Stranger Danger

Chapter 19: Blizzard



Chapter 19: Blizzard

“Hmph! Let’s see how you survive this one!”

An evil smirk crossed Chen Zheng’s face as he stared at Ye Qing’s back. The order was deliberate, of course. He knew that four people wasn’t enough to hold the gates shut, much less prevent the human skin Strangers from bursting into the village. The reason he did it anyway was to send Ye Qing to his death.

Ye Qing’s prowess had not escaped Chen Zheng’s notice. Although the young man’s cultivation level was still nowhere near enough to threaten him, he could not shake off a bad feeling for some reason. In that case, he might as well kill the young man while the opportunity was ripe.

Ma Shiyuan and Zhang Yuan were just unfortunate scapegoats. After all, the people might suspect something if he ordered Ye Qing to guard the gates alone. Besides that, Ma Shiyuan and Zhang Yuan were Lin Hu’s aides, and they had dared to contradict him just now. He might not bear a grudge against them, but he certainly didn’t care if they lived or died.

Of course, things would have been even simpler if they had refused their orders. He would’ve had the perfect excuse to end them by his own hands.

In Chen Zheng’s mind, Ye Qing, Ma Shiyuan and Zhang Yuan were already dead. The thought warmed his soul and brought a loathsome grin to his face.

Ma Shiyuan and Zhang Yuan were unaware of Chen Zheng’s scheme, but Ye Qing knew exactly the kind of person the bastard was. He simply didn’t care to thwart his ploy because Chen Zheng had miscalculated one crucial thing: he was a middle-stage Qi Invoker, not a journeyman Reforged.

The group of four quickly reached the gates. One watchman moaned in despair when he saw the cracked, rickety gates that looked moments away from being destroyed by the human skin Strangers. “What do we do now?”

Once the gates were destroyed, they were sure to receive the full brunt of the human skin Strangers’ assault. And the chances they might survive that… was zero!

“What else? We do our best!” Zhang Yuan, a middle-aged man with thick eyebrows and huge eyes said carelessly before spitting on the ground. “We’ll hold the line for however long we can hold it. If we cannot, then we die. That’s all there is to it, isn’t it?”

Ma Shiyuan let out a bitter chuckle at his uncaring comment but remained silent. It would seem that he was in agreement with Zhang Yuan.

More and more cracks appeared on the ironwood as the human skin Strangers continued to pound away at the gates. In the end, it happened. The wooden structure collapsed inward with a loud thud, and the black tide rushed straight toward the four watchmen.

“Kill!” Zhang Yuan roared and became the first to rush forward. His last squad member guarded his left, and Ma Shiyuan his right. Together, they formed a versatile triangle that could handle offense or defense. They collided against the sea of human skin Strangers, and…

And then there was nothing. The trio were overwhelmed in just the blink of an eye. Like a raindrop dripping into the sea, they had failed to elicit even the tiniest of splashes.

Is it my turn now? Ye Qing thought while clenching his saber and squinting at the incoming horde. The second they got close to him, a terrific boom shook the narrow corridor and shattered at least a dozen human skin Strangers. It was the Toad Force.

Next, Ye Qing slashed the air in front of him and unleashed a beam of silver. It spread out into a wide area and eliminated yet another group of human skin Strangers.

More enemies replaced their fallen brethren in just the blink of an eye, but Ye Qing remained calm and executed all the techniques of the “Five Tigers Door Breaking Saber” again and again. He chopped, slashed, swept, flicked or parried everything that was thrown his way again and again. His moves looked brutally simple, but they were lightning fast and colossally powerful.

If someone was watching Ye Qing right now, they would notice that his attacks only traveled halfway to their targets before another set of attacks overlapped them. They might even think that he was playacting if not for the fact that the human skin Strangers facing the attacks were shredded into pieces. It was because he was moving so fast that the naked eye could only capture the moment he unleashed his saber, but not the moment it landed on its target or the moment he withdrew his arm to unleash another attack.

At the beginning, Ye Qing’s attacks still maintained the structure and intent of the “Five Tigers Door Breaking Saber”. Then, his saber moved faster and faster until its ferocity was replaced by speed. Pure, unadulterated speed.

The storm of blades was evolving. What was a small, intermittent stream gradually grew into an unstoppable river of light that shredded everything in its path. Wherever it traveled, human skin Strangers were shredded into pieces. The black tide just could not punch through even though he was one man guarding an entire passage by himself!

One minute… three minutes… eight minutes… fifteen minutes…

Fifteen minutes passed in the blink of an eye, but Ye Qing was like a tireless machine. His saber remained as swift, steady, and accurate as ever as the human skin Strangers fell like weeds.

Snap!

Suddenly, Ye Qing heard a snap and felt a sudden loss of weight from his hand. It was because his saber had snapped in half!

“Not good!” Ye Qing cursed under his breath. Clearly, the battle had gone on for too long, and his weapon just could not withstand the pressure any longer. His attacks might be swift, but that didn’t mean they were light. Each and every swing was empowered by the Toad Force. Since the saber was just a normal crucible steel weapon, it was always going to break in a protracted, high-intensity battle like this.

This was a massive issue as a matter of course. He could still fight, but the loss of his weapon greatly impacted his combat effectiveness. Already, he was starting to strain under the unending tide.

It’s time to leave, Ye Qing thought with a tinge of regret and sorrow. He still had enough energy to fight for a couple more minutes, but what was the point? They still hadn’t heard back from Granny Xia and Lin Hu, and the tide of human skin Strangers was as big as ever. It was obvious that their last-ditch effort to end this invasion had failed. Worst case scenario, they might already be dead.

There was no longer any point in holding the line, and he would die if he remained any longer. In that case, he had no choice but to look after number one!

“Retreat! Retreat!”

It was at this moment he heard Chen Zheng’s angry roar from somewhere above him. Clearly, the defense line on the walls could not hold on either. The next moment, he saw the martial artist sprinting toward the village faster than anyone else.

There was an underground passage inside the village that led to a hill on the outskirts. It was the village’s back-up plan should they ever face an existential crisis such as this one.

“Hah! Look at him run!” Ye Qing snorted in disdain but did not hesitate to chase after Chen Zheng.

With the watchmen broken, the human skin Strangers were finally able to pass through the entrance unhindered. They flooded into the village like a tidal wave and killed everyone they encountered. For a time, the screams and cries would not stop, and it felt like the end of the world. In fact, it was the end of the world for the people of August Hill Village!

“If only…” Expplôre 𝒖ptod𝒂te stories at no/𝒗el//bin(.)c𝒐m

Ye Qing let out a disheartened sigh as he watched his fellow villagers fall to the abominations one after another. It felt terrible to watch all these lives disappearing before his eyes and know that there was nothing he could do to change it. Worst of all, he only had his own weakness to blame.

“I’m not too late, am I?”

A casual voice spoke over the screams all of a sudden. Then, a man’s silhouette appeared on the walls. He seemed to be carrying two people with both hands.

The human skin Strangers on the walls tried to run down the mysterious man as a matter of course, but he calmly dropped the people he was carrying, untied the drinking gourd on his waist. and took a sip. Then, he flicked a drop of liquid at the nearest enemy.

As soon as the droplet hit the human skin Stranger, it immediately froze in its tracks, literally. Ice covered its whole body in just the blink of an eye. Not only that, it continued to spread outward and freeze every human skin Stranger that came into contact with it as well. In just the span of a few breaths, every enemy on the wall and even the wall itself had turned into ice. It was as if a mini winter had taken place on the walls.

Next, the man jumped up into the sky and unleashed a palm strike toward the ground. The already frigid air turned even colder as dozens of human skin Strangers shattered into pieces at the same time. They too were completely covered in ice.

The man would remain afloat and walk leisurely in the sky like it was solid ground. Every few seconds, he would unleash a palm strike that shattered numerous human skin Strangers and froze the rest. It wasn’t long before every human skin Stranger in the village was taken out just like that.

The mysterious man wasn’t done yet, however. Seemingly dissatisfied that the battle—if you could even call it that—had ended so quickly, he took another sip from his drinking gourd before sauntering toward the village entrance where more human skin Strangers were pouring in. He then crushed them with the same ease he had displayed? earlier.

If the human skin Strangers was a black tide that was seemingly without end, then the mysterious man was a bright moon that melted them away with its silver light. Wherever he went, the black tide receded like fading shadows until all that was left was stunning frost. The silver moon was untouchable, unstoppable. For as long as it hung in the sky, no shadow could bear to stand in its light!

The tide of human skin Strangers continued to wither under the unstoppable ice for a time until suddenly, they shuddered as if they had just received new orders. Then, they abruptly turned around and escaped into the darkness. Finally, the invasion was over.

The mysterious man did not stop the human skin Strangers from leaving. He waited until they were all gone before turning around and walking back to August Hill Village. The way his hair swayed to the icy wind made him look like a deity who had descended from the heavens.

It looked like the man was walking, but he reappeared in the village in just the blink of an eye. It was only then Ye Qing got a good look at their visitor.

He was a young man in his twenties with shapely eyebrows and sharp eyes. His facial features looked like they were chiseled from marble, and he wore a carefree smile that looked like it would never fade no matter the circumstances. On the other hand, his hair was a disheveled mess, and his clothes were covered in dirt and leaves for some reason. It did not mesh well with his looks or his earlier performance at all. And yet… It wasn't a bad look on him. It actually humanized him and gave him the appearance of a fairy tale hero instead.

“My apologies for showing up too late and costing your village so many lives. The fault is all mine,” the young man apologized as soon as he walked through the village entrance. A hint of sorrow flashed in his eyes as he stared at the pile of corpses on the floor. He let out a sigh and took another two sips from his drinking gourd.

“Thank you so much for saving our village, my lord!” A pair of voices came from the walls. They were none other than Granny Xia and Lin Hu.

The two martial artists looked rather terrible right now. Lin Hu’s face was covered in blood, and his chest was caved in. He had also lost an arm judging from the way his sleeve was flapping limply in the wind. Granny Xia’s breathing was erratic, and she looked hunched and thinner than ever. The wrinkles on her face were as dense as tree bark, and she looked like she had aged ten years in a single night.

“Really, it’s nothing. This tragedy could’ve been averted if I had come even a little sooner!” The young man waved them off embarrassedly before muttering under his breath, “I knew it was a mistake to drink too much…”

Granny Xia coughed twice before saying weakly, “What are you saying, my lord? If it wasn’t for you, this old lady and the ten thousand souls living in August Hill Village would have perished tonight.”

Granny Xia was right. If it wasn’t for the young man, the human skin Strangers would’ve ripped Lin Hu and her from limb to limb, and August Hill Village would have been wiped off the face of the earth already. It would not be an exaggeration to say that everyone in August Hill Village now owed the young man a favor greater than the heavens themselves!

“May we know your name, my lord?” Granny Xia asked.

“My name is Chu Nianjiu [1]. I’m a Windcatcher of the Pacification Bureau,” Chu Nianjiu answered lazily before fishing around his shirt for a bit. He then produced a dirty badge and handed it to Granny Xia. “Here’s my badge.”

Granny Xia accepted the badge and inspected it carefully. Once she confirmed that it was the genuine article, she returned it to Chu Nianjiu and greeted him formally, “We greet you, Lord Windcatcher!”

].

We greet you, Lord Windcatcher!” echoed Lin Hu hurriedly with a salute.

Chu Nianjiu said carelessly, “Please, let us do away with the formalities. You’re still injured, and I’m sure you would rather be healing yourselves than trading unnecessary pleasantries with little ol’ me.”

1. meaning “Sucker For Alcohol 👈


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