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Chapter 1126 - Drawing the Sword and Sheathing the Sword
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"We do not like Black Robe, but it is not because he stole the glory of our deceased comrades.
"When I was little, I read many human stories and watched many of Xuelao City's plays. The traitors in them all had the ugliest of faces.
"He was the most shameless traitor of these last one thousand years.
"But I must admit to his abilities and praise him for this plan.
"Killing Xiao Zhang is not enough to alter the momentum of the world, but if we kill both the Pope and Holy Maiden of the Human race, the history to come will be greatly changed."
Mountain Man Yanzhi's voice echoed over the dark and desolate gra.s.sland.
In the end, however, problems had still occurred. They had not expected that under their monstrous pressure, Xiao Zhang would break through earlier than they expected.
Although he had just broken through and still did not have much mastery over the laws of the world, it had been enough for him to break through their encirclement with heavy injuries.
At the very least, he was still alive.
But Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong had still come over, which was excellent, quite excellent.
The gra.s.sland was extremely quiet in the darkness, the starlight imbued with a cold and gloomy aura.
The Earth Monkey poked its head out from behind Chen Changsheng and revealed its sharp fangs to that ma.s.sive black silhouette in the distance.
It wanted to scare that figure, but it didn't even dare to softly whimper. It had clearly been quite frightened by the mighty pressure exuded by this mountain.
Xu Yourong asked, "How could you be sure that we would be the ones to come?"
"Xiao Zhang is a madman and would not trust anyone, and he certainly wouldn't trust the Great Zhou Imperial Court. He only trusts Chen Changsheng."
Mountain Man Yanzhi added, "And if Chen Changsheng comes, you would a.s.suredly appear."
Chen Changsheng would not be permitted to put himself in any possible danger, because he was the Pope of the Human race.
As he solidified his position as Pope, the power of this rule became stronger and stronger.
If he really did want to break free of this restriction, believers like An Hua really might use their deaths to rebuke him.
How could Linghai Zhiw.a.n.g and the others let him leave White Emperor City alone?
Only one circ.u.mstance would have received the approval of all priests and believers.
He would be traveling with Xu Yourong.
The entire continent knew that the harmonious sword art of the Pope and the Holy Maiden was unimaginably powerful. Not even a Divine Domain expert could threaten their safety.
At present, Mao Qiuyu was overseeing Mount Han while the Prince of Xiang and the Prince of Zhongshan were stationed at Blue Pa.s.s and Snowhold Pa.s.s respectively, all of them seemingly ready to march out. The Demon Commander was personally leading the troops in battle while the majority of Xuelao City's Divine Domain experts were on the frontlines. Logically speaking, there was no danger in having Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong stealthily receive Xiao Zhang and take him back to the Central Plains.
And yet, whether it was at Mount Han, Blue Pa.s.s, or Snowhold Pa.s.s, or the tents on the snowy plains stretching to the horizon, it was all fake.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, aware or unaware, the humans and demons had all been acting out a play.
This isolated and peaceful gra.s.sland was the true battlefield.
The demons had invited the Eight Great Mountain Men.
No one had expected this.
Not even Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong.
Although only three of them had come, this was already a monstrous strength that they could not contend against.
"Why didn't you consider that it could be w.a.n.g Po who came?"
This was Xu Yourong's last question.
w.a.n.g Po and Xiao Zhang were lifelong rivals, and one could even describe w.a.n.g Po as a powerful foe who had suppressed Xiao Zhang for his entire life.
Xiao Zhang did not like w.a.n.g Po and spent every moment thinking about how to defeat him, but the person he trusted should also have been w.a.n.g Po, even more than he trusted Chen Changsheng.
It was just like how when Xun Mei was about to die, the person he wanted to see the most besides Mao Qiuyu was w.a.n.g Po.
In that generation in which the wildflowers first began to bloom, w.a.n.g Po had been their goal, so was he not also the source of their confidence and daring?
Moreover, w.a.n.g Po was an expert of the Divine Domain and a master of the blade. If Xiao Zhang was seeking aid, w.a.n.g Po was unquestionably the best candidate.
The one to answer Xu Yourong's question was not Mountain Man Yanzhi, but Chen Changsheng.
"It would naturally be great for w.a.n.g Po to see him break through, but it would be awful for w.a.n.g Po to see him chased around in such a sorry state."
Chen Changsheng added, "It's very shameful."
Xu Yourong didn't have much understanding of a man's boring self-esteem, so it was only after hearing Chen Changsheng's answer that she understood.
But she still found it impossible to understand a man's willingness to throw away his life before throwing away his pride.
The white paper flapped as it moved.
Xiao Zhang was still unconscious, so it was hard to say if he had heard Chen Changsheng's words or felt Xu Yourong's thoughts.
The ground quaked as the nearby monster herds cast aside their concern for the Earth Monkey's viciousness and fled in utter terror.
A short while later, several yowls came out from the darkness, followed by the faint scent of blood.
Another odor was mixed in with the blood. Upon smelling it, Chen Changsheng knew that something was off.
It was not because he was slightly obsessed with cleanliness, but because he had smelled this odor before, on the battlefields of the snowy plains.
A thunderous stampede shook the gra.s.sland.
The scent of blood and rot grew stronger and stronger, almost about to tear open the darkness.
Several hundred wolf cavalry appeared on the gra.s.sland, surrounding Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong.
These bloodthirsty wolves were around a zhang high, and the demons mounted on them made them seem even larger.
The wolves' mouths gaped, exhaling hot and stinking breath, while their iron fur was starkly lit by the starlight.
The demon soldiers mounted on them were also clearly lit, the saliva constantly dripping from their 人-shaped mouths giving off just as awful a stench.
The wolf cavalry were the Demon race's most elite troops. In one-on-one combat, they could contend against, even defeat the black-armored cavalry of the Great Zhou.
And just how terrifying was the charging and killing power of several hundred wolf cavalry?
But in tonight's battle, these wolf cavalry that had traveled several thousand li for this long-distance raid were simply not worthy of being the main fighting force.
"The fate of the Divine race might be decided tonight, so I am being exceptionally cautious. I was also very cautious for the last few days, so I am very sure that he notified no one else, and I am also sure that you two were in too much of a rush to notify anyone else. I believe that I will have a great deal of time, so I will strike with great diligence and care to ensure that I thoroughly kill the two of you."
Mountain Man Yanzhi spoke to Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong.
In the darkness, his eyes shone like two torches, blazing with an intelligence and composure that could see through the world, but this also indicated how callous and terrifying he was.
Logically speaking, the conversation just now had been unnecessary. Mountain Man Yanzhi did not need to explain and Chen Changsheng did not need a reason to be ambushed by the demons. But they had still carried out this question and answer session, as Chen Changsheng wanted to buy time and Mountain Man Yanzhi needed time to ensure that his encirclement was perfect.
The ground trembled as that ma.s.sive black silhouette moved south. Although its speed was slow, it exerted a horrifying pressure.
Mountain Man Yanzhi's stance was clear: he was playing it safe tonight and did not want to see any gaps.
As he gazed at that black mountain in the darkness, Chen Changsheng thought for a while and then asked, "How much chance do we have?"
He was asking here about the chances of leaving alive, of course with Xiao Zhang in tow.
Xu Yourong and the White Crane were both as fast as lightning and were unmatched in terms of speed. If they used all their strength, not even the Eight Great Mountain Men could catch up, no matter how unfathomable their cultivation levels were.
The wind rustled her sleeves as Xu Yourong put away the Fated Star Plate. As it returned back into her sleeve, one could faintly see the stars moving along their orbits upon it.
She did not reply to Chen Changsheng's question, only shook her head.
It was clear that the result from the Fated Star Plate's calculation was utterly disastrous. Leaving… was simply impossible.
Since Black Robe had calculated that it would be Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong coming to pick up Xiao Zhang, he had naturally made the appropriate arrangements.
On the gra.s.slands to the south of them, Mountain Men Jingbo and Yichun were like two mountain ranges, extending for several dozen li and blocking all paths of escape.
If Zhizhi were here, their chances might have been a little better.
Chen Changsheng thought about that black-clothed girl who was probably sunbathing on the warm islands of the Southern Sea and felt no regret, only a little frustration.
"So what should we do next?"
He asked Xu Yourong.
This was trust.
In terms of calculation and strategy, there had always been only a scant few in the world that were stronger.
Xu Yourong looked at the Earth Monkey and then stated several numbers that stood for distance and coordinates.
She knew that it could understand what she was saying and knew what she wanted.
It was clear that the Earth Monkey truly had understood her, as its body had turned stiff out of fear.
Many years ago in that incident in the Garden of Zhou, it had seen Xu Yourong, so it knew of her relationship with Chen Changsheng.
Thus, it smartly chose not to look at Chen Changsheng, much less ask to be let off. Instead, it plunged straight into the ground.
In a short while, it came back up.
It was in terrible condition—its brown and shabby fur was covered in dirt and gra.s.s while a wound had appeared on its brow, blood spilling from it.
Chen Changsheng crushed a pill and sprinkled it over the wound.
The pill was made from the leftover ingredients of the Cinnabar Pill and it didn't have too miraculous of an effect, but it was extremely effective in staunching blood.
The Earth Monkey licked the blood on its lips and shot a glance at Xu Yourong, its eyes sinister and cold, tinged with a hint of loathing.
It could travel through the ground, but how could it hide from the spiritual sense of a powerful expert like Mountain Man Yanzhi?
Below a hill ten-some li away, it had been struck by a terrifying ripple of energy and suffered significant injuries.
In its view, Xu Yourong had forced it to do this, so it naturally held a grudge.
Chen Changsheng was treating it, so it did not notice the change in its expression.
Xu Yourong saw, but she did not care. "How was it?"
The Earth Monkey gave two soft shouts, its two short and thin forelegs gesturing in the air.
Xu Yourong watched with a serious expression. After engaging in another round of silent calculation, she turned to Chen Changsheng and said, "It's also no good."
Chen Changsheng turned to that black mountain in the darkness, his right hand dropping onto the hilt of his sword.
"Then we can only fight."
The Eight Great Mountain Men were ancient demon experts who, several hundred years ago, had battled in front of the walls of Xuelao City with w.a.n.g Zhice, Qin Zhong, and Yu Gong.
If he and Xu Yourong fought a head-on battle with them, their loss was a.s.sured.
The ma.s.sive black silhouette slowly moved, the pressure of its unimaginable weight crushing down on Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong.
The dark gra.s.slands had become terrifying to the extreme.
"The good news is that we only have to fight one."
Xu Yourong noted.
Unmoving like a mountain.
The Eight Great Mountain Men truly did possess unfathomable cultivation, seeming just like demon G.o.ds. When they did not move, they could even be described as perfect, invulnerable. But when they moved, they could no longer maintain their perfection, and c.h.i.n.ks appeared in their armor.
It was just like the actual mountains under the starry sky. When they were connected to the earth, they were unshakable, but when they moved, their foundation was unsteady.
In today's lethal trap, Mountain Men Jingbo and Yichun stood to the south, cutting off Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong's paths of retreat, so they could not move.
Mountain Man Yanzhi and the several hundred wolf cavalry were the main a.s.sault force.
In truth, not even Mountain Man Yanzhi could keep his grandiose posture as he slowly moved over to them, shrouded in darkness.
Through her calculations on the Fated Star Plate and the Earth Monkey's risky venture through the ground, Xu Yourong had discovered a path that they could use to leave.
But she did not choose to use this path to leave or even mention it to Chen Changsheng.
It was not because of the bloodthirsty wolf cavalry or those ten-some vicious birds starkly lit against the Southern Cross Constellation. It was because she had sensed a hint of danger deep in the darkness, causing her to suspect that this path was highly likely to be a trap laid by Black Robe.
Mountain Man Yanzhi halted his steps.
Although no one was able to see how he was moving, and certainly no one was able to see his feet.
He was still ten li from Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong.
Ten li was an enormous distance to a normal person. It was hard to clearly see what was happening ten li away, much less launch attacks against it.
But it was at this time and place, ten li away, in such a surprising manner so bizarre that it went against common sense…
Mountain Man Yanzhi began to attack Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong.
He raised his right hand.
The uncountable stars in the sky suddenly dimmed.
Because a black silhouette, ten-some li tall, had obscured several hundred stars.
This black silhouette slapped down on the gra.s.sland.
The sky rumbled with thunder as air that was too late to escape was compressed and torn apart by a mighty strength.
Chen Changsheng felt like he had even heard a large part of the darkness being torn apart.
Xu Yourong drew her sword.
She attacked with her most powerful move, the Sword of Great Light.
Countless swords streaked across the deserted gra.s.sland, dragging with them countless flames.
The black silhouette was even more starkly lit against the sky, appearing even more real.
Chen Changsheng drew his sword immediately after.
He used the Blazing Sword of the Three Styles of the Wilderness.
Yes, after many years, the three sword styles that Su Li had pa.s.sed to him in the wilderness had been formally named in the Daoist Canon.
Scorching, invisible flames poured into the light.
The sword intent of the Stainless Sword met the sword intent of the temple sword and then fused.
When these two sword intents met, they instantly seemed to flow in an endless stream, completely integrated into an object that was perfect and not from this mortal world.
This was South Stream Temple's Unity Sword Art.
And this was the harmonious sword art used by Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong that had stunned the entire continent.
A ball of light appeared in the dark gra.s.sland.
This ball of light was formed from the purest sword glows, and emitted a blazing and blinding light. It was like a sun at its zenith.
The ten-some-li black silhouette dropped down from the sky and fell precisely on the ball of light.
An area of gra.s.s several dozen zhang in radius was flipped over, black streams of dirt shooting out like swift arrows in every direction.
The shroud of light condensed from sword glows hung in the night sky, several dozen zhang above Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong, resisting the terrifying pressure of the black silhouette.
The shroud of light creaked like an old and poorly-maintained door or a wooden stool about to break under some incredible weight.
The Earth Monkey had crawled behind Chen Changsheng, its thin forelegs covering its eyes as its body trembled all over in fear while blood flowed from between its fingers. A moment ago, it had wanted to leave through the ground, but it had not expected that under the dual pressures of Mountain Man Yanzhi and the sky full of sword intent, the earth had been compacted until it was as hard as steel. As a result, it had only managed to ram its head against the ground, causing it to bleed.
The darkness resounded with cruel and ruthless howls.
The several hundred wolf cavalry madly charged toward Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong.
The mountains to the south stretched on for a hundred li, magnificent and impossible to cross.
Mountain Men Jingbo and Yichun were cutting off their retreat.
Mountain Man Yanzhi, from ten li away, had launched a grandiose attack.
The harmonious sword art of Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong was only barely able to defend against it.
With the wolf cavalry charging, how could they stop it?
At this moment, the Earth Monkey sneaked a glance at Chen Changsheng.
Sorrow appeared in its eyes.
It felt like it knew how Chen Changsheng would deal with this wolf cavalry.
Chen Changsheng would probably summon the monsters from the Garden of Zhou.
No matter how terrifying the wolf cavalry were, they were no match for all the many monsters in the Plains of the Unsetting Sun.
And these monsters would be accompanied by the Earth Monkey's two powerful comrades: the Monster Bull and Mountain-toppling Fiend.
But after killing the wolf cavalry, there would still be those three ancient experts of the Demon race.
Just how many of the Garden of Zhou's monsters would survive until the end?
The imagined conclusion left the Earth Monkey rather uncomfortable.
But it asked itself and knew that in this situation, it would do the same.
Thus, it did not make any complaints to Chen Changsheng, nor did it feel resentment, only a little sorrow.
Xu Yourong also knew that there were many monsters in the Garden of Zhou. As long as Chen Changsheng summoned them, they could resolve the danger posed by the wolf cavalry.
But she did not look at Chen Changsheng, neither sneaking a glance nor staring at him.
She was not the sad Earth Monkey, because her mind was truly linked with Chen Changsheng's, so she knew that Chen Changsheng would not take this approach.
To put it another way, she knew what Chen Changsheng intended to do.
She took a step forward and stood in front of Chen Changsheng.
Wings of pure white opened behind her as golden Phoenix flames began to burn, the temple sword in her hand releasing even more rays of light.
In a very short period of time, she had chosen to receive the part of the pressure being borne by Chen Changsheng's dagger.
Chen Changsheng sat cross-legged on the ground and closed his eyes.
Whooshwhooshwhooshwhoosh. It sounded like a downpour dropping from the sky, swift arrows puncturing through the clouds.
Countless swords streamed out of the Vault Sheath, their sword glows lighting up the dark gra.s.sland.
Three thousand swords spread over the world, forming the South Stream Temple sword array.
At this moment, the starlight from the heavens seemed exceptionally dim.
Beneath the awe-inspiring sword intent, the wolf cavalry at the very front instantly broke up into several dozen chunks of meat.
Right after, another giant wolf's forelimbs were cut off, causing it to crash to the ground.
To the northwest, the horn and helmet of a demon soldier were neatly lopped off, revealing his brains, clear and crystalline in the starlight, appearing like the world's smallest lake.
Screams and the thuds of objects falling to the ground continued without end.
Blood of indistinguishable hue watered the ground.
The wolf cavalry had charged quickly and fallen even faster.
In just a few seconds, thirty-some wolf cavalry had died to the South Stream Temple sword array while ten-some wolf cavalry were so heavily injured that they could no longer fight.
Hurried orders were yelled out from the darkness.
Mountain Man Yanzhi's heavy voice rang out from ten li away.
The wolf cavalry stopped their charge. They circled around Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong and retreated into the darkness, only stopping when they were several hundred zhang away.
A thin sword silently appeared in the sky and cut the throat of a demon soldier.
The starlight was brighter than it had been a moment ago.
The sight of green blood flowing out of black-furred hands was truly disgusting.
In panic, the wolf cavalry fell back even further. Only when they were several li away and sure that they were out of the sword array's range did they stop.
Many of the demons had fear in their eyes.
They had seen many experts before, but they had never encountered this way of fighting.
The South Stream Temple array could be considered the perfect defense on the battlefield and was also highly effective at attacking groups.
But in the past, several hundred South Stream Temple disciples had been needed to form the sword array, so the demon experts could launch sneak attacks from various directions, increasing the risk of the array breaking.
Now, Chen Changsheng alone could use the South Stream Temple sword array. Standing in the storm of swords as he was, how could anyone break the array?
In other words, no one else could be more appropriate than Chen Changsheng for killing enemies on the battlefield, even if they were stronger than him.
Was the young Pope of the Human race really this monstrous?
The several hundred wolf cavalry shrilly howled.
Out of fear, anger, and unwillingness.
The demon soldiers and their giant wolves wanted to use this method to express their desire for revenge.
They stopped several li away, waiting for their next moment to charge.
Separated by such a distance, Chen Changsheng could not control his swords to injure them, no matter how formidable his spiritual sense was.
As long as they applied enough pressure on the pair, they could just wait until Mountain Man Yanzhi broke through the defense.
Once Chen Changsheng formed the South Stream Temple sword array, Xu Yourong had been left alone to bear the pressure of Mountain Man Yanzhi's attack.
Even though she had immediately begun to burn Phoenix flames, she could not last for too long.
Chen Changsheng's sword array was needed to defend against another charge from the wolf cavalry, so how long could she last? Could she possibly last forever?
In the current situation, the ultimate conclusion would still be Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong being suppressed Mountain Man Yanzhi and then torn to death by the wolf cavalry.
At least in the view of the demon soldiers, this was the foregone conclusion.
They watched from the distance as they thought about how they would soon kill the human Pope and Holy Maiden, then tear them to pieces and eat them. Their eyes turned vicious as their breathing became heavier.
Xu Yourong's complexion was somewhat pale. She appeared to be reaching her breaking point.
At this critical moment, she suddenly did something almost completely unexpected.
The light filling the sky suddenly vanished.
She had sheathed the temple sword.
Who would come to defend against Mountain Man Yanzhi's pressure?
The South Stream Temple sword array in the sky suddenly moved, turning in an orderly fashion to a certain direction.
That dense collection of swords had originally been pointed at the surrounding gra.s.sland, but now they were pointed at the sky.
It was still a storm of swords, though it was now prepared to ascend to the sky.
Three thousand swords went to welcome that black silhouette.
Starlight and sword glows reflected off each other and created a splendor that made the night sky even brighter.
The true appearance of that black silhouette ten-some li long was finally revealed.