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Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
A relatively flat canyon sat in the wilderness more than ten miles away from the Crimson Blood Sect outpost. Right in the middle of this canyon was a gaping pit more than thirty meters wide. A hideous shaft that reached down towards a bottomless abyss, no one knew how deep the pit went. But standing by the edge of the pit alone and feeling the spine-chilling howls of winds screaming into one’s face could easily strike the fear of the Heavens into any man.
Such was the Spirit Creek Battlefield—a land of untold bounty and a cornucopia of unimaginable horrors.
Riding on Amber’s back, Lu Ye perched at the precipice of a cliff that overlooked the clearing where the pit lay. From his vantage point, the entire gorge was infested with myriads of insectoid monsters—spiders, mantises, locusts. Every one of them looked just like the insectoid monsters he encountered in the Rift of Illusions, although the ones in the Rift were just so much larger.
Swathed in a strange coating of black like paint on the oversized insects’ heads, thoraxes, and abdomens, the collective mass of insectoid monsters exuded a very unsettling presence unlike the usual foul aura that mutants emitted but rather a sinister presence that threatened to eradicate all life in this world.
What filled the air was this incessant buzzing that could only be the sound of the insectoid monsters feeding. The formerly verdant and lush vegetation and flora that once embellished the canyon with life and tranquility were gone. Everywhere the insectoid monsters went, they left behind desolation in their wake, not a blade of grass left standing. By Lu Ye’s reckoning, the insectoid army now swarming the gorge was at least ten thousand strong and counting. The torrent of monsters pouring out of the hole barely looked like they were going to stop and with enough time, this insectoid horde could become an unstoppable force of wanton destruction and death.
“It really is an insectoid attack!”
That was Chen Yu, who came with Lu Ye on his own mount, a leopard Spirit Beast. But standing beside Amber was enough to make it honest and tame with its usual ferocity and wrath all but extinguished.
Many at the outpost had sighted a rare display of lightning where a deadly column of electricity had zapped all the way from the sky to the ground. Even from more than ten miles away, the terrible lightning strike could be seen with absolute clarity. That phenomenon was what prompted Chen Yu to quickly inform Lu Ye about the possibility of an insectoid attack.
Lu Ye was just speaking to Li Baxian about this after the latter’s warning.
Insectoid attacks were a form of periodic natural disasters that occur in unpredictable cycles. After one attack, it could take months or even years before the next attack came.
That lightning phenomenon last night was the telltale sign of an imminent attack.
Right after the prognostic occurrence of the lightning, the appearance of the pit would follow, which the people in the real world of Jiu Zhou called the “wormhole”. The bottomless black pit from the depths of which the insectoid horrors would emerge to lay waste upon whatever they saw.
That was the difference between insectoids and mutants. There were also insect-type mutant races, but they did not inherit the same destructive instinct as real insectoid monsters.
In fact, mutant races could co-exist easily with humans even in the real world of Jiu Zhou where many even took on the shape and appearance of humans to join various militant sects and orders.
On the other hand, insectoid monsters lacked such intelligence; their actions all relied on their baser instincts, which was to destroy.
Whenever an insectoid attack occurred, it was regarded as a cataclysmic event, for it affected the whole Spirit Creek Battlefield where wormholes would appear near each and every outpost in the Battlefield.
If allowed to fester, the insectoid scourge would have all the time they needed to build up enough strength to overrun and decimate outposts and even cities.
No one could know which outpost could be facing imminent invasion whenever the wormholes appeared.
Everywhere the insectoid swarm went, they would leave behind death and destruction in their wake—no lands left unpillaged, no crops left undamaged, and no fields left unstripped—and the biggest threat came from how fast they grew and bred.
As such, what ordinary Cultivators needed months to achieve, a single insectoid monster could become in mere days. It is for this exact reason that insectoid infestations needed to be handled quickly and decisively lest the monsters become too great in number and too dangerous a force to deal with.
Nevertheless, as with all situations of threat and peril, insectoid attacks also pose as moments of fortune.
Cultivators were awarded Contribution Points for every insectoid kill and their carcasses could be sold to the Vault of Providence, despite how obscenely low the price was. But with so many monsters to kill, the sale of their carcasses would nevertheless rake in a sizable amount of Points.
Therefore, to many Cultivators of the Battlefield, the insectoid scourge was both a threat and a boon.
Insectoid attacks had occurred here at the Crimson Blood Sect outpost before. But with no one to defend the outpost, the scourge had enough time to burgeon, so the insectoids effectively overwhelmed even the outposts of prominent forces nearby. With no one else nearby powerful enough to deal with the threat, the eradication of the monsters was, in the end, left to the champions from the centermost areas of the Battlefield.
Hence, the vicinity of the Crimson Blood Sect outpost was always a desolate and bare wasteland in the aftermath of an insectoid attack, before the rich Spiritual Qi in the atmosphere of the Battlefield once again breathed new life into Nature where all forms of flora were once again reborn.
“Stay here. Report back if anything is wrong,” instructed Lu Ye.
“Understood,” responded Chen Yu.
Amber wheeled around and sped off in the direction of the outpost.
As he rushed back, Lu Ye delivered a message to Hua Ci.
His reconnaissance of the insectoid scourge and the information that Li Baxian had supplied him told him what he needed to know about handling this threat. If this happened two months earlier, the Crimson Blood Sect outpost would be in no shape to deal with the stampede when it arrived and it would.
But things at the outpost had changed now.
His fellow acolytes at the outpost could not train and meditate all day without honing their experience and testing their skills in the real world outside. This insectoid attack could just be what everyone needed.
According to Li Baxian, every outpost in the Battlefield needed to manage its own defenses against insectoid attacks, but the strength of the attacks at each outpost varied. Was this actually a contrivance of the Heavens, no one could say. But somehow, the initial attacks on outposts situated in the outer ring areas of the Battlefield were usually light. So long as they did enough to repel the invasion, the crisis could be averted with little to no losses.
Which was a stark contrast to the insectoid attacks which could already be happening now on the outposts at the centermost areas of the Battlefield.
Lu Ye arrived at the outpost. Meanwhile, Hua Ci already, as Lu Ye instructed, had the acolytes all mustered just outside the Sanctum of Providence of the outpost where everyone waited pensively without a word.
Aside from Hua Ci and a handful of full-fledged members of the Crimson Blood Sect, the rest were the hundred-or-so initiates who had joined them recently. But they were not alone; the independents who had pledged themselves to the Sect numbered almost six-hundred-man strong.
Such was the advantage of having so many independents pledged to their cause. Lu Ye could rely on them to help shore up the defenses. No outpost could survive being assailed by the insectoid scourge with just a hundred initiates and acolytes holding it.
Lu Ye vaulted himself off Amber’s back. Stares and gazes all homed in on him. More than seven hundred pairs of eyes were watching him, but the mood was quiet and tense.
He addressed his fellow comrades. “I’m sure by now you know what’s happening. An insectoid attack is coming! This is a test that every sect and order with an outpost in the Battlefield must suffer and endure. In the past, this outpost did not have the strength to withstand any attack! But this time, it does!
“I’ve seen what every one of you has been doing! I’ve watched how you all improved and grew! That’s all fine! Your rank is what Cultivators depend on! But you need more than just power! You need real combat experience! You need to feel how it is exactly in real battle! So here is a chance for you to do so! I was with Chen Yu just to reconnoiter the insectoid force and they are big enough! But take heart! Our enemies are many but that is all! They do not possess great capabilities; even a Second-Order can easily slay more than ten of these monsters!
“So here is your opportunity, everyone! A chance to not only gain real and valuable combat experience, but also to earn Contribution Points. I believe I don’t have to elaborate any further about the benefits of the latter. So the scourge is a field of Contribution Points waiting for you to pick up! Question is, DO YOU WANT THEM!?”
“WE DO!” the entire congregation roared with voices that threatened to bring the outpost down.
“THEN GO GET THEM! We are not like other sects and orders. They have defensive enchantments to keep their outposts safe so that they could fall back inside if things get tough. But not us! We don’t have such luxury! So we fight for our survival! Our enemies are a spiteful force that knows nothing but wanton destruction. Fail, and the fields that you’ve worked so tirelessly on will be ravaged by these abominable beasts! So here we are, the last bulwark to everything in the outpost that we hold dear! There is no turning back now! While we draw breath, we fight! There is only war!
Leave the outpost! Heed my call, brothers-in-arms and comrades! You have one hour to break into squads of five to ten! Elect a squad leader! The squad leader shall be responsible for the allocation of Contribution Points after the attacks! The more you kill, the more you get! The best ten performers of this skirmish—whether you’re an acolyte, an initiate, or just an associate—shall be awarded a bonus of Spirit Stones! The best three will win an additional prize: a nine-enchantment Spirit Artifact!”
That was enough to send a sweeping wave of exclamation through the whole crowd. While most were expecting only Spirit Stones—despite not knowing how many—as prizes, with this skirmish being the first-ever endeavor mounted by the Crimson Blood Sect outpost, the rewards were bound to be generous.
Yet now, Lu Ye shocked everyone by announcing nine-enchantment Spirit Artifacts—the best of all low-tiered Spirit Artifacts, where one would cost at least a hundred Contribution Points in the Vault of Providence—as additional rewards to the best three performers.
“The squad with the best overall performance will get to make a request of me after this skirmish! Anything you ask for, so long as it is within my power to confer, just ask it.”
A tiny arm shot up into the air, followed by a squeaky voice. “I have a question, Brother Lu Ye!”
Lu Ye looked, it was He Xiyin.
“I have a friend who wished to ask if the special team request could be used on Sister Hua Ci!”
“Is that your friend or is it you?!” Lu Ye scowled at her playfully. He Xiyin had this strange attachment to Hua Ci; she was just so full of admiration for her. At the same time, she was one of the best Cultivators Lu Ye had—a Sixth-Order.
With Lu Ye and Chen Yu being the only Seventh-Orders in the outpost, Hua Ci and He Xiyin made up two of the handful of Sixth-Orders they had at the moment.
Lu Ye gave Hua Ci a look, and she bobbed her head demurely.
“All right,” Lu Ye pronounced, before he added, “But only for you!”
An overjoyed He Xiyin clenched her fists with anticipation and excitement.
“Off you go then! You have one hour! After that, we march for the wormhole!”
The square turned into a massing whirl of disorganized clutter as Cultivators began to look for friendly faces and formed groups. It did not take long for them to get into their squads and their leaders were elected.
In the meantime, Lu Ye extracted an empty jade slip and channeled his power to store some information inside. Li Baxian had given him a lot of useful knowledge, including the traits of some of the insectoid species and their weaknesses, and he too had some tips of his own from his bug-slaying exploits in the Rift of Illusions.
All this information would be invaluable for the Cultivators who would be facing the insectoid attack for the first time and he needed to disseminate it before the skirmish began.
1 thought on “Humanity’s Great Sage – Chapter 214, Insectoid Attack”
Sweet. Glad there not rushing into a new dungeon yet….this is more interesting.