Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Everyone who was there looked in that direction, and it was a terrifying scenario.
Above the firmament, there was an incredibly dreadful matrix diagram, shielding the sky. Endless Sword Will came falling down and there were terrifying swords from the void above to the earth below, as far as the eye could see.
There were nine ancient nether swords, each about 100 meters high, that traversed between heaven and earth, slamming down. It was a super tenacious sword matrix that reached the sky, and underneath it, the figure of Chess Saint was trapped within. Around his body, there seem to be millions of chess pieces distributed in every corner of that world. Each piece contained appalling power, equivalent to that of a sword.
A great and boundless chess board floated within the expanse, with Chess Saint sitting upon the chess board. His body was 100-meters-tall, akin to a statue of an ancient god in situ, but unable to move, as if with the slightest carelessness, he would meet his end.
Even more frightening was that the Sword Will within the sword diagram seemed to be without end, with a constant flow of Sword Will pouring downward that rendered its power stronger and stronger. Chess Saint was able to utilize the strength of saint plane to set up a super-structure to keep himself from being annihilated by the sword matrix. However, the longer it went, even a saint would be exhausted eventually and die inside the matrix.
People from all the holy lands were shaken to the core. Truly, even a strong practitioner of the saint plane was trapped here, unable to extricate himself from such a predicament. Hence the pretext of sitting for a peaceful death, was in fact, all but a cry for help.
Yang Xiao and his party of nine stepped forward, but just then the Chess Saint opened his eyes. Though the eyes were still spirited and dazzling like that of the gods, there was now fatigue showing in them.
“Stop,” a voice said, like thunder in clear sky, causing Yang Xiao and the others to stand still.
“Look underneath your feet. Any further will cost you your lives,” the voice of Chess Saint chimed again. Yang Xiao and the others looked at each other solemnly and looked down. They then felt a wretched aura fostering.
“Be careful.” Ye Futian was working the Freedom Meditation that sharpened his perception greatly. He warned those around him as he sensed the impending danger.
This place would be deadlier than all they had experienced before.
People from all the holy lands were solemnly waiting. They had lost the ease they had previously when they were able to breeze through the past eight matrices. The profound lesson they learned from the ninth sword matrix was still fresh in their memory. Chess Saint, who may be the most powerful master matrix sorcerer in all of the Nine States, had been trapped by this place, so it was not hard to conceive how mighty this sword matrix really was.
“Look there.” Someone followed the sword matrix that had trapped the Chess Saint and saw that the Sword Will, along with the sword diagram were from the same origin—the bloody sword eye. A giant sword was inserted into the ground, and all about the sword there permeated an extremely ancient air, faintly smelling of blood, as if the sword had been stained with interminable gore.
The Sword Will from the sword eye flowed to the giant sword, and the giant sword released the airflow of the endless way of the sword, where it went on to imbue the entire Nether Sword Mound. Even the sword matrix that had trapped the Chess Saint, seemed to be born out of that giant sword.
Just then, a pair of frightening frosty gleam shot out from the sword, and everyone felt bone-chilling frigidity.
They actually saw a pair of eyes. Eyes on the giant sword.
In that instant, they felt that the sword was not just a sword but held life within it.
“Is that sword alive or am I hallucinating?” someone whispered.
“No, you are not, ” someone replied. Everyone’s heart was beating wildly, and they felt they were being watched by a pair of eyes.
Then, blades of light of incomparable splendor shone and bloomed, appearing in every corner around them. Where they stood was the location of the sword matrix. In the expanse above them, clouds were twisting and changing color. At the location of the bloody sword eye, endless streams of the way of the sword flowed in that void, as if to lock everyone in place.
“Is it too late to quit now?” someone asked quite seriously. Many had the idea that this might be where they would bury their bones.
At this point, someone took a step back. Just one step, and instantly it seemed to have caught the attention of the giant sword. In a moment, he only felt a biting coldness piercing through him; an acute murderous intent had already locked unto him.
A thought manifested in his mind, and his body instantly retreated. But above the void, in the slow-moving airflow of the way of the sword, a sword diagram suddenly materialized, and a sword plunged from the sky.
Zing! The sword penetrated the void and slashed through thin air. The practitioner who belonged in the rank of Magi did not even have the chance to scream before he was nailed in place, and his body immediately torn to pieces by the Sword Qi.
The hearts of people beat violently, and no one dared to move again, their feet firmly rooted in the ground.
“This sword matrix will not take the initiative to attack, but every step is an opportunity for a kill; one wrong step means death.” Chess Saint eyed everyone, his voice came out of the sword matrix, sending chills to those who heard him.
Every step was an opportunity for a kill.
Perhaps Chess Saint also took the wrong step. Even a saint could be trapped by the sword matrix after taking the wrong step. Although he was not killed on the spot, neither could he leave, and if he did not get out soon, death was imminent.
“Master, how can we help you to get out?” Yang Xiao asked. He was not concerned about his own safety, but that of the Chess Saint.
“I have already transformed the sword matrix into a chess game. Help Liu Zong to take that sword.” Chess Saint eyes drifted toward the giant sword underneath the sword eyes. “This sword rules all the sword matrices within the Nether Sword Mound. Gain control of the sword, and the matrices may disappear.”
Yang Xiao and the others nodded. Back when they laid out the Celestial Dragon Chess Game to find the one who could solve it, they understood that whoever solved the game that the nine of them had laid out, would imply that person’s chess ability surpassed them. So now that the master asked them to assist Liu Zong was not an unreasonable request.
All nine of them looked at Liu Zong and saw that a golden light bloomed behind him. There was the faint shadow of a golden Buddha that superimposed over him and then integrated as one with his body. His hands were together to form a Buddha’s seal; it was a seal of wisdom.
Suddenly, Liu Zong was able to understand all things on the outside world and gained a clearer understanding of the laws and the ways of the matrix within the universe.
“This matrix harbored the eight trigrams and five elements of the ancient mystic of divination, concealing the way of heaven and earth, and have integrated all the ways of the matrix. You will need to use everything you have learned to breach the matrix, do not throw your lives away.” Chess Saint regarded Liu Zong deeply and said, “Liu Zong, you are in charge.”
“I will do everything I can,” Liu Zong replied. He then took a step forward, and when this step fell, a dazzling blade of light appeared but then dimmed. The position was taken over by Liu Zong.
“All right,” the eyes of many sparked. For this matrix, one wrong step meant death. And now, Liu Zong took a step with such confidence. It seemed that because he had solved the Celestial Dragon Chess Game cast by Chess Saint. He was already familiar with this matrix. The reason for his coming today was to breach the matrix.
“Gate of Life,” Ye Futian looked at the position where Liu Zong walked to and commented. He had cultivated diligently at the Chess Saint Villa to study the way of the matrix, so all this was familiar to him. Naturally, he recognized the step and the position that Liu Zong took was the Gate of Life in the mystic divination.
“Uncle, the divinatory symbols can predict good or evil. If so, can’t you also speculate if that step is the right one or not?” Ye Futian asked Sage Wanxiang. They both stood in the same place, without moving.
“Simple predictions of good and evil are meaningless. For example, if the pace you take can avoid the evil, but what of it after? Even if it is auspicious, the entire layout can still collapse, because this is a matrix, after all. It’s different than astrology.” Sage Wanxiang continued, “Of course, we can also combine your matrix with my divination, and we will have a more certain chance of winning.”
“Hmm.” Ye Futian nodded. “The sword is moving, the matrix is constantly evolving, you are right, to breach it would require the overview of the whole picture and to control the overall situation. One good step means nothing. Even if you walked many steps safely, if, in the end, you could not breach it and get stuck, it would still be death.”
People from all the holy lands had not moved, or rather, they dare not move. In fact, they had truly experienced the danger of the place, and now, the thought of retreat was on their mind.
But they were stuck in the middle, already in the midst of the matrix with no way to turn back. Finally, they understood why Nether Sword Mound was known as the most murderous place and that no one ever returned alive, unless it was someone like Liu Zong, who had been mentored by Chess Saint, who transformed sword matrix into a chess matrix and passed it on to him, therefore giving him the chance to retreat. For the rest of them, it was impossible.
“You came too.” Chess Saint, who was trapped by the sword matrix, looked at Ye Futian.
Ye Futian looked up at that figure of the saint, enormous as the gods and called out, “Sir.” He had entered the ancient hall of the Chess Saint to cultivate before, so it was natural that Chess Saint recognized him.
“You cracked the Celestial Dragon Chess Game, so it’s no wonder you can enter this place.” Chess Saint continued, “You and Liu Zong join forces. Assisting him in breaching the matrix. If I get out of this one, I will not forget your role in it.”
Ye Futian looked at the Chess Saint and responded, ” Liu Zong and I each have our own ideas about the solutions to the matrix, and they may be in conflict and cause confusion. But Liu Zong is unparalleled in the arts of the matrix and solved the Celestial Dragon Chess Game left by you, in addition to being your true successor. He will surely have the best chance to breach the matrix. I am here, respectfully awaiting your release.” His voice was calm and there was no falseness in it. If he and Liu Zong were to breach and matrix together and they had a difference in opinion, who was to listen to whom?
Would Liu Zong be willing to ask people from the Barren State to give the breach a try?
Because of this, it was impossible to join forces.
And he was also sure that many would lose their lives in the process during Liu Zong’s attempt to breach.
Even so, the matrix was still a hard one to crack.
That day at the Chess Saint Villa, Liu Zong was able to crack the Celestial Dragon Chess Game because Li Kaishan deliberately made a wrong move. If it were not so, it would still be unknown whether the Celestial Dragon Chess Game would have been solved.
Now, the power of this sword matrix was obviously stronger than the Celestial Dragon Chess Game. The difficulty of breaking the matrix was greater, and there could be no mistakes.
A false step would cost a person’s life.
Under the circumstances, it would be impossible to make such a promise to Chess Saint, to disregard the lives of the people of the Barren State in order to save Chess Saint. Even if Ye Futian were to breach the matrix himself, if he was without confidence, he would retreat.
Compared to breach the matrix, the lives of the people of the Barren State were far more important to him!