The snow fell harder and harder, with a ferocity that threatened to bury the world.
Ruan Zhan walked with difficulty through the snow, stopping every few steps. He did his best to sense the traces Xiao Xia had inadvertently left behind. He didn’t have experience tracking someone in the wilderness, but his senses were far sharper than ordinary people. This was especially the case towards the smell of blood. He just needed to use his spirit power to enhance his senses and he could find even a drop of blood. Wan Li often teased him by comparing him to a dog.
Xiao Xia was most afraid of pain. Normally, she refused to get a vaccine even if she got sick. However, he could tell by the thick layer of blood used for the writing how heavily she had cut herself. She must have done it with the crafting knife Wan Li had given her. That knife was beautiful and dull, but she liked it a lot. She made a show of putting it in her boots when she came on this trip. He didn’t know how much she had to steel her heart to draw so much blood with a dull blade.
He knew Xiao Xia wouldn’t have ignored his instructions without a pressing and special reason. She also wouldn’t have written words in her own blood, telling him not to follow. But how could he not follow? How could he let her fall into danger? How could he live in a world without her!?
Furthermore, he was the opponent’s target! This entire matter, including all the innocent victims, was all a setup for him. It was reasonable to call him the cause of everything! Between him and the enemy, one of them would have to die. Otherwise, there would be no end to this. Therefore, he was responsible for protecting anyone that got swept up in this, and couldn’t let anyone else get hurt. Especially since the person in danger now was the girl who kept prickling his heart every now and then.
The smell of blood grew faint. Her wound must have clotted by this point. The snow had covered any possible traces and the ground was undisturbed as though no one had passed through this place. However, the snow and fog swept up by the mountain wind brought with it a different scent: fiendish aura!
He stood for a moment considering his next move. He wasn’t afraid of being unable to find the opponent. His opponent would come to him. He just worried that Xiao Xia would freeze to death if he was too slow. She wouldn’t be able to last in the winter night in the depths of the mountain.
“Ruan Zhan…Ruan Zhan!” Xiao Xia’s voice suddenly rang out from behind him.
In that moment, Ruan Zhan almost looked back. However, he stiffened his neck and didn’t turn. That was Xiao Xia’s voice, but Xiao Xia wouldn’t use such a cloying and seductive tone when calling him.
He thought for a second before continuing forward.
“Ruan Zhan, wait for me. I can’t walk anymore!” The voice continued calling him. It was dainty and gentle, with some pleading and coquettishness. Men would soften their hearts upon hearing it.
But Ruan Zhan continued to ignore it.
“Ruan Zhan, I’m so cold. Can you hold me? Please, don’t be so ruthless. Wait for me!”
Although having told himself this wasn’t Xiao Xia, the voice was too similar. Speaking to him so aggrievedly, three parts crying and seven parts complaining, was like a needle in his heart.
He walked swiftly, subconsciously wanting to escape that voice. However, he realized the thing behind him grew closer instead.
Not turning around and continuing forward wasn’t because he was scared of something. He just wanted to keep moving and control the situation, waiting to see what the opponent had planned. However, he hadn’t expected them to imitate Xiao Xia’s voice to entice him. His heart had grown chaotic at some point.
“Ruan Zhan, take a look!” The voice grew close to his ear. At the same time, an extremely soft yet extremely cold hand landed on his left shoulder. It was like a large flurry of snow that was silent and traceless, yet chilled the bone.
“What technique is this?” He didn’t move and didn’t look back as he asked coldly. His voice was more emotionless than the snowy night.
“We’re just fond of you!” Another hand was placed on his right shoulder. “Such a handsome man! Let us accompany you!”
“Sure! Release Yue Xiao Xia first!”
“Oh, that won’t do! Although we wish to go along with your desires, we are unable to agree to this.” One of the female enchantresses acted sincere, yet her voice contained disdain. “Furthermore, we’ve made her into a beautiful work of art. Isn’t that better?”
Was she already dead?
This thought struck Ruan Zhan’s heart like a hammer, making him take a step forward without thinking. However, he wasn’t able to move at all. The two hands seemed gentle but also firmly suppressed him, preventing him from moving.
The feeling of being pinned by a great weight clashed with the anxiety in his heart, causing him to have a flash of realization.
Xiao Xia was definitely still safe!
First of all, he hadn’t sensed anything. Since she was someone extremely important to him, if something happened to her he would definitely sense it. Secondly, the experts who battle against him all have a common problem. They didn’t know his true abilities and couldn’t afford to lose. Therefore, they were extremely cautious, not easily revealing their cards and also not easily getting rid of hostages. The point was the idea of “battle”. It was like one side posing a question while the other comes up with a solution. His opponents enjoyed the thrill of victory. If they merely wanted to kill him or Xiao Xia, they didn’t need to go through so much trouble. They just had to attack him with everything they had while sending a couple lackeys to deal with Xiao Xia. They didn’t know the outcome of a head-on confrontation. Or perhaps they derived perverse pleasure in slaughtering the other side face to face.
Therefore, nothing would happen to Xiao Xia for now. The two enchantresses were merely trying to shake his mind.
Thinking to this point, he silently chanted a spell and shook himself hard. The two enchantresses cried out lightly and were flung away from him as though jolted.
“Yuki-Onna, as expected.” He said expressionlessly. He knew Yuki-Onna were common shikigami used by Japanese Yinyang Masters. Since they had appeared, there was definitely a Japanese person nearby. It was easy to guess what had happened.
It seems Yang Mu You had framed him for Kenji Ganmura’s death. He wanted to use the Japanese person’s hand to kill him. This made him extremely disdainful of that spirit. To think he was so shameless as to use foreigners for the sake of defeating him. But this also signified that the person this time must be much stronger than Kenji Ganmura, that minor character. He had already suffered a loss earlier, and Xiao Xia had also fallen into their hands.
“Truly unfeeling!” The two Yuki-Onna sobbed, floating a hundred meters away. “But the more unfeeling a man, the more attractive he becomes!”
“Then why don’t you come over?” Ruan Zhan said provocatively.
There was a moment of silence before a sharp howling sounded out. It was hard to believe the sound was coming from these incomparably beautiful women. Then, two shadows alternating black and white flew over accompanied by a gust of snow!
Ruan Zhan stood against the wind. No matter how wildly it blew, he stood steadily as always, completely ignoring the deceptive fiendish aura within the snow. He waited for the Yuki-Onna to approach before easily and confidently drawing symbols in the air. His lips moved silently at the same time as he chanted. With a wave of his hand, a circular brand struck in the center of the snowy mist.
With a bang, the mist retreated.
“How merciless!” The two Yuki-Onna stood beside each other in the air. Despite being injured, they still maintained their flirtatious demeanor, truly evoking sympathy.
One said to the other: “But I love him even more now!”
“I really want to give him my body!” The other responded.
“Great idea!” The two spoke in unison.
Before their voices fell, the two started transforming. Their long robes slowly tightened on their bodies before actually melting into them, leaving the two completely naked.
Within the swirling snow, the two absolute beauties were actually more lustrous than the snow. They shone faintly and seductively. Their long and toned limbs, soft waist, full yet elegantly curved breasts and buttocks, as well as that mysterious place, were all bared in front of Ruan Zhan.
“Accept us!” They laughed lightly and slowly walked over. This time they weren’t floating, but were truly walking. They stepped upon the snow with their beautiful and stirring legs, their bearing graceful yet seductive, leaving no trace in the snow. Along with their exceptionally beautiful faces, no man should be able to refuse this scene.
Unfortunately, they were up against a man who was unfeeling like a blade in front of enemies. Therefore, they only got halfway when they were struck back again by red flames.
“A waste of effort!” Ruan Zhan didn’t show any mercy to these beauties. Instead, he was more satisfied by the brand he cultivated after unsealing some of his powers.
He glanced coldly at the enchantresses floating in the darkness before turning and leaving. However, he suddenly felt a chill on his back. The injury he suffered back at the hotel was acting up due to his exertions.
He couldn’t let the two Yuki-Onna realize this!
This was his first thought. He knew he hadn’t been able to injure them seriously due to his own wound. He had just scared them into retreating. If they discovered he was weak, trouble would come.
But at this time, despite trying to walk steadily, the cold in his chest burrowed into his organs before winding into his flesh like a mixer. Cold sweat immediately dripped from his brows, making his movements rigid.
“You’re injured. Come, let us comfort you!” One Yuki-Onna had caught up again at some point. “Don’t try to be tough. The cold air inside you was inserted by us. When it moves, we will know about it!”
“But you’re truly an impressive man. You actually didn’t die on the spot. As expected, you were worth our anticipation!” The other spoke and slowly sidled up as well.
Ruan Zhan wanted to use a spell but realized he wasn’t able to exert any strength. He felt his consciousness blur and sensed the two Yuki-Onna floating around him. They wrapped around his body like snakes. Each time he shook himself free, they would wrap around him once more. Their cold, naked bodies wound around him, their icy lips kissing him and their equally chilling hands caressing him. They also started using Xiao Xia’s voice to seduce him.
“Ruan Zhan, we’re fond of you. Come, be our man! Come…come….”
If it were a forceful assault, Ruan Zhan would still be able to deal with it. However, the two Yuki-Onna were like the softest breeze and snow, making him unable to exert his strength anywhere. They took advantage of his injury flaring up and used softness to conquer strength as they worked with the chill in his body. He fell at a disadvantage in an instant and grew less and less able to resist. He could only grit his teeth and allow them to tangle him up and provoke him while he continued to walk forwards.
No matter how the situation changed, he was going to rescue Xiao Xia! This was the only thought in his mind.
He walked mechanically into the depths of the forest. He felt the Yuki-Onna harassing him winding tighter and tighter, making his steps more difficult. He had trouble breathing and was about to fall over. He could only hear the wind and flirtatious giggling….
Then, another woman’s voice was suddenly added into the mix. The brightness seemed to illuminate the gradually blurring snowy night!
“Borrow Mt. Tai’s might, stone general…and also Elder Ksitigarbha Boddhisatva…everyone together, strike!”
There was a thud as though something was struck, followed by a scream. Ruan Zhan felt his body loosen and saw two clumps of white mist scattering into fragments, vanishing into the snow. Before they disappeared, the shriveled head of a woman had fallen out from somewhere. It also cried out brokenly and slipped away along the snow.
“I had my eye on this man first. You should at least notify me if you’re planning on making a move!” That woman’s voice continued yelling. “Go back and tell your Japanese master that here in China, good friends are met with fine alcohol, and jackals are met with hunting rifles!”
It was Xiao Xia. She had run over from somewhere!
Ruan Zhan’s heart relaxed and he immediately collapsed.