By the second day, Zhang Sun's reply had arrived. In it, she reiterated once more that he had to delay Fan Lingyue and her army no matter the cost. As for the southwest, she planned on letting the headmaster of the academy handle that so there was no need for him to concern himself with it.
Seeing that, Ning Chen's worries were allayed for now. With the headmaster stepping in to restrain the Western Doya Temple, the situation in the southwest shouldn't worsen too much.
It was worth stating that all of this was only possible because of Prince Yan's return. His presence in the palace held an important meaning for the empire and was the main reason why Zhang Sun felt comfortable enough to dispatch the headmaster to the southwest. As for why this was so, the reason was simple: the Imperial City needed an absolute master to hold the fort.
Seeing as that matter no longer required his attention, he could now focus entirely on how to handle Fan Lingyue's request.
Logically speaking, a simple meeting between the two shouldn't be an issue seeing as they had the half-step Xiantian Xueyi and two more Peak Ninth-grades in the form of the two commanders of the forbidden guards. However, he still couldn't bring himself to feel at ease. Fan Lingyue's intelligence was just too frightening and no amount of caution was enough.
However, he could at least thanks his lucky stars that the young officer had to remain behind to guard Heaven's Gate. Thanks to that, she lost a powerful ally.
Back when the Xia Emperor had his estate packed full of explosives in order to blow him up, Ning Chen only managed to sc.r.a.pe through because the substance created by the Heavenly Craftsman Division was lacking in power.
However, where that method failed to kill him, it might just work on Fan Lingyue.
If he could use this opportunity to get rid of her, there would be no better outcome for Grand Xia. Without Fan Lingyue, the Mongolian army would be like a tiger with its fangs removed; its threat would drop by at least seventy percent.
With that in mind, Ning Chen recorded down all the required chemicals and handed it over to an officer to enact in secret within the city.
By now, night had fallen over the city and though the streets were lit up from the various lanterns, there was a palpable sense of tension all around even though the Mongolian army was over 30 li away. In spite of that, the civilians had no choice to trudge on as usual.
The moon had risen and in the dead of night, Ning Chen could be spotted walking up to the city walls where he gazed silently at the Mongolian grand army.
Of the patrols who saw him, none dared to interrupt this newly conferred marquis, a vicious person who even dared to sneak into the Mongolian palace to kidnap their emperor. According to rumors, the main character for these negotiations wasn't Marquis Xueyi who was a military marquis but rather this Marquis Zhiming.
A while later, Ning Chen reached for his back and drew out Maimed. Turning towards the command tent of the Mongols, a silvery arrow began to form as he slowly and forcefully drew back the bowstring.
Naturally, he knew that this arrow wasn't enough to kill her. However, given how sickly she was, even an injury of some sort should reduce her already short lifespan.
"I'll do my best to stop you." That was what he told her back then and that was exactly what he planned on doing now. Between them, there was no method too despicable to use since a long time ago. As long as it got rid of the other side, neither of them would hesitate for even a second.
By now, the silvery radiance had grown to an almost blinding level, the pressure emanating from atop the city wall reached such strength it felt like it could crush a person. Yet just as he was about to fire off the arrow, he spotted someone in the distance strolling in his direction.
His expression chilled in an instant. Without even a second of hesitation, he twisted his body to face that newcomer before releasing the arrow in his hands.
In this world, if there was someone he had to kill, that person would be one of them. The Fourth Sword of the Mongols!
Silvery tail whistling across the night sky, the arrow of light barreled through the air and twisted s.p.a.ce itself, murder oozing behind in its wake.
A rapid turn and an equally rapid slash, yet Ning Chen's arrow still came out swifter. As the first arrow dissipated in a shower of silvery light, another came careening right behind it.
Immediately, the gold sword in the Fourth Sword's remaining hand flew out and deflected the other arrow.
However, Ning Chen never once thought that these two arrows were enough to injure the Fourth Sword. Thus, he fired a third.
Speeding through the dark like a brilliant comet, it barely grazed the Mongolian swordsman who frowned in that instant as he made a last minute retreat to the side.
And yet who would have expected that right after the third, there was a fourth and a fifth. Three arrows fired in rapid succession and lined up together, the surrounding s.p.a.ce was torn apart once more by the beautiful comets.
Raising his blood red sword and his gold sword, the Fourth Sword deflected the fourth arrow in the nick of time but wasn't able to block the last. An instant later, his True Qi burst forth from his body as he prepared to withstand the terrifying arrow with his body.
The waves that burst forth from his body were clearly those of a half-step Xiantian's. The arrow of light crashed into the powerful Qi wave and let out a piercing screech as its trajectory was forcefully s.h.i.+fted off course and grazed the man's shoulder.
Blood erupted from the ghastly wound and dyed his clothes red in an instant. The Fourth Sword frowned once more and his murderous intent grew even stronger.
That kid truly had a terrifying growth rate. The last time they met, he could barely survive a strike from him and now he was even able to injure him.
Atop the city wall, Ning Chen narrowed his eyes as he thought to himself, that man had grown stronger. Unfortunately, there was no sixth arrow to finish the job.
The distance of a thousand zhang wasn't anything to a half-step Xiantian. Feet kicking off against the ground, the Fourth Sword took to the air and with a b.l.o.o.d.y crescent moon, slashed at the teen.
Suddenly, a crimson shadow flashed across the scene and crashed into the b.l.o.o.d.y moon with an earth-shattering punch.
Blood red garments fluttering in the wind, this was none other than Marquis Xueyi of Grand Xia.
The head disciple of the Mongolian Grand preceptor versus Marquis Xueyi; a clash of t.i.tans that shook the very walls of the city and forced the surrounding soldiers back with just their residual Qi waves.
Eyes affixed to the Fourth Sword, Ning Chen reached for his sword but just as he was about to step in, his body froze and his face paled.
"Marquis Xueyi, I'll leave him to you."
The situation was urgent and Ning Chen had no time whatsoever to explain himself. Body disappearing in a flash, he rushed off towards the governor's estate.
Seeing that, the marquis said nothing but merely focused his attention back onto the Fourth Sword. Though he was able to suppress this man with his strength, he still wasn't able to ditch him at the drop of a hat. They were, after all, both in the realm of a half-step Xiantian.
With each step he took, Ning Chen sped up even more, clearly not intending to stop till he reached the governor's manor. Upon reaching said manor, he immediately rushed towards the room where he kept little Ming Yue.
As of right now, the governor's estate was occupied by him and Xueyi. Thanks to that, they were able to station a contingent of forbidden guards around Ming Yue's room. Even so, Ning Chen couldn't help but feel a creeping sensation of unease in his heart.
Shoving open the doors of the room, he found little Ming Yue still sound asleep on her bed. He gave the room a cursory glance and after finding nothing out of place, Ning Chen heaved a heavy sigh of relief. Looks like it was just him being paranoid, thank the heavens for that.
And yet just as that thought crossed his mind, a flash of steel swung in from the darkness, stealthily, mercilessly and without a single sign.
With hardly any time to react, all Ning Chen was able to see was the reflection off the blade before his body twisted to the side almost instinctively. However, he wasn't fast enough and an instant later, he found a b.l.o.o.d.y sword stabbed right through his shoulders.
A b.l.o.o.d.y rose bloomed and his body lurched forward in response. Left hand gripping down on that exposed sword tip, he turned around with gritted teeth and sent a palm strike careening right towards the a.s.sa.s.sin's heart.
The black clothed figure blocked the palm with his own.
"Waves of the World Converge Eastward."
With barely inches separating them, Ning Chen activated his cultivation base and immediately a blue glow started coalescing around him and his palm.
With no way to block this terrifying palm strike, the black shadow abandoned his sword without a moment's hesitation and retreated a full three zhang, clearly not intending to contest that strike at all.
Brows knitted together in pain, Ning Chen stepped out of the room and with a forceful shove, pushed the sword out of his body.
*clang* The sword landed on the stony floor with a resounding clang closely followed by the sound of a door slamming shut. Turning around, he faced his a.s.sailant with a stone cold look: "Fan Lingyue sent you here?"
"Didn't she tell you to retreat right away after securing Ming Yue? Your little bit of cleverness is truly anything but."
As those words left his mouth, his lips cracked into a cold, mocking grin. A clever woman like her knew exactly what her priorities were and wouldn't have chosen to kill him at this time. Truly, this man was a fool.
"What the Sword City does, brooks no criticisms." Declared the a.s.sa.s.sin in a cold voice as he unsheathed another sword.
"Oh? You're a disciple of the Sword City? Are you Number two or Number three?" Said Ning, eyes betraying a hint of astonishment as he did so. No wonder he dared to defy Fan Lingyue's orders, he wasn't even a Mongolian.
"The third disciple, Jian Liuying!" Declared the black figure in a slightly haughty tone.
As he said that, Ning Chen's figure flickered. Sword drawn and raised, he rushed towards the black figure.
The two swords clashed and the air bristled with Sword Qi. Around them, a cacophony of screeches echoed in the air as the residual Sword Qi drilled a hundred holes and tore a thousand wounds across the stone stabs.
It was an even match with no one coming out on top of the other despite Jian Liuying's higher cultivation. While the black figure might have held the advantage in terms of cultivation, Ning Chen held an overwhelming advantage in terms of foundations.
At the other end, Jian Liuyang couldn't help but gasp silently. He never expected that a mere eighth-grade teen would actually possess such strength.
Such a formidable foundation, there were few who could match him in this world.
Naturally, Ning Chen wasn't in the mood to care about such matters. Sword swinging, his ultimate skill hurtled towards the black figure, cleaving apart the sky in a chillingly straight line.
"A Sword to Part the Infinite Waves."
A sudden move, as unparalleled as the infinite waves themselves was met with an equally formidable skill from the black figure. Tens of thousands of green rays fanned out in a majestic wave of sword light and collided with the waves that towered into a sky.
The resulting shockwaves shook the heavens and blasted the earth like a divine punishment. Around them, the earth quaked and even the buildings began to tremble.
With such a tremendous ruckus, the two commanders of the forbidden guards finally took notice of the ongoing fight and with a flash, rushed over to the room.
Seeing that, Jian Liuying's heart sank. Kicking off with a foot, he immediately transformed into a ray of light and disappeared into the night sky.
The two commanders immediately tried to chase after the black figure but were stopped by Ning Chen instead.
"There's no need to chase him, you two aren't his match. Just be careful in the future and make sure this situation doesn't happen again."
Having said that, Ning Chen stowed his sword and promptly left for Ming Yue's room.
Acknowledging the command, the two of them left the courtyard and returned to their posts.
Within the room, little Ming Yue was already wide awake and waiting. With all that banging outside, it would have been stranger if she wasn't awake.
Stepping into the room, Ning Chen couldn't help but feel a little scared in hindsight. Had this little girl been abducted just now, things would have blown up in his face.
"You're hurt?" She asked, brows furrowed and eyes glued to his b.l.o.o.d.y left shoulder.
"It's alright, nothing out of the ordinary." He stepped up to her bed and gently ruffled her hair.
While it might have sounded like mere bravado, there wasn't a false word in his statement. Ever since he came to this world, the one situation he found himself in most of the time was being injured. By now, the amount of wounds, both big and small, that he had suffered were beyond counting.
There were just too many people who wanted him dead and for some reason, they all tended to be some unparalleled expert. Getting injured wasn't all that strange to be honest.
Within the camp of the Mongols…
The Fourth Sword and Jian Liuying arrived in front of the command tent at the same time. Standing in front of the tent, Fan Lingyue's face immediately sank the moment she saw that were only two of them.
"I need an explanation." She coldly stated.
A half-step Xiantian and a Peak Ninth-grade, how could they fail with such a team? She even made sure to explain the plan in great detail!
"Hmph!" Not willing to explain himself, Jian Liuying turned around to leave for his tent but as he did so, a slender arm dove at him as it had locked onto his very soul.
His arms whipped about in a frantic attempt to block the attack but it was all for naught.
*bang* The arm was slender but its power was one that couldn't be blocked. With a deafening bang, she blasted the man backwards.
"Did I say that you may leave?"
Shuddering, Jian Liuying spat out a mouthful of blood while an undisguised look of astonishment flashed across his eyes. The Lady Strategist was actually a Peak Ninth-grade expert!
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