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After enduring the inferno for a seemingly endless period of time, and even with Ouyang Xiaoshe's extraordinarily superb cultivation base at hand, he could no longer stand the excessive heat. Blisters had already started to form on his body.
If this continued, it would be extremely hard to stop his internal organs from being completely scorched.
Even though Ouyang Xiaoshe had long roamed the martial scene and he had always been an astute man with incredible foresight, he had never been bathed in fire for such a long duration. It was only at this moment that he discovered the overpowering waves of unceasing heat was enough to char his organs into ash and dust.
Only death awaited him if he were to remain.
With a hiss, Ouyang Xiaoshe moved as quickly as the whistling wind, pressing his body close against the ground as he dashed outwards.
He no longer dared to escape via a higher alt.i.tude, for the waves of heat above were even more scorching than below, especially in a quick, desperate dash - the heatwaves up there could literally turn his flesh into nicely cut and steamed pieces of meat.
However, even if his chances were better as he attempted to escape by foot on the ground, the flesh upon his chest and thighs were subjected to yet another round of intense grilling with every step he took.
Subsequently, it was as if his own heart had been scorched as well.
He gritted his teeth, spending every last ounce of his energy in a single spurt to sprint away.
This time, the humongous blaze did not pursue him, and the boundless lightning no longer followed behind.
Yun Yang seemed to have stopped.
Nevertheless, Ouyang Xiaoshe kept on running for almost ten minutes. Only then did the air feel slightly more breathable. However, at this very moment, his mind was already in a state of complete chaos. His brain felt as though it was filled with the erratic rhythm of numerous drums playing simultaneously; it was a bizarre, disorienting feeling.
The scene before his eyes was an array of colors, and he had almost completely lost his sense of sight.
Ouyang Xiaoshe forcefully tried to keep himself conscious. He extended his gaze for as far as he could see and was pleasantly surprised at the obscured tinge of greenery on the other end.
That was the green of trees - the sign of life!
Ouyang Xiaoshe was awakened with refreshed vigor; he did not know where that sudden burst of energy came from, but he charged towards the direction of the green without hesitation.
At the exact moment, he dashed out of the sea of fire...
"Ouyang Xiaoshe!" A loud voice suddenly bellowed.
The blinding glint of a blade plunged down from the skies with amazing speed, severing the connection between the greens and himself.
With whatever remaining consciousness he had in him, Ouyang Xiaoshe pulled out his own blade instinctively. It was obvious that a single powerful blow from the enemy was uncontainable, throwing Ouyang Xiaoshe aside with a loud clang!
Ouyang Xiaoshe had barely escaped from the fire but was almost instantly stopped by the mighty force of the blow. The aftershocks from that force caused his entire being to feel like a threadless kite as he crashed heavily onto the ground. Yun Yang seemed to have timed the distance well enough, for the spot just seventy to eighty feet behind Ouyang Xiaoshe was already scorched red, with lavlike magma seeping out of it.
That was where Ouyang Xiaoshe landed once more upon being swept away!
Ouyang Xiaoshe's missed strike caused him to lose his balance and landed bottom-first on the ground. With a sizzle, that part of his body was scalded, inciting a shriek as though his rear end was on fire.
Truth be told, he literally jumped because his rear was on fire; it was not 'as though'.
His bottom was still dripping ignited, crimson magma. It was not the usual rear-end-ripping; his bottom was completely annihilated!
He let out a maddened howl, attempting to wipe it off with his bare hands, but no avail - his hands were scalded in the process instead. Screaming, he clenched his jaw with resolution as he sliced at his bottom in a single strike, removing a chunk of bloodied flesh; a temporary relief. The chunk of flesh fell to the ground, still covered entirely with glowing embers.
Ouyang Xiaoshe's face was filled with painful, twisted expressions as his whole body shook and quivered, sweating profusely.
He lifted his head with hatred and gave a loathing glare at the person that materialized before him.
Well, for all he knew, it could just be a silhouette.
A silhouette that was cloaked in ivory robes, its face completely obscured.
Ouyang Xiaoshe's vision was blurred from the pain. "Supreme Cloud?" He implored ruthlessly.
Yun Yang snorted, and announced lightly, "Ouyang Xiaoshe, I've finally managed to capture you."
Ouyang Xiaoshe sneered. "Captured? By you? Not necessarily!"
Yun Yang gave a good-natured laugh, but his tone was ice-cold. "Do you think that you can still escape?"
Ouyang Xiaoshe panted laboriously, no longer giving a care about the excruciating pain that came with every breath he drew. "Supreme Cloud, there was never any hatred nor misunderstanding between us! If you would let me live today, I, Ouyang Xiaoshe, would certainly repay you generously in the future. However, if you choose to continue this brutal treatment, I have no choice but to fight it out. Either the fish dies, or the net breaks - either options are equally unpleasant!" He roared his defiance.
Yun Yang gave a contemptuous smile. "Either the fish dies, or the net splits? Very well, I'm very interested to see how a dead fish like you can ride this one out by breaking through my net of justice!"
Ouyang Xiaoshe took a deep breath, enduring the burning, scorching sensation inside his chest. "Look at how Supreme Cloud is attacking me. This must be due to a matter none other than Dugu Jimo; but is there really a need to fight to the death?"
His face contorted in pain. "In the end, Dugu Jimo is already dead, and death settles all scores. It is much easier and favorable for the living to make one more ally than to make a bunch of enemies due to the deceased. I wonder what would Supreme Cloud make of this?
"Your reasoning is logical. However, this logic does not apply to me." Yun Yang replied flatly.
Ouyang Xiaoshe held back his wrath, and asked, "Do I dare ask why?"
Yun Yang took a deep breath, and said through gritted teeth, "Dugu Jimo... was my father!"
As the words left his lips, the hatred in his heart escalated like a volcanic eruption. He bellowed, "The hatred from murdering one's father is irreconcilable. Have you ever heard of this saying?"
Ouyang Xiaoshe only found it increasingly difficult to breathe, feeling as though he would spout smoke from his throat at any moment. "Then you must be resolute in seeking revenge. Why don't you get on with it? Why are you still wasting your time with this nonsense?" He wheezed.
Yun Yang snorted. "If I really wanted to kill you, would I have allowed you to live till this moment? Hoho, perhaps you haven't realized how terrible you feel now? Perhaps, you haven't noticed how your health has deteriorated rapidly with time? In other words, you should be feeling disoriented - your mind must be swimming, and your limbs weak from a lack of energy by now, am I right?"
Ouyang Xiaoshe screamed and lurched two steps forward, gasping profusely. His eyes almost tore through their rims. "You poisoned me?"
Yun Yang laughed icily. "Poisoned you? Was there a need for me to poison you? Do you not know what venomous fire is? Does it feel good to have your heart injected with that?"
Ouyang Xiaoshe clenched his teeth and made a sudden dive towards Yun Yang, both his hands raised high. Two blades glinted in the cold light as they emerged, overlapped against one another, pointing towards Yun Yang.
His infamous, ultimate tactic had always been the Blade within Sleeves - unexpected and totally unpredictable.
However, the robes he was wearing had been burned off completely by the fire; how could there still be sleeves? Those two blades were already exposed; the intended surprise was nowhere near unexpected.