Chu Qingcheng gave him a long look and smiled, “I know your style so save it. You’ve been in the Luo clan for so many years and not once have you used your evil tendencies on them.”
“Zhuo Fan, she has you down pat. Now that she mentions it, you never were mean to your people in the sect either. I can see why you are with her… ha-ha-ha, so you must be close.”
Fiend Yang looked from Chu Qingcheng to Zhuo Fan with a knowing smile.
Zhuo Fan’s face fell, glared at Fiend Yang, and then said, “Desperate times call for desperate measures. Staying any longer will lead to our doom. It’s better we leave at once!”
“What about young master and the elders? We can’t just leave them!” Shui Ruohua cried.
Fiend Yang mocked her for the idiot she was, “Stay here and let the guy play you like a fiddle. While leaving will make him sour and force his hand. We’ll draw him out, turning the tables. If you can’t see even this logic, Mystical Heaven Sect is hopeless.”
Shui Ruohua lowered her flushed face.
Fight fire with fire, in this case, demonic cultivators against demonic cultivators. [They have more experience and should listen to them.]
Shui Ruohua cupped her hands, “I leave it all to you.”
Sizzling cut off Zhuo Fan’s words as the fog slipped in through the cracks everywhere he looked, like a demon’s claw, ready to maim.
Everyone flustered and jumped back, looking apprehensive.
“W-what about the barrier? How did the fog slip in?” Shui Ruohua turned to Zhuo Fan.
She found this man the only one reliable here, despite being a stranger.
Zhuo Fan explained, “Didn’t the rest get taken at night?”
“Yes!” Shui Ruohua replied.
Zhuo Fan sighed, “The guy wants to take initiative, taking us all before leaving.”
“Why then, is it in the evening, it’s not the right time…” Zhuo Fan mulled, “Have any of your disciples been captured lately?”
Shui Ruohua frowned and shook her head, “No, not since we set up the barrier.”
“Ha-ha-ha, the guy is brilliant. You saw it yourself, your barrier is useless. He had his own reasons for staying his hands so far.” Zhuo Fan’s eyes sharpened, “Did any disciples vanish while you had the elder tied up?”
Shui Ruohua pondered, “You’re right, there were none. Does that mean it’s the old man’s doing and not the youth’s?”
“What utter nonsense. The elder could have snapped your necks at any time.”
Zhuo Fan sighed, “The guy must’ve been afraid of the elder, but that variable is now gone and he’s free to act.”
Shui Ruohua and the rest were speechless. Never for the life of them would’ve concluded the same guy they had tied up was their lucky charm, and now the charm just flew out the door.
[If only we knew, we’d have treated the mister with respect. How can we be so blind?]
Shui Ruohua’s gang was wallowing in self-pity.
Zhuo Fan picked up on it at a glance. He turned to the encroaching fog with a frown, “What’s done is done. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and get upstairs. We need to put some distance from the fog.”
Zhuo Fan pulled Chu Qingcheng’s exquisitely soft hand and was first to go.
Chu Qingcheng gave him a look and let him take her fine hand with a brilliant smile.
[He’s always cold to me, but at least he has me in his heart…]
“Steward Zhuo, w-what about us?” The rest followed after him.
Almost all, since Kui Lang’s gang was stiff as a board, they had a pretty tough time moving with any grace. He watched the incoming fog like a beast’s maw, ready to tear into him.
Kui Gang and Yue’er pleaded, “Master, can you release our poison until this is over?”
The fiends nodded.
The situation was grave and they had no time to dally with training.
Zhuo Fan thought, scoffed, “Ha-ha-ha, release you? My word is golden, and nothing in the world will ever change that. So you better put that energy into running and not waste words!”
The victims were in tears. There was no way they could escape in their stiff predisposition. All felt like death was better off; at least they wouldn’t suffer as much.
As the fog crept over, they gnashed their teeth and pushed on faster. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Spurred on by the imminent threat looming behind them, they gained speed, though hardly much, but faster than your average human.
Zhuo Fan raised an eyebrow, “Well done. I think I didn’t give them the proper incentive to work hard till now.”
“Zhuo Fan, this is no time for training. Who knows what the fog is hiding? I don’t want to end up with only you at Double Dragon Gathering!”
At the incoming fog on the stiffies, the fiends were further on edge.
Zhuo Fan waved their worry away, “All the more reason to let them test the waters.”
Even Mystical Heaven Sect’s gang gasped at his cruelty.
[Is he human or devil? He’s throwing his fellow comrades to the wolves. Won’t they die?]
[Such a savage demonic cultivator is a rarity!]
Fiend Yang eyed him, “Y-you’re crazy! What about Double Dragon Gathering, what if it fails?”
“Lighten up, didn’t we guess the guy’s intentions? He’s only playing. I believe he’ll only capture them. Though I’m all a quiver on how he’ll take them away. No matter how strong, wiping a town clean of its residents is harder than it looks. It’s easier to kill them all.”
Zhuo Fan’s eyes glinted, “This is the only way for us to leave through the fog.”
All switched to looks of adorations.
[His mind is so sharp, his heart steeled. Able to keep calm in the most serious danger like this.]
[Demon Scheming Sect has brought up a true talent. So that’s why the venerables defer to him.]
Fiend Yang wiped his brow, “You’re right. They’ll be fine for a while. This tactic is so much better. I just forgot myself there…”
“Agh… save… save me…”
On cue, the wails of the first victim echoed through the inn. Kui Gang, the slowest slowpoke got caught, letting out one single cry before vanishing.
Zhuo Fan’s eyes took in everything with deadly calm.
Kui Lang wailed at his son’s misfortune, even charging right into the fog after him.
His cry snuffed out the instant he touched the fog.
The fog pressed on after the rest, swallowing the fearful prey as they shouted.
The scene drove an even more desperate fear in the survivors, trembling as the fog went up the stairs.
Only Zhuo Fan watched with a twitchy ear, “Peculiar, the taken don’t look like dead nor captives so why can’t we sense them… “