Shen Qiang took an extra minute to survey his surroundings. He knew that time flowed differently in the realms and that it was currently tight. But on the other hand, he had hurried up on the way he here so he felt that he could take a moment longer at this junction. Furthermore, this would likely make the difference between dying here trying and getting out with the herb and being able to bring it back.
After all, if he didn’t manage to get to the herb in the first place and then bring it back safely afterward, it would help no one. In fact, he had to make sure that he made it out alive. Otherwise, he really wouldn’t have paid off any debt and just added insult to injury by not enabling Nian Hong Fang’s lover to make a recovery. He would not stand for that.
Shen Qiang finally took out a rope and hook, tied it together, and then started to swing it through the air, finally throwing it to the roof on the building on the other side of the path.
On the ground, there were many places to hide for beasts and demons. He would put himself in more danger if he went there. On the other hand, if he traveled on the roofs, it would be much more difficult to sneak-attack him. Even though he didn’t doubt that there would be some creatures willing to give it a try, at the very least, he might be able to notice them sooner and thus defend himself better.
Knowledge was always power in this kind of situation. At the very least, that much was true of the teachings of the demon-hunting sects. Even if he could trust nothing else that they had said, this was a universal truth that he would never doubt.
Thanks to the years of training, Shen Qiang had made a rather accurate guess of how much strength it would need to make the hook reach the other side. It scraped over the roof of the building but in the end, it still fell down, unable to be actually hooked in.
Shen Qiang clicked his tongue but wasn’t too disturbed by this. Going wrong once wasn’t too much of a problem. He just had to try again. Having a better feeling for what he needed to do now, he once again threw out the rope and this time, things worked out better. The hook scraped over the tiles and finally got wedged.
Even though he had been sure that he would be able to make it work, Shen Qiang still gave a small smile before he turned around and bound the end of the rope around the edge of the roof he was standing on.
Giving a nod to himself, Shen Qiang crouched down, slipped down over the edge of the roof, and then grabbed the rope to crawl over. He made sure to keep his mind focused on everything going on around him.
He could hear crunching steps on the ground close by, telling him that something was once again edging closer toward him. Right now, while he was saver him from sneak-attacks, he was also in a vulnerable position. Crawling over was the fastest way and the one making it less likely to fall down than balancing on top of the rope would be. But at the same time, it also made him show his back to whatever was down there.
He gritted his teeth, tensed his muscles, and crawled faster. When he had reached halfway across the path, a screech sounded below him and something leaped at him.
Shen Qiang clammed his legs shut around the rope but let go with his hands, taking out a weapon, and slashing at the beast that was coming at him. The blade and a pair of claws met in the air, making the rope sway from side to side dangerously.
Shen Qiang gritted his teeth, and hacked out once again, making the beast growl and crouch down on the ground, eying him warily.
Shen Qiang furrowed his brows and put the dagger away, once again reaching out for the rope. He took a deep breath and then continued to clamber over, his ears trying to pick up on anything going on down there.
Nothing happened though. He was almost in reach of the other side but that beast was still crouching down there as if it had completely given up. He was sure that that wasn’t the case though. These things might look like simple-minded beasts only but they were still intelligent creatures. They knew how to be patient and wait for opportunities. He had to make sure that he didn’t give them any.
By now, he was only two arms’ reach from the edge of the other roof. His most vulnerable position would be when he transferred over from the rope to the roof. That would likely be when he would be attacked.
He tensed his muscles, reached down to grab his dagger, and then held it against his arm to hide it from the view of the beast. He continued to climb, his whole body filled with tension. When he got to the roof, a slight sound could be heard from down there, as if the heels of that beast had dug into the ground, causing the stones on the road to rub against each other.
Shen Qiang narrowed his eyes, his fingers tightening around the hilt of the dagger while he continued to crawl a little further forward.
The beast jumped and Shen Qiang once again let his torso fall, meeting the attack halfway. This time, he plunged the dagger right into the beast’s neck, taking it out once and for all.
One of the claws scratched his shoulder but he just gritted his teeth, pulled out the dagger, and then himself onto the roof. Anyway, it was still better to make sure there was one less risk when he came back. He just couldn’t take any at this point in time.