In general, a cultivator of the Houtian realm could control an array consisting of one to three array pillars, the so-called Array of One and Array of Three (Heaven, Earth, Mortal). For a Daoist of Xiantian realm, the arrays he could control were upgraded, consisting of four to six array pillars, and was called the Array of Four Quadrants and Six Directions. Yet, Human Immortals of Gold Core realm would be able to control an array consisting of seven to nine array pillars. They were called Array of Seven Stars, Array of Eight Trigrams, and Array of Nine Halls.
Earth Immortals of Nascent Soul realm were able to control formations constructed from ten to twelve array pillars: the Formation of Ten Aspects, Formation of Union, and Formation of Birth. Beyond that were the formations constructed with more than twelve array pillars: the Formation of Thirteen Northern and Southern Stars, the Formation of Twenty-Eight Constellations, the Formation of Thirty-six Celestial Dippers, the Formation of Forty-nine Great Recursive, the Formation of Seventy-two Nether Evils. These were the formations that only Heaven Immortals of Nascent Divinity realm could control. Above Heaven Immortals stood Golden Immortals, and they possessed the ability to construct a grand formation that was based on 360 constellations in the sky, a mighty formation that was based on constellations.
With a greater number of array pillars, an array or formation could have more natural energies gathered, and it got transform in more complicated ways. In other words, the formation would be mightier, and more powerful strength could be unleashed. It was mentioned in the legends that the constellation formation constructed by a Divine Golden Immortal, which corresponded to eighty-four thousand constellations in the universe, and consisted more than tens of thousands of array pillars and formation instruments, could possess a devastating strength that was sufficient to annihilate an entire space and a star.
When Lu Chengfeng just met Wu Qi, he only possessed the cultivation of peak Houtian. Thus, the arrays that he could control consisted at most three array pillars. He could construct the Array of Three, which was the strongest array that a cultivator of peak Houtian could have mastered. Now, as Lu Chengfeng had become a Daoist of Respiration tier, he was able to control an array that consisted at most six array pillars. What these six array pillars brought to him was not only ten times the gathering speed and maximum capacity of natural energy, but also a hundred times more transformations and marvelous ability.
Due to the reason that he was primarily learning the art of formation, when Lu Chengfeng entered the Immortal's Cave of Sword Stems From The Mind, he had his eyes opened widely, trying his best to learn the secret of the formations that were deployed outside and within the cave itself. However, no matter how hard he tried, even until his eyes were sore and tearing, he could barely find out a couple of possible locations which used to deploy the array pillars and array instruments. As for the exact function of the defensive formations that were constructed all around the Immortal's Cave, he could find no clues at all.
On the contrary, Wu Qi had brought himself a thorough understanding of the entire defense formation of this Immortal's Cave.
On the outside of the cave were three layers of defensive formations, a set of formation formed from interconnected Array of Seven Stars, Eight Trigrams and Nine Halls. There were a total of twenty-four array nodes, and the grade of array pillars and instruments were of lower tier magical treasures, which gave it a pretty strong defensive strength. In addition to that, this set of formations was focused on illusion attacks and maze.
After they passed through the entrance, they came to a tunnel of 360 feet in length. A formation combined from Formation of Celestial Dippers and Nether Evils, which consisted of 108 array pillars, was deployed along the tunnel. It was a formation that only a Heaven Immortal who had his Nascent Divinity reached to the Mastery level could have constructed, and only such existence could have sufficient power to activate it. Among all 108 nodes of formation, twelve of them were emanating energy ripples, a ripple that only middle tier magical treasure could send forth.
This formation of Celestial Dippers and Nether Evils echoed with the Formation of Four Quadrants. It connected with the stars in the sky and the underground energies, and had its effective radius cover the entire main peak of Mount White Sun. It was a formation primarily focused on defense, and supplemented with an offensive ability. Wu Qi reckoned that if this formation was hosted by someone with sufficient overall strength, it could withstand the attack unleashed from a Heaven Immortal, and could also kill Earth Immortals of peak Nascent Soul realm with ease.
But to Wu Qi's surprise, this formation was not hosted by anyone. It seemed that even for Nie Yaonu, she only obtained the method of traveling freely across the formation, and didn't learn the profound knowledge of hosting it. Therefore, according to Scroll of Stealing, this mighty and formidable formation was merely a dead formation. As long as a person learned the method of traveling through it freely, he or she would be able to repeat the same method without triggering the formation, even with both eyes closed. With Wu Qi's current cultivation base of beginner Gold Core realm, he could enter and leave freely through this formation, even when he was drunk and doing somersaults at the same time.
Wu Qi couldn't help himself and shook his head. In Wu Qi's mind, the Immortal who left behind his legacy in the Heaven Breaking Sword Sect was a strange man. He had constructed a formation with such a great power, yet he didn't leave behind all the controlling methods. Instead, he only left behind a dead formation. Wu Qi, who had inherited the legacy of Scroll of Stealing, could be considered an expert in all the secrets of arrays and formations. But even ordinary Earth Immortals of beginner Nascent Soul tier, as long as they were not at the end of their luck, could never be prevented from entering and leaving the Immortal's Cave by this formation.
The only reason could be that the Immortal was sure that no one with the cultivation above Nascent Soul realm would discover this place, or else, there was no valid reason why he left behind a dead formation. It was peculiar and rather baffling, and the feeling this formation gave Wu Qi was bizarre. Even if the Immortal had left behind his legacy in this Immortal Cave, he could have also activated the formation with maximum strength, and just provide a doorway for those potential inheritors who fulfilled his requirement to enter the cave. No matter what, there was really no reason why he wanted to leave behind a dead formation.
Along the way, Wu Qi followed closely behind Nie Yaonu, casting a watchful eye on how she used finger gestures to unlock the defensive formation. His eyes were darting from left to right, top to bottom, as he glanced at every single location of 108 nodes within the formation. Currently, he only owned a lower tier magical treasure, which was the Sword of Greedy Wolf. Yet, there were 96 lower tier magical treasures and 12 middle tier magical treasures in this formation alone, and they were all tempting him. As a man raised in the Underhand Sect, the habit of his past profession had now crept into his mind. He just wished he could strike now, stealing everything in this formation and making them his possessions.
It did not take them a long time to travel through the tunnel that stretched 360 feet long. Very soon, they came out from the defensive formation, and came before a strange space within the depth of the mountain.
It was a magnificent and splendid Immortal Cave, a land that spanned over five hundred acres. There were bridges that stood above flowing streams of water, with gardens of blooming flowers and herbs all over the place. The surrounding walls were of pure white mountain rock that looked like jade, a clean and soft light of white beaming out through them, brightly lighting the entire place as if it was in broad daylight. A gentle breeze blew and caressed their face from in front. A small river was gurgling past at the side of the entrance, with rows of drooping willows planted along its edge. The long and slender willows swayed gently in the breeze, sending forth a faint floral fragrance that penetrated deep into one's lung.
Lu Chengfeng was struck dumb. When had he ever seen such a blessed land of Immortals? In a fully isolated cavern within the depth of a mountain stood a strange world that ran its own course. Such approach had gone beyond the limit of his imagination. What wondered him was not only that; the natural energy in this place was at least thirty times denser than the outside world. In here, the natural energy was so dense that it condensed and turned into white mist and clouds that one could see with naked eyes. Wisps of white mist flew past their heads, coiling around their feet, all formed from dense natural energy.
Soaked in the rich natural energy, the water that flowed endlessly in the small river had also turned into a sticky liquid, which had a wax-like texture. If this water was brought to the outside world, it could be served and consumed as a medicine that healed all illnesses. Yet, in this place, this small river that stretched almost two miles long and thirty feet from bank to bank was fully filled with such liquid.
Wu Qi pretended a dumb and blank look on his face, fixing his gaze straight at the surroundings that were beyond logic and above reason.
Actually, there was a detailed description and explanation pertaining to such a scene in Scroll of Stealing. Within the realm of Heaven Immortals, there were thirty-six tiers. Any Heaven Immortal who had his cultivation attained to a particular tier, even if he were just the weakest Heaven Immortal of Tier Thirty-six, he would have the ability to use the magical method and contain a world in a small space. Within the depth of a mountain or underground, a space so small and tight, he could construct a small world with its natural environment approaching to perfection. It was an ability that all Heaven Immortals possessed.
As this small world covered a land of nearly five hundred acres, it was at most a product from a Heaven Immortal of Tier Thirty-six, which was not considered a mighty existence. For the small world construct by a Tier One Heaven Immortal, it would have the size as large as a continent, and that would be considered as a true small world of its own, which, by no means this small Immortal's Cave could ever compare with. Above the realm of Heaven Immortals stood the eighteen tiers of Golden Immortals, and an Immortal's Cave constructed by them was no different from a real planet.
Nevertheless, as a Daoist of 'Xiantian' realm, Wu Qi had to behave like a fool who had never seen anything like this before. At least, he had to wear the same expression as Lu Chengfeng, or else, he would easily draw attention and suspicion from others.
Nie Yaonu cast a gaze at Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng, who now had a dumb and shocked look. A proud smile emerged on her face. "The mighty ability of our founding ancestor is too great for us to even imagine. You are now at the heart of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect, a restricted area. Besides from me, only Baihong, Zi Xuan, and a few loyal disciples of us have ever visited here. You will have your time in future to cultivate in this land. Come now, follow me and pay your tribute to our founding ancestor!"
Wu Qi shuddered, then he suddenly woke up from his 'dumb' state. Forcefully, Wu Qi pulled Lu Chengfeng's arm to wake him, making him take a deep breath. Lu Chengfeng praised, "A blessed land of Immortals, indeed it is extraordinary. Although the main peak of Mount White Sun doesn't look wide and spacious, there is such a large land hiding within its body. What an incredible approach, indeed not something that we, the ordinary mortals, could ever imagine."
With a pleased and proud smile on her face, Nie Yaonu brought Wu Qi and the other people past the dense willows, walked up through a small bridge made of white jade, and crossed the river. Then, they came before a tower erected right in the center of the Immortal's Cave. The tower was ancient and solemnly fashioned, standing three floors high. A plaque was placed on top of it, with four large calligraphies neatly engraved on it: The Peerless Sword Formation.
A few young men and ladies were busy in front of the tower, using white cloth to meticulously wipe and clean the stairs and railings of the tower. They saw the approach of Nie Yaonu and the other people from afar, bowed and greeted her respectfully. Yet, they didn't come forth, focusing all their attention on the work at hand.
Wu Qi ran his eyes over at these few men and ladies. With his keen eyes, he found out four of them possessed the cultivation of Gold Core realm.
According to what Haoying Fengying told him, there were a total of thirty-six Sect Elders of Gold Core realm in Heaven Breaking Sword Sect's Elder Council. Among them, twenty-seven were leaning toward Yan Li, and that was the reason why Yan Li held the true power and authority in Heaven Breaking Sword Sect. However, just among these few young men and were four Human Immortals of Gold Core realms. In addition to that, there were a couple dozens of finely built houses and towers scattered across this Immortal's Cave, and Wu Qi could sense vague ripples of energy coming out from them. Obviously, people were having their secluded cultivation in these buildings.
Judging from this, it seemed Nie Yaonu owned a very strong hidden force, which was not something that Haoying Fengying and others could ever reckon. Thus, whether Yan Li truly held the authority and power of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect, it was still a question that was worth a careful ponder. After all, the overall strength that lay plain in public was not fearful, the most dreadful overall strength was a hidden force, such as what Nie Yaonu had prepared. With the rich natural energies thirty times denser than the outside world, cultivating a group of Gold Core realm cultivators in this Immortal's Cave was not a tough task.
Over his shoulder, Wu Qi gave Princess Zhang Le a look. It seemed to him that she and Nie Yaonu were having a pretty close relationship, as Nie Yaonu had allowed her to come into this Immortal's Cave without worrying about anything.
Nie Yaonu brought her hands into a water basin carved from jade stone placed in front of the tower, and washed them thoroughly with clean water. Then, she tidied up her appearance, brought up a solemn expression and led the group to enter the tower.
After entered the door, Wu Qi immediately saw an altar placed at the far end of the tower. Incense burner, candlesticks, and few other prayer devices were placed on top of it. A portrait of an Immortal with a vague face was neatly hung on the wall behind the altar. The Immortal was seen riding on a serpent of peculiar shape, holding a longsword in his left hand, while a Formation Map of Eight Trigrams was hovering on top of his right palm. Obviously, this was an Immortal who cultivated both techniques of flying sword and art of formation. As a matter of fact, the 'Peerless Sword Formation' engraved on the plaque on top of the tower had already implied his ability.
With a solemn expression Nie Yaonu pointed at the portrait and said, "This is the founding ancestor of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect, Immortal Zhenyi. Chengfeng, Wu Qi, come with me and pay your tribute."
Wu Qi nodded his head, following behind Nie Yaonu and walked towards the altar.
After merely a few steps, Wu Qi's body suddenly trembled. Instinctively, he tilted his head upward and looked towards the ceiling.
He saw a hexagon shaped lamp hanging down from the ceiling. A dazzling flame was leaping within it, casting a pale green light and lighting the entire first floor. However, as clear as Wu Qi could sense, from within this lamp came the aura of three Spirit Objects: Earth, Wood, and Fire.
In order to further his cultivation, Wu Qi would have to find him the other four Spirit Objects of different elements. Yet, right inside of this lamp, he found three of them!
Wu Qi's eyeballs were spinning fast. He was so touched that tears nearly rolled off from his face.