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The Dragon

The Dragon By Nov 11, 2023 5 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 53

Chapter 54

The Flames of War Extends Three Thousand Miles Southeast

In the southeastern sky, fiery clouds stretched for a hundred miles, resembling a painter’s splash of cinnabar, dyeing the white cloud fluff a deep red.

Zuo Qingfeng stood atop Cong Mountain outside Xiaoyao City, looking up at the sky. Feeling a breeze behind him, he glanced back to see a group of cultivators descending on their swords. Greeting them with a smile, he said, “Elder Six, you’ve finally arrived. Had you delayed any longer, I might have initiated the attack myself. So, how about bringing out some of that Qilin Marrow for us to use? I’m eager to see if this treasure is as miraculous as they claim.”

Looking around and noticing Elder Six’s troubled expression and the absence of his elder brother, Zuo Qingfeng’s smile faded, “What’s happened? Why isn’t my Elder Brother here?”

Elder Six sighed, responding, “She managed to escape.”

Raising an eyebrow, Zuo Qingfeng exclaimed, “My elder brother, with half our forces, timed the attack during Xuan Miao Sect’s most vulnerable moment, planned for internal and external coordination to surround Jingdu Mountain, and yet, after so much preparation, a mere Qi-training girl managed to escape from right under the Zuo family’s nose?!”

Elder Six briefly explained the confrontation at Xuan Miao Sect, concluding, “Ji Chaoling is dead, and now Ji Xiyan controls Xuan Miao Sect, which is within our grasp. You don’t need to worry about them aiding Xiaoyao City. Your assault on Xiaoyao City should be much easier now, even though this trip wasn’t entirely fruitless. But there might be some trouble regarding Gu Fuyou…”

“What do you mean?”

“When Du Pan and his men were pursuing her, they encountered a beast tide. It’s unclear if it was coincidence or something else, but later, someone shot arrows in secret. The arrowhead was made of Golden Dragon’s tooth, something ordinary people would not possess. Putting these two events together, everyone suspects the Dragon Clan’s involvement. Even if it’s not them, it must be someone with the Dragon Clan’s backing. The Protector has ordered that we can’t delay this matter any longer. Even if we don’t get the Qilin Marrow, we can’t let the Dragon Clan get it. He has declared martial law across the state and has gone personally to hunt her down, instructing you to quickly take Xiaoyao City.”

Zuo Qingfeng, hands clasped behind his back, solemnly responded, “I was hoping Elder Brother would bring reinforcements to help and to witness the Qilin Marrow. If we had captured Gu Fuyou and used her as a human shield, wouldn’t her father have softened? It would make capturing Xiaoyao City at least twice as easy. What was Elder Brother thinking?” He sighed, “In recent years, he’s been too absorbed in cultivation, losing the decisive and meticulous judgment he once had.”

Elder Six asked, “How do you plan to attack Xiaoyao City? Do you have a strategy in mind?”

Zuo Qingfeng smiled, revealing a row of stark white teeth. Bloodshot veins climbed up his tiger-like eyes, making him look murderous. He declared, “How will we attack? We’ll strike head-on! I’ve longed to challenge this Peng bird that soars through the sky, to see just how high it can fly.”

Another warned, “Caution is essential. Gu Wanpeng isn’t easy to deal with. This mission aims to provide Tianlang with experience, so make sure to keep a close eye on him.”

Zuo Qingfeng laughed heartily, “Rest assured. I will handle it better than Elder Brother. Once we take Xiaoyao City, Gu Fuyou will have no choice but to return.” After a brief pause, he added, “Just to be safe, send someone to Dongzhou. The Lu family in Gu City of Dongzhou has been close to the Gu family for generations, and Gu Shuangqing is Lu Yandong’s son-in-law. It’s possible that Gu Fuyou, seeing the situation turn dire, might head straight to Dongzhou to seek help from the Lu family or even reach out to the Biluo Sect through them, involving the three sects.”

Elder Six replied, “The Protector has already sent people there. Now that we have evidence of the Dragon Clan’s involvement, we don’t have to worry about the three sects siding with them.”

While they conversed, Zuo Tianlang approached riding a spirit beast. The beast, entirely black with a snake body and fish scales, two claws, and at a distance, somewhat resembled a black dragon. Up close, it was clear the beast had no dragon horns, but two fleshy wings on its head and flaming claws. Zuo Tianlang asked, “Uncle, the elder sent me to ask when we are attacking the city.”

Zuo Tianlang, released by Zuo Yuezhi for training, was part of a plan to let the spoiled younger generation experience some hardship. Peace had lasted too long in Nanzhou, and it was time for these descendants to face some challenges before they could confidently take over the mantle. Eager to confront Xiaoyao City and meet Gu Shuangqing, Zuo Tianlang was impatient to start.

Zuo Qingfeng’s eyes narrowed as he looked towards Xiaoyao City and declared sternly, “Now!”

Gu Fuyou and the others continued southeast. While using teleportation formations would have been the most efficient way to reach Xiaoyao City, these formations were typically located within city centers. With martial law declared in all major and minor cities and the Zuo family issuing wanted posters for the four of them, they had no choice but to avoid the cities. Except for Xuan Miao Sect and Xiaoyao City, the entire Nanzhou was under the Zuo family’s control, and now even Xuan Miao Sect had likely fallen into their hands.

Entering any city was extremely dangerous for the four of them. If they were spotted, the consequences could be dire. Even avoiding the Zuo family’s notice while traveling through the wilderness was not easy. Flying on swords was too conspicuous, so they often alternated between walking and flying, heading towards less frequented, non-cultivating areas.

Despite Nanzhou being the Zuo family’s territory, locating four individuals without specific clues wasn’t simple. Gu Fuyou and her group disguised themselves, often altering their appearances and consistently wearing masks. After several narrow escapes, they eventually reached Fansheng Mountain. Just a hundred miles south of the mountain was Xiaoyao City.

However, as they drew closer to Xiaoyao City, Gu Fuyou’s anxiety grew. She felt a restless stir in her heart, perhaps a fear of returning home. At this moment, she wished for a teleportation formation that could instantly transport them inside Xiaoyao City.

The three of them were walking on a mountain path. Although Fansheng Mountain wasn’t barren, its spiritual energy was thin. However, many independent cultivators came here to meditate in solitude. Given its proximity to Xiaoyao City, there were bound to be members of the Zuo family lurking around. The closer they got to the city, the more dangerous it became, necessitating even greater caution.

They decided against flying on their swords and chose to travel the mountain on foot. As they crossed a mountain stream, Liu Guizhen’s expression changed, and he said, “Someone’s coming!” He paused, then added, “Just three people, two from the east and one from the south, all at the Foundation Building stage…”

After a quick exchange of glances, opting for caution over confrontation. They swiftly moved to hide behind a large rock. From the bushes emerged two people, talking as they walked to the stream, apparently washing their hands and drinking water. Another set of footsteps followed, and a third person also arrived, seemingly taking a break.

The first two continued their conversation. One sighed, “It’s unfortunate how fiercely the Xu Ling Sect and Xiaoyao City are battling. We independent cultivators are almost getting dragged into it. What is Xu Ling Sect aiming for? Are they aiming to unify Nanzhou?”

The other remarked, “Who knows? But think about it. Once the Zuo family controls all of Nanzhou, they’ll become even more arrogant. Life in Nanzhou will be difficult, with all resources under the Zuo family’s control. For lone cultivators like us, there will be no chance to thrive.”

The first replied, “True, maybe we should try our luck elsewhere. Be it in Zhongzhou or the Four Seas, it has to be better than staying in Nanzhou.”

Another then asked, “Wait, did you say the Xu Ling Sect and Xiaoyao City are at war?”

“Yes, we came from Xiaoyao City and almost got killed by the Zuo family, mistaken for Xiaoyao City’s people. It was a chaotic battle. If you go to the mountaintop and look south, you can still see the eastern sky all red, the flames of war burning. I heard that even Zuo Taisui’s spirit beast, the Huoyun Jiao. They’re going all out, determined to capture Xiaoyao City.”

The third man exclaimed, “This, this, there’s always been peace between the two sides, how did it escalate to this?”

The first one shrugged, “Exactly, we don’t know. Brother, if you’re planning to go to Xiaoyao City, I’d suggest changing your route. It’s best to avoid the Zuo family right now; they’re furious and not distinguishing between friend and foe. You could end up in trouble through no fault of your own.”

The third man expressed his gratitude for the warning, “Ah, thank you, thank you for the warning.”

Hidden behind the boulder, Gu Fuyou listened intently, her mind buzzing. Once the three men left, she shouted, “Ah Fu!” Her voice laden with panic. Ah Fu jumped out from her pouch and assumed his original size. Mounting him, Gu Fuyou directed, “To the mountaintop!”

Liu Guizhen called out, “Junior Sister Gu!”

Gu Fuyou didn’t acknowledge him. Dongli and Liu Guizhen quickly followed on their swords. Once atop, they looked southeast. Looking southeast, they saw the horizon where sky and earth met, glowing red as if the sun was setting, igniting the land with scorching heat. But it wasn’t sunset, and the sky was overcast, with dark clouds looming overhead, casting a gloomy light.

Gu Fuyou was overwhelmed with fear, cold sweat breaking out on her neck, and she wandered aimlessly, blurting out, “I want to go home, I need to go back.”

The Huoyun Jiao, Zuo Taisui’s spirit beast, had reached the peak of Hollow Void in its cultivation, bearing a striking resemblance to a Dragon. Rumors suggested it might have descended from Dragon lineage, with speculations fueled by Dragons’ notorious promiscuity, possibly resulting from a Dragon’s encounter with an unknown entity. Similar to a Golden Dragon and associated with fire, the Huoyun Jiao could breathe flames powerful enough to turn Xiaoyao City’s walls into molten lava.

The fact that the Zuo family had even summoned this beast made Gu Fuyou recall the Dharma Manifestation she had seen above Jingdu Mountain. The sensation of being crushed, almost turning into a bloody pulp, still lingered in her bones. Was the Zuo family now planning to unleash all their might against Xiaoyao City?

Why, for what reason? Was it all because she killed Zuo Tianyi, sparking this entire conflict?

All feelings of confusion, fear, guilt, and anxiety converged, causing Gu Fuyou an excruciating headache. She felt like she was trapped in an icy cave, trembling uncontrollably.

Dongli grasped Gu Fuyou’s wrist, saying, “Since the war has already begun and Xiaoyao City has become a battlefield, we cannot go there recklessly.” They had originally intended to use Xiaoyao City as a base to gather their disciples. However, the Zuo family acted without pause. After the battle at Xuan Miao Sect, they didn’t stop for rest or recuperation; they immediately besieged Xiaoyao City with full force. Was it because they feared Xiaoyao City getting external help, or was there another reason?

Their intention to warn Gu Wanpeng to prepare was now futile; the battle had already started. They no longer had time to recall their disciples. With chaos reigning there and the Zuo family’s forces surrounding the city, their entry into the city would be even more difficult.

Rushing there recklessly would be like a lamb walking into a tiger’s den.

At this moment, Gu Fuyou’s emotions were in complete turmoil and she wasn’t listening, insisting, “I need to go back. Even if it means death, I must return, I want to go back.”

She forcefully pulled her hand away from Dongli’s grip. In doing so, she accidentally bumped into her pouch. Zhong Michu, who had transformed into a dragon form during their journey, was resting and recuperating from injuries inside the pouch. The impact seemed to stir the White Dragon slightly. Gu Fuyou froze momentarily, hurriedly opening the pouch to check. The White Dragon lay slightly curled, moving slowly as if uncertain whether to wake or not. It brushed against her finger and then gradually became still again.

Relief washed over Gu Fuyou, and a strange sense of calm settled within her. She looked at Dongli, saying, “Senior Sister Dongli, I’m sorry about earlier…”

Dongli responded, “Don’t blame yourself; it’s natural for you to be worried.”

Gu Fuyou look towards the south once more, taking a deep breath, she decisively turned away. Her hand still trembling, and with nowhere else to turn, she couldn’t help but gently stroke the White Dragon through the pouch, slowly steadying herself.

She realized that going there now, after the battle had started, wouldn’t help; she couldn’t contribute anything. Her father was right; she didn’t understand Xiaoyao City well enough. She was unaware of its defenses, its combat strength, how to deploy troops, or how to mobilize the forces within the city. What could she do?

The only thing she could do was to seek reinforcements.

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Previous: Chapter 53

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Shakthivel
Shakthivel
8 months ago

Thanks for the chapter

dadin
dadin
7 months ago

when’s the retribution?!
the entire Zhou clan must go extinct

Last edited 7 months ago by dadin
Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

Hot diggity dog humans be brutal. What a lovely story.

Doom
Doom
4 months ago

Take your wifey home! The real home! Dragon clan!

Hatimo
Hatimo
21 days ago

I’m glad Fuyou still can see that it’s useless going home now