Chapter 22 – Thunderous Strike
‘A guardian, or a beast?’ Li Yiming dropped his head down against the steering wheel. His desperation grew as dawn came and he came to the realization that his entire night had been fruitless. ‘Oh no… Liu Meng, it doesn’t matter who it is, she’s…’ Li Yiming opened his car door, dejected, and sat down on a stone bench in a park nearby. Before he knew it, he took out a half finished pack of cigarette from his bracelet and was looking for a lighter. However, even that task ended with frustration.
He stared blankly at the sewer cover as he once again sank into deep regret. The cigarette between his fingers had been torn into several pieces. Suddenly, a few bugs that flew out of the ventilation holes caught his attention. He quickly rolled back and hid amidst the vegetation while keeping his attention wholly on the sewer cover.
‘These bugs… Zeng Qian?’
The little bugs spiraled around above the cap and spread out into different directions. They seemed no different from the ones that could be found in a park in the morning. After a little while, the sewage cap suddenly moved and slowly opened. A slightly swollen hand with white skin emerged, and it was not long before its owner fully revealed herself: Zeng Qian was there.
‘Why is she…’ Li Yiming was puzzled. But Fang Shui’er’s appearance broke his train of thoughts. The two sisters emerged from the sewers with dirty clothes and covered in stains, but it seemed like their foremost concern was to inspect their surroundings for potential threats.
“They know.” Zeng Qian said with a frown. She could no longer sense any of the bugs she sent out. It seemed like their enemies had expected them to take such a escape route and planned an ambush.
“I’m so sorry. If I had taken your advice before, maybe we wouldn’t be in this situation.” Fang Shui’er sighed in self-reproach. Ever since the incident in Ning Village, she always thought about finding a way to make up with her sister. She did not think that the team she had spent so much time finding would betray them.
“No use saying that now. I wouldn’t think that they would dare fight us in the open anyways.” The smile on Zeng Qian’s mask remained unchanged, but her eyes let through a ferociousness indicating that she was ready to fight for her life.
“And why would we need to fight you?” A voice suggesting at some amusement was heard. A couple descended from the skies with their hands held together. The man had a black tailcoat and his partner, a red one-piece. Both looked fashionable enough to attend a cocktail party.
“What do you want?” Fang Shui’er’s hand trembled while holding her bow. She interposed herself between the couple and her sister.
“Haha!” Both smiled, revealing their sharp canine teeth.
“Vampires?” Zeng Qian seemed even more alarmed.
“Don’t use such indecent words. A difference in our talents, that’s all. How would I call these poisonous bugs of yours, otherwise?” The woman had a vicious smile, and her breasts, partially revealed by the deep neckline of her robe, trembled as she spoke.
“Give us your storage items and we’ll grant you a quick death.” Five other people appeared behind the two, they all seemed to have absolute confidence in their victory.
When Fang Shui’er saw the five followers, she took a step closer to her sister. A halo of light slid across her skin and her beautiful armor was fading in and out of existence. Zeng Qian made seals with her hands and her skin began to glow green.
‘They’re chasing them for items?’ Li Yiming was struck by anger when he thought that Liu Meng could have suffered the same fate. He stood up from where he was without thinking.
“Li Yiming?” Fang Shui’er had the entirety of her attention on the seven opponents in front of her. The sudden noise behind her almost made her jump back, but her fear quickly turned into surprise when she saw that it was Li Yiming. ‘Why is he here? Maybe, just maybe…’ Fang Shui’er had begun to hope once again.
In the same way Fang Shui’er was surprised by Li Yiming’s sudden appearance, the group of seven were also confused. Most of them turned their heads to look at an elderly man amidst their ranks.
“That’s impossible! I scanned the whole area with my focus. There shouldn’t be anyone else here. How did you evade my perception?” The old man asked loudly, shocked and terrified by the consideration that someone could slip through his attention. He had been relying on his focus probing technique to succeed in domains until now, and the thought of it failing distressed him greatly.
‘He has a technique like that? No wonder we couldn’t run away no matter how hard we tried.’ The revelation, at least, made Fang Shui’er realize that her previous efforts had been futile.
‘Focus scan? Even Li Huaibei’s technique couldn’t do anything to me, who do you think you are?’ Li Yiming laughed inwardly at the old man and paced steadily toward the group of seven.
“Stop!” One of them, a vile-looking man, suddenly swung his arm and shot out a purple ball toward Li Yiming.
Li Yiming was about to dodge the projectile until a closer look convinced him otherwise. ‘A lightning ball? I’ll gamble.’
Li Yiming paused his march as the lightning ball neared him. He continued to walk steadily, projecting an air of calmness, just like Li Huaibei did. This was no surprise, since he had “been” Li Huaibei for the past few days. When Li Yiming thought about Li Huaibei’s technique, it was natural that he would also imitate his air.
The ball of lightning hit Li Yiming and sank into his body like a droplet of water into the surface of a lake. Not even his sleeves moved from the impact.
Fang Shui’er eyes shone with hope. She knew that Li Yiming was strong, but not that strong. The ball of lightning that struck him looked ordinary, but it was at least a level-two technique, and the fact that Li Yiming could disregard it completely made her think that he might just be the one that can save her. ‘It seems like I’ll get repaid for my efforts back in the restaurant.’
Li Yiming’s opponents also seemed impressed.They had recognized Li Yiming, and, some were already whispering about how it should not be a surprise that someone who stayed with Li Huaibei had this kind of strength. The man who threw the ball of lightning was even more shocked, and, above all, enraged by the humiliation of being disregarded. He let out a long cry and spread out his arms. Purple sparks ran down his entire body as he prepared his next attack.
“Die—!” The man roared. He swung his arms and the numerous purple orbs that had formed around him shot toward Li Yiming. His friends also readied themselves to deliver a fatal blow if Li Yiming was ever to show an opening. It was one thing to fear Li Huaibei’s reputation, but another to back off so easily in a domain, especially since they had already committed to hunting the Fang sisters down for their belongings.
The hundreds of purple orbs coalesced into a single purple beam and hit Li Yiming in its entirety. However, just like before, except for the blinding explosion of light, it did nothing to stop Li Yiming. Li Yiming continued his slow pace toward the man, feeling more and more like Li Huaibei as he remembered the bloodbath that had occured back in Eden. As the light faded out, the anger in Li Yiming’s eyes was no longer visible. What shone was the silent intent to kill.
“Lightning? I have some too.” An idea suddenly occurred to Li Yiming and he took out a broken bronze coin. He flicked it towards the man who just attacked him and shouted, “Thunder!”
The calmness of the cloudless morning sky was suddenly broken. A purple light flashed across the sky and struck the man Li Yiming pointed at. An instant later there was a burst of white light so intense that everyone had to close their eyes.
The loud explosion noise that lagged behind the light was heard. It was strong enough to make one’s ear ring.
A huge, smoldering crater was seen when the light receded, and three people were collapsed on the ground right next to it, one of them moaning in pain while the two others had passed out. The man Li Yiming had directed his attack at was nowhere to be seen.
Even Fang Shui’er was shocked by the power of Li Yiming’s attack. She had thought Li Yiming to be quite capable, but this was still beyond her expectations. ‘One dead and three grievously injured with a single blow, and you tell me that he’s a close-quarter combat guardian? But that lightning has to be above level-four, probably level five. So level three in stamina, three in speed, three in power and five in spell? Who is he?’
The three who were still left standing were the couple of vampires at the start and the old man. They were all beyond scared by what had just happened.’A random person in the park turns out to be someone this powerful? How come we’ve never heard of his name?
“Do you mind if I ask for your name?” The old man tried his best to calm himself down and asked in a shaky voice that betrayed his nervousness. He tried as much as he could to get close to his two friends who were still standing and completely ignored the three that lied on the ground.
Li Yiming was actually quite nervous as well. The power of Thunderous Strike caught him off guard. But he could also fully appreciate the reason behind the word “strike” being singular: it was indeed a single strike which comprised all of the power that was found within his enhanced faculties of a guardian, so it was no wonder that its power had surpassed the limits for level five. He stopped walking toward his enemies and stood still as he no longer had the strength to move his legs. It would not be an exaggeration to say that even a frightened bunny would be able to tip him off to the ground.
Instead of answering the old man, Li Yiming decided it was simply best to stare coldly at him. He suddenly had the idea of pulling out an antique-looking longsword he kept from the store back in Jing Prefecture. An imitation valued at 698 yuans, three feet long, two inches wide with a lively carved dragon decorating the blade. The pendant that hung at its hilt swayed in the wind, and it seemed like Li Yiming was ready for an elegant killing without any compromise.
‘He knows how to use a sword? Right, I remember what he did back when we faced the phoenix. Judging by the looks of it, the sword must be his strongest technique. It makes sense when I think of his overall abilities, but what was that thunder all about? What level is his sword technique?’ Fang Shui’er and her sister back away from Li Yiming, a little intimidated. By now, Fang Shui’er’s bow and Zeng Qian’s green light had both vanished; they knew that their contribution was no longer needed.
The old man and the vampire couple noticed Fang Shui’er and Zeng Qian’s backing away from Li Yiming and dreaded what was about to come. ‘Oh no! Even his friends are backing off. His next attack is no joke. A sword? What about the lightning that just killed one of us? Does he practice both techniques? But this sword of his, it’s just an imitation, the blade isn’t even sharpened! But we did make the mistake of underestimating this young man before based on his innocuous look. The sword must have some kind of hidden power.’
The old man extended his hands and slowly put them on the shoulders of his two friends. He then knelt down with an expression that suggested that he had abandoned all hopes of resisting. “We surrender. We hope that you can at least spare our lives, since we’re all guardians. We can also offer our storage items if you wish,” the old man said in a sincere voice full of resignation. The vampire couple were also throwing begging glances at Li Yiming.
Li Yiming was embarrassed by what was happening in front of him, but he could not even spare the strength to answer the old man. He knew that if he delayed it any longer, the old man might notice what was going on, and the worse could happen to him then. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and managed to squeeze out a single, barely audible word.
Zeng Qian wanted to intervene, but Fang Shui’er stopped her.
The old man seemed to be overjoyed by Li Yiming’s magnanimity. He left the seven storage items on the ground, picked up those who were injured with his friends and left in a hurry. However, even in his hastiness, there was something that made him seem less like someone running for his life, and more like a martial arts master accepting his temporary defeat. His final salutation, in particular, was straight out of a wuxia novel.