Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
The benefits of having one’s spirit enriched were more than just a heightened sixth sense. While it might still be some time until Lu Ye was able to freely perceive and manipulate his own spirit, the boons of his visit to the Pool of Divine Purification ranged from his everyday life to fighting.
Many things had changed.
Lu Ye had noticed this back when he was still inside the shaft of the Pool of Divine Purification. His control of Spiritual Power had become smoother.
His diligent practice in the construction of Glyphs had seen his control of Spiritual Power rise far beyond most other Cultivators of the same rank and this new enrichment of his spirit appeared to have further strengthened this skill.
Lu Ye channeled his power and a ball of flames burst to life above the palm of his hand.
He tossed it forth and the glob of fire contorted in mid-air as he willed it into what he wished, a beautiful phoenix. The flaming bird flew in the air with a streaming trail of cinders in its wake, soaring up into the sky.
[At long last!] Lu Ye thought, [Finally, after so long, my Fire Phoenix looks normal!]
It really was an emotional moment for Lu Ye. He had never been able to create anything more than a fiery, plump chicken even as he progressed up the ranks of his cultivation. For this reason, he had been actively reluctant to cast the Fire Phoenix spell just so that he could spare himself the embarrassment.
Then he reached the Seventh-Order and learned the Fire Dragon spell.
In the sky, the flaming phoenix warped and assumed the form of something else, a slithering dragon of fire.
This was not ordinary spell-casting anymore. Even Spell Cultivators of the Eighth- and Ninth-Order could not perform something like this.
This was a higher order of fire manipulation that most Cultivators in the Battlefield could do.
Lu Ye dispelled his power and the flaming dragon was gone, dissipating into the air.
He had always been somewhat dissatisfied with the force of his Telekinetic attacks and it was due to the fact that he could not yet construct Glyphs and apply them to his hiltless knife to enhance its speed and damage during flight.
He had tried doing so before, but applying Glyphs to his hiltless knife was just too difficult and his attempts had all ended in failure.
The reason for those failures was that he still needed more finesse in controlling off-body Spiritual Power. He could employ Telekinesis without a hitch but constructing Glyphs and applying them on his hiltless knife were altogether different conundrums.
His initial thought was that he would first need to progress his Cultivation rank further before he could try applying this method in combat. But now, Lu Ye thought he should maybe give it another go.
He extracted his hiltless knife from inside his Storage Bag and cast it out. The small blade took to the air, zooming around like a little star.
The hiltless knife sparkled as he mentally applied Glyph: Windwalk on the weapon. Flying weapon manipulation was all about speed and agility; having Glyph: Windwalk would increase both attributes up to an incomprehensible level.
That would make it both unstoppable and deadly to usual Spirit Creek Realm Cultivators, even Eighth- and Ninth-orders. Those who had begun transitioning to Heaven-grade cultivation disciplines might be able to survive Lu Ye’s newfound prowess, but not if they were caught unawares.
The hiltless blade gave off another gleam. This time Lu Ye had cast Glyph: Sharp Edge.
Satisfied, Lu Ye stowed away his weapon.
Being able to apply Glyphs to his flying weapon would make it deadlier, but he noticed the time he was able to maintain its flight had shortened.
For a Cultivator to use Telekinesis to remotely manipulate his weapon, one needed to have a certain amount of Spiritual Power stored in the weapon as sustenance for it to fly. But the use of Glyphs would also deplete the Spiritual Power, thus cutting short the amount of time it could remain in the air.
But Lu Ye was not too bothered. The use of Telekinesis to attack enemies oftentimes did not involve long durations of flight. Under most circumstances, Lu Ye would have already begun hacking at any enemies with Inviolable if they managed to survive the first Telekinetic offense.
Maybe he should start to consider using more flying weapons.
Lu Ye could have been using more than two flying weapons. But he did not want to be overwhelmed by the distraction, hence he stuck to using just two.
But now that his spirit had undergone an enrichment that had seen it far stronger and more potent than before, he could fight while mentally keeping control of two flying weapons with hardly any difficulty at all.
By the time he could call upon a hundred swords with just one impulse like Li Baxian, he would have no one else to fear in the entire Spirit Creek Battlefield.
But that would need more than a strong spirit and a powerful mind; he would need to rely on his talents as well.
That was exactly the reason Li Baxian remained such a singular figure in the Battlefield that hardly anyone could come close to comparing, even after so many years.
From his many triumphs and victories, Lu Ye had loads of weapons suitable for Telekinesis, including those with nonuple weapon enchantments. He easily found two that he deemed to fit his needs before stuffing Spirit Pills to replenish his power. Next, he began work on enchanting the weapons in preparation for battle.
With Ju Jia still in deep meditation, Amber still in deep slumber, and Yi Yi still nowhere in sight, that left Lu Ye all alone in that enclosure with the small cottage.
Nevertheless, Lu Ye did not feel bored with all the manuscripts and tomes he could spend his time pouring over.
That was when he discovered another benefit of having his spirit enriched: he could read more quickly and understand the contents of whatever he was reading with greater efficiency than before.
The days passed swiftly enough.
A studious Lu Ye was still in deep study when he felt a strange force descending on him. He slammed the ponderous tome shut and got to his feet.
Not far away, Ju Jia rose up as well.
They strode abreast, heading out of the enclosure when Ji Yan came looking for them, “It’s time, brother. The Lost City is fading.”
“Yeah, we felt it too.”
They left the enclosure together and rendezvoused with Gu Canyang and the others. It was necessary to prevent being separated from the others during the process of being transported back to the Spirit Creek Battlefield. There could be a risk of reappearing somewhere else, all alone and surrounded by enemies. Therefore, regrouping with the others could help to reduce the chance of that happening.
Everyone stood together in silence. Each of them could feel the drawing force growing in magnitude until it reached a point where their vision started to blur and everything around them twisted into a discombobulating whirl.
By the time they could coherently perceive their surroundings again, the entire group found themselves in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness.
At the same time, the Lord Governor of the Lost City of Xianyuan was in his chair at his court complex. The captain of the Xianyuan City Watch came to him, “They’re gone, my lord.”
The Lord Governor waved a hand gently and said, “Do it. Undo the enchantment.”
“At once, sir!”
The order was relayed to all levels of the City Watch and one after another, the enchantments cast over the city were removed. The whole place trembled, a rocking earthquake, as the Lost City began to undergo a massive transformation.
The Lost City was every bit a dilapidated and battered city during Lu Ye’s stay. But that was only just an illusory façade.
The city-wide enchantments were removed and waves of air rippled before they dissolved, revealing the real Lost City of Xianyuan.
The sprawl of buildings and structures was gone, giving way to endless rows and layers of defensive lines filled with magical wards and engines of war. These valuable Spirit Artifacts could have easily fetched prices of astronomical value in the Spirit Creek Battlefield, yet here, they numbered so many like two a penny.
In the meantime, more fog billowed out of the pit where the Pool of Divine Purification resided. Out of the thick, murky plumes, spectral figures emerged in endless streams. Most of them were clad in the garb of the Xianyuan City Watch while the rest looked like ordinary civilians.
Unlike any other apparitions that Lu Ye had encountered before, these were all powerful Real Lake Realm and Divine Ocean Realm apparitions, with only a handful of Cloud River Realm ones between them. No one in the Spirit Creek Battlefield, or even in the real world of Jiu Zhou—including Tier-One sects and orders with centuries or millennia of glorious history—could boast of having a force of such strength and power.
Grim-faced and somber, the apparitions stepped out of the fog, looking like they were spoiling for a fight, for each of them knew war was coming. A long, endless war that had endured for many, many years.
If Lu Ye were here, he would definitely be able to recognize some of the faces here. The faces of the Xianyuan City Watchmen whom he had slain.
No one knew that the spectral sentinels of the Xianyuan City Watch were indestructible. No one knew that so long as the Pool of Divine Purification remained, so would the apparitions of this city live on. One could destroy these apparitions and reduce them into nothing more than gossamer dregs that dissipated into nothing but air, and they would still emerge anew from within the fogs of the Pool.
That was why the Pool of Divine Purification held the key to the existence of the Lost City and all other parts of the Rift of Fortunes.
Liu Sanbao stepped out of his gambling den, his eyes gleaming with purpose and clarity. He kicked and soared into the air, heading straight for the Lord Governor’s court complex.
The girl with a zither left the brothel and paced pensively along the streets, making for the same direction.
In the meantime, the scholar was still at the seminary he was studying at. He dropped the piece of paper he was holding, a half-written monologue, shaking his head and he sighed heavily, “Sound trumpets! Let our bloody colors wave! And either victory or else a grave!”
At the abattoir, the butcher reached for his honing steel and worked on sharpening his blade.
At a street corner, the blind fortune-teller tossed a coin and read his signs. “Ill omens, eh?” he muttered under his breath.
They were five of the few apparitions that were under Amber’s control until the Lord Governor released them and they were all Divine Ocean Realm Cultivators.
The level of strength and power they displayed before was just a façade caused by the enchantments placed upon the city.
The only people unaffected by the city-wide enchantments were the Lord Governor himself and the lady in red.
And this was why the Lord Governor forbade Lu Ye from taking the apparitions away from this dimension, Amber could not take them away. The moment the apparitions were transported away from the dimension of the Rift of Fortunes, the apparitions, once free from the influence of the enchantments, would regain their full strength. That would kill Amber for it could not yet contain the power of so many Divine Ocean Realm entities.
In a matter of minutes, the Lost City of Xianyuan which looked like it just survived a war turned into an entire city bustling with spectral entities rushing about to take their respective places at the defensive lines, readying themselves for war. Another war. A real one.
The spectral defenders stood at their spots, silent and unmoving, as they took in the presence and whiffs left by those who were here not long ago—the smell of living humans who had just left. Lu Ye and the rest of the human intruders won’t have noticed their own smells lingering around, but for these spectral entities who had long survived without their own physical bodies in their perpetual war for eons, the smell of human flesh was just too conspicuous to ignore.
It was this smell of human flesh that had anchored the sanity of these spectral protectors of humankind for ages. The only thing that had kept them from faltering, or the years of fighting would have corrupted them enough to give up or even defect. In their never-ending war, they had died again and again, only to emerge once more to resume their place to resist the menace that threatened to destroy all mankind. The sheer amount of stress would have turned one into a mindless killing beast.
It was for this sole purpose that the Rift of Fortunes appeared sporadically around the Spirit Creek Battlefield and the real world of Jiu Zhou. For humans to enter different parts of the Rift and as living reminders to the spectral entities that resided inside the Rifts about their duty to safeguard the wellbeing of all mankind.
The Lord Governor sat in his chair, his eyes closed in deep contemplation flanked by both the captain of the City Watch and the lady in red.
The former commanded every Xianyuan City Watch sentry while the other led the rest of the civilians that made up the militia force in this interminable conflict.
The Lord Governor opened his eyes, his gaze distant and somber as he panned upwards. Quietly, he said, “So it begins. Let the war resume!”