Not only was Long Juxue perplexed, but even a fellow spirit dao practitioner such as Xu Zhen had a face full of incredulity. He too, couldn’t make sense of what had just happened.
Why had such a large change suddenly taken place in the situation? It was originally a posture of them rolling over and trampling the other, why had Jiang Chen suddenly displayed such powerful battle power?
Even Xu Zhen, who was standing off to the side, could feel the frightening capability of that slash. He knew very clearly that it was only because senior brother Yu Jie was strong enough, that he’d been able to endure that dreadful slash, and only spit out a single mouthful of blood in return.
If it was him, Xu Zhen, on the line, he probably wouldn’t have simply spat out one mouthful of blood.
Even though they all had spirit armor protecting their bodies, the power of that slash was likely powerful enough to damage his spirit meridians, and cause him to lose the ability to battle immediately.
After cleaving down with this one slash, Jiang Chen surprisingly didn’t continue to attack.
A shrill bird call rang out, and a Goldwing Swordbird dived down to catch Jiang Chen. He laid on its back, panting heavily, and threw both a Vast Ocean Pill and a Heavenly Karma Pill into his mouth.
To be honest, Jiang Chen had been making a move in difficult circumstances just now. He had comprehended the third form of the Vast Ocean Current Splitter – Wave Surge, in dire straits.
If Jiang Chen was a spirit dao practitioner, even one who’d just entered the spirit dao, he would have likely been able to confront Yue Ji head on with that blow, and even trample over the latter.
But, he was of the true qi realm after all, and his personal level of training was ten meridians true qi.
Therefore, he’d circulated his true qi to its maximum with that slash just now, even exceeding his limits. This thrust had been a breakthrough for his mental strength as well.
But his physical body was still within the realm of a true qi master at the end of the day, and wasn’t as indomitable as that of a spirit dao practitioner.
Therefore, this slash had already been outside the limits that his physical body could endure. When he absorbed the infusion of true qi from several hundred Goldwing Swordbirds, it was as if he’d suddenly taken a hit from several hundred true qi masters.
He had leveraged the mysteries of the blade to induce, concentrate, and expel these several hundred currents of true qi. Logically speaking, he was only a medium for such a strong power, and not the recipient of it.
But even inducing it for such a short period of time, for just that one particular instant… the damage brought upon him by that energy had been enough to cause Jiang Chen to feel greatly discomforted all over. It was as if all the meridians in his body were going to burst open. He was temporarily unable to gather his strength, and attack with a second slash.
It was a good thing that this astounding slash had expelled this explosive power in the nick of time.
Even one as strong as Yu Jie was likely unable to withstand a blow that had concentrated several hundred hits from true qi masters, even if he met it with a blow at the peak of his body’s condition.
Not to mention that he’d only used seventy to eighty percent of his strength.
Jiang Chen had displayed a weak side to his enemies before, in order to numb his opponents and to create an illusion for them so that they wouldn’t take any precautions, and would really think that they’d be able to torture Jiang Chen to death like crushing an ant.
All of these false moves were the line up to this slash, that would rescue him from a desperate situation.
Upon seeing that Yu Jie had only spat out a single mouthful of blood, Jiang Chen felt that it was both a pity and had a healthy respect for sect disciples.
This slash had condensed the strength of several hundred Goldwing Swordbirds, but had only sought the price of a single mouthful of blood from the other.
One had to say, this degree of injury was lower than Jiang Chen had expected.
Except, Jiang Chen was unable to give any further consideration to that at this moment.
Although all the meridians within his body were trembling like they would split open at any moment, he still whistled to make several Goldwing Swordbirds lead the great numbers of Silverwing Swordbirds further up the Second Crossing.
The remaining several hundred Goldwing Swordbirds retained their previous posture, circling in the air. Even though they’d met a strong enemy, none of them had the urge to turn around and flee backwards without Jiang Chen’s command.
The Goldwing Swordbird that Jiang Chen was riding on circled back to the rear of these several hundred Goldwing Swordbirds.
Jiang Feng and Princess Gouyu had long since been deposited back onto the Second Crossing by the Goldwing Swordbirds leading the Silverwing Swordbirds.
All the Silverwing and Greenwing Swordbirds seemed to have received some sort of command as they all flew backwards, and landed on the four corners of the Second Crossing, guarding it so that not even a drop of water could leak out.
Above the Second Crossing, all those who were on Jiang Chen’s side were already standing on top of the mountain pass.
Jiang Feng, Princess Gouyu, all of the Jiang family’s subordinates, as well as Jiang Chen’s eight personal guards.
“Guo Jin, don’t hold me back. Ah, Qiao Shan, am not a turtle who hides in ma shell. The young duke is being surrounded and us’ns, as personal guards, are just standing here watching. What the heck is this?”
“Yeah, if you don’t go, then let us’ns brothers go!” Qiao Chuan also roared like a tiger.
Guo Jin had a completely frosty expression on his face as he stopped the two brothers in their tracks.
“Other than adding to the mess, what else can you do if you go now?” Guo Jin lectured them.
“Even if us’ns add to the mess, that illustrates our loyalty as underlings. Even if we die, if we can gain a little bit more time for the young duke, it’ll be a worthy death.”
“Right, revenge is never too late. As long as the young duke can leave, he’ll have the chance to avenge us brothers in the future.”
Qiao Shan and Qiao Chuan kept kicking up a fuss, and wanted to summon Goldwing Swordbirds to carry them to the frontlines.
Guo Jin couldn’t hold them back no matter how hard he tried.
“All of you be quiet and listen to Xue Tong. He’s the captain, and the young duke’s cousin.”
Everyone’s gazes locked on Xue Tong.
Xue Tong’s eyes had never left the frontlines of battle. His gaze was calm and steady, and he hadn’t been thrown into confusion because of the disadvantageous situation.
“Well, Xue Tong, say something!” Qiao Shan was an impatient sort.
“Qiao Shan, have any of us reached the level of true qi master with our training?” Xue Tong asked faintly.
“No.” Qiao Shan was in an ill temper. “So does that mean we become turtles who hide in our shell if we’re not true qi masters?”
“Then, have we comprehended a hundred percent of the Eight Trigrams Assimilation Formation?” Xue Tong asked again.
“Nonsense, we’ve only understood sixty to seventy percent of the formation. Why do you keep asking all this nonsense?” Qiao Shan grew impatient.
“Since we’re not true qi masters, and we haven’t yet understood one hundred percent of the formation, can we really help shoulder the young duke’s burdens if we go now?” Xue Tong asked back with a furrowed brow.
“With the young duke’s benevolence, he’s never given up on us in critical moments. If we brashly proceed forward and delay his plan as a result, then we wouldn’t be achieving acts of valor, but being villains instead.”
“Plan?” Qiao Shan’s brow knit together. “Xue Tong, you say that the young duke has a plan? How can you tell?”
Xue Tong’s gaze was deep as he looked at the Goldwing Swordbird army that was circling in midair.
“Look at these Goldwing Swordbirds. Don’t you think that their deployment and organization look quite familiar?”
Wen Ziqi had been silent all along, but was a girl beautiful in appearance, and clever in mind. Her brow spread out when she heard Xue Tong’s words, as if something she was thinking had been verified. “Xue Tong, you also think it looks familiar?”
“Oh? Miss Ziqi also thinks so as well?” Xue Tong was a bit surprised.
Wen Ziqi nodded. “I think that this is the layout for the Eight Trigrams Assimilation Formation. We have eight to make up the formation, and these Goldwing Swordbirds have also been divided into eight parts. Each part has thirty to forty Goldwing Swordbirds. If I’m guessing correctly, the young duke has already passed on the mysteries of the formation to the Goldwing Swordbirds just now, through certain methods.”
Although the Goldwing Swordbirds were fowl, their intelligence was absolutely not inferior to humans since they’d been able to evolve into Goldwing Swordbirds.
Even though Goldwing Swordbirds might not have the level of comprehension that humans possessed with regards to understand formations, but Jiang Chen’s high fluency in the beast language enabled him to communicate with the Goldwing Swordbirds.
These Goldwing Swordbirds were the strongest level of existence within the Swordbirds. Their enlightenment and development of intelligence was also surely the greatest.
If a couple hundred Goldwing Swordbirds laid out the Eight Trigrams Assimilation Matrix, it would be enough to contend against a spirit dao practitioner, even if they only brought ten to twenty percent of the formation’s mysteries to bear.
One had to know that this was the equivalent of several hundred true qi masters setting up a formation.
“Eight… Eight Trigram Assimilation Formation?” Qiao Shan felt that his brain was a bit dull as he widened his eyes and looked carefully. He scratched his head, “That really seems to be the case.”
“Do you still want to rush up and add to the mess now?” Guo Jin chuckled.
“Guo Jin, don’t give me a slap to the face. What the heck good are we, if Goldwing Swordbirds are setting up the formation?” Qiao Shan’s face also reddened as he spoke.
As for Xue Tong, he stared towards the front unblinkingly as several traces of worry appeared in his tone. “The young duke seems to have also been injured in that last, dangerous blow.”
“He’s the young duke alright. I’d already despaired under these circumstances, and was ready to accompany the young duke in death.” Qiao Shan sighed with amazement.
Up in the sky above the pass, it was eerily quiet.
No one out of the million strong army, kneeling where they stood, dared make a sound.
They all knew that whoever emitted a sound to break the silence would likely face a great anger that would topple mountains and overturn the seas.
As soldiers, they had no way of participating when the immortals fought.
As strong as he was, hadn’t the Duke of Soaring Dragon died just like that? Those legendary spirit dao practitioners had said they would crush Jiang Chen, yet hadn’t they suffered a counterblow as well?
No one could make sense of the situation.
Xu Zhen had also been stunned by Jiang Chen’s saber aura. If it was before, he would’ve been the first to rush up, but he too hesitated in this moment.
Even Yu Jie had spat out blood because of Jiang Chen’s saber aura. Xu Zhen’s training paled far in comparison to Yu Jie’s. Would he win out if he rashly proceeded forward?
Even if he could win, he didn’t dare move forward without a word from Yu Jie.
This was a huge taboo.
Even Yu Jie couldn’t handle Jiang Chen. What would the outside world say if he, Xu Zhen, ran up to clean up? They would say that senior brother Yu Jie was less than him, Xu Zhen!
Wasn’t this creating trouble for himself?
Therefore, Xu Zhen hesitated and didn’t move forward in the end.
Yu Jie was likewise shocked and furious when he spat out a mouthful of blood. This result was obviously something completely out of the blue. He had thought that the battle would be over with his carefully readied blow.
Except, not only was the battle not over, but he’d been injured by the other’s strong slash.
It wasn’t that Yu Jie didn’t want to speak, but that this slash had caused a pain in his chest when he breathed. It took several circulations of his spirit qi to barely clear his air passage.
Although this slash hadn’t harmed his core, it had caused no small damage to his meridians.
If it wasn’t for the extraordinary capability of the spirit armor on his body, it might have even harmed his core and shattered his internal organs, making him instantaneously lose his strength.
Yu Jie’s heart was still palpitating, as cold sweat poured down his back.
He was also a bit irritated. What was up with this Xu Zhen? Why hadn’t he come up and stalled for a bit at this moment?
It was a good thing that Jiang Chen hadn’t followed up that strike with another. Otherwise, he wouldn’t’ve had the spare effort to defend against, it before his breathing had been smoothed out.
When he resolved the pain in his chest, Yu Jie instantaneously recovered his self confidence. His original arrogant demeanor vanished completely, to be replaced with a sinister expression.
“Jiang Chen, I admit that I’ve underestimated you.” Yu Jie’s tone turned rather remote, but a sense of great wrath could be felt through this remoteness. Even Jiang Feng, Gouyu, and the others above the Second Crossing, could clearly feel it.
Every movement and gesture of this spirit dao practitioner seemed to be exude a strong influence that could directly point at a practitioner’s heart, and shock their very soul.