Book 21, The Bloodlotus Blooms, Chapter 27 – Eldest Disciple
“Unruly monkey!” Daomother Devilhand glanced sideways at him. She didn’t hold the King of Flower-Fruit Mountain in any regard, but she still halted her assault on Ji Ning and instead waved her hand towards the Monkey King, intending to deal with him first.
Daomother Devilhand stood there in midair, one palm clashing with the oncoming blow from Lord Tathagata the Buddha, the other smashing towards the Monkey King.
A deep, dull sound rang out. It was the sound of the gleaming golden staff colliding with Daomother Devilhand’s ivory-white hand. Daomother Devilhand’s hand actually came to a halt. It was actually forced to a halt by that staff!
“Eh?” Daomother Devilhand’s face changed as she stared at the distant Monkey King.
“My junior apprentice-brother has only trained for a few short centuries, but he’s reached an incredible level of power. It’s been countless years since the war that ended the Primordial Era. Did you think that I, ol’ Sun, wouldn’t have made some improvements of my own?” The Monkey King sped through the air, closing in on her with his staff in his hands, filled with an unearthly aura of battle.
“The monkey has reached such a level of power as well…our Seamless Gate has been hiding some of our forces, and now it seems the Nuwa Alliance has hidden quite a few of theirs as well.” The Lord of All Fiends secretly sighed to himself.
The war that ended the Primordial Era had occurred far, far too many years ago, after all. It had been more than half a chaos cycle.
After so many years, it was entirely possible that a formerly ordinary True God or Daofather could suddenly reveal the power of a elite Daofather, or perhaps even an overlord-class Daofather. Both sides would only reveal their final trump cards in the final instant, at the critical moment which would determine victory or defeat, life or death. Trump cards that were left hidden were the most dangerous cards of all.
During the Endwar, a single slip-up or a single unexpected power-up by a major power could have a huge impact on the outcome of the war. Thus, both sides were hiding their true power. Even when they were forced to fight, they would only reveal the powers that the other side already knew about.
“Back then, although the monkey was favored by Nuwa, he was still merely a elite Daofather. But now, he’s close to being an overlord-class Daofather,” the Lord of All Fiends mused to himself.
Sun Wukong, the King of Flower-Fruit Mountain. The shadow of Mother Nuwa could be seen behind him on his path to power.
He had been born from the only piece of stone that Mother Nuwa had used to repair the heavens. How could she possibly not pay attention to him?
He won his treasures from the Dragon Palace, apprenticed himself to Subhuti, was tempered by the Buddhist Sangha, and in the end was provided with the personal tutelage of Mother Nuwa herself. It could be said that Mother Nuwa focused more on training this monkey than she had on anyone else. During the war that ended the Primordial Era, the Seamless Gate had been quite wary of this monkey, as they were afraid that he might possess a terrifying amount of power. However, the reality was that although the monkey was extremely skilled in battle and had many magical treasures on him, he was fairly weak with regards to his insights into the Dao, and so was just barely at the level of elite Daofathers in strength.
Now, half a chaos cycle had gone past. The Monkey King had truly transformed, and this was one of the reasons why Subhuti had summoned him.
Subhuti had summoned three of his main disciples. The eldest disciple, the woodcutter; the second disciple, Crazy Ji; the sixth disciple, Sun Wukong. In truth, Subhuti actually had another Daofather under his command; his twelth disciple. However, his twelfth disciple was merely an ordinary Daofather who wasn’t strong enough to get involved in battles at this level, and so Subhuti did not summon him.
“This monkey is quite hard to deal with.” Daomother Devilhand immediately gnashed her teeth after their initial clash. “Before Nuwa left the Three Realms, she definitely provided this monkey with some assistance.”
Although Devilhand was skilled in battle, she was different from Everwood; Keeper Everwood was able to simultaneously tie down multiple overlord-class experts thanks to his defensive prowess, while her skills revolved around attacks! If she spent enough time and effort, she’d be able to wipe out the monkey, but time was a rare and limited commodity right now. The more time passed, the more major powers would make it to this place.
Their target for this mission was Ji Ning!
Although the monkey was formidable, he had long ago become a True God and Daofather; there was no way he could get involved in the war for karmic luck. Ji Ning was clearly just an Empyrean God and True Immortal, but he was able to unleash an utterly unearthly level of power. Now that he had an Envoy of All Things, he was actually able to unleash a level of power that was close to that of an overlord-class Daofather. A monster like this…no matter what, they could not permit him to live.
“Darklight, Shadowless, stop this monkey for me. Leave Ji Ning to me.” Daomother Devilhand instantly sent mental instructions to the other two. She didn’t want to allow the monkey to be able to distract her.
“Alright.” Swordfather Darklight had been airborne this entire time. With but a thought, he caused the black, sword-shaped stream of light under his control to switch directions, striking towards the Monkey King that was charging towards them from afar. The Monkey King had no choice but to use his power to defend against the sword-light. No one would dare to be overconfident when faced with Swordfather Darklight’s sword.
Swish. Daofather Shadowless quickly withdrew as well, turning to charge towards the distant Monkey King.
“Ji Ning. Die.” Daomother Devilhand was still using one hand to clash against Lord Tathagata. With her other, she struck out from hundreds of thousands of kilometers away towards Ning.
“Daomother Devilhand.” Ning felt breathless upon seeing this palm crash down towards him.
If he was in the Rahu Formation, he would probably be instantly annihilated. However, using the Envoy made him much more powerful; more than ten Rahu Formations would be needed to match its power.
“Soleheart stance.” Ning’s twin swords simultaneously unleashed his most powerful supreme defensive technique. A pair of sword-light black holes appeared before Ning. When the terrifying, ivory-white palm lashed out towards him, it was blocked by the black holes. Daomother Devilhand could clearly sense that her hand was being repelled by multiple layers of strange energy that were furiously ablating the power of her strike.
“Eh?” Daomother Devilhand frowned. “Leafseizer.”
Her ivory-white hand suddenly changed, unleashing an even more intricate and terrifying palm-art. Her forefinger, middle finger, and thumb drew close to each other, as though she was holding a leaf between them.
The five fingers of her palm danced their way into Ning’s sword-light black holes. And then, following a series of exploding sounds, the black hole vanished, with the fingers latching onto Ning’s Darknorth swords.
“Impossible.” Ning stared in disbelief, his heart filled with shock and dread. Daomother Devilhand’s seizing technique had been simply too dazzling and beautiful. It was a technique that was so complicated as to cause one to feel almost uncontrollably intoxicated upon seeing it. In fact, the technique was even more complicated than Ning’s sword-arts, which was why it had been able to break through it.
Perhaps Ji Ning was the number one expert of the sword in the Three Realms…but in palm-arts, Daomother Devilhand was number one. Even Lord Tathagata, who also specialized in palm arts, was slightly weaker than her.
Daomother Devilhand’s dainty white hands went through multiple different variations; the ‘Leafseizer’ stance, the ‘Flowerpicker’ stance, the ‘Wilted’ stance, and more. These stances all had graceful, refined names, and Daomother Devilhand’s movements were quite beautiful as well. However, the power of these techniques caused Ning to feel despair. He was wielding a pair of swords, but one of them had already been seized. Twelve stances later, the Envoy-Ning was struck on the waist by the palm, causing him to uncontrollably fall down to the ground.
“Come in.” Daomother Devilhand suddenly produced a Protocosmic spirit-rope in her hands, and she quickly tossed it around the Envoy of All Things.
Trapped inside the Envoy, Ning just felt a sense of powerlessness and reluctance. Although he had already fought as hard as he could, he was still a bit weaker than Daomother Devilhand, a fiend amongst fiends who had once battled Mother Nuwa to a standstill for a short time during the war that ended the Primordial Era. She had only been using one hand, but had been able to capture him after just ten or so stances.
“If I was able to reach the fifth stage of swordforce, my sword-arts would become even more intricate. Combined with my weapon speed surpassing the limits of the Heavenly Daos…perhaps in that situation, Daomother Devilhand wouldn’t be able to capture me,” Ning sighed to himself.
For the sake of seizing Ning as quickly as possible, Daomother Devilhand had showed no mercy whatsoever. She had unleashed more than ten absolutely dazzling palm-arts with her hand, causing all of the major powers present to feel shocked. “Daomother Devilhand’s techniques truly have become even more exquisite since the Primordial Era.”
Ji Ning had been captured.
Although he was unwilling to accept this, there was nothing he could say. He had been simply too careless, and he was simply not strong enough. Fortunately, he had kept clones outside; even if he died here today, he would have the chance to return to his full level of power in the future. Alas, his Ninehorn Lightning Serpent, Darknorth swords, and other treasures would be lost.
“Daomother Devilhand, please release my junior apprentice-brother.” A chuckling voice rang out as a skinny old man dressed in tattered clothes emerged from a spatial whirlpool. He stretched out his hand, and it glittered with golden light. This was the [Golden Body] technique of the Buddhists, and his shining golden hand struck out towards Daomother Devilhand, seeking to stop her.
“You think to stop me, you crazy monk?” Daomother Devilhand stretched out her own massive hand, many hundreds of thousands of meters in length, and seized the Envoy of All Things, completely ignoring Crazy Ji’s attack.
Her ivory-white hand and Crazy Ji’s golden hand, which looked as skinny as a chicken claw, collided against each other.
Crazy Ji’s face changed while Daomother Devilhand revealed a disparaging smile. However, right at this moment, Daomother Devilhand’s face changed as well, becoming ugly to behold. She stared in disbelief at the figure that had just appeared in midair. From that very same spatial vortex, a woodcutter who wore straw shoes and carried a hatchet over his shoulders had appeared. He had come here at the same time as Crazy Ji.
Crazy Ji had been the first to strike, but he had failed.
Only then did the woodcutter brandish his hatchet, and as soon as he did so, Daomother Devilhand’s face turned terrible to behold.
“No!” Daomother Devilhand actually voluntarily released Ji Ning, sending her ivory-white hand upwards to block the hatchet with full force.
“Let it be severed.” The woodcutter spoke in a calm, soft voice.
His hatchet seemed extremely ordinary, but Daomother Devilhand’s incomparably marvelous palm-arts were actually unable to block it. The hatchet swished past her defenses, landing on her arm. Slash! Daomother Devilhand’s arm was immediately severed.
Whoosh. After chopping through Devilhand’s ivory-white arm, it suddenly accelerated past the speed of light and chopped towards Swordfather Darklight, who had been controlling his magic treasures to attack from afar.
“Flee.” Swordfather Darklight had no idea that this disaster would suddenly descend upon him from out of nowhere. Although he had noticed the woodcutter appear, he had been quite confident in Daomother Devilhand’s power. He hadn’t expected that a single blow from the hatchet would sever her arm while still carrying enough power to continue to chop towards him. As for the speed of the hatchet…it was even more terrifying than Ning’s sword.
He wanted to flee. But…how could he possibly escape that terrifying hatchet?
Slash. Swordfather Darklight’s body was immediately bisected by the hatchet. His soul and his Jindan were both annihilated, and the two halves of his corpse fell down from the skies, landing on the ground and splattering blood everywhere.
A Daofather who had reached the fifth stage of swordforce and who was skilled in assassinations..had died, just like that.
The entire battlefield had turned silent.
Daoist Three Purities, Lord Tathagata, and Suiren had come to a halt as well. Keeper Everwood had also come to a halt.
Everyone’s gaze was turned towards the hatchet-wielding woodcutter. The woodcutter looked very ordinary, and he was dressed very plainly and simply…but just now, that ‘ordinary’ hatchet had delivered a blow that had stunned all of the overlord-class major powers present.
Long, long ago, there had been another figure who had similarly stunned them with his attacks.
It was Houyi with his arrows!
And today, this woodcutter had stunned them with his hatchet.
“Junior apprentice-brother.” Crazy Ji was rescuing the Envoy of All Things.
Daomother Devilhand retracted her treasures, her arm once more growing out and healing. She stared intently at the woodcutter, completely ignoring Ji Ning. She did not even think about trying to capture him again.
“Houyi. Is that you?” Daomother Devilhand’s voice was crisp and pleasing to the ear.
“It’s me.” The woodcutter’s reply was very calm.
The entire imperial palace had turned deathly silent. After a long period of silence…
Boom! Boom! Boom!!!
The skies above the imperial palace repeatedly exploded as more and more major powers descended. It was the other major powers of the Nuwa Alliance, who had all hastened here to help out. They included Exalted Celestial Thundergod, Exalted Celestial Carefree, Buddha Amitabha, Buddha Maitreya, and more.
Although this fight took time to describe, it had actually occurred at high speed. Only brief moments had passed between Ji Ning’s true body being killed, his Primaltwin appearing within the Envoy, the Envoy being captured, and Crazy Ji and the woodcutter intervening.
A very short period of time had passed…but now, all the major powers were completely focused on the woodcutter rather than Ji Ning.
“It’s been so many years. Sorry for the trouble, Master.” The woodcutter looked towards Subhuti.
“Haha…I imagine Three Purities, Tathagata, and the others would’ve fought over the chance to accept Houyi as a disciple.” Subhuti laughed merrily. “Wonderful. You’ve finally decided to come out. I had thought that you wouldn’t come out this time.”
“My junior apprentice-brother was very nearly killed. How much longer could I possibly wait?” The woodcutter looked at the distant, unnerved figures of Daomother Devilhand and Keeper Everwood. “As I see it…right now, our priority should be having a nice discussion with you of the Seamless Gate.”
“It is indeed time for a chat.” A red-robed, azure-haired figure appeared in the air.
“Windfiend.” The woodcutter looked towards the man.
A large number of major powers had appeared in the air above the imperial palace, but none of them dared to make a sound; all of them were strictly conversing through quiet mental messages to each other.
As for Ning, still within the Envoy of All Things, he raised his head to stare at the midair woodcutter, astonishment in his heart. “Eldest disciple? Woodcutter? Houyi?”
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