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In the next second, the sky darkened! All the stars, Venus, and the moonlight seemed to be suddenly covered by a layer of muslin. The air was hazy and distinct. In the following moment, the shadow of a hand emerged in the sky!
The delicate hand, a woman’s hand, now firmly pulled on the entire sky as if she was pulling a curtain!
Swoosh! There was no sound, like a passing goose leaving no trace. However, the sky had turned completely black!
“Gasp…” On the battlefield, everyone was stunned. What kind of divine ability was this?! It practically transcended everyone’s scope of knowledge!
“This…” Ancientpine looked at the sky in astonishment. “Incredible…”
“Something’s wrong!” Titanspirit was the first to regain his wits. “The qi here has all scattered, but it isn’t getting out. This place… is being isolated by itself!”
His voice yet to fall, a human silhouette was already forming little by little at the nexus of the plant below.
Ancientpine calmly gazed at the silhouette. His eyes contained a complicated tinge and all kinds of different emotions. Ultimately, he nimbly stabbed out with his sword.
Swoosh… The sword came from the west. All the talismans on the wooden sword oscillated in harmony, and the eye-piercing cinnabar on the surface brightened completely! In moments, a roaring yellow dragon screamed forth! Golden light filled the sky, its august might without limit!
Titanspirit made to act, yet he came to an immediate halt.
Ancientpine’s voice echoed in his ear, “My disciple… is my karma. Allow me to settle this.”
Swoosh! The yellow dragon illuminated the horizon! As it approached Xu Yangyi, his figure that had just manifested had no time whatsoever to resist!
And yet… in the wake of a cold snort, a Transference Formation that was a full three meters wide emerged behind Xu Yangyi in an instant. Azure light shot out all around, and a hand crafted from azure qi quietly extended out from the formation. Its movements were not fast, but it caught the yellow dragon in a death hold!
Bang! As a crisp sound rang out, the yellow dragon, at least ten meters long, was unexpectedly crushed like an earthworm by this hand!
“What?!” Ancientpine took a sudden step forward and took in everything before him in disbelief.
He didn’t feel any spiritual pressure from this hand, yet his supreme technique actually hadn’t left the slightest impact!
Ancientpine didn’t even finish thinking, and Xu Yangyi below icily clasped his hands in greeting. Ancientpine’s lips moved, yet the word “disciple”, clinging at his mouth, wasn’t called out in the end.
Some men were doomed to be unable to swear allegiance to another, even more incapable of obeying Heaven’s Will. Any manipulation upon them was an unbearable disgrace. Such men either had their lives cut short or soared into the heavens, becoming a dragon among men.
Xu Yangyi did not hail him as master-ancestor. This already told Ancientpine that he, Xu Yangyi, had cut ties with him, Ancientpine.
“Now that I’m here, I have two questions.” Xu Yangyi gazed icily at the two Dao Masters. “I ask the Dao Masters to dispel my confusion.”
Silence. Titanspirit didn’t reply. He knew that Xu Yangyi wasn’t speaking about both Dao Masters to clear the matter in the air, but was asking Ancientpine.
“Speak.” Ancientpine appeared to age by a good few years, and his hand gripping his sword was faintly trembling.
Years pass and the flowers remain the same, yet years pass and people become different.
When the war originally began, Xu Yangyi and Ancientpine could be barely considered to have a deep relation of master and disciple. Now… the sentiment seemed as thin as paper, the world’s matters like a game of new chess.
“I just have one thing to ask…” Xu Yangyi stepped forward, his hands cracking aloud as he clenched them. “If the answer to this is no, then Junior won’t have to ask my next question.”
Ancientpine’s heart ached. He closed his eyes and slightly nodded.
“My Senior Apprentice-Brother, Fang Cheng, did you or did you not kill him?” Xu Yangyi looked straight at Ancientpine who was in the air, not falling back in the slightest. Each of his words came out from between gritted teeth. “Tell the truth.”
“Impudent.” Titanspirit furrowed his brows. Just as Titanspirit was about to speak, Ancientpine held the giant man’s hand back, however.
Silence. Death-like silence. Even the Zhao Clan and the Nalan Clan were paying close attention to this conversation.
Xu Yangyi didn’t isolate sound, and neither did Ancientpine.
After ages, Ancientpine opened his eyes. “Yes.”
“He was your disciple… He treated you as his elder…” A throb of pain bubbled in Xu Yangyi’s heart. His eyes were somewhat flushed, and he took another step forward and asked loudly, “Is this how you treat your disciple?!”
“All he did was help me defend myself, that’s all. You couldn’t even let him go because of that?!”
“He didn’t know a thing! He didn’t know about your plan—why didn’t you just take him away?! But you went and killed him!”
This final sentence quaked the four reaches.
“And what could I do?!?!” Unexpectedly, Ancientpine wasn’t angry. Perhaps… what he was angry about wasn’t really Xu Yangyi’s attitude. He suddenly drew himself to full height, and his clothes, beard, and hair danced chaotically. His voice was so loud that it even resonated through space. “Daomaster Hiddenscent was the incarnation of an overlord of the Demonic Dao! If she was allowed to grow, a great calamity would’ve befell the entire cultivation world!”
“It was for the cultivation world! I could not allow the smallest mishap! Regardless of who! So long as this plan was put to jeopardy, I had to erase all traces with all my might! I could not allow her to realize the slightest clue! This is my duty, and moreover the duty of Core Formation!”
Heh… At Xu Yangyi’s ear side, Xiaoqing’s cold laughter echoed. He didn’t pay her any heed and nodded.
“Even though he was your junior?”
“Even though he was my junior!”
Ancientpine’s face was heavy like water, and his gaze was unflaggingly staunch.
Xu Yangyi fixed his gaze on Ancientpine for a long time and nodded. “Good, I’ll ask my second question.”
“Who killed Daomaster Hiddenscent?”
No one responded.
“Who killed that monster?” Xu Yangyi cut straight to the question again.
“You,” Titanspirit finally replied. This was the Grand Dao and righteousness. He didn’t believe there was fault in what they’d done. Nonetheless, as the dust finally settled, they had failed Xu Yangyi and moreover failed Fang Cheng.
And yet on the path of cultivation, who would not die? In history, cultivation nations that had been sacked could be found in great detail! In order to ensure that China’s cultivation world would never fall for eternity, had they done wrong?
“In that case…” Xu Yangyi cupped his hands. “Do the two Ancestors mean to kill me?”
A stretch of silence.
“Or is there no good reason to think of?” Xu Yangyi sneered, “Maybe you’ll talk about taking me back? Things like that?”
“You are impudent!!!” At long last, Titanspirit was unable to control himself and said with cold laughter, “What margin is there for you to comment on the Dao Masters’ way of handling matters? Life and death is giveth and taketh. What I think is it how it goes. If you’re dissatisfied, fine. Cultivate to Core Formation, and I’ll give you an apology myself!”
Before he even finished speaking, Ancientpine pulled him back again.
Titanspirit scoffed, but spoke no further.
“Yes.” Ancientpine strode forward and looked directly at Xu Yangyi. “As your master, I must kill you.”
“You’re no master of mine,” Xu Yangyi said without the least bit fear. “And I don’t want a master like you.”
The raging fury in his heart converged into a river. Yes, they had acted for China’s cultivation world, but had they asked for his opinion?
No one was willing to die, even if this death was for so-called righteousness!
This was their self-believed righteousness! Not the righteousness of the entire cultivation world!
For the sake of the heavenly paradise, two out of four great clans had been extinguished, Fang Cheng had died, Zhao Ziqi had fallen into false-death state, and the Zhao Clan and the Hidden Dragon Legion had lost scores of people at the minimum. Everything was their scheme. He could understand their thoughts, but he was absolutely unwilling to understand their manipulations!
Dumb loyalty, lacking the heart’s thought for humanity, was not his Dao.
“Why?” he continued and asked.
“The same reason.” Inexplicably, Ancientpine’s throat was somewhat pained, and he looked to the endless sky and said faintly, “You are beneficial to the nation.”
“Understood,” Xu Yangyi laughed and clasped his hands gain.
At the side of his ear, Xiaoqing’s voice echoed indifferently, Have you decided?
Xu Yangyi wordlessly nodded.
Won’t you consider it a bit longer? Xiaoqing smiled. The Wolfbane’s fortune… is far much greater than your remnant soul of Butterflymother Southflower. With its aid, your path to Core Formation will be many, many winding roads less.
Xu Yangyi turned a deaf ear and looked at everyone. His next words caused Ancientpine and Titanspirit to bolt up at the same time.
“Unfortunately, I’m not Senior Brother.”
“What are you going to do?” TItanspirit’s gaze slightly flashed. He didn’t believe a Qi Condensation cultivator was able to flip over rising winds and waves. That hand just now, however, left him in a state of total vigilance.
A ruthless wisp flashed through Xu Yangyi’s mind. “Nanzhou belongs to me!”
In the moment his voice fell, the Wolfbane behind him started to grow in a frenzy! Countless leaves, like raging waves and swelling tides, stabbed into the ground! Wherever the plant went, the ground turned pitch-black!
Swoosh swoosh swoosh! Leaf after leaf and branch after branch swept past over everyone’s heads, resembling a heavenly black curtain. It kept going… and going… pulling all the way to Nanzhou’s borders!
The Wolfbane… had hemmed in all of Nanzhou! Not even one drop of water could trickle through!
In barely three minutes, Nanzhou had become utterly pitch-black, as if the Xingtian Legion’s banner was planted!
All that remained was one road, the exit out of Nanzhou.
“You…” Shocked, Titanspirit took in all of Xu Yangyi’s action. After half a second, he flew into anger. “You actually… You actually dare to act like this?! Who gave you such dog courage!!!”
BOOM! A massive golden palm, bringing forth wild qi waves, slammed out! Heaven and earth was washed with golden brilliance, targeted directly at Xu Yangyi!
There was no way Titanspirit couldn’t be mad. Nanzhou… how many people… even his eyes were a little green with envy! Yet Xu Yangyi had now actually staked claim to the land! And a claim to territory in front of them, at that!
On land like this… it would be fundamentally impossible to grow any spirit plants! With the sea of poison, no clan whatsoever would even dare to take root here!
This action practically gave them not one bit of face!
Bang! An azure palm extended again and easily swatted away Titanspirit’s giant golden one.
Junior… This Palace’s patience is not much. Xiaoqing’s voice carried an icy-cold tinge. With a single hand I have concealed the heavens, and forcibly partitioned yours and the Wolfbane’s spiritual sense fusion. I only have ten minutes. If you do not leave now, the Wolfbane’s demon form will pass away. Even I will be unable to protect you. I will moreover be unable to maintain the Wolfbane where it presently is.
Xu Yangyi seemed not to hear, and his gaze brushed over the two Dao Masters’ faces. All of a sudden, he burst into laughter.
“I forgot to tell Ancestors.”
“There’s a bomb underground. The power definitely isn’t weaker than the Golden Core that Junior detonated.”
Titanspirit and Ancientpine both sucked in deeply.
“And I have bound it to my demon form. If my demon form suffers a threat from Foundation Establishment or above, it will instantly explode.”
Xu Yangyi didn’t know when he would be able to return, and he moreover didn’t know where he was going. But, the day that Bai Suzhen’s demonheart magik activated would be the day that guaranteed nobody would be able to covet his territory!
If you’re going to be heartless, then don’t blame me for being unfair!
If that’s how you’re going to treat me, then that’s how I’m going to treat you!
1. Part of poem from Tang poet Liu Xiyi (651-679 CE).
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