The six Rank Two spirit beasts were the equivalent of six Natal Opening Realm martial practitioners. This power alone wasn’t something they could deal with.
Besides that, there were a lot of Rank One spirit beasts, and their combat strength posed just as much of a threat. Added to the fact that there were numerous Rank Ones, they could easily all be ripped to death.
For them, other than Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian, who had reached the early stage of the Natal Opening Realm, the rest of them were only at the Refinement Realm.
Both Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian had suffered quite the injury during their earlier battle against Yan Ziqian, and they still hadn’t managed to recover yet…
Just how were they going to fight this?
“No! We’re all just going to die if we rush in there and fight! No one will survive!” Kang Zhi shook his head repeatedly while squeezing out a bitter smile on his face. “Should we slow down for a bit? Wait until Big Brother Tu and Sister Qian recovers before taking this one step at a time?”
“The people of Dark Asura Hall’s Department of Internal Affairs aren’t easy to deal with. If they see us slack off instead of putting our lives on the line for them, we won’t be able to come up with an excuse. They can… punish us straight away or even kill us on the spot.”
Zhuo Qian’s expression was serious. “Running away is not an option, so we’ll have to think of another way. Oh, right, they did mention earlier that it’s okay to pull the spirit beasts away. They’re only trying to go further in, and the spirit beast horde is blocking their way. As long as we are able to pull a portion of the horde away, we would have accomplished our mission.”
“Yes, Zhuo Qian is right,” Tu Ze interrupted. “Wanting to fight the spirit beasts head on is seeking our own deaths. We’ll use our familiarity with the outer area of the stone forest, anger the spirit beasts, and attract them outside. That should be fine.”
Qin Lie also nodded in agreement.
Soon enough, they finalized their plan, and with the aim to anger and bait the spirit beasts, they headed to an area the spirit beasts had gathered to.
An hour later, the group had arrived behind a large rock and stealthily poked out their heads.
It was a slightly open area of stone. Tens of spirit beasts had gathered at the spot, and most of them were Rank One spirit beasts. There was an Ice Soul Python, two Golden Crag Beasts, two Dragonhorn Rhinoceroses, and even a Golden Haired Ape in the mix. These six Rank Two spirit beasts were all situated at the fork deeper inside the stone forest.
The six Rank Two spirit beasts were all squatting neatly and appeared to be absorbing spirit energy using their unique spirit beasts ways.
Wisps of white fog entered and exited their nose and mouths, and the area they were in had slightly thicker nature spirit energy.
The six Rank Two spirit beasts had occupied the best positions, which was also the closest area to the deeper section of the stone forest.
The remaining tens of Rank One spirit beasts were spread out and stayed a far distance away from them. It appeared that they weren’t allowed to get close.
“What a thick level of nature spirit energy.” After Qin Lie had come, it took only one sniff for his expression to slightly shift, his eyes flashing with an odd light. He thought to himself, “The Spirit Gathering Boards! The world’s spirit energy here has been gathered by the Spirit Gathering Boards! Xie Jingxuan’s specially arranged formation used to purify the Soul Devouring Beast must have Spirit Gathering Boards hidden inside it, and it was also these Spirit Gathering Boards that so much of the world’s spirit energy has been gathered around this area.”
He immediately understood what happened.
“Let’s go!” Tu Ze yelled in a soft tone.
“Attack!” the group yelled in unison.
“Swish Swish Swoosh! Whoosh Whoosh Whoosh! Zzt Zzt Zzt!”
For a time, rays of vivid rainbow-like colors flew over from their direction.
There were crimson flames, faint blue lightning, cold gray fog, fluttering blades of wind, bright-silver nebula balls, brown-yellow rainbow beams…
They were all released from the spirit artifacts they held in their hands, focusing them into rays of bright and vivid multi-colored lights that shot straight at the center of the spirit beast horde.
The spirit beasts’ howls abruptly exploded outwards, and in pain, all of the spirit beasts who were using the world’s spirit energy to cultivate had turned mad.
The eyes of those bloodthirsty and cruel beast searched in all four directions, and they immediately locked down Tu Ze and Qin Lie’s loudly shrieking group. Immediately, the spirit beasts howled out in anger and rushed into action.
The six Rank Two spirit beasts were also attacked by the storm-like barrage. The nebula light balls and wind blades from Tu Ze’s longblade and Zhuo Qian’s Dragon Bone Whip showed off their awesome power and drew bloody wounds on all three spirit beasts, angering them completely.
The irritated spirit beast horde rushed out and directly charged towards the group, and a fierce and brutal atmosphere akin to a dark cloud bore down upon them.
Kang Zhi screeched out. The actions of his fat body were both swift and agile, and he was the first to run out.
Han Feng, Chu Peng and the rest were ready to do the same long ago, and the moment they saw him charged forward, they too followed closely behind him, afraid to be left behind.
Tu Ze shouted aloud and urged both Gao Yu and Qin Lie to quickly escape. Both Zhuo Qian and him held their spirit artifacts in hand and looked to stay at the furthest end to cut off any pursuers.
When he saw the tens of spirit beasts rushing towards them, Qin Lie was also frightened by the parade as he hurriedly called after Gao Yu with a slight change in expression, “Let’s go!”
Gao Yu nodded and retreated along with Qin Lie, shoulder by shoulder, back the way they came. They purposely picked crooked small trails to escape to.
Once Gao Yu and Qin Lie had left, Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian did not dare to stay too long either. Once they had let loose a few more wind blades and nebula beams and blasted the spirit beasts at random, they also bolted and ran like hell.
Amidst the stone hills that were like a forest of swords, Xie Jingxuan had abandoned their Profound Nether Beasts and stood at the pinnacle of the hills.
This particular stone hill was tens of meters high, and it allowed them to clearly see from afar with a bird’s-eye view. Their realms were rather high, and their eyesights were impeccable. It took them a single glance to notice the huge commotion Qin Lie and Tu Ze had created, watching them speedily retreat while the spirit beasts chased madly after them until they slowly left the gathering point.
“I suppose these kids are pretty smart.” Liang Zhong smiled and nodded his head. “If they were to fight the spirit beast horde head on, it’s highly probable that none of them will survive. I suppose they have achieved our demands now that they have lured the spirit beast horde away. Hmm, not bad; I may have underestimated them.”
“Look over there.” Xie Jingxuan pointed in another direction. “The group from Crimson Flame Association are a bunch of simpletons. They won’t use their brains unless they suffer some real losses.”
Liang Zhong looked in direction she was pointing in with an odd expression as he dumbfoundedly said, “This Xiong Ba is seriously just like his father and grandfather!”
From their point of view, they could vaguely see that Crimson Flame Association’s Xiong Ba and his men had charged straight into the center of the spirit beast horde and were caught in a fierce battle.
Although the spirit beasts they were fighting weren’t as fearsome as the ones Qin Lie’s group had encountered, there were still four Rank Two spirit beasts and fifty more Rank Ones.
Xiong Ba and Crimson Flame Association were obviously at a disadvantage fighting the fearsome beasts alone, and if they didn’t grow a brain soon and retreat, it wouldn’t be long before they experienced casualties.
“They’re a bit stupid,” Xie Jingxuan commented with a frown.
Liang Zhong nodded his head and let out a sigh. “These guys are definitely going to eat some big losses. Crimson Flame Association’s decision to let Xiong Ba lead the group was a clear lapse in judgment.”
“Shattered Ice Manor and Water Moon Sect’s plans were the same as Nebula Pavilion’s. They were all smart enough not to fight the spirit beasts head on.” After a while, Yan Ziqian and Na Nuo began to make their move, and watching the commotion from afar, Xie Jingxuan nodded slightly. “That Na Nuo is pretty good. Out of the four leaders, she is the strongest, and she also takes great care of her sisters…”
She could see very far, and she could see that, although Yan Ziqian’s plan was the same as Na Nuo—both were baiting the spirit beasts to leave their positions — but when they put their plan into action, there were some minor differences in terms of minute detail between the two.
After Yan Ziqian and the others had angered the spirit beasts, Yan Ziqian and Feng Kai left first without a care for anyone else. They were obviously selfish people.
Na Nuo was different. Just like Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian, she had taken the initiative to stay at the very end and waited until her lower realm sisters had made it out before she escaped herself.
The actions of all four groups — Nebula Pavilion, Crimson Flame Association, Shattered Ice Manor and Water Moon Sect — were seen in their entirety by Xie Jingxuan and Liang Zhong. The two had also formed a rough opinion on the behavior and character of those in the four groups.
After watching for a while, both of them placed their attention onto Nebula Pavilion’s group, specifically Qin Lie and Gao Yu.
“This Gao Yu kid cultivates a rather special spirit art, and his character is also incredibly dark and ruthless. He hides a viciousness in his bones.” Liang measured his words for a while. “But this kid is antisocial and seems to enjoy being a loner. He isn’t good at communicating and his teamwork can use a little work.”
Seeing that Xie Jingxuan didn’t say anything, Liang Zhong frowned slightly and pondered, “As for that Qin Lie kid, I can’t exactly see through him…”
“Oh?” Xie Jingxuan turned his head around, seemingly wanting him to continue.
“Along the way, Qin Lie had been very quiet, giving the impression that he is a gentle and quiet kid. We’ve seen him a few times at Li’s Shop, and his behavior was pretty normal. He speaks tactfully and does things quite well. He feels just like the guy next door, and at first glance, there’s nothing special about him…”
After a pause, Liang Zhong then said, “However, when he fights with another person, he suddenly turns incredibly fierce and violent, like a beast that had been suppressed for a long time was suddenly unleashed onto the world. He does not show any mercy, and his attacks are like a violent storm. Once he entered combat, it’s as if he has transformed into a completely different person, as if he had transformed into a monster and a fiend; it is completely different from his usual behavior. This is incredibly strange.”
“Perhaps he reveals his true self when he fights. Perhaps this is his true nature. Perhaps the him in daily life is just a disguise…”
Xie Jingxuan suddenly spoke out, and her words both surprised and confused Liang Zhong. Just as Liang Zhong was about to ask, she continued saying, “I’ve talked with Tu Mo before. I heard from Tu Mo that this Qin Lie came from the vassal force called the Ling Family under Nebula Pavilion. He and his grandfather came to the Ling Family together. Apparently, he forgot everything from over ten years ago. It’s as if that part of his memories was completely missing.”
At this point, she frowned for a bit before continuing, “More often than not, how people express themselves during combat is their truest self. That is why the Qin Lie who is violent, savage, and brutal in battle may be the true Qin Lie; that could be the character he had developed during those past ten years.”
Liang Zhong looked surprised. “In that case, this Qin Lie is seriously not simple. I dare say that such a violent, savage, and brutal fellow cannot possibly come from a normal family.”
“Mn.” Xie Jingxuan nodded. “Unfortunately, he can no longer remember the past, or we could otherwise clear our doubts. However, all I hope right now is that during the moment we need him, he will be able to summon a bolt of lightning from the Ninth Heaven just like last time. Then he’ll be able to help us. Otherwise, no matter what background he might have, he is of no value to us at all.”