Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
It was another gigantic underground cavern filled from top to bottom with walls and ceilings of flesh pulsing with Spiritual Power. Even from a distance, they could make out the multitude of insectoid monsters massing in an incredibly huge cluster.
Yet another insectoid nest?!
But this nest was not within the vicinity of the Crimson Blood Sect outpost. This was somewhere else.
Insectoid attacks did not just occur at only a select few outposts. They occurred everywhere around the Battlefield, making it a worldwide cataclysmic event where virtually every person, sect and order would be affected. Right now, everyone should be defending their outposts from insectoid attacks.
That would mean that in the event of insectoid attacks, an insectoid nest would appear in the vicinity of virtually every outpost in the Battlefield.
The Crimson Blood Sect force was done with the insectoid nest on their side with all seven hundred Cultivators under its command now underground farming Contribution Points at their leisure.
And this only happened because Lu Ye opted for a drastic and aggressive course of action that had not only worked in the Sect and everyone’s favor but was also rewarding.
Unlike this side.
Whatever this sect was, the people here have clearly chosen the standard way of sealing the exits of the nest cavern and slaying all insectoids that came their way. It was by no means an efficient way of dealing with the infestation, but under usual circumstances, it was a safe and dependable way.
Without legates that possessed the ability of flying and dangerous prowess that could easily defeat opponents beyond their rank like Lu Ye, it was understandable for most sects and orders in the outer ring areas of the Battlefield to select such a safe course of action.
That was exactly the reason why Lu Ye had the confidence to undertake such a risky method, but his gambit paid off, or else, the Crimson Blood Sect would need more time and resources to deal with the infestation.
The fact that Lu Ye was able to reach this nest showed that both colonies—this and the one in the vicinity of the Crimson Blood Sect where he and his comrades had just defeated—were connected. This should not have been possible under usual circumstances since most colonies existed as separate entities.
But in this case, it was. According to what Li Baxian had told him, a colony that had grown too strong and too numerous would invade another colony and take over its nest. That would mean that once a colony’s growth was left unfettered, it would turn aggressive enough to burrow more tunnels in search of other colonies for a hostile invasion of their own kind.
With no one to defend the outpost in the past, the insectoid colony in the vicinity of the Crimson Blood Sect would grow and thrive. The nearby sects and orders would first deal with their own infestation before they would join up to deal with the one there, knowing that if they did not intervene quickly, the infestation would eventually become their problem.
But there had also been times when the insectoid colony became too dangerous, and they had to call upon the aid of champions from the sects and orders with outposts in the inner ring or even the centermost area of the Battlefield.
But at any rate, that would explain why both colonies were connected. The tunnel must have been made by a past infestation that had gone awry.
Only no one expected that the Crimson Blood Sect would be able to deal with their side of the infestation so quickly. Just when all nearby sects and orders were still busy defending their outposts and conducting their side of the extermination, the Crimson Blood Sect side had already sealed their victory.
In the meantime, Lu Ye could hear grunts and snarls coming from the other tunnels leading into this nest, intertwined with the occasional yelps and shrieks of pain. Someone must be hurt.
Risks existed even with the safest course of action. One could have all the tunnels leading into an insectoid nest manned, but once the insectoids reached a certain level of strength and number, their attempts to break past the defenses could still incur huge losses.
There were three factions near the Crimson Blood Sect outpost. One of them belonged to the Grand Sky Coalition, while the remaining two are part of the Thousand Demon Ridge.
A look at the map of this locale showed that the locations of the three faction’s outposts formed a triangle and the Crimson Blood Sect outpost was situated right in the middle of that triangle.
They were: the outposts of Bayshore Abbey, the Redoubt of Wrath, and Clan Feng.
Bayshore Abbey was the sect that belonged to the Grand Sky Coalition. The Tier-Nine order’s outpost was situated somewhere to Lu Ye’s outpost’s west, while the outpost of the Redoubt of Wrath, a Tier-Eight order of the Thousand Demon Ridge, was positioned to the north, whereas the outpost of Clan Feng, another Tier-Nine Thousand Demon Ridge faction, sat just somewhere due east.
Lu Ye paused and deliberated about the route that took him here. Next, he compared it to his map and discovered that he had reached somewhere below the outpost of the Redoubt of Wrath.
That would mean that the people now in the other tunnels leading into this nest and were fighting off the insectoids were acolytes of the Redoubt of Wrath.
Needless to say, the acolytes of the Redoubt must be experienced Cultivators in dealing with insectoid attacks.
That would explain the relatively stable situation here. Given enough time, the extermination of the insectoids here would end without a hitch.
Beyond any doubt, both the Redoubt of Wrath and Clan Feng must have enjoyed imposing their tyranny upon the undefended Crimson Blood Sect outpost. The independents here would not have been able to gain a foothold if it were not for the presence of Bayshore Abbey.
Since his appointment as legate of the outpost, Chen Yu had told him the things that he knew about the outpost. It was said that geological veins of ore existed beneath the vicinity of the outpost and above it, a sprawl of magical fruit trees. These are all part of the outpost’s property.
But with no one to man the Crimson Blood Sect outpost, it was the acolytes of the Redoubt of Wrath who had been claiming these resources as their own and this had been going on for years.
And Lu Ye had been ignoring this for the moment. The outpost had only just accepted new recruits and a conflict so soon did not seem smart at all. It would take some time for the new members to get used to the place and develop a feeling of belonging and attachment to the outpost before Lu Ye could feel comfortable leading them into a real battle.
But this could pose a real chance for a rehearsal.
Lu Ye crouched in a corner and watched a while longer before he crept backward and waved to Yi Yi.
Yi Yi sidled closer, cocking her earl closer to listen.
Lu Ye whispered his instructions to her.
At length, she nodded, “All right.”
She clambered back onto Amber’s back and they backtracked into the tunnel, heading down the same way they came.
Little did the acolytes of the Redoubt of Wrath know that in their fierce skirmish against the insectoid horde, the victory they expected to be a certainty would not be coming today.
Unsure about their safety, coming here at first took a long time for Lu Ye and Yi Yi since Amber did not travel at its highest speed. But now that it was certain that this tunnel was safe, Yi Yi and Amber could ride as quickly as they could on the way back.
This time, Yi Yi took one hour to ride back and forth, rejoining him with almost two to three hundred Storage Bags now hanging all around Amber.
She handed a Storage Bag that she intentionally singled out. “They’re all here,” she reported, “And Sister Hua Ci has ordered a full retreat from the nest. It is already withering as we speak.”
“But are you sure about this, Lu Ye?” asked Yi Yi, seeing the look on Lu Ye’s face was enough for her to guess that he must be up to something no good.
“Who knows? But there’s no harm in trying. If things go south, we’d just be losing some insectoid carcasses. Big deal.”
Lu Ye retrieved the Storage Bags hanging on Amber and crept to the entrance of the tunnel and opened the Storage Bag to empty its contents into the nest.
There were insectoids nearby. But because of the ruckus caused by the acolytes of the Redoubt of Wrath at the other end of the nest, none of them noticed Lu Ye’s presence.
Sensitive to light and the discharge of Spiritual Power, none of the insectoids would ever notice Lu Ye hiding inside the tunnel so long as he maintained a low profile.
But the sudden deluge of carcasses out of nowhere caught the insectoids nearby by surprise. They screeched to each other, and a few came over to have a look, finding nothing but a huge heap of dead carcasses.
In mere seconds, a swarm of insectoids headed this way and began working to move the dead carcasses into the nest so that the nest could do what insectoid nests did best—the assimilation of the carcasses for the reproduction of fresh hatchlings—in just moments, reducing the remains into dust.
The insectoids only just finished their toil when they discovered another heap of carcasses appearing out of nowhere.
None of them knew what was happening. Their stunted sentience and intelligence prevented them from wondering what was happening and who was behind it, but every one of them was overjoyed at the prospect of free food.
Driven by their instinct, the insectoids rushed this way quickly and mobbed the heaps of carcasses, moving them inside.
[Thud! Thud! Thud!]
At one end was Lu Ye emptying the hundreds of Storage Bags to his heart’s content, and at the other was the horde of insectoids trying to drag every carcass into the nest, forming a tacit and cohesive synergy that struck just so perfectly.
Lu Ye finished the first fifty Storage Bags, then he moved on to the next fifty, then the next…
Whether his plan would work, even Lu Ye could not say for certain. But on the off chance that it did, then things would be really interesting—a real opportunity for further gain.
As Lu Ye busied himself with serving up heaps after heaps of rotting nourishment for the insectoid nest, the fight between the acolytes of the Redoubt of Wrath and the insectoid monsters was beginning to grow more difficult and furious.
From the other end of the nest, he could hear voices complaining, “Wait a minute, brother!? The insectoids are not getting lesser! For one moment just now, I thought the tide was already weakening!”
“You’d do better by just swinging instead of whinging! Shuddup and focus on the job! Their numbers will be dropping soon enough!”
It all started with the acolytes manning the entrances of the tunnel. The sudden intensification of pressure on them rose a notch without warning, but they persisted, mistakenly steadfast in the belief that the number of insectoids inside the nest are still falling. After all, they had been doing this for years and the years of being victorious had created a sense of confidence.
But as time progressed, they began to realize that they were right: despite their relentless efforts, the insectoids really were growing more and more numerous. They were getting pushed back by the rising pressure from inside the nest as more and more of their men were getting hurt and killed.
Lu Ye was listening to every word they said and hearing that his plan was working injected thrill and excitement into his endeavor.
When he finally emptied the last of the Storage Bags that Yi Yi brought him, Lu Ye retrieved another Storage Bag—the one that Yi Yi had singled out—and extracted from inside a lump of flesh the size of his palm that was still pulsing with life.
A Nucleus of Life!
As the one thing that ensured the continuity of an insectoid colony, this Nucleus of Life would be the catalyst to the fruition of Lu Ye’s plan, which, in his attempt to see it work, he had to effectively stop everyone from farming Contribution Points.
Which was also why the nest at their side was beginning to show signs of dying.
A Nucleus of Life contained more sustenance than dead carcasses could ever hope to compete.
He squeezed it and weighed it in his hands as if he was hesitating, then he lobbed it into the nest.
[Here’s to an early Christmas, guys. You better appreciate it.]
The lone Storage Bag was carrying up to eight Nuclei of Life. That they had so many was only because of the Crimson Blood Sect force’s quick and efficient manner in exterminating the insectoids before the sustenance inside these Nuclei was used up.
A quarter of an hour later, the entire nest chamber stirred with more intense rustling, buzzing, and popping.
Lu Ye knew what the noises meant—woe for the acolytes of the Redoubt of Wrath.
That had to be new insectoid hatchlings breaking out of their egg sacs and the sheer loudness and magnitude of the clamor had to mean that there was a sudden surge in numbers.
[Well, I hope you guys at Redoubt are ready for a nightmare…] Lu Ye mused mischievously.
“ARRGGHH!” an agonizing shriek came from the other end of the nest, joined by several more.
“What is going on?! Why are there so many, suddenly?!” an angry snarl slashed over the din.
“Hold! Hold! Don’t let them break through!”
“Help, brother! We need help! We’re losing ground!”
Inside the darkness of the tunnel at the other side of the cavern, Lu Ye deposited a Spirit Pill into his mouth. He waved to Yi Yi.
With the first phase of his plan working, it was time to work on the next.