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Chapter 343 - Where Does the Rainbow Come From?
The monster tide was like an ocean and that shadow obscured the sky, but Zhexiu carried Qi Jian and continuously ran off in the exact opposite direction. Qi Jian maintained her weak consciousness and pointed the way, correcting him on occasion when he began straying from the right direction. However, both time and space in this plain were problematic. No matter how fast Zhexiu ran, he still could not escape this plain. For this reason, after he had made a little distance between them and that shadow, he stopped and took a small rest. At the same time, he began to consider what he should do next. It was just at this moment that countless sword glows appeared in the sky—just like this, the Sword Sea appeared in the plain behind them.
When Qi Jian, who was resting on his shoulder, saw this scene, she was stunned into silence and her body became extremely rigid.
"What happened?" Zhexiu asked.
Qi Jian's voice was somewhat shaky as she replied, "It seems… it seems like the Sword Pool has appeared."
Zhexiu was quiet, then said, "Continue."
The battle on the plain between the monster tide and the myriad swords did not affect they who were so far away. That magnificent and momentous battle, through Qi Jian's monotonous voice, became much more tedious, but Zhexiu still listened attentively, because he knew that this strange activity might be the last chance the pair had to escape this plain. Finally, when Qi Jian described how those myriad swords had flown up into the sky for the final time and transformed into a golden dragon and engulfed the Golden-winged Great Peng, he accurately grasped an important fact.
"The sword at the very front…was a dagger?"
Qi Jian's injuries had not yet recovered. In the course of these many days of flight through this plain, she had grown extremely weak. If it were not for the fact that she needed to give Zhexiu directions, she would have dropped unconscious at any time. However, ever since she was a child, she had cultivated in the path of the sword, so her eyes were like two intelligent swords, able to get a crystal-clear view of things that were far away and describe them very definitively.
Hearing her words, Zhexiu immediately put her on his back and once again began to make his way in the opposite direction of that battle.
Qi Jian asked, "Did you recognize that sword?"
Zhexiu replied, "That was Chen Changsheng's dagger."
Qi Jian was confused. She asked in surprise, "It was Chen Changsheng? Then… shouldn't we go and help him?"
Previously, she had seen very clearly that although that dagger had led that legion of swords in victory over the Golden-winged Great Peng, it was very obviously on its last legs. If it really was Chen Changsheng that was battling with the demons in the plains, how could Zhexiu, as his companion, just leave him be?
Hearing her question, Zhexiu's feet actually began to move even faster as he answered. "If he can resolve that problem, he doesn't require our help. If he can't resolve it, it can only buy us some time. If this is the case, if we were to turn around, we would just be wasting the opportunity to survive that he found for us."
Qi Jian had grown up in the Mount Li Sword Sect and had grown accustomed to the mutual affection and assistance her fellow disciples provided to each other, never leaving each other behind, so she was unable to understand Zhexiu's way of thinking. Just as she was thinking of a rebuttal, Zhexiu flatly and emotionlessly continued, "If it was me fighting the demons and Chen Changsheng carrying Xu Yourong away, I am confident that he would also not turn back."
Qi Jian was still somewhat unwilling to accept these words, but she finally decided to remain silent. Because Zhexiu had said that Chen Changsheng would make the same choice and then had also compared himself and her to Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong, she did not know how to respond.
Zhexiu continued to run forward through the surrounding plain. Just at this moment, a clear light landed in the sky. Soon after, a piece of the sky fell down on the plains, followed by an explosion. They were suddenly assailed by a berserk gale, and then a fierce shaking knocked them over into the grass.
Zhexiu laboriously stood up in the water and asked, "What's the situation?"
Qi Jian stared at the distant sky, her face pale as she said, "It seems… that the sky is falling."
Zhexiu quietly stood for a few moments, then carried her out of the grass and continued to run to the edge of the plain.
The sky truly was about to fall. Countless streams of frenzied energy engulfed the entire plain in a storm, then easily tore through the restrictions at the edge of the plain. As one got closer to the edge of the plain to access other areas of the Garden of Zhou, all around could be seen monstrous tears. It seemed like the edge of this world's destruction.
Zhexiu and Qi Jian were very fortunate. As they ran, none of those storms brought about by the clear light struck them. Even more fortunate was that the appearance of the Heavenly Tome Monolith had sent heaven and earth into chaos, dashing to pieces the restrictions around the plains. The different regions no longer ran on different times and the segmentation of space also disappeared.
Just like that, they ran. They ran out of the Plains of the Unsetting Sun and arrived below Sunset Valley.
It was still night in the Garden of Zhou. The sphere of light that distantly shined at Sunset Valley was no longer as calm and beautiful as it once was. The storms brought about by the appearance of the Heavenly Tomes had already reached this place. Massive rocks were falling from the cliffs of Sunset Valley, as if it had just been struck by a fearsome earthquake. And this earthquake was still going.
Suffering the pain from the wound on her abdomen and the effects of the medicine, Qi Jian fiercely clung to consciousness. Through the mountains scattered with fallen stones, she guided Zhexiu. Zhexiu once again transformed, his sharp claws digging into the earth, soaring, leaping, running, and plunging through the cliffs, time and time again narrowly avoiding a landslide. Finally, he arrived at one of the gardens at the edge of the Garden of Zhou.
As soon as Qi Jian saw a girl dressed in the ceremonial garb of the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green, that breath she had been holding for this entire time instantly was all let out. She could hold on no longer and instantly fell unconscious.
This was the Mountainside Whispering Wood, a place where the human cultivators had gathered. To Zhexiu, Chen Changsheng, and the others that had entered the Plains of the Unsetting Sun, several dozen days had passed. To these human cultivators, not that much time had passed. Of course, to them, the time that had gone by was already long enough.
Because of the demon’s plot, the Garden of Zhou was thrown into complete mayhem. They wanted to leave, but they could not leave. This time had been extremely unbearable for them. Now, that terrifying shaking coming from the plain and those even more frightening storms of energy had made them all feel that they were in mortal danger. The gardens in which they had gathered were thrown into disorder. Everywhere there were anxious and inquiring voices, and also many desperate cries. They did not know when the gate to the Garden of Zhou would open, nor did they know if the Garden of Zhou was about to be annihilated.
The Garden of Zhou was a miniature world with an extraordinarily complex construction. On the other side of the cliff was a very large region. The large lake in that place had already returned to its former serenity. The blood bled by Nanke's two maids had been washed away by the waters of the lake. The blood spilled by that treacherous sword that had pierced Qi Jian's abdomen had also been covered up by the sand.
Liang Xiaoxiao and Zhuang Huanyu stood at the lake shore. They did not look into each other's eyes nor speak to each other. They both had no expression on their faces, but they represented two completely different emotions. Gazing at the ominous red sky and feeling the vibrations from deep in the lake, Liang Xiaoxiao glanced at Zhuang Huanyu and said, "First live and get out, then we can talk about other things."
Outside Hanqiu City, the fog was still thick. Although it was night, the rainbow that came from far away was still as striking as ever. That last strand of disorder had long since disappeared, yet this occurrence had no means of going back in time and affecting what had caused that rainbow to disappear in the first place. The formless gate to the Garden of Zhou in the fog was still closed and it was unknown when it would open again.
Zhu Luo stood in the dark forest at the very front of the fog, staring at the rainbow in the fog. His expression was grave and stern as he thought about something.
As one of humanity's strongest experts, one of the Storms of the Eight Directions, not even he knew how many storms he had experienced. Whether it was cold winds and bitter rains or foul winds and bloody rains, an affair like this where the demons infiltrated the Garden of Zhou and cut off its connection to the outside world, while it could shock him somewhat, was truthfully not too big of a deal. Under his leadership, many of the priests of the Orthodoxy and experts of the Tianliang County were using various spells to repair the gate to the Garden of Zhou. Examining the degree to which the space within the fog was warped, he could tell that it would not be long until they met with success. And yet… just a moment ago, he had sensed that something terrible had occurred, that something had happened in the Garden of Zhou and that the garden was now on the verge of collapse.
An expert of his caliber possessed an extremely profound understanding of the laws of space and could tell when any miniature world was about to collapse or slide into oblivion. Even the Central Continent would disappear after tens of thousands of years, but… to construct and moreover use a miniature world inevitably required a relatively stable and firm space. The Pope's Green Leaf world was like this, and so was Zhou Dufu's world. In his view, the Garden of Zhou should have been able to stably exist for at least several tens of thousands of years. So why were there suddenly signs of its coming collapse?
No one could say that their strength was enough to destroy a world, even a miniature one. He could not, the Pope could not, and the Zhou Dufu of the past also could not. A power that could destroy a world could only come from the world itself. If the Garden of Zhou was about to collapse, then the reason inevitably lay within the Garden of Zhou itself, or else some sort of power that surpassed space.
Zhu Luo thought of those rumors and his expression grew ever more grave, like a sheet of ice.
At some point, Mei Lisha had arrived at his side. The archbishop's elderly face was usually tired, but now there was only concern visible on his face. His eyes were still squinted, but only those people close by could clearly sense the chill exuded by his gaze.
With his hoarse voice, Mei Lisha asked, "How long until we can open the gate to the Garden of Zhou?"
Zhu Luo sent out his spiritual sense, using some profound method to sense the twisting of space within the fog. He then gave a relatively accurate estimate. "We should be able to open it before morning."
Mei Lisha squinted his eyes even harder. "No good, it's too slow."
Even in the face of this peerless expert of the Storms of the Eight Directions, his tone was still this direct, even oppressive.
Zhu Luo gazed at that rainbow that arose from somewhere in the south. "We've done everything that we can do. For it to be faster, we can only look at Mount Li."
Mei Lisha understood his meaning and gazed silently in the direction of that precipitous peak in the south. No one noticed that his robed hands were lightly trembling, and naturally no one could hear that virtuous and prestigious elder silently saying to himself: Chen Changsheng, you cannot die.
That rainbow that had arisen from the distance was not the key to the Garden of Zhou. To provide a more accurate description, that rainbow was an action taken by the key to open the Garden of Zhou. Black Robe was able to use the square plate to influence the rainbow and temporarily close the Garden of Zhou because in that instant when the key was about to enter the lock, he had inserted something extra into the lock.
From beginning to end, the key to the Garden of Zhou had been at Mount Li, in Mount Li's highest peak at its highest location in that cave. This was also where the rainbow came from. With a creak, the door to the cave was pushed open and a sagely elder walked out. His hand stroked the hilt of his sword and his two eyes were as placid as a lake, but this lake had a thousand swords within. This was the current sect master of the Mount Li Sword Sect.