Yu Jiang lowered his arms slightly, two curved daggers with light yellow blades appearing in his grasp. Liang Chen opened his hand, his gray spear appearing in his grasp, the tip glinting with a faint light, thrumming with rage. Yu Jiang looked at the spear and slightly raised an eyebrow, exclaiming quietly in surprise.
"Oh, a Bloodwind weapon? There shouldn't be any Codes on this planet, did you get one on the planet where you were hiding? Oh well, it doesn't really matter, I guess I can gift the Code to one of my Junior Brothers."
Liang Chen didn't bother asking Yu Jiang any questions, he put power into his leg and steppe forward, the street beneath him shattering as he shot forward like a bolt of furious lightning. Yu Jiang took half a step to the side and stabbed out with the dagger in his right hand just as Liang Chen appeared there, forcing him to raise his spear and block the dagger with the handle of his weapon.
Yu Jiang then immediately slashed out with the dagger in his left hand, aiming a sideways slash at Liang Chen's throat. Liang Chen spun his spear in a counter-clockwise circle, the bottom part spinning upwards and blocking the blade of the dagger that came for his throat from the left. Yu Jiang angled his dagger downwards the moment the weapons came into contact, resulting in the dagger sliding down along the handle of the spear as it continued its circular spin.
Liang Chen's right hand let go of the spear, the dagger sliding over the place where he had just grasped the spear. His left hand stretched out at the same time, catching onto the bottom part of the spear just as it completed its spin. The veins on his wrist bulged as he exerted his physical strength and tilted the spear into a sideways sweep that tore through the air with a sharp whistling sound.
Yu Jiang shifted the dagger in his right hand into a backward grasp and moved it into a blocking position, a colorless energy surrounding his hand as Liang Chen's spear collided with the dagger. Yu Jiang's arm trembled slightly as he blocked the attack, surprise and shock flashing across his eyes as he felt the power in the attack.
But before he could mutter a few words of admiration, he noticed that Liang Chen's left foot was already kicking out, mere centimeters away from his right knee. Yu Jiang quickly raised his right leg and blocked the kick with his foot, the muscles in his entire leg starting to feel stiffer and tighter. The leather shoe around his foot released a foul smell and started to rot away, revealing his somewhat tanned and scarred skin.
Yu Jiang quickly pulled back his foot and flooded his leg with his Qi, crushing the law of death, poison, and rot that had invaded his leg during that short instance. But just as he pulled back his foot, the faint sound of rushing wind and rumbling thunder coming from behind him caught his attention.
He quickly leaned forward, a blade of condensed wind cutting off a few strands of his hair, arcs of lightning arcing away from the blade and singing both his hair and skin. And just as he leaned forward to dodge the blade, Liang Chen pulled back his left leg and raised it in a curved position, aiming to knee Yu Jiang in the face.
Yu Jiang's lips curved up slightly, partly from admiration and partly from excitement. He forcibly halted his forward lean and tilted his entire body to the side, stretching out his right arm and stabbing one of his daggers into the scaffolding. He used the dagger as support and raised his entire body into a handstand, his left arm slashing out with the dagger he was holding, aiming for Liang Chen's left leg, whose knee had just whizzed past where Yu Jiang's head used to be. At the same time, Yu Jiang gathered his power into his right leg and aimed a downward kick at Liang Chen's head, his body so flexible that it didn't even seem to contain any bones.
Both attacks were filled with enough power that Liang Chen should have to block or dodge them, but as his spear was still mid-sweep and his left leg was raised high, it would be hard for him to do either of those, something that Yu Jiang knew. But then Liang Chen proceeded to take a course of action that Yu Jiang had not been expecting, he completely ignored the attacks.
He let the dagger slice a deep gash into the shin of his left leg and allowed Yu Jiang's kick to crash into his skull, the taste of blood flooding his mouth as he was forced to lower his head slightly. But while the attacks hit him, he lashed out with his own, his right fist swinging out sideways and smashing into Yu Jiang's waist.
Yu Jiang felt his mind grow dizzy as his entire body started to fold around Liang Chen's fist, a searing pain spreading throughout his abdomen as a thick bolt of lightning, accompanied by lethal amounts of poison and death were shot into his body. His grasp on his dagger loosened as he was launched to the side, opening the path for Liang Chen.
Liang Chen didn't even bother glancing at Yu Jiang, he dashed forward at full speed and swatted away the two executioners, who had finished sharpening their axes and had raised them high. But as he didn't even bother glancing at Yu Jiang, he didn't notice the corners of Yu Jiang's mouth curving up slightly as he whispered to himself.
"That good enough for you, Venerable Master?"
Liang Chen quickly kneeled down at Tian Chun's side and shattered the chains binding her body, freeing her from her restraints. But wherever hope was at its brightest, despair would be at its darkest. As he reached out to embrace Tian Chun and lift her up so that they could escape, her body started to flicker and blur. The two executioners, Tian Chun, Yu Jiang, even the entire scaffolding suddenly vanished, Liang Chen finding himself kneeling in the center of the city.
An overwhelming sense of fear and unease washed over his body as he raised his head and turned it slightly, seeing the scaffolding standing a few tens of meters to his side. Yu Jiang and the two executioners stood on the stage, the executioners unharmed while Yu Jiang looked a bit paler, a somewhat proud smile on his lips. And kneeling between the two executioners, looking as confused as Liang Chen, was Tian Chun.
Small lights danced around Yu Jiang, forming faint images that constantly changed, and in less than an instant, Liang Chen realized what had happened. Illusion, it had all been nothing more than an illusion, a ploy for him to gain a sliver of hope that they could then rob. Yu Jiang had clearly reached a high level in the law of illusions, he had even been able to fool Liang Chen's law of death, the illusions each so lifelike that they contained a bit of lifeforce.
The two executioners had already raised their axes and were bringing them down by the time the illusion was undone, four other people appearing around the scaffolding and joining up with Yu Jiang. But none of these people even entered Liang Chen's vision, his gaze was locked on Tian Chun, who had realized the same thing as him. She flashed him a bright smile that contained a tinge of grief, placing her hand against her abdomen.
"I'm glad that I got to see that smile of yours once again, just before the end. Remember when we used to eat the apples from your garden when we were kids? They always gave me a horrible stomach ache since we ate too many, but I miss those peaceful and calm days."
No matter how fast he could move, no matter how much he could speed up his own time or slow down theirs, it was all too late. Just like back then, he was a helpless child who could do nothing but watch, too weak to change anything, only able to lose that which he held dear.
The axes hit the scaffolding with a sharp thud and cut a bit into it. And as the axes fell, so too did the last remnants of the time when Liang Chen was just Liang Chen. All that remained was the Scourge King, a soul-wrenching agony, a hatred that threatened to swallow even the heavens, and the silent wail of a child robbed of his family.