Chapter 237: Miles to Kill
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
The Winter Solstice had just passed. It was the coldest time of the year, bringing snowfall to the Yunwu Commandery. It was snowing everywhere and everything was covered by a vast expanse of white snow.
Zhang Ruochen had traveled almost 16 thousand miles in four days and nights, chasing after Hua Minggong from the Qinghe Castle to the Lin'an County in the northern region of the Yunwu Commandery.
They fought three times on the road. Zhang Ruochen had the upper hand in almost every battle, with Hua Minggong being the loser, running away with his tails between his legs.
However, Hua Minggong could go faster than Zhang Ruochen and thus, he was able to escape from Zhang Ruochen every time.
They fought even harder than they had before as they approached the Lin'an County, as if the world had been turned upside down. The battle on the ice river was so intense that even the icing cold was melted by the Genuine Qi.
Hua Minggong had managed to get away from Zhang Ruochen once again. There was no sign of him anywhere.
Yet, Zhang Ruochen could catch up with Hua Minggong again and again as he had the Martial Soul.
He would be able to detect where Hua Minggong was by releasing the Martial Soul as long as Hua Minggong was still within a hundred kilometer.
Undoubtedly, Hua Minggong did not know that Zhang Ruochen had acquired the Martial Soul. So, every time he fled, he would try not to leave any trace, thinking he could get rid of Zhang Ruochen.
However, no matter how careful he was, Zhang Ruochen could find him in a single day. Therefore, a fight was inevitable.
Hua Minggong was already wounded and yet, he did not have a chance to heal as Zhang Ruochen was chasing him down. He was hoping to kill Zhang Ruochen by using his unique technique at first. However, every time when they fought, Zhang Ruochen only suffered minor injuries while his condition of an injury worsened, eventually slowing him down.
"He escaped again! Lin'an County is the last county in the northern region of the Yunwu Commandery. Very soon he will enter the Square Commandery's border. Could it be that he wanted to seek help from the Poisonous Spider Club there?"
Zhang Ruochen felt his heart sank. He looked off in the direction where Hua Minggong escaped and chased after him.
Although Hua Minggong was a warrior of the Heaven Realm, unlike Zhang Ruochen who was young and possessed a strong Spiritual Power and vigorous Spiritual Blood, he was an aged man. Zhang Ruochen would not feel tired even if he went on 10 days without any rest.
He was old!
After trekking miles to escape, Hua Minggong felt that his speed was gradually declining along with his serious injuries.
He knew that he could not afford to fight Zhang Ruochen again. He would have nowhere to escape.
"Damn it! If I carry the Red Spider Vessel with me, I would have easily escaped." Hua Minggong's hair was disheveled and the rest of his body was covered with blood. He had at least 10 sword scars on his body.
Originally, the Poisonous Spider Club had two Red Spider Vessels in the Yunwu Commandery. However, the two Red Spider Vessel had been shipped to the Square Commandery while carrying a large number of goods.
Since he lost the Red Spider Vessel, and there were not any ninth-level Genuine Martial Arms with him, how could he stand up to Zhang Ruochen's power?
As a prestigious martial arts legend in the Heaven Realm, he could not help but feel a sense of despair while he was fleeing for his life.
Luckily, he made it to the Lin'an County before Zhang Ruochen could catch up. If he kept going north, he would enter the territory of the Square Commandery.
The Royal Family of the Square Commandery was on good terms with the Poisonous Spider Club. Therefore, the headquarter of the Poisonous Spider Club was built near the Square Commandery.
Only the senior officials knew about this secret.
Entering the Square Commandery would mean entering the territory of the Poisonous Spider Club. This time, Zhang Ruochen would be the one who had to flee.
"Once I'm fully healed, I will tear that bastard into pieces!"
Then, Hua Minggong rushed into the Lin'an County Town.
He remembered there was a hidden stronghold in the Lin'an County Town. So, he planned to visit the stronghold in order to make contact with the Poisonous Spider Club, hoping their masters who were currently in the Square Commandery could provide immediate help.
This stronghold was not a huge one, only dozens of members were based here.
When the club members saw Hua Minggong, they were welcoming him as if an ordinary citizen had met the emperor. They all went out to offer greetings and politely led him into the stronghold.
Hua Minggong asked, "Who's the person in charge here?"
An elderly who had reached the Dawn State of the Black Realm walked out, bowed to Hua Minggong and said, "Report to the chairman, I'm Li Chuan, the principal of this stronghold."
Hua Minggong wasted no time in giving an order and said, "Take my token and head over to the Hugestone City' stronghold in the Square Commandery now. Ask Mu Qing to send the Red Spider Vessel for help. Also, tell him that if he agrees to help, he can at least get a ninth-level Genuine Martial Arms in return."
Hugestone City was the nearest large-scale stronghold less than 500 kilometers away from the Lin'an County Town. If Mu Qing rode on a savage bird, he would be able to reach Hua Minggong within two hours.
Mu Qing was a senior official of the Poisonous Spider Club whose cultivation had reached the Heaven Realm. He was responsible for all matters of the southern border of the Square Commandery.
The relationship between Hua Minggong and Mu Qing was not as good as it seemed. However, Hua Minggong believed that if he traded a ninth-level Genuine Martial Arms with Mu Qing, he would definitely rush to rescue him.
In the black market, there was no true friends, only interests.
If there were no interests, even if he was a warrior with a powerful background, he would not risk his life to help.
The elderly who called Li Chuan was surprised by Hua Minggong's words. He wondered who had such power to put the chairman in such a difficult position. Could it be that the Yunwu Commandery Prince was assassinating him in person?
He did not dare to question any further. After taking the token, he rode on the savage bird, flew out of the Lin'an County Town and rushed toward the border.
Hua Minggong could, of course, go to Hugestone City in person. However, he was afraid that he would be caught up by Zhang Ruochen before reaching the City.
"I wonder how Zhang Ruochen could find me every time I escape. It seems that it's easier for him to look for me when I went into the forest with fewer people around while it took him some time if I hid in the populated cities. I just hope that he won't be able to find me before Mu Qing arrives."
Gritting his teeth, Hua Minggong thought about how he was a martial arts legend and yet being chased miles by a young man. What would other think of him if such news spread out? That thought left him feeling utterly humiliated and disgraced.
Of course, Hua Minggong knew that now was not the time to be worrying about how to save his reputation but rather how to save his own life.
As long as he could hold out until Mu Qing arrived, then, that would be the death of Zhang Ruochen.
"If all else fails, I have no choice but to use the Forbidden Art." Hua Minggong's hands were clenched tightly into fists, showing determination.
Shortly after, Zhang Ruochen also arrived at the Lin'an County Town.
Lin'an County was just a small county on the border of the Yunwu Commandery. It had been suffering from the chaos caused by the ongoing war, where most parts of the county laid in ruins.
A year ago, the Lin'an County Town was conquered by the Square Commandery. Almost all citizens in the county were kidnapped and sold into slavery to the Square Commandery.
The wealth in the county was also robbed, turning it into a dead city.
Later on, when Zhang Ruochen had engaged to Huang Yanchen, the Yunwu Commandery had received support from the Qianshui Commandery to put pressure on the Square Commandery.
The Square Commandery Prince was forced to return more than 20 counties, including the Lin'an County Town, to the Yunwu Commandery together with a large sum of money as compensation. And yet, these counties had fallen into disuse and became more deserted than before.
Walking on the street in the Lin'an County Town, there were only a few people could be seen wandering around, looking pale and skinny as if they had not been eating for days.
During the winter, many people in the Yunwu City of the Yunwu Commandery would die of cold and hunger, let alone such small county on the border.
The citizens who suffered from cold and hunger were all staring at Zhang Ruochen with pleading eyes as he walked past them. Then, they quickly shifted their gazes as they did not dare to look directly at him.
Since they were captured and enslaved by the Square Commandery, they had been through enough bullying and were scarred for life. Of course, they would not dare to offend Zhang Ruochen, who looked like someone from a noble family.
Zhang Ruochen looked off into the direction of one of the alleys. He saw a little girl with thin, shabby clothes kneeling down on the snow and crying loudly. She was shaking a woman as hard as she could with her thin arms.
"Mum... wake up... please wake up... mum..." The little girl was crying while nudging the woman's body.
Zhang Ruochen walked over and looked at the woman. He noticed that the woman's face was completely covered with frost and her body was stiff. Apparently, she had died of cold last night.
It seemed that this woman took the little girl in her arms and used her own body heat to keep her daughter warm throughout the night. Otherwise, the little girl would be frozen to death as well.
"Brother, please... please help me wake my mother up..." The little girl who was about three or four years old stared at Zhang Ruochen with tears in her big, round eyes. Her voice was full of despair.
Zhang Ruochen was in a hurry at first as he wanted to kill Hua Minggong as soon as possible. And yet, when he gazed into the little girl's pure, clear eyes, he felt much calmer.
He suddenly realized, "Why does my killing desire become so strong these days? Is it because I have absorbed a large amount of sacrifice power that it affects my pure intention for Martial Arts?"
The power of sacrifice contained the Power of Pray of countless people, built from the spirit and will of thousands of human beings. For the gods, it was easy to consume the spirit and will of those people.
However, Zhang Ruochen was only a human warrior. Surely, he would be affected by the sacrifice power and thus deviated his pure intention for Martial Arts.
Should I kill Hua Minggong?
"Of course, I should."
However, the killing desire in Zhang Ruochen's heart was so strong that he could no longer think straight. If he could not clear his head in time, the killing desire would continue to rise and soon after, he would become obsessed and eventually turned himself into a killing monster who had lost his sanity.
"Luckily, my Spiritual Power is strong enough to suppress the sacrifice power temporarily. After killing Hua Minggong, I have to seclude myself for some time to clear my mind."
Zhang Ruochen took off his jacket, squat down and placed it on the little girl's body and said, "Your mum has passed away. She won't wake up anymore. You have to become a stronger person and live a better life, that's how you can survive in such cold weather when you grow up."
Zhang Ruochen had to admit that he was not someone who knew how to tell a lie. He did not even know how to comfort or lie to a kid.
To hear such words coming from Zhang Ruochen made the little girl cried even louder. She said, "No! No... my mum will wake up. She will wake up! You're a liar... go away... you go away now!"
Not knowing what to do, Zhang Ruochen shook his head slightly and planned to leave. Suddenly, his came to a stop. Taking out 10 Blood Pills, he placed them in the little girl's hand and said, "If you're hungry, eat one!"
There were too many people in the world who needed help and yet, Zhang Ruochen's ability was limited. He could only give so much.
After stopping down for the little girl, Zhang Ruochen had to leave and continue to look for Hua Minggong.
Hua Minggong was hiding in the Lin'an County Town and Zhang Ruochen had already detected his exact location. Soon after, he would be able to find him.
Zhang Ruochen found it weird that Hua Minggong stopped running away and wondered what he was planning in secret.
An undue delay might bring more twists and turns. So, he must kill him as soon as possible in order to spare himself the troubles which would arise later.
His mind was still set on killing but there were subtle changes in his mindset that certainly helped to calm himself down.
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