CHAPTER 14: DEAD END

VI

Shen Yi, who had been lying in ambush for a long time, saw it in the Qian Li Yan and jumped up: "Marshal, they have acted!"


Gu Yun made a long whistle. The Black Eagles, like bats in the night, quickly swept across the ground. Only the sound could be heard, the figures could not be seen.


Shen Yi could not wait anymore and rushed out. But he seemed to remember something and turned back to say to Gu Yun, "Zi Xi, you just came back from Jiangnan yesterday. You have not rested yet. Can you still do it?"


Gu Yun was stunned, then said with a laugh, "My God, how are you so concerned about others? Don't worry about me, go watch over Miss Chen. To be able to witness that Jia Lai at the end of his road is better than any panacea."


There was also the witchcraft hidden by that old lunatic. Gu Yun dared not talk about it, nor look forward to it. But he still wanted to come and have a look by himself.


What if...


If the Bone of Impurity actually has a cure, Gu Yun thought with determination, I'll go to Hu Guo Temple to light those bald donkeys an incense.





Chen Qing Xu's mobility was unparalleled, immediately disappearing after landing. The rebels of the Eighteen Tribes wanted to make Jia Lai Ying Huo die without a sound, but she did not wish for him to die without his last word - or else who could they ask about the secret witchcraft?


Cao Chun Hua had to work hard to keep up with her. Halfway there, he suddenly heard the screech of a Baihong bowstring.


Cao Chun Hua looked up and saw the fire rising in the south. He knew that the Black Iron Camp had arrived, it wouldn't be long before they directly broke into the Northern Barbarian’s defense line. But as he was distracted just for a moment, Chen Qing Xu's figure was gone.






The guards of the Wolf King's tent seemed ordinary to Chen Qing Xu. That night, a small half of them were also away to plot their scheme. She was able to get in easily, landing behind the Wolf King's flag, she first let a group of soldiers with swords and spears run towards the main tent, then gently stepped down and tailed them without anyone knowing.


The rebels advanced to the main tent without caution, but Chen Qing Xu noticed something was wrong on the way — she knew that there would be fewer guards in the Wolf King's tent that night, but there was no reason for it to be so lacking.


Chen Qing Xu's heart tightened, the small knife slipped into her hand.


At this time, the rebels had arrived at the main tent of Jia Lai.


Suddenly, there was a light sound in the air. The well-ventilated main tent suddenly opened its four doors. Countless bows and arrows and short guns were exposed from the windows. Meanwhile, the ambush bodyguards and hundreds of Barbarian soldiers came from behind and circled the defenseless rebels in the middle.


Chen Qing Xu suppressed her breath to the lowest level, almost becoming one with the surrounding plants and trees, she hid motionlessly in the dead corner behind the black banner made of thick felt above the king's tent, watching the unexpected development.


The Wolf King's tent was divided into two parts. The steam wheelchair with white fog slid out from the middle. The Wolf King Jia Lai Ying Huo was wrapped in a heavy cloak, crouched in the wheelchair like someone about to die, sweeping his gaze coldly around the rebels outside.


"Third Aunt," he said with a smile on his thin, cracked lips, muttering, "My mother died early. You once took care of me for five years, treated me like your own son, but now...even you would want to point your sword at me?"


Although Madame Hong Xia was the initiator, she was a faltering old woman. She could devise plans and could not come into battle herself. As she was not here, Jia Lai’s monologue scattered in the air, with no destination or receiver, with no one to answer.


The ferocious Wolf King of the last generation - whether it was his hatred and vengeance or joy and happiness, whether it was his ambition for hegemony or the never-ending path for revenge, he was always all alone — parents, brothers, children, relatives and friends, he did not have any. He treated the tribes people like pigs and dogs, they also betrayed him as payment.


Some of the rebels' hands were shaking violently and could hardly hold their swords. No one knew whose sword fell on the ground. In the quiet night, the sound echoed clearly.


"Everyone betrayed me, wanted me to die." Jia Lai gave a sharp sneer, suddenly raising his claw-like hand up high and chopped down, "Then you all go die first!"


At his command, arrows were shot from the king's tent. Surrounded by two sides, it was impossible for the rebels to avoid it, having to fight back.


This assassination, which should have been quiet, immediately turned into a bloody battle. The whole Eighteen Tribes were alerted. The Heavenly Wolf metropolis became noisy and chaotic. Some ran to the watchtower to extinguish the fire, some were busy assisting the king to pacify the rebellion, and some bravely joined the rebel army, but the majority were at a loss as to how to react.


The Crown Prince and the chief steward were pushed out with their hands tied up. The chief steward had wet his pants and looked at the frightened Crown Prince with despair. He said to himself, The Wolf King only has this one child left. Maybe he would be lenient towards him. But the same could not be said of me.


With such thoughts, his face immediately changed from desperation and fear to determination, he clenched his teeth, his eyes appeared as if they would crack open, a moment later, his face suddenly turned blue, his body went stiff and fell down headfirst under the public's eyes — the chief had bit the poison bag in his mouth, and committed suicide.


Cao Chun Hua was frightened to death. He did expect that the assassination might not go well, but it didn't matter, for as long as most of the Northern Barbarians were in disorder, Gu Yun could easily take advantage of the situation. When the mantis caught cicadas, whether the mantis won or the cicada won, there were always yellow finches waiting behind.


But he didn't foresee that Chen Qing Xu would roll to the center of the storm first!


In the twinkling of an eye, the battle between the rebels and the bodyguards near the king's tent was almost at its climax. At this moment, a Barbarian suddenly rushed into the king's tent: "Report - enemy attack! There is an enemy attack!"


This sentence was like a stone creating a thousand layers of waves. For a moment, there was silence near the king's tent where people were clashing. The captain of the guard set aside the rest of the people and ran to Jia Lai Ying Huo quickly: "My King, someone set fire on the watchtower. A large number of 'ghost crows' along the border took advantage of the chaotic situation to fish in troubled waters and rushed to this side!"


Jia Lai's eyes twitched a few times, a hint of joy seemed to appear on his face: "Who is coming? Is it Gu Yun?"


The head of the guard broke out in a sweat. He did not know what there was to be so happy about with Gu Yun coming.


At the next moment, he was shocked to see Jia Lai's claw-like hands gripping the handrail of the steam wheelchair with all their strength, he let out a low shout, this person who had been paralyzed for half a year actually stood up by some miracle!


Chief bodyguard: "My King!"


"Gu Yun, Gu Yun..." Jia Lai called out in a low voice, his eyes were frighteningly bright as if his soul was burning, they could not help but have deep doubts about the previous rumors — perhaps the deceased goddess was not his obsession, but Gu Yun.


"Bring my armor!" shouted Jia Lai.


The chief bodyguard had never seen such a strange way of finding death. For a while, he thought he had misheard: "My King,... What did you say?"


"My armor!" Jia Lai roared, "My armor!"


The captain was frightened by his face that seemed to be on the verge of bursting and staggered for a few steps. He did not dare to neglect and sent someone to bring over the Wolf King's Heavy Armor.


An iron monster the color of snow, as tall as nearly two people, was carried over by four men and was placed on the ground with a loud thud. Jia Lai Ying Huo was shivering like leaves in the autumn wind. His thin and dried hand grabbed the edge of the steel armor, dragging his heavy steps, slowly putting himself inside.


The Heavy Armor was self-contained and supported by a steel frame. It was much easier to operate than Light Armor, but not so easy to the point that any half-paralyzed person could control it.


Jia Lai's face reddened as he climbed into the Heavy Armor. He opened the steam valve at his feet with a gnash of his teeth. The strong mechanism roared as it started. The back of the Heavy Armor spewed out the arrogant steam, about to burst out roaring.


...But the person inside was no longer the mighty hero who ate meat and drank blood in the past.


Just after lifting his legs, Jia Lai was already at the end of the line. It was difficult to maintain balance for longer. With a loud noise, the Heavy Armor tilted. The object of hundreds of kilograms smashed a deep hole in the ground.


The bodyguard was frightened, "My King!"


At that moment, no one could see the look on the face of Jia Lai, the Wolf King. The thin man with only a skeleton left was hiding in the nearly towering steel armor, like a shriveled insect in a walnut. In everyone's heart — even his enemies, at that moment, clearly witnessed the words ‘a hero's end’.


Even if he was a lunatic devoid of any conscience.


At that moment, the unique bird-like sound of a Black Eagle was getting closer and closer. The Black Iron Camp was extremely mobile. Their struggle in the previous days was only due to the Eighteen Tribes risking their lives and burning Ziliujin, otherwise, they would not be allowed to survive until now.


At this time, the metropolis was in chaos, the Black Iron’s three factions advanced with little to no resistance. The Black Eagles opened the way, like a black whirlwind rolling over.


The chief bodyguard hurriedly took apart the Heavy Armor and carried out Jia Lai, who was miserably trapped in it: "My King, I'm afraid it is impossible to protect the metropolis tonight. We will escort you to leave first..."


Jia Lai laid on the captain's back with a dazed look. After a while, he reached forward and pointed, "Over there."





Chen Qin Xu dodged a flowing arrow from nowhere. A thought popped up in her head. She then quickly came down from behind the floating black flag. A small silver needle flew out of her hand, killing several Barbarians who happened to be nearby quietly, then chased after them in secret.


A team of bodyguards rushed away quickly, escorted Jia Lai to the west side of the Wolf King's tent, running further and further away from the crowd. In the end, there was almost no place left to hide on all four sides. Chen Qing Xu followed them with difficulty, risked being found, and tailed behind the group of bodyguards. She chased after Jia Lai for two minutes and found that she had followed them to a deserted altar.


The altar was extremely magnificent. The whole building almost pierced the clouds. It was all made of stones, almost resembling a palace.


The gate was carved out of large stones, the entrance was covered with thick felt, countless mottled and unknown characters and symbols were engraved on it. The surroundings had been overgrown with weeds, without a trace of human presence for a long time. A crow was startled and flew up to the sky with its herd, the flapping of their wings ringing out.


Chen Qing Xu was not the only one who did not understand the reason, the guards also looked at each other in confusion.


Since the goddess of the Eighteen Tribes became a joke, no one had set foot into the altar anymore.


Jia Lai shook off the captain's arm and said, "Step back!"


The captain of the guard was stunned for a moment and retreated a few steps away.

Jia Lai slowly knelt down. His knees were stiff, almost falling over as he knelt. The chief bodyguard hurriedly came forward to help him but was slapped away: "Get away! Get out of the way!"


The captain of the guard retreated to one side.


It took Jia Lai a lot of effort to kneel steadily. His bent back was stretched as straight as possible, he put his hands in front of his chest, the color of anger and humiliation on his face was slowly fading, his expression gradually turning calm again.


After a while, he struggled to keep his kneeling posture and climbed forward a few steps, like a dying old dog. The chief bodyguard was already beaten and dared not go forward any more. He could only watch him crawl up at a loss.


Jia Lai climbed to the side of the huge stone gate, lifted the torn up felt, and fumbled on the uneven mantra. Chen Qing Xu realized that the ruined altar of the goddess might be the important key. She approached carefully and stared at Jia Lai's movements without blinking.


Suddenly, he pushed something down and thrust his arm forward.


The ground immediately vibrated violently, the guards all turned pale with fright. But Chen Qing Xu flew past it without hesitation.


The stones around the altar moved by themselves, one huge gear wheel after another rose from the ground. Countless steel pipes with rusty skin stretched out in all directions, they closed and connected by themselves and finally became a complete circle. All the iron pipes were buckled, making a hiss. Countless small pieces of iron spread out from both sides, moving slightly in the breeze. They were actually small fire wings — this thing was very similar to the ‘Kite’ of Great Liang.


The whole altar was like a Giant Kite. Chen Qing Xu had a kind of illusion, that if Ziliujin were to be burnt, it would rise to the sky.


She thought in shock, That year, was it not because the Barbarians didn't have their own fire engine technology that they were defeated by the Black Iron Camp? What is this? Does this Barbarian man want to escape or rise to the sky with this thing?


Just before she came to a conclusion, the truth had proven itself. There was no problem with her common sense. A snapping sound was heard and suddenly, there was a smell of smoke coming from a pipe in the circle.


Then, a series of breaking noises rang out one after another. The gurgling Ziliujin that had been kept underground for many years had been mixed with many impurities. The open fire under the fire wing flickered out, and a choking scent different from the burning of pure Ziliujin spread out.


Describing it was slow, but actually, from the first breakage to the burning of the entire altar, it happened within the blink of an eye. If there were experts in the field like Ge Chen or Zhang Feng Han present, they would be able to see that the structure of the altar that looked like a Giant Kite was not complete at all. In fact, it only copied the flaming wings and golden box in the shape of the Kite's pipes, while the most critical factor that decided whether the Giant Kite could fly up or not was completely neglected. Even if it was forced to rise by flaming wings, it would disintegrate before it reached the mid air level.


Combined with the lack of maintenance in a long time, it had obviously aggravated this kind of damage. Before it lifted off, it had already self-destructed.


The Giant Kite buried under the altar of the goddess praying to the heavens for longevity, seemed to predict the unreachable dream of the Heavenly Wolf tribes whose fate was at its end, forever could not be realized.


The chief bodyguard was frightened and shouted, "My King! Get out of the way! "


As if shaken by his voice, the stone gate carved from the huge stone suddenly collapsed, crushing a large number of pipes that had already risen from the ground. The gas produced by the burning of Ziliujin expanded rapidly. After a deafening bang, the altar started to explode. A huge fireball rose to the sky. Jia Lai was in the middle of the fire, looking back at his team of guards. Surprisingly, there was no fear on his face.


At that moment, Chen Qing Xu suddenly understood that Jia Lai was not necessarily unaware that once the altar was lit, it would blow up.


...He was willing, scheming for a long time, he was only looking for a more brilliant way to die.


The outer wall of the altar began to crumble and was about to collapse.


Chen Qing Xu clenched her teeth and decided to take a risk, grabbed a crack in the full view of everyone and followed Jia Lai in.


Then boom!, the altar wall collapsed.





Cao Chun Hua lost Chen Qing Xu’s trace. There was no other way, he had to stay and assist Gu Yun, until the Black Iron Camp moved into the metropolis and he learned the general direction of Jia Lai Ying Huo from the captive Barbarian guards.


Cao Chun Hua was very familiar with the northern part of the metropolis. Knowing that he must have gone to the altar of the goddess, he led Shen Yi over immediately in anxiety, who knew that they would arrive in time to see such a scene.


Cao Chun Hua's pupils shriveled, he could not even let out a shout.


However, Shen Yi did not hesitate to remove the Light Armor from his body, making use of his surroundings, rolled a circle in the ice and snow that had not melted yet in this incredibly cold place. Mixed in all the ice and snow, he bravely rushed into the fire.






The brilliant end of the Wolf King's own choice made the surrounding chief bodyguards stand still in shock. A group of elite Barbarian bodyguards stood in place like wooden posts, with no intention to resist. They had become captives without any trouble.


The Ziliujin with too many impurities did not have the power of melting the ice field, but created so much smoke that people couldn't open their eyes. A layer of ash soon gathered on the Qian Li Yan, it was pulled down and thrown aside by Chen Qing Xu.


She saw that at the moment Jia Lai fell out of the Heavy Armor, he probably already wanted to die. For a person who was eager to die, it was not very useful to force a confession by torture — not to mention she did not know how to force it.


She had been searching for the secret of witchcraft for many years. Would it be in this mysterious altar?


Chen Qing Xu passed through the collapsing altar and found the shadow of Jia Lai struggling to climb forward in the black ash. The higher one was during a fire, the more difficult it would be to breathe. It would be easier to walk on the ground. Jia Lai wouldn't be suffocated for a while. Chen Qing Xu covered her mouth and nose, squinted in his direction, and found that Jia Lai was deaf to the loud noise around him. His eyes were fixed on the big stone platform in the middle of the altar.


What was in the stone platform?


At this time, a big beam column in the altar collapsed above Chen Qing Xu's head. She had to dodge, borrowed some force on the gravel, then flew to the stone platform.


If the earliest designer wanted to make the whole altar into a big kite, according to the location of the stone platform, it should be a central pillar much like a mast. There was a circle of stone plates engraved with Barbarian characters on the platform, they were different from those unknown incantations at the door — this was the real language of the Eighteen Tribes.


When Chen Qing Xu first came to the Northern Frontier to look for the witchcraft and poison, she had also put in some effort to learn the Man language, she could somewhat understand that what was written on them was the history of the separation and integration of the Eighteen Tribes.


From beginning to end, there was no mention of the witchcraft of the Barbarians. Chen Qing Xu was finally choked by the smoke and coughed fiercely. She was very disheartened — was this really just the remains of an altar site? There was nothing that she was looking for here?


At this time, another unknown part had blown up again. After the ground shook, a big stone plate opposite her suddenly fell down.


Chen Qing Xu: "..."


While in bad luck, one could get choked even when drinking water.


She instinctively backed away, but after all, the smoke was blocking her sight. Chen Qing Xu stepped on air, her whole body fell directly down the stone platform. Perhaps this time, she would truly get squished under the stone!


In a hurry, the rope hidden in Chen Qing Xu's sleeve shot out. She didn't know what it had wrapped around on the stone platform. She coughed hard while struggling to pull herself up. Unexpectedly, the thing she caught onto was not stable, falling down as soon as she pulled lightly.


Chen Qing Xu's heart sank: "It's over."


Just then, a figure rushed over, hugging her and rolling to the side. There was a loud explosion noise next to them. The big stone board fell from the air and stirred up a gust of wind. Chen Qing Xu was stained with the mud on the altar floor. She still had not come out of her fright, raising her head in astonishment as she saw a worn down and miserable looking General Shen.


Shen Yi angrily pulled up her collar: "Do you want to find death?"


Chen Qing Xu was stunned by his roar, her eyes open wide.


As soon as Shen Yi met her eyes, he immediately counseled, his rage was also extinguished. He bent down to pick up the rope from her sleeve and said, "Let's go first... What is this!"


Chen Qing Xu's rope with a hook was wrapped around a strange ‘object’ about the size of one person. At first glance, it looked like a stone statue, it was unknown whether it was hollow or what, but it was very light. Shen Yi pulled it gently. The rope unraveled, revealing a head.


It was a lifelike statue of a woman, with her eyes closed, her face peaceful and gentle.


Shen Yi looked at the unique ‘stone statue’ with exquisite craftsmanship and was inexplicably covered in goosebumps.


Chen Qing Xu glanced at it first, then was surprised. She squatted down and brushed away the dust on the surface of the ‘stone statue’. Under the dust, there was a white base which was soft to the touch.


"It's human skin." Chen Qing Xu murmured.


Shen Yi thought his ears were infected by Gu Yun's deafness: "What?"


Chen Qing Xu looked up and saw that there was a secret gap behind the fallen slab of the collapsed stone platform, and this beauty… no one knew dead or alive was originally hidden in the middle.


Was Jia Lai actually coming for this human skin?


Chen Qing Xu was confused for a while, she had to follow her instinct and bent over to pick up the thing wrapped in white silk.


Shen Yi hurriedly stepped in, "Let me! Go!"


He picked up the statue, dragged Chen Qing Xu up, and ran out of the altar.


There were explosions everywhere, smoke everywhere, and in the rolling fire, a faint and hoarse voice broke out intermittently: "The cleanest spirit... the wind also wanted to kiss...her skirt..."


All the huge stone pillars of the whole altar collapsed in a line. When the two were about to escape, they only heard a loud noise. A cluster of huge flames with purple light rose high. The central pillar held by seven or eight people fell to one side. The whole altar was finally unsustainable and the huge roof collapsed.


Shen Yi's face was ashen, he couldn't breathe at all. Suddenly, his heart was in despair, he felt that he might have to perish here today. Suddenly, he put the humanoid thing in his hand into Chen Qing Xu's arms, put the Wind Slasher on his back, arched his back, and tried to protect the person by his side with his body.


Chen Qing Xu was shocked. For a moment, she didn't know what her heart was feeling.


At this time, the howl of Black Eagles came from the sky with a creaking sound. Shen Yi looked up in amazement, only to see that a group of Black Eagle were throwing out ropes as thick as an arm in their iron claws, preventing the top of the toppling altar from falling.


Gu Yun arrived!


Shen Yi didn't dare to hesitate. He didn't care about the gravel that fell on him. He protected Chen Qing Xu and rushed out with all he had.


Just as their front feet left the altar, the steel rope in the hand of a Black Eagle suddenly broke, and a Black Cavalry in front dragged them away quickly.


At the moment when the steel rope broke, Gu Yun almost rushed into the sea of fire directly, but when he saw the two rolling out in the smoke, he pulled back the reins, pacifying the nearly frightened horse, and let out a sigh of relief.


Then he blew a long whistle, making a gesture to the Black Eagles in the sky and the Black Cavalry on the ground: "Withdraw!"


Jia Lai Ying Huo's faint singing voice could no longer be heard.


The towering altar of the Eighteen Tribes for hundreds of years was destroyed, the thick smoke rolled up to the sky of eternal life.


The strong wind blew away half of the burnt Wolf banner, whistling out and into the flames and dust.


In the flow of time, the Heavenly Wolf tribes dark in ink faded just like that and ceased to exist.


Yet, Ziliujin was still burning.