Amidst the fluttering snowflakes, Ning Chen and the old eunuch faced off within ten steps of each other. However, with the vast difference in strength, this fight was destined to a predictable one.
The realm above the fifth grade and the realm below were two different tiers entirely. With Ning Chen’s fourth-grade cultivation, he had a vast precipice to conquer before he could cross into the next realm.
He drew the ink sword that was sheathed behind his back and focused his eyes entirely on the eunuch before him. This battle would end in his or the eunuch’s death, there was no other option available.
The old eunuch didn’t have a weapon on him, yet as his decrepit palm descended upon the hapless teenager, it carried the force of a thousand jin (600kg) behind it.
Palm and sword collided in an explosion of force that sent the wheelchair rolling backwards bit by bit. With a turn of his sword, Ning Chen stuck the obsidian blade right into the earth halting his momentum.
He gave a forceful push with his left hand, sending his wheelchair flying forward with him atop it; his black sword pointed forward as he tore through the air in an inky black flash of Qi.
The old eunuch gave a cold snort and with a resounding palm strike, deflected the black sword Qi.
His wheelchair trembled, a silvery glint coalesced around his sword that sliced across the snowy curtain while it sent forth a spray of snow. Hidden within the snowy torrent was another ink black flash of Qi.
With a flick of his wrist the old eunuch caught the sword with his fingers while twisting his body, narrowly evading the rush of black Qi.
Ning Chen roused the Qi within him into veritable maelstrom, forcefully breaking the sword’s restraints as it sliced downwards into the ground.
The obsidian metal sent forth a spray of snow several meters high as it crashed into the ground.
“How dare you!” Bellowed the old eunuch as he clenched down on his bleeding hand. His face grew cold, a split second later, a Qi-infused palm careened right into Ning Chen’s open chest.
Blood burst forth out of his mouth, flowing down its corners and through the crevices in his teeth. The old eunuch’s brows furrowed as he swiftly stepped backwards, avoiding that mouthful of blood.
The old eunuch had a severe case of germaphobia and was more obsessed with cleanliness than most people.
Ning Chen’s eyes narrowed as he saw the old eunuch retreat. Ignoring the pain in his chest, he promptly reached for his machete with his left hand during this unexpected window of opportunity. Treating the battered blade as a sword, he made a swift lunge forward and stabbed at the old eunuch.
“A Feather’s Flight, The One Sword of the Heavens and Earth.”
The old sword master’s technique howled through the air as the makeshift sword tore through the confined space. With less than a step’s distance between them, there was no way for the old man to dodge this frighteningly fast move, even with his superior cultivation.
“Impossible, how do you know the sword master’s skill?” The old eunuch’s pupils shrank as he yelled.
The blade bit into his body, piercing into his shoulder as it did so. However, it wasn’t able to proceed any further having collided with what felt like a wall of True Qi.
However, having succeeded in actually wounding the eunuch, Ning Chen couldn’t care less about such a hindrance. He activated his True Qi once more and with the Ink Sword as his support, pushed the machete a few inches deeper into the old eunuch’s shoulder.
“You’re asking for death!”
The old eunuch’s face darkened immediately. Not caring if Ning Chen was related to the sword master or not, the old eunuch gathered his True Qi into his left palm once more and viciously struck at Ning Chen’s Qi Ocean.
“Since I’m dying either way, let’s go down together then!”
A cold glint flashed across Ning Chen’s eyes as he drew the Ink Sword from within the ground with a whip of his left hand and lunged at the old eunuch’s Qi Ocean, neither defending nor evading the latter’s strike.
His cultivation wasn’t to par with the old eunuch, neither was his experience, even his handicap was worse than the old eunuch’s. Yet there was one thing the old eunuch couldn’t compare to him.
He didn’t care about dying, and even more so, he didn’t care about losing his cultivation!
A man’s greatest fear was the unknown. The reason why people feared death was because they didn’t know about death. Yet Ning Chen knew. He had died once, thus more so than anyone else, he wasn’t afraid of death.
As for his cultivation, that mattered even less. After all, you couldn’t expect a person who merely cultivated for a few months to care that about their cultivation base.
“Madman!!” declared the old eunuch in a voice tinged with worry. He wasn’t willing to be as reckless as Ning Chen, so he stepped back.
The palm which was aimed at his Qi Ocean now diverted to deflect the oncoming Ink Sword.
Ning Chen’s eyes narrowed, a cold glint flashing through them as he focused even more of his Qi into the sword’s tip, and stabbed at the old eunuch’s Dantian.
With his machete and sword in hand, he lunged at the old eunuch, one directed at the latter’s heart and the other pointed right at his Dantian. With no weapon to speak of, the old eunuch was forced to deflect the machete with one hand and to grab the sword with his other.
A stream of blood flowed from the old eunuch’s hands, staining the snow beneath him a bright shade of red as it dripped to the ground with a pitter-patter. Amidst the din of the snowy weather these simple drops could barely be heard, and yet at this very moment they seemed so conspicuous.
Given his handicapped status and fourth-grade cultivation, these results were more than enough. Injuring a sixth-grade expert to this extent was impressive even if it ended up worsening his injuries.
The sword and machete stopped in mid-air having been restrained by the old eunuch’s True Qi. Ning Chen’s knuckles whitened as he gave another forceful shove of his weapons, yet no matter how much he tried, they remained steadfast in their refusal to budge.
A sinister grin crossed the old eunuch’s lips as his True Qi burned with the flames of his fury. He gathered his Qi in his palms once more and prepared to finish off the teen in front of him. Yet at that very moment, the old eunuch’s body lurched forward as his True Qi scattered in an instant causing him to nearly fall over.
“How…” His eyes widened in shock as he tried to circulate his True Qi once more. Yet it was too late for that.
Ning Chen released his grip on the Ink Sword and in one swift powerful motion, slammed the hilt of the sword with the last of his True Qi behind it. The sword cut through the fleshy impediment in an instant, rending through flesh and bone as it dove straight into the old man’s Dantian.
The old eunuch gave out a long, pained grunt as his True Qi ran amok his destroyed Qi Ocean, forcing him to spit out a mouthful of blood from his internal injuries.
With a tortured look in his eyes, he flipped his hands and struck at Ning Chen with the back of his palms.
Ning Chen fell backwards with a pained grunt and vomited a mouth full of blood onto the snow.
“How…how did I…” muttered the old eunuch, a look of disbelief in his eyes as he stumbled backwards. Yet no matter how much he didn’t wish to believe it, reality was as such. With his wounded shoulder and a black sword sticking out of his Dantian, a trail of blood followed each step he took backwards.
Ning Chen’s throat seized up momentarily as another spray of blood rushed out of his mouth. Even so, his eyes remained locked squarely on the old eunuch. He knew that this man was done for.
Smeared on the sword was the poison Ning Chen looted off the bandits. With his Qi Ocean destroyed and his True Qi running amok, the old eunuch had no way to expel this poison which became even stronger due to his injuries.
Unbeknownst to the eunuch, the machete that bit into his shoulder had been laced with a tranquilizer poison. That was what caused his True Qi to scatter in that crucial moment…
He stumbled another ten more steps before collapsing onto the ground with a dull lifeless thud, a look of unwillingness and hate burned eternally into his eyes as he departed this world.
Ning Chen struggled slightly to get back onto his wheelchair, after which he threw a glance at the white foal hiding a short distance away. “Stop pretending to be dead and get over here,” said Ning Chen in a hoarse voice.
After that intense battle, the front porch of the house was a thorough mess. Thankfully, the snowfall was heavy enough to not only dampen the sounds of battle but also to cover up all the traces of blood.
Naturally, leaving the old eunuch’s corpse out in the open like this wasn’t an option, that was why Ning Chen called for the young horse; to use it as free labor. After all, how could you expect a handicapped person like him to carry such a load.
The little horse definitely wasn’t willing to do so, yet it didn’t dare to defy him either. Thus it had no choice but to carry the old eunuch on its back as they searched for a dumping ground.
After cleaning up the scene, the pair left the village. Having distanced themselves sufficiently from the village, Ning Chen began the tedious task of digging a grave for his former enemy.
To be exact, it was more of a hole than a grave seeing as it was impossible for him to erect a plaque for him. Ning Chen didn’t doubt for a second that this old eunuch had companions with him, just like how he didn’t doubt that someone would try to hunt him down for the letter.
In order to take down that eunuch, he ended up using all the poison he smeared on his weapons. Unfortunately for him, that was also all of the poison he looted from the bandits. As for how he was going to face off against the man’s companions, just thinking about that gave him a headache.
Returning to the capital wasn’t an option for sure. Ever since he picked up that ticking time bomb, all he could do was head north; patriotism was nice and all but that’s only if you were alive.
Thus, his journey northwards continued, at the very least until he could finish off his pursuers. His journey hadn’t changed much as a result of this, the only difference was that in the past he did so willingly and had no destination to speak ok. Now, he was forced to travel northwards.
Even now, he still had no idea exactly how many companions that old eunuch had. Or perhaps he should say, how many people the mastermind sent out to steal the letter.
Hopefully that eunuch was the strongest among them!
All this while, the snow storm’s rage grew stronger by the minute. Seeing as there was still no signs of it abating, Ning Chen decided to return to the village having finished digging a grave for the eunuch. What he needed now was rest, even if it meant delaying his flight north.
Pushing open the door, he was greeted with the sight of the snoozing siblings. Only the old man was awake. As Ning Chen rolled through the doorway, the old man opened his mouth several times as if he wanted to say something but couldn’t do so in the end.
Ning Chen gave him a dry smile as he greeted the old man after which he collapsed into the bed completely exhausted.
Even though his True Qi had been mostly expended, he didn’t dare to sleep and instead circulated his True Qi around to aid in his body’s recovery. He was still alive and that’s all that mattered.
The old eunuch’s palm strikes had damaged the majority of his organs. Thankfully, he had already been poisoned by the tranquilizer drug even before that and was thus unable to wield his full strength. Plus while the old coot was stronger than him, it wasn’t to the extent that he couldn’t fight back, otherwise it would have been the old eunuch who buried him instead.
His wounds were severe and yet he couldn’t stay long either. By dawn he had to leave, or he might bring a disaster upon this innocent village.
In the blink of an eye, the night passed and soon it was time for Ning Chen to leave. Having packed up his meagre belongings, he bid farewell to the kind family and left amidst the passionate entreatments of the older brother.
Atop the bed he slept on was a bag of taels he left behind. It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was enough for the man to marry a wife, and if he was frugal enough, pay for the dowry as well.
Being a penniless teen, these taels naturally weren’t his, but came from the bandits instead. Prior to that, he made sure to choose the taels that weren’t marked in order to avoid causing trouble for the man.
As for the broken hut, that would have to be fixed by them seeing as he was still in the midst of danger.
At times, Ning Chen felt a strong bout of helplessness; ever since he came to this world, he had been on the run nearly every day.
Back in the palace, he had to find a way to escape in order to hide the fact that he wasn’t a real eunuch. Now that he had finally left the palace, he was still on the run.
Behind him trotted the white foal, adamant as always about following him. By now, Ning Chen knew just to leave the young horse to its own devices. Even though it was young, it was still meat should he ever run out of rations.
Naturally the white foal wasn’t aware of what he was thinking, or he would’ve definitely given him a hard kick.
In the vast snowy wilderness, a man and his horse trudged through the unending snow, their figures as tiny as ants. With the heavy intermittent snowfall, tracing them wasn’t as easy as one would think either.
Thus, Ning Chen wasn’t particularly worried about his pursuers catching up to him right this instant.
As the cripple and his horse continued onwards, they barely spoke a word to each other, not that they could even if they wanted to.
Suddenly, a golden pillar of light shot into the heavens from the north. A sacred aura radiated outwards from the light, scattering the thick clouds in the sky and ending the snow storm at the same time.
The sudden arrival of this heavenly phenomenon had caught the attention of everyone in the north, their eyes filled with shock as they gazed skywards.
Ning Chen’s eyebrows furrowed as he looked up as well. Did another person step into the realm of Xiantian? When did Xiantian experts become cabbages you could find on the street?
At the side, the young horse was trembling from the overwhelming sight, its legs nearly going soft from the fright.
A short while later, Ning Chen shook his head and continued onwards. It wasn’t a Houtian ascending, that pillar of light didn’t possess the aura of a human being. It was probably some treasure revealing itself.
Amidst the snowy wilderness, the closest people to the pillar were Ning Chen and that white foal.
And so the wheelchair rolled forth once more, its destination, the golden pillar of light!
Men were born curious and Ning Chen was no exception either. Yet it merely stayed at the level of curiosity. As he rolled on neither too quickly nor too slowly, the white foal matched his aloof pace.
The outside world on the other hand was in a frenzy over the appearance of this pillar. Such a phenomenon could only be the appearance of some ancient ruins.
A hundred years ago when the Heavenly Bible emerged from the ground, it was heralded by the exact same phenomenon.
However back then it appeared in the western region and thus ended up in the Eternal Night Cult’s clutches.
Even with Grand Xia’s thousand years of dominance, all it managed to do was get a hold of one page of the Heavenly Bible. It went without saying how rare such an event was and how much it depended on one’s luck.
Ning Chen seemed to be such a lucky person given his proximity. However, he was also the least interested in the ruins. He was merely curious after all.
Thus, the man and horse proceeded in calm fashion towards the ruins. While they didn’t make much effort in getting there fast, they were simply too close to the ruins compared to everyone else. Even with their leisure pace, they were already almost in sight of the ruins…