Chapter 196: The Enemy
Even though it had not managed to summon the Molten Metal Fire Bell, You’ve Got Me was still revving to go. It was practically itching for a fight, wanting to have a go at the red monkey Qian Ren. It seems as though You’ve Got Me was still drunk.
The red monkey had been furious earlier and was aggressively beating Wen Leyang and the rest, now stood still and observed You’ve Got Me with intense interest. The monkey calmed down once again. It frowned and asked Wen Leyang, “Are you acquainted with the Fire Master?”
Wen Leyang did not know how to respond to that. He stood rooted to the spot, simply glaring at the monkey.
Gu Xiaojun was glad for the change in mood. At least the beatings have stopped. He moved to Wen Leyang’s side and repeated the question back to the monkey, “You know the Fire Master?”
The monkey nodded. It spoke in a proud manner, “Of course I knew the Fire Master… I had been practising wood elemental magic while he was cultivating the essence of fire. We were both at the peak of our cultivation, masters of their own element….” Perhaps it was because these events had happened so long ago that Qian Ren seemed to have difficulty in recalling its memories.
Old Gu and Wen Leyang looked to each other. Old Gu sniggered, “In that case, you should know about the power of the giant sword then?”
Qian Ren hesitated before laughing. “I do I do… I did not expect that you would be connected to the Fire Master though. This old father owes him a favor. Hehe!” Qian Ren diverted the topic of conversation then. Its gaze was piercing, firmly locked onto Wen Leyang’s face. “Young lad, if I were to give you three months, will you swear to come back and remove all the dung beetles for me?”
This change of event was truly unexpected. Wen Leyang did not know why You’ve Got Me could sometimes summon the Molten Metal Fire Bell and sometimes could not. However, if he is thinking about this correctly, there was some sort of connection between the Fire Master and the divine sword which the bug is the link somehow.
Wen Leyang did not care to ask further into the matter. He nodded hastily. “In three months, I promise to return and help you remove these poison bugs!”
Qian Ren laughed and nodded, “In respect to the Fire Arya… Fire… Fire Master?” Everyone nodded their heads. The monkey continued, “In respect of the Fire Master, I will release you but you are to return alone. For the next three months, I will make sure they stay healthy and alive.” The monkey’s intentions could not be clearer. It wanted to keep hostages.
Wen Leyang did not know how to answer. The head lama Rangjung took a step forward and shook his head. “No, I am going to go after the wicked scoundrel that tainted the spirits of the King’s loyal warriors. I cannot stay here! If Sir Wen were to leave and not return, I offer to cut my own throat as an apology after I have dealt with the evildoer.”
Before the head lama had barely finished, Gu Xiaojun boomed out, “The evil cult followers from all around the world have gathered on these highlands for a reason. This matter of the nine-headed snake is connected to the fate of the world, I must follow through with it. If Wen Leyang does not return, I too will commit suicide and be buried with you.”
“I have to return to the Qilian disciples and look out for them. If Wen Leyang were to never return, this old father also…” The giant pangolin too declared its position.
Old Gu and Po Tu were echoing the awe-inspiring speech of the head lama. That certainly was an uproar…
The monkey calmed down, much to everyone’s surprise. It gazed at everyone present like a housewife picking out Chinese cabbage at a market stall. It nodded at some of them and shook its head at the others. After some time, it spoke to the group in a decisive manner, “Whoever I ask to stay shall stay. You’re the ones who have broken the deal, you have no right to be negotiating. The Fire… Fire Master’s honour is not as great as you imagine it to be.”
Admittedly, it was truly like a market inside the Dog-Headed Eagle’s body. There was no room for them to refuse the monkey, no matter what they thought. To Wen Leyang’s surprise, Qian Ren only chose two hostages, the dwarf Taoist priest and QIn Zhui.
The giant pangolin, the head lama, and Gu Xiaojun were allowed to follow Wen Leyang and return to the surface.
Wen Leyang shook his head in disagreement. He ignored Gu Xiaojun’s glance. He pointed at Qin Zhui who was lying injured on the ground. Before he could even say a word, the monkey interrupted him, “Are you able to heal him?”
Wen Leyang was stunned, then a joyous smile spread across his face. “Are you going to heal his injuries?”
Qin Zhui glared at the monkey. He clenched his teeth and spoke in a voice seething with anger, “Even if you can heal this old man here, it would be useless! My treasured weapon had already been destroyed, my lifetime of practice…”
The monkey laughed in response. “You ungrateful young lad, why do you think the old father didn’t destroy anyone else’s treasured weapon? Your martial arts practice is fine but if keep holding on to that broken knife and continue to train with it, you will not achieve your life goal till the day you die!”
Qin Zhui seemed to forget his injuries, raising his hand and pushing Gu Xiaojun away. “What do you mean?” He then cried out in alarm and tumbled to the ground again.
The monkey stretched out its hand to shoo away the few people crowding around him with their attempts to help, resulting in Qin Zhui falling head first in front of the monkey. On its face was a ghost of a smile, “Yung lad, you had first cultivated in the skill of Enter the Force, then you practised Hide the Force, correct?”
Qin Zhui was severely injured but this fall was not serious. He could not get up though so he just turned over and lied with his back to the ground, looking up at the monkey. The short and small monkey now looked much bigger from Qin Zhui’s point of view. “Break the Force. Break the Force with the knife…”
The monkey laughed at him. “Bullshit! Sure you can learn to break the force but what good would that do you? That skill would be useless if you relied on it for the rest of your life. This old father destroyed your knife so that you can forget about the force and achieve Zero Force!”
Wen Leyang and Qin Zhui simultaneously gave out an ‘oh’. Back in the Gold-Consuming Lair, the jade knife Guo Huan had told Qin Zhui that the next step in his practice was to achieve Zero Force after Hiding the Force but Qin Zhui had not understood then. When Qin Zhui was at Nine Peaks Mountain, the old demon rabbit had told him about Breaking the Force. Qin Zhui was overjoyed that he had found a new clue then.
The monkey’s statement perfectly matched with Guo Huan’s earlier words. Their experience was after all far greater than the old demon rabbit. The two old demons’ statements were identical. In order to achieve a breakthrough, Qin Zhui would have to find out more about this Zero Force.
Qin Zhui waved his hand dismissively at Wen Leyang. “I will stay, you guys leave.”
The dwarf Taoist priest looked towards Gu Xiaojun and reminded Wen Leyang in a desperate voice, “Three months!”
The terms have been set by the monkey. There was absolutely no room for anyone to refute.
They then realized the power from the Western region deity that had been summoned by head lama Rangjung had lifted, unknown since when. This brand of supernatural power was only ever meant to be a temporary measure and would not last forever.
Wen Leyang resumed carrying Gu Xiaojun and together with the head lama and the giant pangolin, they returned to the surface world. The seal of Tuer Town was almost in shambles and since they were not apart of the Dog-Headed Eagle, the seal did not hold them back and they dashed past it without much effort. You’ve Got Me had returned to Wen Leyang’s body with joy. As long as Wen Leyang was safe, it could rest easy. The bug, which was still hangover, was still pretty riled up from its adventures. It continued to cry out softly while crawling all over Wen Leyang’s body like a tiny train on the tracks. Occasionally, it crawled up Gu Xiaojun’s body and made his hairs stand on end.
The sky above the small town was bright. Wen Leyang inquired and found out that they had spent almost two days in the eagle’s stomach.
The moment the Qilian disciples caught sight of the divine beast Po Tu, they broke out in thunderous cheers but they then realized, their supreme leader was nowhere to be seen…
Wen Leyang briefly recounted their encounter to the company that had been waiting for them to return. Fei Fei wailed regretfully. She thumped her chest and stomped her feet, appearing extremely depressed. Hearing Wen Leyang’s story, the chance to study the monkey’s expression sounded like a missed opportunity.
Old Gu sniggered and consoled her. “Do not fret. Three months from now, you will have the chance to study a talking bird!” As he said that, he pulled out a pen from his chest pocket. Wen Leyang learned that it was actually a recorder. Fei Fei may have missed the chance to stud the monkey’s face but she could still come up with some clues just from its voice.
Fei Fei pulled Xiao Sha off to the side and they both started listening intently. Gu Xiaojun then spoke to Wen Leyang softly, “Qian Ren is not a fool.”
Wen Leyang raised his eyebrows. “What do you mean?”
Upon hearing Qian Ren’s story, head lama Rangjung had decided to investigate the evil sorcerer that had broken the pure hearts of the followers left behind by King Gesar to guard the mandala. The only lead he had on the evil sorcerer was the group of evil cults that had gathered on the highlands. The head lama aligned himself with Wen Leyang and his original group. Upon hearing Gu Xiaojun’s statement, he nodded in agreement. “The hostages he kept, they were not chosen blindly.”
As he spoke, the head lama produced instruments that Wen Leyang did not recognise from the front of his robes and started putting them down in a circle, making a soundproof circle around them. This prevented the monkey Qian Ren from eavesdropping on their conversation.
After he had finished, Rangjung raised his thick and dark hand. He counted off on his fingers while addressing Wen Leyang, “This is the first time we are meeting, there isn’t much kinship between us. If it were to take me as a hostage, you guys would not be too bothered.”
Wen Leyang’s interest was peaked.
The lama then pointed to Old Gu. “I do not understand the ties between all of you but I know that he is an ordinary human. He would never have survived being trapped underground for three months. It would only be troublesome for the monkey if he stays behind. If he dies and you have a close relationship, you might refuse to return and exterminate the bugs.”
Gu Xiaojun took over from the lama, continuing the dissection, “The most important thing to note is that the monkey pinned down the Taoist priest but released the giant pangolin. Anyone could see that the Qilian Immortal Sect’s supreme leader has a profound relationship with the divine beast. It kept one of the pair and released the other, prompting them to force you to return with the formula.”
Wen Leyang was no fool, he understood the situation clearly after they have finished. He laughed loudly as he nodded, “That is true. It had chosen to keep the supreme leader and not the divine beast because Po Tu’s strength is far greater. With the divine beast monitoring me, even if I decide not to rescue Qin Zhui, I would have to answer to the divine beast Po Tu.”
Gu Xiaojun laughed. “Qian Ren kept Qin Zhui because it saw you and Qin Zhui join hands in battle. He and you certainly have a good enough relationship. Also according to my observation, Qian Ren seemed to have taken a fancy towards Qin Zhui. The practitioner has spent millenniums alone and perhaps had wished for a disciple. This could be the making of that ugly lad!”
The giant pangolin Po Tu lumbered into the lama’s soundproof circle. It asked Wen Leyang bluntly, “Young lad, will you be able to remove every single one of those dung beetles?”
Wen Leyang nodded. “Those bugs are just odd in size. It would be difficult to settle them with brute force but with the use of poison, it would be no different than killing cockroaches. I just have to get in contact with my family and have them send me the materials.” He asked for pen and paper from the sibling and hastily drafted a message to his family, including the recipe and the volume of ingredients needed. He took out a letter talisman belonging to the Wen family from his chest pocket. Wen Leyang passed the talisman and the letter to the pangolin, instructing the divine beast, “Please deliver these to the Wen family and bid my family to prepare the ingredients. Have them send the goods to this town when everything is prepared. The matter of killing the bugs is a small one.”
Po Tu gave out a sigh of relief as if letting go of a heavy burden. “All is well then. I just thought, if everything else failed, I would have requested you to get help from Grand Master Chang Li. This way is the simplest. It is best we do not need to bother the grand old lady…” As it said this, it paused for a moment and then laughed heartily. “I will have no need to run this errand personally. The children of the Immortal Sect can deliver the letter.”
The giant pangolin had already decided long ago that he would not leave Wen Leyang’s side. Otherwise, if the young lad were to disappear, it would have no means to find Wen Leyang again. Po Tu handled the delegation, immediately calling upon the Qilian Immortal Sect disciples and instructed them to deliver the items to Nine Peaks Mountain.
Even without their supreme leader to hold their front line, the elite disciples of the Qilian Immortal Sect were a force not to be trifled with within the magical realm. They agreed to deliver the letter as staying back would prove useless, they wouldn’t be of much help here. Based on power alone, if Wen Leyang’s group prove not to be enough, the Immortal Sect’s disciples could not help either.
The Qilian disciples worshipped the giant pangolin as a deity. The divine beast tossed its tail while giving them instructions. Over twenty disciples departed immediately. Every one of them left in a flash, leaving the small town of Tuer even more desolate than before.
Of course, Gu Xiaojun understood Po Tu’s intentions, his old face beamed with joy. Two days had passed in this small town. Although they have lost Qin Zhui, they now had two additional members to their group. The head lama Rangjung and the divine beast Po Tu would help them in their mission.
Po Tu’s magic roots were definitely more prominent than that of Wen Leyang and Rangjung but it was also more volatile and accident-prone.
Rangjung’s powers were on par with Wen Leyang’s but he had an added skill. He was a high-ranking personage amongst the people of the highlands. Judging from how he had summoned help from the practitioners from the highland and concentrated their powers using just the human bone flute, having his aid is equivalent to having all of Tibet’s Buddhist heroes behind them.
As soon as the medicinal materials are delivered by the Wen family, the process of exterminating the bugs for Qian Ren would be an easy one for Wen Leyang. As easy as lifting a finger, thus he was not too worried. He refused to just sit back and wait though. They needed to continue investigating the matter of the evil cult followers.
Just relying on the collective powers of Wen Leyang, the head lama Rangjung, and Po Tu, the evil cult followers that had gathered here on highlands would not stand a chance. The evil cult followers’ powers were pretty weak and this puzzled Wen Leyang. He wondered what could the nine-headed snake need from a group of foreigners with weak abilities.
Po Tu grew impatient as it slammed its tail on the ground. “So what’s our next move? Are we going after the group of living dead?”
Fei Fei who had been pacing back and forth suddenly started jumping on the spot. With the recorder pen pressed to her ear, she raised her head and spoke to Old Gu in a confidential manner. “Everything the creature had been truthful all throughout the beginning but it’s lying about the Fire Master. This person is a made-up entity!”
Gu Xiaojun and the head lama both smiled knowingly as if that was what they expected, the giant pangolin Po Tu was puzzled at this though. It was about to speak when its expression changed abruptly. The divine beast lifted its rapidly twitching nose into the air as if sensing danger. It rose up and shouted loudly, “Immortal Sect disciples! Retreat! Oh goddamn this soundproof circle!” It dove into the ground and burrowed away.
Wen Leyang and the head lama Rangjung frowned in unison. They looked to one another in astonishment. Gu Xiaojun stretched out his hand and grabbed onto both of them. “What is it?”
The head lama Rangjung spoke in a strained voice, “It’s the enemy. The enemy that is coming for Tuer Town.”
Old Gu started to laugh. “It is best that the enemy is here!” They had been entrusted to stop the enemy after all. They were still trying to figure out if they should continue waiting or give chase when the enemy finally arrived. They could either talk to the enemy into retreating or fight them into submission. Once they were done with this task, they could continue their search for the evil cult followers. After the events of the past few days, Old Gu had started to miss his African brother, Tutatunte.
Wen Leyang gave a forced smile as he said, “This group of enemies is large. There is a total of… over one thousand people! Also, they are acquaintances of ours.”
Gu Xaiojun’s laughter vanished. His eyeballs almost popped out of their sockets. He stared at Wen Leyang and repeated, “Over one thousand people?”
At this point, the giant pangolin had successfully pulled back the Qilian disciples albeit in a disorderly manner. The moment it entered the town, it shouted in a rage, “What is that? There are over a thousand people in that group!” It waved its hands and instructed its disciples furiously, “I command everyone to fall back!” With a loud bang, Po Tu changed from his Earthly form to his demon one. It raised its head and howled in anger, filling the air with a sonorous and forceful voice. Its howl was filled with murderous intent, a warning to the enemy which was rapidly approaching.
A moment later, a familiar voice rang out. “Taoism code, disciples of Kunlun. Execute the demon, kill the people in the town without mercy!”
Over a thousand voices answered with a resounding yes to the Taoism code instructions, shattering the tranquillity of the highlands. Their swords reflected the shimmering sky. Countless Taoist disciples were hurtling towards the small town at lightning speed. They aimed for the small town while under the protection of a sword formation.
Gu Xiaojun gave out a choked scream. He turned and asked Wen Leyang, “Is that the Kunlun Sect? Why are they here?”
Wen Leyang shook his head. He waved his hand and stopped the giant pangolin who was about to launch itself at the incoming horde. His body blurred as he jumped to the town’s border. He roared, “Come out Liu Zheng! I am-”
The enemies, who looked like they would not give up until the small town was destroyed, were the disciples of Kunlun donning green coloured long robes. The person issuing orders from afar was Wen Leyang’s old acquaintance, Kunlun Sect’s supreme leader, Liu Zheng.
Liu Zheng did not even wait for Wen Leyang to finish his sentence, he cut off Wen Leyang off with a loud roar, “Taoism code, disciples of Kunlun. Execute the demons-”
The moment the Taoism code was given, it was difficult to change its course.
Wen Leyang had fought many confused battles over the last few days but he refused to believe that the Kunlun Sect would still attack him despite seeing him. He did not wait for Liu Zheng to complete issuing the order before shouting back, “Execute my ass!” A tremendous force flowed through Wen Leyang’s poisonous bones and Qi points. His entire person became as heavy as a hill but moved as fast as lightning. He pounced towards the Kunlun disciples.
The few Taoist priests at the front of the line were caught off guard. Just like empty bottles blocking the path of the savage horse, they were tossed aside from Wen Leyang’s impact. The Kunlun disciples originated from Black and White Island, their lineage had existed for millenniums and they were very disciplined in their conduct. They were thrown into chaos for mere moments before they calmed down and closed ranks. The senior disciples shouted out. Streaks of swords flashed through the air and came together to shape themselves into dragons, peering at him from all directions.
Wen Leyang grew nervous and angry. He clenched his teeth and was about to charge forward despite the danger when suddenly, something tightened around his ankles. The giant pangolin had stuck its head out from the ground and pulled him under in one swift motion.
Wen Leyang felt his body tighten and loosed almost all at once. While being protected by Po Tu, they sped pass the sword dragons surrounding them through under the ground. Po Tu then tossed Wen Leyang forward with all its might, and laughed uproariously, “Go! Capture that b*stard supreme leader and strike him on my behalf!”
A few huge and thick sword dragons tried to encircle Wen Leyang but failed to suppress him. They were like leeches looking to suck out their souls and chew on his bones, immediately giving chase in the direction of Wen Leyang and Po Tu, giving out a loud bang. The giant pangolin turned around right after sending Wen Leyang away. It spread out its limbs, the scales on its body stiffened. Its already large body grew by several folds as it laughed madly and smothered countless Kunlun divine swords.
In a blink of an eye, the clashing sounds of metal echoed through the sky!
Wen Leyang dashed through the enemy’s formation to grab onto Liu Zheng. Po Tu had burrowed underground to help him with this. Head lama Rangjung had formed a seal with his hands and guarded the small town of Tuer. He was also preparing to defend the people in the town.
The Qilian Immortal Sect’s disciples brandished their own flying swords and took up their flaming sword formation. However, their red coloured sword formation was no stronger than a red beltfish when compared to the sword dragons of the Kunlun Sect. Old Gu led the Fei Fei siblings. Each of them held a handgun but they were at a loss at where to aim it.
Head lama Rangjung was knowledgeable and rich in experience but his knowledge was only limited to the highlands. He understood the Taoist magic from the central lands but he had never engaged with them on such a a large scale before. Now that he was seeing the Kunlun disciples launching their flying swords one after the other and their imposing mannerism, he was truly startled. These Kunlun Sect disciples’ cultivation base was not worth a mention in his eyes but their joined forces were awe inspiring. If the person that took the brunt force of the swords had been him and not the giant pangolin, he surely would have suffered greatly.
Without a doubt, the disciples of the Kunlun Sect were giving it their all. Earlier when the enlightened person Tian Shu had been dealing with the Fifth Brother, Hanba, in the City God Temple, he had only brought along seventy-two esteemed sword seniors and over three hundred high-ranking disciples. This time, they had turned up with their full strength. Even fresh disciples who have only entered the school for less than three months came as well under the behest of their leader. The clenched their teeth and guided their three-inch flying swords through the air and fought desperately. Certainly, they perceived this as a grave matter of life and death.
The giant pangolin met the joint attack of the thousand Kunlun Sect disciples with great difficulty. It managed to last for mere moments before it gave out a shriek and fell to the ground. The entire ground shook when the body of the pangolin hit the earth. The countless long swords hummed and took off in all directions. They flew everywhere due to the tremendous force, their masters losing their command momentarily.
All this had happened in the blink an eye. Wen Leyang was now running at the speed of light. He dashed and stood in front of the little supreme leader, Liu Zheng, raising his fist to punch Liu Zheng out of desperation. “What the f*ck are you doing, you b*stard?!”
Before he could land his punch though, Wen Leyang suddenly cried out in surprise. His fist froze in midair. It had only been a few months since they’ve met but it was as if the little supreme leader had turned into a different person.
The original Liu Zheng had been mischievous and brutish. His body was built and his face handsome. When he tried, he could put on the airs befitting an official heir of a famous sect.
The Liu Zheng in front of Wen Leyang right now was withered in body and sallow in complexion. He was so skinny that there seemed to only be skin clinging to his bones. His face was so gaunt that one would only notice the huge pair of eyes sticking out. If he were to be put into the Dog-Headed Eagle’s body, he could have been brothers with Qian Ren.
Wen Leyang may have frozen in midair but Liu Zheng did not hold back. Grunting in a low voice, he stretched out his skinny, chicken-leg-like hands and grabbed onto Wen Leyang.
Wen Leyang quickly reacted. His hands closed around Liu Zheng’s fists that were attempting to break his ribs. Wen Leyang felt a strong gush of life force invade him, bursting into his chest through the supreme leader’s hands, akin to an icy-cold spear. Wen Leyang’s poisonous body immediately prepared to counterattack with the Faulty Punch. The two parties were locked in a battle and strength and Wen Leyang was stumped once again!