Chapter 1143 – Sacrifice, Phoenix King
Bai Jie navigated through the sea of lightning as white feathers scattered around her. She gazed into the distance. The Featherfolk King’s broken light wing was replaced by a glorious phoenix wing. His body flowed with light and fire at the same time while his face changed constantly, twisted and vicious at times and furious and resentful at others.
“Give up! You can never defeat me!” the Featherfolk King said.
“I’m not trying to defeat you. I’m trying to butcher a bastard like you!” Li Fengyuan bellowed out.
They were like two people sharing one body, currently undergoing a battle to the death, and they had to fend off the heavenly tribulation too.
However, the Featherfolk King endured most of the strikes from the tribulation lightning, as most of the power behind the heavenly tribulation had been set off by his powerful aura. He emitted rings of light like endless waves, colliding and nullifying the tribulation lightning.
He was still a supreme cultivator at the peak of the third heavenly tribulation after all. The heavenly tribulation this time was on an extremely large scale and affected an extremely vast region, but it was still the third heavenly tribulation at the end of the day.
“Your majesty, if this continues, Clouded city will fall. All of the featherfolk will die!”
Bai Jie called out to him, but she had no idea whether her words could reach the Featherfolk King’s ears through the deafening thunder.
“Hmm?” The Featherfolk King seemed to notice that. Suddenly, he looked back, and his twisted face paused.
“Sorry, your majesty, but this is for the sake of all featherfolk!”
Bai Jie took out a delicately-crafted crystal dagger. It flowed with light, clearly a powerful arcane treasure. It was specially created for the sake of close combat. The Featherfolk King had even bequeathed it upon her as something to protect herself with.
She gritted her teeth and advanced boldly, plunging the dagger into the Featherfolk King’s chest viciously.
The Featherfolk King was stunned. He shut his eyes, and his body shuddered.
Right when the dagger was about to pierce his skin, a hand grabbed the blade firmly.
Bai Jie raised her head. Had that Li Fengyuan taken over the body? However, all she saw was the Featherfolk King snap open his eyes. His left eye was fiery-red, while his right eye was an azure-blue. They were filled with the same intention.
“No, I still want to live!”
The two faces, the two voices, merged together as one, filled with a desire to live.
In that instant, they reached an agreement. They lifted a hand and grabbed Bai Jie by the neck.
“Your majesty, you’re the Featherfolk King!”
Bai Jie widened her eyes in disbelief. She could not help but recall something of the past.
“I once had the opportunity to ascend, but Great Xia had only just been founded. They posed a constant threat to Clouded city. As the Featherfolk King, I had to make the sacrifice, which was why I stayed behind, waiting for a new opportunity. I never imagined this wait to last a thousand years, making me miss all of my opportunities. Sigh.”
He did sigh back then, but he seemed to be glowing.
He had always been the genius, the hero, and the king of the featherfolk. He was worthy of all titles and honours. He had never disappointed anyone either, but she never thought…
Now that he recalled all this, there seemed to be a smear of bitterness on his face. Was he also regretting this?
Yes, he did regret this.
Youths did not fear death because they did not understand the horrors involved at all. As his lifespan was slowly used up, as his body and soul declined with each passing day, it was like a huge, empty hole, swallowing all of his joys. Nothing could fill it in.
Perhaps mortals could seek comfort in the concept of fate, giving them peace of mind, but he could not.
If I had chosen to ascend back then, I must have reached the Heaven realm and embarked on a new journey already.
This thought constantly lingered in the back of his mind, but it only multiplied his pain.
Now, he had finally found an opportunity. He could make up for his regrets and start over, so how could he just let go?
“I’m sorry. This time, I want to live for myself. You should go!”
The Featherfolk King let go slowly. He did feel some guilt, but he was filled with resolve.
He had to devour the phoenix and obtain the brand-new life he had been dreaming of. Then he would ascend to the Heaven realm.
Nothing in this world had anything to do with him anymore.
Bai Jie could sense the tribulation lightning becoming mightier and mightier. If she remained here, then she would be in danger of dying. She looked back at the sky full of wind and lightning. Just how much longer could Clouded city last?
The dagger fell out of her hand. Suddenly, she spread her wings and arms, shining with hazy white light. The light replaced her body and limbs, turning into a blurry, white humanoid.
“What are you trying to do?” The Featherfolk King was alarmed.
“Your majesty, you once taught me sacrifice, but why have you forgotten it yourself? However, you’ve already done enough for the featherfolk. It’s my turn now!”
Bai Jie was completely calm. Abruptly, she exploded with light.
A white sun rose up in the sky. Wherever its light reached, the rolling thunder and lightning parted too.
The world fell silent.
“Bai Jie!” the featherfolk all cried out.
The Featherfolk King had lost both of his wings, tottering about in the air. The entire front half of his body had basically been stripped of flesh, revealing the spark in his chest. The surprise and fury on his face faded away, revealing a hint of confusion.
Gazing into the distance, the protective formation around the city was already on the edge of collapse. Streaks of light flew over from the horizon, all honoured guests of the King of Eastern Lu’s estate.
Following the momentary silence, the lightning began to rip and roar again. The battle between light and fire paused too. The light surpassed the fire, firmly establishing the upper hand, but it struggled to snuff out the spark.
Bai Chen fell into silence for a moment before he suddenly said, “Li Fengyuan, if we continue like this, we’ll definitely end up perishing together.”
As he spoke, he had actually recovered his usual elegance.
“Then let’s perish together!”
Li Fengyuan wanted to live, but that did not mean he feared death. Following the rebirth, he had gained a deeper understanding over life and death. He suddenly felt the powerful will that weighed on him firmly recede away.
“Life is always better than death, isn’t it?” Bai Chen murmured to himself, “I have a request. If you can agree to it, I’m not going to clash with you any further. With my power, you can easily face the heavenly tribulation too.”
“Protect Clouded city in my place.”
“What did you say?” Li Fengyuan was surprised.
“I will bear all of the sins, but they have never hurt you.”
The flame flickered. Li Fengyuan recalled everything he had seen and heard as he strolled through the city.
The white springs under the sunlight, the beautiful music echoing through the air, the groups of featherfolk children messing around with him, the gentle scolding of mothers…
Back then, he was filled with worry, so he was unable to truly take in all of these scenes, but now, it had suddenly all cleared up. The thunder had instead grown distant.
“What are you scheming now? Are you still trying to get me to waver?”
“This is all true. All of this is worth it too.”
Bai Chen seemed to be speaking to Li Fengyuan, yet also to himself.
The bolts of lightning hurtled down one after another. Bai Chen’s consciousness faded away, and the flames rapidly rose.
“Wait, I still haven’t agreed yet!” Li Fengyuan restrained the rising flames.
“Please protect them. I’m begging you!”
“Aren’t you afraid I’ll go back on my word?”
“You’re a virtuous phoenix.”
“Hmph, if it were my first father, he would have never agreed to this. Even if he did, he’d be deceiving you.”
“Thank you,” Bai Chen said sincerely.
In the end, he opened his hand. Inside was a pure-white feather. He murmured away as if he was trying to say something. At that moment, the flames surged out, immediately swallowing him. The white feather drifted away.
Within the flames, the wings spread once more, having become the glorious wings of a phoenix already. A high-spirited phoenix’s cry rang out, and the phoenix rushed up against the lightning, heading towards the depths of the tribulation clouds.
“He actually succeeded?”
The Cloud Shadow Crane King was surprised. Originally, they planned on taking down Clouded city before dealing with the Featherfolk King. They never expected the phoenix to actually turn the tables successfully.
“He has helped us eliminate a great source of trouble. The White Dragon King is almost here. We’ll definitely be able to take down the city by then!” the King of Eastern Lu said.
“What should we do with the featherfolk in the city?”
“Best if they all died to the tribulation!”
The talent of otherfolk truly was terrifying, far greater than any regular human or daemon. Featherfolk also happened to be among the best of the best, so they had to eliminate this source of problems forever and annihilate the entire city.
The featherfolk cultivators had already given up on pushing the city, now caught up in a battle against the honoured guests of the King of Eastern Lu’s estate. Both sides poured their strength together and established formations. The light in the air wove into geometric shapes.
However, with the two kings, the Cloud Shadow Crane King and the King of Eastern Lu, presiding over the battle, defeat was only a matter of time. Their king was no longer around anymore.
A while later, a huge ship sailed over through the air. The pure-white hull bore some resemblance to the Scarlet Dragon King and the Silver Dragon King, except it possessed the complicated cloud patterns of the Cloud province’s style. It was one of the few proper siege weapons of the world, the White Dragon King.
When it was still hundreds of kilometers away, it had already opened its Dragon’s Mouth. Specks of light began to gather. The light reached a certain limit, and a column of light whistled out, like the furious roar of a white dragon.
The King of Eastern Lu glanced up. Before he knew it, the tribulation clouds had already begun to gather together. It was a pity that they had not been able to completely destroy Clouded city, but he was only a single strike away from his objective right now.
“Block it, quick!”
The featherfolk cultivators produced a barrier of light together, but it was pierced instantly. Clouded city was about to fall.
There was a flash of light in the sky that moved so quickly that even the Cloud Shadow Crane King was stunned. “The phoenix?”
It was exactly the phoenix. He had returned, landing on Clouded city with a single foot. His magnificent wings enveloped the entire city. The column of light slammed into his body, but it rapidly scattered and dispersed, yet he had not even shed a feather in the process.
With a phoenix’s cry, the glorious colour dyed the sky.
Everyone’s gazes were drawn over. They temporarily stopped what they were doing.
As an avian, the Cloud Shadow Crane King was most deeply affected. Originally, even before the phoenix had faced the heavenly tribulation, it could already fill him with a sense of attachment and reverence. Now, it had almost turned into worship, lowering his head in subservience. Was this the legendary saying that all birds paid homage to the phoenix?
A glance from the King of Eastern Lu allowed the Cloud Shadow Crane King to return to his senses. He tried his best to regain his composure as he asked, “How may I refer to you, fellow?”
“Li Fengyang. Thank you for your assistance earlier.”
“Fellow, as the lord of my race, it goes without saying for me to provide assistance. There’s no need for you to be so courteous.” The Cloud Shadow Crane King brushed that aside in a hurry before asking, “What are you doing now, fellow?”
“I’ve already promised the Featherfolk King, Bai Chen, to inherit the position of Featherfolk King and protect Clouded city in his stead.”
Li Fengyuan lowered his head slightly. Light flowed through his phoenix eyes. Who knew what he was thinking.
“What did you say!?”
It was not just the Cloud Shadow Crane King. Even the featherfolk were astounded. If it were not for the fact that Li Fengyuan had just blocked the attack from the White Dragon King, they almost would have erupted with curses.
“You really do know how to joke around, fellow. Didn’t Bai Chen die by your hand? And you’re not a featherfolk, so how are you going to become the Featherfolk King?”
“Bai Chen reaped what he sowed. He’s already been punished. If it were not for his repeated requests, I would have never wanted the position of Featherfolk King. However, since I have promised him, I am bound to my word. I’m very tired already today, so please return, fellows!”
The Cloud Shadow Crane King wanted to persuade him a little more, but he was stopped by the King of Eastern Lu, who said loudly, “If that’s the case, then there’s nothing more for us to talk about. Let’s see how capable you are!”