Shen Qiang heaved a sigh of relief when he made it onto the roof. He didn’t dare take a break though. After tying the other end of the rope to one of the carvings and taking back the hook, he rushed over to the other side of the roof, took out another rope and secured it again.
He made it over to the next building in the same way, and finally got through all the obstacles on the way to the hill. Seeing the end that the other beasts had suffered, the attacks grew sneakier, including one beast that clambered up the wall and tried to attack him on the roof itself. Thankfully, he hadn’t let his guard down even once in this time. Otherwise, he really would have had a problem keeping his life.
Taking another deep breath, Shen Qiang looked from the roof of the last palace over to the hill. A tree was growing on top, the dark red leaves rustling in the wind. At its roots, the herb that he was supposed to gather was growing. He took out the drawing even though he was pretty sure that he had the right one and nodded to himself.
“I guess that is the last hurdle I have to take then.” He stood back up, looked around, and then jumped down from the roof, rolling to the side to evade yet another attack. He drew his sword, lashed out and the beast jumped back with a growl.
Shen Qiang narrowed his eyes, daring the beast to attack him again. When it didn’t, he didn’t lose any time. He turned around and rushed over the hill, ignoring the beasts close by. With everything so far, the weaker ones would think twice before attacking. As for the strong ones … He’d have to hope or otherwise fight his way through.
He only stopped when he reached the foot of the hill. Instead of going directly to dig out the herbs, he whirled around, daring the demonic beasts to step closer. None of them did but quite a few had come close enough that he would have to watch his back closely.
Right now, he really regretted coming alone. With a second person, this kind of thing would’ve been much easier. Maybe he should’ve asked for Grandmaster Zhangsun to accompany him. Between his knowledge about demonic beasts and demons and Grandmaster Zhangsun’s cultivation level, there likely wouldn’t have been anything that could be dangerous to them. But then again, this was his own fight.
Seeing that for now, there was no immediate danger, Shen Qiang turned around and marched up the hill. He glanced at the tree, making sure that nothing was leering at him out of the branches before he crouched down to take a closer look at the herb. He didn’t put his sword down to make sure that he wouldn’t be vulnerable though.
From up close, he could finally say for sure that he had found the right plant. Now, the only question was how to get it out of the ground without damaging it. He didn’t know much about herbs other than the general ones that the demon hunters used to treat themselves when they were outside and unable to get any potions. This one … He definitely didn’t know anything about it. Still, if there was something specific he should have taken note of, he was pretty sure that that man with the veil covering his face would’ve told him.
Thinking of that, he rammed his sword into the ground, and took out a dagger, using it to loosen the soil before he swept a glance over his shoulders in both directions and then continued to dig with one hand while clasping the dagger in the other so he would be able to fight anything that came at him from behind.
It turned out that his caution had been right. Even though the attack didn’t come from behind as he had expected it would. After he managed to dig out the first herb, and then started to work on a second one to make sure that there would be a replacement in case something didn’t work out, the leaves above his head rustled in a regular manner that wasn’t like what had happened before when it had just been the wind moving them.
Shen Qiang almost froze for a moment but then made sure that he continued digging. If he gave any indication that he had already found out what was happening, then the next try would be more covert, making it more difficult for him to defend against it. He couldn’t let that happen.
When he had almost managed to dig out the plant, the leaves rustled right above his head. He narrowed his eyes and tightened his grip around the dagger while pretending to continue to dig. The movements of his left hand slowed down though.
Finally, the beast leaped.
Shen Qiang also attacked, his feet flitting over the grass on the hill while he lashed out with the dagger. This time, he didn’t manage to hit though. The beast in question was only about as thick as his arm, looking a bit like a weasel. It was just that its fur seemed to be injected with small needles and its eyes were glowing dangerously, not to mention the glinting teeth. This thing might not be able to flatten him but it would definitely be able to tear off his skin.
Shen Qiang pulled out his sword from the ground, once again lashing out. The blade collided with the body of the beast but got stuck in-between the needles.
Shen Qiang furrowed his brows and tried to wrest back his weapon but it didn’t help. The beast hissed and then tried to turn around to bite his leg.
Shen Qiang sidestepped and then brought down the dagger, cleanly slicing the head off.
The beast’s final cry brought out some other creatures from the surroundings, making him curse. It seemed he would have to hurry up or this place might turn into his grave as well.
He sheathed his dagger, finally freed his sword from the beast’s body, and then continued to dig out of the herb with the renewed vigor. Hastily putting them away, he rushed down from the hill, and back toward the buildings.
Now, he had to get out as fast as possible and return to the Yun Zou Sect. Then, he really would’ve managed to at least make up for a bit of his wrongdoings from before.