Chapter 45: Into the Misty Desolate Valley (2)
Ouyang Xue quickly gently pushed Lu Qingyun away as she said solemnly, “Xingyuan, please take Senior Brother Lu to the back. We will handle this.”
Lu Qingyun protested immediately as he was already all warmed up for his fight real battle but Ouyang Xue turned to say icily to him, “No but. You will only distract us. I can’t afford any minute distractions even it is just a brief.”
There was a look of sincerity and concern as she said quietly, “This is a real battle. I can only afford to look out for myself. If I were to constantly check on you then I may not survive the battle. We may not survive the battle together.”
Even Leng Qiuyue was saying, “Xingyuan, quickly take him away to the second line. Hurry! There is no time to lose!”
What else could Lu Qingyun do?
With great reluctant, he forced himself to be dragged away by Lie Xingyuan. He wanted to participate in the battle but he did not want to be their distraction. From their solemn eyes, he knew that he would only be endangering them if he decided to fight alongside them.
He could only think this way first, “If they are in any danger, surely it is not too late for me to intervene? I just need to prepare myself for any contingencies then.”
No sooner had he and Lie Xingyuan and reached the second line where the first realm cultivators were which numbered about half of the group, a terrifying large King Desolate Lizard had emerged from the confines of the mountain shadows as the ground beneath them trembled nonstop!
This King Desolate Lizard was a powerful fourth rank desolate beast with great agility and strength. The jaws of this King Desolate Lizard could easily tear apart any cultivators and turned them into mincemeat!
Leng Qiuyue shouted to the cultivators that had formed the first line, “What are you all fighting for? Form your sword formations, split into two sword formations and support Grand Elder Xue and I as we make our moves.”
The first line of cultivators of about 16 quickly divided themselves into two groups of 8 each with each group following either Ouyang Xue or Leng Qiuyue. The first line of cultivators consisted of all the second realm master practitioners cultivators which included Rushuang.
The second line of cultivators was all first realm cultivators and there were 15 of them. When Lu Qingyun and Lie Xingyuan were added, there were now 17 of them at the back who were ready to support anyone who was injured. This was the general role of the second line and they provided the first line with their timely support so that the first line of cultivators could focus all their attentions in their battles.
It was a little ironic that Lie Xingyuan and Lu Qingyun were both third realm cultivators and they were now supporting at the back.
Only Leng Qiuyue knew that Lu Qingyun was not a lowly first realm cultivator. It was because Lu Qingyun had told her he was already a third realm cultivator. However in Leng Qiuyue’s mind, she did not really believe him and thought that there was a chance that he may be boasting. Moreover, she knew that Lu Qingyun lacked any experience and lack of experience was fatal in a fight. So she was equally as eager as Ouyang Xue to see him supporting at the back rather than the front. This way, she could focus all her attention on the intruding desolate beast.
This King Desolate Lizard was confident of itself despite seeing a group of thirty and it quickly charged into the group swiftly.
Ouyang Xue raised her sword as she swung against the thick hide of the King Desolate Lizard but her profound sword stroke just did not have the impact that she had desired. This King Desolate Lizard was a top tier fourth realm desolate beast best known for its resilient, speed and strength.
She gasped softly as the King Desolate Lizard rushed past her and charged headlong into Leng Qiuyue.
Leng Qiuyue took the charge calmly as she slipped high upward into the air as she cried out to the two groups behind, “Don’t let it get past your line to our support lines!”
The two groups quickly formed two massive sword arrays as they readied their swords to meet the charge. There were real fears in their eyes as they really did not know if they could halt the advance of this King Desolate Lizard.
Dozens of sword flashes were immediately brought down on the King Desolate Lizard as it approached. Almost immediately, an unfortunate protégé was heard screaming as he got grabbed into the jaws of the King Desolate Lizard while two others were smacked hard and sent flying off.
The advance of the King Desolate Lizard was halted and almost immediately half of the 16 cultivators that formed the two sword arrays had all sustained injuries.
Ouyang Xue had quickly doubled back as she raised her sword forward the King Desolate Lizard with all her profound strength as she leapt up to deliver a powerful slash with her sword.
At the same time Leng Qiuyue had just landed softly on the ground but her reaction was nimble. No sooner had she landed, she too had turned with all her profound strength to pierce a weak point of the King Desolate Lizard at its back leg.
The King Desolate Lizard was enraged as it sent its tail to whack toward Leng Qiuyue who raised her sword just in time to fend the tail whack but the attack had sent her flying tens of metres away as she spurted blood.
Within three blinks of an eye, another unfortunately protégé was crushed under the King Desolate Lizard claw while yet another was whacked by its tail and the protégé was dead immediately.
The second line of protégés were all rushing forward to drag the heavily wounded away and were raising their swords to provide a defensive cover for those that required time to regroup.
Lu Qingyun sighed heavily as he witnessed the on-going battle with a heavy heart. This fourth realm desolate beast was indeed extremely powerful and he was unsure if he could even handle it alone.
Ouyang Xue flashed and attacked several times, fully making use of the distractions provided by the ordinary protégés to search for vulnerabilities for her attack. Finally she had found it as she delivered a deep slash by the side of the King Desolate Beast.
This caused the King Desolate Beast to roar aloud in great pain and its momentum was halted as it began to weaken. Suddenly it was slashed and hacked from many sides.
Ouyang Xue shouted, “Everyone, all-out attack!”
Within a few minutes, the King Desolate Beast was dead but not before it killed one more protégé and heavily injured another two.
When it was finally over, there were five dead and another five were heavily wounded.
Ouyang Xue looked extremely solemn at the bloody scene that was laid before her. Although she had taken part in many of the experiential missions, this was the first time that she had fought such a dangerous fourth rank desolate beast.
By right, their main objective was a fourth rank desolate beast and with the death of this desolate beast, their main mission would have been accomplished. What they need to do next was to find another two weaker third rank desolate beasts and this entire experiential mission would end and they could return home.
However the experiential mission objective was changed to a fifth realm desolate beast and two fourth realm desolate beast now.
This experiential mission was not going to be easy.
She was sweating profusely from the exertion that she had put into. It was not only her but all the front line fighters were all sweating profusely. This fight was not easy at all.
Leng Qiuyue walked with a limp as she stole a glance at Lu Qingyun and noted that he was perfectly alright.
Ouyang Xue said quietly to her, “Are you alright?”
Leng Qiuyue nodded lightly. She was drained from the fight and she had suffered some injuries from the impact.
But there was a look of respect in the eyes of both maidens for each other after the fight. This was actually the first time that they had worked together.
But at this moment, Leng Qiuyue had wished that it was Lu Qingyun who could step forward to offer her some condolences. Although that did not happen, she was secretly glad that he was alright…
All of a sudden Lu Qingyun had walked to Leng Qiuyue and Ouyang Xue as he asked, “Are the two of you alright? You have fought well. Thank you.”
Leng Qiuyue took a sudden look at Lu Qingyun as she thought, “He is really asking if I’m alright?”
But she could only give a weak nod while Ouyang Xue replied, “I’m alright. I am glad that senior brother you are fine too.”
Lu Qingyun was smiling weakly as he stole a sheepish glance at Lie Xingyuan as he sighed heavily.
It was not out of total concern for Ouyang Xue and Leng Qiuyue when he had walked over to ask about their wellbeing. It was because after the fight, some of the ordinary protégés were whispering, “So this is our good-for-nothing first realm senior brother. He just stands there and does nothing at all…”
“He is just cowering behind his two junior sisters while they do the hard work…”
“Even Ouyang Xue and Leng Qiuyue put their lives on the frontline for us but what is our senior brother doing?”
“He is really no better than an ordinary protégé…”
All the soft muttering had caused his back to be burning and this was the reason why he had suddenly approach Ouyang Xue and Leng Qiuyue. It was because the ordinary protégés dared not whisper anything within their earshot.
But somehow, Ouyang Xue and Leng Qiuyue had mistaken that he was overly concerned for them…
Ouyang Xue took one last look at Lu Qingyun before she walked over to the ordinary protégés to inspect the damages before she said solemnly, “The two of you over there, take these five badly injured protégés to the top first and wait for us at the entrance until we are back.”
She heaved a soft sigh before she said quietly to them, “I need your help to take the five bodies too for burial.”
As she said that, her voice grew hoarse and her eyes had also become watery. But she quickly said, “The rest of you help to dissect the important parts of this desolate beast…”
Out of 30 ordinary protégés, only 18 would remain to continue the experiential mission. This was not looking good at all. Even Leng Qiuyue got a bad hit and she was limping.
She was even thinking of throwing in the gauntlet and declared that their experiential mission was a failure. She really did not know if she alone would be enough to handle more of the upcoming dangers and to protect this group…