Chapter 230 - Nigh Impossible to Escape
Edited by RED
Just as those confusing words left Xuanwu's mouth, Xu Qi noticed a glint of craftiness shine in tiger-headed Tan's eyes from the side.
Zhuque, on the other hand, slightly creased her brows and narrowed her eyes as her hand gripped onto the hilt of the Scarlet Firmament Sword.
"The Eight Ancient Devils? You must be joking, Deity Xuanwu," tiger-headed Tan smiled obsequiously.
"Tan, your servile manners today were indeed a little over the top. Your objectives have been achieved, and we are now in your cave. Just reveal your hand!" Xuanwu said as his body shook for a moment. Blue mist came gushing out from his body, filling the entire cave.
The mist slowly fell under the luminescence of the glowing pearls embedded on the surrounding stone walls. Xu Qi and Zhuque finally realized that there were eight figures standing at the perimeter of the cave, causing their hairs to stand on ends.
"Hmm? They aren't the Eight Ancient Devils..?" Xuanwu mumbled in a low voice.
Following the eight hidden figures' appearance, bear-headed Chi slammed its hammers, one of them at Xuanwu, and the other at Xu Qi and Zhuque.
The three successfully dodged the surprise attacks, and by the time they got a clear look, all they saw was the back of bear-headed Chi, escaping through the stone wall.
It was unknown what technique Xuanwu had just used, but the blue mist that caught on the eight figures was especially eye-catching and wouldn't fade away.
"Eh? What are these eight things? They look human, but why don't I sense any aura from them?" Zhuque wondered out loud, looking at the unmoving figures.
"They were human, no doubt, but who knows how long had it been since they died?" Xuanwu replied immediately.
Xu Qi truly felt that his brain was overwhelmed. First, two black-clothed men who knew the art of invisibility showed up out of nowhere when they entered the cave, and died just as quickly.
After moving into the deeper part of the cave, Xuanwu revealed another eight invisible figures. Not only that, there was also talks about the Eight Ancient Devils, and eight black stone coffins. What were they?
However, their immediate focus should be on the eight unmoving figures before them. What exactly were these?
Zhuque flashed over to the stone wall the elite beasts went through in the blink of an eye. She knocked on the wall, carefully listening. However, she discovered that the stone wall was indeed solid. They would only find themselves badly bruised if they attempted to mimic the elite beasts.
At this moment, the eight blue figures finally moved to attack. Their movements were uniform, as if they had planned beforehand.
Before Xu Qi could react to any of this, he saw a blue figure flash past him, followed by a sharp pain in his chest. His body shot backwards and crashed heavily into the stone wall like a cannonball.
In the moment Xu Qi was struck, all that was in his mind was that they were truly too fast! Not only that, he didn't even manage to see how he was struck. The punch was strong, too!
Rainbow energy shone around Xu Qi as he quickly got back on his feet. Xu Qi couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the blue figures flying around in the cave, Xuanwu and Zhuque were slowly being overpowered!
A streak of blue light suddenly flashed past. Xu Qi turned sideways, casually dodging it and struck out with a palm.
His counterattack succeeded. Xu Qi felt his palm strike landing on the blurry figure, though the other's body felt a little stiff.
At this moment, another blue figure flashed past Xu Qi. Before he could react to it, he felt another punch to his back, and he went flying again, this time forwards.
However, this was not the end to his suffering.
The blue figures caught up to Xu Qi, who had yet to recover from the first punch. Before he could land on the ground, Xu Qi was struck two more times and was flung skywards. This time, Xu Qi was inflicted with a severe injury.
He forcefully endured the pain coming from his body and immediately willed his Five Elements Wings to appear, keeping him airborne.
Even so, the two inhuman-looking figures leapt up and appeared behind Xu Qi in a flash. They punched out with enough force to generate a sonic boom, aiming for his head.
Xu Qi wasn't slow to react this time around, and fluttered several times in succession with his Five Elements Wings, then flew straight to Zhuque and Xuanwu's side.
The Divine Beasts weren't faring any better than Xu Qi, however, especially Zhuque. Her scarlet flames seemed to be ineffective against these people.
Not only that, she was also struck by these blue figures several times.
Among the three of them, Xuanwu was in the best condition. His formidable defense and strength had kept him uninjured.
From the skirmish earlier, all three of them understood one thing. There wasn't any fluctuations of energy in these eight figures.
However, their bodies were incredibly tough, and miraculously strong. Their most annoying trait was their speed. They were so fast that none of the three could match them.
Xu Qi's group gathered their backs together, and Zhuque put her Scarlet Firmament Sword away. In this situation, the sword wasn't of any use.
As Zhuque received another punch to her shoulder, she cried out in frustration, "What exactly are those things?!"
"I don't know. I haven't heard of them either, but from the looks of it, they were once human who were dead for an indeterminate amount of time and were turned into somebody's puppets using some sinister methods," Xuanwu said as he used the Revitalizing Jet on Zhuque, easing her pain.
"Let's think of a way to get out of here first. We won't be able to triumph over them in this cave even if we were to exhaust the last of our strength," Xu Qi suggested anxiously.
Both divine beasts understood what Xu Qi truly meant. We can't win against them; let's run, people!
An incomparably thick mass of blue energy appeared around Xuanwu, enveloping Xu Qi and Zhuque within as his forehead was immediately covered in sweat.
"Let's go!" Xuanwu roared. He led the way, with Xu Qi and Zhuque following closely behind him.
The three flew straight towards the exit with the thick energy enveloping them.
On their way, the eight figures launched an unending flurry of attacks on Xu Qi's group, but their strikes were all warded off by the blue energy around their targets.
Every time Xu Qi and Zhuque were attacked, they could feel the power contained within these strikes from within the blue energy.
However, they also noticed that Xuanwu was sweating more as successive attacks were absorbed by his energy. His back was so wet that it looked like he'd taken a bath.
This was the first time Xu Qi had seen Xuanwu in such a state. It seemed that this technique of his consumed massive amounts of energy.
As they neared the exit, Xuanwu quickly formed several hand seals as they collided with the huge pile of rocks that sealed the way.
They crashed their way out with a loud boom, and the sun's blinding rays found their way into their eyes once more.
After exiting the cave, Xu Qi and Zhuque's first reaction was to turn back to look at the cave, in case the eight figures pursued them.
However, the eight blue figures were pacing back and forth at the entrance, not coming out of the cave to attack Xu Qi's group.
"Could it be that they are afraid of the sun?" Xu Qi mumbled.
A plop came from behind him. Xuanwu had collapsed to the ground, his face still covered in sweat.
His fatigue was clearly visible on his face. His chest rose and fell rapidly, panting for breath. It was apparent that manipulating that blue energy had totally exhausted him.
"Are you alright, Uncle?" Xu Qi asked in concerned as he helped Xuanwu up, wiping the sweat off the latter's face with his sleeves.
"You pushed yourself too hard. Why did you use your Black Tortoise Secret Arts? You should know that you're likely to lose control if you used them with your current strength," Zhuque remarked with her brow creased, her sight still set on the cave entrance.
"Did I have a choice? Let's hurry. We mustn't stay here for any longer. Those things are probably afraid of the sunlight," Xuanwu replied weakly.
Xu Qi turned around to look at the cave entrance once more after hearing this. Those eight figures seemed unwilling to let them go, but none of them took a single step out of the cave. Upon taking a closer look, their feets were on the edge of where the sun couldn't reach.
"Xu Qi, quickly bring him away!" Zhuque suddenly shouted as the Scarlet Firmament Sword appeared in her hands.
Suddenly, tiger-headed Tan's irritating voice rang out, "Thinking of leaving as you wish? Do you really take us brothers as pushovers!?"
Tiger-headed Tan appeared from the side, fiddling with a pair of daggers in his hands with a sly smirk on his face.
Following a short tremor, the bear-headed Chi appeared with its huge hammers in its hands, too.
The two Elite Beasts were not their most pressing problem, however. The blazing sunlight had suddenly dimmed.
It turned out that an enormous piece of cloud was up in the sky. At this moment, over half of the sun was covered by it.
Tiger-headed Tan sneered, "Deities, it seemed like even the Heavens don't intend to help you."
Xuanwu freed himself from Xu Qi's support, looking at the eight figures by the cave entrance coldly as he kept himself standing with much difficulty.
"Tan, now that it has come to this, can you tell us what exactly these things are?" Xuanwu asked.
"I'm sorry. There are some things I can't afford to let you know before you are completely under my control. It is imperative to be cautious," tiger-headed Tan said as he suddenly struck out at Zhuque with the daggers in his hands.
At the same time, the bear-headed Chi leapt towards Xu Qi and Xuanwu. Its hammers covered the sky, smashing down at them.
Xu Qi shoved the exhausted Xuanwu aside. Rainbow energy swirled around him in an instant as he yelled, "Cursed Wraith Talisman! All-Tempering Flame!" Unexpectedly, the All-Tempering Flame was aimed toward the tiger-headed Tan instead, who was battling Zhuque. However, it was easily dodged by the elite beast regardless.
Not only that, the countless talismanic runes from Xu Qi's Cursed Wraith Talisman were shattered by the bear-headed Chi's huge hammers with a single blow. This was the first time somebody was able to negate Xu Qi's Cursed Wraith Talisman.
Xu Qi instantly whipped out a sword, raising it up high as the hammer dropped.
Sounds of their weapons clashing rang out. A sheathed sword was grasped in Xu Qi's hands, blocking the huge hammer.
However, the brute force contained in the hammer strike had smashed the rocks under Xu Qi's feet into pieces, burying his feet in the ground.
The bear-headed Chi actually held such strength!
Xu Qi could feel the hammer gradually coming down. He could no longer withstand the force.
Another whiz of the wind rang by Xu Qi's ears. The second hammer was swinging right at him.
Xu Qi quickly tried to struggle free. Alas, he found out that he was unable to, as the hammer was fractions of a second away from landing on him.
Boom! The hammer struck where Xu Qi was standing, raising a cloud of dust.
Bear-headed Chi moved his hammers away, but Xu Qi's figure was nowhere to be found.
Upon taking a closer look, there was a hole right where Xu Qi had stood a moment ago.
To the side, the exhausted Xuanwu paled at the sight of this.
Bear-headed Chi then used its hammer to dig at the hole, which was large enough to fit a person inside.
Suddenly, Xu Qi jumped out from the hole, his body enveloped in rainbow energy.
As he came back to the surface, his rainbow wings spread out from his back.
Xu Qi suddenly accelerated, flying towards Xuanwu, picking him up and soar into the sky.
"Retreat!" Xu Qi cried out without looking back, telling Zhuque to quickly get out.
However, as Xu Qi ascended into the sky, a silvery light suddenly flashed by and struck him.
He felt numb all over, losing control over his body. He lost control of the Five Elements Wings, and the two plummeted.
As Zhuque was about to transform into her true form to escape, she noticed Xu Qi and Xuanwu falling from the sky. She quickly slashed at tiger-headed Tan, warding him off and flew over to catch them.
However, just as she managed to catch Xuanwu, she felt as if she was struck by lightning and lost consciousness, falling helplessly back to the ground.
Xu Qi, Xuanwu, and even Zhuque, who tried to save them, plummeted down.
At the same time, bear-headed Chi swung its huge hammers at the three of them. It seemed it had anticipated their fall.
Xu Qi hurriedly crawled back to his feet and tried to pull out his sword. However, he discovered that he couldn't unsheathe it no matter how hard he tried.
He looked down and realized that he was actually wielding the long-forgotten Heavens Vanquisher!
However, the timing of its appearance couldn't be any worse. It was a sword that couldn't be used effectively.
Xu Qi immediately formed a rainbow seal in his hands, unsummoning the fallen divine beasts, who then vanished from where they lay on the ground.
The huge hammer swung down. Xu Qi subconsciously defended himself with the Heavens Vanquisher. He managed to block this attack, too, but he wasn't as lucky this time.
In the moment Xu Qi defended himself against the huge hammer, tiger-headed Tan appeared next to Xu Qi with a pair of daggers in hand, swiping them across his legs.
Two trails of fresh blood flowed down Xu Qi's legs as he fell to the ground, hamstrung.
Tan was not done with his attacks, however, and went for Xu Qi's throat next.
Am I about to die? That was the final thought that flashed in Xu Qi's mind. In that moment, nothing else was in his head. It was all blank.
Sou, a wooden arrow enveloped in purple energy whizzed past Xu Qi, stopping Tan's attack.
At the same time, another wooden arrow struck the hammer that was about to hit Xu Qi.
Chi's hammers were forged with ancient steel, and yet the arrow had left a mark on them, greatly alarming Chi. As a result, the elite beast quickly withdrew.
The person who shot the arrow was nowhere to be seen. The dark clouds covered the entire sky, not letting a single ray of sunlight through.
Meanwhile, the eight human figures who were still covered in blue light at the cave entrance shot out at the same time, heading towards Xu Qi!