Chapter 19 – Bloodshed at the Summi
The sudden weightlessness from the fall and the billowing clouds that blinded him made Li Yiming nauseous. He could see two almost indistinguishable silhouettes ahead of him as the cliff flew by. As he accelerated further and further, Li Yiming became closer and closer to losing his consciousness. But, even after what seemed like an eternity,
‘Wow, how tall is that thing?’ Li Yiming was counting the duration of his fall, and he became more and more impressed.
Suddenly, the layers of cloud cleared away, and a completely different landscape entered his eyes. The world Li Yiming was plunged in a moment ago was one of shadowiness and mistiness, but what he saw now was a lushful valley, with a river meandering through the mountains, tall pine trees and a green, emerald-like tapestry of grass. A village, consisting of no more than a few grass huts, showed that there were people living in this paradise.
As Li Yiming continued in his fall, he noticed a few black dots on the ground, moving rapidly toward the village. To Li Yiming’s surprise, a yellow mist slowly wrapped around his body, and suddenly he began to slow down. It was not long before it became a slow forward glide.
“So what’s the plan boss? Is it okay to go in just like that?” Fu Shan asked lazily.
“Little Lu, drop us down on the other side of the river. We’ll wait before crossing it.” The man with the door-sized blade, who was the leader of the group, gripped the hilt of his weapon tightly.
Li Yiming looked around and saw the girl with the veil right beside him. Her irises shone with a golden radiance as she held her hand in front of her with two fingers pointed upward. Although the wind that whistled in her ears dragged her hair back and forth, her veil stood still as a rock.
“Do you see that? That’s our target.” The leader of the group, Leader Ma, planted his blade into the soil and turned around to examine the other guardians who were slowly landing behind them. Some of them, with a brisk movement, already jumped across the river, whereas others chose to be more prudent and waited. Beams of light flashed across the sky, and, upon a closer look, Li Yiming realized that they were mythical beasts. Although Li Yiming had been in several domains before, he still found it hard to swallow down a scene this removed from reality.
“Three hundred people, for that?” Little Lu frowned.
“Stay on your guards. I’m sure that this place is more dangerous than it seems.” Li Huaibei extended his arm forward and a sword emerged from his palm. This was the same sword Li Yiming himself saw earlier, although the glare that surrounded the blade was not as intense. Li Huaibei turned around to look at the cliff from which they fell and saw it covered in vegetation instead of the desolate pile of rocks it was above the clouds.
“Well, since we’re here, we shouldn’t just stand and watch, should we?” Fu Shan kicked a pebble into the river, scaring off a band of small fishes. Despite the width of the river, he easily reached the other side with one casual hop.
“Stay together.” Leader Ma pulled out his weapon out of the ground and followed Fu Shan.
“Stay with me, okay?” After the two left, Li Huaibei bid Little Lu. She nodded and looked back at him with a gentle expression.
The group of guardians approached the village, all in their own fashion, some had ancient weapons, others wore mech suits, and finally, some were riding on top of fierce beasts.
“Eden is split from the world, and we do not participate in its conflicts. Why are you here?” A voice was heard in the heads of all. Those who were ahead stopped and looked at the sky alarmingly. However, they could see nothing but the blue sky and the white clouds that floated quietly above them.
“He’s in the village.” Fu Shan held his gourd backward. A sweet aroma of wine emanated from where he stood.
“Heaven’s Laws has given us orders. It’s not our wish, and we are sorry for it,” someone in the crowd answered loudly as he dashed toward the village. Lotus flowers appeared under his feet as he climbed into the air, supported by them at every step.
“Sorry!” Those behind him repeated and continued on their way.
A long sigh, coming from the same voice was heard. As the voice reached the ears of those who were the furthest away, the ground suddenly began to tremble: something was running beneath in the earth beneath.
“Careful!” Leader Ma leaped into the air and swung his blade down from above his head with a loud whistling noise. As the metal struck the ground, a loud crack was heard and a green shadow suddenly emerged.
“Sage Restricting Vine?” Fu Shan yelled in a surprised tone. He released his gourd and pushed his palms down from over his head. A huge, translucent hand appeared in front of him and came crashing down at the green vine.
The vine was as thick as a bucket, and red, bloody veins ran across its inky green skin along with recurved thorns. It twisted and spun madly in the air, but Fu Shan’s hand was enough to crush it down to the side. As soon as its movement slowed, Leader Ma arrived with his weapon and cut the vine in two. A blood-like red liquid gushed out from the incision and the segment severed from the main body fell down, twisting and writhing like a snake.
“This is only an offshoot. The main one is over there.” Leader Ma pointed toward another direction. Rows and rows of craters appeared on the grass plains as the huge vines erupted from underground, and one of them was particularly thick and almost touched the clouds. The visible part of it must have been over one hundred meters long.
“They’ll take care of it, we can enter the village.” Fu Shang turned his head. The man with lotuses under his feet had already rushed toward the main stem of the giant vine.
“Look!” Lu cried out in surprise. The group turned around to look at the river they had just traversed and found the water bubbling violently, as if the entire river was boiling. White beasts began to jump out of the water bringing with them gusts of chilling winds. They darted toward the guardians with a low growl. There were so many that one could not even count all of them.
“These are Water Guardians.” Li Huaibei put his sword in from of him and scrutinized the pack of beasts that came in their direction.
“Are we going forward or backward?” The golden irises had reappeared on Lu’s visage, only this time the light was intense enough to even veil her body in a pale yellow halo.
“We can’t go forward.” Leader Ma said with a grave countenance as he looked at the entrance of the village. A man was standing there, his features indistinguishable from a ball of mist that veiled his face. However, it could be seen that he was holding a big golden pan. The man looked at those who were about to invade his village and threw his pan into the air. An endless rain of golden beans poured out of it and accumulated into a big pile in front of him.
The few guardians had noticed the man leaped at him with their weapons ready. The mysterious man answered their efforts with a chuckle and swept his right arm. Suddenly the mountain of beans scattered, and thousands of golden warriors appeared out of nowhere. Some of them had knives, others swords, spears, or halberds. They stood in an imposing line and guarded the entrance of the village. The few guardians who had rushed forward quickly disappeared into the golden wave.
“Making an army out of beans?” Fu Shan seemed shocked by what he saw. He still had his habitual lazy voice, but the smile on his lips had faded away. 1
“There should be more.” Li Huaibei raised his head and looked at the sky. A bright red spark could be seen. It slowly became bigger, and bigger until it was a tornado of fire that painted the sky red. The shadow of a huge bird, seemingly made of fire, was visible behind the flames. It had a white beak, a long neck, a single leg and blue specks on its feathers.
“Bi Fang!” The golden halo around Lu has materialized into a curved armor that covered her entire body.
“The mountains!” Leader Ma suddenly smile. His weapon, along with its master, trembled with excitement for the battle soon to come.
“So the five elements are all present. Just who are living in this village, some big shots?” Fu Shang joked. He took his gourd, removed the cap and poured its content down his throat. He wiped away the liquid with his sleeve and looked at the two mountains near the village’s entrance that slowly became to move. 2
“If we get out of this alive, marry me.” Lu suddenly turned around to look at Li Huaibei. She spoke slowly, but firmly, with her golden irises fixated on Li Huaibei.
“Yes.” Li Huaibei nodded. The glow on his blade could barely conceal its murderous sharpness.
After seeing the vine, the water beasts, the golden warriors, Bi Fang, and the rock giants, the guardians finally understood why they were all needed. At the same time, they also realized that most of them would forever sleep in the earth they stood on.
A chaotic battle erupted as the guardians charged into their enemies without waiting or trying to devise a strategy. The tranquility of the valley was soon broken by loud explosions, flashes of light of all colors that ran across the sky, and rainbow-colored halos. It was a dance of swords and knives, a downpour of arrows and different techniques, and above clouds and beneath the earth, dragons of fire clashed with pillars of water, mists of poison with blades of wind. Li Huaibei himself rushed toward the water beasts, his sword transforming into a hundred blades as it sliced through his enemies before reuniting into one whole and flew back into his hand.
Li Yiming, who had been” watching” it all, was shocked wordless. It was the first time he had seen that many high-level guardians, this many mythical beasts and that many different talents and combat techniques. It was not until dusk had slowly crept in that Li Yiming realized something. ‘Wait, Li Huabei is showing me this… to teach me? He’s hoping that I’ll learn something from his combat. This is an invaluable opportunity!’
The combat experience between a high-level guardian and a beast itself was treasure, and Li Huaibei wanted to give it to Li Yiming. Li Yiming, after realizing his intentions, scrutinized Li Huaibei’s every movement carefully, forgetting even to breathe as he became wholly enthralled by the combat. He was only looking at Li Huaibei, for he knew that he could spare no attention for anyone else, and it was also the best person to look at, since he could feel “himself” wholly. He looked at his every move, the slices, and chops, the spins, the thrusts, and the movements of his limbs. It was not long before Li Yiming forgot about why he was there, forgot about the other guardians, and all that remained in his mind was his swords and the beasts that came across its edges. ‘Attack, dodge, anticipate, being wounded…’ Li Yiming’s combat consciousness was quickly growing.
1. This is kind of a classic Daoist “magic trick”, kind of like pulling a bunny out of the hat.
2. The five Chinese elements are fire, water, wood, metal, and earth.