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“Clan Head, half of our men are dead! We can’t hold on much longer!”
“Clan Head, we can’t make a breach! The enemy’s too strong…”
“Clan Head, we’re surrounded…”
“Clan Head, the venerables can’t take much more…”
Every shout was urgent and disastrous as it reached Shangguan Feixiong’s bloody ears.
[I was wrong, completely wrong.]
He shouldn’t have risked it for greed after he knew Baili Jingwei and Danqing Shen were around. But he still went in for the Soaring Sword and look where that got him.
The Shangguan clan wouldn’t be in this mess if it weren’t for him. The venerables wouldn’t be so hard pressed.
It was all the Clan Head’s fault for not analyzing the situation, for disregarding the signs.
He turned from the exhausted venerables to the bodies of his men on the ground as more were added with a pitiful cry and a spray of blood. Their screams jarred his ears and tears of blood fell from his eyes.
“Brothers, I’ve let you all down!”
“Clan Head, don’t say that, it’s all that cunning Baili Jingwei’s fault for trapping us!” One Genesis Stage expert rushed over and held his exhausted, bloodied and faltering form as he spat, “We just have to get hold of him and Shangguan Feiyun will have to let us go!”
The man led the others, “Brothers, follow me! Take Baili Jingwei and help Clan Head in escaping!”
“Take Baili Jingwei! Help Clan Head escape!”
Shangguan clan’s men roared like man beasts in their charge for Baili Jingwei. The man in question still stood calmly behind hundreds of guards, leaving no gap for them to exploit.
A group rallied under cries of killing, using nothing but reckless bravery and suicidal actions in attempt to push through. But the tight group of guards were ruthless.
As the howls consumed the air and limbs were flying every which way, the small charging group fell defeated and Shangguan Feixiong slumped to the ground in despair.
Those dead eyes saw only blood, his heart in the grips of torture…
“Prime Minister, the thieves lost their will and the fight will end soon.” A guard reported as he saw Shangguan Feixiong’s spirit fading, mocking, “Sir’s planning is brilliant and invincible!”
Baili Jingwei nodded with a stony face, yet frowned instead of smiling. He looked in the distance, at the quiet ahead and said, “The fight had been going on for a couple of hours now, so why isn’t there anything coming from Sword King Feiyun? Is something going on here?”
“Ha-ha-ha, Prime Minister is too worried. What could be going on when the whole of Shangguan clan is stuck here?” The guard bowed, “Moreover, victory is within our grasp. Even without Sword King Feiyun joining, it’ll be fine. These thieves are going nowhere, he-he…”
Baili Jingwei pondered and nodded, “That may be the case, but with Sword King Feiyun around, it would save us the trouble…”
A loud explosion drowned his voice, shaking the air not too far away. Baili Jingwei jerked and looked over…
The cold moonlight shone down like a pillar upon this mortal domain, in all its glory. The sudden display put a halt on the bloody massacre, forcing the men to cover their eyes.
A few minutes after, the moonlight faded, but not the shock on the men’s faces.
[What was that?]
Baili Jingwei raised an eyebrow at the sudden disturbance. He looked around and cried, “That’s where the Jade Falls are! The Soaring Sword!”
“We’ve been played!” Baili Jingwei shook and looked appalled at the discovery. He turned to the Shangguan clan, on the verge of dying and was filled with indecision. But then he snapped, “Open the barrier and follow me to the fall to protect the divine sword!”
Startled, the guards bowed at once, “Prime Minister, we can’t! The thieves are about to fall. If we open the barrier, they’ll escape!”
Baili Jingwei slapped him hard in anger, “Damn slave, since when are you the Prime Minister? Humph, there’s nothing more important than the Soaring Sword. It’s the Patriarch’s desired item. If we lose it, I can’t take the fall and neither can any of you. Don’t just stand there, open it!”
Shuddering, the man bobbed his head and made signs along with the others to open the barrier.
The space cleared with a ripple and the cool evening air blew across their faces.
The Shangguan clan never felt so alive as each new breath felt so precious. Having not been through such desperate fighting before, only now they did realize how good it felt to be alive.
“Dragon Cleaving Sword King, stop fighting and come with me to protect the Soaring Sword!”
The Shangguan clan might relax now, but Baili Jingwei’s group was agitated. The Prime Minister, always calm and shrewd, lost his bearing, shouting at the top of his lungs.
He took the lead for the falls, his men following right after to provide safety.
All the guards were soon gone, leaving Shangguan clan’s battered men like they didn’t exist.
Danqing Shen paused and waved at the three, “Seniors, let’s stop. I have to go over there. Do what you want now.”
He flew for the falls and grinned inside.
[That boy did it? Ha-ha, he’s really something to do it under the noses of two factions, ha-ha-ha…]
Danqing Shen didn’t know what Zhuo Fan’s planned, but he knew he did it…
“Danqing Shen, don’t you dare run! We still have thousands of moves to take you-, cough…” One venerable shouted but was soon forced to stop from a coughing fit.
The other two sighed, “Third, just stop. It’s clear we’re the ones losing so far. Fighting any longer will be the end of us. Don’t brag or it’ll look foolish.”
The man turned to the two and sighed.
[The first in western lands isn’t a pushover at all…]
They rushed to Shangguan Feixiong’s side to see to him, “How are you feeling, Feixiong?”
“Clan Head, are you alright?”
The clan was around him, looking at him with worry.
His eyes still held some fear as Shangguan Feixiong looked at their faces, “Did we just survive?”
“Someone went to steal Soaring Sword while we fought. They panicked and rushed to protect it. It can be counted as surviving.”
One venerable sighed, “Just who could this third party be? He must be really shrewd to play us both for fools. Feixiong, should we go see? Soaring Sword is right there. Maybe we can use this chance to take it?”
Shangguan Feixiong’s face shook with desire but refused, “No, our greed made us suffer many casualties so far. We can’t go through another disaster. I want all of the Shangguan clan to retreat, leave this dangerous place! With Baili Jingwei around, it won’t be easy taking chances. It’s best not to fall for another trap!”
“But the Soaring Sword is so close. Are we leaving it just like that…”
“No, I and the venerables are the strongest and can escape with ease. We will go!”
A venerable was dissatisfied but Shangguan Feixiong’s stance was firm, “The rest are to leave Flying Cloud City and meet up with the others outside!”
“My mind is made up!”
Shangguan Feixiong cut at their protests, “I’ve made one mistake and won’t make another. Shangguan Feixiong is important but I won’t ruin Shangguan clan’s future for it.”
The men had no choice but to give up at their Clan Head’s insistence.
The venerables nodded.
Shangguan clan’s main force easily got away with Zhuo Fan’s map while Shangguan Feixiong and the venerables went for the falls.
Unaware the precious Soaring Sword both factions were fighting over had been so easily taken, taken by the same person they regarded as a mere pawn…