“Just how deep did that crazy f*cker go in, anyway” Liu Chi complained in irritation while shoving aside the thick foliage to make way.
He already knew tracking someone through the mountain wilderness was not going to be easy.
That was why he made the smart decision to pay off the local Zhuang villagers familiar with the terrain well and had them search for traces of the foreigners instead.
So far, so good.
However, things went downhill after a few days when the locals suddenly started saying some dogsh*t about not wanting to go any further into the mountains.
Apparently, it was some kind of a forbidden area from that point onward.
The local hicks tried to persuade Liu Chi and his gang by saying that chasing the foreigners was no longer necessary since only death awaited those entering the forbidden area.
Of course, Liu Chi threatened them with guns, but the damn locals still resolutely refused to go in any further, even when faced with immediate death.
In the end, the locals got their wish to die fulfilled, but that meant Liu Chi had to find the tracks of the foreigners without their help.
“What a bunch of savages...” Liu Chi unhappily spat out.
A forbidden area What the hell There were still people in this era who believed in such superstitious nonsense
Wasn't that similar to believing in the fairytale of the deadly curse of the Pharaoh waiting for those who dared to enter the Pyramids Liu Chi just couldn't understand why anyone living in the 21st century would believe that crap.
'That stinking foreigner bastard...!'
If it hadn't been for that foreigner...! Liu Chi wouldn't be rummaging through the mountains at this late hour.
A bullet to the head was the best tool to teach savages the greatness of modern science...
Whether those savages believed in superstitions or in cultivation—it didn't matter! Just like how Liu Chi and his boys taught those superstition-spouting locals the power of science, they would also teach the martial arts-loving bastards the same lesson very soon!
“Everyone, over here!”
“Hmm…” Liu Chi walked up to one of his boys beckoning at him and found traces of disturbance visible on the bush under the flashlight.
He raised his head and, sure enough, the tall grass in front of him was all flattened in a single direction as if to say, “Hey, we went this way!”
“...Hasn’t been that long, eh”
With enough time, these grass stalks would have raised themselves back up again.
So, the fact that they were still flat to the ground meant the foreigners had to have passed here not too long ago.
The mountain was veiled in the darkness, so they had to search carefully while wielding their flashlights.
However, with traces this easy to find, it should be only a matter of time before Liu Chi caught up to that foreigner bastard.
“Everyone, get ready.”
Sounds of pistols being cocked came from all around Liu Chi.
Although no one brought rifles, there were still over twenty Triad members wielding pistols here.
With this much firepower, killing one person should be a cakewalk.
Hell, wouldn't this combat force be powerful enough to ransack a police station if they got serious about it
Liu Chi smirked deeply.
“Time to pay the price for daring to step inside China, you bastard.”
“...Mm, that's unfortunately incorrect.”
Goosebumps instantly covered Liu Chi's body.
That was because the 'reply' had come from right behind his ear.
“This place is also my land, you see.”
That reply was a quiet little whisper.
However, Liu Chi's body was frozen stiff by the spine-tingling dense killing intent contained within that whisper.
When was the last time he felt this This...
feeling It should be back when he mistakenly looked into the eyes of a pet tiger raised by a high-ranking executive of the Triad.
Despite thick chains restraining the intimidating creature, Liu Chi still felt terror sweep across him.
He knew that his throat could be ripped out in less than one second if that was what the tiger wished.
However, the 'tiger' growling right behind him didn't have a leash around its neck! Cold sweat began flooding down his back.
It's too early for you.
I'll deal with you last.”
“Uwaaaaah!!!” Liu Chi hurriedly spun around and fired recklessly into the night.
Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam!!!
“Vice Manager! What's gotten into you!”
“Da ge! Get a hold of yourself!”
Gang members hurriedly crouched and shielded their heads when Liu Chi brandished his pistol in their faces.
He still squeezed the trigger, causing several brief flames to shoot out from the gun.
“Da ge! Stop!”
“Huff! Huff!” Liu Chi panted breathlessly.
“W-where is he!”
“Huh Da ge, who are you talking about”
“That bastard right behind me, talking sh*t! Where is he!”
there was no one behind you”
“...What No one”
“Yes, da ge.”
But that couldn't be, right That voice whispering to Liu Chi from right behind him was too vivid, too real, to be fake.
Something like that couldn't be chalked down to an auditory hallucination!
'T-then, what could have happened'
Didn't the locals call this the forbidden area Did that mean...
some kind of a vengeful ghost existed here or something
Liu Chi started regretting putting a bullet in that Zhuang guide's forehead.
He should have listened more closely before doing that! Unfortunately, hindsight still proved to be a b*tch, even now.
“H-hurry up and search our surroundings!” Liu Chi cried out.
“Yes, da ge!”
Just as the gang members were about to disperse and begin their search, a blood-curdling scream exploded from not too far away.
“W-what the hell!” Liu Chi freaked out at that scream and hurriedly turned around to look.
“W-where did that come from! Where! Hey, you sh*theads, get some light over there already!”
The mountainside was now shrouded in darkness, so nothing was visible.
Only a minute ago, the darkness of the night seemed more or less what was expected of during this hour, but then, it felt like impenetrable blackness had descended upon the mountain in the blink of an eye.
The gang members felt around their vicinity like a bunch of headless chickens before finally stumbling on one of their own collapsed on the ground.
“...Is he dead”
The gang members felt their hair stand on end while looking at their motionless colleague.
“I… I think he's still alive”
They couldn't see any external injuries on the collapsed man.
“T-then, why is he like this”
Indescribable terror flooded in like a black tsunami wave that gradually pooled around their ankles.
“Da ge, what should we do about this guy”
“What do you mean, what! Just dump him somewhere out of sight!”
“...But, uh, he might die, da ge.”
“If you're worried about that, why don't you carry him down the mountain yourself”
The subordinate was forced to clamp his mouth shut.
Liu Chi shot a glare at this idiot, his anger level spiking even higher.
However, Liu Chi also felt like wetting his pants right now.
'Why did that idiot collapse, though A sudden heart attack But, how'
Just as Liu Chi tried to figure out the situation, something else shocked him back to his senses.
“Aaaaaaahk!” A weird sound of air splitting apart registered in everyone's hearing, immediately followed by yet another gang member by the far corner falling to the ground.
“My leg! My leeeeg!”
“W-what the f*ck! What now!” Liu Chi freaked out and urgently rushed over to the screaming gang member.
“My leg! Aaaaahk! My leg!”
“Stay still, you dumb sh*t!” Liu Chi yelled.
He wondered if a snake had bitten this fool by the ankle, but an animal bite couldn't cause such a strong whiff of blood to waft in the air.
“Get me some light over here! Hurry up!”
The writhing man on the ground was held down before the flashlight was directed at his leg.
Liu Chi's eyes trembled in shock when he saw the wound.
“...What the f*ck”
The collapsed gang member's ankle was split at the back.
More specifically, his Achilles' heel was sliced open, blood visibly gushing out from the wound.
It was as if someone had taken a sharp razor blade to this fool's skin.
“S-stem his bleeding, now!”
With that much bleeding, this idiot could die from excessive blood loss in a short while.
One of the gang members undid his belt and used that to tightly clasp the injured man's thigh, but that was only a stop-gap measure in a deep wilderness like this mountainside.
“...Damn it! Tighten the belt some more!” Liu Chi cried out.
“But, da ge! That might lead to necrosis of his leg!”
“F*cking hell! That's still better than dying!” Liu Chi yelled back, his eyes burning like flames.
The subordinate arguing back could only nod his head at that.
For sure, losing a leg was better than dying.
The person in question might not necessarily agree with that call.
Liu Chi angrily looked around.
“Scatter, now! Find who did this!”
“Who are you talking about, da ge”
“You dumb sh*t! Use your brain! Do you really think a wound like that is caused by stepping on a broken bottle on the ground Someone with a knife is behind that wound, you sh*t!” Liu Chi yelled once again.
He had severed many Achilles' heels before, so he could recognize that kind of wound in an instant.
And someone was definitely behind this!
“B-but, da ge, there shouldn't be anyone besides us around here... Mm" The subordinate hurriedly clamped his mouth shut.
That was because he had just remembered who they were chasing after.
'Sh*t! We got it wrong!'
Liu Chi thought they would be fine because they had guns.
Even if ordinary people couldn't win against a martial art expert, he still believed over twenty people firing their guns from afar should be more than enough to overcome any opponent.
Unfortunately, that was nothing more than an overestimation of their chances.
'Besides, is it even possible to attack from a distance now!'
The inky-black darkness had settled in their vicinity, yet the opponent still managed to accurately hit the ankle of a gang member from afar.
Which could only mean that Liu Chi and his boys no longer had the advantage of distance.
Their enemy couldn't be seen, yet he could see them just fine… What would happen next
Liu Chi's body began to shudder.
“...We weren't hunting, were we”
Indeed, he was right.
This was not a hunt.
No, they were the prey being hunted right now.
The role of the predator and prey had reversed in an instant!
Yet another noise of air ripping apart, and another gang member collapsed to the floor.
“Aaaaahk! My foot! My foooot!”
Liu Chi didn't need to see to know what just happened.
“Everyone, gather around me! Gather in one spot, now!”
Liu Chi fired two rounds in the air and cried out, “We can kill this f*cker as long as we figure out where he is! So, don't scatter and come over here to get in formation!”
The gang members heard his order and hurriedly rushed to Liu Chi's position.
They quickly stood around in a circle and aimed their guns in all directions.
“...Da ge, just what the hell is going on here”
“Think of it as facing off against a bastard with a gun! However, he's alone! So, we can—”
Before Liu Chi could finish…
Several sharp noises tore through the air, and Liu Chi witnessed many bluish streaks of light rapidly closing in on his group.
Those streaks of light were extremely fast.
Just as Liu Chi's brain registered them, several gang members fell to the ground while screaming at the top of their lungs.
Almost at the same time, Liu Chi felt a burning sensation coming from the right side of his head—as if that part of his body had been ripped away from him!
Liu Chi slowly raised his hand and touched his head.
He felt thick blood, and then...
'...It's not there'
His ear couldn't be found attached to its usual location.
It had been cleanly severed.
'We are all going to die!'
The fear of death instantly overtook all the other thoughts in his mind.
“Aaaahhh!” Liu Chi began firing his gun indiscriminately in all directions.
It wasn't just him, though, as his subordinates followed suit and fired their weapons in every direction.
Fear was the only thing left in their expressions.
Numerous gunshots echoed in the mountainside shrouded in darkness.
The pistol with spent magazine let out hollow clicking noise.
Liu Chi urgently replaced the empty magazine with a new one.
Just as he was done, more blue streaks of light flashed from the darkness, causing two more gang members to collapse.
The fear among the group reached its zenith.
“...We, we are all going to die!!! We'll die if we stay here!”
“N-no! Calm down, you sh*theads!” Liu Chi yelled, but it was no use.
His subordinates began to run away in every direction.
Liu Chi swore loudly and tried to stop them, but the terror-stricken gangsters couldn't hear any of his urgent yellings.
Eventually, Liu Chi's hearing could hear nothing but the pained moans coming from those too injured to run away.
Just where did things go wrong'
Liu Chi didn't come this far to chase that foreigner bastard only to witness this wretched outcome.
He kept asking just where he did wrong to reach this conclusion.
He slowly aimed his pistol into the darkness while biting his lower lip.
“I… I'm not going to die...!”
He hadn't been struggling so hard in his life just to die on this nameless mountain.
He gritted his teeth, swearing to himself that no matter who his enemy was, no matter how strong that foreigner was—he would put a bullet between the eyebrows of anyone daring to come after his life!
“Come out, now! Come out, you son of a b*tch!” Liu Chi's hoarse yell verging on a scream rang around in the mountainside.
His echo bouncing off from somewhere far away worsened his already heightened fear, though.
Blam! Blam! Blam!
After firing a few shots in the air, Liu Chi's pounding heart calmed down a little.
Unfortunately for him...
Black clouds were gradually flooding in front of him.
Liu Chi could only stare in stupefaction at this supernatural sight as if he was caught in a dream.
The darkness slowly coalesced into a figure of a person.
And when a pair of crimson eyes flashed eerily within the shape of the cloud's head, Liu Chi fell on his butt, his mouth agape.
“As you wish...” The 'face' of the shadow bared its fangs in a toothy grin.
Liu Chi could only let out a hollow chuckle.
'I didn't know it'd be a devil...'
This was the moment when Tian Shan, the Mountain of Heavens, became a living hell.
“Da ge” is Chinese for big brother.
Kinda like 'hyung-nim'. ☜