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Chapter 98: Golden Lions
All compass points unite and shout,
The Lions seal the fiends away.
Bao and Sunan both sank down into cross-legged positions of meditation, as did everyone else powering the formation. As they closed their eyes and placed their hands in their laps, palms up, the energy fluctuations rolling off of the spell formation began to retract from the four corners of the continent, and converge back on the Banyan Mountains.
Then, they began to recite the very poem that Bao had taken years to complete. Although they spoke in a murmur, the energy of the spell formation caused their words to echo like thunder.
The mountains began to shake so violently that trees fell and boulders split open. Thankfully, Hui had picked one of the most mighty of the trees, and although it swayed back and forth like a reed in a stormwind, it didn’t fall.
Cracks had long since spread out on the surface of Yao Gong Palace, and now, it began to crumble. Towers fell and corridors collapsed, and many of the Demon Emperor’s forces who weren’t quick enough to flee earlier were crushed to death.
As for the surface of the ceremonial square, cracks had already begun to spread out across its surface, but it held shape.
As Bao and Sunan sat there cross-legged, they became conduits for levels of energy that were literally shaking heaven and earth. The powers of the spell formation grew more and more intense as energy began to rush from all parts of the continent to converge on the two of them, then pour into the resonance, and finally, come to rest on the Demon Emperor.
Although the light shining in the square was so blinding that no one could even open their eyes to observe, if they had been able to, they would have seen strange magical symbols and designs on the Demon Emperor’s skin as he continued to struggle in vain to free himself.
As for Bao and Sunan, they felt like rivers being flooded with oceans upon oceans of water. Their Qi meridians had already been stretched to the limit, and many of them had even burst. Now that the spell formation was drawing upon the full level of the power that it was capable of, the effect became more pronounced.
One by one, their meridians popped and shattered, and even their blood vessels began to burst.
The forces ripping through them were too great for their physical bodies to process.
Because of the resonance, there was no need for them to open their eyes to sense what was happening to each other, nor any need to use their voices to communicate.
What’s happening, Sunan?
I don’t know, Bao. But we can’t let up. The sealing is almost complete, I can sense it.
By this point, the energy and the clouds that had filled the lands had retracted, and were now focused within the Banyan Mountains. Brilliant, golden light shone out to fill the entire empire as the mountains trembled and shook.
The intense levels of power were now causing problems for the other members of the Dragon-Phoenix Sect. Blood had begun to ooze out of the eyes, ears, noses, and mouths of many of them, especially those who had experienced only four or five breakthroughs.
Bao and Sunan could sense this.
Bao, open yourself to the power. It’s too much for the rest of the sect to handle.
I know, Sunan. I know. Are we… are we going to die?
A long moment passed.
Bao didn’t say anything more, but Sunan could sense her determination as she opened herself up further to the flow of energy. He did the same.
By now, their meridians were completely destroyed, and their blood vessels were shattered. At this point, even their bones were starting to crumble, and their muscles were being shredded to pieces. No one present could see it, but their skin looked as brittle as dried mud, as was covered with countless cracks.
I don’t want to die, Sunan. I want to see Jinlong and Chunfeng. I want to build a house by a lake.
Jinlong and Chunfeng won’t be safe as long as the Demon Emperor lives, Bao.
Despite the fact that they were surrounded by a cataclysm of wind and thunderous roaring, to Bao and Sunan, everything seemed quiet and calm. Neither did they feel any pain as their bodies were destroyed.
It was at that poin, that both of them suddenly heard words being spoken into their minds, words that thrummed and echoed as if they were being spoken by more than one voice.
Young Dragon, Young Phoenix, you will not die. Your physical bodies are no more, but your Immortal bodies await. You have done well. The time has come to leave the Mortal Realm. Open yourselves to us, and we will complete the seal.
Who are you? Bao asked.
We are Hen-shi. We are Gushan. We are Xian Nu Shen.
Bao and Sunan were both stunned, but now was not the time to consider what was happening. Both of them could sense that the power coursing through them was on the verge of slipping past their control.
It was in that moment that Bao suddenly felt a new sensation, like a hand coming to rest on her shoulder. It was a soft, warm hand, but a hand that also seemed powerful beyond imagination.
She slowly relaxed.
Sunan also felt a hand come to rest on his shoulder, and suddenly, calmness flowed through him.
The end had come.
Sun Mai was the first to feel the change.
The deafening roar which surrounded him suddenly whooshed into silence, and he could sense that the blinding light had vanished. At the same time, he felt as if he were falling.
Opening his eyes, he found that the ceremonial square was crumbling around him. Of the nearly 1,000 members of the Dragon-Phoenix Sect who had powered the spell formation, most still had their eyes closed as the slabs that made the floor of the square began to fall apart and tumble downward.
Before even a moment could pass, Sun Mai saw others nearby him opening their eyes, all of them Profound Masters.
Realizing that there was no time to ponder what was happening, he sprang into motion, sending his sleeves whipping out to wrap around several nearby Golden Dragons who he knew to be among the weakest present. Then he drew upon one of his most powerful Qinggong techniques to fly through the air, tapping off of an occasional stone slab as he sped toward safety.
The other Profound Masters took similar action, and as other powerful Qi fighters in the sect opened their eyes, they did the same.
Within moments, everyone in the sect was either flying away from the ceremonial square, or were being carried away from it.
Rumbling sounds echoed out as a huge cloud of dust began to rise up. Most of Yao Gong Palace had already crumbled, and now the ceremonial square was also collapsing.
By the time the members of the Dragon-Phoenix Sect found solid ground to stand on, the only thing left in the spot where the square had once stood was a crater.
Sun Mai looked around at the members of the sect, trying to find Bao and Sunan. However, they were nowhere to be seen.
Gradually, silence filled the air, and the dust settled.
That was when Sun Mai looked down into the crater itself, and his eyes widened.
At the same time, other members of the sect gasped and stared in shock at the bottom of the crater.
Amidst the rubble, three eye-catching objects could be seen. One was the Demon Emperor, still and unmoving, encased in what appeared to be a slab of translucent red stone, like jade or crystal. On either side of him towered two statues depicting golden lions, one male and one female.
When Sun Mai saw the golden lions, the hair on the back of his neck prickled up. Flicking his sleeve, he leaped out and floated down to the bottom of the crater to stand in front of the male lion.
“Sunan?” he murmured.
There was no response. After turning to look at the female lion, he looked back at the male lion and then reached out to place his hand onto the surface of the statue.
Tell the sect to stand guard there. Make sure the Demon Emperor is never freed. And then… come find us.
Where are you, Sunan?
The Immortal Realm.
The Demon Emperor had been sealed, but his empire still existed. There was still much work to be done.
Some of the Dragon-Phoenix Sect remained behind to build a new fortress in the spot where Yao Gong Palace had once existed. They took it upon themselves to stand guard and ensure that the Demon Emperor never again walked the lands of Qi Xien. They would guard his sealed form, as well as the sealed forms of the Ogres who had been caught up in the energy of the spell formation.
Other members of the sect went out into the world to fight against the remaining Ogres and other Demon Emperor loyalists.
Both the Phoenix Crown and the Wind Sabre were damaged in the final battle, but they still became the most sought-after items in the martial world, and would be the source of schemes, intrigue, and outright battles for centuries to come.
Stories about Sunan and Bao spread through the lands. The tales of their exploits, including their final battle against the Demon Emperor, were varied and sometimes contradictory. But one common thread ran through them all; Sunan and Bao were heroic lovers who had led the fight against the Demon Emperor, and had saved the people of Qi Xien by sacrificing their own lives.
A thousand years later.
In a village near Qi Fao, a daughter had just been born to one of the local fishermen, and the local astrologer had come to help the parents choose a name.
As the astrologer set up the tools of his trade and began to consult his astrological charts, he said, “Congratulations, Mr. Fan. Your daughter’s aura is already heroic and strong.”
The fisherman laughed proudly. “Well, we are descendants of Sunan and Bao after all.”
“Is that so?” the astrologer replied.
“Indeed. I have the genealogies to prove it.”
“Interesting, I’ll have to take that into consideration.” With that, the astrologer went about his work. Eventually, he came up with an auspicious name that both parents were happy with.
After the astrologer left, the fisherman held his daughter in his arms and looked down into her eyes.
“You’ve been born into an era of peace, Fan Hui,” he said, “the Era of the Glorious Emperor. But the blood of Sunan and Bao runs in your veins. If this world ever needs a hero, perhaps you can follow in their footsteps.” After a moment, he chuckled. “Oh, who am I kidding. I’m sure that won’t happen.”
Fan Hui reached out, grabbed her father’s finger, and smiled.
The End of Legends of Ogre Gate
Afterword I hope you enjoyed Legends of Ogre Gate. Although the story took some unexpected twists and turns as I wrote it, the events occurred mostly as I had planned. If you are interested in knowing how things play out during the following 1,000 years in Qi Xien, check out the Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate rule book, Chapter 7: The World of Qi Xien - History, Religion, Customs, and Cosmology. Scattered in other parts of the rulebook are all sorts of tidbits regarding things not addressed in the story. For example, there is a large section on the Timeless Master which even has a detailed map of his grotto. Also, you can find out what happens to the religion Sun Mai created, and perhaps even more intriguing, what happens to the Dragon-Phoenix Sect.
Don’t forget to check out the game supplement Tournament Of Daolu, where you can find stats for many of the characters, as well as maps, art, and plenty of other resources suitable for both gamers and non-gamers alike.
Clearly, the story of Sunan and Bao does not end here, and considering that Sun Mai is on the verge of both finishing his scriptures and breaking through to becoming an Immortal, its is easy to imagine what stories of his have yet to be told. At the moment, I have no immediate plan to write a sequel, but have discussed the possibility with Bedrock Games, and may consider it in the future.
Thanks so much for reading!
Jeremy Bai a.k.a. Deathblade
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