Library of Heaven is Path
1930 Cao Chengli’s Astonishmen
Xue Chen was confident in his plan. He had no doubt that the band of bandits would be able to eliminate the fallen remnants of the Dan Clan and cleanse the humiliation which the Second Young Mistress had suffered…
But what happened instead was the death of the bandits, and even its head seemed to have lost his mind…
The ones that killed you were the horse and the carriage?
How impressive? Why don't you add cannon and elephant into the list too?
Do you think that we are playing Chinese Chess over here?
"Are you trying to play games with me here? I'm asking you who is the one who killed your men. Answer my question!" Xue Chen bellowed.
"Haven't I already answered your question? It's a horse and a carriage!" the head of the assassins roared.
Xue Chen and Xue Qin were more confused than ever.
"Dan Xiaotian's horse and carriage possess strength comparable to Great Sage 1-dan cultivators. They easily trampled my subordinates to death. Furthermore, it seems like there was some kind of supernatural force helping them. We shot out many arrows, but none of them struck the target…"
As ridiculous as the story sounded, the boss of the assassins still recounted everything that had happened earlier.
"A horse and a carriage that knows martial arts?" Xue Chen's face turned livid as he felt as if his intelligence was being challenged over here. He grabbed the boss by his collars and pulled him up into the air, "You rascal, I don't have the patience to be playing games with you! Even if you wish to back out from our request, you owe me at least a rational explanation!"
"You… You think that I'm lying to you?" the boss was on the verge of going insane.
Why did no one believe the words he was saying? He was being perfectly honest over here!
"Enough! Here is an Ethereal Card, and there are 500 Ethereal Coins inside. That should compensate you for your losses…" Xue Chen couldn't be bothered to waste his time with this deranged fellow, so he tossed a card over nonchalantly.
"You are only going to give me 500 Ethereal Coins for the lives of thirty of my brothers?" the face of the boss twitched.
This bit of money wasn't even enough to replenish the arrows and bows that they had used in the operation!
"You didn't complete the mission we agreed on. I'm already being very magnanimous here to give you 500 Ethereal Coins. Now, scram from my sight right now, or I swear you won't be getting a single coin out of me anymore!" Xue Chen spat with narrowed eyes.
Sensing killing intent from Xue Chen's eyes, the boss of the assassins knew that he might really be killed if he were to continue challenging Xue Chen's bottom line. Thus, he picked up the card and departed into the dark night.
"Teacher, Dan Xiaotian isn't dead yet! What should we do?" Xue Qin asked anxiously.
"Those bunch of useless trash! The only reason why I turned to them is just so to avoid any complications!" Xue Chen harrumphed coldly. "Let's return back to the City Lord Manor first. Don't worry, I have an idea in mind. That fellow will never become a stumbling stone in your path! If all goes well, you might even be able to build up your reputation in the city!"
The more the boss of the assassins thought about the matter, the more furious he felt.
If not for his greed, he wouldn't have suffered such a heavy loss, such that only he was left of his entire group.
Clenching his fists in fury, he quickly flitted his way back to his den, but just when he had barely arrived at the entrance, a voice suddenly echoed from the dark woods around him.
"After the deaths of so many of your brothers, you are willing to be sent off with just 500 Ethereal Coins?"
"Who is it?"
The boss of the assassins immediately drew his saber and scanned his surroundings. However, no matter how he searched, there was no one in sight.
"Who are you? Come out! Don't think that you can scare me just like that! Such ploys wouldn't work on me, Cao Chengli!"
"Don't bother searching. I'm on the tree branch right in front of you!" the voice continued.
Cao Chengli quickly raised his head, and through the dim illumination of the moonlight, he could vaguely see a book shaking its body, as if it had been possessed by a demon.
The voice had come from the book.
"Y-y-you… You are talking to me?" Cao Chengli's teeth clattered against one another.
How could he possibly not be frightened? On this single night, he saw arrows bending mysteriously away from their targets, a horse who could kill, and a carriage executing martial arts. He was thinking of having a good sleep and forget all of the nightmares he had just been through, but a talking book actually appeared before him at this moment!
"Indeed!" the book replied calmly.
"Who are you? Who sent you here? Don't think that you'll get away with following me! I'll be taking your life right here and right now!"
Cao Chengli roared with gusto, but he tossed his saber away and ran the opposite direction away.
He couldn't care that much anymore. What was important right now was for him to get away!
But before he could get far, he suddenly stumbled on something and fell flatly to the ground. While he was scrambling to his feet, he saw that the book that was on the tree a moment ago was already right in front of him, and his body froze in despair.
"If you wish to die a premature death, be my guest. Run away then. I'll make sure to send you off with my utmost sincerity!"
As the book spoke, a heavy pressure suddenly burst forth from the book, leaving Cao Chengli feeling as if he was plunged into freezing water. His body trembled as he quickly replied through quivering lips, "N-no, o-of course not!"
He instinctively realized that the book before him wielded powers comparable to the strongest Ancient Sages… It was at Dimension Shatterer realm!
This realization made him resigned to his plight. He knew that no matter what means he utilized today, there was no way he would be able to get away from the book.
"Good boy!" the book complimented. "Those people you have just met, they hid crucial intelligence from you and caused you to suffer heavy losses. Do you not desire vengeance?"
"O-of course I do! If I could, I would have ripped them into shreds!" Cao Chengli's face warped in anger.
"At the very least, you should know their identities if you desire vengeance. Do you know who they are?" the book asked.
"This…" Cao Chengli was stunned.
When he received this request, the client had demanded his identity to be kept anonymous, and he was fine with it as long as the money reached his hands. Thus, he didn't probe deeper into the identity of his client.
"They shouldn't have gotten too far away yet. Follow them," the book instructed. "As the leader of a band of bandits, something as elementary as tracking someone shouldn't be too much of a problem for you, right?"
"... I understand!" Cao Chengli nodded.
Those words affirmed his doubt that the book, just like the earlier horse and carriage, had come from Dan Xiaotian. Most likely, the reason why Dan Xiaotian hadn't claimed his life yet was because the other party thought that there was still some value to be squeezed out of him.
"Move on then!" the book ordered.
Gritting his teeth, Cao Chengli quickly returned to where the bonfire was.
Even though his cultivation was way beneath Xue Chen and the others, as someone who thrived off plundering, he was skilled at concealment and tracking. It didn't take him too long before he was standing before a majestic manor.
"This is… the City Lord Manor? It's the City Lord Manor who commissioned the assassination request?" Cao Chengli widened his eyes in disbelief.
The lord of Xuanjiang City, Xue Yan, was well-respected in the region. He was known to be impartial and righteous… How could the other party possibly engage in something as vile as commissioning an assassination?
Alarmed, Cao Chengli quickly moved to the edge of the wall and leaped in stealthily. He got into a courtyard and saw a large group of people assembled together. The two figures he had met a moment earlier were standing in front of the group.
Controlling his breathing carefully, Cao Chengli made sure to erase every trace of his presence.
The one standing at the forefront of the group was a soldier dressed in magnificent armor. Judging from their appearance, it was clear that they were the elites of the City Lord Manor.
"Swap into the clothes of these men and get rid of Dan Xiaotian! I don't wish to see that man breathing by dawn, understood?" the deep voice of the middle-aged man resounded across the courtyard as he gestured to a bundle of black clothes placed by the side.
The soldiers swiftly took off their armor and donned those black clothes. Taking a closer look, Cao Chengli nearly fainted on the spot.
Those were the attire of his bandit band!
The elites of the City Lord Manor were actually going to pass off as them to kill Dan Xiaotian! He would never dare believe this if he hadn't witnessed it with his own eyes.
Just what kind of grudge does the City Lord Manor has with Dan Xiaotian to go this far… Cao Chengli thought as he wisely made the decision to record the sight before him with a Record Crystal.
Very soon, the disguised soldiers of the City Lord Manor were already sprinting their way over to the Dan Clan Residence. It didn't take long for them to surround the area.
"We'll charge in together. Spare no one at all!" the leader of the soldiers commanded with a suppressed voice.
At the command of the leader, the soldiers dashed right into the residence.
Cao Chengli carefully climbed onto one of the lush trees outside and looked at the happenings in the residence through the dim moonlight. What he was going to see would be one of the most unforgettable sights in his life.
A young man was standing firmly at the center of his residence with a sword in his hand. Each time he flicked his wrist, a head would roll to the ground. The wind roared endlessly within the confines of the courtyard, and it felt like this force wouldn't die down until every single one of the trespassers dropped dead.
In less than three minutes, the fifty elites dispatched by the City Lord Manor were already cold, hard corpses.
"That person is Dan Xiaotian? He's supposed to be the weakling that I have to kill?" Cao Chengli's face paled as his heart beat so swiftly that it felt as if it would leap out of his chest. "Damn those bastards from the City Lord Manor… They are trying to get me killed!"
It was fortunate that the ones who had made a move on him earlier were the horse and the carriage. If he had to face Dan Xiaotian personally, his head would have also been severed from his neck in a heartbeat.
The young man's swordsmanship had already reached an unfathomable level where even a simple slash carried profound intents. He had never witnessed such a terrifying technique in his entire lifetime!
After slaying everyone, the young man, Dan Xiaotian, walked into the room with an incredulous look on his face, as if he couldn't believe that he was the one who had massacred so many soldiers. It was also only then did Cao Chengli realize that there was a young man sitting in front of one of the rooms all along, spectating the battle. He actually didn't notice the young man's presence from the very start till now!
This young man appeared to be in his early twenties, and he had a graceful demeanor. In the face of Dan Xiaotian's presence, the young man put down his teacup calmly before a disapproving frown made its way to his forehead.
"Just these few opponents, and you actually took more than two minutes to deal with them. That's three breaths for every single one of them! If this is all that you got, how am I supposed to impart even more advanced swordsmanship to you? You won't be able to make it at this rate. Tonight, you shall be practicing your sword out here till daybreak, understood?"
"Understood!" the young man lowered his head in shame.
Dan Xiaotian killed a person every three breaths, but he is still getting punished for that? Cao Chengli nearly choked on his saliva.
He had seen plenty of geniuses, and Dan Xiaotian definitely ranked at the top of his list. Yet, his teacher was still unhappy with his performance… Wasn't this teacher a little too harsh?
That wasn't all though.
While Cao Chengli was still trying to digest all that had happened earlier, he saw the horse, which had destroyed his subordinates earlier, galloping over to the young man's side. With a bright smile on its horse lips, it picked up the teapot and refilled the young man's teacup… After which, it even lifted up its hooves and carefully wiped them clean before massaging the young man's back…
Cao Chengli felt as if his rationality was being challenged right here.
Could that being over there really still be considered as a horse?
Was this how a horse was supposed to act?
I must never come to the Dan Clan ever again. Never ever… Cao Chengli made this spontaneous decision in his mind as he turned around to leave the area.
But at this moment, a voice sounded in his ears, "You know what you have to do."
This voice was gentle and soothing, but it left goosebumps rising all over his body. He quickly turned around to look back into the Dan Clan Residence, and he saw the young man sipping on his tea looking in his direction with a slight smile on his lips. It was as if the other party had peered through the concealment of the darkness to look right at him.
"I-I…" Cao Chengli found himself falling into incoherency at this abrupt happening.
"You just have to recount what you have seen today." The young man's lips didn't move at all, but his voice echoed clearly in his ears.
"I understand…" Cao Chengli replied with a deep bow.
"You have directed malevolent intentions toward me earlier. On the account that you have done it under another man's bidding, I'll overlook it this once and spare you. However, be warned that I will not be so courteous if you dare harm the life of another man with those filthy hands of yours. I'll be watching you…" the young man said before his voice trailed off.
"Y-yes!" Cao Chengli replied before fleeing as quickly as he could.