Chapter 80: Time to Hunt
Nyoi-Bo Studio Nyoi-Bo Studio
Chu Yue wrestled with her misgivings for a moment, before finally deciding to obey Xiao Luo and hide in the filthy mud.
“Don’t forget about me. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to climb out of here by myself!”
She lowered herself in backward, slowly, and her voice was little as a mosquito, but the words clearly embedded themselves in Xiao Luo’s heart. Perhaps it was normal for a man to feel some sympathy for a beauty like her.
Xiao Luo heaped mud on her, concealing her entirely from sight, before wading into the river. The river was neither broad nor deep, and the water only came up to his thigh.
Chu Yue heard the sound of footsteps. It sounded as if they were walking right next to her, and she held her breath in fear.
The strong one-eyed man codenamed Eagle noticed the muddy footprints near the boulders. There were two sets of prints, one small and one large, and his eyes narrowed slightly. He boomed in a frosty tone, “They passed through here, after all, the sneaky fellow. If he follows the river, soon we won’t be able to track him. Quickly now, spread out downstream, and whistle if you see any trace of mud in the water. He’s carrying the girl, so he can’t be moving faster than us.”
The row of men hurried along the river.
Experience was a good thing, but sometimes it backfired. At the moment, they were dancing in the palm of Xiao Luo’s hand, as he had planned to make them split up.
No longer held back by Chu Yue, Xiao Luo doubled his speed. Moving like a phantom through the forest, he began his hunt.
“This is unbelievable. Where the hell did that guy go? We’ve been following him for so long and haven’t found any trace of him yet!”
“Hmm. To evade us while carrying a girl, this guy must really be something.”
Two members of the Red Scorpion Mercenary Corps searched their surroundings, feeling despondent. Neither of them noticed a vine silently lowering from the tree branch above and closing in on the head of a burly mercenary with a red face.
The vine tightened around his neck, and the burly man instinctively grabbed at it, but a large force pulled him upward. His neck was caught tightly by the noose, and he was unable to breathe, let alone make any sound. He struggled in a silent panic, trying to reach out and tap his partner. But the man was two paces ahead of him, and his fingers were just a few inches too short.
His face swelled up with blood, becoming beet red, and he watched helplessly as his oblivious partner walked away.
The burly man was yanked up into the tree canopy. Through the dappled light filtering in through the leaves, he saw a handsome emotionless face. His eyes widened in shock as he tried to suck in air, but it seemed to solidify around him, and none of it entered his windpipe.
With a face full of agony, the burly red-faced man gaped at Xiao Luo. His hand reached for his intercom, but Xiao Luo lightly pressed down on it, so he could no longer move. His struggling became weaker as the noose around his neck tightened as he struggled. He felt death by asphyxiation approaching.
His partner, who was ahead of him, finally noticed that something was off and turned around. What? Where did he go?
“Red Ghost? Red Ghost?”
He yelled out his partner’s code name twice. His voice carried through the forest, but there was no reply. As though his voice was swallowed by a monster lurking in the shadows, he could not hear a sound, not even an echo. He began to feel completely flustered and surveyed his surroundings warily while reporting to Eagle on his walkie.
“Eagle, come in. Red Ghost is missing. I repeat, Red Ghost is missing!”
“What do you mean missing? He’s right behind you! The GPS shows your positions overlapping!” Eagle’s voice came back through the intercom.
As an elite armed mercenary squad, they naturally had access to top of the line GPS technology. The position of each of his men showed as a red dot on his watch.
The man, whose code name was White Ape, broke out in a cold sweat. His gaze drifted slowly upward only to see a man hanging from the tree above him – it was his burly red-faced partner. Red Ghost’s face was drained of blood with a stunned expression. His tongue stuck out of his mouth.
White Ape felt chilled to the bone, and he let out a scream as he took a few steps back.
“White Ape, report, what is going on over there?” Eagle roared, his voice carrying from the intercom.
“Red Ghost is dead, hanged from a tree. Requesting backup. Requesting backup…”
White Ape’s teeth chattered as he spoke, but before he could finish, a razor-sharp dagger pierced his chest. The blade was slick with blood as it was pulled back out from behind him in a swift and violent motion. The knife had stabbed straight through his torso, accurately puncturing his heart.
Hot fresh blood spurted from his wound. White Ape’s expression went stiff, and his eyes opened wide in horror as he collapsed into a pool of his own blood.
“White Ape, do you copy? Respond! Do you copy?” Eagle’s urgent shouting echoed from the intercom’s earpiece.
Xiao Luo displayed no visible emotion. He lifted his right leg and stamped down fiercely, shattering the radio into pieces. Tiny electronic pieces scattered all over the ground.
Lifting his gaze, he stared out into the depths of the forest, mumbling to himself, “Eleven more to go!” Then, with the agility of a monkey, he sprang up into the trees, shaking a few branches as he passed by. A few leaves floated down slowly.
“Sh*t!” Eagle swore out loud then ordered his squad, “All men head quickly toward White Ape and Red Ghost’s position. Now, immediately, go!”
A string of replies sounded from his walkie: “Yessir!”
Meanwhile, a large contingent of police was heading to their location, having received the call from Fang Chongqiang. The piercing scream of police sirens rang out as the convoy rushed toward Wild Boar Ridge.
“Team Leader Gu, the perpetrators are armed with sniper rifles. It looks like they’re not your average criminals. We—”
“I don’t care who they are. If they’re stirring up trouble in Jiangcheng, then they have no respect for our police force. Send word that I want each major branch to send their best men ASAP to Wild Boar Ridge. We will surround the area and form a net that no man, not even a bug, can escape,” Gu Qianlin thundered fiercely from inside one of the police cars.
Dressed in her police uniform, she had a refreshingly beautiful appearance and cut a lean, handsome figure. Her short hair was neatly tucked behind her ears in a bun, and her elegant, pure eyes flashed with righteous fury.
With part of his squad, Eagle made for White Ape and Red Ghost’s last known position as unidentifiable sounds were transmitted through his intercom. It sounded like the raspy cry of ducks having their throats cut as, one by one, the red dots on his GPS stopped moving.
“D*mnit. What the hell is happening?”
He knew the situation had taken a bad turn, but the strong one-eyed man still wanted to see it for himself.
When they reached the men’s last known position, they saw White Ape lying motionless in a pool of blood and Red Ghost hanging from a tree. They went pale from fear, unable to tear their eyes away. When they’d all gathered together, there were only eight of them left.
All of the mercenaries were on edge now, and the forest itself seemed to close in around them threateningly. They felt as though they were surrounded in all directions by enemies lurking in the depths.