A country road twenty-five kilometers from Tong’an City, Northwest plains, Daqi.
Five men in snow-white robes were led by a black-clothed person as they hid within the dense forest.
At Spiritual Mountain Sect more than a hundred kilometres away, the snowstorm had begun to stop and the sun could be seen again, the air finally warming up. But in the area around Tong’an City, it was still snowing very heavily.
These give people were Zhan Qisheng, his subordinate Uncle Li and four Spiritual Sparrows. Uncle Li’s cultivation abilities were powerful enough to ensure no snow touched him while he hid yet like Zhan Qisheng, he chose to let snow pile up until he became a ‘snowman’. If it were not for their occasionally blinking eyes, they looked like five corpses.
Upon receiving news that Chengfeng had been assigned the unlucky mission in Tong’an, Zhan Qisheng’s mind raced for ideas. Ignoring the potential of suspicions from other people, he slipped out of Spiritual Mountain, found Uncle Li and got ready to kill Chengfeng halfway through his journey.
Zhan Qisheng was furious to hear that Uncle Li failed to successfully attack Tong’an City’s Li family but he did not blame Uncle Li, instead remained perplexed over why Liu Sumei would risk it all to help Chengfeng.
Seems like he cannot directly harm Chengfeng. He must plan indirect attacks and ambushes- if not, who knew if this unpredictable Liu Sumei would seek revenge?
This was his best chance to attack Chengfeng!
No one would guess that he was the culprit because Chengfeng had too many enemies here!
That was why he collected intel early and used a fulu seal to get to Tong’an City first. But he had been waiting for three days and three nights already and felt like he was frozen to the ground.
“Is he even… going to come?”
Everyone was going through a mental breakdown already. These Green Hornets were trained to be spies and gather intel, unlike assassins who could survive in the harshest of environments; on the other hand, although Zhan Qisheng was a cultivator, his abilities were nowhere enough for him to last comfortably through three days of snow!
Even Uncle Li felt like his entire body had gone stiff. If they had to fight now, he wondered what fraction of his abilities he could muster for battle.
“Fourth Young Master, are you sure your intel is accurate?” Uncle Li could not help but ask.
Zhan Qisheng was unsure too. “Sun Boyi was the one who gave the information. Out of the entire Spiritual Mountain Sect, his intel should be… the most accurate, it shouldn’t be wrong!”
Uncle Li lamented, “But it has been three days and three nights! He would have arrived in Tong’an already even if he was riding on a three-legged donkey!”
Zhan Qisheng replied, “Unless… they…”
Amidst their hushed conversation they heard a hurried galloping and they shot awake, immediately getting to work. They no longer thought about whether they could win the fight, all they wanted was to finish the job. It was hell squatting here for three days in the snow!
Zhan Qisheng glowed excitedly as he glanced at the road, indeed seeing several horses approaching and their riders clad in Hidden Sword Court robes.
Although they were far away, he declared happily when he saw there were seven riders, “There are seven riders, it’s them! It must be! Prepare to attack!”
This was a narrow valley and they had prepared enough explosive fulu seals stuck on both cliff walls. When the group entered the valley, they would activate the seals and trap them instantly.
Zhan Qisheng’s eyes widened, the artery on his neck bulged as his eyes were glued to the seven. He felt his heart beat faster and faster as they neared the valley!
This was an enemy who had been costing him sleep! He would never be able to sleep well again if this enemy was not eradicated soon!
Five hundred metres, four hundred metres, three hundred metres, two hundred metres, one hundred metres!!
Zhan Qisheng could almost hear his own drumming heartbeat. When everyone below had entered the trap, he waved immediately to issue the activation command.
But suddenly, Uncle Li whispered, “Wait!”
The Green Hornets who were just about to activate the explosive seals were stunned, then looked at Zhan Qisheng instinctively. Qisheng turned to Uncle Li furiously, “They’re getting away!”
Uncle Li said hurriedly, “Where are their swords?! Hidden Sword members never go anywhere without their swords! Where are their swords?!!”
Qisheng was stunned. He turned to see that these seven people were indeed not wearing any swords, instead carried various different military weapons with them.
Zhan Qisheng was in a rage, unable to make a decision. The Green Hornets stared at the both of them until one whispered, “They’re getting out of the zone!”
He clenched his jaw and commanded, “Activate the bombs only on both ends to trap them, then get down there to check who they are!”
And so, the seals on both ends of the path were activated and the group was trapped inside. The horses whinnied and lifted their front legs in shock while the riders stood up, almost falling off.
Zhan Qisheng rushed down the hill and appeared before the seven, who were busy calming their horses down. He kicked and down fell a rider from his horse.
Without waiting for the person to land, Qisheng appeared in a flash to grab the rider by his collar. His eyes focused and realised that this was a face he did not recognise, filled with wrinkles that made him look like he lived a dishonourable life. Although he wore Hidden Sword Court robes, inside were Ocean Sand martial robes.
Qisheng immediately let go and lifted the next person, who had the same sneering expression of the Ocean Sand gangsters. His embarrassment turned to anger as he yelled, “Who are you all! Why did you disguise yourself as a Hidden Sword Court cultivator?!”
The seven people were in great shock while the person Qisheng grabbed fell to his knees and kowtowed vigorously, begging loudly, “Mercy, mercy Sir Cultivator! Please let me go!”
Zhan Qisheng roared, “Speak or I’ll break your head!”
The person clutched his head in panic, not daring to look up as he spoke extremely quickly, “I was paid two hundred silver pieces by Li Chengfeng of the Cleansing Moon Sect to wear these robes and ride between Tong’an and Cheng’an City. I thought it was a simple task, I didn’t know it would offend you all, honourable cultivators. Please show mercy!”
Zhan Qisheng stood stunned with his jaws wide, what he did not want to admit most had once again become reality: Chengfeng was one step ahead once again! He had lost to the disgusting Li Chengfeng!
This was probably his best chance too!
It would be impossible to bring his men to Tong’an City to chase after Chengfeng now. If he could, he would not have hidden himself here for three days and three nights—because he could not afford to be convicted of the crime for killing a fellow sect member!
If Qian Shanxue had to ‘borrow a knife for murder’, of course Zhan Qisheng had to use even shadier methods, no?
Zhan Qisheng’s expression changed by the second, violence boiling in his eyes.
When the Ocean Sand warriors saw Zhan Qisheng’s anger, they suddenly remembered Chengfeng’s reminder and wailed loudly, “Please show us mercy! We keep secrets well and would never reveal your whereabouts! Please remember that we have elders and young ones to care for at home! Treat us as nothing but a fart, just let us go! We would never reveal your identities as Spiritual Mountain Sect cultivators!”
Zhan Qisheng wanted to kill them during the first part but soon felt his chest tightened. He immediately recognise that it was Chengfeng delivering a warning through these mouthpieces.
They had pointed out one layer of his identity: a Spiritual Mountain cultivator, but not his second: a descendant of the Zhan family.
These words served as a warning to Zhan Qisheng and even gave him a chance to retreat. At least he would not become embarrassed enough to kill everyone.
His expression changed and took a deep breath, yelling to them, “GET OUT!”
The few people were so afraid they abandoned their horses and practically tumbled over to the cliffs on both sides, scrambling up. They sprinted like madmen around the obstacles and finally down the path.
Uncle Li heaved a long sigh as he watched them, “This Li Chengfeng is indeed unpredictable… he is a formidable opponent!”
Zhan Qisheng glared furiously in the direction of Tong’an City and clenched his teeth, “He slipped by the skin of his teeth! I’ll admit defeat this time! Let’s go!’
They all travelled down the mountain quickly, disappearing into the snow. Only the Ocean Sand gangsters were left cursing.
“This was not worth it at all! We’ll charge him more! When we see that bas**** Li Chengfeng, we must charge him more!”