Chapter 81: Turned Around
“Huh, aren’t these our friends from Nebula Pavilion? What have you found these past few days?”
Yan Qingsong suddenly appeared from behind a stone pillar. Once they saw Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian, they laughed and began teasing.
From the back, Yan Ziqian, Feng Kai, and Water Moon Sect’s Na Nuo also appeared one by one, and they were all looking in Tu Ze’s direction.
Tu Ze’s group was behind a large green brown stone, and these stones were piled up into a tall peak. There was a narrow and long stone road in the middle of it.
The three Rank Two spirit beasts were a few miles behind these stone roads. If Yan Qingsong and the crowd wanted to hunt them, there were other paths; they didn’t necessarily need to go through this stone road.
Yan Qingsong knew this, yet he still chose to walk this way. It was obvious that he did it on purpose.
Water Moon Sect’s Na Nuo couldn’t help but grin a little when she saw Yan Ziqian and Tu Ze run into each other again. She had a rather interested look and even signalled the sisters behind her to stop, putting on the appearance that she was going to watch a good show.
“Qingsong, how should we continue?” Feng Kai frowned and went out of his way to ask.
Yan Qingsong purposefully pointed at the stone path behind Tu Ze with quite the natural expression. “Behind them.”
“Get out of the way!”
Wearing a cold expression, Yan Ziqian pulled the Ice Drake Sword out of its scabbard. The instant the silver white blade came out, a chilly atmosphere immediately spread out into the area.
A cold white fog flowed out of his palm, as if magically merging with the Ice Drake Sword.
Upon close examination, one would realize that inside the Ice Drake Sword’s blade there was a very faint white mark that vaguely appeared in the form of a dragon.
Wielding the Ice Drake Sword, Yan Ziqian led the way and walked straight towards Tu Ze with a cold expression.
Feng Kai and Yan Qingsong, along with the martial practitioners from Shattered Ice Manor also walked forward, harboring malicious intentions while silently reaching for their spirit artifacts. Their eyes were filled with provocation.
This was because, for their last few encounters, they had held a complete advantage, so they all wanted to look good in front of the girls from Water Moon Sect. They couldn’t wait to have another go.
“Sister Na Nuo, do you think they’ll fight each other?” The gentle face of a Water Moon Sect girl emanated with excitement. “How strange. Both Shattered Ice Manor and Nebula Pavilion are just like us; vassal forces under Dark Asura Hall. In fact, they even stay in the same city, why are they so hateful towards each other?”
“I don’t know whether or not they’ll fight each other, but I do know a little about the other matter you’re asking about.” Na Nuo’s expression was collected as she watched the opposing men approaching each other. Her thin long brows lifted upwards, and she wore a thin smile at the corner of her lips. “In the past, there was no Nebula Pavilion in Icestone City. Both the South and North City were both Shattered Ice Manor’s. Mn, the old Icestone City was owned by Shattered Ice Manor alone.”
The beautiful girls of Water Moon Sect behind her were all listening intently with slightly brightened eyes.
“Back then, Shattered Ice Manor was not Dark Asura Hall’s vassal, but the Black Iron ranked Profound Ice Palace’s vassal. Dark Asura Hall and Profound Ice Palace have fought each other for many years, but it finally ended with Dark Asura Hall’s victory. Profound Ice Palace gradually declined, and since Shattered Ice Manor was their vassal, they were naturally paid attention to during the battle against Dark Asura Hall.”
Na Nuo’s expression had also turned serious. “Nebula Pavilion, created by Tu Ze’s father, Tu Shixiong, was still a small town outside Icestone City at the time and was a small force that could not compare even to a Limestone ranked force. And yet, his achievements were outstanding in this battle. Through sheer force, he led his subordinates into Icestone City, and combining his strength with Dark Asura Hall’s, they successfully destroyed Shattered Ice Manor’s resistance.
“Seeing that Profound Ice Palace has declined and that they had no way of fighting Dark Asura Hall, Shattered Ice Manor had no choice but to surrender. Because of this, Tu Shixiong had obtained great merit, and so, Nebula Pavilion also ascended to become a Limestone ranked power. Since Dark Asura Hall was also worried that Shattered Ice Manor may still have been harboring thoughts of betrayal, they also allowed Nebula Pavilion to stay in Icestone City. And together with Shattered Ice Manor, they both managed this city that should’ve only belonged to Shattered Ice Manor.
“During the war that year, many people from Shattered Ice Manor were killed by Tu Shixiong. In addition, Icestone City, which originally belonged solely to them, had been split in half so Nebula Pavilion could build their sect. How can Shattered Ice Manor not hate Nebula Pavilion?”
Na Nuo tirelessly made the reason clear. “Therefore, during the years after that, even though both forces belonged to Dark Asura Hall, they have waged countless battles in the shadows, and this infighting has never stopped. As the number of deaths piled up, the grudge and hatred between the two sides grew deeper and deeper. I’m afraid even Dark Asura Hall has no way of resolving it now.”
“So this is how it is.” The girls came to realization.
“Well, it has nothing to do with us anyway.” Na Nuo smiled casually. “Our job is to sit here and watch the show. Let them fight each other however they want. I just love to see people fight, and the more intense the better.”
“Yeah, yeah!” The girl behind her quickly threw the grudge between Shattered Ice Manor and Nebula out of mind and cheered happily.
“Get out of the way!”
Holding the Ice Drake Sword and covered in cold white Fog, Yan Ziqian walked until he was in front of Tu Ze and had said that with a cold expression.
An icy-cold atmosphere leaked out from inside the Ice Drake Sword, and the dragon shaped mark inside the sword grew clearer and clearer, as if it were about to leap out of the sword…
Tu Ze felt pain from the wound on his chest starting to come back. He grit his teeth with a fearsome expression and breathed deeply , breath after breath, in order to calm himself down.
He suddenly closed his eyes to avoid seeing the taunting and insulting look on Yan Ziqian’s face. He yelled softly, “Let’s go.”
He led the way and left the stone path behind him.
“C’mon!” with her head lowered, Zhuo Qian pulled at Han Feng’s sleeves and forcefully pulled him away.
Han Feng’s eyes were completely red as his entire body shuddered like a cornered beast. It was as if he would explode at any moment.
If it wasn’t for Zhuo Qian insistently pulling at him and repeatedly whispering for him to calm down, it was most likely that this charming-looking Han Feng was going to attack out of sheer rage.
Kang Zhi and Chu Peng were also forcefully holding back their shame, and with a difficult expression, they lowered their heads and left with Zhuo Qian and Tu Ze.
—They had surrendered the very fruits of labor that they had found first.
“What a disappointment.”
“Is this really Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian?”
“They’re weren’t like this in the past.”
“No balls whatsoever.”
The martial practitioners from Shattered Ice Manor did not forget to rub salt into their wounds and provoke them further as they watched them leave with cold eyes.
“How pitiful…” The girl called Little Sparrow from Water Moon Sect found the situation a bit hard to stand as she shook her head and sighed. “Tu Ze’s realm is the same as Yan Ziqian’s. If both sides do not use their spirit artifacts, their true strength is actually about the same. Sigh. Tu Ze’s luck is a bit poor for sure, not having a powerful spirit artifact of his own. Otherwise, he would not have suffered such humiliation.”
“I heard that Tu Ze has failed four times already, whereas Zhuo Qian failed three.” Na Nuo made a tiny frown. “Their fathers must have spent a great deal of effort and owe multiple favors to have gathered the spirit materials for them. They really are unlucky to fail so many times. I guess they don’t have such great lives.”
“Speaking of having a good life, Sister Na Nuo is still the best for succeeding on the first attempt,” a girl commented in admiration.
Na Nuo raised her eyebrows and pulled out a white jade ruler from her sleeves, proudly saying, “Your sister, Na Nuo, is where the fates truly lie. Not only was this ‘Formless Ruler’ of mine was created successfully by Master Lu in one go, he even said that this was one of his finest creations. Sometimes… luck is also an expression of strength!”
Na Nuo lightly waved her Formless Ruler, and it conjured layers of white ruler shadows that blurred everyone’s eyes.
“Yan Ziqian’s Ice Drake Sword is only a Common Grade Seven spirit artifact. Yet my Formless Ruler is a Profound Grade One spirit artifact! We are on completely different levels! Common Grade spirit artifacts normally can only be used until the late stage of the Natal Opening Realm. Once a person has broken through to the Manifestation Realm, then they’ll most likely have to switch to a Profound Grade spirit artifact.”
Pride flowed out of her expression. “When Yan Ziqian breaks through to the Manifestation Realm, his Ice Drake Sword will no longer be usable, for it will turn into a wall that restricts his true power. On the other hand, my Formless Ruler can still be used even after I break through to the Manifestation Realm! This is what you call a true difference in power. It is also why Yan Ziqian did not dare to provoke me!”
The girls behind her all turned incredibly envious upon hearing her words. Their gazes that were watching the jade ruler also turned passionate.
“Na Nuo, we can continue our journey now.” From afar, Yan Ziqian turned his head. The coldness on his face was long gone, and there was even a warm smile on his face. “If the two of us join forces, then we can definitely defeat these three Rank Two spirit beasts. We will all gain a tremendous profit.”
When he was facing Na Nuo, he appeared to be polite and humble. It was partly because Na Nuo was incredibly beautiful, but the most important factor was still the fact that her true strength was astounding.
“Sure, lead the way. Speaking of which, that was really disappointing. The two of you actually didn’t fight each other.” Na Nuo seemed to be feeling extra bored by the results.
“That’s because Tu Ze has no balls.”
Yan Ziqian chuckled and signalled Yan Qingsong to lead the way. On the other hand, he and Feng Kai stayed in the back and actively mingled with the girls from Water Moon Sect. With cheer and laughter, they departed to the deeper section of the stone forest.
When Tu Ze, Zhuo Qian, and the others gave away the stone path, they had gone to the opposite side. The crowd wore dark expressions and no one said a thing.
They had been quiet for the longest time.
An evil black cloud flew past their heads and floated towards the area they previously departed from.
They paid it no attention.
An hour later, Gao Yu had suddenly appeared. The Ogre-faced Rings on his hands were shining with a dark light, and a powerful mind wave emanated from it.
Gao Yu’s face was dark, and his eyebrows were locked deeply together. Sensing the fluctuations from the Ogre-faced Rings while paying attention to the direction, he began heading towards the stone path Yan Ziqian and Na Nuo had walked through.
He saw Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian, but chose to ignore them and did not say a word.
Kang Zhi immediately lifted his head and called out after hearing the noise.
Zhuo Qian broke out of their depression and saw Gao Yu heading towards the stone path from before. They all frowned.
They were completely unfamiliar with Gao Yu, and because they heard that Gao Yu had tortured and killed a girl, Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian had even thought of him as an outcast and rejected him in their minds.
Gao Yu was originally an extreme loner in Nebula Pavilion, and other than Qin Lie, he had no contact with any people of his age.
Moreover Gao Yu was an extremely vindictive person, and anyone who talked behind his back would be beaten until they were severely injured — if it weren’t for Ye Yangqiu protecting him, some of his more extreme methods would’ve been punished by the Discipline Hall long ago.
Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian had no good will towards Gao Yu, but Gao Yu was a part of Nebula Pavilion. Seeing that he he might run into Yan Ziqian and the others if he continued in that direction, Tu Ze quickly informed him, “Gao Yu, don’t go that way. Shattered Ice Manor’s Yan Ziqian, Feng Kai, and Yan Qingsong are all there. If you go there alone, you might be in trouble!”
Gao Yu’s footsteps halted as he turned around and caught a glimpse of Tu Ze’s eyes. His already dark face suddenly turned evil and fearsome to the extreme. “Yan Qingsong is also there?”
Back at Celestial Wolf Mountain, Yan Qingsong had lobbed off the head of his younger clansman, and since then, Gao Yu had marked Yan Qingsong as the one person he needed to kill regardless of the consequences. The moment he heard that Yan Qingsong was also around, his old memories began to resurface once more, and this caused Gao Yu’s dark side to rise to its absolute peak.
Gao Yu’s gaze made even Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian feel chills. “Yeah, Yan Qingsong is around. Both Feng Kai, Ya Ziqian, and a few bastards from Shattered Ice Manor were all in one group,” Tu Ze answered.
“Noted.” Gao Yu nodded his head. Then, he no longer bothered with Tu Ze and the rest. With a dark face, moving even quicker than he was before, he headed in the direction of the stone path.
“This fellow is crazy, right? We already told him that Shattered Ice Manor is right there, yet he’s still going there to die?” Kang Zhi immediately yelled out.
“He’s absolutely sick!” Chu Peng too wore a dark expression. “Who does he think he is? He’s only at the ninth level of Refinement, what’s he going to do there? Court death?”
Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian’s expressions were also ugly; both were angered by Gao Yu’s actions and thought that there was something wrong with his head.
“What do we do?” Zhuo Qian stomped her feet, and her beautiful face was riddled with frustration. “He’ll definitely die if he heads in that direction. Yan Ziqian will never let him go. This guy is such a mad dog; how does Qin Lie know him?”
“He knows Qin Lie?” Tu Ze looked surprised.
During this time, he was either cultivating in seclusion or begging Great Master Lu from Dark Asura Hall to forge an artifact, so he really wasn’t sure about what was going on inside the pavilion.
“Mn, Qin Lie is his only friend inside the pavilion, and the two of them often sparred each other inside the Combat Room. I seriously do not understand why such a smart person like Qin Lie would be friends with such a twisted person. When I get back, I’m going to give him a good lecture!” Zhuo Qian angrily said.
“Regardless, Gao Yu is still a part of Nebula Pavilion, and he’s also Qin Lie’s friend. We can’t do anything about his head, but we cannot leave him to die.” With a dark face, Tu Ze grit his teeth and said, “Let’s go! We’ll follow him!”
“Big brother Tu? You?” Kang Zhi was shocked.
They were just humiliated by Yan Ziqian and the others, and as of late, they had been avoiding confrontation with the other party as much as they could. When facing Yan Ziqian, they were pretty much staying away from them at all cost, yet now Tu Ze was going to ask for trouble just for Gao Yu’s sake?
Kang Zhi could neither figure it out nor understand it.
But there was one thing he was sure of, and that was if Tu Ze went back and met Yan Ziqian again, he would not gain anything and instead only humiliate himself further.
They would also suffer losses along with Tu Ze, and perhaps they might even be injured once more.
“The worst that’ll happen if we go back is are a bit more losses. As long as we keep up our guard a little, it should not be a big problem. At worst I’ll just add another wound to my chest…” The corner of Tu Ze’s lips were bitter. “But if we do not go back, then Gao Yu will definitely die! He is part of Nebula Pavilion, and my name is Tu! Those surnamed Tu will never allow anyone to murder a person from Nebula Pavilion and ignore it!”
Tu Ze turned back without any hesitation.
Zhuo Qian, Kang Zhi, and the others’ eyes were all red, and without a word they clenched their fists and followed him closely.
They knew it wouldn’t end well for them to go back. They knew they were going to lose. They knew they were going to be humiliated…
But regardless, they all turned around!