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Chapter 291- If Life Could Be Like the Moment When We First Met (Part Four)
As she stood on that patch of reeds and stared into the boundless plain, Nanke's face did not divulge the slightest emotion. Her eyes were as indifferent, even dull, as was customary for her. Only that pair of trembling hands hanging by the edge of her skirt indicated how weak she was, as well as how angry Chen Changsheng's successful escape had made her.
In the space above the plain, dozens of white scars could still be seen. These were the aftermath of those tyrannically powerful Peacock Plumes almost tearing through space. In such a short amount of time, she had actually successively launched so many attacks against Chen Changsheng. It was no wonder that her face was so pale, given how much true essence she had expended.
If this were a normal situation, Chen Changsheng, separated from her by only several dozen zhang, would have been turned into finely ground meat long ago. But within the most mysterious plains of the Garden of Zhou, there would surely be some unpredictable peculiarities. It was very obvious that the empty space in the area was warped. It was impossible to accurately link what was seen from outside the plain with the truth. Her attacks had not even been able to brush against Chen Changsheng's sleeves.
The wind blew across that sea of grass and those patches of reeds, making her hair even more disheveled, just like her mind. Her chest rose up and down, her breathing very rough. Looking at her from behind, it was easy to see that she was on the verge of exploding, or perhaps in the midst of calming down after an explosion. The zither-playing old man had nothing to say, while the two maids did not even dare to make the slightest sound.
"I want to go in." Nanke suddenly said, her childish face indicating that she would brook no opposition.
Of course, this was because she knew that this decision would absolutely bring about protest, even if these were her most faithful subordinate and most fearful servants.
Just as expected, the old zither-player was greatly alarmed by her words and said without any hesitation, "Absolutely not."
Nanke raised her brows and asked impatiently, "And why not?"
The zither-playing old man turned his gaze to that seemingly delightfully lush and beautiful plain and replied somewhat nervously, "From the day the Garden of Zhou opened, no one has ever been able to emerge from those plains."
Nanke impassively replied, "Those are other people, not me."
The old man refused to back down and said, "Even Her Highness, in the face of these plains, is nothing special."
Nanke held up her right hand, brushing at the black curtain in front of her. She stared at those faint life lamps as they leapt about the curtain as she said, "If we're discussing knowledge of the Garden of Zhou, in this entire continent, no one surpasses my teacher. With Teacher's assistance, I have the means to exit from the plain."
At these words, the old man was forced to ponder in silence for a moment. This plan of the demons involving the Garden of Zhou primarily relied upon Black Robe's understanding of the garden. Before this, who could have imagined that there existed another gate into the Garden of Zhou besides the main gate? And who would have thought Black Robe controlled that gate? As they followed the life lamps to locate those youthful human geniuses that were their targets, they understood more and more about the arrangements that Black Robe had made, and the old zither-player's reverence for him grew ever deeper, and the more he felt that Black Robe was unpredictable. He found himself unable to refute Nanke's words, and even began to somewhat believe in them.
"Only—why must you enter the plains? Xu Yourong and the other three have all already entered the plains, and it's impossible for them to come out."
"Xu Yourong is together with Chen Changsheng. This makes me feel uneasy. Don't forget, one of them is the reincarnation of the Heavenly Phoenix, while the other went from not knowing how to cultivate to the upper level of Ethereal Opening in only a year's time. All of mankind regard their existence as miracles. Who knows? Perhaps if they work together, they really might produce some sort of miracle. I want to go in so that if they really do manage to produce a new miracle, I will be there to personally stamp it out."
Nanke silently thought to herself, especially Chen Changsheng, he must die.
Seeing how firm her resolution was, the zither-playing old man said no more. With a sigh, he took down the zither that he had just finished repairing this morning and began to play a tune.
As the song of the zither made its way into the plain, from within those weeds which were higher than a man, a faint beeping sound could be heard, though what produced it was a mystery.
This old man had originated from the Candle Shadow Shaman tribe and was skilled in attacking and controlling spiritual beings. Up to a certain extent, the sound of his zither could even control, or at the very least send away, monsters of a low rank. Although it was impossible for it to have any effect on those truly powerful monsters, it made walking through this plain much easier. Black Robe naturally had this in mind when he had arranged for him to enter the Garden of Zhou with Nanke.
Much of Nanke's confidence came from this, from her absolute faith in her teacher. She was also fearful of this vast and unfathomable plains, which is why in the very beginning, when she had been pursuing Xu Yourong, and even when she was confronting Chen Changsheng just now, she had always controlled her emotions. It was all because she did not want her human opponents to believe that they had been pushed to the brink and flee into the plains. However, now, Chen Changsheng had already carried Xu Yourong inside.
The tune played by the zither was not only expelling those monsters, it was also a summoning. Not long after, with a set of heavy footsteps, Liu Wan'er and Teng Xiaoming with pot and pole arrived. Towards this Demon General couple, Nanke's expression was clearly much more respectful. She slowly made clear to them her resolution.
The Demon General couple was silent for a while, then they used their continued silence to indicate their consent. Accompanied by the gentle tune of the zither and the soft parting of the water, the party of demon experts parted the reeds and entered the plain. This boundless plain was no forest, but with regards to this pursuit and battle, with regards to the hunter and the hunted, they would be facing the same dangers.
There were many legends about the vast and unfathomable plains, but bas nobody that had entered this plain had ever lived to tell the tale, the legends were naturally taken with a grain of salt. Moreover, the vast majority of the stories were simply too preposterous—only those that had actually walked into those plains would actually know what lay within, just as how only when one personally tasted the pepper would one know that it was not poison and that the feeling of burning afterwards was not actually fire.
Carrying Qi Jian, Zhexiu had already walked through these plains for one day and one night, but they still did not have a vivid picture of this place. They only knew that in front of their eyes was grass, behind was grass, everywhere was grass. Only when day broke did they realize that the solid ground beneath was gradually growing sparse and those pools of water under the grass were gradually growing more numerous, the soil likewise growing increasingly soft.
The plains were gradually turning into a wetland. Walking through this environment would become increasingly strenuous. Although there were not many mosquitoes, the number of monsters concealed in the grass increased copiously. Just as the morning sun completely illuminated the wetland, a group of monsters could no longer resist the allure of a fresh-blooded meal. They ignored the powerful aura exuded by Zhexiu and attacked them.
For a moment, bits of grass were sent flying and the pools of water were dashed into countless golden leaves while the blood of monsters was continuously spilt. Only after several monster corpses were strewn across the ground was that group of monsters finally compelled to turn tail.
Zhexiu used his hand to cut down grass, gathering it into a heap atop the wet ground. After helping Qi Jian sit down, he sat down cross-legged and began to meditate and harmonize his breathing. From the beginning of this battle to the end, he had been the only one fighting. It was out of the question to say that it had exhausted him, but the poison of the Peacock Plume being suppressed under his eye by his true essence seemed to once again corrode his sea of consciousness, so he had to take care of it.
Qi Jian leaned against the somewhat stiff grass, his face pale, as he looked at the pitch-black corpse of a scaleless snake, larger than a house beam.
His injuries were severe. Liang Xiaoxiao's ambush by the lakeshore yesterday had been too fierce. Not only had he pierced through his abdomen, he had even more treacherously transmitted true essence through his sword and snapped two of his extremely important meridians, while also leaving behind a wound upon his internal organs that was far too difficult to heal. Although the bleeding had lessened, it still continued to bleed.
Having suffered such a severe injury, he could not even stand, let alone engage in battle. He could only be carried by Zhexiu as he walked, only look on as Zhexiu staved off those terrifying monsters, fighting, shouting, silently, painfully. This fact made him feel very uncomfortable. He felt like a piece of trash. Zhexiu was blind at the moment, and yet he still had to protect him.
After who knows how long had passed, Zhexiu woke up. Without opening his eyes, he slowly shifted his body over to Qi Jian's side. It was obvious that after one day and one night, he had gotten used to the fact that he could not see. He grasped Qi Jian's wrist and listened to the pulse, subsequently producing a pill from his bosom and placing it in Qi Jian’s mouth.
Because he could not see, when he was giving the medicine, his finger brushed against Qi Jian's lips.
Qi Jian's lips were somewhat dry and there were even some cracks in the skin caused by thirst and dryness, but they still felt rather soft. This made Zhexiu's figure stiffen, and he rather abruptly said, "Everything would be fine if Chen Changsheng was here."
This was an attempt to make conversation, but Qi Jian didn't understand and asked, "Why?"
Only then did Zhexiu realize that Qi Jian did not care that Zhexiu’s finger had brushed against his lips. After a pause, he replied, "His medical skills are superb. Even if he couldn't cure me of the poison within me, he would be able to heal your wound."
Qi Jian was rather curious about the Orthodox Academy, but this was clearly not the time for conversation. After giving his agreement, he said no more. Only by not speaking could he put all his time and energy into recovering his strength and true essence.
Zhexiu understood his meaning and closed his eyes, returning to his meditation—only this time he was sitting next to Qi Jian. Qi Jian only needed to open his eyes to see a profile of his face.
Over the course of this journey, he had already slept for far too long, even to the extent that he had even forgotten to give Zhexiu directions. Of course, in this boundless plain in which forwards and backwards had no meaning, there truly wasn't a need for direction. Nevertheless, he had slept for far too long, so even though he was very weak, he did not want to rest and did not want to close his eyes.
He opened his clear and bright eyes and calmly gazed at Zhexiu's profile. Who knew what he was thinking, but the more he looked, the more entranced he became.
Zhexiu was born with a very ordinary appearance, and there nothing surprising about his face. Besides indifference and a lack of emotions, there was nothing special about his face. He seemed just like a thin and weak human youth. But who could possibly imagine that his thin and weak body actually concealed a terrifying strength and an unimaginably tenacious will? Especially when he transformed, he possessed a dread that far surpassed his cultivation.
Watching him, Qi Jian's small face was filled with admiration.