Joy of Life - Chapter 196[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:47:31]
Chapter 196: You Die, I Live
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
It was impossible for Xiao En to have gotten too far away. Twenty years of suffering in prison had already dealt irreparable damage to his body, which was then forced to fight Fan Xian’s poison for the past few days. After reopening his meridians with great difficulty and making a daunting escape, he still had to waste more stamina to kill three very determined dogs.
He tightly clutched a branch, his chest heaving intensely. Slightly out of breath, he mocked himself for getting old.
As the moonlight illuminated the forest, Xiao En could clearly see seven figures with long blades behind their backs. They were moving very cautiously towards his hiding spot. Xiao En was in fact quite shocked. Since being let out of prison, this was his first time seeing the envoy’s Tiger Guards. He didn’t know when the Sixth Bureau of the Overwatch Council managed to obtain such a powerful force.
What worried him even more was that youth named Fan Xian. Xiao En understood early on that Fan Xian was determined to kill him, which was why the youth had intentionally created this opening.
Across the mountain next to the forest was Wudu River. Xiao En’s closest secret disciple had dispatched a team to wait for him at Northern Qi’s border.
A cold light gleamed in Xiao En’s eyes as he decided to take a gamble. It had been two hours since he escaped from the camp and engaged in this game of cat and mouse. Far in the distance, the sky was beginning to brighten, and a milky white mist, unique to the great lake, began to rise in the forest.
The forest shrouded in white mist provided Xiao En with the perfect opportunity. He silently slid down the tree. Flat on his stomach like a pond loach, he began to crawl bravely in the opposite direction—toward the seven Tiger Guards. Crawling on the ground brought back a familiar feeling – a feeling from long ago. It was the life-or-death feeling from when he was still a lowly spy in Northern Wei.
Suppressing his heavy breaths to the utmost and reinforcing his declining stamina with his pure zhenqi, Xiao En was going to “brush past” those seven powerful Tiger Guards under the cover of the mist. While it looked ridiculous, as long as he could get out of the forest and safely back north, Xiao En didn’t care.
Twang! Twang! Twang!
Three serpent-like bolts that seemed as though they had eyes flew toward Xiao En’s position with lightning speed. But Xiao En’s body seemed to have some special senses. Before the bolts got close, he had already moved several centimeters to the left and avoided being pierced.
But in doing so, he was exposed. Seven long blades came down, forming a most terrifying lattice of death.
There was a muffled grunt. Xiao En had disappeared from where he was. The true strength of a powerful master was unleashed at this moment. A wave of crackling sound filled the air. In this brief moment, the old man had moved outside of the matrix of blades. He leaned forward, dispersed the surrounding thick mist, and delivered two palm strikes against the blades!
Two Tiger Guards were sent flying, crashing through two small trees.
Letting out a ferocious roar, Gao Da, his two hands gripping the hilt of his blade, chopped down at that ghostly figure.
The slash rang through the air, but Xiao En was expressionless. His eyes shined dimly behind his wild white hair. He clapped his hands together and disappeared into the mist, dodging Gao Da’s unblockable blow. Xiao En then struck out with his palm. The wind created by his strike forced Gao Da to come to a halt.
In the blink of an eye, the blades of the remaining four Tiger Guards once again enveloped Xiao En.
With a sharp cry, Xiao En stomped the ground hard, splashing up the mud. Then, with swift work of his fingers, he sent countless slivers of wood—each as thin and sharp as a needle—in all directions!
Hearing something tearing through the air, the four Tiger Guards raised their blades to shield themselves, especially their eyes, from the unknown weapon. Even so, they felt the pain as those slivers of wood embedded in their hands.
Gao Da flashed powerfully and the wind from his swing blew away the wooden spines. With both hands on his hilt, he looked up to see Xiao En’s shadow slipping into the mist, almost to the edge of the forest.
There was a great rustling noise as all of the leaves on a freshly-grown branch were blown away by a powerful force. Fan Xian, dressed in all black, crashed through like a rock. He rose to the highest point using all of his zhenqi in an attempt to catch Xiao En!
Fan Xian had been hiding. He had fired those three bolts. Now that he was presented with such a perfect opportunity, how could he let it slip by?
In a flash, he and Xiao En crashed together. Fan Xian aimed his gleaming black dagger into the old man’s throat.
But in that moment, Fan Xian suddenly found Xiao En’s eyes to be perfectly calm.
All of Xiao En’s focus was on Fan Xian; he too had been waiting for this moment. Another sharp cry rang out from the old man’s dry lips. Maneuvering swiftly, he grabbed Fan Xian’s attacking arm with one hand and, with the other, he jabbed at Fan Xian’s eyes like a serpent.
The pair crashed hard against a tree, but even that seemed to be within Xiao En’s calculations. He intentionally jutted his elbow back a bit and used the impact to further accelerate his strike.
The old man’s fingers were dry and terrifying. But Fan Xian’s eyes flashed.
In the thick mist, two hands of different skin colors twisted together like they were wringing a towel. Xiao En sensed a strange feeling, as if he did not know how Fan Xian extended his other hand.
Fan Xian had predicted his enemy’s move; it was the excellent result of training under Wu Zhu’s stick.
As scary as Xiao En was, he wasn’t as scary as Wu Zhu. Fan Xian grunted as he locked onto Xiao En’s wrist with his right hand. He then started to attack the old man with his powerful zhenqi. Swinging out his free hand, there was a flash which pierced the mist.
It was a blade!
Xiao En suppressed Fan Xian’s wrist and attempted to knee the youth in the abdomen. Pressing down his right thumb, a dark gleam could faintly be seen. It brushed past Fan Xian’s neck.
As soon as Xiao En’s thumb moved, Fan Xian twisted his body. Using his inexhaustible strength, he avoided Xiao En’s knee. But he felt something cold on his left shoulder. Fan Xian knew he had been scratched by Xiao En’s hidden blade.
With both their hands locked together, they appeared to be in a hopeless situation. But with the pain in his shoulder, Fan Xian grunted. A sharp blade projected out of the bottom of his dagger and cut off one of Xiao En’s fingers!
The pain from losing a finger made the old man loosen his grip. Fan Xian silently pressed down. His dark, gleaming dagger… pierced deeply into Xiao En’s left shoulder!
At that moment, the two were still in freefall. Xiao En was silent, as though he hadn’t been stabbed at all. But he did open his mouth, as if he was about to express his pain.
A thin needle launched out of the old man’s mouth towards Fan Xian’s face!
Fan Xian stomped down with his left foot onto Xiao En’s knee. With the crunching of broken bone, Fan Xian managed to gain a few centimeters of height and the needle hit his chest. Feeling the dull pain, he twisted his left wrist, turning his dual-bladed dagger into a pinwheel, aimed after Xiao En’s wrist.
With a slap, Xiao En let go. His pure strength was enough to shock away Fan Xian’s right hand.
While Fan Xian’s right arm appeared to weakly fall back, the hand swiped Fan Xian’s hair line… and bounced right back with lightning speed! Between his fingers was a needle which jabbed delicately into Xiao En’s neck!
Xiao En’s body stiffened and Fan Xian felt his chest getting stuffy. The two finally crashed to the ground, shaking up layers of fallen leaves and mud. The smell of decay was punishing.
A long blade came down and there was the sound of flesh being cut. The mist gathered again. Gao Da stared at Sir Fan, who was splattered with blood. But Xiao En was nowhere to be seen.
While the silent struggle between Fan Xian and Xiao En seemed to have taken a long time, in reality it all took place while they were falling from the top of a tree. In that short moment, the two duelists, under the cover of the night, silently carried out one of the most ferocious battles that the world had ever seen. The maneuvers they executed, though they seemed normal, actually represented the quintessence of Northern Wei’s deadliest killing techniques and Fan Xian’s own fatal practice, which he had been training since he was a child.
While certainly not graceful, the results were unquestionable. Had it been another strong warrior fighting either of them, there surely would have been a chill in this misty night.
It was a fight to the death between two ninth-ranked assassins. It was a rare occurrence in this world.
“Xiao En is finished.”
Fan Xian coughed twice. With his hand in a thin glove, he removed the needle which almost killed him from the Council’s specially-made clothes. After making sure the poison which had gotten into the flesh wound on his shoulder wasn’t potent, Fan Xian reloaded his crossbow in silence.