Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
As soon as Hua Ci and Cao Huahong had finished dividing the spoils—most important of which were the enhancements of the Clan Feng Divine Opportunity Column—the Crimson Blood Sect force withdrew in an orderly manner just like before. Lu Ye alone diverted the insectoids’ attention away from them with his Fire Dragon spells all blazing in full force, using the discharge of his Spiritual Power to attract as many insectoids as he could.
The insectoids wasted no time in surrounding him.
Which would have been a death sentence if he did not have Glyph: Wings. It was being able to fly that made attempts like this way less risky than they should have been. Without the ability of flight or other means of escape, a Cultivator could be as powerful as he wanted but he would still be overrun by the insectoids.
With his wings, he could fly and flee if anything were to go sideways. In moments like this, Lu Ye gave thanks to both his mentor Tang Yifeng and Lady Yun for being able to fly.
Lu Ye made sure that every single member of the Crimson Blood Sect had fully retreated to a safe distance before he took to the air, turning into a speck of red that shot out of sight.
The insectoids tried in vain to give chase, but it did not take long before they had completely lost him. They stopped and began dispersing to consume whatever was within sight as their instincts dictated.
To the north of the Crimson Blood Sect outpost, the Redoubt of Wrath had been fully wiped out with the bulk of its force crippled.
To the east, the Clan Feng outpost has also been taken. They might not have suffered as many casualties as the Redoubt of Wrath, but their losses were still quite substantial.
And the two Thousand Demon Ridge orders would not have suffered this fate today if not for the Crimson Blood Sect.
At the moment, Lu Ye did not have any plans for any more conquest. His men had taken down two enemy outposts consecutively and they could definitely use some rest.
Besides, most of the orders and sects would have completed their extermination by now. He could lead and drive the insectoid horde to another Thousand Demon Ridge outpost, but the effects would not be as potent as before.
What demanded his attention at the moment was what to do with the remnants of the Clan Feng acolytes.
Clan Feng might have lost its outpost, but few of its members were slain in the process. If the Crimson Blood Sect had done enough damage to the Redoubt of Wrath, then it was only fair that Lu Ye inflicted the same upon Clan Feng.
Lu Ye did not neglect to recall that Ding Yushu was still outside the Clan Feng wormhole with his men. He should be taking his men there to rejoin the rest of the Atheneum to mop up the rest of Clan Feng once and for all.
If that could be accomplished, the Crimson Blood Sect would reign supreme across the lands within a hundred-mile radius of their outpost.
Lu Ye veered around and flew off to rejoin his people.
“Brother Lu Ye!” Cao Huahong saluted as soon as they met, beaming broadly as if the very air he breathed in smelled so sweet.
“How are things at the other end?”
Cao Huahong gave Lu Ye an account of what was going on at the wormhole. Apparently, word of their outpost being captured had reached the Clan Feng acolytes underground. But while they wallowed with dejection and anguish, they had no idea who was behind the attack.
It was complete bedlam when the defensive ward of the Clan Feng outpost collapsed and the acolytes who managed to get back to the real world of Jiu Zhou before Lu Ye and the Crimson Blood Sect invaders arrived failed to see who their enemies were.
In fact, even for Feng Yue, it was only when she had calmed down that she recognized the white tiger and guessed the mastermind of the attack was Lu Ye. But she could hardly inform everyone else right now.
Not in her current situation where Chen Yu and Kong Niu were keeping a watchful eye on her. One wrong move and she would either be beheaded by a saber or skewered through the heart by a sword, whichever got to her first.
She might be a Seventh-Order, but that did not prevent her from feeling like a lamb that had strayed into the midst of a wolfpack.
According to Cao Huahong, Feng Lianju had been rallying the Clan Feng acolytes underground in a number of vain attempts to get out of the wormhole but the Atheneum of Finality acolytes had managed to repel them every single time, causing huge losses on the side of the Clan Feng acolytes.
That culminated in a stalemate where one party was none too eager to head into the wormhole while the other just couldn’t get out at all.
Lu Ye frowned. The stalemate was proving a conundrum that he could not yet find a solution to.
He caught the scent of a unique fragrance. There was no need to turn his head. It must be Hua Ci coming over on her Wolf Golem.
“So, how was the loot?”
“Not bad,” Hua Ci nodded before she added, “I see you’ve collected some form of loot yourself.”
“You got yourself a wife. They say she’s the legate of the outpost,” Hua Ci nudged her chin at their hostage.
[Wife?! How the heck did you arrive at that?!] Lu Ye was about to deny that remark when something dawned upon him. He hurried over to Feng Yue and whispered something into her ear.
Feng Yue bobbed her head at first as she listened until her face turned aghast with disbelief.
Whatever it was, it was reason enough for Lu Ye to rip Inviolable out of its scabbard. Yet despite the threat of death, Feng Yue shook her head vigorously, shedding tears of despair.
Inviolable blazed with its fiery-red splendor and Feng Yue just stood there with her eyes shut as if she was expecting its wrath to befall her.
She waited for a few seconds and still, the blow never came. By the time she opened her eyes, Lu Ye was gone. She exhaled with relief. She had survived yet again and the vanishing tension almost reduced her knees to marshmallows.
Not far away, Lu Ye was alone. Sulking.
When he heard Hua Ci saying that Feng Yue was the legate of the Clan Feng outpost, Lu Ye expected that she must enjoy some measure of admiration, respect, and more importantly, obedience from her fellow acolytes. He thought of harnessing just that by using her to get her people to willingly step out into the open. That would have made the job easier for the Atheneum and the Crimson Blood Sect.
Lu Ye did not expect any success in coercing her at first, but after gauging her, he judged her to be a cowardly person.
And as it turned out, he misjudged her. She might have been spineless when Lu Ye first swung his weapon at her. But now that he was asking her to betray her brethren, she found her courage all of a sudden—even under the pain of death.
She would gladly use her role as Medical Cultivator to safeguard herself. She would beg and grovel at one’s feet if it meant saving herself. But she would not go against her own principles when it came to her loyalty to Clan Feng. Her gamble paid off. Lu Ye just couldn’t just flippantly sentence her to death for nothing.
The combined forces pressed forward until they reached the Clan Feng wormhole, making it an alliance of more than a thousand men.
Lu Ye joined Ding Yushu by the edge of the pit, and they looked inside. The legate of the Atheneum of Finality gave Lu Ye a recap of the situation at hand and it basically matched what Cao Huahong’s reports.
“So that’s where we are right now. Do you have any suggestions, Brother Yi Ye?”
“I’m going down to have a look.”
That was said with a straight face, and Lu Ye just dropped himself in with the nonchalance of dropping a stone into the pit.
Ding Yushu’s eyes bulged the moment he saw Lu Ye fall into the hole. [What the…?! Is he mad?!]
He peered down into the black, bottomless abyss and saw lights. Flickering luminescence from Spiritual Power being discharged. Energy bolts. The force of the eruptions rushed up the pit, a column of air slamming into his face before he glimpsed Lu Ye shooting into the sky. Lu Ye landed back on the ground. He was unhurt, but he looked almost beat up.
It was just for one fleeting moment, but Lu Ye saw what he wanted to see: scores of Clan Feng Cultivators camped just around the bottom of the pit, ready to attack anyone who came down, which Lu Ye would have not been prepared to test if he did not have Glyph: Protection.
“Do we have any way to collapse the tunnels?”
If they could do that, then they could easily dispose of the enemies by burying them all alive.
“I’ve thought of that too,” Ding Yushu’s shaking of his head portended his answer, “But we don’t have the power to do that. The tunnels are too deep.”
He sighed. “Well, if there’s nothing else, I say we call this off. We cannot spend all day around here and Clan Feng must have summoned help from the inner-ring areas. Those with enough Contribution Points could have called upon the power of the Divine Opportunity Column to transport them back to the outpost. But that’s a big if, since it won’t be cheap.”
Contribution Points did not come easily; Cultivators spend their Contribution Points on almost anything, making saving Points more easily said than done.
Lu Ye knew that full well as a legate himself. The Divine Opportunity Column had the ability to magically transport Cultivators back to their stronghold. But the cost varied between different Cultivator ranks and distances.
He might not have tested this ability before, but he knew that such a request would invariably be very, very expensive.
Beyond any doubt, both the Redoubt of Wrath and Clan Feng must have acolytes who had traveled farther into the inner ring or even central areas of the Battlefield. Powerful acolytes now spent their time training or wandering on a pilgrimage around the deeper and more perilous parts of the Battlefield.
There was no telling whether they had been informed about the attacks on their outposts, but if so, then they had to be on their way back by now.
Hence, the Crimson Blood Sect and Atheneum of Finality forces here would be sitting ducks by the time a bunch of disgruntled and vengeful Cultivators only too eager to avenge their fallen comrades arrived.
Not far away, Feng Yue was quietly eavesdropping on the discussion. [Good. Go down that road], she thought. [Believe that people are coming and you lot have to retreat. That way, it’s all’s well that ends well for everyone.]
Clan Feng might have lost its outpost, but many of its members still lived. Its power and influence could always be rebuilt at any time.
“Damn. I’m not happy at all with this,” Lu Ye shook his head.
“Well, you’re not alone there,” Ding Yushu chuckled weakly, “But there’s pretty much nothing we could do.”
“Wait, let me think. There must be something we can do.”
It wasn’t easy getting Clan Feng down on its heels. To give up the advantage and leave would be nothing short of a waste. Lu Ye gazed at Feng Yue, who noticed it and quickly averted her eyes and lowered her head, putting up the appearance of a wronged damsel-in-distress in need of justice.
[Bloody woman… And of all times, she has finally discovered her backbone now…]
Something made Ding Yushu and Cao Huahong both look at their Battlefield Imprint in unison. They both exchanged grave looks.
“Brother Ding!” Cao Huahong muttered.
“I know,” Ding responded. He looked at Lu Ye, “I’m afraid I have to go now, Brother Yi Ye. Our outpost is under attack.”
“By who?” asked an incredulous Lu Ye.
Lu Ye recognized that name as the one belonging to another Thousand Demon Ridge order whose outpost sat somewhere to the north of the Atheneum of Finality outpost.
“But why would Mount Kalachakra be launching an attack on your outpost all of a sudd—” Lu Ye did not allow himself to finish. Instead, he looked at Feng Yue.
“Obviously, someone has been reporting our movements,” Ding Yushu was looking at her as well—coldly.
He immediately rounded up his men first. Then he gave Lu Ye one last salute, “Till next time, Brother Yi Ye. I look forward to fighting alongside you once more.”
“I daresay we’ll be fighting alongside each other soon enough. We’re coming along. We might not be killing any Clan Feng goons just yet but killing Mount Kalachakra goons would make up for the loss!”
“That’s great!” Ding Yushu beamed at Lu Ye’s offer.
Lu Ye hurried through the crowd and seized Feng Yue by her collar before tossing her up on Amber’s back, much to her protesting squeals.
In seconds, almost two thousand men began racing as speedily as possible for the Atheneum of Finality outpost, leaving the outside of the Clan Feng wormhole deserted and quiet.
Feng Yue finally exhaled easily as she rode on Amber’s back. The gambit that she had pulled off worked without her expecting it to. With the Atheneum and Crimson Blood Sect now focusing on the siege of the Atheneum’s outpost, the Clan Feng acolytes still trapped underground could finally get out to safety.
Posting the trot on Amber’s back, Feng Yue glanced around her to make sure no one was looking before she quickly delivered another message: [“Mount Kalachakra is now attacking the Atheneum outpost! Everyone’s gone there! You can get out now! Quick!”]
Little did she realize that Lu Ye and Ding Yushu were sending messages of their own.