Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
In the mines, Lu Ye received a message from Hao Ren. “It’s time to leave, Brother Yi Ye!”
The survivors of the mines had been alerted of their deeds, and word of their killing spree must have reached the Outpost already. Since the ore vein was only fifteen kilometers away from the Outpost, reinforcements could arrive very, very quickly. If they did not leave when they still could, they would quickly find themselves with their backs against the wall.
Lu Ye knew it was unwise to linger for long as well, so he did not hesitate to leave the moment he received the message. He followed Yi Yi out of a mining entrance.
The mine had a ton of entrances mainly to facilitate escape. In the Spirit Creek Battlefield, mining was a dangerous task. Without enough means of escape, it was all too easy to be cornered by a group of hostile cultivators or creatures. Barring exceptional circumstances, most mines were built with a ton of exits.
Lu Ye did not mind this of course. He liked that he did not have to backtrack the way he came.
Not long after he ran out of the mines, he heard what sounded like a bird cry from the nearby forest. He immediately dropped Amber on the ground, climbed onto its back, and rode it toward the bird cry.
A moment later, he met up with the Hao brother and sister and ran away with everything they had.
Everyone was expecting to be pursued after kicking the hornet’s nest, and Lu Ye even had a number of backup plans in mind. If the pursuers turned out to be less than expected, then turning back and surprising their pursuers was an option. If it was the other way around, then he would split up from the Hao brother and sister and continue his escape using Wings. Wings was fast enough that the ordinary flying Spirit Artifact could not hope to catch up, and he could draw the enemy away from the ghost cultivators.
Things did not go as they had expected, however. After running for a while, they quickly discovered that no one was pursuing them at all. They were astonished and confused as a matter of course.
Two hours later, the three cultivators and a tiger came to a stop on a small hill. They decided to cut their escape short since no one came after them.
It was at this moment Hao Ren said, “I think we made a mistake, Brother Yi Ye.”
“I don’t think Sky Pillar Sect will be coming after us.”
He was communicating with Luo Fu just now, and this was the conclusion the man had arrived at.
“We killed three of their Ninth-Order cultivators and invaded their ore vein, right? From the Sky Pillar Sect’s point of view, it must have looked like a large group of cultivators had decided to invade them. They wouldn’t think it was done by the three of us because the Ninth-Order cultivators died before they even managed to send out a message. Add to the fact that it’s the dead of night right now, of course they wouldn’t dare to dispatch reinforcements willy-nilly. They must be holing up in their Outpost right now.”
Lu Ye immediately realized that Hao Ren’s deduction might very well be the truth. As he said, Sky Pillar Sect had no idea what was going on except that the three Ninth-Order cultivators guarding the ore vein were dead, and the mines were conquered by an enemy force. Add to that the fact that it was midnight, it made sense that they wouldn’t dare to retake the ore vein.
“Since when did you become so smart, brother?” Hao Qing glanced at her brother in astonishment.
Hao Ren simply shot her a glare and ignored her. He wasn’t going to tell her that it was Brother Luo Fu who told him all this.
“That said, that’s no reason to let down our guard. At the very least, the Sky PIllar Sect will surely scout out the ore vein when dawn comes. They’ll probably find out the truth then.”
Heavens only know how they would feel when they realized that the “massive” force that attacked the ore vein was really just a couple of cultivators…
Meanwhile, Luo Fu was wearing a strange look after he ended his conversation with Hao Ren. It was because he found out that there was nothing he could do.
‘For fuck’s sake, I cannot believe the Sky Pillar Sect didn’t send anyone to retake their mines. What should I do? There’s no way I can order the ship to turn around after dragging everyone out of the Outpost, can I? God dammit.’
An incense stick later, the Hao brother and sister had led him to a tranquil lake.
The night wind swept across the area and caused the lake water to ripple a little. It felt as if the very air had become fresher.
They were relaxing after confirming that the Sky Pillar Sect had not sent anyone after them. The main reason they came to the lake was because Hao Qing was covered with blood after their operation, and she wanted to take a moment to clean herself. Lu Ye had no problems with that.
Hao Ren started a fire and started barbecuing a large chunk of animal meat. Judging from his technique, he was very skilled in the art.
While resting, Lu Ye glanced at the lake where Hao Qing was standing. The girl had muttered something he couldn’t hear before throwing something huge into the lake, causing a loud splash.
Sensing Lu Ye’s puzzlement, Hao Ren explained, “It is said that there is a Great Serpent who lives in this lake, and it has a taste for bloody meat. It usually doesn’t hurt people though, so cultivators who wish to collect water from the lake or rest nearby throw some bloody meat into the lake as an offering.”
“A Great Serpent?”
“I’ve never seen it myself, so don’t ask me what it looks like. I imagine that it’s just a long, fairly huge snake.”
Lu Ye and Amber immediately recalled the tender, sweet flesh of snake meat and felt a pang of hunger.
Hao Ren chuckled. “There are all kinds of legends and rumors in the Spirit Creek Battlefield, and Heavens know what is real and what isn’t. As far as I know, no one has ever seen the Great Serpent, so it’s probably just another baseless rumor.”
A while later, Hao Qing finished cleaning herself and rejoined the group. Her hair was wet with water. It so happened Hao Ren had just finished barbecuing the meat, so they immediately split the food and chowed down heartily.
It had been a busy day and night, and everyone was feeling tired and sleepy. Lu Ye and the Hao brother and sister meditated to regain their strength while Yi Yi kept watch.
Lu Ye inspected his Spiritual Points in the middle of his cultivation. More than half a month ago, he had unlocked a hundred and thirty five Spiritual Points. Now, he only needed to unlock one more to reach one hundred and forty four Spiritual Points and reach the Eighth-Order.
Entering a new cultivation level wasn’t always a good thing. For starters, killing Yuan Guang had netted him twenty seven Contribution Points. Had he killed the man as an Eighth-Order cultivator, he would’ve earned just eighteen Contribution Points.
This was one of the reasons he had come to the Inner Circle before cultivating to the Eighth-Order. Yes, his cultivation level was a little weak for the Inner Circle, but those sweet, sweet Contribution Points were more than worth the trouble.
Next, Lu Ye grabbed the Storage Bags he had looted and began unlocking them one by one.
There was a limit to how many Storage Bags he could carry on his and Amber’s person. Thankfully, Lady Yun’s teaching had greatly improved his lockpicking skills. These days, it only took him a small amount of time to unlock a single Storage Bag.
He was just getting into it when the cat-sized Amber leaped onto his legs and bumped his stomach with its head. There was only one thing that caused Amber to act like this.
Lu Ye rolled his eyes a bit before producing the dragon scale. Amber immediately went over and sucked in a visible line of red mist into its stomach.
As usual, its limbs stiffened, and it collapsed sideways like a frozen popsicle. At the same time, faint red light mingled with its golden mutant qi.
Since he obtained the dragon scale from the Dragon Spring of One Hundred Peaks, Amber would inhale the red mist it contained from time to time. Lu Ye had also installed it in his Circle of Boon when cultivating in his own private training chamber. It had been a long time since he started using the dragon scale, but the red mist it contained had barely decreased, showing just how much it contained.
His senior sister, Shui Yuan had tried researching the dragon scale before, but she was unable to identify what it was. She only knew that there was a great secret beneath the Dragon Spring.
Lu Ye planned to check the Dragon Spring again when he was stronger. He still remembered the massive pair of red pupils that appeared in his mind when he was tempering his body in the Dragon Spring to this day.
Lu Ye resumed his lockpicking practice after putting away the dragon scale.
Suddenly, ripples began appearing on the lake even though the air was completely calm. In fact, it was rippling outward from the center of the lake. The ripples grew more and more violent until finally, a single horn emerged above the surface of the water. What looked like a massive shadow slithered soundlessly beneath the waters.
Yi Yi called out in a soft voice. Noticing that her voice didn’t sound right, he quickly looked around only to come face to face with a pair of green eyes. Each pupil was the size of a washbasin, so it was incredibly obvious even under the cover of the night.
An unspeakable sense of terror and crisis gripped Lu Ye when he met those eyes. When he focused outward, he realized that the owner of the eyes was what looked like a ridiculously large snake. Its head was absolutely massive, and it had a meaty horn at the center of its forehead. Its body was covered in densely packed scales, and there were a pair of bumps to the left and right of its abdomen. It looked like something was going to grow out of those bumps.
There was no way to tell how long it was since over half of its body was submerged beneath the lake. It was at least as thick as a giant bathtub, however.
Lu Ye dared not move a muscle when their eyes met. It was because he could tell that the creature before him was probably on the same level as Gray. They were both existences who had reached the absolute limit the Spirit Creek Battlefield could tolerate, and not even champions like Feng Yue or Li Baxian could defeat them singlehandedly.
The good news was that the giant snake only stared at him instead of attacking him immediately. Heavens only know why it was staring at him though.
“Brother Hao. Brother Hao!”
Lu Ye kept his voice low as he called out to Hao Ren.
At this point, Hao Ren still had no idea what was going on. He responded normally, “What is it?”
“What did you say was living in the lake again?”
“The Great—SERPENT!” Hao Ren screamed out the last word when he turned around and met the gigantic pair of pupils.
His sister was completely caught off guard by his scream and tried to rise to her feet, but he realized his mistake and was able to push her down in time. She maintained an awkward one knee, half-kneeling position as her eyes widened at the sight of the Great Serpent.
Cold sweat slowly dripped down their foreheads. The atmosphere grew fearful and heavy.
No one dared to move because they could sense how powerful the Great Serpent was. Provoking it was only going to deny them the privilege of tomorrow’s sun for eternity.
“I thought you said it was just a baseless rumor, Brother Hao?”
Lu Ye did not know whether to cry or laugh at his luck. Speak of the devil and he shall appear.
Hao Ren replied in a shivering voice, “I believed it was a baseless rumor. Hao Qing and I have visited this lake several times and never seen it.”
“What do we do? And why does it keep staring at me?”
“Let me think.” Hao Ren sucked in a couple of deep breaths to calm himself down. “What was I saying earlier? Right, it loves bloody meat. Maybe it’s drawn by our earlier offering and wants more? Give me a second to offer it some meat. No one moves except me, get it?”
He slowly rose to his feet as he said this.
Meanwhile, Lu Ye’s concentration had hit its peak. The second the Great Serpent moved in a threatening manner, he was going to take to the sky and escape.
The reason he hadn’t fled already was because he didn’t want to risk provoking its ire. He might be able to escape the Great Serpent, but the Hao brother and sister would have to suffer its wrath.
Of course, flying away was his only option if the Great Serpent truly was malicious.