Chapter 49: The Frigid Coattails

As the moonlight shone through the paper windows, it imprinted the silhouette of the skewered assassin onto the window. The sensation of driving of his sword into a body was simply exquisite to say the least. That sensation was akin to breaking a fragile piece of porcelain, satisfying to the point it could break his heart.

Ning Chen had never thought of himself as a psychopath but in order to protect his life, he didn’t mind this bit of perverseness.

“Hngh.”

A grunt could be heard resounding through the door, it was without a doubt, a female voice.

Ning Chen didn’t enjoy beating women let alone killing them, however, that didn’t include women who tried to kill him.

With a loud bang, he rammed the door with his wheelchair, Ink Sword pointed forward as he rushed out of his room with the female assassin still skewered on it for three whole paces.

Suddenly, a glint caught his eye as a terrifyingly fast arrow zipped through the air from a distance away, closing the gap between itself and him in an instant with an impeccable timing that cut off any possibility of evasion.

“It’s you again!”

Ning Chen’s eyes narrowed, the flames of anger spewing forth from his rapidly shrinking pupils. This was the third time already! Will that assassin give it a break already?!

He swung his Ink Sword around and faced the female towards the incoming arrow. A split second later, the arrow penetrated the girl with a resounding stab before swiftly exiting through the other end of her body.

The girl had merely delayed the arrow for a moment but that was enough for Ning Chen to react. Reaching out with his left hand, he caught the arrow squarely on its shaft. Yet the immense force wasn’t one that could stopped so easily by Ning Chen. His body shook violently as the speeding arrow forcefully dragged him back three paces before causing him and his wheelchair to slam into the half opened door behind him.

*Hrggh*

He heaved for a moment before a spurt of blood burst from his left chest, staining his garments in an instant.

The arrow had penetrated half an arrow head’s worth before finally running out of energy and halting its gory progress.

His body immediately broke out in cold sweat from the blood loss. He wasn’t a Xia Miaoyu after all, there was no way he could catch this bullet of an arrow so easily.

As for his female human shield, it was beyond a doubt, dead, her body slumping to the ground lifelessly as the life left her pupils.

Pulling out the arrow in his chest, he was struck with a sudden chill. Had it not been for that girl, the one lying on the ground would’ve been him.

“That assassin must die.”

Without waiting for that chilling dread to pass, he resolved to kill off that man. Only one who faced that arrow directly would know how terrifying that man’s archery was.

However, there was something else he noticed: he had never seen this man fire off more than three arrows.

Furthermore, this assassin had never once revealed himself.

In the midst of Zhang Sun’s assassination, a thought had crossed his mind multiple times during the escape. Had this man stepped forward to stop them that day, Zhang Sun and him wouldn’t have survived at all. Yet even as he pulled her into the bustling crowd, this assassin never fired off a second arrow.

Based on these facts, it was highly likely that this archer wasn’t able to move well. The moment you left his field of vision, you were basically safe.

Coincidentally, he wasn’t the most mobile of people either. Thankfully, he had a great wheelchair.

A moment later, the wheels of his wheelchair heated up as they rotated at a blistering pace, propelling the teen forward. Ning Chen wasn’t the least bit worried about being shot at this moment seeing as arrows were particularly hard to aim when it came to moving targets.

Not to mention the fact that he managed to deduce the direction from which this arrow came thanks to the girl. In a sense she didn’t die in vain given that he at least managed to glean this bit of information. If it wasn’t for her, Ning Chen would probably have to make this deduction in the underworld. That man’s arrows were simply too fast.

Within the Imperial City, the places you could surveil the Pavilion from weren’t many. Based on that fact alone, it wasn’t hard to make a rough estimation of the man’s location. The only thing he was worried about was how strong were the man’s bodyguards.

Under the frigid illumination of the winter moon, a black shadow could be seen speeding through the night. Ning Chen had to admit, Elder Lu was truly a genius craftsman; with his True Qi pushing his wheelchair forward, his mobility had exceeded all of his expectations.

A cold gleam flashed across his faces as he eyed the buddhist pagoda in the distance.

Grand Xia didn’t have many buddhists and he wasn’t one of those few.

Buddhism espoused the next life while he was more concerned about his present life.

If he could truly be reincarnated, he hoped for world peace then.

The pagoda was a tall, illuminated one. However, it wasn’t illuminated by candlelight but was instead glowed with the reflected moonlight.

It was said that in ages past, Buddhism had once prospered in this land. Whenever an accomplished monk passed away, they had the chance of leaving behind relics amongst their remains.

This pagoda had existed long before the formation of Grand Xia. Thus, while Grand Xia didn’t believe in Buddhism, it maintained this ancient tower dutifully over the years.

Soon, Ning Chen found himself at the base of the Buddhist Pagoda. Staring upwards, he mulled over his next course of action. Should he climb the tower or not?

In the end, he decided to climb it. If this soon-to-be deadman chose to spend the night up there day, wouldn’t that mean that he had to stupidly wait at the base for the night as well?

Was he a fool? Obviously not…

However, there was one more thing he had to contend with, and that was stairs. If there was one thing he hated more than anything else right now, it was stairs. Wheelchairs weren’t made for climbing such things after all.

The pagoda was a tall one and naturally contained a long winding set of stairs as well which forced him to expand a significant amount of effort.

Atop the towering pagoda, the winds raged. Ning Chen closed his eyes slightly in reaction. He didn’t know when but by the time he realized this, he had already picked up this habit.

In front of him stood two people, a man and a deformed cripple.

The man held a Xiao (Chinese Flute) in his hands. As he eyed the approaching teen, his brows furrowed.

With noticeable effort, the deformed man turned his body around to face the teen before breaking out in an ugly grin that could only be described as disgusting.

It was a strange appearance to be sure, just like their pairing.

In his mind, Ning Chen mused to himself: with these deformities, how could he even catch up with Zhang Sun and him?

His legs couldn’t move but this deformed man could probably only move his hands.

The fact that he was even able to cultivate such an astonishing archery technique was terrifying in of itself.

As for that Xiao wielding man, he never once paid attention to him. In this place, the biggest threat to him was that bow in the cripple’s hands. On the other hand, that Xiao wielding man didn’t seem emit any noteworthy aura that could oppress him.

Unless one reached the realm of Xiantian, it was extremely hard for strong martial practitioners to suppress their aura. The stronger the person was, the more oppressive his aura was.

That blue bow in the cripple’s hands was simply too much of an unknown danger for him to ignore. He wasn’t entirely sure if his deduction was correct or not but if that cripple was able to fire off those terrifyingly powerful arrows without limits, there was basically no need for him to fight.

His body tensed up as he slowly drew out his Ink Sword. Today, this terrifying foe must die. The last thing he wanted was to be shot dead in the middle of the street without any warning.

The man’s face darkened as he felt a hint of danger from the teen’s sword. This wasn’t the desolate plains so his prowess were severely impaired.

Within this scene only that disfigured cripple was smiling. It was a distorted smile, a perverted smile.

Suddenly, the bow drew back and in a split second, fired an arrow that sliced a luminescent path across the air like a comet as it raced towards the teen.

With a ding, Ning Chen swiftly deflected the arrow with a slash of his sword, causing an explosion of sparks as the two metallic surfaces collided.

The deformed smile grew even wider as the ugly man’s face scrunched up slightly, giving him a countenance that could probably scare his own mother.

However, Ning Chen’s face remained as unchanging as before. An arrow of this caliber wasn’t able to threaten him one bit.

Atop the towering pagoda, the winds blowing in from the south grew ever colder by the second. As the frosty moon hung above the three men, its pale lighting gave the scene a greater sense of coldness.

The man raised the Xiao to his lips, triggering an alarmed response from Ning Chen who immediately sensed that something was up. The Ink Sword in his hand immediately flew out as the teen rushed forward to stop the man.

*ding*

Another arrow flew out towards the teen, forcing him to halt his charge and deflect the incoming arrow.

*Wuuuu…*

A moment later, a low almost mournful sounding melody emitted from the Xiao and resounded throughout the pagoda. As the sound waves washed over him, he was struck with a sense of sleepiness.

The demonic melody had a bewitching quality to it that seemed to seep into his psyche. With a twist of his right hand, Ning Chen ruthless stabbed his leg with the Ink Sword. His leg burned from the sudden wound but at the very least, the sleepiness was dispelled.

Yet in that split second, an arrow brighter than the full moon flashed across the sky, its feathery tail fluttering in the cold winds as it rushed right for his head.

“I’ve been waiting for you to make a move…”

Ning Chen’s eyes grew cold as he sat there unflinchingly, not intending to dodge the arrow at all. Suddenly, a giant black umbrella opened up in front of the wheelchair-bound teen with a whoosh and blotted out the piercing glint of the arrow.

(TL: Umbrella of Artemis, deploy! Told you guys this is a f***ing Gund*m)

*bang*

A thunderous boom echoed across the battlefield as the arrow crashed into the black umbrella, sending forth a frightening shockwave that tore through the three men’s eardrums and careened their body.

The wheelchair was sent flying back 10 meters before Ning Chen finally managed to stabilize it. The black umbrella had been completely destroyed by the arrow and that collision had blown a gaping hole right into it yet that was the extent of its power as it fell harmlessly to the ground right after.

However, Ning Chen wasn’t the least bit pained by this loss. With a flick of his left hand, he activated the mechanism on the handlebar which promptly jerked the entire umbrella down to his sides before casually tossing it to the ground.

A mechanism like this could be easily replaced by a trip to Elder Lu’s, there’s no need to brood over such a loss. Stopping that arrow was more than enough for him.

That mechanism was suggested by him with the schematics and materials all provided by Elder Lu. These two men were anything but honorable gentlemen thus whatever they thought of was either devious or meant to protect one’s life.

“Alright, that mechanical ploy has been used up so none of us owes each other a thing. Let’s start over once more, a fair and honorable fight to the death.”

Ning Chen declared as he wheeled his wheelchair forward ten meters.

The man stowed his Xiao and drew out a scimitar from his back, staring coldly at the teen as he took up this challenge.

“A true man.”

He praised the man, the Ink Sword in his hands trembling with frigid energies as he met the gaze headon.

He loved such shows of honor and integrity.

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The man was the first to strike, his blade curved like a crescent moon slicing through the air with a murderous glint. He knew where his forte truly lied, it laid in a field which didn’t seem like his forte to begin with.

Amongst the three gathered here, he was probably the fastest.

Judging by the ease at which he swung it, the man was extremely accustomed to this blade. This was especially so seeing as he grew up with this blade in the grasslands. It was essentially his closest companion.

In the face of the deadly scimitar, Ning Chen raised his sword and sliced downwards. Simple and crude with no technique to speak of.

Yet this simple slice or rather chop was enough to cause the man’s face to pale as he discovered that no matter how he dodged, it would still hit him.

What he didn’t know was that this was the teen’s strongest move. Anywhere within this line extending from the teen’s chest was basically a forbidden zone for his opponents.

After chopping firewood in the Academy for two months, this chop had landed tens of thousands of times. His familiarity with this move had already been ingrained into his bones.

With no way to dodge it, all the man could do was block it with a wave of his blade. With a resounding bang, the sword and blade met in a titanic clash that drove both men into ground by several centimeters.

*whoosh*

An inky black shadow flashed between the two. The man’s pupils shrunk as a look of utter disbelief crossed his face.

“You…you…”

With that, the man collapsed to the floor with a black dart sticking out of his chest. Even with his dying breath, he couldn’t understand what had just happened. Didn’t he say it was a fresh start? Wasn’t this to be a fair fight?

“Silly potato, I was lying to you.”

A cold grin cracked across his lips as Ning Chen said that.

What was fairness? Naturally, that was you dying and me living. That was fairness.

In this world, the one thing you couldn’t trust was your opponent. Knowing that the person was your opponent and still choosing to trust him, how was that anything but foolishness?

“Now, there’s only two of us left. So, how do you suggest we settle this score?”

Ning Chen declared in an icy voice as he wheeled forward several paces.

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The deformed man had basically given up on fighting by now. The bow was, in the end, a long ranged weapon and simply wasn’t suited to such close quarters. At this range, there was no way Ning Chen would even give him the chance to draw the bow.

“Ha ha.”

The deformed man gave out a strange laugh as he stood there, neither begging for mercy nor firing off another arrow. With his right hand grabbing onto the railing, he gripped down and destroyed the railing. Immediately, his body fell over the side like a severed kite.

“The Zhao family will come find you sooner or later.”

As the cripple plummeted, he had no lingering attachments to this world. All that remained of him were his curse-like words, echoing in the dead of night for a long while.

Ning Chen’s eyes narrowed at the man’s declaration. He didn’t know of any Zhao family but he knew that he was the survivor today.

Atop the pagoda, the buddhist relics emitted gentle glow as always. Buddha once said, “Lower one’s cleaver and become a Buddha”. However, did Buddha ever realize that if he were to lower the cleaver now, all he would become was a ghost?

As before, he only had one thing to say: if there was truly reincarnation, he hoped for world peace then.

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