Chapter 37 - Sai Gao“s Persistence
“Any ideas on who Wukong might admire?” Li Yiming asked while rubbing his temples.
“Nope. He seems like someone who has the world at his feet, just like in Journey to the West and Adventure to the East. I doubt he would ever feel admiration for anyone,” Bai Ze said.
“Well then, who exactly was it that...’ Li Yiming looked at the melted puddle of ice cream on the floor. He was so close yet so far away from the truth, leaving him clueless on where to investigate next.
“How long has it been?” Li Yiming sighed and turned his attention toward the sea.
“Worried about Liu Meng?”
“How could I not be.”
“Do you have a way to get us out of here?” Bai Ze looked at the horizon.
“Yeah.” Li Yiming nodded. The miniature staff in his hand transformed into a plate about the size of a manhole.
“Go!” Bai Ze turned into a ray of white light and shot toward Li Yiming’s chest.
Li Yiming ran towards the external corridor, threw the disk as far as he could and jumped on top of it.
Fang Shui’er was still sitting by the swimming pool, not minding the occasional strange look she would receive from a passerby. She then jumped up and rushed toward the upper deck, staring at the long trail of white smoke left in the distance. ‘Did something come up… or does he find it hard to talk to me right now?’
* * *
“He’s paying us back for Tianshan…” Qing Linglong said.
Sai Gao continued to listen to his music lazily, and took out a cup of wine seemingly out of nowhere.
“He wants to fight Yun Yiyuan? What is he thinking? We can’t just leave him be…” Eyeglasses looked at Li Huaibei and Stargaze, who flew in the distance. ‘If these two could help us, we would have no problem taking out Yun Yiyuan… but… what can we do by ourselves?’
“He’s a man of his word…” “Big Beard said with respect.
“Who are you calling a man? I hate it when people say that!” Sai Gao suddenly complained. He stood up and looked at the distance, his expression gradually stiffening.
“He’s coming…” Stargaze frowned.
A flash of light later, and Yun Yiyuan landed on top of a giant boulder nearby. He looked at Sai Gao, and then at Li Yiming’s friends with a confident smile.
“What’s the meaning of all of this?” Yun Yiyuan said as he removed his sunglasses.
“You came quickly enough. And I thought that you were going to be late.” Sai Gao chuckled.
“You were all waiting for me?”
“To be correct, only I am waiting for you.”
“Did you do all of this?” Yun Yiyuan pointed at the ruins around him.
“Yes. So you would show up.”
“Are you insane? Where do you get all this confidence from?” Yun Yiyuan frowned. He had guessed that the rest would not interfere with his battle against Sai Gao.
“You’ll never know if you don’t try. I thought about a way to repay the favor for what you did to me last time. The best plan I could come up with was this.”
“Oh?” Yun Yiyuan glanced at Big Beard’s mecha, and then at Li Huaibei and Stargaze, and his smile died down.
“I was complaining about how everything was over so quickly, and here you are, having prepared a finale for me. Alright, let’s settle this for the two-hundred thousand innocent souls that lay crushed beneath the rubbles.” Yun Yiyuan smiled and his half-broken spear appeared in his hands.
Yun Yiyuan’s remark about the residents of Jing Prefecture seemed to have rattled Sai Gao, who dashed toward Yun Yiyuan like a cannonball. Scales grew from his waist and turned his legs into a massive tail, while his muscles grew in size and a pair of golden wings emerged from his back. His hands transformed into the paws of a tiger, and he held a giant tortoise shell as his weapon with his left hand.
“Bai Xi, the Teng She, Ya Yu, Thunder Eagle, and Black Turtle… his power almost rivals that of a sage…” Stargaze observed.
“Yun Yiyuan’s spear…” Li Huaibei’s attention was pulled by the crack on Yun Yiyuan’s weapon.
“That should be Li Yiming’s work from back in Tianshan…” Stargaze commented and glanced at Li Huaibei. She wondered what his reaction would be to Li Yiming defeating a foe that even he could not overcome.
“Sai Gao cannot win against him.” Li Huaibei put his sword back down slowly.
“Yes…” Stargaze sighed and redirected her attention toward the battlefield.
Big Beard’s mecha retreated swiftly, carrying Li Yiming’s friends along with him.
“We…” Qing Qiaoqiao said hesitantly, but then swallowed back down the rest of her words, knowing full well that it would not be of any use.
Sai Gao made it seem like it was a simple case of him paying back his debt, but everyone knew that Sai Gao was choosing to die for them. Although there was tremendous guilt in watching Sai Gao doom himself for their sake, they all knew that at this point, the only possible way for them to survive was for Sai Gao to die.
The fight started with a violent exchange of blows. Coming into this fight, Sai Gao already knew that he had no chance of winning. He had understood the real goal of the domain and made his choice.
After considering the options he had for a long time, and thinking about Shangbei and Tianshan, he concluded that there would be very little gains in living. Instead, it would be much more beneficial to let the small group of guardians live to defy and fight against the Heaven’s Laws.
Sai Gao roared in agony as Yun Yiyuan’s spear pierced through the black scales on his tail. He tried to retaliate with a blow from his scythe-like wings. Yu Yiyuan smiled and pushed on his attack, pouring his energy into his spear until the moment Sai Gao’s attack grazed him.
“Scarlet Slice!” Yun Yiyuan released his spear and suddenly vanished.
A deafening explosion was heard as a puff of red smoke appeared. Sai Gao fell down from the explosion with half of his tail missing.
“Sai Gao!” Qing Qiaoqiao put her hands to her eyes, unable to watch the bloody scene.
“You’ll only make things more complicated if you interfere…” Stargaze said coldly as she looked at Li Huaibei’s shaking sword.
“And here I thought you made some progress. Seems like all you’ve done is coming back with a turtle shell. Maybe if it was big enough for you to fit inside it would have been useful…” Yun Yiyuan’s spear flew back into his open hand.
“The fight has only begun…” Sai Gao flapped his wings back toward Yun Yiyuan with blood still gushing out from his tail.
“A shame that you have to die. Otherwise, I’d consider making you my mount…” Yun Yiyuan sighed and brandished his spear once again.
Sai Gao suddenly opened his eyes wide, staring at Yun Yiyuan. A golden shadow shot out of his forehead and traveled toward his foe at light speed. Yun Yiyuan raised his spear to block the attack, but it went through his weapon and entered his head. For a brief moment, Yun Yiyuan was paralyzed.
Sai Gao raised his paw and struck at that exact moment.
“It’s over…” Stargaze closed her eyes.
Yun Yiyuan’s frozen expression suddenly turned into a scornful smile. He dodged Sai Gao’s attack with ease with a swift movement to the left and dismembered Sai Gao’s paw with his spear.
Sai Gao once again let out a scream of pain.
“Show weakness to let your enemy’s guard down. I’m also familiar with that trick.” Yun Yiyuan appeared behind Sai Gao.
“Now it’s time to pay the price for challenging my will.” Yun Yiyuan said coldly as a small tornado appeared at the tip of his spear. He thrust his weapon into Sai Gao’s back, and a giant shadow appeared on his weapon. Just like back in Tianshan, Sai Gao fell from the sky and was nailed into the ground.
“I’m curious, how many beasts did you absorb to become such a Frankenstein? What would happen if I were to take them all away one by one?” Yun Yiyuan said with a cruel smile as he pulled out both of Sai Gao’s golden wings, causing an expulsion of blood and gore.
“No…” Qing Qiaoqiao gasped again and tears flowed out of her eyes while Qing Linglong looked away. Eyeglasses slid his hand across Big Beard’s mecha, leaving behind visible marks. As for Big Beard, he clasped both of his hands on his firing switch with his eyes reddened.
“I know what you want to do. I’d like to remind you that you’ll lose more than you gain…” Stargaze put Li Huaibei’s sword down for the third time.
“How boring!” Yun Yiyuan grinned and recalled his spear once again.
“It’s almost time for supper. Time to finish this…” Yun Yiyuan looked at his watch and raised his spear high above Sai Gao’s head.
“Stop it!” A furious cry was heard. A red silhouette burst away from the mecha in an explosion of flames.
“Liu Meng!” Eyeglasses reached out for her, but could not stop her in time.
Liu Meng had finally woken up. She quickly realized what was happening after looking at her surroundings. She knew very well the reason behind the inaction of her friends, but she could not allow herself to do the same.
“Oh? You’re finally here? I was under the impression that you prefer staying as a spectator.” Yun Yiyuan looked at Liu Meng with contempt.
“He’s dying for you after all. I suppose he’ll die happy knowing that not all of you just stood back and watched.”
“Let, him, go.” Liu Meng said angrily. She could not bear to see the state in which Sai Gao was in.
Liu Meng continued to walk forward to her savior. Her flames turned from red to orange, and the shadow of a giant phoenix formed behind her, looking down at Yun Yiyuan.
“Don’t provoke me. I’ll roast your little phoenix after I’m done with this insect.” Yun Yiyuan threw a menacing glare at Liu Meng, irritated that she dared challenge his supremacy.
“I’d like to see you try!” An angry shout was heard as a golden sword descended from the sky. The weapon planted itself into the ground right in front of Yu Yiyuan as a warning.
“Li Huaibei?” Yun Yiyuan’s first reaction was to turn around, but he found Stargaze and Li Huaibei standing still in the distance.
“It’s not him?” Yun Yiyuan looked up. Someone had just fallen from the sky like a meteor.
As the smoke from the impact dissipated, it revealed a young man, looking back at him with rage filling his eyes.
“Li Yiming?” Yun Yiyuan’s countenance darkened.