Chapter 342 - Yuwen Taiji’s Shadows

The Aircloud Godcrane naturally couldn’t take a punch from Zhao Zhiyuan without any preparation. When traveling at high speed, even the slightest movements from the Aircloud Godcrane could throw someone off, not to mention spinning around from a punch. Including Tianming, everyone was freefalling like meteorites.

But with their cultivation in the Saint stage, it wouldn’t be a problem for them to land safely on the ground from a few thousand meters in the air. A few elders immediately surrounded Tianming. Shangguan Yunfeng and Zhao Lingzhou also had someone receiving them, so they were all basically fine. But when Zhao Zhiyuan landed on the ground with his lifebound beast, a Blackfiend Ape, out, he charged at Ye Shaoqing like a lunatic. At the same time, his Blackfiend Ape faced Ye Shaoqing’s Azureflame Dragon.

“Zhao Zhiyuan, are you insane?! You want to snatch the Grand-Orient Sword? There’s no benefit in it for you!” Huangfu Fengyu roared.

“Don’t bother about it. Yuwen Taiji must’ve promised him something.” Ye Shaoqing didn’t take out the Grand-Orient Sword. When he spoke, Ye Qing and the other elders went up to surround Zhao Zhiyuan. 

“Zhao Zhiyuan, why are you doing this?! The junior sect master is such a talent, so why do this?!”

“That’s right! Old Zhao, we’ve been friends for so many years! Don’t be silly!”

Ye Qing was in the same generation as Zhao Zhiyuan, and they even had a good relationship. So he couldn’t believe Zhao Zhiyuan’s betrayal.

“Let’s stop! Zhao Zhiyuan, what did Yuwen Taiji give you for you to be his lackey?!” Huangfu Fengyun roared. But Zhao Zhiyuan didn’t utter a single word. He was focused on Ye Shaoqing no matter who tried to stop him. 

“Grandfather, what’s wrong with you?!” Of everyone, Zhao Lingzhou had taken Zhao Zhiyuan’s betrayal the hardest. He was dumbfounded. Was this still the man he revered since he was a child? But no matter how others tried talking to Zhao Zhiyuan, he was only focused on chasing Ye Shaoqing.

“Doesn’t he know that he can’t succeed?” Tianming narrowed his eyes into slits. He was baffled as he watched the scene playing out in front of him. Truthfully speaking, not even Yuwen Taiji could snatch the Grand-Orient Sword away with so many elders here. So Tianming couldn’t figure out why the friendly elder had changed into another person all of a sudden.

“He won’t even be able to touch me, let alone the Grand-Orient Sword… WAIT!” Tianming was protected by elders like Huangfu Fengyun and Shangguan Jingshu. But he suddenly felt his scalp tingle because he found something amiss about Zhao Zhiyuan. Zhao Zhiyuan’s method of snatching the Grand-Orient Sword was too stupid, and it would be impossible for him to succeed. After all, shouldn’t Zhao Zhiyuan come up with a fail-proof plan if he wanted to snatch it?

Right now, he just seemed to be trying to draw everyone’s attention. No one could think of what Yuwen Taiji had given Zhao Zhiyuan, but Tianming thought of another problem. Were there others like Zhao Zhiyuan? When he suddenly thought of that, danger descended in the next moment. It came from half a meter away from him, so how could he react to it in time? Not to mention that all the elders were Saints who had cultivated for over a hundred years. This time, it was someone that Tianming had never expectedthe fourth elder, Shangguan Jingshu! She was someone from his great grandmother’s generation, and suddenly appeared behind Tianming, reaching her hands for his neck.

“Don’t move!” her hoarse voice rang out beside Tianming’s ears, sending chills down his spine. She was a longtime friend of Huangfu Fengyun, and she projected the image of an amicable old lady, even showing care and concern for Tianming. Back then, she had gone with Huangfu Fengyun to protect Tianming when he’d killed Yuwen Shendu. So Tianming had suspected everyone, except for Shangguan Jingshu and Huangfu Fengyun, who had been protecting him.

But funnily enough, her nails had dug into his neck. Someone like her only needed a split second to decapitate him; his life was entirely in her hands. The scene made many people baffled, including Huangfu Fengyun.

“Jingshu, what are you doing.…” Disbelief filled in his eyes as he watched Shangguan Jingshu take Tianming away from the crowd. The other elders were also left dumbfounded by this scene, and no one dared to move. “Shangguan Jingshu, are you insane too?!”

The elders all felt a chill in their hearts. They were facing the threat of Heaven’s Elysium, and they were going back to make preparations for a war. But they never expected that they would have to face betrayal along the way. As the second figure among the elders, they all felt it unbelievable that a senior like Shangguan Jingshu would go after Tianming.

Or maybe this had been the plan that Shangguan Jingshu had discussed with Zhao Zhiyuan. Zhao Zhiyuan would act as a decoy to give Shangguan Jingshu the rightful excuse to protect Tianming. When everyone was distracted by Zhao Zhiyuan, it would be easy for Shangguan Jingshu to capture Tianming as a hostage—the perfect plan. Then again, this also had to do with Shangguan Jingshu’s usual behavior. No one would’ve imagined that someone like her would be a traitor; even Huangfu Fengyun was stunned.

The two were great friends, sharing over a century of friendship. But that was also the reason why he didn’t have his guard up against her. Shangguan Yunfeng was the same as Zhao Lingzhou; the two were stunned when they saw this scene unfolding. Shangguan Yunfeng couldn’t believe what he saw and asked, “Great grandmother, are you playing a joke on us?”

But no one replied to him. Shangguan Jingshu looked at Ye Shaoqing coldly and said, “Cut the nonsense. Hand the Grand-Orient Sword to Zhao Zhiyuan, or I’ll kill Tianming right here.”

“Jingshu, don’t be impulsive! I believe you have your own difficulties in doing this. Does Yuwen Taiji have something against you? You can just tell us about it! We’ll help you!” Huangfu Fengyun quickly spoke out.

Shangguan Jingshu’s nails dug deeper into Tianming’s neck. It felt like he was being stabbed with five swords; the pain was horrible, and Tianming was even struggling to breathe. When the other elders saw that, they immediately called out, “No!”

Tianming naturally wanted Li Wudi to have the Grand-Orient Sword. But judging from the current situation, Shangguan Jingshu didn’t seem to be messing around. 

“Ye Shaoqing, don’t force me! Hand it over immediately!” Shangguan Jingshu yelled. They had already experienced everything in life at their age, so they definitely wouldn’t hesitate once they made up their mind. Not even the Prime Tower could stop Shangguan Jingshu’s nails from digging into Tianming’s neck.

“Let him go,” said Ye Shaoqing. His eyes were blazing with azure flames as he took out the Grand-Orient Sword while everyone was still thinking about it, then Zhao Zhiyuan snatched it and immediately fled.

“Don’t chase after him. I’ll let him go in half an hour. Don’t worry, I won’t kill him.” Shangguan Jingshu began tearing up once Zhao Zhiyuan had left with the Grand-Orient Sword. She loosened her grip, but still kept Tianming beside her. She wanted to give Zhao Zhiyuan the time to deliver the Grand-Orient Sword to Yuwen Taiji. From the tears that rolled down her cheeks, everyone could see that she wasn’t voluntarily doing this. At the very least, she hadn’t harmed Tianming’s life.

“Don’t chase after him!” she emphasized once more. It was clear that she would take Tianming’s life hostage again if anyone dared chase after Zhao Zhiyuan, which made many elders burst into rage.

“Jingshu, are you stupid?!” Huangfu Fengyun’s eyes had turned red. He had so much anger pent up within him that he wanted to spew blood. On the other hand, Shangguan Jingshu clenched her teeth as tears streamed down.

“Elder Shangguan, why don’t you tell us how Yuwen Taiji made his comeback? We still have no idea what’s going on.” Ye Shaoqing smiled. He had chosen Tianming over the Grand-Orient Sword without any hesitation, but this scene had impacted them significantly.

“Yeah. There’s no point in hiding since you’ve already done it.”

Under everyone’s furious and helpless gazes, Shangguan Jingshu sighed. “Shaoqing, you won’t be able to win against Yuwen Taiji. He isn’t just powerful, but he also has meticulous thoughts. He had many plans laid right from the start, and the only mistake he made was allowing Tianming to kill Shendu. But since he already had everything laid out, how will he lose so easily? For example, Zhao Zhiyuan and I were poisoned by the nethermare venom he made from ancient records. Only he has the antidote to set us free… otherwise, we have to suffer the torture of having our hearts burned. So what do you think I’d choose?” Shangguan Jingshu said with tears streaming down her face.

“The nethermare venom?! Isn’t that a spirit herb with over thirty saintly heavenly patterns?”

“I’ve heard of this poison. It’s famed for torturing its victim, and when it breaks out, the victim will experience having their internal organs burned, and only the maker has the antidote.” Everyone now knew why they’d lost—they had underestimated Yuwen Taiji.

“Shaoqing, just give up. The Ye Clan won’t be able to win against Yuwen Taiji. With him holding the Grand-Orient Sword, he can protect the Grand-Orient Sect better than you. The Li Saint Clan is already history. So if you want to protect the junior sect master, you should leave with him right now,” said Shangguan Jingshu.

When the other elders heard that, all of them fell silent. Shangguan Jingshu was right that Yuwen Taiji with the Grand-Orient Sword could better protect the Grand-Orient Sect.

“Yuwen Taiji won’t lose, and there’s something even more terrifying. Zhao Zhiyuan and I didn’t have a choice but to snatch the Grand-Orient Sword today, but how do you know there aren’t others hidden among us? They’re all under Yuwen Taiji’s manipulation, and they can stab you in the back any time. Even I have no idea about their identities. Yuwen Taiji’s schemes far surpass your imagination, so run while you still can.”

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