This type of dance was completely novel to the people of Southern Kingdom. This kind of dance was lively, fun, and possessed an enchanting appeal. A few Imperial guards couldn’t help but move along to the beat, quietly shaking their bodies. Seeing this, the Emperor laughingly said, “If the Crown Prince of Northern Kingdom has learned my Southern Kingdom’s sword dance, then you all should get up on stage and learn the heroic dance of Northern Kingdom, no need to stand on ceremony.”
With the Emperor’s encouragement, the group of Imperial Guards couldn’t help but step forward to learn the dance. Presently, the hunting ground was filled with the sound of music, the pounding of footsteps, and the flickering of the campfire.
Sitting on the side drinking wine, the Emperor watched with narrowed eyes. Today was a rare occasion to drink to one’s heart’s content, unlike those previous constrained feasts. The officials sitting below drank wine while eating roasted meat and it wasn’t long before they became drunk.
At that moment, an incident suddenly took place.
As the campfire was dwindling down, a few guards stepped forward, intending to add more firewood, when a strange gust of wind blew pass, completely extinguishing the fire.
They were instantly enveloped in darkness, left only with the glow of the dying embers and a few remaining torches to serve as a light source. The guards swiftly advanced to start the fire again yet at that moment, cries of wolves rang out, sounding particularly forlorn. Amidst the mountains, in the quiet of the night, the howls of wolves were nothing unusual. Which mountains didn’t have at least one or two wolves? Even if there were a pack of wolves, with such a large group of people present, what was there to fear? Moreover, all the vicious beasts were already taken care of yesterday.
But following the series of wolf cries, another kind of growling noise sounded from within the forest, seemingly not too far from them.
Hui Xue suddenly halted her playing and everyone was frozen in place. The guards reached for their weapons and quickly surrounded the Emperor, surveying the surrounding with vigilance. The majority of the people who were drunk had somewhat sobered up now.
This kind of growl was not that of a tiger, ape, wolf, nor panther but that of a bear-like beast. When she was stationed at Western Jiang, she had once entered into the depths of the jungle with her subordinates and came across this type of beast before. It was just that she had never once exchanged blows with it firsthand. According to the natives of Western Jiang, this bear-like beast was raised by the deity of Agriculture since ancient times, or so they were told by their ancestors and those before them. Although it was a monstrously huge beast, its uniqueness lay in its exceptional intelligence which even other carnivorous animals feared. It was said that anywhere the beast went, other species would suddenly disappear without a trace, that even the wild wolves were scared at the mere sight of it. If a person were to come across such a beast alone on the street, naturally it was not likely for them to return alive. It was no wonder the wolves’ cries just then sounded so miserable.
Hua Zhu Yu did not expect that such a beast would appear in this mountain. It seemed as though the guards protecting the Emperor had never encountered this beast before, she doubted they have even heard of it before. Clutching their swords tightly, their hands shook as they entered the forest.
Hua Zhu Yu quickly stepped forward to stop them, “The situation has yet to be assessed, you shouldn’t act rashly.” The beast’s body was solid as a rock, ordinary swords couldn’t harm it. If these guards impulsively charged at it, they would merely be courting death.
But why would these guards listen to the advice of a little eunuch. They urgently rushed forward to display their loyalties before the Emperor and shoved her aside, shouting, “Move over, move… don’t block our way!”
Suddenly the cries of the wolves ceased and the birds scattered away from the trees.
A large black figure emerged.
The moon shone clearly in the night sky. It’s brightness combined with the glow of the torches allowed everyone present to vaguely make out the shape of the bear-like beast. It was larger than a black bear and seemingly more cunning as well with a face full of large bristles. Its feet were remarkably agile and it appeared as powerful as a tiger as it charged toward the group of people.
This beast seemed to understand that attacking the heavily guarded Emperor would be difficult so it bypassed the Emperor and headed directly towards Kang Wang Huangfu Wu Shang whose face was frightened pale.
Having just competed with Huangfu Wu Shuang, Kang Wang Huangfu Wu Shang was currently sitting in the corner drinking wine with only a few guards protecting him. Seeing the charging beast, the guards brandished their swords at it but to no avail. Stabbing at it was no different from stabbing a boulder. Instantly, their swords were broken to pieces.
“Don’t attack randomly, its whole body is as sturdy as a rock, only the spot of white fur beneath it’s jaw is its weak point!” Hua Zhu Yu shouted.
Only now did the people realize how impressive this beast was. Frightened, a few guards ran away. Fortunately one guard with decent martial arts remained. He rushed forward to protect the prince and strike the beast with his sword. However, it was incredibly difficult to hit the beast’s vulnerable spot. He continued to attack the beast and shouted, “Your Highness, quickly escape!”
Huangfu Wu Shang was easily scared and his face was sickly pale as he trembled in fear at the sight of the beast. He quickly tried to run away, but his left leg appeared to be somewhat limping.
Seeing him escape, the beast lifted its paw and clouted the guard who was blocking its way. The beast then charged after Huangfu Wu Shang, raising its paw intending to strike his back. Under these circumstances, Hua Zhu Yu couldn’t help but run forward and extend out an arm to pull the youth toward her, reducing the impact of the strike. Spitting out a mouthful of blood, Huangfu Wu Shang fainted.
Hua Zhu Yu dragged Huangfu Wu Shang back a few steps and laid him down on the ground. With a burst of wind, the approaching beast leapt over her head.
Even without a weapon it would have been easy for her to escape just using her lightness skills (qing gong) . But if she were to escape, Huangfu Wu Shang would undoubtedly die under the strike of the beast.
Though Kang Wang and Huangfu Wu Shuang were rivals and both were sons of her enemy, Hua Zhu Yu was clear who was responsible for the debt and she did not wish for this innocent youth to die like this.
A number of guards had regained their senses and quickly grabbed their bows and arrows in an attempt to hit the beast’s vulnerable spot. But despite their best efforts they were only able to inflict superficial wounds, only serving to further aggravate the beast. With an ominous glint in it’s eyes, it pounced towards Hua Zhu Yu.
Hua Zhu Yu quickly made a move for the arrow near Huangfu Wu Shang’s waist. Tightly grasping it in her hand, she began to pour internal force into it. She then raised her two arms high, concealing the arrow. To others, it appeared as though she was wrestling with the beast. It’s body was heavy and it was strong as a tiger, terribly ferocious as though it would break her arm at any minute.
In this moment of life or death, a purple shadow swiftly approached, so quickly that others could not clearly discern who it was.