei Zi Yun had disguised himself as one of them and killed their leader. A fighter then blew hard on his whistle. Just then, Pei Zi Yun pointed at him, causing his whole body to go rigid. Pei Zi Yun then moved like lightning as he charged towards him and killed him.
“Kill him!” A pair of fighters rushed from both sides, aiming at him. One of the fighters then picked up the whistle from the man whose body had turned rigid and was about to blow on it.
Pei Zi Yun’s vision turned merciless as the gleam of his sword spun one an entire circle. The sound of his sword colliding with a pair of bodies could be heard as their shadows interlocked with one another. In the next moment, a pair of screams rang out, causing those around to go weak from fear as their scalps went numb.
The pair of fighters trembled as blood fell into the air while they crashed to the ground.