Stranger Danger

Chapter 23: Surprise

Chapter 23: Surprise

If everyone in the world was a Strangerkin, then this world would’ve been a much friendlier place to humanity. Unfortunately, fewer than one in a million were Strangerkin.

Most Strangerkins inherited their powers from an ancestor, but to this day, no one had found a surefire way to create a Strangerkin or pass down their abilities to future generations. The Chen Zheng brothers were a prime example of that. They were blood brothers, but one of them was an Innate Immaculate Swordsmaster and a genius, while the other was just an ordinary human in every sense of the word.

There were many things in this world that were decided by choice, but birth wasn’t one of them.

For a while, Chen Zheng could only seethe with jealousy. Why did an ant get to awaken as a Strangerkin? Why not him? The more he thought about it, the angrier and more upset he became.

“Stranger blood? I have Stranger blood in my veins?” Ye Qing muttered to himself while staring at his own blood. Although he didn’t know what Chen Zheng was talking about, it was clear from his expression that this “Stranger blood” was something to kill for. It was a good thing to know, but it didn’t really matter to him.

“So what if you’re a Strangerkin? I’ll just bleed you until you have nothing left to bleed!” Chen Zheng grew even angrier and frustrated when he noticed that Ye Qing did not seem to care just how fortunate he was.

Ye Qing shrugged. “So sorry to disappoint you, but blood is the one thing I can afford to piss away like nothing!”

The moment he said this, his wounds began sealing and healing on its own. A second later, Ye Qing was completely healed as if he had never been injured in the first place.


This revelation pissed Chen Zheng off even more, of course. If a person’s gaze could kill, Ye Qing would have burned down into a pile of ashes already.

Ye Qing wasn’t interested in exchanging passionate looks with Chen Zheng, however. They were sworn enemies who had dropped all pretense to murder the shit out of each other. Chen Zheng must die today, or he would be a source of endless trouble to him in the future.

Bang! The earth shattered as Ye Qing appeared in front of Chen Zheng and brought his saber down once more.

“It’s no use, Ye Qing! You’re just not strong enough to breach my golden bell talisman!” Chen Zheng laughed loudly and scornfully at what he perceived to be a useless effort. It seemed that mocking the young man was the only way he could do to relieve the jealousy and anger in his heart.

Suddenly, Chen Zheng’s smile froze on his face. As Ye Qing swung his saber, his chest and abdomen started inflating and deflating unnaturally. Chen Zheng had just enough time to register a loud croak before he found himself sent hurtling across the air like a ragged doll. The impact was such that even the golden light protecting him all this time had dimmed considerably after flickering wildly like a light.

“Toad Force? You cultivated the ‘Mental Art of The Toad’, which means… you’re the one who killed Fang Nianshui!” Chen Zheng exclaimed in disbelief.

Chen Zheng recognized Ye Qing’s technique immediately because he was the one who had given Fang Nianshui the cultivation manual in the first place. It was because Fang Nianshui was a talent worth nurturing, and because the hunter needed an incentive to assassinate a fellow watchman without getting caught.

But now, it would seem that Fang Nianshui, that fool, had been killed not by the human skin Strangers. It was Ye Qing who did him in. Naturally, his cultivation manual had fallen into Ye Qing’s hands.

The irony tasted so bitter Chen Zheng could resurrect Fang Nianshui from the dead and kill him a second time.

Ye Qing had also put two and two together after some quick thinking, but it didn’t slow down his movements in the slightest. Chen Zheng was still in the air when he caught up to him and brought down his saber.

Chen Zheng wasn’t going to allow Ye Qing to hit him with impunity, so he tried to drive him away by attacking the young man’s vitals using the Plum Blossom Sword Art. However, Ye Qing simply took the attack head on—he was confident that his powerful vigor and vitality would allow him to survive most hits—and struck Chen Zheng’s shielded body yet again. The golden light flickered and became even weaker than before.


Ye Qing swung his saber like the wind and scored a couple more Toad Force-empowered hits across the golden light. The golden light started spilling golden shards everywhere while flickering dangerously like a dying candle. From the looks of it, it could disappear at any moment.

Chen Zheng was seriously panicking now. As the owner of the cultivation manual, he was well aware that the Toad Force was potent enough to break through his golden bell talisman, not least because it was happening right before his eyes. Perhaps his situation would be less dire if his sword art was effective against Ye Qing, but the bastard was healing faster than he could put a hole in his body. He could scarcely believe that the young man was still human. Fôll0w current novÊls on n/o/(v)/3l/b((in).(co/m)

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Ye Qing’s reservoir of true qi and vigor was unlike anyone he ever met. Most people would have had to catch a breather after executing the Toad Force a handful of times, but the young man just kept going like he could do this until the end of time. That was of course an exaggeration, but Chen Zheng was sure that Ye Qing could keep this up until his golden bell talisman was gone at the very least. The moment that happened would be the moment he died!

Is being a Strangerkin really that big of an advantage?

For the first time since the battle began, Chen Zheng was seriously terrified of his enemy.


Suddenly, a beam of red light shot into the air and exploded like fireworks. It was Chen Zheng activating his contact talisman.

Ye Qing was so surprised that he temporarily stopped his assault and frowned.

Chen Zheng laughed when he saw the realization on the young man’s face. “It’s over, Ye Qing! You can’t kill me before Chu Nianjiu and the others show up, and when they do, you will die!”

Ye Qing wasn’t expecting Chen Zheng to be so decisive as to activate his contact talisman the second he determined that he was in grave danger. He was right that the group would want to kill him when they showed up as well. Although Chen Zheng was the one who started this whole nonsense in the first place—he could even prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was his fault—the only one who would be suffering the consequences today was him. Forget that he was carrying multiple valuables that could tempt even a saint off the virtuous path, Chen Zheng had a strong older brother who was acquaintances with Chu Nianjiu. This alone would ensure that he, the real victim of this incident, would be victimized.

In this world, being right didn’t matter nearly as much as being strong!

He had two choices. One, he could run right now and pray that he could somehow escape Chu Nianjiu, the guy who had singlehandedly crushed the army of human skin Strangers that nearly annihilated August Hill Village. He would also have to somehow make it out of Little August Hill alive, a death trap where even the likes of Chu Nianjiu had to tread carefully.

Or two, he could kill Chen Zheng.

Ye Qing took one look at Chen Zheng’s hateful expression and made his choice. Of course he was going to kill Chen Zheng.

The golden bell talisman still protecting Chen Zheng was a problem though. While the Toad Force could definitely break through the protection, he reckoned that it would take another dozens of hits before it was finally dismantled. By then, Chu Nianjiu would have reached them already.

The only way to do this was to finish this as soon as possible.


A croak erupted from Ye Qing’s chest.

“Haha! Stop wasting your energy already! You won’t make it in time!” Chen Zheng said scornfully when he saw that Ye Qing had chosen to struggle. That was all weaklings could do, struggle futilely and pitifully until the end!


Then, a second croak erupted from Ye Qing’s stomach and cut his mirth short. All the blood drained away from Chen Zheng’s face as he exclaimed in disbelief, “Impossible! The Toad Force can be stacked?”

Despite his shock, Chen Zheng did not allow his emotions to get the better of him. He immediately turned tail and ran like hell. All he needed was to survive for another minute or two, and victory would be his!


Three more croaks erupted from Ye Qing’s stomach. When his power grew to the point where even the air around him started vibrating ominously, he abruptly vanished from view—the earth beneath him literally splitting like an earthquake as he pushed off the ground—and reappeared right behind the escaping Chen Zheng. His saber came down.


Chen Zheng could only scream in terror as Ye Qing descended on him like a demon god. When the blade struck the golden light, it trembled one last time before disintegrating inch by inch into nothing. Finally, the Toad Force was able to pour into Chen Zheng’s body unhindered.

Blood immediately shot out of every hole on Chen Zheng’s head like a fountain. He then crumpled into a heap following a series of disturbing pops and snaps. It sounded like Chen Zheng had snapped every muscle and bone in his body.

Ye Qing wasn’t doing so hot himself, however. He was on his knees before he knew it, and his skin was cracked everywhere like he was made of porcelain. He had stacked the Toad Force five times before unleashing the devastating attack. There was so much power that even his body couldn’t quite withstand it. It was an ultimate attack that hurt him almost as much as it hurt the enemy.

But of course, the results were well worth the cost. The ultimate attack hadn’t just destroyed Chen Zheng’s golden bell talisman, it had flooded his body with Toad Force, shattered his bones, and turned his internal organs into goo.

Chen Cang must seriously love his younger brother though, because Chen Zheng still wasn’t dead

despite sustaining the kind of injury that would kill another Qi Invoker a hundred times over. An unknown energy seemed to be keeping him alive and restoring his vitality from within.

“You—cough! Cough! Cough!—can’t kill me. My brother is—cough!—Chen Cang, is one of the Four Gentlemen. He will slaughter you if you dare to kill me!”

Chen Zheng was still shooting his mouth even though he was completely helpless at this point. Ye Qing spat out a mouthful of blood before forcing himself to stand and staggering toward Chen Zheng.

“I swear you I’ll never bother you again if you let me go, Ye Qing! I’ll even introduce you to my brother! You’re a Strangerkin. I’m sure great things are in store for your future, a future that my brother can make ten times better!”

His saber had long since shattered into a million pieces, so Ye Qing had no choice but to pick up a random rock from the ground. He then continued toward Chen Zheng with unflinching determination. Only an idiot would believe Chen Zheng’s promise, and in this world, the only reliable soul was a dead one!

“You can’t kill me! My brother is Chen Cang! You—” Chen Zheng started screaming incoherently when he saw that Ye Qing would not be deterred. Sometimes, he would swear the worst things upon Ye Qing should he continue his course. Sometimes, he would beg in the meekest tone and promise the world if only Ye Qing would spare him. Like a man seconds away from drowning, he was grabbing at anything that might save his life.

It was too bad there was absolutely nothing he could say or do that would change Ye Qing’s mind.

Buzz buzz buzz…

It would seem that fate had one last joke in store for the two men, however. A loud buzzing noise abruptly came from the sky and drew Ye Qing’s attention away. He looked up and saw an unnatural black cloud flying straight toward them.

“Ha, haha, ahahahaha! It’s the Bloodsucking Mosquitoes! You might still be able to make it if you run now, Ye Qing! Otherwise, you’re coming down to the grave with me! Hahaha!”

Chen Zheng started laughing like a madman when he realized what the black cloud in the sky was. Clearly, the Strangers had been attracted by their blood. It was perfect. His older brother had left him a third and final item that would temporarily fill him with energy and preserve his vitality. It was also why he was confident he would survive until Chu Nianjiu showed up and killed these Bloodsucking Mosquitoes!

Meanwhile, Ye Qing was looking at the Bloodsucking Mosquitoes with the strangest expression on his face. A while later, he turned back to Chen Zheng and stared at him like he was an idiot.

The Bloodsucking Mosquitoe was his favorite Stranger bar none. Their appearance right before he was about to kill Chen Zheng could only be described as killing two birds with one stone. After all, he would be taking out his sworn enemy and earning a ton of dragon-serpent runes at the same time. If this wasn’t killing two birds with one stone, then what was?

In fact, he would be killing three birds with one stone. The Bloodsucking Mosquitoes would deal with Chen Zheng’s body for him. Marvelous!

And so Ye Qing raised his rock and brought it down on Chen Zheng’s forehead hard, silencing his mad cackle instantly. Bang!

“Do you really want to die, Ye Qing?” Chen Zheng screamed hoarsely after a second of utter disbelief.

The only response he got was another rock to the face. Bang!

I’m the quiet, strong protagonist. I don’t talk unless I have to!

It was around this time the Bloodsucking Mosquitoes finally reached them and enveloped them like a bundle of thick blankets. Chen Zheng’s body immediately started shriveling in real time, though he was still alive because of the item continuously recharging his vitality.

Chen Zheng’s eyes were wide open. He wanted to sear every second of Ye Qing’s agonizing demise permanently into his memory.

What happened next was certainly something he wasn’t ever going to forget. Not only was Ye Qing perfectly fine, the Bloodsucking Mosquitoes were the ones that shriveled up like dead leaves before falling lifelessly to the ground. It was as if Ye Qing was the one sucking their blood dry, not the other way around. Not only that, he was visibly growing healthier as time passed.

Ye Qing met Chen Zheng’s eyes and winked at him. “Surprise! Are you entertained?”


“Sha! Sha!”

Suddenly, a shrill, high-pitched noise cut through the air. The next moment, a dozen or so strange birds swooped down from the sky and inhaled entire swathes of Bloodsucking Mosquitoes into their stomachs.

The strange birds were about ten meters in height with a snake’s head and an avian’s body. Their feathers were dark green and shiny like jades. They also stank. A lot. Every time they opened their mouths, foul-smelling breaths would threaten to empty the contents of his stomach.

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