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Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
“What a true cheat the Dominator is!”
Since the incident of the Evil Spirit of Zhenwu, Meng Qi’s “trust” in the Dominator of the Six Realms of Samsara had waned tremendously. And this time, it has reached a new low.
The Snake Dang did not take flight. But its immense size was so huge and long that its upper half rose into the air even when its lower half was still in the halls of the palace. It bared its fangs with its wide-opened mouth menacingly. Strands of black mists encircled around him, blotting the illumination of hope from the Sun.
Its eyes were as vast as the size of a room, cold and blood-shot. Within the eyes were the silhouettes of Luo Shengyi and the white-haired zombie. Its mouth opened so broad that it could swallow an entire garden, hissing from within a deadly mist that anyone who inhaled it would fall unconscious. Venom flowed out of its cavernous mouth, corroding upon anything it fell.
Meng Qi felt surrounded by the massive jaws of Snake Dang from all directions. Dark shadows danced around him like the phantoms of Death, hissing a deathly requiem that seemed to beckon him to surrender. All hope seemed lost. There was no way of escape despite how hard he tried for leaving his only option to watch the self-devouring.
At the very moment, he remembered and felt himself the same helpless despair that the Emperor of the Netherworld must have had when the fatal stroke of the Progenitor Doumu had befallen him. All forms of techniques and skills failed, the defensive enchantments around him shattered, and his Secret Treasures and magical charms faltered in the face of overwhelming force!
Meng Qi suddenly remembered the Ancient Space-breaching Talisman. It was unstoppable against all enemies below the level of the Dharmakaya as long as the enemies are unable to restrain its user!
“But even if I escaped to safety, what of Zhiwei, Yushu, Senior Brother Qi, and Zhao Heng?”
Meng Qi gritted his teeth and shunned the notion. His mood turned calm suddenly, without misery nor fear. His body relaxed a little from the intense stress of earlier.
Be it the Ananda Oath-breaking Sabersmanship, or his reflections on the path of his martial cultivations, the audacity, grit, and courage that he had picked up during his numerous experiences through fire and steel came into the full display!
Then again, such tranquility in the face of such terror of Snake Dang would hardly be possible if he had not succeeded in overcoming the mental challenge earlier and dispelled all negative emotions and restored his soul from its former weariness.
“Never was I born with a mind of Zen which is free from the taint of the mundane; for I am but an ordinary soul that requires constant whetting!”
The giant serpent lunged at him, its gaping jaws boring down menacingly upon it. Its long and sharp fangs grew clearer as it came closer, spewing venom at him. Meng Qi held in his left palm a Fiery Core of the Grand Sun which gave him a soothing warmth in the storm of fear and hopelessness.
“…Some Dharmakaya masters may still be inside, on the verge of death, for they have all paid a certain price and suffered serious weaknesses. Don’t be scared by the mere word of ‘Dharmakaya’…” The words that the Progenitor Doumu once spoke to him came back suddenly.
“Even powerful warriors of the Dharmakaya level have serious afflictions that crippled them, allowing openings for me to exploit… How could this monster, Snake Dang who have long passed but had only returned by using the soul of Luo Shengyi have no weaknesses?”
“The conflict between his physical body and his Vital Spirit… The conflict between his Vital Spirit and the lingering fragments of his actual soul…” Meng Qi’s narrowed as if he was shuddered by the terrifying presence of Snake Dang, not moving at all.
A few feathers found around the coiling trunk of the giant python. Its blood-red eyes stared coldly with malice at Meng Qi regarding him as nothing more but a lamb for slaughter.
All of a sudden, Meng Qi’s physical body overgrew in size. Attuning with the Dharma and Logos of Nature, he harnessed the energies of Nature, mustering all Vital Qi that he could, as he grew into a sizeable giant hundred of meters tall.
Still, in contrast with the pure form of the Demon Snake Dang, Meng Qi was but a small sapling before a huge oak tree, looking feeble and helpless.
At this moment, looking stern and magnificent, Meng Qi raised an arm into the sky, and the other pointed to the ground.
Behind his back, there appeared a giant silhouette of the great Buddha, glazed in gold, featuring him in a sitting position while he meditated. The aura of its increasing presence filled every inch of space, radiating with a tremendous strength that poured with a mood of serenity, benevolence, peace, and wisdom.
Golden sparkles shaped like flowers rained around the vast, golden Buddha. Voices chanting mantras could be heard in the background as the Buddha pointed to the sky with one hand, while he looked to the ground with another. With a booming voice, he spoke,
“In the Heavens and on Earth, I, the Unique and Righteous, am everywhere and nowhere!”
Following his many years of repeated assimilation and meditation, Meng Qi has finally grasped a cursory mastery of the first stroke of The Buddha’s Palms: I, the Unique and Righteous!
The first stroke of The Buddha’s Palms which was a stroke embodying the qualities of wisdom and Buddhist nature with the strength of one’s Vital Spirit. It is a stroke that struck at nowhere but directly at the mind of one’s target; a technique indeed without a counterstrike. Even in the transformed state of the Seven Immortal Illusions, it was an offense that no common defenses could lightly stop!
Meng Qi stepped forward, also with his hands pointed towards the sky and the earth, as he cried loudly,
“In the Heavens and on Earth, I, the Unique and Righteous, am everywhere and nowhere!”
In such instant of dire need and his companions around him, Meng Qi could wait no longer. He employed a variant of the “I, the Unique and Righteous” technique to launch a psychological assault aimed at the mind of his target!
The silhouettes of Luo Shenyi and the white-haired zombie in the eyes of Snake Dang began to turn corporeal as black fumes billowed from the rotten brain.
“Who am I? Who am I?”
“I, the Unique and Righteous? Who is the Unique and Righteous?”
The three different awarenesses within the considerable mass of the serpent grappled and wrested for control as its trunk froze in confusion. Venom trickled from its opened mouth onto the ground which sizzled in an acid pool of green.
The consciousness of Snake Dang was beginning to reclaim dominion of his physical body, but the moment is enough for Meng Qi!
With his saber clutched in his right, in his left hand, Meng Qi activated the Fiery Core of the Grand Sun!
The form of a vast, burning orb rose into eminence behind the shape of the Golden Buddha, gleaming brightly with great radiance as the sacred rays of illumination bathed every inch of the giant serpent, penetrating all strata of Time and Space!
The lights pierced the black fumes circling the enormous serpent, shining upon its rotten and decaying flesh as fierce flames erupted and began to devour it.
A huge roar shook the ground on which they stood. The gigantic serpent writhed and flailed violently in pain, knocking down the structures of the palaces and throwing the clouds into turbulences that nearly swept even Meng Qi away.
It was still very much alive!
The flame badly scorched half of its body. As well as the mostly dispelled dark energies that had radiated from the serpent, yet it was still alive and its aura even as terrifying as before!
“No less expected of the Monster Venerable who had almost developed the Real Body of the Heavenly Snake.” Meng Qi spoke, with his strength entirely spent. He could fully comprehend the invincibility of the physique of the demon now. To think that it could still be alive after a strike that has consumed an ingredient of a Divine Weapon!
For many years Snake Dang had turned into a zombie. The putrefaction of his physical body had caused the deterioration of his powers, leaving him with only skills close to that of a grandmaster. The sturdy endurance of his physical body remained!
On the other side, Ruan Yushu produced the Demon-revealing Mirror thoughtfully. The reflected figure of General Yan on the surface of the brass-greenish mirror.
General Yan stopped short in mid-air with winds of dark energies still circling him. Wraiths were hiding within the winds, the strongest of them all was even possessing powers of the Fifth- or Sixth-fold Heavens!
The wraiths, noticing the predicament of their master, flew to shield General Yan from danger even though it was he who had once slain them and forced them into servitude.
But the phantoms had just sprung into action when the glint of a sword shimmered as it came instantly!
The stroke was so quick that everything else seemed to slow down and it alone remained the only thing that adequately conveyed the gravity of Time. Jiang Zhiwei reached before her quarry despite being last to leap into action. Her blade pierced through the two wraiths protecting General Yan, but the unleashed aura of the strike remained unknown, and she did not release any powers.
Suddenly, Qi Zhengyan’s sword shone brightly. The Dark Chaos he conjured drew some of the phantoms into a cocoon-like dimension, imprisoning them from striking at Jiang Zhiwei.
At the same time, Zhao Heng attacked with his sword and his fists. The blows of his attacks turned into a fiery dragon that circled in the air and swept up a cyclonic inferno that suppressed the pestilence of the foul and evil with his kingly aura!
The Sword of the Sun-penetrating Rainbow stabbed at the forehead of General Yan. Despite the adhesive strength of his physical body, even his defenses have to crumble before Jiang Zhiwei’s sword which was nearing the class of an Exquisite-leveled Precious Weapon.
Jiang Zhiwei released the Sword Qi of her weapon. General Yan gave an ear-splitting roar that even the ground trembled. Something within him erupted as he absorbed the winds of dark energies around him, fusing the wraiths upon his own body.
One by one, the wraiths squirmed and died painfully in his stead. With his apparitions as sacrificial pawns, General Yan found a chance to recover. A glow shone from him, and his Precious Weapon was activated, turning him into a white tiger that forcefully endured the blow from Jiang Zhiwei’s sword. The tiger flailed its tail like a whip, forcing Jiang Zhiwei backward.
It clutched its head and recoiled wildly in pain as if it had lost all senses and awareness, leaping wildly around. It was apparent that Jiang Zhiwei’s previous stroke had damaged his brain with the powers of her Sword Qi. It could have earlier died if not for the two phantoms which have sacrificed themselves to weaken Jiang Zhiwei’s attack.
But the strength of the tiger was not as powerful as the rock bird!
Meng Qi could sustain the Law Phenomenon enchantment no longer. He prepared to cast the spell of the Nature-involving Knack and use another mineral ingredient for Divine Weapons. Only by slaying the demon, Snake Dang, as swiftly as possible, he could find ways to free the Vital Spirit of entrapped Luo Shengyi.
Then again, Snake Dang was a demon with experiences of many winters on its belt. Even a mere speck of its consciousness requires the utmost exertion from Meng Qi to defeat it. The giant serpent coiled in a defensive posture and spewed another deadly projectile before it turned into the Real Body of the Heavenly Snake. Despite the flames still burning painfully at its flesh, it conjured two protective layers around him to protect himself against further assaults and endured the blistering heat of the True Fire of the Grand Sun!
At the same time, it swiftly slithered away, keeping a distance away from the range of Meng Qi’s attacks!
Seeing this, Meng Qi quickly look for other ways to defeat the monster. The Wrist Bone of Nether would only be useful if Meng Qi’s blows could physically land on the beast. Even if he managed to cripple the layers of defenses after the use of the Nature-involving Knack technique, he no longer has the strength to wield the Wrist Bone for another strike. The Frost-eye Crystal would be of no help for now. The use of the Crystal would instead negate the effects of the Fiery Core and help Snake Dang to extinguish the flames that were damaging it. Were there other ways other than the Oceanic Dominion Pearl?
Still, upon further consideration, the Oceanic Dominion Pearl could only penetrate two layers of its defenses. With its so such strong armor, a strike from the Pearl would hardly be sufficient to kill the giant snake. But if he were to wait for Jiang Zhiwei to come, Snake Dang would have long escaped to safety!
Then came a sudden flash of inspiration and Meng Qi had an idea. He gathered his strength and yelled to his companions,
Jiang Zhiwei looked at General Yan which was still bouncing around madly in pain. Without hesitation, she rushed to Meng Qi and grabbed him by the shoulder. With Ruan Yushu, Qi Zhengyan and Zhao Heng closely behind, they ran as fast as they could.
Meng Qi quietly slipped to Jiang Zhiwei the Frost-eye Crystal and whispered to her using telepathy, “Wait for Snake Dang to extinguish the True Fire of the Grand Sun that is burning him. When it comes for us, I will cast the Nature-involving Knack spell and use the Oceanic Dominion Pearl to crush its defenses. With Ruan Yushu and the others holding it down, you will use this to deal the final blow.”
He could not slay Snake Dang when he was busy defending himself and escaping. But the opportunity would show itself when it is the serpent’s turn to attack.
“Understood!” Jiang Zhiwei replied calmly with steadiness in her eyes.
Meng Qi conveyed his plans to the rest of his companions while they continued running to make sure that Snake Dang indeed fell for the ruse. Still, things would be all the better if the Dominator could draw them away from the realm now. Meng Qi hardly enjoyed the prospects of having to expend another ingredient for Divine Weapons so rashly. A few more uses and the potency of the Pearl would fall, rendering it useless to be used in the forging of Divine Weapons!
The bridge of clouds extended far and long. Meng Qi and his companions ran as fast as they could. The shrieks and cries of pain of Snake Dang could be heard regularly from behind them, but the great serpent demon did not seem to have pursued them.
They could now see the barracks ahead of them and the Heavenly Soldiers around. But a staggering sensation of fear and danger descended upon Meng Qi like a tremendous weight falling suddenly on him!
“Brace yourselves!” As he cried, he cast the Nature-involving Knack spell. The Dharmic Form of the Chaotic Void materialized at his back, a Form of inexplicable structure and substance. Within the darkness of nothingness was only a dark emptiness save for a vague shape of a Taoist sitting cross-legged in the midst of the enveloping gloom.
The Form of the Taoist opened its eyes, and Meng Qi’s body grew in size. There came a blinding flash of a stroke from his saber that split the Void into two, drawing a blinding radiance that halved asunder the sky above!
The massive tail of the monster serpent flung at them like a whip and parried by the blow from Meng Qi’s saber.
True to the behavior of reptilian predators, Snake Dang did not pursue them from behind. Instead, it had pretended to scream from afar when it had already been waiting to ambush them, eager to strike them down in a single attack!
Blood spewed from Meng Qi’s mouth. There was a bloody wound on the tail of the serpent. With the brief opening, Zhao Heng released the Baroque Pagoda of Nature’s Hues.
Another lash from the serpent’s tail crushed the Pagoda into pieces. But it had effectively depleted the rest of the serpent’s strength, saving Meng Qi from another stroke which would have severely injured him.
Jiang Zhiwei seized the opportunity and set off the Frost-eye Crystal. Sparkling blue liquid flowed out and flowed along the clouds, freezing them into ice, and reached the serpent’s tail.
Inch by inch, the tail and the trunk of the serpent’s body began to freeze rapidly. Snake Dang roared with agony once more by the frostbite caused by the coagulation of ice consuming his body.
Still, not everything had proceeded as planned. Meng Qi had not the strength to use the Oceanic Dominion Pearl for another strike, whereas Ruan Yushu and the others were not powerful enough to handle the Pearl.
Jiang Zhiwei channeled her last ounce of strength using the forbidden techniques of the Sword Washing Pavillion only used in hours of desperate need. Her aura grew in breadths and enormity. She reached her hands at Meng Qi, who handed her the Oceanic Dominion Pearl. Suddenly came the considerable noise of a crack. Snake Dang had severed the frozen half of its body and was slithering towards them.
It had broken off its tail in its desperation to survive!
The Oceanic Dominion Pearl would never be able to hit the serpent now!
” Jump into the pond. From the Celestial River, we can evade battle.” Ruan Yushu threw her gaze at the pond nearby. Her fair face was devoid of expression, without any shred of fear.
In a last-ditch effort, Meng Qi led the way and leaped first into the pond. He instructed Jiang Zhiwei to immediately look for places to hide once they have reached the depths of the pond. From there, they would prepare to ambush Snake Dang once he came for them.
He also gave Jiang Zhiwei the Ancient Space-breaching Talisman. Meng Qi and the rest would escape via the Celestial River during the ambush while Jiang Zhiwei would use the Talisman if their final trap proved to be an embarrassing failure.
Into the water, they splashed. The company of five sank swiftly and reached the bottom. They could feel the water trembling with the shockwaves from their clashes earlier with Snake Dang above.
Amidst the juddering resonances in the water, Meng Qi noticed the Celestial Horse-drawn carriage faintly shaking as if it was rattling by the force of the shockwaves!
The carriage door which was tightly shut before slowly swung open.
“W-what the…” Meng Qi had a sudden urge to curse. To think that such a change would occur just when they had begun to believe there was a chance to escape! Who was to say rather or not which Immortals might emerge from the cabin of that carriage!
The carriage doors opened widely, revealing nothing and nobody inside.
“It is empty?”
Meng Qi could hardly believe his eyes. It was a carriage ready to escape, but it was empty!
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