Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
If Lu Ye were to succeed in discovering the methods of ward-breaking, then woe be to every Thousand Demon Ridge sect and order that cross his path. With Hidden Light Sanctuary being the first to attempt such an invasion with Lu Ye—the first where invaders would not have the shields of the defensive wards to contend with— the rewards and loot would surely be handsome indeed!
Gu Canyang was so excited that he was willing to bear the risk of having his defensive ward damaged. To put it in another way, one could argue that the legate of Hidden Light Sanctuary was really hoping for it to happen!
Naturally, Lu Ye caught on to Gu Canyang’s gist.
“Thank you so much for accommodating my request, Brother Gu.”
Gu Canyang broke into a burst of merry laughter, “This is the least of what I can do, my friend.”
“If I may, who is the one handling the operation of the defensive ward here,” asked Lu Ye.
Gu Canyang motioned to the white-clad acolyte beside him, “This is Wei Li. He’s the one in charge of the control of the defensive ward.”
Wei Li stepped forward, greeting Lu Ye as he asked, “How can I help you, Brother Lu?”
“Please, I’m the one doing the begging here,” said Lu Ye, “I just want to request that you lower the strength of the ward back to its earlier state.” When the ward was activated to its fullest, Lu Ye stopped striking at the exposed weakness because he knew that to continue would only be fruitless.
If he wanted to study ways to defeat a defensive ward, then the best way would be to start with baby steps. That meant that he should start by determining the methodology with the lowest difficulty before moving upward.
Wei Li immediately produced the jade tablet in his possession. The humming din of the defensive ward operating at full blast gradually ebbed.
Gu Canyang and everyone else exchanged a few more words with Lu Ye before they took their leave and left him be.
The study of ward-breaking was an undertaking that demanded both time and patience. Knowing that, the acolytes of the Hidden Light Sanctuary decided to not dawdle around. But they left the place with full knowledge that the outpost’s defensive ward would be suffering a lot of abuse in the days to come.
But Gu Can yang was not worried at all. In fact, he turned out to be anticipatory of Lu Ye’s success. Extremely supportive, he even instructed his deputy Wei Li to provide whatever assistance Lu Ye might need.
When the commotion had finally settled down and everyone was gone, Lu Ye reactivated Glyph: Insight. He returned his gaze to the exposed bindings of the defensive ward’s shield.
What he was doing before the interruption had allowed him to understand that brute strength was not what he could rely on to defeat a magical ward—regardless of whether its bindings were exposed or not.
It might work, but only if the enemy outpost did not immediately increase the shield’s strength to its fullest. Which was more than likely to be impossible; anyone would have quickly done just that at the onset of an invasion, like Wei Li had done earlier.
Hence, Lu Ye knew that he needed more than just brute strength. He needed to depend on his knowledge of Glyphs.
Lu Ye observed the flow of Spiritual Energy coursing through the many Yin and Yang elements linked together as he racked his brain for ideas. He lifted a hand and placed it on the phosphorescent surface of the shield. He channeled his power and the spot where his hand glowed with pieces of Yin and Yang elements forming and linking together, spreading across an area of more than ten meters wide.
Lu Ye was unable to do anything like prior to his exploration of the Lost City of Xianyuan. Even with his skills as a talented Glyphweaver whose control of Spiritual Power already outstripped many of his peers, he could still not quite accomplish something like this. He could not construct such a wide radius of Yin Yang elements back then.
But the enrichment of his spirit in the pad of Divine Purification had greatly improved his control of Spiritual Power. That had helped him to surpass his former limits.
Ward-breaking could be described as being akin to unlocking the magical seals cast on Storage Bags in some ways since wards were a form of magical seal— albeit bigger.
But ward-breaking was comparably more difficult. Magical seals on Storage Bags could easily be unlocked given time. All one had to do was to construct Glyph elements that could counter those of the magical seal and the magic would be defeated.
But the trick would not work against magical wards since they usually operated perpetually and defeating this brand of magic demanded speed and efficiency.
Assuming the defensive ward in question was not in manual control. Magical wards operated by manual control changed and shifted indefinitely and any opportunities to defeat it could show in the first second only to vanish in the next.
Hence, to defeat a magical ward, Lu Ye would first need to find and determine the weakness in any exposed bindings that he could find. Next, he would need to quickly construct the corresponding elements that would counteract against the ones in the bindings to nullify them.
That would undo a portion of the ward’s light shield, making a hole for entry through the defense.
The first part of the task was easy enough with Glyph: Insight; it was the second part that posed the biggest challenge.
Lu Ye took a break before he attempted a second try.
The whole attempt was not at all easy—even with his incredible control of Spiritual Power. The Yin and Yang elements that he needed to construct in a matter of seconds numbered up to the thousands.
There was no room for error. One mistake and he would have to start all over again.
Acolytes of the Hidden Light Sanctuary from that day forthwith could see a lone figure sitting all by himself beside the shield of the outpost’s defensive ward, plus the occasional hums and tremors from the ward.
The acolytes at first would still fidget and flinch at the disturbances, but as days passed and the number of the incidents gradually grew, most, if not all eventually became accustomed.
Prolegate of the outpost Wei Li would receive sporadic messages from Lu Ye with requests for adjustments to the shield’s setup.
With the unconditional support and cooperation from the Hidden Light Sanctuary people, Lu Ye made steady progress in his study. Countless times he was battered by failures. but he did not let them keep him down; he just kept coming back for more with new ideas and adjustments gleaned from his mistakes.
The manuscripts and books Lady Yun lent him played a huge part; many a great difficult conundrum he had solved with the help of these invaluable materials.
A month swiftly flitted by like an arrow.
Gu Canyang and Wei Li found themselves back at the same spot they were standing just a month ago—the spot where the exposed binding in the defensive ward’s shield was found. Only this time, they were standing within the ward while Lu Ye was standing outside. They were peering at each other with the glowing shield of light between them.
“Let’s do this,” Wei Li called in a low voice. He took out the jade tablet used to control the magical ward and configured the ward’s strength to the maximum. The radiance of the shiny shield of light intensified like a solid wall pulsing with rippling hues.
On the other side of the shield, Lu Ye called upon Glyph: Insight. He studied the exposed binding at the joint where two parts of the shield met, following its constant shift in its composition of Yin-Yang elements for minutes before he approached the shield.
His legs flashed with a fleeting swarth of brightness; Lu Ye had cast Glyph: Windwalk. His walk turned into a sprint and the enhancement of Windwalk brought his speed to a zenith. At the same time, Lu Ye channeled his power. Hundreds of Yin-Yang elements formed and linked with each other, spreading all over him like an extra layer of skin.
He rammed into the wall of light. But instead of bouncing backward, he planted part of himself into—and through the shield, much to the incredulity and disbelief of Gu Canyang, Wei Li, and everyone else. Like he was punching through a membrane, Lu Ye tugged and pulled himself out with a loud pop.
“Well, that’s it.”
By the time Lu Ye withdrew his power, he had successfully demonstrated how he had defeated the outpost’s defensive ward by penetrating its shield. He strode up to Gu Canyang and Wei Li.
His original intention had been to learn ways he could defeat the magical ward in its entirety. But his path veered halfway because he realized that his rank of cultivation was not high enough to undertake such an endeavor. Even if he could blast a hole through the shield, he lacked the means to keep the hole open long enough for anything to pass through before it closed up.
Opening a hole in a defensive ward’s shield was like opening a hole through a waterfall’s current. If a hole could be maintained indefinitely, an army could pour through the hole to engage the defenders of an outpost directly, conveniently circumventing the ward’s protection.
But Lu Ye could not quite make the hole hold up that lay with his present skill and capabilities. The tiny crack that he could make in the shield would quickly close itself like the neverending water currents of a waterfall.
Lu Ye was nearly disheartened enough to give up when he realized the infeasibility of his original idea. But going through Lady Yun’s manuscripts and books led him to enough clues to come up with more ideas.
The inspiration, followed by an almost-a-month-long period of trials and failures, eventually gave birth to this new outcome.
Gu Canyang and Wei Li were speechless. Seconds—minutes passed in silence with everyone present gawking at Lu Ye.
“B-But how is this possible…” Gu Canyang murmured, still unable to both believe and understand what just happened. The shield was still holding, yet somehow Lu Ye had just penetrated with such ease that barely anyone could comprehend how it happened.
“The defensive ward is made up of keystones and these keystones emit the different parts of the shield that guard the outpost. But where the different parts of the shield join up there are weaknesses. All I had to do is find the exposed bindings and construct Yin-Yang elements that correspond to those in the bindings. That allowed me to blend into the shield when I got into contact with it, making it possible for me to enter through it.”
Gu Canyang thoughtfully responded, “I see.”
Deep inside, Gu Canyang could only lament, [What on Earth are you talking about?! I don’t understand a word you’re saying!]
“To put it more bluntly, it’s a disguise,” added Lu Ye, to the benefit of those who could still not quite understand. “I covered myself in a layer of Spiritual Energy that I used to construct elements that resonated with those of the exposed shield bindings. Here the shield was ‘confounded’ into thinking that I was a part of it, this prevented the shield from rejecting me.”
The additional details at least helped Gu Canyang enough to wade out of his quagmire of ignorance. Nevertheless, hearing all that, he was still puzzled. [A defensive ward being confused? Is that even possible?]
“It’s just that every ward has its weakness and Brother Yi Ye has found the one for this ward,” remarked Wei Li all of a sudden.
“So, that means the weakness of our defenses is already known to him?”
“That’s an awfully direct way of putting it. But yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
“But I still don’t see how this could be useful for invasions,” Gu Canyang frowned.
Lu Ye might have performed a miracle that no one had thought possible, but a lone person being able to penetrate a defensive ward hardly seemed like a useful application to be used for an actual invasion.
“Well, as a matter of fact, I have been doing some thinking…” said Lu Ye and he began to present to them a detailed plan. The more Gu Canyang and Wei Li listened, the brighter their eyes lit up.
By the end of Lu Ye’s proposal, both Gu Canyang and Wei Li exchanged anticipatory gazes. They could almost see the interest and enthusiasm sparkling in each other’s eyes. If this turned out to be a success, they would be heavily rewarded by the leadership of their order.
Hence, without further hesitation, Gu Canyang readily proffered his assent. “Since you have volunteered yourself to attempt such a perilous undertaking alone, Brother Yi Ye, the Hidden Light Sanctuary sees no reason to get onboard with your idea at all!”
“So, I’ll be expecting news from you, I presume?”
“Leave the arrangements to us.”
Prolegate of the Lofty Plume Court outpost Zhou Pei was in meditation at his chambers when he received a transmission from Gu Canyang. [How can I help you, Brother Gu?] he responded.
[I bring you good news!]
[That’s a surprise. Let’s hear it then.]
[How interested are you in an invasion on the House of Wintry Blossoms outpost?]
Zhou Pei could barely hide his excitement as he straightened up when he read the message.
Hours later, at the areas somewhere between the attendant lands of the Hidden Light Sanctuary and the House of Wintry Blossoms, a fight had broken out. The defeated party was routed and they quickly fled.
The winning side did not give chase. Knowing that this could very well be a trap, given previous experience, they knew better than to be overzealous in pursuits that could lead them well inside hostile territory.
A young lass of the defeated party made up of Hidden Light Sanctuary acolytes cried from a safe distance, Just you wait, you impudence scoundrels! I will have Brother Gu give you a walloping that you’ll remember for life!”
A member of the House of Wintry Blossoms outpost replied with a smirking retort, “Only defeated dogs bark the loudest!”
The young lass turned indignant and roared with anger. But before she could recklessly storm forward to engage the enemies again, her more-levelheaded bunch of teammates quickly held her back.