To see with sound, to kill without sight…” Situated outside the Severed Space, the black robed leader coldly scoffed. “Hmph, if you think that’s all it takes to break out of our Severed Space Array, then that’s just naive of you.” He fished out a flute at which point a chillingly shrill song echoed across the courtyard. In a freezing night like this, that bit of iciness just seemed that much more striking.
The two of them within the array heard the song as well. Tang Lian frowned instinctively. Lei Wujie was merely under its spell for a second before the once gentle winds around him turned into cold needles on his skin, yet for some reason, He couldn’t determine the reason why. However, all it took was that one second of confusion on his part for several attacks to come flying towards him. Even though he still managed to react to this last minute attack, blood was spilled in the end.
“Focus!” Tang Lian yelled in a voice so loud, one could even feel the force of Buddhism’s Lion Roar behind it. Even the shrill whistles of the flute were brought to a grounding halt, allowing Lei Wujie to catch his breath enough to send an oncoming ghostly claw flying back with a punch.
Tang Lian called out with a smile, “Even though this is, without doubt, the Severed Space Array, but it’s still a far cry from what my third martial uncle encountered all those years ago. It was said that during the Eastward Incursion of the Unorthodox Sects, the sects lined up a Severed Space Array that spanned over a hundred li at Qilian Mountain. From within came a horde of demons and ghosts that turned the lands into a living hell. Back then, my third martial uncle was just three years older than me. If my martial uncle could break through an array like that at such a tender age, It would be a let down to my years under the tutelage of Snow Moon City if I were to lose to such a tiny array.”
“My elder martial brother has a method to destroy this array then?” Lei Wujie’s eyes sparkled at the end.
A tap of his leg later, Tang Lian reappeared behind Lei Wujie. Back to back, the two of them tapped shoulders in a bid to cover each other’s blind spot. They were like blind mice within this Severed Space, but at the very least, the avenues of attack on them had shrunk considerably.
“Amazing, elder martial brother!”
“That’s just common sense!” Tang Lian snapped back. “The key to breaking this array lie with the array setter. Right now, we need to find that person, as long as we locate and defeat him, the array will naturally crumble.”
“We’re currently in his array, so how do we even find him?” Lei Wujie asked.
“The flute sounds.” Tang Lian smiled briefly. “He shouldn’t have played that flute. An array setter like him should have maintained the utmost of secrecy, but he panicked. Come, it’s time for you to do some array busting!”
“Roger!” Lei Wujie shouted in response. With a wave of his fists, he forced back all the incoming assailants. At the very same time, however, his breathing grew progressively heavier. He knew that he could at the very most fend off a hundred more blow. If Tang Lian wasn’t able to break the array then, he would most likely die from exhaustion.
Tang Lian had his eyes shut tight right now. His ability to locate by sound was nearly on par with hidden weapon experts like Old Grandma Tang, Old Grandpa Tang and the Three Young Masters of Tang. All it took was a mere moment for his mind to trace the flute sounds back to their source. Finally, at the end of that trail of breadcrumbs, he found a black robed man sitting atop a decrepit tree not too far away.
“Over there!” Tang Lian’s eyelids flew open and a Lotus Blade came whistling out of hand. All around them, the world started to revert to normalcy as the array opened up, bit by bit as the flowered blade weapon tore through the air.
The wizened figure, with his black robes and flute, immediately jumped off the tree the moment he spotted the contraption speeding towards to him. However, the Lotus Blade suddenly exploded in the air, separating into seven lotus petals blasting off in seven different directions. One of them ended up piercing a hole in his hole just like that. A burst of blood gushed out of the gaping blood hole, then a thud was heard.
“Array destroyed!” Lei Wujie cheered.
“That’s right, the array has been broken.” Yet what answered him was an unfamiliar voice.
Lei Wujie was shocked, so was Tang Lian, body cold and sweat running down his back. Unbeknownst to them, a figure clad in long purple robes had snuck in between them. His hand held a fan, while face had on a crescent smile.
“You!” Tang Lian forcefully swiveled his body around, but all he was met with was a violet swirl of the man’s fan that sent him flying away. Tang Lian crashed onto the ground and spat out a mouthful of fresh blood.
The purple figure turned around to face the other black clothed men. “Where is White Hair? According to our plan, he should have succeeded long ago. Without him, how could you bunch ever hope to win against Tang Lian.”
“You’re despicable!” Lei Wujie scolded the man through gritted teeth.
“Oh?” The purple figure turned around to face him. “Who are you supposed to be? Why have you labeled this Duke as despicable?”
“You just launched a sneak attack against us, how is that not despicable?!” Lei Wujie yelled.
The purple figure laughed, however, “Was I to announce my arrival loudly then? Tang Lian, I’m here to kill you. I’ll bow before drawing my sword.”
Anxious but filled with rage, Lei Wujie continued, “You all were ganging up on us to begin with. Plus, my elder martial brother had just broken that Severed Space Array, his mind still wasn’t focused. How was it not despicable to attack then?”
“I’m afraid there’s been some misunderstanding here, we aren’t here for some kind of honorable duel in the first place, we’re here to kill.” The purple figure’s eyes suddenly shifted and the fan swirled about in another attack aimed at Lei Wujie instead.
Lei Wujie’s fist came barrelling through to meet the attack, but all he saw was a tiny flick of the purple figure’s wrist before the force behind that fan surged to what must have been over a thousand kilograms. His fists were brute force incarnate, but when faced with that fan, they were violently pushed back.
“The Blazing Arts, a technique that sets the inner self on fire in exchange for temporary strength rivaling an immortal. I had assumed that after Lei Hong, the Incendiary Hall would have no one versed in this particular art. You’re good.” As the purple figure said that, the fan in his palm danced and Lei Wujie was forced back once more. “It’s unfortunate that after surviving that Severed Space Array, you’re more than spent.”
The purple figure stilled his body for a second and sighed towards the heavens. Then, his fan flew out once more and sent Lei Wujie flying away. All Lei Wujie felt was a blast from the man’s fan, but it was as if the mountains and the seas themselves were brought to bear against him. His chest seemed to constrict from the sheer force, preventing not even a gasp to escape from his lips, yet even that unborn breath of air was on the verge of collapse within him. Crashing loudly into the ground, his blazing red eyes started to dim.
“All those years ago, it took Lei Hong activating the seventh tier of the Blazing Arts to barely receive this Duke’s Violet Rising Qi, let alone you.” The figure shook his head and sighed before turning around to leave.
“You’re not going to kill me?” Lei Wujie had already resolved his will for the final struggle.
The figure stopped for a moment. “Even if I have the desire to let you go, I’m sure those people behind you who are after that coffin would never do so. However, if you do make it out of this alive, then, one day perhaps, I’ll give you that fair fight you were looking for.”
“Back when my teacher chased me out, I couldn’t understand his decision. It was only till last night when I saw that one blade strike and today when I saw your fan strikes that I finally understood the meaning behind my teacher’s words that day. The earth is vast and the heavens boundless.” Lei Wujie tightened both his fists, activated his internal force and lit ablaze his pupils once more. The instant his eyes turned red, his crimson garments fluttered in a wild but windless dance. “Yet, just seeing the vast earth and the boundless heavens isn’t enough for me. I too wish that one day, I will become that earth and heaven.”
“Hah, such an interesting kid.” The purple figure laughed and then eyed the remaining black figures. “You all had better be careful.”
“Venerable one, these two aren’t by any means ordinary, it would be better if they were taken care of early, in case they become a problem in the future.” The leader of the black figures suggested.
“So what you’re saying is that you can’t even take care of a couple of heavily injured enemies?” White Hair has certainly sent out a bunch of useless subordinates this time.” The purple figure didn’t continue from that point on, he merely kicked off with a tap of his foot and disappeared within a few bounds.
“He turned out to be rather interesting.” Tang Lian had finally managed to pull himself to his feet. “If he were to stay behind, we would have no chance of victory at all.”
“So you’re saying you have a chance now then?” One of the black figures scoffed.
Tang Lian walked up and patted Lei Wujie on the shoulders. “To finish off a bunch of small fries like you all? How is that even hard?” Even though Tang Lian didn’t seem to care on the surface, but Lei Wujie knew better. Rather than patting him on the shoulders, it would be more accurate to say that Tang Lian barely managed to support himself by holding onto his shoulders.
“Elder martial brother…” Lei Wujie wanted to help him more but he was stopped by Tang Lian. “Rui just received word that our contact is already outside the city, she’s on the way to receive him now. All we need to do is delay them and await his arrival!”
“Alright.” Lei Wujie nodded his head before yelling, “Just come at us, all at once!”
“All of us at once?” A black robed figure extended his ghostly white arm. “Do you honestly think that little bit of bravado is enough to scare us? Since you guys want to us to, we’ll just have to accede then! Charge!”
In an instant, over a dozen of them launched a simultaneous attack on the pair. Or rather, they were all targeting just once person, Tang Lian!
Tang Lian bit down on his teeth. “They’ve seen through the state of my injuries.”
“There is no one more familiar with the force of the Violet Duke’s palm strikes, after receiving a blow like that, your injuries are definitely severe!”
Yet at that very moment, there was one person standing in front of Tang Lian, naturally, was Lei Wujie. However, the current Lei Wujie was already on his last breath. As the dozen or so attacks came raining down on him, he roared, turning his pupils red once more.
“Back!” The leader of the black figures hurriedly gave out that order.
However, it was already too late. All it took was one instant and over a dozen of them were sent flying, crashing loudly onto the ground nearby. However, they weren’t the only ones in a bad shape, Lei Wujie’s knees gave out at that instant, forcing his entire self to kneel. He shook his head and sighed, “I shouldn’t have slacked off on practice all those years ago.”
“It’s still not time for us to relax yet.” Tang Lian sighed as well. He raised his head to find the black figures all standing up one by one, even though they were all bleeding, but their wounds weren’t all that severe.
“I’m already out of energy.” Lei Wujie grimaced.
Tang Lian grimaced as well. “That purple robed man was truly formidable, even now I’m still unable to activate my qi.”
“Looks like both of you will be leaving your lives behind today.” The leader of the black figures coldly smiled.
“However, that’s not something you get to decide either.” Suddenly, a lazy drawl interrupted him. Lei Wujie whipped his head around in joy and exclaimed, “Xiao Se!”
All that could be seen was a figure clad in a fur coat standing leisurely atop the golden coffin, even going so far as to yawn lazily after making that statement. Was there anyone else who fits that description other than Xiao Se?