Defiant Martial God
Chapter 72: Ensnared
The northwest region of the Slaughter Array was towering mountains and precipitous ridges, extremely steep and uneven terrain; thus, it was a long time before Qin Yu’s group finally reached the border of the area. By now, the sky was dark, but even in the dim light, they finally could see the distinct foothills ahead. From here, they could head straight to the center of the array.
“Qin Yu, you’re certain you want to go back to the pagoda?” Qing Yun, walking behind Qin Yu, couldn’t help but asking.
Qin Yu didn’t answer, but rather replied with another question, “Are you afraid?”
“W-what would I be afraid of? If you dare to go, then I’ll go too.” Qing Yun’s voice dropped.
Qin Yu laughed playfully. “That’s good then. Let’s speed up a bit and try to leave this place before we sleep.” The group immediately quickened their pace. A canyon lay ahead.
The four weren’t even halfway through the canyon when suddenly, Qin Yu, in the lead, shouted, “Stop!” The word had yet to fall when his steps abruptly halted, causing the other three to stop as well and look at him with surprise.
“Da Ge, what happened?” Mu Rongyue asked curiously.
“There’s danger.” Qin Yu’s expression shifted.
“Danger?” The others hadn’t reacted when a series of crashes echoed from above. Overhead, a huge net appeared to snare them.
“Not good! Quick, get out of the way!” Qing Yun shouted as she unsheathed her sword. “Ninth Form of Azure Edge Sword: Sword Breaking the Heavens!” A magnificent, dazzling cyan light soared into the sky, tearing through the huge net that fell toward them. The tattered remains landed harmlessly on the ground around them.
“Strong!” Everyone, including Qin Yu, couldn’t help but sigh in admiration. The nine forms of the Azure Edge Sword of the Qing Family was truly extraordinary. Not only was Qing Yun’s cultivation high, but her fighting strength was also powerful.
“Hahahaha! Not bad. Looks like you’re not that weak.” An insufferably arrogant, haughty laugh echoed from the sky above. “But, this bit of strength is still nothing in this Prince’s eyes.”
“Who?!” Mu Rongyue shouted into the sky. The voice was somewhat familiar to her. Whoosh! No one responded to Mu Rongyue, and the only answer she received was the sudden ominous appearance of dark figures.
Each shadow was like a black whirlwind. Descending with the arrogance of tyrants from above, the black-clad troop surrounded the foursome. Altogether, there were ten people wearing the same black uniform of hunters. However, they differed from hunters as they all wore a black, demon-faced mask to hide their identities. [1. See bottom of chapter for a picture of the mask.]
Qin Yu glanced at the masked men. Before him, nobody could conceal their level of cultivation. All of these martial artists were at the Immersion Realm or higher, and some of them were even in the late stage of the Immersion Realm. So strong? Qin Yu was secretly surprised. Not only did these people have high cultivation, each of them also held a strong aura of killing intent. Most were at the middle stage of the Immersion Realm, and a few were at the late stages of the Immersion Realm; their troop couldn’t be called weak at all.
“Who are you guys?” Mu Rongyue shouted loudly and glared at them. She still felt the auras of their captors were strangely familiar; but, as they all unfortunately wore masks, she couldn’t identify them.
The masked faces were frigid, and the figures simply stood there like frozen sculptures, not emitting a single sound, nevermind a reply. “Heheheh! Royal Sister, have you forgotten even the sound of my voice?” The male voice from earlier rose once again.
“‘Royal Sister’?” Mu Rongyue’s delicate body trembled. And, as if a revelation had suddenly occurred to her, her head jerked up, and her beautiful face paled. “You... You’re Mu Rongrui?”
“You’ve finally remembered me, ahahaha!” The laugh boomed, reverberating in the canyon as a young man holding a longsword jumped down from overhead. He slowly turned around to reveal a masked face. Qin Yu’s gaze locked onto him before he touched the ground.
The young man wore flowery, brocade robes. His skin was fair and clear. The penetrating aura of royalty emanated from his body. But, Qin Yu was a little baffled: The man seemed to be at least 25; yet, didn’t the competition only allow those 20 and younger? Although those were the official rules, in reality, there were many unspoken rules as well.
The young man’s cultivation at the height of the Immersion Realm was the strongest among the group. Moreover, he actually had a foot in the Transformation Realm and appeared to be just about to break through. He was extremely powerful.
Qin Yu turned his head, a serious expression on his face. This man was too strong. If Qin Yu faced one of these assailants alone, then it would be fine; but, right now, there was Mu Rongrui and eleven or so other masters to face. The situation was far from good.
Seeing that it really was Mu Rongrui, Mu Rongyue frowned, and she shouted at him angrily, “Mu Rongrui, what are you all doing?! How could you benefit from killing so many people?”
“Little Yue, you truly grow more and more impudent, daring to call my name like this. Have you completely forgotten the etiquette of the royal family?” Mu Rongrui retorted bitterly.
“You’ve no right to speak of ‘royal family etiquette’ to me.” Mu Rongyue raised her voice.
“Fine, Mu Rongyue. In that case, forget your sibling-like ties to this Prince.” Mu Rongrui’s face was chilly.
“Since when did you ever take into consideration our close relations?” Mu Rongyue’s face was mocking. “Just speak: How many talented youths have to die to satisfy you?”
Mu Rongrui snorted with contempt. “The way of the cultivator has always been riddled with death. You fuss over nothing.”
His words filled Mu Rongyue with rage. “And you still call yourself a prince of the Royal Family, Mu Rongrui?! Have you failed to realized that those deaths belonged to the next generation of Qiongxi’s elites? They were the future hope of the country! Killing all of these talents is equivalent to destroying our future!”
“Mu Rongyue, you have too big a heart. A woman should only care about growing up, getting married, helping her husband, and educating her children. This should be none of your concern,” declared Mu Rongrui in low tones before he turned his gaze on Qin Yu standing beside the princess. Today, Qin Yu was Mu Rongrui’s true goal. “Are you Qin Yu?”
Qin Yu was startled. Strange, this should’ve been the first time they had met; so, the prince shouldn’t have been able to recognize him. “I am,” Qin Yu answered curtly. He stepped in front of Mu Rongyue and squarely faced Mu Rongrui.
“Da Ge, he’s the most prized son of Prince Qi, Mu Rongrui. He’s very strong and his sword is especially well known. We must be careful!” whispered Mu Rongyue softly.
Staring at Mu Rongrui coldly, Qin Yu’s face was calm, and he nodded slightly. “What do you want?”
“Your life,” Mu Rongrui replied jokingly. For him, Qin Yu was currently no more than a bird trapped in a cage, able to be killed with the snap of a finger.
“Hehe.” Qin Yu grinned mischievously. “Nobody who has ever wanted my life has met a good end, and neither will you.”
“Is that right?” A trace of disdain appeared on Mu Rongrui’s face. “Seeing how you can still talk back in such a situation, this Prince will test just how strong you really are. I hope your strength matches your mouth.”
“I won’t disappoint you. Unsheathe your sword!” Killing intent surged from Qin Yu’s body. Qing Yun and the others stepped back, giving Qin Yu the battlefield, and they secretly prepared to break through the surrounding cultivators.
“Letting me attack first? You really think highly of yourself.” Mu Rongrui snorted coldly. “Once I unsheathe my sword, you’ll die. So, I’ll allow you to strike first.”
“As you wish. Blood of a Thousand Shadows!” Qin Yu burst forth. A crimson light erupted in the sky as blood-red streams of qi devoured the blue and covered the earth. From hundreds of blades made of sharp sword qi, a bloody curtain formed; it rushed toward Mu Rongrui violently and swelled to envelop him until even his mask couldn’t be seen. Mu Rongrui was startled; and, before the strands of blood qi could completely engulf him, he unsheathed his sword and used his strongest move: “Sudden Phantom Strike! Break!”
Meanwhile, the masked men behind the prince were also dealing with the streams of crimson qi, and they, too, responded swiftly and violently. They threw out black, iron chains that transformed into countless black snakes. The serpents madly tore through the bloody curtain enveloping them. Swords and sword qi twisted together in countless booming clashes. Releasing raspy hisses, the snakes punctured through the bloody curtain. Reluctantly, Mu Rongrui couldn’t help admitting that Qin Yu’s sword was, indeed, very quick. In a flash, hundreds and thousands of sword-light strikes washed over the prince.
“Bone Corroding Evil Winds!” Qin Yu knew his opponent was strong, so he immediately used his strongest move. He absolutely could not give the other a chance to recover! Berserk energy exploded as his palm struck out, bearing the power of the demonic yin qi’s toxic gas.
Mu Rongrui wasn’t the slightest bit afraid of the destructive gas and actually grinned with ridicule. “You really are the user of the demonic yin qi. Die!” Not only did the prince not evade, but he actually charged into the black fog to retaliate. A sinister sneer painted Qin Yu’s face. Here was another overconfident idiot who completely ignored the toxic demonic yin gas. Those who looked down upon such qi would certainly pay a painful price as their entire body corroded and fell away. However, the smile on his face faded very quickly to be replaced by a look of shock. Mu Rongrui passed through the demonic yin qi completely unharmed, and his sword swiftly stabbed into Qin Yu’s stomach.
“Wind, evade! Cloudtrack Phantom!” Facing a lightning-like speed beyond his expectations, Qin Yu had no choice but to retreat. He had no time to put up any resistance and could only continue to evade, stacking Cloudtrack Phantom and the spiritual nature of wind to double his speed.
“Die!” A roar sounded as Mu Rongrui’s sword jabbed ruthlessly toward the pit of Qin Yu’s stomach, cutting a huge hole in his clothes. Qin Yu’s speed was truly fast; but, Mu Rongrui lived up to his reputation, and he was also extremely swift. Fortunately, Qin Yu had put on the Golden Silk Armor earlier.
Although the armor had become a bit ragged from the previous confrontation with the Demonic Blood-Devouring Sword, it was still wearable after being mended… just barely. This time, it saved his life. Otherwise, his stomach would’ve been ripped open. If the sword Mu Rongrui used had been a spirit tool, Qin Yu would’ve undoubtedly died. “I was careless.” Upon dodging the sword, Qin Yu suffered a moment of cold sweat. In that instant, he had felt too close to death.
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