Book 12 Chapter 68 - Just a Step Behind

Under the downpour and the dark night that was becoming thicker and thicker, Lin Xi couldn’t sense where Big Black’s arrow radiance came from at all.

Endless black powder scattered down, condensing together, becoming larger and larger. It was as if countless black bats were flying around Brother Ming’s body.

At the boundary where black and white met, the countless fragmented white wisps of light became more and more fine, more and more concentrated. They were like incredibly pure fine gemstones, every single gemstone’s surface reflecting light and flickering with brilliance.

This scene looked simple, just more and more fine diamond-like stars fluttering in the sky, more and more black bats soaring through the dark night. However, Lin Xi, Gao Yanan and the others who stood behind Brother Ming could only see the simple light and darkness fading in and out, unable to sense the fluctuations of power at all. It was clear that all of the power aimed at Brother Ming and them was blocked by Brother Ming with incomparable precision.

In reality, this type of confrontation that looked simple from the outside already exceeded the realm of the ordinary sacred level.

That was why while watching this scene before them, everyone was shocked to the extreme.

Brother Ming still stood there in a dignified manner, its head held high and its chest out. His figure was extremely small, but as the starlight around its body condensed, its body instead became more and more giant.

The power of darkness seemed to slowly fade. All of the rain and darkness seemed to be scattered by the radiance.

In this instant, a shooting star suddenly appeared between heaven and earth.

A black comet descended from above, looking like an incredibly giant black sword, instantly cutting out a deep black groove in this world.

This deep groove was like the most primitive rune, landing on the endless starlight around Brother Ming’s body.

Stars that seemed to be condensed from incomparable resplendence quickly collapsed one after another like fine snow mountains.

Brother Ming’s body staggered slightly.

Lin Xi, Gao Yanan and the others’ breathing suddenly became difficult, feeling true pressure for the first time since this nameless Tangcang officer used Big Black to face Brother Ming.

Right now, in this world, it was as if a giant black mountain descended slowly. Lin Xi even heard his own body’s bones start to release slight noises.

Even more brilliance was released from Brother Ming’s body. The pressure Lin Xi and the others faced lessened, but Lin Xi’s palms were already unconsciously covered in fine cold sweat.

Judging from some of his past experiences, Lin Xi had a vague sense that Vice Principal Xia and Purgatory Mountain’s Patriarch might already no longer be at the Sacred Expert level, that they should be existences who were already at the Sacred Master level[1].

The power Brother Ming displayed was clearly already no longer at the Sacred Expert level. It was also one of this world’s most powerful Sacred Masters.

Lin Xi never doubted its strength, but he also suddenly realized something. This was something no one considered; what if Brother Ming wasn’t this Big Black wielding Tangcang officer’s match?

After all, this Tangcang officer was already a Sacred Expert many years ago.

After obtaining Big Black, he even more so went into seclusion, cultivating for many years.

Big Black was also such a powerful divine weapon.

The most crucial thing was that Brother Ming already hadn’t appeared in this world for many years. Its pride and confidence, was it still all left behind in those years, its impression of this world and its cultivators from the past? Would it make some errors in judgment because of this?

In this instant, Lin Xi developed doubt towards Brother Ming.

It was because even if Brother Ming could stop Big Black’s powerful strike in this instant, in his opinion, Brother Ming’s figure shook, and its body clearly became a bit lower, its head seemingly a bit lower, no longer like its previous insufferably arrogant self.

The battle between Big Black and a Sacred Master wasn’t something Lin Xi could understand right now. However, through these details, he already sensed that Brother Ming was already at its limit, starting to decline, starting to show that it couldn’t endure this power.

“Did Vice Principal Xia say anything regarding Professor Ming coming to seize Big Black?”

Lin Xi couldn’t help but turn around to look at Li Wu at his side, asking this.

“He did not.” Li Wu turned around to face Lin Xi, shaking his head. “He was extremely at ease towards Professor Ming coming to find you.”

Lin Xi was stunned.

With just this line, there was suddenly a flash of brilliance within his heart which had previously been filled with darkness.

He suddenly understood.

Brother Ming didn’t only have confidence because of itself, but also because of its confidence in cooperating with a ‘Divine General’.

It understood how powerful the past Principal Zhang was better than anyone.

That was why even if Lin Xi was a Divine General who hadn’t fully matured yet, perhaps in its eyes, it was already enough.

Someone who came from the same place as Principal Zhang, together with itself, someone who defeated all experts in this world with Principal Zhang at its side, could it be that they still couldn’t seize back Big Black? At this time, Lin Xi seemed to have walked straight into Brother Ming’s innermost thoughts, understanding its pride, thinking of even more things.

He reached out his right hand.

His fingertips also began to release great light.

The streaks of transparent and pure dazzling wisps of light became thicker, becoming more full. Eventually, they became streaks of holy radiance.

It was as if endless streaks of light rushed out from within his body, even making the darkness that became thicker and thicker seem to become much more faint.

However, these pure and holy streaks of light didn’t shoot towards the black scars in the skies, instead forming a streak of rainbow light, pouring into Brother Ming’s body  in an unending stream.

Brother Ming straightened its body in a prideful and dignified manner again.

It opened its mouth again, releasing a streak of light.

In a certain place outside the horse field, the worn out middle-aged Tangcang officer sat on the ground. His right hand’s five fingers’ skin was already splitting, blood even seemingly completely flowed out, even his body on the verge of collapse.

A moment ago, he thought that victory was about to descend, but now, his expression suddenly became deathly white.

A breath of blood rushed out from his mouth, flowing onto Big Black that was now resting on his knees.

The radiance Brother Ming released from its mouth turned into endless bright stars. They began to burn, transforming into countless dignified sunrises.

All of the darkness, all of the so-called black scars in the skies and all of the raindrops that scattered down were completely blown away, cleared up.

Within the radiance, Lin Xi’s complexion was also extremely pale, his brows tightly furrowing, experiencing pain that was hard to hide. However, what even more so appeared within his calm gaze was a hint of happiness.

This world became bright and clear again. Apart from the pool losing a larger half of its water, this entire horse field returned to a gentle breeze light clouds weather, as if nothing had happened.

The worn out Tangcang officer in the meadows outside the horse field wanted to stand up, but his body staggered, unable to stand up under Big Black’s weight.

It wasn’t that he didn’t have the strength to stand up, but rather that he already lost all confidence.

Brother Ming had its head high and its chest out. With a patter noise, it took a step out, heading towards where the worn out Tangcang officer was.

When it took a heavy step, it turned around, giving Lin Xi a look, bowing its head slightly.

This seemed to be a bit of satisfaction and praise.

This was the first reply it gave Lin Xi. Even though its stance was still just that arrogant, Lin Xi no longer felt that helpless, only feeling a mysterious respect inside.

Brother Ming walked up to the Tangcang officer.

The Tangcang officer raised his head with a blank expression. He saw Brother Ming, Lin Xi and the others.

When he saw the ‘duck’ that was looking at him with a dignified expression, his body began to shake, starting to laugh bitterly. “I really am not worthy of having Big Black, unable to even match a fiend beast who follows him.”

Brother Ming didn’t utter any sounds. Just like how it previously treated Lin Xi, it didn’t move at all, just looking at him.

The Tangcang officer’s head hung down slowly.

He knew what he needed to do.

Even though his body was shaking, he reached out a hand, picking up Big Black and then brought it up to Brother Ming.

Brother Ming turned around in a dignified manner, giving Lin Xi a look.

Lin Xi took a deep breath. He walked up, picking up Big Black.

Big Black was extremely heavy, just like a heavy black boulder.

The moment he picked up this world-shocking soul weapon that looked like an ordinary three-stringed zither, Lin Xi suddenly mysteriously thought about the scene of Principal Zhang bringing Brother Ming and that Qilin into Central Continent City, when they looked at such a large city.

Did they exclaim in admiration, or did they feel satisfaction?

Lin Xi couldn’t picture the emotions that middle-aged uncle who came from the same place as himself felt. Even now, he wasn’t really sure what kind of emotions he was feeling right now.

Revenge? Inheritance? Responsibility?

This Big Black, both for him and the academy, its significance was too great.

“When a man dies, it is like a lamp that goes out. Before I pass on, can you answer some of my questions?” The moment this worn out Tangcang officer handed over Big Black, the divine light in his eyes seemed to begin to fade, as if his life radiance was also starting to fade. At this time, he raised his head to look at Brother Ming and Lin Xi, his expression instead becoming a bit calmer as he asked with a pleading voice.

Lin Xi gave Brother Ming a look.

Brother Ming still stood there in a dignified manner without moving, just like a statue.

“Sure, but you must first answer some of my questions first.” Lin Xi remained silent for a moment, and then answered him.

The worn out Tangcang officer nodded, bowing in thanks.

“Who exactly in the royal court is colluding with your Divine Elephant Army?” Lin Xi looked at him and asked.

The worn out Tangcang officer looked at Lin Xi and said, “Wen Xuanshu.”

Lin Xi’s brows furrowed slightly, nodding his head. “You came here to help the Divine Elephant Army transport provisions… If I set poison to this foodstuffs, had you not appeared, do you feel like there is a chance of success?”

The worn out Tangcang officer’s breathing suddenly stopped, his expression becoming slightly rigid. He didn’t expect Lin Xi to have this type of thoughts, nor did he expect Lin Xi to directly ask him this type of question.

However, when he thought about how everything in this world already had nothing to do with him, after a momentary rigidness, he still sighed, nodding his head. “There is a chance of success… As long as the carriage is transported as usual, the Divine Elephant Army will have someone to receive it. Normally, even if I am worried that the carriage will be discovered, that it will encounter a Yunqin fleet, I still won’t follow the carriage.”

Lin Xi thought for a bit. He calmly looked at him and said, “What questions do you have?”

“The radiance you just used was Priest Hall’s Radiance… you should be Green Luan Academy’s heaven’s choice, the one with Divine General talent, Lin Xi?” The worn out Tangcang officer looked at Lin Xi, asking this.

Lin Xi nodded. “Correct.”

The worn out Tangcang officer’s breathing seemed a bit difficult, unable to understand as he asked, “How were you certain that I would be here? If my perception isn’t mistaken, Principal Zhang’s mandarin duck’s lifespan is already nearing its end… if you all were even a bit off in timing, you all wouldn’t have been able to find me, and I would have been able to escape this disaster. How could you find me at this type of time?”

“Actually, we encountered each other, just that you didn’t know it was us.” Lin Xi looked at him and said, “You fired an arrow into Horse Rest Lake, while at that time, we were inside the lake.”

“Just a step behind…” The worn out Tangcang officer stared blankly, a bit absent-minded as he murmured. “Turns out I was only a step away, and then I could have changed everything.”

“There are many things where if one went a step further, everything would be completely different.” Lin Xi looked at him, shaking his head and saying, “When the lamp is already about to go out, what meaning is there in feeling conflicted over these things?”

“It is indeed meaningless…” The worn out Tangcang officer released a lonely bitter laugh. “To still not be resigned to the very end.”

Lin Xi first looked at him and then looked at the Big Black in his hands. For no reason, he suddenly said the words he saw when he first entered Green Luan Academy. “It is unrelated to fate. In this world, there is no one who is invincible.”

The worn out Tangcang officer became stupefied again. After remaining silent for a moment, he nodded. “Many thanks for the advice. Only, it seems like I’ve understood this a bit too late.”

After saying this, his head hung down, blood starting to continuously flow out from his mouth, his body starting to become ice-cold.

No one felt shock, because everyone could feel that just before Brother Ming arrived before him, this Tangcang officer who felt despair already used the last of his soul force to sever his heart arteries.

Everyone’s eyes stopped over Brother Ming’s body.

It was because right at this time, Brother Ming turned around to look at Lin Xi.

It still didn’t say anything, still dignified like before. However, it began to release radiance again. Under everyone’s shock and confused expressions, dazzling and pure radiance began to descend upon Lin Xi’s body.

1. The highest known level of cultivation

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