Chapter 250: The Rugged Road Ahead
After Xiao Chen made up his mind, he silently circulated the Dragon and Tiger Body Sculpting Art as he fought. The bones in his body immediately started to crackle.
A layer of golden light slowly appeared on the surface of his body. The strength of the tiger and dragon slowly manifested. Then he stopped attacking, letting a Shadow Demon attack him without dodging.
When the Shadow Demon saw the change in Xiao Chen's movements, he thought Xiao Chen's Essence was exhausted and had revealed a weak point. He smiled malevolently as he stabbed his five sharp claws toward Xiao Chen.
The sharp claws tore Xiao Chen's clothes in an instant. However, when they came in contact with his skin, they gave off a metallic sound and could not advance further.
What happened? The Shadow Demon wondered; he felt it was quite odd.
Although this attack failed to stab Xiao Chen's heart, the force struck his chest. This jolted his internal organs, and his Qi and blood surged.
Xiao Chen shouted, and the image of a tiger and dragon flew out from his body. The tiger howled, and the dragon roared. His body immediately filled with a horrifying strength.
"Fierce Tiger Leaving the Mountains!"
Before the Shadow Demon could dodge, Xiao Chen's punch, which carried six thousand kilograms of force, broke his head; the Shadow Demon died instantly.
When Xiao Chen saw the remained Shadow Demon and blood corpse rushing over to save him; the Qi whirlpool in his dantian spun twice, quickly.
A pure and surging lightning-attributed Essence traveled via his meridians and flowed into the snow-white blade of the Lunar Shadow Saber. Purple light instantly flickered within the dark forest; it was incredibly dazzling.
"Drawing the Saber!"
This was the first time Xiao Chen infused the pure state of Thunder into the Rushing Thunder Saber Technique. Dark clouds covered the sky as thunder roared angrily. It was like a massive army marching.
Xiao Chen's attribute was lightning. When he became a Martial Saint, the Essence in his body changed completely, becoming pure lightning-attributed Essence.
Under such a state, when Xiao Chen used the Rushing Thunder Saber Technique, the strength he could bring out was more powerful than the Lingyun Saber Technique with the state of mountains and state of clouds.
Three bolts of lightning broke through the night sky and gathered on Xiao Chen's saber. His body flashed in the air, and another Shadow Demon separated into half instantly.
The Essence containing the state of lightning was flickering where he was chopped in half, as well as on the wounds. It stayed there without fading for a long time.
Xiao Chen kept moving. Then a chain of thunder crackled in the sky again. The saber drew an arclight in the sky. The blood corpse that tried to run was chopped in half as well; it had no way to resist.
"Rushing Heaven Chop!"
Xiao Chen pushed his feet off the ground, pointed his Lunar Shadow Saber to the sky, and soared upwards. There was no grace to his movements at all, but he surged with a boundless aura.
"Chi! Chi! Chi!"
Xiao Chen's body was like a bolt of lightning, flashing in the sky. With a 'shua' sound, the three Shadow Demons surrounding Mu Heng and the others were immediately pierced through and killed in that instant.
Xiao Chen's body paused in mid-air, and the chain of thunder stopped. It was like the calm before the storm; it instantly became very quiet.
"Rushing Thunder Chop!" Xiao Chen shouted. He held his saber with both hands and hacked downwards on the blood corpse attacking Yun Kexin.
A resplendent saber light sliced through the air like it was water, appearing from nowhere in the blood corpse's head.
In the next instant, the intense electricity in the saber light exploded, creating thunder louder than any that came before. With a 'shua' sound, this blood corpse was hacked into halves by the saber and was turned to nothing by the explosion.
"Rushing Thunder Second Chain Chop!" The momentum of the four moves from the Rushing Thunder Saber Technique completely unleashed at this moment. Xiao Chen's saber turned the Shadow Demon into a puddle of blood; he did not even have the time to cry out miserably.
The final Shadow Demon felt fear in his heart. He decisively gave up the attack on Yun Kexin and turned into a ball of black smoke, fleeing quickly.
"Trying to run? Are you able to do so?" Xiao Chen withdrew his saber and stood upright. He snorted coldly when he saw the Shadow Demon fleeing.
A limitless purple flame burned in his right eye. If one looked into his eye, they would see an ocean of flames.
The fierce flames gathered together before finally turning into a ball, turning into a strange purple flame in Xiao Chen's right eye.
"Purple Thunder True Fire, Shoot!"
The strange flame formed a purple arrow in the air. Like a ray of light, it quietly chased after the Shadow Demon who fled for more than a thousand meters.
A horrifying explosion came from the distance. The purple flame discharged and the lightning in the flame released. Countless bolts of lightning filled the space.
Aside from Yun Kexin, the others stared at this scene, dumbfounded; they did not dare believe this was real.
Xiao Chen withdrew and stood upright. He already expected the strength of the state of thunder infused in Rushing Thunder Saber Technique to be very strong. However, he was still astonished at the might it displayed.
He believed that if he could completely grasp this Saber Techniques, aside from some late peak Martial Saints, he would be unrivaled within the Martial Saint realm.
Xiao Chen withdrew his thoughts and turned around. He discovered Gao Xiang holding his chest, lying on the ground in pain. His lips were black, and he trembled; these were the signs of poisoning.
Xiao Chen quickly walked over and asked Zhang Lie, "What's going on with him?"
Zhang Lie looked very upset. His voice trembled as he explained what happened to Xiao Chen.
When the Shadow Demons suddenly attacked them, the slowest was Gao Xiang. Furthermore, his injuries had not yet healed. The claws of a Shadow Demon pierced his chest.
Originally, the wound was not so deep; Gao Xiang did not care about it either. He had suffered similar wounds before when he trained outside. With the strength of a cultivator's body, this would not be a life-threatening wound.
However, he did not expect there to be a slow-acting poison in the Shadow Demon's attack. By the time he reacted, the poison had spread throughout his body; he could no longer force it out.
Mu Heng asked, "Ye Chen, can you save him?"
Xiao Chen shooked his head. Under the Medicinal Pills section in the Compendium of Cultivation, there were pills that would treat poison. Unfortunately, Xiao Chen had not practiced refining them. He had no way to produce one now.
Maybe Yun Kexin has a way, such a thought appeared in Xiao Chen's mind. This feeling was very strange; it was like instinct.
Yun Kexin had rushed over long ago. However, she was simply standing by the side, observing Gao Xiang's situation without saying anything.
When she felt Xiao Chen's gaze, she shook her head. "I do have Rank 6 poison antidotes. However, the poison has already permeated the bone marrow and heart vessels. Without a medical sage here personally or an Immortal Grade Holy Herb with at least a thousand years of age, there is no way to save him."
When Gao Xiang heard this, he did not have a bitter look on his face. Instead, he revealed a gentle expression. He smiled bitterly, "I started cultivating at the age of six and entered the Heavenly Saber Pavilion at the age of sixteen. Now, I am twenty-six and am a Medial Grade Martial Saint. I feel unsatisfied, dying like this!"
Like the final radiance of the setting sun, Gao Xiang's pained expression completely vanished. His complexion started to brighten. He removed the bag from behind him and handed it to Zhang Lie.
He muttered, "This is the Demonic Core I obtained on this trip. I originally thought I could exchange these for Medial Grade Spirit Stones and raise my cultivation to peak Medial Grade Martial Saint. It seems like I can only let you guys take advantage of me now.
"The path of a cultivator is rugged. Everyone who walks this path should expect such a day. Let my misfortune be a reminder to you. When in a fight, do not be careless."
After Gao Xiang spoke, a look of determination appeared in his eyes. Then, he circulated his final dregs of Essence and shattered his heart.
He chose to end his own life; this was a tragic way to die.
Gao Xiang's death made everyone feel somewhat depressed. They felt sympathy and sorrow, and at the same time, they thought of themselves.
In the Tianwu Continent, the strong ruled. The weak were ants in the eyes of the strong. They would kill if they wanted to. If they were upset, they would trample on your dignity.
Under such cruel circumstances, every cultivator would find all sorts of means to cultivate bitterly, seeking the path to grow stronger.
However, this path was too arduous. Aside from having to deal with both the open competition and hidden attacks by other humans, they still had to be very careful how they trained, avoiding dying at the hands of Demonic Beasts or Spirit Beasts.
Life was too fragile on such a path. This mission was a form of training too. Unfortunately, before they even reached the midpoint, six people on their team had already lost their lives.
Xiao Chen casually summoned a cluster of Purple Thunder True Fire and covered Gao Xiang's body with it. His body immediately began to burn quickly.
Burying a body in the forest was already known to be a wrong move. The enemy would only use them. Thus, no one felt Xiao Chen's actions were wrong.
As they watched Gao Xiang's body burn, a difficult-to-detect, complicated look flashed in Yun Kexin's eyes. However, it was just a flash; no one noticed it.
After a while, Yun Kexin said calmly, "We will rest for an hour. After that, we will continue on our way."
Within the forest, similar things happened at other locations.
Murong Chong was drifting in the air. Then, a cool breeze blew. After a while, a saber light appeared, and a man in scarlet was torn apart.
The Blood Demon's body could be fixed back together. However, it was unable to do so; it turned into a corpse.
No emotions showed on Murong Chong's handsome face. He wiped his saber clean of blood and sheathed it.
The pieces of the Blood Demon's body on the ground suddenly exploded, turning into a puddle of blood, flying everywhere.
Behind Murong Chong, there were two members of the team with black lips. They had collapsed to the ground with unsightly expressions. They had also been afflicted with the slow-acting poison; it had spread throughout their bodies, and they could no longer be saved.
"Senior Brother Murong, do you have any way to save my Junior Brother? He is going to die," a Gangyu Peak disciple asked anxiously.
Murong Chong shook his head without saying a thing. Then, he picked up the Demon Core the Blood Demon left behind and put it away. He carried his saber and sat, alone, in a corner. He closed his eyes and recovered his energies.
[TL afterthoughts: I had to put this out here. Although I hated Gao Xiang at first, his death gave me the feels... As I was translating this, when I got to the part where he died, I really hoped he would live. I wanted to see a friendship begin with this group.]