AGM 413 - Clashing of Swords at the Precipice
During the night, at the bottom of the precipice, silence pervaded the sword range's surroundings. A row of figures turned their gazes on the demon sword embedded deep within the earth, wondering when the time would come for someone to appear with the ability to pull out the demon sword.
"Let's get started, directly destroy the sword range and search for swords buried underneath the land," Zong Yi commanded, he was someone with an extremely decisive character. Not only that, he had the most authority in the Zong Clan. Hence, when Qin Wentian sought him out previously, he only hesitated for a moment before acquiescing and agreeing to follow the successor of the Azure Emperor. He was filled with anticipation for the day when they could stand at the pinnacle of Grand Xia again.
Clan lord of Zong Clan, Zong Yi, had vision and boldness far surpassing those old men at the White Deer Institute.
Currently, there was no way for them to continue living in the Sword Reverence City. The Heavenly Sword Sect joined forces with the Wang Clan from the War Continent and might make a move against their Zong Clan. In that case, they needed to excavate the sword range even quicker in this short amount of time. There was no longer a need to care about the other powers.
Natural swords were birthed in the sword range, all due to the energy fluctuations from the demon sword. Once these ancient swords took form, sword intent would begin to emanate from them. Previously, when the three powers excavated the ancient swords, they needed to take into consideration long term benefits and took care not to destroy the sword range because of a moment of greed. They would only excavate those fully formed swords that emanated sword intent.
But now, things were different. Since the Wang Clan and Heavenly Sword Sect had colluded together and wanted to force them out, why would they still be worried and afraid about damaging the sword range? They might as well destroy it, leaving nothing behind that would benefit the other powers.
Those from the Zong Clan all nodded their heads as they dispersed in all directions, carrying out the order. They unsheathed their swords and hacked the surroundings apart in their quest to gather all the ancient swords.
Zong Yi and Qin Wentian remained in their original positions from when Qin Wentian spoke out. "Uncle Zong, I'm afraid that the Heavenly Sword Sect might be able to deduce your intentions. If the Wang Clan really wants to make a move against the Zong Clan, they would surely make use of the Heavenly Sword Sect to monitor our movements."
"I know." Zong Yi nodded. "Hence, I sent all the weaker ones away in one day, and immediately carried out this plan with the swiftness of a thunderbolt. I only need a night of time, and if they truly were to appear here right now, we have no choice but to clash with them."
"It seems like Uncle Zong has already considered all the various situations." Qin Wentian lightly nodded his head as he continued, "I'll go take a look at the demon sword."
"Wentian, that sword is really too demonic, so be extremely prudent when approaching it. Take note that you do not come into the slightest contact with the demon sword's body, or allow the blood from your body to touch it," Zong Yi warned. He and Qin Wentian walked forwards together as they neared the thousand-meter tall gigantic demon sword.
A terrifying surge of sword intent permeated the air. Qin Wentian's perception extended outwards, he could hear the keening of the sword that was akin to the miserable howls of demons. The next instant, he felt a hail of swords zooming towards him. He immediately shut all six of his senses, no longer using his perception to hear the sword's keening. If he'd continued for a second longer, he wouldn't be able to withstand the sound of the sword keening in the void.
Finally, Zong Yi and Qin Wentian stood in the air atop the demon sword. Looking at that gigantic sword hilt, Qin Wentian asked, "Uncle Zong, this sword has already been here for so long, even those from the War Continent knew of its existence, but why has nobody been able to acquire it in the past even till today?"
"You can try it out, but don't touch the sword's body," Zong Yi replied. Qin Wentian nodded his head slightly as he flew downwards, going nearer to the sword hilt. He wrapped both his hands around the hilt and used the entirety of his strength in trying to pull it out. Yet, the demon sword was still embedded within the ground as securely as before, not even moving a single jot.
"You can't imagine how deeply the sword has been entrenched into the ground. Experts from my Zong Clan, the Li Clan and the Heavenly Sword Sect have all tried before, nobody could pull it out." Zong Yi smiled, "Not only that, this sword behaves like a real demon, if you come into contact with the sword's body, it will drain you of your blood completely. Hence, no matter what, do not come into contact with, or allow your blood to flow onto the sword's body."
Qin Wentian gave up after a while, stepping away from the demon sword. After hearing Zong Yi's explanation, he understood what a difficult feat it would be.
At this moment, Zong Yi's eyebrows twitched as he sighed. "I didn't think they would respond this fast. I'm feeling quite reluctant about this."
Zong Yi then called out, "Members of the Zong Clan, gather."
As the sound of his voice faded, the Zong clan all over the sword range halted their excavation attempts. Their silhouettes flickered as they appeared by Zong Yi's side.
Zong Yi took a step out as he slowly rose in the air. Moments later, the sounds of swords whistling echoed out as several silhouettes appeared, standing on both edges of the precipice.
Upon seeing the arrival of these people, the countenance of those from Zong Clan all grew exceptionally unsightly.
"The control rights of the sword range belongs to my Zong Clan, what are the Heavenly Sword Sect and the Li Clan here for? Are you planning something?" Zong Yi coldly stated.
So, the two groups of people were experts from both the Heavenly Sword Sect and the Li Clan. They came jointly as a group, yet there were no hints of anyone from the Wang Clan.
Li Zhentian gazed down at the sword range as he spoke, "The Zong Clan isn't excavating the sword range. You are trying to destroy it, right?"
Zong Yi's countenance turned cold, "Does the Li Clan also wish to involve themselves in this matter?"
If both the Heavenly Sword Sect and the Li Clan had joined forces, there was only one reason-the Wang Clan. They must have offered the Li Clan something so valuable that their gains far outweighed the risk of this action. In other words, to act against the Zong Clan, the Li Clan had to consider if they themselves would be the next victim.
Qin Wentian was also sighing, the Wang Clan moves fast indeed. They didn't even give the Zong Clan a full 24 hours, and directly contacted the Heavenly Sword Sect and Li Clan to monitor the Zong Clan's movements.
As for why those the from Wang Clan weren't present, it was highly probable that they feared the strength of the completed Divine Stele and wanted to use the Heavenly Sword Sect and Li Clan as cannon fodder to probe its capabilities. If the Divine Stele was still as powerful as it was a year ago, the Wang Clan would then wait for another opportunity to act instead.
Sadly, the ancient will of the Divine Stele wasn't that strong, even a year ago. And after that exhaustive battle, the ancient will was already severely weakened, and there was no way to use it to attack any more.
"Hehe, those from the Zong Clan can leave. But the Sword Son of the Zong Clan must remain behind," Jian Wuyou, the sect leader of the Heavenly Sword Sect stated, his words causing Qin Wentian's gaze to flicker.
The Heavenly Sword Sect and Li Clan directly stated his name, wanting to keep him in their grasp. Without a doubt, this must be an order passed down by the Wang Clan.
Zong Yi coldly swept his gaze onto Jian Wuyou as he icily stated, "So long as the Zong Clan lives, the Sword Son shall live."
"Zong Yi, the Zong Clan has a long history of many years, why would you allow your clan to be consigned to eternal damnation with no hope of reprieve, all for the sake of one person? I know all of your clan's elites are here today, and this holds true for the both of us. Currently, people from both our sides are already pursuing your other clan members. You'd better consider this carefully."
Jian Wuyou's aura grew increasingly colder as he threatened Zong Yi. Unless it was absolutely essential, he wasn't willing to start a battle.
If they fought, the Zong Clan would be exterminated, but both the Heavenly Sword Sect and the Li Clan would suffer disastrous losses. This wasn't the ending he wanted. After all, although there were grudges between them and the Zong Clan, it wasn't serious enough to the point where they had to annihilate each other.
It was only that the Wang Clan was too ruthless-they commanded both the Heavenly Sword Sect and Li Clan to act, yet they themselves hadn't made an appearance. They only made a verbal promise to lend a helping hand at the most crucial moment.
"Zong Yi, even if you don't care about yourselves, do you not care about the safety of the other members of your Zong Clan? Risking clan annihilation for a brat. Is it worth it?" Li Tianzhen also added.
Zong Yi coldly laughed. "Are you guys truly willing to go all out and fight with my clan to the death, suffering disastrous losses just because of a command from the Wang Clan? Even if my entire clan is annihilated, I will ensure that the deaths of each of my clan members will be paid back in your blood. After that, what would you get if the Wang Clan gained the control rights to the sword range? I'm afraid shortly after that, the three major powers of the Sword Reverence City will disappear, to be replaced by others. Have you all considered that carefully?"
Zong Yi's voice resounded throughout the sword range, his tone exceptionally cold, blatantly shoving the facts right in the faces of the members from the other two powers.
In truth, the three major powers weren't really willing to erupt in battle.
"We have to retain Qin Wentian. Zong Yi, if you refuse to give in, we have no choice but to battle." The sect leader from the Heavenly Sword Sect, Jian Wuyou, stated. He didn't have Zong Yi's courage, he wouldn't pick the same choice Zong Yi did, abandoning the status and prestige of the Heavenly Sword Sect in Sword Reverence City and relocate to some godforsaken place.
Zong Yi then turned and spoke to his clan members. "The situation tonight is something I hadn't anticipated. I have implicated all of you. However, none of my clan members are those cowardly types that fear death. I, Zong Yi, vow that I will be the last person from our clan to leave this place. Now go, protect the Sword Son and retreat from here."
As his command rang out, the experts of the Zong Clan all soared up in the skies, as a terrifying sword intent emitted a keening whistle through the surroundings, so powerful that it stifled the people's movements.
Those from the Heavenly Sword Sect and Li Clan acted decisively with no hesitation.
Since matters had come to this, in that case, they could only conclude this with a battle.
The powerful glow from their swords lit up the night sky. Regardless of the Li Clan or the Heavenly Sword Sect, their elite experts combined forces as their sword energy condensed into a sword beam, slashing outwards with unquestionable might contained within.
Only to see that at this moment, those from Zong Clan soared up to the skies, they assembled themselves in a methodically arranged position. If one were to pay meticulous attention, they'd realize that a total of 81 cultivators were linking up their strength to manifest an immense ancient sword.
Upon seeing this sight, everyone understood that this was a sword formation.
The Zong Clan's members in the formation rotated about in ever-changing positions, as their Astral Souls and Astral Novas erupted into being. Abruptly ten rays of sword light slashed down from the skies, containing within them a fearsome will of destruction.
In a mere instant, several opponents were directly slashed apart, and a terrible sword scar sundered the void, as blood sprayed on the ground like rain from the skies.
"Zong Clan's Singularity Sword Formation, using the Doyens as the core and gathering the strength of 81 cultivators, it condenses the entirety of their power into a single sword, thus achieving terrifying might with every strike." Those from the Heavenly Sword Sect and Li Clan all thought of the rumored supreme sword formation of the Zong Clan. Before this, there were only rumors, but this was the first time they saw members of the Zong Clan executing it in public.
"Nine Swords linking the Heavens!"
Jian Wuyou hollered, only to see his left hand pointing up at the sky as his right hand held his left wrist. Abruptly, a powerful sword-might emanated forth from his body, as a Heavenly Dipper Sword broke apart the space. Behind him, another eight silhouettes appeared. Together they were known as the Nine Great Heavenly Swords of the Heavenly Sword Sect.
"Concentrate." Jian Wuyou pointed to the dome of heavens, and momentarily, the keening of his sword filled the heavens. The other eight mimicked his actions as the nine swords flew up in the air, revolving in a circle, as formless and boundless sword-might mingled and bore down towards the sword formation consisting of the 81 cultivators from the Zong Clan.
Meanwhile, the Li Clan fought the other Zong Clan's members one on one. Their combat prowess didn't lose out in the slightest, but underneath the power exuded from the sword formation, their losses were extremely severe.
The three major powers had never once gone all out to battle, because they all feared each other-nobody among them dared to say that they had absolute advantage over the others, and they didn't know of each other's respective hidden trump cards as well.
This Singularity Sword Formation was one of the greatest secrets of the Zong Clan. Whenever they practised this, they had to do so in a hidden training ground located deep within the Zong Clan. Outsiders had only heard of the name of this formation before, but had never witnessed its actual might.
Qin Wentian soon discovered that around ten sword formations were revolving around him, with him at the center.
Although his solo combat prowess was unrivalled compared to people of the same level, nobody could predict what could happen in a large scale chaotic battle.
"No good." At this moment, Qin Wentian saw Jian Wuyou using the nine linked swords to force a pathway into the sword formation in an attempt to destroy it. The Li Clan worked in perfect cooperation, they understood that to kill the Zong Clan's members, they couldn't allow the sword formation to continue outputting such power; they needed to disrupt it. Hence, the experts of the Li Clan all jointly rushed up as a group, not caring whether they lived or died.
Since the battle had already begun, it had devolved into a clash that could result in either survival or utter decimation!