Back then, when Song Ci bade his farewell, he once said, “This is a road of no return.”
He knew that better than anyone else. That was why he took ‘Song’ as his surname, ‘Ci’ as his name, and started his journey on this path. Although he had looked back many times along the way, afraid and confused, he had never taken a step back.
Even if all the bones in his body were broken, he had to stand upright.
Tu Shan Yue said in disdain, “I have no interest in knowing the name of a man who’s about to die.”
“But I have to tell you.” Song Ci conversed with him calmly. “I am Song Ci, not Tu Shan Rong Bai.”
“So?” Tu Shan Yue could not figure out his intention.
“I just want you to know that if Tu Shan Rong Bai were the one standing before you, you wouldn’t even have the chance to touch him…” Song Ci seemed to have some kind of obsession with it.
Even under such circumstances, he still could not tolerate anyone misunderstanding or despising Rong Bai. He even went to the extent of using himself as an example for comparison.
Whether or not this dialogue and the result of this battle would be able to make its way out of this place had never crossed his mind.
But what Song Ci said was indeed true. If Rong Bai were the one coming up against Tu Shan Yue, the victor would have already been decided a long ago.
This infuriated Tu Shan Yue. He said hatefully, “Are you blowing your own trumpet?”
Song Ci snorted and laughed, then shook his head and sighed under his breath. “I knew you wouldn’t believe it.”
“You’d better cherish these last moments you get to speak.” Tu Shan Yue was naturally enraged after getting confused by Song Ci and being trodden upon.
If it weren’t for fear of Song Ci’s unexplainable power earlier, he would have already charged at him.
Song Ci went along with his words and said, “You’re right. Why don’t we stop for a moment to chat?”
Tu Shan Yue was not in the mood to wrangle with him. He even felt that this man – who could still stand up and joke with him despite having been half beaten to death earlier – was out of his mind.
Let’s get this over with. Tu Shan Yue thought.
He gripped his long-hilt broadsword in his hand and, without warning, launched an attack at Song Ci. The broadsword swung around powerfully in a large arc.
Song Ci swallowed a mouthful of blood. His gaze suddenly sharpened as he shed away his outer skin layer of weakness to unveil an edge so sharp it shocked Tu Shan Yue.
He could sense the difference in the man before him. The feeling had been intensifying since the latter’s laugh earlier. But with the blade already in place, he could not afford to be distracted. He watched as his blade was about to hack Song Ci.
The strength of this blow was enough to cut Song Ci’s fragile and scarred body into two.
What shocked him was the sudden flash of Song Ci’s figure at the very instant the blade came into contact with the latter’s hair. He was so fast Tu Shan Yue could not even get a clear look before he vanished from his spot.
This speed stunned him completely!
He could not imagine or understand how Song Ci, a grievously injured man, could possibly manage to escape right under his blade. To his knowledge, this was impossible.
However, Song Ci had managed to do it. Still sustaining a body of broken bones, he leaped to the top of the stone statue beside them right under Tu Shan Yue’s strike. He gave a shake of the long sword in his hand and turned Du’e into two daggers to hold them in each hand.
He crouched and looked at Tu Shan Yue, sweeping his eyes over the latter to observe his weaknesses.
Tu Shan Yue no longer dared to lower his guard after his blow missed its target. He turned up his long-hilt broadsword to slash at Song Ci with a noticeable increase in speed.
This long-hilt broadsword looked long, heavy, and clumsy, but in Tu Shan Yue’s hands, it was as light as a feather. The blade emitted a faint, white glow.
Song Ci leaped into the air and somersaulted over Tu Shan Yue’s head. His long hair arched beautifully in the air. He landed soundlessly on his toes and stood behind Tu Shan Yue.
Tu Shan Yue’s blade struck the statue with a resounding crash and shattered it into smithereens. Song Ci raised his right hand and brutally stabbed Tu Shan Yue’s right arm. The entire dagger dug into the latter’s flesh, and the spurting blood spattered onto the side of Song Ci’s face.
What he did not expect was for Tu Shan Yue to use his own body as bait and took this stab intentionally after seeing how fast Song Ci was in dodging his attacks. Before Song Ci could pull the dagger out, Tu Shan Yue grabbed his wrist and swung him around to the front. At the same time, he ruthlessly twisted his arm.
All five fingers of Tu Shan Yue were almost digging into Song Ci’s wrist. Enduring the pain, Song Ci whirled around rapidly in the air to save his right arm from being twisted into a fried dough twist.1 His left hand raised the dagger, leaving a long trail of blood behind on Tu Shan Yue’s arm.
As Tu Shan Yue released his hand, he struck Song Ci in the chest with a palm and sent Song Ci’s body flying into the wall. Pain assaulted Song Ci’s chest, but his expression remained indifferent as he kept the weakness from showing on his face.
Song Ci raised his hand to summon back the other dagger and, with his feet, propelled himself away from the wall. As he somersaulted in the air, the blades of both daggers burst into blue flames. He brandished them towards Tu Shan Yue.
Tu Shan Yue dreaded the blue flames on his blades and did not dare to bait him again. He ducked Song Ci’s attacks quickly. There was no way he could put his long-hilt broadsword to use as Song Ci engaged him in close-range combat. Gradually, he began to lose his advantage.
The blood of Tu Shan in Song Ci’s body boiled until it almost set him aflame. It fused into his injured bones and muscles, reducing his pain.
In Song Ci’s eyes, Tu Shan Yue’s movements were becoming progressively slower. Song Ci slowly took over the lead. Not once had his speed decreased when it came to wielding his blades; on the contrary, it increased. In just a short while, he left many wounds all over Tu Shan Yue’s body.
Tu Shan Yue could also sense the continuous changes in Song Ci this battle. He knew that he was not Song Ci’s match if this went on, thus he intended to call for assistance while he could still handle Song Ci.
But the instant Tu Shan Yue was distracted, Song Ci found his opportunity and twisted his arm back. A crisp “CRACK” rang out, and Tu Shan Yue’s complexion turned white from the pain. He hurriedly pulled back and retreated.
Song Ci raised his right leg, swung a circle to build up force, and kicked his heel onto the side of Tu Shan Yue’s face.
This blow was much more powerful than the one Song Ci had received before. His kick sent Tu Shan Yue flying. Three bloody teeth flew out of his mouth as he spun three circles in the air. Half of his body was paralyzed after he landed.
Song Ci dashed up to him and stomped on his chest. Tu Shan Yue opened his bloodied mouth and unleashed a hoarse scream.
The Du’e in Song Ci’s hands transformed back into a scimitar the size of a palm once again. Song Ci lowered his blue eyes and squatted down. The blood on his face masked his genial expression and revealed a tinge of indifference.
He raised the blade high and aimed it at Tu Shan Yue’s head.
Tu Shan Yue widened his eyes in a glare, his pupils reflecting Song Ci’s figure. He began to struggle desperately, but the more he struggled, the heavier the pressure of the foot on his chest grew. He could scarcely breathe from the weight of it. He felt so suffocated that his face turned the color of persimmon. Blood gushed out of his mouth.
The moment Song Ci brought his blade down, he backhandedly turned it half a circle and used the hilt to knock Tu Shan Yue unconscious.
It’s finally over…
Song Ci collapsed to the ground like a rag doll, and the pain all over his body instantly washed over him. He scrunched up his eyebrows from the pain. Clutching his chest, he turned his head to the side to cough out a few mouthfuls of blood. In a state of dizziness, he passed out as well.
He did not know how long he had been unconscious. When he woke up, Feng Zhuojun was sitting beside him. Most of the fatal pain in his body had disappeared, but the residual pain still made him bare his teeth. When he sat up, he realized that the bloodstains on his body had vanished entirely. His robes were so clean they looked brand new.
Feng Zhuojun said, “Congratulations.”
Song Ci rubbed his arm painfully and asked in a hoarse voice. “What are you congratulating me for…”
“You’ve gained plenty from your blood fusion this time. You’ve begotten three fox tails.” Feng Zhuojun said, “We have not come for nothing.”
“Three?” Song Ci himself was surprised. He counted with his fingers and sucked in a breath. “Then, I have five tails now?”
Song Ci clasped his hands in excitement. He could clearly feel the difference in his body now. A thought arose in his mind, and a blue flame sprang up in his palm, its size changing with just a mere switch of his thoughts.
He had never thought that he would one day be able to control the blue flame in his body. He jumped up happily but ended up pulling the wounds on his body. His handsome face contorted in pain.
“You still need to recuperate a few days to recover from these injuries.” Feng Zhuojun said, “Let’s hurry and destroy the disciplinary whip so that we can leave as soon as possible. There will be big trouble if we are found out.”
His prompt reminded Song Ci that he still had something important to do. He turned his head and saw Tu Shan Yue lying on one side, all covered in blood. Song Ci could not tell if he was dead or alive.
“He…” Song Ci pointed at him, and asked hesitatingly, “… isn’t dead, right?”
“He’s still alive, but your last blow was pretty hard. I reckon he’ll sleep for quite some time before waking up.” Feng Zhuojun said, “It’s not a big issue.”
Song Ci nodded his head and limped to the front of the stone gate behind the statue. He pushed the stone gate to open up a gap through which a person could pass. When he entered, he saw a whip that was glowing white hanging on the wall before him.
The handle of the whip was as black as iron, while its body was white with densely packed barbs all over. Just as Feng Zhuojun had said, the body of the whip was made out of dragon bones.
Song Ci walked over to the whip. His eyes slid all the way from its head to its tail to get a full view of it. All of a sudden, he raised the Du’e in his hand and let out a bellow before smashing the disciplinary whip. Then, without stopping, he continued to hack away at it until it was thoroughly chopped into smithereens.
Feng Zhuojun was shocked by the way he acted. He thought that Song Ci was venting his anger at those earlier thrashings he had received, so he did not utter a sound.
He did not expect Song Ci to gasp for breath after shattering the whip and say in a hushed tone, “To think they use this kind of whip to lash Rong Bai. No wonder his wounds are so scary…”
Feng Zhuojun, “…”
Song Ci bent over and picked up one of the fragments and kept it in his bosom. Then, leaving behind the display of shattered bones and Tu Shan Yue lying beyond the door, he left with a swagger.
It was dark when he emerged. He had no idea how long he had stayed in the underground palace, so he could not tell the time.
Song Ci was worried that Rong Bai would get anxious if he could not find him, so he hurried back to the inner palace. When he got back, he found the palace brightly lit. Strangely enough, it was also quiet.
Puzzled, Song Ci walked through the main gate and saw the doors to the palace open. Two immortal attendants were guarding at the entrance. As soon as they saw Song Ci, they raised their voice and cried out, “Immortal Lord Song is back—!”
Song Ci got a fright and hurriedly waved his hands. “What are you yelling for?!”
Who knew that the two immortal attendants would yell even harder? They shouted at the top of their voices into the palace, as if calling out for someone. “Immortal Lord Song is back! Immortal Lord Song is back! “
They had only shouted twice when Rong Bai appeared with hurried steps. His eyes were red and burning with anxiety as he fixed them upon Song Ci. Without even a pause in his footsteps, he took Song Ci into his arms.
This was the first time Song Ci had seen Rong Bai lose his composure.
He embraced Song Ci tightly in his arms and asked in a quivering voice, “Where have you been?”