Outside the hall, a ball of dark-red fireworks exploded without warning, forming a giant character for "blood".
In the Song script, the character for "blood" comprised many strokes. A total of thirty-six of them, each stroke looking sharp and fierce. It looked very much like Shangyang Family's distress signal.
"Why… why does this firework look exactly the same as Shangyang Family's Calligrapher distress signal? That's… that's not good, isn't it?" If any misunderstanding arose, would it not make things difficult with the Shangyang Family?
Liu Shanzi heard a sect master raising the question. In his mind, he was thinking the same way.
Zhao Zhi smiled and pointed at the skies outside.
"It's not over yet. Please watch on."
At those words, all the sect masters and the many disciples outside the hall regained their composure gradually. Given West Infinity Court's status, there was no way they would do something as meaningless as this. There had to be some reason.
As they reassured themselves, they continued watching, waiting for the next firework.
Another ball of fireworks, black this time, exploded.
Clangs and thuds rang out. A sect master jumped to his feet, knocking over the metal table. His face was filled with anger as he questioned Zhao Zhi, "This is my sect's distress signal. Court Master Zhao, what game are you playing? What's your intention behind imitating my sect's distress signal?"
Zhao Zhi's smile and silence remained.
Another ball of fireworks exploded. It was white this time; it scattered into nine lotus buds of equal size.
"My Jade Lotus Palace's reinforcement signal!?" a sect mistress rose to her feet as well.
"BOOM! BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!"
As fireworks continued to explode in the sky, the sect masters continued to rise. Apart from a small number of lower three grades sects, all the other sects had their distress signals sent out without exception.
"Ladies and gentlemen… are you satisfied with this reception?" Zhao Zhi alone might have been strong but he stood no chance against nineteen sect masters, not to mention that many of them had come with Holy Weapons. These were sects without very close relationship with the West Infinity Court who had brought along their Holy Weapons lest any mishap should occur.
But no trace of fear could be detected on Zhao Zhi's face. Calm, he stared at the people before him.
"Zhao Zhi! What tricks are you playing!" said the muscular clan master of Dun Ling Clan, a sect in the upper three grades, in a displeased tone.
"Alright… it's time. Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy my West Infinity Court's most powerful Holy Weapon formation—Blood Massacre. I'll make a move first." At that, Zhao Zhi's body began fading away into nothingness there and then.
"This!!?" By now, all the sect masters present realized that they had fallen into a trap.
Abruptly, a silhouette rushed out of the hall towards the exit of West Infinity Court.
But he was immediately blocked by a dark-red barrier of light. The barrier was elastic, causing him to bounce back.
Before he could figure out what was happening, Liu Shanzi found himself trapped in this formation.
Blood Massacre Formation?
A sense of foreboding filled him all of a sudden.
"Not good! That is my sect's distress signal! My disciples!!" A thought came to a sect mistress, who fell into a frenzy immediately. Loud bangs resounded all over her body as she turned into a streak of electric blue light which shot out of the hall towards the outside of West Infinity Court.
The streak of lightning flashed and arrived at the exit of West Infinity Court in the blink of an eye, then charged outwards without hesitation.
A wheel-shaped Holy Weapon flew out of the streak of lightning at the formation's barrier of light.
Arcs of blue lightning and ribbons of scriptures encircled the wheel-shaped Holy Weapon as it slammed into the barrier of light, spinning at high speed.
The formation shook violently, but remained intact.
The Holy Weapon, however, quickly dimmed and lost its power. It would take a long time of cooling down and accumulation of energy before it could be used again.
"Not even a Holy Weapon can break it?" Liu Shanzi's mind was a mash. Try as he did, he could not figure out why West Infinity Court's Court Master Zhao Zhi would do such a thing. But subconsciously, he sensed a looming danger rearing its ugly head on the horizon.
A sect master with the form of a child rose to his feet and said, "Those carrying Holy Weapons, please stand up. We need to work together as one. Who knows what game Zhao Zhi is up to? But if this really is the Blood Massacre Formation, then we'll all be reduced into a pool of dirty water in less than two days if we don't hurry up and break out of it!"
"Well said, Sect Master Luo! We all need to work together as one. I suspect this Zhao Zhi is no longer the sect master we knew before. Rather, some demon in disguise has possessed his body," one guessed.
This explanation immediately gained support.
But Liu Shanzi could not help but still feel uneasy. If they could think of it, would Zhao Zhi, the Court Master of the West Infinity Court, not be able to? They were old fogeys whose brains were almost frozen from years of cultivation… how could they outwit Zhao Zhi, who had always been reputed for his cunning wits?
"Something's wrong! That's… Devil Qi!"
All of a sudden, a sect master pointed at a thread of black in the red barrier of light in the sky with a trembling finger.
Alarmed, everyone looked up.
Indeed, a clear, distinct black line had appeared on the dark-red barrier of light. Like a living being, the strand of black was swimming and squirming on the barrier of light.
"It's… it's… Devil aura! That's Devil aura!! A Devil aura that only a Devil King can produce!!"
Someone recognized the nature of that black Qi.
Devil aura!? Devil King??
That was a monster of the Devil race that only Divine Weapon Masters could counter! What was going on!? The West Infinity Court was the most powerful faction in the Hundred Lineages. This was its innermost part. Why would a Devil King's Devil aura appear here!??
In the entire upper three grades, only West Infinity Court had the most credentials to face off against a Divine Weapon Master. All the other sects could barely maintain their independence only by following West Infinity Court's lead.
But now, even the West Infinity Court was infiltrated by a Devil King…
A cold despair crept up in the hearts of the sect masters present.
If the West Infinity Court had turned its back on them, what could they rely on against the Noble Families? Against the Devil Disaster!?
Thousand Sails City.
Giant boulders fell like rain from the ominous gray skies.
A grayish white boulder, over ten meters in diameter, was rolling in the air. Giant blood-red symbols flashed on it as it fell on the city district of Thousand Sails City like a meteor.
Three consecutive rows of buildings were smashed through immediately. Massive amounts of tiles, stone, mud, and earth burst out like fireworks.
"Is there still no reply to the distress signal!?" Bai Xiu roared from a corner.
"None! It's as if all the sect masters have vanished into thin air. They're all locked in the formation… not only the sect masters, but also ninety percent of our West Infinity Court's disciples and experts!" Huang Fu said in agony with his head bowed.
"How's that possible!!?" Bai Xiu's expression was savage. Only three of the thirteen elders from the Wan Shun Palace were left, but still the sect master had not come to their rescue. Only the sect master could deploy the Holy Weapon. Deprived of their trump card, there was no way to fight this war.
The two of them led the several hundred-strong surviving elite forces who had gathered in one place, continuing to resist the Devil army which was flooding in ceaselessly.
Because the difference in numbers on both sides was too vast, every second claimed the lives of the surviving elites of the Hundred Lineages.
They were all that was left of the originally several thousand-strong army from the Hundred Lineages.
"Senior Apprentice Brother Bai! Fifth Elder's not able to hold his side any further! He… he's asking all of you to retreat now!" A tear-streaked female disciple from the Wan Shun Palace shot over and landed gently a short distance away from Bai Xiu. She was choking on her words, a testimony to how tragic the battle had turned at her battlesite.
"Damn it!" Bai Xiu clenched his fists tightly, his nails pressing deeply into his flesh till blood was dripping out of his fists. But he was completely oblivious to it.
"This is my West Infinity Court's fault!" Huang Fu rose to his feet. "I'm going to save them!"
"There's no use, let's pull out!" Bai Xiu said coldly. "The West Infinity Court… has got nothing to do with you! You are you! You are my brother, Huang Fu! Not the West Infinity Court's Huang Fu!!"
"I…" Huang Fu felt tears well up in his eyes. But he understood that now was not the time to be sentimental. Every second of hesitation meant the deaths of some disciples.
"Pull out!" he shouted sternly. The West Infinity Court disciples behind him suppressed the anxieties in their hearts and followed him in retreat.
No matter what, they would not go wrong by following Eldest Apprentice Brother Huang Fu. They had trusted him countless times and during not a single instance did Huang Fu disappoint them.
In fact, as the deputy sect master, he was even more perfect than Zhao Zhi. Had it not been for the fact that his cultivation was slightly lacking, there would have been no dissent against appointing him the court master of West Infinity Court.
All of them, Bai Xiu included, acknowledged Huang Fu as their leader and swiftly retreated.
"The inner city can no longer be defended. We can only give this place up. There may still be some spots where we can hold the Devil army back, but they'll have to be those spots with steep terrain and natural barriers we can rely on."
"We can head to the Scarlet Boiling Palace!" Bai Xiu suggested. "The Scarlet Boiling Palace is situated near volcanoes. The dozen or so live volcanoes around it can be made to erupt by secret arts and used to defend against enemies. Unlike us, Devils have much weaker resistance against earth fire."
"Great! Let's circle around them and find an opportunity to rescue more people." Huang Fu nodded in agreement.
"Hoo… Hoo… Hoo…"
Purplish black blood dripped from all over Lu Sheng like lava. His thick, viscous blood was still burning, and purplish red sparks would fly out of it every now and then. Blood dropped on the ground, burning the stone and earth on the ground to produce sizzling black smoke.
He was covered in wounds all over his massive body, which was taller than ten meters. Large chunks of flesh had been bitten off his shoulders and the left side of the neck.
The edges of the wounds were writhing visibly and vigorously. Blocked by a thin layer of black membrane, however, they couldn't heal.
Apart from that, the wings on his back had been ripped off him and were lying a short distance away. A large piece of flesh had been gouged out of his abdomen, and his organs, covered in purple flames, were visible.
"Heheheh, how's it? Do you see my magnificent strength?" The snake leopard shrieked in laughter.
"Laugh my a*s! Your body's broken into more than ten sections! What's there to laugh about?" Lu Sheng rebutted.
The snake leopard stared blankly, his mouth shut by Lu Sheng's rebuttal.
He looked at his own body. Only a small section of his centipede-like body remained. The rest had been ripped off and ignited, cast aside, and left writhing on the ground. Some entrails had been pulled out through the wound on the lower half of its body, trailing across the ground.
One eye on its head had been blinded. That was his primary eye. The rest were actually weapons.
"Even so, you're in worse of a state than me!" the snake leopard sneered.
"Is that so?" Lu Sheng's face turned cold. His body began transforming again. "At first, I wasn't intending to use this mode… after all, it takes a lot of effort to enter that mode given my current extent of control over Devil aura. It's a pity…"
Immediately, Lu Sheng's body began contracting suddenly. In the blink of an eye, he had shrunk to only three meters tall.
"BECOME ONE WITH ME!!"
The savage mouth on his head opened up to more than thirty meters wide in diameter without warning. In one move, it opened wide towards the snake leopard.
Shocked dumb, the snake leopard had no time to register what was going on before that horrifying mouth came closer and closer.