Since Ning Que grew up in mountains and prairies where violent beasts roamed freely, assassins skilled in ambush at night was no danger to him. The mysterious xiuxingist was the reason for his uneasiness. After his used his dual blades to capitalize the third assassin, he swiftly returned to the camp and quickly picked his hard wooden bow up and aimed at the Great Sword Master once again.
But this time his cautiousness seemed to be unnecessary. The middle aged scholar wearing a green robe did not move. He leaned on the big tree and looked quietly at the youngster near the campfire with his dark pupils. He whispered something under his breath and smiled, then opened his palm and passed away.
Ning Que aimed silently at the corpse of the Great Sword Master for a long time; He then slowly put down his bow and arrows because his two arms were shaking due to fatigue, not until that moment he felt the sore muscles and the tiredness in his body.
He asked without turning his head, “Any problem?”
The explosion of the firebomb ignited the fallen leaves, but the mud on the entrance to North Mountain was extremely wet. The fire died out over time and that big black umbrella was closed once again. Sang Sang squatted half way on the ground, raised and shook her head while looking at Ning Que’s back. She knew that even she did not say anything, her young master knew what she did.
The pretty maid knew Ning Que was not asking her. She stood up and ran quickly to the collapsed carriage formation and started to lifted and throw the heavy debris away crazily. She finally found the little boy who was covered in the fragments and hugged him dearly and wiped off the dusts on his face softly.
There were approximately six or seven barbarian soldiers and Tang guards left. They struggled to get up and walked to the debris of the fancy carriage. The heavily wounded guard leader kneeled with the last surviving members, lowered his head onto the ground and apologized, “I’m sorry, we could not stop the bandits from bothering your Highness. We should be punished.”
The surrounding stars and the leftover sparks shined and brightened the scene. The bloodsoaked men gathered around and kneeled before the maid carrying a child. It was not particularly sad, but rather solemn and ironic.
Sang Sang walked toward Ning Que and they observed this scene silently. They weren’t surprised because they knew the true identity of the maid.
After resting for a while, the guards and barbarians struggled to bandage and heal each other. They waited until they gained back some strength and then started to clean up the battlefield; they lifted back some badly wounded companions and killed some enemies who were on their last breaths. After doing all this, these tough and strong men looked backwards instinctively.
Looking at the youngster who was wearing a burnt out cotton shirt, the expressions in the eyes of the guards were mixed and complicated. Some were shocked, some were confused, some were even afraid….. They saw the previous actions of Ning Que. They knew the youngster’s was skilled in martial techniques and a master in archery, but he was not an invincible elite xiuxingist.
The guards and the elder were the ones who fought back against the strongest of the enemy, the two xiuxingists. If it was not for the guards’ selfless sacrifice which weakened much of the Great Sword Master’s strength and force, Ning Que could not have the opportunity to slain him with the three arrows.
But because of this reason, they felt that the youngster was an incredible character.
His moment and angle of attack was accurate and deadly. The youngster may appear soft and naive, but a calm and daring heart hid under his exterior. Especially at the end when he used the three swords to kill the three assassins, the outcome was dazzling. How could he done all these this at such a young age? How many people did he kill at the borderline city, how many heads had he chopped off?
The guard leader was using a tree branch as a walking stick and struggled to walk towards the young master and his maid, then he bowed respectfully. Although he did not thank them, his action showed his thankfulness from the bottom of his heart.
Ning Que held Sang Sang’s hand and dodged his bow. Just like what the dead Great Sword Master said, the strict rules and the ironed will of this group of Tang warriors were enough to be respected by any enemy or friend.
“I can see that you haven’t get any training for fighting. If we fight against each other without using any weapon, I think you can’t beat me. However, even I, when the three assassins appeared, probably wouldn’t be able to survive under their assault, and of course I wouldn’t kill them that easily like you just did.”
The head of the guards looked at Ning Que’s young face, suppressed the surprise he had in his heart, asked using a hoarse sound, “Youngster, I am really curious about your killing skill, where did you learn it?”
Ning Que scratched the back of his head and remained silent for a bit, then smiled and replied, “Killing skill, of course learned from killing.”
He obviously could not tell this head of guards that since he was four, when he found out about the name Xia Hou, he had started to prepare, prepare to get killed by him, or kill him.
This influential and powerful Tang general did not know at all that, at the distant frontier small city, there is a youngster practicing usage of knife through chopping firewoods everyday, analyzing all the fighting styles of his subordinate elites, and concluding countless counterplans.
Therefore, to Ning Que, the three assassins died under his knife, was simply an absolute outcome due to his decade of hard training. If his opponents were changed, such as this head of guards in front of him, he would hardly obtain such pretty accomplishment.
Today, from the battle at the way of North Mountain, Ning Que finally encountered General Xia Hou’s subordinates. Maybe this was only an occasion, or maybe this was fate, but no matter what, the knife and archery of revenge finally began revealing its coldness.
The head of guards put his hand at the wounded chest, frowned and looked at the indifferent youngster, “You are only around fifteen, did you actually kill more than I?”
“If animals are counted, then I killed quite a lot.” Ning Que laughed and answered.
“I am talking about kill human.” The head became of serious, then explained, “I am not querying you anything, I am actually very curious.”
Ning Que rubbed his face, remained silent for a while then stared at his and said, “The highest income you can earn at the frontier city is through killing horse gangsters, we call this thing chopping firewoods. In the recent years I am the leader of the group to chop firewoods. So if you talk about kill people, I actually killed many in these years.”
A Great Plain barbarian followed behind the head of guards, preparing to thank this young soldier. He had the same question in his mind. However, after he heard Ning Que’s reply, he turned and walked away immediately. Faintly it could be seen that his steps were messy, and his shoulders slightly shaking.
Another Great Plain barbarian looked at him and questioned, “Dumu(a name). what happened?”
The so called “Dumu” Great Plain barbarian sat down by the fire, hardly raised his wounded arm, flapped his face that was numb due to fear, said, “That youngster….should be the legendary Lumberjack in the Shu Bi Pond.”
After this word was out, the four Great Plain barbarians sitting by the fire changed their face immediately. They stopped saying anything. Someone secretly turned up his head, looked towards Ning Que, then quickly looked down, like he was afraid the youngster might see him peeking.
Before the barbarians were subdued to the Princess, they were all famous horse gangsters on the Great Plain, well known for their fierceness. But to them, Tang’s powerful frontier soldiers were the real horse gangsters. Those Tang calvary at the frontier, whenever the season changed so there were not enough supplies, would conduct an amature money-making activity – ransacking Great Plain horse gangsters.
The Tang frontier soldiers called this activity “chop firewoods.” The horse gangsters would call such bloody battle “lumber.” They called the most fierce and tough Tang cavalry leader “lumberjack,” and the Lumberjack in the Shu Bi Pond….is the most fierce and terrifying of the lumberjacks. He is the reason why Shu Bi Pond became red, the nightmare of the Great Plain Barbarians, and the horror story at the side of firewood.
But before this night, they never thought that this lumberjack is so young.