The Divine Martial Stars

Chapter 361 - Turning the Tide With the Utmost Effort

Chapter 361 Turning the Tide With the Utmost Effort

Hovering in the sky, Huang Shengyi overlooked the peaks rising one after another beneath his feet.

The Yue Mountain was one of the famous mountains in the Western Qin Empire. It stretched to several hundred miles afar, known by its vastness, stateliness, vigorousness, and grandeur.

For several millennia, the gate of the Yue Mountain Faction had stood at the top of the Yue Mountain, which sat in the heart of that mountain area. Neither mankind nor the demon races had ever conquered that area.

The Yue Mountain Faction was one of the most powerful factions in the Western Qin Empire, perhaps only second to the Guanshan Pasture.

However, as the time of war was due, the Yue Mountain Faction lost all its business and the control over its territories except for the land where the faction was located in just one day. The once rich and fertile lands were reduced to ruins and scorched earth. Leaving several thousand bodies behind, the remainders of the Yue Mountain Faction retreated to guard the gate at the top of the main peak.

Howls and cries rang nonstop.

Waves of energy fluctuations rippled from the main peak where the Yue Mountain Faction sat to all sides. A variety of light beams flashed fanatically.

Huang Shengyi was standing over clouds. In his eyes, the scene replete with whining and signs of death looked as splendid as fireworks.

The past couple of days was Huang Shengyi’s most glorified time.

He could not be more gleeful than he was in those days.

In truth, even in his wildest dream, he did not see that he could firmly seize the top spot of the Guanshan Pasture and became the one exercising control over one of the top nine Holy Clans within just six months or so. Only half a year ago, Li Poyue, the Guanshan Master, was still alive. At that time, he dared not even think of it.

But now, his dream had come true.

“Head, members of the Yue Mountain Faction have all taken shelter in their mountain-defensive tactic deployment. It’s impossible to break through that deployment in the short term. And the casualty on our side is kind of severe.” A brawny bald man carrying two black axes large as door planks leaped over and reported. “Please instruct us whether we should continue attacking them by force.”

Huang Shengyi nodded understandingly. Then, he said imperiously, “The Yue Mountain Faction is a respected faction after all. It has survived for a thousand years. Back then, it was reputed around the world, not less known than the top nine Holy Clans. Had it not been…”

At that point, as if having realized something, Huang Shengyi veered the conversation in another direction. He sneered, “The defensive tactic deployment the Yue Mountain Faction has is called All-side Starlight Deployment. It is developed by the Great Moon Empire ages ago. A very powerful deployment indeed. Even Sages can hardly crack it within a short time. You tell my trusted experts to back away and ask those from the Wind and Cloud Sect, the Thunder and Lightning Sect, the Phoenix Group, and the Great River Clique to fire on. The All-side Starlight Deployment requires a large amount of Spiritual Qi to keep running. Well, I’d like to see how long the deployment can stay in motion at the cost of the storage of Spiritual Qi the Yue Mountain Faction possesses before it is switched off.”

He had basically ordered his people to deplete the power of the deployment with their own lives.

The sects and groups he referred to were all sects in the Western Qin Empire dragged to the battleground to fight against the Yue Mountain Faction. Many of them were once loyal to the Guanshan Pasture, to the Guanshan Master. Yet, they had been compelled by Huang Shengyi in the name of the Guanshan Pasture to attack the Yue Mountain Faction.

Lately, Huang Shengyi had told the public that Qiu Yin had colluded with Xu Sheng and betrayed Li Poyue, their old head, so their sin was unforgivable and anyone who spotted the two could kill them.

As the whole Guanshan City had fallen into his hands, he had seized the moral high ground and the prevailing trend.

His only regret was that he failed to take out Xu Sheng and Qiu Yin in Guanshan City on the other day and let them escaped all the way to the Yue Mountain Faction. Surely, he had underrated Qiu Yin’s strength. On that day, Qiu Yin, who had been absent in the city for eight months, demonstrated the powers far more impressive than he had in the past. With a bizarre scarlet broadsword he had never revealed before, he forcefully blazed a path among those raiders… If he had killed Xu Sheng and Qiu Yin that day when they were both in Guanshan City, all his plans would have been carried out smoothly by that time.

The roars and howls went on.

An expression of cold brutality surfaced on Huang Shengyi’s face.

The disciples of the Wind and Cloud Sect and the other 20 or so factions were driven forward as cannon fodder to launch attacks at the main peak of the Yue Mountain, so as to continuously shake the Yue Mountain Faction’s defensive deployment and consume its energy. Compared to the earlier day, the protective range the All-side Starlight Deployment could offer had shrunk to half. At the time, it could barely shield the gate of the faction field at the top of the main peak.

Four hours later.

Several streams of light zoomed over.

The heads of the Wind and Cloud Sect and the other factions had arrived.

“Deputy Head Huang, the attack must be suspended. Our disciples are dying out.” Head of the Wind and Cloud Sect required.

He was a master at first-stage Celestial Being Realm. At the moment, his aged face looked a little haggard.

“Eh?” Huang Shengyi shot him a look and gave a cold laugh. “In the old days, you always got on well with Qiu Yin and quickly became his closest friend. So, what do you mean by that remark? Are you planning to shield the traitor who has stabbed his master in the back? You’re dead!”

Huang Shengyi struck without hesitation. A fiery beam of light instantly wrapped itself around head of the Wind and Cloud Sect.

“Aargh…” In his shrilling shrieks, Head of the Wind and Cloud Sect was reduced into a heap of ashes in the fiery fire.

Huang Shengyi’s eyes, sharp as broadswords, swept across the other head of the sects. Shrouded in icy killing intent, he remarked coldly, “Anyone who dares to cut some loose will wind up like him… My soldiers, behead all the disciples of the Wind and Cloud Sect! From now on, there is no Wind and Cloud Sect in the world.” With his one word, the whole sect was wiped out.

“It’s my fault. I got the Yue Mountain Faction in trouble.” Qiu Yin muttered feebly.

His face was pale as a sheet, his breathing light and shallow.

Standing at the gate of the main hall, Qiu Yin was looking at the defensive deployment in the distance. At the front gate at the foot of the mountain, attackers were flooding in like swarms of flying locusts.

He had just been deluged in a shower of bad news.

On that day’s noon, a more terrible piece of news arrived.

The imperial army had emerged at the foot of the mountain and joined in the force attacking the Yue Mountain Faction.

That implied the royal family of the Western Qin had reached a certain agreement or formed an alliance with Huang Shengyi. As the Flying Arrow Battalion in the imperial army showed up, many Celestial Beings in the Imperial Executive Group and experts in the Supervisory Department also revealed themselves. The alliance against the Yue Mountain Faction instantly became dreadfully powerful. The alliance consisted of a wide range of forces. Even if in its best time, the Yue Mountain Faction had no means to fend off the attacks launched by so many experts at the same time.

At that rate, the Yue Mountain Faction could at most hang in there for one more day and one more night. In a day, the deployment would be cracked.

Qiu Yin was tormented by pangs of guilt.

It was because of him that the Yue Mountain Faction sank into such a huge disaster.

So far, more than half of the disciples of the Yue Mountain Faction had been lost. Its fundamental estate that had last for a millennium was about to be gone, too.

On that day, the circumstance was truly dire. Out of options, Qiu Yin and Xu Sheng and the others ran to the Yue Mountain Faction, which was the nearest to the Guanshan Pasture. Qiu Yin intended to make a short-term stay there for necessary rest and provisions before setting off for the vast pasture to join his big brother, Guo Yuqing. Because Qiu Yin knew clearly that in the current situation, only Guo Yuqing, the master of the Wolf Temple, could protect him. Unfortunately, Huang Shengyi’s pursuing forces moved too fast. The enemies chased to the Yue Mountain Faction only moments after they took refuge there and quickly besieged the mountain. Qiu Yin and his men tried several times to force their way out but failed at the cost of the lives of many of their men.

Therefore, he had been trapped on the mountain, waiting for his doom.

Xu Sheng had lost both of his arms and most of his strength. Although he was supported by others, he did not look defeated. Gazing at Huang Shengyi a distance away, he growled with an enraged face, “That Jerk Huang! How dare he do this to us! He must have had something backing him up. With his own strength, there is no way he could have brought up the imperial army, the imperial Executives, and the members of the Supervisory Department at the same time. Who on earth has such potent power?”

Qiu Yin said, “That has occurred to me, too. Though Huang Shengyi is a Semi-Sage, he has been frustrated by my third brother, Li Mu. Usually, he is the chicken-hearted, foolhardy type. So, I don’t believe he has achieved this all by himself. He has no balls to launch a revolt in Guanshan City. Even if he has teamed up with some Extra-terrestrial Devils, he can’t have had the imperial army and the Supervisory Department at his command. Someone from the royal family must have been manipulating all this in the dark.”

Next to the two stood Xu Yue, the current head of the Yue Mountain Faction, his Left and Right Guardians of Rules, as well as dozens of elders. They all looked grievously indignant.

“My master’s body can just land in the hands of those double-crossers.” Qiu Yin fixed his gloomy eyes on a spot in the distance and sighed deeply. Then, he whipped around, fell on his knees before Xu Yue, Head of the Yue Mountain Faction, and said, “Head Xu, I’ve brought such a disaster to your place, and caused the death of so many good men of your Yue Mountain Faction. I can’t stand the guilt inside me. Please take my head to that Jerk Huang and perhaps he will spare Yue Mountain Faction from the tribulation.”

Xu Yue’s countenance altered at once. He bellowed, “Qiu, what are you saying?”

Qiu Yin opened his mouth to explain.

But Xu Yue directly cut him off and said with a determined look, “Don’t mention it again. Though my Yue Mountain Faction can’t turn the tide, we definitely won’t hit you when you are down. During the past millennium, the backbone of our Yue Mountain Faction has never been bent once. Even if we might be wiped out, we must fight to the last moment. Nowadays, the Divine Land is plagued by wars and various catastrophes. If all the sects only cared about their own business but didn’t help each other, it would be a matter of time before a dark age was ushered in. Now, we need to awake the sense of righteousness in those martial arts practitioners who still have some conscience with the blood of our own. That will also send a warning to people like Huang Shengyi that not everyone in this world will surrender to hegemony.”

He made that speech with a categorical resolution.

“Given Hero Qiu’s words, you think lightly of our Yue Mountain Faction, don’t you?”

“Even if we need to drain our blood, our Yue Mountain Faction will not bend our knees before a man like Huang Shengyi.”

“The majestic Yue Mountain never fosters gutless men!”

The other experts of the Yue Mountain Faction beside the head also shouted their agreement with infuriated looks.

The faction that was usually low-key and seldom meddled in the disputes in Jianghu had displayed unprecedented solidarity and toughness in the fierce battle.

Qiu Yin was choked by emotion.

Regarding the top nine Holy Clans, the Mount Qingcheng and the Guanshan Pasture already fell apart due to internal strife. It turned out that none of them was as good as the Yue Mountain Faction.

Qiu Yin slowly took on a serious face and said, “I didn’t say that to belittle you guys or to make concessions in order to gain advantages. Instead, what I want to express is where there is life, there is hope. Today, Huang is in power. It’s not wise to go against him by force. Heroes ought to be able to fight for a win as well as take temporary setbacks. In some cases, to live requires more courage than to die. At the cost of my life, the Yue Mountain Faction will be safe, and so will be my master’s body. Also, I have two sworn brothers. My big brother is the master of the Wolf Temple on the vast pasture. My third brother is the lord of Taibai Mountain. They are both ready to die for me. When they get the news and hurry over there, they will certainly avenge me and guarantee the security of the Yue Mountain Faction.”

Qiu Yin said that earnestly. There was no trace of compulsion or fear in his voice. He simply did a very rational analysis.

Xu Sheng nodded at him and said, “Broadsword Man Qiu Yin is a true hero indeed… But offering him your head is not sufficient. That Jerk Huang must also hate me to the marrow. Let’s say, take mine as well. Only that can appease his wrath and keep the Yue Mountain Faction safe…”

“Elder, no!”

“Master, you can’t…”

Xu Yue, the head, and the others all turned pale.

Xu Sheng gave a hearty laugh and remarked composedly, “Haha, I am already an old man whatsoever. My arms have been chopped off. Without my fists, how can I still be the Sky-cracking Punch? I’m just a useless man now. If I can sacrifice myself to protect the whole Yue Mountain Faction, that will be a real pleasure, won’t it?” He had certainly seen through death and did not care much about his life anymore.

A grievous atmosphere permeated the entire main hall.

Qiu Yin unfolded his palm and a long blood-colored broadsword emerged. “This Magic Blood Broadsword is a treasure I obtained in the Everlasting Heaven on the vast pasture. My third brother, Li Mu, excels at Dao-using methods. After I die, give this broadsword to him. He will understand the reasons behind today’s decision and won’t blame you guys…” With that, he grabbed the broadsword backhandedly and thrust the blade at his throat in the attempt to commit suicide.

The crowd all turned horrified, but it was too late for them to stop him.

Just at that moment, the incident suddenly took a turn.

On the distant horizon, a jet of dazzling light shot toward the mountain like the sword of a deity.

“Li Mu is here. Where is my brother Qiu Yin?”

The resonating growl rumbled to the mountain from afar as if it were the thunder at the beginning of the world. It reverberated in the area and set off a storm in the sea of clouds.

In that instant, the army attacking the Yue Mountain Faction and those experts firing at the gate from the sky all felt light-headed and shifted around to locate the source of the voice. They saw a jet of smooth broadsword light racing in the boundless sky while cleaving the sea of clouds in two. It was blindingly bright, leaving a several-kilometer-long strip of cleave behind, which did not disappear for a long time. The broadsword Qi suffused the air as if a deity had been incensed and ripped the sky apart. In a trice, it crumbled some of the experts in Huang’s league flying over the periphery of the mountain area as effortlessly as reaping the wheat with a sickle.

“Who is it?”

Numerous experts felt their hearts shuddered in that second.

That remark the voice said took a moment to sink in.

“Li Mu is here.”

“That poem and martial arts whiz, that Lord Taibai named Li Mu?”

“He is the youngest Sage-to-be in the Western Qin Empire! A tough guy who has captured Huang Shengyi, the Fire Devil, alive before!”

“And rumor has it that even the second prince has been killed by him!”

“Such a ruthless figure is here? He has become Qiu Yin’s brother? When did that happen?”

At the gate of the main hall of the Yue Mountain Faction, the Magic Blood Broadsword had already pressed against Qiu Yin’s throat. But upon hearing that roar, Qiu Yin was a little stunned and his hand movement slowed down. When he caught sight of that long streak of light shining as brightly as the sun, suddenly, out of no reason, the heavy load crushing his heart was completely lifted.

Even though Li Mu was younger than him, the boy’s marvelous capability always made him feel inferior.

“He arrived here already?” Xu Sheng was amazed as well. He soon turned rapturous.

The bloodstained letter for help was not sent until the previous day. It probably arrived in Taibai Mountain that morning. Yet, within four hours after receiving the letter, Li Mu already raced to the scene. Such a speed… might not be reached by a Sage even if he went all out, right?

Xu Yue, Head of the Yue Mountain Faction, and the leaders of the other sects were instantly overjoyed as well.

Hearing Li Mu’s name alone was a shot in the arm for all the disciples of the Yue Mountain Faction.

Because Li Mu was the one who once captured Huang Shengyi alive.

Finally, someone in the heavyweight class had rushed to their rescue.

“Li Mu!”

Having recovered from a brief astonishment, flames of rage blazed wildly in Huang Shengyi’s eyes.

For quite a time, that name was his nightmare, keeping him constantly ill at ease.

That was because Li Mu had not only vanquished him in a fair and square battle but also startled him with loads of powers he demonstrated during the period of Huang Shengyi’s imprisonment in Taibai County. What was more, even Li Poyue, the Guanshan Master, later took Li Mu’s side. Thus, when Huang Shengyi got back to Guanshan City, he dared not reveal any inclination to retaliate Li Mu.

However, everything had changed.

Having gained all the powers, how could Huang Shengyi not seek revenge?

He had planned to deal with Li Mu immediately after he finished off Qiu Yin and strengthened his control over Guanshan City.

But he did not see that Li Mu had come for him on his own accord at that juncture.

“Who volunteers to kill this man for me?” Huang Shengyi glanced around.

But in that instant, all his trusted experts around him, including that bald combatant carrying a pair of massive black axes, turned pale and fell silent.

Granted, Li Mu’s name was truly daunting.

There was no one in the Western Qin Empire that hadn’t heard the name of Lord Taibai, was there?

It was widely known that he was a tough man capable of arresting Semi-Sages!

Those experts had no assurance to stop such a martial art genius.

“Humph!” Huang Shengyi snorted, extravagantly disappointed and disgruntled.

People on his flanks remained dead silent like a flock of cicada in cold weather.

“Right then, I’ll capture him myself to avenge the insult he imposed on me that day.” Huang Shengyi remarked unhurriedly, his eyes exuding confidence.

By that time, he was no longer that Semi-Sage he used to be.

“Today is the day for me to rinse off the disgrace!”

He sneered as his fiery natural qi circulated his body and turned into a towering column of fire. It stirred the sea of clouds and transformed it into a sea of flames before it swept towards that jet of broads

The fiery flames rose higher and higher. Wisps of hardly perceivable evil qi danced around them.

“Li Mu, today, the foot of the Yue Mountain will be your grave.” Huang Shengyi bellowed. His voice carried afar like a thunderclap. Obviously, his willpower had inflated and his fighting intent had been raging.

Surrounded by the dancing flames, Huang Shengyi looked like the God of Fire. His aura overwhelmed the region. It seemed that he was going to burn the heavens with his fire. In that instant, everyone was under the impression that they were in the fiery pits of Hades. Heat swept across the land. It felt like ten suns were scorching the land at the same time. On some of the high mountains, acres of forests caught fire at once. With the aid of the power of heaven and earth, the flames encircled that jet of broadsword light in no time, ready to refine it into ashes any moment.

The power in the Sage Realm was indeed aghast.

“Hahaha, I was just wondering who is making the waves. Turns out that it is you!” Li Mu’s voice rang, filled with outright contempt and despise. “My defeated opponent, how dare you speak to me like that?”

The silky beam of broadsword light cut its way through the sky, shining brightly. It lunged straight towards the most violent flames in the sea of fire.

“Watch out! Jerk Huang has gained the power of the devils…” Qiu Yin cautioned Li Mu at the top of his lungs from afar.

Huang Shengyi had become way more powerful than he was in the past. Having joined the league of Extra-terrestrial Devils, he absorbed some of their powers and became rather terrifying.

Nonetheless, the warning came a bit too late.

With numerous eyes riveted on the scene, the jet of broadsword light hacked at the sea of the raging fire. The latter was instantly cleaved in two, revealing a huge crack running down the width of it. Next, they saw the tip of the broadsword directed right at Huang Shengyi, the Fire Devil, who was standing at the center of the sea of fire.

To everyone’s amazement, the rampant flames failed to throw off that bright beam of silver broadsword light!

Still, Huang Shengyi burst into laughter.

“Haha, you walked right into my trap!”

Just as his voice faded, Huang Shengyi’s eyes reflected whirling black light.

A second later, his eyes no longer resembled a man’s but a sinister beast’s. They gave off the aura of cruelty and austerity. Huang Shengyi swiftly conjured an odd seal, and threads of black mist shot out of his eyes like thousands of tentacles. As they dived into the sea of fire, they dyed the fiery flames eerie black, as though a bottle of ink had been poured into a sink of water. Torrents of bizarre black flames surged up from the sea of fire.

Moments ago, the fiery sea of fire was emanating dreadfully violent waves of heat. But as it turned pitch-black, what it brought along was the silent chill of death.

In a trice, it got dark, as if someone had just shot off the twin suns.

The space between heaven and earth was suddenly engulfed by the darkness.

“Li Mu, you’re screwed!” Huang Shengyi’s voice rumbled, summoning Death lurking in the darkness.

The jet of broadsword light that had cleaved the sky instantly dimmed, only shimmering feebly like candlelight flickering in a storm. It appeared that the light would extinguish at any second. It was as fragile as a hairline strained by a 1,000-pound weight.

In that instant, the result seemed already settled.

“Hahaha, Li Mu, you’re bound to die in my hands!” Huang Shengyi could not help roaring with gloating laughter. He was filled with the sweet pleasure of revenge and the superiority aroused by the powers he had seized. “Today, I’ll kill Li Mu and destroy the Yue Mountain Faction. I, Huang Shengyi, the Fire Devil, am about to rise to power. All of you are destined to be my stepping stones.”

Before those words died away—


Li Mu’s mocking voice sounded.

A spark of scarlet light twinkled in the overwhelming black flames.

Then, an inconceivable change occurred.

As if a spark was thrown into a pot of boiling oil, with a bang, the entire sky seemed to be on fire. The black flames were instantly replaced by the scarlet ones. In the blink of an eye, the world was lit by light again. But unlike the fiery flames Huang Shengyi had conjured before, the scarlet fire only brought light instead of that formidable, scorching heat.

Yet, Huang Shengyi’s panicked shrieks were heard by everyone within a hundred miles.

“Ah… This can’t be! You… can control fire, too?” A man trapped in the sea of the scarlet flames was wriggling frenetically, which made him stand out in the picture. That was surely Huang Shengyi, the Semi-Sage playing fire all day long. Nevertheless, like any ordinary man, he was thrashing and flailing in the flames, howling painfully.

A shot of broadsword light zoomed out of the sea of fire.

Above the broadsword light was a short-haired, handsome young man cladding a suit of a white outfit. He stood upright in the air like a spear.

“Why being so surprised? You shouldn’t be at all. After spending so much time in Taibai County, you’re supposed to know that I know a lot of stuff.”

Li Mu looked down up Huang Shengyi with a smile.

“Ah! How come it went like this? I don’t believe it…” Huang Shengyi was still struggling and writhing in the scarlet flames.

He had mustered all his strength as a Semi-Sage and tried to keep the fire around him checked. However, that did not work at all. Although Huang Shengyi could command fire at his will with his secret skills, when facing such scarlet flames, he found his skills just could not affect those flames. The tongues of fire enveloped him, avidly swallowed his vigor of life. He was soon drowned in the agony that felt like being gnawed by a ton of worms.

Huang Shengyi had a title as the Fire Devil, for he was adept in producing elixirs and controlling fire. Even the weirdest kinds of fire would have to submit to his manipulation. The fiery fire he had practiced with was, in fact, one of the ten most peculiar kinds of fire in the world. But no one ever knew he would later be committed to flames by Li Mu.

Well, unlucky for him, the one he encountered was Li Mu, who had just obtained the Five Emperors’ Immortality Scriptures from the Everlasting Heaven.

The Taoist True Fire of the Southern Fire Emperor was the fire created by the Taoist magic arts in outer space. Sages would be doomed if they ever caught that fire, let alone Huang Shengyi, a man who merely made the three-fourth of a Sage with the help of the devious qi. And the most crucial part was the Taoist True Fire happened to offset the devious qi. Like gas coming into contact with sparks, it would burn out the devious qi the second they crossed way.

Huang Shengyi had stored countless devious qi in his body.

Therefore, when he was surrounded by the Taoist True Fire, he simply became a tank filled with gas. How could he possibly escape death then?

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