Three on one.
Shao Xuan was thinking about whether he should help, but Gan Qie looked like he didn’t want Shao Xuan to intervene.
Shao Xuan decided to wait and observe the situation before making any moves. This was a battle between the Han tribesmen after all.
Gan Qie was excited when he first saw his own tribesmen, but this excitement was soon replaced by a shattering disappointment. Even though he was already mentally prepared, he couldn’t help but feel disappointed at this sight.
The greenish-black fist enlarged as it approached Gan Qie’s eyes. In the blink of an eye, it would hit him. This fist carried a powerful energy capable of landing a death blow.The owner of this fist had summoned all his energy and punched like he was launching a spear. No words were exchanged but the message was clear enough. Kill!
Even though his opponent’s face was veiled, Gan Qie could still recognise him.
He could recognise all three of them. Even though they had been asleep for very long and couldn’t remember anything, he remembered them.
The other two were also ready to attack. The sharp brown claw-like nails on their hands slashed through the air and caused a sharp whistling sound. Their hands were like the fangs of a venomous snake, ready to bite down any moment.
Gan Qie did not dodge the attacks. Facing such powerful attacks, he stood still against the other three and let them clash directly into him.
Fists and arms bumped. The energy emanating from the impact disturbed the air all around them.
Strong winds shot out in all directions.
The three men in yellow cloaks had arms and fists that were like carefully designed spears and hammers. They easily cut a deep scratch on the rock Gan Qie sat on.
Shao Xuan even noticed how those brown fingernails caused sparks to appear as they scratched across the rock. These claw-like fingernails were about to cut at Gan Qie’s face in the very next moment.
The three of them attacked together, forcing Gan Qie to constantly retreat. These four clearly had no weapons, but when they fought with their fists and kicks, it sounded no different from the clinking sound of metallic weapons clashing together. When their arms rubbed, it sounded like the scratchy sound of metal and the fierce way they fought was not a feat any ordinary human could achieve. They were like fearsome beasts that were tearing at each other, disregarding their own lives.
With every stagger, Gan Qie looked like he was withstanding a strong pressure. When he tried to withstand the force by pushing with his feet deeper into the ground, the grass was lifted into the air and the ground sank in. Stones and dirt crumbled at his feet and some rocks were blasted up into the air. Where the ground was dry, deeper cracks formed upon the impact.
Within a few moments, trees began to split and crack. They were either bumped by Gan Qie or broke during their fight. The initially flat ground was now full of dents. Most of the lush green grass that previously cushioned the ground had been uprooted. Only patches were left here and there, scattered as they awaited their destiny.
Stones and dirt constantly flew up into the air and it felt like the entire ground was shaking. Strong winds filled the atmosphere as the four fought amidst chaos.
Gan Qie was already wounded quite badly. Some flesh on his body was clawed by the sharp nails and many of his bones were either fractured or broken. If these injuries happened to an ordinary man, his expression would turn sour due to the pain, but Gan Qie seemed to not have noticed it at all. The other three also had no feelings. Gan Qie’s kick blasted them into the air and caused the bones to crack in their bodies, but they were still able to fight in the next moment like nothing had happened.
Su Le kept hearing a rumbling sound by his ear. He shivered as he thought about how the Fallen Leaves Lord beat him up before and the pain he endured.
Even the sounds made his body hurt.
These three were indeed different from the normal puppets he usually saw. They were truly powerful puppets his father hired. They were undefeatable and undying monsters.
Chu Xu watched beside Su Le as the four of them fought. He knew clearly that Gan Qie was the true unkillable monster, but at the same time, he was unhappy that the ancient corpse was stolen by the Flaming Horns. Chu Xu’s heart sank as he watched the four fight. That ancient corpse once belonged to them, but it was stolen by the Flaming Horns. Seeing how the three puppets were attacking Gan Qie, Chu Xu wasn’t sure if he was able to bring Gan Qie back fully intact.
Their main goal was to get rid of the ancient corpse that was stolen, but Chu Xu felt that this was too unfortunate. He didn’t know how the Flaming Horns managed to change the ancient corpse, but since they already took control of the ancient corpse, they had no choice but to destroy it.
“How unfortunate. With that body of his, he would make such a powerful puppet.”
As Chu Xu sighed, he glared at Shao Xuan. Suddenly, his mouth split into a smile. In his mind he thought, ‘Once we get rid of this ancient corpse, you won’t be able to escape.’
Shao Xuan also sensed Chu Xu’s glare. He could kill these two right away if he wanted to, but what he cared most at the moment was the battle between the four Han tribesmen. Chu Xu and Su Le were just side characters. If Chu Xu was indeed the person controlling the three reanimated corpses, Shao Xuan would’ve made a move on him right away, but Shao Xuan could tell that Chu Xu didn’t have such power. Those three puppets were too powerful. They weren’t something someone like Chu Xu could control.
Those three puppets fought with such speed and power that even Chu Xu was no match for them. After recalling the puppets he encountered back in the desert and comparing those with these, not only were their energies different when they attacked, the energy source that controlled them were completely different from Chu Xu’s.
The person who truly had control over these three puppets were even more powerful.
Who else was around?
Shao Xuan scanned his surroundings even more carefully. There were indeed no others around.
If the controller of these puppets hadn’t come over with this group, could it be that these three puppets could function without their master’s direct control?
Perhaps these three had been programmed to obey some command and Chu Xu merely had the switch that could turn that command on. He wasn’t the puppeteer.
Shao Xuan could tell with his special vision that the three puppets had two energies within their bones. These energies were from two separate fire seeds. One was the Han tribe’s fire seed while the other belonged to the person who controlled these puppets.
The strange thing was that this energy was different from the ones Shao Xuan had seen in the desert puppets before. It wasn’t from the same fire seed and it didn’t seem complete. It was as if someone had deliberately filtered their energy so that what was left did not repel the Han tribe’s fire seed. This was the only way it could coexist with the Han fire seed’s energy.
The two energies within the bones of these three puppets functioned differently. Let’s say that if the Han tribe’s fire seed energy was like the trunk and limbs of a person’s body, then the other fire seed played the role of the brain, controlling the movements of their bodies.
As the four fought, the cloaks they wore were torn and scratched as punches flew and nails clawed. The faces of the three puppets who were initially veiled were finally exposed.
These three looked similar to when Shao Xuan first discovered Gan Qie in the coffin, like a dried ancient corpse. The only thing that differed was that Gan Qie wasn’t really dead. He was only deep asleep, but these three had completely lost their consciousness. Ever since they were made into puppets, they were no longer the same Han tribesmen they were before.
Gan Qie’s punch sent one of them sprawling, and within the split second that person stayed in the air, he immediately tore the tattered cloak away from his body. It was already sunset now and the sun was about to disappear soon. He no longer had to cover his body.
The scars that were previously inflicted on him when he entered the woods near the Lu tribe had already recovered. All of those scars had disappeared. Now, the wounds on his body were much worse than back then. Some parts of his internal organs were punched out of his body.
There was no time to pant or breathe. After Gan Qie blasted one of them into the sky, the other two continued to follow him tightly. Every blow was fatal and their attacks were as fast as raindrops in a heavy storm. They hit Gan Qie in the shoulders, abdomen, and limbs.
Shao Xuan’s brows tightened as he watched the battle intensify.
Gan Qie’s mindset wasn’t right.
Even though these three were strong and fought like skilled soldiers, there was no way Gan Qie couldn’t return a blow. He wasn’t even putting in his all and his punches were rather weak. It was as if he was purposely letting them beat him up. If he used as much power as he did when he killed those people in the woods outside the Lu tribe, maybe just half, he wouldn’t have ended up in such a critical condition.
If he continued to let them beat him like this, he wouldn’t last long even with his strong physique,
Shao Xuan took a step forward and his hand reached for his blade as he rushed to help, but Gan Qie said, “Don’t come over.”
Shao Xuan immediately halted and returned to where he was. Since Gan Qie decided to fight alone, he would not interrupt, but if anything happened as a consequence, Gan Qie had to accept his fate.
Actually, Shao Xuan wasn’t exactly planning to help him. All he intended was to let Gan Qie know that he had to change his strategy. If he continued to fight like this, he would only be defeated.
Gan Qie continued to retreat under the pressure. Even though no one could tell what he felt by his expression, he was actually filled with a sense of helplessness and anger. He knew that these three were going to kill him and had even thought about how he should face his own tribesmen before after hearing the news from Robber Eleven that they had been enslaved. He was still hesitant against these three since they were once part of the same family. They were all Han tribesmen and they were most likely the only ones left in this world. The others had all died away in history.
As Gan Qie immersed himself in thought, bones cracked in his chest and he was propelled into the air. In the next moment, another puppet appeared behind him and punched with both fists. Before he even landed on the ground, one of them punched him into the air again.
This was truly a group attack. He was being surrounded and beaten up by these three puppets.
Suddenly, Gan Qie had a strange feeling, as if his soul suddenly left his body. All of a sudden, he became an onlooker watching his body being constantly attacked. Murderous energy emanated from the three attackers’ bodies as they fought. The eleven Han tribesmen who had their merged fire seed within them were already stronger than most ordinary humans, so clearly their attacks wouldn’t be weak.
Actually, Gan Qie had lost hope on living. His tribe no longer existed. In this world, there were no other Han tribesmen besides him. What meaning was there if he was the only one left?
But deep down in his heart, he had another thought. This was the same consciousness that pushed him to question those who had merged their fire seeds and those who had left their tribes and no longer lived like tribesmen. This thought was what made him seek for an answer, an answer that could convince him.
In this near-death moment, he was about to be killed by the three puppets. This was when a conclusion entered his mind.
In the sudden blackout, he suddenly flashbacked to a moment in the past. Eleven colourful figures appeared in his memory and they were discussing something. He knew that this was the time when their shaman had called them over to have a final discussion on their fire seed’s fate. At that time, they were ready to sacrifice their lives for their tribe and their fire seed.
Suddenly, in the abysmal space, the colourful figures began to fade. The first few to disappear were the ones who were already badly injured. One after the next, they began to disappear and finally, only one of them was left.
That was Gan Qie himself.
Had the Han tribe disappeared?
No, it was still here.
As long as he lived, the Han tribe would live on, even if he was the only one left in the tribe.
He could be the walking proof that the Han tribe previously walked the earth once and had not disappeared in the historical timeline.
Poof poof poof!
The three puppets had six hands. Sharp claws pierced Gan Qie at his shoulder blades, his chest, and his back. His spine was about to be cut at this moment. Two other arms were propelled towards Gan Qie but were suddenly grasped by both his hands.
These hands were aimed at his head, but Gan Qie stopped them before they were halfway there.
Gan Qie looked at the two people in front of him. Their dried grey faces were no longer recognisable. Only Gan Qie remembered what they initially looked like. Too bad.
“You’re all dead already,” Gan Qie said calmly. “All of you are dead.”
Every word felt like a heavy rock that burdened his heart.
“But I must not die!”
After the very last word, the last bit of sadness in his eyes faded and disappeared. What replaced it was a murderous glint portending bloodshed.
Seeing how everything suddenly halted, Su Le and Chu Xu had no clue what had happened.
“What’s going on?” Su Le was stunned. How come they stopped fighting?
Chu Xu’s eyelids jerked wildly as chills travelled down his back. It was an ominous feeling.
Something was wrong. Very wrong.
“Behead him!” Chu Xu yelled at the three puppets.
However, the three puppets were all frozen and did not react to their command.
Shao Xuan was also shocked when he saw this. Gan Qie’s body was about to be torn apart, but in this moment, things were surprisingly changing in Gan Qie’s favour.
It wasn’t because the three Han puppets suddenly gained consciousness. Rather, it was because the energy that was supporting their body’s movement was changing.
In Shao Xuan’s special vision, he could see that the energy within the three puppet’s bodies were flowing towards Gan Qie’s body.
Everything in the air was changing too. Gan Qie could feel the sweat on his body drying up.
It was as if all the moisture in the air was being extracted at a rapid speed.
The fire seed’s energy.
Shao Xuan was extremely sensitive to fire seed energies. The fire seed energy that was appearing now was the same as the one within Gan Qie’s body.
“The Han tribe’s fire seed.”
Even though the Han tribe’s fire seed was gone, it was merged within eleven of their bodies. The three Han puppets Su Le brought over also had this energy within them. But now, Gan Qie was extracting all of that energy from the other three’s bodies.
A leaf fell to the ground.
Shao Xuan turned his head to look.
The tree had green lush leaves moments ago, but now, all of these leaves had begun to fall. There was no way this was caused by the wind. Upon closer inspection, he noticed that all of these fallen leaves had wilted.
After inhaling deeply, Shao Xuan blew a sharp whistle.
As he hovered in the sky, Chacha thought about starting a fight with the four desert eagles, but upon hearing Shao Xuan’s whistle, he immediately flew down.
Shao Xuan jumped on the eagle’s back and said, “Hurry, we must leave now. Something bad is about to happen.”
Gan Qie, who was standing there silently a while ago, suddenly widened his eyes and let out a loud shriek very different from the one he let out in the Flaming River Castle. This time, his shriek sounded like the beginning of a storm, but also resembled strong winds, blizzard, and a tsunami, all at the same time. In his shriek, one could hear the sounds of many beasts roaring at the same time. It was extremely unusual.
As he let out this loud roar, the energy around him began to surge. Not far away, a mountain began to shake. Suddenly, the entire earth was shaking.
Even Shao Xuan, who had been carried away by Chacha could feel the cold air currents flowing past the sleeves of his clothes.
A strong energy was heading in their direction, ready to descend on the forest.
Su Le could tell that the situation had changed. This was not what they had expected. Their foreheads were wet with cold sweat after hearing the long shriek.
Su Le got to his senses after seeing Shao Xuan’s actions.
“Hurry! Let’s leave!”
Su Le blew a sharp whistle and waited for the desert eagle to descend, but the eagles were afraid of the dangers below. They continued to hover in the sky and even after hearing Su Le’s whistle, they hesitated to land.
Su Le was so furious that he swore he was going to feed these eagles to his slaves once he got back, but this was not the time to be mad. A deadly energy was spreading around this place.
“Hurry and come down!” Su Le cried out impatiently.
If the desert eagles don’t come down, Su Le had no choice but to run.
Seeing how those three puppets were not responding to his command, Chu Xu also dashed after Su Le and escaped for their lives.
Pop, pop, pop.
A sound that resembled beans popping began to ring behind them. Su Le didn’t dare to look back.
Gan Qie felt an energy amassing within his body. This energy was not purely Han. Some parts of it repelled his force. This was the energy that was used to control these puppets. As he absorbed it, Gan Qie felt his skin tear. The deeper this energy seeped through, the deeper it tore within him. It pierced him all the way into the bone, but he had to stand strong against it. Perhaps the person who injected this energy also considered this possibility too and thus made the decision. If Gan Qie forcefully sucked in all of the energy within the three bodies, not only might he fail, he might even lose his own life.
Just as this sharp energy current pierced through his body, Gan Qie suddenly sensed another energy appear. This energy blocked away the foreign energy’s repulsion, allowing Gan Qie to continue absorbing this energy.
This new energy was the one Shao Xuan used to summon him awake. It had always been within his body.
It used this chance to transfer all the energy Gan Qie had absorbed to all parts of his body. Every meridian, every bone, and every small inch of his body received this energy.
I must live!
I must take back what belongs to the Han tribe! Our fire seed’s energy!
Gan Qie felt the strong waves of energy pulsing through his body. It felt like the collective power of thousands of fearsome beasts. The connective tissues on his arm evolved and began to reshape themselves. Every strand of muscle began to bulge and dance. All of his bones cracked loudly and sounded like they were constantly being extended and contracted, or perhaps being rearranged. Countless thin lines started to envelop Gan Qie’s body. The crossing totemic lines resembled the strong vines that grew in the most arid places in the desert. These lines crossed and overlapped, slowly spreading all across his body.
Gan Qie heard the familiar sound of blood flowing through all the blood vessels in his body, but he knew clearly that this wasn’t blood. It was the energy of the fire seed.
As this energy increased, Gan Qie roared once again, this time even more ear-piercing and deafening than before. This roar was even louder and inflicted more fear than the previous one. The mixed emotions hidden within the roar made everyone’s heart rate increase. It sounded as if a giant ancient beast long asleep was finally awake now.
The energy Gan Qie absorbed finally exploded in this moment. It spread across the land and wrecked destruction. It felt no different from the Rock Hill Desert at night. Dry yet cold.
Gan Qie’s hair follicles had died away in the passage of time, but suddenly they grew out again at a fast speed. This was not the usual hair colour. It was white.
On his bald head, strands of white hair sprouted. They sailed in the air as the strong energy current flushed out from his body.
Sharp brown nails resembling the claws of fearsome beasts extended from his fingertips. It reflected the remains of the sunset, but it carried no warmth.
The dark energy of the yellow desert began to flow out from Gan Qie’s body, from bottom to top.
The ground under Gan Qie’s feet instantly desertified and all the grass became dry. Underneath the ground, a strong energy was about to surface.
The desert smoke continued to expand at a rapid speed in all directions. Where it passed, countless trees and grass immediately wilted and leaves fell to the ground. Upon drying up, the branches even snapped and fell to the ground.
Su Le and Chu Xu initially thought they were out of the danger zone, but as the energy expanded quickly and reached them, they turned to look and began to run even faster, but it was already too late.
The desert energy had already spread all around them. Their pace slowed and their muscles shrank and dried as the desert energy entered their bodies through their feet and sucked away their moisture.
The three puppets were closest to Gan Qie. They crumbled like brittle rocks and fell to the ground. These rocks immediately softened into dust and were soon swept away by the wind.
Gan Qie was left standing there all alone in the dark night. He was like a deadly sword that stood tall amidst the cold desert night.