Chen Xing, “!!!”
When Chen Xing heard that, he almost overturned the rouge plate. Suddenly, he noticed something. He looked up at the huge beam in the room and could vaguely hear the "pitter patter" of rain hitting the tiles.
“Shi Hai dispatched the jackdaws to monitor us the whole way,” Sima Wei whispered. “I must take you to Huanmo Palace, I have no other choice.”
Chen Xing, “You… you… Sima Wei?”
Sima Wei continued, “Long story short, can you use the Heart Lamp to break the control Shi Hai has over me?”
Chen Xing murmured, “I don’t know. You were the Prince Yin of Chu when you were alive, right? Hold on, you’ve been dead for nearly a hundred years, why haven’t you entered samsara?”
Another crack of thunder exploded. A few rays of white light penetrated through the window.
Sima Wei stood up. He paced back and forth within the room, some bewilderment evident in his voice.
“I don’t know who I am anymore,“ Sima Wei muttered to himself. “I only remember a few fragmented pieces of my memory from when I was alive. I have the memories of a lot of people, and the most fragments I have come from Sima Wei, but I… I… I just know that I’m different from them.”
“Them?” Chen Xing asked. “How many of the Eight Princes have been revived?”
The Sima Lun they saw in Chang’an City, Sima Yue in the North, and including Sima Wei, this was the third drought fiend king Chen Xing has seen.
“Six,” Sima Wei said. “Shi Hai wants to capture you and use resentment to refine the Heart Lamp magical artifact on you, turning it into the eye of the Ten Thousand Spirits Array, to offer as a sacrifice to the Devil God.”
Chen Xing immediately said, “What’s the Ten Thousand Spirits Array?”
“There are seven Ten Thousand Spirits Array,” Sima Wei said. “I only heard a little from their conversation. They are all driven by magical artifacts that absorb resentment. When the seven arrays are activated at the same time, the Devil God will come back to life. He awakened us Eight Princes to guard the arrays for him.”
Chen Xing turned quiet. Sima Wei continued, “Yin Yang Mirror, Zheng Drum, they were all set up by Shi Hai. Two have already fallen into your hands. As for the Ten Thousand Spirits Array, I only know that one is in Chang’an.”
Chen Xing jumped to his next question. “What about the other magical artifacts?”
Sima Wei shook his head. Evidently, even he didn’t know much inside information.
Chen Xing asked again, “Where is Shi Hai hiding?”
Sima Wei shook his head again slowly. Chen Xing said, “What can I do for you?”
Sima Wei, “Can you kill him? As long as you kill him, I can be liberated.”
Chen Xing didn’t even know what kind of yao Shi Hai was, let alone ascertain where that guy was hiding. Killing him was easier said than done.
“Shi Hai asked you to take me back to the Central Plains, so didn’t he arrange for a meeting place?” Chen Xing asked again.
Sima Wei looked up at the roof and replied, “The jackdaws will keep an eye on my movements at all times. After entering the Central Plains, he would naturally dispatch people to come find us.”
Chen Xing raised his hand, signalling to Sima Wei to give him some time to think. Ten Thousand Spirits Array, Shi Hai, Devil God… magical artifacts. Sima Wei continued, “Now we’re still far from Shi Hai, and his control over me has been weakened by the distance. You have to find a way to free me.”
“What then?” Chen Xing said. “After you’re free, what do you want to do?”
Sima Wei murmured, “I don’t know. In any case, I don’t want to be enslaved by him like this anymore.”
Chen Xing said, “I… I can try, I’m just afraid that I won’t be able to do it. Without the support of the spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth, the Heart Lamp’s powers are limited.”
What Sima Wei told him had pierced straight through whatever Chen Xing thought to be true before. Within an instant, Chen Xing understood it all. Right afterwards, he heard the crows on the roof caw again.
“He’s beginning to have doubts.” Sima Wei got up and pulled the windows open. Torrential rain beat down relentlessly and drenched the windowsill, so both of them stopped talking. The rain was getting heavier and heavier. Shining white water curtains could be seen everywhere. Chen Xing wanted to get close to the windowsill to take a look, but Sima Wei made a gesture from a place light didn’t touch. The crows were perched right under the edge of the tiles, staring at them.
“Let me go,” Chen Xing mouthed to Sima Wei.
Sima Wei didn’t reply. He glanced at Chen Xing, both his eyes appearing turbid. Chen Xing couldn’t determine what he was thinking for a moment, but amidst the pitter patter of rain, the soft clanging of weapons was faintly discernible.
He closed both eyes, pondering the links between all this. Suddenly, the Heart Lamp flashed in the darkness.
Sima Wei stared at Chen Xing quietly. A thought surfaced in Chen Xing’s mind: what about doing it now? He had never tried injecting the power of the Heart Lamp into a drought fiend king, or even a living corpse before. Would he be able to dispel the resentment in their bodies if he did that? And after dispelling it, would it forcibly break Shi Hai’s control and connection to them? Or would it burn their bodies to ashes?
A gentle ball of light appeared in Chen Xing’s hand. He raised it. Sima Wei spun around and faced Chen Xing. His hand reached for his weapon; it seemed he was subconsciously afraid of that light, yet he was doing his utmost to refrain from attacking Chen Xing.
Chen Xing took a deep breath. But right at that moment--
A loud sound rang out -- Xiang Shu, along with his sword, smashed through the brick wall from next door and hurtled in!
“Get down!” Xiang Shu shouted. “Heart Lamp!”
The jackdaws outside the room began cawing madly. Sima Wei unsheathed his sword!
Chen Xing withdrew his Heart Lamp. The moment he bowed his head, Xiang Shu’s sword swept past from above Chen Xing’s back, aiming right at Sima Wei. Sima Wei wasn’t wearing his armour. The sword struck him in his chest, and his ribs caved in with a muffled "thud". He was knocked out of the window from the impact, flying like a kite that had its string cut! Then another "bang" sounded -- he had smashed through the roof of a house outside the inn, which collapsed with a rumble!
Chen Xing looked up, his gaze meeting with Xiang Shu’s. Xiang Shu was dressed in hunting attire from head to toe and looked just like a savage. His entire body was drenched, and both his eyes were thoroughly red; it was clear that he hadn’t slept much while chasing them for nearly ten days. Xiang Shu didn’t go over to the window to take a look either. He wrapped his left arm around Chen Xing, took a step back, jumped off from a crouch and smashed through the roof to fly out!
Tumultuous rain poured, as if a hole had opened up in the sky. Chen Xing was soaked from head to toe. While being dragged by Xiang Shu, his foot slipped. The jackdaws all unfurled their wings and flew up one after another, but their movements were sluggish in this downpour. The sound of crossbows rang out all around them -- the warriors sent by Goguryeo were all covering Xiang Shu and Chen Xing as they left.
“When did you come!” Chen Xing shouted.
“Just now!” Xiang Shu shouted back. As soon as Chen Xing turned his head, he saw a gray figure fly out from the place it fell on with a "whoosh" and brandish a long sabre -- it was Sima Wei dressed in a gray robe. Wherever the Qi wave brushed by, tiles overturned and swirled in the air.
Xiang Shu held Chen Xing and turned sideways, then both of them slid down from the edge of the roof. Along the way, arrows fell like rain and blotted out the sky within moments, blocking Sima Wei’s path.
“Watch out for the crows...”
“Can you run?!” Xiang Shu shouted.
Chen Xing, “I can! I can!”
Both of them were thoroughly drenched. Chen Xing was overwhelmed with joy from the bottom of his heart; you finally came! I just knew you’d come! When he grabbed Xiang Shu’s hand, all of his worries vanished without a trace, and he just ran with him in the rain.
Xiang Shu turned back and looked at the direction Sima Wei was chasing them from. Ordinary archers couldn’t hope to stop him, so he could only lure him to a place where there weren’t as many people around.
“I can’t run anymore!” Chen Xing was about to breathe his last. He shouted, “Run while carrying me ba!”
Xiang Shu: “…”
Sima Wei let out a loud shout. With both hands wielding his sword, he suddenly came down from high above, taking a shortcut as he slid down a roof in the alley. Right after, another Goguryeo warrior rushed over and blocked the entrance of the alley, shouting, “Leave, quickly!”
Chen Xing couldn’t help but feel moved. Xiang Shu had already saved the person he wanted to save, so he didn’t bother to continue the fight. He rushed out of the small alley with Chen Xing in tow, but a large number of cavalry appeared in front of them. Just as Chen Xing was processing his surprise, thinking that there were more enemies to face, the armored person at the front pointed to the left, signalling for them to run in that direction. Then, the cavalry all brandished their weapons, ready to start charging into the alley.
“How did you know I was captured? I thought you wouldn’t come!”
“You’re going to be the death of me!” Xiang Shu wiped off the water on his face and roared angrily at Chen Xing.
Thunder clapped with a loud "boom". Chen Xing didn’t hear what he just said and smiled as he asked Xiang Shu, “What? What did you say?”
Xiang Shu, “My throat hurts! I’m not talking to you!”
The two of them rushed across the long street, facing the torrential downpour. Suddenly everything was emptied, revealing a level pier with a radius of several miles. A ship was currently pulling up its anchor and unfolding its sails to leave the harbor, trying to set sail by force in this thunderstorm.
Xiang Shu looked back. Chen Xing asked again, “Who was that just now? You know him?”
“King Goguryeo.” Xiang Shu casually replied. He placed his sword on his back and carried Chen Xing bridal style--
Sima Wei, with his drenched robe dragging behind him, leapt a few times in the alley outside the pier. Like a water bomb, brilliant splashes trailed behind him and with every time he stepped onto a brick wall, the wall would be smashed into flying pieces with a loud rumble. He accelerated a few times, each time stirring up a strong gust of wind, then swung his long sabre and shot towards Xiang Shu and Chen Xing.
Xiang Shu took a few steps as a run-up, and with Chen Xing in his arms, he stepped onto a wooden box in the pier and crushed the box into pieces. With one leap, he flew towards the ship that was three zhang away!
As soon as Xiang Shu and Chen Xing left the ground, Sima Wei had already swung his blade down with a force that could shake the heavens. The air behind him exploded, and when he struck the ground, the floor tiles were smashed into powder! Meanwhile, Chen Xing was carried by Xiang Shu amidst this earth-shaking chaos, flying from the pier to the huge ship on the sea!
Sima Wei didn’t land the hit. Xiang Shu and Chen Xing somersaulted in mid air and fell on deck, then slid nearly a zhang away. The boatmen on the ship pulled back with a "whoosh", all of them staring at the two of them in amazement.
Chen Xing was seeing stars from the heavy impact. He struggled to get up. Xiang Shu, with his sword as support, barely managed to sit up and kept gasping for breath. Water droplets dripped from all over his body.
Sima Wei leapt onto the highest roof in front of the pier and stared at the two of them leaving on the ship.
Chen Xing, “Hu...hu...”
Xiang Shu slowly got up. Chen Xing slipped on the deck. He went to the side of the ship and stared at Sima Wei, his heart welling up with complicated emotions.
“He finally stopped chasing us,” Chen Xing panted.
The Goguryeo warriors had already surrounded that house in a tight encirclement. Sima Wei stood on the roof, unyielding. With his left hand locked on the hilt of his sword, his right wrist tilted horizontally, and a gathering storm surged around his body. A pillar of resentment soared into the sky!
Xiang Shu, “...”
At this moment, the ship was nearly 50 steps away from Sima Wei. The boatmen on the ship started turning the crossbow and pointed into the distance, but Sima Wei wasn’t fazed. The resentment on that sword converged into a black crescent-shaped arc, and along with him drawing a circle with his sword, it was gathering an extremely strong and terrifying force. As long as he swung it down, it would shoot over with a whoosh and cut this huge ship in two!
Another lightning bolt flashed, its dazzling light illuminating the horrified expressions of everyone both inside and outside the pier!
Xiang Shu raised his sword and said in a deep voice, “Give me all of your mana.”
“No no no!” Chen Xing immediately refused. “We’re gonna die! Don’t mess around like that! This ship will be crushed!”
As long as Sima Wei waves his sword, whether or not Xiang Shu could resist it was one thing -- even if this ship didn’t get crushed, it would still be overturned by the waves! Chen Xing cried out in a panic, “Don’t act recklessly! Anything will do, Iuppiter! Save me--”
Sima Wei raised his long sabre, and just when he was about to release a strike that would shatter the heavens, a lightning streak flashed in the sky.
"Boom!" Thunder clapped, a lightning bolt struck down and was lured by the long sabre of Sima Wei, who was standing in an elevated place. Within an instant, the entire house was struck into pieces by the lightning. Sima Wei’s body was burnt into a crisp, and he fell backwards. The gathered resentment exploded on the spot and vanished without a trace.
Chen Xing murmured, “Ah, it came right on time, that’s great. Didn’t I ask you not to act recklessly? Now see, you just got struck by lightning.”
Then he lost all of his strength, slipped down from the side of the ship and sat on the deck.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.