Chapter 256: The Lotus Devours and Grows
Yu Jie had flaunted both his power and his strength in many situations up to now throughout his life, but he’d never forgotten the events of the Second Crossing.
That day, he’d forced Jiang Chen to almost desperate situations in order to curry favor with Long Juxue. In order to express how powerful he was, he’d thoroughly humiliated Jiang Chen with both words and actions, and had killed a countless number of his Swordbirds.
If he hadn’t forgotten these matters, how could Jiang Chen have forgotten?
Jiang Chen would’ve never forgiven Yu Jie, on behalf of those loyal Swordbirds who’d insisted on protecting their master.
Not to mention that Yu Jie was here with Purple Sun Sect disciples to make a second attempt at the Goldwing Swordbirds!
Whether it was the Goldwing Swordbirds, or Gouyu and Tian Shao, they were all Jiang Chen’s friends and followers. Raising a blade against them was the same as raising a blade against Jiang Chen.
As glibly as Yu Jie could talk, Jiang Chen remained unmoved, without even a ripple in his heart, given that he’d trained in the Boulder’s Heart.
“Jiang Chen, listen to me! We both belonged to our sides then. I had no choice because I needed to curry favor with Long Juxue. If you kill me now, that still leaves the culprit Long Juxue alive. It’s much more beneficial if you don’t kill me. You’ll receive a loyal dog first off, and I can also help you lure and kill Long Juxue…”
“Loyal dog? You?” Jiang Chen smiled remotely.
“Yes! I can swear to both the heavens and the earth if you don’t believe me.” Yu Jie hastily said.
“It’s not that I don’t believe you.” Jiang Chen smirked aloofly. “But that you don’t seem to have the qualifications to be my dog!”
His face darkened and his tone chilled, “Don’t you dare talk to me about luring out Long Juxue. I’m sure I’ll kill that bitch, what do I need your help for?”
Jiang Chen had no desire to listen to Yu Jie’s blather after that, and sent out a thought causing the lotus petals to once again swallow Yu Jie.
The others were also slowly swallowed, digested, and absorbed at the same time.
One had to say, the Lotus’ power of devourment was quite astonishing. It cleanly did away with the four spirit realm practitioners in the span of a moment.
The power within their spirit oceans was also transformed into currents that flowed from the vines into Jiang Chen’s spirit ocean, and became one with the Flaming Heart of Ice.
The Flaming Heart immediately became much stronger after receiving these nutrients.
The essence of the four spirit realm practitioners was enough to help the Lotus grow rapidly.
“With the nourishment from this time, I believe that I’ll be able to manipulate six vines before long, or possibly even more. It looks like my own spirit ocean needs to continuously advance as well, else it’ll become increasingly difficult to manipulate more vines.”
Of course, now that the Flaming Heart had become one with his spirit ocean, the essence that it absorbed would also feed and enhance his own spirit ocean, becoming a part of his training.
When he sensed the joy of the Flaming Heart within his spirit ocean, Jiang Chen mused, “Perhaps this time’s gains can help me assail the third level of the spirit realm. I’ve heard talk of the great selection of the four great sects before, I wonder what that’s all about?”
Jiang Chen was slightly curious, as this news slightly tempted him.
If the great selection’s purpose was only to choose who could enter the four great sects, then he wouldn’t have much interest in it. However, he’d heard Zhou Yi say that even the top geniuses of the four great sects would become embroiled within it.
This demonstrated that this time’s great selection wasn’t a simple matter.
There had to be a reason behind a great selection that only came about once every hundred years. Although Jiang Chen wasn’t quite enthused about entering a sect, he knew that encountering a sect was unavoidable if he wanted to assimilate himself into the world of the martial dao.
After all, in any world of the martial dao, the sects would command the great majority of all resources.
It was possible to be a wandering practitioner.
However, it was patently unrealistic to be a wandering practitioner for one’s entire life. Since the sects controlled most of the resources, one would have to join a sect in order to gain more resources.
“Ole Gold, how did you make out?”
Jiang Chen stowed the art of the Lotus away, and reconvened with the Rat King.
The Rat King belched. “Young master Chen, you really need to thank me. I’ve chomped on all the people that you hate. I’ll take bites out of that Elder Iron one day as well, if he doesn’t behave.”
“You destroyed Liu Chengfeng?” Jiang Chen started.
The Rat King patted his bulging stomach, “He’s inside, haha!”
He sighed after speaking, “But what a pity, that Luo Huang really has a great martial dao endowment. I might have a chance to break free of my shackles if I devour him, and break through the restrictions of the spirit rank, heading towards the saint rank!”
Twists of fortune were needed to enable bloodline evolution.
But there weren’t that many restrictions on the raising of one’s strength.
With the Rat King’s current level of training, he was roughly on par with Ye Chonglou. Although he might not have as much practical experience as Ye Chonglou, they were still roughly on the same level.
A saint rank spirit creature was the equivalent of a human origin realm practitioner.
There weren’t any saint rank creatures within the boundaries of the sixteen kingdoms.
Dan Fei had wanted to take the risk in the maze realm and capture baby spirit creatures because she was enamoured by the higher potential of spirit creatures within the maze realm, and that they had the potential to be raised into saint rank creatures.
One had to hand it to them, Ye Chonglou and Dan Fei’s intentions were good, but the sixteen kingdom’s resources were limited, and it was another story as to whether or not they’d succeed in the end.
Of course, their chances would greatly increase if Jiang Chen was willing to help them.
“There’s no need to linger here. Ole Gold, let’s go!” Jiang Chen was still worried about Gouyu, Tian Shao, and his large flock of Goldwing Swordbirds.
The Rat King grinned, “Sure thing!”
A man and a rat quickly fled the scene.
Back in the valley, Luo Huang and Zhou Yi’s mutual check on each other actually gave the Goldwing Swordbirds their best chance to escape.
Apart from a few falling to the earth from injuries, most of the Goldwing Swordbirds successfully escaped from the valley.
With their speed, so long as they weren’t injured by splash damage as the spirit realm practitioners attacked each other, they had absolute confidence in escaping from the area.
Luo Huang’s broadsword slashed through the air, and a stream of sword aura churned through the air like a fire dragon, rampaging through the air above the valley as it turned everything the color of flame.
Zhou Yi chuckled as he didn’t meet the other in a head on fight. He evaded skillfully, and left behind green shadows in the air. No matter how much the fire dragon sword aura pursued him, it could never harm Zhou Yi in the slightest.
“Zhou Yi, you dare make a mess of my plans?!” Luo Huang was infuriated.
Zhou Yi knew that if he were to really engage the other in direct combat, there was still a bit of a gap in their strength. However, he could still trade some blows back and forth if he employed some tricks to deal with Luo Huang.
However, no matter how much the two fought, it was just because of a matter of pride in the end.
The Goldwing Swordbirds had already escaped. As strong as they were, there was no way that they could bring back all of the Swordbirds.
It was just a moment’s worth of high running emotions that had caused them to fight each other to the death here.
“Luo Huang, I’ll play with you if you want to play. However, the prey’s all gone. What’s the point in the two of us fighting to the death here?” Zhou Yi busied himself in dodging the edge of Luo Huang’s sword as he called out.
Luo Huang was incensed, “Zhou Yi, how would such a thing have happened if it wasn’t your interference?!”
“Shut your mouth! I’ll give you what your heart wants if you insist on the two of us going down together!” Zhou Yi was also a bit enraged to see Luo Huang’s dogged pursuit of him.
A Purple Sun Sect disciple came running over with a stricken look as the two fought, “Senior brother Luo, things are bad! Senior brother He and Zhao, as well as Yu Jie from the Shuiyue faction, have all disappeared!”
Luo Huang had just been getting into the groove of battle when he suddenly heard these words. He halted as he spoke with barely veiled anger, “What did you just say?”
Another Precious Tree Sect disciple came running over before the first disciple had time to respond, “Senior brother Zhou, Liu Chengfeng, and his disciple Xiao Yu are missing as well!”
Zhou Yi had been taking pleasure in another’s misfortune, when he heard that the Purple Sun Sect’s disciples had gone missing, but he didn’t have time to delight in this for long when he heard the same news from his own sect. It was as if a basin of cold water had been unceremoniously dumped on his head.
“Liu Chengfeng and Xiao Yu?” Zhou Yi didn’t have the desire to laugh at someone else’s misfortunes now. “Could they still be in the back?”
The Precious Tree Sect disciple had a long face, “We saw Liu Chengfeng run out in front. He was only one step behind you. But now that we’re all here, he’s gone. And as for Xiao Yu, we also saw him maintain roughly the same pace as us, just that everyone’s position was a bit spread out. We were here to capture Tian Shao and that hag, yet who would’ve thought…”
Zhou Yi was both flustered and exasperated. It was his first time meeting Xiao Yu, thus he didn’t feel much for the guy. Although Xiao Yu was a genius outer disciple, he’d only make for an ordinary inner disciple.
Liu Chengfeng however, was different. As the head of the Northern Palace, he was greatly valued by his honored master, Iron Elder.
Liu Chengfeng was a fourth level spirit realm practitioner, an earth spirit practitioner, as well. How could he have gone missing just like that? If even Liu Chengfeng had met some danger, didn’t that mean that he, Zhou Yi, wasn’t completely safe within this valley either?
Luo Huang was also interrogating his remaining peers with a grave face.
“Senior brother Luo, we fanned out in formation when we rushed into the valley, as we were afraid that the two were hiding somewhere and would take advantage of this to escape. So although our formation was a bit spread out, we absolutely remained within a range such that we could easily help one another. We really didn’t see how they vanished.”
“You didn’t even hear a yell?” Luo Huang’s gaze was fierce and his tone displeased.
“No.” The remaining Purple Sun Sect disciples were all quite dejected.
“Then what are you standing around for?! Go look for them!” Luo Huang roared.
He didn’t have the desire to battle with Zhou Yi at the moment. It was a good thing that the Precious Tree Sect was also looking for their missing people as well.
If it weren’t for the people missing from both sides, it’s likely that they’d’ve suspected each other, and then have had a mass brawl to the death.
However, they couldn’t find any clues no matter how hard they searched.
Logically speaking, with the level of training these people had, there would’ve at least been signs of a struggle, even if they were ambushed.
Even if there weren’t any traces, they would’ve still had the time to cry out when they were ambushed, right?
But, including even Luo Huang and Zhou Yi, no one present had heard anything. It was as if the missing few had evaporated into thin air.
Some even thought that these fellows had gotten afraid and turned tail to run.
Of course, this notion was quickly dismissed. However, everyone’s minds were still full of questions —
If they hadn’t retreated, and there were no signs of a struggle, then where had these people disappeared to?