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89 Counterattack

 A few scraggly green plants grew in this wild place, but starving Gobi Antelopes quickly devoured any that came up.

Plants were scarce in the Gobi Desert. The animals that lived here had strong legs for covering long distance to scavenge for food. Without this adaptation, they would not survive in this unforgiving environment.

The Gobi Antelope were the strongest among these desert animals.

Meng Qi stood in front of a weathered rock, ready to take in a deep breath to harmonize his Qi-circulation, but he suddenly sensed something was wrong. He furrowed his brows and continued to bound forward into the heart of the Gobi Desert using Moves of Wind-god's Legs.

After he had achieved Enlightenment, his Primal Aperture at Mid-brows was even more concentrated. His Vital Spirit grew stronger and he projected his will. Although he was not on the level of grandmasters like Duan Xiangfei and Cui Xu who had already opened up the Secret Chambers of their will, he was surely stronger than the likes of Han Shi. At this moment, however, he did not want to test and see if his sixth sense was accurate.

Under these circumstances, Meng Qi did not dare to stop. He could only continue to follow to his sixth sense, alter his route accordingly, and move on with greater speed to escape the "White-headed Vulture" An Guoxie.

The vastness of the Immensity Sea paired with Meng Qi's Enlightenment strength and Will-projecting should have allowed him to escape An Guoxie by now. However, true to his nickname, An Guoxie seemed to be looking down on the desert from an all-seeing vulture's perspective. He was incredibly difficult to lose!

"A name can be unfitting for a person, but a nickname is always accurate." Meng Qi said with a sigh. He had sensed An Guoxie narrowing their distance all the day, so he had no time to rest. He had already lost his way in the Gobi Desert and had no sense of where he was. If he were to mistakenly stumble into the lairs of the ghouls of the Gobi Desert, it may be his end.

Of course, Meng Qi had some basic knowledge that he had learned from his Master. At night, he could use the stars to guide him back to Quicksand Town. For now, though, he wanted to put more distance between himself and An Guoxie. This way, if he got back to the east of Quicksand Town, the White-headed Vulture would no longer have the home-court advantage of the Gobi Desert and would not be able to track him. Moves of Wind-god's Legs and Transformation Strategy were great choices for escaping.

If he couldn't get to Quicksand Town, Meng Qi still had another option. He would still need to distance himself from An Guoxie, and then wait for an Immensity Sea dust storm. The wind and dust would cover up any of his tracks and An Guoxie would have no way of tracking him. He would have to resort to sending Ze Luoju's horse bandits for search. For Meng Qi, ordinary horse bandits did not pose a great threat.

"How can I increase the distance between us?" Meng Qi thought to himself as he ran.

He had another concern. All of his rations were gone, and making a cooking fire would expose his position. His only option was to consume raw animal flesh which was not something he looked forward to.

Meng Qi had a gritty, persevering side to his personality. On the King's Hiding Castle mission, when facing Cui Xu, he was able to abandon the fear of death and deliver a Desperate Hit. After much consideration, he thought of another solution to his present problem.

"I must turn around and attack An Guoxie in order to give me some distance. I could seriously injure him and make him reconsider continuing his pursuit."

Turning on the pursuer was an effective strategy. In addition, Meng Qi had a realistic view of his own skill and strength. He knew he would not be able to kill An Guoxi; the difference between Nine Apertures and Two Apertures was too great. If Jiang Zhiwei were here, she would use "Sword of Anatta" to attack An Guoxie. With this strategy, perhaps he could even gain a slight advantage.

It's decided. He doesn't know I have reached Enlightenment nor is he aware I know the 'Sacrifice Formula'. I'm sure to give him a surprise... If I had '

Pearflower

Storm Needles', I may even be able to seriously injure him and make him decide to turn away.

Meng Qi made his decision quickly. He laughed at himself and said, "I have always thought I'd be a gentleman and could use wisdom to set An Guoxie straight. Alas, in the end I need to resort to the sword. Have I become a barbarian?"

Laughing at himself, he began to scan the landscape for a good place for his counterattack and subsequent escape.

Gritty sand and deep gullies were everywhere. This was where the Gobi Desert undercurrents came to the surface and shaped the land. They eventually flowed back underground towards distant places.

The overflow of these undercurrents formed a large puddle in the center of these gullies. Many Gobi Desert animals came here to quench their thirst and eat the plants that grew nearby. At the same time, many predators came near to get a good meal as well.

The "White-headed Vulture" An Guoxie stopped at this scenic spot. He furrowed his brows and surveyed the entire area, not letting a single thing go unnoticed. He could spot the traces of Meng Qi stopping and resting here, but could not find Meng Qi.

His ears moved. He could hear the sound of the water and wind, and even the movements of every animal. But the sound of the antelopes calling and other animals chewing and drinking made it difficult for him to identify the source of the fainter sounds, particularly in his anxious state.

His nose twitched. He could smell the moisture in the air, the fresh plants, and the musk of the antelopes. Every smell became an image in his mind. Indeed, among the smells was that of Meng Qi. It seemed as if he had stopped here for a period of time.

He quickly moved forward to examine the area more closely for traces of Meng Qi. His approach startled the antelopes and other Gobi Desert animals, sending them calling and running in all directions and disrupting his focus.

"If I had my Primal Aperture at Mid-brows opened and Will-projecting at my disposal, I would not have startled these stupid animals!" An Guoxie's desire to obtain the little monk's secret script grew even stronger.

"Da. Da. Da."

A small herd of antelope ran past An Guoxie.

Suddenly, a blade flashed from beneath the belly of an antelope and struck at An Guoxie!

At that moment, An Guoxie could sense a fierce intent to kill. He could see it filling his attacker's eyes.

You would think that family, love, and brotherhood could put an end to greed, fear, rage, and hate. But in fact they can continue to motivate these things!

Meng Qi put all of himself into "Peace Quietude Split", making it different from usual.

Meng Qi held nothing back, using his strongest attack first. Now that An Guoxie knew he had this blade technique, Meng Qi had no choice but to put all of his strength into it. Otherwise, he would not be able to harm him. Even though Meng Qi had already reached Enlightenment, An Guoxie was still far stronger than he, and had already opened many Aperture acupoints. He had to rely on the "Transformation Strategy" to buy himself some time. An Guoxie would be able to read him immediately and have time to defend himself.

An ordinary "Peace Quietude Split" could not harm An Quoxie. Even paired with "Sacrifice Formula" it would still not be enough. So Meng Qi had to choose either not to attack at all, or give it his everything!

His eyes were fixed on An Guoxie, there was no turning back from here!

His blade flashed with fury and came down with the intent to kill.

"Twenty years old and you still haven't reached Enlightenment? Go crawl off and die!"

"If you lose, you will lose your arm."

"If you can't kill your kin, then I will kill him!"

"You doubt me? Into the venomous snake pit you go! Enjoy the pleasures of ten thousand snakes' bites!"

This terrible scene flooded An Guoxie's memory, filling him with fear and pricking him like a thousand small arrows. Anything that pleases the Ancestor, he would gladly do!

In the midst of this fear, An Guoxie saw the lifeless blue eyes of his younger brother. They seemed to be saying, "Older brother, I don't want to continue on in this nightmare. You go on and live for me."

"AHHH!"

An Guoxie let out a scream, partially caused by the terrible flashback of his brother and the Ancestor, partially caused by the pain of being stabbed beneath his throat.

All of his bones cracked as his entire body began to twist and distort. He was like a sand pillar, being blown away by the desert wind.

This was the effect of Violent Sand Super Force entering his body!

The Buddhist Commandment Blade slashed into his chest once again, but this time only met the resistance of dissolving sand.

An Guoxie blocked the lethal blow. He raised his right hand and stopped Meng Qi's Buddhist Commandment Blade.

"Snap!"

The hundred-time tempered steel blade of the Buddhist Commandment Blade snapped in two pieces. Meng Qi was sent flying forward into a deep gully, holding onto the remaining half of his sword.

"It would be impolite for me not to return your attack!"

Meng Qi smirked, and under the astonished gaze of An Guoxie landed in the gully.

An Guoxie caught his breath, and with wound pulsing, carefully advanced to the gully's edge. He discovered that below was a crystal clear undercurrent winding its way into the earth. That bald ass had disappeared.

"He has entered Enlightenment!" An Guoxie exclaimed through grinding teeth. The blow had not taken his life, but it had inflicted serious damage.

One in the Qi-cultivation Stage could not have delivered this blow!

It is unbelievable that this bald ass could enter Enlightenment while fleeing. Not only that, but he had learned a technique similar to the Sacrifice Formula!

An Guoxie examined the gurgling undercurrent below and decided not to follow Meng Qi down there. The undercurrent flowed back underground here and the winding geography lent itself to an ambush. On top of this, he was wounded and did not know how much energy the bald ass would meet him with. If he continued his pursuit here, he may meet his end in the culvert below.

For a Nine-Apertures-opened fighter to fall to a rookie who had just entered Enlightenment would be laughable. An individual who ranked thirty-six on the Ranking List of Young Masters should not fall this way!

"Don't think you will get away so easily!" An Guoxie angrily said to himself. "I know this landscape well. Do you?"

He applied pressure to a few main acupoints, drank an elixir, and spent a few moments harmonizing his Qi-circulation. Then he started to run in the direction of where he remembered this undercurrent next came above ground.

"I will capture you! If you don't come out at that outflow, you will die underground. The next outflow is extremely far away!"

The undercurrent winds back and forth underground. The bald ass will not be able to keep up his energy after expending so much. If I take a straight path above ground, I may be able to catch up to him!

This is the perfect timing and location for me!

Meng Qi found himself bobbing up and down in the current, being tossed into protruding rocks. Had it not been for his Golden Bell Shield, he would have been covered in injuries.

After Sacrifice Formula wore off, he began to feel extremely cold. He was in for a deep freeze.

Light began to fade into the darkness, which told Meng Qi that he was arriving at the next exit. He began to claw his way out of the undercurrent.

He dared not continue down the undercurrent. In his present state, he would not be able to hold on for much longer. He would die underground.

Meng Qi hoisted himself out of the gully, shook off the water, and ran in the direction of a weathered rock. He planned to harmonize Qi-circulation there and then return to Quicksand Town.

Just after sitting down, he heard the sound of clapping besides him.

"You are strong. Of all I have faced who have just been Enlightened, you are the strongest. You almost killed me." An Guoxie grinned. His face was pale and his wound had not yet healed completely.

"And you are very smart. The only problem is this is the Immensity Sea. This is my Gobi Desert."