Within the forest, Xu Min was rushing forward, his feet moving on a familiar track that he usually played on. His head was clear, with only one thought floating through it - survive!
The most important thing for Xu Min was to survive, so that he could return one day. Return to ensure that both the young and old master of the Zhong family died by his hands. But right now, he knew that his chances of survival were slim, since a horde of guards was hot on his trail.
Had this happened just a few days earlier, Xu Min would have been caught already. However, after breaking into the Student Warrior rank, Xu Min was now much faster than even he would have ever believed to have become, and he also became able to store Qi within his body.
What assisted him in his escape was not only the small amount of Qi he had been able to gather in the last few days, but also his familiarity with the forest, and the physical strength he had trained to improve.
The guards never needed to enter the forest, and although it was considered safe, it was not a place people would normally venture into, unless they were poor and tried to harvest edible plants or hunt small critters.
Another thing that slowed the guards down was the elaborate metal armor they were wearing to show off the magnificence of the Zhong family. Unfortunately for them, it was far from helpful while chasing someone in a dense forest. After a few hours of chasing after Xu Min, the final guard gave up and returned to the mansion.
"What do you mean, you can't find him?!" Master Zhong's voice roared throughout the entire hall, as everyone present cowered in fear from what their family leader might do as punishment for failing to complete their mission.
"That boy is not ordinary," Master Zhong said with a low and intimidating voice. "His talent is far above average, so we can't afford to let him go. If we do, it will come back to haunt us. Have someone who knew him sketch up a drawing, issue a bounty of one hundred gold coins, and give it to whomever manages to provide me with his severed head."
Having said this, Master Zhong took a small break to consider what he should do with the ones who failed to capture the boy. With a sigh, he waved his hand, ready to dismiss them.
In the middle of the motion, Master Zhong seemed to have changed his mind, since he opened his eyes once more and said, "Every day, send a team into the forest to see whether or not you can capture him. The same bounty holds true for my guards as well as anyone else. You have to kill him."
Seated beside Master Zhong was the young master. At first, his face had been rigid from fear and regret; however, as the night progressed, and as he was getting congratulated on his actions, excitement grew in him, and he felt as though he had finally succeeded. Murder was truly the way to becoming stronger.
He was also thrilled that Xu Min left. It didn't matter much to Zhong Ji whether Xu Min was alive or dead anymore. As long as he was gone, it meant that there was no longer anyone of similar age who could overtake him while training, or be more skilled than him. Thus, the young boy had a broad smile on his face.
Young master Zhong was not aware why his father was so intent on killing Xu Min, because he saw Xu Min as nothing more than a pest. Although his talent was astonishing, he was nothing but a small boy who was now all alone in the world. He could hardly be called a threat by anyone.
Master Zhong disagreed with him on this point. Allowing for the boy to live would result in a potential thorn in his side, because he had seen the sheer hate and anger burning in the boy's eyes when he escaped into the forest.
Master Zhong felt rather uncomfortable as he mulled over the entire situation, but after shaking his head a little, he decided to return to the banquet he was hosting. With a polite smile on his face, he greeted the family members that were present once more.
In the almost unnoticeable background of the banquet, all the maids who were ordered to pour wine and serve the food, did so without smiles on their faces. Instead, most of them even had almost unnoticeable tear stains on their cheeks. They all thought about how their good friend died because of a weak-willed pathetic young master who killed her just because he did not have the guts to face his rival head on.
As he sat on a branch of one of the largest trees in the forest, Xu Min gritted his teeth. His hands were filled with scrapes, and his eyes shone with a red hue.
It had been days since Xu Min was chased into the forest by the Zhong family guards, and he had long since realized that all the humans in the forest were after him.
On the first day, he had almost gotten caught by a group of mercenaries because he went to them for help, only to hear that they were after a bounty on his head. Since then, Xu Min dreaded falling asleep because he feared being found during the night.
Leaving the forest was not easy either, because Xu Min saw that guards were patrolling its vicinity, ready to catch him whenever he showed himself. With no other options left, Xu Min decided to venture further into the forest, and see what kind of landscape was on the other side.
In all the years Xu Min had lived, he had only heard a little information about the other side of the woods. On the other side was a vast country, unimaginably bigger than the city Xu Min grew up in, a place where every cultivator would venture out to carve out a name for themselves. The Stories, which Overseer Tian told about it, were what caused Xu Min to become interested in cultivating in the first place. One day, he would carve his own name into history.