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Almost simultaneously, Feng Qianjun’s double blade was knocked out of his hands by that monstrous strength, and he was also sent flying backwards by the power of that hit. Xiang Shu’s shoulders hit the ground, cushioning Chen Xing while the two of them tumbled around, once, twice, three times in a row, successfully avoiding the ambush of those three linked moves!
Chen Xing immediately pointed at the enemy while loudly shouting, “Drought fiend kings!”
The ambusher was indeed the drought fiend king Sima Liang, and the two following behind him were the Changsha Wang Sima Yi and Chengdu Wang Sima Ying - but Sima Wei had long since left!
The drought fiends lunged forward with another strike, just as Xiang Shu pushed aside Chen Xing and fluidly blocked with his sword. Even though his physical power was low, he cleverly used the principle of leverage to its limits as he applied soft force upon that thrust, which caused it to connect with both the strikes of Sima Liang and Sima Ying. He spun the two’s sword tips, now interlocked, and the two drought fiend kings’ techniques slammed into each other, letting out a cacophony of noise, while he successfully extricated himself.
Despite his split attention, Feng Qianjun loudly cheered, but Chen Xing could tell that the three of them were clearly not at the same level as their enemies.
“Go!” Xiang Shu had also judged that a drawn-out battle was not to their advantage, and the two of them mounted their horses. As the horse galloped by, Feng Qianjun withdrew his blades and leaped onto the horse, but behind them, the three kings didn’t give chase but rather stopped in their tracks entirely.
The three people kept galloping on their horses, rushing out of the valley. Chen Xing couldn’t resist glancing backwards, where he saw the three kings climbing onto their own steeds and galloping towards them, obviously not letting them go.
“I’ll lead them away!” Feng Qianjun shouted.
Xiang Shu responded, “They’re only living corpses, they’re not pigs or dogs! They won’t fall for your trick!”
The horses galloped through the village. Feng Qianjun wanted to head towards the back of the village, but Xiang Shu shouted, “Come back! Don’t drag other people into this!”
Chen Xing suddenly realized that if they were to fight in this place, casualties would be inevitable, so he shouted: “What should we do?”
“I don’t know!” Feng Qianjun yelled. “Let’s run first!”
While their pursuers relentlessly chased them, Chen Xing’s heart was filled with horror. How did the drought fiend kings travel to Jiangnan? How long had it been since they arrived? What exactly was their goal in ambushing them on their own on the road?!
“They’re testing me.” Xiang Shu panted, as if he could hear Chen Xing’s thoughts without turning his head back to look.
Chen Xing dazedly responded, “What?”
Xiang Shu: “They’re checking! Checking to see if I’ve already lost all of my ability to fight back!”
Chen Xing suddenly realized that when the three kings revealed themselves, they hadn’t focused immediately on killing them, but rather on exchanging blows, and that was in order to test if Xiang Shu could still fight back!
“They want to capture Chen Xing,” Xiang Shu said. “Feng Qianjun! We need to split up!”
“Draw them into the graveyard!” Feng Qianjun replied. “I need resentful energy to use the artifact!”
Xiang Shu and Feng Qianjun passed through several towns. It was almost Qingming, and a lot of commoners had arrived in the Jiangnan area, bringing bamboo baskets with them to go pay respects to the dead at their ancestral graves. Feng Qianjun took the two of them meandering through the foothills, and when they arrived before a range of hills, they broke through the boundary and stormed into the forest of graves within.
“You guys need to leave quickly,” Feng Qianjun said. “I’ll follow behind as soon as I can. We’ll regroup in Kuaiji. Don’t worry about me! I’m very familiar with the Jiangnan region!”
Many of the common people in the graveyard stood up, staring strangely at Feng Qianjun. Chen Xing shouted towards them: “Run quickly! Leave this place!”
Soon enough, Sima Liang was the first to rush in. Once the commoners saw this warrior clad in black armor astride a large horse, they started panicking and screaming, all of them fleeing for the exit of the graveyard. Feng Qianjun breathed in deeply, his two hands holding his Senluo saber, the blade of which was wreathed with incorporeal black energy.
In the light of the day, a crow flew by. Xiang Shu looked up sharply at the sky.
Chen Xing also felt it. Shi Hai was currently watching them.
Immediately after that, Xiang Shu abandoned his horse and pulled Chen Xing along in a swift run as they rushed into the forest.
“He’ll be fine!” Xiang Shu loudly said. “Their target is you!”
Chen Xing recalled how Sima Weo had ignored the rest of the group, focusing solely on kidnapping Chen Xing to take him back to Zhongyuan. That had also been Shi Hai’s command, so the key point was that their enemies were no longer focusing on Feng Qianjun or Xiang Shu.
“Originally you were a demon slaying exorcist,” Sima Liang said calmly. “But now you wield a demonic weapon and control resentful energy. When did you join our side?”
Feng Qianjun responded calmly: “Apologies, but I can only temporarily make do with your method so that I can repay you in full!”
Just as he finished his sentence, Feng Qianjun’s Senluo blade collected all of the resentful energy in the cemetery. He crossed his arms and slashed once, twice, and with three consecutive slices, that blade energy shot out like an arrow. As it flew along its path, the black energy gathered together like a physical mass, but the three kings immediately blocked the energy with their swords, emerging unscathed.
However, wherever the blade energy landed in the forest surrounding them, the flora blackened like charcoal and extended grasping vine tendrils towards the three kings! Instantly the greenery that once existed in a radius of a feet turned barren, as if it had been engulfed in a cloud of flames, and as the dead branches steadily increased in number, all of them headed towards the three drought fiend kings, Sima Liang, Sima Yi, and Sima Ying!
Chen Xing rushed out of the trees. Xiang Shu panted harshly before planting his sword into the ground. When the two of them had used the cover of the trees to escape, initially it had been Xiang Shu leading Chen Xing, but later, it became Chen Xing grabbing Xiang Shu’s wrist, dragging him along to escape.
“I can’t run anymore,” Xiang Shu gasped. “I need to save some energy… They will catch up to us eventually; I can hold them off for a bit. You need to go quickly.”
“I … where can I run to?” Chen Xing asked incredulously.
It was already after midday. Chen Xing looked at the road in front of him and realized that they had already entered the bounds of Kuaiji.
“They’re looking for you,” Xiang Shu said. “I don’t know why Shi Han wants to capture you, but you must not fall into their hands! Go! Leave quickly!”
Saying this, Xiang Shu turned his back on Chen Xing, facing the forest with his sword held in a two-handed stance.
Chen Xing glanced at Xiang Shu and thought deeply for a few seconds, before turning and running onto the road.
Xiang Shu felt that despite the decrease in his physical strength, his mind was abnormally clear. As soon as something happened to him, Shi Han’s underlings had arrived; these events were not a coincidence but were instead premeditated.
A huge roar resounded in the distance, like an avalanche had occurred at the cemetery in the hills. He didn’t know how much longer Feng Qianjun could delay their enemies.
Many crows flew by. Xiang Shu slowly backed up, warily watching the crows as one landed, and then another, gathering right by Xiang Shu in some odd array. Xiang Shu swiped his sword in their general direction and managed to startle a few into flight, but very quickly more crows came to fill in the gaps.
Almost a hundred crows had gathered around Xiang Shu, forming a very strange picture.
“Shoo --!” came a sudden loud shout from behind. The light of the Heart Lamp burst out, startling the murder of crows into breaking their formation. Chen Xing, who held the reins in his hand, galloped quickly to Xiang Shu’s side.
“It’s great! I found a post-stop over there! I bought this horse off them!” Chen Xing shouted. “Having money is really very good! Quickly, get on the horse!”
Xiang Shu shook himself out of his stupor and climbed onto the horse, just managing to sit firmly on it. Chen Xing turned the horse around, angrily shouting towards the trees: “Shi Hai you bastard! Go play with your birds on your own! We won’t be joining you!”
Xiang Shu: “…”
Right afterwards, Chen Xing turned the horse around again, rushing onto the road, taking Xiang Shu with him as they escaped.
A few breaths later, Sima Liang and Sima Yi ran out of the trees, but all they saw of Chen Xing and Xiang Shu were two little black dots steadily shrinking in the distance.
“They actually managed to run this fast. Never mind then. Even if they escape to the ends of the earth, they can’t escape my grasp, so there’s no need to chase them,” Wang Ziye said, walking out of the forest. “The Dragon-Binding Array has served its purpose, and Shulü Kong is already no longer a threat. Take a shortcut and get to Kuaiji before they do to await their arrival. Kill Chen Xing but make sure Shulü Kong stays alive so that he can hand over the artifact. We do not need to cleanly resolve matters today.”
The drought fiend kings turned, looking towards Wang Ziye.
Wang Ziye made a hand motion, indicating that they should move as he commanded.
“Xiang Shu!” Chen Xing said, turning his head. “Are you alright?”
Xiang Shu’s large body was half-pressing down on Chen Xing, but with great effort he straightened up and said, “I won’t die.”
Chen Xing had once lost Xiang Shu, and he was afraid that if they kept running, Xiang Shu would fall off the horse, so he grabbed the other’s two hands and secured them around his own waist. He then covered the backs of those hands with his own, so Xiang Shu was tightly holding on to him.
Xiang Shu: “...”
“Last time at Xiangyang,” Chen Xing said. “Sorry about that!”
Xiang Shu: “What?”
Chen Xing: “I won’t lose you again!”
Chen Xing kept urging the horse forward while glancing back every now and then. Upon seeing that the three kings weren’t giving chase anymore, he finally relaxed.
Hi everyone, I’m moon, the new translator joining the project! I’m very excited to be here, I love wuxia/xianxia/xuanhuan novels and I’m learning… a whole lot of Chinese history too just by translating this lmao
Hopefully with all of us we can get the rest of this novel up in a reasonably short amount of time!
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.