Chapter 44: Surprise Reversals
Below the Tranquil Mountains, inside the main camp of the Honor Manor and Virtuous Palace…
Yuan Shao looked malevolently at Xiao Fei, Lu Baiyun and Zuo Tianyi, “Where is Xiao Da?”
Xiao Fei said briefly, “No one seems to have seen him in camp since morning.”
Yuan Shao slammed the table, “Outrageous. He must have gone up the mountains on his own. How dare he disobey my instructions?!”
Lu Baiyun said, “Do we need to send my men to comb the mountains and bring him back?”
Yuan Shao growled, “No need. He will return when he has his fun.”
Zuo Tianyi asked, “You are not worried that he has gone up the mountains alone?”
Yuan Shao said coldly, “It not that easy to defeat Xiao Da even if his opponents have the superior martial skills. Even if he could not defeat them, fleeing isn’t a problem for him. We don’t have to worry for him.”
Xiao Fei said quietly, “We need to exercise caution. Even Xiao Yuanjia was killed by them.”
Yuan Shao said icily, “Unless I have seen his body, I will not believe hearsay. No one knows the secrets of his thirteen blades. No one can defeat Xiao Yuanjia.”
He did not know that Xiao Fei had secretly observed Xiao Yuanjia every single action and had already secretly alerted Youxue.
Zuo Tianyi asked, “All of us are capable fighters here and we still have over a hundred good fighters with us, why are we giving three days to be prepared? We can just overwhelm them with our superior numbers.”
Yuan Shao said coldly, “There is no need for us to take unnecessary risk. The longer that our enemies wait in suspense, the more lingering is their doubts and fears. After all, they are young and are afraid of death. When they have too much doubt, killing them is just an effortless thing for us.”
He did not know that Yi Ping had never plan more than one step at a time and he was naturally a fearless young man. Even though, Yuan Shao could see that Yi Ping had improved but it was natural for anyone to develop a phobia for the person that almost killed them. He was more interested in trapping Lie Qing and the Joyful Goddess inside the Dark Mono Sword Formation and drained them of their Invincible Divine Force intricate energy.
The “retreat” was just a plan for Yuan Shao to prevent the others from interfering in his diabolic scheme. For that, he had to give specific instructions to Xiao Da and Xiao Fei.
He was already caution of Lie Qing and when the Joyful Goddess had appeared, he was doubly caution but at the same time he was secretly pleased that there were two red eyes maidens.
But no matter how he had analyzed the situation, their enemies were as good as being defeated.
All of a sudden, there was a panicky shout from outside the large tent.
Yuan Shao said coldly, “Who dare to disturb our meeting.”
All of a sudden, a few protégés of the Honor Manor began to cart a large coffin into the tent!
Lu Baiyun shouted angrily, “Who ask you to bring a coffin into the tent? Have you all live too long already?”
Zuo Tianyi and Xiao Fei were startled as they looked intently at the large wooden coffin.
Yuan Shao said coldly, “Who sends it?”
Yuan Shao had flown to the large coffin and forced it opened with his palm. But when he saw the content of the coffin, he was startled; Xiao Da was lying inside the coffin!
His lips began to tremble as he muttered, “Who…nephew, who kills you?! Is there anyone in the entire fraternity that can kill you?”
Yuan Shao shouted angrily, “Who did it? Who sends it?! I want them to pay with their lives!”
A protégé of the Honor Manor began to tremble, “He says he is Yi Ping and he is now outside the camp…”
Yuan Shao broke his cane and revealed a thin sword from within, shouting. “Yi Ping! I will tear you to pieces!”
He had immediately marched outside the tent with Zuo Tianyi, Lu Baiyun and Xiao Fei at his back.
As soon as Yuan Shao had stepped outside his commanding tent, everyone was startled to see that many of the protégés of the Honor Manor were lying and crawling in pain on the ground outside!
When a protégé of the Honor Manor saw Lu Baiyun and Yuan Shao, he immediately gasped. “We cannot stop them…”
Yuan Shao began to stare furiously at the intruders and there were many of them.
Yi Ping, Shui Yixian, Lele, Lie Qing, Ding Yun, Lingfeng, Yu’Er, Mei’Er, Xiao Youxue, Nangong Le, Qiu Wufeng, Gongsun Jing, Priest Liu Qingcheng, Priest Bai Chongzhen, Priest Ling Kongquan and many others were standing loftily in front of Yuan Shao, Xiao Fei, Zuo Tianyi and Lu Baiyun.
All of a sudden, he was startled.
It was because for the very first time, Yuan Shao could feel that his powerful malevolent aura did not have any effect and was diminished by their presence. He was suddenly hard in breathing…
He could barely recognize Xiao Youxue and besides her, was a beautiful heavenly maiden with an imposing presence. He did not recognize the Celestial Fairy…
This heavenly maiden had the most compassionate eyes that he had ever seen and her mere presence caused everyone to look at her rigidly.
Only Lu Baiyun knew better for he had recognized the Celestial Fairy and he had unconsciously began to stagger backward.
Many of the protégés of the Honor Manor were beginning to be fearful. Even though many of their opponents had not yet fully recovered their strength but the eyes of their opponents were burning with righteous fire and even their fighting spirits were overwhelming; it seemed nothing would stop them today!
Zuo Tianyi shouted, “Yi Ping! You are courting your own death by coming here!”
He had barely lifted his frightening sword energy when Yi Ping had charged into him, drawing the white emerald phoenix sword and brandishing the beaming Divine Echo, instantly neutralizing his sword energies with a low emitting echo!
Zuo Tianyi was surprised that in less than two days, Yi Ping’s swordplay seemed to have a marked improvement! It was not only a marked improvement but the speed that Yi Ping had handled the double swords were so quick and lethal that Zuo Tianyi was forced to take one step back now and then!
He thought, “How it is possible? Not only is he unaffected by my sword energies but his speed is quicker than ever before. And where did he pick this double sword technique?”
He quickly executed the Infinity-One, displaying a dozen cutting strokes at Yi Ping.
But Yi Ping swung his twin swords, retaliating more than two dozen strokes in a single instant. His attacking speed was like unstoppable shoot stars, bursting into shades of grey and sparkling lights; his attacks were invisible to all but the keenest exponents!
Xiao Fei laughed softly, “It seems that Young Master Zuo is having some trouble.”
All of a sudden, Xiao Fei had flew with startling speed and drawn out his sword, stopping Yi Ping in his track!
Everyone was startled at how fast Xiao Fei’s speed, even Yuan Shao!
Yuan Shao thought, “This speed…he has been concealing his true strength all along?!”
In a single instant, Xiao Fei had rained more than a dozen strokes on Yi Ping. Together with Zuo Tianyi, Yi Ping was forced back!
Youxue immediately shouted to Yi Ping, “Yi Ping, be careful. Xiao Fei is known as the Quick Blade Swordsman…”
Xiao Fei laughed softly as he overheard Youxue, “Isn’t it too late to warn him already…”
Youxue had already intercepted Xiao Fei, “You dare to hurt him…”
Yi Ping said softly to her, “Youxue, move back. I can still cope…”
Yi Ping had intercepted both Xiao Fei and Zuo Tianyi each with a sword as he retaliated with dozens of flurries of attacks.
Zuo Tianyi burst into a cold sweat as he took several steps back and leaving Xiao Fei alone to tank Yi Ping’s sword flurries, thinking. “This…this speed is impossible!”
Even Xiao Fei was startled as he gasped, “You…when did you…”
It was because Yi Ping had used the exact sword technique that he had just displayed, the ‘Bursting Light Rays’ sword technique and had used it with two swords, something that not even Xiao Fei could accomplish.
Not only was Yi Ping sword techniques more refine than the ‘Bursting Light Rays’, it also had the traces of the Horizon Swordplay as it sent startling burst of shadows flurrying in all directions! The martial power imbued by Yi Ping was so strong that even Xiao Fei could barely hold him off with his Divine Virtuous Force in full throttle!
Xiao Fei smiled bitterly, “You are a worthy opponent. I have not exhausted my sword techniques yet. Let’s have some fun…”
Zuo Tianyi immediately took the opportunity when he was behind Xiao Fei to imbue his sword with beaming cold sword energy. This is the divine state of the Infinity-One, the departing of the sword energy from the sword.
He quickly completed the twelve circulations of his internal intricate energy in less than a minute as he aimed at Yi Ping with a startling burst of deadly sword energy, “You are dead, Yi Ping. Nothing can block the Infinity-One Sword Energy, not even the Divine Emerald Skill.”
But to his utter surprise, Yi Ping managed to disengage himself from Xiao Fei, jumping in front and sliced his deadly sword energy projectile into two waves with the Divine Echo, with one of the waves injuring Xiao Fei!
Xiao Fei glanced silently at Zuo Tianyi as he coughed out blood, “He…tries to kill me along with Yi Ping?! It seems that I have to watch my back…”
Xiao Youxue had suddenly raised her sleeves at Xiao Fei while saying to Yi Ping, “Go get that despicable Zuo Tianyi. I will handle Xiao Fei.”
Yi Ping took a longing glance at Youxue before he charged towards Zuo Tianyi.
Youxue took a longing glance at Yi Ping…
Xiao Fei said, “You have come to kill me with your own hands?”
Youxue said, “You know I won’t. Are you seriously injured?”
Xiao Fei said bitterly, “It is a lucky thing that I am protected by the Divine Virtuous Force and had suffered only a minor internal injury. The bulk of the deadly sword energy has already been dissipated by your sweetheart. I swear I make that Zuo Tianyi pay for this.”
Youxue said, “You call that just a minor injury? I think that after you have dissipated your Divine Virtuous Force, you will be lying on the bed for quite a long time. Stop forcing yourself and pretend to be strong.”
Xiao Fei laughed softly, “Youxue, Youxue. We are on opposing sides now. To be merciful towards the enemy is to be merciless towards ourselves.”
Youxue whispered, “That’s what Xiao Shuai and Yuan Shao have taught us, isn’t it? I still remember that during my first year on the run, I was caught by you but you have let me go. You…have…even told me where my brother Yuanjia had hidden his thirteen blades. You have saved my life twice.”
Xiao Fei whispered, “You have told Yi Ping?”
Xiao Fei smiled bitterly, “No wonder I cannot sense any malevolent air from him when we fought. The only malevolent air seems to be directed at that Zuo Tianyi. I shouldn’t have interfered for that rascal Zuo Tianyi. But still, we still have to put on a show first…”
Youxue said coolly, “Why do you think I am here for?”
As Xiao Fei picked himself up and pretended to fight against Youxue, he whispered. “Be wary of the Celestial Palace.”
Youxue asked, “Huh?”
Xiao Fei whispered, “The Virtuous Palace, the Honor Manor, the Celestial Palace and the various martial clans are congregating at the Holy Amalgamate Mountains. This you know. But do you know that they are actually contesting for the Heavenly Relic?”
Youxue was startled, “What’s that?”
Xiao Fei whispered quickly, “It is a relic from an ancient time, a relic of the immortals! It is said to be able to aid the practitioners to ascend the heavens! The martial intricate formula that is inscribed on the relic hold the secret!”
Youxue asked in astonishment, “How did you know?”
Xiao Fei said, “The seven stars have joined recently and all signs pointed to the Holy Hex Sect. You didn’t know about it? The Holy Maiden didn’t tell you?”
In the meantime…
Yuan Shao was about to take a step forward with his cane sword when Yixian had intercepted him with her fingers!
He was startled at her attacking speed. As soon as he raised his cane sword to block her, this heavenly maiden had shattered his cane sword into pieces when her fingers landed on it!
Yuan Shao was stunned at her martial power and the cold stabbing sensation of her fingers!
“Icy Jade Finger?! Who are you?”
Yuan Shao did not dare to be careless and he had immediately hacked at her with the hidden waist sword but his sword was immediately deflected by a seemingly invisible force. No doubt, it was the Emerald Divine Skill!
Yixian said gently, “The Celestial Fairy.”
Yuan Shao was startled, “You…you are the Celestial Fairy?! Why are you here?”
Yixian hummed icily, “Why can’t I be here? And let my protégés be bullied by the Virtuous Palace?”
In the meantime, Lie Qing was fighting against more than a dozen top fighters and more than a dozen fighters had already been sent wriggling on the ground by her!
Even though these fighters were all experienced top fighters and had surrounded her, they were terrified and dare not be careless. It was because Lie Qing was surrounded by a powerful invisible inertia force that caused their attacks to deflect off her!
Lie Qing was teasing them, “Maybe you should find someone stronger to fight me. It is futile. My Invincible Divine Force is not something that fighters the like of you can breech.”
“The Invincible Divine Force!? She knows the Invincible Divine Force! Isn’t this Gongsun Bai’s skill?”
Just as more fighters were about to join in the attacks against Lie Qing, a flying sword that came from Ding Yun flew with such startling speed that it fell five fighters in an instant, terrifying the other fighters from the Honor Manor!
The Joyful Goddess was sighing in displeasure, “Remember the Celestial Star Formation that I have taught you. Don’t break the formation…sigh…no one is even listening…”
Lingfeng laughed softly, “Your so call Celestial Star Formation is too hard to grasp in just a few hours…”
Qiu Wufeng was shouting to Lu Baiyun, “Don’t you run. If you are a hero, stand where you are!”
Lu Baiyun smiled bitterly, “Do you think you are worthy to be my opponent yet?”
Gongsun Jing said, “What about me then?”
Nangong Le had also stepped in, “And me!”
Lu Baiyun said coldly, “Three versus one? And you can yourself a hero? But even if there are ten of you, the result will still be the same!”
Gongsun Jing said, “I am no hero. I am a wanted fugitive now.”
Nangong Le laughed, “That’s right. I didn’t know Brother Jing, you can be so humorous!”
Gongsun Jing smiled, “I learnt from you!”
Qiu Wufeng looked at Gongsun Jing and Nangong Le with trembling heart as he said aloud, “My brothers!”
It was because he knew that Gongsun Jing and Nangong Le were grievously injured; they had tried not to show it and had joined the fight besides him!
Gongsun Jing exclaimed, “Brothers!”
Nangong Le laughed, “Let’s hope that we don’t become dead brothers soon!”
Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing stared at him.
Lu Baiyun had displayed his extraordinary swordplay and had dashed in their midst!
All of a sudden, he was forced back by three additional swords coming from Priest Ling Kongquan, Priest Liu Qingcheng and Priest Bai Chongzhen!
Priest Liu Qingcheng said aloud, “If you want to kill my protégé first, then you have asked me first!”
Nangong Le laughed, “Thank you, thank you.”
Priest Ling Kongquan whispered to Nangong Le, “I think he is more afraid of losing his funds to rebuild the Longevity Hall.”
All of a sudden, there was a thunderous impact, knocking aside everyone that was around the Celestial Fairy and Yuan Shao.
“Stop fighting.” The Celestial Fairy’s voice was gentle but it could be heard clearly by everyone.
Yuan Shao had been knocked on the ground and he was coughing nonstop!
The Celestial Fairy said gently, “You can go. Take the coffin away as well.”
Yuan Shao was laughing bitterly, “Even with my martial power, I cannot overcome you…”
The Celestial Fairy said softly, “Perhaps if you are able to restraint your rage, the outcome will be different.”
Yuan Shao coughed, “Perhaps…perhaps not.”
He looked around him and saw that the number of wounded and the dead around him were appalling. It was a complete defeat. He had never expected his side would be nearly annihilated in such a short time. He had never expected the Celestial Fairy to be here and that she would be this formidable…
He closed his eyes and said bitterly, “You may have defeated us today but not the next time…the Virtuous Palace awaits you at the Holy Amalgamate Mountains and we’re not the only ones. The Honor Manor and the Seven Major Orthodox Sword Clans awaited you there. This victory is just only a small victory.”
Priest Bai Chongzhen interrupted, “You can only count the Six Major Orthodox Sword Clans then. One of the Seven Major Orthodox Sword Clan is on this side.”
Yuan Shao ignored him.
Priest Ling Kongquan said, “If the other Six Major Orthodox Sword Clans are as easy to deal with as you, then we won’t have such a headache.”
Priest Bai Chongzhen stared at Priest Ling Kongquan. It was not funny.
Yi Ping was still staring coldly at Zuo Tianyi, who could barely stand and was looking extremely rugged.
Ding Yun had walked quietly besides Yi Ping, holding him gently on his arm. “Let him go. He is not worth getting your hands dirty…”
Yi Ping said coldly to Zuo Tianyi, “You have betrayed our brotherhood. I don’t have a sworn brother like you! Now scram!”
Zuo Tianyi laughed bitterly, “You will regret not killing me today.”
He was secretly thinking, “I have lost to you because you seem to have a divine sword that can neutralize my sword energy. I am still not convinced that I will lose to you. In the secret chamber of the Infinity Sword Clan, there is a forbidden sword. I will retrieve that sword and we shall see again.”
“Wait a minute!”
It was the Joyful Goddess. She said coldly, “Yi Ping says he will let you go but I have never said I will let you go.”
Zuo Tianyi immediately turned ashen because the Joyful Goddess was swinging her wicked scythe expertly in front of him. He had exhausted his martial strength trying to keep himself alive…
The Joyful Goddess said coldly, “I may be the Joyful Goddess but I am also the Harbinger of Death from the Celestial Palace. My duty is to execute all offenders that are disrespectful to the Celestial Palace. And you are no exceptional….”
Zuo Tianyi was instantly terrified and had completely turned white; it was because the Joyful Goddess was suddenly cloaked with a dark malevolent aura and her malevolent air was so suffocating that everyone stopped what they were doing and was looking at her.
Even Yuan Shao was startled at this creepy malevolent air. It was because it was even more powerful than his very own…
Lele had attained the Transverse State of Divinity. At this state of divinity, she could amplified or diminish her aura. She knew that Zuo Tianyi had violated Ding Yun and she was extremely angry. Combined with her amplifying emotion state of divinity that she had achieved, her malevolent air was so frightening and paralyzing that no one dared to move.
Of course, Lele did not realize that. She was genuinely really very upset even though she did not show it. In her heart, she had already visualized slicing Zuo Tianyi to pieces!
She had not acted yet but her intentions were already materializing in the form of her malevolent intentions! Even though her target was only Zuo Tianyi but everyone could already visualize that they were the ones getting sliced by her!
Ding Yun said, “Don’t sister! I am ill-fated as it is already. Don’t harm your divinity with reckless killing.”
Yi Ping had raised the Divine Echo, dispelling Lele’s strong malevolent briefly. “Lele, let them go. There are too many casualties. We have already won.”
Lele looked at Yi Ping before she took a look at Ding Yun, sighing melancholy. “You…have not realized the consequences of letting this man off yet…”
Yi Ping saw that Lele’s malevolent air had diminished so he quickly said to Zuo Tianyi. “Go now!”
Zuo Tianyi was not the least grateful as he picked himself up and sheathed his long sword in a slow manner. Before he left, he said. “Yi Ping, this is not over yet.”