Chapter 427: The Little Girl at the Lotus Pond (1)
"Lady Yun, how do we destroy the cores of the spell formation?" asked Leng Mo. He did not know much about spell formations, and he was rather confused at the moment.
"I'll bring you over to your respective spots, then I'll tell you what you have to do next. Let us head over to the east now," answered Yun Jiuge. She had positioned herself way up front, while Leng Mo, Leng Bai, and Leng Hui followed from behind with their soldiers. Their first stop was the Qianqing Palace.
"The Qianqing Palace is home to one of the most important cores of the formation. Leng Mo, I want you and your men to watch over this place within this circle," Yun Jiuge instructed. Zi Shang was now controlling Yun Jiuge's body. A stream of purplish fog shot out of her palm and hit the brick pavement. A moment later, numerous purple runes appeared on the bricks beneath their feet, and they eventually combined to form a giant circle on the floor.
The circle was large enough for Leng Mo and his 300 elite soldiers to stand within.
"Do we just stand in the circle?" asked Leng Mo as he stared at the runes in confusion. The runes looked as if they could be easily rubbed away with his hands. He did not think that they would be of much help to him.
"Of course not. When we destroy the cores of the formation, a large number of ‘walking dead' will appear at the two cores that you and Leng Bai are keeping watch over. Your task is to kill as many of them as possible. This circle will act as a defensive barrier to protect all of you. It will prevent you from drowning in the sea of ‘walking dead'."
In truth, Zi Shang did not care whether the Leng brothers would live or die. The defensive barrier was something that he had created at Yun Jiuge's request.
"We might drown?" shrieked Leng Mo. He felt the hairs on his neck stood on ends when he heard what Yun Jiuge said.
"Where do the ‘walking dead' come from?" Leng Bai asked. He did not believe Yun Jiuge's words.
"Qiu Shan buried a lot of corpses beneath the palace over the years. If we were to attack the tower without first destroying the formation, then the walking dead would rise from below and surround us from all corners," Yun Jiuge answered honestly. She did not hide this important piece of information from them.
"Beneath the palace…" Leng Mo and Leng Bai immediately looked down at the pavement that they were standing on. The gray brick pavement suddenly seemed hideous and abominable to them.
"Stop looking at the pavement. Hurry up and stand within the circle. We'll start destroying the formation at midday," Yun Jiuge told Leng Mo what he had to do. Next, she brought Leng Bai to the Broken Jade Pavilion that was located to the west. She got Zi Shang to create a similar defensive barrier for them.
Once both Leng Mo and Leng Bai were in their positions, Yun Jiuge led Leng Hui to the south. The two of them would start destroying the formation from there.
"The first core of the formation is located in Lihua Garden. Dig away!" Yun Jiuge ordered, and the 300 elite soldiers began digging with their shovels.
The beautiful Lihua Garden was destroyed within seconds. All the pear trees were chopped down and then stacked up.
The top layer of the soil in Lihua Garden was brown, but as the soldiers dug deeper, the color of the soil was dark red. It did not take long before they noticed large quantities of white bones that had been buried beneath the soil.
The bones were stacked neatly and exuded a bone-chilling aura. There were nine layers of bones in total, and they were stacked to look like a replica of the tower that Qiu Shan built.
A pained expression was on Leng Hui's face when he saw the bones. He knew he was not the one behind all the killings, but his incapability had caused his people to suffer. He couldn't save his people although he was the emperor of this kingdom.
"Don't think about the unnecessary. The most important thing we have to do now is to destroy the formation. Hurry up and get someone to burn this White Bone Tower down with the Spiritual Flame," Yun Jiuge commanded Leng Hui straight away.
Leng Hui has been forced to suppress his emotions for a long time, and that had turned him into a highly pessimistic and depressed individual. If he was not careful, his negative feelings would only speed up his death, Yun Jiuge thought to herself.
"Yes, I understand." Leng Hui collected himself and began to unleash the spiritual power within his body. He followed that with a series of hand gestures and cast a small ball of grayish Spiritual Flame towards the White Bone Tower.
The ball of Spiritual Flame that landed on the White Bone Tower was rather weak and small in size. It was not going to have any effect on the tower by itself. Fortunately, there were 300 other elite soldiers to assist him.
Although the soldiers were only in the eighth level of the Qi Refining stage, every single one of them had received special training to become the Imperial Palace Guards. They all knew how to use the secret spell formations that were passed down to protect the royal family.
All 300 elite soldiers lined up in a triangular battle formation under Leng Hui's command. Then each one of them pressed their palms against the vest of the soldier in front of them.
They were able to release a small amount of spiritual power from their palms. Their combined spiritual power became bigger and stronger from soldier to soldier. Eventually, they directed the ball of accumulated spiritual power towards the Spiritual Flame that Leng Hui hurled at the White Bone Tower earlier.
The ball of grayish Spiritual Flame immediately became bigger and started to burn fiercely. It was as though the soldiers had doused kerosene over the flame.
The blazing flame devoured the White Bone Tower in seconds. However, just as the last of the White Bone Tower disintegrated before their eyes, they heard ear-splitting screams coming from both the eastern and western parts of the palace.
Leng Mo, Leng Bai, and their men watched as a black stream of air emerged out of the brick pavements at the Qianqing Palace and the Broken Jade Pavilion. The black air then morphed into countless ‘walking dead' who did not have hands and legs. There were so many of them that both palaces were quickly destroyed.
Leng Mo was stunned by the countless ‘walking dead' before him.
He thought that Yun Jiuge had exaggerated about the ‘walking dead' earlier. But now that he had seen them, she certainly did not exaggerate about the great number of them.
"Your Highness, what should we do now?" cried the soldiers as they stared at the endless number of ‘walking dead' before them.
"Get into formation and fight," shouted Leng Mo. He managed to show no emotion as he looked at the hordes of ‘walking dead' in front of him. His calmness gave his soldiers confidence, and they quickly got into a battle formation behind him.
Right at that moment, the defensive spell formation that Zi Shang had left behind began to light up.
The purple-colored runes rose into the air before they became a purple light barrier that helped to keep the ‘walking dead' at bay.
"Charge!" Leng Mo yelled as he swung his sword about. The heads of all the ‘walking dead' who were in front were instantly cut down.
His actions invigorated the soldiers behind him, and they began to attack and kill the ‘walking dead' that swarmed towards them. With the help of the defensive light barriers around their bodies, they successfully killed a large number of the ‘walking dead'.
Over at the Broken Jade Pavilion, Leng Bai and his men initially went into a state of panic after seeing the hordes of walking dead that appeared out of nowhere, but they quickly collected themselves and went into battle as well.
"Do you think they'll be able to handle it?" asked Leng Hui. He could not help but worry when he saw how a billow of black air was about to engulf both the Qianqing Palace and the Broken Jade Pavilion.
"You should believe in their abilities. The faster we destroy the formation, the faster we can help them," said Yun Jiuge. While she understood how worried Leng Hui was, she did not think that Leng Bai and Leng Mo were incapable.
"Yes, I understand. Where is the next core?" said Leng Hui as he withdrew his gaze and willed himself to focus on the task at hand.
"The Lotus Pond. Let's go!" Yun Jiuge led Leng Hui and the 300 elite soldiers forward, and they reached the Lotus Pond a short while later.
The once clear pond had turned murky, and the emerald green lotus leaves had all withered as well. All that was left was a palm-sized pink lotus that bloomed beautifully in the middle of the pond.
The pink flower petals resembled a woman's supple lips. Yun Jiuge felt as though she could hear a woman's sorrowful cry as she stared at the lotus.
"There's someone in the water!" yelled one of the soldiers.
Yun Jiuge turned her attention to the spot that the soldier was pointing at. She saw a little girl with ghastly pale skin hiding within the black murky water. The little girl was staring at them with terror in her eyes. Her long black hair clung onto the lotus.
The little girl looked to be around eight years old. She had big black eyes and a pointed nose, and her mouth was sewn up horribly with black thread.
The little girl reminded Yun Jiuge of Cui Cui, whom she met when Yun Jiuge fell into the Secret Realm.
Cui Cui and the little girl were of the same age. Little Cui Cui was a captive of the Black-robed Envoy who killed many of his victims.
"Should we get her out of the water?" asked Leng Hui. He could not bear to leave the little girl in the water. He knew that the little girl was no longer a normal human, but he still wanted to help her.
The soldiers were talking among themselves, "She's so young! She's so pitiful." They were affected by what they saw. Some of the soldiers had lost their loved ones and their homes because of the Black-robed Envoy. The little girl reminded them of their own younger sisters. They wanted to get into the pond and save her.
Some of the soldiers began rolling up the legs of their pants. They were getting ready to to save the little girl in the pond.
Yun Jiuge stared at the little girl's fearful and anxious face. She could not bear to leave the little girl in the pond either and so, she did not try to stop the soldiers from going in.
At this moment, Zi Shang, who had been quiet all this while, suddenly said in a stern voice, "Tell those stupid soldiers to stay still."