Doubt and fear coursed through Li Yundong as he stared at the spinning beads, which took the definition of freakish to a whole new level. Actually, no, it wasn't the sight of the beads that creeped him out; it was the unmistakable scent of blood and gore that assaulted his nostrils the moment the beads appeared.

Oh shit…

This was bad. He was outnumbered. And then those beads...

Li Yundong studied the beads again. He had no doubt that those beads were some kind of powerful magical weapon, whose effects he hadn't a single inkling of. Besides, if Wu Hao could wield it, then his CQ must be high enough to use spells and magic. Clearly, the odds were stacked against Li Yundong.

"This is your final warning…" Wu Hao said threateningly. "Hand over the Fan of Seven Treasures. Now!"

Li Yundong glared at the man before him.

Like hell he was going to hand the over fan without at least putting up a good fight. You know what? Scratch that. Just putting up a fight wasn't good enough. Su Chan had entrusted the fan to him. Him of all people! So yeah. He was going to f*cking guard it with his life. Besides, it would be a damn shame if he allowed the Fox Zen School's greatest treasure to fall into the hands of a bunch of dumb robbers. Whatever. Enough with this nonsense. Time for a plan. He needed a way to level the playing field, or better yet, gain some sort of leverage.

Without taking his eyes off Wu Hao, Li Yundong took a deep breath, and then slowly exhaled. Ever since he climbed out from the rock, he could feel some mysterious thing spinning and rotating inside his lower Dantian. His best guess was that it was his Vital Orb, but he honestly couldn't be sure. Li Yundong did a quick and subtle scan of his surroundings.

Those beads were the immediate threat, so he had to deal with them first. His eyes darted briefly to the Land Rover parked nearby, then towards Lyu Fengping behind him. The upside was that Lyu Fengping appeared to be unarmed. Then again, he didn't think that it was because the woman didn't own a weapon; it was probably because they thought he wasn't a threat, just some lowly Cultivator who had barely passed the Zhuji phase. Not that they were wrong.

"You heard the man," Lyu Fengping said. "Hand it over!"

Li Yundong angled his head slightly and saw Lyu Fengping pulling out a dark maroon whip. Yeah. So much for being unarmed.

The woman lashed the ground a few times with the whip.

"We're not gonna ask again..." Wu Hao growled. "Hand it over!"

The beads spun faster around Wu Hao's arms.

Li Yundong raised his arms in a gesture of surrender while secretly channeling his Qi to his legs in secret.

"I'll hand it over on one condition," Li Yundong said, flicking a quick glance towards the Land Rover.

Wu Hao laughed snidely.

"I don't think you're in a position to make bargains, pal."

These guys were overconfident, so Li Yundong would play it to his advantage.

"Those beads looks pretty cool." Li Yundong paused to study Wu Hao's face. "How do they work?"

A smug look spread across Wu Hao's face and he laughed. "Behold! The Beads of Gore! One hit by one of these babies is enough to liquefy your flesh and bones!"

"Impressive..." Li Yundong said coldly, channeling more Qi to his rear leg.

Wu Hao threw his head back in laughter. "It is one of our sect's most valuable—"

Li Yundong burst forward, closing the distance between Wu Hao and himself in a split second. At the same time, he extended his right arm in a snapping motion and delivered a finger jab straight into Wu Hao's eyes. There was a hiss followed by a loud scream. Those beads clattered uselessly to the ground when Wu Hao's hands rose to cover his eyes.

Li Yundong continued his attack by delivering an ap chagi (Taekwondo's front snap kick) straight into Wu Hao's groin. Wu Hao screamed and bent his body forward. Li Yundong then arched his back and rotated his hips forward while thrusting his right knee in an upward motion. There was a sickening crunch when Li Yundong's knee smashed into Wu Hao's nose. Wu Hao's head snapped backwards, leaving his throat wide open. Li Yundong's hand shot out and grabbed Wu Hao's throat.

Wu Hao was yanked upwards with his feet dangling several inches above the ground.

When Li Yundong heard the whipping sound behind him, he turned around abruptly and used Wu Hao's body as a shield. The whip pulled back at the last second. Lyu Fengping cursed.

"Make another move, and I'll crush his windpipe," Li Yundong growled.

Lyu Fengping flinched, then froze in place. Wu Hao made a choking sound in his throat.

"Drop the whip and show me your hands!" Li Yundong yelled.

When Lyu Fengping didn't move, Li Yundong raised Wu Hao's body higher and squeezed his fingers harder. "Now!"

Wu Hao made another strangled sound and began kicking his legs in the air.

"Okay... Okay..." Lyu Fengping tossed the whip to the ground and raised her palms. "Let him go."

Without releasing Wu Hao from the choke, Li Yundong slowly backed away towards the Land Rover parked nearby. He could just take the car and then leave these two dimwits here.

Wu Hao kept struggling and kicking his legs.

"Y- You... b- bas...tard... T- That was... a sneak attack..." Wu Hao choked.

"Sounds f*cking rich coming from you," Li Yundong said coldly and dragged Wu Hao backwards a few more steps. "You're not the one who's outnumbered here." Li Yundong's back hit the car seconds later. With his free hand, he reached behind him and tried the door handle.

The door wouldn’t open.

"Open the damn door!" Li Yundong growled.

Wu Hao choked again, like he was trying to say something.

Li Yundong eased the pressure around Wu Hao's throat.

"It's p-pointless..."

More choking and coughing.

"What do you mean pointless. Just open the damn door!"

"The car's got a fingerprint ignition switch! You'll have to take me with you if you want to drive the car."

Li Yundong cursed. Fine. Plan B. Knock these two dimwits out and then get out of here.

Just then, he saw Lyu Fengping scrambling towards them.

Li Yundong tightened his fingers around Wu Hao's neck. "Don't come any closer!"

"Stop! Stop!" Lyu Fengping yelled. "P- Please... Just let him go, please... We made a mistake, Zhenren... Please just let him go."

"A mistake? Are you shitting me right now? A minute ago, you were threatening to kill me!"

"I- It was a mistake, okay! A mistake!" Lyu Fengping screamed. "We thought you were a newbie Cultivator. A- And we were just trying to intimidate you into giving us the fan!"

Li Yundong kept glaring at the woman until she turned pale.

"L- Look... Please just let him go and we'll leave."

"Bullshit," Li Yundong said coldly. "Why should I believe you? You'll just ambush me again if I let him go."

"No!" Lyu Fengping shook her head frantically. "We won't! Just let him go... Please!"

Li Yundong narrowed his eyes. He didn't trust a single word she said, but he also didn't want to kill. I'm gonna have to knock them both out and—

Li Yundong gasped when he felt something wrap around his wrist. Horror coursed through him when he saw the head of a cobra staring right at him from his wrist. Li Yundong released Wu Hao's neck in fright and yanked his arm backwards.

The cobra recoiled and then slithered back into Lyu Fengping's hand before it transformed back into a whip.

When the hell did she—

Li Yundong looked towards the spot on the ground where he'd seen Lyu Fengping drop the whip earlier. Obviously, the whip was no longer there.

Wu Hao climbed to his feet and spat out a mouthful of blood. Then, he gave Li Yundong a feral grin.

"My turn!" Wu Hao yelled and raised a palm. One of the beads flew towards Li Yundong.

Shit!

Li Yundong ducked, but the bead didn't strike him like he had expected; instead, it morphed into a giant ball of flame when it was a few feet shy of hitting him. He tried to back away, but it was too late. The flames closed in on him before he could take more than two steps. The next thing he knew, the flames engulfed his entire body.

He was about to be burnt alive.