Chapter 36 – Fang (Middle part)
Edit: Fireclaws, IlkonEbi
TL note: Bold text is in Japanese.
She gradually regained consciousness.
Her eyes took in the grey scenery; as expected, she was slung over that old man’s shoulder, and they were currently on the trail by the edge of the woods, returning to the lumber processing plant.
Every jostle on his shoulder caused a sharp shock of pain to go through her body. Even though the old man knew that she had woken up, he did not say or do anything. She realized this was because all the fingernails on both her hands had already been ripped off…
However, it did not matter…
Keeping both arms hanging down limply, she shifted her muscles slowly in time with the movement of his walking; she had hidden a sharp pebble from the river bank before being knocked unconscious, and little by little, it slipped down towards her hand from within her sleeve.
She was moving extremely slowly, careful to keep her body still as a corpse, but she might have been too slow. Even though the old man had not been hurrying, the outline of the lumber processing factory soon appeared on the horizon. When they arrived at the back gate of the factory, he suddenly stopped and sniffed the air.
“The smell of blood…”
There was also the smell of blood coming from Tsukichi Kaoru, so the old man tilted his head and took another sniff. Before he could come to a conclusion, a ‘bang’ was heard from the direction of the small plaza. The old man was alarmed, and just as he pushed open the gate and took one step in, Kaoru chose this moment to make her move!
The wide sleeve of the kimono came flying up like a butterfly flapping its wings in the wind; the sharp stone was aimed directly at the old man’s neck. Unfortunately, the old man was quick to react and he nimbly grabbed Kaoru’s arm and proceeded to fling her away.
As her body flew through the air, even though she was a certain distance away from him, the sharp stone was behind the old man, aimed at the back of his head where he was defenseless.
Under the red clouds in the night sky, the girl’s body drew an arc in the air as he swung her away; at some point in time, the old man had unknowingly ripped off her kimono.
She was not wearing any undergarments under the kimono except for white stockings, so her naked body flew for around four to five meters before crash-landing onto the plaza. Her scar-covered bare body was alarmingly red, seeming like she was wearing a layer of tight undergarments or possibly like a layer of skin had been peeled off. She struggled to sit up on the ground and coughed up a mouthful of blood, her right hand still tightly clutching the sharp stone.
It was her one and only weapon left, but there was not much point to it anymore seeing the current situation.
Still holding the kimono, the old man gingerly touched the back of his head and felt blood. Seeing the blood, he suddenly smiled, “Hehe, good, Ikesakura Senmaboroshi… Using the Ikesakura Senmaboroshi on me… Kaoru, since your sneak attacked failed, come try again…”
He wanted to learn the secrets of the Ikesakura Senmaboroshi via battle, but after taking another look at the naked girl on the ground, he realized that she looked close to death and would not be able to fight him. As he walked closer to the girl, he finally had a proper view of the plaza and was astonished at the sight.
The two buildings in front of the logging area had formed a 90° angle and after entering the back gate, the two-story building had blocked his line of sight. As he passed the buildings on his way to the girl, he could finally see the plaza clearly. There were four to five headless bodies scattered across the plaza accompanied by scarlet pools of dazzling blood. On the opposite side, one of the shacks was a raging inferno, and the fire had started to spread to nearby buildings. In front of the water service pipe on another side of the square, a child was in the middle of cleaning a machete.
Dizzy and stunned from the fall, Tsukichi Kaoru was unable to see the old man’s expression clearly until she steadied herself. As she struggled to her side and looked around her, she realized what he was staring at, and the two Tsukichi clan members stared at the child amongst the dead bodies. No one had said anything, but the old man tightened his hold on his katana.
Having cleaned the blade of the machete carefully, the boy moved on to scrubbing the handle. Then he casually reached for the soap and cleaned both hands, before turning to smile and bow at the two of them.
“It’s been a while since I saw the both of you, what a coincidence!” He said under Tsukichi Kaoru’s puzzled gaze. The last time she saw him, he was a trembling child that was terrified out of his mind. But now, here he was, speaking fluent Japanese with a Tokyo accent.
“Welcome to China.”
The old man involuntarily shivered as he felt a chill down his spine.
After an unknown amount of time, Cao Dongfeng suddenly jerked awake in the middle of the woods.
Surrounded by darkness, he did not dare to make careless movements. After taking a careful look at his surroundings, he roughly understood that he was currently on the branches of a large tree.
He really did not know how that bastard Gu Jiaming had placed him up there….
Calming himself down, he searched through his pockets for a pack of matches. He lit one up and estimated the height of the large tree before climbing down the trunk.
When he landed on the ground, he thought back to what Gu Jiaming had said before he lost consciousness.
Naturally, he did not want to believe those words. Since he had been left behind in a tree, even if his subordinates had caught him, the boy would probably not be killed. Once he returned, he would teach him a lesson and make him beg for his life!
Having decided this, he did not get a chance to walk far before he tripped over something.
Taking out his box of matches again, he broke the first match before successfully getting the second one to light up. Placing the match close to what he had tripped over, he realized that it was a person’s leg, and as he slowly raised the match, it was a familiar pair of leather pants, then a leather jacket, then—
A horrified scream resounded in the woods. Cao Dongfeng hastily scrambled away, backing up against the trees. He had been so terrified his heart nearly jumped out of his chest because in front of him was a headless body!
An indistinct voice seemed to whisper near his ear.
Not knowing what to do with his hands, he trembled as he felt around the ground for his dropped matches when his fingers brushed past a fleshy lump. Petrified, he leaped back against the trees again, and it was a long while before he could light up another match. Then he shakily waved the match in the area over the thing that his fingers had felt earlier.
—A human head!
This time, his teeth chattered so hard from fear that he was unable to scream. After a long pause, low whimpers could be heard, “Help me… please, someone, come save me…”
Desperately gathering and piling a bunch of leaves together, he tried many times to light some matches before succeeding. As the fire flared up, his surroundings were finally revealed. That headless corpse and human head definitely belonged to one of his father’s subordinates. As he looked further into the darkness, he realized that there was another headless corpse propped up against a nearby tree.
Trying hard not to look at the ghastly corpses, Cao Dongfeng shuddered when he gathered a few branches. Setting them on fire and making them into a makeshift torch, he then anxiously ran in a direction where there were no corpses.
But after taking a few steps, he suddenly stopped. He let out a choked gasp; in front of him was a headless corpse with its stomach slit open, the internal organs spilling out. When he looked to the side, there was another human head, and it was another one of his father’s subordinates that had been sent out to rescue him.
Violently retching as he tried to get away from the sight in front of him, he turned towards another direction. But after another few steps, there was a corpse, a human head, another corpse and another human head. Those corpses sported various types of wounds, but they were all his father’s subordinates with their heads cut off. Extremely agitated, he ran off aimlessly; every time he saw a corpse he would change directions, but in the end, he found himself back at the area where he had originally woken up!
The trees had caught on fire from the leaves he had lit up earlier. As he stared blankly at the first headless corpse, Gu Jiaming’s final words to him resounded in his head again.
It was… true despair!
But no, his father had to be ok. He was overlooking the situation so he shouldn’t have followed the search team… He had to be ok...
As Cao Dongfeng was not familiar with this area, it was quite difficult for him to navigate in the darkness. But this time, he tried his best to ignore the corpses and estimated where the lumber processing factory was, then headed off in that direction…
4 / 4 chapters of the week (next release is Sunday, March 11).
If you missed it... Ilkon and I were working on the first ebook release for Hidden Assassin (which consists of prologue to ch40) :D
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Poor sod doesn't even know what hit him.