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Xu Yangyi stood up and raised his eyes to gaze ahead. The talismans filling the cave were glimmering as before, making the inside terribly quiet, silent like a tomb.
There wasn’t any trace! The killer… actually hadn’t left the slightest ripple of qi behind!
“But, Senior Brother didn’t…” He shut his eyes and sat down in front of Fang Cheng’s corpse. After ten-odd minutes passed, he opened his eyes and said certainly, “The one who came wasn’t a thing, but a person!”
“A person who Senior Brother knew!”
“There’s no doubt that Senior Brother didn’t expect this person would kill him! So…” He pursed his lips and consoled Fang Cheng’s eyes. “That’s why his expression is so shocked.”
“And this is someone who he doesn’t want me to take revenge on. Moreover, he doesn’t want me to know who it is… That’s right… That has to be it! That’s the only way a situation like this could’ve happened here! Only then he wouldn’t tell me!”
“A sudden death. If it was an even faster and more convenient method, the killer definitely wouldn’t have left him with a complete corpse, and he would have wounds on his body. But there’s nothing now. Just like… the killer was also unwilling to kill him!” Xu Yangyi laughed bitterly and looked towards Fang Cheng, his fellow apprentice’s eyes still open in death. “Senior Brother… you really are stupid… You thought you weren’t telling me anything, but in fact… you’ve explained everything.”
“But even if you were dumber…” His throat was somewhat choked with emotion, and he gritted his teeth and stood up. His face was heavy like water, and he recollected everything in his mind.
The eidetic memory granted by the pill spirit displayed its use. He began to remember his first conversation with Fang Cheng when his senior brother had joined the Xingtian Legion. The other had told him that he didn’t have any family. Since childhood, the half-demon had been raised to adulthood by Daomaster Ancientpine, completely in touch with the cultivation world.
“It was a cultivator… no, a cultivator that he recognized. And the people that such a simple person like Senior Brother knew… are for the most part cultivators inside the Heavenraiser Palace…”
“Master-Ancestor has over a dozen disciples… but I haven’t heard anything this time about anyone of them coming.”
His head snapped up to the air.
The deduction he had come to rocked him to his core.
Him? Could it have been him?
Only he could make Fang Cheng willingly accept death!
Only he could leave Fang Cheng without the slightest ability to resist!
And only he… could dispatch an avatar to come here under the attentive gazes of Core Formation masters!
Xu Yangyi lowered his head, the light of his eyes flickering. He recalled that instant of memory severing, right before he’d entered Longsu Province. He also thought back to the legions of cultivators soaring in the night, all of them entering the Heavenraiser Palace!
“So, you carved the word for run… because you also wanted to tell me that person who killed you wouldn’t care about who we are. Those who interfere are certain to die?” He took Fang Cheng’s corpse into his arms and eyed his surroundings. “Just because of this formation?”
“What the hell do they want to accomplish?”
Xu Yangyi forced down his sorrow and walked towards the Transference Formation with Fang Cheng’s corpse in his embrace. “But… regardless of what they’re doing, you also told me something.”
“They have no way to take the Demonheart Seed Magik!”
His gaze chilled. “Otherwise, he would’ve just taken it! Then, there wouldn’t have been a need to kill the cultivator who can activate it!”
“Wait, Senior Brother… I’ll prepare an awesome fireworks show to accompany you. That person… won’t ever expect who the demonheart magik belongs to… In this world, apart from those two old monsters at the bottom of Danxia Temple, no one can destroy it!”
Indeed, since the beginning he had no thought of running!
Leaving like this is too cowardly. Since you have no way to take the Demonheart Seed Magik… in that case, I’ll take revenge for Senior Brother’s hatred myself!
I want you to see the instant the fireworks explode, if you still won’t show yourself or not.
If it really was you… Xu Yangyi lifted his head and glanced at the pitch-black sky. Then I, Xu Yangyi… absolutely won’t be your disciple!
20,000 meters above the Earth, a teardrop quietly slid down Daomaster Ancientpine’s aged face. It noiselessly fell onto his hand.
“Fellow Daoist Ancientpine?” Daomaster Hiddenscent observed Ancientpine suspiciously. Although heart devils did exist for those of their realm, it was in no way as painful as just leaving seclusion. The sadness and grievance of changing seasons between spring and autumn. This was impossible.
“Nothing.” Ancientpine smiled. “I’m still an old man, eh… I remembered that my most cherished descendant is still on this battlefield. I cannot help but feel sick at heart. My sorrow has come out from within.”
Daomaster Titanspirit’s gaze flashed, and he laughed, “That lousy joke of yours is too clumsy, take a penalty drink!”
“Alright, alright, alright.” Gone was his twinkling moment of lost control. Ancientpine was already laughing as he picked up his wine cup and drank.
Merely… this cup of wine was as bitter as traditional medicine.
Old man… you really did it? Titanspirit laughed mockingly through spiritual sense.
Do you know… what things below have already come to? Ancientpine set down his wine cup. As he made light chit-chat with Hiddenscent, he said frostily, If I was a step late… Furthermore, the Xingtian Legion has something in their possession that I suspect to be an ancient cultivation remnant. Its realm… is at least above half-step Nascent Soul!
And did you know that this object… is absorbing the surrounding qi and spiritual force! That part of the formation seems to be steady, but so long as a day passes it’ll be at the edge of collapse!
Titanspirit found himself utterly dazed and eventually replied, Then what are we going to do?
Ancientpine woodenly picked up his wine cup and drained it, his brows furrowing. We’ll have to act in advance…
Tomorrow, night, this time.
Although the Four Cardinals Heavenly Isolation Array hasn’t taken complete effect… but with two Core Formation keeping watch, it won’t be able to run.
Titanspirit sighed, What a pity for the cultivators here…
Those who achieve greatness do not bother confining themselves to trivial matters! Ancientpine said ruthlessly. If our guess truly occurs, who will bear this responsibility?! We, as Core Formation, have a duty to take responsibility for the cultivation world!
When I gazed upon that ancient cultivation remnant below… it was my most cherished descendant who stood guard! But I went and laid hands! You! Do you still pity the cultivators here?! His voice obviously contained raging fury. Perhaps it could be said that it held a trace of pain, guilt, and deep helplessness that left no other choice. After ages, Ancientpine said, Tomorrow… night, no matter what… I must start!
A country… To have a country is to have a family. Since time immemorial, who has escaped death’s hold? A burning-red heart of valor, left behind and taken, illuminates the bamboo records, that’s all. Do you understand?
I don’t understand, Titanspirit sneered. Despite everything you weren’t selected to enter the Cultivation Court, you government deathsworn. I will only work with you this one time.
Back down at the Featherwood Guard, Chu Zhaonan was already standing outside as Xu Yangyi walked out with Fang Cheng’s corpse in his arms. Upon seeing Xu Yangyi come up with a face as heavy as water, Chu Zhaonan then scanned Fang Cheng’s breathing. The gunslinger’s expression couldn’t help but stir.
However, he said nothing. In the end, he powerfully clapped Xu Yangyi’s shoulder.
“I don’t have many friends.” Xu Yangyi raised his head and glanced at him. “So you better not die.”
Chu Zhaonan was dazed, but the crook of his mouth immediately perked up a little. “And here I was thinking that you’d never say the word ‘friend’.”
Fellow Daoist Xu.” Just as Chu Zhaonan’s voice fell, Lord Zhao also walked over. He fell into a daze as he set his eyes on Fang Cheng’s corpse and quickly said, “My condolences.”
“Lord Zhao, I just happen to have something to trouble you about,” Xu Yangyi said.
Lord Zhao merely glanced and nodded. Afterwards, he gently waved and a coffin emitting strange fragrance appeared before Xu Yangyi.
“I once heard that after Core Formation there are some divine abilities and secret arts that can resurrect the dead,” he consoled, “It may not be certain, but perhaps Fellow Daoist Fang can be revived.”
“This coffin is named the Soul Nurturing Coffin. As long as a sliver of spiritual sense still remains, it can be slowly formed. It is the Zhao Clan’s supreme treasure… It is merely a pity that its usefulness is too lacking. Based on the ancestor’s records, nurture a soul for a thousand years, and a man can be reborn. It is unknown whether this is true or false.”
“Thanks.” Xu Yangyi didn’t decline and stowed the coffin inside his storage ring.
He silently began to meditate.
The Demonheart Seed Magik… This time, he HAD to unleash it!
Even if his guess was true… he still had to know, why? Why did Fang Cheng have to be killed?
To act on one matter was to shun the chance of another. He was still not so cold-blooded as to remain indifferent as one of his very few friends was murdered in front of him. As he had said, cultivation was not to nurture a heart that was still like water, or foster a state devoid of either emotion or desire. He wanted to cultivate his fleshly vessel, to cultivate the hot blood pumping in his heart! In no way did he want to cultivate into a stubborn block of stone!
“This is my Dao…” He shut his eyes and forced down his fluctuating state of mind. “I, am bound to carry on this heart.”
As his eyes closed, however, a sly voice suddenly rang out in his spiritual sense.
My mood is bad right now, Xu Yangyi said with closed eyes. Don’t think of making jokes, so if you have something to say, just get straight to it.
Mao Ba’er was dazed. Silent for three seconds, he softly coughed, Something’s a little off.
Since the Reincarnation Puppet fell, more than twenty hours has already passed. Have you taken a look outside?
Xu Yangyi took a deep breath and opened his eyes again. He then looked outside.
Fang Cheng had died… In his heart was anger, doubt, and brutality. He didn’t spare the effort to glance at the sky, but as he now looked he was dazed for a few seconds.
About 10,000 meters away from them… there was no longer just a white tiger manifestation. At its side was a similarly massive manifestation of a snarling spider. The spider’s body was wrapped all over in jade-green qi. In the wake of each of its vibrations, the qi around it transformed into nets and dyed a curtain of the sky green, and even the stars dimmed without light.
The manifestation of an immortal crane appeared above the White Tiger Hall. As its two wings flapped, clouds shattered, and white light in the form of feathers glimmered and flew down from its wings. The White Tiger Hall below was shrouded in a torrential rain of spiritual light.
Around 200 meters in size, the manifestation of a woman in an ancient dress held a pipa in her hands. As her fingers plucked the instrument, the surrounding space seemed to fracture. Numerous black traces collapsed around her and reformed. Among the three manifestations, she was the smallest but her might was the greatest! With each strum of her pipa, the White Tiger Hall’s light screen jolted again and again like a curtain of water.
And the White Tiger Hall… Right now, a claw and its tail had actually been severed! Its soaring light screen was present as before, but many enormous holes were exposed on its entire body. From the holes, spiritual light rushed directly to the horizon. One could even vaguely see surging and rising black smoke.
“The White Tiger Hall is going to fall soon…” Xu Yangyi’s gaze shone. His initial step forward had earned this change. The battlefield’s bizarre transformation of elements revealed the greater whole through the visibility of one spot.
1. "Since time immemorial, who has escaped death’s hold?" A burning-red heart of valor, left and taken, illuminates the bamboo records. This is a passage from a Song poet named Wen Tianxing (1236-1283 CE)
2. “My condolences. The Chinese have a specific phrase: 节哀顺变, that goes something along the lines of “Control your sorrow and adapt to misfortune”.
3. “To act on one matter was to shun the chance of another.” This is another line originating from Mengzi. If you want to succeed in something, you have to give up on something else.
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