Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Lu Ye had known immediately what Yu Xiao was referring to when he said he wanted to ask a favor from him.
Just now, Heavenly Derivative Sect’s best medicine cultivator had admitted that she was incapable of treating the poison. It was why Yu Xiao had wanted to ask for help from other medicine cultivators in Wu Zhou until the woman had enlightened him. Since Sister Shui Yuan was already on her way, there was no need to invite anyone else.
There were some medicine cultivators whose medical expertise were greater than Shui Yuan’s, but they were all Divine Ocean Realm Masters. Not only were they scattered across the entire Jiu Zhou, they were all the trump cards of Tier-One sects. It would be expensive to employ their services, and that was assuming they cared enough to treat the lives of two “insignificant” Spirit Creek Realm cultivators.
That was why Shui Yuan of the Crimson Blood Sect was their best option bar none. There was no one whose medical expertise was better than hers beneath the Divine Ocean Realm.
However, the Crimson Blood Sect was also infamous for their protectiveness. There was a good chance Shui Yuan would refuse to treat Zhao Li for putting Lu Ye in danger, and with good reason. Lu Ye was poisoned in Heavenly Derivative Sect’s territory after all.
Still, Yu Xiao was the sect master. It was his responsibility to at least try to save a disciple of his sect. That was why he had asked Lu Ye to help him.
To Lu Ye, this was just a small issue. If his senior sister really could purge the Divine Soul poison, he did not see why she wouldn’t cure Zhao Li as well.
Furthermore, Lu Ye was planning to improve his skill in the Way of Wards. Saving Zhao Li would give him the peace of mind to further his studies in the Heavenly Derivative Sect.
Of course, this was assuming that his senior sister was skilled enough to save Ju Jia and Zhao Li. If not, then…
He had heard every word of the conversation between Yu Xiao and his medicine cultivator. His senior sister was one of the best medicine cultivators in Jiu Zhou, but the medicine cultivator had also explained why medical expertise alone might not be enough to cure Ju Jia and Zhao Li.
“Thank you. Please get some rest while we wait for Elder Tang and Sister Shui Yuan to arrive. Of course, I will tell them to keep your condition a secret, and you have my word that I will give you a satisfactory resolution to this… fiasco.”
Yu Xiao made to leave, but he stopped when he arrived at the exit. “Oh right, there is one more thing I’d like to ask you about, if you don’t mind?”
Lu Ye simply looked at him and waited.
Yu Xiao launched into his question, “You are—were—poisoned, were you not? So why are you perfectly fine?”
“I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because I’m born exceptional and immune to all poison?”
Yu Xiao let out an involuntary chuckle before shaking his head and leaving. Naturally, he thought that Lu Ye was just joking or deflecting his question. There was no such thing as someone who was born immune to all poisons, and even if there was someone like that, they would not be immune to a poison that afflicted the Divine Soul.
Unbeknownst to Yu Xiao, Lu Ye was, in a sense, immune to all poisons. If the Tree of Glyphs could identify and burn something as obscure as pill poison, then of course it could do the same to other poisons.
Lu Ye had no idea that the Tree of Glyphs possessed such an ability until now. It wasn’t without a cost, however. He could sense that burning the poison had used up much of its fuel reserves so to speak. When he ran out, he would have to feed it more Flame of Earthen Spirits.
There was no hurry though. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to unlock more Glyphs, but because he needed to save up his Contribution Points for something. Earlier, he had saved up his Contribution Points to purchase a Heaven Grade cultivation technique. Now, he was saving up for something that cost far, far more Contribution Points. To give an example, it was an amount that would discourage any other Spirit Creek Realm cultivator.
This was also why he was so enamored with occupying Outposts. There was no other way he could’ve accumulated the necessary amount, not even if he sold all the loot he got to the Vault of Providence.
Although he had to go through several hoops to obtain his Contribution Points—first, he would have to return to his Outpost. Next, he would have to convert the Contribution Points he got into sect Contribution Points. Finally, he would need to issue himself a salary, which was ten percent of the total Sect Contribution Points—it was still much, much faster than earning Contribution Points via killing enemies.
Speaking of which, Yu Xiao was a meticulous man. It was clear he realized something since he purposely mentioned that he would keep Lu Ye’s “condition” a secret.
Lu Ye had notified his senior sister the moment he realized that the food and wine were poisoned because, one, her superior medical expertise could save a life, and two, he thought this was a good opportunity to drop out of Thousand Demon Ridge’s radar.
Thousand Demon Ridge had been keeping an eye on him since the day he left Hidden Light sanctuary. Not only was he ambushed multiple times on his way to Heavenly Derivative Sect, he was poisoned within the hour he arrived at his destination. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the poison was untreatable even by the best medicine cultivator of the Heavenly Derivative Sect.
Just how badly did Thousand Demon Ridge want him dead?
However, he could drop out of their radar if he “died” in this poisoning incident. It wouldn’t fool them for long, but it was certainly better than if they knew he still lived.
Of course, Thousand Demon Ridge might not be fooled if only the Heavenly Derivative Sect announced that Lu Ye was dead. That was why he wanted Sister Shui Yuan to come over.
He had told Shui Yuan that he was fine in the message, but his senior sister still brought the sect master with her. It made Lu Ye feel warm on the inside.
The smile on his face flattened when he looked at the sleeping Ju Jia though. He was safe thanks to the Tree of Glyphs, but the same could not be said for Ju Jia. He could only pray that his senior sister was skilled enough to save him.
Ju Jia had bathed in the Pool of Divine Purification just like him, but even he was still unable to resist this unknown poison. It showed just how toxic it was.
On a related note, the Heavenly Derivative Sect had already captured the culprit thanks to Lu Ye’s quick reaction after realizing that the food and wine were poisoned. The poisoner clearly wasn’t expecting his deed to be exposed so soon and was captured before he managed to go far.
It should not need to be said, but the Heavenly Derivative Sect showed no mercy to the traitor. They quickly tortured the information they needed out of the man and obtained residues of the poison from his hands. After a careful inspection, the female medicine cultivator was able to confirm that the poison was indeed more targeted at the Divine Soul than the body. That was why Ju Jia’s and Zhao Li’s physical bodies were fine now.
However, they would still die if the poison eating away at their Divine Soul wasn’t treated soon.
According to the spy, he hadn’t prepared the poison specifically to kill Lu Ye. It was just in case he needed it to use it one day. Then Lu Ye came to the Heavenly Derivative Sect, and he received the order to assassinate the young man. The rest was history.
That wasn’t all that had happened during this time. While they were interrogating the spy, groups of cultivators belonging to different Thousand Demon Ridge sects had shown up outside the Heavenly Derivative Sect’s Outpost. At first, their numbers weren’t that threatening. They were members of the three Thousand Demon Ridge sects bordering the Outpost, and each sect had dispatched about two hundred people or so.
However, their numbers exceeded a thousand just half a day later. Everyone in the headquarters was shaken when they received the news.
Although Zhao Li had heeded Yu Xiao’s advice and made the necessary preparations beforehand, there was only so much they could do against this many invaders. Not even the toughest Grand Ward could hold for long against hundreds and hundreds of attackers, not to mention that their total force had long since surpassed the Heavenly Derivative Sect’s ability to withstand.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Thousand Demon Ridge’s reinforcements showed no signs of stopping. Each group was only one or two hundred cultivators strong—it was basically the expected number of people a sect normally dispatched to assist in an operation—but a lot of sects were participating in the operation, even those whose Outpost was pretty far away from the Heavenly Derivative Sect. This rarely happened on the Spirit Creek Battlefield because it opened up the group to being ambushed in the middle of a march.
Of course, the Heavenly Derivative Sect also asked for help from Grand Sky Coalition, but most sects were too far away to assist in time, and those who were close could only dispatch so many cultivators without compromising their own safety. Still, no one hesitated to send help. They knew that they would suffer massive losses since they would be clashing against a force with far superior numbers than theirs, but that was no excuse to let the Heavenly Derivative Sect’s Outpost be breached without resistance.
When the time was right, the Thousand Demon Ridge army finally launched their invasion. As expected, the Heavenly Derivative Sect failed to defend their Outpost even though their allies were able to divert some forces away from them. Their Grand Ward was broken by force, and the disciples had no choice but to withdraw to Jiu Zhou.
For a time, somberness hung above everyone’s heads like dark clouds. This wasn’t the first time their Outpost had been conquered by the enemy, but never had they been outmatched so thoroughly that they were unable to put up even a bit of resistance. They had practically teleported away while watching their Grand Ward be diminished little by little.
There was a silver lining though. Realizing just how outmatched they were, the cultivators of the Heavenly Derivative Sect had gone into evacuation mode from the beginning. As a result, not one person was injured or killed even though their Outpost was conquered.
They were temporarily stuck in the headquarters though. From what their allies had told them, the enemy had not retreated despite having occupied the Outpost. They just stayed there as if the ruins were their new home.
This was clearly a warning to all Grand Sky Coalition sects. They were saying that anyone who dared to take Lu Yi Ye of the Crimson Blood Sect into their sect would have to face some serious consequences.
Naturally, Grand Sky Coalition was unhappy with this situation. Many Legates started communicating with one another and tried to organize a full force counterattack, but the effort quickly petered out, not because they lacked the determination or courage—they were all youngsters eager to prove themselves after all—but because their seniors had put a stop to it.
There was no changing the fact that the Heavenly Derivative Sect’s Outpost was occupied. If the Grand Sky Coalition were to launch a full force counterattack, the battle would surely escalate into an all-out war. Thousand Demon Ridge would not like this, but Grand Sky Coalition would suffer massive losses as well. This was something the older generation could not accept.
As a result, the Thousand Demon Ridge cultivators hanging out in the Outpost grew even more arrogant.
Meanwhile, Gu Canyang and Wei Li of the Hidden Light Sanctuary were shaking in their boots and thinking how close they had come to losing their Outpost and potentially their lives. Although they knew that the reason Thousand Demon Ridge went to such extremes was because they wanted to stop Lu Ye from furthering his studies in the Way of Wards at the Heavenly Derivative Sect, they could not help but be scared anyway.
If Thousand Demon Ridge had acted sooner and pulled this stunt while Lu Ye was still at their Outpost, there was no chance they would have been able to repel them.
Meanwhile, the Thousand Demon Ridge sects were feeling much better after occupying the Heavenly Derivative Sect’s Outpost and striking back against the Grand Sky Coalition. They felt even better when they heard the news that Lu Yi Ye of the Crimson Blood Sect was gravely poisoned, and he would be dead very soon.
The doom and gloom that hung above their heads a while ago was swept away like a hurricane. Now, they were just waiting for the news of his death to spread so they could bring out the gongs and fireworks to celebrate.