Chapter 2: Camp of the Seven Sages

“Congratulations, things have been handled!” The beautiful woman wasn’t gone for long. Later the same night, she was back with a smile on her face, only explaining herself after Lu Yin cast a look of doubt her way, “I asked my older brother to help and he captured Zhang Tong. He’s inviting you over to discuss what you’d like to do with the captives.”

Lu Yin’s eyes lit up and he got to his feet, “Let’s go then.”

The woman laughed and headed out, leading him through the bonfires until they were about 300 meters away from another group not far from Lu Yin’s original quarry. This section was no safer, but as Lu Yin arrived, he saw Zhang Tong and the other cultivators who’d tried to rape the girls kneeling on the ground. In front of the dozen of them was a tall, burly man with his hands clasped behind his back whom the woman spoke to in a sweet voice, “Brother, Lu Yin is here.”

The man turned around and smiled, “Are you Lu Yin?”

Lu Yin nodded. 

“My name is Liu Sheng. I am one of the captains in this troop.”

“I know who you are,” Lu Yin responded bluntly to the man’s arrogant tone.

Liu Sheng arched his brows; he did not like the attitude Lu Yin had just shown, “You want to deal with this group? They’re all yours.”

Lu Yin looked him in the eye, “Name your conditions.”

The corners of Liu Sheng’s mouth twitched as he stared hard at Lu Yin, “I’ll get straight to the point, then; I’ve heard about your exploits and have been observing you. I don’t believe you have absorbed any energy cores from the bodies of mutant beasts, but you are still so powerful. Can you tell me why?”

The beautiful woman eagerly looked on from the side, clearly awaiting Lu Yin’s answer with great anticipation. Even Zhang Tong and his group of cultivators who were kneeling on the floor couldn’t help but stare. 

However, what they got in response was a mocking smile, “Is that why you lured me here?”

Liu Sheng smiled faintly and glanced at the beautiful woman, who took a few steps forward to arrive by Lu Yin’s side. She spoke in a husky voice, “Mister Lu, won’t you please tell us? Is there another method of cultivation? Telling us is like telling all of mankind; humanity will forever be grateful. Me, especially...”

“I told you, one more time and you’re dead” Lu Yin spun around as she leaned against him, his weapon flashing by her throat. The woman clutched her neck in shock as blood poured down her fingers, dying her clothes red as she crumpled to the ground. She had completely ignored the prior warning because she believed he wouldn’t be so bold as to kill her in front of her brother. After all, Liu Sheng was a captain, a powerful figure in the Realm of Man! Even said brother was stunned into silence by this act, not having expected it at all.

“You’re all so annoying, watching me ever since your group formed. It ends tonight,” Lu Yin brandished his rod, heading straight towards Liu Sheng and swinging towards his skull.

“You’re courting death!” Liu Sheng shouted in a rage, drawing out an intimidating sword from his waist to block Lu Yin’s weapon. He expected to deflect the rod and even wound Lu Yin in one swipe, but reality betrayed those lofty ambitions. His sword was split in two from the impact, and the tip of the steel rod even left a deep wound in his right shoulder.

Liu Sheng could not believe what had just happened. He was a powerful figure in the Realm of Man, more than capable of fighting a number of ordinary cultivators at the same time. He had never expected to lose so handily in combat.

Lu Yin had chopped right into his target, but that wasn’t enough to sate him. Liu Sheng barely dodged the next horizontal strike, slashing out with the broken sword, but the rod knocked the handle away with so much force that the impact created a small crack in the ground.

“What are you all looking at?! Come on, let’s kill him!” Liu Sheng cried out, glaring at Zhang Tong and the rest. None of them dared to hesitate and they all immediately took up different kinds of weapons, but Lu Yin was prepared for their charge. He had an icy look in his eyes as he launched forward, his legs creating ripples in the ground that could be seen by the naked eye. His body rushed more than ten meters ahead as the tip of his rod chopped down. In an instant, Zhang Tong and the rest glanced down to see blood dripping from their chests. A dozen corpses fell to the ground a moment later.

Lu Yin’s heart was already hard as steel by this point. They were at the worst time in history, a world that was completely lawless, but this was also the best time to take care of scum without consequences.

“How is this possible? No one in the Realm of Man can do that; you have to be someone in the Realm of Earth!” Liu Sheng looked up at him with a vacant gaze, shivering as the sight of his icy gaze. He immediately knelt down on the ground, “Lu Yin— no, Master Lu, please! Let me off, and I’ll be your lackey. I can kill anyone you want, get you women. I’ll do anything you ask!”

Lu Yin didn’t respond, simply raising his head and gazing at the starry sky. A sinister glint flashed in Liu Sheng’s eyes as he drew his blade and stabbed out, but the figure that was pierced slowly faded away. Liu Sheng’s gaze blanked as he stared in disbelief; what on earth was this?

“This is known as the Roving Step, a type of battle skill that originates from the starry sky,” Lu Yin responded to the unspoken question in his deadpan tone, an equally bored swing sending the steel rod crashing into Liu Sheng’s skull. He just sighed and stowed his weapon away as the man went down, continuing to gaze at the sky in thought, ‘I’m just a guest but here I am, stealing the show.

He soon finished extracting the energy cores from the bodies of Liu Sheng and the rest, moving them towards a ring where they just disappeared as though they’d never existed before. This was a cosmic ring, a precious ornament capable of storing a myriad of items. It, too, had come from the starry sky.

……

 

No one would bother with the disappearance of Zhang Tong and the rest, but Liu Sheng was different; he was a captain. His sudden disappearance would definitely draw the attention of the other captains, but he had hatched his scheme in secret to obtain Lu Yin’s cultivation method. He’d already covered all his tracks, so one could even say it was his fault that no one came looking for Lu Yin. Afternoon the next day, this incident was thrown to the back of everyone’s mind as tens of thousands of people looked into the sky. They had just received news that the Executioner was about to arrive, so they were lying in wait.

It didn’t take long for a black figure to appear high in the sky, looking down on them all. Zhou Shan was more than two meters tall, with short hair and a muscular physique. He carried an enormous three-meter-long axe that seemed capable of splitting mountains, cutting an imposing figure as he hovered over the awe-struck cloud. So this was a man who could fly, a powerful figure in the Realm of Sky. He didn’t utter a single word before raising his hands, sending an explosive gust down towards the people below. The dust blown up by the winds blinded thousands for a while, but the cultivators ignored teary eyes to stare at the powerful Sage who was capable of amazing feats of destruction.

Huge vines twirled out from the ground and lunged viciously towards Zhou Shan, but he just screamed out a roar that resounded in everyone’s ears before raising his axe high into the sky. The wind gathered into translucent winds behind him. “Storm Slash!” he shouted out loud, flipping and landing down on the ground while chopping at the vines. Huge cracks spread out across the earth as dust flew everywhere, gusts spreading throughout the surroundings. Fortunately, the captains of this group had been stationed up front and managed to cushion the crowd from the blow.

Lu Yin kept a close eye on the events. Everyone had guessed that these vines were in the Realm of Earth, but he had felt that they were actually in the Realm of Sky. Zhou Shan needed to go all out to fend them off.

A huge gust of wind blew past. and when the dust settled everyone saw the Executioner with his axe resting against the ground. The terrifying vines had been destroyed completely, and there was even a huge hole in the ground that was full of green liquid. As thousands burst into cheers, he picked up his axe and took to the sky once more, “Let us head to Nanjing at once, it is much safer there.”

““Thank you, Executioner.”” ““Long live the Executioner!”” ““Executioner!”” Thousands of voices screamed his title in exaltation. In these chaotic times, what everyone wished for was a hero. Just like the rest of the Seven Sages, Zhou Shan fit that bill.

“Soon…” Lu Yin gripped his steel rod tightly. He hadn’t yet entered the Realm of Sky himself; just like Liu Sheng had said, he didn’t use energy cores to cultivate. He had to look for other ways to grow his strength, finding the true road of cultivation in the starry sky.

The group advanced steadily under Zhou Shan’s protection. There were definitely beings in this world that were much stronger than him, but the chance of actually encountering one of them was close to zero. A day later, the tens of thousands of people reached Nanjing. It was only then that many people started to put down their belongings and burst out in loud cries.

Nanjing was completely locked down by huge walls,  with rows of cultivators on each watching the thousands of lucky survivors streaming in. Some had sad looks in their eyes; this team had lost nearly a tenth of its total manpower since they’d started their rough journey.

Lu Yin recalled how the city had looked when he visited in times of peace, a picturesque scene with ancient trees covering the footpaths. Now, its suburbs had been abandoned to the hordes of zombies and it had shrunk down greatly. If not for Zhou Shan paving the way, the people would have had to fight a bloody battle just to enter.

The survivors were organized into groups while the cultivators were separated into another group. This group of cultivators consisted of approximately five hundred individuals, and when compared to the total survivors, each one in charge of the protection of close to a hundred commoners. Many people could start cultivating after eating an energy core, but unfortunately, zombies did not have any in their bodies and it was extremely difficult to kill the mutant beasts which did.

Back in the camp, Executioner Zhou Shan had set up a team to manage the cultivators. Every single one who gathered in Nanjing had to participate in its defense regardless of willingness, registering at the camp to have their battle abilities and health conditions tested. Lu Yin and the others were also brought to this camp.

This camp was by no means small, occupying all of Nanjing. It was rumored that there were countless zombies and mutant beasts roaming around it when the camp had first been established; Zhou Shan had led the cultivators on a month-long expedition to occupy the former tourist city. With Nanjing at the center, the camp spread out in all four directions, allowing survivors to successfully reach the gathering point in Zhongshan which was one of the biggest concentrations of survivors in China.

There was a solemn silence amongst the newcomers in the camp, all of them looking enviously at the cultivators who were already in matching uniforms. They would join those ranks in the near future.

“It is an incredible feat that the Executioner could build this camp to this extent in merely half a year,” someone commented.

Someone else echoed the sentiment, “Many went into hiding when the Apocalypse arrived, but the Executioner immediately established this camp. It will be a dominant force in the future.”

Lu Yin walked among the cultivators and looked around at the soldiers who would pass by on occasion. These people were tough, true soldiers. Logically speaking, when the world was ending, there would be nobody charismatic enough to be able to form such a structure, and yet, the camp was still here. There was only one reason; the members of this organization were all true soldiers and Zhou Shan represented the country.

The apocalypse did not destroy China; in fact, it stabilized the country. Zhou Shan was a member of the military and even one of the Seven Sages; if not for both of those connections, he would never have been able to reach the Realm of Sky in merely half a year. It was yet to be determined if it was a blessing that the apocalypse had not brought about a collapse in the communication systems, but if that had happened, it would have been impossible even for nations to stabilize in such a short period of time.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Neshi/Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA