Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
If nothing was done to clear the insectoid carcasses, then the nest would consume them to produce new offspring and the extermination would never stop.
That was what Li Baxian had specifically warned him about. For this reason, Lu Ye ordered everyone to make sure to bring along a few spare Storage Bags to store the carcasses.
Unlike the insectoids that got out, the ones in the nest were mostly Third- to Fourth-Orders, with quite a number of Fifth- to Sixth-Orders in between. Fortunately, there were not many Seventh-Orders so the situation was still manageable for the entire Crimson Blood Sect force.
One after another, Lu Ye zapped every insectoid he saw with relentless streaks of Fire Dragons. The faster and the more he killed, the better he could keep the situation under control.
And so it was, with him holding down the fort. But despite their advantage, no one was reckless enough to push into the darkness ahead. After all, there was no telling what else could be prowling around, waiting for the humans to commit an error.
Nevertheless, a Seventh-Order furiously using his Spiritual Power, not to mention the brilliant eruptions of luminescence from the Fire Dragon spells, was causing another problem.
Barely thirty seconds passed since the Crimson Blood Sect force managed to push into the nest, Lu Ye began to feel a powerful presence in the darkness ahead and it was approaching quickly. He knew what it was: Eighth-Order insectoids.
Not one. Not two. Judging from the cluster of presence, there were three.
There were not many. With Lu Ye’s current rank and strength, there was every chance of him being able to kill one of them with just one blow, then he would just have to deal with the remaining two with the help of the rest of his comrades.
The plan had only just crossed his mind when Kong Niu’s voice pierced through the din of the fighting from nearby, “DANGER!”
It was a keyword. If any side were to face too much pressure, all they needed to do was give the call and Lu Ye would come over to assist.
In the meantime, he intentionally had Kong Niu’s tunnel just beside his own. Knowing that he was only just a Fifth-Order, Lu Ye was aware that he might still need help against the Seventh-Order insectoids even though he has the biggest squad of Cultivators.
Lu Ye had planned well.
There was no time to wait for the Eighth-Order insectoids to appear. A pair of wings unfurled on Lu Ye’s back and he took into the air. With Inviolable gripped in one hand, he held aloft its scabbard with another, and without warning, it shone with a brilliant radiance as if the sun had risen inside the nest cavern!
The strong and blinding light stretched as far as its rays could reach, allowing Lu Ye a glimpse of the darkened subterranean stone chamber. If he could not see it before, the light now gave him the chance, although it was not quite a sight that Lu Ye would enjoy. In fact, it sent a numbing sensation across his scalp.
The infestation inside the nest cavern had strayed far beyond his imagination. Of shapes and sizes most grotesque and horrific, the insectoids were a vast boundless sprawl all over the place—the walls, the ceilings—everywhere, and they were crawling towards Lu Ye and the rest of the Crimson Blood Sect force because of the waves of Spiritual Power released from the fighting.
“Watch your heads!” Lu Ye screamed to his comrades, at the same time, he maintained constant vigilance about the Eighth-Order insectoids. One reason for his soaring up into the air was to create a diversion to lift some of the pressure off the backs of his comrades, and if the Eighth-Order insectoids weren’t moving his way, then his plan would be a failure and the others would be in danger.
Not even Hua Ci could withstand the onslaught of the Eighth-Orders insectoids.
Luckily enough, the insectoids—Eighth-Order or not—barely had a shred of tactical acumen and intelligence.
And this was all thanks to Li Baxian who had supplied Lu Ye with a lot of crucial information.
Like a lighthouse with its shining beacons lit during a squall, Lu Ye, with his shimmering scabbard, became the sole target of the Eighth-Order insectoids. They plodded through hundreds of their own kind blocking their way, mercilessly cutting down any insectoid unlucky enough to be in their way with their razor-sharp forelegs.
These were not all of them. Further inside the depths of the nest cavern, Lu Ye could sense three more Eighth-Order insectoids coming.
That would make six Eighth-Order insectoids. Sects in the outer ring of the Battlefield would not have the means of defeating such a force if they failed to take the insectoid threat seriously. Even for humans, Seventh-Order Cultivators were rare enough in these parts, never mind Eighth-Orders.
The only Seventh-Order Cultivators were usually the legates of the outposts and their prolegates.
Lu Ye let loose a Fire Dragon from mid-air. The elaborately detailed visage of a flaming dragon screamed all its way down into the massing horde of insectoids, killing a huge number of them in one blow.
Another one came down near Kong Niu, instantly relieving much of the pressure on his side.
“Brother Lu Ye!” cried another voice.
Lu Ye flew over quickly.
The standard method of dealing with an insectoid infestation would be to seal up the pit of the wormhole and just keep on killing until the nest ran out of sustenance to reproduce, where victory would be a virtual certainty.
That would take time and patience, but it remained a safe method where any unforeseen mishaps could be addressed timely.
Still, that was not what Lu Ye opted for. He led the Crimson Blood Sect force on an assault straight into the nest cavern, sending everyone in his command into a full-scale head-to-head skirmish against the insectoids at their doorstep. It was risky, no doubt, but the returns were huge as well.
That he chose to undertake such a risk was only because of his great mobility which allowed him to provide assistance on whichever front needed his help.
Such was the advantage of being able to fly.
One that no ordinary Seventh-Order had.
Lu Ye held aloft his makeshift torch. That did not prevent him from unleashing his fiery wrath ceaselessly, leading the six Eighth-Order insectoids on what appeared to be a cavern-wide wild goose chase as he flitted around to help stave off the pressure on all fronts of the Crimson Blood Sect assault force and steadily gaining the initiative of this skirmish.
In the raving pursuit of Lu Ye, the Eighth-Order insectoids had been causing a great deal of collateral damage even to their own kind. The Crimson Blood Sect assault force might not have been able to collect those carcasses being so far out of their reach, but the relief on their pressure was nonetheless very much welcomed.
Now that the tables were in his favor, Lu Ye decided that perhaps he should deal with the core of Eighth-Order insectoids still gunning for him. The longer he allowed them to survive, the more they would be a threat.
Still in flight, Lu Ye cast forth his hiltless knife. Steeped with destructive energy, the knife soared around like a fiery comet, finding its first mark—an Eighth-Order insectoid—and blasting a hole through it amid a backwash of mucky hemolymph.
Admittedly, this gave Lu Ye his first impression of how dangerously sturdy the physical endurance of an Eighth-Order insectoid could be. It took Lu Ye more than seven to eight blows using Telekinesis before one was finally killed.
The tiny reddish sparkle retraced its way back to Lu Ye where he caught it with his fingers to replenish the Spiritual Power imbued inside before he cast it forth again.
But the continued use of his flying ability, Glyph: Radiance, the relentless firing of Fire Dragons, and Telekinesis caused such a great toll on his Spiritual Power. In barely a quarter of an hour, Lu Ye could feel that he had expended almost seven-tenths of his full power, with just a measly three-tenths left.
And that was even though he, a Seventh-Order, already had a much bigger storage of Spiritual Power with more than a hundred Spiritual Points unlocked.
If he had pulled off a stunt like this when he was still a Fifth-Order, he would have long been exhausted.
Unfazed, Lu Ye retrieved a jade flask from inside his Storage Bag. He unstoppered it and upended the bottle, emptying its contents down his throat.
It tasted odd. For one moment, he tasted the sweet fruitiness of some fermented beverage before a bitter zest kicked in.
A cider made of crushed Mystic Fruit.
Li Baxian had bid him to give to Shui Yuan all the Mystic Fruits that he collected during the Battle Royal of the Legates.
With the Mystic Fruits peeled and crushed before being mixed with a number of expensive and rare herbs that Lu Ye did not even know the names of, Shui Yuan turned the Fruits into a beverage that could simulate the exact same effects of ingesting Mystic Fruits.
When she handed Lu Ye the Mystic Fruit cider, Shui Yuan had informed Lu Ye that a flask of the cider would restore almost half a Seventh-Order Cultivator’s full reserve of Spiritual Power in thirty seconds.
Nevertheless, there were also drawbacks to Mystic Fruit cider—it would take a longer time for the effects to take place, indicating a slightly reduced potency if compared to consuming a Mystic Fruit the normal way.
Even so, drinking a flask of Mystic Fruit cider gave a bigger amount of restoration.
What Lu Ye had just consumed was one flask of Mystic Fruit cider; Shui Yuan had given him and Hua Ci thirty flasks in total.
Which would have made spending his Spiritual Power so wantonly something Lu Ye loathed to do. To use his power so recklessly in such a short span of time was nothing short of being foolhardy for any Cultivator.
Lu Ye could feel the warmth emanating from inside his belly the moment he finished the bottle. The warm rush began to swirl in him like a vortex, filling every Spiritual Point of the Microcosmic Orbits inside him. In just thirty seconds, Lu Ye no longer felt the fatigue and lethargy that came from having just three-tenths of his full reserves of Spiritual Power. He felt invigorated.
He was everywhere, giving help to whichever side that needed him while he would find time to eliminate one Eighth-Order insectoid at a time whenever he could.
Gradually, the pressure from the insectoids had grown noticeably weaker. The nest was still desperately trying to reproduce fresh insectoid hatchlings to replenish the colony’s ranks, but the rate could no longer keep up with the slaughter. Across the different fronts just outside the tunnels leading into the nest cavern, the Crimson Blood Sect assault forces were slowly solidifying their foothold here and of the original six Eighth-Order insectoids doggedly hot on Lu Ye’s heels until now, only one remained; two if you counted the one still reeling with spasms from Lu Ye’s hiltless knife savagely turning it into a honeycomb beehive.
When the hiltless knife’s work was finally done, that left only the last remaining Eighth-Order insectoid.
Satisfied, Lu Ye ceased the magic of his Glyph: Radiance and landed just in front of Kong Niu’s group where, this time, it was his turn to charge straight at the lone Eighth-Order insectoid.
He drew Inviolable and activated Glyph: Sharp Edge, sidestepping the incoming monster deftly while he ducked, slicing his weapon’s blade through the monster’s leg.
A splatter of greenish hemolymph hit the ground, accompanied by a shrill screech from the adult-sized monster as it crashed to the ground, its jet-black exoskeleton failed to prevent the deep bite of Inviolable.
The monster had only just fallen down when Lu Ye was already back on his feet and over his fallen enemy, driving Inviolable straight through its back and punching out the front.
The insectoid monster writhed and contorted with agony, its movements eliciting more slimy green muck spraying everywhere like a fountain.
Inviolable’s blade shone with bright red radiance, emitting a burst that ripped a bigger hole through the monster’s torso before the blast ultimately ripped the carcass into halves.
“KILL THEM ALL!” Kong Niu’s voice blared through the din like a war horn. More battle cries thundered from the rest of the other fronts in response to his call.
For the next hour, the Crimson Blood Sect assault forces steadily pressed deeper inwards, limiting the surviving insectoids’ area of activity.
Lu Ye gave Inviolable a forceful flick to shed off any blood before he returned it to its scabbard as he finally exhaled easily with relief and contentment.
[It is game, set, and match!] Lu Ye mused. There was no longer any need for him to intervene. The others could mop up the rest of the insectoids with hardly any difficulty. More so, since such a chance to garner more Contribution Points is hard to come by and there was no reason for Lu Ye to get in their way.
“Sister Hua Ci! Stay with me!” Ruan Lingyu’s frantic voice was coming from one end of the nest cavern.
Lu Ye strode over at once. With a flaming torch, he found Hua Ci fallen on her knees, looking dazed as if in a trance.
Ruan Lingyu was kneeling just in front of her, shaking her shoulders madly.
“Is she hurt?” Lu Ye asked quickly.
Ruan Lingyu shook her head. But there was no missing those tears welling in her eyes.
According to her, Hua Ci was just leading this side against the insectoid horde not long ago. Everything was fine until the victory was certain and she fell into such a state as soon as she relaxed.
Lu Ye examined Hua Ci and made sure that she was not hurt. Next, he bent down just beside her and patted her lightly on the shoulder. “You’ll be fine the next time. You can bet that this is not the last time we’ll be meeting these bugs.”
Hua Ci’s head strenuously swiveled like a rusty wheel, and she gave him a stare of indescribable despair at the prospect of facing more insectoids…
“Stay with her. Let me know if you need anything,” instructed Lu Ye before he left Ruan Lingyu with Hua Ci.
The outcome might be certain, but the battle was still far from being won, and knowing that, Lu Ye knew that he still needed to keep an eye on things. The last thing he wanted was for some of his men to lose their lives in a time like this and give the insectoids any chance for a rebound.
If what Li Baxian told him was right, then there would be at least another three powerful insectoids to deal with. They might be Eighth-Order insectoids, but they would be better, stronger, and deadlier than the ones Lu Ye had just disposed of earlier.