“Lin Xuanfeng, half a day has passed!” The owner of the cold eyes stalking the beaten up prey spoke.
Panting, Lin Xuanfeng was soaked but wasn’t slowing down even for a second. He only took deep breaths and gained more speed, not stopping for his life.
“In ten hours I’m making a move.”
Lin Xuanfeng, with his sealed cultivation, had been at it for 14 hours. His speed had been at its peak all this time and his leg shuddered with every hop. The run had been so intense, the sole of his shoe had worn off.
He’d been hopping about barefoot through thorns and bushes and was now leaving a blood trail.
He wished nothing more than to take a breather after such a long and intense fleeing.
But Zhuo Fan’s constant cold reminder from behind came as a rude awakening. Stopping meant dying, his corpse forever pushing up daisies in the middle of the forest.
Lin Xuanfeng’s sole option was to bear through the pain and run.
“Eight hours left!”
The countdown on his life aroused Lin Xuanfeng from his rambling run and swaying vision, “That’s too soon!”
A glance at the sky would give light into this matter.
Unless of course a certain face was blocking it, scaring the living daylight out of him.
“You still have time to stargaze? The clock is ticking. Better hurry up or your head will fall!” Zhuo Fan grinned.
Lin Xuanfeng gasped and forgot about the sky as he sprung forth like mad.
Zhuo Fan snickered and resumed following from behind. Like a reaper, his voice descended upon the wretched.
“Six hours left!”
Lin Xuanfeng’s eyes were bloodshot in his mad sprint.
“Four hours left!”
Lin Xuanfeng ran with his life on the line. Faster than even before he got his cultivation sealed!
“Only… two hours…” Zhuo Fan’s face twisted in a grim smile.
Lin Xuanfeng’s face fell. He was soaked in sweat, his face red as blood, but his heart was wrecked from this torment. He closed his eyes and ran head first…
Passing one more bush just like the thousands before it, Lin Xuanfeng saw a green crystal, four meters tall. The wood exit.
The audience knew Zhuo Fan and the four were playing a deadly game of chase. It looked like he was torturing them. Many believed he pulled a game on them as an excuse to come out of this pickle with his face unmarred.
Zhuo Fan was the top dog for thousands of miles around and yet still refrained from setting himself against four houses by looking for a reason to let the four go.
But when Lin Xuanfeng came out from the forest, they were shocked.
Lin Xuanfeng looked nothing like the proud Forest Fleeting Dragon of before. Passing through pointy vegetation barefoot had made pinpoint incisions each time and now his sole of the foot was stripped of flesh.
As he crossed the last bush, everyone heard a resounding crack. His knee snapped from the sheer speed, in an open fracture.
Anyone moving at such blazing speed would know what that meant. But Zhuo Fan’s constant reminder had him scared to death. His mind had been reduced to thinking only about survival and he was unaware what running for his life at such insane speed would do.
Not even when his last leg broke and his bloody face crunched into the ground did Lin Xuanfeng care. His eyes showed only madness. Watching the wood exit ahead, he cackled. “Ha-ha-ha, I’ve finally arrived. I can survive!”
With red eyes and without legs, Lin Xuanfeng crawled his way forward as his lips cracked into a smile. Euphoria descended upon his mind.
He was going to live!
This was the chance Zhuo Fan gave him, the chance to survive. Of the four he was the only one innocent, so Zhuo Fan gave him a way out, as long as he could grasp it.
Lin Xuanfeng elbowed his way faster towards his hope.
The audience was speechless. Why was he looking so wretched and yet found the time to smile?
He looked mangled, battered and wretched. Yet had such a crazed look of happiness. [What is going on?]
Nobody would know that Zhuo Fan had turned Lin Xuanfeng like this, that he had etched a demon in his heart…
“I won! I’m going to live!”
Lin Xuanfeng panted as he crawled before the wood exit. With shaking hands, he placed the keys from his ring into the groves with exultation.
The audience nodded. The guy looked to be coming out of a torture chamber but he was going home now.
As the last key approached the slot, a lazy leg stepped on his hand and he dropped the crystal.
Lin Xuanfeng looked in shock to see Zhuo Fan’s manic grin.
The audience watched the two with hearts in their throat. Was Zhuo Fan such a demon to kill him right at the very end?
Lin Xuanfeng’s face didn’t seem to say so. He wasn’t shocked, having known this was coming every two hours.
“W-why?” Blinking his bleary eyes, Lin Xuanfeng’s hoarse voice came out oozing his desperation, “I’m here, I won…”
Zhuo Fan shook his head, peering down on him, “Unfortunately, time is up. If only you were a fraction faster you’d have made it. A shame…”
Lin Xuanfeng gasped and his face shuddered, changing from fear to sorrow, to denial, and despair. His eyes shrank and his head slumped. The agony in those eyes was so vivid, anyone could see how hopeless, how… dead they were.
The people were appalled.
A person suddenly appeared, Yan Fu.
Yan Fu asked Zhuo Fan, unclear what happened, “Steward Zhuo…”
Zhuo Fan merely gestured at the bloody man. Yan Fu kneeled and felt his neck, “Steward Zhuo, he’s dead!”
The people were frightened. Why would a perfectly fine man get up and die? Did they miss Zhuo Fan doing something?
Yan Fu asked, “He has no mortal wound. Steward Zhuo, how did you do it?”
“Through fear, exhaustion and despair.” Zhuo Fan smiled coldly.
Yan Fu was even more puzzled.
[Is this a joke? Since when can a Radiant Stage expert die from fear, exhaustion and anguish?]
Zhuo Fan said, “I sealed his cultivation so he could only draw speed from his body. When I came upon him, we were a ways away from here. Running all the way here would take three days at the minimum. But I told him he had one day to escape or I’ll kill him. He gave his all and more in running here with me behind him reminding of the time.
“Fear had gnawed at his body, making waste more stamina without even realizing it. When he finally did arrive, hope blossomed. After three long days of fear, he saw a ray of hope. His state of mind was already shaken when I came and told him the time was up. Then all that hope turned into anguish. Joy into grief, shock into fear. It all happened so fast that these emotions attacked his mind and took his life.
“That is why I said he was scared to death, but also exhausted to death. Even more so, died from anguish.” Zhuo Fan smiled.
Yan Fu’s heart thumped.
He knew Zhuo Fan was vicious, but not that monstrous. He toyed with a man’s dignity until the man fell to his death.
Gulping, Yan Fu probed, “Steward Zhuo, did he reach here in one day?”
Zhuo Fan snickered, “The kid had quite the potential. He lived up to his title and was quite fast in getting here with two hours to spare too. But as I was always behind like a reaper, I scared him and stopped him from checking the time until he even forgot about the real time. So when I said he lost, he lost it. Then despair and fear claimed him, ha-ha-ha…
“The grand Forest Fleeting Dragon truly was the fastest. So fast that he ended up breaking his only leg and died from exhaustion. Wasn’t it the best way to die? Ha-ha-ha…”
Zhuo Fan cackled.
Yan Fu and the audience were sweating bullets and a shiver went down their spines.