Book 6, Breaking Through the Cocoon, Becoming a Butterfly, Chapter 11 – The Netherwyrm in the Dark Fog
The thick black fog surrounding Dong Ziqi’s group made it so that they couldn’t see too far away at all. If the black fog was to disappear, they would discover, to their amazement…that a completely black, enormous dragon that was more than ten kilometers long was currently coiled around the entire Oxhorn Mountain. At the same time, the head of the Netherwyrm was staring directly at them.
Unfortunately, they weren’t able to see it. This was the reason why Ji Ninefire had set up this black fog bewildering formation.
“Come. Come.” Ji Truekeep stared at them from far away. Twelve distant, faint figures could be seen far away in the black fog. These were created through Ninefire’s control over the fog; they were used to tell Truekeep and the others where everyone’s approximate locations were.
Truekeep himself was within the enormous black draconic head.
After being transformed by the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation, the elemental energy of the five had given birth to a powerful draconic energy. At the center of the Dragonhead Formation, Truekeep was naturally able to borrow this power, and he could feel his own strength ready to explode.
“Truekeep, wait a bit longer. Don’t be impatient.” A voice rang out by his ear.
All the major formations, including the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation, was controlled by the Patriarch. Only the Patriarch could effortless speak mentally to them; the others, including Ji Ning, weren’t able to see too far through their eyes. They all needed the Patriarch to assist in guiding them.
Ninefire was halfway up the mountain, within the body of the enormous Netherwyrm. He could see everything within the grand formation clearly, and the black fog served as his eyes.
“They are all quite cautious.” Ninefire stared at them. “There are twelve Zifu Disciples, and they all belong to the same sect. They definitely have combination formation techniques…if we were to ambush them now, the chances of success probably wouldn’t be that great. In a short while, they will discover that this black fog formation isn’t an exceptionally clever one. And once they slightly lower their guard…the power of the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation will definitely make them suffer bitterly.”
Ninefire was sufficiently patient. He was able to wait, wait for the best opportunity. Only then would he reveal his teeth and fangs…
Dong Ziqi and the rest of the twelve Zifu Disciples were indeed very vigilant when they entered the formation, all of them staying within the Eight Trigrams Blood Dragon Formation. At the same time, they kept the elemental energy in their bodies activated, prepared to launch a combination attack at any time.
“There’s nothing particularly special about this black fog bewildering formation. I’ve already discovered some of its secrets!” One of them, a black-haired elder, spoke out.
“I found a few hints as well. However, senior apprentice-brother Zha is more formidable than me when it comes to formations. I imagine that in an even shorter period of time, he would be able to defeat this formation.” A silver-haired cultivator said with a laugh. As Immortal practitioners, especially ones at the Zifu Disciple level…given that they were trapped at the Zifu Disciple level, the most fundamental level, and were unable to make a breakthrough, they naturally would spend their time researching other methods.
Formations? Poisons? Golem arts? They would research anything that was useful to them in enhancing their power. Generally speaking, these old fellows who had been alive for three or four centuries would be specialized in several areas.
These branch sect Zifu Disciples who had left the main sect had almost no hope of breaking through. Most of them thus spent some degree of time on formations, and some of them were even more formidable in formations than Ji Ninefire was! Only…although setting one was easy, breaking one was difficult! They naturally weren’t confident in their ability to defeat the formations that Ji Ninefire had laid down.
However, there were still some formations which they could defeat; only, it wouldn’t be as simple as it was for Nong Zidao.
“I only need as much time as is needed to boil a kettle of tea to break this formation.” The black-haired elder smiled.
“Then we’ll have to trouble you, senior apprentice-brother Zha.”
“We will first break this bewildering formation. There is no need to rely on senior apprentice-brother Zidao to deal with these small formations. We are enough.” These Zifu Disciples clearly felt quite relaxed now. When first entering the black fog bewildering formation, the short line of sight made them grow wary, but upon understanding how simple this formation was to break, they clearly were starting to feel more confident.
The black-haired elder nodded. “I will analyze this formation. Everyone, please stay on your guard.”
“Leave it to us. Senior apprentice-brother Zha, focus on breaking this formation.” Dong Ziqi and the others said.
“Right up ahead.” The black-haired elder’s eyes lit up. He was completely confident. “I’ve already seen through this formation.”
“Excellent.” All of them grew excited.
Dong Ziqi continued to maintain his Eight Trigrams Blood Dragon Formation, and the group of Zifu Disciples advanced at high speed. The fog up ahead seemed to be a bit thinner, and Dong Ziqi’s group saw, not too far away, a flag planted into the ground. The flag was grey, and covered with many black diagrams.
“The formation flag!” They revealed looks of delight on their faces.
“Truekeep, just wait there quietly.” Ninefire sent mentally. “In a short period of time, those Zifu Disciples of Snowdragon Mountain will arrive at your position. When I give the order, kill them.”
“I’ve been waiting for this the entire time.” Truekeep’s eyes were flashing with cold light.
“Excellent. Just listen to my orders.” Ninefire was eager as well.
As Dong Ziqi’s group of twelve Zifu Disciples saw the distant flag, they failed to notice that within a hundred meters of them…an enormous draconic head was staring directly at them.
“The formation flag!”
The twelve Zifu Disciples were all wildly overjoyed, and the black-haired elder couldn’t help but reveal a hint of smugness.
Right at that moment…
“Attack!” Truekeep, who had been hiding there for quite some time, finally heard the Patriarch’s voice.
Just as the group of Zifu Disciples saw the formation flag and were feeling overjoyed, an enormous draconic head suddenly emerged from the nearby dense black fog. The draconic head was incomparably large; in the black fog, they were only able to see several draconic whiskers and scales. The Netherwyrm’s head opened its maw, chomping down towards them.
“Careful.” Dong Ziqi, being in control of the Eight Trigrams Blood Dragon Formation, was the first to notice it, and he hurriedly called out in surprise and fright.
It was too late.
It came too fast!
The distance at which one could see within the black fog was simply too short. The Netherwyrm was ten kilometers long. How enormous must the head thus be? As the draconic head charged towards them…it moved at a speed that was probably more than ten times faster than that of the Zifu Disciples. The draconic head, with a rumble, blasted into and broke through the Eight Trigrams Blood Dragon Formation. With a crunch, rumble, boom, and terrifying roar…the Netherwyrm’s head came howling towards the enemies!
In that howling instant…
Truekeep was right in the center of the head. As the Netherwyrm’s head bit down, Truekeep seemed to have gone berserk as the nine sharp awls hovering around his body were filled by the draconic energy generated by the formation. Those sharp awls moved at an astonishing speed, attacking at three of the Zifu Disciples were were closest to and caught offguard by the Netherwyrm’s frontal attack.
Supported by the formation, Truekeep’s current level of power was even more powerful than that of most peak Zifu Disciples.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Simply too fast. Two of the Zifu Disciples had giant holes blasted through their chests and their corpses fell into the Netherwyrm’s devouring mouth. As for the other Zifu Disciple who had been attacked, he kicked backwards, his body flashing like azure light and instantly moving tens of meters away.
A single sudden ambush had killed two Zifu Disciples. The primary reason was that the Netherwyrm Heavenlock Formation itself was simply too powerful. In addition, all five of its formations had a Zifu Disciple standing guard at the center, making it so that this Netherwyrm seemed to have sentience, making it all the more incomparably, astonishingly powerful.
“While they are ill, go for the kill!” Truekeep then moved towards and attacked two other Zifu Disciples who had somewhat pulled away from their comrades.
The sharp awls howled!
The black draconic head was like a nightmare.
“Assemble the formation.”
“Assemble the formation.” As the howls rang out, Dong Ziqi and the others had already begun to prepare their formation. These Zifu Disciples were no fools; they knew that they couldn’t move too far away from their comrades. This was because once they moved too far away from each other within this bewildering formation…they would be separately defeated by the Ji clan.
But the problem wasn’t that they moved too far away; it was that the strike of the draconic head had knocked some of them flying!
The power of the Netherwyrm’s attack was simply too great!
A white light suddenly sprang up, instantly circulating around the bodies of each of the Zifu Disciples. Soon, eight enormous trigrams made of white light had appeared out of nowhere, with the eight Zifu Disciples separated in each part. Actually, this technique of Snowdragon Mountain’s only required six Zifu Disciples to be completely linked up.
“Where is senior apprentice-brother Zha?”
“Where is senior apprentice-brother Fang?”
Dong Ziqi and the rest of the eight, after setting up the formation, discovered to their amazement that although they had previously numbered twelve Zifu Disciples, only eight now remained. The other four could not be found.
“Senior apprentice-brother Zha.”
They all called out loudly, and their voices echoed within the formation. If the other four were still alive, they would be able to reply verbally.
“Dead. The four of them are all dead.” Dong Ziqi gritted his teeth.
“Too terrifying. Too powerful.” The silver-haired cultivator had a look of disbelief on his face. “Prior to this, I vaguely saw some draconic scales. It was the head of an incomparably large dragon. How could the Ji clan have access to something so powerful? Could that have been a true dragon?”
“There’s no way it could have been a true dragon. If it was a true dragon, we would have discovered it long ago! In addition, how could a true dragon be so enormous? It must be a formation!”
“But how could the dragon produced by a formation be so powerful?”
This group of Zifu Disciples were still in a state of shock. That earlier attack had simply been too powerful. Although they had all been overjoyed upon seeing the flag and had relaxed slightly, they were still within the Eight Trigrams Blood Dragon Formation, after all. In their hearts, they also remained vigilant. Who would have imagined that this sudden ambush would have blasted through them, forcing them all to retreat and knocking some of them flying!
This ambush had killed four of them!
“We can no longer see the formation flag either.” Dong Ziqi swept the surrounding area with his gaze. He was now unable to see the formation flag. “When we were struck by that enormous black dragon, we were all knocked backwards and driven farther away from the formation flag.”
“The illusion isn’t that important. That enormous black dragon is the true disaster.”
“We must have senior apprentice-brothers Jadechild or Nong Zidao come.” The silver-haired expert flipped his hand and retrieved a jade seal. This was the seal Nong Zidao had given him. He clenched it. Crunch! The jade seal disintegrated.
On the outside. Jadechild and Nong Zidao, along with the other five Zifu Disciples, were waiting. They were in no rush to enter the formation.
“What sort of techniques could this sort of small clan have?” Jadechild laughed. “Our twelve Zifu Disciples of Snowdragon Mountain have entered, and they have access to a combination formation technique…that is more than enough to utterly sweep and dominate the enemies.”
“Right. The formations of a small clan like this can’t possibly be very powerful. Our fellow apprentices also have studied formations. They, too, are capable of breaking formations.” Nong Zidao felt relaxed as well. As he saw it, the combined power of those twelve fellow apprentices….should indeed be more than enough to easily dominate this sort of small clan.
Nong Zidao’s face changed.
“What happened?” Jadechild immediately asked.
“The jade talisman I gave him.” Nong Zidao said in a soft voice. “One of them was just crushed. It seems they encountered some sort of danger. Otherwise, they wouldn’t ask us to save them.”
“This puny little Ji clan was able to force them to beg us to save them?” Jadechild couldn’t believe it. Prior to this, Nong Zidao had given them a jade talisman…primarily because this was a habit of the disciples of the sect. None of them actually thought it would be used.
“Come, let’s enter the formation.” Nong Zidao said.
The other five nearby Zifu Disciples had heard their conversation. They, too, were surprised. The twelve comrades who had entered had actually been forced to shatter a jade talisman? Still, upon seeing Jadechild and Nong Zidao by their side, they felt completely confident.
“You wait here. If any comrades of our Snowdragon Mountain comes here, tell them that we have already entered the formation.” Nong Zidao waved his hand, then produced a wooden golem. The wooden golem had a green light within its eyes, and it just listened, then nodded obediently. “Yes, master.”
“Let’s go.” Nong Zidao said.
Immediately, Jadechild, under Nong Zidao’s guidance, led the group of seven Zifu Disciples and two Zifu-level spirit-beasts into the black fog that surrounded Oxhorn Mountain.
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