Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Why would a cultivator purposely return to the ground before battling their enemies? It was because the risk was too great. Barring certain exceptions, not even Eighth or Ninth-Order cultivators would battle enemies in the sky. For one, they were still pretty new to aerial combat. Two, it took too much mental strength to control a flying artifact and fight at the same time. Worst case scenario, they could even lose their flying artifact to an enemy attack and fall to their deaths.
No, it wasn’t a joke, nor was it a particularly rare occurrence. In fact, the “accident” happened less only after one had changed their cultivation technique to Heaven Grade. It was because that was the point where most cultivators possessed sufficient control over their Spiritual Power to pilot their flying artifacts and fight at the same time.
The man flying through the area was a Ninth-Order cultivator. They could tell just by looking at his Spiritual Light.
Although the Hao brother and sister were Eighth-Order cultivators, it was never a good idea to provoke an enemy that was clearly stronger than you. So, they dug deeper into their hiding spot and waited for the cultivator to pass. The good news was that he looked like he was just passing through the area, and not because he was responding to the deaths of his fellow sect members. There was also plenty of cover in this forest. Unless Lu Ye intentionally exposed himself, he should have no trouble hiding from the cultivator’s perception.
As for why they were so sure that the guy passing through the area was an enemy, it was because this was the territory of Sky Pillar Sect’s Outpost. Only a member of the sect would dare to fly through the area so brazenly. And even if he wasn’t, he was most likely a Thousand Demon Ridge cultivator.
The Hao brother and sister didn’t want to expose themselves because they were trying to avoid a fight, but…
The noise wasn’t particularly loud, but it was high-pitched enough that it could be heard miles away. It was the sound of a blade being unsheathed.
Hao Ren and Hao Qing exchanged a glance. A bad feeling rose within their chest.
They glanced up at the enemy cultivator. As expected, the man had heard the noise and changed his course. He eventually came close enough for Hao Ren to identify him.
The Silverlight Island cultivator’s expression turned serious. The man was a Sky Pillar Sect cultivator known as Yuan Guang. The reason he recognized Yuan Guang was because he was the former prolegate of the Outpost. It was said that many Thousand Demon Ridge Legates and prolegates had been stripped of their positions because they had suffered a massive loss during the recent Battle Royale of the Legates. Yuan Guang was one of those unfortunate enough to shoulder the blame.
Most Legates of Tier Five or Six factions were Ninth-Order cultivators. That was all the strength that was needed to secure the Outpost. Only Tier Four factions—Outposts who were pretty close to the Core Circle—would have Legates with Heaven Grade cultivation techniques.
Yuan Guang was by no means an easy foe. Hao Ren was certain he already had a Heaven Grade cultivation technique, and the only reason he hadn’t made the switch was because he didn’t have enough Spiritual Points. Even so, he must have unlocked two hundred Spiritual Points at least.
Hao Ren was certain that Lu Ye was the one who made the noise. He had no idea where the young man found the confidence to challenge a champion like Yuan Guang.
Meanwhile, Lu Ye was sitting next to the Purple Cloud Flower and waiting quietly for Yuan Guang to make his descent. He would’ve attacked the guy already, but he wasn’t sure if he belonged to Thousand Demon Ridge or Grand Sky Coalition. He got his answer just a few seconds later though.
Yuan Guang’s face turned ugly when he landed and saw the four dead bodies on the forest floor. He was so angry that his facial muscles were twitching a bit. He asked in a dark tone, “Are you the one who killed them all?”
Lu Ye’s only response was to charge toward him and bring down his saber.
Yuan Guang was a Ninth-Order cultivator though, so his reaction was much better than Lu Ye’s earlier opponents. He immediately raised his sword and blocked the attack. For a second, two pairs of eyes glared death at one another.
Yuan Guang erupted, “You are courting death!” but he was secretly shocked by how fast and powerful the Seventh-Order cultivator was. He was two minor realms above him, and yet the blow was so powerful that his grip had turned a little numb.
‘Is he a combat cultivator or a body tempering cultivator? Not even a Ninth-Order body tempering cultivator could possess this much strength, could they?’
He examined his opponent closely and tried to recall if he had seen Lu Ye before.
“Yi Yi!” Lu Ye shouted as light burst out of the Inviolable all of a sudden. It was as if a mini sun was born from the blade.
Yuan Guang did not see this coming, of course. One second he was staring at the young man’s face, and the next his eyes were filled with blinding white! He didn’t panic, however. He immediately jumped back in an attempt to buy time and recover, but an invisible power suddenly pressed down on him without warning. It was like someone had dropped a mountain on his back.
This was the first time Lu Ye had used Radiance and Gravity Well against an enemy. It was a resounding success.
Unpredictability was the middle name of a Glyphweaver. Lu Ye only knew a handful of Glyphs, but he could already use them to great effect. He could only imagine how hard it was to battle a veteran Glyphweaver. More likely than not, their enemy would die before they knew what hit them.
The surprise gave Yuan Guan quite the fright to say the least. Without hesitation, he slapped the Storage Bag on his waist and caused a flying weapon to shoot out of it. At the same time, he slashed with his sword again and again in an attempt to buy as much time for himself as possible. He did not try to conserve his Spiritual Power because he would only die faster.
He was struck by a strange sense of vertigo. When his vision recovered, he abruptly discovered that he was not at the same place he was before. Somehow, the mountain forest around him had transformed into a stone forest.
‘What the hell? Is this…’
“A Ward Scroll?” Yuan Guang blurted.
Meanwhile, the Hao brother and sister had just arrived at the scene to assist Lu Ye. However, all they saw was Yi Yi standing in front of a Spirit Artifact. They too exclaimed in surprise,
“A Ward Scroll?”
A Ward Scroll was an extremely valuable Spirit Artifact that could only be created by a pair of masterful ward and artifact cultivators. The ward cultivator would set up the wards, and the artifact cultivator would create the artifact. Depending on the complexity of the Ward Scroll, they might even need to invite a powerful Glyphweaver to help them. The process was as complex as it was expensive.
Hao Ren was just a Spirit Creek Realm cultivator. He had heard of Ward Scrolls, but he had never seen one with his own eyes. Scratch that, his own sect had never owned one since they were founded. It was a treasure far beyond the likes of a Spirit Creek Realm cultivator, and to say he never expected to see it in the hands of a Sixth-Order cultivator would be an understatement. He thought to himself,
‘I suppose that the Crimson Blood Sect is a powerful sect. They might have declined, but an emaciated camel is still bigger than a horse. Still, are they sure that handing a Ward Scroll to a Spirit Creek Realm cultivator is a good idea? What if they lose it?’
In fact, Hao Ren was completely mistaken. The Ward Scroll hadn’t come from the Crimson Blood Sect—even they had never had a Ward Scroll—it had come from Lady Yun.
Lady Yun had been worried for Lu Ye’s safety after learning of his intention to enter the Inner Circle. After the commotion Lu Ye had caused during the Battle of Goldentip, it was practically guaranteed that he was going to be targeted by the Thousand Demon Ridge during his journey.
Since she had basically chosen Lu Ye as a disciple—even though she couldn’t make him her official disciple—she saw no reason not to afford him some protection. That was why she had given him the precious Nine Realms Scroll.
In fact, the Nine Realms Scroll was so valuable that it was considered a class above Spirit Artifacts. Officially, it was classified as a Spirit Treasure.
The Nine Realms Scroll wasn’t the only treasure Lady Yun had given him, but it was useless in combat.
Technically speaking, Lu Ye was nowhere near the cultivation level where he could use a Spirit Treasure. In fact, he, Yi Yi and Amber could combine their powers and still not activate it for even an instant. That was why she had sealed off ninety percent of the power.
Even at ten percent strength, the Spirit Treasure was still too powerful for Yi Yi to activate in full. It was fine though. It was enough that they could use it to defend themselves.
Yi Yi knew nothing about wards as a matter of course, and even Lu Ye just barely scratched the surface of the subject. Thankfully, the Nine Realms Scroll was both a Ward Scroll and a Spirit Treasure. Just like all other Spirit Artifacts and Spirit Treasures, all she needed to do was to channel her Spiritual Power into the item to use it.
The reason the Nine Realms Scroll was given its name was because it carried nine pocket spaces within itself. Each pocket space contained a different type of landscape, and when activated the Ward Scroll could pull multiple people into the pocket spaces. Eight of the nine of the pocket spaces were currently sealed, so the stone forest was the only one they could use right now.
Speaking of which, all of the landscapes within the Nine Realms Scroll were real. In the process of creating the Ward Scroll, Lady Yun had traveled across Jiu Zhou in search of landscapes that fit her criteria. She then physically extracted the space from the environment and refined them into the scroll using her Glyphs. That was how the Nine Realms Scroll came to be.
Right now, the Nine Realms Scroll was floating in front of Yi Yi. She was clearly pouring her Spiritual Power into the Spirit Treasure.
From an outsider’s point of view, the Ward Scroll looked like an ink wash painting of a landscape. It displayed a stone forest overflowing with stone pillars of differing heights and a floor of yellow sand. It looked cold and desolate.
A closer look would reveal that a pair of tiny figures were standing off against one another at a corner of the painting. One of them was clearly Lu Ye, and the other Yuan Guang.
“An Internal Ward Scroll?”
Hao Ren swallowed. Ward scrolls could be broken down into two types: external and internal. When activated, an External Ward Scroll enveloped everything in its range in a number of wards. If a target were to set foot in those wards, they would come alive and unleash their power upon them. It was the perfect item to use when laying an ambush for the enemy.
An Internal Ward Scroll functioned just like the Nine Realms Scroll. It would pull a target into the scroll before destroying them with their wards.
Both types of Ward Scrolls had their pros and cons, and it was impossible to say which was more valuable. However, there would never be enough Ward Scrolls in Jiu Zhou because they were far too difficult to create.
The most famous Ward Scroll in Jiu Zhou was called the Mountain River Scroll. It was the priceless treasure of a Tier One sect in Tian Zhou. Multiple mountains and rivers had been sealed within the Ward Scroll by Divine Ocean Realm cultivators, and each one could be summoned to slay their enemies. Not only was it incredibly powerful, it had taken the sect over a thousand years and countless generations to perfect it.
The Nine Realms Scroll was created by Lady Yun alone, so of course it was incomparable to the Mountain River Scroll. Even so, just ten percent of its power was enough for Lu Ye and Yi Yi.
Inside the scroll, Lu Ye and Yuan Guang were already clashing against one another. Weak flashes of Spiritual Power could occasionally be felt from the Ward Scroll. From the outside, the moving pictures of men clashing against one another actually looked pretty amusing, but everyone knew it was anything but that.
“We can help,” said Hao Ren after he had recovered from his shock. Now he understood why Lu Ye was bold enough to taunt a Ninth-Order cultivator. If the two of them were to join him in the scroll, then Yuan Guang was dead for sure!
That was what he thought Lu Ye’s plan was, but Yi Yi shook her head and said, “Lu Ye hasn’t asked for help yet, so thank you for the offer, but let’s just wait and see what happens for now.”
There was nothing else Hao Ren could say. He looked at the scroll and watched the unfolding battle.