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Chapter 281 - Flying Wing to Wing
No matter who it was—in that brief moment she had been unable to clearly make out the other person's appearance—it was definitely one of the human cultivators that had entered the Garden of Zhou. This was enough of a reason. It was enough for Xu Yourong who was flying around Sunset Valley to unsparingly use up her true essence once more to adjust her direction and fly over to that heavily injured and unconscious human cultivator's side. At that critical point where it seemed like she would dash herself to death against the ground, she grabbed the cultivator and flew off into the distance.
She had no experience in flying with wings, but she had a lot of experience riding the white crane as it soared through the blue sky. As she soared through the night sky, she had none of that imagined unease or terror. But she was just a beginner after all, so it was hard to avoid some improficiency and awkwardness. This was especially the case when considering that she was already heavily wounded and very weak, and that she was now carrying an extra person. It was hard to avoid swaying a bit, giving the appearance that she was drunk.
It was not too long before Nanke had caught up, only several li behind. Separated by such a distance, she could even feel the killing intent coming from her. She did not turn around, instead focused on learning how to fly. Her wings of fire began to sway less, her posture grew more stable, and her speed began to quicken. Gradually she began to turn into a streak of fire blazing through the night sky.
After the awakening of the phoenix soul, she had comprehended many principles, and gained use of much of her innate ability. Solely in terms of speed, she was without a doubt the fastest on the continent. Whether it was the Red Falcons used by the Great Zhou army or the Great Western Continent's Heavenly Messenger Birds, whether it was Nanke or the swift Silver Dragons; none of them could surpass her speed.
The problem was that she was severely wounded. An even larger problem was that she was currently carrying a person. The person was unconscious, and weighed her down like a wet bag of flour. If she dropped this person, even Nanke would find it very hard to catch up to her. She could go back to the gardens where the rest of the human cultivators had congregated and develop a counterattack against the demon plot. She could also temporarily escape, treat her wounds and the poison in her body, then return to battle Nanke, and this time she believed she would definitely obtain victory.
But she could not do so, so there was no 'if'.
This entire time, she had not glanced at the person in her hands—she made no distinction of identity, because no matter what, she could not throw them away. It was just like Nanke had said at the peak of Sunset Valley. From beginning to end, she was an existence burdened with the word 'responsibility'. Many choices had already become a sort of instinct for her. She did not need to ponder them or weigh the pros and cons, she only needed to carry them out.
Two streams of light skimmed over the forests and wetland at the edge of the plain, their colors only slightly different. Wherever they passed, bits of grass were sent flying and leaves were shocked into puffs of green.
She had never been able to pull away from Nanke and her vision was starting to go fuzzy. This was a sign that the peacock's poison was beginning to erode her sea of consciousness. She had always been using the Heavenly Phoenix's true blood to suppress it, but over the course of this chase, that blood was gradually being boiled away and was no longer able to suppress the poison. Perhaps she could ignite all the Heavenly Phoenix true blood to go even faster, but then what would she do about the poison?
Nanke's figure grew closer and closer and the darkness of the surrounding plain was newly dyed with green. There was no time to think, but in truth, she didn't even think before she made her decision. At this moment, she finally lowered her head to glance at the person in her hands. She helplessly thought to herself, everyone here cultivates the Dao, paying attention to dining with the pure wind and eating the starlight, but just what are you eating every day that you're so heavy?
Then she ignited the meager remnants of the true blood of the Heavenly Phoenix in her body.
With a boom, the surrounding plains began to burn, and glimmers of light from water could be vaguely seen under the grass.
Xu Yourong turned into a streak of fire, and disappeared into the sky.
After a while, Nanke arrived at this place and paused. She stared off into the distance at that streak of fire, her expression cold, thinking about something.
Her green peacock wings slowly flapped, spreading coldness all around. The burning grasses and reeds were gradually extinguished, leaving behind only scorched earth.
The speed obtained from burning the true blood of the Heavenly Phoenix was so fast that even she could not catch up.
"A woman's softheartedness, failing to see the big picture, lacking a noble spirit."
(TL: All three of these are Chinese idioms.)
Nanke's evaluation of Xu Yourong was cold and disdainful. "Even if you can continue to live, how can you continue to be my rival?"
She understood very clearly that in this sort of situation, even if the Heavenly Phoenix soul within Xu Yourong's body had awakened, it would still be very difficult for her to survive.
The green wings slowly retracted, and the light subtly changed. Those two women appeared on both sides of her and kneeled down onto the ground. Their voices trembling, they said, "These lowly servants pay respects to the master. These lowly servants are incompetent!"
Nanke paid no attention to her two maids, not even glancing at their faces pale from fear. She pensively asked, "That person… was Chen Changsheng?"
The two maids hurriedly narrated the events that had occurred on the other side. For the first time, a smile appeared on Nanke's face, but it was still a very cold smile. "So originally it wasn't a woman's softheartedness, nor was it failing to grasp the big picture. Instead it was chaos arising from too many problems… for the two of you to die together would be rather interesting.”
The wind that blew against her face was originally cold, but because of the boiling and burning of her blood, it became a warm wind. Xu Yourong wanted to go to the Mountainside Whispering Wood, but her Heavenly Phoenix true blood was almost exhausted and she could not hold on for much longer. She glanced behind her to confirm that Nanke had not caught up, then turned towards the northeast and flew for several li before landing.
She had always followed the edge of the Plains of the Unsetting Sun as she flew. Her reason was very simple, and Nanke was also very clear on it. It was only by this that from the very start, she had been able to persist for so long. When she finally landed, it was also naturally at the edge of the plains. It was a giant stretch of wetland, with reeds growing as far as the eye could see.
The reeds were like a small isle, the surrounding reeds so high that they hid it away from any outside gazes. It was like a little world sectioned off from the rest.
There were no stars in the night sky of the Garden of Zhou. The light reflecting from the water between the reeds came from those wings of fire. They were like innumerable mirrors, creating a beautiful scene.
With a thought from Xu Yourong, the golden flames slowly faded. The two wings had originally been a pure snowy white.
Her brows slightly creased together; she appeared to be in pain. Deep within the clear and limpid water of her eyes, a discomforting green could faintly be seen. Around that green was a golden spark that was incessantly burning, but it was a very dim flame. At any time, it could go out. Then she turned once more to that human cultivator that she had saved.
For some reason, she felt that this person was somewhat familiar, although her vision was rather fuzzy. She could not even make out the person's features, only faintly tell that his face was very pale. For some reason, even though the person was unconscious, he still gave her a calm and amiable impression.
Because of this impression, she stared blankly at him.
Then she was struck by exhaustion.
She sat down cross-legged and then closed her eyes to stabilize her breathing. A pure white wing slowly drew back, then like the warm quilts in the Divine General's mansion, wrapped around her body.
The wings were a pair.
The other pure white wing slowly fell down, gently covering Chen Changsheng.