Chapter 1176 – Breaching the City
The army fell into formation on the red plains. Clad in silver armour and mounted on a white horse, Gu Yanying ordered them around with composure.
Li Qingshan stood at the very front. The setting sun cast a very long shadow towards Pegasus city. Unlike the other martial arts practitioners, he was dressed in black, heavy armour, with a horned helmet on his head. Coupled with the metal flag pole, he probably had almost five hundred kilograms of equipment on him, standing there like a man of metal.
With each step he took, he would produce a great thump, leaving behind a trail of deep footprints. His movements seemed slow and clumsy, and the others had to slow down to keep pace with him.
When he reached three hundred meters away from the city gates, he gradually began to speed up, and his footstep instead became lighter and lighter. Every step he took seemed to be cushioned by a spring, allowing him to bound up immediately and move faster and faster. The thumping footsteps were like the gradually accelerating heart beats, thumping away in the chest of every single person on the walls.
“He’s trying to breach the gate by force. Release the arrows!” “Prepare the stones! Once he comes over, we’ll smash him to death and avenge our dead clansmen!”
Cries rang out constantly from the walls. Swishes erupted as arrows pierced the air, mostly targeting Li Qingshan. It led to a series of clings and clangs against his armour, producing brilliant sparks, but it only managed to leave behind white markings.
The protectors of the left and the right followed him closely on his two sides, cutting down most of the arrows.
“Argh!” There was a painful cry. Someone had still ended up being hit by an arrow, but it missed their vital points because they had responded fast enough. They plucked out the arrow and followed close behind with gritted teeth. Before long, there was another cry of pain, but no one collapsed. After all, they all possessed martial arts, so they could not die to a single arrow. No one fell behind the group either.
They were unable to describe what they felt inside. All they knew was the man at the very front had already sucked everyone along with him, turning them into a part of his might. Before they knew it, they were no longer just martial arts practitioners that only knew how to act tough.
Li Qingshan felt power surge through his body. This was the point of the scarlet tiger flag. Like Gu Yanying, he was currently the commander of this group, and he had become a machine of war. Under his lead, the aura from these hundred or so people was no weaker than the army behind them.
When they reached thirty meters away from the city gates, cries rang out from the walls above, “Throw the stones!”
The martial arts practitioners could not help but look up. Unlike the light arrows, if the stones struck them, their bones would be shattered even if they managed to avoid having their heads split open.
With a whoosh, a black cloud soared over their heads and scattered on the top of the walls, leading to cries of pain. A few arrow-ridden figures fell down.
Gu Yanying sat high on her horse, maintaining the same posture with her metal fan. At the front of the army, every single person wielded a crossbow, overwhelming the guards on the walls who had no idea how to fight off a siege easily. Then she ordered, “Swords!”
Suddenly, Li Qingshan lowered the flag pole in his hand like it was a huge spear. He planted a foot deep into the ground and bellowed out, “Fall!”
With a great thunk, he forcefully pierced the thick, heavy gate clad with metal, directly crushing a guard’s head.
Within the splinters, the other guards were left shocked. Before they could even respond, a great boom rang out. A humanoid shape bulged out from the city gate before it shattered loudly!
Li Qingshan smashed his way into the city. Without even looking around, he swung his flag pole around and sent over a dozen guards flying with a series of cracks. He laughed aloud. “Li Qingshan be the one who breached the city!”
At the same time, the distorted gate behind him became criss-crossed with slashes. The two protectors slashed out at the same time, completely cutting down the gate.
An old man in embroidered robes, wielding a golden blade, rushed down from the walls with a great group of people. The aura he gave off was at the eighth layer of the innate realm, which made it obvious that he was someone only second to Ma Xingkong in the Ma family. Making out the faces of the two protectors, he cried out in surprise and anger, “It’s you!?”
The world was not big. There were not a lot of powerful people known as masters either.
“Our Ma family has no grievances with you. When you went to the Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape, we even offered you gifts of silver and gold. Is this how you pay us back?”
The two protectors said nothing. What were these petty favours supposed to be compared to the peerless path of the sword and shattering through space? They too had benefited tremendously over the winter, where they made drastic progress with their martial arts. Often, just a casual piece of advice from Li Qingshan could leave them feeling enlightened. Compared to the pages of the White Ape Sword Classic, this was what truly bore value to them.
The White Ape King was only at the tenth layer of the innate realm after all. No matter how wondrous his swordsmanship was, it was limited, let alone a book written by him. How could it compare to Li Qingshan who had comprehended the Sword Collection Manual of Heaven and Earth.
Li Qingshan smiled. “You old coot, I’ll pay you back for all of the measly gold and silver, but I’ll have to burn it to you in the afterlife. You’ll get as much of it as you want!”
The old man in embroidered robes flew into a rage and swung his golden blade. “The fate of the Ma family lies with this battle. My children, kill them with me!”
The Ma family’s guards, coupled with the clansmen they had temporarily recalled to protect the city, amounted to ten thousand. They let out a furious roar together and surged over like a flood.
Even great swordsmen like the two protectors could not help but be shaken. Regular conflicts of the jianghu would only involve a hundred people at most, and the majority of them were small battles of threes and fives. Since when had they ever witnessed something like this?
Boom! With a heavy footstep, they discovered in a daze that Li Qingshan had already charged into the ranks of the enemies. Only then did they follow after him in a hurry.
Li Qingshan charged at the front, wielding the flag pole like a dragon. The two protectors remained by his side, cutting through everything around them. The other martial arts practitioners followed behind them, plunging into the ranks of the enemy army like a sharp blade. They sent figures flying and limbs dancing.
Even with their army that was ten thousand strong, there were only around a dozen people that could actually approach the three of them. They had not undergone any military training, so their teamwork was a complete mess. They did not have any room to maneuver about in either, so they struggled to even unleash their martial arts properly.
With his golden blade in hand, the old man had charged forward several times, only to pull back again, afraid that he would die immediately from the combined attacks of the three if he approached them right now. All he could do was raise a clamour and cut down a few guards that retreated in fright. Blood ran down their weapons.
Li Qingshan was already doused in blood. Borrowing the strength of the earth, not only did he feel no exhaustion, but he even became bolder the more he fought, fighting so relentlessly that he basically did not even try to catch his breath. With the metal pole that weighed one or two hundred kilograms in hand, he only needed a casual swing to cause tremendous damage, pushing the advantage of his strength to the limit. On top of that, he relied heavily on his custom-made armour that had been further thickened and reinforced, or who knew how many blows he would have endured already.
He did not take a single step back, stepping over the corpses and paving a path of blood straight towards the old man.
The two protectors experienced tremendous pressure. No matter how ingenious their swordsmanship was, they struggled to unleash it properly in such a large battle. With every single moment, there would be several blades swinging over in their direction. All they could do was push their true qi to the limit and make their moves as simple as possible, swinging their swords without any regard. They completely tossed aside those concepts they cared about before, like their bearing as a supreme master and their principle of killing in a single stroke.
However, this led to a tremendous exhaustion of true qi. In a short while, they had used up almost half of their sword qi. If they ran out, they would be at the whim of others. There was no one around that could stop them if they tried to escape, but glancing at Li Qingshan up ahead, perhaps this was the exact moment to comprehend the truths of the path of the sword, so they threw themselves into slaughter.
The path of the sword was also a path of slaughter!
With a whinny, Gu Yanying rode at the front, leading the army into the city. The army formation pushed forward layer by layer like a meat grinder, mincing the flesh of both sides of the battle and constantly pushing forwards. A long snake actually faded into existence in the air, twisting its body as it meandered about. It was the Military Formation of the Coiled Snake.
The enemy began to panic, all raising their heads and retreating.
The old man in embroidered robes cut down another dozen people and roared, “Don’t be afraid! It’s only an illusion! If anyone even takes a step back, you’ll be a traitor of the Ma family!”
He felt extremely puzzled as well. Apart from the hundred or so people, the enemy clearly consisted of crude men who did not know martial arts, so how did they produce such might by simply gathering together? They were basically unstoppable as they crushed their way forwards. However, he did understand something. If this continued, defeat would be guaranteed.
Looking over the surging sea of people, he saw Gu Yanying on the white horse and gave an order to the group of masters from the Ma family around him. “Kill the one on the white horse!”
Over a dozen innate masters leapt up, stepping over the sea of people with their movement techniques and going straight for Gu Yanying.
Under the silver hawk mask, Gu Yanying smiled. Sure enough, the army qi was most condensed during a battle. The snake did not possess any lethal power, but it did make her stronger. She had dressed in such a conspicuous manner exactly for this moment too.
Abruptly, Li Qingshan swung the flag, producing a clearing in the crowd. He called out, “Protectors, now is the time!”
Two streaks of light shot through the air. The two protectors rose up on their swords, slashing towards the old man in embroidered robes.
Gu Yanying swung her metal fan, and the dozen or so innate masters all fell into the sea of people like dumplings, hacked to death by the random swings and trampled to a pulp.
The old man suddenly widened his eyes. “How is this possible? What did she do?”
Before he could even think much about it, he had to raise his golden blade to receive the swords. He was waiting for the enemy army to exhaust themselves. He still had large groups of guards at his disposal, as they were nowhere close to losing the upper hand.
Li Qingshan raised the flag high into the air and poured all of his strength into it, tossing it out!
The flag whistled through the air and pierced the old man’s chest, lifting him up and nailing him against the stone walls.