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Chapter 268 - Falling Into the Setting Sun's Reflection
The final moment had come, so it was meaningless for him to hold back any hidden cards. Without hesitation, Chen Changsheng entered self-introspection, then ignited the last remnants of the snowy plain.
Yet for some reason, he did not let his spiritual sense touch the water of the lake that surrounded his Ethereal Palace.
The snowy plain burst into a fiery conflagration, replenishing his true essence.
He used the Yeshi Step.
His figure abruptly vanished from the front of the forest, suddenly appearing in a distant place. Then it disappeared, and reappeared, appearing and disappearing, like a spirit or smoke.
However, the stream of light was truly too fast. No matter where he appeared, in the very next moment he would be facing that stream of light.
The sound of a sword breaking through the air continuously sounded out. The wind on the lake shore and the sound of the waves were all sliced into countless pieces.
On occasion, blood would spurt forth into the air like a flower. Yet when the flower of blood landed on the ground, the people battling had already appeared dozens of feet away.
Those flowers of blood were sometimes green and sometimes red.
After Chen Changsheng's body had been bathed in dragon blood, it was incomparably strong as expected. In the battle, his body had not yet suffered a single wound. However, although he had the Yellow Paper Umbrella to protect him, he had been struck several times by those women's attacks, imbued with the highly toxic Peacock Plume. The sinister and awe-inspiring pressure of those attacks had penetrated past his skin, attacking his internal organs. This had caused many internal wounds, and there were even two occasions in which he almost spit out blood, only to forcefully choke it back down.
However now, he had attempted a dangerous act. By placing all his true essence into his dagger, a gap had emerged in the protective field of the umbrella. After a sequence of attacks, he could no longer hold it down, and a fine trickle of blood appeared at the corner of his lips.
He already did not have the strength to hold the umbrella, so the Yellow Paper Umbrella had lost its use. He did not want to leave such a precious magical artifact behind for his enemies, so with a thought, a series of metallic clashes and screeches ensued. In a flash, the Yellow Paper Umbrella had withdrawn, returning its former shape of a scale-covered metal ball, after which it disappeared into his palm.
He no longer grasped his dagger reversed over his wrist. Instead he held it very casually, making it seem like he was a young man carrying around a wine bottle as he returned home to his parents.
The sun continued to sink, and the temperature continued to drop. The last twilight of the sun in the direction of the distant plain let the lake give off its last bit of warmth. In the form of wind, it brushed against his face, urging him on.
He took a handkerchief from his sleeve to wipe clean that trickle of blood, then put it away. The handkerchief also disappeared to some place.
Yet in just this brief moment of time, the wind had still managed to graze against that blood, bringing with it some of its aroma.
It was not the smell of blood, but some other extremely bizarre scent.
Liang Xiaoxiao stood in front of the forest, his sword brought up in defense, guarding against any attempt by Chen Changsheng to use the Yeshi Step to enter the forest. The distance between the two was somewhat large.
The two women were shaman souls, so their five senses were extremely sharp. In addition, they were very close in front of Chen Changsheng, so they were able to smell that aroma.
It truly did not smell of blood, nor was it sweet, much less the smell of iron in the late winter. Instead it was a sort of… fragrance.
The fragrance was very light, like an orchid in the deep valley, and yet it was extremely fragrant, as if the orchid was right in front of them.
The fragrance was like the scent of some sparkling pure fruit as it slowly ripened. It was also like the mountain wind passing over numberless valleys of pine trees, bringing along a night's worth of their clear and refreshing scent. And it was also like the salty smell that arose when the morning sun shone upon the stones on the beach. This fragrance was incomparably complex, and yet it was incomparably pure. It was rich to the extreme, and yet also clean to the extreme.
On that night so many years ago, the scent had caused all those mystical beings in the great fog behind Xining village to grow restless.
One year ago, the scent had caused that little girl separated by a wall from the Orthodox Academy to go over the wall and find its source.
Besides the night on which he fixed his Fated Star, this sort of aroma had not appeared around Chen Changsheng's body for a long time, even when he bled during the Grand Examination or when his body had been a mangled mess in the underground space. However, after that night of viewing the monoliths in the Mausoleum of Books, that scent had once appeared in his blood.
The closer one was to nature, the more spiritual the being, the more they could smell that aroma. They were also less capable of resisting and would want to get closer.
Possessing the blood of the White Emperor, even Luoluo was drawn to it, so how could these two women with spiritual bodies possibly be able to resist?
It only took an instant for them to be intoxicated, to be struck dumb. It was as if they returned to that sea of flowers from the time that they first were born into this world.
The wings of light behind them gradually began to slow down. They seemed soft and pure, possessing not even a bit of their former strength. They seemed rather to be fanning the women.
Chen Changsheng did not understand what was happening, but he knew that this was his last opportunity to escape.
Liang Xiaoxiao could not smell that scent, so he remained very clear-headed. His guard had always been up, so he realized very quickly that there was something peculiar going on by the lake shore. His expression suddenly turned cold, and he sent his cold sword flying from his hand. He used the Mount Li Sword Style's most awe-inspiring and most defensive three moves of the Iron Cliff consecutively. Between the lake and Chen Changsheng, it formed a protective screen that was difficult to overcome.
He hoped that it would be able to block Chen Changsheng long enough that those two women could return to normal.
He firmly believed that no matter how much Chen Changsheng knew about the Mount Li Sword Style, or how unpredictable the Yeshi Step was, it would be impossible for Chen Changsheng to pierce the three moves of the Iron Cliff in such a short time.
However, Chen Changsheng did not use the Yeshi Step.
On the lake shore, the sword wind kicked up as the sword energy gathered.
Three Forms of Wenshui, Hanging Sunset!
He reversed the technique, using the sword as the person, the person as the sword, thus directly tossing himself into the air.
At this moment, the splendid red of the setting sun was hanging in the western sky.
On the already somewhat gloomy lake shore, there was yet another setting sun.
Chen Changsheng rose through the air, passing over Liang Xiaoxiao's sword energy and flying high into the sky, before finally landing in the lake.
He landed in the lake on that setting sun's reflection.
Water splashed in every direction.
Those two women were roused from their stupor, their eyes still containing traces of perplexity, as they had no idea what had happened in those moments. In the next moment, their perplexity was all converted into anger.
It would seem that they were finally going to kill that unreasonable youth. How could they let him escape?!
The wings of light began to beat faster, and an ear-splitting hum arose on the lake shore.
A stream of light shot towards the center of lake, then suddenly turned in the air and shot into the lake.
The sky had grown dark, and the reflection of the setting sun on the lake could not illuminate much. The lake water, clear and transparent in the day, had already become somewhat gloomy. The depths of the lake were especially dark, making it extremely difficult to see anything, as if the water were ink. In this darkness, that distant dot of light seemed increasingly striking.
Chen Changsheng kicked his legs, doing his best to swim towards the light. He remembered very clearly that it was the tunnel through which he and Zhexiu had come over.
Yet he had not even swum a few dozen feet before his body began to feel an immense pressure.
He did not need to turn around to know that it was those two women chasing after him.
The wings of light moved quickly through the watery depths, like two untiring oars, bringing along those two women. They made a clear line of water as they shot towards him.
The lake was thrown into a great upheaval, as if it was boiling.
Chen Changsheng knew that he would not make it to that light in time. In the water, he turned around and grasped his dagger once more. His two legs were still kicking swiftly, so that he maintained his swimming posture while preparing for the arrival of his enemies.
The faint ray of light dispersed in the water. The two women, one completely naked and the other tightly wrapped in a sword robe, seemed like two white fish. The wings of light behind them illuminated their surroundings, suffusing the dark blue with light. It was incredibly beautiful, such that even at this moment, Chen Changsheng inwardly exclaimed his admiration.
The line of water moved forward without stopping, arriving very quickly before him.
Chen Changsheng stabbed his dagger at them, but that dignified woman was actually truly angry, so she unexpectedly made no move to evade, letting him stab that dagger into her bulging chest. Simultaneously she wrapped her arms around his hand, locking it in place. At the same time, the other woman wrapped around. She truly wrapped around him, her two hands grabbing his left arm tightly while her two legs wrapped around his waist.
Those two wings slowly closed, like a shell.
Chen Changsheng was sealed within those two wings of light, pressed up tightly against those two women.
If this were not a life and death struggle, then the word 'snuggle' would perhaps be an even better description of the scene.
They were all packed tight.
They could see each other's faces, see how their appearances changed in the water.
That dignified woman had an indifferent expression.
In that charming woman eyes, there was both laughter and apology.
The water grew darker and darker, and the lake bottom even more so, like the abyss, like the night.
The strangest and most undesired night.
Only the wings of light remained glowing.
In the icy water, falling towards the deathly night, Chen Changsheng's eyes began to grow dim.
He knew that there was no other option now but to take that risk, or else if he waited for his mind to dim as well, then he would not even have time for regret.
Right now, he felt some regret. He should not have let the Black Dragon leave. Although it would not have been of any help in the battle, it definitely would have been of some use right now in the lake.
Just at this moment, he suddenly felt a strand of sword intent.
The sword intent was very elusive, yet very distinct.
He remembered that before he had come over to this side, when he was standing by the pool, he had also felt a strand of sword intent.
Was this the same sword intent?
The sword intent of the triple-layered Iron Cliff on the lake shore gradually faded away.
Gazing at the once again calm surface of the lake, Liang Xiaoxiao was silent for a very long time.
From his entrance into the Mount Li Sword Sect up to now, his life could without a doubt be considered extremely successful.
However, his most successful moment, in his opinion, was not too long ago, when his sword ran through Qi Jian's abdomen.
Of course, that was also his most difficult moment.
What was his greatest failure?
He had originally thought it was the time when he climbed Mount Li and met Eldest Brother.
Because from that moment on, he knew that he would never be able to catch up to Eldest Brother.
But now, he no longer thought that way.
The greatest moment of failure in his life, perhaps, was every moment that he met Chen Changsheng.
It was a good thing that he was dead now.
Liang Xiaoxiao returned his sword to his sheath and walked into the forest. He silently thought to himself that as long as he killed off everyone on this side of the lake, then the trip to the Garden of Zhou would have been successful.
The figure in the mountains had taken its leave long ago. It was very fast, fleeing for its life not just in name, but also in reality. Only that the world on this side of the lake was very small compared to the vastness of the Garden of Zhou, so where could he flee to?
It did not take much time before he found the person.
Zhuang Huanyu had never been known as being handsome or confident. In the capital, most of his reputation came from his talent in cultivation. Amongst the students of the Six Ivies, he had always been considered an extremely plain person. However, he still had his pride as a student of the Heavenly Dao Academy. Although his clothes were simple, they were very clean, and there was no place that he would be lacking in manners.
The Zhuang Huanyu of the present cut a sorry figure. His clothes were torn all over from the scratches of tree branches. His face was covered with bits of grass, and he had even lost one of his shoes in his flight.
Moreover, he was very lacking in manners.