The assassin turned his waist around to take a look once he had climbed the tree. However, no one noticed that since everyone's attention was fixed on Jun Mo Xie.
Before anyone — including Grandpa Jun — had the time to feel any grief... Jun Mo Xie roared, "Naa!" But anyone who hadn't listened carefully thought that he had shouted, "Maa!"
Jun Mo Xie's chest had been pierced as far as their eyes could see. This meant that he should've been covered in blood. However, he wasn't dead. In fact, he was perfectly fine. There wasn't a single bloodstain on his body; nor was he injured!
Everyone stared dumbfounded. [What is going on? Jun Mo Xie's chest was pierced by that double-edged sword... how's he…]
Jun Mo Xie's senses had raised an alarm the moment he had come into the assassin's range. He had been a vicious assassin in his previous life. He had gained invaluable experience in the art of assassination. His intuition had become very sensitive towards impending. Therefore, he had sensed that someone intended to murder him before the attack was launched.
Jun Mo Xie's expression had remained the same, but he was mentally prepared to face the attack.
However, the speed of that assassin's movements had managed to surprise the Young Master Jun.
[He's extremely fast!]
The assassin had come-over like a shadow, and attempted to pierce Jun Mo Xie's chest. He was so quick that Jun Mo Xie had barely managed to raise his guard. In fact, he had gotten so close that Jun Mo Xie had actually felt the extremely cold temperature of the assassin's sword.
Jun Mo Xie was the only person who was able to see his assailant's eyes; they were devoid of any warmth. They were deathly still. In fact, the cold of his watchful eyes were no different from that of a dead-fish.
[And then, his speed has created a dusky shadow!]
[This man is too fast! It's too late to dodge!]
His years of experience had been rendered useless in front of that assassin's speed. The blow would've been fatal!
Jun Mo Xie had then made a quick decision. He had no option but to expose himself. The Third Young Master then quickly used his greatest ace, and escaped into the Hong Jun Pagoda to save his life. But, the speed of this unforeseen incident had seemingly created after-images during that transition. So, it had seemed to everyone that the double-edged sword had passed through his chest.
Then, he instantly came-out of Hong Jun Pagoda, and resumed the same body posture as his previous one. This entire sequence had happened in the blink of an eye. It was too much for the bystanders' eyes to interpret. So who would've been able to suspect that Jun Mo Xie had used a supernatural technique to save his life?
So, everyone cried out in alarm.
The Earthen Xuan Light of that man remained still for a moment, and then followed his line of attack as he launched a second attempt.
Jun Zhan Tian had already positioned himself in front of his grandson. His body got shrouded in blue light as he summoned his entire strength. Then, he suddenly started to throw punches. And, each one of his punches exploded in the air like thunderclaps. It was evident that he was employing his full strength.
However, his attacks only hit the voids of the air.
That overbearing yellow light scattered at the moment it came in contact with that blue light. It then disappeared without a trace — as if there was no force behind it.
"It's an after-image!" Jun Mo Xie opened his mouth to speak as he watched that Xuan light disappear. There was very serious expression on his face.
The assailant's Xuan Qi level couldn't be considered very high since he was only at peak Earth Xuan level. However, his speed was 'strangely' fast. The Solitary Falcon was famed for his speed. However, Jun Mo Xie reckoned that he'd only be able to match that assassin's speed; and nothing more.
He was so quick that he managed to leave his after-images behind?! How dreadful is his speed?!
[How could a mere Earth Xuan expert have such an incredible speed?]
Jun Mo Xie wasn't the only one who was unable to comprehend this. Everyone else around him was a Xuan expert, but they weren't able to make head or tail of it either. [Does a person with such speed really exist?]
Jun Mo Xie gave a dull smile as he realized that everyone was on-guard against the enemy, "Don't worry. He is very fast, but I think he can only strike once at that speed. Wouldn't he be fiercer than Yun Bie Chen if he could continue to attack?"
Suddenly, everyone came to themselves. They realized that even though that assassin's speed was dreadful — he could only strike once. [But only a few people who could've avoid that blow…]
[Even a Sky Xuan expert may have sustained serious injuries. He wouldn't have died, but he would've surely been injured very seriously. So, how was Jun Mo Xie able to dodge that attack?]
However, no one knew that the Young Master Jun was covered with layer-upon-layer of cold sweat. The fear of that event was still lingering in his heart.
[Such a lightning-fast death strike!] He had never heard of such speed; not even in his previous life.
Even Jun Mo Xie's unique assassin techniques couldn't cope with it.
Such speed had surpassed the apex of the human body's capabilities.
That isn't to say that nobody could achieve it since it could be done by the Supreme Masters. For example, it wouldn't be surprising if the Solitary Falcon was able to match that speed at the peak of his abilities; or even exceed it somewhat. But, this speed had been demonstrated by a person who was a mere Earth Xuan expert. It had genuinely transcended the scope of expectation.
Jun Mo Xie had always been very conceited and self-confident. He'd looked askance at the world's great warriors and war-lords, and feel that his age was the only reason he hadn't surpassed them. He was extremely proud of his speed. In fact, he was so sharp in his previous life that he had once dodged a bullet that was fired from a sniper-rifle merely 10 meters away. And not even a hair on his body was hurt then.
In fact, his comparative speed wouldn't fall short of anyone in this world either once he'd initiate the Art of Unlocking the Heaven's Fortune. However, he was unable to evade that thunderous death-strike with his usual method.
Couldn't it be said that his speed was faster than a bullet fired from a sniper-rifle? A bullet from a sniper-rifle could travel at nine-hundred meters-per-second. It was nearly thrice the speed of sound.
Jun Mo Xie was extremely shocked. He had managed to dodge that thunderous attack, but he was sweating profusely enough to soak his clothes.
His feet had always been firmly fixed on the ground in every encounter in his previous life. But, he was saddled on top of a horse in this instant. This was a noteworthy difference. However, that assassin's speed was indeed dreadful…
Then, Jun Mo Xie was suddenly struck by an idea. [It's impossible for an Earth Xuan Expert display such speed. However, it may be possible to attain such speed on occasion if one were to possess a unique skill… it would be something similar to Hai Chen Feng's self-destruct skill, but in the context of speed…]
[From the angle of this analysis… that assassin may not be in good health after the usage of this technique. In fact, he may have injured his vital internal organs.]
Jun Mo Xie's eyes became stern as he gazed in the direction of his assailant's departure.
[This man is really dangerous!]
It was very fortunate that no one had gotten injured in that assassination attempt. But everyone remained on-guard on their way back home. Meanwhile, Tang Yuan separated from them after sometime, and hurried to the Aristocratic Hall to get the money for the herbs.
They soon reached the gates of the Jun residence. Then, Jun Zhan Tian finally asked his grandson the question he'd been suppressing this entire time, "Mo Xie, how did you dodge that attack?" He had chocked this question in his throat on the way home. He had introspected and realized that he himself may not have been able to dodge this strike. So, how was his precious grandson able to evade that attack? Jun Mo Xie admittedly possesses some remarkable abilities, but this wasn't a matter of skill. It was a matter of timing. There was no shortcut to this. Therefore, it was only natural that Grandpa Jun was baffled.
Jun Mo Xie smiled dully as he looked at his grandfather. Then, he spoke in a serious manner, "You don't need to worry, grandfather. As long as I'm your grandson — no man can ever kill me; no matter what! Even the Eight Great Masters can't harm a single hair on my body. I'm extremely confident about that!"
"Ah!" Jun Zhan Tian started shaking at the spot. [Isn't this brat bragging a bit too much?]
"Grandfather, this relates to my biggest secret," Jun Mo Xie winked in a ridiculous manner. "It can be used as a last resort to save my life at under any circumstance. You wouldn't want me to expose this secret, would you?"
"I see." Grandpa Jun heaved a sigh of relief. Then, he raised his eyebrows and smiled. Grandpa Jun didn't ask what the secret was. He was a mature man who had seen many-a-things in life. So, he naturally knew that genuine secrets were to be kept close to the heart. And, the higher the number of people who knew of that secret — the higher the probability of its exposure would be. Therefore, he didn't wish to enquire any further as long as he knew that his grandson possessed such means.
"Mo Xie, then you must treat it as your most precious secret." Grandpa Jun looked relieved as he warned, "Don't even tell your future wife. You must keep it sealed in your heart. Your life will depend on this. Having such anability is akin to having a trump card. It is your secret power. But you'll lose this secret power once your trump card is exposed."
"Don't worry Grandfather. I understand," Jun Mo Xie said somewhat moved. [My Grandfather cares for me from the bottom of his heart.] No one had ever shown him such care in either of his two lives.
"His Majesty will certainly deploy troops this time," Jun Wu Yi was the only one in the family who hadn't gone to the Golden Scholarly Talent Feast. So, the grandfather-grandson had told him about everything that had taken place there. He spoke in a tone the reflected his confidence, "His Majesty will certainly take action this time! His Majesty wouldn't have read this out-aloud by mistake even if the sky had come crumbling down."
Grandpa Jun nodded, but remained silent. Jun Wu Yi had succeeded his father as the head of the Family after his recovery. It was Jun Wu Yi's responsibility to make the decisions. Therefore, Grandpa Jun would try to talk as little as possible so as to allow Jun Wu Yi to shoulder the family's burden. He'd give his opinions only when an extremely difficult situation, or an unexpected one, arose. Even then, he'd merely suggest his views; nothing more. He'd only dive into the matters half-heartedly. He'd never show excessive intervention.
"It seems that I should get ready," Jun Wu Yi chuckled happily. His eyes reveled in the dreams of a battle. The long-forgotten warrior had awakened inside him.
"Why?" Jun Mo Xie was very clever, but he couldn't understand this sentence. He couldn't fathom why Jun Wu Yi would need to get ready if the Emperor was to send his troops to battle. It was important to know that only a few people knew of Jun Wu Yi's full recovery; he was still a cripple in the eyes of the common people.
"Actually, this Golden Scholarly Talent Feast wasn't a festival in its strict sense." Jun Wu Yi sneered and said, "This feast was held for you; Jun Mo Xie. You were the main reason why this event was organized! You would've been exposed no matter how you had acted — unless you had willingly taken those insults. Your counter-verse was vulgar… but you were able to come up with it in such a short period of time. This is a talent in a sense. Therefore, the feast ended right after your counter-verse; that too at the Emperor's bidding. This means that His Majesty had reached a conclusion by then!"
Jun Wu Yi gave a wide smile, "Mo Xie, you haven't seen the usual disputes that take place in the Imperial Court. The situation at the palace was chaotic today, but there have been many such incidents in the past; some were even worse. So, why was it that the Emperor was so intolerable towards it today? That is why… I think that our Jun Family was being targeted by His Majesty by the means of this event! Mo Xie, you must've left some small clues. And the Emperor being an overly suspicious person would ask the question — why? He wouldn't think that our actions are for self-preservation. He would view them with jealousy and suspicion. The Emperor must think that we're biding our time and planning something big! Regardless of whether our intention was devious or not!"
Grandpa Jun released a long sigh from the other side. It seemed like he didn't wish to hear what was being said again. He had already thought the same thing that Jun Wu Yi was mentioning at this point. However, he hadn't brought it up. He knew that it was a possibility, but he hadn't spoken of it since he was holding onto his delusions. [To think that after being like brothers for so many decades… the Emperor would treat his family is this manner...] He felt very sad at the thought of it.
"The Emperor is a very suspicious and cautious man by nature. Therefore, I believe that he's unlikely to use a thunderous move against our Jun Family. He would first seek to weaken our family's strength little-by-little. And I'll be the first one to bear the brunt. This attack by the Tian Fa Xuan Beast wave presents him with the perfect opportunity to deal with me first," Jun Wu Yi spoke these words unenthusiastically, but a cold and sharp light flashed in his eyes. The man could see the 'big picture'.
Jun Mo Xie smiled mischievously, "He's gravely mistaken if he thinks that way... Third Uncle, I'll accompany you into battle if you're forced to leave for it. The Tian Fa forest is wonderful place for our family as far as I'm concerned!"
Jun Wu Yi narrowed his eyes, "You wish to come? I'm afraid that you'll also risk death in that case. However, what I'm mainly concerned about is..." He then looked to his father, "If Mo Xie and I were to leave for the forest — you'll be alone at home..."
Jun Zhan Tian laughed gently, "He won't take rash actions against me. Be at ease; our Jun Family hasn't lost the entirety of its power yet. Why else would he try to measure you beforehand?"
Jun Wu Yi clapped his head, "This child hadn't considered that angle."
Jun Mo Xie smiled, "I didn't expect that this matter would worry Third Uncle such much."
The three men of the family had concluded their discussion. This solution to this situation was bound to be ever-changing.
The three men felt that this matter… hadn't gotten out of their hands yet.
Especially the Young Master Jun. He felt that he had solid grip on this matter. So, why would he worry?
"Mo Xie, can't you ease the training of those three hundred guards a bit? ...They are getting very tired. It seems you're making them run before they're even qualified to walk." Jun Wu Yi's expression was solemn as he raised this issue.
Jun Mo Xie stared blankly for a while. Then, he slowly started to speak, "Third uncle, I understand your concern, but my demands from their training are far from over! I'll only strengthen their training step by step. But I won't loosen it up! What I'll set up… and what I wish… is the strongest military force!"
Jun Wu Yi was stunned. [Is it necessary to continue with this sort of inhumane training? If I were to send anyone from that group to the battlefield at this moment… they would be nothing short of a standard 'slaughtering machine'! Yet… he says that their training is far from finished?]
[What kind of an abnormal squad does my nephew wish to train?]
[And will those ordinary soldiers be able to hold-up to that training?]
Meanwhile, those soldiers divided into different groups, and advanced towards each other on the training field. Each man was sweating profusely; each man was drenched in sweat. Jun Mo Xie had introduced an even tougher training regime ever since they had returned from the Tian Fa Forest. He had doubled the intensity of their training, and would make them work round-the-clock for twenty-four hours-a-day. The Young Master Jun had been particular to the last detail.
A sandbag was tied to each man's arms, hip bones and legs at present. The function of the sandbags was to add extra weight. They weren't even permitted to remove them when they were having a meal… or going to sleep. Their training had become more strenuous with each passing day! It was like a struggle between life and death.
An outsider would become extremely shocked if he saw this. It had ceased to resemble a fight between humans; or a drill of regular soldiers. Rather, it appeared as if frantic beasts were madly tearing at each other. Everyone's eyes had an ominous glint, and a murderous aura radiated around them. It seemed that they were brimming with irreconcilable hatred towards their "enemy"… and were ensued in a battle of life and death.
They had endured that brutal training the entire afternoon. The Xuan Qi inside their bodies had become similar to an incense stick that was entirely burnt-out. They were solely relying on their bodily strength and instinct as they battered each other and received blows in return at present.
Not a single grain of dust remained on the Jun Family's training field. Each and every inch of the training field had been irrigated with sweat and blood. The men had been repeatedly smashed into the ground. It would appear that even an iron hammer wouldn't be able to make a dent on the battlefield's surface. The whole field had a glossy texture to it…
It was extremely terrifying to look at!
The battle had come to its climax by the time Jun Mo Xie reached there. No man in that confrontation had any strength left.
A soldier roared madly and threw himself at a large individual. He beat him ferociously with his fist and leg. The opposite party neither evaded the attacks — nor did he yield. An unbearable "Bang" sound emanated when the fist and the leg made contact with the man's body. Both men then tumbled backwards. Then, an explosive sound resonated as the both of them smashed onto the ground. Both soldiers then crawled back-up and resumed their ferociously fight. It seemed like two giant rhinos were smashing into each other.
The Jun Family's pond had turned black. Ten huge iron cooking-pots were stationed on its sides. These pots bubbled endlessly. The pots were being used to prepare the medicinal herbs, and some people were continuously pouring the liquid medicine into the pond once it was ready. After that, they'd add some water, and would continue to refine the medicine.
Close to a 100 soldiers soaked naked inside the pond. Their eyes were closed-shut, and their expression was solemn and respectful. They weren't taking a bath. This was another kind of training. During this time, Jun Mo Xie would have each one of them to soak their bodies in that pool as the medicine was poured into it. The water from the pond was replaced every three days, and the medicine was replaced along with it. Therefore, these soldiers would soak their bodies in that medicinal pond everyday after finishing their training in order to restore their health and rejuvenate by absorbing the medicines.
The reason this was just another sort of training was — the water in the pond was always on the verge of boiling point. But it wasn't enough to cook them alive. Also, the water contained precious medicinal herbs; it would replenish their energy, and give nourishment to their bodies so that they could endure the harsh training.
It was only natural that those soldiers would have to pay the corresponding price for availing that useful medicinal water. Therefore, the task of changing the medicinal water was done by them only. Moreover, this task wasn't allowed to encroach upon their training time.
Jun Mo Xie's training methods couldn't merely be termed as 'cruel'. Jun Wu Yi was a harsh soldier, but when he looked at the plight of these soldiers… he felt that this training was somewhat inhumane.
Jun Mo Xie hid on the side-lines. He observed every individual carefully. The Young Master would change the intensity of their training every day these days. And every day, the soldier would be amazed to discover that they when they had barely adjusted to the training of one day… they were on the verge of death the next...
Their limits were exceeded every time!
They trained every day, and round-the-clock. And, they continued to surpass their previous limits. Their bodily strength would increase every two days, and they would be pleasantly surprised to find that their Xuan Qi level would also see a slight increase every few days. And, although the increase was somewhat marginal… it was still a remarkable increase when one considered the time it had happened-in.
This sort of 'speedy' enhancement was simply shocking!