Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 34
Chapter 34: Trap
Back at the Recruitment Ceremony, Fang Xing had not left much of an impression on Hou Qing and had been forgotten. Besides, there was too much of a contrast in appearance between the now clean and neatly dressed Fang Xing and the boy that was clad in dirty rags from back then. The entire atmosphere around Fang Xing had changed as a result.
While Fang Xing cursed on, Hou Qing could no longer hold back his temper. Within seconds, he sent something silver flying out of his pockets towards Fang Xing on the other side of the riverbank.
Fang Xing had also sent a sword flying once he saw the silver light aimed right at him. The two swords clashed in mid-air and set off dazzling sparks as the swords collided against each other. Fang Xing took a couple of steps backwards while Hou Qing's sword was flipped away.
When it came to comparing cultivation levels, Hou Qing was by far the superior, however he not only had to control his sword to fight against Fang Xing's but also needed to maintain a consistent flow of Qi to keep his sword afloat over the large distance between the two riverbanks. With this, Fang Xing was the one who had the slight advantage and had been able to push Hou Qing's sword away.
’’Hehe, remember this sword? It was the present from you! Thank you!’’ Fang Xing was somewhat surprised despite being able to push Hou Qing's sword away; even though Hou Qing was controlling his sword almost a hundred feet away, it still sent Fang Xing into a jolting motion upon the swords' contact. The Qi on Fang Xing's sword was also visibly dispersed, showing that Hou Qing's cultivation was well above and beyond that of Fang Xing's.
Fearing for his life, Fang Xing didn't delay and stored his sword back in his pocket before waving Hou Qing goodbye and quickly running into the forest behind him.
’’Shixiong Hou, the brat ran away! What do you we do now?’’ Qian had grown agitated, as with the perfect bait gone, the probability of successfully killing the Python Toad would have been dropped by half.
Hou Qing, on the other hand, did not appear to be worried and instead looked calmly to Lyu. ’’Shixiong Lyu, can we still catch up to him?’’
Lyu shut his eyes as though sensing something, and a few moments later he answered, ’’Not a problem. We might not be able to catch him if he had decided to run off straight away, but he seems to have stayed on the other side of the river this entire time and I have already locked on to his scent. To catch him, we just need to find a narrow part of the river to cross from and pursue him with all our might. Once we do, we immediately break his legs!’’
Even Lyu who had once had a soft spot for Fang Xing had thrown away his mercy. Witnessing the death of Zhao had triggered something deep within him, and such horror had stripped him of his kindness to leave only ruthless cruelty behind.
'On the way here, that old bastard named Lyu said he was a bailiff before he joined the sect and specialized in tracking. Since I've waited here for so long, surely they would have figured out a way to catch up to me by now?' Fang Xing walked deeper into the mountain ranges, calculating in his head the next steps to lure the rest of the party over.
To Hou Qing, no matter how calculating or vicious Fang Xing might be, he was still a child. He would have never imagined that instead of running for his life after managing to escape, Fang Xing was in fact planning on taking their lives one at a time.
Throughout these days together, Fang Xing had dug into the backgrounds of each of the remaining three adults. This was the perfect time to put this knowledge to use.
Lyu San had once worked as a bailiff to track and capture criminals for the local government, and had been enlightened by an elder of the Qing-Yun Sect after unknowingly helping the elder in passing. However, since Lyu had neither any cultivation resources nor zi'zhi, he had only just managed to break through into tier three after numerous years of living in the outer court. Qian Tong, on the other hand, had begun his journey as a daotong and was currently in his eighth year in the sect.
Summarized, they were all well-experienced old foxes that would prove to be difficult to deal with, but Fang Xing was not worried. As someone who had fought alongside cunning bandits ever since a very young age, his overall experience might not be any worse in comparison.
If everything went according to Fang Xing's calculations, the rest of the party would have crossed the river by now and were on their way to find him. For his part, he was busy trying to find a suitable location to lay down his trap.
Without going too far, Fang Xing heard a buzzing noise, the sound coming from a hornet's nest the size of a water bucket hanging low beneath a small tree. Under the influence of the mountain's Demonic Qi, these hornets had also mutated into beastly forms with an overgrowth of black, sharp stingers on their back end. The stingers looked highly venomous, and it was perfect for what Fang Xing had been looking for.
Fang Xing changed into a new set of clothing he retrieved from his storage ring. The dampened robes were tied onto a tree branch before Fang Xing carefully walked around the hornets' nest and with a light pull the damp robes slipped right beside the nest. Fang Xing's movements were gentle and slow to avoid alerting the hornets inside.
Following this, Fang Xing gathered some leaves and tree branches and used them to cover the nest so it couldn't be seen clearly even from ten feet away. Once everything was set up and ready, Fang Xing intentionally left a few visible footprints around the area before fleeing the scene.
Fang Xing discovered a safe location not too far away. Proud of what he'd accomplished, he hid himself and waited.
Hou Qing and the rest of the party had been dashing along the river until they found a narrow point they could cross with the help of their Flying Swords. Following Lyu's commands, they darted towards a particular direction before a wave of Lyu's hands signaled for them to slow down. At this time, Fang Xing's footprints were visible in front of them, further affirming Lyu's thoughts on Fang Xing's whereabouts.
’’No matter how smart you are, you're still a kid lacking experience. You might have hidden yourself, but these footprints that you've unknowingly left....’’ Lyu laughed to himself as he
examined the prints, thoroughly convinced that this must have been the carelessness of a ten year old who didn't know better.
As the trio moved closer, Lyu held out his palm. They were less than fifty feet away now.
Hou Qing's gaze tensed as he quietly took his Flying Sword in hand.
With another wave of his hand, Lyu reminded the party in a low voice, ’’Try to catch him alive so we'll still have some blood left when we get to the toad cave.’’
With a nod of agreement, Hou Qing returned his sword to his pocket.
Lyu then signaled Qian to move to the opposite direction so as to surround the target.
Once the trio had taken their positions, Hou Qing yelled out, ’’Nowhere to go, kid!’’ Almost in unison, all three of them jumped towards the same direction Lyu had pointed towards. Branches snapped and clumps of grass flew in all directions.
Qian was the first to reach the indicated location, but the firm sweep of his leg didn't hit anybody. Instead, he had kicked a black ball the size of a water bucket into the air, and while the ball was still in flight there was a loud sound like an explosion followed by millions of small black dots frantically flying towards Qian. Even before Qian had time to understand the situation, his face and torso had already been stung multiple times as he let out miserable shrieks of pain.
The black ball, of course, had been the hornets' nest. All of the black and yellow-striped insects that were flying out of it were the hornets themselves.
Lyu was the second person to arrive and reached the point only a split second after Qian had. Once he saw the dampened robe, however, he released a yell, ’’Sh*t, we fell for his plan!’’
’’Leave!’’ Hou Qing hurried as his long sword flew out of his pocket and into the black cloud of hornets. As the sword danced inside the cloud, a countless number of black dots could be seen falling to the ground as though the sky was raining hornet corpses. Fleeing was the only option; even he could not control his sword much longer and the amount of hornets seemed to only increase. Dragging a crying Qian with one hand, Hou Qing activated his Qi shield and stormed out of the black cloud.
It must be said that this man's sword skills were exceptional. Even when faced with such a large group of Berserker Hornets, he was still able to keep them all well away from him.