Chapter 235: To dance, a dance of blades (5)

Whoosh!

The five men swathed in shadows felt a cold satisfaction rushed through their heart at the sound of sharpened metal shearing through the delicate veil of air, as well as a brief sympathy for the poor young girl fated to receive her deathday.

Taking preparations to collect the head that had fallen onto the ground, the five men lowered the point of their weapons towards the ground, when one of them couldn’t help but pause in confusion.

That wasn’t right; wasn’t the head supposed to have long hair and delicate features?

Why was it covered in black fabric sparing only the eyes, nose, and lips, unless…

Thud!

“What!?”

The shadowed men shouted in surprise as they hastily retreated towards the walls of the room, their gaze laced with fright and caution. As they glanced towards the bed, their hearts were inundated by an intense chill, one that was unescapable and devastating in its potency.

The young girl still stood in her original position atop of the bed, the qama aimed towards the wall facing away from her chest. However…

There existed a headless body laying on the bed behind her small figure. In its right hand was a dagger engraved with a snake’s fang – the dagger of their sixth comrade, their ace at silent assassinations.

Plink!

A small droplet of blood dripped from the body to crash upon the wooden floor, thoroughly rousing the shadowed men from their slumber.

The five assassins stared towards An Fei with dread in their hearts, though not at her ability to discover the sixth man’s presence, but her brutality and viciousness.

The man had been decapitated, and his body had been chopped into fine chunks.

As the motions had been too sudden, the man’s body didn’t fall apart into its individual segments after landing onto the bed. Instead, blood dripped from the deep cuts that fully penetrated the body, soaking the bed and floor in the metallic stench of spilt blood.

“What… have we been commissioned to deal with…”

The five men howled in their hearts, though what eventually escaped from their throats was nothing but a cowardly squeak. Moreover, before they could recollect their wit, the young girl parted her lips.

“I will ask again. Who are you?”

The soft and irresistible voice tugged at the heartstrings of the five men, but the contents of her words hammered at their psyche.

After a brief internal debate, the shadowed assassins reached a simultaneous ultimatum, rushing forth with drawn weapons.

Shu!

They each grasped a long taijijian in their right hand, as well as a slender kukri slotted to extend beyond their knuckles.

The five shadows blurred into obscure trails of blackened light, approaching An Fei from different directions to smother her movements to a minimum.

An Fei bent her knees to lower her center of gravity, the qama shifted to her right hand as she unleased a swift and deadly slash towards one of the men approaching from the front. The plain steel blade sliced through the air as it headed towards the shadowed figure’s taijijian, but the expected clash of metal upon metal did not occur.

Shua!

As though the sturdy and well-crafted sword were nothing but a block of silken tofu, the qama slashed through and severed the taijijian at the hilt, the detached blade flying through the air and nearly skewering a nearby person to the wall.

The short blade took advantage of the man’s shock to incise a small cut onto his forearm, and An Fei returned her attention towards the incoming shadows.

“Hmph!”

Several points of warmth erupted on her shoulders, arms, and torso, and the young girl’s vision transformed into a blur of movement as the <Steps of Underlying Shadow> enacted its miraculous effect. An Fei spun as she moved forwards, her body evading all of the incoming thrusts and slashes of the extended taijijians as the qama shot before her chest.

The third man to be injured by her blade was not so lucky; the utilitarian blade of the qama pierced deeply into the left ribcage, severing the left lung into two as well as coercing the heart to tear itself into numerous shreds from the infinitely sharp blade.

The shadowed figure coughed a mouthful of blood that sprayed across the entire room, before perishing in a matter of seconds.

When An Fei withdrew the blade from the man’s body, the audible squelch of pressurized blood pushing aside flesh to escape into the atmosphere was sufficient for the four remaining assassins to re-contemplate their choices.

For some reason, the young girl seemed capable of evading their attacks with incredible ease, as though they were never there in the first place.

Furthermore, the qama seemed far too sharp for it to be an ordinary utilitarian weapon; the taijijian enhanced by the spiritual essence of a Core Formation Realm cultivator well-versed in the forging of spiritual artifacts to preserve durability and enhance sturdiness… was no more than a block of tofu against the short blade. The armor they had prepared was similarly of no use.

Unfortunately –

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“We can’t withdraw,” one of the more rational men whispered to his compatriots in horror.

“If we retreat from the mission, the organization will dispatch Gold-Ranked assassins after our heads.”

The shadowed figures’ lips twitched as they felt a burst of regret seep into their hearts as though a venomous snake.

As they stared at the young girl in silence, unwilling to make their move, two of the four men abruptly released a loud wail of pain, their bodies falling into a kneel as control was wrested from their souls.

“What’s going on!?”

The assassins’ panic soared to the heavens as they gazed upon the writhing and convulsing bodies of two of their partners, their back thoroughly soaked with cold sweat.

The men kneeling on the ground seemed to be unable to move from their position, but their veins were extended and bulging to their maximum capacity as their muscles sought relief from a burning sensation.

“Screw the mission! We’re leaving!”

The four shadowed figures discarded their equipment as they dashed towards the door granting them reprieve from the chamber of death that was the room of the young girl. No more than three steps forward had been permitted, before they experienced a glacial and pervasive sensation at the base of their spine.

As their heads creaked to glance behinds them, the two assassins discovered a slender taijijian emerging from their back, dripping scarlet in their own blood.

Furthermore, the wielder of the two slender swords were none other than their partners who had suddenly kneeled and suffered through a frenzy of convulsions.

What was…

The four men toppled onto the ground in unison, their souls dissatisfied in their death. The calm of death and its nihility washed over their thoughts, leaving behind a single solitary regret to gnaw upon their bodies.

Two had been stabbed in the back by their partner’s blades.

The other two assassins who had been scratched by An Fei’s qama had perished from the thread of venom dissolving their heart into a pool of congealed fats, proteins, and blood plasma.

The room was soon suffused with a solemn and suppressive silence, and the young girl reveled in the artwork before her with astonishment. An Fei stood in place for a brief moment as her mind recovered from the surprise present dispatched by the blade hidden against her left side.

When she finally sprang into motion, the time for an incense stick’s worth of time had passed.

“That’s a… deadly poison indeed.”

All of the Sanctum’s blades were sharp; the twin butterfly swords were capable of piercing through even the old jiaolong of the Wu Ji Forest’s azure scales.

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However, An Fei had not expected the qama, that had silently laid against her side for months, to possess an insidious venom that could guarantee death upon a single scratch.

Moreover, before the victim perished from the poison, the venom forced them to disregard all distinction for ally and foe save for the wielder of the qama itself. During said period, the basic capabilities of the victim’s physique were enhanced beyond their limits, boosting their combat prowess by a drastic margin.

Hence, before the last sliver of their heart had dissolved into its supplementary materials of composition, the two poisoned assassins had stabbed their companions without a single word.

An Fei had not managed to catch the final movements, for they were too quick to even register in her mind before everything had already concluded.

The young girl glanced upon the soiled beds and room, the tatters and rips in the fabric, walls, and floor prompting her eyes to twitch.

“How should this be cleaned up?”

- my thoughts:
She was holding such a sinister object by her side the entire time...
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