Who had just shown up?
It wasn’t just one person, but a man and a woman, both of them dressed in black with their faces concealed. Their identities were unclear. But the man was holding the woman around her waist, his other hand wielding a whip. His form was tall and mysterious as he hovered in the air. The woman in his arms didn’t seem to care a whit about the barrage of arrows flying their way, but was wholly focused on the thousand-year ginkgo tree instead!
Chu Yunyi immediately knew this was the true Long Feiye and Han Yunxi. He had never seen Long Feiye’s golden dragon whip skills first hand, but he’d heard Witch Aunt speak of them plenty. Last time, at the Poison Sect’s underground palace, Witch Aunt had discovered that Long Feiye’s true skills laid not in Celestial Mountain’s swordsmanship, but his previously unknown whip skills. The woman he was holding had to be the true Han Yunxi---the one who didn’t know any martial arts.
Long Feiye ended up setting Han Yunxi by the base of the ginkgo tree. The masked man who had laughed earlier now immediately made for the tree himself, mercilessly kicking aside all of the female poison masters in the way. He stood in front of Han Yunxi to act as her guard. Of course, this fellow was none other than Gu Qishao. The other two masked men were, naturally, Chu Xifeng and Tang Li.
As soon as Gu Qishao reached Han Yunxi, Long Feiye took to the skies again, fighting off enemies the entire way like Chu Xifeng and Tang Li. His exquisite whip techniques and massive internal energy helped him scatter countless swathes of arrows with each brilliant strike!
“Long Feiye! You’ve finally arrived!” Chu Yunyi shouted, but Long Feiye only ignored him to press back against the oncoming horde of archers. Chu Yunyi had been itching for a real fight against Long Feiye for ages, so he took out an arrow of his own and notched it on an imaginary bow. He’d put so much force into the shot that the very shaft was already vibrating before he released it, a precision killing machine!
The large amounts of killing intent caused Long Feiye to glance over, but his icy eyes held nothing but scorn and disdain for Chu Yunyi.
“Go die!” Chu Yunyi roared as he released his arrow. Ten more appeared to fly in its wake, all of them harboring an overpowering, murderous aura. Their thrumming bodies even gave life to the very air currents they ripped through as they flew across the skies. Moreover, each and every arrow seemed to possess a life of its own as they aimed for the various vital points on Long Feiye’s body.
In that very moment, everyone’s eyes were on the arrows. Tang Li and Chu Xifeng were both fighting off their own archers and looking over at the same time, while even the unconscionable Gu Qishao felt a twinge of worry. Han Yunxi, who was busy searching for the Wood of Ten-Thousand Poisons, also paused in her work. Although she couldn’t sense killing intent and had no idea what was going on, her instinct told her that Long Feiye was in danger.
Close by, the captured Gu Beiyue creased his brows as he stared fixedly at the ten or more arrows tearing through the skies. Without a doubt, they’d been imbibed with potent power. Long Feiye himself had sensed the coming onslaught and knew that being hit by the weapons would be fatal. He had no time to think, because his whip was limited by distance---he needed ample time to maneuver the weapon, which became less effective in close-quarters combat. Once the arrows drew too close, he’d have no choice but to use his sword. But if he did that, Chu Yunyi would be able to conclusively identify him as the Duke of Qin to the rest of the crowd.
Chu Yunyi might have been far away, but the speed of his arrows was instantaneous. Long Feiye had no choice but to move his whip on instinct! The long, slender weapon was no less inferior than the arrows. Their true showdown would began once they met in mid-air. As the whip headed towards the arrows, time itself seemed to stop on the battlefield!
Of course, the pause only lasted a second. Soon enough, Long Feiye’s wrist flicked lightly with his whip. Though the movement looked effortless, it required a massive amount of force. The force of his lash suppressed the incoming arrows before snapping them in half, sending their useless shafts tumbling to the ground.
Yet one arrow slipped through. It met the shockwaves of Long Feiye’s lash without injury and soared forward with a single-minded assault. Without a doubt, this was the strongest arrow of the lot. Long Feiye lashed out again but was still unable to affect the arrow. At this moment, Chu Yunyi released another arrow---this time aimed at Long Feiye’s eye!
Seeing that, everyone grew even more stunned. Chu Xifeng and Tang Li wanted to help, but Chu Yunyi’s archers suddenly renewed their assault to trap them in place. Han Yunxi pushed Gu Qishao out and exclaimed, “Forget about me, go help him! Hurry!”
Gu Qishao barely reacted in time to send some vines up Long Feiye’s way, but he was too far away and far too late for it to make any difference. The arrow was speeding along too fast!
“Idiot!” Gu Qishao cursed. He knew Long Feiye wasn’t using his sword so that he could keep his identity under wraps from the rest of Western Zhou, but why wasn’t he retreating, either?
If he faces them head-on like that, it’s simply seeking death!
As the second arrow sped towards Long Feiye’s eye, everyone’s breathing seemed to stop. Han Yunxi gaped at the sight with wide eyes. To her, the arrow’s speed and strength were on par with Long Feiye’s whip. But at the very last possible second, Long Feiye raised his arm and blocked the arrow with his own hand!
He dropped his arm as fresh blood dripped down from his wound, a testament to the strength of the weapon. But, in the end, he’d blocked it all the same. As everyone exhaled, Chu Yunyi found himself mystified. He tried with another arrow, this time aimed at the one still heading for Long Feiye from earlier! This arrow struck the back of the first, giving it a massive boost of strength and speed towards its target. As to be expected of a clan head, Chu Yunyi’s archery skills were the best amongst the Chu Clan. Unfortunately, he happened to meet Long Feiye as his opponent…
Long Feiye withdrew his whip just in time to accurately wrap the ends around the incoming arrow! In fact, he’d been waiting for this very chance to trap the weapon! Nobody expected that, least of all Chu Yunyi, whose face was now ashen white. Before Long Feiye could fight back, he had already released a slew of fresh arrows in panic. Actually, his reaction was not altogether unexpected, because Long Feiye really was gearing up for a counterattack.
He allowed the rain of arrows to fly his way as he viciously returned the one trapped in his whip. Like a snake, the whip meandered its way through the air, scattering errant arrows in its path before a vicious snap filled with Long Feiye’s internal energy released the final arrow in its grasp!
With overwhelming force, the arrow shot towards Chu Yunyi!
Chu Yunyi had lived a long life, but he’d never expect to be injured by his own weapon some day! He had no way to dodge such a sudden attack, but had instinctively swerved to one side, allowing the weapon to bury itself completely in his right arm.
What a savage shot!
This brutality had only come from the force of the whiplash. If it were a person releasing the arrow from a bow, wouldn’t the weapon have taken his entire arm off instead? All archers feared any injury to their shooting arm. Now an irate Chu Yunyi found he was left with no choice but to flee.
“Retreat!” he ordered. All of the archers drew back at his command, while the old mama grabbed Empress Xue and fled with them. Chu Yunyi personally apprehended Gu Beiyue to bring up the rear.
The Western Zhou imperial guards chased after them in earnest, but were too hesitant to try anything with their empress in enemy hands. Long Feiye’s gaze lingered on Gu Beiyue, but he didn’t give chase. His final goal was still the Wood of Ten-Thousand Poisons. Before reinforcements arrived, they had to quickly get the poison and get out. Otherwise, they’d be at the mercy of the guards with no Empress Xue to be their hostage.
Very quickly, the three monks in charge of guarding the ginkgo tree flew back into the fray. Unfortunately, it was impossible for them to even approach the tree with Long Feiye, Chu Xifeng, and Tang Li standing guard. One Long Feiye was already enough to keep them all at bay, to say nothing of the two extra fighters by his side.
The three monks had seen everything that had happened just then and knew they were no match for the people in black. They could only angrily demand answers from the trio.
“Just who are you people? What are you trying to find from the ginkgo tree?”
“How did you all get in?”
If they tried to force their way in, they would’ve have had to bypass countless traps and secret switches. Without a map on hand, even the best experts would find it impossible to not activate a single snare. Yet, these people had come without a murmur without even slipping in amongst the empress’s retinue.
None of the monks could figure it out.
“Are you Tianning’s Duke of Qin? A true man would never hide his identity and skulk about. Just who are you? Tell us your name!”
“Is that woman Qin Wangfei?”
As if infected by Long Feiye’s silence, none of the masked intruders spoke in response to the monks’ questioning---not even Gu Qishao. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi had already started up her detox system’s scanners to check the ginkgo tree for poisons. But, just like her experiences with the Water and Earth of Ten-Thousand Poisons, the detox system could only tell her the vaguest of details---there was poison, but its composition and properties were unclear.
The Ten-Thousand Poisons of the five elements seem to share the same characteristics. All of them were made from a combination of various other poisons so that the detox system couldn’t do much besides pinpoint individual elements within the whole. Han Yunxi knew they couldn’t afford to tarry here if they wanted to make a clean escape. She examined the tree one more time and felt depressed when she failed to be able to pinpoint an approximate location!
Of course, she still had her poison storage space which was capable of storing various Ten-Thousand Poisons, but this was different. Water of Ten-Thousand Poisons had been an entire toxic pond, but this thousand-year ginkgo tree wasn’t completely poisonous. Moreover, she hadn’t seen any sign of something that could be Wood of Ten-Thousand Poisons! How was she supposed to absorb something into her space when she couldn’t even see it? At the very least, it was impossible to do at her current level.
What now? Do we really have to try what Chu Yunyi said, and take the entire tree with us?
The sound of hurrying footsteps began to approach them from all sides; without a doubt, the reinforcements had arrived. Gu Qishao asked anxiously, “Have you found it yet?”
He’d been doing his part to search too, but he couldn’t even catch a whiff of anything poisonous from the tree. He was almost beginning to suspect that Wood of Ten-Thousand Poisons didn’t exist on this tree at all. Long Feiye too, took this chance to look back with an urgent glance.
Han Yunxi was growing anxious!
But then a sudden thought came to her mind---that’s it!
She came up with a solution---something so simple that she couldn’t believe she hadn’t thought of it before. Honestly, I’m an idiot!