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Chapter 340 - The Blue Sky
The wretched howls of the monsters gradually died down and a calm returned to the Plains of the Unsetting Sun. However, occasionally a thunderclap would resound from high in the sky. This thunder held an energy that didn't know where to land. Fortunately, this energy dissipated in the sky, constantly shaking the clouds and causing them to incessantly scatter.
Holding the dagger, Chen Changsheng walked upon the divine path, With each step he took, he would create a splash around his feet and a dense network of sword scars would appear on the gray stone, an indication of sword intent accidently flowing out. He gazed down the divine path and saw that Nanke was already awake. Her two maids were unconscious behind her, but still alive.
Nanke was covered all over with blood. Sitting in the water, her face was abnormally pale; her slightly wide forehead especially was so deathly pale that it seemed transparent. Her divine soul had been fused with the Great Peng and suffered severe injury from those ten thousand swords-turned-dragon. She gazed at Chen Changsheng, her expression mystified. She simply could not make any sense of this. Why did the Sword Pool help this human youth? And what was up with that dragon? How could it possess the dragon aura of both the Golden Dragon and the Black Frost Dragon? If it were Xu Yourong, she might have been able to accept this defeat. Xu Yourong was a phoenix after all. The phoenix naturally held a sort of advantage over the Golden-winged Great Peng. Yet how could Chen Changsheng do so? The dragon… shouldn’t it be Qiushan Jun?
Her perplexity only lasted for a moment. She very quickly cleared her mind and somewhat strenuously lifted her hand. With the back of her hand, she wiped off the blood at the corner of her lips, then said to him impassively, "You think that this means you can just leave the Garden of Zhou? This sort of thinking is a disrespect to the grand spirit of this mausoleum."
Chen Changsheng thought, the plain has already been destroyed to this extent and the Sword Pool no longer exists, and you want to talk about respect? He did not answer this question because he was not skilled at conversation. In today's battle, twice when he had been asked a similar question, he did not use words to answer, but rather used his swords to reply.
"You will still die in this plain," Nanke said. "We will all die here."
Chen Changsheng did not understand why she said these sorts of words. Was she hoping to fight for a little time before the moment of death and hope that a miracle occurred? Nanke saw through his expression that he didn't understand why she was doing this. She asked derisively, "Could it be that you never thought about why the Sword Pool existed in the Garden of Zhou?"
He stood on the divine path and gazed at the vast and boundless plain. Of course he had thought about this question. Many people thought of the Sword Pool as a burial offering to Zhou Dufu, a silent monument that he had established himself. However, after walking through this plain and experiencing this battle that had shaken him to his core, how could he still think about this matter so simply?
Ever since he was born, Zhou Dufu had engaged in countless battles, so many that the common people even said that he was so addicted to battle that he had gone mad. But maybe he was not a madman. If he was pursuing the Heavenly Dao, then opponents like the Demon Lord, Chen Xuanba, and the sect master of the Mount Li Sword Sect were fine, but it was very obvious that many of his opponents were not worthy of being his opponents. Moreover, why did he require that every defeated adversary needed to leave their swords behind in the plains? And these swords were unable to leave the plains, so just what was keeping them there?
"Without knowing a thing, you went ahead and did this. In addition… you actually managed to succeed. I don't know whether to say that your fate is good or that you're stupid." Nanke looked at him, her expression complex and hard to understand whether it was one of pity or ridicule.
Before that Demon General couple had resigned themselves to death, they had once felt a similar sorrow. They felt that Chen Changsheng's fate was too good. Yet Chen Changsheng knew very clearly that his fate was bad. Then if what Nanke said was true, what he had done was stupid? He did not know what to say.
Ever since she had entered the Garden of Zhou, Nanke had never laughed once. Even in Xuelao City, she very rarely laughed. Now she began to happily laugh, her smiling expression innocent and guiltless, but her eyes were extremely vicious. She was just like a small child that had succeeded at some mischief. "After doing so many things, after striving for so long, even burning up your own life to open up a path to survival, in the end you're still going to die. Everything that you've done is meaningless. Tell me, are you really depressed right now?"
Chen Changsheng had faintly sensed that what she said was true. There would most likely be something happening soon—although he did not understand what this was all about, he took the time to think about his answer before replying. "Although in a short time, we might all die in these plains, that's always better than… us dying and you living. Since it's like this, our efforts obviously have meaning."
His voice was somewhat exhausted and very calm, but it was capable of making people speechless.
However, in his heart there was a constant sound, as if it was urging him to leave.
In this assault on the mausoleum, countless monsters had died. Yet to this ocean-like monster tide, it was only a small portion. One could imagine from this the numbers and battle strength the monsters possessed, but… these monsters were not meant to suppress the Sword Pool, but to guard the mausoleum.
Everything had its purpose, and in the Garden of Zhou, this was even more so. The monsters were Zhou Dufu's method of keeping humans and demons away from his mausoleum. Then why did he need to leave these ten thousand broken swords in the Garden of Zhou and bury them in those pools of water? And what was he using to keep those swords around the mausoleum?
Chen Changsheng had no answer, and neither did Nanke.
Before she had entered the Garden of Zhou, her teacher had warned her that there was a mysterious force in the plain that was restricting the Sword Pool. Simultaneously, the Sword Pool was restricting that mysterious force. The two had reached an equilibrium of sorts, thus ensuring the continued existence of the plain. So her teacher had warned her that after she entered the Garden of Zhou, she should not try to find the Sword Pool, and even if she did find it, she should not do anything about it.
So once she had entered the Garden of Zhou, she had not hesitated to let Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong flee for such a long time so that she could find the Mausoleum of Zhou, and did not display the slightest interest towards the Sword Pool. Yet the Sword Pool had still been discovered. Originally, the plains were a Sword Sea. Then the ten thousand swords had been summoned out of the Sword Pool by Chen Changsheng. From that moment on, she understood that the balance of the Plains of the Unsetting Sun had been disrupted, that something big would happen in the Garden of Zhou, that it might even be destroyed. To stop all this from happening, she had expended an enormous effort. Sadly, she had still lost in the end.
But just what was that mysterious force?
Chen Changsheng gazed deep into the plain. He didn't see anything, so he turned around instead of continuing down the divine path. Nanke and her two maids were already crippled, unable to stop him from leaving. The previous scene of the Demon General couple dying to the ten thousand sword glows as they gazed into each other's eyes made him feel rather tired. Moreover, he had to make the best use of his time.
Walking to the corner of the main entrance, he extended his hand to support Xu Yourong, preparing to take her away. Yet just when his hand was only a few inches from her shoulder, it suddenly went stiff in the chilly wind. After a moment, he slowly stood back up and turned around to gaze at the plain.
From the plain came the bitter sound of weeping, just like the leaf flutes the elves used to play.
It was the weeping of that heavily injured Earth Monkey. Amidst the foul water, bits of grass, and monster corpses, it hugged the thick leg of the Mountain-toppling Fiend as it cried in sorrow. Just what was this sinister, crafty, and even frightening high-ranked monster weeping about? The previous battle between the ten thousand swords-turned-dragon and the Golden-winged Great Peng had spread out to the surrounding plain. The body of the Mountain-toppling Fiend had incurred even more gruesome wounds, but it was still ranked third on the Ranking of Earthly Beasts. It could clearly hold on and was not going to die, so what was the Earth Monkey crying about? Was it mourning its own severed leg?
Chen Changsheng did not know why, but he felt his body get a little colder. Because the Earth Monkey's weeping was very miserable, hearing it made one feel heartbroken and want to cry as well. It was extremely terrifying. As the Earth Monkey's weeping resounded through the plains, more and more monsters began to howl in pain. These low-ranked monsters did not know how to cry. Their sorrowful howls and moist eyes were their way of crying.
Nanke closed her eyes. She was waiting for death. She was not waiting for Chen Changsheng to come kill her, but for the Garden of Zhou to be destroyed.
Chen Changsheng silently gazed at the plains. The sky had once again grown clear. It was early morning and the sky was blue. The thunder had gradually died down and everything was serene.
Only the sorrowful cries of the monsters insistently reminded him that destruction was coming. It was too late now.
There was nothing strange about the plains, but in his eyes, they seemed to have grown lighter. He could faintly sense that there had occurred some sort of change that he could not comprehend.
The sort of feeling might have come from the fact that he had taken away all the swords in this plain.
The plains grew lighter, the sky turned blue, and the light grew clearer.
A clear light rose up from some place in the front of the mausoleum and crossed countless li before finally resting on the blue sky.
It did so without a sound, as if nothing had happened at all. It was like a drop of ink landing in a bowl of clear water.
As ink enters the water, it seems very warm and gentle. In reality, in the next moment, that entire bowl of clear water will all have turned black.
The blue sky suddenly became dull, or perhaps became clearer.
As time passed, the color of the sky grew increasingly dull. This dullness was actually transparency—it was brightness.
In that place where the clear light disappeared, in that bright and transparent sky, a piece suddenly dropped down.
It was a piece of sky.
The piece of sky slowly drifted down to the ground.
Chen Changsheng stared at it, his face growing increasingly pale.
All the monsters lifted their heads and gazed at the piece of sky. They had stopped their mournful howls, leaving only a deathly silence.
The piece of sky floated down very slowly, just like an actual fallen leaf. It seemed like it could be avoided, but the monster ocean on the surface of the plain did not seem like they were going to move.
The Garden of Zhou was their entire world. Now, their entire world was headed towards destruction. Just where would they flee to?
All around the mausoleum was silence. Only the Earth Monkey continued its mournful sobbing.
No matter how that Mountain-toppling Fiend gently stroked its head, nothing could stop its moaning.
It and its companions had lived in this plain for countless years. Now, this plain was finally about to meet its end. It and its companions had guarded this mausoleum for several hundred years, but still they had failed to protect it. How could this not make them angry, make them fearful, make them despair, make them suffer?
The Earth Monkey's mournful cries echoed through the deathly silent plain. It rose up and down along with the descent of the piece of sky, like an infinitely mournful song.