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Chapter 331 - Old Swords and the Teenager (Part Three)
When that sword intent had first appeared, and when the metal sword had come to Chen Changsheng's side, the ocean of monsters surrounding the mausoleum had responded. Whether it was with fear or anger, they had grown restless, albeit suppressed by Nanke shortly after. Now, along with the dazzling radiance of the Soul Wood, this restriction suddenly disappeared. The myriad monsters in the plains could no longer endure. One by one, they began to madly rush towards the mausoleum. The earth shook for a moment, and then the torrential downpour that fell from the gloomy lightless sky seemed to carry a bloody and foul smell.
Only that dreadful shadow maintained its silence. Although it had descended slightly, it neither revealed its divine might nor acted upon this impetus. Perhaps because of the great peng's actions, the high-class monsters deep within the plains at the peak of Star Condensation had not joined the monster tide in surrounding the mausoleum. It was not that they were opposing the summons of the Soul Wood, nor were they resisting Nanke's will, but it was simply that they were highly intelligent and could faintly sense that something very serious lay in store, growing extremely wary as a result. Of course, this serious matter had something to do with the Garden of Zhou.
Countless monsters transformed into black waves that, one after the other, rushed towards the mausoleum. The sky above the usually silent Plains of the Unsetting Sun had long turned into an unbearable cacophony. The pools of water beneath the weeds parted as they were sliced into countless pieces by sharp monster claws, subsequently crushed flat by scaly stomachs. The mud was constantly sent flying, and the clear water turned incomparably turbid. Such grandeur and forcefulness was truly terrifying to behold. Just as was said before, even if a Saint was present, they would still be unable to completely kill off that unending stream of monsters rushing towards the mausoleum. They could only escape. As Chen Changsheng stood in the downpour and saw this scene, he naturally wanted to run away, but he had no avenue of escape from them.
Around his body, a bit more than ten famous swords calmly floated around him in the rain. These swords had caused a great many changes in the human world, yet now they were subject to the same such change, marked by spots of intermittent rust on their bodies of metal. When they first emerged, they did so with great fanfare and astounding power, but in the end, they could no longer recover their past grandeur and magnificence. Crucially, those peerless experts who once wielded these swords had passed away long ago.
With just these swords, it was impossible to oppose the attacks of these monsters. If he wanted to become an unyielding boulder in the face of this ocean, he required even more swords.
Through those heavy curtains of rain, Chen Changsheng's gaze looked all around him to the plains around the mausoleum, examining that terrifying monster tide while unyieldingly searching for even more swords. Those swords should be in the Sword Pool. For some reason or another, they did not appear like the Mountain Sea Sword. They were still waiting for his summons, or perhaps they wanted to be persuaded. However, where was the Sword Pool?
"If you are here, please come out and approach me, because I need you."
These were his thoughts, which he imbued into the handle of the trembling Yellow Paper Umbrella. Through the canvas of the umbrella, it spread out towards that boundless plain.
He looked at the distant plains that were dreary and blurred from the rain; then he looked at the nearby groaning plains that had been diced apart by the monster claws and crushed flat by the dragon serpents. In his heart, he silently called out to the Sword Pool somewhere out there, "I will take you out of this abandoned old garden. Perhaps you might continue to sleep, but at least… it won't be in these plains in which there is never night and in which you can never sleep peacefully."
The monster tide grew closer and closer. They were already on the divine path in front of the mausoleum, only several li away. Standing at the edge of the stone platform, Chen Changsheng could even clearly make out that foremost Purple Lightning Leopard's blood-red mouth and the saliva dripping from the corner of its lips, catching a whiff of the stink being emitted by that saliva.
At this moment, he abruptly felt a vibration.
This vibration had nothing to do with the monster tide, nor anything to do with the torrential rain.
This vibration came from deep within the sea of grass. It was deep within the earth, extremely subtle and somewhat weak, yet it was just that clear.
The Purple Lightning Leopard was like a real bolt of purple lightning, breaking through the dense grass and lunging at the mausoleum. Its blood-red eyes were filled with a bloodthirsty, frenzied Qi.
Suddenly, a hint of wariness appeared in its eyes, and then they split open.
Soon after, the corner of its mouth also split open, its dripping saliva mixing with the blood and turning the area into a smear of bloody red.
It sensed danger and madly increased its speed, attempting to escape that vibration.
The vibration was truly very feeble. Its movement through the earth seemed unhurried.
Yet the bolt of lightning that was the Purple Lightning Leopard could not throw off that vibration.
In the falling rain, there was a light tearing sound.
The Purple Lightning Leopard's body was torn into pieces, turning into more than a dozen bloody chunks, splitting apart as it ran. Yet each chunk still maintained velocity, falling to the ground only after several dozen zhang.
This picture was extremely strange and terrifying.
In a pawprint left behind by the Purple Lightning Leopard, the soft mud was incessantly roiling. A sword slowly appeared.
This was only half a sword, its hilt deeply scored with rust, the half-blade covered in mud. It presented an extremely miserable sight, not much different from a piece of scrap metal.
This half blade calmly rested amidst the mud and stirred up the grass.
The rain continued to fall. In the shower of rain, the mud on the sword’s body was slowly washed off, but it could not wipe away the rust. It remained as drab as ever without a single semblance of a shining edge. Yet it was still a little cleaner in the end. This half sword incessantly trembled, struggling, attempting to leave the ground… it was like a heavily wounded soldier supported by crutches that still wanted to stand up once more and slay the enemy.
After some time, the broken sword took off from the ground and crookedly flew towards the mausoleum. It seemed like it could fall back to the ground at any time.
In the Plains of the Unsetting Sun, the monster with a speed that was only second to the Purple Lightning Leopard was the Wind Wolf. These monsters were born from a cross between the wolf packs of the snowy plains and the Demon Wolves of the Great Western Continent. They innately possessed an unimaginable speed. It was said that they were the only monsters capable of successfully catching a Red Falcon. Of course, this was mostly attributable to the collective battle power and persevering patience of the Wind Wolves.
The bizarre death of the Purple Lightning Leopard in front of them did not cause that pack of Wind Wolves to slow down in the slightest. As the most devoted and most bloodthirsty guardian of the Mausoleum of Zhou, when the head of the pack received the orders from the Soul Wood, it wanted to rip to shreds those intruders that had dared to enter the mausoleum. Most importantly, even if several of the Wind Wolves that made up this pack of several hundred were to fall at the hands of that shabby sword, there would always be more Wind Wolves ready to rush on over and assault the enemy.
The wolf pack was extremely intelligent in terms of hunting. Previously, when they had been waiting, the head of the pack had taken his subordinates and noiselessly pushed through the crowd of monsters, arriving on the White Grass Path. This was because the ground here was the firmest and the distance to the mausoleum's front door was closest. It was the ground best suited for charging.
The cold white grass on the White Grass Path was smashed to bits and the wolf pack plunged across like the wind. Because their speed was too fast and their numbers too great, they brought with them an ear-piercing whistle. Yet in the next moment, that wind-shattering whistle was supplanted by another wind-shattering sound. That sound was even more shrill, or so to say, even more sharp.
That was the sound of sword intent tearing through the air.
The strand of white hair at the tip of the Wind Wolf pack leader's head was severed by the wind.
This strand of white hair was the defining characteristic of the Wind Wolves that separated them from all other wolves. It was also this strand of white hair that contained the divine soul of the Wind Wolf, allowing them to travel with the speed of the wind.
Now, this white hair had been severed.
The Wind Wolf pack leader gave a furious and unwilling howl, but before this howl had completely come out of its mouth, it stopped, as if it had been cut down by a sword.
Countless cracks appeared on the White Grass Path, each of them parallel to the direction of the mausoleum. They were like countless straight lines obstructing the charge of the Wind Wolves.
As long as a Wind Wolf crossed one of these straight lines, they would be sliced open by an unseen force.
The wolf claws that treaded on the firm ground were severed.
The wolf shoulders that carried bits of white grass were severed.
The wolf tail was severed, and the wolf waist was severed.
The several hundred Wind Wolves that made up the wolf pack, in the instant those cracks appeared, were all severed.
As if someone had dumped a big basket of rocks on the floor, the White Grass path resounded with rumbling and tumbling.
The countless corpses of the Wind Wolves were chopped into chunks and rolled around the White Grass Path. Some of them rolled right off into the pools of water by the side of the path, while others were chopped into an even finer powder by the sword intent.
The path to the mausoleum was filled with severed limbs and dissected corpses. Filthy blood spurted all over the place, turning the White Grass Path into a bloody path. The scent of blood assaulted the nostrils to the extreme.
As the scent of blood drifted into the sky, those cracks of sword intent also went against the rain and soared up into the sky.
Several thousand demon vultures were flying high up in the sky in crafty silence. These monsters were powerful and sinister. At the beginning, even Xu Yourong had to burn up the last of her Heavenly Phoenix true blood to kill that flock of demon vultures. Unlike the other monsters, they didn't crazily cry out, instead stealthily flying towards the mausoleum.
It seemed like all that separated them from the mausoleum was empty sky. There was nothing obstructing their path, making it all the easier to launch a sneak attack.
Yet those lines of sword intent had also arrived in the sky.
The cracks of the plain seemed as though they wanted to tear asunder the sky.
With a sudden burst of countless wretched cries, their severed wings slowly drifted down to the ground in equal quantity to the rain. What fell even faster down to the plains was their beautiful blood.
The several thousand demon vultures fell one by one. For a moment, they seemed to fall even more densely than the torrential rain.
Those countless monsters that charged the mausoleum were all chopped to pieces, turning into indistinct chunks of blood and flesh.
The surface of the plains was covered with countless cracks. The weeds were chopped into bits and the mud was chopped into tiny chunks. Countless lines of sword intent horizontally ascended upwards into the sky.
Even that rain cloud high up in the sky was sliced apart, transforming into countless puffs that could only float off in frustration.
The downpour, just like this, ended.
The setting sun that was not at all like a sun at the edge of the plains finally had the opportunity to spill its warm light onto the mausoleum.
Monster corpses were strewn across every inch of the ground. Occasionally, there would be a heavily injured monster that had not yet died, constantly giving off mournful and miserable cries in its death throes.
The monster tide that was initially rushing towards the mausoleum paused. They no longer dared to continue forward and slowly bobbed up and down.
This was a blood-red world.
The black monster tide was also gradually turning into a calm red sea.
After that mausoleum in the center of the monster tide had been soaked in the rain, its color had become extremely dark. Right now, it looked just like a black boulder in the middle of a red sea.
No matter how swift the wind and waves or how violent the rainstorm, it could not be moved in the slightest.
Compared to this blood-red world and the black mausoleum, the truly shocking scene could be found in the plains around the mausoleum.
A broken sword strenuously flew into the sky, brightly whistling.
An old sword broke through the water, carrying with it the sound of muddy water spattering off.
An ancient sword split through a rock, grinding against the stone.
Several dozen swords.
Several hundred swords.
Several thousand swords.
Perhaps strenuously, perhaps hesitantly, perhaps joyously breaking through the swamp and once again appearing in this world.
Countless swords appeared in the sky around the mausoleum.
These plains were covered with pools of water. It seemed very much like a wetland, or even a swamp.
For several hundred years, countless people had sought out the Sword Pool, yet none of them had found it. They had not even found the slightest clue on the Sword Pool.
Because no one had ever thought that the Sword Pool… was actually this big.
The Sword Pool was not a mountain pool, nor was it a cold pool.
Those swords had always been in these plains.
These boundless and incomparably vast plains themselves were the Sword Pool.
No, how could this be a pool? This was obviously a sea.
A Sword Sea.
The plains were deathly silent.
Chen Changsheng silently stood at the edge of the stone platform and gazed at this scene before him.
Previously, he had already faintly guessed at the Sword Pool's true appearance, but now that he personally saw these myriad swords appear, he was still shocked to the extreme.
Nanke stood on the divine path and viewed this scene, her face expressionless as she thought about something. Ning Qiu held her mouth shut so that she would not give any cries of alarm while her companion Hua Cui had collapsed onto the wet ground. The zither-playing old man's face was exceptionally pale, the zither in front of him covered in blood. It seemed like he did not even dare to glance behind him.
Teng Xiaoming and Liu Wan'er withdrew their gazes and glanced into each other's eyes and saw each other's apology and determination.
No one said anything, and nobody moved.
Even that monster tide in the plains had also slowly calmed down.
Because those swords were flying towards the mausoleum.
Countless swords flew through the warm light of the sun, seeming to obscure the sky.
As they got close to the mausoleum, those countless swords that had been washed in the rain began to reflect a glorious light, making them seem like a sky full of stars.
This scene was truly very beautiful.
But those swords flew very slowly, not at all like just a few moments ago when they had burst forth with pride and power.
The innumerable swords flew towards the mausoleum and slowly dispersed, as if they were soldiers getting into formation.
The space between heaven and earth was filled with sword intent.
The sword intents were once incomparably strong, but they were now weak. When they interweaved with each other, it was somewhat chaotic.
The sword intents did not have intelligence, but they had emotions, each and every sort of complex emotion.
To this mausoleum, the sword intents were cold and aggressive.
To that youth standing on the mausoleum, it was like they were seeing an old friend, as though they were saying, he has called us to take us away from this place.
That blade had been very heartless in their time, but the passage of time was even more heartless.
Some swords had slept within the sea of grass for centuries and had long been damaged to an irrevocable extent.
In the instant they were about to leave the plains, these swords had already exploded with their greatest power.
Yes, these swords were already old, covered in rust, and about to rot away.
These swords were heavily injured soldiers, elderly men who could only walk forward with walking sticks.
They should have long left the battlefield and returned to their fields. It was a pity that the fields here were no good, and this was not their home. It was just a cage.
For several hundred years, they had never thought about leaving these plains. Ultimately, one of their companions succeeded and carried with it their desires.
Yet this companion never returned.
Until today, just as those swords were about to lose all hope, their old friend had finally returned.
A youth had come back to these plains with their desires.
These swords were old, but this youth was in his spring.
Chen Changsheng's thirst for freedom, his adoration for life; it was so pure and resolute.
It was like a clear wind that stirred them awake.
They had heard his call, believed in his will, and thus heroically appeared once more.
An old sword still had some power, a broken edge could still kill the enemy.
Their will subsumed these thousand li.
They wanted to go further than those thousand li.
They wanted to go home.