Chapter 11: Sword Held across Knees, Sword Drifting among Blood
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
"Merely a scapegoat for the bigwigs... "
As Ning Que thought about this in his mind, he sensed a cool gaze from beside him. He turned around to find Sangsang staring at him quietly.
Ning Que felt they had been looking at each other for a very long time, but it was really just a few seconds.
Ning Que felt frustrated in the face of his handmaiden again. He sighed in his mind and tightened his leg muscles. Then he pressed his feet against the pile of fallen leaves, sinking into the wet mud underneath, so that he was ready to sprint at any time.
In the depths of Northern Mountain Road, darkness expanded as the sun began to set. Suddenly, a ruthless wind hurled through the grayish tree branches. Some fresh sprouts hiding under the old bark were spared from it, though the pile of fallen leaves on the ground rustled and whirled around in the air before falling back on the ground helplessly.
Despite it being springtime, boundless forest leaves showered down.
A hulking man in dark armor appeared in the depths of Northern Mountain Road, and after a deafening roar, a subtle earth-colored light radiated briefly through his armor, like a glimpse of the gods above.
He raised his solid and broad arms as he lifted a massive boulder and hurled it briskly toward the luxurious carriage!
The force was so terrifying and inhuman, practically resembling that of a long-range boulder-sieging machine!
The massive boulder approached at such a high speed that it managed to crush all the tree branches in its way—hundreds of meters was no obstacle as it almost instantly hit the first carriage with acute precision and cruelty.
After an explosive sound, the seemingly well-structured luxurious carriage shattered into pieces, with blood and broken limbs scattered in a mess.
Those Tang bodyguards looked calm with swords in their hands, as if oblivious to the fact that the carriage behind them that just become a pile of trash and the princess whom they defended had died already. They did not even seem to be surprised and, even stranger, their faces even showed a hint of relief and calmness.
"First team, shoot!"
ordered the leader.
Three of the subordinates remained down on one knee and released their knives to pick up powerful military crossbows. Aiming toward the depths of the forest, they swiftly pulled the triggers.
Nine arrows hit the body of the god-like, hulking giant through flying leaves. But he just waved his hands to flick away the two arrows aimed at his face and completely ignored the ones that shot his chest.
His rock-hard hands were slightly numbed by the high-speed arrows, and the ones that stuck to the armor on his chest soon fell to the ground. Given the slight trace of blood on the arrowheads, he most likely just suffered minor injuries.
The arrows did not do much harm because of the long distance. The bodyguard leader had foreseen that already and kept his calm. Looking at the giant shadow far away up Northern Mountain Road, he raised his right hand and shouted, "Standby!"
The three bodyguards put down their crossbows and held their knives upright again.
Ning Que was trying to find an opportunity to save the poor scapegoat in the carriage since Sangsang wanted him to do that. However, things had changed too fast. The giant had appeared too soon for him to react, and the huge rock fell out of nowhere and crushed the carriage with no warning. The woman was killed instantly before Ning Que even got there.
He looked quite upset while looking toward the depths of Northern Mountain Road, perhaps out of sympathy for the nameless woman, or perhaps it was more for letting down his little handmaiden.
Some secret art of cultivation enabled the giant to obtain such incredibly aggressive power. But he still had to pay a big price to toss that massive boulder over such a long distance. Now flushed and panting, with sweat spewing out of his armor, his legs could not stop shaking and he looked visibly exhausted.
For some reason, the dozen poker-faced bodyguards chose to stay alert around the second horse carriage despite such a great opportunity for them to attack.
The elder in the robe sat still in the carriage with his eyes closed, seemingly undisturbed.
Suddenly, the old man's long white hair moved like a silver river flowing on his dirty robe. The old sword in front of his knees started to make a humming noise and hit the sheath incessantly as if eager to drink blood and harvest lives.
"Hum... hum... hum!"
There was a sharp sound of singing metal!
The shiny short sword bolted itself out out the sheath and became a beam of blue light shooting toward the depths of Northern Mountain Road at a high speed, rushing through the leaves and air, ready to pierce through the giant body that it was aiming at!
There seemed to be an invisible mirror between the Northern Mountain Road's twilight and the thick dark forest. As the shiny short sword shot like a beam of light, there was a hazy, sword-like gray shadow coming hastily!
That gray shadow looked like a streak of lightning. It was seen among the flying leaves first but instantly arrived at the Northern Mountain Road battlefield. The deep humming sound had now become a roaring storm in the blink of an eye.
The gray shadow was surprisingly fast, and its power had shattered all the leaves within its range. Those leaves formed a line behind the shadow, which aimed directly at the elder, who was now swordless.
"The Great Sword Master!"
Looking at the beam of gray shadow that had the power of a storm, the bodyguards who had been calm as stone finally got anxious and some of them yelled to watch out. When the most powerful elder used his sword to aim at that giant in the deep forest, the strongest enemy who had remained hidden all this time decided to show up at last.
And what a show it was!
The enemy sent two cultivators with extraordinary power, including a Great Sword Master, to assassinate the princess in the imperial territories. That was a terrifying fact, but the bodyguards showed no fear, only determination. Without hesitation, their leader shouted, "Chop!"
"Zeng! Zeng! Zeng!" With the continuous ringing sound of the swords, about 10 sharp swords came from out of their sheaths. The bodyguards held swords to chop in the clear space in front of them, they had no fear to fight!
Each beam of sword light was quite sharp to cut the air and the intention from the hill. They were weaved into a closely meshed sword net to protect the old man who no longer had his sword.
Just when the high-speed gray shadow was about to be chopped down by those swords, it abruptly paused in mid-air. Strangely, it turned to another side to avoid the dense attacks and then flew away.
The shadow had already flown with thundering powder when it appeared in the Northern Mountain Road's forest, seemingly unstoppable. But no one imagined how incredibly smart and swift it could be in a real battle!
The gray shadow suddenly slowed down when it was turning around, and what it was could finally be figured out. It was like a dim shadow of a sword, so light that it could probably be blown away by the wind.
This sword shadow was as thin as a cicada's wings and not as firm as a piece of paper. However, it was highly difficult to catch since its trace was like a ghost. When it turned its direction, it avoided one bodyguard's sword blade and cut his neck, leaving behind a beam of light blood there.
That line of blood spread rapidly and then spurted out. The bodyguard held his sword with his right hand and put his left hand on his neck, but the blood still came out between his fingers. He stared at the depth of the forest and fell. He did not see that powerful Sword Master until his death.
The gray sword shadow drew a curve and came back to the battle at blinding speed. It flew with a trajectory that was unpredictable and quickly killed two bodyguards.
The bodyguard leader was still calm when he saw the blood drops flying slowly in the air. He held the hilt tightly and watched that beam of the gray sword shadow. Suddenly, his stepped forward with his left foot, chopped with his blade, and yelled, "Gather!"
Upon this order, four bodyguards beside him waved their swords like flying snowflakes simultaneously, and they forced the gray beam of sword shadow into a small corner that was then condensed by the leader's sword power!
The gray shadow was moving very fast and suddenly paused in the small corner before being hacked by the leader's blade. The leader had prepared for that so he pushed the hilt with his left hand to tilt the blade upward and hit the gray shadow!
With a clunking sound, that smart gray shadow fell on the ground covered by mud and leaves, just like a snake caught by its neck.
This was the first time for Tang bodyguards to hit the Great Sword Master's sword shadow. But there was no time to celebrate because the shadow started to shake again. The leaves quivered strongly and arched like a giant snake moving quickly below the bodyguards' feet.
Suddenly, among the flying dead leaves and wet mud, the gray shadow came out like thunder and cut the aorta of a bodyguard in his thigh through his armor!
The bodyguards fell one by one as they let out painful moans. They could strike that gray shadow occasionally but they could not kill it. In spite of his sense of defeat and desperation, the leader still stepped forward with the sword in his hand and chopped again!
"Gather!" he roared angrily.
The remaining bodyguards all roared in unison while pouncing ruthlessly toward the gray shadow, hoping to build a final shield with their swords and their flesh.
After two piercing sounds, two lifeless bodies fell to the ground, hardly making a sound. The bodyguard leader had half of his earlobe sliced off in a clean cut, and a few more bloody wounds were added to his body, looking like the work of a drunken calligrapher.
After being hit by the bodyguards for the seventh time, the gray sword shadow finally slowed down, but it resisted falling and kept flying slowly across the blades, until it eventually got closer to the old man.
Then the gray sword shadow was finally able to be seen. It was actually a hiltless mini-sword with a dim and particularly thin blade that did not have a trace of blood on it.
The bloody bodyguard leader was on his knees, thinking disconsolately. One shot, only one shot, and he and his brothers would have accomplished the impossible mission. But after all, it was the Great Sword Master they were fighting against!
A long time seemed to have gone by, but in reality, it was merely the time it took a few blades to thrust, sword shadows to drift, and blood to splash. Throughout all this time, the old man in an old gown sat in the horse carriage with his eyes closed as if he had no idea of how much danger he was in.
Meanwhile, no one seemed to notice how the elder held his hands lightly above his knees as they were shaking slightly, his thumbs pressing against the pulp of index and middle fingers of both hands in very brief and subtle movements, as if performing some kind of intricate calculations.
When the hiltless mini-sword flew toward him and stopped just a few inches from his forehead, the old man finally opened his eyes.
Once he looked at the sword, it froze right there in the air!
The almost-forgotten giant in the deep forest was shocked by the shiny sword he had just crushed with his hands, and he finally figured out what was going on. He looked up and roared in panic, "He's not a Sword Master!
"... He's a Psyche Master!"