Chapter 255: The Throat Crushing Grasp Again!
"The time has come," Xuemei declared. "Thank you, Song Junwan, for bringing Nightcrypt along. If it weren't for him, then I wouldn't be completely confident in being able to get the title of blood master, not even with my trump card.
"But now, with the keys gone, the position of blood master can go to no one except me!" As her laughter echoed about, she looked over at Xiao Qing, Yang Hongwu, and Zhang Yunshan, and her smile was even visible on the surface of her mask!
The power of expulsion which had gripped the three of them vanished, and they began to regain mobility. Although their movements were a bit stiff, all of them managed to produce... something that only Song Junwan and Xuemei should have... blood master command medallions!
The blood master command medallions they had seemed somewhat faded, as if they couldn't quite match up to the command medallions possessed by Song Junwan and Xuemei. However, the expressions on the faces of the three men were the same as before, as if they had been expecting this to happen.
"I'd originally planned for these three to join my group after the fighting for the keys concluded. That way, I could crush all of your Dharma protectors in one fell swoop. However, the current situation will result in the same outcome." Xuemei laughed again, her eyes radiating coldness.
Song Junwan almost couldn't believe what was happening.
"What gall you have, Xuemei!" she cried. "Not only are you cheating, you're violating the most precious rules of the Blood Stream Sect!!"
She felt a bitterness that bordered on despair; clearly, she had lost the struggle for the blood master position.
The truth was, even if Nightcrypt hadn't absorbed all of the keys, Xuemei still would have cheated, still would have been able to delay Song Junwan on the Ancient Blood Path, and still would have been the first person to reach the heart cavity.
"Once I'm the blood master, nobody will care about what happened in here! Besides, those three command medallions can be used to get onto the Ancient Blood Path, but not the heart cavity!" Xuemei smiled as she looked up into the sky, where a vortex appeared. Rumbling could be heard as it opened up to reveal an ancient, blood-colored path....
The heart cavity lay at the end of that very path.
Xuemei blurred into motion as she headed toward the vortex. As for Xiao Qing, Yang Hongwu, and Zhang Yunshan, they also flew up into the air. Each one glanced over at Bai Xiaochun as they flew past, killing intent flickering within their eyes. Knowing that he wasn't important now, they snorted coldly as they closed in on the vortex.
Song Junwan stood there quietly, her hands clenched into bitter fists of anger. She had lost. She hadn't even entered the Ancient Blood Path yet, but if she did, Xiao Qing and the others would be able to pin her down. Xuemei had everything under her control.
Song Junwan simply couldn't accept the situation, and also flew up into the air. Even as she closed in on the vortex, a voice suddenly echoed into her ears.
"There's no need to despair, Junwan." A tremor ran through Song Junwan, and her eyes shone with disbelief. Looking down at all of the figures who were fading away as they were expelled from the world, she saw Nightcrypt open his eyes. They looked like lightning flashing in the dark of night, lightning that could rip the heavens apart. Nightcrypt took a step forward, and then he was right next to her.
"You...?" she said, panting. This sudden development was almost unbelievable.
Voice cool, Bai Xiaochun stuck his chin up and said, "Like I said, I'm going to make sure you become the blood master." He was also surprised at what was happening. When the will had descended earlier, he immediately began to regain his senses, and was soon back to normal and able to see everything which had just occurred. Now, he flicked his sleeve and grabbed Song Junwan's arm as he shot toward the vortex.
Song Junwan shivered, but did nothing to resist, and in fact, her eyes shone more brightly than ever. Although she had the feeling there was something very strange about Nightcrypt, she followed along, and the two of them became beams of bright light that shot toward the vortex.
As soon as they entered, their vision swam, and everything vanished. Back in the Blood Wasteland, the vortex vanished, and the Dharma protectors all faded away.
The third stage of the trial by fire was called the Ancient Blood Path. It was a long, cramped road, at the end of which was the heart cavity. Whoever entered that heart cavity first, of either Xuemei or Song Junwan, would be the first to have a chance to acquire the blood crystal and become the blood master.
Currently, Xiao Qing, Yang Hongwu, and Zhang Yunshan were materializing on the Ancient Blood Path. When they solidified and looked around, Xuemei was nowhere in sight, causing their eyes to widen. From what they remembered, Xuemei had been right in front of them upon entering the vortex.
Even as they looked around in surprise, the air up ahead of them began to twist and distort, and a figure materialized up ahead, a figure wearing a mask with a plum blossom on it.
At first, Xuemei seemed a bit out of sorts, but quickly recovered. After looking around, her eyes glittered, and she started making her way up the path. However, it was at that moment that Bai Xiaochun and Song Junwan appeared off to the side. Song Junwan quickly stepped forward to block Xuemei's way.
When Xuemei realized that Song Junwan wasn't alone, her eyes widened. As for Xiao Qing, Yang Hongwu, and Zhang Yunshan, they also were taken aback.
Bai Xiaochun stuck his chin up and looked around through narrowed eyes. "Hello, everyone. We meet again."
When he noticed that Xuemei's aura had stabilized, and her other wounds were gone, he was quite surprised. Even the wound on her right hand was nowhere to be seen, as if she had used some special healing method.
"What divine ability did she use to recover so quickly?" he thought. "Even the injury caused by Song Junwan's blood sword is gone! Amazing!" Even as Bai Xiaochun stared in surprise, Xuemei's eyes flickered with cold light.
"Xiao Qing, you handle Nightcrypt. You other two, stop Song Junwan!" With that, Xuemei ignored Song Junwan and shot up the Ancient Blood Path. Song Junwan was just about to try to stop her when Zhang Yunshan and Yang Hongwu pulled out powerful magical treasures and attacked, holding her back. Considering they had used counterfeit command medallions to enter the Ancient Blood Path, if Xuemei didn't become the blood master, and the sect leadership found out, they would likely be executed. Therefore, everything was on the line for them at the moment.
"Do you people have a death wish!?!?" Song Junwan said, her expression flickering. She considered trying to break away from them to pursue Xuemei, but Yang Hongwu and Zhang Yunshan were unleashing the full power of their cultivation bases and magical treasures. The truth was, they weren't trying to kill her, they were simply trying to delay her, and their tactics were working.
If they could hold her back for ten breaths of time, the position of blood master would be secured!
Xuemei was already about thirty meters up the path, heading toward the end. Song Junwan was getting anxious, but even more anxious than her was Bai Xiaochun.
"I can't let Xuemei win!" he thought. "If she becomes blood master, not only will I lose the relic of eternal indestructibility, considering what's happened between us, she'll definitely use her power to get revenge on me."
Having reached this point in his train of thought, Bai Xiaochun howled at the top of his lungs. The power of the Heavenly Demon Body erupted out, and his aura surged. Bursting into motion, he unleashed the Mountain Shaking Bash, launching himself in the direction of Song Junwan, Yang Hongwu, and Zhang Yunshan. As he closed in, he reached out and shoved Song Junwan.
"Get out of here, Junwan. Leave these guys to me!!" As his howl echoed out through the Ancient Blood Path, he waved both hands into the air in front of him, unleashing a blast of power. The effects of the magical treasures slammed into him, and yet his momentum only seemed to build.
Apparently, he was going to hold the line all by himself!
It was a spectacular sight. The heavenly demon body roared, and fleshly body power erupted out. A wave of his hands caused Yang Hongwu and Zhang Yunshan's qi and blood to roil, and they staggered backward.
"Nightcrypt, are you looking to die?!?!" Xiao Qing's eyes shone with piercing light, and as for Yang Hongwu and Zhang Yunshan, they were enraged. All three of them instantly pounced back for another attack. However, even as they were about to join forces, a strange light appeared in Bai Xiaochun's eyes, and he suddenly punched the ground.
The Ancient Blood Path trembled as mountain-toppling, sea-draining force rippled out, forcing Yang Hongwu and Zhang Yunshan backward. Only Xiao Qing managed to close in on Bai Xiaochun, his expression grimly ferocious.
"There were a lot of witnesses in the Blood Wasteland, so killing you might have caused some problems. But here, it's a different story. Since you're looking to die, Nightcrypt, I'll just help you fulfill your wish!" Xiao Qing laughed coldly as he closed in. He had been privy to Xuemei's plan, and therefore, had never been very worried about the blood-colored keys. Back then, he hadn't been very focused on killing Nightcrypt. It had been more of an impulse in the moment. But now there were no witnesses, and Nightcrypt seemed to be asking to die. Therefore, Xiao Qing's killing intent surged.
Bai Xiaochun suddenly looked up, his eyes bloodshot, his veins of steel pulsing. "You know, that's the same thing I was just gonna say."
"It doesn't matter what tricks you have up your sleeve, you're going to die, beyond the shadow of a doubt!" Xiao Qing extended his right hand, and his two fingers made the shape of a sword. Blinding, blood-colored light spilled out, creating sword qi that shot toward Bai Xiaochun's forehead.
Powerful cultivation base fluctuations erupted out, creating something like burning fire that could consume anything in its path.
However, even as he closed in, Bai Xiaochun raised his right hand with indescribable speed. He made a grasping motion in the direction of Xiao Qing's throat, and a gravitational force grabbed ahold of the man. It was none other than ... something that Bai Xiaochun hadn't used even once since arriving at the Blood Stream Sect. It was... the Throat Crushing Grasp!