The spatial barrier of the Garden of Zhou began showing signs of collapse.
This was an inevitable effect of their battle. The sources of Xu Yourong and Nanke’s bloodlines were just too powerful, and at that moment, they had pushed the rate of burning their lives to the extreme. The Qi they gave off already surpassed the peak of Ethereal Opening, reaching the maximum that the rules of the Garden of Zhou allowed.
Of course, the Garden of Zhou would not collapse, as the rules responsible for maintaining the functioning of the world would just directly destroy the threat, which was the existence of Xu Yourong and Nanke.
The weapon that the Garden of Zhou used was the shattered fragments of the spatial barrier.
The barrier fragments left the night sky, transformed into meteors and fell towards the peak of Sunset Valley.
If Xu Yourong and Nanke did not stop their battle and instead continued to allow their Qi to increase, then they would definitely die. They would become the dust created by the countless meteors along with Sunset Valley.
They would die.
Nanke was very clear on this point. Before, when she used the Southern Cross Sword on Xu Yourong, it had already caused the warping of space within the Garden of Zhou. This allowed her to confirm the maximum capacity that the Garden of Zhou could hold. Her plan was to increase her level of strength beyond this maximum, forcing Xu Yourong to also increase hers, before also exceeding the maximum capacity of the Garden of Zhou.
This was her method of battle.
This represented her absolute mindset for battle.
Why would her teacher, the extremely cautious Military Advisor of the Demon race, Black Robe, give her such an important mission to kill Xu Yourong? This was because Black Robe understood extremely well that she was willing to die with Xu Yourong.
Her fate was determined because of Xu Yourong. As a result, she invited her opponent to walk towards the end of fate together with great happiness. This was because it meant that she could also determine the fate of Xu Yourong.
Thus, Xu Yourong would definitely die this night in the Garden of Zhou. Although the human girl definitely did not want to accept it, she could not do anything. If she continued to burn her true blood of the Heavenly Phoenix, countless meteors would fall on the world of the Garden of Zhou, bringing death. If she stopped, then she would be killed even faster by Nanke.
This was a fated battle, an unavoidable battle. The end of the battle had already been predetermined, just like that, sad and frustrating.
It seemed as though nobody could change everything.
However, on the peak of Sunset Valley, there was always a bystander.
The zither-playing old man was silent. Watching the battle up until now, he finally could not bear it anymore.
He was extremely certain that Nanke’s method of battle definitely gained the recognition of Black Robe, however, he was even more certain at the same time that the Demon Lord did not know about this at all.
He was unable to watch Nanke die in front of him, because he did not want to suffer the wrath of the Demon Lord afterwards. Even more than that, he did not want to see his clan, that had survived through hardships, pushed into the deep abyss by the wrath of the Demon Lord and unable to ever rise up again.
As a result, his hand landed on the zither strings, and played a note very seriously and solemnly.
Hearing this note, a sliver of anger flashed across Nanke’s indifferent gaze. Only a while later did it slowly return back to her indifference—she did not allow anyone to interrupt her battle with Xu Yourong. However, at this moment, all of her willpower and energy was spent on Xu Yourong, unable to prevent the zither-playing old man from helping her.
A matter that cannot be changed can only be accepted.
What calmed her was the matter that could not be changed tonight. That was dying with Xu Yourong.
The sound of the zither hummed. It was very warm, but afterwards, it instead carried killing intent.
The sound of the zither entered her ear, and Xu Yourong’s complexion became even paler. Countless frightful billows and terrible waves arose in her sea of consciousness, causing her to almost drop the Wutong Longbow, and allowing Nanke to chop at her body.
The mental attack of the elder who originated from the Shadow Candle Clan was extremely powerful and scary. But she needed to put her efforts into defending against the even scarier Nanke. She actually suffered a heavy blow from her.
A stream of blood dripped slowly from the corner of her lips.
It was different from the blood that originated from her finger holding the longbow. The blood did not originate from her consciousness, and was not due to her purposely burning her life. Instead, it was caused by injury.
Her gaze remained calm, and it remained focused. She looked silently at Nanke, without even glancing to the zither-playing old man at all. Her left hand pierced through the night wind, falling towards the night.
It was not a shapeless, mystery technique that could hurt her opponent without contact. She only swung her hand at the night.
There was nothing in the night, so what was she swinging at?
In the next moment, a black square plate suddenly appeared in the night sky. The black square plate floated silently beside her shoulder, as if it was always there, but nobody had noticed it.
This was Xu Yourong’s Fated Star Plate.
Her left hand landed in the centre of the Fated Star Plate.
She did not gently move her finger. At this moment, there was no time to calculate exactly what her fate was.
What she wanted to do, what she could do, was only to attempt to control her own fate.
She had accumulated for a long time, ready to give Nanke a mortal strike of forceful true essence. She poured everything into the Fated Star Plate with this swing.
A muffled bang.
This bang sounded like a gong, specifically like a broken one. The sound was not nice, and it was slightly muffled.
However, it was very loud.
This was the sound produced by the Fated Star Plate.
This was the strong sound produced by fate.
The powerful wind of the peak blew wildly. Other than the rapid circulation of the trajectory of stars and lines of fate that nobody could understand, the flash of light produced by the Fated Star Plate transformed into countless dazzling rays of light.
The sound of the zither that was like gurgling, flowing water was forcibly smashed by this sound of a broken gong.
Several strings on the zither snapped.
The complexion of the zither-playing old man became pale, as if he had been hit by a heavy blow. He vomited blood.
To slap fate into chaos and to heavily injure the opponent. Xu Yourong’s blow seemed to be understated, but in reality, it had reached an unbelievable level of strength. However, she also paid a great price for this.
Nanke’s childish voice arose again, and the Southern Cross Sword once more divided into three.
Xu Yourong’s hand which held onto the Wutong Longbow began to shake violently. Her gaze was still calm, but it was not as bright as before, and seemed somewhat gloomy.
The change most striking to the eye was that more and more fresh blood flowed from the corner of her mouth.
The zither-playing old man circulated his extremely powerful spiritual sense, forcefully suppressing the injuries he received in his sea of consciousness. He immediately suppressed the wild true essence within his meridians, and with a long roar, he acted again.
He drifted away from the zither, and his two hands directly landed on Xu Yourong’s head. In the night, he could only see the faint white light radiating from between his fingertips, as if there was no flesh at all, with only white bone remaining.
After creating the powerful sound from slapping the Fated Star Plate with her left hand, she took the opportunity to grab hold of a corner of the plate.
She did not know what abnormality the hands of the elder of the shaman clan carried, and thought that it was definitely extreme poison. Without even thinking, she flipped her hand and smashed towards the front of the opponent with the Fated Star Plate in her hand.
This smash seemed to be very simple, just like kids fighting. However, it was actually not simple in the slightest.
This was the final move of the Sword of Hithering Light from the Heavenly Dao Academy.
The Sword of Hithering Light was known for its speed and sharpness. The speed of the final move had already reached an unbelievable level. Because of its speed, it seemed extremely simple.
Xu Yourong’s Sword of Hithering Light was better than the Sword of Hithering Light learnt by any student of the Heavenly Dao Academy.
Her swing was faster than the final move of the Sword of Hithering Light performed by any student of the Heavenly Dao Academy.
It was so fast that the zither-playing old man was not even able to avoid it.
The muffled sound of collision resounded. The zither-playing old man attempted to use his hands to block against the Fated Star Plate in her hands. His finger bones were immediately shattered. He was knocked backwards for over ten zhang, unable to stop vomiting blood.
Xu Yourong also felt that effect of the collision, and her gaze became even more gloomy.
Nanke’s gaze remained as prudent and indifferent as it was, however, it had brightened up like never before.
The zither-playing old man suffered heavy defeat from a single blow, but it had helped her gain the best opportunity in the entirety of that night.
A childlike outcry once again reverberated through the entire cliff.
Nanke’s body suddenly turned into nothing, her sword barrier dispersed. She did not pay any attention to the dozen or so Wu Arrows, and brought her hands together. She fused with the Southern Cross Sword, piercing at Xu Yourong.
Whoosh Whoosh Whoosh Whoosh, the Wu Arrows pierced through the night sky.
Thunk Thunk Thunk Thunk, the dozen or so arrows penetrated her body.
Nanke’s expression did not change, as if she could not feel pain at all.
Two extremely bright sword rays chopped towards the front of Xu Yourong like two galaxies.
A sound of rubbing resonated. This was the sound of the bottom part of the Tong Bow piercing through the rock.
In the end, the Tong Bow was unable to block the power of the Southern Cross Sword, leaving the ground.
The longbow that left the ground was just like a rootless wutong tree. It immediately drooped slightly.
The bright sword rays pushed the bow down, chopping at the left side of Xu Yourong’s chest. Fresh blood spurted out.
Although it had reached such an important moment, Xu Yourong’s gaze remained calm. With a flip of her wrist, the horizontal longbow knocked away Nanke’s blow, sweeping backwards urgently in the air.
How could Nanke give her the opportunity to leave? Afterwards, she brushed forwards like a shadow.
The Tong Bow and the Southern Cross Sword clashed. It created countless streams of turbulent wind in the night sky.
Nanke was covered in blood, but her eyes were even brighter. Both of her hands left the hilt of the sword, and extended forwards like lightning.
The point of her fingers carried a gloomy green flow.
The peacock had one tail feather. It was the most poisonous, sharpest and fastest in the world.
This was the Peacock Plume, the true Peacock Plume.
Nanke’s ten fingers pierced into both of Xu Yourong’s shoulders, going as deep as the bone.
Blood spurted out in all directions. However, many black spots seemed to appear in the golden light.
Painful, so painful, it really was very painful.
Xu Yourong had never experienced such pain.
As a result, she became extremely mad, a madness that had never occurred before.
With a ripping sound, her white ceremonial dress was torn into myriad fragments.
Countless rays of gold light hit Nanke’s body in the direction of her fingers.
Densely-packed sounds of muffled collision began to resound.
Innumerable finger holes appeared on Nanke’s body, and the bright blood flowed rapidly.
Peacocks had plumes.
Phoenixes had feathers.
This was Xu Yourong’s feather barrage.
All of their cultivation was used.
All of their weapons were used.
All of their life-saving abilities were used.
All of their true essence was consumed.
All of their blood had almost bled dry.
The battle was this desperate and this absolute.
The peak of Sunset Valley fell into silence. The dust between the cliffs slowly settled, but the spilt blood continued to burn. The fierce heat and coldness fused and disappeared, causing the brightness to reach the limit.
Xu Yourong stood on the side of the cliff. Her complexion was slightly pale and her clothes were covered with blood splatters.
Nanke seemed even more miserable. She was covered with injuries, and blood flowed ceaselessly.
However, she was victorious.
An uninterrupted, clear howl resounded from the peak of Sunset Valley.
Her voice was that tender, but it was also that cold.
This clear, cold and proud dominance actually gave one a mad feeling in the end.
Although it was somewhat regretful, victory was the most important matter.
Although experts had helped out, death was the fairest judge.
Both Xu Yourong and she were already expended, but in the next moment, Xu Yourong would die.
In this night, she had finally defeated her destined opponent.
This meant that she had defeated her own fate.
The sound of the surpassing bird slowly decreased in volume until it finally stopped.
Nanke returned to the indifferent appearance of how she was before, and said slowly, “My blood is in your body. Behind you is an endless abyss, so you are definitely dead.”
Xu Yourong stood on the side of the cliff. The night wind lightly blew her hair.
She lowered her head and did not know what she wanted to say.
Just what posture was she supposed to take to face death?
“Please give me this glory.”
Nanke looked at her, and said seriously.
Xu Yourong raised her head and looked at her. Within her gaze was a sliver of relief and the undertone of making fun of something, like understanding the affairs of light thoroughly. She was like an old person, calmly waiting for death, but seemed even more like a mischievous young girl.
“Why should I let you be happy?”
After saying that with a smile, she turned around and walked into the night beyond the cliff.
Looking at the empty cliff, Nanke’s eyes revealed a sliver of disappointment. She said while staring blankly, “Are you an idiot? Do you think that you really are a phoenix?”
Xu Yourong was the reincarnation of a Heavenly Phoenix, and not a real phoenix.
She did not have a pair of wings, and never cultivated to Saint Realm. Naturally she could not fly freely.
She walked towards the night beyond the cliff. Naturally, she fell into the abyss of death.
There was a period of silence, regardless of cliff or elsewhere.
Xu Yourong...the reincarnation of the Heavenly Phoenix. Even in the recent dozen or so years of the blossoming age, the most beautiful flower without a question, the girl viewed as the leader of the future by everybody and the girl viewed as the greatest threat by the demons would just die silently like this in the Garden of Zhou?
Nanke walked to the edge of the cliff, and gazed into the pitch-black abyss. She thought silently, even if you had to die, you are not willing to die by my hand? Is this your final pride or is it returning to self-realization?
The Black Dragon was silent in the clouds. She disliked humans, with Chen Changsheng as basically the only exception… Especially after learning about the later matters told by the spirit of her father, she was even more hostile to the human experts, which naturally included Xu Yourong, that person who may have become the strongest human girl in the world. Logically, she should not have felt any sympathy or sadness to Xu Yourong’s death, and she had even remembered very clearly that Chen Changsheng had said many times that he did not like his fiancee. So why did she feel slightly frustrated, or even slightly disturbed? If she let Chen Changsheng know that she had personally seen Xu Yourong’s death, but did nothing at all, would he blame her?
Xu Yourong fell into the abyss of death. Her eyes were tightly closed, and the sound of wind rushing by her ears was so far away. Blood once again flowed from the corner of her lips, burning as it met the night wind. It formed a string of bright flames that drifted downwards, however, it was only able to illuminate a small area around her, unable to illuminate the path in front.
Was the ground getting closer and closer? Death was also getting closer and closer, but how was the mountain in the Garden of Zhou so tall? Just how far did she need to fall before she gained peace at last?
No, death was the end. There was no peace. It was not the other side of the sea of stars she had pursued with cultivation.
She jumped off the cliff not to send herself to death. It was only that she did not want to die in the hands of the pigweed-harvesting girl.
Just exactly how could she not die?
She closed her eyes and thought about this question. Just where was the answer?
She fell faster and faster, and the wind blew faster and faster.
The more she thought, the colder she felt, frustrated and unable to do anything.
Suddenly, she remembered something the Divine Empress had said to her all those years ago when she left the capital.
“Young phoenix, one can fear pain, but one cannot fear death… especially you.”
Afterwards, she opened her eyes.