Xuan Zan blinked. “How do we smoke him out?”
Xue Yi was just as confused and looked at Kuang Han.
Kuang Han harrumphed. “A concealing talisman can hide his position in the air, but it doesn’t allow him to simply disappear. He’ll be revealed if we unleash an omnidirectional attack on this patch of space!”
Xuan Zan and Xue Yi were both overjoyed. The idea didn’t sound complicated, but they hadn’t thought of it in their haste.
“We’ll go with that,” Xuan Zan smiled cruelly. “We’ll each be in charge of a subdivision.”
“No rush,” Kuang Han replied coolly. “Our men are about to arrive. Have them lock down a hundred miles of space. I estimate it’s impossible for him to flee past a hundred miles if he can’t fly or otherwise transport himself!”
“Heh, allow me to demonstrate.” Xue Yi suddenly cackled. “House Xue has a method that is perhaps especially suited for this purpose.”
Kuang Han’s eyes lit up. “Are you speaking of the Demonhowl Zither?” he inquired happily.
“Exactly.” Xue Yi’s smile was so very odd. He pulled out a zither with a strange aura from thin air. Various sinister designs were engraved upon it, and its strings glowed with an eerie light that reminded one of hell.
“Fellow daoists, you should be able to resist this with your skills, no?” he asked, still grinning.
“We’ll be fine. Use it to your heart’s content. We’re in the open and our enemy is concealed. As long as your Demonhowl Zither causes him to make the smallest of movements, he’ll have nowhere to hide!”
“Quite right. Do as you like.”
Xue Yi nodded. “I’ll get to it then.”
He suspended the demonic zither in the air, placed both hands upon it, and began to play it. The first note from the instrument was like throwing open the gates of hell. Infinitely shrill howls of beasts and ghosts came from within.
Jiang Chen wasn’t even five hundred meters from the trio. The demonic song resounded in his ears. However, he had nothing but smiles for their adopted method.
Not a bad plan, but their reaction was quite slow. If they had done this upon first getting here, perhaps they would’ve succeeded. Now that I’m beginning to find clues about how this set of formations operates, who can possibly touch me?
Thinking this, he turned into a bolt of lightning that blasted into the sky.
Spatial ripples caused powerful air currents to kick up. Jiang Chen raised a hand casually to direct them, dispersing large doses of the Soulless Powder of Wind and Cloud all over the place.
“He’s finally come out. After him!” Kuang Han reacted the quickest. As soon as Jiang Chen moved, he sensed the movement of the air currents. He pounced with the quickness of an eagle.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh!
Three figures collapsed onto the revealed direction almost simultaneously. The air roiled. Fallen leaves and dust gathered up into an enormous wave, blasting toward the trio’s direction.
“Hmph. How dare a great emperor ant dare act like this?” Kuang Han didn’t consider a young genius of such trifling achievement worth much at all. In his point of view, the culprit would be as good as dead if he revealed himself.
However, he felt a flickering premonition of danger when the air blast neared. Pushing outward with both hands, he created a more powerful one to counteract the onslaught.
The collision of two forces obliterated all plant matter present. The terrain itself was leveled.
“Hold on!” Kuang Han waved to stop the two others from approaching. His eyes glittered with a keen light. “He is a devious one, alright. There’s a poisonous powder in the air.”
“What? Poisonous powder?” The other two colored at the revelation. They warily stopped breathing, closing up their pores as well.
“Hmm. The powder is tasteless and odorless. I have a feeling that it’s very powerful besides that. I would estimate it to have been instrumental in the kid’s killing of Kuang Rong and the others.” Kuang Han affixed his eyes upon the formation as he spoke. “He’s a decisive one for sure. I didn’t expect him to charge right into the formation, nor to use this poison powder as a diversion for his escape.”
“Hmph. Does he think we won’t be able to do anything to him once he goes into that formation?” Xuan Zan was furious. A repeated lack of success was evidently quite frustrating for him.
“No rush. This formation is very complicated. Even if he goes in, it’ll take more than a while for him to get out.” Kuang Han calmed down instead. He’d realized that even though they were mid empyrean realm masters, they couldn’t underestimate an opponent like this.
Perhaps the youth couldn’t present a life-threatening danger to them, but it no longer seemed impossible for him to escape with his life intact. Thus, calmness at this critical juncture was absolutely crucial.
“After the poison in the air subsides, we’ll head into the formation.” The addition of something to fear made Kuang Han rather more guarded.
“We have abilities to disperse the poison powder, no?” Xuan Zan said.
“The poison powder outside is easy enough to get rid of, but that kid was pretty slippery. He put down a lot of the same stuff just inside the formation’s entrance too. If our arts try to disperse it, it’ll trigger the restrictions into attacking us.”
Dispersing the poison wasn’t hard, but if that activated the traps hidden in the formation and caused its restrictions to fire full force against them, that would be quite troublesome. Despite their status as mid empyrean experts, they didn't want to become the targets.
After entering the formation proper, Jiang Chen was able to proceed onward step by step by utilizing what he had learned during observation.
The formation was truly intricately constructed. Each link was tightly connected to the next through almost an almost mystical connection, allowing all the links to create a harmonious whole.
Though the array of formations had loosened somewhat, it still wasn’t nearly safe enough to simply barge in. Jiang Chen navigated it much like an acrobat on a tightrope. Caution was required, lest he trigger the restrictions and be attacked himself.
He couldn’t go as quickly as possible despite pursuers outside. Instead, he had to apply the utmost circumspection.
His current position allowed a closer look at the formation’s intricacies. The knowledge from his past life ensured that he wouldn’t make any mistakes. He passed through several multi-layered gates to get closer and closer to the formation’s core.
The closer he drew to it, the more extraordinary he found the formation to be.
“There’s no way this place was ordinary in the past. None of the formations I’ve seen before have had this kind of scale. The only one I can think of is the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement.”
Jiang Chen had learned many formations from the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect, but none had rivaled this in size. This was no longer a singular formation, but a perfectly arranged array of them.
Thankfully, he was a master of formations and could always find the weakest points in the individual formations that made up the larger whole. Moreover, he could find the best passages through the connecting points between the formations. This allowed him to travel along time and time again without actual danger.
“This is my eighth jump from formation to formation. How many formations are there in here? What secret does the core hold?”
Jiang Chen had almost forgotten that he was being pursued. He was entirely devoted to traveling between the formations. Each jump held terrifyingly great danger.
Any little indiscretion would lead to a slow, abrasive death in the pockets of space between the formations; much like what happened to substances between two grindstones.
“Oof, that’s another jump.” Jiang Chen completed his ninth jump. God’s Eye looking onward, he saw an ancient complex of buildings not far off.
These buildings didn't look residential in nature. Rather, they looked altar-like and ritualistic.
The seemingly haphazard arrangements held an indelible order to them. Ancient stones stretched out in every which direction to create an ancient formation. Various primordial glyphs were engraved upon them.
Jiang Chen halted several hundred meters out from the giant stones. He had a feeling that the structure formed by these giant stones contained a great secret. The raging air around them proved this formation’s status as the entire formation’s core.
“Am I finally here?” He took a deep breath, taking in the stony constructions around him. His heart was filled with questions. Even he could not immediately spot any clues as to the formation’s nature.
He noticed only that there was hidden principle in every apparently mislaid stone. As for what that principle was, he couldn’t say.
In this moment, he forgot about the pursuers behind him. He had no other choice. The boulders that blocked his way weren’t something to rashly venture into. Without understanding it fully, he didn't dare brave them.
Jiang Chen’s intuition told him so. He had a strong hunch that if he charged in without thinking, he would be disintegrated on the spot. Thankfully, the three mid empyrean experts behind him had not caught up yet. He had more than enough time to observe the stony formation.
The formation of boulders was different from any that he had seen before. This wasn’t a sealing formation, nor was it defensive or offensive.
The only thing he could glean so far was that it contained boundless energy and a forbidding aura. It would certainly not hesitate to unleash potent offensive energies on an unwitting trespasser!