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Jiang Chen focused all his knowledge and faculties on observation. He was perpetually struck with a feeling that he didn’t quite understand the whole.

“What’s this formation doing here?” He was wracking his brains trying to figure out its purpose. “If this were a sealing formation, wouldn’t it have the characteristics of one? But it doesn’t. If it was an offensive formation, why would it be located in the depths of the mountains? And what would it be defending if it’s a defensive one?”

Jiang Chen’s brain brimmed with various thoughts and hypotheses. Sadly, none of them satisfied him. His mind whirred into action. “A formation is made for a singular purpose. Those Winterdraw people care a lot about the forbidden grounds, which means this formation must be even more important than I thought. But what is it used for?”

He couldn’t understand. The formation was virtually impenetrable. This was the first time he’d experienced this; the memories from his past life had been more than sufficient to clarify everything up until now.

“Must I use the spacetime seal to return to the Six Palaces of Heritage?” He gazed at the boulder formation in a depressed daze. The troubles he’d experienced after coming to Winterdraw flashed through his head. Had it all been for naught?

Jiang Chen would not resign himself to it. His calculations put him most of the way through the Blackwraith Mountains. If he could pass through this area and head onwards, he had a good chance of getting through the entirety of the mountains altogether. He would be on the boundary of Winterdraw then!

That would give him a good shot at escape.

Suddenly, a rather specific image made its way into his head. During one of his days in Sin City’s library, he had studied Winterdraw’s map. A spark of inspiration lit in his heart. It hovered before him, tantalizingly within reach. His heart beat faster, and he projected the God’s Eye toward the formation once more.

The formation was laid out with a great variety of depths and heights. The more he looked at it, the more it became familiar to him. It overlapped with the map he had reviewed back in Sin City!

“Can it be? This formation is based on a map of Winterdraw?” Jiang Chen was astonished and began to scrutinize it more closely.

The secret hidden in plain sight almost made him shout with excitement. The stony formation was a model map of Winterdraw Island itself!

“What’s the point of having a formation structured in the same way as the island’s geography?” Jiang Chen wanted the truth.

“Can it be…” A daring thought appeared in his mind, heating his blood. “Can it be that the formation controls the entirety of the island? And all the formations on it too?”

This possibility was rather exhilarating. The more he considered it, the more likely he found it to be. All the details were pointing to this conclusion.

Jiang Chen had seen this kind of formation before. He would’ve remembered if he’d searched his memory a little more.

There were many powerful formations in ancient times that could exert their control over a large region, resulting in a colossal area of effect. The core of any such formation was generally very well hidden.

The core of a formation was its eye, a place where all the formation’s levers could be tweaked. If the core failed, so did the rest. This stony formation was at the heart of the Blackwraith Mountains. Furthermore, it was touted as forbidden grounds – no entrance was allowed from anybody. What did that signify?

Winterdraw didn’t want this place to be revealed to anybody’s eye.

“It must be like that.” Jiang Chen was all fired up. His heart pounded as he perused the formation of boulders again. “If I can destroy this formation, wouldn’t all the restrictions over Winterdraw lose their effect? It will no longer have the ability to hold back its prisoners from escaping. The millions and tens of millions here… all of them would be able to escape!”

A maddening impulse drove at his heart.

“When Winterdraw’s experts discover that the restrictions on its borders have lost their strength, it will be a great help to my own flight. I would be merely one among countless others.”

Winterdraw didn’t have nearly enough men to pursue all the prisoners – or defeat them at all,in fact.

The island’s authority had been established under the precondition that no one could leave of their own volition. Because of this, no one dared oppose the chief warden and his men.

Once someone did, he could easily be held culpable for his crimes as he wouldn’t be able to disappear somewhere else. Thus, Winterdraw inspired awe through its restrictions alone. Who cared about the chief warden if the restrictions were gone?

The crazy idea ate at Jiang Chen’s heart, fermenting itself into irresistible action. He began to consider whether it was possible. Now that he knew the mystery behind the boulders, it was possible for him to try to figure out a way to demolish them. Where was he to start?

He carefully considered what he could see from the outside. He needed to find a flaw or loophole of some sort within the formation. Without it, breaking in was virtually impossible.

In fact, he could very well prompt a backlash from the formation. Given the level of the formation, such an attack would disintegrate ten Jiang Chens on the spot. He didn’t have the luxury of being hasty.

I must think and plan everything through before I do anything.

But now that he knew the entire thing was based off a map of Winterdraw, he found some clues as to where to begin. Exactly which places were more or less dangerous to dive into, for example.

“Although this formation was set up long ago, it’s continued to run ever since then. There must be something supporting its foundations.”

Formations didn’t run on nothing. They uniformly required energy – either from spirit stones, a treasure of some sort, or simply drawing it from heaven and earth.

Jiang Chen began to go through the possibilities one by one. He could rule out the last instantly. There was no gathering of natural energies here.

A supply of spirit stones was impossible to maintain for such a long time. They would be inevitably used up and expended. Although the formation was positively ancient, it didn’t appear to be decaying. Thus, Jiang Chen could eliminate that one too.

The last of the possibilities, and the most likely, was that the formation drew its power from a potent treasure.

Jiang Chen remembered the Earth Bodhisattva Orb he had obtained. In ancient times, the Earth Bodhisattva Sect had been able to rely on the orb to claim the title of foremost formation sect. Even the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect had been considered slightly inferior. The overpowering strength of the orb had been its entire basis.

“Could this place hold a treasure like the Earth Bodhisattva Orb?” According to his estimations, that seemed like the most likely conclusion.

Jiang Chen tried inching closer to the formation.

He began a painstaking search. As long as he could find where this treasure was located and figure out how to get it out, the formation would crumble by itself. The formation was partly dimensional in nature. If a bumbling fool ventured in, certain death obviously awaited him.

Jiang Chen however, was gradually able to detect the formation’s underlying principles. He became braver and more inspired as he did so, grasping more and more of its mysteries. It took a while, but he was able to move inward without triggering the restrictions.

“Very good. Just as I thought, this is a dimensional formation. There are many pieces of profound mysteries within, all of them relating to Winterdraw’s secret. The formation is the reason why Winterdraw exists. I doubt that it was a prison island long ago. Instead, it seems to have been some sort of fort.”

He could make no final judgments on the island’s antiquated purpose without further archaeological research. He didn’t need to know much else though. The boulder formation absolutely served as the control point of the entire island.

“I have to find the formation’s core. There will indubitably be an amazing treasure there, the one that sustains this entire structure.” Jiang Chen had no room to turn back now.

Destroying this formation and consequently the island as a whole was part of his plan. He needed to disable all the restrictions anywhere they may be.

His consciousness inspected the formation very carefully, not allowing a single detail to escape him. His footsteps halted, eyes were affixed on a place that they’d just passed over. The stones were arrayed in a particularly impressive way here, and they seemed to almost be giving off a signal.

In fact, the corner looked rather gate-like, though empty space appeared to occupy both sides.

Jiang Chen sank into deep thought.

In the next moment, he heard a voice in his consciousness that urged him to pass through the boulder gate. Without another word, Jiang Chen leaped through the door in a flash of lightning.


A burst of white light was the only manifestation of his journey elsewhere.

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