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Chapter 91: Cultivators and Armies
Tantai Guanjian was thoughtful.
In the decades of Min Mountain Sword Sect, he had seen countless exceptional youths but never a genius like Ding Ning. He possessed insight and comprehension that even Jing Liuli could not rival. But he was like a precious sword hidden in its scabbard that usually did not show its edges. He clearly had the bones of a youth, but he seemed to have experienced many things, and had his own presence.
Also, he was almost certain, if the important person in the palace had not pressured too hard, if Xue Wangxu was not fated to die before Min Mountain Sword Trials, this youth would not show his edges.
When someone like this was going to put his heart into doing something, he would disregard the consequences more than ordinary people. Ding Ning fighting to be first in each event was the manifestation of this. Right now, everyone who was watching the sword trial knew that Ding Ning wanted to win this sword trial. But he worried that even if Ding Ning could achieve this, he would pay too great a price.
The so-called young talents, what the elder experts are wary of, is the word “young”. You have more time to cultivate and more possibilities. I worry now if you are first, you will lose what is most important to a young genius. Tantai Guanjian thought silently, as his eyes gradually filled with blue light.
Those blue figures moving through the red brambles grew clearer and finally showed themselves.
These blue figures were similar in shape to locusts, and could be said to be the exact same shape. However, there was always a layer of blue smoke on the surface so the locusts looked like they were about to burn up. These locusts were also as large as adult mountain goats. As a result, their heads and backs were higher than the brambles.
Due to the distance, Tantai Guanjian was uncertain what kind of primal energies of the universe these “locusts” contained and if they could be used to attack. But he was certain that these “locusts” were stronger in energy than the black ice worms and possessed high intelligence.
When these “locusts” came closer to the black ice worm swarm, they quickly separated into several groups. Two groups even crossed the stream on two sides, and gathered at the rear to form a perfect encirclement. Even more importantly, these “locusts” were as numerous in number as true locusts.
The swarm of black ice worms Ding Ning had faced before had been like an army, but in front of these enormous “locusts,” the black ice worms were like a bandit troop surrounded by the Qin Tiger-Wolf Army.
The “locusts” formed multiple encirclements.
Ding Ning stood in the center of the encirclement, and appeared extremely minuscule in comparison. The black ice worms around him seemed to have innate fear of these “locusts”. Immediately, the cold energy in the mouths of these worms retreated back into their abdomens in fear, and even the ice armor seemed to split and disappear.
But Ding Ning remained extremely calm.
At this time, he bent down and grabbed the black ice worm he had slapped down. Then he held this black ice worm whose ice armor had disappeared, his sword in his right hand, as he walked to the border of the worm swarm.
Gathered at the edges of the black ice worm swarm were densely packed blue “locusts.” These blue “locusts” were like well-trained cavalry. After surrounding the black ice worms, they temporarily stopped moving and gave off an intimidating presence. Ding Ning moving forward caused a shift in this swarm of “locusts”. Their hard limbs rubbed against each other, creating balls of icy blue flame, and grinding sounds.
Jing Liuli frowned slightly. Her mood was slightly unsettled. The fingers on her right hand unconsciously rubbed together, cold sword energy silently spilling out, turning tangible and falling into the cliff under her feet.
This tangible sword energy fell directly into the stone below, leaving behind only deep holes.
In this moment, Ding Ning’s Last Flower sword lit up and fine white flowers bloomed again.
The “locusts” that had been slightly restless suddenly all became agitated. They used their edged rear limbs to dig into the ground. The soil flew in waves as the blue figures flickered in and out of sight in an astounding scene.
All the black ice worms were even more afraid and quickly retreated towards the center. The red worms curled towards the middle as though they wanted to form a large red meat ball in the middle.
At this time, Ding Ning took a deep breath and charged into the earth waves ahead.
The “locust” facing Ding Ning sensed danger. Its body started to vibrate wildly. The blue smoke turned into ripples, forming natural seal scripts that started to rapidly absorb primal energies of the universe from the environment.
But in this moment, a sword light landed on its neck, cutting accurately into the gap in the carapace and then moving lightly like a fish through water.
Then the head fell off. Its edged blue limbs were still digging into the ground, but its head had landed in front of its rear limbs.
Unique green-yellow blood sprayed out of its neck and fell onto Ding Ning, mixing with the earth. Ding Ning’s movements did not stop. He moved his sword upwards and cut deeply into the abdomen of the “locust”. Then he swung forward and cut off most of the “locust’s” abdomen. The sword tip stabbed hard into the eye of a “locust” ahead and into its head.
Ding Ning continued to sprint ahead. But from when he collided with the waves of earth these “locusts” had created, he only took one step. During this step, he had killed three such “locusts”.
But at this moment, all of these “locusts” reacted.
The blue ripples disappeared around them as their bodies suddenly grew larger. The primal energies that the blue ripples had absorbed had gathered in their lower limbs. The endpoint of their limbs formed a ruler-straight crystal light which pushed their body higher as their limbs sank deeper into the earth.
This was an unimaginable scene.
These “locusts” looked like they were on stilts or holding two longswords.
Tantai Guanjian was astounded.
But more surprises were coming.
Dozens of puffs of dust exploded around Ding Ning and surged into the air.
The “locusts” within the dust all jumped up and fell towards Ding Ning. Their weapons were their strongest rear limbs that were flashing with ruler-straight sword light.
This scene… looked like the “locusts” were jumping into the air, wielding two blue longswords each and thrusting towards Ding Ning from all directions.
“What did Junior Sect Brother name these things?” Tantai Guanjian could not help but ask Jing Liuli.
Other than these “locusts” that were the closest to Ding Ning, the other locust insects that seemed to have grown taller did not move rashly. They pressed closer to each other and slowly moved towards Ding Ning.
This was like how cavalry used a pressuring tactic against powerful cultivators, using a strong wall of people to squeeze the space that a cultivator could move in. When a cultivator could not charge around, they were already halved in power. Subsequently, the cultivator would be stabbed to death with various swords.
“Imperial (Huang) Insects.” Jing Liuli answered even as her attention completely focused on Ding Ning.
“Locust?” Tantai Guanjian paused. “So simple?”
Jing Liuli knew that Tantai Guanjian had misheard the words. She frowned and quickly explained. “Some of the insects are individually stronger than this kind that Sect Uncle Qing has raised, but no matter how strong they are individually, they cannot compare to a swarm. This swarm of insects is a calm army. No kind of insect swarm can rival this insect swarm, so Sect Uncle Qing called them the imperial insects.”
Tantai Guanjian grew silent again.
A lone cultivator could not compete with a powerful army. But Ding Ning was doing such a thing right now.
Ding Ning was not trying to find the leader like he had been with the black ice worms. He was committing slaughter.
The cold rain had covered dozens of the imperial insects in the air. As the packed rain fell, this time, Ding Ning was using his full power.
The weak parts of these imperial insects were immediately penetrated by the rain droplets that contained killing energy. The glowing droplets turned into yellow-green lines of blood as they passed through and created numerous fine holes in the ground.
Ding Ning moved even faster.
These imperial insects fell in his afterimage as he bent slightly and rushed at the imperial insect swarm.
Light flashed. Multiple imperial insects sprouted out yellow-green blood and fell down.
His body appeared in the empty spaces between these insects. The fine white flowers on his Last Flower remnant sword were disappearing, but his movements seemed to accelerate. He collided with an imperial insect at his side, and the Last Flower remnant sword cut through the head of this insect.
Tantai Guanjian sucked in a breath.
He reaffirmed that Ding Ning was truly going to fight these terrifying numbers of insects head-on. He was like a cultivator facing a powerful cavalry alone and wanting to kill this army with his own power.