Chapter 341: A Heroic Zhou Zilong, Xiang Guqing Employs A Scheme

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

Just as Jun Xiaomo was working hard to unlock the master formation array, Zhou Zilong was following the paper crane which Zhang Shuyue had sent him back to the location it had come from. Stumbling and fumbling about, he gradually drew closer and closer to where Zhang Shuyue and the others lay waiting for him.

Zhou Zilong had taken the very same route connecting Zhang Shuyue’s residence to the heart of the valley just a little while ago. Back then, he hardly noticed the environment around him because his martial brothers were all around him at that time. But now, as he travelled alone, he began to discover the eerie, deafening silence around him – neither rushing winds nor the rustling of leaves, and not a single chirrup from bugs or birds either. The only thing that Zhou Zilong could hear were his own heavy breaths and thundering footsteps.

He knew that returning on his own might very well mean his own demise. After all, there was hardly any chance he could possibly rescue Zhang Shuyue given his own abilities. However, he did not mind this. In fact, he was prepared for this – he wanted more than anything to follow his heart and live without regrets.

Zhou Zilong did not blame Martial Brother Ye and the others for not tagging along for this selfish request of his. He knew that Martial Brother Ye had his responsibilities and duties, and Ye Xiuwen’s considerations were far greater than his own. If Zhou Zilong were in Ye Xiuwen’s shoes, he might have made the same decision as well.

Thus, Zhou Zilong made peace with his decision and returned alone. Even though he knew full well that he might be walking straight back into the lion’s den, he still returned with naught a single hesitation in his heart.

Zhang Shuyue and Xiang Guqing were already waiting for him along the way back. They had set up an ambush, eagerly expecting Zhou Zilong’s return together with the rest of the Heavenly Peak disciples so that they could pounce on all of them and capture them in one fell swoop.

In fact, it was fine even if only half of them returned to “rescue Zhang Shuyue”. They knew that they could always capture Zhou Zilong and his group, before interrogating them for the location of the rest of their martial brothers. At that time, they would most certainly be able to capture everyone without fail.

Unfortunately, reality clearly fell outside of their expectations. None of them had expected the only person returning to be Zhou Zilong. In other words, they had painstakingly laid out a massive ambush, only to capture no more than a shrimp in the grand scheme of things.

Xiang Guqing looked around and about Zhou Zilong with disbelief. Yet, no matter how hard she strained her eyes, she found no traces of others returning with Zhou Zilong. Thus, she immediately turned to her disciple Zhang Shuyue and queried, “Shuyue, are you certain that you’ve impressed upon Zhou Zilong that your present situation is extremely dire and dangerous?”

“I’ve positively relayed that to him.” Zhang Shuyue felt rather aggrieved, “He’d even sworn that he would bring all of the Heavenly Peak martial brothers with him to rescue me.”

Who could have known that this man was such a lackluster fool? Why has he returned all alone? Did he not tell anyone else that he was returning to save a life?

“Hah, it seems that we’ve underestimated their leader, Ye Xiuwen.” Xiang Guqing chuckled coldly.

“Master, why do you say that?” Zhang Shuyue couldn’t understand what Ye Xiuwen had to do with all of this. Her heart would always burn with great indignation and reluctance whenever his name was mentioned.

“From what I can see, it’s not that Zhou Zilong failed to inform his other martial brothers about your predicament. Rather, Ye Xiuwen must have prevented his other martial brothers from coming back, telling Zhou Zilong that he has to return alone, if at all. In other words, he might already have been suspicious of you all this while.”

“He suspects me? That can’t be right. What’s there for him to be suspicious about? I’ve never done anything to arouse any form of suspicion to begin with.” Zhang Shuyue retorted adamantly.

“Haven’t you forgotten that there’s still the cunning Jun Xiaomo who’s always acting like an advisor beside him. I’ve heard from the Eternal Summit Sect’s Dai Yanfeng that this little brat must not be underestimated, and she has many bizarre yet brilliant strategies and tricks up her sleeves. Ye Xiuwen has always deferred to everything that Jun Xiaomo says, and it could very well be the case that Jun Xiaomo has been badmouthing you behind your back.” Xiang Guqing analyzed the situation icily.

“Jun Xiaomo, that cheap slut! If I manage to get my hands on her – when I manage to get my hands on her, I’m going to tear that flapping mouth off her face! We’ll see what she can still do then!” Zhang Shuyue bellowed with indignation as her hatred for Jun Xiaomo burgeoned to new heights, “Master, what do we do now? The other Heavenly Peak disciples aren’t coming. Are we going to continue waiting like this?”

“Of course we’re not going to wait any longer. If we continue to wait like this, even a cooked pigeon is going to start flying again.” Xiang Guqing’s expressions darkened as she spoke. Then, a vicious, contemptuous smile crept up the corner of her lips, “Even though Ye Xiuwen has adamantly refused to allow his martial brothers to come here and rescue you, I wonder how his reaction is going to be like when the person to be rescued is none other than his dearest martial brother, Zhou Zilong?”

A bright gleam flashed across Zhang Shuyue’s eyes, “Great idea, master! Let’s do it that way.”

Thus, as soon as Zhou Zilong stepped into the epicenter of their ambush, a massive barbed net suddenly appeared overhead, threatening to envelop and incapacitate him. Zhou Zilong was already prepared for exigencies like this. As soon as the net appeared, he immediately rolled to the side, attempting to avoid the domain of the barbed net.

Unfortunately, the net was massive, and it appeared to have some homing abilities – no matter where Zhou Zilong dodged and rolled to, the net would change its direction and continue to home in on him.

Then, before Zhou Zilong could do anything to fight off the net, it landed directly on his body, and its barbs viciously punctured his skin, lodging themselves well into his flesh, causing Zhou Zilong to cry out in pain.

These barbs were no ordinary barbs. They formed part of a spirit tool that had been forged and refined time and again. As soon as the barbs stabbed into Zhou Zilong’s body, he discovered that his entire body was completely bound and constricted, and waves of intense heat even began to seep through his skin, surge through his meridians until they reached his Dantian.

Zhou Zilong’s mind was overwhelmed by the electrifying waves of pain that were coursing through his body, and he began to fade in and out of consciousness. He knew that he was punching well above his weight class by coming back for Zhang Shuyue all alone, but he never expected to be so thoroughly inept and useless.

Within moments, several figures stepped out of the shadows. Zhou Zilong was unable to lift his head to identify the persons responsible for the ambush he was caught in.

However, even though he was unable to identify these perpetrators, Zhou Zilong could already guess that they were the one and the same as the assailants who had infiltrated the valley under the cover of night earlier.

By this time, large beads of sweat had already begun to percolate Zhou Zilong’s forehead, rolling into his eyes from time to time, stinging them and blurring his vision.

Then, he vaguely heard a woman instruct the rest with an icy cold voice, “Drag him back.”

As soon as she finished speaking, the figures that surrounded him immediately grabbed hold of the corners of the net and began to drag him along the ground. The barbs on the net dug deeper into Zhou Zilong’s flesh, tearing his skin and causing him to cry out with even more pain.

After what seemed like an eternity, Zhou Zilong finally felt the assailants stop in their tracks, and they removed the barbed net from his body.

At this moment, Zhou Zilong discovered that his body was so mangled by the barbs on the net that even his nerves felt as though they had been completely severed. The pain was so excruciating that he convulsed uncontrollably.

“Hmph. You’re pretty brave, aren’t you? You’d even run back on your own in a feeble attempt to rescue others.”

It was that same female voice again. This time, Zhou Zilong could see that there were several other men standing with the lady; their garbs swaying slightly in tandem with the wind.

Zhou Zilong struggled hard to lift his head before he finally caught a glimpse of that woman’s appearances – it was a somber and stern looking lady who was glaring back at him with a cold glint in her eyes. Her gaze felt that like of an almost lifeless being, and there wasn’t a single trace of warmth in them.

“Where…where’s Shuyue?” Zhou Zilong licked his dry lips as he muttered with a hoarse voice.

“Shuyue? Who’s Shuyue?” Xiang Guqing raised her eyebrows as she lied through her teeth, putting on a perfect pretense that Zhang Shuyue was a lady whom she had never known.

This man can still be of use to us if we don’t disclose Zhang Shuyue’s true identity to him. We can continue to pull the wool over his eyes and manipulate him to do Zhang Shuyue’s bidding. Xiang Guqing thought to herself.

“Shuyue…Shuyue is that lady which you have captured. Where is she? What have you done with her?!” Zhou Zilong crawled towards Xiang Guqing and asked anxiously as he grabbed her around the ankle.

Xiang Guqing’s expressions immediately turned dark and disdainful. In the very next moment, she kicked Zhou Zilong’s hands away and berated him, “Who allowed you to get near me like that? You dare to touch me with your filthy hands? Do you believe that I’ll have your hands severed in the next minute?!”

Xiang Guqing had hated men ever since she was hurt by one in her youth. As long as a man drew too close to her and intruded on her personal space, she would invariably overreact and fly into a frenzy, much less when they directly touched her.

If not for the fact that she still had some use for Zhou Zilong, she might very well have already sliced off Zhou Zilong’s hands for his transgressions!

Yet Zhou Zilong completely ignored Xiang Guqing’s attitude towards him. Instead, he simply looked up anxiously, entreating Xiang Guqing to respond to his earlier question, “Tell me, where is Shuyue? What have you done with her?”

As Xiang Guqing fought hard to repress the nauseating feeling in her belly, an idea struck her, and a bright gleam flickered across the depths of her eyes.

She glared at Zhou Zilong from on high as she placidly responded, “Ohh, so that’s who you’re talking about – that silly girl that remains unwilling to disclose your location despite having been captured by us. What’s this? Are you trying to be a hero, rescuing a damsel in distress?”

As soon as Zhou Zilong learnt that Zhang Shuyue had refused to disclose the whereabouts of the Heavenly Peak martial brothers to the group of assailants, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of bitter astringency swell up from the depths of his heart. His desire to rescue Zhang Shuyue right now was stronger than ever.

Even if he was unable to rescue Zhang Shuyue, everything was worth it if he could perish together with her.

Thus, Zhou Zilong lifted his head once more and locked eyes with Xiang Guqing, “The ones you’re looking for are us, and she’s got nothing to do with us. Please release Miss Zhang.”

“Hah? Release her? For what? So that she can warn those martial brothers of yours? I don’t think so. I’m not so dumb.” Xiang Guqing put on a perfect, disdainful pretense.

Zhou Zilong grew anxious, and he began to repartee nervously, “But there’s no use keeping her either, is there? If you give me the chance to speak with her, I’m sure I can convince her not to report any news to my martial brothers.”

Xiang Guqing curled her lips into a sardonic smile, “How are you so certain that she won’t run to your martial brothers just because you’ve told her not to? You’re not a parasite living within her body; how could you possibly know what runs through her mind?”

“Then what do you want in exchange for her release? Tell me!” Zhou Zilong barked with indignation. His eyes had grown red and bloodshot by now.

A bright gleam flickered in the depths of Xiang Guqing’s eyes, and she curled her lips into a wicked smile as she quipped meaningfully, “You want me to release her…that’s not an impossible request.”

A trace of hope shone brightly in Zhou Zilong’s eyes.

“Hah. How about this – you lure out your Heavenly Peak martial brothers to us, and we’ll release Zhang Shuyue in exchange.” Zhang Shuyue stated her conditions clearly and succinctly as the grim smile on her face widened.

What?! Zhou Zilong’s eyes widened with disbelief. He had never expected Xiang Guqing to set such terms for Zhang Shuyue’s release.

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