Chapter 198 – Rushing in
The sounds of bells rang out under the heavy and unrelenting rain, melodious yet melancholic.
“The Patriarchs are warning us. Hurry, hurry!” Someone ordered the entire sect. The Sect Leader and an entire group of people arrived at the entrance of Free Cloud Sect. The sky had just turned dark while an entire swarm of lanterns had been lit behind them. Numerous footsteps could be heard as everyone around shuffled purposefully.
“How are the preparations coming along?” The Sect Leader cast his glance down towards the foot of the mountain. The mountain wasn’t very high, hence they could clearly see the activity of those assailants down below. The foot of the mountain was next to a large stream. An Elder then replied, “We’ve already secured the perimeter. We can use rolling boulders and large rocks should they try to breach the mountain.”
“Although we don’t have golden juice (urine and dung water) used to defend cities, we’ve been boiling other poisonous juice to hurl at them. The effectiveness will be as potent.”
“We’ve also placed spells around the surrounding walls of the sect. Nobody will be able to breach it easily.”
“According to the laws laid down by the dynasty during peaceful times, we’re not allowed to carry chain armour. Hence, we’ve been preparing by using paper and cow hide to create our own boiled leather armour. It’s as effective and even lighter than chain armour.”
“Since we can’t carry crossbows, we have our own hunting bows. Although those bows are slightly shorter, they will do.”
“As for long spears and swords we have more than enough of those.”
The Sect Leader nodded his head and smiled, “You’ve prepared well. Now, I wish to see how Dark Altar Sect plans to take over my sect, and how many of their men will die trying!”
At this point, a sound rang out from a distance away. When everyone turned their heads to get a better look, they saw fireworks being shot into the sky.
Everyone’s faces fell. Before long, they saw one of their Daoists sect members running up the mountain towards them hurriedly. He led several disciples as they sped up. The minute they saw the Sect Leader, they exclaimed while panting, “They’re coming. There are more than a hundred of them.”
The Sect Leader’s face turned ashen, “Everyone retreat within the walls and start making preparations!”
Before long, shadows started to materialize. Many torches were burning, lighting in the dark. More than a hundred shadows started to advance
The Sect Leader’s voice boomed out, “Prepare the defensive spells and stabilize the exterior defenses. Everyone, prepare for battle. Remember not to take unnecessary risks, nobody is to fight alone. We cannot afford to lose any men.”
Although the enemy had vast numbers, they made close to no sound. Apart from the inevitable sounds of footsteps and weapons clanging, the sizzle of fire were the only sounds left. When they arrived several hundred steps before the main entrance of Free Cloud Sect, they realized that several layers of defensive spells had been casted, causing a crushing wave of pressure to emanate out. They carefully remained outside the range of arrows.
Elder Liu of Dark Altar Sect rushed to the front and looked at the defenses, his face turned ashen, “I thought that this Free Cloud Sect was a relatively young sect, and wouldn’t be able to make much preparations. I also thought that they would rush at us one by one, trying to prove their worth to each other. If they had done that, it would have been easy for us to wipe them out.”
“Who would’ve expected them to understand military strategies, and gather inside, within the strongest point of their stronghold. Looks like we’re going to have a hard time here.”
“Only those weak secular sects don’t understand military strategies! Free Cloud Sect clearly isn’t one of those sects!” Another Daoist sighed as he continued, “Rogue cultivators would also not give a damn about learning battle strategies.”
“This wall doesn’t seem very impressive. But along with their protective Dao arts, it can be quite scary to deal with.” One of them stepped forward to scrutinize it and forced a bitter laugh.
“The Senior Elder gave his orders, we cannot afford to flee without fighting.” Elder Liu spoke out sternly as he waved his hands. “But the good news is that there are only a hundred people inside Free Cloud Sect. According to our most recent reports, only half of them are able to fight.”
“Hence, we outnumber them two to one in terms of fighting men. Besides, we managed to change into proper chain armour just in time instead of wearing fake armor. Now, let’s advance!”
The sky was laden with clouds as rain poured down heavily. A flash of lightning streaked across the sky. These men had chain armor on them, and their breastplate were made of steel, which were shiny and reflected light. Hearing the orders, they gave out a warcry before charging forward.
“Fire!” Nearby, a dozen of Daoists nocked their bows and let their arrows loose.
“Pu!” Dozens of arrows soared high up into the sky and descended down on the charging men. Most of them were proficient in both Dao arts and fighting skills. Their breastplate gleamed with defensive skills as the arrows ricocheted off their bodies with a loud clang.
“Kill!” The wall wasn’t very high and the first batch of people leapt up in a bid to climb over the walls. The Free Cloud Sect disciples were already prepared for this and raised their hands, “Paralysis Technique! Blinding Light Technique! Halting Technique!”
Several beams of lights flashed as an entire group of people screamed out. Long spears were thrusted out at the assailants, causing blood to spurt out all over. However, there were too many people trying to climb over the wall. Some of them managed to climb over and close quarters fighting ensued.
Within several seconds, both sides had plunged into intense fights, and many casualties were sustained.
“Shoot!” Seeing that the situation had turned against their favor, the Sect Leader gave an order.
Soon after, several Daoists carried a large bucket together and poured the contents at their enemies.
“Poison!” The water splashed onto them, and entered their eyes which caused many anguished screams to ring out. Those who had been affected by the poisonous waters fell to the ground and struggled in pain, screaming the entire time.
“Start the fire!” Immediately after, a torch was thrown into causing a loud “boom” to be heard. The liquid seemed to be combustible and immediately burst into flames, as another wave of screams, this time more intense could be heard.
“Master, not only is this liquid poisonous, it can also catch fire in spite of the rain?” Zhang Yun followed Zhao Ning and asked.
(T/N : Zhang Yun was Pei Zi Yun’s senior brother back in Snail Village, the disciple Zhao Ning chose over him.)
“Most liquids aren’t able to have both these properties together. However, Free Cloud Sect has a secret spell which would cause these liquid to become flammable. It’s a good trick for rainy days like these.” The Sect Leader sniggered as he heard this conversation. “Why else do you think we’re confident of defending ourselves?”
The constant shouts of anguish never ceased, but more people kept attacking in place of the fallen men. The flammable liquid was almost completed used up at this point, as another bout of close combat ensued.
“We’ve sustained severe losses.” Somewhere far away, Elder Liu watched on as the battle progressed, a certain heartache could be felt.
“To be frank, all these walls, spells, hunting bows and even flammable poisonous liquids are just a small part of this battle. The energy and spells which originates from their Paradise is the main issue.” Someone looked up and saw that their men were being ruthlessly slaughtered. Although there were many Daoists on their side, they Daoists within the stronghold had the advantage, and were thus able to defend themselves better.
“Every time we’re weakened, Free Cloud Sect gets stronger.”
Just as they were speaking, someone spoke out before pointing, “Elder Liu, the light atop the monastery has been extinguished.”
“What?” Elder Liu looked up to see for himself, a smile erupted across his face. “That means that our Patriarchs managed to overwhelm their Paradise. Quick, give the order to rush in and kill them all!”
Free Cloud Sect
Just as they were maintaining their spells, they could feel their abilities suddenly weakening. The effectiveness and strength of their spells decreased by more than half. Everyone started to panic. The Sect Leader glanced across and saw that the white glow atop their monastery had become very faint. His face fell as he exclaimed, “No! The Paradise in which our Patriarchs reside has come under attack. Our Patriarchs are in trouble!”
The enemies seemed to have realized this as well. Seeing that they were weakened, their enemy forces were clearly spurred on and started viciously charging. Free Cloud Sect disciples were all retreating in fear.
“Sect Leader, the divine powers of all the Elders has been reduced significantly. Without our powers, defending our Sect is a huge joke. Although our disciples are experienced, they wouldn’t be able to kill more than twenty or thirty men. We have to start thinking of an escape plan.” An Elder voiced out. If they fled now, they might be able to conserve some energy.
The Sect Leader forced a bitter laugh as he stretched out a hand and pointed at the ground where the enemies were. It immediately erupted in a circle of flames, threatening the enemy.
Everyone around knew that was the last line of defense to stall for time. The Sect Leader turned his head, “Without Paradise, Free Cloud Sect is nothing. We will all just be mere rogue cultivators. I’m so useless, I actually let the Patriarchs of Free Cloud Sect down.”
“Even if we were to flee, where can we go? Do you think Dark Alter Sect would allow us an escape route?”
After he had finished speaking, the Sect Leader turned and fled towards the great hall soundlessly.
An entire group of people retreated as they stared at the statue of their Patriarchs, and saw it weakening. They saw their Sect Leader and Elders turning and retreating into the main hall. “Our Paradise is in danger. Dark Altar Sect’s Earth Immortal has produced a clone. That’s not all, they even received assistance from King Lu.”
“Four of our Patriarchs have been murdered.”
Zhao Ning’s face turned pale, “Even if they have the clone of an Earth Immortal and King Lu’s help, we still have the edict bestowed upon us by the dynasty. How can we not fight?”
The Sect Leader didn’t even have time to respond as he heard Yu Yun Jun laugh out bitterly, “Elder Zhao, you focused too much on your Daoist life and forgot about secular matters. This knowledge is something that all High Scholars know.”
“Although we received the edict bestowed by the imperial court, there are different levels of imperial edict, each with different strengths.”
Seeing that the Elders around were unsure of what she was speaking of, she then continued, “The first level of imperial edict was the strongest, and had the most power. The purpose of such an edict was to spread an important message throughout the entire nation. For example to inform everyone that the Crown Prince was to ascend the throne. The physical edict would have tremendous powers.”
“The next level of edict was to grant a title to an official or a nobility. Likewise, this is the second most powerful edict. ”
“The third level of edict was a decree issued directly by the Emperor himself containing a policy or a regulation.”
“The fourth type of edict was an order given to a fifth ranked official or lower, but has to be higher than a seventh ranked official. The bestowment of a True Sovereign title would be of this level, and is considered quite low in terms of powers possessed within the edict.”
“The final type of edict was a type of daily message of low importance. It was meant for officials who were lower than the seventh rank. It also possesses the least amount of powers.” Yu Yun Jun spoke out as her heart skipped a beat. She then forced a smile, “Although we received an imperial edict, it was of the fourth level, and not the strongest. Whether it can match up to King Lu’s tile, it’s difficult to say….. Which is why I’m feeling uneasy.”
The Sect Leader finally understood what she meant. At this point the fire he had casted earlier was almost dying out, and was on the brink of being extinguished. His original plan was to use the fire and combine it with his powers to kill of some assailants. He never expected problems to arise within Paradise, thus reducing his strengths. The ring of fire thus became nothing more than just an obstacle which could be easily overcame.
He looked ahead and heard the killing sounds gradually approaching. Many disciples were fighting their all to defend the stronghold, as many corpses lay on the ground.
“I shall buy some time for Sect Leader, I will do it for Free Cloud Sect.” Zhang Yun watched the situation unfold before him, as he shouted out and dashed into the fray, trying to organize the resistance.
Yu Yun Jun was about to stop him when Zhao Ning shook his head, “Let him go. Without Paradise, we are nothing more than just rogue cultivators. Even if that’s our ending, so what? He’s the reincarnation of an Elder as well, and has his own way of thinking.”
Hearing this words, Yu Yun Jun fell into deep thought, as the Sect Leader was completely silent. He then made up his mind and whipped out a tile. There were two words, ‘Free Cloud’ on the tile.
“This is the Sect Leader tile. All the changes from within the Ying and Yang can be manifested by this tile. Spiritual energy is what supports Paradise, and yet this is the only way we can help our Patriarchs in Paradise, through this tile.”
“Since our entire sect is in danger, and Paradise is being threatened, the only thing I can do is to draw all my remaining energy and transfer it to our Paradise as a last resort. I will do whatever I can to win the battle in Paradise. As for our fortunes and energy here being damaged, that is the responsibility of the next generation. I have to handle what is most pressing.”
After he was done, the Sect Leader then turned to Yu Yun Jun and spoke out, “Among the next generation of disciples, Pei Zi Yun is the only Core Disciple now. If he ever returns, you have to ensure that he becomes the Honorary Disciple.”
“Sect Leader, this isn’t your fault. Nobody could ever guess that they would attack our Paradise.” An Elder stepped forward to console him. “Please wait a little longer.”
“Wait? We don’t have much time left. I’ve failed in my duties since I’m unable to rescue Paradise. You should flee now. Any person who manages to survive this onslaught would be our chance at a rebuilding the sect in future.” As he finished speaking, the Sect Leader wiped the tears on his cheek. Without further hesitation, he knelt down and sat on his legs, next to the statues and sighed, “I’ve experienced many cycles of spring and autumn, but the very first spring still feels like it was only yesterday.”
The minute he finished speaking, blood poured out of every orifice in his body. At the same time, a “boom” sound rang out from the deities’ statues, and light pierced the sky. A shadow could be seen walking into the light.
This was the process where the fortunes from the Yang realm along with the Sect Leader in Yin Master form entered Paradise.
He sacrificed himself to assist with the fighting happening within Paradise.