From the initial six, Si had only three functional subordinates left. With half of their team incapacitated, the remaining few did not dare to initiate attacks. They were rather injured but still on guard intensely. Their gazes on Gan Qie were filled with unabashed horror. If there weren’t any other orders, they would’ve retreated right away. 

Gan Qie wasn’t unscathed either. Some of the sharp weapons were stabbed into his body. Yet, the man wasn’t bleeding and didn’t seem to have noticed it at all. Gan Qie was unfazed. 

This fact alone was stressful to the Bi people. People like Gan Qie were probably the last thing they wish to encounter. If they had known sooner, they would’ve stopped Si from attacking this bunch. 

Nothing was more devastating than having your enemy neutralise your proudest combat tactic using brute force. Worse, their opponents did not require any other tricks, merely facing them head-on. They were overwhelmed by shock.

Si, on the other end, seemed to share the sentiment. 

The muscles on his arms were still twitching and his fingers around the long handle were trembling slightly. The black robe cladding his body was badly deformed, he looked like a beggar in ragged clothes. Ever since Si took over the organization, this was probably his first time feeling so flustered. Despite that, his physical injuries were definitely far less severe than the psychological shock he received. 

At where his fingers were wrapped around the handle was a flattened protrusion that used to house a horizontal bar. 

The construct of the cross-shaped long-handled Xi blade was based on the ‘民 (mín)’ character. The cross on the handle signified the frames that slaves would be tied to if deemed guilty. In their organisation, any slave that had committed a crime would be subjected to punishments like getting tied to a cross frame/crucified, burned and so on. 

And now, the long handle in Si’s grip was only left with its base. The two protruding edges had been cut off by Shao Xuan moments ago. 

With the large Xi blade still attached to the long straight handle, it looked more like a sickle now. 

Si was regretting everything now. Why didn’t he adhere to Ji Fang’s words? He should not have initiated attacks before realizing who his enemy was. 

What was the most important thing when initiating battle? 


Si only had a limited understanding of Shao Xuan. The Yi family who had suffered a great loss would never disclose their ordeal with Shao Xuan to the public. After all, it was regarded as an embarrassment of the family. If only a handful of clan members were aware of it, the knowledge would not reach anyone outside their circle. 

This was why the Bi organisation, characteristically an arrogant group, would dare set their eyes on the other continent as their ambitions swelled. After encountering obstacles, they still pushed on anyway because they did not know what awaited them. 

When the organisation started to make moves on the other continent years ago, Si had thought- Ha! I’m going to capture some of you and sell you off as slaves! What are you going to do about it? Cross the ocean and retaliate? 

But Flaming Horns had actually did retaliate! Not only had they crossed the ocean but they had also brought along an impressive army of tribesmen. 

Before commencing operation, Si too had thought- If you don’t surrender Robber Seven over, then you’ve truly brought this upon yourselves! I’m going to capture and enslave everyone here. Those who struggle shall be killed right away. You won’t even get the chance to regret anything! 

However, reality had once again proved that Si was wrong. He was out here personally with a handful of his most trusted and greatly experienced subordinates. They even had the advantage of an additional member. Alas, they failed miserably. His cross-shaped long-handled weapon was even slashed into a stick! 

Their failure was not only attributed to Shao Xuan’s overwhelmingly powerful capabilities but also the sword in his grip. In the exchange, Si noticed cloud patterns engraved on the blade. But they were moving too fast and Shao Xuan’s attacks were exceptionally aggressive. Added with the dim lighting, Si had no chance to inspect it better. However, that glimpse alone was sufficient for Si to conclude that Shao Xuan’s sword was birthed by one of the Gongjia member’s hands! 

Which Gongjia member was behind this creation? He needed to demand answers from the Gongjia family! 

Si’s heart was gloomy, a vast array of thoughts clouding his mind in the process. His facial muscles were stiff, causing his expressions to look distorted. But in the end, his rationality had won over. Si decided to withdraw from battle. If this went on, even Si himself would fall into greater danger, let alone his other three subordinates. 

It was a rare occurrence that the leader of the largest slave-trading organisation had to call for a retreat. And it was a very helpless retreat at that.

“Retreat!” Si shouted with great reluctance.

Si’s retreating order had finally arrived. The three injured dark-clothed figures could finally heave a breath of relief. Without delaying further, they kept their chains and fled! They were finally free from the monster! 

Si and his party had left as abruptly as they had appeared. 

“Should I go after them?” asked Gan Qie. 

“No need.” Shao Xuan returned his sword to its sheath. He looked at the boulder where Robber Seven was left, only to find an empty rope cocoon. 

“He escaped.” Gan Qie felt guilty. He was too focused on beating their enemies to a pulp and had allowed an opening for the thief’s escape! It was his arrogance that led him to believe that nothing would go unnoticed to his nose upon physical transformation. He could even detect the faintest scent of blood and track his target down, escape wouldn’t be an option. 

And yet, Robber Seven had managed to deceive him and escaped right under his lids! 

Robber Seven was capable of changing the scent of his perspiration, which was the main reason behind his successful escape from the tracking insects. He had even changed the scent of his blood to avoid Gan Qie’s detection. The robber had even made sure to make the switch gradually whilst Gan Qie fought the dark-clothed figures in the background. He finally fled when everyone was immersed and distracted by the ongoing battle. 

It was moist inside the rope cocoon. Robber Seven’s sweat and blood were soaked into the material, leaving behind only familiar scents to Gan Qie to deceive his senses. Robber Seven was probably long gone at this point. 

“What do we do now?” Mu Fa asked Shao Xuan. 

“Mu Fa, Ci Du, Qu Li and Lu Zhai, go ahead and catch up with the rest of our team. Head into King City with the bunch,” instructed Shao Xuan. 

“Are you and Gan Qie not going to come along? Are you planning to go after the robber?” asked Ci Du. 

“No.” Shao Xuan denied. “We’re not going after Robber Seven. We’re going to chase after Si.” 

Shao Xuan’s answer made Mu Fa’s brow twitch twice. Yet, the man refused to press further questions. Though he feared Shao Xuan in the past, those feelings weren’t as intense as now. Mu Fa hadn’t expected Si to be forced into withdrawal. At the same time, this battle had solidified Mu Fa’s determination and confidence to work with the Flaming Horn tribe. He was the bright and respected chief of the Longboat tribe. Every decision must be made with the benefits of his tribe in mind. He would choose any route that could lead to great developments and a better future for his tribe. Obviously, choosing to side with the Flaming Horns seemed like a good choice now. 

After Mu Fa and the others had left, Gan Qie cut open the rope cocoon that held Robber Seven and began to identify each smell carefully. He did not wish to miss a single detail. 

“I got too ahead of myself…” 

This was the first time Gan Qie was met with such failure and he was determined to not repeat this incident ever again. If they ever encounter Robber Seven again, he would never let the robber slip away again. 

Following that, Shao Xuan and Gan Qie took their leave. Soon, dawn arrived and the sun had replaced the moon to illuminate the land. 

Gradually, everything came to life. 

One of the long-distance travelling caravans passed by, immediately shocked by the scenery before them. Their hearts sank. 

This was not the first time they had taken this route. Though they couldn’t recite every spot on the map, they could at least remember the general appearance of the area. Whatever that was before them was vastly different from what they imprinted in memory. 

“Sand? Since when was there sand in this place? Is my memory failing me?” One of the travellers was perplexed. 

“I don’t remember sand patches in this place either.” 

“You’re both not wrong.” Their leader held his sword tightly and strode forward towards the patch of sand. 

The areas leading into the odd sandy grounds looked like it had been trampled over by a terrifying disaster. This reignited great fear in their hearts as the travellers were reminded of the catastrophe experienced long ago. The surroundings had relived part of their trauma, bringing up memories that they willed to forget. 

Finally stepping onto the sand, something nudged at the tip of the leader’s toes. He poked the layer of sand away with his sword, only to reveal a dark arrow-shaped object.
“It’s the Bi!” 

This was a tool that the Bi people used to set up traps. Upon searching the area, they found more of the same item.

The Bis were definitely here without a doubt! 

Who were the Bis fighting here? What was so dangerous they could not keep their belongings in time?

The leader lifted his chin and stared ahead. The trees in the nearby woods were withered, bared without a single leaf on the dried branches that seemed like it would break upon the slightest contact. At a distance away, though some trees bore green leaves, it still had hints of yellow. A considerable amount of leaves would be stripped by the breeze. 

He inhaled deeply and began moving back to his team with wobbly legs. 

“Be extra cautious when passing through this area! Be on guard!” There was a barely detectable tremor to the leader’s deep voice. Anyone capable of forcing the Bis into this state would be anyone they’d want to cross. They would avoid any trouble as much as necessary. He was ready to give up on the journey as soon as abnormalities were noticed. 

On the other end. 

Mu Fa and the others had finally caught up to the team. 

“Shao Xuan and Gan Qie went after Si. He says to have Caesar watch the area in the night because Caesar is capable of seeing things that we can’t. In a way, our safety will be guaranteed…” Mu Fa relayed Shao Xuan’s instructions to Gui He. 

The Longboat tribesmen came over to ask Mu Fa, “Sir, what does the legendary Si look like? Is he really that powerful? I heard that his weapon is very odd-looking. It was forged by a Gongjia member who passed a long time ago. They say that no one in existence could replicate the weapon.” 

Mu Fa looked constipated. He itched to say something but didn’t know where to begin. 

Qu Li, Ci Du and the others were in the same situation. There was a hint of disappointment in their mirth. But after some thought, their hearts were consoled by the fact that Shao Xuan and Gan Qie were on their side. It was great that the enemies weren’t the one inflicting such damages to them. 

Chasing away the curious crowd, Lu Zhai hushedly asked Gui He, “Is the thing still with you?” 

“Of course. I’ve been carrying it around with me.” Gui He opened up the leather pouch that held the Chief’s Bone Lock. He reached in to retrieve the item. 

However, something was amiss. Gui He’s facial muscles froze. He brought out an awful-looking stone that looked like a Xi. His heart sank. 

There was nothing else inside? 

He rummaged the pouch again. There really was nothing! 

Gui He pried the pouch open to its limits and flipped it inside out. He widened his eyes and stared at its insides. He urged to open each seam and inspect it a hundred times over but the undeniable reality was that the Chief’s Bone Lock was really gone. 

A glimpse of Gui He’s expression was enough for Lu Zhai to comprehend the situation. However, with the past incident of Robber Seven slipping away just beneath their eyelids, Gui He’s plight wasn’t all that weird anymore. Lu Zhai was impressed that Shao Xuan had seen this coming. 

“Before we came over, Grand Elder Shao Xuan mentioned that if Robber Seven had stolen the item back, there’s no need to search for it again,” said Lu Zhai. What a pity. Without the Chief’s Bone Lock, they lacked an advantage for the discussion. 

Meanwhile, Robber Seven was lying on a tree branch with a smug face. He couldn’t help but praise himself for his outstanding intelligence. He had managed to escape the Flaming Horns and even stole his trophy back. Remembering that the Flaming Horns were going to King City, Robber Seven decided that he would not go near the city even if someone were to threaten him with death. That way, he wouldn’t encounter those tribesmen again. 

Yeah, he definitely wouldn’t be meeting the Flaming Horns again. 

Settling his thoughts, Robber Seven began to doze off. Tonight, he would dream of the sweet moment he makes it as one of the top three Robbers...