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Chapter 700: Immense Losses

The poison within the arrows latched onto nearly thirty unprepared cultivators as it spread through the chaos. It was absolutely tyrannical. Once inhaled, it swiftly infiltrated the ocean of qi in the cultivator’s dantian, spelling their doom. Once that happened, the cultivator could no longer mobilize their inner energy, since doing so would only speed up its spread in their bodies.

The thousand strong group finally escaped the range of the poisonous arrows and arrived in a fairly spacious area. Intense killing intent was clear in the eyes of the several elders. They gazed in the direction from which the arrows had been shot from before exchanging surreptitious glances with each other. They were debating whether or not they should just charge out and kill that brat! It wasn’t that they didn’t want to go. It was just that they were restrained by the seemingly endless tricks up Jiang Chen’s sleeves. Any one of these elders was superior to Jiang Chen on the basis of pure strength. But as things stood, the enemy was in the dark while they stood in the light. They truly didn’t dare to casually provoke Jiang Chen after seeing all the methods at his disposal.

If only a couple of them sallied forth, not only would they be unable to catch Jiang Chen, but they might be picked off instead. On the other hand, there would be no one to protect the group if all of them charged out. The elders were momentarily wracked with indecision. They wanted to obtain the credit of capturing Jiang Chen, but were also worried about leaving their group unprotected. After all, Jiang Chen’s tactics were too convoluted. They feared that he was creating a diversion, like luring a tiger away from his mountain. If he returned to deal with the group while they were focused on a diversion…

Their impulse to charge out gradually receded as caution started to rear its head. Just when they thought they were in the clear, a ghastly cry rang out from their midst.

“Ah, my dantian… I’ve also been poisoned!”

“No! It seems this area is also poisoned…”

“Poison formation… this is a poison formation, it’s all around us… we’re dead!” Panicked screams rang out from the crowd once more. The elders felt a chill run through their hearts—it felt like an endless nightmare. Another poison formation had actually been set up around them!

The deployment of this formation was rather ingenious and its destructive potential far  more lethal than the previous one. Hundreds of disciples fell to the poison within a few breaths. There were no shortage of sage realm cultivators within the victims.

“Retreat, keep moving!” Will this never end? The few elders were almost losing their minds from the continuous onslaught that came in wave after wave. Was this Jiang Chen aiming to exterminate them with this relentless rhythm of attacks? Even the experienced elders were momentarily overwhelmed by his methods.

They closed off their consciousness, evidently fearing that the poison would penetrate their dantian. They had learned from their mistakes this time and sent some men to scout ahead before moving the entire group. The group finally had a chance to reorganize roughly fifteen minutes later.

The three consecutive assaults had left the two sects in a state of great alarm. They felt terrified at the merest rustle of grass in the wind, like a bird intimidated by the sound of a bow. It felt like every tree and brush was an enemy. After a quick head count, they realized that their casualties had reached over a hundred between the two sects.  Most of them were origin realm cultivators, but a dozen or so sage realm cultivators had also fallen. This was undoubtedly an enormous loss for the two sects. Although not to the point where it undermined the constitution of the sect, but it was definitely painful. There were no shortage of talent within the two sects, but the number of sage realm cultivators was very limited. They had mobilized their elites in full force for this invasion, deploying most of their experts to the Regal Pill Palace, but who would’ve thought that they would take such terrible losses. The most depressing thing was that their casualties had not been a result of their assault on the Regal Pill Palace, but rather from the lone attacks of Jiang Chen. He had them all in a constant state of anxiety, completely on tenterhooks.

Gong Wuji rushed back after half an hour with two bodyguards and the two sect heads in tow. He returned empty handed, with nothing to show from this excursion. Gong Wuji’s expression was so gloomy that it’d sunk to new lows. After being tricked and having his face slapped repeatedly, this fourth rank emperor realm cultivator had somewhat lost his calm demeanor. The two sect heads also felt their hearts sink after seeing the chaos and hurriedly inquired about the situation. They cursed loudly after finding out what had transpired, feeling as if their hearts had been gouged by blades.

“This beast is truly cunning!”

“Jiang Chen, you and our Thunder Note Hall are absolutely irreconcilable!” The Thunder Note Hall sect head was burning with fury after the recent string of misfortunes. He roared at the skies, unable to suppress his frustration.

Gong Wuji’s temper was worse. As things stood, he realized that Jiang Chen must have gotten wind of what had transpired at the Great Scarlet Capital. He wouldn’t have launched an attack like this otherwise. This was no longer a simple demonstration of might, but an obvious eruption of hostility.

“Master, Jiang Chen is extremely crafty. Since he already knows that those from the Regal Pill Palace are no longer in our hands, I think we should immediately pursue him and attack. Every moment we delay adds to the young master’s peril…” one of Gong Qi’s bodyguards mustered the courage to voice a suggestion.

Although Gong Wuji was angry at their failure to protect Gong Qi, he was in dire need of manpower at the moment and found himself unable to rebuke them. He nodded with a deep sigh, “Time is of the essence. Give chase!” He glanced at the two sect heads, “What say you?”

Sparks spat from the eyes of the Thunder Note Hall sect head, “We chase. Of course we have to chase him down! I’ll burn him to  ashes when I capture him!”

The Thunder Note Hall had first lost Ding Rong, and then suffered heavy casualties. All of this had no doubt wounded the foundations of the Thunder Note Hall. The Giant Roc sect head also nodded, “We’re willing to follow Master Gong! We pledge with our lives to chase down and kill this little thief Jiang Chen! If this scum doesn’t die, none of us will be able to live out our days in peace!”

The elders from the two sects all nodded in succession, evidently in agreement with the Great Roc sect head. Just the nightmare that Jiang Chen have given them a while ago was enough to haunt them for half their lives, to put talk of all else out of their minds. Rather than wait for Jiang Chen to ambush them repeatedly, it would be better to mount an active assault and kill the child.

“Master Gong, Jiang Chen has many tricks up his sleeves. He is adept at camouflage, able to control vines and has a number of golden armored warriors at his command. He can set up formations and possesses sophisticated escape talismans. If it wasn’t for all this, he wouldn’t be able to cause any trouble at all, being at just mortal sage realm.”

“Those golden armored warriors are not to be trifled with. His formations, on the other hand, aren’t particularly advanced and so pose no threat to us. But it’s more than enough to sow chaos and disruption.”

“Mm hmm… if we want to capture him, we need to figure out how to deal with his escape talismans. We need to either lock him down with an emperor realm domain or use a powerful restriction talisman.” They were able to come to this conclusion after suffering a beating. Each person weighed in with the methods that Jiang Chen had used during this time. Ultimately, they came to the conclusion that the most difficult thing to deal with were the escape talismans. There were thousands of variations on the dao of glyphs and talismans. If there was an escape talisman, there would naturally be a restriction talisman to counter it.

Some of the higher grade restriction talismans could lock down space, effectively preventing escape talismans from tearing through them. Of course there was no easy way to compare two talismans. It all came down to their ranks. It was a battle between the grades of the talismans themselves. However, the restriction talisman was intrinsically designed to restrain the escape talisman.

It was just that the difficulty of refining a restriction talisman was much higher than that of an escape talisman. As such, the restriction talismans available on the market were mostly of low quality and wouldn’t be able to restrain a high level escape talisman. It was also difficult to find a high grade restriction talisman. There weren’t many people who could afford to use an advanced restriction talisman unless they absolutely required it. An emperor realm domain would usually do the trick.

However, Master Gong Wuji’s emperor realm domain had obviously locked down the entire area last time. But the expert beside Jiang Chen had been able to tear a hole through it, allowing them to escape. This particular memory was enough to cast a shadow over their hearts. It would be too difficult to kill Jiang Chen when his companion couldn’t be contained even by an emperor realm domain. After all, the only surefire way to deal with the escape talisman was to deploy an emperor realm domain.

Gong Wuji was at fourth rank emperor realm, while the other two sect heads were second rank emperor realm. There were also a few half-step emperor realm elders who were barely able to exert their own domain. Everyone’s gaze landed on Gong Wuji in the end. They would follow his commands. Gong Wuji himself found it difficult to understand what had happened previously. After giving it some thought, he concluded that it was impossible for the Regal Pill Palace to have someone who could break through an emperor realm domain in their ranks. He felt that the opponent must’ve utilized the power of a formidable talisman. This type of talisman most likely couldn’t be used multiple times. Even if that wasn’t the case, Jiang Chen himself didn’t possess the power to break through an emperor realm domain. If only he could be separated from that expert, then they would definitely be able to lock him down and kill him.

“Wait for an opportunity to defeat them individually,” Gong Wuji led the two bodyguards in pursuit of Jiang Chen after deciding on the strategy. Even if they couldn’t find Jiang Chen, they could still track Gong Qi. Hidden within his body was a bloodline mark that only Gong Wuji could track. The sect heads of the Thunder Note Hall and the Great Roc Sect followed suit along with the elites of their sect after making arrangements for the remaining disciples.

Now that things had escalated to this point, it was obviously no longer a simple dispute between Jiang Chen and Gong Wuji. This much was clear to the two sects. Their two sects were also now embroiled in a vendetta that would only end in death. Jiang Chen had killed their disciples while they had also killed those from the Regal Pill Palace. This vengeance would only end with the death of Jiang Chen. Otherwise, Jiang Chen would become an eternal nightmare for their sects. He was already such a thorny problem in the sage realm. They could foresee with certainty that the calamity of annihilation would descend upon the Thunder Note Hall and the Giant Roc Sect if he was allowed to ascend to the emperor realm. Thus, it was imperative that they chase down and kill Jiang Chen as soon as possible.

Gong Wuji suddenly stopped two days later. With a wave of his hand, he whispered, “I sense Qi’er’s blood within fifty kilometers. We will split up—Thunder Note Hall will circle around to the left and the Great Roc Sect to the right. The two of you will charge straight in while I go around to his rear. We’ll form a complete blockade this way.”

After locking him down from all sides, Gong Wuji wanted to see just how many escape talismans Jiang Chen had left. Considering the resources available to the Regal Pill Palace, there was definitely an end to his supply!  The day that brat uses up all his escape talismans is the day he will be executed!

Fifty kilometers… twenty five… fifteen…

Everyone’s emotions became more and more agitated, and all of deployed their domains slightly when they entered within five kilometers of the mark. Everyone charged forward at the same time when Gong Wuji gave the order, furiously expanding their domains to its maximum area.

“Let’s go!” Loud yells exploded out, all directed towards the target they’d chosen.

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