Chapter 16 – Battle to the Death
Bai Ze leaned against a broken wall as she tried her best to focus the energy inside her body towards the recovery of her wounds. The echoes of the loud explosion and the halos of light, bearing testimony to the ferocity of the battle, unsettled her quite a bit. What made her worry even more what that presence she felt, the presence of a phoenix. If she was in her full form, perhaps she would not have worried so much, but now, and with how weak Li Yiming was…
‘Please don’t die…’ Bai Ze cried inwardly. Suddenly, her bitterness turned into shock, and then fear.
Someone appeared in front of her. A man, skinny, not very tall, dressed in square pajamas and with his pants rolled up to his knees. He wore a pair of plastic slippers and had a knit-bag in his hands.
What scared Bai Ze the most was not the attire of her visitor, but the way he had come. ‘How…? I didn’t even sense his presence, and I’m Bai Ze! Even now, he’s standing in front of me, but it feels like as if he doesn’t exist! But my eyes aren’t lying to me…’
The man did not mind Bai Ze and instead gazed at the Dragondog. Ah— The man sighed. He remarked melancholically. “This guy’s also someone worthy of praise.” Then, with a swift swing of his arm, the Dragondog’s corpse disappeared.
“Who are you?” Bai Ze squinted as she gathered the last bits of energy she had left. If this stranger was an enemy, then she would not go down without a fight.
“Calm down.” The man raised his hand, and Bai Ze’s eyes widened; the energy she had just gathered had faded away.
“Not bad, little girl. The Bai Ze beasts aren’t renowned for their fighting capabilities, yet you managed to defeat the Dragondog,” the man knelt down right in front of Bai Ze and examined her wounds.
“Just who are you?” Bai Ze asked in a grave, mistrustful voice.
“Oh, I just happened to walk by, and I want to see what the ruckus was all about,” the man answered casually. “You seem quite hurt, and it’s probably going to take quite a few years if you’re left to recover by yourself. Here, take this.”
The man took out a black pill from his bag, and, before Bai Ze could react, shot it into Bai Ze’s mouth with a flick of his fingers. The pill had already melted inside of her mouth before she could spit it out, and she felt a feeling of warmness reach deep inside her.
Bai Ze moved her lips without saying a word. As the feeling of warmth reached her abdomen, she could feel her wounds healing quickly. The bad cut she had suffered on her thigh had also begun to regenerate, and the flesh was renewing itself almost visibly. “Nine Transformations Life Lengthening Pills?” Bai Ze was shocked once again when she felt the changes within her body. ‘This is a holy pill for healing wounds. Rumored to be of the rarest kind, and he just…?’ She glanced at the knit bag and it seemed like the pill furnace of the Taishang Laojun. 1
“Incredible knowledge for a little girl. Oh well, Bai Ze, from the stars to below the earth, from important matters to trivial details. Hmmm, interesting.”
“Thank you for your help, mister.” Bai Ze struggled to get up for a salutation. It was natural for her to repay kindness with politeness.
“Ah, sit down, sit down.” The man raised his hand, and Bai Ze was pushed back down. “You’re too hurt to do anything right now. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be pretty when you grow up. Your outer wounds may be mended, but you still haven’t completely recovered. Refrain from using your powers for a while, otherwise you’ll suffer permanent consequences.”
“Mister…” Bai Ze hesitated.
“Look at that light and fire. I’ll go have a look over there. It seemed like they’ve brought out that little bird. You should take a rest,” the man uttered, and, before Bai Ze could stop him, he started walking toward Ning Village. It was a slow and leisurely pace, but every step he took carried him a large distance forward, and he vanished from Bai Ze’s sight soon afterward.
‘Who was that?’ Bai Ze wondered. Despite her wealth of knowledge, she could not find anything useful about that man, and, as he left, Bai Ze realized that even his face was starting to fade away in her mind. ‘Dream-like? This is a Dao technique! Just who is he?’
Little Bai Ze struggled to get up and limped toward Ning Village. This man was full of mysteries, — and he could be dangerous, so she was worried about Li Yiming.
Liu Meng looked at the few people in front of her and pursed her lips into a macabre smile. “Starfall Desolate Moon Armor— White Beast Black Turtle Shield — Bugs of Corrupting Heart and Dying Love —” She raised her chin and looked at Xiao Hei, “Nano-light Armor—” and then at the pile of ashes that Zhi Wen had become, “True Water Emerald Heart Sword— I didn’t think that a small domain like this could attract a group of people like you. What are you here for?”
“Give us the Fruit of Nirvana and we’ll let you live,” Xiao Hei’s voice came from above. The phoenix had been much stronger than they had expected, and that was without considering the fact that it was injured in the first place.
“Oh, you’re here for the Fruit of Nirvana? Ahahaha—” Liu Meng suddenly let out a high-pitched hysterical laugh that resounded in the valley. She bent her wing and plucked out the arrow which was stuck on it, just like someone would pick up a flower, and scrutinized it. A moment later, she closed her fingers. The arrow burned to ashes and dispersed in the coming wind.
“Where did you find such boldness?” Liu Meng’s voice suddenly changed into a strident, menacing tone, and the fire around her body grew bigger until the flame turned orange. Then, her wings suddenly splintered into thousands of small fire birds that flew toward her foes.
Xiao Hei elevated himself once more, and rained down on the birds with all four of his cannons. Fang Shui’er shot out one arrow that split into two, and then four, and then as many shafts as there could be to cover the sky. Zhi Wu raised his shield and planted into the ground, and his weapon emitted a huge fan-shaped indigo ripple as the runic glyph inscribed on it glowed brighter than ever. Zeng Qian clasped her shoulders with her hands, and her bugs gathered into a giant skull form that flew forward with its mouth open.
The rain of light, the arrows, the indigo ripple and the skull collided against the flaming birds in the air, and loud noises were heard over and over again. The light faded, the arrows were broken, the bugs were burned and the birds slowly died out.
Liu Meng, without her wings now, jumped forward and made for Zhi Wu, who had the strongest defense out of the four. A small blaze appeared in her palm, its color changing from red to orange, and then from orange to black. She pushed it down slowly on Zhi Wu’s shield.
An explosion of indigo and Zhi Wu sank into the ground. Before he could recuperate, Liu Meng brought down her other hand.
Another blast. The shield shook, and Zhi Wu’s finger bled. He was now knee-deep in the ground. Liu Meng, however, continued her onslaught and struck down again with her right hand.
The light on the shield dimmed. Zhi Wu’s lips were colored by blood, and he pushed his shield upward with his right shoulder; he was now waist deep.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
Liu Meng did not stop until a dozen blows later. The giant shield has shattered and Zhi Wu could no longer be seen. Liu Meng then took a step back, waved her right hand and all of the fire birds gathered around her and formed a pair of giant wings, just like before.
“The second one…” Liu Meng ascended into the air again and stared at her foes coldly.
“Zhi Wu…” Xiao Hei roared in sadness and dove toward the ground. “Buy me thirty seconds,” he yelled, and his metallic armor expanded once again with a series of loud thuds until a giant cannon was seen. A small vortex formed around the mouth of the cannon tube as the energy within it gathered for a terrible strike.
“High-energy ionic beam…” Liu Meng raised her eyebrows: she felt threatened for the first time. She dove toward Xiao Hei to stop him from charging his attack, but was stopped in her track by another arrow which grazed past her ear and cut down a lock of hair.
‘Starfall Arrow…’ Liu Meng’s thought was interrupted by an avalanche of projectiles that Fang Shui’er barraged toward her. Each arrow was aimed towards her from a different angle, following a beautiful arc-like trajectory. Liu Meng fastened her pace and barely managed to avoid the attack.
The skull formed by the insects had spread out into streaks of blackness that each assailed Liu Meng on their own. As the insects fell one by one, the putrid smell intensified. Zeng Qian emitted another terrible screech and her mouth opened until it seemed like her lower jaw had dislocated. Another torrent of insects suddenly came out of her throat and flew toward Liu Meng, enveloping her in a dark tornado. The tornado grew in size until it seemed like Zeng Qian’s body had disintegrated.
Caught between the arrow and the bugs, Liu Meng was in quite a difficult situation. The flame on her wings dimmed out after three arrows pierced through them, and the black smoke emitted from the insects being burned thickened. Liu Meng gave a severe look to the cannon tube in the distance.
“Phoenix Welcome!” she said in a panting voice, and nine flashes of red light shot out from her body. Nine crimson birds with burning feathers pierced through the black mist and flew toward Fang Shui’er. The latter squinted and after a flash of colored light within her eyes, shot nine arrows to meet the oncomers. However, the birds each flapped their wings and managed to barely dodge the projectiles. Fang Shui’er quickly pounced to the side and shot more arrows while running away from the birds.
Without the distraction of the arrows, Liu Meng landed back on the ground and pushed upward with her hands. Her large wings flapped until the flame rose and pushed away the black cloud.
A hole suddenly appeared in the ground. An imposing silhouette jumped out of it: it was Zhi Wu. He seemed more ferocious than ever, and his height had reached three meters. There was a second syringe stuck to his abdomen. He leaped toward Liu Meng and locked her between his arms. Liu Meng’s flame produced a sizzling sound and white smoke as it burned through Zhi Wu’s flesh. Zeng Qian’s insects suddenly gathered into a black ribbon that closed in on the two and bound them together.
Fang Shui’er clenched her teeth, turned around and shot three more arrows in quick succession at Liu Meng’s right shoulder, left abdomen, and right leg. An instant later and she felt the nine consecutive blows of the fire birds colliding with her body. However, Liu Meng, who was already caught by the dual-pronged grasp of Zhi Wu and Zeng Qian, could no longer dodge her arrows, and the shafts pierced through Zhi Wu and Liu Meng’s body, holding them together.
Finally, a flash of white light came out of the cannon tube. It traveled slowly toward Liu Meng, but on its pace, even space itself was ripped apart by its destructive power.
“Liu Meng—” Li Yiming cried out.
2 more chapters until the conclusion of Book 2!! 🙂
1. Famous deity in Chinese Mythology known for making potions and pills.