“How could there be an Enlightened Realm cultivator out here in such a remote city.” Zhang thought.
“Perhaps he has purchased it off of an Enlightened Realm cultivator, rather then there being one part of the Serene Lotus Sect.” Wenji said as if she could read the thoughts racing through Zhang’s mind.
“It isn’t strange for Enlightened Realm cultivators to craft sealing talismans and auction them off for things they lack or need.” Wenji stated, with eyes focused on the shiny white talisman clamped in between Master Yu Tong’s fingers and the lifelike golden lotus levitating in front of him.
With its petals unfurrowed, the golden lotus looked extremely magnificent as it simply floated in midair, slowly spinning while releasing an otherworldly pressure that suffocated everyone present. Even the undead who were relentless thus far, stopped dead in their tracks, standing motionlessly as time seemed to slow to a stop.
“Everyone attack!” Master Yu Tong roared to his disciples, who in turn charged forward.
Accompanying the blinding light being released from the sealing talisman, were dozens of color blades of essence that slashed through the air.
“Master Yu Tong! What’s the meaning of this!” Patriarch Mang asked furiously as he witnessed the disciples of the Serene Lotus Sect, cutting down a dozen or so cultivators from Twin Blade City.
Rather than attacking the undead, Master Yu Tong’s disciples had attacked the living, signally the beginning of a three-way battle to the end.
“Haha, you bumpkins should be honored to fall to our blades instead of slowly being devoured by the undead!” A Serene Lotus Sect disciple laughed as droplets of blood dripped from his gleaming sword while the lifeless body of a young man from the Tiger Claw Dojo laid in front of his feet.
“To think such a backwater place such as this would possess a tomb brimming with so much treasure.” Master Yu Tong could be heard saying, his eyes brimming with greed.
One might wonder why Master Yu Tong had signaled his disciples to attack the cultivators of Twin Blade City before first eradicating the undead. Well, the answer was simple, thanks to their almost seamless teamwork and sword formation, the disciples of the Serene Lotus Sect did not have to pay much mind to the undead and were able to solely focus on slaughtering those from Twin Blade City.
On the other hand, the cultivators of Twin Blade City, consisted of a dozen or so different factions, many of which had been at odds with each other over the span of decades as they competed for control of the city.
As a wise man once said, “old habits die hard”, after being enemies for so long, it was highly unlikely the forces of Twin Blade City would be able to properly work together to repel both the disciples of the Serene Lotus Sect and the undead.
Try as they did, the cultivators of Twin Blade City were forced into a corner due to the quick turn of events that had just occurred, many of them falling to the treacherous swords of the Serene Lotus Sect while many others fell to the ravenous fangs and claws of the undead.
“Today is your day of reckoning, vile beast!” Master Yu Tong yelled as the petals of the golden lotus levitating in front of him broke free of the lotus stem, scattering into a gust of shimmering light.
Once all of the petals of the golden lotus were transformed into motes of light, the armored undead that Master Yu Tong had been fighting all this time roared menacingly, charging forward with its metallic claws ready to shred any and everything that got in its way to pieces.
However before anything was shred to bits or torn asunder, the armored undead was wrapped within a cloak of shimmering motes of light which somehow forced it’s speeding body to a sudden stop.
“The shadows creep, evil lurk, doubt corrupts, but in the darkness there is light. Golden Lotus Annihilation!” Master Yu Tong chanted while performing a series of hand signs, causing the motes of light to shine even brighter then they had been before all the while releasing an extremely frightening pressure that seemed to be able to increase indefinitely.
After Master Yu Tong finished chanting his incantation, the countless motes of light condensed together and in a fraction of a second, formed into thousands of needles of light. Like a raging storm of hornets, the needles of light shot forth, embedding themselves into the armored undead, ignoring its armor.
With thousands of needles of light stabbing into its body, the armored undead looked like a human-shaped porcupine as it’s angry roars soon echoed throughout the tomb.
In a spectacular spectacle, the thousands of needles of light turned a bloody crimson red as thorn like cracks began forming on the armored undead. Bit by bit the armored undead was covered from head to toe with crimson colored cracks.
Contrary to Master Yu Tong’s expectations, despite using a sealing talisman that contained the power of an Enlightened Realm cultivator, the battle with the armored undead had actually not reached its end.
On the surface the armored undead looked as if it were moments from crumbling into particles of dust due to the crisscrossing cracks that littered it’s body, nonetheless, it was still actually brimming with strength. Little did Master Yu Tong know, within the armored undead, a large mass of essence was actually gathering and condensing together.
Sensing the peril of the armored undead, the rest of the undead began redirecting their attention toward Master Yu Tong who quickly found himself completely surrounded by undead.
“Mere pawns think they can injure me?” Master Yu Tong said while raising his brow in disdain before performing another series of hand signs which cause the sword strapped to his back to glow. Under Master Yu Tong’s control, the sword strapped to his back, shoot out from its sheath and beheaded every single undead within an arm’s reach.
Distracted, Master Yu Tong was caught completely off guard when a devilish green colored beam of condensed essence shot out from the armored undead’s mouth, enveloping his entire right arm.
In yet another sudden turn of events, Master Yu Tong who had held the situation in the palm of his hands was struck with a heavy blow.
“Vi-vile… Be-beast….” Master Yu Tong said, finding it extremely difficult to speak. Grasping the stubble that was once his dominant arm while coughing up a few mouthfuls of blood, Master Yu Tong looked extremely haggard.
“Master!” The disciples of the Serene Lotus Sect all yelled out in unison as they caught sight of the sorry state their master was in, turmoil quickly spreading amongst their ranks as fear finally made its way in and gripped at their hearts.
“Haha! This is what you’d call karma! Quickly slaughter these bastards!” Patriarch Mang laughed, ordering his men and the cultivators of Twin Blade City to ignore the undead and attack the disciples of the Serene Lotus Sect.
“I’m glad we did not rush in and take part in that fight.” Zhang said to Wenji as the two watched the chaotic melee from the shadows.
“Indeed…” Wenji agreed as her delicate looking fingers brushed across the dozen or so needles tucked under her sleeve, ready to enter the fray.
Human against human, human against undead, chaos, and death went hand in hand as disciples of the Serene Lotus Sect began taking casualties while also causing the same amount of damage to the forces of Twin Blade City. In the meantime, the armored undead was still pinned in place by the Golden Lotus Annihilation technique, while the heavily injured Master Yu Tong was being attacked from all sides by the regular undead.
“It’ll be the perfect opportunity to act soon.” Zhang whispered to Wenji, somewhat happy about the current turn of events. One might say its cruel that Zhang and Wenji were simply standing watch on the sidelines instead of helping the cultivators of Twin Blade City, but from another perspective, if all the cultivators from Twin Blade City were to fall here, the one that stood to gain the most, in the end, was actually Zhang and Wenji.
The loss of all the cultivators currently in the tomb would drastically reduce the fighting strength of all of the factions within Twin Blade City, even going as far as annihilating some of the smaller factions.
Zhang’s main concern was whether the undead were defeated and whether or not he and Wenji and the pups could escape the tomb without using his teleportation jade. As for the forces of Twin Blade City, although he held no malice toward them besides the Mang Clan, if they were all gone he would be able to quickly establish complete dominance. Once Zhang had complete control of Twin Blade City, he could extort its wealth and resources to quickly increase his strength.
In the end, Zhang would be able to profit from Master Yu Tong’s actions without having to do much work at all. Hence the whole time, he was plotting the mutual destruction of both the Serene Lotus Sect and the forces of Twin Blade City.
Growing up in a clan of merchants, Zhang had always been taught how to quickly weight the benefits and costs of a situation. Though he would not harm the innocent, he would also not go out of his way to save a stranger if it meant possibly bringing calamity upon himself, a merchant to the core some would say.
After witnessing the ruthless and senseless acts that had occurred during the war that left him homeless and alone, the values and lessons that he had been taught since he was young had slowly begun to remold Zhang’s way of thinking. With partial influence from the fragmented soul and the Heavenly Devouring Technique, the Zhang that had left his parents to go fight for his homeland, the Zhang that had patriotism drilled into him in the Shu army, the Zhang that had been trained to fight not for himself but for the greater good of others, had changed into a more cold and calculating man who was rightfully more selfish.
That being said, perhaps even Zhang himself did not truly even notice his slow transformation. But that could be said about all humans, as the person we are today is no longer the person we were yesterday and the person we will become tomorrow is not the person we are today. A day older is a day wiser as many say.
As for Wenji, one could only imagine the depths of human nature she had seen thus far on her journey to remain free from the clutches of the Cai Clan.
Finishing off a large number of undead, Master Yu Tong glared at the armored undead, unknown thoughts racing through his mind as he used his sword as support to keep himself from falling onto the ground.
Returning Master Yu Tongs glare with a look of hatred, the armored undead roared as it began preparing to reuse it’s trump card once more.
“You think I’ll give you the opportunity to do that again?” Master Yu Tong said in a tired voice as he spat a mouthful of blood onto his gleaming sword, causing strange runic carvings to appear on it. With a wave of his hand, Master Yu Tong sent his sword piercing through the air like a speeding arrow, aiming straight for the armored undead’s head.
Seeing the gleaming sword inching closer and closer toward it, the armored undead unleashed another devilish green colored beam from it’s mouth, though this time the beam was only roughly half the thickness of the first beam.
Before long the devilish green beam made contact with the gleaming sword causing the runes on the sword to slightly dim before dispersing.
Since it’s beam attack failed, in a last ditch effort to save itself, the armored undead mustered all its strength to raise it’s arm and attempt to swat away Master Yu Tong’s sword, which of course resulted in failure as the sword pierced through the armored undead’s palm before pushing deeper and deeper up it’s arm/
Where Master Yu Tong’s sword went, the armored undead’s body would crumble into dust.