25 PUREMOON 1501 AFTERFIRE, 13 YEAR OF JULIAN ERA.
The peak was full of fire and sound of explosion. Panting sound could be heard as a young by rushed down the stone staircase dodging arrows from the distance.
The young boy was Charles as he employed his movement technique dodging all the poisonous arrows aimed at him.
‘Catch the Holy Son of the Jade Palace Gate! Do not let him escape’ one of the commanders of Liao shouted as he is battling one of the Monks from True Heart Temple.
Tian Ji is stabbing her spear to one of the people of Heaven and Earth Gate, as her swing slashes the person throats and he died clutching his neck.
All around the Tuhulu Mountain Peak a scene of great battle could be seen as knifes, swords, sabers, spears are all being used, sparks of fires clashing and the sound of screaming and yelling could be heard in this cacophony of chaos.
Charles could only hides behind the back of Tu Jia who is slowly slashing any enemies that impeded their journey to climb down.
With sweat dripping on his back and on his forehead, Charles was almost at his limit but he didn’t complain or grumble.
He trusts Tian Ji and Tu Jia. As long as he did not die, hope is still there and he will survive.
Another arrow was aimed at him, as he makes a rotation movement guiding the arrows aimed at him to a tree as the pair of arrow stuck itself at a nearby tree.
In front enemies are blocking the way, at the back enemies are pursuing, at the top arrows are pouring down, it was like Heaven and Earth is under the control of the strategist that appeared earlier.
That strategist is standing on the highest peak with his white robe fluttering blown by the wind, overseeing the entire battle with an impassive face.
Tu Jia gritted his teeth as his energy is being drained in a fast pace battle.
‘Small fry…but there is too many small fry’ he thought to himself. Considering the Young master behind him, he does not want Charles to die.
It had been a year.
The Young Master is their lord but Tu Jia also grows affection since Charles did not treat them like servant.
Tu Jia grew fond of Charles personality and wonder what his future would be.
Tu Jia…..did not want Charles to die here.
He turns back and said to Charles.
‘They are too many of them’
‘Can you handle it?’ Charles asks calmly, his eyes seems to be ever vigilant, his elegant clothes is messy and is full of smoke smell.
Tu Jia looks back at the peak seeing the silhouette of two swordsmen duking it out in the middle of the wrecked tournament stage.
‘Since Swordsmen Zhu is fending of Crazy Monk Tian Ru then escaping would not be a problem. I am confident we can break out’ He said but he is not too confident.
HE just did not want to scare Charles.
But Charles is not a child. At least his mind is not.
He knows the chance of escaping is minimal. But he still did not want to get caught.
He knows that the White Robe must have something he needs from him considering the order the White Robe gives his soldiers.
Could it be…as Charles thinks of another possibility? His teacher once fought Saber monarch. The maps are in pieces.
‘Could it be?’ Charles whispers as his mind began forming conjectures. But this train of thought was interrupted when Charles could see the forest trail in the distance.
As long as they reached the forest trail then they have a chance to shake off the pursuers.
As he thinks of this another disciple of the Heaven and Earth Gate popped out from one of the trees and slashes down towards Tu Jia.
Tu Jia turns his head and with a movement of his hand directed his saber to meet that person sword.
‘Impudent!’ Tu Jia shouted.
The moment they clashed sparks flew and that man flew backwards as he uses his feet to stop from getting farther away.
Looking shocked at Tu Jia prowess the man suddenly coughed out blood. With one slash Tu Jia has rattled his internal organ.
‘HAH!’ Tu Jia shouted before he stabs his saber forward, his internal energy infused into the tip of his saber as it drills the person stomach.
The person screams in pain before Tu Jia twists his saber and slashes horizontally separating half of that person stomach from his body.
‘Hurry up, Young master!’ Tu Jia said in alarm as Charles follow behind Tu Jia, staying vigilant, while dodging arrows, sweats filling up as he felt his body getting heavier.
On the rear, Tian Ji had to fight a few disciple of the Heaven and Earth Gate as a knife wielding martial artist dashed towards her.
Behind that man four of his subordinates also dashed forward as they shouted the slogan
“Heaven and Earth Gate Will Rule Jianghu!”
Snorting in disdain she stabs her spear forward bringing a gust of wind with her stabbing motion.
It might seem like one spear strike but it is not.
It was a scene to behold as this was the pinnacle of spearmanship.
This move is called the Thousands Spears from Earth from the Piercing the Heaven Manual, one of the manuals of spearmanship in the Weapon Library of Jade Palace Gate.
With one strike, actually Tian Ji releases more strikes but because of the speed in which she employed her stabbing motion, the strikes that is equal to ten strikes, in the eyes of low level martial artist seems to be only one simple strike.
It was a scene to behold as several spear light rushed towards the four martial artists. No martial artist, especially of their level, could evade that many spears.
They screamed out in pain as numerous spears pierced through their chest and they all took their last breath almost at the same moment as Tian Ji keep retreating making sure the rear is secure for their Young Master.
On top of the peak of the Mountain, the Heaven and Earth Gate disciples have all been split up with the Elders and experts of the Heaven and Earth Gate is contending with many of the world heroes gathered here, forcing those experts to not help the other weak martial artist, thus reducing the numbers of Liao enemies
Hero Zhu Liang is holding back Crazy Monk Tian Ru, Abbot of True Heart temple is restraining Mad Nun Xie Hun, the most powerful Elder of Shadow Shroud Sect Deng Liao is contending with Insane Priest Qianzhen.
The Four Evils on the other hand is fighting the Four Tigers of Liao but they are slightly at a disadvantage with the Four Tigers of Liao possess sturdy body and powerful internal energy.
This was the same as pitting the weakness of the Villains valley with The Four Tigers strength.
Charles could not help but think of many things even as his feet quickly climbing down the mountain.
In front of him, Tu Jia cutting enemies, behind him Tian Ji stabbing her spears preventing anyone from coming near.
Heaven and Earth Gate declare their intention to rule Jianghu and even the Four Lions of Liao appeared.
And they wanted the map of the treasures. Who would have thought that the map would be lost in this gathering forcing the Heaven and Earth Gate to capture all martial artists here to interrogate them?
If the Jianghu men of Liao is coming down West then that means Liao kingdom wanted to conquer the Central Plains.
After the many years of peace, Liao must have built their strength and is now ready to renew the conflict once again.
On top of the peak, bodies filled the ground, with many martial artist has split up and casualties are piling up on both sides.
The cries and moans of the people filled the entire Peak.
Unlike Charles who has the protection of these two experts, some only come here to watch the happenings.
The Old Devil has already left and there is no peak expert here.
Who would have thought today would reveal many things? The reason why Saber Monarch was hunted was because he seems to found the map of the treasures left behind by the ancestors of Ancient Han when he fled from Midgard.
As one of the descendant of the Thirteen Guards that protect that Emperor the Saber Monarch went to the Jianghu sect to avenge his family and at the same time searches the clue for the maps of the treasures
The Shadow Shroud Sect only has one piece of the treasures map with the other belongs to Righteous Temple and Five Finger Mountains.
While the other belongs to Saber Monarch. What puzzled Charles is who stole the map?
It is clearly not the Heaven and Earth Gate since they are determined to not let anyone leave here until they found it.
ARGHH! Another scream sounded out as Charles pay the scream no mind, his face looking calm even under such circumstances.
His feet nimbly running down the stone staircase and he could already see the forest trail.
Meaning they are near to enter the forest portion of the mountains.
If they enter the mountains forest it would be easier for him to hides since Liao forces must have surrounded the entire mountain instead of being open and vulnerable here.
With Tu Jia and Tian Ji protecting him Charles could even have the time to analyze where he is and forming a plan.
Unlike some heroes present here in the gathering of Heroes, Charles did not stupidly wanting to help these martial artists.
The reason was simple. He is unable too. The heart is willing but the flesh is weak.
If he delays running the moment the fire arrows have already been launched earlier, he would probably be captured or worse killed.
He has a weak mastery over his sword and even though his movement technique is a powerful skill he only learns a few moves and could only escape if he met low level disciple of a great sect.
If he encounters great expert like the Crazy Monk or the Mad Nun, he would be instantly be captured.
Those who were impulsive and dashed out, shouting the slogan to protect Jianghu, their fate are only to be cornered and slaughtered.
From afar, a man in white robe, with long straight flowing black hair and a feminine face, holding a paper fan realizes that a kid and his two attendants is about to escape and his face turned severe.
From the very first moment his army surrounded the mountain and he brings the martial artist to attack this Peak, he had everything under his control.
When he learns one of the Holy Sons of the Jade Palace Gate will also be present he made it top priority to capture the boy alive.
The other two attendants are not important but the kid is important.
He could be used as leverage against the Old Immortal and there is also one other benefits in capturing him. It didn’t matter if it’s the kid or someone else as long as that someone else is from Jade Palace Gate.
The other one is his covert intention, while the apparent intention is to use the boy as bargaining chip with Jade Palace Gate or more precise with Old Immortal Li.
Even the people of Liao know the Old Immortal prowess and respected and at the same time fear him.
If not for their Old Ancestor, maybe Han would ally with the states and attack Liao with the Old Immortal as vanguard.
‘What the hell are you doing? How could we establish the might of our sect and our Liao kingdom if we let even a boy escapes our captivity?’
The strategist scolded one of the commanders beside him.
‘Order your men to halt their advance. Where are the master archers? Bring them here and aim at them. The other targets could be let off for a while. Capture the Holy Son of Jade Palace Gate and when we return I will ask the King to grant a noble title’
On the ground, Charles had already notice that this systematically attack is akin military planning with precise attack on certain places and the discipline of the martial artist under the Heaven and Earth Gate.
‘Shoot them!’ The strategist bellowed to one of his master archers.
The master archer released three arrows on Charles direction aiming the arrow at Charles, Tu Jia and Tian Ji.
Tu Jia as he finished slashing yet another small fry raise his saber in time and with a ringing sound he blocked the pair incoming arrows intended for him and Charles.
His saber vibrates and Tu Jia only smirk but then a scream shock both Tu Jia and Charles. They both turned towards their back as they saw an arrow pierced Tian Ji right shoulder.
Tian Ji fell down with a loud thud. She struggles as she could feel poison invading her nervous system.
‘Hua-mei!’ Tu Jia unconsciously shouted as he jump towards Tian Ji body and immediately check her pulse.
After confirming she is still alive he immediately tries to transfer his internal energy without any response. The poison is fast acting.
So, he lock the acupoint of Tian Ji forcing the poison to be stuck in one place unable to spread. With his finger he infused his finger with pure Qi that enables it to prevent the poisons from breaking through the lock he puts in Tian Ji nervous system.
‘This is another arrow, designed to hurt and kill not to capture’ Tu Jia thought to himself as he look at the hesitating face of Charles in the distance. They wanted to kill us but capture the boy. Heh’ Tu Jia snorted as he looks towards the White Robe.
‘Bailong, this is the first time I met the famous White Dragon of Liao.’
He was about to lift Tian Ji and carry her with him when an arrow pierces Tu Jia leg as he falls down to the ground.
Tu Jia was shocked and tries to move when another arrow piercers his other foot around his calf.
But he did not scream instead he only gritted his teeth. He put down Tian Ji on his lap as he saw the oncoming Liao forces coming to surround them.
Then he looks at the eleven year old boy he was supposed to protect looking anxious. He sighed as he pat Tian Ji hair.
He checks the piece of beast skin on the inside pocket of his clothes. It was the map of the Ancient Han treasures.
Charles did not see the beast skin that Tu Jia is holding but if he did he must be shocked. Who would have thought the people that steal the map was actually his bodyguard.
Looking at Tian Ji, he said his final will.
‘I thought if I could bring this back to the sect, Old Immortal might forgive us both. We owe too much to that old git but at the same time we also hated him for poisoning us in this form. He might not teach his skill to us but it is not wrong to say he was the one that guides us and help us. And this kid doesn’t deserve to die here, so young and full of potential.’
He said all this as Tian Ji weakly nodded on top of his lap. She was smiling, and for a moment, Tu Jia could see the beautiful form of Tian Ji before she was poisoned and cursed into this form of lanky tall ugly woman.
By now, the poison is slowly trying to break through the Qi lock that Tu Jia has put in place.
‘This treasure is not destined to Aeropa and has brought calamity to the Central Plains. No wonder the Purple Fairy ask the Saber Monarch to return and never to step foot in Central Plains again. We also suffer because of this treasure. And for what? If only I have another day of peace and bliss with you, what would the treasure of the world means to me?’ He then kissed Tian Ji forehead and Tian Ji drops a tear.
‘Wu gege’ Tian Ji said, her voice is hoarse and her eyes were swimming with tears. They remembered their days before they found the map.
It is clear to them now, that they are not destined for the treasures. Maybe the luckiest of all of them is Purple Fairy.
She got the piece of the map and not tempted by the least. Maybe that explains her high attainment in martial arts, the ability to treat gold like dirt thus polishing the mind and focusing her mind on only martial arts.
Not far away the Liao forces is approaching, their rushing feet sound like the funeral march.
He sighed and this sigh of his was full of loneliness but the moment his sighed ended he also felt a burden has been released from him.
He then using the blood on his shirt to scribble some words on the back of the map and he smiles.
‘This could be considered as payback, old git’
Behind it, he scribble the word ‘’Righteous Temple, The Sealed Pagoda, Ninth Floor, in the wooden floor where Enlightened One reclines’’
Charles at this time was anxious.
In front of him was the forest trail, behind him was Tu Jia and Tian Ji both seems incapable to continue the journey.
There is hesitation on Charles face but Tu Jia immediately cupped his hand even as he was sitting on the ground and then said to Charles.
‘This Tu Jia in unable to escort Young master to safety. Young master do not need to worry about our safety. Please…Young Master must survive. We both have owed too much towards Jade Palace Gate. If Young master died here today, then we will have committed a great sin towards Jade Palace gate.’
All over the battlefield fires are still burning, gongs are still being pounded as the battle here today marks an omen of war approaching the Central Plains.
Then Tu Jia waves his hand and sends something flying towards Charles.
Charles grabs it as he realizes it was a beast skin. He looked at the beast skin and he was shocked.
It was the treasure map. He looked at Tu Jia in incredulity.
‘My final parting gift.’ Tu Jia said smiling contently. There was silence between Tu Jia and Charles for a moment.
‘I hope Senior will not die today. Since Senior has decided to help me, I will help Senior. Hope that Heaven has pity towards Senior’
Charles did not talk much as he waves his hand and two pills in silvers color landed on the ground in front of Tu Jia.
‘That is the antidote for the poison Old Immortal inflicted upon you two. I have known both of you for a year. I hope you survive. Farewell’ Charles said before nodding his head.
He himself didn’t know the effect of that pill other than it heals the poison inside Tu Jia and Tian Ji.
If he knew what that cure would do to Tian Ji and Tu Jia he would just sit in place.
Then cupping his hand as a last farewell respect he jumped down to the forest trail as the signal was lit up on the other peaks informing the soldiers below that someone has escaped their encirclement.
Charles escaped to the forest as he gripped the map tightly. He was smiling
‘This is a great fortune!’ Charles wanted to scream.
This is his first step for building an independent force. If he could find the treasures he would have a secret wealth which he could use to recruit soldiers and talents.
As he runs deeper into the forest, he guarded the map
The mountain is still burning and war has been declared. With chaos in the world, Heaven will surely send someone down to wash away the filth and calm the world.
The Dragon Throne is waiting for someone to sit on it and take control over the world.
Hope you like it. Leave some comment or better give me some coffee money. The stroy is progressing whcih delay LS for a bit.