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At this instant, a fierce and sharp pain suddenly exploded in Xu Yangyi’s chest! It seemed as if countless awls were drilling into his heart! The fierce pain caused him to cover his dantian with his hand. Even he, who could patiently endure anything, released a cry of irrepressible pain through the gap of his clenched teeth.
“Huff…” Without slightest hesitation, he immediately took a look. He discovered to his astonishment… that the black lotus imprint on his chest… had moved!
His flesh was still, but the black lotus—one that he had believed to be but a mere tattoo since the small box vanished—now appeared to be alive!
In the outside world, a light pillar was suddenly fired in front of Chu Tianyi. In the next second, following a sharp fox cry, the pillar unexpectedly dispersed!
Chu Tianyi wore a grim smile on his face with a pitch-black trigger button in his hand. He was directly faced with Vermilion Snow’s frightened eyes.
“You said I didn’t dare to?” Chu Tianyi’s aged body walked over step by step and he repeated once more, “Did you say I didn’t dare?”
Vermilion Snow didn’t say anything and suddenly erupted with a screech, “Old thief!”
In the wake of her cry, a gigantic fox claw raked towards Chu Tianyi! Merely, as the claw arrived in front of him, he didn’t budge an inch. The claw stopped and faintly trembled.
“Stow your hand… I will let you leave!”
Chu Tianyi didn’t speak, but rather smiled towards the other cultivators. “Can all of you obstruct her?”
“We can’t.” Firecloud hacked up blood. “Even if the elevation of realms is half-step, the disparity is as vast as the distance between heaven and earth… We can hold her off for half an hour at most.”
Chu Tianyi nodded and soon after pressed down on the button as he smiled. “Everyone… I’ll have to trouble you to accompany me on this journey.”
“Why is life joyous and death bitter?” Shadowslay laughed heartily. “If I can drag an old half-step Core Formation monster that ranks ninth on the Heavenly Demon Ranking to roam together with me in hell, what is there for me to even dread?!”
“A biological weapon, eh…” The Three Friends in Winter laughed as they stood up. “Never did we imagine in our wildest dreams that we three, cautious our entire lives, would meet our ends here…”
Not one person fell back!
Eight solitary men faced off against the tremendous 200-meter-long demon. They seemed like clanging swords, not conceding a single step at all!
Vermilion Snow’s face turned solemn for the first time. If humans only relied on social connections to stand firm as the world’s masters, then they wouldn’t be frightening. Frightening was the scientific developments they had made to this day. There were already some things that were completely capable of threatening Foundation Establishment cultivators!
Like the button in Chu Tianyi’s hand. However… after three seconds, not the faintest abnormality occurred!
“As expected, you fear death…” Vermilion Snow sighed in relief as if she had released a heavy burden. “Next… I shall make you believe death to be but a kind of luxury.”
“Trying to make a fool out of me? You… This… This is!?”
Before her voice even fell, her body surprisingly wavered, her voice carrying horror, “Im-Immortal Intoxication?!”
“How could you have brought such a thing?!”
“Flee!” A furious shout was released from Shadowslay’s throat, “Everyone, immediately evacuate from the Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens Arena!”
Dazed for less than half a second, all the cultivators and mortals made a mad dash for the entrance!
The human tide was like an ocean, and the stream of people was like yarn. The remaining several thousand people dared not stay a second more. The long dragon formed from the stream of humans mingled with the rise and fall of mournful wails. This line carried with it the fleeing light of magik artifacts and cultivator with talismans stuck onto their bodies… At this instant, it was as if this tide rushed forth to the entrance behind the unsteadily standing Vermilion Snow!
“Old thief!” Vermilion Snow’s mournful howl streaked through the air. She was forced to look on as the few surviving cultivators, around four to five thousand, fled towards the entrance behind her, unable to move a finger!
Immortal Intoxication... The body of one who was struck by it would be without a smidgen of spiritual force and their four limbs would grow pained and feeble. Even for someone of her realm, it could persist for no less than a couple minutes!
Although she was relying on her demon form, and she still wouldn’t die...
All the Foundation Establishment cultivators including Chu Tianyi stirred not an inch in front of her!
“In life I was an illustrious sage, and in death I will be a heroic spirit…” The ordinarily seemingly chicken-livered Firecloud shakily grasped the long saber in his hand, pointing the shattered tip straight at Vermilion Snow. “I, Firecloud, have lived for 180 years. The time until I return to the earth is not distant… In any case, I was born in China and raised in China and elected to this position above tens of thousands of people. At the least, I cannot just destroy the bridge after crossing the river, no?”
His words were soft, yet they carried with them a determination of certain death. He clearly understood that if they retreated now, there was no doubt that the fleeing low-level cultivators would meet their doom!
The furious Vermilion Snow couldn’t let go of a single person. If one had seen what she had done before, they would know! If one had seen how she had obtained her epithet, they would understand!
The enticement of Core Formation was right before her! How could she possibly let a single person slip away? She couldn’t withdraw, and she was also unwilling to step back! Furthermore, she couldn’t retreat!
“I am unworthy of being a heroic spirit, but as a ghost soldier I am willing to accompany Fellow Daoist Firecloud on this journey.” The Three Friends in Winter guffawed loudly. They faced towards Chu Tianyi and said, “Your Excellency, take your leave.”
Chu Tianyi’s gaze sunk and he finally nodded. “I will leave. Be at ease, I shall look after every clan and each youth of the younger generation on your behalves.”
“May there be a day where my Chu Clan is your clan one day.”
“Of course, this is a debt that you as deputy minister are unable to resist, so who shall come fight it?” Firecloud turned towards the sky and roared in laughter, “Leave! Regarding China, the importance of your departure alone is equal to ten of us Foundation Establishment cultivators!”
Chu Tianyi said nothing further and immediately left after he bowed.
Vermilion Snow’s eyes reddened! Even now her tails couldn’t budge, and she was unable to stand!
“Juniors!!!” Her scorchingly enraged howl tore through the arena, and her eyes flamed. “Remain, you wretches… I need the rest of thou souls to ignite my celestial lantern! I have burned for several centuries! I will wither away and die!”
“To disturb my Core Formation Grand Dao, I will not rest until all of you die!”
“I wasn’t intending to live any longer!” Shadowslay raised his sword and laughed joyously. “Fiend, be on guard for my sword!”
Boom! The sword light was wrapped by a bamboo leaf, a leaf no less than the size of a man and covered with blood-colored veins. Vermilion Snow gnashed her teeth and said, “Junior… this will at most last for a quarter of an hour… If I don’t pull out thine tendons and flay thine skin, I would have lived in vain for these several centuries!”
“Haha! What is there to fear?!” Firecloud laughed brightly and brandished his saber. The face of it radiated layers of flames and left behind a burning scar in the sky.
“Fiend! You kill people like harvesting hemp! There will be a day where you shall meet a grisly death!” The Three Friends in Winter laughed uproariously and transformed into three streaming lights, scattering their bodies. “We three brothers will be waiting for you in the nether!”
“To kill one man is to be a murderer, to slaughter ten thousand is to be a hero! I count that a hundred thousand people have fallen by my hand; how could I fear life or death?!” Vermilion Snow’s mournful cry filled the entire expanse, causing the heart to shiver.
No one had paid attention, but within the billowing qi walls, the forlorn and stifled shout of a man rang out. The anguish was extreme, a moan incapable of being repressed through any means.
“ARRGH!!!” Xu Yangyi clutched at his chest and wailed towards the heavens.
This wasn’t a pain that traveled from outside to inside, like a blade or hatchet wound. This… was a pain that radiated internally to bleed out externally! It seemed to be an agony that split apart his body in two!
His fists were already clenched in a death grip, and each muscle of his bared upper body swelled. The veins atop his muscles moved erratically, and his entire body secreted a layer of cold sweat. There was simply no method of relief.
The pain came just as he gained his first understanding of the word “cultivator”, an explanation that wasn’t conveyed by books. Afterwards, a kind of pain, like a melding shadow, seemed to scrape at his insides with an infinite number of knives! It scalded his blood; it was the burden of contesting fate against the heavens!
Regardless of whether it was Vermilion Snow who had cut down humans like grass and killed her way into Heavens Law in a berserker rage to break through a great realm, or the Foundation Establishment Seniors who were sacrificing their lives in order for Nantong Province’s hundreds of clans to escape… This was a true cultivator!
A man of true character knew how to carry himself and what conduct was to be avoided. This was a cultivator!
At this moment, Xu Yangyi laid prone on the floor, but his body was drawn like a bending bow. With his right hand supported on the ground and his left hand firmly pressed down on his chest, beads of cold agonizing sweat traveled down his unyielding chin to the ground. Although he was already enduring the pain tenaciously, a suffering moan still came out from between his teeth.
No… Not like this! In front of pain that caused him to completely lose his spiritual sense, Xu Yangyi already knew that the present Foundation Establishment cultivators were acting as bait, staying behind as the authorities of the previous era!
Ranked ninth on the Heavenly Demon Ranking, Vermilion Snow was an ancient demon that had claimed several hundred thousands of lives in her hands! An old monster that had lived on since the Qing dynasty to the modern era for a century!
If he couldn’t maintain lucidity right now, then later on… even if there was an opportunity, it would pass on in a twinkling!
He had to leave this place… He swung his head that was even now muddled in pain and rigidly gritted his teeth. With his hand clutching at his heart, Xu Yangyi landed on the ground with a boom and his right hand fumbled about unsteadily.
Finally, he found a sharp rock, and without further words, aimed it at his right arm and stabbed it in with all of his strength!
“Fuck…” A heavy groan exited his mouth. He couldn’t thrust the stone into his leg because Chu Zhaonan’s damned bullet was still in his chest, and he needed his leg to escape.
Piercing pain spread from his left arm to his brain. He didn’t know if he could fight fire with fire, but he surprisingly felt the internal pain take a fair turn for the better. However, he didn’t see that some of the splattered blood had dyed his chest, the black lotus imprint on his chest unexpectedly absorbing it. Moreover...
After the lotus absorbed his blood, it even slowly turned white!
“Huff…” He wiped away at the cold sweat on his head, planning to wake up Chu Zhaonan. Yet at this moment, his face suddenly changed.
A qi signature had disappeared… In Xu Yangyi’s heart, it was like a shooting star cutting across the sky. His throat unconsciously tightened...
This was Shadowslay’s qi… Just now, it had been thoroughly crushed. Shadowslay had fallen in battle.
He didn’t have time for sorrow, and he moreover didn’t have the time to consider how dire the situation was outside. This was because the second qi to succumb immediately followed.
“Senior Wang…” His heart was rather aggrieved. Among these people, when the time to scramble over talents had come, some were annoying naggers, some were chicken-livered, and some had grave and stern faces but a belly full of evil tricks. Nonetheless, at the most critical juncture, all of them stood up and rose to the occasion.
They had used their lives to give Xu Yangyi a lesson. In a cultivator’s life, the most pivotal moment, and also the most important, was to trace back one’s origin.
What was a cultivator?
This was his Dao. It was his truth. It was his root.
The second Dao… The third Dao… until at last, there was only one Dao that remained!
Swish… At this time, the four qi walls collapsed with a rumble! All gazes suddenly concentrated on his body!
Xu Yangyi tightly clenched his teeth, trembling as he clutched at his chest. His somewhat reddened eyes saw in astonishment a half-dead, half-alive man skewered on Vermilion Snow’s claw. It was Firecloud.
As for the others… he couldn’t see them anymore, only the remnants of their qi in the air, proving that they had once walked this earth.
Vermilion Snow was dazed and so was Firecloud. It was beyond Vermilion Snow’s expectations that there would still be someone here.
In his heart, Firecloud roared weakly! He had forgotten… The developments that had occurred were so abrupt that he had practically forgotten he had shut off Xu Yangyi inside like a “good friend”.
This person… couldn’t be lost! In the future, he alone would be capable of safeguarding 100,000 Qi Condensation cultivators! Firecloud had this kind of premonition!
“Young man…” Originally, he felt that his spiritual sense was already scattering away, and his pupils went slack. But in this twinkling, he was suddenly filled with a boundless strength. “One day… for… us… us eight… you must take vengeance!”
The final radiance of a dying sun.
Xu Yangyi sucked in deeply. He didn’t know why, but the now-boiling blood in his chest was simply clamoring! He hadn’t considered a shred of it at all, but because of the violent pain in his heart, his voice was trembling fiercely. Nonetheless, he said, word for word, with an incomparable staunchness and resolution that could chop through nails and cleave apart iron, “I hereby vow.”
“I, Xu Yangyi, in the rest of my days, shall slay this demon!”
1. “Why is life joyous and death bitter?” This is a line from who I think is Xuanzang, a famous Buddhist who was worried about the “purity” of buddhist text in China so he made a 17~ year journey to India. Already a famous figure, he became well known because of the story Journey to the West. This phrase is used in a rhetorical matter, since the idea is that life and death are two sides of the same coin. Therefore to think of both as separate things is pointless.
2. “Destroy the bridge after crossing the river” - To achieve success and then discard one’s benefactor.
3. “Celestial Lantern” - Sky/heaven lantern whatever. I thought this was part of demon physiology, but it's more like an allusion to a great achievement/goal. Strangely, also a kind of torture.
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