Chapter 287: The Overture of War (4)
“Relay the clan elder’s command.” In a villa within the Baili Clan, a middle-aged man’s face was grim, heavy like water. “In a week… no matter who, none are allowed out. Those who do not listen to my command will be expelled from the Baili Clan.”
Orders were issued in each clan. They didn’t know how many clans would come, but the arriving clans to the soon-to-be battlefield took on attitudes of sparing not a single cost!
“Grandpa, what’s going on?” A female cultivator furrowed her brows and said, “Our Baili Clan doesn’t fear any of the clans that have come.”
The clan elder didn’t answer but rather looked deeply beyond the window, at the four behemoths in the sky. After a long time, he made a long sigh, “If something major occurs… any clan… will mobilize their lair. That means they’ll leave no margin whatsoever. If they do not die, their enemies will be annihilated into ashes… There’s no need for us to create a misunderstanding.”
“Especially… in a time like this.”
The giant tower of bone descended, and an intimidating ring of spiritual pressure scattered forth. Mortals couldn’t sense it, but the hair and clothes of all cultivators within a thousand meters rustled and danced in the breeze.
“That’s the Nalan Clan’s famous Bluedawn Winding Corridor.” Chu Zhaonan looked out the window. Xu Yangyi crossed his arms and stood at his side, his torch-like gaze on the collosal pagoda of bone. And as well as… the pitch-black spider-demon cultivators crawling all over the structure’s surface.
They would fall… All who had the qualifications to play this chess game would fall… and in the darkness bubbling underneath, who would see? Even he, who was hiding a wild scheme, was like the most cunning hunter, waiting for the most suitable time.
“What’s the time right now?”
“The 30th, twelve o’clock.” Chu Zhaonan looked at his watch. “Tomorrow’s the last day that Longsu will be open.”
Xu Yangyi nodded. He had to cultivate today. Not for a sliver’s advancement in cultivation, but instead to completely steady his mood before the great coming tide tomorrow.
Time passed on by minutes and seconds. In a place with such strong qi, meditation was too easy. Once his pores were open, he clearly felt an ocean of qi rush towards him from all around!
“Just a bit weaker than my high-grade Spirit Focusing Formation…” His closed eyelids stirred. “If I lose this heavenly paradise… it’ll be too much of a pity. Moreover… I’ll have no path to victory.”
“If I lay down my foundation here… will there be anything I’ll be left wanting for in the future? With my identity as a pill master, I can even build a palace! Raise one up!”
He faintly sighed. The time he spent meditating couldn’t be thought of as too short, but he was unable to find peace in himself from the beginning to the end of his session. Upon thinking about a palace, he couldn’t help but open his eyes.
The clock on the wall ticked and tocked. He brushed an eye over it; presently, it was already 4:30 in the morning. This was the period of deepest sleep regarding the biological clocks of ordinary people. To cultivators, the sounds of the natural world were muted, a time most suitable for cultivation.
And at this moment… as he looked out the window towards the four palaces, he abruptly started and shot up onto his feet! He almost dared not believe in his eyes due to everything before him!
Countless motes of light, scintillating and prismatic, arose from all of Longsu Province. There were some that were less than hundreds and some that numbered over a thousand!
Some crowded together. Under the illumination of spiritual light, one could see the obvious forms of flying magik artifacts!
A majority were like this, but tens of spiritual light dots resisted the wind to settle in the void, standing lonesomely in the sky!
The present Chengdu was dead-quiet, so silent that even a falling needle could be heard. On the ground, mortal entertainment clubs and street lamps joined together to form neon oceans that welcomed the sky. The sky… was already a rainbow sea of stars, nicely contrasted with the city below in reflection!
“No!” He glared outside the window. He dared confirm that these lights were all cultivators! Furthermore, they were special cultivators! Else not, how could they appear in Longsu Province?
Since the past several months… all cultivations clans had long since cleared out of Longsu! All mortals! All for the struggle over this heavenly paradise!
“If it was just scouting, how could there be so many people?! This already exceeds the power of any of the first-rate clans!”
Yet at this instant, all dots of light seemed to detect an omen. All of them flowed to shape a kaleidoscopic galaxy, facing the surge within the black clouds!
Over yonder, beneath the moonlight… the silhouette of a palace he was very familiar with completely absorbed all the dots.
“That’s…” Xu Yangyi’s heart quaked fiercely. “Master-Ancestor’s… Heavenraiser Palace? A Core Formation palace!”
Xu Yangyi looked at his watch again. Indeed, it was currently the final day before the war for the heavenly paradise began, 4:30 in the morning.
Outside the room, the galaxy glimmered like gems. The swarm of dots was at least close to 10,000 cultivators in number. The suspicions in his heart became greater and greater. Such a heavy degree of qi for scouting. Were so many cultivators truly needed? If there really were so many cultivators, why had only 300 gone out in broad daylight and concluded their task? Why had so many people stayed until night to leave? And why… had Master-Ancestor’s Heavenraiser Palace come here?
Beneath the shroud of that gigantic tortoise, all spiritual light belonging to the crane and tiger died out, as if they simply dared not compete. Not even their shadows moved.
Xu Yangyi gritted his teeth, the doubt in his heart impossible to be rid of. He turned around, wanting to wake up Chu Zhaonan, yet discovered an even stranger scene!
A black… shadow—its exact form unable to be clearly given—was resting above the top of Chu Zhaonan’s head. Yet presently, the gunslinger’s breathing and spiritual sense were all locked down in his physical body. There was no need to try. Xu Yangyi knew that he definitely wouldn’t be able to wake up the other now.
“The Shadow Manifestation Secret Art?” His gaze slightly flickered. He had witnessed his Master-Ancestor’s divine ability a couple times, and this time… this thumb-sized shadow wasn’t trying to hide in the slightest. It was as if the entity knew that no one could see through it.
The shadow wasn’t aware that one meter away, a human—a cultivator—had bore full witness to Daomaster Ancientpine’s actions, a scene that was supposed to be severed from one’s memories.
“This… should be differentiated via qi.” He muttered, “I have Bai Suzhen’s demon heart. No one knows that I’m a cultivator… so he can’t ‘see’ me?”
He studied the thumb-sized figure and narrowed his eyes even more as he looked at the infinitely majestic Heavenraiser Palace outside. Master-Ancestor… what are you planning?
The demon slayer didn’t wake Chu Zhaonan. Right now, he couldn’t be discovered and furthermore couldn’t brave this danger. Remaining silent, he calmly watched all the dots of spiritual light get sucked back into the palace. He looked on as the palace quietly entered the clouds in secret, and took note as everything returned to tranquility again.
As if nothing had happened.
The hornet’s nest of cultivators stirred again, the eyes of the giant crane and tiger beginning to shine. This scene, beyond the vision of mortals, resumed gorgeous color. No one at all knew what had just occurred.
Wind entered the hotel and brushed across Xu Yangyi’s face. He quietly sipped his tea. “You awake?”
A deep crease found itself between Chu Zhaonan’s brows. “What just happened?”
Xu Yangyi skimmed the tea leaves in his cup. “What?”
“You don’t need to lie to me.” Chu Zhaonan’s gaze was fiery. “I have an extremely precious protective magik treasure. It’s no understatement that it’s one of China’s best protective treasures. Just now, my memories were cut off. Isn’t that right?”
Xu Yangyi said nothing and gently set down his tea. He didn’t bother hiding the past event, either. “Have you ever heard about scouting needing the mobilization of almost 10,000 cultivators?”
“No.” Chu Zhaonan tossed away his cigarette. Just as he was about to flick on his lighter, he suddenly realized something. “Just now…”
“Just now, almost 10,000 cultivators flew out on magik artifacts. And the place they’re connected to is Ancestor Ancientpine’s Heavenraiser Palace.” Xu Yangyi said indifferently, “You got any opinion on that?”
Chu Zhaonan furrowed his brows. He didn’t have the slightest clue… Why was this going on?
A Dao Master wouldn’t do these things without absolutely any reason, so what was his objective?
“No?” Xu Yangyi held a cigarette in his mouth and puffed out a smoke ring. “Neither do I.”
“The best methods are constant to infinite change. Starting from today, we do nothing and ask about nothing.” He looked out at the pitch-black night outside his window. “Just wait… this grand curtain… has already been pulled open.”
The last day of 2021. New Year’s Day was on the eve of arrival.
The hands of a clock pointed at 11:50. Every plaza in Chengdu was already a luminous display of fireworks, burning trees and silver flowers, a scene of passion. An unknown number of young people had gathered in public squares, cheering as countless rainbows lead straight to the horizon. However, not even a more dazzling rainbow could outdo the resplendent spiritual light behind black clouds in the endless sky.
“Ten!” The people’s voices yelled and screamed out loudly. They waved the glow sticks in their hands with great festivity. All of this was tucked away in pairs of icy-cold eyes above.
“The final ten seconds, huh…” At the very center of the Bluedawn Winding Corridor was an immense skull that served as a cave. Although it was said to be a cave, the space inside was hundreds of meters in size and outfitted with a luxurious seat that was ten meters wide. A bald woman-spider with wrinkles all over her face calmly mused, her eight legs casually placed on the seat.
“Have all of you… made good preparation?”
“Preparation to lay down your lives and sacrifice everything for the Nalan Clan, to your dying breath?”
In front of her, there were over 400 men standing like javelins. Their black clothes were stitched with a snow-white spider emblem on their backs. At this moment, all of them clasped hands together and answered sonorously, “We sincerely obey your command!”
As if their voices were solid, a sound wave caused the surrounding walls to continuously rustle and vibrate.
“Good…” The old woman narrowed her eyes. Her gaze seemed to see beyond everything below. There, countless mortals were screaming in excitement.
At the top of the White Tiger Hall, three old men fixed their eyes at a distant place sunk in darkness. The night wind brushed through their clothes, their sleeves rippling in the breeze.
Behind them was an endless horde. Although they were many, they were subject to the most extreme discipline. There wasn’t a single trace of chaos.
No one spoke. The loud shouts of hundreds below vaguely reached them here. “Eight!”
“Seven!” “Six!” “Five!” “One!” “ZERO!!!”
Swoosh! As zero rang out, countless fireworks across several plazas in Chengdu ascended above. At the same time, azure light rocketed and shone!
Pure blue, as if someone had drawn it with a brush. Just as one streak flared, another closely followed. The beam of light was not wide, but was on the contrary very slender. However, one sliver proceeded with another and linked together. Barely ten seconds later… a screen of azure light followed the horizon and slowly raised upwards. It resembled an enormous curtain!