Chapter 23 - Determination or Obsession?
“Liu Meng’s inside, right?” Li Yiming finally gave up after trying for a while. He turned toward an alleyway nearby and asked out loud.
Three people walked out of the shadows. It was the Qing sisters and Big Beard. The latter remained impassive while Qing Linglong seemed to be deep into her thoughts.
“Who’s after her?” Li Yiming asked bitterly as he reminded himself that his teammates could no longer be trusted.
“We don’t know. We were only keeping our eye on you. By the time we realized what was going on, she was already inside,” Qing Linglong answered truthfully.
Li Yiming nodded and chose to sit down and wait.
“Is he giving up?”
“Maybe he didn’t intend to enter the Boundary in the first place?”
“Should we attack him now? It’s a nice opportunity.”
“We should wait. Otherwise, we’ll become targets too.”
Even after witnessing Li Yiming’s rather ridiculous spectacle, most had chosen to remain silent and wait patiently, wary of Li Yiming’s sage power.
“Mr. Xie, we’re ready to move.” In a skyscraper nearby, a young man spoke into his transmitter.
“How many others are there?” A cold voice answered back.
“We’ve counted thirty-two guardians belonging to five teams. I think there are more people on the balcony across, but I’m not sure.”
“What about Pan Junwei’s team?”
“They’re not here.”
“What about Li Yiming’s team?”
“Aside from the girl inside the Boundary, the others are present, but...”
“There’s something wrong with them. They’re not here to help.”
“Keep one group of people on-site. Tell the rest to return.” Mr. Xie said after a long silence.
“These are orders.”
Inside the mansion which served as Mr. Xie’s base of operations, he put down his transmitter as he played around with the jade thumb ring.
“Where’s Ying Mei?” Mr. Xie spoke out loud.
“She just boarded a plane with Yun Yiyuan.” A voice came from the shadows.
“Yun Yiyuan… The invincible spear. Is she that attractive?” Mr. Xie frowned as he stared at the walls of the room.
“Are you worried about Yun Yiyuan?” The voice asked, noticing Mr. Xie’s hesitation when the odds were clearly in their favor.
“Yun Yiyuan’s nothing to be worried about. I think that he could even be of help. My concern lies elsewhere…”
“The Seal of Spirit and Heart?”
“Yes. All the attention of the world is focused on Li Yiming, but this song… I have a feeling we’re all being played.” Mr. Xie put down his ring, showing signs of exhaustion for the first time.
“We’ve investigated the effects of the Seal… What if Li Yiming is baiting all of us?” Mr. Xie murmured to himself.
* * *
The battle inside the Boundary finally reached its climax as Pan Junwei vanished. For the first time since the start of the battle, Wu Yun seemed to be taking matters seriously. His enemy was not even a sage, and yet he was clearly pressured.
An explosion was heard as Liu Meng’s body was suddenly shrouded by a black flame with a tinge of purple. She could feel the danger that threatened her very life. At that point, it mattered very little whether it came from Wu Yun or Pan Junwei.
“Have you thought this through? There’s a price to be paid for unleashing this much power, and all of this for a woman you’ve just met? Are you sure it’s worth it?” Wu Yun asked. He made his descent toward the ground slowly and glanced at Liu Meng. This trip of his had already brought far too many unforeseen circumstances: first Liu Meng’s being far more powerful than he had thought, and then Pan Junwei’S obstination, an exceptionally obstinate enemy. However, despite being locked into a bitter showdown with the latter, Wu Yun had a rather high opinion of Pan Junwei, whom he considered a talented guardian.
“Worthiness is all relative, isn’t it?” Pan Junwei’s shaking voice came from the emptiness.
“A nuclear bomb? Are you going to blow yourself up?” Although Wu Yun could not locate Pan Junwei just yet, he did identify the nature of his attack.
“What?” Liu Meng’s limbs shook after realizing the cause of the ominous feeling she had. It did not come from Pan Junwei’s attack, but rather from Heaven’s Laws, since Pan Junwei was about to turn the Boundary itself into a giant containment cell for his bomb.
Liu Meng finally understood why Pan Junwei did not hesitate to gun down ordinary thugs even outside of domains: he was someone who did not adhere to common rules of behavior for guardians.
“It’s the only move I’ve got left in my arsenal…” Pan Junwei’s hoarse voice resonated in the Boundary.
“You…” Wu Yun was at a loss for what to say. “Do you know what’s going to happen to you when you detonate it?”
“Space will be ripped apart, the Boundary will break, and the entire city will be gone under Heaven’s Punishment.” Pan Junwei’s voice came.
“A lot of people are going to die because of this…” Wu Yun frowned.
“We’ll all die sooner or later.”
“What do you want exactly?” Wu Yun voice turned cold.
“I’ve told you. I just want to take her home.”
“Alright, you win.” Wu Yun suddenly smiled. His aura instantly turned from the sage he was into that of a normal factory worker.
“What?” Pan Junwei had not foreseen Wu Yun’s change of mind.
“Why are you surprised? You’ve said that you just wanted to take her back home, so I’ll wait for you to finish that before taking her life.” Wu Yun shrugged his shoulders. Having lost the pride he once had due to his many years spent living as an ordinary man, he decided against risking everything just to kill Liu Meng a few days earlier.
“So you’re done?” Pan Junwei still could not believe that someone who had reached Wu Yun’s status would back down so easily.
“Yes. I’m removing the Boundary, so put away your attack unless you want to be struck by lightning.” Wu Yun clenched his left fist, and the giant dome of light he had cast down began contracting.
“Shit!” Pan Junwei cursed as he scrambled to halt his attack before the Boundary collapsed completely.
As the dome of light faded away, Liu Meng was the only one left standing. She stared at the direction in which Wu Yun disappeared with a grave countenance.
A loud thud was suddenly as a Pan Junwei dropped out of the sky, his face pale as a sheet of paper and his body bloody with bruises.
“Liu Meng!” Li Yiming jumped off, but he stopped himself once he met Liu Meng’s glacial gaze. It was not the Liu Meng that he knew.
“Did you try to kill him?” Li Yiming looked at Pan Junwei angrily. He thought Pan Junwei to be an honorable person, not expecting him to choose to target Liu Meng instead of himself.
“Who did this?” Big Beard as he approached Liu Meng.
“Heaven’s Blade, Wu Yun,” Liu Meng answered.
A few more guardians emerged from an alleyway and formed a perimeter around Pan Junwei.
“And he is…?” Qing Linglong looked at Pan Junwei.
“He… He saved me.” Liu Meng was not quite sure how to explain the situation to her friends.
“He saved you?” Li Yiming asked. However, he quickly remembered the precarious situation he was in — he was prey in a wide-open area, surrounded by guardians who were all after his life.
Li Yiming could only hope that his newly awakened talent would be enough to fend off his enemies, or at the very least, allow him to escape.