Chapter 568 - Encircling
Shattered Continent, southwest zone of the central region.
A vast desert sat within, one with a reddish-yellow colour. Looking across, the seemingly endless yellow sand extended to the end of one's sight.
As of now, this reddish-yellow desert appeared restless as frightening gales wreaked havoc everywhere they went. Wave after wave of storms battered the entire region, sending sand into the air and blotting the skies, obscuring the vision of everyone present.
The origin of those erratic, devastating winds wasn't nature, but the huge battle that had erupted within the desert.
Accurately speaking, this was a battle of a considerably astonishing scale.
Figures hovered in the air as boundless Spiritual Energies radiated from their bodies. As Spiritual Energy fluctuations surged from them, incomparably fierce Spiritual Energies swept out from their hands, before heavily smashing down on the earth before them.
As the earth shook and trembled, gigantic fissures started to extend like spiderwebs. Within the current desert, a few figures were present, retreating and evading in a miserable fashion as they defended against those incoming attacks.
There was approximately a hundred of those figures present there, appearing to be exceedingly few as compared to the figures who were encircling them, which were more than sufficient to contain multiple times their amount.
Clearly, this was a large-scale encircling battle.
Such a spectacle wasn't a rarity within the current central region. Following the increasing intensity of the fights and battles taking place, there were quite a few groups that started to lump together. The result of this led to the formation of large-scale battles taking place.
For instance, the spectacle happening right now, which was precisely a larger collaborative force encircling a small force.
Their goal was clearly the points held by these groups.
The rampant gales that had wreaked havoc within the desert was a result of the intense battle taking place.
In the sand-strewn skies filled with rampant gales, a figure stood at the lead position. This person wore a set of greyish-white robes, his face appearing exceedingly dry and withered, while his skin was of a slightly peculiar greyish-white colour.
At this moment, he did not take action, with his hands crossed before his chest as he looked expressionlessly at the groups below, who were putting up a stiff resistance. While the rampant gales blew by, they were unable to even cause his robes to flutter.
Numerous figures were present behind this person. These people had ridiculing smiles hanging on their faces as they looked at the struggling groups present below them, appearing to treat this encirclement between two hugely despairing groups as a game for amusement.
This group was precisely the group from the Heavens Spiritual Academy. As of now, they were placed 10th on the points ranking.
"Captain, once we deal with those fellows, we should be able to rise the 9th place after taking the points of those groups." Suddenly, a youth smiled as he spoke towards the greyish white-robed male standing in front of him.
This greyish white-robed male was naturally the Captain of this group, Lu Tian. As of now, he was a first rate expert that possessed considerable fame and reputation in the Great Spiritual Academy Tournament.
Upon hearing that, he merely nodded his head, before shooting a look at the other ten-plus figures standing behind him. Powerful Spiritual Energy fluctuations radiated from all of their bodies, with all of their cultivations unexpectedly at First Grade Spirit Disaster.
These people could be considered as their collaboration compatriots. However, it was clear that Lu Tian possessed the greatest say and authority in this large group. One could see this from the respectful gazes shooting from the few other Group Captains towards Lu Tian.
"Fellow Captains. We will take the majority of the points obtained here. I hope for everyone to understand. After all, now's the critical period for us to rush into the Top 8." A smile appeared on Lu Tian's face as he spoke out towards those few Captains.
Upon hearing that, the few Captains hastily shook their heads, although their smiles grew slightly unnatural. Although they had relied on a powerful group like Lu Tian's to obtain quite a bit of points during the most recent period of time, they would offer the most manpower while also suffering the greatest losses. Although no lives were lost, quite a few of their group members had serious injuries present on their bodies. Wanting to completely recover would require a considerable amount of time. As of now, with the Great Spiritual Academy Tournament already entering its final phase, waiting for those severely injured group members to fully recover might result in them missing out in this competition entirely.
With this large group, they had paid the highest price, yet seemingly half of the points would be taken away by Lu Tian's group, while the other half being split equally among the other groups.
This clearly wasn't too fair. Despite that, though, no one dared to speak about it. That's because all of them were extremely well-aware of Lu Tian's strength, with them lacking the qualifications to haggle with him. In this place, if they were to leave the protective envelope of Lu Tian, their ending might be all too similar to those few groups they were currently encircling.
Therefore, even though they were extremely discontent towards the overbearingness of Lu Tian and his group, they did not dare to show the slightest bit of their true feelings.
Sweeping an indifferent look towards the few Captains with somewhat unnatural expressions on their face, Lu Tian proceeded to heedlessly retract his gaze back. Looking once again at the devastated area of sand below, he said, "It's about time. Zhou Ya, go and settle the fellow that's putting up the greatest resistance."
"Yes, Captain." A smile cracked open from a youth behind Lu Tian as he gave his reply, before locking his chilling gaze towards the ground below. Presently, there was a group that was putting up an especially intense resistance, with numerous attacks being blocked by them. The leader of this group seemed to possess a similar realm of cultivation at First Grade Spirit Disaster.
This youth by the name of Zhou Ya walked out, before descending towards the direction of the group.
As Zhou Ya descended, the group being locked onto had also felt the impending threat, Them drawing closer to one another, ugly expressions appeared on their faces as they stared right at the descending Zhou Ya.
"What should we do… Captain?" In the locked on group, a few group members asked as they looked towards their Captain.
This Captain had a somewhat sturdy built, while his face appeared slightly familiar. If Mu Chen was present, he would be shocked to find out that this person was actually the group from the Desolation Spiritual Academy that he had bumped into not long after the start of the Great Spiritual Academy Tournament.
As for this person, he seemed to be known as Lin Zhou.
Mu Chen had even obtained the information of the branch palace of the Divine Wood Palace from them, before collaborating to enter and search for the treasures. The two parties had merely parted ways after the end of the treasure search. They never imagined that they would actually have quite an improvement to their cultivation upon entering the central region.
However, at this very moment, Lin Zhou appeared to be in a slightly miserable state, his gaze that was staring right at Zhou Ya was being filled with dread and fear. Although he had similarly managed to successfully pass the First Grade Spirit Disaster, Lin Zhou knew that he was just lucky to pass it a while ago. As for Zhou Ya descending towards him, the latter's strength was already close to making contact with Second Grade Spirit Disaster. He was simply not a challenge for the latter.
Furthermore, there were even more powerful figures hovering in the sky above that were covetously eyeing them, especially the Captain of the Heavens Spiritual Academy, Lu Tian, who was an extremely formidable character.
"Hand over your Academy Plaque. We just want your points and not to hurt people. However, if we are to really head to that stage, we won't mind doing it," said Zhou Ya in an indifferent voice as he extended his hands towards Lin Zhou.
"These points have been painstaking accumulated by us! If it's taken away by you just like that, how am I going to account to everyone!"
As Lin Zhou's voice rang out, Zhou Ya's face turned completely dark, as powerful Spiritual Energy swept out from him. With a stomp, his figure appeared right before Lin Zhou in a spectre-like fashion.
"Since you don't know how to account to them, let me tell it to you!"
A cruel smile rose from the corner of Zhou Ya's mouth, before sending a palm patting furiously out. His palm was suffused with a white gem-like luster, while one could faintly discern the white bones beneath the flesh and blood present, casting an exceedingly peculiar sight.
Sending his palm patting out, the air below his palm exploded apart, while boundless Spiritual Energy patted down towards Lin Zhou's chest without the slightest bit of mercy at all.
Such a fierce attack caused Lin Zhou's face to change. Hastily revolving all of the Spiritual Energy within his body, he immediately sent a fist rumbling out.
As the fist and the palm smashed against each other, Spiritual Energies wreaked havoc as they swept out, with the powerful shock waves causing layer after layer of sand to fly away.
A pale shade surfaced on Lin Zhou's face as a muffled snort rang from him, whilst being sent flying back by the impact. Carving out a hundred-plus metre long scar on the ground, and could not help spurting a mouthful of blood.
Seeing this, the faces of the other members of the Desolation Spiritual Academy group fiercely roared, before hurtling together towards Zhou Ya.
"You all are attempting to do the impossible."
An indifferent smile appeared on Zhou Ya's face as he took a step out, before passing through the four incoming people in a spectre-like fashion.
Suddenly, mists of blood shot out from the chests of the four people, before their figures were hurtled backwards in a miserable fashion. The robes covering their chests had shattered, while a deep bloody palm print appeared within.
Lin Zhou's face instantly turned ashen as he saw what had happened. Struggling to stand up, a vicious expression appeared in his eyes as he stared at Zhou Ya, who was now slowly walking over.
"Now, are you planning to hand over the points or not?" said Zhou Ya as he stared indifferently at the already exhausted and dispirited Lin Zhou.
"You all have been chasing after us for three days… isn't this too overbearing?!" Lin Zhou roared back in fury.
Laughing out, Zhou Ya shook his head before saying, "In this place, as long as you have enough strength, you'll possess the qualifications to be absolutely unrestrained in how overbearing you want to display. Naturally, if you have an ample solid background or compatriots, we might fear you for an instant. However… will a group like your's have those?"
Ridicule and disdain was present on the smile curling from the corner of Zhou Ya's mouth. Truthfully speaking, the strength of Lin Zhou's group wasn't considered to be that strong. Therefore, Zhou Ya did not believe that they would have any friendly relationship with any of the heavyweight groups.
Furthermore, even if that was the case, so what? His Captain was a person that had a friendly relationship with an expert like Ji Xuan, who was the current Numero Uno on the point rankings. Placed within the entire central region, who wouldn't give them any face?
Hearing that, the expressions of Lin Zhou and his group turned sluggish, while their eyes started to gradually turn dim. Being clear about themselves, among the groups they had a collaborative relationship with, there was not a single one that could compare to the Heavens Spiritual Academy's groups present before their eyes. After all, the latter and his group were placed highly on the current point rankings. Within the entire Great Spiritual Academy Tournament, there truly weren't too many groups that would be able to surpass them in strength.
As for those experts that were able to surpass Lu Tian and his group, why in the world would they see anything in their group at all?
"The nonsense ends here."
Looking at the sunken Lin Zhou, Zhou Ya proceeded to take a step forward, with his palm hurtling towards the former's chest at lightning speed. The tyrannical Spiritual Energy condensed within that palm caused Lin Zhou's body to turn still, with him not daring to show the slightest bit of movement. At this moment, the smile at the corner of Zhou Ya's mouth turned into a chilling one.
"It's extremely unfortunate, but I have to tell you that you've lost your last chance. Therefore…"
As a tremble shook through his palm, tyrannical Spiritual Energy gushed from Zhou Ya.
Seeing this, Lin Zhou closed his eyes in despair.
"Haha. If you're smart enough, this palm will not go down. If not, even your Captain, Lu Tian, would not be able to save you."
However, at the instant when Zhou Ya was about to do the deed, a clear and somewhat familiar sound of laughter rang out in an unhurried fashion. The voice appeared to be neither far nor near, yet it caused a tremble to shake through Lin Zhou's body as he furiously snapped his eyes open.
In the next instant, what he saw on the sand not far away were figures slowly walking over. Present in their lead was an exceedingly familiar-looking figure.
That… was Mu Chen.
Upon taking in this sight, Lin Zhou's eyes grew increasingly wipe open.