Chapter 505 - A Strike in the Frosted Dawn
Cheng Ningfeng carefully felt his way toward Fishback City.
He had already sensed something amiss. Despite the city being too quiet, the lights were charming. Could this be an empty city? He was confident about his excellent ambushing skills, so even as he was guarded, he advanced to investigate nevertheless.
It really was a small city, obviously built in a rush. Its defense was also poor.
Cheng Ningfeng inwardly shook his head. Central Pine Valley’s abilities were indeed as rumored, mostly propped up by Shi Xueman. The moment she left, the city fell apart and was no longer able to even protect its snow lava.
Now that Ai Hui was injured, he only needed to beware of Master Dou.
Cheng Ningfeng still didn’t dare to be careless. With a tensed state of mind he carefully crossed over the wall, ready to counter any sneak attack from within the city at all times.
But there was nothing.
The city streets were empty and all the lights were lit.
Unknowingly, a wisp of cold air rose within his heart. The empty city was like the bottomless and ferocious mouth of a beast, waiting for its prey to drop in.
Cheng Ningfeng composed himself by exhaling a deep breath. These people were just trying to scare him. How was this empty city stratagem going to frighten anybody? Ultimately it all boiled down to the size of their fists and speed of their swords.
Just then, he heard an indistinct sword chime.
It sounded from a faraway place.
Above… a mountain top?
Cheng Ningfeng subconsciously raised his head and looked in the direction of the noise. All he saw was a sword ray.
A bright snow-like silver sword ray descended, and in that instant lit up the blue dome of heaven. Even the city lights were suppressed and dimmed in comparison.
What was that!
Cheng Ningfeng’s pupils shrank and reflected a faint silver ray.
The silver light flashed and the sword ray was right in front of him, effectively illuminating the fearful look of despair on his face.
What… what is this?
Cheng Ningfeng’s mind went black. He was even unable to associate this silver light, which was as thick as a bowl, with the sword ray!
His body was motionless. The thick and solid sword ray had pierced through his body effortlessly.
He stared blankly in that position like a clay puppet. The bowl sized hole in his chest made it possible for one to see the ground behind him and the bottomless pit that was in the ground.
The blood in his body hadn’t had time to splash out from his wound.
The sharp whistling sound came late and was accompanied by a wild airflow, exploding into Cheng Ningfeng’s body. Cheng Ningfeng’s body was like a frail cloth puppet, instantly ripped apart into countless pieces. Bloodrain sprayed and splattered onto the wall.
The night resumed its deathly stillness.
Fishback City’s lights were still brightly lit.
The Xiahou brothers, still lying in ambush behind the rock, were thoroughly shaken up.
"Mountain top. The sword ray came from up there!"
"Must be a kind of sword formation!"
The two exchanged gazes and saw the fear in each other’s eyes. They did not manage to get a clear look at that sword strike, which was exceptionally rare for Masters.
Richly experienced players most feared the unknown. No matter how powerful an enemy was, he must have a vulnerable point so it was possible to find a solution. On the other hand, the unknown meant that the enemy was unpredictable.
On the mountain top, the night breeze was slightly cooling.
The Metal Basket Sword Pagoda was like an ugly steel monster, entrenching itself on a big rock and coldly looking down on the preys beneath.
The Sword of Lightning members cheered and were heartened. That black shadow was their first victory, so everybody was feeling excited. Before, they were worried about the uncertain future of Sword of Lightning, but now they were finally able to set aside their worries.
The Metal Basket Sword Pagoda was a little ugly, but also very practical and provided effective defense.
While it wasn’t as ferocious and changeable as God-subduing Peak when it came to attack and defense, its attacking power was decent.
Everyone’s faces were filled with joy. Combat strength was the key to surviving in this chaotic world. Even Gu Xuan couldn’t contain his happiness. If they knew that the black shadow they’d just killed was Black Fog Wolf, Cheng Ningfeng, they would be even more shocked.
Seeing that everyone was getting overly excited Ai Hui coughed softly. "Get ready for the next wave of attack."
The crowd gradually calmed down.
A sword chime rang again.
Ai Hui shook his head inwardly. More training was needed. Everyone was too agitated and had yet to recompose themselves. Over thirty people had slipped.
Such a high rate of error hadn’t appeared in a long time.
But Ai Hui did not blame the members, as he could understand their excitement. Elites weren’t trained and created overnight. Members who made a mistake looked ashamed and somewhat embarrassed.
A sword chime rang.
Another failure. Although everybody was trying hard to calm themselves down, there were still five who made a mistake.
Training and actual battle were simply too different. A ninety percent success rate could be achieved in training, but in actual combat, having a sixty to seventy percent success rate was already not bad.
The Xiahou brothers exchanged looks, their eyes flickering.
"Sword formation indeed! Powerful, but not always successful."
"Three failures, one success."
Both were seasoned battlers and understood what methods would be more suitable when dealing with such attacks. They remained still, however. If they could understand this fact, the rest could too.
Indeed, a few shadows rose and shot toward the mountain top like lightning.
They had already realized that Fishback City was a bait used to attract their attention, and that Ai Hui’s sword formation was placed above the mountain since it provided them with an optimal view.
But no matter how powerful, what was the use of a sword formation that succeeded only once out of four tries?
Seeing the shadows dashing along the mountain range, the members in the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda on the mountain top immediately became restless.
Just then, Ai Hui’s calm voice fell into their ears. "Everybody shut your eyes."
The members were stunned, but immediately shut their eyes and soon quietened down. Their breaths became more stable and calm.
Ai Hui’s unclosed eyes shone brightly, like the stars in the sky.
Another sword chime rang.
Brush! The swords moved as one, a sword ray appeared with a rippling effect.
The bright sword ray lit up the sky once again, illuminating the faraway range of mountains.
The sword ray slashed across the sky, leaving a dazzling light scar in the darkness.
An approaching shadow seemed to have detected it and hurriedly morphed its body. The audience only felt blinded for a second before a few more shadows appeared by its side.
Xiahou Jie couldn’t help but shout, "Good!"
He’d already recognized that shadow. Thousand Shadow Blade, Yue Chongyang!
Yue Chongyang was a Master and his Path of Master was [Doppelganger]. He could transform into many difficult to distinguish bodies. Yue Chongyang combined his body splitting techniques perfectly with blade techniques to form the unique [Thousand Shadow Blade]. The moment it was fully put to use, the blade rays would be like waves, stacked layer upon layer, making it difficult for people to recognize and making them fall deep into them.
Seeing Yue Chongyang displaying [Thousand Shadow Blade] at such a crucial moment, Xiahou Jie couldn’t control his cheer.
The sky-breaking sword ray was like lightning, but difficult for the naked eye to catch.
It pierced through a shadow.
Everybody held their breaths unknowingly. They were full of anticipation. It must be a fail! There were over ten shadows in the sky so there was no way for them to identify the real one.
It must be a miss…
The next moment, the shadows in the sky simultaneously popped and disappeared like bubbles.
All that was left was the stupefied shadow of a man staring at the bowl sized wound on his chest, face full of disbelief. He hadn’t had time to figure out how the enemy was able to identify his real body as the delayed sharp sword whistle, accompanied by the surging airflow, had already struck his body like a heavy hammer.
In midair, Yue Chongyang’s body instantly ripped apart, triggering a bloodrain. It was a bloody sight.
The other shadows that had moved together with him became sluggish as their minds temporarily went blank. Compared to Cheng Ningfeng, Thousand Shadow Blade Yue Chongyang had been much stronger. He’d been a Master.
Furthermore, Yue Chongyang was killed while executing [Thousand Shadow Blade]. It was much more shocking and impactful compared to what had happened to Cheng Ningfeng.
Ai Hui stood tall above the sword pagoda on the mountain top. He looked down, grief and joy absent from his eyes.
The sword cloud within his body flowed slowly. Everything that was happening around him surfaced from within his heart in an inverted manner. Ai Hui hadn’t heard of Thousand Shadow Blade, Yue Chongyang, but that split body elemental energy transformation left him astonished nevertheless.
It was an extremely imaginative Path of Master!
If it had been the past him, he wouldn’t have been able to identify the real body.
But today he could do it because he was able to "see" not just elemental energy.
There was no elemental energy in Ai Hui’s body, but he was exposed to a different sky. At this point his heart was exceptionally calm and free. He raised Edgeless Sword and instructed, "Get ready for the next wave."
Ai Hui’s calm was contagious. Everybody threw aside distracting thoughts and shut their eyes, gathering all their focus.
A sword chime rang once again.
The people below snapped out of their dazed state.
A sky-breaking sword ray!
Yet another shadow had been struck by the sword ray. A sword whistle and airflow followed immediately, causing the body to rip apart. Blood sprinkled all over the night sky.
Fear appeared on the face of the remaining shadow. He suddenly turned around to flee.
Only fear was left in his heart. He’d never seen such a powerful sword formation. It reminded him of God-subduing Peak! Yes, the sword formation on the mountain top reminded him of the irrepressible God-subduing Peak.
He’d only covered a few hundred meters when a sword ray tore across the sky.
It penetrated his body and shot into the darkness in front.
Clap! His body shattered.
The Xiahou brothers were ashen-faced as they realized that they had bumped into a tough situation.
Central Pine Valley actually had such a powerful sword formation!
They, too, had been reminded of God-subduing Peak, as only it could match a terrifying force like this. Thus far, only Skyheart City, which was under Elders Guild’s control, could refine God-subduing Peaks. Other cities weren’t able to do so.
God-subduing Peak was the strongest weapon in Beyond Avalon.
Yet, another comparable rival had appeared: this unknown sword formation.
What exactly was Central Pine Valley’s background? How could it possibly have such a powerful weapon? Finally they understood that the powerful figures outside had all underestimated the Central Pine Faction.
No one dared to think about snow lava anymore. As compared to this nameless sword formation, snow lava was simply insignificant.
Their biggest problem now was to figure out a safe way to escape!