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The white crane soared up into the air like a glittering flying sword, shining dazzlingly bright!

This creature was too gorgeous and splendid. Its feathers suddenly gained the color and the texture of a fine piece of white jade. It turned into a glint of dazzling light, posing as a sight frightening for its enemy to behold. Meanwhile, the flash of its sword was spiraling up like a cyclone, stirring up the air while thrusting towards the falcon!

This was astonishing!

People stared stunned and speechless. They even started doubting whether they were seeing things right.

The crane was seen in the sky no more; instead, there was a snow-white sword streaking across the air, surging towards that arrogant falcon. The glint and the shine it exuded radiated the entire world below it.



The falcon was almost sixty meters in length. It was a gigantic bird. Its feathers were cast of black gold, trickling a stream of chilling luster. These feathers were firmer than steel. They were all standing on their ends, because the falcon had sensed the approach of a great danger.

CLONK!

The bird greeted the flashing glint with its talons. The trilling sound it made was like the clash of metals.

SCREECH!

The falcon turned and tossed in the air, crying an unearthly cry.

PUFF!

Blood spattered, and the falcon fell back. Its glossy black feathers seemed to have lost its rigidity, becoming all fluffy and cute. They were standing on their ends, while the falcon itself was both shocked and infuriated.

Its talons were injured. The wound was deep and gaping. The meat and the bone had been ripped and fractured by the crane's sword; some parts of its talon were only connected to the legs via a few dangling tendons.

The once fearsome claws were now only a bloody mess.

The crane was still traversing the sky unhindered. It did things in a clear and efficient manner. There wasn't a moment of hesitation after it said that it would take actions against the falcon. It struck with decisive resolute with fierce and violent power. This crane was a true sword master.

The falcon let out a long and loud cry. The bird was enraged. After all, the falcon called itself the king of a part of the animal kingdom, so it could not bear the miserable loss it suffered here. Driven by rage, its body began to glow.

ONG!

Like a black sun, the falcon was shrouded in fire. There was a ball of black and violent flames burning ablaze around its body. The falcon opened its mouth.

BANG!

A black bolt of lightning, enveloped in a ball of black flame, streaked across the sky.

This flaming bolt of lightning was casted by the falcon, directing at the white crane.

WHOOSH!

In the air, the white crane had unparalleled speed. As the bolt of lightning streaked across the sky, the crane leapt aside and dodged the strike. Then, it began flying towards the falcon with its sword guiding the way at the front.

People widened their eyes and held their breath. They were keeping a close eye on the development of the situation. They were nervous, but most of them still couldn't believe what they were seeing.

How did a crane become the master of Sichuan?

"Rewind the footage and study them carefully!"

People from the army quietly whispered. They were just as shocked as the others.

They rewound the footage captured by the satellites.

People could only find out the truth when the footage were played at a much slower speed. However, when people could finally figure out the actions of the fight, they were shocked and astonished.

The crane adopted a queer posture when it struck at its enemy. The crane was not fluttering its wings when it darted forth; instead, the feathery wings were wrapping around the side of its body. It legs were straight and stiff, kicking backwards as the crane streaked across the sky.

Its body formed a straight line. With its beak as the spear head, the crane charge forth like a lance!

Watching from the distance, the crane was like the glittering body of a cutting sword, while its beak functioned as the blade that gleamed with metallic luster. As a whole, the crane exuded an air of murder and an air of heroic spirit.

The crane was a flying sword alright!

People now finally understood that this swordsman was brandishing no swords, but instead, the crane acted as a sword itself.

A dazzling brilliance spiraled around the glinting sword. It was the flash of the all-conquering blade.

The crane flew high up in the air. It flew faster than the falcon. Like a sword of a Daoist priest, it slew all forms of evil that were wriggling in the air.

"The crane must have learnt the tricks of the sword under the tutelage of a master!" someone cried out in alarm. Otherwise, how would one explain this dazzling scene in front of his eyes? Mastering the art of sword wielding was not in the nature of a crane.

CLONK! CLONK! CLONK!

The sky above the mountain of Emei was raining spatters of sparks. The two birds were still fiercely fighting.

The falcon had gone all out with its power. The violent power and the lightning speed of the crane didn't allow the falcon to let up for an instant. It would have been split in two by the piercing beak of its enemy had it allowed itself with a second of slack. For the falcon, it was either dead or alive.

It was obvious to all that the crane was way too powerful. The right of possession of Mount Emei was something the crane richly deserved. After defeating every contester who had fought for the freehold of the mountain, the crane was again winning an edge in this battle against the ruthless falcon.

PUFF!

Blood spattered. When the crane streaked under the belly of the falcon, it lashed onto its soft belly with its piercing bill. The wound was gaping and deep, and the blood that were gushing out from the wound was staining its glossy-black feathers.

The falcon cried a furious cry. The bird refused to resign itself to defeat, but deep in its heart, there were tads of fear.

But for the falcon, there was no way back. At this stage, fight was its only choice, because as soon as the bird turned its back, the crane would soon catch up and pierce through its chest.

Glints and flashes of the sword were coupled with the sparks of clashing metals.

Even the firmest sections on the falcon's body were damaged by the crane's beak. Its talons and its bill were on the verge of falling off. There were already cracks and fissures crawling across the surface of its beak.

CLONK!

Finally, one of its talons snapped off from its leg. The broken claw plummeted to the mountain valley down below with drips of blood and bits of flesh.

The falcon cried an unearthly cry. Its feathers puffed up, and its body glowed with dazzling electric arcs. The bird was charged with energy, and the time left for the falcon to fight back wasn't much.

The falcon would do anything to save its own life no matter the cost. There was no room for the bird to make any mistakes, or it would die with no doubt!

The falcon noticed that the crane was a kind and friendly creature when no-one rubbed the bird up the wrong way. Everything was negotiable; everything could be dealt with peacefully. However, once the bird had decided to take actions, it would show no mercy.

The crane did not give the falcon a second chance. It was too late to talk it through, because the crane had determined to kill its enemy no matter what.

"Kill!" the falcon let out a long and loud cry. It fiercely shook its body, sending plumes and feathers fluttering in the wind. Dazzling rays of light coming from within the falcon's body pierced through the pores of its flesh and skin, shooting outwards in all directions. It seemed as if the falcon was about to burst like a balloon.

This was its ultimate move. It bulged like a puffer fish, puffing up to the verge of explosion.

Many people's heart stopped at this very instant. People feared that the falcon was going to turn the tables by meeting its death with the crane together.

BANG!

The rays of light turned into bolts of lightning, erupting in the air. The lightning was a terrifying form of energy, incinerating everything it struck.

CLONK!

Many of these bolts flew towards the crane. They were big and thick, like a huge arrow piercing through the air.

Some of the bolts hit the mountain tops nearby. These mountain tops immediately erupted into chunks of mud and dust. Many of the towering mountains were chopped short because of this.

The power of the bolts was insane!

The crane didn't go straight at them. It flew left and right to evade the incoming bolts.

But the number of bolts was overwhelming. The falcon was still somehow creating more bolts by using the sacred energy within its body. It had pledged to kill the crane today.

The falcon's beak was filled with blood. There were cracks crawling across its body as well. Obviously, this ultimate move that the falcon had resolved to use was a double-edged sword. It could kill the crane, but it would be at a great cost.

WHOOSH!

The crane spread out its wings. It now looked different than before. The crane was no longer in the shape of a sword.

At first, rays of white light were spreading out on its wings like ripples, but the light could only be vaguely seen; gradually, the light became big and expansive. It became fiercer and mightier. At last, it became as big as the billows in a stormy sea; it rose and fell just like the waves of the sea.

The crane fluttered its wings, and these billows of light suddenly became a screen. Bolts of lightning crushed onto the screen, but the concentrated energy carried by the lightning was immediately dispersed by the screen. Without the energy, the bolts of lightning lost their shape and disappeared in the air!

People were astonished.

"I never knew that 'white crane spread its wing' [1] could be so powerful," someone who was expert at ancient martial art whispered.

Most importantly, it was as if this man was part of this live show. His words were broadcasted to all news networks.

People were speechless. Was this the so-called "white crane spread its wing"? But how could the posture of an ancient martial art be so overly powerful?

The phrase "white crane spread its wing" was still somewhat understandable to people who knew its origin, but for those who lived abroad and for those who had no knowledge of some ancient posture, it was completely gibberish. When they heard the broadcast, some first grew speechless; others were completely bewildered. What on earth was happening?!

The falcon let out a long and loud cry. The bird was anxious. Its body was peppered with cracks and fissures. Blood was gushing out from these gaping wounds, and the falcon couldn't stand this pain anymore.

This was the falcon's unique skill, but this skill would harm its user quite severely as well. The user's spirit and soul might burst if it was not used right.

"You and I are both mutated birds, but rather than fighting our common enemy, you chose to battle me. Aren't you afraid that you may enrage the other kings of the animal kingdom?" The falcon was fierce of mien but faint of heart. It began accusing the crane because it could not hold on for any longer.

"You're pathetic, both you and that wolf! I know that you are working for someone else, and they have promised you profits and welfares. Well, let me tell you, you ain't ever gonna get it."

The crane perched on a treetop. When the bird settled, it became the embodiment of softness and elegance. Shrouded in a thick globe of fog, the crane seemed like an other-worldly creature that had transcended the boundary of a worldly life.

"You…" the falcon wanted to say something, but it grew fearful. The crane might seem gentle and even-tempered, but this was a sign that it was about to deliver its killing blow.

PUFF!

The crane was on the move once again. It was as fast as a bolt of lightning. This time, it fluttered its wings as it flew high up in the air. The bird was no longer in the form of a flying sword.

As its wings fluttered in the wind, one of them suddenly burst out a terrifying sheet of light. It was sharp and cutting as it swept across the vast expanse of the sky.

The neck of the falcon intercepted this sheet. PUFF! Blood gushed out from the falcon's jugular. Meanwhile, the head with a face that had shock and despair written all over plummeted into the mountain valley.

BANG!

Shortly afterwards, the sixty-meter headless body of the giant falcon soon followed the downward trajectory of its head, plummeting into the valley below.

With a swish, the crane turned into a glint of light. It streaked across the sky, heading for the depths of Mount Emei. Soon after, the light disappeared amongst the woods.

People were astonished. They were at a loss for words.

Minutes had passed before the silence was replaced by the hubbub of voices of people.

People around the world had all seen the live footage of the fight. No-one wasn't shocked or astonished.

"Oh my god! Sword master actually exists! And it's a crane!" People living abroad were somewhat dumbfounded by this surprising revelation.

People within the country was of no exception either. Everyone was marveling at the sight of the crane. They found it hard to believe.

Of course, most people were astounded as well.

Discussions on this matter were fierce and heated, simply because the fight had been too soul-stirring.

The all-conquering power of that crane was shocking to all!

Even the kings of the beasts were now having scruples about this crane, let alone human.

Right now, the internet was like a pot of boiling water.

"The crane was sweeping off its enemy as one would do a mat! The kill was clean and quick! Using beak as a sword, this god of war was marching over its enemy unhindered! The crane was unrivalled!"

"Finally, we've got someone on our side. I'm going to Sichuan to take refuge. The crane is gonna offer us the safest protection on earth. Anyone else with me?"

Sure enough, a lot of people were sharing this exact thought.

The sudden rise of the crane shocked the world!

"Quickly! Go find the corpse of that falcon and bring it back! Don't let other beasts harm the corpse. That bird's blood and flesh is invaluable for us! They will come in great use!"

People in the army couldn't sit on their seats anymore. The commander in chief had ordered to bring back the corpse of the falcon as soon as possible.

On that day, people all around the world were having a lively discussion about this crane. Everyone was astonished by its extraordinary display of power and strength.

People living in the Western world were envious. The crane was, for them, an overseeing god protecting the safety of his people.

Some living abroad had even dispatched an envoy to Sichuan, asking for the help of the crane.

But obviously, these people would have to get permission from the high-ranking officials of Jiuzhou. Without a pass from the country's leader, it was illegal for them to enter the country.

However, the tycoons of the country valued the importance of the crane just as equally. The crane could serve as a powerful weapon for these big companies.

People were busy gathering information about this crane; some of them had even spread to the public.

Tycoons and influential forces of the country had once battled the crane for the ownership of Mount Emei. It was not their first time to have dealings with this bird.

In the end, public's pressure forced Pre-Qin Research Institution and other big companies to come to the public and divulge a few secrets.

Throughout the history, the number of legends and fables about sword masters had always been numerous in Sichuan, and these fables had received the attention due from big companies around the country for quite some time as well; so as soon as the upheavals began, these companies immediately sent their men to Sichuan to contend for anything valuable.

Mount Emei and Mount Qingcheng were famous mountains that were renowned not just for the legends and fables that were surrounding them. They had a glorious fame, and this naturally made them become the first few mountains where battles broke out and blood was shed.

However, what the companies had failed to realize was that they were not the first ones who arrived at the place. The beasts and birds were one step ahead of them.

The crane was the local inhabitant to the place before the upheavals, and this had really put the bird in a favorable position.

Since the beginning of the upheaval, the crane had been waiting by the side of a mysterious ancient tree. The bird waited and waited; it did not walk a single step away from the tree during that period.

"This tree was taking roots at the very top of Mount Emei. It was where the essence of the mountain concentrated, so for us, it was a very important place too." People from Pre-Qin Research Institution sighed.

The summit of the mountain had a golden glow. The summit exuded golden mist, and this mist at times diffused in the air, shrouding the mountain, giving the whole mountain a dazzling golden shine.

That ancient tree growing on the summit was a mysterious one too. Its flowers were in the shape of a sword; when light cast, the flowers glowed like a slab of cold metal; when wind whispered, the flowers fluttered, making a rhythmic and sonorous sound that was pleasant to the ear.

Its fruit was, too, extraordinary. The tree only borne a few fruits, but all looked like a sword in the size of a thumb. They looked extraordinarily sharp.

The crane was guarding this ancient tree. At first, it was a difficult task for the bird. Once, it was almost killed by its opponent.

The other mutated beasts were not weaker than it by any means, and when they jointly attacked the crane, the bird could barely stand on its ground. Beasts gnawed their teeth into the bird's wings; birds pierced their talons into the bird's flesh.

"But, it outlasted them all in the end!"

There was only one reason for this. During the bloody battle, an underground shrine housing Buddhist relics suddenly appeared on the golden summit. It exuded a vague and misty radiance. The radiance protected the tree as well as the crane.

Soon after, the crane became more and more powerful. The bird seemed to have received some form of breathing rhythm from the underground shrine, and this was how it inherited the all-conquering swordsmanship.

"Is this… true?"

People were flabbergasted when these big companies were telling them about the crane. For them, the story was a truly bizarre one.

Back when these companies were still fighting in the area, they saw the golden glow of the summit and the golden mist that were diffusing in the air. As the mist scattered, a lot of lotus flowers appeared; with them, there were other strange trees growing as well. These sacred plants were all vigorously developing around that ancient tree.

Because the ancient tree bore flowers and fruits that had taken up the shape and form of a sword, people called them "sword tree".

Originally, people were reluctant to retreat from Mount Emei, but soon, a news that came from Mount Qingcheng truly frightened them.

Mutations that were happening in Mount Qingcheng were terrifying. The whole mountain was shrouded in golden lustrous mist, and most importantly, there was a "sword tree" growing on that mountain as well. The tree was tall and sturdy like Dragon Qiu [2]. This tree was, too, guarded by a crane.

What struck people as terrifying was that these two cranes seemed to know each other. Some people even doubted that they might have been blood brothers to each other!

This frightened everyone out of their wits!

In the end, the two cranes fought off all the beasts who had mounted an offensive and took complete control of the mountain. By now, people had already grown hopeless about the idea of taking these two mountains from the hands of the cranes and claiming it for themselves. At last, after careful deliberations, people agreed that it would be for the best of everyone's interest that they fell back.

The existence of one crane was already terrifying enough, let alone two. And if the two decided to team up, the result would be disastrous.

Soon after the death of the falcon, the two cranes came together and made an announcement. They claimed that they were going to establish a sect, named Temple of the Mountain Sword!

There candidly admitted that they had indeed mastered a special kind of breathing rhythm. Soon, the Temple of the Mountain Sword would be open for people to join, to become pious followers and disciples of the sect.

This stirred up a surge of reactions from people around the country!

Since the establishment of Temple of Great Woods, this was the second sect founded by a non-human species.

"Let's go to Sichuan! It will be the safest there!"

"Yes! I want to go too! I want to become a sword master!"

Many people's minds were persuaded. People were busy packing up their travelling bags and ready to venture out.

Chu Feng had been keeping a close eye on the progression of the matter throughout. He was astounded. His mind was persuaded too. For him, Temple of Mountain Sword was an irresistible temptation.

"Feng, we'll meet up with some people tomorrow," Chu Zhiyuan told him that tomorrow, departments concerned would conduct necessary tests on him.

"I'm somewhat inclined to go to Mount Emei right now," Chu Feng mumbled.

"You are thinking about those trees, aren't you?" Chu Zhiyuan laughed, then he said, "Let's not ignore what is close at hand in favor of something far afield."

Chu Zhiyuan told him that once Chu Feng was admitted into the army, there was of every likelihood that he would be posted to that sacred pilgrimage site!

Chu Zhiyuan looked serious. He said, "You see, the reason why those mutants could become all strong and powerful is because they acted ahead of others. They went to a famous mountain and found some mysterious plants before everyone else. What you need is not some leftovers that had been fought over and eaten by others; what you need is a place like this pilgrimage site. Think about it, if people had all chosen to make a pilgrimage to this place throughout the history, do you think it will be somewhere ordinary? No! People went to that place to worship Heaven, so if there is anywhere that a sacred tree would grow, I will say it would grow on this pilgrimage site!

"Moreover, from what the higher authority had implied in the past, it seemed like they were planning to cultivate someone to become an absolute master who was invincible to all!

"It was conjectured that there might be some forms of sacred inheritance that were suitable to be passed on to a human!"

[1] (p.s. a posture, or "fist position", in Tai Chi)

[2] (p.s. a legendary small dragon with horns)

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