Chapter 379: Heavily Wounded!
A metallic reverberation sounded in the air. Wang Chong couldn't see the assassins behind him, but he could feel an icy-cold killing intent pursuing him relentlessly, like a sharp blade pressed against his neck.
He couldn't turn to look back.
As much as he was worried about Bai Siling and Xu Gan, he knew that if he were to show the slightest hesitation, that would be an opportunity for the assassins to strike. This unprecedented fear that seemed as if his life was just hanging on a thin thread made Wang Chong's blood run wild as he galloped frenziedly ahead.
He knew for every additional zhang that he advanced, Bai Siling and Xu Gan would be put in a safer position, and there would be higher chance that he could survive this ordeal as well.
Siling and Xu Gan, nothing must happen to you both!, Wang Chong prayed worriedly.
If it wasn't for him, they wouldn't have found themselves plunged into this dire situation. At this point, he could only hope the both of them left the area as fast as possible.
Otherwise, none of them would live.
Seven zhang, eight zhang...
Seemingly sensing the will of his owner, the White-hoofed Shadow also gathered all of his strength to display an unprecedented level of swiftness. His figure blurred like a phantom as he charged furiously ahead.
Suddenly, the shrill whiz of a sword sounded right above Wang Chong. Alarmed, he immediately pulled on the reins and leaped to the side.
Hong! A masked assassin had leaped from his steed, and his sword fell just a few inches away from Wang Chong.
The other assassins followed suit one after another as well. They nimbly leaped from the back of their steeds to attempt a strike on Wang Chong.
The current speed they were moving at on horseback was already frightening, but pairing it with their movement technique as they leaped forward pushed their speed to higher realms. Reminiscent of the echoes of death, those sharp blades shrilled across the air as they pierced towards Wang Chong.
Peng peng peng!
Tree after tree was destroyed under their might. Even though the attacks came ceaselessly like the endless waves in the ocean, Wang Chong still managed to dodge all of them by a hair's breadth.
"That steed is too agile!"
"Chase him! Don't let him get away!"...
Deep, frustrated voices sounded from behind. Even though the attacks of the six masked assassins had fallen empty, this failure didn't make them give up.
At the instant their attacks fell empty, the assassins threw their whips out, wrapping them around their steeds. Pulling on their whips, they leaped forward and landed back onto their horses.
Di da da, the six assassins continued to pursue Wang Chong!
Seeing as Wang Chong was about to cross the peak of the mountain, an abrupt change occurred. A third steel arrow suddenly flew out from nowhere, tearing apart space, clawing its way toward him.
This attack had come so abruptly that Wang Chong couldn't evade it.
Boom! With a deafening blast, it struck Wang Chong's back. Vaguely, the sound of a metal object being crushed into countless fragments sounded.
Puuuu, a large mouthful of fresh blood spilled from his mouth.
The force behind the arrow was so great that not only did the Stellar Energy tear through his organs, even the White-hoofed Steed beneath him suffered severe injuries as well.
Amidst a desolate cry, Wang Chong with his steed was jolted flying by that rampaging might, and Wang Chong even flew off the back of his steed in the midst of the flight.
Neighhh! But at the crucial moment, the White-hoofed Steed bit tightly at the snaffle bit connected to his reins and jerked his head. Through this motion, he managed to latch the reins around Wang Chong and forcefully pulled him back onto his back.
Seeing blood oozing from the White-hoofed Shadow's mouth, and his eyes which had dimmed from exhaustion and severe injuries, Wang Chong's eyes reddened.
Even though he had allowed Little Shadow to roam free all along, he could sense that Little Shadow did possess a sharp intelligence. Not only did the latter regard him as his master, he also viewed him as his closest kin.
At the same time, Wang Chong was extremely fond of Little Shadow.
This was the first time Little Shadow had suffered such grievous injuries because of him.
Even though Little Shadow had sustained heavy injuries, perhaps due to the burning desire for survival, it also triggered the hidden potential within him. Gathering the final bits of his strength, he sped up instead. Making use of the impact from the arrow, he actually leapt across the other end of the mountain and disappeared on the other side.
"Damn it, don't let them escape!"
"What the heck is with that steed? How can it still run so swiftly despite suffering such heavy injuries?"
"That bastard had a Heart Fortification Mirror on him! That arrow struck the mirror!"...
Watching as Wang Chong disappeared across the mountain, pulling apart the distance from them, the six masked assassins finally lost their composure.
"Chase him! We mustn't allow him to escape regardless of the cost!"
The six assassins stabbed their blades into the steeds beneath them, forcing their steeds to rush forward as fast as they could.
This mission was vital to the six of them. Their superior had emphasized gravely that they had to eliminate their target by hook or by crook, and failure wasn't an option.
Di da da!
Trees, shrubs, and thorns retreated by the sides as swift as shadows. On the back of his steed, Wang Chong felt a sweet sensation on the back of his throat as the world spun around him.
That immense force on the arrow was still making its rounds in his body. Had Wang Chong not used the Golden Organs to strengthen his innards, and taken in the energy which he had absorbed before using the Little Yinyang Art, he might have already lost consciousness.
That intense feeling of danger that caused a pang on his temples had disappeared. He knew that after passing the peak of the mountain, the archer had already lost sight of him and no longer posed a threat.
Even though the six masked assassins were still pursuing him relentlessly, their speed couldn't match up to his. With the White-hoofed Shadow galloping at its limits, it was impossible for them to catch up.
After an unknown period of time, Wang Chong suddenly released his grip and flew from the White-hoofed Shadow. Huala! He fell into a lake in the midst of the mountain.
"Little Shadow, I'll be leaving the rest to you!"
In the last moment before submerging into the water, Wang Chong gazed deeply at Little Shadow before activating his Tortoise Breathing Art as he sank into the depths of the water.
Both Little Shadow and he had suffered grievous injuries. While Little Shadow's primal instincts propelled him to gallop at an unprecedented speed under his injuries, such a state was not sustainable in the long run.
The only way they could survive was to separate from one another. Wang Chong would hide somewhere the others wouldn't be able to find him, and without him weighing Little Shadow down, Little Shadow would be able to easily flee from the pursuers as well.
Like a crab, Wang Chong lay unmoving at the bottom of the lake. At this point, the Sindhi Saddhu's Tortoise Breathing Art played a crucial role.
An ordinary man might only be able to sustain himself for two minutes or so at the bottom of the water, but through the Tortoise Breathing Art, even in his injured state, he could sustain himself for around twenty minutes.
At the same time, by lowering his bodily functions to the minimum, he could minimize the spread of his internal injuries as well.
"Quick, chase him! We mustn't let him run away!"
"He's injured, so he can't have gotten far. Search the vicinity!"...
Not too long after Wang Chong sank to the bottom of the lake, the ground trembled as the six masked assassins finally arrived on the shore. However, they left a short moment later, headed in the direction they thought the White-hoofed Shadow had disappeared in.
Right after the clopping sounds produced by the six masked assassins disappeared, Wang Chong immediately swam up from the bottom of the lake, checking the surface warily before rushing up to shore.
I can't remain here for too long. I have to leave as soon as possible, Wang Chong thought.
Indubitably, the lake was an extremely conspicuous geographical terrain on the mountain. The assassins had only overlooked it due to their anxiety.
When they finally realized that there was no one on top of Little Shadow, they would definitely return to check this area.
The keen senses of a top-notch assassin should never be underestimated. Every last one of them had gone through long years of training, allowing them to swiftly find even the slightest of a trace their target had left behind.
Playing down the abilities of a professional assassin was no different from playing with one's life.
Not too long after stepping onto the shore, Wang Chong coughed violently into his hands. His body wobbled unsteadily, and his reflection in the water revealed a face devoid of any color.
Opening his hands, he saw crimson blood flowing through his fingers, and his face turned grim.
His injuries were far more severe than he had thought. In his current state, he wouldn't be able to get far.
It seems like I can only do that!
Wang Chong swiftly scanned the surroundings before walking over to a shrub. Whipping out his Wootz steel sword, he swiftly cut the upper layer of grass before digging out a four chi deep ditch.
Lying in the ditch, Wang Chong swiftly placed the layer of grass above him, followed by withered leaves and shrubs.
Using the final sliver of Stellar Energy within him, he compressed the three chi deep layer of soil above him tightly together. This way, it would be difficult for anyone to notice the anomaly from the surface.
After which, with a hollow tree branch inserted in his mouth, Wang Chong activated the Tortoise Breathing Art as he lay there unmoving. Gradually, his consciousness blurred, and his body turned cold.
Under the effects of the Tortoise Breathing Art, the only thing remaining of him was his basic senses.
Hong long long!
Not long after doing everything, the ground shook as the six masked assassins returned. Hua! One of them leapt into the lake without any hesitation.
Not too long later, the splashing of water sounded once more. It seemed like the person who had dived into the lake had returned.
"How is it?" Wang Chong heard a person asking.
There was no response, but the vague splashing sound seemed to suggest that the assassin in the water had shaken his head. Hua! In the next instant, it seemed like another assassin had jumped into the water.
After that came a long moment of silence, interrupted only by the disturbances in the lake.
Holding his breath, Wang Chong suppressed his bodily functions to the bare minimum.
After a period of time, Wang Chong could barely make out the sound of two men coming up to shore.
"We have taken a look, but there's no one at the bottom of the lake!" one of the assassins said.
"That's impossible. We have pursued him tightly along the way, there's no way he had the time to escape from us. Furthermore, considering his lack of a mount and his grievous injuries, it's impossible for him to get far. Of everything we have seen, this lake holds the greatest suspicion of all," a cold and authoritative voice replied.
It seemed the owner of this voice held a position higher than the other assassins.