Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Chess Saint cast an indifferent gaze at Ye Futian, said nothing, and looking at Liu Zong. He was unparalleled in the art of matrix, but at the moment, he was trapped under the sword diagram with a horrifying great matrix bearing pressure on top of him that could take his life at any moment. He could not divert his attention to instructing Liu Zong on how to breach the matrix. Moreover, the matrix was constantly evolving, and not being within the matrix, along with having his spiritual will blocked prevented him from peering into the matrix, leaving him on the sidelines with nothing to do but watch.
Even so, being a strong cultivator of the saint plane, Chess Saint was able to face this predicament while remaining cool and collected. His godlike body implanted in the midst of the destructive sword matrix, that terrifying sword matrix seemed to be able to destroy all but had not been able to consume him yet.
Liu Zong had begun the breach of the matrix, leading the groups from Xihua Sacred Mountain, Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty, and the nine disciples of Chess Saint into the matrix, step by step.
Liu Zong was quite accomplished in the ways of the matrix, and with the support of the nine disciples of Chess Saint, it seemed that even this impossible sword matrix, where every step could spell death, could not stop them from moving forward. Everyone was advancing, standing in different positions, and seemed to be in the formation of the matrix also.
Ye Futian observed quietly. He was in no hurry. He would let Liu Zong go and try it first.
People from other holy lands stood in the same place without moving. Although each holy land had master matrix sorcerers present, at times such as this, without absolute certainty, who dared to take the risk?
They even hoped that Liu Zong would be able to breach the matrix, so that they would have the opportunity to extricate themselves instead of being trapped here, unable to move.
There was an elder who led the cultivators of the Xia clan because he wanted to investigate the Nether Sword Mound. He was also a powerful cultivator within the Saint and Sage Ranking.
“Have you observed something strange about the sword?” the elder of the Xia clan asked those around him.
“Yes.” Everyone nodded. “It’s as if it’s alive and can detect our movements. All the sword matrixes seemed to be set up by this sword.”
“Have you ever heard of the rumors regarding the Nether Swordsman?” the elder asked again, and everyone shook their heads as they continued to listen to the old man. “There were rumors that there were two sword slaves under the Nether Swordsman, both were of the saint plane. One died and the other sacrificed to the word and became the body of the sword.
“Sword slaves are all of the saint plane.” Many trembled at the thought.
“There are different ranks within the saint plane. The Nether Swordsman was known as possessing an unparalleled method of saint plane. So how is it strange?” The old man spoke lightly. The sages were above many others and treated them as subordinates, which was the same in all holy lands of the Nine States.
“You mean…” Somebody stared at the giant sword, their heart pounding fiercely.
Sacrifice the body to the sword and turn it into the sword itself.
Then to feel the aura emanated from the sword, ancient and lethal, as if stained with endless blood. The master of all swords that could control all the Sword Will of heaven and earth and turned it into sword diagrams and sword matrices.
If it was really as people had surmised, that such a sword was located in this place, then what would that mean?
No one knew, and perhaps no one would be able to solve the mystery.
“They’ve breached one Sword Realm,” someone said, looking at Liu Zong. Liu Zong could be seen leading the cultivators of all three parties, solidifying a matrix of their own, breaking into the depths of the sword matrix. Where they passed, a field of sword matrix had been annihilated and turned safe.
“Is it true that he can breach this staunch sword matrix?” Many trembled inside.
The space was enclosed with endless murderous Sword Will. Liu Zong and his group continued pushing forward, but there was still a long way to go.
Right then, a cultivator of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty took a step, and just when his foot touched the ground, a devastating exhalation descended from the sky above. His heart violently beat, and as he looked up, a streak of horrifying Sword Will fell on him like lightning. A soft hiss and he was pulverized without a trace. Dead.
“One wrong step means death.” Liu Zong and the others stared, and the air suddenly became incomparably heavy.
Apparently, in this terrifying matrix, even someone as accomplished as Liu Zong could still make a mistake.
Liu Zong stood there, looking slightly awkward. He looked in the direction of the people from the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty. “This is the real core of the sword matrix here at Nether Sword Mound. If it can be breached, there’s a chance to take the Divine Sword, or even taking control of the Nether Sword Mound, as well as help to rescue our Eastern State forebear, Chess Saint. But every step here is full of danger, and even I do not have absolute certainty. Although Saint and the Sacred King made a pact, if the Sacred King of the Great Zhou Dynasty wishes to withdraw now, I will not object.”
The countenance on those from the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty was gloomy. After all, the one who died was one of their own, a member of the Golden Phoenix Army, whose bloodline was that of the nobles of the Sacred Dynasty.
“Of course, if this matrix is not breached, I’m afraid we will all perish here,” Liu Zong continued.
“Go ahead, then,” Zhou Du of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty said. Zhou Du was the older half-brother of Zhou Ya and Zhou You, son of the Great Zhou Sacred King, who was of the top-ranking magi plane, and only one step from sage plane. Because his spiritual talent was extremely elevated and his strength unyielding, he was the leader of the delegates from the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty, and he had volunteered.
The Great Zhou Sacred King was a king of the sacred dynasty and had many sons. Even so, he was reluctant to put his children at risk, so the task of entering the forbidden land was on a voluntary basis. However, Zhou Du and the others ventured into the Nether Sword Mound because the order was issued by the Sacred King himself, and was therefore of great importance. He clearly took the matter of the Nether Sword Mound extremely seriously, and so, they were willing to give it a try here.
“Very well.” Liu Zong nodded. “We will take turns, one step each so the chances are equal. If the step is wrong, then it was only fate.”
Everyone nodded, but Zhou Du had some reservations. The person who led the mission was Liu Zong. Naturally, the disciples of Chess Saint could not afford to die. Between Xihua Sacred Mountain and the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty, Liu Zong might be more inclined to protect Xihua Sacred Mountain. With Liu Zong’s accomplishment in matrices, he would be able to detect which step was more dangerous than others.
But he obviously could not voice his suspicions out loud.
Liu Zong continued with the breach of the matrix, and the group continued pushing forward. They had now gone deep into the belly of the matrix, step by step, moving toward the giant sword. Their objective was clear.
In the process of the breach, there were fatalities in succession. Among them, the death rate of those from the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty was significantly higher than that of Xihua Sacred Mountain. The nine disciples of Chess Saint were experts of matrices themselves, so they were able to make some calculations and stayed safe. Incidentally, the fallen were weaker cultivators and not the most pivotal of the party.
Under such circumstances, it was clear to everyone what was happening, but no one could pin the blame on anyone. Between life and death, who would not make the most beneficial action and the smallest sacrifice?
“I quit,” a voice called out. It was a young strong cultivator from the Golden Phoenix Army. As soon as he finished speaking, he felt stares on him, giving him a great sense of pressure.
“Zhou Yan, how dare you,” Zhou Ziyi scolded.
“I give up continuing the breach. If I don’t, I don’t know how many of us from Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty will be able to walk out of here, so I opt to retreat.” Zhou Yan looked at Zhou Ziyi firmly. Not long ago before this, his brother had perished in the sword matrix. Besides, he could feel that it would soon be his turn to be used to explore and test the most dangerous places.
Even if the matrix would finally be breached, he would still be dead.
Obviously, he was not willing to be expandable.
“I agree with Zhou Yan,” someone else piped up, also a member of the Golden Phoenix Army. He looked sharply at Liu Zong, with a clear sense of disapproval. Thereafter, the voices of dissent continued. Many from the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty declined to continue.
What did they have anything to do with the mission of rescuing Chess Saint? Even though the Sacred King had assigned tasks to them, compared to their lives, what could be more important?
It’s falling apart, everyone thought to themselves. Liu Zong had already advanced more than halfway, which was extraordinary, but even so, people’s hearts were no longer in it.
Not only had those from the Great Sacred Zhou Dynasty began to give up, but even the people of Xihua Sacred Mountain began to tire.
They should have never come here.
This mission was too dangerous. They had thought that with all the holy lands banding together, they could vanquish even the forbidden land. But now, it seemed that they made a grievous mistake.
Liu Zong looked perturbed and said, “We have already lasted this long, why give up now? But I won’t force anyone who’s not willing to continue.” After that, he continued with the breach. Some followed, and some did not.
Ye Futian quietly took everything in. His eyes had a strange luster to them. He was working the Freedom Meditation. At the same time, in his mind, there was a humongous chess board playing the moves deduced by Liu Zong, trying to find the solution to breach the matrix, but it was so far unsuccessful.
Time passed by bit by bit. This murderous space seemed especially silent, only the whistling of the Sword Qi could be heard in the sky.
After a while, Zhou Du stopped, a look of humiliation on his face. He said, “We can give up now.”
Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty had suffered great and painful losses. He distinctly felt that the more they approached the end, the stronger the pressure from Liu Zong would become. Even if the matrix was really breached, it might very well be on the lives of all the people from the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty.
Liu Zong still did not give up and continued with Yang Xiao and the others. They stepped closer and closer to the giant sword, but the terrifying swords matrix was surrounding them, turning into an immensely powerful will to slay.
“I can’t get through.” Liu Zong closed his eyes and was disappointed to the core.
Yang Xiao and the rest also felt that they had been mistaken.
This method could not breach the matrix.
Chess Saint also revealed a look of disappointment. Just as anticipated, there was no miracle. When he was here, he too, took a wrong step, so that he lost everything. Even though Liu Zong was outstanding, the matrix was still beyond him.
Then, on to the second method as a last resort.
“Liu Zong, Yang Xiao, come back and see if you can open a gap in the sword matrix that trapped me. I will try to use matrix against matrix,” Chess Saint said.
A flash crossed Liu Zong’s eyes, but he nodded nonetheless.
“Yes, Master.” Yang Xiao and others complied.
Li Kaishan bowed his head slightly; a keen look in his eyes.
Liu Zong and the rest had begun to retreat. At the moment, a safe area emerged in the matrix. In addition to Liu Zong’s expertise in matrices, retreat was not a problem.
But right then, Ye Futian stepped out toward the matrix.
Behind Ye Futian and Sage Wanxiang, starlight twinkled, and a star wheel rotated, revealing a resplendent astrological phenomenon of divinatory symbols in the void. Suddenly, all eyes were now on Sage Wanxiang, the master astrologer.
But astrologers were known for their short life span, so it was fitting that an astrologer should be involved at this point of the breach.
Soon, there was a region where the Sword Qi had been smashed, and the swords that were in the earth dissipated, which made many people look especially relieved. Ye Futian and his companions stood in different positions, moving forward in formation.
Obviously, Ye Futian was as equally accomplished in the art of matrices as Liu Zong.
“No.” Quickly, Ye Futian returned to where he was before, and abruptly, the sword matrix evolved once again, as if everything he had done before was in vain.
“Again.” Ye Futian continued his attempt to move forward, cautiously letting Sage Wanxiang reveal good or evil before taking each step. It was not that he was not confident in himself, but he would not gamble with the lives of those from the Barren State, so he would only step into the matrix if he was absolutely certain.
“It’s still not right.” Ye Futian attempted a few more times in a row and turned back each time. The chess board in his mind calculated wildly, but the outcome of each one was a failure.
“It’s impossible for you to breach this matrix. Come over and help me.” At this instant, a voice called out, causing Ye Futian to turn his eyes to the direction of Chess Saint.
At the moment, Yang Xiao and the others, the cultivators from Xihua Sacred Mountain, and the people of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty stood in different positions under the sword diagram that trapped Chess Saint.
Ye Futian’s pupils contracted slightly. He was preoccupied with breaching the matrix before and did not pay much attention to the situation there. But now perceiving the scene in front of him, he had a slight premonition of something going terribly wrong.
Looking at the sword diagram above Chess Saint, and in his mind, the chess board continued its calculations, and the situation was presented in the spirit chess board. His expression changed quickly.
“Allow the people of the Barren State to help rescue me, and you can be a successor of mine. I will pass the way of the matrix onto you and keep an eye on the welfare of the Barren State.” Chess Saint continued, “With the capabilities of Liu Zong and Yang Xiao, coupled with your expertise in matrices and the strong practitioners of the Barren State, I have a 90 percent certainty to be freed.”
“Naturally I believe you. With all due respect, at this moment, I am deep in the matrix, so I will try to breach this one first, and perhaps then there will an opportunity to extricate you,” Ye Futian refused diplomatically.
“Insolence!” Chess Saint’s voice was icy, and he gazed at Ye Futian. “I already said that it’s impossible for you to breach that sword matrix. Except for me, no one can do it. Now help me quickly.” Like a god, his voice conveyed the absolute authority of a saint, and no one dared to disobey his tyrannical command.
Those from the Barren State frowned. Chess Saint was the one trapped, and yet he dared to be this demanding? As if the people of the Barren State were in debt to him?
“Unfortunately I am unable to comply,” Ye Futian replied. He looked at Jiu Gongzi, wondering if he should warn him. But the Chess Saint was his master, if he chose not to heed it, what then?
“How dare you!” The Chess Saint spoke coldly, “Do you know the consequences for disobeying my orders?” As soon as he finished speaking, the air was filled with a subtle fear that made peoples’ hearts palpitate.
Ye Futian looked extremely conflicted. His eyes swept toward those from Xihua Sacred Mountain, the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty, Yang Xiao, and the others. He said, “If you want to live, retreat quickly now.”
Everyone was stunned and looked at Ye Futian.
What did it mean?
Chess Saint’s eyes flashed an exceedingly cold intent to kill when he heard what was said.
“Brother Ye,” Jiu Gongzi called out. He did not understand.
“Jiu Gongzi, you should know that I have read extensively in the field of matrix formations, and I have integrated that knowledge and comprehended its ways. There is a lesser-known matrix called ‘Sacrificial Matrix’. In the calculation I just made, where you are all standing is roughly in the formation of a Sacrificial Matrix.” Ye Futian said, “Your master, Chess Saint, set you up to come here, to make you a sacrifice, so he can be freed!”