Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Shui Yuan and Li Baxian spared no effort in peppering Lu Ye with messages about how he should lay low at the Hidden Light Sanctuary outpost for the time being. There was no reprimand, but Lu Ye knew how worried and concerned Shui Yuan must have been.
Li Baxian’s message, on the other hand, carried a wholly different sentiment. Instead of asking him to be careful, he encouraged Lu Ye to go wherever his heart would take him and leave the rest to him.
In the meantime, Hua Ci, too, had delivered him a message of her own. The duties and rigors of serving as prolegate seemed to have turned her playful and bohemian self into a more mature person. There wasn’t much in her message save a few words about some recent events at the outpost. But the message was mainly to convey the assurance that everything was fine and there was nothing to worry about.
Lu Ye’s forehead creased deeply when he arrived at the end. He could not help feeling like a soldier who had just received a letter from his wife.
He made a quick calculation. It won’t be too long before Hua Ci reached the Eighth-Order as well.
She would be expected to make a foray of her own into the inner ring areas of the Battlefield when the time came. She would be prudent to start handpicking deputies by now.
Picking Chen Yu would be out of the question; the de facto chief of the independents was expected to enter the Eighth-Order much earlier than Hua Ci herself.
That would leave her at an impasse. After all, the Crimson Blood Sect had only very recently flung open its door to accept new members. Electing a proper replacement to watch over the outpost would be a conundrum requiring both time and patience to solve.
Nevertheless, future Eighth-Orders of the sect would no longer have to worry about where to go if and when they were about to venture into the inner ring areas. Lu Ye had already taken care of that by making many friends along the way. Hua Ci and Chen Yu would have all the freedom to make their own pick; Lu Ye was confident that all friendly sects and order that he had forged ties with would do their best to make sure that any guests from the Crimson Blood Sect would be well taken care of.
It took Lu Ye quite some time before he could finish going through the messages
“What are you grinning about?”
Lu Ye asked without even looking up.
“It’s nothing,” Yi Yi shook her head.
“Wow, looks like you have secrets of your own, huh?” Lu Ye muttered before he sighed. “That’s you growing up, I guess.”
“Then you should know better than to pry,” Yi Yi returned a playful scowl.
Unbeknownst to Lu Ye, Yi Yi had always been worried about him. He was improving far too fast. They might not be equals when they first stumbled into each other, in fact, Amber was stronger and more powerful than the weakling Lu Ye was back then, but, as they stuck through thick and thin together, Lu Ye began to catch up rapidly before he became better and flipped the tables. As of now, the gap between Amber’s power and his was beginning to grow wider and wider.
Since their departure from Green Cloud Mountain to embark on their journey together to find the Crimson Blood Sect outpost, Yi Yi had discovered that, as Lu Ye’s capabilities had grown, and more powerful enemies kept popping out of the woodwork, the role that both Amber and she could play was becoming more and more limited by the day.
To a certain extent, it would not be a far cry to describe that Amber had been relegated to nothing more than a white, furry mount while Yi Yi could barely serve as anything more than a scout that was best suited for reconnoitering and reconnaissance.
That was when the dread began to take root inside Yi Yi. She started to worry that the day that Lu Ye would leave them behind would eventually come. The day when she would no longer be able to see him would eventually come.
She could not bear to ever comprehend what that would even mean, nor could she believe that she would ever accept the mere possibility of this happening.
Affected by this, Amber increased the intake of Spirit Pills as best it could, to no avail; Lu Ye was progressing just too quickly.
Fortunately, being inducted as a member of the Crimson Blood Sect family helped to tilt things in her favor.
Tang Yifeng’s taking her under his wing gave her the chance to train and arm herself with panoplies of spells where she and Amber began to improve more quickly. Any increase in her power would be reflected upon each other hence, with both Yi Yi and Amber doing their best to catch up, they would enjoy twice the amount of gain, plus twice the amount of satisfaction.
That was how Amber managed to control all the apparitions at the Lost City of Xianyuan.
The spiritual enrichment Yi Yi experienced in the Pool of Divine Purification caused a paradigm shift in her abilities that was not only a one-time gain, but also a gradual one; the more she grew in the future, the greater the boon of the enrichment she would enjoy.
During the invasion of the Sunlit Mountain outpost, Yi Yi and Amber’s assistance was what broke the impasse. Amber’s stunning roars and her spells were what gave Lu Ye the opening he needed to seize the legate’s jade tablet and allowed Ju Jia and the rest of the Body-tempering Cultivators to catch up.
At that precise moment, Yi Yi was finally certain that they had finally caught up to Lu Ye.
No one could tell what the future had in store. But at least—for the foreseeable future—Yi Yi and Amber did not have to worry about being left behind anymore.
That was why she had been in an awfully good mood after that.
“Oh, that reminds me. This came from the people of the Hidden Light Sanctuary,” said Yi Yi, handing Lu Ye a Storage Bag.
“Spirit Stones and Pills.”
The booty from the two invasions were not just the blessings of the Divine Opportunity Columns, but also the bounty that could be looted off the dead—riches, treasures, rare herbs, among other stuff that could be found inside a Storage Bag.
The people of the Hidden Light Sanctuary must have considered the notion that Lu Ye would not like having too many things inconvenience him. That prompted them to just convert everything to Spirit Stones and Pills.
Both were widely-accepted currencies all around the Battlefield.
“Keep them then,” Lu Ye muttered as he panned left and right, looking everywhere.
“Where’s Ju Jia by the way?”
“Still training, I think.”
“How are his injuries?”
“I’ve seen them. He’s fine.”
Lu Ye nodded. After some food, he left and headed for the outpost’s training chambers to meditate and read.
His initial plan was to leave after the invasion, but the situation dictated that he keep his head low for the time being while the hype and fervor of his recent exploits died down.
Shui Yuan might have sounded paranoid, but she had a point, Lu Ye needed to lay low, at least, and not poke the bear any more than he ought to.
More so, since Lu Ye was willing to bet every Spirit Store in his Storage Bag that his image would have been disseminated to every Thousand Demon Ridge sect and order by now.
Retaining motion images was not a very difficult thing to do. Lu Ye knew that a Glyph by the name of Record Image existed for exactly this function. Another Glyph known as Record Sound functioned to retain the imprint of sounds and voices.
And Employing both Glyphs at the same time would yield amazing results.
Long ago, Lu Ye found from inside the late Manager Yang’s Storage Bag an art catalog. But it wasn’t just any art catalog. One could inject Spiritual Power into it and the images in the catalog would not only come alive; they could even perform the most unbelievable and marvelous actions while emitting strange noises.
The art catalog itself was a manifestation of both the Glyphs Record Image and Record Sounds, although Lu Ye did not know about its true worth back then. Even as he did now, it was no good; the catalog had been confiscated by the Grand Master and his mentor Tang Yifeng.
Apparently, it was no ordinary art catalog. It was a manual for sexual methods of cultivation. Lu Ye did not believe it back then. He dismissed what Tang Yifeng said as mere piffle. But now that he knew better, Lu Ye understood how wrong he had been. Tang Yifeng was right all along.
In the past, Lu Ye was just a speck in a multitude of hundreds or thousands of Spirit Creek Realm Cultivators that roamed the Battlefield. Whatever feats he accomplished, remarkable or not, most wouldn’t even bat an eye at him.
Things had become different now. With the fall of two Thousand Demon Ridge outposts attributed directly to him, Lu Yi Ye of the Crimson Blood Sect had just become the enemy faction’s Public Enemy Number One.
Any sighting of him being near another Thousand Demon Ridge outpost could send the entire Battlefield into panic and disarray.
To that end, Lu Ye thought of purchasing something that could change his appearance from the Vault of Providence. Something like that wouldn’t be cheap, but he could get it easily from the Vault and it would help to change his face.
Even so, getting his appearance changed would not help one bit. Anyone would instantly recognize Amber and Ju Jia right off the bat. Wherever they went, they would remain conspicuously identifiable.
Unless Lu Ye were to operate alone, he would remain instantly recognizable anywhere.
Lu Ye griped quietly to himself, [Is that it? Is my plan to come to the inner ring area for some payback dying in its crib before I even manage to do anything?!]
But for all the frustration now swelling inside him, Lu Ye convinced himself that surely things weren’t that bad. Luck had played a heavy role in the invasions of both the House of Wintry Blossoms and the Sunlit Mountain outposts and Lu Ye could only keep his fingers crossed that the Thousand Demon Ridge factions were aware of this too. So long as they came up with measures to prevent these lucky situations from happening, another successful invasion in this manner wouldn’t be possible anymore.
Thousand Demon Ridge Cultivators were not fools. By the time they got to the bottom of what happened, they would most certainly come to the same view as Lu Ye.
While Lu Ye was enjoying the peace and quiet in the training chamber to read and meditate, a huge ruckus erupted in the audience hall of the Hidden Light Sanctuary outpost.
Guests from afar never stopped streaming into the outposts—all of them legates, prolegates, or even emissaries of all Grand Sky Coalition outposts nearby. In barely a day, representatives of more than seven to eight allied sects and orders had arrived.
Gu Canyang and Wei Li did their best to hold everyone at bay. Beleaguered by the incessant demands, none of them looked like themselves during the successful invasions.
Lu Ye had given very specific instructions the moment they came back here. He expected that people would come asking for his help to launch invasions of their own, but he needed Gu Canyang and Wei Li to disavow them of any notion of success.
It was all because of the invasion with the Silverlight Island people that had lent him this insight.
As soon as everyone nearby heard of how the Sky Pillar Sect outpost was defeated, many began to try to make use of the serpent. But the smart beast slipped away, or more Thousand Demon Ridge outposts would have suffered its wrath.
For this reason, Lu Ye knew that people would come banging on the doors, demanding to speak to him once word of his ability to slip through defensive ward shields reached every ear.
Hence he refused to show himself, choosing instead to let the Hidden Light Sanctuary people deal with the crowd instead.
“Please! Everyone! Please!” Gu Canyang flung his arms wide in exasperation with the resemblance of an albatross as if the gesture would kill the noise. “I know the reason everyone is here and I understand how you all feel. But please understand! We’re not trying to keep Lu Yi Ye to ourselves! This is his request and he has specifically confessed that the invasions were only successful because we’re lucky. They can’t be replicated. Not ever again.”
“That’s unfriendly, Gu. Both the Hidden Light Sanctuary and Lofty Plume Court enjoyed the ride with Lu Yi Ye and we’re just asking for a fair and equal chance of the same. If Lu Yi Ye could defeat their defensive wards, then he could defeat anyone! Why can’t he do it again if he’s done so twice!?”
“That’s right! We’ve known each other for so long, Gu, and I’ve been nothing but good to you! Now get Lu Yi Ye out here or I’m gonna tell everyone your dirty little secret!”
Gu Canyang could feel the corners of his eyelids throbbing. [What dirty little secret about me could you possibly know?!] But he was not in the mood to find out, not in public. Caught between the anvil and the hammer, he begged feebly, “Please, my friend. Please! Listen to reason!”
“Then get Lu Yi Ye out here this instant!”
In the audience hall, repetitive peals of sonorous chants threatened to bring the roof down. Even those who just arrived joined in, much to Gu Canyang and Wei Li’s annoyance and exasperation.