Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Behind the Grand Defensive Ward, Zou Qi stared into Luo Fu’s eyes in an attempt to confirm his nemesis was lying. However, he wasn’t able to glean anything from it.
“Are you going to escape? No? We’re coming over then!” A smiling Luo Fu raised his hand before dropping it in front of him. At the same time, he declared, “Begin!”
Lights of all shapes, colors and sizes erupted from behind him. They landed squarely on the Sky Pillar Sect’s Grand Defensive Ward and disrupted its composition.
The Sky Pillar Sect had encountered countless big and small crises since the foundation of their sect, but they had never encountered one as hopeless as this.
The Great Serpent was attacking their front, and the Silverlight Island their back. They just could not see a way out of this no matter how they tried.
“Let’s withdraw, Brother Zou,” Yu Hongbao said next to his senior brother.
Although the Grand Defensive Ward could hold a while longer, it was only a matter of time before it broke down completely. It would truly be too late if they waited until the ward was gone before they took action. The enemy would be able to destroy them like spearing fish in a barrel.
“You say that, but where to?” Zou Qi said listlessly.
Yu Hongbao’s lips wriggled, but he could not bring himself to say the words he knew were in his senior brother’s mind right now.
There was only one path of retreat for them, and that was to teleport back to their headquarters via the Divine Opportunity Column. But if they did this, it would be the equivalent of giving up decades of labor and prizes to their enemies.
Even if the crime of losing an Outpost wasn’t death by execution, this still wasn’t an unacceptable outcome.
How could they continue living with such a taint on their honor? How could they continue calling themselves disciples of the Sky Pillar Sect?
“There might still be a way out of this!” Zou Qi said suddenly.
Yu Hongbao was well aware how smart his senior brother was. He immediately looked at him expectantly and asked, “What is your plan, Brother Zou?”
Instead of answering, the Legate sent him a message through the Battlefield Imprint.
Yu Hongbao mulled over the contents of the message and thought it was a viable plan. He immediately returned a nod of assent.
Zou Qi turned toward his nemesis and asked, “What do you think is going to happen if rumors that the Silverlight Island can control the Great Serpent were to spread, Luo Fu?”
Luo Fu was watching the Great Serpent tackling the Grand Defensive Ward with great interest when Zou Qi had asked him that sudden question. He instinctively felt a chill as he asked with a frown, “What do you mean?”
Zou Qi grinned. “Take some time to mull over my words. I’m sure you can work it out yourself.”
Although Luo Fu believed that his nemesis was just trying to sow doubt in him, he could not help but consider his words regardless.
Lu Yi Ye of the Crimson Blood Sect was the one who lured the Great Serpent to the Sky Pillar Sect’s Outpost. Silverlight Island had nothing to do with it whatsoever. However, the only ones who knew about this were Lu Yi Ye himself, the Hao brother and sister, Qi Shi and himself.
Sky Pillar Sect had no idea about the truth. Considering the circumstances, it was only natural that they would pin the Great Serpent’s unnatural behavior on the Silverlight Island.
The Great Serpent was a most formidable creature. Not even a Grand Defensive Ward could withstand its attacks indefinitely.
‘If the other sects were to hear about this incident…’
Luo Fu’s expression suddenly stiffened, and cold sweat began forming on his brow.
Before today, every sect on this land shared more or less the same strength. Although conflicts broke out between hostile sects everyday, no one was capable of doing true damage to the other party.
But what if the Silverlight Island were to make an ally out of the Great Serpent? Who could stay still after hearing such a terrifying rumor?
That fear would surely unite the factions of Thousand Demon Ridge against Silverlight Island.
‘The bastard’s trying to bring us down with them!’
“You would dare slander us, you treacherous bastard? The Great Serpent has absolutely nothing to do with Silverlight Island! If anything, everyone knows it is a Spirit Beast that dwells in your territory!” Luo Fu yelled angrily.
He wished that his sect could actually command a powerful Spirit Beast like the Great Serpent, but even if that was the case, it would actually be bad news for them. What if a cultivator were to come by a great weapon that could cut through anything, but they weren’t skilled or influential enough to keep it from their enemies? It would only fuel their enemy’s hostility and bring upon their death. It was the same thing here. Since the Silverlight Island wasn’t overwhelmingly stronger than its neighbors, the rumor that they could control the Great Serpent would only heighten their enemy’s aggression and unite all nearby Thousand Demon Ridge factions against them.
It didn’t even need to be a full-on invasion. If, say, four or five Thousand Demon Ridge factions were to join hands and harass them from time to time, they would probably follow in Sky Pillar Sect’s footsteps in just a few months time…
“It’s just a rumor. Who knows if it’s true or not? If I remember correctly, an Elder who’s a Snake Mutant is currently under your headquarters’ employ, am I right?”
His implication was as obvious as it was slanderous, but Luo Fu dared not to respond to his question. It was true that one of the Elders in the headquarters was a Snake Mutant, a Sea Snake Mutant to be exact. They had been neighbors for centuries, so they knew each other like the back of their hands.
The point was, Silverlight Island would be in deep shit if Zou Qi were to spread such a rumor. It might not be believable, but even the tiniest bit of suspicion could potentially put them in a terrible spot.
Luo Fu was starting to understand Zou Qi’s intention. He narrowed his eyes a little as he asked, “I think I can guess what you’re going to say next. You’re going to ask us to withdraw our forces to prove our ‘innocence’, aren’t you?”
“You said it, not me.”
“Keep dreaming, you treacherous dog!” Luo Fu let out a cold hmph. “Just wait until your Grand Defensive Ward is broken. If I fail to beat the crap out of you later, it’s only because you’ve already voided everything in your bowels!”
Zou Qi’s threat was very real, but only a complete idiot would allow such a perfect opportunity to slip through their grasp. They weren’t leaving until they had gotten what they wanted no matter what. Future problems were for future Luo Fu to handle, not him.
Plus, it wasn’t like Silverlight Island was alone and without allies. If Thousand Demon Ridge dared to gang up on Silverlight Island, then the Grand Sky Coalition would dare to protect them. Zou Qi must be dreaming to think that he could scare them into retreating with just his alarmist talk.
Yu Hongbao had been standing next to Zou Qi while the latter was negotiating with Luo Fu. He could not help but let out a sigh when he saw that his senior brother’s attempt to negotiate had ended his failure. Frankly, he wouldn’t have retreated if he was in Luo Fu’s position. The opportunity was just too good to let pass.
“Seal the Divine Opportunity Column!” Zou Qi ordered suddenly.
“What?” Yu Hongbao asked before realization struck him. He exclaimed with alarm, “Brother Zou! You—”
“Do it!” Zou Qi uttered through gritted teeth.
Yu Hongbao’s expression turned solemn and tragic. “Yes sir!”
It wasn’t long before the deed was done. By sealing the Divine Opportunity Column, the Sky Pillar Sect had basically cut off their final path of retreat. They would no longer be able to teleport back to Jiu Zhou. The reason Zou Qi ordered this was to prevent his people from making a run for it. Their situation was already hopeless to begin with. If anyone were to lose their nerve and make an attempt, it would almost certainly result in a total collapse. If that happened, there would truly be no saving their Outpost.
Yu Hongbao thought that Zou Qi was going to rally the men into one final hurrah and battle the enemy to the death. That was why he was wearing a tragic and mournful expression.
Zou Qi noticed this as well and consoled him, “We still have a chance, Brother Yu.”
Yu Hongbao thought he was just humoring him and shook his head. “Do I look like a coward, Brother Zou? The sect’s the one who nurtured me and made me who I am today. Now is the time I repay everything they’ve done for me. If there is one thing I am afraid of, it would be the possibility that I might fail to bring at least a few Silverlight Island scum with me to the grave.”
Since Zou Qi had already made up his mind, he as the prolegate could only trust in him and perform his role to the utmost. He had already made up his mind to hurt Silverlight Island as much as possible before he inevitably went down.
Zou Qi clarified, “I’m not humoring you. Didn’t you hear what Luo Fu said earlier? They’re definitely not the ones who’re controlling the Great Serpent.”
His negotiation attempt with Luo Fu had ended in total failure, but that was fine, because that wasn’t his real objective. He was well aware that Luo Fu could not be persuaded to retreat with just words. The real reason he spoke with the man was to find out if the Great Serpent really was connected to Silverlight Island, and Luo Fu had unwittingly given him the answer: they were completely unrelated to one another. It really had been a coincidence that they had shown up at the same time and at the same place!
Zou Qi had felt like shit when he confirmed this. They were probably the first sect in the history of Jiuzhou to experience such terrible luck. Not only that, it had been decades, no, a full century since their Outpost and the Great Serpent had lived in harmony with each other. He just could not understand why the damned creature had suddenly decided to break the unspoken peace between them.
Zou Qi beckoned Yu Hongbao to his side and whispered his plan into his ear. Yu Hongbao was skeptical at first, but his expression quickly turned into awe and confidence when he listened to the end. He quickly sent out a number of messages after that.
It wasn’t long before every Sky Pillar Sect cultivator had learned of the Legate and prolegate’s plan and the fact that the Outpost’s Divine Opportunity Column was sealed. Retreat was no longer possible, and Zou Qi’s plan was their sole ray of hope of making out of this alive. Everyone was worried, but surprisingly, things didn’t feel as bleak as they were before.
By now, the Great Defensive Ward had become so transparent that it was almost non-existent. It could shatter at any moment now.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Sky Pillar Sect cultivators led by the Legate, Zou Qi and the prolegate, Yu Hongbao had gathered in front of the Sanctum of Providence. However, they were facing toward the Silverlight Island’s cultivators instead of the Great Serpent.
Luo Fu had been observing the battlefield from the start. In that moment, he realized what Zou Qi was planning and cursed his lack of foresight, “Shit!”
Zou Qi was planning to lead the Great Serpent to them! He wasn’t going to give up the Outpost without making them pay a huge price for it!
He immediately messaged Hao Ren to check if Lu Yi Ye could control the Great Serpent. Unfortunately, he was too late.
“Lower the ward!” Zou Qi let out a tragic yet determined roar. The collapsing screens of light abruptly winked out of existence.
Now that the Grand Defensive Ward was gone, nothing was stopping the Great Serpent from entering the Outpost anymore. It immediately slithered toward the cultivators of the Sky Pillar Sect like an unstoppable mountain.
“Kill!” Zou Qi roared again as he and Yu Hongbao rushed toward the cultivators of Silverlight Island.
It was a grand sight. The Great Serpent was charging toward the Sky Pillar Sect, the Sky Pillar Sect was charging toward Silverlight Island, and Silverlight Island was just staring at the incoming enemies in stupefied shock…
Luo Fu’s heart sank all the way to the bottom. Things had gone exactly as he thought, but his realization had come far too late.
“Stop them!” Luo Fu roared.
On the other side, the Hao brother and sister felt their hearts leaping to their throats as they cried out, “Brother Yi Ye, you cannot let the Great Serpent reach our forces!”
Lu Ye did not say anything. He was already standing on top of the hill and sending message after message to Yi Yi.
He had not anticipated the Sky Pillar Sect to be so unyielding in face of great opposition. He was so certain that they would teleport back to Jiuzhou because their situation was one where even he could not wriggle out from, but contrary to his expectations, they had chosen the course of action that would do the most damage to their enemies.
In the Sky Pillar Sect’s Outpost, two opposing lines of cultivators drew closer while screaming on top of their lungs. Spells and flying weapons were already flying through the air and striking the enemy with great force.
The cultivators of the Sky Pillar Sect weren’t attacking, however. They simply defended passively until they were about a hundred and thirty meters away from one another.
Zou Qi shouted suddenly, “Scatter!”
Their formation instantly split into two smaller groups, each led by him and Yu Hongbao. They circled Silverlight Island’s forces to reach their flank.
The split was so sudden that the Silverlight Island’s cultivators were unable to halt their attacks before they struck the Great Serpent that was right behind the Sky Pillar Sect’s forces. The Great Serpent was fairly injured to begin with, so the rain of spells and flying weapons easily stripped some scales or worsened an existing wound.
The Great Serpent’s green eyes immediately turned toward them.
“FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!” Luo Fu lost his composure and swore on top of his lungs.