Everyone started when they saw Feng Qingyu being forced back by a gigantic beast. However, Jiang Wuxin quickly compressed himself and reassumed his human form, wielding Firmament Godsword and charging straight toward Feng Qingyu at a speed that resulted in sonic booms.
"Master, you have a heart, but I, like my name Wuxin, have none! Let's see who's better when it comes to the heartless way of the sword!"
The Firmament Godsword clashed with the Hexafirmament Eradicator. During that clash, Feng Qingyu's outfit began tearing apart and his long hair fluttered about, but his body didn't move one bit. Jiang Wuxin landed, smirked, and charged again.
"Wuxin," Feng Qingyu charged back in kind, "at this point, we both have our reasons for doing what we do. I don't blame you for this. Since it is destiny that demands we fight it out until one of us falls, let the way of the sword decide who shall be the last one standing, then. However, I want you to know one thing: I wasn't lying when I said the Hexascript Sword Mantra actually works."
Jiang Wuxin merely laughed mockingly at hearing that. "I've recited it tens of millions of times, but the pain never faded! And you're telling me that it works?!"
Their clash was terrifying to behold for the others within the formation. Wherever the two figures went, others quickly ducked aside to avoid getting caught in the crossfire of sword ki and having their bodies eradicated.
Feng Qingyu's techniques were mysterious and ethereal. Each strike sent sword ki as far as a kilometer away, wreaking havoc wherever it passed. Jiang Wuxin, on the other hand, was far more direct in his attacks, mainly using brute strength. No matter what arcane technique Feng Qingyu used, he didn't defend against it and only focused relentlessly on attacking. Each of his attacks were aimed toward Feng Qingyu's heart.
Almost immediately, the ground cracked apart and people were chaotically thrown around. Their fight had carried the two to Xuanyuan Lake, then outside the formation, forcing Nonahall's army to quickly move aside. Then they even brought their fight airborne. The clash was far more impressive to behold than the other battles occurring at Xuanyuan Lake, with blinding flashes of green parting the clouds.
Compared to when Feng Qingyu was at Tianming City, he was definitely stronger now. Otherwise, there was no way he would be able to hold a specter like Jiang Wuxin back on his own. Their heated battle then brought the two back into the Nine Dragon Formation, even disrupting the third-order tribulation elders' barrage on Po Suo. It was truly a fight between the strongest players on the battlefield.
With a loud wham, Jiang Wuxin was slammed down into the ground, resulting in a crater forming around him. However, he immediately charged back out. Despite being covered in bruises and cuts, he wasn't really that badly injured. Instead, he looked all the more excited about the fight like a wild animal.
"So this is what it feels like to be strong! Master, I finally understand why you’re so proud. Even though eating lifebound beasts and hearing their cries of despair is disgusting, it was all worth it in the end. This is the fairest deal the heavens have given me for the suffering I endured. I deserve all of this!"
The swords clashed almost methodically, creating a rhythmic beat. He tore apart Feng Qingyu's green lotus of swords and immediately went for a quick stab. "Master, anyone who stops me shall be killed!"
The two swords continued flashing nonstop. Feng Qingyu's gaze wavered as he thought, Have... have I betrayed my own way of the sword? Everything that had happened up until now was being replayed in his mind. Is it only possible to ascend to godhood by unfeelingly perfecting the sword?
Seeing the demonic Jiang Wuxin reminded him of Jian Wuyi. This was a mistake. He had never been a heartless person; he’d just sealed off his own emotions and kept on going down the mistaken path, thinking the unfeeling way was the right way. He had lied to himself and harmed many others based on that faith of his. His single sword strike that killed a hundred thousand innocents at Tianming City was the culmination of his sword of heartlessness.
"You’re right. If I was truly as unfeeling as I have claimed, I wouldn't be suffering so much for the loss of Jian Wuyi." The willpower behind his way of the sword had collapsed. He saw Jiang Wuxin in front of him, someone who was called the devil of the sword by many, walking his own path with his own convictions and ending up losing his mind. The death of more than fifty million sentient lifebound beasts in the Nonahall Divine Realm was also a result of Feng Qingyu's actions.
"I, the Hexapath Swordfiend, have lived a life of falsehoods. It’s truly laughable. Now, I shall put down what I have raised with my own two hands!" He closed his eyes, and by the time he opened them again, he had unleashed tens of thousands of strands of sword ki. "Wuxin, I’ll send you to the afterlife! I, as your master, once promised to walk the path of the devil with you, but now I’m promising to stay with you even in death!"
The sky seemed to be falling as terrifying power gathered around Feng Qingyu. He was the grandmaster of the way of the sword, and he was about to prove it! He split the Hexafirmament Eradicator into its six component swords and unleashed a storm of strikes.
"Break!" Jiang Wuxin struck like a venomous dragon with the Firmament Godsword, sending sparks flying, followed swiftly by a succession of five piercing sounds. Five of the six swords had been sent flying, but the last one—the one that had a crack on it—glowed bright as it pierced into Jiang Wuxin's chest. Blood sprayed all over the place as the blade found its home in his heart! Then, all the swords flew back to Feng Qingyu, one of them now bloodied.
"Die!" At the final moment, Jiang Wuxin used the last remaining energy in his pure muscles to thrust the Firmament Godsword toward Feng Qingyu's heart. It was a fatal strike, and Jiang Wuxin wanted to at least take Feng Qingyu down with him. However, the strike actually hit his abdomen instead. Even though it didn't pierce Feng Qingyu's saint palace, the terrifying force behind the strike was enough to heavily injure him, causing his blood to rapidly spill.
Feng Qingyu hadn't blocked the strike at all. Whether he couldn't, or just didn't want to, was anyone's guess. The entire world seemed to fall silent at that moment. Jiang Wuxin had been spewing out blood as he glared at his master.
"Ugghh...." Even though he wanted to say something, his voice was hoarse. All he could do was clutch his chest; he couldn't even keep his grip on the Firmament Godsword. Then, he knelt and lowered his head, blood dripping from his mouth.
"Ma—master...." He breathed laboriously as the figure in green appeared before him. Using the last of his energy to raise his head, Jiang Wuxin saw Feng Qingyu looking at him with tears in his shaky eyes.
"Wuxin, do you believe me now? I’m the Hexapath Swordfiend, the strongest there is. You lost."
"Ugh...." Jiang Wuxin pulled on his robes, but couldn't say anything. He merely opened his eyes wide and stared.
Feng Qingyu knelt to get to his eye level. "Do you believe me now? I really did care for you as your master," he said as his tears flowed.
"No... I don't...." Jiang Wuxin continued glaring at him, mustering all the energy he had left in an attempt to kill him.
"Who knows? Maybe death isn't the end of the road. We'll have more than enough time to catch up as master and disciple." Feng Qingyu pressed down tightly on his six swords that were fused into one. His swordbeasts were desperately trying to exit the sword.
Jiang Wuxin kept staring, wondering what his master had in mind.
"This life of mine wasn't particularly good. I hope I can remedy all my regrets in the next one. You know what? The mortal world is actually rather beautiful. I won't keep my emotions suppressed like I used to ever again." He stroked his disciple's head with one hand and held the Hexafirmament Eradicator in the other.
"You—you!" Jiang Wuxin's expression suddenly changed. He tried grasping at Feng Qingyu, but was too late. The man was already approaching Jian Wuyi.
"Life is too lonely without him. I’ll go look for Wuyi at the Yellow Springs, or even hell itself, so I may once more cross swords with him." The sight of the man slitting his own throat and collapsing was too unreal to even imagine.
"Ma—" When Feng Qingyu fell, Jian Wuxin took two steps before stumbling onto the ground and ceasing all movement.
It was over, and everyone was a witness to what had happened. While they didn't know how or why it had happened, two things were certain: Jiang Wuxin was dead, and Feng Qingyu had killed himself next to Jian Wuyi.
None of those watching could understand why Feng Qingyu, who could now rightfully claim to be the strongest man alive after killing a specter, would take his own life, just like how they would never understand how much a soulmate with whom to confide in the way of the sword was. As the blizzard grew stronger, the three swordbeasts began grieving their fallen partner. The three corpses would soon be swallowed up by the snow and vanish before the eyes of the rest as if they had never existed in the first place.
Even without any context, anyone who saw that would feel the grief behind the events that had just transpired. Only one person couldn't help himself and laughed out loud: Dugu Jin. Seeing Jiang Wuxin and Feng Qingyu's corpses, he turned to Di Zang and Po Suo, beaming with delight.
"What’re you laughing about?" Long Youyue asked. "I was urging you to act."
"Interesting..." Dugu Jin said.
"What do you mean?"
"The strongest two died before the main event, and those two old ghouls are the only ones still struggling. It looks like fate will be delivering the harvest all to me before I've even lifted a finger." He shrugged as his third blood-red eye glinted sinisterly.
"Come to think of it, I still don't know what your plans are," Long Youyue said.
"You’ll know when the time is right. Well, you wanted to see me get on stage, right? It's about time I made my appearance."
By now, Po Suo and Di Zang were clearly aware of what had happened to Jiang Wuxin, but their expressions were cold as usual; it was as if they weren't the slightest bit affected by his death. Po Suo swept her gaze to Dugu Jin and yelled, "Dugu Jin, what’re you waiting for? Our overlord agreed to grant you his very bloodline! You can be half royal at least!"
Those words sent shockwaves through the battlefield. The terrifying Jiang Wuxin had just been neutralized by Feng Qingyu, and now they had to go straight to dealing with Dugu Jin. Not to mention, it was plain to them that Dugu Jin was planning to betray humanity and become a specter. It was something that sent chills down their spines.
Would Dugu Jin deny any association with the ghoul kings? When everyone was looking at him, he was looking straight at Po Suo. "Long live the overlord! I, Dugu Jin, will serve the specters. I’ll even sacrifice my life to ensure the return of my race!"
Chaos broke out once more after his proclamation.
Somewhere on the battlefield was the corpse of a black-robed youth. Amidst all the outrage, his finger twitched ever so slightly.Previous Chapter Next Chapter