Chapter 51: Asura Grounds (Three)
"All cultivators, hear and obey!" Shadowslay's, Firecloud's, and Wang Buzhi's voices all rang out at nearly the same time: "Excluding initial-stage Qi Condensation cultivators, all cultivators above the middle stage lend us a hand in this battle!"
"By your lead!"
"Decapitating demons and eliminating devils, this is the intrinsic nature of us cultivators!"
Countless people, regardless of whether they were willing or not, drummed up their courage at this moment. This was because there wasn't a ghost of a way to retreat. They had been sealed within this underground chamber by an old half-step Core Formation demon. To withdraw would only lead to a path of death!
Even though boundless terror arose in their minds in regards to this half-step Core Formation demon, and even if they only had the courage for a single blow, this blow had to be dealt!
"Slay demons to defend the Dao." Wang Buzhi separated both of his hands by a fraction and a scarlet blade appeared in his hand. Soon after, he roared: "Kill!"
The sound of the word 'kill' overflowed the heavens! At this instant, every one of the present several thousand cultivators were all of one heart!
The roars of several thousand people caused the sand on the ground to tremble!
The innumerable talismans and countless spirit artifacts brought with them a steady, long cry that filled the entire sky, teeming with a sublime majesty and unfaltering heroism! In the Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens Arena, several thousand felicitous kaleidoscopic rays like hazy mists shot towards Vermillion Snow as if they were fireworks that stretched across the whole sky!
This performance of scintillating light released the iron lock of the star bridge!*
The qi fluctuations aroused by several thousand cultivators shone upon Vermillion Snow's tender face.
Beneath the myriad auspicious lights, she didn't retreat the slightest degree, but rather softly parted her vermillion lips: "Young beauties turn gray and fireworks are left fleeting… I am not unreasonable. I will certainly bestow upon you all a flawless death."**
Motion and inaction formed a perfect painting of mourning and captivating beauty.
"Boom!" In the next second, a thousand rays of black majestic light spilled out from each one of Vermillion Snow's pores! It seemed to pour out from within her!
From all seven apertures of her head, blackness surged out! An oppressive qi that far surpassed what she had revealed before exploded with a rumble!
Rays of black light in the sky like several hundred thousand unreincarnable souls surprisingly released a chilling rustling! These rays formed a black mist that overturned the sky!
"She's going to take demon form!" Wang Buzhi turned up towards the sky and howled: "Kill!"
Inside the qi walls, Xu Yangyi's heart was wholly preoccupied with the outside world. He used his spiritual sense to gain a rough awareness of all that was occurring on the outside world.
Several thousand cultivators made a move in unison and mystic rays of light and qi cut across the vast sky! With a scattered display of prismatic brilliance, their will to battle overflowed the sky!
Each sword and each fist carried a determination of certain victory like a breaching tide. They flooded towards the incomparably colossal monster and surged forth!
This was a battle of cultivators! This was a war of humanity!
There were no firearms nor heavy weaponry!
This assault was even more resplendent than fireworks, but carried with it the grimness of death!
"Huff…" He sucked in deeply. So this was the world of cultivators...
If he could come out of this alive, then this world was bound to become even more marvelous because he was a member of it.
In the outside world, there was the whiteness of the remaining willow catkins fluttering about, covering the earth, and peach blossoms falling, brimming full with red!***
On Vermillion Snow's body, the abyssal blackness was all shed off, and following a cackle of a fox, the black mist completely dissipated as if it was blown away by a gale! A snow-white body appeared, a nine-tailed silver fox over 200 meters in size. Already, the beast stood proudly in the viewing platform!
Its gigantic form made humans seem to be ants in comparison to it. With its feet on the earth and its head to the heavens, the fox's berserk aura was like the descent of a demon god! Once the nine snowy-white tails were swung forth, they would draw an explosive tsunami of qi!
On the fox's forehead, there was an incredibly conspicuous strange black seal.
"Snap…" The nine tails waved casually like nine dragons dancing in upheaval. Each place that the tails hit were left with an enormous scar that appeared on the ground! This was a true demon… An unbelievably massive demon! It far surpassed the tremendous serpent Xu Yangyi had slayed at that time!
Amidst the immeasurable qi attacks, its snowy-white tails each sent a torrent of matching waves.
"Three Realms Demon Phantasms!" Vermillion Snow raised her head and let loose a provocative howl towards the the characters of unrivaled beneath the heavens. In a flash, hordes upon hordes of black qi instantly appeared! With Vermillion Snow as the core, the black qi engulfed everyone like a hurricane!
"Dong!" Shadowslay raised his hand to obstruct the gale, yet he felt as if he was being battered by a massive 10,000-catty hammer! The instant he had come in contact with the seemingly powerless squall, he had been sent flying back and spitting up blood!
"Get down!" Following an angry shout, his figure was swiftly rolled into the wind and his voice faded away, no longer to be heard.
"Boom!" Xu Yangyi suddenly opened his eyes and he looked over at the qi walls without saying a single word.
In that moment just now, a terrible wave of spiritual force had passed inwards, even if it was separated from the qi walls.
The entirety of the spirit walls were met with a heavy strike! All the milky-white qi shook incessantly! It seemed it was going to collapse in the next second!
A bead of cold sweat seeped out from his forehead. His fists were already involuntarily clenched.
If… everyone collectively welcomed this enemy, perhaps there would a path to survive...
But! Since his failure to break through was caused by someone's ruthless severing, he didn't think the people on the outside would wage a battle to a death for total strangers.
Human nature was intrinsically hard to fathom.
Life or death was hanging by a thread.
At this kind of time, words had already become moot. This was a matter of life and death. All he could do was watch whether or not everyone on the outside world was capable of linking arms to contend against this foe.
His gaze twinkled and he unwaveringly locked his eyes on impenetrable qi walls. In the outside world, auspicious qis filled the sky and golden spears covered the earth.
However, the auspicious qis and mystic rays were swept away by the black storm-like qi, completely scattering into the air like dead leaves in autumn wind.
"Ding, ding, ding…"
Ten seconds later, like pearls of all shapes and sizes falling on a jade platter, the magik artifacts that all the cultivators had just struck out with were entirely blown away into discord as if there was a shower of magik artifacts raining down from the sky.
The disparity in realms was too great.
"Kneel and wait for death in peace. I promise everyone that I'll grant you all a painless death!" Vermillion Snow proudly stood in her original spot and said with a voice devoid of emotion.
"Puh! Puh! Puh!" The sound of blood being spat out could be heard from the mouths of all the Foundation Establishment cultivators. The seven of them had been swept by the black wind like ruined catkins in the wind, all of them vomiting blood and sent flying back into the ground.
"Is this the realm of half-step Core Formation?" At some point, Firecloud had taken out a long saber, propping it on the ground and clutching his chest as he stood up. He used his reddened eyes to look at the enormous nine-tailed demon fox before him that's head could not be seen: "Us seven Foundation Establishment cultivators… were actually defeated on first contact?"
All the present several thousand cultivators were dumbstruck.
Moments ago, they had practically struck out with their valiant blows. However… their attacks had been casually dispersed by their opponent?
Even the Foundation Establishment cultivators they had believed would lead them to safety were of hardly any effect?
"This… This…" An old man trembled from head to toe. He couldn't escape because Vermillion Snow was standing in front of the entrance!
"Could it be that all of us are going to die here?!"
"How could it be like this! Why is it like this!"
"Are the Foundation Establishment cultivators unable to obstruct her?!"
"How can this monster be THIS strong!"
The masses continued to fall back, and unceasingly, shrunk back without pause.
A burst of energy would wane the second time and be exhausted the third. Just now, their attack that had drained away their maximum power against this old monster whose realm far exceeded theirs seemed to overturn the heavens with battle intent, but among all of them, how many people had no choice but to fight?
They had placed their greatest expectations on this move. Already, their ambitious spirits had been consumed.
And as well as their courage.
Especially since this assault had been subdued effortlessly. Fear had already sprouted in the hearts of many cultivators.
It was quiet, a silence like that of death. All that remained was the frenzied dance of black wind that covered the sky and the legions of people rocking side to side unsteadily beneath the tremendous demon.
Shadowslay silently closed his eyes. When he opened them again, they were radiating a cold light.
Circulating his qi in his dantian, he shouted: "I am one with the Dao! Come, my sword!"
In midair, wind and thunder rang out awesomely. Countless white motes of qi suddenly converged together in one spot, and after a few seconds, a three-foot jade sword appeared in the sky.
"There's no need for you to do this." Vermillion Snow's mocking voice echoed out: "You're perfectly aware that you will die. Is is not preferable to enjoy the peace?"
Shadowslay's closed eyes faintly trembled and he suddenly laughed.
"I was raised in Dongling Province. When I was 10, I tread into the immortal path. When I was 70, I arrived at the pinnacle of Qi Condensation. At 150, I stepped into the middle stage of Foundation Establishment, step by step, in contact with humanity."
"I have had those who I have served master to, those who I have cherished, and those who have humiliated me…"
"But no matter who it was, never was I taught to draw back a single step against a demon!"
"The ways of humans and demons are separate. To not be of my race is to inevitably have a different heart! Thou has committed crimes against my peoples, and even though I am far from adequate, you shall be put to death!"****
He stifled the billowing qi within his body that he would soon be unable to endure, spat a mouthful of blood onto his sword, and used it to point falteringly at Vermillion Snow: "Fiend… Receive your death!"
As if it heard his words, the sword immediately erupted with a layer of scarlet brilliance, making a droning hum.
"Well said…" At this time, a frail voice rang out in the outside world. An old man leaning on a cane and clutching his chest stood up together with seven people.
"Vice Minister Chu…" Vermillion Snow sneered and glanced at the man: "You still haven't died? Sit down quietly; I respect your position and can leave you with a complete corpse."
"You jest." Vice Minister Chu turned towards the heavens and laughed heartily: "Humanity has flourished for millenia. Your insignificant demon race, you ilk of ant spirits, dare let loose such absurd poppycock to me?!"
"You know, if I was at the Capital right now, I would have a nuclear warhead prepared just for you!" At this moment, not a shred of an elderly man's aura could be seen on Chu Tianyi's body. He seemed to be a fierce tiger that had left the mountain and even took a step forward: "Are you aware that if I survive today, I am capable of retrieving your dog head in less than a month!"
"It's a fox's head." Vermillion Snow said indifferently: "And so, I bestow death upon you."
The nine tails raised up high and nine tremendous qi orbs shockingly appeared at the tips. Immediately, nine shiver-inducing white rays of light like mercury swathing full the earth covered everyone present!
"Dad! Save me!"
"Fiend! I will not rest until you die!"
"I swear it! There will be a day where I behead you under my three-foot bronze sword!"*****
Miserable wails suddenly converged in the entire arena!
The nine pillars of light transformed into eighteen. From eighteen they turned into thirty-six, and from thirty-six they turned into seventy-two… In a flash, light pillars cloaked the whole arena!
The dense smell of human blood assailed the nose and saturated the entire Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens Arena! One… Ten… A hundred… A thousand, like the mowing of grass, countless people continued to perish beneath the pillars of light with hardly any resistance!
In the case one was struck by the light pillar, a portion of the body seemed to evaporate, smoothly cut off!
With the death of each of person, the seal on Vermillion Snow's forehead became a bit redder.
Within the qi walls, Xu Yangyi's gaze suddenly flashed, and he stared unflaggingly at the qi walls where nothing could be seen!
In a twinkling, something seemed to open within his spirit.
It was a soundless language, the realization of a holy scripture. It was a thing that even words failed. There was only great courage and great sorrow that could be it's context.
He seemed to suddenly realize why to this day it was humanity that possessed the bulk of the strength. Why the demons that were much stronger than the battle capabilities of an individual soldier had to give way in the face of superior forces.
It was something that circulated within the veins of every man, women, and child of Chinese descent. At this instant, his heart began to throb without the least bit justification, and he suddenly thought of the two-character word cultivator that he frequently heard, that at this moment, sent the blood into a boil!
Some were scared, some were brave, some ran off, and some persevered.
Those silhouettes that persistently struggled on deeply stirred his heart in this second.
At the same time above everyone… there was an even more burdensome responsibility to protect everyone!
To take oneself as a cultivator.
His qi seemed to be shedding something off like a caterpillar breaking out of its chrysalis, finally spreading its wings and transforming into a butterfly.
The sudden dawn of an epiphany.
T/N: This chapter was tough to get done. Will double check again in the future. I still need to look over chapters 41-45. As usual, tons of notes. Now that we've hit over 50 chaps, anyone have any thoughts or opinions? Shout out to the two folks that always respond LOL
* This is a line by a Tang Poet Su Wendao. Background behind it is tied to a curfew during that time period. But, when people are having fun, things get loose.
** Not a line with clear ties to ancient poems even though it sounds like one. Its origins are unknown and is thought to come from someone in the modern era. Idea behind it is that happiness and joy leaves us all too quickly
*** Another line from a poem. Originates from the work of a Yuan Dynasty poet named Zhao Mengfu. Poem is about people lighting fireworks in the street. In this context, it is supposed to be a flowery phrase to explain how striking and beautiful the fireworks are. Quite frankly, I think I might have messed this one up a little bit.
**** "To not be of my race is to inevitably have a different heart." This is a play on a phrase said by a famous blind Chinese poet Zuo Qiuming
***** 三尺青锋 - Three-foot bronze sword. Copy paste these characters to get a better idea of what this looks like. Shadowslay has the same sword, but it is jade. Because it is jade I could not call it a bronze sword.