Braving through the snow and winds, Chu Yang sped forward, the anxiety in his heart getting stronger and stronger all the while .
Heavy snow spattered against his cheeks, but it couldn’t dispel that sense of frustration within him .
It had been a very long time since he had last felt this way, including back then during his escape over a thousand miles from the Continent Center of the Great State of Zhao back to Iron Cloud . Even during a critical moment of life and death at that time, this emotion did not arise in him .
The only time he had experienced this feeling was that one time in his previous life at the Wind Thunder Platform when he had been suddenly surrounded and was full of despair!
But now, this feeling was welling up unstoppably in him once more .
Only he himself knew that he didn’t have a single idea at all as to how they should proceed from this point on . From the point of departing the cave and breaking through the first gate, the second gate, the third gate… and even the fourth gate .
He had made use of a regular person’s mental blind spots, precisely-calculated deception and repeated trickery…
Luck seemed to have been constantly on his side .
Behind him, the four officers, Wei Wuyan and the others were full of confidence and they had very relaxed expressions on their faces . This was such a stringent lockdown and yet Chu Yang had broken through so effortlessly .
If they followed Chu Yang, they would definitely be able to charge their way out!
All of them were pretty optimistic .
But only Chu Yang himself knew that the toughest period was about to come .
Luck couldn’t possibly be on his side forever .
Skillful deception could only work so many times; there was no way it could be effective all the time . The most critical factor in breaking through the Li Clan’s lockdown was still power! But of all things, what they were lacking the most right now had to be power!
The enemy was out in swarms . Just Supreme Martial Artists alone made up at least a hundred people . In fact, there were 200 to 300 of them!
And there were definitely more than 50 Supreme Martial Artists who were third-grade and above!
But here, they had only nine first-grade Supreme Martial Artists! This disparity in strength wasn’t just a thousandfold .
And there was still one more extremely critical factor .
The number of people!
In an escape like this, just having another person with them could raise the difficulty level tenfold!
If Chu Yang was alone, he was confident that he could get away .
No matter what, he was definitely capable of creating a chance of survival for himself . Even if a ninth-grade Supreme Martial Artist came after him, Chu Yang was confident that he could get away successfully .
But right now, he was neither by himself nor with only one other person . He had a good eight other people with him!
Furthermore, other than his own brothers, there were also four law-enforcement officers here!
This led to an internal struggle within Chu Yang — If he were to reveal his identity as the Nine Tribulations Sword Master and go out on a leg with his full strength, they might still have a fighting chance . However… with the four officers here, what if they leaked the news after getting out? These were law-enforcement officers they were talking about!
Law-enforcement officers were one of his greatest enemies!
That would be no different from bringing a fatal disaster to his kin, family and brothers!
But if he didn’t, then they had absolutely no chance of survival! There was no doubt about this . Perhaps he could survive but… what about his brothers?
All these conflicts piled up in Chu Yang’s heart .
Unable to reconcile with each other .
If this had been just a regular pursuit, with his powerful spirit and divine consciousness now, he was entirely capable of avoiding danger and conflict . However, the situation at hand right now was that everyone participating in battle was a Supreme Martial Artist .
And Supreme Martial Artists were already at a stage where they could perfectly block out divine consciousness! They had been tricking the enemy time and again and getting by them by blocking out the divine consciousness of others . However, the enemy was also using the same thing against them .
Similarly, they had no means of grasping the enemies’ whereabouts and setups!
The surroundings suddenly quietened .
Other than the snowflakes swirling about, the world seemed to have fallen completely silent .
But at this moment when the surroundings had suddenly fallen silent, loud warning bells abruptly rang in Chu Yang’s mind . Without any hesitation, he changed the direction he was going in immediately and dived into a dense forest . At the same time of him diving in, the Sword Spirit had already soundlessly lifted the layer of snow there .
Chu Yang dived right in without any hesitation .
Although Wei Wuyan and the others didn’t know what his intention was, they followed after him regardless and dived in at the same time .
The layer of snow landed .
Due to this happening out of the blue, they were currently only less than 30 meters away from the path outside!
Saying that they were right at the edge was not an exaggeration .
All of them looked toward the outside simultaneously .
The next moment, all of them shut their eyes .
There was nothing but icy coldness in their hearts .
On the road behind them, white shadowy figures, as swift as the wind, came whooshing by in their direction . One shadow, two shadows… In a mere instant, more than a hundred people swooped by as they went in pursuit ahead .
The three men in the lead were clearly Supreme Martial Artists whose cultivation levels were above fifth-grade . Their speed was extremely fast; as though phantoms, they flashed by them with a whoosh .
If they had remained on the road, they would definitely have been caught up with! There was no doubt about this!
Right now, if they were to continue watching them openly, just the faint sense of people’s line of vision alone would definitely allow these six Supreme Martial Artists with such sharp and keen senses to detect their presence!
Death was so close!
This group of people had only just gone past them when a large group of white figures swooped past them above from the left and right respectively . Like a gust of wind, they hurried forward .
A strong voice, as though the clang of metal, reached them faintly . “Everyone is to guard the fifth gate! Do not make any reckless movements! Those who move rashly even when there isn’t any battle will be killed!”
The icy voice seemed even more emotionless than the swirling snow in the sky .
Chu Yang’s heart sank .
He knew that the most dangerous situation was finally here .
It was obvious that the enemy had no intention of fighting a battle of wits and schemes with them . Instead, they decided to adopt the policy of coping with changing events by sticking to a fundamental principle!
This was exactly the situation which he feared would happen the most . He didn’t expect that this would happen so soon .
‘Even if you try to engage in a battle of schemes with me, I will compete with you only in terms of power . Even if you try to fight a battle of wits with me, I will only compare the size of my fist with yours . ’
There was a saying that was the most apt for this situation —’A scholar can never win an argument with a man of the military’!
No matter what happened, they would just wait upon them with a huge gleaming saber . If they did a ‘Confucius says’? They would give them a slash! If they recited poems? They would still give them a slash regardless .
If they wrote a poem, they would hack them to pieces . If they wrote an article, they would still hack them to pieces nonetheless . If they pleaded with them for mercy, all the more they would hack them to pieces . And if they ignored them… they would still hack them to pieces!
Chu Yang had originally intended to make use of Li Tongtian’s identity to get past another gate . But going by the current situation, it looked like this wasn’t a viable solution anymore!
All of them kept their eyes tightly closed . Only after a long while did they finally open their eyes .
“317 people have gone by . ” Chu Yang’s dispassionate voice reached them via telepathy . “Out of those who went by, there is one seventh-grade Supreme Martial Artist, two sixth-grade Supreme Martial Artists, three fifth-grade Supreme Martial Artists, nine fourth-grade Supreme Martial Artists, fifteen third-grade Supreme Martial Artists, twenty second-grade Supreme Martial Artists and forty first-grade Supreme Martial Artists . All the ones remaining are eighth to ninth-grade Martial Saints!”
The Sword Spirit’s statistics were extremely accurate!
Everyone had a very grave expression . No one spoke .
In this powerful lineup, just Supreme Martial Artists alone came up to 90 people .
No matter the grade, just a single one could also kill them all!
As for the 227 eighth to ninth-grade Martial Saints, just their sheer number alone was capable of crushing them to death . 40 first-grade Supreme Martial Artists wearing them down to death was even simpler of a task… As for the sixth and seventh-grade Supreme Martial Artists, one was enough to capture them alive!
There was no way they could go up against such strength!
Neither did Chu Yang wish to face such strength head-on . But the problem now was that even running and hiding was a huge headache!
Chu Yang’s voice continued to drift over in their minds . “And these are just the ones who rushed over from the traps that we broke through earlier . The experts lying in wait in the gates ahead haven’t been included in the count . Looks like the Li Clan has invoked their full power this time; they’d rather lift a mountain to kill a mosquito than let us leave the north-west alive!”
“Based on a rough estimation, the Li Clan has dispatched at least 200 to 300 Supreme Martial Artists in this operation . As for regular manpower, there are at least 10,000 people!”
Absolute despair welled up in everyone!
How were they supposed to carry on like this!
The Li Clan has been running the show in the north-western region for ten thousand years! Crushing them with all the power which they had accumulated for ten thousand years right now… It was truly suffocating!
All of a sudden, tremors came from underground . It shocked and distressed them .
Chu Yang took a deep breath . “The enemy has taken new action… Approximately tens of kilometers ahead, they’ve excavated a valley which runs three kilometers deep and several hundred kilometers wide, in order to prevent us from getting past through means of digging a tunnel . That area likely lies after the fifth gate . ”
All of them took in a sharp intake of chilly air .
Such great effort!
They had just been thinking — Now that they could travel neither by air nor on ground, with no other choice, they could only continue on by digging an underground tunnel .
But they didn’t expect that just as this thought came to them, the enemy immediately excavated a valley running three kilometers deep and several hundred kilometers wide!
One of the officers couldn’t hold himself back from cursing . “This is the Jiuqu Ridge we’re talking about!”
Everyone was silent .
This name, the Jiuqu Ridge, was the reason why they had been able to stay safe and sound till now — The Jiuqu Ridge was linked to the Earth’s strata . It was an important path which one needed to pass by when going in and out of the north-west . Its terrain was firm and solid, and the degree of its sturdiness, though not comparable to the Black Blood Forest, wasn’t worse off by much .
In here, destroying mountains or excavating a huge ditch like the one in front was absolutely impossible, unless one possessed cultivation higher than a sixth-grade Supreme Martial Artist who had crossed the boundary between immortal and mortal!
Therefore, it wasn’t so much as the Li Clan didn’t wish to level these mountain ranges along the sides of the Jiuqu Ridge path . Rather… they were unable to .
This was the only reason why there were opportunities that Chu Yang and the others could use to their advantage in the previous few gates!
But now, the enemy’s experts whose cultivation was higher than the level of sixth-grade Supreme Martial Artist were actually willing to look past their venerable status and expend their strength to personally make a move, just to cut off their very last escape route .
This valley, which had appeared out of nowhere, completely crushed the last bit of hope they had!
Under such a situation, there were only two possible endings for them . The first — Everyone successfully escapes with no casualties . The second — Complete annihilation with not a single survivor!
If, by any chance, they were set upon by the enemy, breaking through the siege was something which they didn’t even need to bother considering .
And the most tragic part was that they were an isolated force! With neither food supplies with them nor reinforcements coming from outside! The awkwardness of this situation seriously couldn’t get any more tragic!
“Sigh… if only Master Lang was still around…” One of the officers sighed .
Everyone was silent . If Lang Yilang were still around, with his sixth-grade Supreme Martial Artist cultivation, perhaps they might have an extremely slim chance of survival . But now… they didn’t dare to even think about it .
“We’re in the Jiuqu Ridge now . There are still 3,850 kilometers until we leave the north-west and enter the mainland!” Chu Yang said softly .
Everyone fell silent .
Wan Renjie said despondently, “Is there any point in talking about charging out of the north-west anymore… There’s nothing we can do even if we’re only 70 steps away, much less 3,850 kilometers…”
Chuckling, Cheng Duying remarked, “Back then, when we were still going around the mainland, even though I was just a seventh to eighth-grade Martial Saint, I already felt like I was second only to Heaven… Now, this is great; I’ve become a first-grade Supreme Martial Artist now and yet it feels like a first-grade Supreme Martial Artist is practically worth sh*t…”
Grimacing, Bao Buhuan added on . “Exactly . Damn it, who knows where this many Supreme Martial Artists came from… Feels like it’s a goddamn dream! If the ones besieging us were just some King-level and Emperor-level guys… how great would that be? I could even show off and then leave impressively… sigh!”
Everyone was rather speechless . They were seriously impressed by how this fellow could still indulge in such a wild fantasy at this time .
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