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Chapter 618 – Killing Zhou (The Beginning of the First Season)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Chen Changsheng stood in the courtyard, gazing at the two people within. He had met Zhou Tong several times, but he didn't know him very well. He didn't even recognize the other person, but there were not many people that were able to sit across from Zhou Tong and drink tea. He could get a rough guess as to this person's identity, so he had a reason to kill him.
He had come to kill Zhou Tong, because he was about to die.
Before he died, there were always some things he wanted to do, some things that followed his heart. This could be considered his final bout of madness, or a firework released before the curtain fell.
He was the successor of the Orthodoxy, so actively or passively, he would gain many enemies and rivals, but he truly did not have many people that he wished to die, no personal enemies. There were no demons in the capital, Liang Xiaoxiao had committed suicide, Zhuang Huanyu had committed suicide, so only Zhou Tong was left.
Zhexiu was imprisoned in Zhou Prison for a very long time and tortured into an appalling state. At the time, when he had seen the wounds on Zhexiu's body, he had secretly decided that he would kill Zhou Tong.
The people of the Orthodox Academy knew that Zhexiu remained in the capital because he also wanted to accomplish this task. Chen Changsheng decided to complete it for him because Zhou Tong had tortured Zhexiu due to his connection to the Orthodox Academy. Besides this, there were many reasons to kill Zhou Tong, but there was no need to mention them. In the end, it was just because he wanted to.
Chen Changsheng just wanted a person like Zhou Tong to die.
In this world, countless people wanted Zhou Tong to die, and they had wanted it for so many years, but they only wanted it. Not many people dared to do it.
Chen Changsheng dared.
He acted according to a plan Zhexiu had developed beforehand, hiding below the carriage to easily pass through the checkpoints, using the special characteristics of his body to conceal himself from those sinister and terrifying Cerberuses, and not touching the array within Zhou Prison. Finally, he successfully reached this small courtyard and arrived in front of Zhou Tong. But could he kill him?
Zhou Tong was frightening not merely because of his personality and methods. In these past years, he had raided the mansions of countless princes and dukes and obtained many techniques and secret manuals. His cultivation had long since reached the upper level of Star Condensation, and there were even rumors that he had cultivated to the peak. And the Great Crimson Gown, his secretive mental technique, was terrifying to the extreme! In the years when the Divine Empress held power but had not formally ascended to the throne, the Imperial clan had sent countless experts and high-minded individuals who had sworn oaths to avenge the innocent that had died miserable deaths in Zhou Prison, had attempted countless assassinations, but he was still living very well.
These years were already proof that no person could kill Zhou Tong. No matter how astonishing Chen Changsheng's talent in cultivation was, he was still too young, his level not beyond the peak of Ethereal Opening. And after his failure to break through in Mount Han, his injuries not yet recovered, where did he get the confidence to invade this place and come kill Zhou Tong?
Cheng Jun stared at the young man in the courtyard, thinking of these matters.
Chen Changsheng was also thinking about these matters.
All of their minds were busy, but silent, not stirring the night breeze.
As he thought about these things, Chen Changsheng did not halt his movements. He took out the Stainless Sword and thrust the handle in the sheath.
In Xunyang City, when confronting Zhu Luo, Wang Po had done this, as had he.
A short sword grew long, adding to its sharpness, like a spear in hand as one faced the battlefield.
This indicated that he was very cautious and also very resolute.
He gazed at Zhou Tong.
He didn't even glance at the person next to Zhou Tong.
He did not know that this person was Cheng Jun, leader of the redcoated cavalry and also an expert of the middle level of Star Condensation.
This was not looking down on an opponent, this was complete disregard.
The person he wanted to kill was Zhou Tong. Anyone that blocked his sword had to die, no matter who they were or how strong.
Cheng Jun sensed his killing intent. He had never imagined that in someone so young, still carrying such a young and inexperienced face, he would actually be able to see such composure and such unswerving will. He found it even more impossible to imagine that in this small courtyard within the Department for Purging Officials, there was actually a person that dared to exude such killing intent towards Zhou Tong.
This killing intent was not targeted at him, but he was right next to Zhou Tong, and was even a little closer to Chen Changsheng than Zhou Tong. As a result, his face instantly grew paler. Not because he was afraid, but because he was wary, because his heart was heavy, because he was taking in a deep breath.
He was one of the few middle level Star Condensation experts in the capital. Now, his true essence was beginning to explode. As he breathed in, the crabapple tree in the courtyard violently shook despite the lack of wind.
Countless gusts of night wind were sucked into his lungs. His chest slightly bulged just like the surface of a war drum!
A sharp cry like that of some bird of prey emerged from his lips! This sharp cry instantly tore through the night sky and was heard throughout the entirety of Zhou Prison, and perhaps even in all corners of the capital!
Cheng Jun felt that he should not be afraid of Chen Changsheng, even if he was the future Pope. Chen Changsheng was still too young. Although his cultivation level was already outrageously high amongst his peers, it was still far inferior to Cheng Jun's. Moreover, the injuries within his body were probably still not cured…but Cheng Jun was very afraid of dying.
As the leader of the Great Zhou Dynasty's redcoated cavalry, he had worked hand in hand with Zhou Tong over these past years. Receiving the Empress's decrees, or falsely using the Empress's decrees, they had slain many princes and ministers, scholars and priests, rich merchants and gentry, and innocent commoners. He had seen far too many dead people, so he grew more and more afraid of death.
Furthermore, he was very smart, a person that clearly knew his own position. He had never looked down on any sort of opponent. Everyone said that Chen Changsheng had failed to break into Star Condensation at Mount Han, but he was still the future Pope, a true genius. Cheng Jun felt that it would not be excessive to treat this young man with the highest level of regard, so he immediately chose to sharply cry out in order to move the capital.
As this sharp cry rang out, Chen Changsheng moved!
Before the sound of his footsteps could be heard, the bottom of his boots shattered the stone tiles, the splashing stone fragments piercing through the sound and leaving only a buzzing sound.
His body instantly vanished. With a shattering howl, it soared towards the top of the stone steps like an arrow, the sword in his hands ramrod-straight as it stabbed forward.
The sound of this sword was incredibly pure without any noise, seeming particularly clean.
Because his sword stabbed straight forward without any deviation or change.
To say it another way, this attack of his had no technique.
Chen Changsheng's swordplay was learned from Su Li, but it was of his own construction. After that battle in the storm of Xunyang City, and especially after the several dozen battles in front of the Orthodox Academy in the autumn of last year and his battle with Xu Yourong on the Bridge of Helplessness, the entire continent was forced to admit that his talent in the path of the sword had already reached a world-shaking level. If he were not so young, he would have already been considered a great expert of the sword.
But in tonight's assassination attempt on Zhou Tong, his first strike was so simple that there was no swordplay to speak of within it. It was just incomparably straight, incomparably swift. It was like a straight line was being drawn in the lantern light between the room and the courtyard, and the end of this straight line was Zhou Tong.
At the moment, Cheng Jun still stood between. Chen Changsheng's strike was very fast, very sharp, but to a middle level Star Condensation expert like him, it wasn't at all difficult to deal with. He could use a movement technique to temporarily avoid the edge and then counterattack. Of course, the simplest method was to use his Star Domain to firmly receive the blow.
But Cheng Jun chose without hesitation to yield.
Because this sword intent of Chen Changsheng's was too formidable, its edge too sharp.
The yellow lantern light within the room suddenly dimmed for an instant as Cheng Jun's body drifted to the right like a puff of black smoke in order to avoid this sword. His face was rather pale, his expression rather panicked.
This was the scene Chen Changsheng most wanted to see.
He had never thought about whether this strike of his could kill this man, and his sword had never been meant for stabbing this man. He didn't know the name or surname of this man, but he didn't mind stabbing him to death if needed. But for this strike that contained all his spirit and will to fall upon this man's body was a complete waste.
This sword of his had to fall upon Zhou Tong's body.
Perhaps because the sword glow was too bright, the dusky yellow lantern light within the room suddenly brightened.
Staring at the sword flying towards him, Zhou Tong's face grew somewhat pale. Not from fear or unease, but disdain and anger.
He was well aware that Chen Changsheng's seemingly simple strike was actually not simple at all, containing countless transformations.
These transformations were assuredly exquisite and complex to the extreme, containing all of Chen Changsheng's realizations on the path of the sword. Even he would find it impossible to see them clearly in advance.
However, he was not at all afraid, or even concerned. He was calm, easygoing, and self-confident as usual.
Because the cultivation gap between him and Chen Changsheng was too great. No matter how inconceivable Chen Changsheng's progress on the path of the sword was, it could not make up for this fact.
He would absolutely not compete with Chen Changsheng in terms of swordplay; he could absolutely not give the sword energy contained within Chen Changsheng's ramrod-straight strike, and the sword techniques following after, a single chance to be used. He chose to directly use his unfathomable cultivation to crush Chen Changsheng into a wisp of a ghost within a sea of blood.
A clear bong rang out through the room.
This was the sound made by Zhou Tong's pale finger rapping against the teacup.
The porcelain cup met with the fingertip that had dug out countless eyes, but the sound of their collision was extremely clear.
The tea within the cup began to ripple.
The tea was a tribute from the south, the finest Great Crimson Gown.
Tonight's tea had been brewed for too long and was somewhat excessively strong, its color a dense red like blood.
The ripples of the tea were waves rising from a sea of blood.
The light within the room suddenly turned red.
A sea of blood appeared in the room. The teapot and teacup were both swallowed by blood. The pungent smell of blood rose up with the roiling of this sea of blood, beginning to pervade the surroundings. Even the green leaves of the crabapple tree in the courtyard outside turned red, as if they had been watered in blood for countless years.
In this world of blood, Zhou Tong's pale white face was particularly striking, abnormally frightening.
In a breath's time, his spiritual sense had already enclosed a world several hundred zhang in radius, transforming the real world into a sea of blood.
This blood-colored ocean incessantly soaked into his red official's robe, turning it an ever deeper shade of red, a sickening sight.
Within the sea of blood, it seemed like countless wronged souls were mournfully calling for help and cursing.
Chen Changsheng's sword was still three feet from Zhou Tong, but these voices had already entered his ears.
Just as he heard these suffering voices, a powerful and frightening Qi, brimming with murderous aura and pain, directly invaded his sea of consciousness!
This was Zhou Tong's most frightening secret mental technique, the Great Crimson Gown!