Chapter 59: You Die, I Live!
In almost the same moment that Chen Heng's voice echoed out, Bai Xiaochun, who was still pinned to the tree, looked up. A valiant gleam appeared in his eyes as he reached up, grabbed the arrow which was protruding from his shoulder, then viciously pulled it out, ignoring the stabbing pain that resulted.
Blood spurted out, and the arrow itself dragged out chunks of flesh. The pain itself was so intense that Bai Xiaochun trembled. And yet, without the slightest hesitation, he unleashed the Violet Qi Cauldron Control Art. Using Heaviness-in-Lightness, he flung the arrow back at the Luochen Clan cultivator.
A piercing scream echoed through the air as the arrow accelerated rapidly.
Because of the use of Heaviness-in-Lightness, the force of the arrow was like a towering mountain.
At the same time, Bai Xiaochun's hands flashed in an incantation gesture, sending his wooden sword flying out in a second deadly attack. A somber, bleak aura raged; his successive deadly encounters with the members of the Luochen Clan had provided Bai Xiaochun with incredible hands-on experience in battle. Furthermore, it showed that he seemed to have incredible talent as a fighter hidden deep in his bones, something he rarely revealed to the world. It was only on display now because of the numerous life-and-death situations he had faced.
The Luochen Clan cultivator who had been just about to fire a second arrow was taken aback. He had never imagined that Bai Xiaochun could be so vicious. In fact, now he realized that Bai Xiaochun might very well have intentionally let himself be struck with the arrow, all with the purpose of being able to make this almost instant counter-attack.
The man fell back instantly. He was in the great circle of the eighth level of Qi Condensation, and as someone who frequently fought various dangerous beasts in the Fallenstar Mountains, was very experienced. He knew that he had lost the initiative in the fighting, but even as he retreated, he chose not to activate any defenses. Instead, he took advantage of the brief moment he had... to finish drawing the bow!
"Are you gonna block this one?!" he roared, a vicious gleam in his eyes as he launched a second arrow.
In his estimation, Bai Xiaochun would definitely use his wooden sword to block the arrow, which would eliminate one of the two deadly threats which were heading his way, and would give him back the initiative.
However, it was in this very moment that Bai Xiaochun's eyes turned bright red; he knew that he couldn't give his opponent even the slightest opportunity to make a move. If he did, then he would most likely be killed.
Gritting his teeth, he decided not to use the wooden sword in defense, and instead allowed the arrow to close in and stab into his abdomen. At the same time, the arrow he had thrown rocketed forward and pierced into the man's chest. Blood sprayed everywhere as the man screamed, his eyes shining with surprise as the force of the blow shoved him backward even faster.
That was when Bai Xiaochun's wooden sword bore down on the man as though it demanded to end his life. With a swift slashing motion, it completely severed the man's head, which toppled down to the ground.
Having accomplished these things, Bai Xiaochun coughed up a mouthful of blood, and yet didn't hesitate for a moment to race into the cover of the trees, whereupon he vanished.
After a few dozen breaths of time passed, numerous other Luochen Clan cultivators arrived on the scene. As they looked around, expressions of shock appeared on their faces as they realized that Bai Xiaochun was so vicious that he would even injure himself to slay his opponent.
A moment later, a flash of light could be seen as Crown Prince Chen Heng appeared.
He looked at the severed head of his fellow clan member, and then at the other traces of blood in the area. His expression turned grim, and fierce killing intent radiated out from him.
Also in the area were five other clan members, three of whom were in the eighth level of Qi Condensation, and two being in the seventh.
"Chen Feng, Chen Gu, the two of you go search for the others. We can't let ourselves be drawn out of our territory. The rest of you... you're coming with me. We're bringing back this guy's head!" With that, Chen Heng flicked his sleeve and headed into the trees.
The two who were in the seventh level of Qi Condensation complied with Chen Heng's orders and resumed their searching. The other three followed Chen Heng into the trees, eyes flickering with the desire to kill.
Within the jungle that covered the nameless mountain range, Bai Xiaochun proceeded along, dizzy and vision blurred. His shoulder, his abdomen, and his right leg were all seriously injured. Because of the cold brought by the rain, he was shivering even more violently than he would have normally been.
"Am I gonna die...?" he thought, chuckling bitterly. The sight of all his injuries, and the bone-stabbing pain that came along with them, caused tears to well up in his eyes.
He suddenly recalled an image of his parents, lying sick on their deathbeds. Then he remembered how he had watched their bodies slowly growing colder in death.
Perhaps that was when he had started to especially fear the idea of dying.
"I want to live!" he thought. He wiped the tears off of his face with his left arm, then gritted his achingly cold teeth as he sped along through the jungle. He had no idea where exactly he was, nor did he have a plan about what to do. There was only one thought in his head. "I have to stay alive!"
It was actually his fear of death which seemed to give him unending power, and kept him going as he sped along through the stormy night.
Gradually, he came to realize that after all the fighting, his cultivation base was stirring, and he was actually not very far away from breaking through to the seventh level of Qi Condensation.
Eventually, the sun became visible off in the distance, and as the rays of light pierced through the leaves, they reflected off of the falling raindrops, creating a beautiful scene.
Chen Heng and the other three Luochen Clan cultivators were following him at top speed. Chen Heng's face was growing increasingly unsightly as he realized that their quarry, despite being so seriously wounded, was moving so quickly through the jungle that they weren't making any headway in catching up. After following him for an entire night, they still had no idea exactly where he was.
Furthermore, the rain ensured that the evidence of his passage was quickly washed away. Despite the fact that they were from a cultivator clan in the Fallenstar Mountains, who frequently hunted beasts in the jungle, they were still unable to track him.
"Alright, let's split up," Chen Heng said through gritted teeth. "He's wounded, so he won't be able to run for long. The three of you, stay about three hundred meters apart. When you find him, don't engage! Send me a message immediately!" With that, the other three clan members nodded and headed off in different directions.
Time passed. The next day, Bai Xiaochun was completely worn out, and was reaching his limit. If it weren't for the fact that he was running for his life, he would have long since collapsed.
His lips were parched and cracked, his face haggard, his pace slowing. After proceeding for the time it takes an incense stick to burn, his face suddenly flickered as he saw a blur of motion to the right. However, no one attacked him. Instead, the figure fell back immediately.
It was a long-faced young man, one of the three Luochen Clan members who had fanned out to search for him. Even as the young man fell back, he pulled out a jade slip which he pressed down onto to send a message.
Bai Xiaochun's face sank, and he pushed onward into the jungle even faster than before.
The long-faced young man watched him go. Bai Xiaochun frightened him, and even as he debated whether or not to give chase immediately, he saw two figures speeding toward him from off in the distance, and his expression brightened.
Those were the two other clan members, and further off in the distance, he could even see Chen Heng.
Based on how fast they were moving, the two other clan members would arrive in about ten breaths of time. Chen Heng was a bit further away, and would need roughly twenty breaths to arrive.
The long-faced young man began to laugh heartily. Without any further hesitation, he powered up his cultivation base, simultaneously summoning numerous shield layers. He also slapped his bag of holding to produce a long sword.
It was a greatsword, over two meters long, with an ancient and crude appearance. The young man hefted it, and then swung it through the air, causing whistling sounds to ring out from the sharpness of the blade. Killing intent flickered in his eyes, and he smiled viciously as he shot after Bai Xiaochun at top speed.
"Killing a Chosen from the Spirit Stream Sect is definitely going to be fun! Much funner than killing random rogue cultivators!" Laughing, he slashed the sword through the air, causing a beam of sword light to fly out, accompanied by a sound like rushing wind. He then performed an incantation gesture with his left hand and pointed his finger out, causing a fist-sized fireball to shoot in Bai Xiaochun's direction.
Despite the falling rain, the fireball exploded with scorching heat as it shot through the air. A tremor ran through Bai Xiaochun, and when he turned to look back, killing intent flickered in his eyes. He was well aware that if he didn't take out this opponent immediately, it would be impossible for him to escape.
However, in the moment that Bai Xiaochun turned, the long-faced young man suddenly fell back, eyes flickering with derision. There was absolutely no way he was going to give Bai Xiaochun the chance to get close to him. His only goal at the moment was simply to buy time.
Bai Xiaochun's hands clenched into fists, and he began to run again. However, the long-faced young man quickly interfered, delaying him again. A few breaths of time passed, and the other two clan members were closing in. When they saw Bai Xiaochun, their cultivation bases flared with power.
At the same time, the long-faced young man began to laugh. Instead of dancing around like he had been, he unleashed all the speed he could muster. Along with his two fellow clan members, he shot murderously toward Bai Xiaochun.
Three cultivation bases at the eighth level of Qi Condensation. When Chen Heng saw the killing attack being unleashed, he felt a bit more at ease. He was quite confident that, no matter what tricks Bai Xiaochun pulled, he would definitely be killed.
"What a pity," he said coolly. "He won't even have a chance to grow up." However, before he could even blink his eyes, his expression flickered.
Even as the three figures closed in on Bai Xiaochun, unleashing various deadly divine abilities and magical techniques, Bai Xiaochun's right hand flashed with an incantation gesture. His wooden sword flew out toward the middle opponent, and he threw out a punch toward another.
A boom rang out as the wooden sword was blocked. However, the fist strike landed, sending its target tumbling back, blood spraying out of his mouth. Bai Xiaochun also coughed up blood as his injuries worsened. However, before he could retreat, the long-faced youth closed in and slashed out with his long sword, sending a blast of sword light toward Bai Xiaochun.
In the moment of critical danger, Bai Xiaochun barely managed to twist his body to avoid a blow to the heart. The blade stabbed into him, instantly causing sweat to break out all over his body. He shivered, and at the same time, the long-faced young man began to laugh. Then, just when he was about to pull the sword back, Bai Xiaochun reached out and grabbed the blade, then yanked himself forward down to the hilt.
It was a heavy price to pay, but it put him directly in front of the long-faced young man, whose scalp was tingling so hard it felt like it might explode. A sudden feeling of intense, deadly crisis washed over him. Just when he was about to drop the blade and jump backward, black light appeared on Bai Xiaochun's right hand as he grabbed the young man's neck.
"You-" the young man said, eyes widening. Before he could say another word...
A cracking sound rang out!
His neck was crushed!
Note from Deathblade: As I gear up to do the final burst of chapters for I Shall Seal the Heavens, every minute I have here and there is precious. For the time being I'm going to cease offering sneak peek chapters and memes for AWE. After I finish ISSTH and focus completely on AWE, I will most likely resume them.