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Lying on the ground, Wei Chong's limbs were twitching uncontrollably. Trying to catch his breath, he already had no strength to speak.
If he hadn't demonstrated his strength at the peak of Zongs.h.i.+ Master Realm before, no one in the yard would have believed the underdog being dragged by Li Mu was him, a top-of-the-range martial arts expert.
At that moment, everyone was speechless.
The young disciples of the Taibai faction just stood there with their eyes so wide as if they could fall out of their eye sockets at any moment.
The result of that battle was unbelievable.
The man they perceived as a vile character, an insidious schemer, and an arrogant idiot, had just displayed a power that was beyond their wildest dream. Facing his head-on attack, the super powerful expert at the peak of the Zongs.h.i.+ Master Realm collapsed at the first strike. That blew their mind off.
"Why did it turn out like this?"
The young disciples were puzzled.
Standing among them, Zhou Zhenhai, who was thrilled by the fight, felt his heart suddenly plunged to his bottom and his blood was running cold.
The crippling defeat of such a high-level expert like Wei Chong told him that he might never be able to avenge his son.
Even if Li Mu could be killed someday, the killer could never be him.
After all, today's raid to the county government was all this local bully got—he had pulled all the strings he could and employed all the tricks and schemes he had to organize this event. But now, after witnessing Li Mu vanquish that top expert, this ace card of his seemed rather ridiculous and childish.
Instinctively, he peeked at his birth-brother, Zhou Zhenyue.
"If Brother Zhou Zhenyue goes all out to fight him..."
He pictured the scene and came to the conclusion that it would not work, either.
Meanwhile, Zhou Zhenyue was also musing with his eyes closed.
He was calucating Li Mu's strength to see if he had a chance to take Li Mu out when facing that freaking stunning speed and force he just demonstrated.
The other experts from Jianghu were wearing varied expressions.
The two elders from the Sky Dragon Faction and the Huya Faction respectively looked like they had just been slapped hard in the face and their cheeks were still burning. The two elders, who had long since regarded the other his foe, subconsciously risked a look at each other and both detected the panic and shock in the other's eyes.
Only by that point did they realize what kind of man they had made the enemy out of.
To put it into perspectives, even if the two and their faction members as well as all the factions that disturbed Taibai County recently united, they would not be worth of the rival of this young man before them.
Probably, this county magistrate would finish them off single-handedly.
"Given that Wei Chong, an expert at the peak of Zongs.h.i.+ Master Realm, was as vulnerable and helpless as a puppet when taking his blows, then, what level on earth has Li Mu reached already?"
That question made everyone on the scene shudder in fear.
They could not bring themselves to even think about the answer.
Because when they did, they gave way to tears of shame.
It struck each of the martial arts cultivators that they should not have visited this yard today in the first place, because they were simply not qualified to challenge such a powerful man.
Li Mu, who was stilling on the steps, suddenly tossed away the iron chain he was grasping.
"If I remembered it right, you said today you were gonna make me beg for a quick death, didn't you?" He squinted at Wei Chong and demanded.
At those words, Wei Chong's breathing became heavier. His eyes reddened like a dying bull, and his expression looked scared. "What, what do you want now?" he stammered.
"Relax, I'm a kind man. I don't torture the loser in most cases." Li Mu grinned.
"Don't torture the loser?" thought Wei Chong hopefully.
If Ning Zhongshan and Chu Shufeng heard that from h.e.l.l, they would certainly contradict him as they stamp with rage.
But sadly, Wei Chong did not know what just happened in this front yard. Thus, when he heard Li Mu's remark, he thought he could sigh in relief. Deep down, he was dreading being tortured, even though he liked intimidating other people with that threat.
"So, I'll simply let you kick the bucket," added Li Mu.
Wei Chong's relieved expression instantly froze.
"You... I'm an elder of the Qing Sha Clan. You cannot kill me. If you do, my clan will not let you off the hook. The members of the Qing Sha Clan are widely spread across the continent. We have experts in the three great empires as well as the vast pasture. If you take my life, you'll be hunted for the rest of your life!"
Wei Chong called out his ultimatum.
"Qing Sha Clan?"
Zhou Zhenyue abruptly opened his eyes, and his face paled.
Some other experts that had heard of the Qing Sha Clan also looked shocked at that name.
The Qing Sha Clan was a highly influential organization. As a sixth-rated faction, it was invincible in every aspect in the eyes of people at Chang'an. In comparison, the Taibai Sword Faction that enjoyed a long history in the Western Qin Empire was simply a newborn.
In truth, the Taibai Sword Faction was only famous within the Western Qin Empire, while the Qing Sha Clan had been expanding its power across the continent since the ancient times. In terms of history, the latter was actually more long-standing than some of the top nine Holy Clans.
"This hammer guy is an expert of the Qing Sha Clan?"
"His backing is too powerful! Too frightening!" The spectators could not help but gasp.
However, Li Mu seemed totally unconcerned. "Oh, you do have a point. All right, I'll kill you in secret, so no one of the Qing Sha Clan will know."
"You... But in the presence of so many experts, the news will definitely spread out!" yelled Wei Chong desperately.
Li Mu nodded pensively before saying, "Yeah, you're right. But that can be fixed easily. I just need to kill them all. Then, no one in this world will ever learn about your death."
As those words were out, every spectator turned ashen-faced at once.
The young disciples of the Taibai Sword Faction could no longer stay cool and showed their agitation on their faces. Zhao Ling even pressed her hand on her sword handle, while the several other male disciples who fell for her were so freaked out that they already drew out their swords in an attempt to deter the enemy.
Some experts even turned tails without a word.
Arrow-shaped energy shot out.
Screaming in pain, those who tried to flee were hit in the knees and stumbled to the floor.
"The ones who run faster die faster," muttered Li Mu menacingly.
He now looked completely like a demon that would kill without batting an eye.
Those who attempted to run away immediately felt their knees too weak to move, so they stayed put, not even daring to flinch. After all, the power Li Mu displayed was too horrible.
He could hit anyone by conjuring an arrow out of the wind with a simple flick. So, how could they possibly escape?
"You... Look, young man, don't do anything rash. Think about it, we can patch things up. I'm not your sworn enemy. Why being so ruthless? Let me go, please! I guarantee you, I will never ever bother you in the future! We can just stay out of each other's way and live our own life. What do you say?" pleaded Wei Chong anxiously.
On the surface, he was begging Li Mu earnestly.
But what he was planning in mind was that once he got out of this, he would gather as many experts as he could before returning to Taibai County and cut a swathe out of the entire region. What was more, he would wipe out all the people who had seen his mortified appearance on the scene today.
"Fair point." Li Mu nodded again.
Wei Chong gave an inward smirk. Then, he tried to persuade Li Mu further, "I mean what I said. Actually, I think you have great potentials. Well, no discord, no concord. Let's be friends from now on. Come on, you're already the master of a whole county at such a young age. But if you also have the support of our Qing Sha Clan, I bet you will make rapid advances and have an unmeasurable promising future in the Western Qin Empire."
Li Mu gave a curt nod and replied, "That makes sense. This way, we can turn hostility into friends.h.i.+p."
Wei Chong went ecstatic as he heard Li Mu's agreement and hastily echoed, "Yes, yes, yes. That's right. There is no grudge between us that can't be dissolved."
By that point, a lot of the spectators heaved with a sigh of relief, too.
"That's the best scenario," considered the crowd of experts.
"As long as this demon doesn't launch a ma.s.sacre to do away with the witnesses of his murder, we can all make it through the day."
"If they can be friends, everybody is happy."
However, Li Mu went on, "But there is one thing about that solution that I'm kind of not satisfied with."
"What thing? Come on, tell me. Whatever it is, I promise you I'll fix it," said Wei Chong with confidence.
He believed he had already known what Li Mu was thinking about.
Seemingly surprised, Li Mu asked, "Really?"
"Really, of course! In the Western Qin Empire, my influence is beyond your imagination." Wei Chong laughed.
"How hilarious! Beyond my imagination? Bulls.h.i.+t!" Li Mu cursed in his mind.
He then put on a beaming face and said genially, "That's great. Well, I'll tell you. The thing that bothers me is that your face is so ugly that it makes me sick. If you can look prettier, I won't kill you. How about it?"
"You..." Wei Chong was struck dumb by that remark but soon flared up. "You're making fun of me?"
"Hum, how can you say I'm making fun of you? I just want to end your life and help you complete your reincarnation faster, perhaps next time you will be born with a nicer look. Hey, I'm doing you a favor." Li Mu retorted.
"You, you're unbelievable. I won't let you get away with this. You..." Wei Chong ranted, struggling to get up. Very clear that he had been insulted, he was riled.
"I have your best interest in mind, but it's a pity that you don't understand," Li Mu shrugged and said, "Anyway, don't worry. I'm just such a nice guy who does good deeds but asks for nothing in return. In spite of your curses, I decide I'll still help you with your reincarnation."
"No, no, no, Li Mu, be cool, I..." Wei Chong implored in haste.
Li Mu, however, remained indifferent.
"Bear this in mind, in your next life, try to be a decent man."
After he said that last word to Wei Chong, Li Mu pointed at a finger at him. A jet of energy burst out and hit his heart, drawing an end to the b.l.o.o.d.y life of this a.s.sa.s.sin of the Qing Sha Clan.
The front yard of the county government was now as silent as a graveyard.
Slowly, Li Mu turned around to face the on-lookers.
Scared out of their wits, several experts felt their knees give way and dropped to the ground, begging Li Mu to show mercy and spare them. They cried and wailed that they would never dare to go against Taibai County.
But Li Mu did not pay attention to them. Instead, he looked at Zhou Zhenyue.
"Elder Zhou, is our deal of two swords strikes still on?" asked Li Mu seriously.
Zhou Zhenyue's lips twitched.
"To h.e.l.l with that deal!"
The prominent and respected outer school elder of the Taibai Sword Faction swore internally.
"I'm not your match. The deal is off the table." The elder answered him with a forced smile.
After a brief pause, Zhou Zhenyue added, "Talents are never short in Jianghu. Each of them will have their prime. I admit that Your Honor was really a rare talent that I have never seen before. I can stay here to bear the consequences of what we did today. But please give a second chance to those disciples behind me. They are young, and they will be awesome martial arts cultivators of our Western Qin Empire. Though they offended you with thoughtless remarks, that's because they're reckless, not because they hold any malevolence against you."
"No! Elder Zhou, I'll take the rap." Zhao Ling, the gifted beauty, stepped forward. She glowered at Li Mu, showing him her unbending willpower, and then announced, "Li Mu, I rebuked you today. You can kill me if you want to, but let go of my fellows."