Nightfall Chapter 1110
The knife was sturdy, caked with grease and even traces of blood. Slashing towards the snowflakes fluttering in the air, it seemed somewhat out of place, as if in the next moment, it will be slashing through naught but thin air. Because in front of the cliff, there was nothing but snow. Nevertheless, when this knife slashed downwards, the fabric of space warped, followed by a loud ripping sound. A world formed by a pair of transparent cicada wings was sliced apart in a single slash.
The Blade Intent started to fade after that, but it was still present. It continued forward and impacted against the cliff, emitting an earth-shattering boom. Debris flew everywhere, scattering into the snow. The crack on the cliff, between the choking vines, started to widen. The two parts of the cliff glided against one another, triggering another landslide of boulders. Not long after that…. the entire mountain split apart.
The Butcher had sliced an entire mountain in half with a single slash.
There was a silhouette that fell with the debris. The mysterious figure was petite, falling from a height of more than a hundred yards. It was as if he or she had fallen from the sky, plummeting through the snow, falling straight towards where the Butcher was standing.
The Butcher had just expelled a mighty blow of Blade Intent, so even if it was him, it was still impossible to hurl out a third slash in such a short time.
His chest rumbled with a low grunt of effort as he flicked his wrist expertly, levelling his blade horizontally in the snow.
A blunt smack rang out.
That petite figure had landed directly on the surface of the blade. Right after, there was another thunderous boom.
Dust and sand were stirred up, and more debris were flying everywhere with the snow.
The Butcher’s eyebrows were furrowed with effort, sinking lower and lower on his forehead. His person, however, did not collapse. He held his ground.
Not that he had a choice, since his legs had sunk into the ground, burying him up to his knees.
That petite shadow was thrown into the air by the force of the blade, but it arched its back and landed gracefully, like a dove, on the shattered cliff. At the same time, Jun Mo’s sword had finally reached his hands.
An ear-splitting crash resounded through the valley, completely obliterating several estates on the fringes of the nearby town. The snowflakes falling in front of the shattered cliff were shredded into frozen dust. The force of the impact exploded right up into the night sky, parting the clouds.
The Breath of Heaven and Earth, drawn out by the intense collisions, flowed everywhere. It dragged through the snow piled up on the ground and the boulders scattered all over the place, caused them to fly haphazardly in the air. Under the night sky, everything was dark, thus no one could clearly observe what was happening. The only thing they could rely on was sound.
No one knew how many times these three people had collided in such a brief period of time. The metal sword, the butcher knife, and mere fists had been pitted against each other countless times. However, one thing was certain: all three of them possessed an absolute form of raw force and power.
After some time, silence finally fell upon the cliffside.
“I’ve admitted this back then, both of you are indeed powerful. If the pair of you had lived through as many years as I have, perhaps you guys may have even surpassed myself. However… it’s not possible currently, as neither of you can even kill me.”
The Butcher concluded his declaration by staring coldly at the base of the cliff opposite him. Many wounds had appeared on his torso, but there was no blood. He was unkempt, that’s for sure, but it seemed that he was not actually hurt.
As expected of the legend who had achieved a near invincible state.
Jun Mo’s left shoulder was bloody. Yu Lian’s yellow skirt was covered in dirt. More importantly, her shoes were torn. Various indications like these proved that killing the Butcher was still a difficult task for them, despite having the advantage of joining forces.
“Some people are certainly harder to kill, like you, the Drunkard and the Chief Monk. Nevertheless, the Drunkard had perished earlier tonight. The Chief Monk was also trapped and sent to his death by my Academy. Naturally, we would have similar arrangements for you.”
“What happened just now was just an experiment. Since it wasn’t effective, we would have to switch to other tactics. You should know that to win against an opponent, does not necessarily mean that you must kill them,” Yu Lian explained.
What she said makes a lot of sense, Jun Mo thought as he recalled the Butcher’s very first slash.
Right after Yu Lian’s last word, a clear melody played by a flute resonated throughout the snowy valley. It was followed by a lilting, flowing melody of a zither.
The music created by both instruments blended seamlessly into one another, producing a heartrending melody that plucked at every listener’s heartstrings. However, murderous intent lingered in the pauses.
The Butcher lifted his eyebrows slightly, his face starting to pale. With a shout, the dust and snow trembled and fell from his body.
He gripped his knife tightly and slashed it towards where the music was coming from.
The music was cut off abruptly.
However, the Blade Intent could not continue any further because on the broken cliff was an oak. A short oak, and next to the oak was a rook, a broken rook. On the broken rook was a mangled flag.
The short oak represented a cannon, the broken rook as a rook, the mangled flag represented the flag of allegiance to the king, or the commander.
This is Xiangqi, the Chinese chess.
With his Blade Intent neutralized, the Butcher seemed slightly put off. He stepped forward, and tried to shatter Yu Lian’s cicada wings by using his own body as a battering ram. However, he was unable to walk out of it, because there were numerous other chess pieces on the valley.
Black boulders, as well as rocks that were blanketed by a layer of white snow.
Those were black pieces and white pieces.
This is Go.
The Butcher howled, raising his knife to attempt another slash.
The music, which had started again, was cut off a second time. The chess pieces that were all over the mountain quivered, as if they were about to split open.
At this moment, a smooth silk ribbon fluttered from the sky alongside the snowflakes. It curled around and linked together the oak, the rook, the flag, the boulders and the snow. Any snowflakes that touched the silk disintegrated into the air, rising upwards to form clouds.
This was known as the Cloud Gathering Array. However, it was not yet complete. Outside of the array, there was a metal cauldron, golden sand, even a water mill in the creek beyond the cliff.
A swan was perched on the tallest part of the water mill, like an arrogant commander. An elderly bull could be seen on the slope of a mountain further away. It seemed to be aimlessly staring into the distance.
The Butcher let out another resounding howl, lifting his knife for another slash.
A sudden rush of Blunt Intent flooded towards him from the west. A metal bat was brought onto the battlefield.
The Blade Intent that was already restrained by multiple layers of arrays dispersed into nothingness after an attack by the force of the Blunt Intent from the bat.
Chen Pipi, flanked by Tang Xiaotang, started to approach them from the direction of the town.
He was wearing a divine gown, complemented by a sacred crown that nestled on his head. His face was appropriately solemn, corresponding to the situation.
He commanded thirteen disciples of the New Stream, thus he had the power of faith on his side.
The Butcher fell silent. He lowered his head, then raised it again in defiance.
He lifted his butcher knife, slashing out for the fifth time.
This time, he still could not harm anyone. This was due to a rock appearing in front of his knife, quelling the force of his strike. The rocks and boulders that littered the mountainside seemed to gain a life of their own, before seemingly dying off again, trapping him between them. He was trapped, trapped in this barrier array.
Mo Shanshan, in a white dress and donning her royal crown, silently observed the mess of rocks and debris that covered the mountain.
The barrier array was her handywork. It was almost three quarters as powerful as the Daming Lake in front of the Front Gate of Devil’s Doctrine.
That year, even Youngest Uncle took quite some time to break the array. The Butcher was definitely no exception. He finally lowered his knife. The Butcher glanced at the various individually powerful, yet interdependent arrays on the mountain, speechless. He had expected that everyone from the Academy would appear here. However, for his opponent to move the entire Academy here went far beyond his expectations!
The melody of the flute and zither started up once more, lively and delighted, exuding just the slightest trace of smugness.
Yu Lian did not even spare a last glance for the Butcher. She tucked her hands behind her back and turned to walk away.
Everyone else from the Academy retreated after that, including Mo Shanshan. She was originally one of the two people who were invited by the Academy to enter the Back Hill. She was already used to thinking of herself as part of the Academy, while the Academy was also used to treating her as one of their own.
Jun Mo did not leave, instead he sat crossed-legged in the snow. Silently, he observed the Butcher who was trapped in the multitude of arrays.
Many years ago, when Ning Que killed Xia Hou, he spent an entire night sitting on the snowy bridge, barring passage for the Subjugation General of Great Tang as well as the strongest Yulin Royal Guards. They could not cross the bridge at all.
Tonight, he sat in the snow again, expressing his determination.
The Butcher looked at him. “I can break these arrays, given sufficient time,” he warned.
“Time is the only thing we need. If you can break these arrays, then it would come down to me to keep you here. If the time comes, I will see if I am able to parry your strikes,” answered Jun Mo.
“You can’t,” said the Butcher decisively.
Jun Mo shrugged. “Perhaps.”
The Butcher fell silent. “All of you had dawdled around for more than ten days but still refuse to ascend the Peach Mountain, why? If Taoism falls, Haotian will weaken exponentially, even die.”
Jun Mo remained silent for a moment, before replying, “It’s probably because the Haotian in your eyes, to all of us at the Academy, is our friend, a mere girl who cooks delicious dishes for us. If she can stay alive, then she better stay alive.”
“Then why did all of you decide to climb the Peach Mountain tonight?” asked the Butcher.
“Because she had returned to Chang’an,” was Jun Mo’s answer.
Chang’an, such a beautiful name. A mythical city, a guardian capable of protecting many ordinary humans. Now, it had begun to protect Haotian as well.
“You give your all for your friends, I give my all for my people. It’s enough to just give our all,” continued Jun Mo.
The Butcher did not attempt to continue the conversation for a long time. Finally, he spoke up, “As expected, Jun Mo is as sensible as always.”
He raised the knife in his hands. Its Blade Intent could not break the arrays, but it resonated with the remnants of Blade Intent that lingered between sky and earth.
The snow clouds in the night sky, which already had a fissure in them, started to break apart even further. The snow that fell ceased, the clouds dispersed, exposing the bright moon in the night sky.
Jun Mo lifted his head and admired the ethereal beauty of the moon.
Between the valleys leading up to the Peach Mountain, the members of the Academy forged ahead in silence. Most of them were shouldering their belongings, leading their cows, carrying their swans and necessities in their arms. They had traversed the Verdant Canyon before, while this time was the West-Hill. Like before, dust and sand plagued the mountain roads.
Yu Lian glimpsed something from the corner of her eyes, and lifted her head to stare at the night sky. She too saw the bright moon.
“Teacher, we will win,” Chen Pipi said with a slight smile as he looked up at the moon.
Many years ago, the Headmaster had hiked up Peach Mountain before, and slashed to pieces all of the cherry blossom petals that had covered the mountain.
Tonight, the bright moon shone down at them from the night sky. This time, his students were here.