Li Ziye sighed and flung Heavenly Sword in front. It flew into the sword case and Li Ziye threw it at Ye Chang.
Ye Chang activated some talismans, turning into golden lights and covering the sword case with a seal. Only then he laughed with ease and pride at his great plan, “Hypocritical modern cultivator, taste this!”
A killing slash came at Li Ziye.
Li Ziye lost his sword, crippling his speed, however, like a clairvoyant, he stepped back seven times, making the heavy killing blow brush past his shoulder and leaving a hole in the ground.
Ye Chang frowned, “Who said you could dodge? Don’t test me…”
Li Ziye sighed, “Let me be clear, forsaking the Heavenly Sword is my limit. I will not just hang my head for you to take it.”
Ye Chang grimaced, “You don’t care for his life?”
“I’m no fool. By killing me, his life is over. It makes no sense letting you kill me.” Li Ziye smiled, “Having taken him hostage proves you have use of him alive, and killing him will only be done as a desperate attempt.”
Li Ziye continued his conjectures, “In a straight-up fight, I can overpower you. Going by the ancient cultivator’s nature, there’s nothing in it for you by defeating me, and fleeing would be far more attractive. But since you didn’t follow through with that idea, it shows the situation changed to killing me now and spare you the headache later. Do you have a base nearby?”
Having been found out, Ye Chang turned fretful, “What are you planning?”
Li Ziye chuckled, “I’d rather avoid having his death on my conscience. However, by letting you take him, either ending up dead or barely alive, the worst outcome would be to turn him into an ancient cultivator. I have to apologize if that sounds harsh to him, but from where I stand, I cannot allow that to happen. I can’t just stand by and watch you take him. I must do my best to save him. What other choice do I have?”
“As if I care!” Ye Chang barked, about to use his energy to flee. Li Ziye had his Heavenly Sword sealed, making it so he couldn’t catch up.
Li Ziye continued, “Let me give you a tip. Sir sealed Heavenly Sword, but breaking it is easy since Myriad Arts Sect specializes in breaking arrays and seals. I had killed your friends then chased you and now I can break the seal and come after you without any delay all the same.”
Ye Chang walked forward. Modern cultivation had far more complex magical arts than the ancient system. He could not figure out how long Li Ziye would take to unseal the Heavenly Sword. A second, two? Just now, Li Ziye chose to cull the three Foundation Establishment cultivators before giving chase again. There was no way it would buy him enough time to throw Li Ziye off his tail.
The Nascent Soul’s voice was shaky, “What are you going to do?”
“You still don’t understand your position? Run away and I’ll unseal Heavenly Sword to chase you, leading to exposing your secret. Also, if worse comes to worse, I’ll just kill Wang Qi myself. I’ll feel guilty for sure, but it’s better than letting you win. Of course, as I’m sure, neither of us would want to see that happen. If you’re harsh enough to kill Wang Qi here and now, I’d have nothing holding me back from using all of Heavenly Sword to kill you where you stand.”
Ye Chang just could not take Li Ziye’s critical look, roaring in anxiety, “Just what the hell do you plan to do?”
Wang Qi cussed and looked at the Nascent Soul cultivator in disdain. Li Ziye was taking away all of his choices, leading him into the scenario he wanted. [Now he can’t kill me and neither can he escape, leaving only…]
Li Ziye spread his arms, “As you can see, your only way out of this deadlock is to beat me, without the Heavenly Sword. At the same time, you must also ensure the safety of my young friend all the while.”
Wang Qi caught on to Li Ziye’s plan and relaxed, returning his focus to solving Zhen Chanzi’s forbidden art.
Ye Chang winced and roared as he unleashed more magical arts at Li Ziye.
Li Ziye had no Heavenly Sword, limiting his skill in breaking the arts. He wasn’t afraid, though, dancing through the attacks and shooting for Ye Chang. His palms charged up with power and changed forms constantly as he went for Ye Chang’s weaknesses.
Ye Chang was no pushover either, using spiritual power to tie Wang Qi up and his hands to wield the greatsword at Li Ziye.
While they were fighting, Wang Qi’s calculations reached the crucial point.
“Easier than I thought… It doesn’t touch upon even more complex variations…
“This vector can be removed…
“The formula is a bit complicated… Since spiritual power operates in cycles, there is a period to this function. Double-checking… It satisfies the Dirichlet-Jordan test and can use Fourier transform to simplify it…”
Wang Qi’s focus was on math and math alone, oblivious to a warm feeling crawling through his meridians at a snail’s pace.
Ye Chang sealed Wang Qi with an Imperial Celestial Rift Sect secret art. It used the most savage spiritual power to block the target’s spiritual power flow thus sealing it. The stuck spiritual power didn’t go anywhere in the process, locked in place. Zhen Chanzi’s forbidden art took advantage of the spiritual power left behind by the seal, by forming another cycle around it. Since the target’s spiritual power was cut off at every inch, using just one strand of spiritual power to make a cycle was impossible. This was the logic behind having 37 running at the same time.
Having gone through the Nurturer phase, his thoughts reflected on his cultivation. As Wang Qi calculated, the spiritual power inside began moving by itself along the trajectories he was calculating.
“A little faster… this breaks down in… this is expressed as… even faster…”
As numbers spun through Wang Qi’s head, the spiritual power sped up, going from a snail to a stream in speed.
This was around a tenth of Wang Qi’s spiritual power.
“There… the last simplification is… done! Eh, my spiritual power…”
Having finished his math problem, Wang Qi gasped as he felt his spiritual power moving.
“I still haven’t… whatever, there’s no time. Escaping takes priority!”
Wang Qi refocused on Li Ziye and Ye Chang’s fight.
Wang Qi was still a tag along with Ye Chang, floating just behind him. Ye Chang and Li Ziye’s fight was heating up for a big finish as well. Li Ziye was sporting many wounds, dying his clothes red. Ye Chang wasn’t fairing any better, as the constant intake of spiritual power through his acupoints messed up his spiritual power and would ultimately wound his Nascent Soul. Li Ziye’s speed did drop without Heavenly Sword, but the harassment of his spiritual power led to being unable to make full use of the greatsword.
Li Ziye passed through Ye Chang’s attacks once more, despite the latter using the broad blade as a shield. Li Ziye’s palms danced and shifted in the air around it, hitting Ye Chang’s weaknesses in his protective energy.
The force bypassed the energy shield and into his body, making him shiver. Wang Qi cheered, ready to activate his talismans.
[No, it’s not time yet. Don’t be rash!] Wang Qi’s caution warned him to stay his hand.
Wise choice, as Ye Chang did not fall under that attack. He discarded the greatsword and used both hands to make signs. Spiritual power burst out of his acupoints and he got some distance from Li Ziye.
[As a disciple of Myriad Arts Sect, Li Ziye’s magical arts are related to mathematics. He did mention that Myriad Arts Sect combat emphasizes calculations the most. His attacks have the potential of messing up the enemy’s rhythm. At this rate, they’ll die together. I can’t take that chance.]
[I need to strike when Li Ziye is losing, or when this guy is pushed around until he has no choice but to kill me.]
His mind made up, he returned to doing calculations to maximize the potential of his interference.
[At least while I fled from the three Foundation Establishment cultivators, I placed the attacking talismans in my right hand while the others in my left hand, not to confuse them.]
[I have no way of determining if there’s any conflict between defensive and attacking talismans, so let’s assume that as the worst-case scenario. If all talismans activate at once, the attacks and the shields cancel each other out or make it shield him as well. In the first case, it will leave me defenseless before a Nascent Soul. In the second case, I’d just be left unable to shake his control over me and waste talismans.]
[There’s also the chance that the three attack talismans would blow me to bits by amplifying their effects.]
[It’s either do or die. I have to take this chance.]
[I just need to activate the talismans on my right then the ones on my left at the right moment and I’ll be able to escape most of the danger.]
While Wang Qi was settling on a plan of action, the situation took a turn. Li Ziye was a Golden Core cultivator, thus weaker and slower. He had been slow in avoiding Ye Chang’s greatsword attack by a fraction of a second, ending up being blown away and spraying blood.
Ye Chang had plenty of fighting experience and didn’t risk it nor mocked the enemy. He slowly gained ground, using steady attacks to overcome the enemy. He knew that Li Ziye’s condition would only worsen as the fight dragged on.
[Damn it!] Wang Qi panicked, almost activating the talismans. Li Ziye had yet to regain his footing and using them now would mean losing his only chance. He held on for when the tide turned.
Li Ziye was not one to disappoint. He coughed blood and readied his palms to attack again. Li Ziye was defending against the blade storm and was even able to nullify Ye Chang’s attacks with perfect timing. Ye Chang was in no rush, he planned to keep Li Ziye busy so he could not retrieve the Heavenly Sword.
[The modern cultivator is at the end of the line. I can’t let him turn the tables around by killing me and the Qi Refining kid.]
Ye Chang couldn’t gather his strength under the interference so he chose to unnerve Li Ziye, “Humph, where did your previous skill go?”
Li Ziye wanted to speak but coughed blood instead. Wiping his mouth, he parried while saying, “I’ve… overestimated myself.”
Ye Chang laughed, not expecting to have the chance to kill an elite modern cultivator bearing the Heavenly Sword. His mission was to assist the ancient Nascent Soul cultivator to kill Xiang Qi and then Li Ziye. When he realized the report was wrong and Li Ziye had a Heavenly Sword, he wrote the mission as a failure. He didn’t think of fighting, yet now the situation had turned.
[How much will the sect reward me by killing a Heavenly Sword wielder?]
Ye Chang saw himself as the winner, having time to let his mind wander. It was then that a frail spiritual power interfered in their fight.
Wang Qi used half his spiritual power to activate the three attacking talismans.