Chapter 21 Stealing the heart, Surprise Attack (4)
The arrow striking and the other two sentries’ neck being caught happened nearly at the same time. In that short period of time, the three sentries of the Kalise Empire had been killed off just like that. Although it could not be said to have been totally silent, but the light sounds which had arisen were hidden by the various insect noises in the forest. Their coordination had been perfect for their first time working together, and was indeed astonis.h.i.+ng.
Without doubt, the one who had pounced from behind to finish off the two sentries was naturally Zhou Weiqing. What he had done was actually rather simple, circling behind the sentry post, and with the power of his right leg, he had leapt forth in an amazing burst of speed to grab hold of both sentries’ necks. Before they could react and make any sound, he had smashed their heads into the ground and broken their necks. His Physical Jewel was after all that of strength – let alone the weaker neck vertebra, he could probably even break the thicker thigh bone if he wanted to.
However, even he had not imagined that Shangguan Bing’er would have such a perfect understanding and coordination with him. 1
He had originally prepared his right leg in advance. If Shangguan Bing’er’s arrow had been late, he would sweep his leg forth to kill the leftmost soldier; even if that would create a disturbance, he had to risk it.
The feeling in his hands as the bones shattered, coupled with the sound, and the feeling of the life in his hands ebbing away caused a hint of bloodl.u.s.t to fill Zhou Weiqing’s eyes. This was his first time killing someone, and it was at such a personal, close range, and yet his inner heart was trembling with an inexplicable excitement.
He lifted his hand and gave a big thumbs up towards Shangguan Bing’er hidden in the distance. He then casually plucked out the arrow from the leftmost sentry’s head, wiping it clean of all bloodstains on their clothes, before heading back to rejoin her.
“Bing’er, that was timely! That’s three in total.” As he said that, Zhou Weiqing stuck the arrow back into Shangguan Bing’er’s quiver.
Shangguan Bing’er closed her eyes, a look of compa.s.sion flas.h.i.+ng through her face, as she seemed a little unable to bear it. Luckily, she had killed from a distance, otherwise the pain from killing someone might have been even more obvious.
Zhou Weiqing patted her back comfortingly, saying: “Being kind to an enemy is being cruel to yourself. Think of all our soldiers who died, who were injured. Every Kalise Empire soldier who dies, is almost equal to saving one of our Heavenly Bow Empire’s soldiers. Anyway, we have to go now.”
“En.” Shangguan Bing’er braced herself, thinking to herself. How can I be inferior to Zhou Little Fatty who is younger than me? He hasn’t even reached fourteen years of age yet Right?
Very quickly, Zhou Weiqing managed to find a second hidden sentry post. The sentries who were in charge of the sentry posts were usually elite light infantry soldiers who had also been trained as scouts. Amongst the ordinary infantry soldiers, they were outstanding. However, in front of two Heavenly Jewel Masters, they were frail and delicate.
Perhaps it was because Shangguan Bing’er had helped Zhou Weiqing to Awaken his Heavenly Jewels by being Sacrifice, and in the process forging a connection between them. The two of them had a stunning level of cooperation and tacit understanding between them; with Shangguan Bing’er focusing on long ranged attacks and Zhou Weiqing focusing on close combat. Hidden sentry posts fell one after the other as they continued forth.
When they finally tore through and got past all the sentry posts of the Kalise Empire, they had already killed 34 sentries from the various hidden sentry posts. Of that, the majority had been slain by Zhou Weiqing.
As they lay down hidden in the darkness, watching the enemy camp from a distance, Zhou Weiqing and Shangguan Bing’er both took the opportunity to recover their expended Heavenly Energy.
“Little Fatty, what do you have planned?” After a full night of cooperating in battle, the two of them were getting more coordinated and in tune with each other. Strangely enough, the one having the dominating and leaders.h.i.+p role was not the Two-Jewelled Shangguan Bing’er, instead with Zhou Weiqing shouldering the responsibility.
Shangguan Bing’er realised that as soon as Zhou Weiqing entered the forest, it was like a fish entering water. He took care of many minute details in such a way that she found impossible, and his unbelievably strong senses were able to easily detect enemies from incomparable distances. This was the main reason why they had managed to always get the upper hand against their enemies thus far, and the reason why they had managed to sneak through the whole enemy lines and reach the military camp without any issues.
Zhou Weiqing asked Shangguan Bing’er to take out her map once again, and with the pale moonlight as a light source, he examined the map and pointed at where they were: “Look here, this is our target’s position. Although the enemy camp has quite a few patrolling soldiers, but at the moment is already past the 1am mark, and is the time when humans are easily tired. In a moment, I will be in charge of launching a sneak attack upon them, and you can cover me in case anything goes wrong.”
“However, once we start the attack, we cannot return via the route we came. Instead, I think we should go via this route instead. I have examined all possible routes carefully earlier, and chosen it. Returning back to base via this route will allow us to reduce the distance by almost 50 li. Furthermore, you mentioned that the patch of forested hills that this route takes is populated by Heavenly Beasts, this will help in greatly deterring pursuit when we are making our escape too.”
To Shangguan Bing’er’s surprise, as Zhou Weiqing pointed out his chosen route on the map, his finger swiftly moved across the map and pointed to the various positions extremely accurately, showing also an especially firm grasp upon the distance to cover. The new route of retreat that he was pointing out was not a direct straight line, but instead curved and swerved a lot, but ensuring that the distance travelled would be the minimum, with also fewer obstructions while still trying to keep as far from the Kalise Empire’s campsites as possible. Clearly, this was what he had been calculating when he was holding the map before they had left earlier.
“Bing’er, are you listening to me?” Zhou Weiqing waved his hand in front of her dazed eyes.
Shangguan Bing’er gave him a rather complicated look, thinking to herself: So, it turns out that you are actually really a genius. Even if you did not Awaken your Heavenly Jewels, you should be able to become an outstanding commander. 2
“I’m listening. However, what happens if we meet a Heavenly Beast blocking our way instead? With our current cultivation levels, even the weakest s.h.i.+ Stage Heavenly Beast will give us a lot of problems, and will definitely be extremely dangerous for us to face. Heavenly Beasts have their own unique skills and talents, which are extremely strong. Most of these Heavenly Beasts have a very strong sense of territory, and as soon as we enter their territory, they will not hesitate to attack us.”
Zhou Weiqing smiled and said confidently: “You do not have to worry about that part, I have it all planned out. Haven’t you always wanted to know why it is so easily for me to Store Skills in my Elemental Jewels? Let me tell you the reason now. The black pearl that I swallowed should be the Neidan of a huge winged black tiger, and this black tiger’s aura seems to cause most creatures to feel fear, and Heavenly Beasts are no different. My Skills were all Stored from Zong Stage Heavenly Beasts, and are all mostly Control-type Skills. However, during the Skill Storing process, none of them actually resisted at all. Although it can be said that it is also due to the fact that they have all been sealed, but it is clear that the aura from my body has definitely affected them in a large way. If we meet any Heavenly Beasts, as long as we do not attack them first, they should leave us alone once they sense the aura emitting from me.”
“Furthermore, the reason why I chose the route is basically because it is on the relative edges of the forested hills. In general, the stronger the Heavenly Beast, the more it will prefer to have its territory in a central position. As such, we shouldn’t meet any overly strong Heavenly Beasts. As for meeting with s.h.i.+ Stage Heavenly Beasts, even if my plan doesn’t work, with our speed, it should not be too difficult for us to just escape. With this as a double insurance, I have deemed that this should be our safest route of retreat.”
Shangguan Bing’er nodded, looking convinced, and said: “Alright, let’s follow your plan.” In the darkness of the night, she did not realise that the red bloodl.u.s.t in Zhou Weiqing’s eyes was getting stronger. Even Zhou Weiqing himself did not realise that his emotions were starting to get increasingly affected by this sense of bloodl.u.s.t.
Great strength was often accompanied by great risk. Just like the great risk that accompanied the Immortal Deity Technique when breaking through Death Acupuncture Points, the black pearl’s side effects were slowly showing themselves upon Zhou Weiqing.
A short while later, the duo had recovered their Heavenly Energy to their maximum capacity, and Zhou Weiqing gave Shangguan Bing’er a predesignated hand signal as he stealthily moved ahead.
The Kalise Empire Army Camp’s main entrance was rather wide, almost 40 metres wide, ensuring that if there was any large scale military movement, the troops would be able to leave the camp easily. To both sides of gates, there each stood a 20 metre tall watchtower, while the borders of the camp were surrounded by many bright lamps, flickering in the wind, illuminating the entire camp. On each of the watchtowers, there stood an archer sentry posted to keep guard at night. As long as they spotted anything untoward, they could ring the gongs at the top of the watchtowers to sound off the alarm and alert the patrolling soldiers for quick response.
At this point, Shangguan Bing’er was hidden about 500 yards from the Kalise Empire’s main camp. Her right hand’s little finger and ring finger were grasping an arrow, while in between her index finger and ring finger was another. Her Purple Dawn Bow was drawn slowly with the arrow between her index and ring fingers nocked, ready and aiming towards the one of the Watchtowers in the distance.
Zhou Weiqing was steadily closing in on the Kalise Empire campsite, and he was gradually running out of cover to hide behind. In that instance, Shangguan Bing’er’s Purple Dawn Bow moved.
“Swoosh* *Swoosh* Two sounds softly rang out, and two arrows shot out almost right after the other. When shooting forth these two arrows, she had used a rather ingenious little trick, using a slightly varying strength when shooting both arrows, with the second arrow having a little more strength than the first. By doing so, both arrows actually struck their targets at the same time. To ensure a one hit kill at such a distance, Shangguan Bing’er had used her Wind Attribute Heavenly Energy to boost the power of the shots.
*Puff* *Puff* Another two light sounds rang out. Even at such a range, both arrows slammed into the heads of the sentries, one directly hitting the Taiyang Acupuncture Point and piercing through, while the other struck right smack in the mouth and piercing through into the brain. Although the explosive power of the Wind Attribute was not very strong, but to a soft target like the brains, it was still extremely terrifying. Without much sound, their bodies crumpled to the ground of the watchtowers.
As this was happening, Zhou Weiqing also burst forth instantaneously, circulating his Heavenly Energy to the max. The distance of 300 yards was cleared in five bounds, and seizing the opportunity that there weren’t any patrols about, his right leg slammed onto the ground. With the formidable strength of his right foot, he was able to leap up five metres, jumping over the fence of the entrance, and he leapt his way up one of the watchtowers like a leopard.
In the distance, Shangguan Bing’er’s heart was in her throat as she nocked another arrow to her drawn bow, ready to support Zhou Weiqing at any time.
The plan was a success. When Zhou Weiqing ascended the watchtower, he still had not been discovered by any enemies. He felt like his heart was racing, the palpitations quickly increasing as his excitement grew.
Including the two archers on the watchtower, they had already killed 36 people this night, and were just 60 away from their goal of revenge. Zhou Weiqing took a deep breath as he looked down from the watchtower deeper into the camp. Due to the lights from the lanterns, he was able to get a good look of it with such a panoramic view.
The Kalise Empire Camp and the Heavenly Bow Empire camps were actually rather similar; with Heavy Infantry being 10 men to a tent, while the light infantry were 30 people to a tent. Zhou Weiqing did not have any particular fixed target, and after some careful observation, he found a target to lock on.
He had after all just joined the army not long ago, and he was not very familiar with the situation in military camps. Furthermore, due to the limitation on the amount of Heavenly Energy he had, he only had one chance to strike before he had to withdraw. After all, he had to retain enough Heavenly Energy to beat a retreat. As such, his choice of target was one of the largest tents. That tent was actually almost a whole kilometer away from the watchtower he was in, but it was brilliantly illuminated and was actually being patrolled by an entire company of soldiers, and was obviously a very important place.
That’s it. Zhou Weiqing lifted his right hand, and the sole Icy Jade Physical Jewel around his right wrist shone forth brightly, as he released his Overlord Bow quickly. At the same time, the attribute wheel in his eye revolved to the blue region, and immediately above his left hand sparked out a rich electrical light.
Amongst all of Zhou Weiqing’s Stored Skills, among the six attributes, he only had a single attack skill, and it was of the lightning attribute…
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