Chapter 14: Unfortunate Encounter
Sitting in the tree, Xu Min felt that his heart was beating more and more erratically; however, he didn’t dare to move a muscle.
Having understood that one of the men was a Three-Star Warrior, he was quiet like a mouse as sweat started trickling down his forehead. Looking at the four experts below, he was certain that they were the kind of mercenaries who would attack other cultivators just to steal their possessions. Even someone as weak and poor as Xu Min would be killed for the sake of the possible wealth he had.
It felt like an eternity for Xu Min as he sat in the tree before the four men finally started to move away. Only then did Xu Min dare to breathe a heavy sigh of relief as he retreated back to his lair, leaping from one tree to another.
Although he wished to go down and pick up the Pest Hog’s corpse, he did not do so because he feared that someone would boobytrap it. There might have been some more people lurking around, observing the corpse and waiting for an opportune moment to strike.
On the way back to his lair, he managed to grab some fruits growing in the tree tops along with some eggs from certain low-ranked winged demon beasts. Some of them were delicacies known as miniature flying horses.
Arriving back at his nest, he climbed down to the ground where he found a few big stones that he carried back up to the nest. Although these stones were heavy and incapable of being lifted by a Student Warrior, Xu Min had the physical strength of a Second-Star Warrior. He took full advantage of his strength as he carried the heavy stones up to his nest.
As he laid the stones on the floor that he had built from several heavy branches, the floor sunk slightly, but managed to hold the weight of the stones. After a moment, dried branches were placed upon the stones and lit up for a small bonfire. A stone was put inside the fire and the eggs were cracked upon the stone, cooking deliciously under Xu Min’s watchful gaze.
The fire was somewhat risky because there was a chance that it would set the rest of the tree on fire; however, Xu Min had some experience in setting up bonfires in the treetops and he knew exactly how to deal with the fire after he had finished cooking. After a short while, he placed more stones on the fire, killing off the flame, and sat down to eat the miniature flying horses eggs and the fruits that he had picked up.
The night was once again spent cultivating; however, as the next day arrived, Xu Min waited before he went into the forest to look for more prey. He took a stance that was unfamiliar to him and, at the same time, closed his eyes to feel his Qi flowing through his body, gathering behind him like a blanket that slowly transformed into small beads of white, slightly translucent arrowheads.
The difficulty of the movements took quite some time for him to get to this stage; however, he tried his very best to remained focused, enabling him to slowly create the thousand arrowheads behind his body. With but a thought, those thousand small arrowheads showered down in the direction that Xu Min had intended.
Succeeding in performing the ability, Xu Min was incredibly exhausted; however, his eyes were glistening with satisfaction. A smile adorned his lips as he slowly leaned back against the big tree trunk where he had built his lair.
He quickly entered a meditative state to replenish his Qi. After an hour, he had fully recovered. Slipping down the tree trunk, Xu Min once more made his way through the outskirts of the forest. As he looked around with alert eyes, his heart beat with excitement because he could not wait to see what would attack him next, whether it was a demon beast or human cultivator.
As he traveled in the outskirts of the forest, Xu Min came across a few groups of people; however, these groups paid no attention to him, and he did nothing but nod to them in recognition. Because he had the physical strength of a Two-Star Warrior and speed that he had diligently trained during his time working at the docks, Xu Min had a feeling of safety. As long as he did not run into a Three-Star Warrior, he should be capable of escaping with his life.
Soon, he found an area where there were no other humans. After a short while, another Pest Hog appeared. This one was slightly smaller than the previous one; however, although it was smaller, it was not necessarily any weaker.
“Boom!” A boom resounded as he drew his sword. With a swift strike, he swung his sword out in front of him, carving a large crack in the ground. However, he missed the Pest Hog because it was swifter than the Pest Hog he had encountered yesterday.
Seeing this, Xu Min knew that the possibilities of being able to defeat it using his sword were slim. He needed to kill the pig quickly or else other people would find his location.
Seeing this, he activated his Shattering Palm once more. As soon as he was about to use it, a young man appeared on the small animal trail, his eyes glistening with excitement. However, he was not looking at the Pest Hog. He was looking at Xu Min instead. His eyes sent a chill through the body of the young, black-haired man as Xu Min felt the killing intent from the bystander.
The killing intent from the man caused the Pest Hog to squeal as it escaped into the vegetation of the forest, leaving Xu Min and the man who clearly enjoyed whatever was happening in front of him.
Looking at the man, Xu Min could easily tell that he was of a higher rank than him. He was most likely a Two-Star Warrior. It was clear that he was no Three-Star Warrior. However, he still looked down on Xu Min because the aura Xu Min had was that of a One-Star Warrior.
“You should never have entered the forest with such weak strength,” The man laughed as he flicked his hand and a knife appeared out of nowhere. Looking at this, Xu Min’s eyes narrowed slightly before he gripped the handle of the sword with both hands, lifting it in front of him. He calmed down. His eyes never once left the man in front of him.
“Clang!” The sound of metal colliding could be heard as Xu Min’s broad sword collided with the other man’s knife. The sword managed to push the Two-Star Warrior back. Disbelief was evident in the opponent’s eyes as he realized that this One-Star Warrior in front of him was in no way inferior when it came to physical strength.
Xu Min was aware that he did not have much of a choice but to kill the man quickly. This was a battle to the death. Even if he were to escape, the man he was battling was a Two-Star warrior, who was capable of catching up to the young man.
The man’s dark eyes grew darker as a chill flashed through them. The smile on his face vanished, and a serious expression was shown. Whether or not this guy had companions, Xu Min did not know, but he had no time to truly care about others as his full focus was laid upon the opponent in front of him.
Both hands gripping hard on his sword, Xu Min took a stance that he was not very familiar with as he knew that his Shattering Palm was nowhere enough to deal with this man.
Standing with the sword in front of him, his feet found the right stance. Without closing his eyes, he felt his Qi rush out behind him, creating a blanket that quickly gathered into multiple white, translucent arrowheads that aimed straight at his opponent.
Unlike the first time, Xu Min had managed to make these arrowheads appear in a few seconds. His opponent did not create any countermeasures. The opponent’s eyes glistened with self confidence, and a mocking smile was seen on his face as he too took a stance, his Qi billowing out from behind him, taking the shape of a wolf head before it gathered around his fist.
Seeing the formidable attack of the person in front of him, Xu Min felt a cold shiver run down his spine, but he knew that he had to put everything he had into this attack. The thousands upon thousands of arrowheads suddenly shot through the air at a high speed.
“Woosh,” “Woosh,” “Woosh!”
The wind was crying with each arrowhead’s formidable speed as the thousand arrowheads showered down on the opponent. Following behind these arrowheads was Xu Min. The young man used his physical strength to its limit as he gripped the sword and swung with all his might at the enemy in front of him.
Feeling the translucent arrowheads pierce his body, the young man soon found that this attack was not to be looked down upon simply because it was executed by a One-Star Warrior.
What was even worse was that just as he had realized that the arrowheads were capable of doing some damage to him, he noticed that the sword was coming straight for him and did not manage to fully guard against it. His entire chest was sliced open by the heavy sword.
Xu Min was not satisfied by the result he had produced. The Radiant Jade Shower had injured his opponent, but none of the jade arrowheads had managed to penetrate deeply enough to seriously wound him. Although the opponent’s chest was cut open, the biggest danger was only the loss of blood. The wound alone was too shallow to be considered lethal, and Xu Min had run low on energy.
Looking at the wounded man, Xu Min could see the shock and disbelief in his face so he decided to pick this moment to escape. Sheathing his sword on his back, he turned around and ran as quickly as he could, relying solely on the speed of which he was proud, running as far away from the opponent as he could.
The wounded man was left back on the animal trail. His face turned increasingly sour as he picked up his sliced robe and made some makeshift bandages before he looked in the direction Xu Min had fled with hateful eyes.
Shortly after, the wounded man vanished into the thick forest. However, it was in the opposite direction of the one in which Xu Min had run off. The wounded man’s face was increasingly ugly to behold, but at the same time, a hint of astonishment remained within his eyes.
Xu Min rushed away as quickly as he could, never once turning around to see whether or not he was being chased. He returned to his lair and patiently waited to see if anyone was chasing him. However, after waiting for a better part of an hour, no one came. His breathing finally returned to normal, and his vigilance became slightly more relaxed, as he could confirm that no one was after him.
Sighing deeply, Xu Min looked at his own hands. He had managed to kill one Pest Hog so far, but he had not managed to gain anything, apart from the one beast core when he had salvaged from the kill. Secondly, he had run into a Two-Star Warrior who was clearly far stronger than he was. Finally, he had expended his energy without being capable of killing his opponent and obtaining anything from the fight.
As he thought more about it, he understood that he had indeed gained something from both battles. He understood that it was important for him to change his way of fighting. He needed to be far more decisive and ruthless. Closing his eyes for a moment, he remembered how Xu Wu died right in front of him, and his eyes turned as cold as the deepest winter. His muscles tightened as he prepared for one more hunt. A hunt that he was certain that he would defeat his opponent.