Translated by Jouissance of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Meanwhile, on the battlefield between the XianLing Sect and the XiaoShan Sect.
A third of the XianLing Sect’s cultivators had already died, and the originally impenetrable array had become disorganized and scattered.
Half of the surviving cultivators were on their last legs, too, bloody and barely breathing.
Yet, even at such a crisis, none of them were willing to retreat even a step, none of them were willing to surrender even an inch.
The third highest cultivation member of the XianLing Sect army had used up all his spiritual energy already, only able to watch as his sectmates dropped one after the other.
The enemy they faced now was the XiaoShan Sect, once upon a time the greatest and most powerful sect. They were a sect on a completely different level to the TaYue Sect from before.
Yet another friend self-destructed in front of him, using their life to take out an enemy and killing a XiaoShan Sect cultivator.
Warm blood splashed onto the faces of the XianLing Sect cultivators. The entire army was swamped with despair.
Even if they used their own lives to take out the enemy, they only had four thousand people, so there was no way to win against an army upwards of ten thousand people!
The cruel scent of despair spread across the battlefield, but none of the XianLing Sect cultivators backed down.
Many other sects were also secretly watching this battle between the XianLing Sect and the XiaoShan Sect from the shadows.
Rather than a battle between the XianLing Sect and the XiaoShan Sect, it was more accurate to call it a battle between the XianLing Sect and two of the cultivation world’s top tier sects.
This was a battle to decide the future of the cultivation world, as well as their attitude towards the XianLing Sect in the future.
Originally, everyone thought that this would be a one-sided battle, what with the XiaoShan Sect sending out their sect leader, eight golden core cultivators and even the elite forces they had obtained from the LingYang Sect.
In the beginning, it was indeed one-sided. The XiaoShan Sect leader easily got Gu Yu under his control, grasping the entire XianLing Sect’s leader and ace.
He even toyed with Gu Yu like a cat with a mouse. Everyone thought the XianLing Sect would be rapidly pushed back, but what came after was cultivator after cultivator self-destructing and sacrificing themselves.
Even if it meant their death, they refused to back down!
As for Gu Yu, he had started out like a trapped beast, fighting with his back against the wall, but the more he fought, the bolder he grew. He began to slowly, carefully set arrays, eventually escaping from the XiaoShan Sect leader’s grasp to take control of commanding their forces once more.
Even though there were fewer and fewer XianLing Sect cultivators, their morale and determination only grew.
“If the XianLing Sect cultivators were given enough time to grow, they would definitely become an army powerful enough to dominate the entire cultivation world, even overtaking the LingYang Sect at their greatest,” one of the secretly watching Golden Core elders sighed.
“If these cultivators can survive this battle, they can truly become elite battle cultivators just with the resolve they’ve tempered with this life and death experience. With a general like Gu Yu, if they could all establish foundations, then killing Golden Core cultivators would be as easy as killing chickens. What a shame that none of them will be able to survive this battle. Gu Yu, too, is destined to fall,” another Golden Core elder gave his agreement. His words held some sorrow and respect, but it was overshadowed by his relief – relief that such a powerful potential opponent was snipped in its bud.
“In the end, Chu WuQing is still far too young. He wasn’t thorough enough in his planning. He hadn’t even prepared for an ambush. If they hadn’t fallen into the XiaoShan Sect’s trap at the beginning, the XianLing Sect might have a chance. Far too young, far too impatient. Does he think that killing a Golden Core cultivator makes him invincible? His ignorance and arrogance has destroyed him before he could grow.”
The XiaoShan Sect Elders could do nothing but watch as their sect members were taken out one after the other by the XianLing Sect members’ self-destructs.
Though they had mentally been prepared for great losses beforehand, using cruel sacrifice to secure the future of their sect, being unable to do anything but watch as their sect members died hit their Spiritual Resolve hard.
They had to fortify their resolve, madness and determination visible in their eyes. “Your struggles are futile. Your self-sacrifice won’t be able to do anything but delay your demise.”
“What a joke. You’re all here putting your lives on the line on the battlefield, but Chu WuQing is hiding in the XianLing Sect, not even bothering to show up even until now. He clearly doesn’t care about your lives at all. Maybe he’s even fled like a coward after receiving the news, what a pity your loyalty will all be for nothing.”
“You all might as well flee now. If you scatter, maybe you’ll be able to survive.”
Rage welled up in the XianLing Sect cultivators’ eyes. How dare the XiaoShan Sect speak ill of eldest Shixiong.
They had never wanted Eldest Shixiong to come to their aid. The further Eldest Shixiong ran away, the better.
The XiaoShan Sect members didn’t understand at all. If it weren’t for Chu WuQing, they would all already be dead a month ago, annihilated under the onslaught of the TaYue Sect.
Without Chu WuQing, they wouldn’t have the cultivation they had today, nor would they be seen as equals and worthy opponents by the immensely powerful top five sects of the cultivation world.
For Chu WuQing, for their Eldest Shixiong, they could give up anything.
Ke Yun flew out of the crowd and into the air, quickly flying into the XiaoShan Sect army. Even though his lifeforce was weak and his body was covered on injuries, he still sneered condescendingly, “Shut up. You’re no more than dogs of the LingYang Sect. You aren’t worthy of even talking about Eldest Shixiong. We want nothing more than for Eldest Shixiong to flee as far as possible from this hell. You aren’t anything but obedient dogs of the LingYang Sect who relied on ambushing us to win.”
Intense murderous intent appeared in the eyes of the XiaoShan Sect leader. He was fighting for the future of the XiaoShan Sect. It was the LingYang Sect that came and begged them.
Yet, even so, the declining XiaoShan Sect was still willing to throw themselves in front of the LingYang Sect, using everything their sect had to ambush the XianLing Sect. It was clear that even if they were to win, their reputation would be forever tarnished.
Even if the LingYang Sect were to fall and the XiaoShan Sect rose back to glory, they would only ever be dogs of the LingYang Sect to their rival sects.
Ke Yun’s words were merciless, and they all hit the XiaoShan Sect leader where it hurt most.
“Since Chu WuQing doesn’t care about your lives at all, then you’ve lost your value as bait. It’s time this comes to an end.” His voice filled with killing intent and cold judgement, the XiaoShan Sect leader raised his hand and his life-bound artifact flew out.
It was a stamp in the shape of a small mountain. This was originally a normal rank ten magic item, bestowed upon him by Xuan Shan Patriarch.
However, the XiaoShan Sect leader used his immense willpower and infinite respect for Xuan Shan Patriarch to nurture this magic item in his Dantian into a life-bound artifact intimately connected with his golden core.
When this artifact appeared, it quickly expanded into a high mountain peak. The XiaoShan Sect leader began to burn his cultivation, using the peak of his power to strike down at all the XianLing Sect cultivators at once.
Ke Yun’s expression had calmed, and his mind was shockingly clear as he watched the XiaoShan Sect leader descend into madness. He felt a sense of virtuous self-sacrifice rise in his heart as his cultivation also began to burn.
However, compared to the XiaoShan Sect leader burning his cultivation to temporarily increase his power, Ke Yun was charging up power to self-destruct!
Ke Yun flung himself at the XiaoShan Sect leader like a meteor. “Even if I, Ke Yun, die, I won’t let you XiaoShan Sect get away. I might not be able to kill a dog like you, but I’ll deal you a blow you’ll never recover from!”
As Ke Yun spoke, all the XianLing Sect cultivators began to burn their cultivation. They were willing to use their lives and remaining cultivation to cause as much damage as they could with their self-destruction.
Countless shooting stars cut across the sky. It was a dazzlingly beautiful sight.
However, none of the spectating cultivators were in the state to admire this beauty. They didn’t even feel the relief they had expected at XianLing Sect’s defeat. Instead, all they could feel was infinite respect for the XianLing Sect cultivators.
They would never forget this sight. They would never forget that, once upon a time, there was a sect that would rather all burn their cultivation and die horrific, self-destructive deaths than survive undignified and humiliated.
The cultivation world had always been a heartless world. No one would care if another left. Once a sect fell, the others would quickly act to take their treasures and land.
Even as all these people felt admiration and respect take root in their hearts, it didn’t stop them from planning how they were going to steal the XianLing Sect’s land and treasures from under the XiaoShan and LingYang Sects.
Yet, just as Ke Yun arrived in front of the XiaoShan Sect leader, about to self-destruct, something happened.
An endless range of mountains descended from the skies. It was only then that everyone understood what it meant to only be able to look up at the tall peaks of the world.
Compared to this mountain range, the XiaoShan Sect Leader’s life-bound artifact was like a toy, instantly collapsing.
The aura exuded by this mountain range shocked everyone. Their knees trembled under the pressure. When it descended, the burning embers of the XianLing Sect cultivators were all extinguished. They gently fell and landed back on the ground, as if brought down carefully by a giant hand.
Soon after, a figure walked out of the clouds. The moment he did, the madness in the XiaoShan Sect Leader’s eyes disappeared, leaving only disbelief behind. His eyes widened like a child who had seen a night full of stars. His knees went weak and he knelt down, mumbling, “Patriarch.”
All the Golden Core cultivators, no matter if they were on the battlefield or not, all snapped out of their stupor at the way the XiaoShan Sect leader’s addressed the newcomer, fear mounting in their hearts.
This was the fear of being dominated by a single person for an age, something etched into their souls.
The XiaoShan Sect leader was trembling from head to toe, crawling forwards in excitement. “Patriarch, you’ve successfully ascended,” he said, before kowtowing.
All the XiaoShan Sect cultivators kowtowed as well.
The XianLing Sect cultivators were all overcome with despair. If, before, they still had some hope of turning things around through self-sacrifice, winning their dignity with death, the coming of this Nascent Soul cultivator crushed those hopes.
They could imagine what kind of humiliation and torture was coming for them.
Utter and complete despair.
“Patriarch, the XianLing Sect cultivators dared to humiliate and attack our XiaoShan Sect. We would be honoured if you would act, Patriarch,” the Grand Elder said in excitement. He knew the other sects would be watching this battle from the shadows. This made it the perfect opportunity to show them the power of a Nascent Soul cultivator, using the XianLing Sect as an example.
His XiaoShan Sect would once again return to the position of Number One sect!
Then, who would dare step on, disrespect or look down on the XiaoShan Sect?
“Oh?” A young voice, tinged with amusement was heard, and then Chu WuQing walked out from the same clouds, the power of Xuan Shan’s Path under his feet. “You just said, my XianLing Sect attacked and offended your XiaoShan Sect?”
The moment he appeared, it was like the entire sky had lit up. Everyone shocked by Xuan Shan’s ability now moved their shock onto the newcomer.
The XiaoShan Sect Leader had never seen Chu WuQing before, but was easily able to guess the newcomer’s identity through his indescribable beauty.
Why did Chu WuQing appear with the Patriarch? Could it be that the Patriarch had managed to recover from near death and reach Nascent Soul due to Chu WuQing? Impossible!
However, that was the only explanation for why XiaoShan Sect’s Nascent Soul Patriarch was with the enemy sect’s Foundation Establishment cultivator.
“That’s right.” This time, Chu WuQing’s voice was devoid of humor. He reached out and grabbed with one hand and brought Gu Yu onto his flying boat unresistingly.
Apart from the day they had first met, Chu WuQing had never seen Gu Yu in such a pitiful state, covered in injuries.
Even so, Gu Yu didn’t make any noise of pain at all, instead respectfully kneeling towards Chu WuQing. “Master, Gu Yu has been fortunate to accomplish the task you’ve given. Our XianLing Sect battle cultivators have been reborn from the ashes through this battle, breaking through our previous limits.”
Gu Yu’s lifeforce was weak, but there was a powerful aura about him that signified he was growing rapidly in power.
Each and every XianLing Sect cultivator bore the same aura, kneeling towards Chu WuQing.
Chu WuQing fed Gu Yu an elixir.
Gu Yu looked up at Chu WuQing, opening his mouth docilely. This elixir pill had Master’s scent on it, fed by hand to him. He felt his blood boil in his veins in that moment, as if his injuries didn’t exist.
As the bitter medicine melted in his mouth, Gu Yu felt a sweetness there that didn’t exist. He wanted to stick out his tongue and taste Chu WuQing’s fingers as the other fed him.
But he couldn’t.
It wasn’t the right time for it yet. If he did something like that now, it would only elicit disgust from Master.
In the end, Gu Yu merely took advantage of his own weakened state to seemingly accidentally brush his lips over Chu WuQing’s fingers. As he did, he could feel his heart thudding with excitement, skipping a beat when he succeeded.
“Xuan Shan,” Chu WuQing turned his head slightly, speaking the name everyone feared so much under their shocked gazes. His voice even held a tone of command. “I want the LingYang Sect dead. XiaoShan Sect I’ll give you a chance. All Golden Core cultivators will become slaves of my XianLing Sect’s Foundation Establishment cultivators.”
Chu WuQing’s voice was cold and calm, but everyone could hear the anger in his words.
The XiaoShan Sect cultivators listened to Chu WuQing’s arrogant words in disbelief, directing their gazes to the high and mighty Xuan Shan Patriarch. However, their patriarch didn’t act against the XianLing Sect at all, instead nodding towards Chu WuQing after the other finished speaking.
Fear mounted in the hearts of the XiaoShan Sect Golden Core cultivators and their last hopes were extinguished by the nod Xuan Shan gave.
“Eldest Shixiong!” Completely different from the XiaoShan Sect’s disbelief and despair, red flushed the pale faces of all the XianLing Sect disciples as they bowed over and over again to Chu WuQing with a crazed fanaticism. “Eldest Shixiong.”
It was as if only kowtowing again and again, shouting and calling the other over and over could calm the whirlwind of emotions they had experienced, from death to life, from despair to hope.
Xuan Shan raised his hand and instantly, the soul blood of the eight Golden Core cultivators flew from their foreheads, suspended in the air.
Chu WuQing looked down and asked, “Gu Yu, do you need a Golden Core servant?”
Gu Yu shook his head. “I’m an array cultivator. I should take the world on with my Runesmanship and not depend on external powers. My duty is to serve and protect you, Master, not have you send someone to protect me.” The resolve in his eyes was plain to see.
Chu WuQing nodded slightly and pointed his finger. As he did, Xuan Shan sent the eight drops of soul blood into the Foundation Establishment cultivators Chu WuQing pointed at.
Amongst them, the XiaoShan Sect Leader’s soul blood fell into Ke Yun’s hands.
This event struck all the spectating Golden Core cultivators dumb. Previously, in their minds, they were the people at the very top of the cultivation world. Only they could decide the fates of Foundation Establishment cultivators.
Only they were able to subjugate any Foundation Establishment cultivator, but now they were like Foundation Establishment and Qi Condensation stage cultivators themselves, unable to fight back.
A chill rose up their spine that refused to go away. However, before Xuan Shan gave them permission, none dared to leave.
They didn’t know who it was who yelled it out first. “Our lowly sect is willing to become a vassal of the XianLing Sect and act as the vanguards in the battle against the LingYang Sect!”
Soon enough, the rest of the Golden Core cultivators were all on their knees, crying, “Our lowly sect is willing to become a vassal of the XianLing Sect and act as the vanguards in the battle against the LingYang Sect!”
It wasn’t until Xuan Shan and Chu WuQing had disappeared from sight that the Golden Core cultivators dared to stand again.
Inside the LingYang Sect, the sect leader and Golden Core Elder were still sitting in the great hall, but the worry they had before had disappeared from their faces.
The sect leader raised his teacup and leisurely took a sip. “By now, the XiaoShan Sect has probably already annihilated the XianLing Sect army. My friends, it’s time we head to the XianLing Sect to reap the rewards of our victory. That Chu WuQing dared to kill our Golden Core stage Elder and take our warships from us. We can’t let him die so easily.”
Death was too good for him. Living in torment was the most apt and terrible fate.
Just as the LingYang Sect Leader and elders stood, the golden light in the sky suddenly intensified.
Mysterious runes swirled across the golden light. It was the LingYang Sect’s Sect Guardian Greater Array activating.
“Could it be that the XiaoShan Sect is really that useless? They can’t even take care of the XianLing Sect?” the LingYang Sect Leader wondered aloud in anger. “Very well, let’s show this lowly sect the countless forms of our Mountain Guardian Greater Array. Our LingYang Sect doesn’t only have offensive warships.”
The LingYang Sect’s Mountain Guardian Greater Array was the pride of the LingYang Sect. It was thanks to this array that the LingYang Sect managed to avoid the danger of annihilation while they were at their lowest. Then, they had used their warships to counterattack and stabilise their position in the cultivation realm.
“Elder Xu, you come with me to control the Greater Array.” The Sect Leader had barely finished speaking when the impenetrable Mountain Guardian Greater Array broke open, the golden light dispersing.
At the same time, the Sect Leader felt the hall under his feet began to shake, and then the entire hall, from the walls to the ceiling, was wrenched up by an invisible force, like a box being opened.
Everyone was exposed to the sky.
The LingYang Sect Leader raised his head, panicked, fear crashing over his heart like a tidal wave and soaking him to the bone.
He saw someone he didn’t want to see, ever.