With everything in place, Zhuo Fan’s party entered an idle period alongside Hell Valley’s elder, waiting for the eruption of Diamond Sand.
For a while, everything was quiet and peaceful. Xie Tianyang was feeling bored standing guard every day and thought of training his martial arts, but his worries about the Diamond Sand erupting and Zhuo Fan hogging it won over that feeling in the end.
Because he knew Zhuo Fan’s mannerism but not his intention, and because he didn’t understand Zhuo Fan either, he held some mistrust.
While Xue Ningxiang seemed to have forgotten about the Diamond Sand and played with the Burrowing Mouse every day. Xie Tianyang tried to call the critter over, but the little guy gave him an eye roll, which only worked to embarrass him.
It was his spirit animal yet it was closer with Xue Ningxiang…
So he switched targets to Zhuo Fan, watching him with a perplexed look.
Zhuo Fan was a riddle, be it his background or his origins. In no way would he believe Zhuo Fan’s words of coming from a small clan.
Among their group, Zhuo Fan was the calmest. Over the past ten-so days all he did was meditate. As if he didn’t care about the Diamond Sand at all, while in fact it also concerned him the most.
Zhuo Fan, in Xie Tianyang’s mind, was becoming more valued, with how rare such a character existed in the Tianyu Empire.
At least he didn’t have the state of mind to cultivate while waiting for the Diamond Sand like Zhuo Fan.
Cultivating with his anxiety and restlessness would only cause a deviation. While Zhuo Fan…
Xie Tianyang scrutinized Zhuo Fan, feeling envy.
A sudden sound woke Zhuo Fan up, “At last, the 6th layer of Qi Condensation.”
Xie Tianyang’s cheek trembled and showed a resigned expression.
To breakthrough at such a crucial time, he would never reach Zhuo Fan’s state of mind for years to come…
This was how the trio spent the next month. Xie Tianyang was bored out of his mind, Xue Ningxiang and the critter played like crazy, sporting smiles every moment, while Zhuo Fan sat there in meditation.
Rolling his eyes, Xie Tianyang was driven to the point of insanity. [If I knew this would happen, I wouldn’t have pushed the Burrowing Mouse that hard.]
The critter broke up with him so thoroughly that it wouldn’t even come to relieve his boredom!
“Can’t take it anymore!” Xie Tianyang wailed.
Then a sudden bang resounded across the mountain range and the ground started shaking.
Zhuo Fan jumped to his feet. Xue Ningxiang, who was playing with the critter, was a bit startled and turned to Zhuo Fan and Xie Tianyang.
But the two didn’t look afraid, only excited!
Hell Valley’s 7th elder stationed at Golden Spring Pool flew higher, “Ha-ha-ha, I have waited two months for this.”
“Men, cast the nets to gather the Diamond Sand!” The 7th elder roared and the Bone Tempering guards bowed, “Understood!”
They then began throwing golden nets into the Golden Spring Pool until it was all shining golden.
At the same time, at the stream, Zhuo Fan asked, “Did you prepare a net?”
“Ha-ha-ha, why would I come for Diamond Sand if I hadn’t?” Xie Tianyang laughed and cast his net.
Diamond Sand erupted along with lava and it needed special nets to filter it.
Zhuo Fan also cast his own golden net into the stream.
Xie Tianyang watched him doubtful, “Brother Zhuo, what will you do now?”
Zhuo Fan smiled with confidence and his hand performed signs, “Heaven and Earth reverse, mountains and river switch, yin and yang shift, twin array exchange!”
The spirit stones laid underground shined ever brighter and each beam of light pierced the horizon.
All around the Golden Spring Pool, 3221 light pillars towered towards the sky. The 7th elder felt uneasy, but as Diamond Sand’s eruption was imminent, he had no time to mind parlor tricks and fixed his eyes on the hot spring’s mouth.
Suddenly, a column of water sprouted from the spring, just that the heat from it was far lower.
People were stunned seeing this.
Reason dictated that along with the eruption of Diamond Sand, lava should flow out too. The hot spring’s water would be so hot that not even a Bone Tempering expert should be able to approach.
But why was there only plain water?
7th elder blinked in a daze, then face-palmed, “Damn it, someone’s playing us.”
He rushed higher in the air and saw thousands of light pillars in the distance.
7th elder seethed in rage as he charged, “You’re dead if you think you can play me!”
Meanwhile, the stream before Zhuo Fan’s party was gone, replaced by a dark hole that was soon spewing lava along with fine and shiny particles.
“Diamond Sand!” Xie Tianyang was overjoyed as he turned to Zhuo Fan in shock, “Brother Zhuo, you’re great. How is the Diamond Sand erupting here?”
Grinning, Zhuo Fan flatly said, “This array is called Heaven and Earth Shift. It is a mere 1st-grade array, but it can reverse yin and yang, shift mountains and rivers. I only switched Diamond Sand’s flow to here.”
Zhuo Fan said it dully, but Xie Tianyang was shocked to the core.
As far as he knew, only 6th grade and above arrays could do that, and they were all lost. But Zhuo Fan not only did it but used just a 1st-grade array in the process.
He started to recall Zhuo Fan mentioning Veiled Dragon Pavilion’s alliance agreement.
[It might not be far fetched for Veiled Dragon Pavilion to make such an agreement if they knew of brother Zhuo’s outrageous talent.]
Xie Tianyang watched Zhuo Fan closely with a secret smile. He didn’t think he’d meet such a man when he decided to get the Diamond Sand.
[There may not be a second person in the empire who can set this array.]
Xie Tianyang then spoke, “Brother Zhuo, would you like to come into Sword Marquise Abode as a Venerable?”
Xue Ningxiang was tongue-tied. Zhuo Fan was so young yet he’d get to be a Venerable in one of the seven houses!
Zhuo Fan rolled his eyes and almost made Xue Ningxiang stumble with his next words, “Save it. Veiled Dragon Pavilion tried it already and I refused them all the same. That’s why they changed to having an alliance agreement!”
“Brother Zhuo, you’re showing off here.” Xue Ningxiang clearly doubted his words.
But Xie Tianyang nodded and said, “Alright, I will send someone with an alliance agreement when I get back. Where do I send it?”
“Windgaze City’s Luo clan. I will return when I am finished with my affairs!”
Xie Tianyang hesitated, “Then I will wait for your return. I want to sign it with you. With your skills, when you leave the Luo clan in the future, we won’t lose out then!”
Zhuo Fan shook his head, [Why are all seven houses the same?]
Xue Ningxiang gasped as her face twitched. [Sword Marquise Abode is so unruly, why would they want to sign an agreement with an outsider?]
And it wasn’t with a clan, but with a single man!
But what escaped her thoughts was that precisely because Xie Tianyang was from the seven houses that he valued Zhuo Fan so much. The average clan would never see Zhuo Fan’s value.
At this time, the dark cave let out a final eruption of lava. Seeing this, Zhuo Fan urged, “Get the nets!”
“Why the hurry?”
Xie Tianyang waved and continued with a smile, “The nets are made of spirit metal. They won’t break in lava.”
Zhuo Fan snorted, “You think I don’t know that? If we don’t go now, we may not have a life to enjoy it.”
Xie Tianyang was startled as Zhuo Fan continued, “You think all elders from Hell Valley are blind? Who wouldn’t notice the light pillars? Just wait, and you will have a Profound Heaven expert hovering overhead!”
Xie Tianyang rushed in with his hand signs to recover the net. As the nets rose, the trio saw the glitters among the lava. And on the net’s threads was shining sand.
“What do we do now?”
Xie Tianyang was happy seeing the net but was aware of the imminent danger. Zhuo Fan dragged them for 12 hours to this place for a reason most obvious–to buy time. Even a Profound Heaven expert would need two hours to reach here.
During this time, they could retrieve the Diamond Sand and leave. But where to run was the question? Where was safe?
Noticing Zhuo Fan gazing at the stream’s opposite bank, the pair shouted, “The second area?”
“Wrong!” Zhuo Fan said dryly, “The third area!”
Gasping, the two stared at Zhuo Fan in a daze.
[Is this guy crazy? The second area is dangerous enough, but going to the third is suicide!]
But they both were oblivious to the fact that Zhuo Fan’s aim from the start was in that area.
6th level spiritual beast, Thunder Skylark…