Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
An incense stick later, a boat-shaped Spirit Artifact flew in the sky a hundred and thirty meters above ground level.
Thanks to his experience with Wings and the fact that his control over his Spiritual Power was nothing like what it used to be, it took Lu Ye only a short time to grasp the key to flying on a Spirit Artifact.
He was moving faster than Amber was running at full speed, but that was perfectly natural. Flying was always going to be faster than running.
That said, riding Amber wouldn’t cost him any Spiritual Power, while flying steadily ate away at his reserves.
Still, the cost was much smaller than he had imagined because his Spiritual Power was sufficiently pure. He made a rough calculation and concluded that he could fly between seven to nine full hours without pause.
For a newly ascended Eighth-Order cultivator, that was an impressive amount of airborne time. In the future, his flight speed and time would only improve drastically.
There was also a basic defensive ward on the boat. It could barely block an attack, but it did well to repel the strong wind blowing his way.
Lu Ye was currently sitting at the center of the boat, and Yi Yi in front of him. She was leaning against his chest and laughing like a bell as they soared toward the horizon.
Now that he could fly on a Spirit Artifact, both his repertoire of travel and escape had increased by one. He no longer had to rely just on Wings to fly anymore.
A quarter of a day later, the sky had turned completely dark. Lu Ye landed beside the lake where the Great Serpent had resided. They could even see traces of the bonfire they had made a few days ago.
Lu Ye had no idea if the Great Serpent had returned to the lake, but Yi Yi had observed it moving in this direction, so it probably had.
He had Amber assume its cat form and Yi Yi standing by for anything. It was only then he took out the dragon scale.
For a while, he simply stared at the lake for any movement. Nothing happened.
Next, Lu Ye held the scale in front of Amber so it could inhale a wisp of blood qi. As if on cue, Yi Yi warned, “Here it comes!”
Lu Ye also saw the ripples on the lake. The disturbance quickly grew until a meaty horn surfaced from the water and slowly moved toward the shore.
Lu Ye channeled his Spiritual Power in secret. The second the Serpent did anything strange, he was going to activate Wings and book it.
There was a splash as a gigantic Serpent’s head emerged from the lake. Then, a pair of green eyes fell on the dragon scale in Lu Ye’s hand. The Great Serpent didn’t look nearly as impressive as it had the first time he met it though. Judging from the missing scales all over its body, it was still recovering from its recent ordeal.
Their eyes met about a hundred meters away from each other. Lu Ye gave the scale a wave, and the Great Serpent’s pupils seemed to track it. Unlike the first time though, the creature did not rush him even though it still clearly desired the dragon scale. Instead, it watched him with extremely wary eyes.
Lu Ye knew he was probably going to disappoint Luo Fu the moment he saw this. The Great Serpent had displayed an exceptional level of intelligence from the beginning. Last time, he had lured it to the Sky Pillar Sect’s Outpost and tricked them to fight against one another. Obviously, things had ended poorly for the Sky Pillar Sect, but it wasn’t like the Great Serpent had slithered away unscathed. The injuries it had sustained during the fight had enraged it to the point where its reason had completely fled; a mindless beast that could only think of taking the dragon scale and nothing else.
It wasn’t until it was slithering back to its haunt after the dragon scale’s presence had disappeared that it realized that it had been used. It was well aware that the Humans of this world were in a state of constant conflict. In fact, it was the main reason it rarely left the lake. For one, it didn’t have much purpose left in its life after reaching the absolute limit of its growth. Two, it had no desire to get involved in Human conflicts. It was fine staying out of their way as long as they stayed out if its. One might even say that it was a pacifistic Serpent these days.
That was until the shameless, despicable Human had lured it with its heart’s desire and made a complete fool out of it. The more it thought about it, the angrier it felt. But what could it do? That object’s presence had vanished completely, and that despicable Human was nowhere to be seen either.
Today, both the object and the Human had appeared once more. It still desired the dragon scale as a matter of course, but its head was much cooler than it had been that day. It knew that the only way it could obtain the dragon scale was to slay the despicable Human!
That was why it had stayed motionless for a couple of seconds before firing a lightning bolt the size of an arm from its horn all of a sudden. However, Lu Ye was prepared for this and took to the sky immediately. There was a loud boom as a blackened pit appeared on the spot Lu Ye was standing a moment ago.
In the sky, Lu Ye flew away from the Great Serpent while feeling cold sweat breaking out of his back. He knew it was unlikely that he would be able to take advantage of the Great Serpent a second time, but he hadn’t expected the creature to loathe him this much. If he hadn’t been prepared for an attack, that lightning bolt would have killed him already.
After he had moved far away enough from the lake, Lu Ye gave Yi Yi the dragon scale. He was hoping that she would have better luck than him. Yi Yi carried the dragon scale into the underground and tried all kinds of things to bait out the Great Serpent, but an hour later she returned to him and shook her head. The creature had learned its lesson and refused to take even a step from its haunt.
Left with no choice, Lu Ye raised his hand and sent a message to Luo Fu. It stated, “I’m sorry. The Great Serpent will not move.”
Luo Fu quickly responded to the message. The man was disappointed as a matter of course, but he already knew that failure was a possibility. After all, Lu Ye had already told him that he was only baiting the Great Serpent and not controlling it. That Lu Ye was willing to give it a try regardless was enough for him.
After he had received Luo Fu’s reply, Lu Ye called out to Yi Yi and said, “Let’s go.”
Since he could not bait out the Great Serpent, Lu Ye decided not to return to the Silverlight Island’s Outpost. It was time to move on. After finding a suitable resting spot, he recuperated while waiting for dawn to arrive.
There were two main reasons Lu Ye had entered the Inner Circle. One, he wanted to pave a path for his sect mates by forming Legate alliances with sects that he deemed to be suitable. This way, they would have more options in the future. Two, he wanted to take revenge for what happened to him during the Battle of Goldentip.
The Sky Pillar Sect had been wrecked, so it was time to move on to his next target, the House of Wintry Blossoms.
The House of Wintry Blossoms was the second Thousand Demon Ridge faction to challenge him to a fight. His opponent was a female spell cultivator whose wind and fire attacks had given a bit of trouble until he got close enough to decapitate her.
Unfortunately, their Outpost was quite a ways away from his current location. It would take him at least half a month of travel time even if he rode Amber the entire way. The travel time could be shortened if he flew on the boat Spirit Artifact, but it would consume too much Spiritual Power.
He was in no hurry though, so he decided to ride Amber to the Outpost.
On Amber’s back, Spiritual Power was surging out of Lu Ye’s left and right hand. His left hand was producing Yin and Yang elements non-stop until they gradually formed an incredibly complex picture. It was a Glyph he had learned from a book. It wasn’t the only Glyph he had learned from the books as a matter of course, and it was quite a useful Glyph too. However, since he wasn’t familiar enough with the Glyph to conjure it at a moment’s notice, he had no choice but to practice with it again and again. He was unable to use it in combat either.
So far, Lu Ye only used Glyphs he had obtained from the Tree of Glyphs in combat. It was because he could create them whenever he wanted.
Despite Lady Yun’s unreserved teachings, Lu Ye was only a novice in the Way of Glyphs. Since he could not consult Lady Yun right now, the only way he could improve further was to study on his own.
Thankfully, he had received many Glyph-related books from Lady Yun before he had bade her goodbye. His skill should improve drastically after he mastered them completely.
On his right hand was another Glyph, Sharp Edge, but he was trying to disassemble it. In other words, he was creating a Glyph with one hand and disassembling another with the other.
It was a doable but incredibly difficult task. Right now, he wasn’t even close to being adept at multitasking with his Glyphs. Still, this method of practice would improve his mastery and further hone his control over his Spiritual Power.
Now that he was an Eighth-Order cultivator, he could control another one or even two flying weapons if he wanted to. He didn’t do so though. Adding another flying weapon or two to his repertoire wouldn’t increase his combat capabilities by a significant amount, not to mention that the best way to improve the lethality of his flying weapons was still to create a Glyph on them.
It wasn’t an easy task, and Lu Ye had no idea how to even begin. That was why he was studying the Way of Glyphs right now. Eventually, he would reach the level where he could construct Glyphs on his flying weapons at a moment’s thought.
If he was traveling alone, he would never have dared to split his focus like this. But since he was traveling with Yi Yi, he trusted her enough to watch his back.
And so Lu Ye practiced creating and disassembling Glyphs at the same time during the day, and studied the books Lady Yun gave him during the night. If he felt like getting into a fight, then he would enter the Rift of Illusions for some fun.
The Insectoid stages were gone after he entered the Eighth-Order. All his battles began with an Eighth-Order cultivator now. He wasn’t sure why, but he certainly wasn’t going to complain about it.
Eighth-Order cultivators were no match for him as a matter of course. Even Ninth-Order cultivators couldn’t last long against his saber. The Heaven-Grade Seventh-Order cultivators, they were a different story entirely.
Every battle was hard fought because a cultivator’s power improved explosively after they switched to a Heaven-Grade cultivation technique. Before this, Lu Ye was able to overcome two minor realms and slay the Ninth-Order Yuan Guang without too much difficulty. Eighth-Order and Heaven-Grade Seventh-Order were technically two minor realms apart as well, but not only were the fights much harder, he sometimes died due to a mistake or moment of carelessness as well.
Thanks to these experiences, he knew exactly how strong he was right now. If he were to go up against a Seventh-Order Heaven-Grade opponent, it was a fifty-fifty chance who would live to see another day. It depended on who happened to be more in-form that day.
In the Rift of Illusion, the cultivation faction of his opponents was completely random. Therefore, assuming he was willing to spend the Contribution Points, Lu Ye could amass a ton of practical combat experience against all types of cultivators in no time at all. And once he had digested these experiences, they would become powerful skills that he could use to slay his enemies in real life.
His journey to the House of Wintry Blossoms was not a peaceful one. Since Lu Ye had been traveling in a straight line, it was inevitable that he would trespass the territories of some Thousand Demon Ridge factions. Naturally, a fight broke out every time he ran into one or more enemy cultivators.
The large majority of the cultivators in the Inner Circle were between Sixth to Ninth-Order. Rarely would one encounter a cultivator who had changed to a Heaven-Grade cultivation technique—those people mostly roamed the Core Circle. As a result, not a single Thousand Demon Ridge party had managed to get the upper hand on Lu Ye, not even when they outnumbered him five to one. Plus, it wasn’t like he was fighting alone. Yi Yi was extremely elusive, and she had become very proficient at using the Nine Realms Scroll. If necessary, she could drag one or more of Lu Ye’s enemies into the ward scroll and battle them there. Their fate was as good as sealed after that.