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Ultragene Warlord

Chapter 17: The Show Begins
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Chapter 17: The Show Begins

Oh, Wang Xiaohua understood it all now! The reason Zhang Lie had spared her wasn't because he pitied her, but because he was planning to shrug the blame for his murders onto her!

Qin Xiaotian and the others had died, but she was still alive, and she would be held responsible. There were only two survivors of the entire ordeal: one was her, and the other was Zhang Lie. Given their past relationship, it was conceivable that others would think that they were working together.

But this realization had come too late.

Everyone knew that she was still alive, so she had become the prime suspect. In fact, if she were to reveal the truth immediately, the matter might have resolved itself. Unfortunately, Wang Xiaohua was so scared that no one would believe her that she ended up doing nothing, and her inaction was damning.

Once things dragged out—once it seemed as though Wang Xiaohua were deliberately hiding her involvement in Qin Xiaotian's disappearance—the entire Wang clan would perish with her.

In a regular inn, Zhang Lie, dressed all in black, was happily writing an article:?What Really Happened at the Venombane Glade.

From the perspective of an onlooker, Zhang Lie carefully detailed and twisted the truth of the matter. According to him, Wang Xiaohua and Zhang Lie were acting in cahoots to steal all the soulshards from Qin Xiaotian's team—as well as their lives. Even more maliciously, Zhang Lie was waiting for Wang Xiaohua to speak up and take the first step toward her ruin before revealing his "truth".

Having prepared the article, Zhang Lie left the Blacksteel settlement again, returning to the venombane glade to set up the scene of the crime.

At 8 PM, a huge crowd had gathered outside the Blacksteel Inn. The gamblers who had taken part in the bet were all waiting to discover the outcome of the battle—or the juiciest, freshest gossip.

Shockingly, it was a robot who emerged out onto the inn's third-floor balcony, not Wang Xiaohua.

"Miss Wang Xiaohua has requested that I, the artificial intelligence serving the Blacksteel settlement, reveal the final outcome of the bet! The winner—Zhang Lie! Except for Miss Wang Xiaohua, Qin Xiaotian's entire team perished! The outcome of this bet is now official, and those winners can now redeem their receipts for points online."

For a brief moment, the deep, synthetic voice lulled the entire Blacksteel settlement into silence.

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A mere fraction of a second later, however, the crowd erupted in shock.

How could Qin Xiaotian have lost?! His entire team, too?! How was this possible?

"No, I don't believe this! She has to be lying! How could Qin Xiaotian lose— and with his entire team, at that?! That's impossible!"

"That's right, it's impossible! Qin Xiaotian is Qin Xiao's cousin, after all—how could someone like him fail to beat a hunter at the bottom of the gene leaderboard?! Where's Wang Xiaohua? Why hasn't she revealed herself?"

"Preposterous, I say!"

"Wang Xiaohua, what really happened? You'd better tell us the truth!"

Clearly, this outcome was unacceptable to a majority of the crowd. After all, at least 90% of the crowd had staked a heavy bet on Qin Xiaotian. They would suffer heavy losses if Qin Xiaotian had actually lost.

As for the artificial intelligence, well, it didn't much care for the dismay of the crowd. If the crowd became violent, it would be dispersed, and any troublemakers would be arrested. The artificial intelligence would certainly reveal the impartial truth. And since it claimed that Zhang Lie had won, then Qin Xiaotian had to have been defeated—and killed.

Only after realizing that inconvenient truth did the dejected gamblers finally leave. However, just because they had dispersed didn't mean that they would take their loss lying down—no, they had to uncover the truth of the matter.

In every bet, there would be winners and losers. Even though Zhang Lie was a dark horse, there would still be some gamblers willing to bet on him. At that moment, they were overjoyed: the odds were 120:1 in their favor! They had earned their points back a hundredfold!

Even the strongest hunters like Yun Bing and Chu Feng were pleasantly surprised by their gains. After all, given such odds, a ten-thousand point bet would give them 1.2 million points back. No matter how much wealth they had, 1.2 million points was a considerable amount of points. As a result, both of them gained a deep interest in Zhang Lie, whom they hadn't ever seen in person.

Of course, at the same time, Qin Xiao was flying into a blind rage.

On the fifth-floor suite in the Blacksteel inn, with a huge boom, the table in front of Qin Xiao exploded into tiny shards.

"Find out exactly where that Wang Xiaohua is! I want to see her immediately!" Qin Xiao was howling at the door to his room like a ferocious beast.

"Yes, Captain!" Seeing how enraged their captain was, Qin Xiao's team immediately rushed off to find Wang Xiaohua.

The reason that Qin Xiao hadn't approached her initially was because he thought Qin Xiaotian was trying to drum up attention, not that he had lost! How could he have lost?!

Xiaotian was dead, and the only survivor was Wang Xiaohua… He'd bet three hundred thousand points, 90% of his total wealth, and it was all gone now...

His subordinates were rather capable hunters in their own right, and they quickly brought back the news that Qin Xiao wanted to hear.

Wang Xiaohua was in room 303 of this very inn, and was apparently meeting with the head of the three great corporations at the moment.

"The three corporations—!" Qin Xiao was so furious that he couldn't sit still.

In room 303 of the Blacksteel Inn, three middle-aged men were sitting in the rather small living room. Opposite them, Wang Xiaohua was seated by the corner of a couch, her face pale, surrounded on either side by two guards.

She was panicking because she now clearly understood the ramifications of her safe return. As a result, she had even spent her precious points to hire two guards for protection.

"Wang Xiaohua, I think you should understand your predicament quite well. To be frank, you're the only one who can save yourself now! Tell us everything that you saw and heard, starting from the moment you left the settlement gates! Otherwise, I can assure you that both you and your clan will be crushed by morning."

The head of one corporation was threatening and scaring Wang Xiaohua in order to learn about exactly what had happened. The other two heads were also in rare agreement.

No matter the outcome of the bet, the three corporations would still make a tidy profit. The reason they were here to see Wang Xiaohua was because the outcome was too shocking even for them. Furthermore, as merchants, they could sense an opportunity brewing.

Wang Xiaohua gulped down some saliva, not knowing where to begin.

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Ding! Just then, the doorbell rang.

"Zhou Qian, Li Jin, Zhao Jia, open up! Otherwise, I'll kill any team from your corporations the moment I encounter them! I'm Xiaotian's cousin, and I demand to know the truth immediately! Open up!" Outside room 303, Qin Xiao's booming voice struck the hearts of the hunters inside like a bolt of lightning.

If this weren't the Blacksteel Inn, and if there weren't a horde of gamblers unable to accept their loss in the corridor with him, Qin Xiao would have broken down the door with a kick. The three heads eyed each other, and one of them finally turned to a subordinate.

As the door opened, the furious Qin Xiao stomped inside. His subordinates stayed outside to guard the door. Qin Xiao eyed the two guards by Wang Xiaohua's side, then dragged a stool over and went to sit by the three heads.

"Wang Xiaohua, you're with my cousin Xiaotian, so I won't make things difficult for you. But you have to explain to me exactly what happened on this trip! How did Qin Xiaotian and his team die—all except for you?! If you don't tell me what happened, I'll have you—and all the rest of the Wang clan—die alongside him!"

Such was Qin Xiao's rage that this outburst was the result of him trying to restrain himself.

Wang Xiaohua knew then that she wouldn't be able to keep her experience a secret; in truth, she was waiting for Qin Xiao to arrive. After all, as long as she were able to convince Qin Xiao of the truth, then she would be absolved of any suspicion.

After clearing her throat, Wang Xiaohua began, "We were all set up by Zhang Lie! That day, after leaving the settlement, we chased him all the way to the Moonlit Pond. There, he led us through a tunnel behind the waterfall into an idyllic glade.

"Everything in the glade was tinged purple, and the moment we entered, we found quite a number of rare herbs. However, our joy and happiness were short-lived: we had fallen right into his trap. We were attacked by these so-called venombane scorpions, most of which were regular-grade, but they swarmed us rapidly in huge droves. Worse, they seemed to have a stealth ability and a deadly poison.

"Zhang Lie had previously doused himself in soulbloom pollen, which would allow him to avoid the scorpions. Xiaotian led us into a battle with the scorpions, but after losing half our members, he transformed into a golden pangolin and burrowed a hole through which we could escape.

"However, by that time, we had all fallen prey to the scorpions' slow-acting poison. Our bodies were slowly becoming paralyzed, so Xiaotian brought us deeper into the glade instead, intending for us to recover before heading off.

"But even though Xiaotian used all sorts of antidotes, he wasn't able to cure the paralysis at all. We were discovered by Zhang Lie, who tricked us into handing over our soulshards before killing us all! The only survivor he left was me.

"Qin Xiao, Zhang Lie's a sly and malicious fellow, and he's been pretending to be weak all along. We've all been tricked by him, all of us hunters in the Blacksteel settlement!

"You have to avenge Xiaotian and his team!"

In the end, Wang Xiaohua's words were drowned out by a fit of desolate sobs.