The Feng and Yue couple was aghast!
This Lady Zi actually extracted so much life force origin energy and gifted it to them?
This… this was a great kindness that they didn't know how they could possibly repay .
Zi Xieqing said passively, "This is all I can do for you . I pray that you be well . "
Immensely grateful, the three of them said, "What are you saying, Lady Zi! What you have bestowed upon us today is enough for us to remember in our hearts for life!"
Zi Xieqing was about to turn back when suddenly, with a lift of her arm, she tossed a Purple Crystal bottle over to Bu Liuqing . "This is for you . Do you know what this is!"
Bu Liuqing caught it in his palm, his expression complex as he said, "Yes, I do . "
Zi Xieqing was silent for a moment before she said, "Don't die!"
Then, she turned and left them .
The three of them stood in the freezing snow, their expressions beyond complex .
Later, all of them sat down and went into meditation .
. . .
Somewhere else .
In the secret chamber of the Zhuge Clan .
The Dharma Supreme sat high up on a red sandalwood chair, expressionless as he overlooked all who were below him . In an emotionless tone, he asked, "Is everything ready?"
Ye Di was in the frontmost position below . He answered, "The Ye Clan has already readied all preparations . All personnel needed are present!"
"The Ling Clan is ready!"
"The Xiao Clan is ready!"
"The Shi Clan is ready!"
"The Yè Clan is ready!"
"The Lan Clan is ready!"
"The Chen Clan is ready!"
The last one, Zhuge Hutu cleared his throat and bowed as he said, "The Great Nebula Divide of Heavenly Secrets Array is ready! The Supreme Martial Artist experts of the Zhuge Clan are also ready and await the Dharma Supreme's orders . "
The Dharma Supreme's deep-set eyes swept across everyone . "In case of unforeseen circumstances, I have mobilized an additional 50 Supreme Martial Artist experts from the law-enforcement ward! With that, the number of Supreme Martial Artists mobilized by the law-enforcement ward totals 300!"
"The number of Supreme Martial Artists from the eight Super Clans totals 461! A grand total of 761 experts will be part of the 'Slaying of the Tao' operation!"
The Dharma Supreme's voice was dignified . "Including all of you present here, as well as Brother Wu and I, that would make 771! Such a lineup is something that the Nine Heavens have never had! This many experts gathering here for such a grand plan is also a first in the whole of Nine Heavens history!"
"The enemy's strength is unprecedented! This is the very first super expert of the Tao who has appeared in the Nine Heavens! Everyone, you must not let down your guard!"
Zhuge Hutu said, "Lord Dharma Supreme, we have already finished the setup . However, whether or not the other side will turn up… This is something that requires further discussion . "
A warm smile appeared on the Dharma Supreme . He said lightly, "They have already accepted my challenge! You do not need to worry about this aspect, they will turn up for sure!"
"Huh?" Zhuge Hutu was astonished . Who would have thought that the Dharma Supreme had already settled everything without even saying anything?
Just that, why would the other side agree to such a decisive battle when it was obviously a trap? This was truly baffling .
"The ones who had agreed to the battle are Bu Liuqing, Yue Lingxue and Feng Yurou!" the Dharma Supreme continued, "Brother Wu has already gone ahead to Mount Xingyun to do the setup . What everyone here needs to be aware of is… our focus is not the three of them! In addition, because of certain reasons, these three probably will not escape even if you chase them away . Therefore, everyone needs to be on guard against a battle to the death!"
"We shall wait for the three of them to arrive, but the Great Array will not activate for the time being! We'll wear them down with attrition tactics, encircling them but not dealing any fatal blow… Try your best to make their situation as tense as possible! The graver their injuries are, the better . However, as long as that mysterious woman does not appear, the array will not activate . "
A malevolent smile graced the Dharma Supreme's lips . He said, "Bu Liuqing's might has awed the world and occupied the position of number one for ten thousand years! The awe-inspiring names of Feng Yurou and Yue Lingxue have also spread throughout the Nine Heavens these past years! All three of them are unparalleled experts! Everyone, are you interested in toying with unparalleled experts? Seeing the pathetic forms of super experts of the past besieged by you and being toyed till they are worse than cattle … All of you can die happy!"
Roaring laughter echoed in the hall .
"In short, as long as that mysterious woman doesn't show up, you can play to your hearts' content!"
"Once she's here! The moment she arrives, Zhuge Hutu! You are responsible for activating the Great Nebula Divide of Heavenly Secrets Array at once! From the moment she enters the array, take her life, even at the expense of your own! Use your life to seize hers! Deal her the same damage that she deals you! Be sure to kill that woman within the shortest amount of time possible!
"No matter what kind of sacrifice we make, it'll be worth it!"
The Dharma Supreme threw out this sentence heavily, looking at everyone with his cold and ruthless eyes . "Everyone, have you committed what I said to memory?"
"Yes!" Ye Di took the lead and said, "Don't worry, Lord Dharma Supreme, we're not at the age where we're young and foolish anymore; we know when to be serious . I'll kill that woman even if I have to sacrifice this old life of mine! Otherwise, the Nine Super Clans are really finished!"
"Good!" The Dharma Supreme nodded, a sinister look in his eyes . "One more thing — At the same time as that woman enters the array, the team of Monarch level experts that we've left behind in Tianji City are to attack Orchard Palace at full force! Be sure to wipe out Chu Yang and everyone else!"
"This is a double attack for the same purpose!"
The Dharma Supreme continued, "However, you must not attack too early . It is essential to wait until that mysterious woman enters the array! Understood?"
Zhuge Hutu rose to his feet and straightened his back, giving a loud and affirmative response .
"However, everyone must take note of this — Bu Liuqing's disciple, that little girl dressed in red . If she can be captured alive, as far as possible, try to spare her life . To kill such an Innate Spirit Meridians is a bit of a shame," said the Dharma Supreme in a deep and heavy tone .
Everyone nodded, letting out bleak laughter . "Lord Dharma Supreme is appreciative of talent after all . "
The Dharma Supreme gave them a small smile in response before he said, "Talent must be mine to use in order for me to appreciate them . If not, they can be killed . If I end up rearing an enemy, then that would truly be capsizing in the ditch, how embarrassing!"
Everyone chortled upon hearing his words .
"As for Chu Yang, the Heaven Nourishing Jade has already been stolen from him . Even though we don't know who the culprit is, he is definitely not someone on Chu Yang's side . This means that there's no more risk of future trouble . Furthermore, Chu Yang has already been poisoned…" With a smile, the Dharma Supreme went on, "I shall not expound any further on the importance of this battle, everyone should be well aware of it by now! All I'll say is, the Slaying of the Tao cannot tolerate any mistakes!"
Everyone nodded gravely!
They all understood the importance of this battle; should they fail despite such a lineup, then the fate of the Nine Super Clans was basically set in stone!
With no more hope of reversing their destiny!
"Alright, you may disperse and get ready . Prepare for the nine Supreme Martial Artists nourishing the heavens in three days too!"
The Dharma Supreme waved them off .
One by one, everyone got up . No matter who it was, they had the same serious and resolute expression as they walked out .
The Dharma Supreme watched them leave, standing with his hands behind his back . He said emotionally in a low voice, "How many heroes will have their blood shed for our just cause in this battle; and how many heroes will not be able to return! Everyone, I shall personally hold a banquet tomorrow night . We shall drink to our hearts' content with our brothers!"
A tremble went through all of the eight second grandmasters . They wanted to say something but in the end, they didn't . They walked out silently .
A visibly moved look could be seen on some of their countenances .
. . .
In the Orchard Palace, Chu Yang sat before the window, watching the snowfall outside as he contemplated .
From the time it began, the snow had already fallen for as long as seventeen days!
Nearly half of the residences in Tianji City had already collapsed due to the inability to bear the weight of the heavy snow .
The Zhuge Clan was busy readying themselves for war, so they did not present any effective and viable solution . Instead, it was the Diwu Clan under the Zhuge Clan who had been unsparing in their efforts to provide relief for the affected areas .
The doors opened and in walked Meng Chaoran, covered in snow . He smiled leisurely . "Yang Yang, thinking about the big battle three days later again?"
Chu Yang had a wry smile as he said, "Teacher, how are you feeling?"
"Me? Pretty great . " Meng Chaoran gave him a warm smile . "Your Teacher's wife is still in a coma; I've just fed her something . While she's still not awake, I've made a promise with Hanwu for some drinks, haha . "
As he spoke, he took out a plate of peanuts and a few slices of lotus root from the cabinet . His actions were familiar and practiced . Then, he took out a jar of wine and placed it on the table, as well as setting two wine cups opposite each other .
Meng Chaoran took a seat leisurely and picked up the wine jar, filling both wine cups to the brim . He said passively, "Yang Yang, actually, you don't need to worry so much… Life and death are no more than a boundary such as this . It's enough as long as you've tried your best; victory and defeat are determined by the heavens!"
Chu Yang smiled wryly at him .
"If you take it too seriously, you'll end up caring about it; when you care about it, there'll be pressure; when there's pressure, your heart will be heavy; when your heart is heavy, what comes after is anxiety; and anxiety will, in turn, cause mistakes!" Meng Chaoran said passively, "What I want to tell you is — what is important is to be able to accept what happens, rather than to let go of what happens!"
"To accept what happens, rather than to let go of what happens?" Chu Yang repeated in a murmur .
Meng Chaoran's attention was no longer on him . He raised his cup in a gesture of invitation, as though there was a smiling somebody seated opposite him . Meng Chaoran laughed somewhat happily as he said, "Hanwu, it's still snowing today . When I saw the snow, I thought of your name immediately, haha . Dancing in the chilly snow… Come, with such beautiful scenery, how can we not drink?"
After he spoke, he emptied his cup in one gulp . Then, he eagerly leaned over and picked up the wine cup opposite and gently poured the wine inside onto the floor . Next, he placed it back on the table and filled it once more . "Every time I drink with you, you never admit defeat, always so indignant and jealous as you scold me, haha . You've never admitted that I'm your brother your whole life, but now, you can't deny it anymore, can you? Hurhur… cheers…"
Chu Yang watched him, a hot feeling burning his eyes . With great difficulty, as if he wanted to say something but didn't know how to, he called out, "Teacher…"
"You don't need to say anything . " Meng Chaoran waved at him dismissively . "I'm not crazy, nor am I deranged . I know that Hanwu is already gone… but him having gone away doesn't mean that our friendship is also gone and no longer exists, because I'm still here . "
"I'm here, so our friendship is still here! Our friendship is here, so my brother is still here! And since my brother is here, we must drink! And must enjoy to our fullest!" Meng Chaoran said, "Life and death are but the same . "
As he spoke, he downed another cup and held it up facing the area opposite him, chuckling as he said, "Don't you think so, Hanwu?"
Then, he chuckled again and said, "How rare of you to actually hold the same view as me! Come, my brother, let's drink… I've always thought that I owed you, but now I realize that I'm wrong . I don't owe you, in fact, you're the one who owes me… You died such a heroic and unrestrained death but you made me… Never mind, we shan't talk about that . In any case, if we have another life, you have to pay your debt! Haha…"
A sad and forlorn feeling arose in Chu Yang's heart . He felt as if he could see Ling Hanwu seated opposite Meng Chaoran, in robes as white as snow, lifting his cup and emptying it with a smile . He had an expression of utmost joy and elation on his face as he enjoyed a drink with his brother .
Chu Yang only felt a lump quickly forming in his throat . He held his breath, walking out quietly .
Leaving this space to these brothers separated by life and death .
Quietly, he shut the doors . From within, he could somewhat hear Meng Chaoran's voice, as if he was asking, "What are you worried about? . . . "