Luo Bingfeng said in a gloomy voice, “If big brother wants my life, why not just come and take it? Why would he attack a woman? His illustrious name is stained by vile people like you!”
Rui Xiang took a step back in shock. “I have no say in this. Both the heavenly monarch and seventh young noble want her dead. I’m only following orders.”
Luo Bingfeng gnashed his teeth. “What benefits did the empire offer?”
“This…” Rui Xiang shot Luo Bingfeng a glance and shivered. He had no choice but to tell the truth. “I heard it’s the key to opening the heavenly monarch realm.”
Luo Bingfeng was startled, and then he broke into a laugh. “The path to the heavenly monarch realm is beneath one’s feet. When has anyone reached it with outside help? He believes such simple lies?”
Rui Xiang said, “Naturally, one has to cultivate the heart, but outside help is also necessary. Didn’t you have Miss Nan Nan to help you as well?”
Luo Bingfeng heaved a long sigh. “I’ve always lived my life like a hero. Who would’ve thought I’d fall in the hands of inexperienced youngsters? Give me the sword!”
Rui Xiang took a step back in fright, but then he quickly placed the blade on the woman’s neck. “Don’t move! Otherwise, I’ll kill her now!”
Luo Bingfeng’s expression sank. He reached out and grabbed Rui Xiang’s wrist, ready to snatch the sword. This move was extremely swift, so much so that Rui Xiang had no time to respond before the sword left his hand.
It was at this time that a dignified middle-aged man appeared behind Rui Xiang. He let out a cough as he opened his fingers and pressed down on Luo Bingfeng’s head!
Luo Bingfeng was startled upon seeing that man. Only when the fingers were close by did he counter with his sword fingers.
The origin arrays in the room all lit up and started to burn away, leaving nothing within mere moments. Everything in the courtyard lost its origin power attributes.
Luo Bingfeng let out a muffled groan as he staggered out of the room.
Rui Xiang was delighted. “It’s just as the seventh young noble said, you’re no longer a peerless god of war without that woman’s reinforcement.”
“What benefits did he give you, that you would do all of this?”
Without waiting for Rui Xiang to reply, Song Zining’s voice arrived from outside the doors. “I only gave him a way out, that’s all.”
Luo Bingfeng didn’t even turn back. “Isn’t life in the neutral lands good enough? Must you really go to the empire and become someone else’s dog?”
These words pierced deep into Rui Xiang’s being. Furious and embarrassed, the many years of grievance rushed to his head. “Who else apart from you doesn’t have to follow orders left and right? What’s the difference between the neutral lands and the empire? At least on the empire’s side, there are people like the seventh young noble willing to give me pointers toward the divine champion realm. No matter how low the chances are, there’s still hope. And you? You’re peerless and heroic, yet you’d rather exchange Mortal Enlightenment for a bunch of useless stuff than reveal even a small bit to me. Humph, even if I become a dog of the empire, at least I’ll have a future. It’s so much better than working with you!”
Luo Bingfeng had never imagined this kind of response. He merely explained that Mortal Enlightenment wasn’t suitable for him. In the end, no matter how powerful experts like him and Zhang Buzhou were, their foundations were limited. There was no way they could compete with major entities like the Song clan. Song Zining needed only to flip about casually in the clan depository to produce several cultivation arts that would suit Rui Xiang. Zhang Buzhou and Luo Bingfeng couldn’t do the same.
Song Zining entered the courtyard and sized up the arrangements inside. “As expected, a survivor of Brightmoon Zitherheart. City Lord, who would’ve thought a celebrated character like you would fall for her. Didn’t you know that this sect would cultivate until their hearts were as hard as steel, that they’re actually no longer human?”
Luo Bingfeng’s expression sank. “I naturally know what Nan Nan cultivates, I also know very well what her thoughts are. What do you know? Back then, the major families purged the Brightmoon Zitherheart in order to monopolize their status in the divination arts, forcing the clan to flee the empire. In the end, it’s all for power!”
Song Zining shook his head. “How could things be so simple? It’s because their cultivation methods are wrong, turning their hearts into steel toward the end. There were even experts who would try to materialize their zitherheart. This so-called zitherheart is not even flesh and blood anymore. Their experts have always been plotting to overthrow the empire and even the human race. In the end, only a world without sentience is fitting for their existence. Those not of our race will always have disloyal thoughts. These words are quite suitable here. I also cultivate divination arts, so hunting down evil remnants is part of my duty.”
Luo Bingfeng said, “Putting people to death just from guesses. Good, very good! It is indeed the empire’s style!”
Song Zining wasn’t angry, either. “Won’t you go and see her? The array has been broken, and the time condensation effect is no longer present. Even if her heart has become metallic, you won’t be able to exchange final words if you keep delaying.”
Luo Bingfeng said nothing. He simply waved his hand, and one side of the courtyard turned to dust in its entirety, revealing the scenery inside.
Just as before, the lady was kneeling quietly at the center with her icy cold hands hanging to either side. Her head was slightly lowered, allowing her hair to fall gently onto her chest. There was a faint smile of relief on her face, and if it wasn’t for the shocking traces of blood, one would feel that she was peacefully asleep.
Song Zining’s body trembled and froze in place when he saw the puddle of blood.
Luo Bingfeng said in a gloomy voice, “She was already gone the moment the holy mountain was broken. I’m all too clear about big brother’s ability, that sword of his won’t leave any survivors. But… do you see the blood? Is that what you call a heart of steel and stone?”
Song Zining hadn’t expected this outcome. He sighed. “I wouldn’t have used this plan if I had known beforehand. But, why would she lead me to believe that she’s still walking on the old path of her sect, that she had already cultivated a zitherheart?
The answer slowly came to Song Zining as he glanced thoughtfully at Rui Xiang.
Luo Bingfeng was also extremely intelligent. Noticing where Song Zining’s gaze was directed at, he also figured out the situation. She wasn’t afraid of the empire, or her own death, but the hidden trap left behind by Zhang Buzhou.
Hence, she had intentionally revealed her inheritance and the secret behind Luo Bingfeng’s perfect state. She even revealed her role in the city lord’s path to the heavenly monarch realm. All of this was for but one goal—to have the empire and Zhang Buzhou target her instead of Luo Bingfeng.
Perhaps she had never imagined that the empire and Zhang Buzhou would work together under Song Zining’s orchestration, dealing her a fatal blow at a critical juncture. Perhaps she had already guessed it but was willing to accept this ending, just so Zhang Buzhou’s sword wouldn’t land on Luo Bingfeng.
Luo Bingfeng wasn’t the only one with intelligence. Rui Xiang fell to the ground with a plop, crying, “City Lord, please have mercy! This lowly one was only following orders. Please be magnanimous and let me go! Killing me will only dirty your hands. It’s Zhang Buzhou who killed the young miss!”
At this moment, Luo Bingfeng’s aura seemed weaker and almost like during normal times. Rui Xiang’s hidden ace, that sword containing Zhang Buzhou’s energy, was in Luo Bingfeng’s hands. With how fast the city lord was, he could easily kill the old man even if the latter were to flee right now.
Although Song Zining had made an appearance, he was apparently quite weak and exhausted. Additionally, there seemed to be no other expert overseeing the place. Weighing the pros and cons, Rui Xiang decided to kneel down and beg for mercy.
Luo Bingfeng sighed. “How did you even injure Nan Nan? Although killing you would indeed dirty my blade, there’s really no need for me to be concerned about such things at this point.”
Shocked out of his wits, Rui Xiang leapt up and fled with all his might.
Luo Bingfeng swung the blade, firing a rainbow of sword energy that swept past Rui Xiang and severed him through the waist.
Having bisected Rui Xiang, Luo Bingfeng turned to Song Zining with a dark gaze. He seemed entirely calm as he said, “Did you come here to accompany Nan Nan in death?”
Song Zining was fearless. “City Lord, you know full well that the empire is only here for the passage into the Great Maelstrom. We never even sought to control it, just to enter and leave. We would naturally depart as soon as the origin tide has passed. It’s been at least several days since I started gathering resources and preparing for war. Why would you need to guard this place with your life and not even allow passage? If I may be so impolite, can you really say that you have nothing to do with the young miss’ death?”
Luo Bingfeng scoffed, saying, “I was tasked with guarding this place. How can I yield just because you have the advantage in numbers? No need for further discussion. It’s easy if you want me to give up the passage, just step over my corpse.”
Song Zining raised his brows. “City Lord, why go so far? No doubt, it is Zhang Buzhou who gave you this duty. You already know how he treats you, why must you be so foolish? The young miss is gone, but the perfect state she gave you must’ve been carved deep in your heart. You can still seek the path toward the heavenly monarch realm. You will surely break through after another decade of focused cultivation. Why would you give up such a future?”
Luo Bingfeng asked, “The sword that was shattered just now, do you know what it was?”
Song Zining was startled. “I don’t know.”
Luo Bingfeng said slowly, “You keep saying Nan Nan is an evil remnant of the Brightmoon Zitherheart Sect. That sword is her zitherheart.”
Song Zining was shocked. “Then what did she cultivate internally?”
“You can ask her yourself when you get to the other side!” Luo Bingfeng roared as he grabbed his blade and thrust it at Song Zining’s forehead!
This attack was extremely precise and sharp. The blade came from Zhang Buzhou and still contained traces of his power. Now that it was being utilized at full force by Luo Bingfeng, Song Zining would not be able to take the blow even at his peak, let alone his current exhausted state.
The moment this attack was launched, Song Zining realized that Luo Bingfeng had locked onto him completely. The lethal slash would find him no matter where he hid.
Only in the face of this blow did song Zining realize how deep the city lord’s hatred was. He decided not to evade and simply closed his eyes to await death.
It was at this moment that the seventh young master felt the back of his neck tighten as he was lifted up and tossed to one side. A feather of light flew past his neck and made straight for the tip of Luo Bingfeng’s sword.
At the moment of life and death, Song Zining noticed that the edges of the golden feather were lined in black.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie