Chapter 865 – The Visible Trajectory of a Claw
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Xiao Zhang somewhat arduously opened his eyes. Seeing the tense expressions on the faces of the ordinary people by his side, he felt rather strange.
In the eyes of cultivators, he was just a battle maniac. They feared him, but when had there ever been anyone who revered and wanted to protect him?
Back then, he had only said that the winter wild tea of Fengyang City was good because he truly felt that it was countless times better than the Great Crimson Gown that Liang Wangsun liked to drink. When had he ever thought about the benefits it would bring to the inhabitants of this remote city?
But now these ordinary people that he would normally find himself too lazy to even glance at were now standing in front of him. Even though they were well aware that they might die, and their hands trembled, they refused to leave.
Suddenly, he felt that other than those battles that he had taken extreme pleasure in, there had also been a few other things he had done in his life that could be considered fulfilling.
For instance, he had saved Wang Po from the Luo River in that snowstorm, and he had also given a few words of praise for the winter wild tea grown in this small city.
The simple but fierce nature of Fengyang was amply displayed at this moment.
The men packing the steps in front of the Seven Treasures Stronghold and the constantly shouting crowd on the outskirts were all proof.
But the experts and divine crossbowmen of the Imperial Court remained unmoved.
The expressions of those blue-clothed Daoists were completely devoid of emotion.
In their eyes, both Xiao Zhang and these people of Fengyang City were no different from corpses.
The Daoists ascended the steps.
In a few short moments, rivers of blood would flow and many people would die in Fengyang City.
The blue-clothed Daoists didn't care. No matter how many people died, it could all be explained away with the words 'mass uprising'.
The greatest tragedy would naturally befall those people soon to die and the supervising official.
The supervising official of the county city of Fengyang was naturally the county magistrate. To his great fortune, in order to prepare for tomorrow's winter wild tea party, the provincial magistrate from Feng City had already arrived.
No matter what happened today, the one who had to bear the responsibility in the end was, by all rights, the provincial magistrate.
This magistrate naturally could not allow those rivers of blood to flow.
The magistrate from Feng City was middle-aged with a lean face. His temples were speckled with white, and he had quite the dignified aura.
He cupped his hands and bowed to the Daoists. "Esteemed Daoists, please wait for a moment."
Those blue-clothed Daoists probably knew that he was the Prince of Xiang's pupil. His words caused them to stop, though their expressions remained apathetic.
"You fools just want to show a moment of bravery, but all you will end up doing is committing injustice against the old and young of my Fengyang City!"
The magistrate looked at the tea merchants and common people on the stone steps, his expression harsh as he rebuked, "Just who is the Xiao Zhang that you are protecting? A madman who can kill people in the blink of an eye! Could a person like him truly mean any goodwill to you? Back then, he was just speaking carelessly. What need is there to give your life to protect him?"
A person yelled out from the crowd, "Right now, our tea is selling so well, everyone is profiting; should we not be thanking him?"
The magistrate sternly reproved, "The reason my Fengyang City's wild tea sells so well is that the Imperial Court built a dock, allowing merchant ships to come, and even took the tea as tribute. If you need someone to thank, you should be thanking the Imperial Court, and not this criminal wanted by the Imperial Court!"
The surrounding crowd grew restless, and then began to chatter amongst themselves. Although they did not disperse, they were no longer as tense as before.
Xiao Zhang squinted his eyes. Looking at the magistrate, he said, "Your skill in flapping your lips is rather good."
With a firm expression, the magistrate said, "You can't threaten this official—I'm not afraid of you. If you don't want to hear my words, just kill me."
Xiao Zhang said, "In the past, you would be dead by now."
The magistrate stared at the white paper on his face and rebuked, "So what if I die? I leave this world with a clear conscience. To die while speaking for the people is a worthy death, but you are just a criminal wanted by the court that only knows how to bully the weak and slaughter the innocent! Truly wicked beyond redemption, not even ten thousand deaths would atone for your crimes!"
"Xiao Zhang has a violent temper, and quite a few cultivation experts have died at his hand. He truly can't be considered a good person, but bullying the weak and slaughtering the innocent… these aren't things that he would do, would be willing to do. He would consider it beneath himself."
In the crowd, Hu Thirty-Two whispered to Chen Changsheng.
Today, many experts of the Imperial Court and divine crossbowmen had come to Fengyang City, but most important of all were the blue-clothed Daoists.
If things continued as expected, Xiao Zhang really might die.
Hu Thirty-Two was whispering to Chen Changsheng and examining his expression because he wanted to know just what the Pope was thinking.
At the moment, the only thing that could change the situation was Chen Changsheng's party.
At this moment, Hu Thirty-Two suddenly realized that Zhexiu, who had been near the Pope all this time, was no longer around.
"You don't understand us, or else you wouldn't have said that, let alone looked at his eyes while talking."
Tang Thirty-Six pointed out, "You see, Zhexiu left without needing to look at his eyes."
Hu Thirty-Two was at first somewhat confused, but then he heard the shrill whistle over the stone steps.
The Imperial Court had pursued Xiao Zhang for three years now. The pursuers were constantly being swapped, but besides the assassins of the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets hidden in the shadows, their primary strength still originated from the Ministry of Justice.
Several experts from the Ministry of Justice dispersed the crowd and blocked Xiao Zhang's avenues of retreat. They then unwound the chains from their bodies and cast them towards Xiao Zhang.
Compared to the six government laborers of the Tang clan's Fivekind Man, the experts of the Ministry of Justice threw the chains with a far inferior skill and a far less sinister Qi, but one could faintly see the similarity in power.
Xiao Zhang could barely stand steady, so he certainly had no ability to dodge these chains.
Since he couldn't dodge, he decided not to dodge.
That he was incapable of dodging did not mean that he was incapable of fighting.
He closed his eyes, thinking about which technique he would use to kill one of those blue-clothed Daoists, after which he would jump into the river.
Even if he died, he wanted to die in a way appropriate to his name, in a somewhat unbridled fashion.
But he did not sense those cold and heavy chains wrapping around his neck, only heard a noisy din.
This din was clearly caused by the clashing of metal, but it was also a clear-cut sound, like the metal was being snapped.
He opened his eyes and was greeted by bits of metal flying about in the light, an unexpectedly beautiful sight.
In the depths of those shattered shards of metal were the tracks left behind by some incredibly sharp weapon, but no weapon could be seen.
The blue-clothed Daoists saw the chains in the hands of those experts from the Ministry of Justice snapping. Their pupils constricted, and they shot up the stone steps.
They paid no attention to the fierce Qi that had shattered those chains. Their goal was clear: 'Kill Xiao Zhang'.
Several extremely gloomy sword glows stabbed at Xiao Zhang from the most bizarre of angles.
These Daoists were from Luoyang's Monastery of Eternal Spring, and they cultivated the traditional Daoist methods of the Orthodoxy. From a certain perspective, they were Chen Changsheng's fellow disciples. However, perhaps because the Monastery of Eternal Spring had spent too much time in the darkness of history, their sword techniques were stranger and more unfathomable.
But their swords were still unable to stab Xiao Zhang to death.
Another din of clashing metal rose up over the stone steps.
Several extremely deep and invisible marks tore through the morning light, leaving behind a blurred shape in the air that looked just like a wolf claw.
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