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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The assassin was behind Chen Changsheng. He had used the simplest method, even a rather stupid one, to make Chen Changsheng leave all his vigilance and defensiveness behind. Right now, the assassin was already in front of Su Li, only one zhang away.
For an upper level Star Condensation assassin, this distance might as well not exist. Besides experts in the Divine Domain, only someone like Jin Yulu or Nanke, those rare few, could use their natural talent to overcome this assassin in terms of speed.
The assassin’s and Su Li's eyes met in the pouring rain.
This was already an assassination that could not be prevented, so both of their eyes were very calm, but this calm concealed some extraordinarily complex emotions. As the assassin looked at Su Li, deep within the darkest depths of his emotionless eyes was a strand of unquenchable anguish and a hatred that had been accumulated over countless years. And when Su Li looked at this assassin that was breaking through the rain, the emotion in his eyes was very careless, as if he couldn't care less about what this person meant for his life. But why did he seem so grave?
The Yellow Paper Umbrella was in Su Li's left hand and had been soaked in the rain. His right hand was still a bit separated from the handle of the Yellow Paper Umbrella, but did he even have the strength for one more battle? In the next moment, would he grip the handle like he had that time on the snowy plain or just a while ago in the inn?
That assassin had silently tailed them for several weeks. Regardless of how desperate the struggle was when Chen Changsheng and Su Li confronted Xue He and Liang Hongzhuang, the assassin had never acted. Even previously in the inn, when Liang Wangsun and Xiao Zhang had appeared, he still had not availed himself of the opportunity to strike. It had to be said that this assassin that was ranked third in the world really did possess an unimaginably acute and prudent sense. At that time, he believed the situation could still change, so he never made his move. Only now, after Wang Po had entered the scene, Zhu Luo had taken out his sword, and Chen Changsheng had walked off with the hot-blooded passion of youth to the other end of the street, did he believe that the changes had reached their end, and he finally chose to take out his sword.
Once all of the changes had taken place, his appearance would be the only change.
Once the mountains and rivers are exhausted of water, once the receding water reveals the rocks, once the sun sets behind the mountain, once you walk to the end, there is naturally no way of looking back. This was just like how Chen Changsheng had left Su Li; even if it was only a dozen steps, it was already too late to look back, let alone turn his body to go to his rescue.
Chen Changsheng's body was very cold.
He was not Jin Yulu, nor was he Nanke. Although he knew the Yeshi Step, it was impossible for him to scramble in front of that assassin and return to Su Li's side.
The fastest thing in the world was not the Red Falcon or the Red Goose, it wasn't Jin Yulu or Nanke, and it wasn't that assassin. It was thought.
As he was thinking about these things in despair, his body was already beginning to move.
Not even he had sensed that he was moving.
He used the Yeshi Step. He didn't turn his body, nor did he calculate the position of the stars. He completely relied on his complete memorization of the several thousand positions of the Yeshi Step. Recollecting Su Li's location, he disappeared in the rain.
He knew that it would be very difficult for him to rush in front of that assassin, but he wanted to try.
Perhaps because even the world thought it was not Su Li's time to die, or perhaps the world had been moved by his intense remorse and intent to make up, or perhaps it was because his increase in cultivation had made his Yeshi Step even faster, or perhaps it was because that assassin's movement techniques and sword were not as fast as people had imagined, or perhaps it was because he had attached sword intent to his Yeshi Step…
In the rainy street, there was a light sound, a squelch.
That was the sound of a sword touching blood, the sound of a water sac being punctured.
Chen Changsheng appeared in the air in front of Su Li.
He had actually managed to use the Yeshi Step to rush in front of the assassin!
He lowered his head to his abdomen.
The assassin's sword had pierced into his abdomen and blood was slowly seeping out.
That assassin looked at Chen Changsheng, his originally apathetic eyes now showing signs of confusion.
He didn't understand how his sword had ended up stabbing into Chen Changsheng's body.
Chen Changsheng also had many things he didn't understand. For instance, an upper level Star Condensation cultivator really was very strong, actually being able to easily stab into his body. Although he hadn't stabbed too deep, it really did hurt. As he looked down at the blood slowly flowing out of his abdomen, he was somewhat perplexed and also a little gratified. Why was it that his blood wasn't giving off that scent?
The assassin couldn't determine how Chen Changsheng had been able to come back so quickly.
There was still remaining sword intent that continued to linger in the torrential rain.
The assassin felt this and then he understood that this was the final move of the Mount Li Sword Style.
The final move of the Mount Li Sword style destroyed all without discrimination and disregarded one's personal safety. It was an attack that threw away one's life.
If even life was not needed, then the situation was naturally very desperate. Because of this desperation, it was very quick.
From the Grand Examination to the battle on the snowy plains, and then again when he practiced the Blazing Sword, Chen Changsheng was very familiar with this attack.
You could look all over the world and not find someone as familiar with this attack as him.
In this most desperate moment, he had no time to attack, only enough time to use this technique.
This technique did not require a sword, only bravery.
Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, he had won his bet.
He had used the final move of the Mount Li Sword Style to place himself back in front of Su Li.
He had used his own body to block that assassin's incomparably sinister and powerful sword.
Blood slowly flowed out and then was washed away by the rain.
Silence reigned over the inundated street.
At this scene, the crowd was stunned into silence.
No one had imagined that Chen Changsheng was actually so set on protecting Su Li. They had even less inkling that he would suffer such severe injury.
All of the people here in Xunyang City had come to kill Su Li, but none of them had come to kill Chen Changsheng. He was the Principal of the Orthodox Academy. He was the Pope's martial nephew. This…was only an accident.
Was it really an accident? It really was accidental. Even Zhu Luo on that side of the street, Su Li on his horse, and even the assassin in front of him, all felt like it was a huge accident. Then what should be done next?
Soon after, another light sound could be heard in the street.
Blood spurted out as the sword left Chen Changsheng's body.
That assassin once again attacked Su Li. He was very calm, even somewhat wooden.
Chen Changsheng stepped on a star position, broke through the curtain of rain, and used the sword to help his movement technique.
He once again appeared in front of the assassin's sword.
With a squelch, the sword once again pierced into his abdomen, causing blood to flow out.
His face was pale, but there were also two balls of red.
It was a color brought about by the pain and the loss of blood, and also dedication and will mingling together into bravery.
The assassin slightly lowered his head and quietly looked at him. He said nothing, but the meaning in his eyes was exceptionally clear: ‘You will die.’
Chen Changsheng was heavily wounded and was incapable of speaking. As the rain streamed down his face, his meaning was also very clear: ‘So what?’
Some people choose to die to save others, like Chen Changsheng. Some people choose to die to kill others, like Liang Xiaoxiao.
On their journey of tens of thousands of li southward, from the snowy plains in the land of demons to Tianliang County, Chen Changsheng and Su Li had encountered many things concerning several places.
The place Chen Changsheng was most concerned about was the capital, and the place Su Li was most worried about was Mount Li.
Mount Li was also very worried about Su Li, but there were many troublesome problems that it was being forced to confront. Qiushan Jun was heavily injured and in a coma, as was Qi Jian that had just been brought back. And then, many people came to the mountain. In the capital, there were also many people concerned about Chen Changsheng. Every day, Luoluo would stand on the roof of the Hall of Pure Virtue, watching the setting sun. Her elegant and small face was filled with worry and grief. The Orthodox Academy was quiet as a grave. Every day, Xuanyuan Po would go to the Mausoleum of Books to see if Tang Thirty-Six had come out. The great banyan tree by the lake was a compelling spring green, but no one came to visit it.
The matters concerning the Garden of Zhou had already come to an end, but its aftershocks continued to reverberate far and wide. As people left Hanqiu City, they carried the news of what had happened in the Garden of Zhou as well as the shocking events that had occurred outside of it to the entire continent—the demons had used some mysterious method to infiltrate the Garden of Zhou and then forcefully closed the gate. Within, countless scenes of bloody carnage had been stirred up. Afterwards, for some unknown reason, the Garden of Zhou suddenly collapsed and was probably already destroyed at this point. Many extremely talented young cultivators had died within. What shocked people the most was that Chen Changsheng had gone missing in the Garden of Zhou and his ultimate fate was still unknown.
The current Chen Changsheng had long since ceased to be that young Daoist from Xining Village's old temple. He was the previous year's Grand Examination's first rank of the first banner. In the Mausoleum of Books, he had led the sky to be filled with starlight and helped dozens of his peers to successfully break through into the next realm. He was the Pope's most favored young genius and also the youngest Principal of the Orthodox Academy in history.
To not know whether a person like this was alive or dead, for a person like this to be unaccounted for, it was natural for this to attract the shocked gazes of the entire continent. The only matter that was its equal was Liang Xiaoxiao's final accusation on the verge of his death. Although Liang Xiaoxiao had not spoken clearly before he died, everyone present knew what he had wanted to say…Chen Changsheng, Qi Jian and Zhexiu were colluding with the demons.
If it were anyone else making this accusation, it would only provoke ridicule, but Liang Xiaoxiao was a disciple of Mount Li, a brilliant and famous member of the Divine Kingdom's Seven Laws. He had no reason to falsely accuse his own junior brother Qi Jian. Most importantly…Liang Xiaoxiao was dead.
He had died under the final move of the Mount Li Sword Style.
And the dead would not lie.
"A dead person can't even say anything, so naturally they can't lie. The problem lies in the fact that when the Mount Li disciple said those words, he wasn't dead yet. So for what reason should we believe he didn't lie?"
"But Liang Xiaoxiao was heavily wounded at the time, not far from death. Those words were tantamount to his last will."
Zhou Tong was expressionless. Under the light of the oil lamp, his two eyebrows were like two lines of ink. "And his last will is absolutely trustworthy? Then my Department for Purging Officials will have it much easier when handling cases now. If there's some big figure that thinks my evidence is not enough, I'll arrange to have one of his nephews commit suicide. As long as he leaves behind a few words before he dies, it'll be okay, right?"
"I never knew that Lord Zhou Tong valued evidence so highly," Mo Yu looked at him and said. She had never liked Zhou Tong, something the entire capital was well aware of. Of course, this did not affect their cooperation in the politics of the court. As the Divine Empress's two most reliable arms in the Imperial Court, they absolutely had to cooperate well.
"The important point is that no one believes that Chen Changsheng would collaborate with the demons, so I need evidence."
Zhou Tong's expression was unchanging as he calmly said, "In fact, if that Mount Li disciple hadn't died, if it was just purely off Zhuang Huanyu's accusation, do you really think the Li Palace would agree to hand over Zhexiu to me?"
After a moment of silence, Mo Yu asked, "What was the result of the interrogation?"
"He didn't say a single word. Naturally, there was no result."
Zhou Tong impassively said, "I will continue to interrogate him for a month. By that time, if he still won't admit that Chen Changsheng is collaborating with the demons, then…I will admit that he is saying the truth."
Hearing these words, Mo Yu felt a burst of cold and her face paled somewhat.
For how many days had Zhexiu been imprisoned? If he was to be jailed for another month, would he be able to survive? It must be known that he was not imprisoned in the imperial prison, nor was he in the prison of the Ministry of Justice, but rather he was jailed in that most sinister and awful legendary Zhou Prison. No one could hold on in the Zhou Prison for that long. Even if he could, it was still too cruel.
So cruel…that even Zhou Tong himself felt a little sympathy for that wolf youth.