Volume 3 - The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace, Chapter 55: Retaliation
Zhao Junhong grew even more furious as he countered, “What do you think?”
The other bodyguard at the side hurriedly came out to smooth things over and said, “That guy’s rank may not be high, but his reactions are incredible. He should be a veteran very experienced in mountain combat. It will probably be a waste of time even if we attempt to chase him down. This subordinate believe that it is best if we focus on hunting for points.”
Zhao Junhong didn’t answer immediately. Instead, he recalled the guy’s reactions after he was ambushed. Now that he was thinking carefully, he realized that his opponent’s dodging movements were bizarre and unpredictable, decision-making in a crisis was incredibly accurate, and chosen combat tactics were just right for the situation. Even Zhao Junhong himself couldn’t say with certainty that he could lock down his opponent. An opponent like this would be incredibly hard to deal with in a complex and mountainous forest terrain like this. Little bits of difference between ranks weren’t very relevant here.
Zhao Junhong’s expression turned much uglier when he thought up to this point. However, he swiftly recovered and asked, “Which family does that guy belong to?”
A bodyguard said, “Judging from his clothes, he’s a member of the Yin Family hunting team.” He hesitated for a moment before saying, “However, this subordinate seems to recall this face during Duke Wei’s dinner feast. Er, I think it was Miss Qiqi’s female companion at the time?” He himself was confused when he voiced this. That guy just now was absolutely not a woman.
Zhao Junhong thought for a moment but came up with nothing. He did remember seeing a girl wearing the same clothes as Qiqi during that dinner feast, but he hadn’t paid attention to the other party’s looks at all.
Zhao Junhong couldn’t help but sneer, “That Qiqi! God knows what the hell she’s playing at again!”
“Let’s keep moving forward.” Zhao Junhong quickly tossed the matter to the back of his mind. He threw the silver origin gun back to the bodyguard. A mere rank five Fighter was beneath his notice. If his opponent was smart, then he would avoid his hunting zone by miles. At any rate, only the direct descendants of those aristocratic families were in his list of unkillables, and these people numbered only twenty or so. That guy had run into his shooting range himself for no reason, so if he was killed then would be that.
Zhao Junhong’s hunting team spread out widely, leaving behind only two bodyguards by his side. The entire team progressed forwards in an S formation. They planned to hunt down every prey in their way.
Gunshots rang from time to time as armored bulls, black tigers, earth dragons, and thorny berserk bears fell in response as the Zhao household’s points also ascended swiftly, pulling further and further away from their rivals. The Zhao household truly deserved to be called a top-class household. Their equipment was excellent, and every member in the team was using physical origin bullets. This way, they could greatly decrease the amount of origin power spent and increase the longevity of their combat power.
Suddenly, a bloodcurdling scream broke out after the crack of an origin gun! Before long, another crack followed and ended the scream.
The moment Zhao Junhong raised his eyebrows, the bodyguard beside him immediately ran towards the direction where the bloodcurdling scream came from. Moments later, he rushed back and said, “A’Jiang found a landowning household member acting suspiciously around the area, so he shot and killed him.”
Zhao Junhong let out an ‘oh’ of understanding and said, “Tell him to clean up the body properly and leave no traces behind. This is just a spring hunt. If we kill too many people, the Zhao household’s reputation may be affected.”
“Got it! A'Jiang is already cleaning up the body. He will be done very soon.”
Zhao Junhong nodded and continued forwards. He pointed at a hill facing the water and said, “We will be camping and resting there today. Let’s head forwards a little more.”
A bodyguard immediately ran out to scout out the location Zhao Junhong had pointed and lay down the camp while the rest continued onward. There was still some time before the sky would darken, and they decided to eliminate all of the wild beasts and fierce animals that were tens of kilometers or so around the camp before returning to rest.
Within a dense forest, the bodyguard named A’Jiang was humming a small tune and kicking a badly damaged corpse into a pit that was had just been dug. At the same time, he scattered quite a bit of drug powder that could attract wild animals. It wouldn’t take long before those wild dogs and wolves that fed on rotten meat would show up and gobble up the corpse to the bone. When that happened, there would be no proof left to show who the killer was.
How dare a landowning household guy not run after seeing him. He totally deserved to die! A’Jiang thought happily to himself.
He exhaled deeply and relaxed. Suddenly, he sensed something and abruptly turned his head! A wild dog crawled out of the forest and stared at the powder-covered corpse while salivating.
A’Jiang immediately broke into a smile, and said, “Damn, these things sure do appear quickly. It gave me a fright.”
Not far away, Qianye watched his smiling face through his sight and pulled the trigger.
Eagleshot shook intensely, but this time it was clutched steadily in Qianye’s hands.
The instant Eagleshot rumbled, A’Jiang immediately broke into a look of shock and tried to dodge out of the way with all his might. A rank seven expert like him already possessed an incredibly astute amount of intuition, so he would instinctively react to dodge out of the way when a gun was aimed and fired at him.
However, this time Qianye was way too close to him. The two of them were only two hundred meters apart. It was just the right distance for Eagleshot to unleash all of its power.
A’Jiang barely managed to twist his body sideways before dark red flames burst forth in front of his chest. His armor instantly shattered, and his chest and stomach area immediately became mangled beyond recognition! He let out a bloodcurdling scream and fell on his back, but he hadn’t lost his mobility because of the wound. He was actually able to forcefully endure the pain, flip, and roll on his back before dodging behind a tree.
By now Qianye was swiftly approaching towards A'Jiang as he leapt into the air and passed by A'Jiang from the side. In his hands, an origin crossbow flashed as a steel core arrow surged forwards and penetrated A'Jiang’s back under the push of both the crossbow’s origin array and bowstring.
However, only a third of the arrow entered A'Jiang’s body, and even though it entered the flesh, it went only several centimeters deep. Qianye cried out in pity inwardly. The Zhao household really was pretty astounding. The battle armor worn by this bodyguard was actually two full grades tougher than the Yin Family’s standard warrior uniform. No wonder Eagleshot’s full-powered shot could only deal a moderate amount of damage to his enemy.
A'Jiang also knew that he was in a life-and-death crisis. Suddenly, he grit his teeth, pulled out a syringe, and injected its contents completely into his thigh. Then, he let out a mad howl and escaped towards the deeper regions of the forest. His speed had actually increased instead of decreasing.
Qianye shook his head and withdrew Eagleshot and his crossbow. This was the first time he faced a household bodyguard, and they were just as powerful as he expected them to be. Qianye knew that he was lucky this time, since he had concealed himself two hundred meters away before all of this. Otherwise, he might have to spend a huge amount of effort to get close to his enemy undetected judging from his enemy’s reaction before and after he was shot.
That being said, after being affected by the mixed plant and snake poison Qianye had created and suffering such a grievous injury, he would be useless in this spring hunt even if he was alive. Every hunting team could only have nine members, and they were not allowed to substitute in new members after being forced out of the event midway.
Qianye swiftly departed and slow-jogged inside the forest towards the camping spot Zhao Junhong had designated. Those two shots to his back had completely ignited his anger, and for the past few days Qianye had been engulfed in raging irritation and frustration after he ran into Song Zining and Wei Potian back-to-back. This was just the right moment to vent his depression onto this second Zhao young master .
Zhao Junhong heard another gunshot from afar and frowned, “Eagleshot? We haven’t equipped ourselves with Eagleshot, have we?”
“It’s coming from A'Jiang’s direction. It’s possible that it was the doing of another bold landowning household guy. The rest of the aristocratic families have seen A'Jiang and should know that you are hunting around this area. They would not approach us. Don’t worry, A'Jiang will take care of it.”
Zhao Junhong nodded and cast a glance towards the front. The zone before his eyes was a pine tree forest. Its terrain was complicated, but it also had wide, open field areas. He could already sense the remnants of Darkness origin power in that place.
Zhao Junhong’s mouth curled into a smile, and he said, “Finally, we’ve found those black-blooded bastards. Let’s head over and take a look!”
Every bodyguard including Zhao Junhong himself had entered into a state of alertness. Dark race warriors weren’t wild beasts; they were a lot more dangerous than that. Moreover, a few high-ranking dark race warriors would appear every year during the Profound Heaven Mountain Range spring hunt.
On the other side of the Zhao household hunting zone was the Song household. Song Zining’s clothes were light and long-sleeved, and he walked at his leisure as if he was on an outing. Even now, he hadn’t entered the zone where rank six wild beasts lurked. Beside him, Ye Mulan was anxious, but she couldn’t express the emotion outwardly.
For this spring hunt, Song Zining had passed the team’s command power to Ye Mulan, and he himself had only brought a personal subordinate with him. The rest of the task such as selection of personnel, team composition, and mobilization were all left under Ye Mulan’s power. Therefore, Ye Mulan really wanted to perform well in this spring hunt. The better the Song household’s results were, the greater her merit would be. However, while everyone had listened to her instructions, Song Zining was the only person she couldn’t command.
This was the first time Song Zining had come to the Profound Heaven Mountain Range. The spring of this mountain area was full of life, and not only was this place covered in lush plants and wildflowers as luxuriant as paddy fields, it also had all kinds of small animals besides the expected wild beasts. He seemed to have treated this spring hunt as a trip to collect cultural materials, and every day he would leisurely walk through mountains and lands, pausing to look at beautiful sceneries or praise every rare animal they came by. When they were camped and the sky had turned dark, he would hold up a light and either draw or write on his papers. The amount of pen, ink ,and paper he brought alone required a bodyguard to carry.
Ye Mulan was anxious on the inside, but she didn’t dare to hurry Song Zining. Although she had hunted along her surroundings while they marched, she was bogged down by two factors: one, she had to leave behind an adequate amount of bodyguards to Song Zining; and two, this area was low-ranked and thus didn’t possess any prey that was worth high points in the first place. So, despite her efforts, the Song household’s result still dropped a spot during these two days.
However, Song Zining consoled her and said that the Song household’s strength would gradually appear once they entered the rank six area. There shouldn’t be any problems maintaining a top three spot in the end of the spring hunt. Even if they weren’t among the top three, being in the top five was also acceptable.
Ye Mulan smiled and nodded in agreement. Once she had walked out of Song Zining’s camp, she gathered the bodyguards and instructed coldly, “The surroundings of this camp might not be safe. You will split into two groups and take turns to patrol and clean out every prey in the area. We must not disturb the young master’s rest, do you understand?”
Of course the Song household bodyguards understood. She was telling them to hunt overnight and replenish the loss in marks caused by Song Zining’s leisurely activities.
Ye Mulan herself was armed to the teeth as she walked into the night behind the camp. It was only when there was no one around her that she suddenly erupted and cut down a Saber-toothed Wild Boar. Then, she slashed and hacked at the boar madly to the point where it was almost indistinguishable from meat paste!
It was only after she vented that the anger within her chest subsided just a little. She mumbled to herself hatefully, “Fifth place is acceptable? Hehehe, hahaha!”
Since the Song household’s ancestor was prejudiced, the bodyguards given to Song Zining were all between middle to top rank. They were not weaker than Zhao Junhong’s men. With such strength in their team, the only downside was that someone in the Zhao household would most likely gossip behind their backs. If she’d only obtained the third spot, then she would be lucky if her performance review turned out to meet expectations. If they really dropped to the fifth, then the criticism behind her back would surge towards her from all directions. The Song household’s ancestor’s evaluation of her would definitely fall off by a lot as well.
It was only when it was almost daylight that Ye Mulan carried her weary and sweaty body back to the camp. She slept the moment she hit the ground. There were only two hours left before the scheduled departure time, and she had to catch every moment to rest. There was still a day of hunting today.
The light in Song Zining’s camp had also been lit for the entire night.
This seventh young master had stared at the blank papers laid before his table for an entire night, and it was only during daybreak that he moved his brush and drew nine portraits in one go.
On the left side was Qianye without his makeup. The rest of the portraits however, described a young boy slowly growing into a teenager. In the end, an underripe, childish-looking but also handsome man stood tall in the portrait. However, the leftmost and rightmost portraits only resembled one another to a small degree.
“What on earth happened?”
Song Zining extended a hand and lay it on the paper. A flash of origin power later, a half transparent mist swept across the table. The drawing paper had completely vanished, leaving behind only a pile of thin, gray dust.
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