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Chapter 335 - The Golden-Winged Great Peng Appears
To simultaneously control ten thousand swords required ten thousand strands of spiritual sense. Who could possess such powerful spiritual sense? Even if Zhou Dufu was reborn, even he would not be able to do it, and yet Chen Changsheng had done precisely this. For this reason, besides shock, Teng Xiaoming was even more perplexed. He did not understand how he was able to do such a thing.
Back then in the library of the Orthodox Academy when Chen Changsheng was fixing his Fated Star, his spiritual sense had spread out over the night sky of the capital. As the Divine Empress was observing the stars, she made the following evaluation: "This person's spiritual sense is so strong, his mind so serene. Such a person is very rare in this world. Perhaps this is some old scholar who bitterly studied for a hundred years and then in one day comprehended the principles of heaven and earth. Only in this way could this person have such good fortune. Just like Wang Zhice all those years ago, this person accumulated their strength and then rose up. Naturally, this is no ordinary person." In this evaluation, the Divine Empress had compared Chen Changsheng to Wang Zhice, who had comprehended the Dao in a single night and caused the night sky to shine with the radiance of the stars. From this, one could imagine how powerful Chen Changsheng's spiritual sense was. Yet if it were even stronger, it still would not have surpassed Zhou Dufu's. The reason why he could separate his spiritual sense into countless strands crucially rested on the second trait the Divine Empress had mentioned in her evaluation.
The number of strands a spiritual sense could be divided into had nothing to do with a spiritual sense's inherent strength, only with how stable it was.
Zhou Dufu, this peerless expert, naturally possessed a spiritual sense many times more powerful than Chen Changsheng. That spiritual sense was like a solid and massive rock. It could be divided in two or even into several dozen strands, but it could not be divided forever. At some point, they would be nothing but tiny bits of gravel that could no longer be divided into anything smaller.
Chen Changsheng's spiritual sense was incomparably serene. Although he could not have a spiritual sense as impregnable as an expert at Zhou Dufu's level, he could make it even softer and more yielding. Not like solid rock, but like water. It could be divided into countless drops, then countless droplets, and then mist. It was as if he could continue dividing it without end.
Countless swords flew around the mausoleum, occasionally landing in the monster tide and subsequently erupting in a shower of blood. Sometimes, they would encounter unyielding resistance that immediately broke some of the damaged and old swords, making for a rather tragic sight. When the ten thousand swords had just begun their battle with the monster tide, several dozen of the fastest and most intact swords were led by the Mountain Sea Sword and commanded by Chen Changsheng's spiritual sense to fly with focus and resolve deep into the plains. With this, they finally arrived at the Monster Bull's position.
The Monster Bull's grainy eyes emitted a ruthless, dusky light. The slender tail linked to its horn was stretched tight. The grass around it had long been squashed flat by the berserk Qi it was emitting. The only sound to be heard was countless densely packed soft swishes. The several thousand black hairs on its tail transformed into nearly invisible and sharp arrows that shot towards the mausoleum.
'Dongdongdongdong!' A series of successive strikes resounded out from the depths of the plain. Those sounds were so packed together they seemed like one long sound.
Several dozen sword rays appeared in the air several li in front of the Monster Bull. They danced about in the air like lightning, accompanied by sword energy that formed countless dense halos of light in the air. The several thousand black hairs that had been shot out by the Monster Bull were completely blocked by the sword rays. In the blink of an eye, the air was filled with several thousand tiny white vortexes. That was the result of sword energy colliding with those black hairs. The surface of the plains became covered with thousands of tiny thread-like cracks. The catfish and loaches that had luckily managed to survive for the time being did not even have time to burrow into the mud before they were sliced into bits.
The Mountain Sea Sword did not go to block those black hairs that were shooting towards the mausoleum. It burst out of that ring of swords with the intent to kill. The heavy black sword body pierced through the air, giving off an ear-aching screech. From up high, it directly chopped at the horn on the Monster Bull's head, using the Burning Heaven move that Su Li had personally created.
The plain was filled with the sounds of swords cutting at tough monster skin. Chunks of meat flew everywhere as countless sword glows gradually dimmed. Innumerable monsters lay collapsed at either the feet of the mausoleum or amongst the weeds. The drizzle around the mausoleum was still falling, but when would this rain of swords over the plains cease?
Nanke's eyes were still closed, and the Soul Wood in front continued to shine brighter and brighter. In that milky white light, her small face seemed even more pale. Teng Xiaoming and Liu Wan'er acted as protectors, emitting a powerful and determined Qi. Not a single sword approached her body.
After who knows how long had passed, she finally opened her eyes. The drizzling rain fell upon her face, but that dark-green flame burning within her cold and emotionless pupils was not at all extinguished by the cold rain. Instead, for some reason, a sacred golden light floated around her pupils. Furthermore, that golden light was eroding away that green color.
Chen Changsheng opened his eyes and gazed at her as she floated in front of the mausoleum's main entrance.
The two calmly gazed at each other, saying nothing.
Nanke viewed herself as the successor to the Garden of Zhou. Her methods originated from the restrictions that Zhou Dufu had left behind. The restrictions had maintained the ten thousand damaged swords in the Garden of Zhou for several hundred years. Today, Chen Changsheng wanted to rely on those countless damaged swords and take them away. This would inevitably lead to the destruction of the fundamental basis of the Garden of Zhou. It was something she could not allow. So even if she had to risk the danger of being beheaded by those swords, she had chosen to send her soul out of her body. Through this, she was able to make use of the most powerful method at her disposal to kill Chen Changsheng, return the ten thousand swords to their proper place, and restore the plain to tranquility.
Of course, Chen Changsheng would not accept this arrangement, regardless of it being the arrangements of fate or the arrangements made by Zhou Dufu prior to his death.
The battle between the ten thousand swords and the monster tide continued. In that short moment in which their gazes met, who knew how many horrifying and bloody scenes occurred? The two sides of this battle were swords and monsters, so there was naturally nobody talking. There was only the whistling of swords and the howls of monsters. There were no killing cries, yet the killing intent on the plain soared to the heavens.
After a short while, the monster tide gradually calmed and shortly after slowly retreated to the outer perimeter of the mausoleum. Perhaps it was because they realized it was impossible for them to break through those ten thousand damaged swords, or perhaps it was because Nanke had sent her command through the Soul Wood, or perhaps it was because they had sensed something else.
Chen Changsheng raised his right hand. As rain dripped upon it, the countless swords in the plain returned.
Several tens of thousands of lower-ranked monsters had died. The sinister and crafty Earth Monkey had attempted a sneak attack on Chen Changsheng in the very beginning. In the end, Chen Changsheng had successfully counterattacked, which had it suffer heavy injuries from the temple sword. With one hind leg chopped off and one hind leg crippled, it could no longer stand up straight like a human. Hugging the thigh of the Mountain-toppling Fiend, it resentfully stared at the mausoleum, giving off angry grumbling sounds as if it was complaining.
The Mountain-toppling Fiend’s massive body was extremely striking in the middle of that ocean of a monster tide, but its tenacious body was covered with at least several thousand sword scars, both deep and small. Some swords had succeeded in breaking through its terrifying defense and striking at the flesh. Its body was drenched with blood that flowed down the broken stone beam in its hand, dripping down to the ground.
The Monster Bull deep within the plains seemed to have suffered the lightest injuries. It was just that the vast majority of the black hairs on its tail had all been fired off, leaving only a few tufts. It was like it had been burned in a fire, leaving behind a mottled pattern. It was very sorry-looking and dismal, and also rather ridiculous. It was no longer as terrifying as it used to be.
Countless swords flew back to the mausoleum. Some of the swords had been broken once more, leaving only a small section of the blade. They were similarly as dismal-looking as that Monster Bull, their state rather sorrowful. Some of the swords had been attacked by monster poison. The rust had been eroded away, letting them shine once more, yet it was still hard for them to bear such an attack, and they tottered back to the mausoleum on the verge of collapse.
Not a single sword had fallen into the plain, but now they fell. Because it could see whenever one of those swords was about to fall, another sword would rush over and support it from below. Even those swords that had been shattered in battle by the monsters and stamped into the mud were picked out by other swords. In this way, several swords supporting each other flew to the mausoleum.
This scene was very easy to associate with a real battle. Under a bloody sun, hearing the sound of the gong calling the victorious soldiers back to camp, the injured and exhausted soldiers simply did not have the strength to cheer. Supporting each other, they slowly made their way back to the camp. Those soldiers who did not have the strength to walk would be helped up by their companions through the aid of crude tree branches.
Chen Changsheng did not leave a single sword behind in the plain. This might cause some people to be moved, but Nanke was not the sort of person to feel such trivial passion. From this scene, Nanke saw Chen Changsheng's strength. He could spread out his mind to countless places and persist until now. This was a sight seldom seen such that even she was filled with admiration.
But the more admirable he was, the more he needed to die.
That dark-green flame in Nanke's pupils had already become divine gold. A sacred Qi that was hard to describe in words emerged from her petite body. At this moment, it was hard to tell that she was the Demon Princess. She seemed more similar to the South Stream Temple's Holy Maiden.
That dreadful shadow had already completely landed behind her.
Behind her were the Plains of the Unsetting Sun.
That shadow had once obscured half the sky. Now that it had landed, it covered up the entire plain. The dusky rays of light sent by that distant setting sun landed upon that shadow and seemed to be sucked up right away. There was no reflection. Just like that, they disappeared without a trace.
The present plain was covered with blood. The shadow seemed to slightly rise up and down, as if that blood was bringing it to life.
The light of the setting sun was no longer swallowed up. As the light mixed with the blood, it turned it into a golden color, identical to the color of the flame that burned in Nanke's eyes.
A golden color appeared on the edge of the shadow. Gradually, a shape began to be traced out. With the slow dance of the golden light, this form became more distinct.
It was a pair of wings. A pair of golden wings.
These golden wings were colossal. Who knew how many thousands of li they were, but they spanned across the horizon.
The Golden-Winged Great Peng finally revealed its true appearance.
Along with its appearance, the world changed color. Those dark clouds that had just gathered themselves anew above the mausoleum instantly dispersed.
All the monsters fearfully lowered their heads. One by one, they each adopted the most servile posture and lowered themselves into the blood and chaotic mix of grass and mud. Wave after wave, the monster tide bowed down. Even that most arrogant and tyrannical Mountain-toppling Fiend humbly bowed before the shadow of the Great Peng.
Behind the Great Peng was the setting sun. Countless rays of light overflowed over the edge of the Great Peng's wings, creating countless threads of light in the sky.
This scene was so beautiful that it seemed surreal. It was just like the scene described in the myth contained in the Orthodoxy's Daoist Canon.
In truth, there was a mural in the Great Hall of Light in the Li Palace. Depicted on that mural was a scene from ancient times, the scene of the strange phenomena occurring on heaven and earth as the Golden-winged Great Peng was born from a cloud of light.
The very moment the Golden-winged Great Peng was born into the world, it had touched upon the cusp of the Saint realm.
Whether it was myth or legend or truth, the Golden-winged Great Peng was a divine beast on the same level as the Unicorn and the Divine Bird, sitting only below the Dragon and the Phoenix.
Chen Changsheng silently gazed at the Golden-winged Great Peng as it enveloped the sky.
When he first laid eyes on that shadow, he had been waiting for this moment to come.
Yet just like death, no matter how many preparations you make, when it finally makes its appearance, you realize that you still aren't prepared.
Right now, he was experiencing exactly this sort of feeling.
This Golden-winged Great Peng was like death incarnate.