Chapter 41 – Fiendtamer

So he really is a grandmaster martial artist.  When Gu Chensha saw his foe attack, he knew what his foe’s level was.  He was secretly shocked at how many experts the cultists and wilder had gathered within these three counties.  The entire Banan Prefecture only held two grandmasters within it, but two cultist grandmasters had been assigned to attack this minor town?

There was another grandmaster up ahead who had charged onto the city walls and had started to kill the defenders, while this one was wielding a bloodforged blade to try and kill Gu Chensha.

The entire saber radiated a spellbinding yet bloody aura.  It seemed to be filed with magical power and was far sharper than any ordinary saber would be.  Gu Chensha knew at a glance that he couldn’t let this blade slice him.  Although it was inferior to the Drakebone Sword, it still contained terrifying destructive power.

Now that’s a fine weapon.  I’ve been worrying about my lack of weapons; now, one has made its way to me.  Gu Chensha had slain even a second-transformation Daoshaper like the Blackfiend Bat.  How could he possibly fear an ordinary grandmaster?

He spun around his foot, dodging the saber-light as he instantly detected the flaws in the enemy’s attack.  He suddenly struck out with his palm, shattering the cultist leader’s heart from a blow to the back.

In the instant that he killed this cultist, he set up a mental connection to his altarspace.  He drew the cultist’s blood and spirit into the altarspace, leaving it hanging like a globe of blood in the air above it.

The bloodforged blade fell to the ground, but Gu Chensha immediately snatched it up.  It actually weighed fifty kilograms!  It was unclear what type of metal it was forged from, and it radiated a bloody stench.  He took a closer look, only to see bloody runes flickering nonstop on its surface.  Moments later, a wild and brutal type of saber-art poured into his mind, seeking to transform him into a bloodthirsty fiend which would murder everyone around him.

In other words… this was a cursed blade which would control those who wielded it.  Each time the blade claimed a life, the runes atop the blade would absorb the blood and the spirit from the victim to strengthen itself.

“What an evil blade.”  Gu Chensha hurriedly flipped through his mental records of various evil cults, with one suddenly popping into his mind.

When the Blood Drinkers kill people, they offer them as sacrifices to their Blood God in exchange for powerful blades.  They will forge a total of seven bloodforged blades that contain seven different murderous wills, using them to commit murder before then fusing them together into a Mortal Devil Bloodblade.  After upgrading it, it will transform into an Earthly Devil Bloodblade, and upon fully completing it, it will transform into a Heavenly Devil Bloodblade.  The blade will be like a celestial devil, and the devil will be the blade itself.  Once it has been forged, the skies shall rain blood and even ghosts will weep as a sea of blood shall drown the mortal world.  During the Ancient era, there was a peerless Blood Drinker who did manage to forge such a blade, but he was suppressed by an ancient Son of Heaven, who destroyed his blade via sacrificing it to the High Heavens.  In exchange, the Son of Heaven won a ‘Fiendtamer’ blade…

Simply put, this was an evil blade which would drive its wielders to murderous insanity.  The blade would command the man, not the man command the blade.

“Hmph!  Puny blade, you want to try and control me?!  What a joke!”  Gu Chensha’s will pulverized the attacking will of the saber, then sent it into the altarspace.

Rumble!  Gu Chensha began to destroy the saber via sacrifice.  The saber suddenly exploded, leaving behind a bloody glow that represented the lives it had wrongfully claimed and the evil will of a Vile God. Both were sucked away by Heaven’s Dao.  In its stead was a weapon that seemed like neither a saber nor a sword, but which had elements of both.

“Is this… an unfinished Fiendtamer?”  Gu Chensha exerted his will slightly, causing the weapon to fall in to his hands.  It was fifty kilograms heavy and glittered with azure light, and when it moved it seemed to writhe like a living, sentient Azure Dragon.  “This sword is incredibly sharp.  It might be inferior to the Drakebone Sword, but if I can find six more bloodforged blades and sacrifice them to the High Heavens, I’ll gain a true Fiendtamer.  It would probably be as good or better than the Drakebone Sword.”

True Fiendtamers were capable of injuring and slaying even Heavenly Devils.  This incomplete Fiendtamer had less than 0.01% of a true Fiendtamer’s power, but it remained an incredibly fierce weapon.  If he used this in concert with the Sun-Moon Kill and the hiding powers granted to him by the altarspace, he would probably be able to injure even experts with ‘copper skin, iron bones’.

Without this weapon, Gu Chensha might be able to use the Sun-Moon Kill slay second-transformation Daoshapers like the Blackfiend Bat using just his fists, but there was nothing he would be able to do against those of the third-transformation.

“The Marshal is dead!  The Marshal is dead!”  Many of the cultists had witnessed someone suddenly vaulting atop the dais and killing the marshal in just a single exchange, then taking away the bloodforged blade.  This sudden attack caught all the cultists off-guard and ruined their morale, causing them to start to crumble.

Most of the cultists were just ordinary peasants who were compelled to take part after being given some cursory training, being brainwashed, and being given some vile runewater which activated their latent physical potential.  They simply couldn’t compare to elite soldiers who had trained for over a decade, and this was why there were almost no historical examples of cultists who successfully overthrew any empire.

Gu Chensha didn’t want to even bother with them.  Fiendtamer in hand, he vaulted down from the platform and charged straight towards the wall, aiming to slay the remaining grandmaster.

As he landed atop the city walls he discovered to his astonishment that the grandmaster cultist, who had been planning to launch a massacre of the defenders, had actually been tied down by five youths.  These five youths were wielding swords and were working together in a sword-formation of incredible power that was completely impenetrable, surrounding the cultist in a cocoon-like manner.  This cultist grandmaster was actually unable to do anything to these five.

All five had decent cultivation bases as well.  They were all master martial artists, which was an absolute miracle given that they lived in a minor town like this.  It was incredibly rare even for noble clans in provincial capitals to be able to produce master martial artists.

It must be remembered that master martial artists who joined the army and managed to kill a few wilders would quickly be granted the title of a sixth-grade general.  Per the laws of the Aeternal Imperium, all generals ranked from the sixth grade to the fourth grade had to be at least master martial artists.  Those who were of the third grade or higher had to be grandmasters.

“What sword-art is this?  The Five Elements are being used together in harmony.  I can sense spring’s rain, summer’s thunder, autumn’s frost, winter’s snow, and the blazing of the sun.”  As Gu Chensha watched, he realized that these five had tremendous potential.  They must have encountered something marvelous, as their swords were quite ancient as well.  Clearly, they were the product of ancient blacksmithing.

However… it wouldn’t be easy for them to actually defeat this cultist grandmaster.

“A bloodforged blade!”  Gu Chensha suddenly saw the grandmaster pull out the blade from a sheath on his back.  Bloody light flickered as yet another bloodforged blade suddenly appeared, causing the five youths to grow dizzy.

Seeing the dangerous situation, Gu Chensha vaulted forward with his unfinished Fiendtamer in hand.  Clang!  The light of the Fiendtamer wiped away the bloody light.  The bloodforged blade itself vanished, while the body of the cultist grandmaster collapsed to the ground.  As for the severed head, it fell down the city walls.

“He killed a grandmaster in one blow?!”  The five youths came back to their senses, completely stunned.  “Is he a Daoshaper?”  To many mortals, the fact that Daoshapers were able to avoid eating food and just draw upon spiritual energy was proof that they were ‘Immortals’.

Gu Chensha waved his hand at them.  “Their leaders are dead and the cultists are at the brink of breaking apart.  Counter-attack and drive them away!”

“Everyone, open the gates and charge!”  The five youths let out loud roars, inspiring the local townsmen who gathered around them and then charged out through the gates.

The cultists did their best to defend, but they had already lost their most powerful experts.  They simply couldn’t endure this assault, and so they quickly began to flee and retreat.  The townsmen didn’t pursue, instead returning to the city to prepare for more attacks.

“This humble one is the mayor of this town.  Thank you, great hero, for saving us.  May I ask what your name is?”  The mayor hurriedly led several elders and those five youths to come pay their respects to Gu Chensha.

“I am Nineteenth Prince Gu Chensha, and my official title is Imperial Duke Chen.  I have come to the Oblation Province as an imperial envoy and my goal is to eradicate the cultists and rebels here in the Banan Prefecture.  Don’t be afraid.  The Imperium’s army is already prepared to launch an attack against them.  I’ve come here to scout the situation out in person.”  Gu Chensha didn’t see a need to hide his identity.

“What?!”  The mayor was stunned by what he just heard.  The most important official he had ever met was merely the county magistrate or perhaps the prefectural magistrate.  Even the local inspector-general was someone far beyond his circles.  However, he was a learned man and knew how to behave.  He hurriedly knelt down while saying to the five youths, “Hurry up and kneel!”

Everyone fell to their knees.

“We didn’t know that the nineteenth prince had come.  We deserve death for not having welcomed you properly!”

“Rise.  These are no ordinary times we live in.”  Gu Chensha waved his hand.  “You cannot stay in this town much longer.  The cultists and the wilders have many experts serving them.  Now that two of their grandmasters have died here, they’ll definitely send more.  Why don’t you go to the Banan prefectural capital?”

“Your Highness, we have over ten thousand people here.  How are we supposed to evacuate that many people?  We’d probably be caught and massacred halfway to the prefectural capital by those cultists.  Besides – the prefectural capital is now completely full.  Too many people have fled there and aren’t even granted entry.  We’ve already discussed this.  The only way we’ll survive is if we defend this place to the death,” one of the youths said hurriedly.

“Fair enough.”  Gu Chensha could see that the town held many old men and women as well as children.  These people simply wouldn’t be able to travel fast enough, especially when burdened by their belongings and rations.  Even if all of them made it to the prefectural capital, there would be no place for them.  The amount of resources they would consume alone would make up for a staggering sum.  Defending this place was really the only option, albeit a terrible one.

“The five of you… what are your names?  All of you have excellent martial arts, and your sword-arts stem from ancient times.  Why haven’t you become military officers in service to the Imperium?” Gu Chensha asked.

“One of the five is my son, while the other four are the sons of various important local clans.  The five of them have been together since they were children and have sworn brotherhood to each other.  They obey the teachings of the sages, who taught us to read a thousand books and then travel a thousand kilometers.  They often went out adventuring, as the canals made travel simple.  They managed to acquire a set of five sword-sutras in a mountain somewhere, and they each chose to train in one of them.  They had been planning to become military officials, but this sudden cultist uprising has terrified everyone.  Even the Imperium’s forces have withdrawn, which has caused them to delay leaving.  For them to run into you is a blessing.  I hope they can serve you and win glory for themselves.”  The local mayor seized this opportunity.

“The five of you have tremendous potential, and I do happen to need capable subordinates right now.  However, I leave the choice to you.”  Gu Chensha wasn’t happy with his estate being completely controlled by Long Yuyun’s people.  These five had clean backgrounds and marvelous sword-arts.  If he could recruit them, they would make for fine subordinates.

“Hurry up and thank the nineteenth prince!”  The mayor was about to blow a gasket when he saw the five youths standing there blankly.

“Thank you, Ninteenth Prince!”  All five hurriedly kowtowed.

“Very well.  After things here are concluded, you can go to the prefectural capital and speak to my chief steward, Little Yi.  I’ll prepare a letter for you to show him.”  Gu Chensha pondered for a moment.  “You have to stay here for now to protect this town, but your martial arts aren’t quite up to par.  Let’s find a quiet place and I’ll train you for a time.  After that, I’ll need to leave this place and go deeper into the belly of the beast.”

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