Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Chaos and panic pervaded the Clan Feng outpost. The power of the defensive ward was at its maximum.
The number of insectoids flooding the whole area wasn’t falling just yet. They crept all over the semi-spherical shield, gorging on the Spiritual Power that flowed in it.
The view from inside the outpost never looked so horrific and bleak with the shield completely engulfed by the insectoid horde. So many of them were scrabbling at the top of the dome, in danger of falling directly into the outpost if the defensive ward ever failed and this was only prevented by the desperate and hurried strokes of the Clan Feng acolytes who never stopped depositing Spirit Stones into the ward’s nexus.
But the horde was only just growing bigger, stronger, and thicker. At this rate, the defensive ward would surely fall, give or take a few hours.
Feng Yue never looked so pale. For she had realized that with the Atheneum acolytes sealing off the exit at the wormhole, those trapped down below the nest could not come back to lift the siege of the insectoid horde outside the outpost! [Was this a coincidence], she wondered for one split-second, [Or is this some sort of plot?!]
She would not have felt so worried if this were just a mere coincidence. But what if this really was a plot? Then this could be more than a simple insectoid extermination gone wrong!
In the meantime, Feng Lianju received word about his outpost currently being assailed by an insectoid of indescribable proportions. He would have been able to sound a retreat and lead his men back to help lift the insectoid siege. But with the Atheneum army keeping watch over the only exit, getting out of the wormhole was tantamount to suicide!
Besides, they were still far from completing their side of the extermination. As much as they were worried about the situation of the outpost, there really was nothing they could do.
Time passed by swiftly.
More than six hours had passed, and the incandescence of the shield had become weak. The magic of the defensive ward was teetering on the brink of collapsing and once it did, the hundred-or-so acolytes inside would not be able to hold back the unstoppable tide of the insectoid horde.
Feng Yue was shivering with panic. Of all the ways that anyone would use to attack the outpost, she had not thought about this. Then again, she was consoled by the fact that this appeared to just be an insectoid stampede instead of a real invasion launched by any enemy factions. She shuddered to contemplate the loss that she would incur if this really were the latter.
But Fate just loved an ironic twist. Just when she thought that this was really just an insectoid infestation, deafening rumbles reverberated from the rear of the outpost, followed swiftly by the ripples of Spiritual Power discharge.
None of the Clan Feng acolytes could fight. Shaken to their very core, the only hope for survival would be Feng Yue’s call for a retreat where everyone would immediately withdraw back to the real world of Jiu Zhou. The layer after layer of surprises had delivered an unbelievable blow to what was left of their morale.
No one could tell what was going on amid the pandemonium until another Clan Feng acolyte came rushing in, howling, “Attack! We’re under attack! There are hundreds of Cultivators outside!”
The news hit Feng Yue so hard that she nearly blacked out.
[An attack?! Now, of all times?! Who the hell could that be?!]
[We’re done for!] Just when she thought that the situation could not get any worse, the twist fell out of nowhere to punish her naivety.
A thunderclap came on cue as the glowing wall of light shattered; the defensive ward had finally crumbled under the sheer pressure of the insectoid horde. Thousands of insectoid monsters rained down on the outpost like a heavy deluge, inundating the entire outpost with not only an insectoid army of unquenchable hunger but also their constant and vexatious buzzing!
“BACK TO JIU ZHOU!” Feng Yue growled through gritted teeth before she ran as fast as she could for the Sanctum of Providence.
And she was hardly the only one. Scores of acolytes thronged for the Sanctum, hoping that they could be the first to make it to the safety of the main stronghold through the Divine Opportunity Column in the Sanctum. But these were only those who were quick on the uptake. Heavens help those who were still unaware of what just happened.
But by the time they arrived at the square just outside the Sanctum. They were greeted by the sight of a rowdy group of strangers led by a Cultivator riding on a ferocious-looking white tiger. The leader swung his saber and off came the head of the first Clan Feng acolyte foolhardy enough to test his wrath.
A tiny red sparkle was flying around him. Feng Yue could clearly see that that was a weapon manipulated using Telekinesis.
She had not seen this stranger before. The glow he emanated showed that he must be at least a Seventh-Order, but the purity of the glow was something that not even the superior Cloud River Realm Cultivators in Clan Feng could boast.
Feng Yue watched as the stranger dispensed death and destruction with unnerving coldness and efficacy. Of every Sixth-Order who dared to fight him, none of them survived beyond the first exchange of blows.
Suddenly, the young stranger noticed her. Their gazes locked for one split-second. Next, his eyes twinkled like a wolf who had discovered its prey. He leaped off the back of his tiger and glided over, bringing his saber down at her without any ounce of mercy or compassion!
That the blow failed to kill Feng Yue was not because of her skill, and Lu Ye was not one to show clemency, especially towards an enemy. But when Lu Ye threw himself at her, Feng Yue allowed herself to collapse by bending her knees and deftly dropped to a kneel on the ground with her head prostrated before his ankles.
Of all the reactions that Lu Ye anticipated from her, none of them included this.
A few strands of her hair gently fell to the ground. The handiwork of Inviolable when it was just so close to nicking her.
Lu Ye had lost count of the number of kills that he now had under his belt since entering the Spirit Creek Battlefield. Many died before they could even mount anything resembling some sort of opposition while some died fighting him. A rare few had tried begging for their lives to no avail; most fights and skirmishes between Cultivators from both the Thousand Demon Ridge and the Grand Sky Coalition were often bloody and deadly since it was generally accepted that no quarter would be shown to the defeated. To lose a battle meant forfeiting one’s life and no amount of pleading and groveling would usually change that.
Therefore, one could almost imagine Lu Ye’s surprise when he saw the woman falling to her knees without even the slightest hesitation. This really was a first!
What was more ludicrous was the fact that this woman was also a Seventh-Order Cultivator, which was what caught Lu Ye’s eye the moment he laid eyes on her. Lu Ye knew that she must either be the legate or prolegate of this outpost, which would also mean that she must be carrying enough valuables to make killing her worthwhile.
Until she bent her knees so willingly and so eagerly that Lu Ye became so confused and surprised that he failed to make any adjustments to his attack. That was what saved her life.
Lu Ye bent down to peer at the woman now humbly submitting herself to him. She had her forehead right on the ground—a gesture of utmost reverence and deference. Her complexion was a pallid cream-white and it was this, plus her posture that when added to her form-fitting dress only presented to everyone her voluptuous curves.
Lu Ye might have fumbled the first time, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. He had survived long enough to know better than to underestimate an enemy Seventh-Order; the only safe enemy is a dead one. That the woman now presented herself before him appeared like the best chance for him to behead her.
“I’m a Medical Cultivator! Please, sir! Have mercy!”
Lu Ye’s blade immediately slowed to a sudden halt. He frowned.
This woman had the sense to invoke one of the most important unspoken rules in the Battlefield: that Medical Cultivators should be spared whenever possible.
This was something that Lu Ye wasn’t aware of in the past. But since his appointment as legate of the Crimson Blood Sect outpost, Shui Yuan had had enough time and opportunity to instruct him more about the many practices and customs to observe in the Battlefield. As a matter of fact, Shui Yuan had taken special care to tell him about sparing the lives of Medical Cultivators. She must have realized what a bloodthirsty beast Lu Ye could be sometimes.
The reason behind this rule was simple enough. Medical Cultivators usually come in short supply, even in the Battlefield, and most, if not all of them, who learned the crafts of other fields of study such as spells or weapon mastery only did so as a means of protecting themselves. The purpose of Medical Cultivators did not usually stray from their main objective, which was to save lives. That made them absent from the frontlines even in skirmishes and wars. The last reason is a practical one: enemy Medical Cultivators could also be used to heal one’s own wounded.
Come to think of it, Pang Dahai did mention this briefly when he told Lu Ye and Yu Xiaodie about how Medical Cultivators were usually spared even if they got abducted or captured by enemy factions.
While it was a virtual certainty that Cultivators from both sides would be more than happy to wipe the floor with each other’s faces, both factions nevertheless held on to this unspoken rule like it was an edict from the Heavens. Whatever happened, it would never be in anyone’s interest to have the already-meager ranks of Medical Cultivators be pruned further.
The lack of Cultivators engenders the loss of more lives and talents.
But that would explain why this woman knelt the moment she realized there was no escape. She knew that her role as a Medical Cultivator would save her.
Lu Ye swished his saber coldly. That elicited a gash on her arm plus a painful yelp from her. Blood poured out of the wound and turned the fabric of her dress red.
Feng Yue clambered to her knee. Ignoring the stabbing pain, she raised her other hand and held it over the wound. A soft and soothing sensation from her Spiritual Power immediately diminished the pain.
Lu Ye spat. So she really was a Medical Cultivator.
Chen Yu, who was leading a bunch of Crimson Blood Sect to intercept any incoming insectoids, heard the call and answered, “Yes!”
“Watch this woman and don’t hesitate to kill her if she tries something funny.
Chen Yu peered at Feng Yue and responded, “Yes, sir!”
Lu Ye paced away only to pause, then he turned back around, “Right, and strip her of her Storage Bag. Interrogate and see if there’s anything worth taking here!”
When Lu Ye had left, Chen Yu looked at Feng Yue. “You heard the man, now hand over your Storage Bag!”
Feng Yue quietly surrendered her Storage Bag. But she did not get up. With a weak and helpless look at Chen Yu, she begged, “I feel unwell. Could you give me a hand?” As she spoke, she reached out for him.
She was only too thankful to have survived. All the tricks that she had used to great frequency and effect on men had failed to work on the young stranger. He did not even see her as a woman. Just an enemy.
But Chen Yu was different. He could feel something stirring inside him the moment he saw the milk-white skin of the woman. He looked and saw Lu Ye butchering some insectoids and shook his head firmly. “No, you’re getting up yourself.”
Glumly, Feng Yue got up herself—slowly.
“I’m warning you. Nothing funny! Now take me to your vault!”
He gave Feng Yue a shove, who let loose a womanly moan that could make any man—and in this instance, Chen Yu—swoon…
With her outpost taken and herself captured as a prisoner-of-war, now, the enemies were demanding her to lead them to their vault! Feng Yue was none too happy about being treated as such, but she was at least relieved to know that she would survive.
Inside the Sanctum of Providence, Hua Ci retracted her arm. She said to Cao Huahong who had been waiting beside and said, “Your turn, Brother Cao.”
Cao Huahong burst into hearty laughter, “Well, my thanks to you!” He placed a hand on the Divine Opportunity Column to remove the remaining enhancements inside.
With Ding Yushu occupied with keeping the bulk of the Clan Feng force underground in the insectoid nest, Cao Huahong had arrived at his behest, leading the rest of the Atheneum’s acolytes here to assist with Lu Ye’s invasion as the prolegate of the Atheneum and with their victory, half of the enhancements upon the Clan Feng Divine Opportunity Column would now go to the Atheneum.
It was an alliance and naturally, the Crimson Blood Sect was obligated to honor it.
The Crimson Blood Sect were joined by the Atheneum of Finality acolytes when they were still waiting for the shield of the defensive ward to fall.
But it was nevertheless simple enough for Cao Huahong, especially since all he had just done was come all the way here and strut into the captured outpost like a conqueror. There has been no job so easy and yet so rewarding before. But coming here and witnessing Lu Ye and Hua Ci at work, he began to understand the respect and admiration Ding Yushu had for the legate and prolegate of the Crimson Blood Sect outpost. He had heard enough about what happened during the Battle Royal of the Legates and how these two young prodigies had managed to turn the tide of the battle in their favor—all thanks to the tactical advantage that both had amassed right from the beginning. It would seem that some form of well-maintained friendship with the Crimson Blood Sect would not go amiss.