Fanfiction: Moyuan and Bai Qian, Book 2 - Chapter 16, Part 4 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)


Chapter 16 - Gold and Fire

Part 4

written by LalaLoop
edited by Kakashi
consulting by Bunny


Bai Qian gripped the Kirin's rein and kicked her heels against its hindquarters. The creature soared higher, bringing her beyond the mist where the first sun rays could be seen.

Dawn had broken after a sleepless night for them all. She was still within the safety of Xunzhua, yet the air outside the palace didn't feel the same anymore.

A new day. The deciding day for the eight realms.

The last time she had gone to battle, Moyuan had been at her side, the fan of Kunlun in her hand. This time, she had neither. But the days away from home had taught her that she should not rely on the Kunlun fan. The weapon had been an irreplaceable part of her mentorship, it would always be a part of her, but it had also been something she’d hidden behind. Perhaps without it, she would finally know what she could do.

No, not perhaps. She had survived without it. And she would survive this battle without it.

Kicking the mount once more, she went higher; and from the incredible height, she saw the entirety of it -- the army they were about to face. Celestials, Demons, Ghosts, Foxes, those hideous hounds and trolls. Their dark mass had been moving closer to Xunzhua's border, spreading across the hills and along the river that curved their campground.

Bai Qian knew they only had hours left, possibly less than that, before the clash.

Their own army was also made up of different tribes, different training styles, different leadership. They were all confused and hesitant, unsure whether they were on the right side of the shield.

Among the troops that camped on the hills away from Xunzhua’s site, Bai Qian spotted her fourth brother. Qingqiu had brought so few people that she wouldn't even call them a troop but each of them had been selected by her brothers and possessed enough powers to at least protect themselves from imminent harm.

Diefeng’s Water Benders were stationed along the river bank. A little further up, the Penglai disciples kept to themselves, Master Yifeng and Bai Zhen approaching one another with greeting bows.

The Xunzhua’s Kirin riders who had formed their ranks on air were particularly testy, as though they were wanting to charge forward and meet the enemy right away.

Finding where the Ghosts’ campsite was, Bai Qian pulled on the leash. Then Kirin swooped down and made a rough landing. As soon as she was off its back, the creature proudly shook its wings and walked off to be on its own.

Standing just nearby, Jiayun and Tianshu were doing their best to explain the situation to their Celestial soldiers, who -- without their prince -- were probably the most confused of all the troops present.

"Yanzhi," Bai Qian said, then dipped her head at the two figures approaching her. “Senior Diefeng."

They were both in armors, both wearing deep frowns.

"Where's the king of Xunzhua, Seventeenth?" her Senior asked.

"He’ll be here in a minute, Senior," she gestured towards the tents. "Let's discuss the plan in the meantime."


***


Inside Yanzhi's tent, Bai Qian pulled from her sleeve pocket a small globe the Princess of Xunzhua had given her during their meeting last night and cast a spell to have it hung right above their table. A tiny light glowed in the center of the globe, the thing then disassembled itself into dozens of crystal-like pieces in midair, each one transforming into a part of the territory they were in -- palaces, hilltops, mountains, forests, floating islands, fortresses.

"Zhuowei is here,” Bai Qian pointed at an island floating a distance away from the main palace, inside of Xunzhua's dome but hidden among the clouds. "Master Gejing too. He's performing the last steps to strip the protective enchantments from the hairpin. Once it's safe to do so, they'll use Kirin’s Hellfire to burn it to ash."

"How long will that take?" asked Yanzhi.

"It won't be done in the next hour. They have to be careful not to activate the device by accident. If that thing explodes before it’s supposed to, we can be sure that Luoji will become the minor problem. Zhuowei is finishing the sword with the Demon Queen's feather. That will take time, too."

"Who’s going to wield this sword now that the Celestial Crown Prince isn't here?" asked Diefeng.

"We’ll figure it out. The problem is not wielding the sword, it's having it ready for use before Luoji tears our defences apart."

Yanzhi sighed. "I'd thought we would have at least gathered some more allies before this happens."

"Have you heard from Shifu today?” asked Diefeng.

"Not yet,” Bai Qian said.

"This is too dangerous," he shook his head, his face a mixture of frustration and offence. "I wish he could have taken a few of us with him. And what does he mean by keeping it a secret from me all this time? I am his Head Disciple, for heavens’ sake."

"It’s because of the danger that he didn’t involve anyone. This is not about force or numbers, it's about keeping his activities a secret until the right time. It's a world of unfamiliar magic where any movement louder than breathing can cause disaster. I wouldn't come along even if he offered."

Diefeng shook his head again, but this time with a smile. "You’re still the Seventeenth I know."

Smiling back, Bai Qian returned to the plan. If only she could make herself listen to her own reasoning.

What was it like being in the Void all the time? How did he even find food to eat?

"Our business is with Luoji," she made an effort to drag herself back to the matter at hand. "We don't let him get close to these islands of Xunzhua, and we don't let him cloud-jump from our sight."

Yanzhi breathed out. "That’s impossible, we'd be lucky if we could avoid the strikes of his sword."

"Luoji has two things to worry about,” Bai Qian contemplated. “The hairpin for his mother and the devices in the void for himself. I’m willing to bet that the former is more important to him. If he has to choose, he'll want that hairpin at the cost of one or two of his own devices. If he feels the destruction of those things and vanishes, then we'll take the battle to the Void.”

Diefeng and Yanzhi both took a moment to stare at the floating models, perhaps soaking in the fact that their people wouldn't be able to avoid the slaughter on that battlefield today.

"My troops will attack from this direction," said Diefeng, pointing at the river that ran west of their campground. "We have the most advantage with water. When it is safe to pass the command of my troops to my lieutenant, I will do so and join you at the front."

“Does anyone know where the Celestial Crown Prince went?" Yanzhi asked suddenly.

"I... I don't know," bai Qian admitted. "We’ve sent a messenger after him, but no words from him yet."

Bai Qian looked out the tent’s entrance. More than just whispers had been heard about a change of heart across the eight realms after the battle at the Crystal Palace. She hadn't been there to see the whole thing, but had heard the same story from many survivors of the battle: a young prince of the sky had plunged into the depths of the ocean and had come out with terrified children in his arms; he had choked and gasped for air, yet had insisted on caring for them first. He’d personally wrapped warm blankets around them and assured each of them that he would bring them to safety as long as they held onto him.

To those across the realms who wanted to resist, Yehua had become their hope. They had finally seen him without the giant shadow of Haode.

But where was he now?

"I'm glad both of you are here," Bai Qian said to her friend and Senior.

"It's just like last time," said Diefeng with an effort to sound optimistic. "Only -- I hope this time we'll do better."

"Last time it was up to the gods," Bai Qian smiled. "This time, it's in our hands."


***


Stepping out of the tent, Bai Qian ran into a soldier who coincidentally seemed to be looking for her.

“Is something the matter?” she asked.

“This came for you just now, Queen of Qingqiu,” he held out a small leather pouch. “A messenger pigeon delivered it. No dark magic detected.”

Frowning, Bai Qian reached for the bag. “Thank you.”

Who would be sending her things at this time?

But the second she pulled the pouch open, Bai Qian understood. A tiny amount of gladness crept into her.

“What is it?” asked Yanzhi.

She reached inside the pouch and drew out a small cube of ice – no doubt it had been bigger a while ago.

“The Arctic prisoners.” She smiled.

“Arctic prisoners?” Diefeng raised a brow. “what about them?”

“They’re here to help us.”

Yanzhi’s face brightened as she turned in all directions to try and spot any signs of these dangerous individuals.

“I don’t think you can see them,” Bai Qian said. “If they’re smart – which, I think they must be, that’s why Luoji locked them up in the first place – they won’t be anywhere near.”

“Is this a good idea, Seventeenth?” Diefeng spoke with reservation.

“The ones who agreed to come are loyal to Yehua. The ones who got dragged along probably know they don’t have a better choice than helping us.”

“I suppose we don’t have much to choose from,” the permanent crease between Diefeng’s brows deepened. “Well, I will rejoin my troops now. Will you be at the front or with your brother?”

“The front, Senior,” she said. The front line was what mattered the most in this battle. Buying time – that was their mission.



***


Bai Qian made it to Xunzhua’s site just when the atmosphere tensed across the entire campground. Nalan also seemed to have just arrived, and they barely greeted each other when one of the captains anounced, “The king is here.”

Five Kirins descended from the clouds and landed, one in golden armour, the others clad in black. The men stilled, respect and pride apparent on their faces as Pojing got off his mount.

Quickly he exchanged a nod with her and summoned Nalan. The spymaster wasted no time in relaying whatever news he had gathered.

“Sufeng and the Spinner?” she heard Pojing say.

“Yes,” replied Nalan. “They said they would like to pass on a final message.”

“What is it?”

“If we yield to their request and hand over the device, they will leave.”

Pojing did not respond. Instead, he cast a long look at the army behind them and began to move to a position where all the soldiers could afford to see him.

Bai Qian closed her eyes for a second. It was near – the battle they all dreaded. Was she eager to test her strength on those two brutal fighters who had hurt them all more than once? Very much. But she knew that the sooner this war began, the sooner a great number of these men would fall.

Please hurry, Shifu.

All eyes were directed to the front as Pojing’s voice thundered across the campground.

“You all have been informed of the enemy’s intention, they will stop at nothing to acquire the weapon that threatens the eight realms’ existence.”

His eyes swept across the soldiers’ perplexed expressions. “No, we are not charging into battle to aid the Celestial Clan’s cause, nor are we the protectors of the eight realms. But we are the last standing fortress with the power to stop the Dark Immortal’s domination; and as long as that power is in our hands, it is our duty to act upon it.

Fight, and we have a chance to secure the future; yield, and we too will be at his mercy.”

The tension intensified, but avidity began to rumble.

“I see your doubts, and I know your fear. Our border’s shield will not hold forever.” The crowd became even quieter. Several soldiers diverted their eyes, but they listened still. “When it comes down, I bid you remember but one thing -- you are men of Xunzhua! If death comes through that barrier, death will learn what you can do before the end.”

A thunderous cry of response erupted among Xunzhua’s army. The foreign troops did not join in but it was apparent their spirit had been lifted. Bai Qian found herself smiling along with them all.

Yes, she only saw facts, and the facts told her to dread for these men’s lives. But the battle had yet to start, and as the Man of the Moon had assured her: hope could always be found. She knew better than to hope for a miracle, but she trusted she could at least bring down a large number of that army outside the shield.


***



The silence that followed was almost like a form of torture. Bai Qian counted down in her head. Then, a bellow like the roar of a wild beast boomed from the other side.

Jets of lights shot forward and showered at the shield, which flickered but remained strong.

A general of Xunzhua roared a similar order, thousands of magic rays from their rear lines flew forward to meet the assault, strengthening the barrier and undoing the fractures. It went back and forth, making the whole area tremble.

Sufeng, the Spinner and the Fox Woman soon joined the attack. Three powerful spells slammed into the shield and a deep rumble echoed.

Bai Qian stood still among her friends, itching to lend their own spellcasters a hand but also knowing what she was supposed to do -- saving her strength for when the shield came down.

But just when she was counting down the minutes they had left, a blinding beam of light crashed into the earth, leaving smoke of both black and silver in its wake. And a figure now stood in front of Sufeng and the Spinner, in front of their army -- no armor, no mount, only mighty power that swirled around him like darkness. Even inside the shield, the men inched back in caution.

Luoji raised his sword, a wave of golden light erupted from the blade and shot forth, the earth shuddered. Whatever spells were being conjured around bounced back at their casters.

"What is that?" Yanzhi gasped. "Have we been informed about this?"

As much as Bai Qian dreaded the next words that came out of her mouth, she said them. "I don't know."

What… exactly, are we looking at?

Moyuan had never mentioned this.

By the gods… her throat went dry and cold sweat broke on the back of her neck. Moyuan didn’t know? They were facing a Dark Immortal with a weapon Moyuan didn’t know about?

Pojing and Nalan didn't look like they had much of a clue about this unpleasant surprise. The golden light drilled a hole on the shield's surface and the entire force field began to falter. Gasps of astonishment rumbled through the men as they watched their first line of defence being breached.

"The shield is about to break," said Pojing, and he turned to the commanders behind them. "Inform the defenders of the next barrier!"

"Yes, My King."

He gestured at the sky and said to a lieutenant on his left. "Xingde, contact the Kirin riders and see what they have gathered. I need to know what we are dealing with."

In a second, the man swooped out of sight on his mount.

To the spellcasters who were pouring their energy into mending the shield and getting wearier by the minute, Pojing raised his arm. "HALT!"

Bai Qian felt a jolt in her stomach – they only had minutes now.

The Kirin riders positioned on the highest rank among the clouds were supposed to detect unusual activities such as this and figure out what magic should be conjured in response. To establish the task, they would have to know the magnitude of the damage, they may even need to bring back a sample of that damage to consult their princess. But Luoji was attacking a magical shield, those vanished once they got hit hard enough. There wouldn't be anything left to study.

And what if... Bai Qian swallowed, what if the riders took too long...

Came a sound like an explosion that took place in the earth's belly, and the next second, a large part of the shield crumbled.

"I need a shield," she said. "A metal shield."

"Why?" asked Pojing suspiciously.

"Just give me a shield! The strongest one you have here."

"But..." Nalan glanced back and forth between them. "What are you going to do, Queen of Qingqiu?"

"For heavens' sake, I'm trying to save you time. Trust me!" She looked towards the nearest general and cast a summoning spell. His shield flew out of his arm and into her hand, leaving the man looking as though someone had just cursed at him.

"Nalan, wait for me on the clouds," she said.

"You do not give my lieutenant orders without consulting me first, Queen of Qingqiu," Pojing's eyes flashed. "What are you planni --"

His words trailed off as his face suddenly darkened with awareness. Bai Qian flung out her sword and hopped on it. There was no time for argument and a debate about gallantry.

Her idea, her responsibility.

"Well, now you know what to do," she said to Pojing and leapt out of his reach. "Make sure one of you catches the shield when I throw it to you."

"Wait..."

But she was already soaring upward and to the other side of the barrier.

Among the clouds, Bai Qian clasped the shield tightly, took another look at Luoji’s sword, braced herself and plunged down.


***


The impact was much more painful than she’d expected. Whatever power was coming out of that sword hit her with the heat and rage of a wildfire, except it was done with a purpose. Directing her own magic toward the metal shield, she held the thing forward and let it take the full force of that golden energy.

But it stopped almost immediately, and Bai Qian couldn’t say she wasn’t glad. A few more seconds and the light would have burnt through the metal and roasted her arm. She looked to the sky and flung the damaged shield upward. A Kirin rider caught it with precision and vanished from sight.

"Where is the device?" an invisible hand seized Bai Qian and yanked her forward.

Bai Qian grunted, her left arm numb from that brief collision, her energy and the air in her lungs only slowly returning. She summoned her silk fan just as Luoji grabbed her jaw, his finger digging into her skin. His voice was calm but she could almost taste the fire coursing underneath. "Look at me, damn you."

His magic reached into her skull the second their eyes met, as though wanting to crush it from the inside. Tears shot out of her eyes and she cried in pain.

"This is not a game anymore," he breathed out the words. "You have impressed me but this ends here. Tell them to hand over the device.”

"Or what?" She gasped for air. "You’ll kill me?"

"Death? No. I will tear this place apart, I will make you watch as I walk over their corpses and retrieve the device. When Moyuan kneels and laments over the ashes of the world he protected, I will plunge this sword into his chest. And then -- then I will make you beg for death.”

Bai Qian swallowed but she silently triumphed in his procrastination. Just as she'd thought -- his belief that everything in this universe was within his reach still persisted. He was angry yet hesitant to release his full power. He would not kill her, not until he'd had his fun with this war. And by that time it would be too late for him.

Just then, from the corner of her eyes, she saw a figure bolting over and attacking Luoji from behind.

"Fourth Brother! No!"

Terror seized Bai Qian, her brother didn't know what was going on. Pojing and Nalan knew, but Bai Zhen hadn't been told. And he also had not dealt with Luoji before…

"Get away!" she bellowed.

Her family… Qingqiu’s people -- they didn’t care much for a grander plan or war, especially her fourth brother, he was here because he cared about her. As these thoughts went through her mind, Bai Qian was petrified with fear.

The Dark Immortal turned, did not do so much as blink as he dropped her to the ground and reached out to seize Bai Zhen’s neck.

"Fourth Brother..."

"I have not seen you before," said Luoji to her brother.

"Let… let my sister go." Bai Zhen gasped for breath. With all the power of a High God that he possessed, he was unable to fight back. "Let her go."

"Your sister was doing just fine." Luoji let out a dry chuckle.

"Fourth Brother, get away now!" Bai Qian blasted spell after spell at them but Luoji stood still like a mountain. The rumbling sound of advancing troops from both sides was getting louder around them.

Luoji's eyes suddenly gleamed with savagery so intense that even from a distance, Bai Qian trembled. Bai Zhen, at the same time, began to struggle like a fish caught in a net.

"Leaving your troops without command to rescue one person," Luoji continued. "The likes of you should not be on the battlefield, you only add to the burden. They will thank me for getting rid of you."

To her horror, Bai Qian heard a loud snap and her brother was limp. Luoji threw his body to one side like a rag doll.

The world went silent for an indefinite moment. Bai Qian’s head spun, her ears went deaf. She stood like a stone statue, unable to grasp the scene before her eyes. Bai Zhen lay flat on the ground, his eyes wide open and the last trace of his bewilderment and concern for her still etched on his face.

No, her eyes must be lying. This was a dream, one of those nightmares she'd had lately. No...

"Give me the device," Luoji's voice rang again. “Or more will end up like him.”

And now she knew her brother was dead.

But before she could scream, before she could even run to his body, someone's voice boomed in the distance. Battle cries erupted from both sides and arrows started soaring over her head.

"Fourth Brother!"

She crawled to him, tears of terror stuck in her throat as she pressed her hand against his neck – no pulse, no flow of immortal energy. What had she done?

She had wanted to face Luoji, to lend those Kirin riders a hand. She'd believed she had a plan. Had she just traded her brother's life for that plan?

She felt dizzy. Had the war just started… or had it ended already?

"Queen of Qingqiu!"

"Bai Qian!"

Her mind snapped at the sound of those voices, as though it had only just registered the ongoing battle.

"Bai Qian!" It was Yanzhi.

Bai Qian shot up and slashed with her fan as her eyes caught the imminent threats around. Enemy soldier fell at her strikes.

"Bai Qian," Yanzhi and several of her soldiers arrived.

"Bring my brother's body back," was all Bai Qian could manage to say. "Please, bring him back to the Qingqiu..."

"We have to get to Luoji!" Yanzhi said, shaking Bai Qian’s shoulders. "Now!"

She took a few gasping breaths.

Luoji, his bloodthirsty commanders and the size of his army... she had never wanted to kill anyone more. But how? How were they to do that?

As the Ghost men who took Bai Zhen’s body vanished, Bai Qian looked around her. Through a veil of tears, she saw soldiers barreling for each other; spells and arrows zooming back and forth; swords and shields clashing; fires erupting spontaneously; riders battling on horseback; the sky crackling with light jets as a different battle took place on the clouds among the fliers; soldiers heeding their captains' orders to assemble amidst the commotion to contain the raging beasts. The Arctic prisoners were charging into the celestial ranks from the side -- their spirit making up for their scarce number. Diefeng and the Western Sea’s men were using the river water to their advantage, drowning those their power could reach. Not too far away, Nalan and Master Yifeng were duelling Sufeng and the Spinner, more men advancing to help them, but to little avail -- Sufeng by himself was wreaking havoc that seemed to be crushing anyone less than a high immortal.

And right in the center of the chaos...

"Pojing --"

The King of Xunzhua was standing only ten feet in front of Luoji, neither of them was making a move yet. Not yet.

Bai Qian gripped her fan and along with Yanzhi, she cloud-jumped. A second later, they too were face to face with Luoji.


***


Still wearing that dark, merciless smile and that deadly calm even though he was also racing with time, their enemy spoke with a drawl.

"You have done well. Arctic prisoners, allies from Penglai, tribes and kingdoms risking their existence to aid you. But you have picked the wrong battle."

No words. She had no words for him, her head whirling and her arms shaking as she fought back a desire to attack him. No careless move -- she told herself over and over.

“I will give you one last chance,” Luoji said. “Give me the device and I will call off this battle. Be stubborn and all of you will die.”

Bai Qian considered the strange source of power on his sword – if they could somehow prevent him from using it…

“Do those who fight for you know that once you get what you want, they might also die?” Pojing said.

“That is a ‘no’ then,” Luoji’s lips curved and his sword hand raised.

As they all took a step back and raised their weapons, loud, grating screeches suddenly filled the sky and even Luoji turned to see what was interrupting them.

From behind the clouds, a large, black bird and a flying Kirin that did not seem to belong to Xunzhua swooped down, hovering above the chaos. Behind them, a sabre-toothed tiger, a lynx, and a spike-tailed turtle appeared, landing with a violent crash. The battling men scrambled out of the way, but they did not have the chance to assess the situation as from above, a whirlwind of silver light plunged into the center of the battle.

Men in the vicinity were thrown off their feet and the five beasts circled the newcomer as he turned around.

Yehua?

“The Crown Prince?” someone said, the relief in their voice was echoed by the cries of thousands of Celestials.

Following a command from Yehua, the five beasts charged into the enemy’s ranks and unleashed their powers on them.

Bodies fell, weapons and armors were flung across the field, their front lines broke, men roaring for adjustment.

“Impressive,” commented Luoji. Something in those eyes stirred as he observed the beasts for a second. Although, different from his subordinates, he was looking far from impressed.

Bai Qian didn’t have the time or mind to ask Yehua how he was able to command the beasts from that Demon cave, or how a turtle could move that fast – Luoji had redirected his attention to the duel. With a swift somersault, Yehua joined them.

Luoji slightly raised his sword. “I hope the four of you are more useful than Bai Zhi’s fourth son.”

Enraged, Bai Qian shot her first binding spell at that sword. The next second, all four of them leapt at him at the same time.


***


On the princess of Xunzhua’s station in the center of the Glass Tower, the phoenix feather was safely mounted on its platform, glowing red. A suitable sword had been forged and laid beside the source of power it was about to absorb. Just a few more steps and they would have one of the most powerful weapons the realms had seen in ages.

Zhuowei was both thrilled and scared out of her wits. Thrilled to be the first immortal in the realms to produce a weapon with such an unparalleled core; scared because… what if she made a mistake? What if her creation accidentally burned someone’s hand? People would talk about her failure for as long as they lived.

On top of everything, she had to try her best not to run to the glass window to look at the battle below. In fact, she had to try not to think about it at all.

Numbers and procedures, that was all she could allow her head to process. She could not make any mistake, she had to exploit all the energy contained in this feather. Because they would need no less.

Just a few hours ago, she was in her study, imagining what she would do on her next day off, now she was having to fear for her brother’s life. Not that she didn’t feel anxious every time he went out of the palace with their kingdom being the target of so many enemies, but this was different.

“Do you think the device is ready, Master Gejing?” she asked the Kunlun’s Taoist, observing his station. The sooner they finished off that hairpin, the better.

“I believe so, Princess,” answered the man. “But the decision isyours.”

She nodded. Every one of her trusted scholars had taken a look at this thing and drawn their conclusion, which was more or less the same as hers.

“Princess,” a guard’s voice emerged from the door. “I have some news.”

“Is it urgent?” she asked, still considering the hairpin.

“Well… not particularly. I just wanted to let you know that the Celestial….”

But she cut him off. “Unless it’s about the king, you can keep the news to yourself. I can’t afford distraction.”

“Erm…” the guard stammered. But she didn’t care enough to ask him any more questions.

Zhuowei waved once above the hairpin. Following her assessment, magical mist formed a thin layer of a report in front of her, on which the details manifested.

No active curses. Reactive fire: reduced. Dark energies: excessive. Self-destruct enchantment: will take effect upon contact with Hellfire.

To destroy this device by any external force was impossible, so she had found a way to slip an enchantment into one of the butterfly’s wings – the part with the most energy. Once Hellfire reached into the wing’s core, this cursed thing would explode. But how well they could contain this reaction was another problem. She’d thought they would have time for some more tests. But now, they would have to trust the results of the past tests.

“Prepare to transport this to the designated sky island,” she told the scholars in charge. “Master Gejing will complete the procedure on my behalf. Be sure to consider the Kirin boy’s safety at all times.”

But the scholars had yet to respond when another guard stepped into the room.

“Princess.”

“What!” she snapped. “I am trying to concentrate –”

“I apologize, Princess,” the guard bowed. “But we have urgent news from the front line.”

Zhuowei wheeled around, her heart beating out of her chest. Two Kirin riders were striding in, one carrying a battered metal shield in his arm.

“What is it? Is something the matter with the king?”

“No, Princess,” one of the men said, placing that shield on an empty station. “We brought this back from the border. The Dark Immortal apparently possesses a dangerous weapon we have not been informed of. Its source of energy lies inside the core of his sword, that sword alone made a fracture on our barrier at the border in less than one minute.”

“What…” Zhuowei felt as though she’d just been slapped – her shield punctured by a single sword? Shock and fear got hold of her but she did her best to hide it, walking over quickly as the man continued.

“The Queen of Qingqiu took a strike from that energy source using this shield. Due to her power, it hasn’t broken. The unidentified magic is still fresh on the damage.”

“I see,” Zhuowei frowned, then summoned one of her trusted scholars. “Divide the work among yourselves, we’ll have to take a look at this.”

Chapter 16, Part 5