“I must go out and fight! What do you all take me for?!”
Editor(s): juurensha, namio
To have the bad omen of a demonic jiao suddenly appear during the sacrificial rites, this was a huge blow to the morale of the multitudes of soldiers and citizens of Jiangnan. Not many people could differentiate between this demonic jiao and a true dragon, and they could only unconsciously hold their breaths, listening to the prophecy that Wang Ziye announced when the fake god descended!
“Shut up!” Chen Xing reacted instantly, shouting angrily.
Sima Yao had been warned long in advance by Xiang Shu that when the sacrificial rites happened, there might be unexpected circumstances. Just as he was about to respond with a counter, Chen Xing’s fury rose at the right time. Having him speak was more fitting than having Sima Yao do so.
“The Sima family are the true rulers, the descendants of dragons!” Chen Xing’s voice resounded across the two banks of the river. “Sixty nine years after the Disaster of Yongjia and the southward shift of power, the region of Jiangnan has been untouched by the chaos of war, because the Sima royal family has protected the hundreds of thousands of citizens in the south! You’re just a yao jiao that is causing trouble and wreaking havoc across the human realm, what right do you have to express the will of the heavens!”
The jiao let out a long roar, and Wang Ziye’s voice said coldly, “Since it’s like this, then I will wait for your destruction!”
“Release the arrows!’ Xie An immediately commanded.
“Protect His Majesty!” the martial officials all shouted in response.
In an instant, the tens of thousands of ambushers on both sides of the bank simultaneously fired their arrows, and the arrow shafts trailed grappling hooks behind them as they sped towards the jiao. The troops began to escort the citizens away. Just as Wang Ziye was riding that rotting jiao away into the air, the hooks caught them, causing them to fall into the Huai River instead, giving rise to a huge wave!
The waves washed over the sacrificial platform, and the cold water splashed all over Chen Xing. His wrist was grabbed by Xie An, and he was dragged out of the crowd.
“Xiang Shu! Xiang Shu!” Chen Xing shouted.
Xie An: “Little shidi! Protect His Majesty! Get away from here!”
“Act according to the plan!” Xiang Shu shouted. “Lure it to the riverside!”
“Go!” Xie Daoyun drew her sword and rushed onto the platform, grabbing Chen Xing and shouting, “Your Majesty! Come retreat with us!”
Xie An had long since positioned his pieces, but since their great battle at Kuaiji last time, that demonic jiao had improved its battle skills by more than one level, and Wang Ziye’s method that he had used to provide this only halfway cultivated jiao with an ample amount of resentment was even more of a mystery. Not only had the wounds from their last fight fully healed, but that jiao’s flying speed was also much faster; it immediately shook off Xiang Shu and the others, rushing headfirst towards Sima Yao!
“Today, I will carry out the will of the heavens in vanquishing this harm!” Wang Ziye’s hoarse voice laughed wildly.
Sima Yao grew incensed, and he finally tossed aside all of his self-restraint as an emperor, roaring, “You bastard, you’re the real harm! Watch me…”
“Your Majesty, don’t curse at him anymore!” Xie Daoyun grabbed Sima Yao’s collar from behind, shouting, “Escape quickly!”
That demonic jiao circled once over the banks of the river before turning to Sima Yao. It opened its mouth wide, rushing towards Sima Yao, but Sima Yao shouted, “Exorcist! We have the Great Exorcist…”
“Don’t expect anything of me!” Chen Xing suddenly said explosively. He then shouted, “Where’s my Protector?! Where’s the Protector?!”
With a twist, the rotten jiao caused a gust of wind to rise, sweeping away all of the imperial guards and troops in its path. With a flying leap, Xie Daoyun slammed Chen Xing and Sima Yao to the ground. Xiang Shu and Xie An rushed along the main street, but no matter what, they couldn’t keep up with the flying rotten jiao’s speed.
It was only one move, but Sima Yao’s guards had been completely dispersed by it. Many common citizens thought even more that they had seen a real dragon, and they all knelt down in worship. Xie An shouted angrily, “That’s a yaoguai! Don’t worship it!”
“Run! Chen Xing! Xing’er!” Xiang Shu leapt up onto the rooftops, anxiously shouting into the distance.
There were virtually no guards left, and only Chen Xing and Sima Yao were still there. Chen Xing could only pull Sima Yao up, running towards the mountain by the banks of the Huai River. Sima Yao was dragged along in this wild rush to save their lives, and he shouted towards Chen Xing, “Aren’t you an exorcist? Hurry up and call over a flying sword to kill it!”
“I don’t have spells ah!” Chen Xing shouted.
“Then what can you do?” Sima Yao had never imagined this.
“I told you already!” Chen Xing said. “The first time I saw you, I said that I can’t use any magic!”
This group of people were really just a bunch of swindlers. At this point in time, when an exorcist was needed, he was told that the exorcist couldn’t do anything?
Chen Xing ran until he couldn’t stop panting, bending over and pressing his hands against his knees, as he lifted his head and said to Sima Yao, “Your Majesty, to tell you the truth, I only know how to escape for my life… and on top of that my luck’s very good, alright?”
“Zhen’s country!” Sima Yao angrily roared. “Zhen’s citizens! They’re actually worshipping a yaoguai?!”
This rotten jiao was violently wreaking death and destruction within the city of Jiankang, and Sima Yao almost spat blood.
“It’s coming again!” Xie Daoyun shouted. “Quick, find a place to hide!”
The rotten jiao instantly went into a nosedive as it spotted the two people who had just passed a stone memorial archway, running towards the high ground from the riverbank. Chen Xing and Sima Yao were completely defenseless at that moment, standing on empty ground, while Wang Ziye rode that rotten jiao, speeding towards the two of them with the crushing force of a thunderbolt! But just as the Han emperor was about to be crushed into meat paste --
-- Chen Xing finally shouted: “We’ll play by the old rules! Iuppiter --! Save me ah!”
“What… what Iuppiter?” Sima Yao hadn’t yet recovered his wits, but Chen Xing had already leapt up into the air, hugging Sima Yao, and very tightly at that.
Sima Yao immediately began to shout wildly. “Let me go, quickly! Zhen doesn’t want to die with you ah!”
Chen Xing tightly hugged Sima Yao, not letting him struggle, and the two of them stood just like that on this empty ground. In the next instant, as the rotten jiao rushed towards them, there was a loud thud of flesh impacting stone. As if someone had slammed into a wall, the rotten jiao slammed into the memorial archway with a peng, and right after, its head got stuck in said archway.
Sima Yao: “...”
“Ah.” Chen Xing let go of Sima Yao, turning his head to look. Once again, Iuppiter had activated its fate-defying power.
In that instant the demonic jiao’s body was suspended outside of the mountains. With this slam, Wang Ziye had already been sent flying by the horizontal beam of the memorial archway, landing who knows where. The rotten jiao’s sharp teeth were less than a zhang away from them. It furiously tried to open its mouth, but its chin was stuck against the ground, and it couldn’t expel even one mouthful of poison breath.
The rotten jiao: “......”
Sima Yao: “............”
Chen Xing dragged Sima Yao back half a step, only for that demonic jiao’s two front claws to grip the cliff edge as it struggled backwards, clearly trying to pull its head out. That stone memorial archway shifted and loosened, and the area where it was affixed to the earth began to shake.
Sima Yao reacted first, immediately saying, “Now! Go up now and kill it!”
Chen Xing: “No no! We can’t kill it! Guards, come quick! Where are the guards?!”
The guards were still chasing after it from down below the mountain, and Sima Yao said, “Did you bring a sword with you?”
Chen Xing only had that peachwood sword used for the sacrificial rites, and he went up and tried to slice at that demonic jiao, only for the peachwood sword to snap immediately.
“We should go ba!” Chen Xing shouted. “It’s almost freed itself! Go!”
Chen Xing tossed aside that broken sword, immediately turning around and taking Sima Yao along as they started to run again. After a little while, they heard a loud sound from up high; the rotten jiao had actually managed to struggle so much that it had lifted up the entire memorial archway from where it had been planted in the ground.
But that archway was a good ten thousand jin, and it was just perfectly positioned on that rotten jiao’s head like a yoke. The archway had been erected when Emperor Yuan of Jin, Sima Rui, had ruled, and on it was carved the five large words: “Good deeds receive good rewards”. The white alabaster pillars on the side had been painted gold, and it was indeed very grandiose, but it was too heavy. The rotten jiao had just flown a few zhang when it was weighed down by that archway, its head pitching towards the earth as it fell on the ground by the river, smashing the cobblestones into tiny pieces.
Wang Ziye who was still possessing Gu Qing’s body finally flew over, again leaping onto the jiao’s head, and the rotten jiao exerted a great amount of effort to adjust its position as it leapt into flight once again, but it had to carry a ten thousand jin archway with “Good deeds receive good rewards” on it. Though it had the heart, it didn’t have enough strength, so it was very difficult for it to control its direction. Every time it wanted to turn its head, the archway would cause it to lose its position again, and its head had been slammed against things so often that it was dizzy and couldn’t distinguish left from right.
“What’s wrong?” Wang Ziye had just narrowly escaped being smashed into meat paste. Thankfully, at the last moment, he had left the jiao behind to survive. But just in that short second, this yao beast that could clearly fight as one against ten thousand had actually gained an archway on its head, thus greatly cheapening its battle ability. For a while he also didn’t know what to do, and what had him even more speechless was that the “dragon” he had planned to use as a symbol of heavens’ wrath bore “Good deeds receive good rewards” on his head; this difference was really too big.
“Over there!” Xie An rushed over, shouting, “Loose the arrows!”
The rotten jiao’s movements had slowed greatly, and thousands of Jin troops took this opportunity to rush up, pelting it with arrows.
What Wang Ziye had never expected was that the Jin people seemed to have already been prepared, as if they had seen through his plans. The rotten jiao in an instant was bound tightly by the ropes. Originally he had had the upper hand with his calculations, where he had planned to slaughter the southern Jin emperor as Sima Yao was performing the rites, crippling the Great Jin’s morale before elegantly flying away, but it all fell through. He could only order about this jiao dragon who never stopped struggling, dragging along hundreds of thousands of ropes as it flew along the river, trying to free itself from its bonds.
Chen Xing and Sima Yao and the rest of the royals and the bodyguards regrouped and retreated to one side. The imperial troops and the Beifu troops swarmed out as they were all ordered to move, with Xie An calmly directing their movements.
Sima Yao said, “Great Exorcist, can you use that artifact of yours? Today that yaoguai must be detained here!”
“How did you guys know this fellow was going to set up an ambush?” Chen Xing was completely ignorant of the fact.
“The martial god guessed it,” Xie An explained. “Do not worry, Your Majesty, the ropes that we are using to bind the demon jiao are all made of steel.”
Sima Yao and Chen Xing exchanged a glance. Sima Yao’s lips couldn’t stop trembling; clearly, he was very emotional, and suddenly he uttered a few sounds by Xie Daoyun’s ear. Xie Daoyun nodded and rushed away.
“That monster’s escaped to the south of the city!” The imperial troops hurried forth, and with them were Xiao Shan and Feng Qianjun.
Chen Xing saw the two of them come back and said, “Let’s go, to the south of the city.”
“You stay here,” Feng Qianjun said. “Brother Xiang won’t let you participate in the battle; you just need to protect His Majesty, that’s all.”
“No way!” Chen Xing said angrily. “I must go out and fight! What do you all take me for?!”
Xiao Shan hesitated a little, and Chen Xing grabbed him, saying, “Xiao Shan, take me there!”
Chen Xing didn’t see Xiang Shu, and he thought in his heart, he must have gone to pursue that jiao. At that, he grew frustrated beyond belief, and he shot a look at Sima Yao, just as Xie Daoyun brought over a sheathed long sword. In front of everyone, Sima Yao pulled out that sword encrusted with gems that reflected light in all colors of the rainbow.
Xie An: “...”
Sima Yao: “They’ve gone so far as to bring this down on Zhen’s head, so how can Zhen just sit around and let them run wild?”
Chen Xing: “Very good, let’s go!”
“Your Majesty!” Everyone’s faces instantly changed as they chased after Sima Yao, and Wang Xizhi shouted wildly, “Your Majesty! Your Son of Heaven sword can’t kill enemies ah!”
Only to see that demonic jiao wearing that archway reading “Good deeds receive good rewards” as it flew about in the city, slamming into things, but no matter what it couldn’t shake off those bonds, and the Jin troops couldn’t suppress it either. Xiang Shu stood up high watching the battle. Clearly this was a detailed strategy that was created specifically to defeat it; first using steel ropes to bind the jiao dragon, like going fishing, and once it exhausted its energy from struggling it would be killed in one go, and they would be done.
Chen Xing climbed up to the rooftop of a big estate in the south of the city, shouting, “Xiang Shu! You get back here!”
Xiang Shu didn’t hear, but when Chen Xing fiercely activated the Heart Lamp, Xiang Shu immediately felt it.
Feng Qianjun and Xiao Shan had been summoned back to Jiankang. Seeing that Gu Qing finally revealed herself, everyone put in all their effort to speed along the two banks of the river after the “Good deeds receive good rewards” jiao.
Xiang Shu shot a glance at Chen Xing, his forehead furrowed deeply, before he turned and came towards him along the rooftops.
“Go back,” Xiang Shu’s tone was icy. He said, “Go back to Taichu Palace with your emperor.”
“You listen to me.” The Heart Lamp in Chen Xing’s hand shone brilliantly, but Xiang Shu fiercely grabbed his wrist, twisting Chen Xing’s hand behind his back and saying quietly next to his ear, “I can resolve this. You don’t need to use the Heart Lamp.” And saying this he lifted his eyes over Chen Xing’s shoulder, shooting a glance at Sima Yao not far away.
“If I don’t use the Heart Lamp, then we won’t be able to expel Wang Ziye!” Chen Xing said. “She’ll die! And plus, you have to use magic that is equal in strength to get rid of them in front of tens of thousands of ordinary citizens!”
When Wang Ziye appeared riding that demonic jiao in the middle of the rites, his goal was already very clear -- to borrow the so-called “will of the heavens” and mercilessly destroy the morale of the Jiangnan soldiers. If even a “dragon” refuted the Sima clan’s true son of the dragon lineage, what more was there to say?
Ever since before the Qin dynasty, whenever a new dynasty was founded, “auspicious omens” and “ill omens” were very important. If they let that rotten jiao run off, then in the coming years, the morale in the region of Jiangnan would undergo a momentous collapse, and the favorable impression the citizens had of the Sima clan as king, with the Xie clan as their support, would also fall into a crevasse. Since the black dragon had already appeared, even if the current state of Jiangnan was as good as it could be, if they destroyed the rotten jiao, it would only be seen as humans warring against “the heavens”.
So to defeat such a “good omen”, the only way to do it was to call down another good omen on the same level as it, annihilate this “dragon” in the eyes of the citizens, and announce to all present that the will of the heavens resided truly within the Sima clan.
Suddenly Chen Xing realized, between Xiang Shu’s brows was a swell of black energy. When had this been left behind? Last time, when they had fought with Wang Ziye in Lake Hong? All of Xiang Shu’s mana came from the Heart Lamp, and if his three hun and seven po contained resentment, then it should have no defense against the light of the Heart Lamp every time it activated. Did Wang Ziye actually have the ability to use resentment to corrupt his protector?!
“You must use it.” Chen Xing fought a few times, before finally pushing Xiang Shu away, saying stubbornly, “Xiang Shu, I don’t mind wasting time right now. Tell me what you’re thinking in your heart.”
Xiang Shu instantly grew frustrated, and he roared, “You’ll die!”
Right after saying that, Xiang Shu took one of Chen Xing’s glowing strikes directly to his front.
“Exorcise!” Chen Xing shouted angrily.
With a loud boom, the color of the sky and earth changed, but Xiang Shu only felt that a beam of light flashed through him, turning his mind, his heart, and even the entire world into a patch of snowy white, and that light began to scorch him, as if it was burning his three hun and seven po into nothingness!
In a split second the resentment that Wang Ziye had left behind was expelled, and it dissipated like a cloud of smoke.
The entirety of Chen Xing’s body was lit up with the burning flame of the Heart Lamp, and he clearly enunciated each and every word. “Xiang Shu, I know you are afraid, afraid that the Heart Lamp would burn me to ashes.”
“... But you, have you ever respected my wish? The only wish in my entire life?” Chen Xing stared into Xiang Shu’s eyes, saying earnestly, “This is the thing that I have always wanted to do, even if I would have to give up everything for it. Even if my body breaks and my bones shatter, I would not hesitate.”
Xiang Shu stared dumbstruck at Chen Xing.
“In your heart, you don’t have any other desires?” Xiang Shu finally said.
Chen Xing turned his head, avoiding Xiang Shu’s gaze, saying, “If you want to do something for me, then go do it ba.” And saying this, he turned his head again, once again looking straight into Xiang Shu’s gaze, saying stubbornly, “Save Gu Qing. Only you can save her. In front of all these citizens, get rid of this jiao, just like how the previous protectors did. You are the Protector Martial God, and this is our mission.”
Xiang Shu didn’t say anything more. He turned his head and looked towards that demonic jiao, only to see that demonic jiao struggling with all its might as arrows stuck out all over it. Green blood spewed everywhere, polluting the entire Huai River.
“Even if you’re like a moth to the flame, which will burn you to ash in the end,” Xiang Shu watched that demonic jiao, muttering, “You still wouldn’t hesitate?”
Chen Xing said, “Yes, because I have always been doing what I believe is right.”
Xiang Shu suddenly turned his head, facing Chen Xing, and with a dangerous note in his voice he said, “There’s no room for discussion?”
Chen Xing’s expression was stubborn, and he didn’t reply.
Xiang Shu’s tone was menacing as he said deeply, “Then, if the day comes when I do what I think is right, you must remember the words you said today.”
“What do you want to do? If you aren’t willing to listen to me,” Chen Xing finally said that heaviest line, “then you can go.”
Xiang Shu sucked in a deep breath, before lifting up the Acala Blade in his hand into a horizontal position.
Chen Xing knew that Xiang Shu had accepted his help, and he lit up the Heart Lamp at maximum power.
In that instant, under the dark and gloomy sky, a beam of light shone upwards.
Xiang Shu’s entire body exploded with bright light. His head of long hair turned into burning embers, and on his gilded golden martial robe, the light gently coalesced into golden armor. The Sword of Wisdom appeared in his hand, and behind him the other five divine weapons slowly revolved.
Xiang Shu took that light with him as he turned into a blazing meteor, streaking towards the surface of the river!
Chen Xing’s hands formed the lamp seal, and he began to float in the air!
The citizens that were fleeing all looked up, and seeing this scene unfold in the air, many of them knelt down.
“By the will of the heavens and the earth,” behind Chen Xing, the figure of a huge god appeared, and he pushed the energy in his three hun and seven po to its limits as his voice echoed through the skies of Jiankang, “with the power of the Great Exorcist, and the Protector Martial God --”
“Exorcise!” And with Chen Xing’s clear shout, the figure of Dīpaṃkara put its hands together, forming the seal of the lamp.
The embers of light on Xiang Shu’s body once again grew bright, and the figure of Acala appeared behind him, letting out an enraged roar, before flying towards Wang Ziye and the jiao dragon. Wang Ziye laughed coldly. “Now this is more like it.”
Xiang Shu’s anger was already beyond his control. He let loose all of the power he had as with a wild roar, with both hands wielding his sword, he brought it down on the jiao’s head!
In that instant, Wang Ziye, who was still in possession of Gu Qing’s body, made his move as well. Resentment rolled towards Xiang Shu, traveling up that long sword, coiling around Xiang Shu’s entire body. But Xiang Shu’s body exploded in golden light, engulfing that resentment and burning it to nothingness.
Wang Ziye let out a strange laugh, and when that golden fire curled up towards him, he left Gu Qing’s body.
Feng Qianjun grabbed the steel ropes and leapt, but Xiao Shan was quicker in getting onto the jiao’s head, and with a swipe of his claw, he firmly hooked Gu Qing and leapt down from there. Feng Qianjun flipped in midair and caught Gu Qing, landing from the jiao head that he had leapt off of.
Right after, with one swing of his sword, Xiang Shu split that jiao’s head in two. An electric light shot past, turning in an instant into a beam of strong light, slicing from the jiao’s head past its scales, down past its abdomen to its tail, and with a shua, that demonic jiao was torn into two like it was made out of paper. Poison blood sprayed into the air, and the resentment dissipated as it plummeted into the Huai River!
The citizens that lined the banks cheered, and Sima Yao raised his sword, shouting loudly, “Well done!”
Chen Xing drew back the Heart Lamp. His vision was pitch black, and he fell from the sky. With a turn, Xiang Shu flew over, catching Chen Xing tightly in midair and plummeting towards the rooftops, sending roof tiles flying in all directions as they landed, before he slid down and dropped onto the street below.
Chen Xing’s eyes were closed, and from the corner of his mouth blood dribbled down.
“Martial god!” Xie An brought the guards along as they rushed along the street, and all throughout Jiankang City was the sound of cheering.
Xiang Shu knelt tiredly against the ground, hugging a comatose Chen Xing in his arms.
moon: let’s take bets on how long chen xing sleeps this time hahaha… haha… ha……
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.