In a split second, Gongyi Tianheng ordered: “Wenhe, you'll protect Ah Zuo here. I'll go lead the female raptor away. Dragon Two, go a.s.sist those people and cut off the male raptor's head.”
Xu Wenhe and Dragon Two both responded: “Yes, young master!”
Gu Zuo promptly said: “Young master Tianheng, be careful!”
Tianheng smiled. Then, with Dragon Two, their bodies flashed ahead.
With heavenly eagle steps, his body shot up like a rocket and flew gracefully. His spear was thrusted swiftly towards that female raptor! Dragon Two held a longbow and launched three consecutive arrows at three points on the male raptor's body to seal its movements. For a short while, it wouldn't be able to fly high in the air and would be struck head-on by those other martial artists' martial skills.
Two people joining in surprised the other martial artists, but since the two came to help, their hearts loosened.
There was a square-faced, middle-aged man who simultaneously bolstered his attacks and said in a deep voice: “Many thanks for your a.s.sistance! After we deal with these things, you'll certainly be rewarded!”
Gongyi Tianheng and Dragon Two both remained silent. Each of them only exerted themselves as they tangled with the two raptors.
Just looking at where Tianheng's spear pointed, its power was overflowing, and it agitated the female raptor. As a result, it grew angry and swooped down. However, one could soar through the air with the heavenly eagle steps. Although the female raptor's attacks were fierce, Tianheng could evade even better. Gu Zuo didn't know how his feet were sliding around, but he already dodged those sharp talons. Afterwards, his waist turned and the spear shot out just below Tianheng's ribs. Unexpectedly, it struck the raptor's left wing dead center.
In an instant, numerous raptor feathers scattered and fluttered down.
Gu Zuo obviously found that his dear patron's heavenly eagle step seemed even more… Should he say that it'd been integrated, mastered, or just that he had a breakthrough? At first, he felt that his patron could do it well before, but compared to now, the technique in the past seemed like trash.
Patron, how did you progress so fast in so little time?
It truly deserved to be called the Body Envied by Heaven.
The spearhead was very hard and the spear shaft was very pliable. Not long after, under Gongyi Tianheng's increasingly outstanding footwork, the female raptor's range of motion became increasingly narrowed. Finally, nearly the entire raptor was enveloped in layers of spear images. In the blink of an eye, Tianheng's spear shook and it directly pierced through the female raptor's skull!
The entire course of events didn't last longer than fifteen minutes.
Gu Zuo could see that Tianheng's spearmanship was becoming more proficient. The previous spear was already very concise. Now it was even greater than that, and it also held even more destructive power.
On top of that, the heavenly eagle steps' transformation just now…escaped his own sight.
Sometimes, many things have to be compared. On one side, Gongyi Tianheng brought the female raptor down by himself. Over yonder, including Dragon Two, four people had been enduring serious injuries brought about by the male raptor. Still, Tianheng's efficiency was excessively high.
After that, Tianheng held his spear up and used it to drive the male raptor back. His own footwork quickly transformed and he moved through the air. At last, a spear struck down from above and the male raptor was forced to land. Dragon Two seized the opportunity, and his figure dodged rapidly. He used an extremely sharp dagger and energetically swung out. He cut down the raptor's head!
At this point, both the female and male raptors were executed.
Only then did Gu Zuo and Xu Wenhe leave the undergrowth and joined up with Gongyi Tianheng.
The two women and three men off to the side were relieved.
Among the group of people, the square-faced, middle-aged man was nominated, and he took a few steps forward. Facing Gu Zuo and the others, he cupped his fist  and said: “Huyuan Dojo's  Guo Chengmao. Many thanks, honorable ones, for coming to our rescue!”
He introduced the people by his side, “These are my fellow junior disciples.” Finally, he spoke about that arrogant, young lady, “This is our Shanwu City, Han Family's third young miss. She's also our first time employer.”
Gongyi Tianheng made a furtive gesture towards Gu Zuo.
Gu Zuo expressed his understanding. He scampered all the way over to the two raptor corpses and started dismantling them.
On this side, Tianheng nodded his head, reservedly: “My name is Li Tianheng. I came here with my bodyguard to these mountains to get some experience.”
The middle-aged man and the others all saw Gu Zuo's actions, and all their expressions were different. However, overall, none of them were angry, except for that arrogant, young lady, whose large, round eyes flashed with contempt. However, she quickly sorted her face so that nothing was revealed.
After the arrogant, young lady restrained herself, she showed a smile: “Miss Han Yuxiu greets young master Li.”
She did her utmost to give off a warm and friendly demeanor, “This little miss originally came to the Stampeding Oxen Mountain Range looking for a medicinal herb. It's to given to my father to treat an illness. Unexpectedly, setting out was unfavorable. When we tried to pa.s.s through, we ended up provoking those two loathsome raptors. Still, it was all thanks to young master Li's help.”
Tianheng casually said: “No problem. These two raptors were just what I was aiming for, and you all have nothing to do with it. Since you're out of danger, you all are free to leave.”
Gu Zuo strained to hear what was going on, but his movements on hand never stopped.
In his mind, he secretly thought: Patron, this posturing really is enough to be that of a Clan's young master. It's not like how you are normally… Your acting is very good. This is to verify something, right?
Han Yuxiu was a little displeased by this att.i.tude, but she still continued her soft tone, saying: “This trip was very dangerous. Young master Li's strength is brilliant. If this little miss could ask you a favor… I hope young master Li can agree.”
She didn't wait for Gongyi Tianheng's answer as she continued, unabated: “This little miss hopes that we can journey together. If young master Li can help me obtain that medicinal herb, then this little miss will exchange a gift of equal importance. What does young master Li think?”
Gongyi Tianheng lazily said: “No thanks.”
He didn't pay attention to these people any longer, “Don't tell me that this young master's own Family is too poor to afford an ‘important gift'? You all can leave at once. No need for words!”
Han Yuxiu's eyes widened. In the end, she couldn't help fuming in her prideful anger: “You—”
But at this moment, the other woman pulled at her wrist, putting a stop to the young lady: “Miss Han, you mustn't.”
Han Yuxiu's fingernails dug into her palms, and the bitter resentment on her face vanished. She endured it, and said: “Since young master Li isn't willing, this little miss won't force the issue… We're going!”
Once her voice fell, the people from Huyuan Dojo were like pardoned criminals. Immediately, they departed from this place.
After they left, Gu Zuo properly handled the two raptor corpses and wanted to go and harvest the viper flowers. Because their specialties weren't suited to the task, the others could only stand to the side and guard him.
Gongyi Tianheng stood by Gu Zuo's side to keep him company.
While Gu Zuo plucked the flowers, he asked a question: “Young master Tianheng, since you rescued them, why… Couldn't that girl hold a grudge?”
Up until now, he knew that his patron didn't rescue them because he felt pity. Besides hiding their ident.i.ties, Tianheng put on an act like that so their goals wouldn't be suspected. He could tell that there was nothing good to be said about the girl's character. Patron, how couldn't you possible see…
Gongyi Tianheng smiled as he replied: “After saving them in pa.s.sing, I'd know whether they could be useful. That Han Yuxiu girl made others detest her, but she also couldn't be considered too stupid. Yet, she simply can't be used. The useful ones are the Huyuan Dojo.”
Gu Zuo stared blankly: “Young master Tianheng wants to collect the Huyuan Dojo?”
Tianheng replied: “I wouldn't go so far as to collect them. However, the Gongyi Clan's properties can be found all over the empire. We can always use some eyes and ears. The Huyuan Dojo, these people know how to take stock of the situation and they aren't impetuous with how they deal with things. If the Huyuan Dojo is generally like this, we can try and get in touch with them.”
Saying this, he faintly nodded, “Wenhe, can you remember?”
Xu Wenhe respectfully stated: “This subordinate understands.”
Gu Zuo got it.
His patron naturally had subordinates to go handle matters. Xu Wenhe should definitely be part of this system.
Afterwards, he asked another question: “That Miss Han's Family…”
Tianheng smirked meaningfully, “I've never heard of the Han Family.”
Gu Zuo reflected on this for three seconds, then realized what he meant.
His patron knew all of the imperial capital's Families, both great and small, as well as other Families around the Cangyun Empire. If he'd never heard of that name before, then they certainly wouldn't be able to cause him any pressure whatsoever — His patron's subordinates were so competent, he was afraid that anything worthy of being paid attention to wouldn't slip below their radar!
That Han Family, they didn't even have the qualifications for his patron to know them…
Han Yuxiu definitely didn't have any means to threaten them at all.
Of course, Gu Zuo also thought up plenty of scenarios. If Han Yuxiu mobilized her Family's powers nearby, would they act as a solitary force? However, he thought over what his patron said before on how his Clan's properties could be found everywhere. There was no way for such a thing.
It couldn't be that the preparations made for his patron's journey were done excessively? The household could bring the Clan's powers into play. And Xu Wenhe could certainly mobilize the influence of the Gongyi Clan's properties through his job's connections!
He truly overthought things.
After his embarra.s.sing moment, he continued plucking viper flowers.
…He was still collecting medicinal herbs.
The harvesting process went smoothly. More than ten years' worth of viper flowers were all carefully gathered up by him. While under the pretense of loading them into his patron's storage device, they were actually put into his own storage s.p.a.ce.
Originally, so long as the viper flowers grew for at least a year, they could be used in medicine. However, since the environment here suited the growth of the viper flowers, why would he want to take them all away? He still knew about sustainable development.
…Okay, he could now say something like, “I only refine quality goods.”
When it was time to leave, Gu Zuo turned his head to take a quick look. Beneath the mountain walls around the Hollow, there were countless desiccated human bones.
These were the humans who were previously attacked by those two tiger-headed raptors. Once they eliminated the raptors, this place would become a region without a master. It wouldn't be long before other wild beasts came to occupy this territory.
Gu Zuo also gradually realized something.
In this world, it truly was the law of the jungle .
Gongyi Tianheng's developing objective was to choose locations on the map that had Meridian Condensing second stage wild beasts as well as precious medicinal herbs. Each and every time they went somewhere, he could always smoothly kill his target, which allowed Gu Zuo to save up a portion of the herbs.
Although they had Dragon Two and Xu Wenhe to provide support in the beginning, as more time pa.s.sed, the more Tianheng called them to stay their hands. This escalated to where even he wasn't spared from injury. Tianheng even tried to handle a Meridian Condensing third stage wild beast all alone. He tempered himself through the pressure these wild beasts generated.
Thus, Tianheng's strength improved at a terrifying speed. What was even more scary was that in the middle of these continuous challenges, his true qi circulated even faster and he condensed even more bone pearls. Finally, at a certain point in time, he made a breakthrough. He became a Meridian Condensing third stage martial artist!
But his pace still didn't stop. Rather, his challenge targets were completely replaced with Meridian Condensing third stage wild beasts.
Slowly, many of them died by his hands.
Unwittingly, a group of four spent a month in the Stampeding Oxen Mountain Range.
Regardless of whether it was Gu Zuo's herb gathering technique or his finesse in cooking medicinal cuisine, there were totally huge improvements.
During this time, there was an insane increase in Gongyi Tianheng's strength. In addition to his body's matchless apt.i.tude, they all enjoyed Gu Zuo's meticulous cooking together. This wasn't without a cause and effect. After his strength improved, he was able to find even more medicinal herbs for Gu Zuo.
In this way, it was a win-win situation.
 I don't think I outright explained this action before, but it's a sign of respect, equivalent to a salute or a bow.
 虎渊武馆 - Hu (tiger) yuan (deep pool, profound) wu guan (dojo, martial school). I'm not fully aware of how the author will cla.s.sify martial arts inst.i.tutions in the future, so I'll tentatively use dojo for now. If new terms like sect, school, and others come up, I'll revise this. For those who've read ahead, feel free to give suggestions.
 肉弱强食 - Ruo rou qiang shi, the weak are meat, and the strong do eat, an idiom.
T/N: I changed my mind again. Not gonna explain every character's name either!
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