Chapter 86: Taking With Force
“Could you let me stay for another moment? I have some words I want to say to Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian,” requested Qin Lie.
Xie Jingxuan glanced at Qin Lie, slightly furrowing her brows before nodding and saying, “Ban Hong, come with me. I need to be updated on the situation.” Riding atop the Profound Nether Beast, she moved towards the depths of the stone forest.
Within the rugged stone forest, there were certain paths which were difficult for martial practitioners to tread. However, it was all like smooth ground to the Profound Nether Beast which advanced at a swift pace.
After bowing to Liang Zhong, Ban Hong brought a group of Dark Asura Hall martial practitioners and followed after Xie Jingxuan.
Liang Zhong temporarily stayed behind, observing Gao Yu with narrowed eyes and furrowed brows. His line of sight was directed at the black smoke currently twined around Gao Yu’s body which had yet to disperse. He seemed to be considering something.
At this moment, Yan Ziqian and the wounded practitioners of Shattered Ice Manor gathered together, all of them supporting each other. Their expressions were all extremely ugly.
Yan Ziqian and Feng Kai were both bloody, their shoulders and abdomens showing extremely deep cuts. Their faces were gloomy as they busily bound their wounds.
Yan Qingsong, however, was the most tragic.
He seemingly had yet to wake from the illusion, his face still pale as his eyes showed a dazed look of horror. Unintelligible words were still incessantly spewing out from his mouth.
As for Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian’s group, their situation wasn’t much better. They were also covered in wounds and were also busily binding them.
However, unlike Yan Ziqian and his group, Tu Ze, Zhuo Qian, and the rest were all in high spirits, their faces showing a look of inexplicable excitement and glee.
Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian tightly clutched their new spirit artifacts — the longblade and Dragon Bone Whip, lovingly waving them around. They didn’t want to put them down for even a second.
—It was as if the two of them were holding onto their own lives!
“Qin Lie! Th-this longblade…”
Tu Ze’s eyes flushed. As he profoundly looked at Qin Lie, his face was full of excitement. Because he was so excited, he became unable to completely say what he was thinking.
“What exactly happened?”
Zhuo Qian walked forward a step, repeatedly patting Qin Lie’s shoulder. Her bright face was full of smiles.
“Qin Lie, didn’t Great Master Lu fail to truly forge the longblade and Dragon Bone Whip? How come these two defective products seemed to have been reactivated once they landed in your hands?” asked little fatty Kang Zhi in place of the two, verbalizing the confusion in their minds.
Yan Ziqian and Feng Kai were still treating their wounds, but upon hearing what Kang Zhi had said, they were both shocked for a moment and suddenly turned their heads to Nebula Pavilion’s area.
“They were reactivated?”
Over where Water Moon Sect’s was, Na Nuo and the other young ladies were also shocked. Their dazzling gazes also gathered upon Qin Lie’s body as uncertainty emerged within their minds: Could it be that it was all because of him?
“Previously, the spirit diagrams within the longblade and Dragon Bone Whip were incomplete. I-I just asked someone to help me complete them.”
Halfway through his response, Qin Lie suddenly remembered Li Mu’s constant reminder that he shouldn’t reveal that he was the one who had completed the spirit diagrams in case it attracted unnecessary trouble, as that would be too shocking.
“You asked someone to complete the spirit diagrams?” Tu Ze’s entire face lit up. “Th-that person is definitely a peak level Artificer! He was able to complete the spirit diagrams that Great Master Lu failed to perfectly fuse, and the effects… the effects are so — so incredibly unimaginable! That person must have definitely been an extraordinary Artificer!”
Tu Ze’s words were a little incoherent.
It was because he just loved his longblade too much. He currently dared to affirm that this spirit artifact was taken from dreams — that it was a treasure made just for him!
“His attainments with spirit artifacts have definitely surpassed Great Master Lu by a level. Otherwise, there would definitely have been no way for him to have successfully completed these spirit diagrams!” concluded Zhuo Qian with a hundred percent certainty. Afterwards, she perplexedly asked, “Qin Lie, how come you apprenticed yourself to Master Yao even though you know such an amazing person?”
“Uh, th-this…” Qin Lie stuttered.
“Little brother, could I borrow the longblade for a moment, I just want to take a look.” On the other side, Liang Zhong seemed to have thought of something. His body flickering, he arrived at their side from beside Gao Yu like a ghost, his brows furrowed as he reached his hand out towards Tu Ze.
Liang Zhong was a person of Dark Asura Hall and someone who even Ban Hong had to respectfully refer to as Mister Liang. Thus, Tu Ze didn’t dare displease him and obediently handed him the longblade after a moment’s hesitation.
Liang Zhong received the blade. After perceiving it with narrowed eyes for a few seconds, his expression slightly changed as he handed the longblade back to Tu Ze. Immediately, he turned to Zhuo Qian and asked, “Little girl, please also lend me your whip.”
“You better be careful. Don’t destroy it,” said Zhuo Qian, reluctantly handing it over. Her movements were very careful, making the whip seem more important than her life.
“Be at ease,” consoled Liang Zhong. Receiving the Dragon Bone Whip, he once again perceived it with narrowed eyes for a moment before handing it back to its rightful owner. A look of astonishment emerged within his eyes.
Without saying another word, he nodded to the several people before moving back towards Gao Yu’s side with furrowed brows. It seemed as if he were pondering something.
Very quickly, Liang Zhong seemed to have become content, as if he had already understood the critical details.
“Let’s go.” Once Yan Ziqian had simply bound his wounds, he stood up with a cold face. Along with Feng Kai and the other Shattered Ice Manor martial practitioners, they supported each other as they walked towards the outer ring of the valley.
“You guys don’t want your stuff?” lightly asked Na Nuo.
“The three Rank Two spirit beasts within the valley were first discovered by us. It was only because Yan Qingsong followed after us that he found out about them,” snorted Kang Zhi as he looked at the three spirit beast corpses. “Thus, at least a half of these spirit beasts belongs to us. It has no relation to Shattered Ice Manor.”
“That’s right!” exclaimed Tu Ze startledly. Wielding his longblade which was resplendent with starlight, he swept his eyes over the people slumping away in front of him, overbearingly saying, “Shattered Ice Manor’s portion will be considered Nebula Pavilion’s!”
“Tu Ze! You dare!” shouted Yan Ziqian, his eyes becoming a deep crimson. The faces of the other Shattered Ice Manor martial practitioners also became twisted, as if they wanted to continue their bloody battle.
“What? Not satisfied?” asked Zhuo Qian as she unsheathed her Dragon Bone Whip, a ferocious look emerging within her eyes. “Haven’t you guys done this time and time again? These last two months, say it yourselves, just how much loot have you guys taken from us? What? Now that it’s become our turn for once, you guys can’t stand it?”
She cracked the Dragon Bone Whip and the wind dragon once again condensed. “If you’re not satisfied, then you can talk with my whip!”
Previously, because Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian were no match for Yan Ziqian and Feng Kai, Shattered Ice Manor’s people had constantly shadowed Tu Ze’s group and deliberately tried to provoke them. Every time Tu Ze’s group killed a spirit beast, they would immediately swoop out and say that they had been chasing it first, forcing Tu Ze’s group to give up their spoils.
But now, the tides had turned, and Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian held the advantage. Learning from Shattered Ice Manor’s actions, they finally did something detestable.
“Good! Very good!” Yan Ziqian deeply glared at the two for few moments, his face as cold as ice. Afterwards, he looked at Qin Lie once more. Nodding, he said, “Qin Lie, Qin Lie…”
As he repeatedly uttered Qin Lie’s name, he led Feng Kai and the rest of Shattered Ice Manor’s martial practitioners directly out of the valley.
Everyone could hear the deep-seated hatred contained within Yan Ziqian’s voice as he repeated Qin Lie’s name over and over again. All of them knew that, without a doubt, if Qin Lie ever fell into his hands, he would experience extremely cruel treatment.
And thus, Shattered Ice Manor’s people left the valley.
“What do you all think?” asked Zhuo Qian, suddenly looking at Na Nuo.
“There’s no problem,” said Na Nuo, casually shrugging her shoulders. “After all, it was originally Shattered Ice Manor’s. Moreover, it’s only a portion of spirit materials from the body of the Poison Scale Scorpion and Golden Haired Ape. Haha, since they themselves didn’t have a problem with it and gave it up, what can my Water Moon Sect say about it?”
“Then it’s settled,” coldly sneered Zhuo Qian, who seemingly didn’t like Na Nuo. She slightly nodded.
“Qin Lie! You brat, you really came at the perfect time!”
At this time, Tu Ze, Kang Zhi, and the rest finally cheered up. One by one, they took turns, tightly hugging Qin Lie in the fashion that men used to express their excitement.
Very quickly, Tu Ze, Kang Zhi, and Chu Peng had all taken their turns and hugged Qin Lie once.
Laughing, Zhuo Qian, under the ambiguous gazes of the rest, boldly walked out next to Qin Lie and also tightly hugged him. Her fragrant lips touched Qin Lie’s ear as she whispered, “Thank you…” Immediately, she gently laughed and let go, her cheeks slightly blushing.
“That person of Dark Asura Hall… what happened? How come you showed up with her?” suddenly asked Tu Ze afterwards.
“Gao Yu, where are you going?” Right as he was about to answer, he suddenly saw the gloomy faced Gao Yu who was passing by Liang Zhong and heading in the same direction as Xie Jingxuan and Ban Hong. Qin Lie hurriedly left Tu Ze’s group and arrived beside Gao Yu, asking, “How come you are here as well?”
“Brat, you better behave for me,” coldly shouted Liang Zhong, his eyes still stuck on Gao Yu.
Amongst the entirety of Nebula Pavilion, Qin Lie was Gao Yu’s only friend. Their friendship had been created during their time at Celestial Wolf Mountain. When he had interacted with the others, he treated them coldly and with disregard, not giving them any face.
However, after Qin Lie had arrived, the coldness on Gao Yu’s face finally showed some ease as he began to converse with Qin Lie.
“I was hunting high rank spirit beasts around Icestone City with Elder Ye and his group. Not too long ago, we attacked a Rank Two Ice Soul Python. We managed to kill it, but also lost a few brothers.
“At that time, a cluster of dark black clouds suddenly drifted above us. That thing sucked away the soul of the Ice Soul Python as well as the ones of those Discipline Hall brothers who had just died. All of the souls were taken up into the sky by it…”
“You know, the spirit art that I cultivate is a little special. These kinds of things, while others cannot sense it, I am very sensitive to.”
“Later, when I paid more attention, I discovered that, after every battle with spirit beasts, a cluster of black clouds would appear above in the sky. With the end of each of our battles, the black clouds would suck away the souls of the spirit beasts and martial practitioners before they quickly dissipated back into the world. Most recently, one of my Discipline Hall brothers suffered a serious injury, but had yet to die. Yet, his soul… was still sucked away.”
“Relying on my sensitivity to souls, I followed it over from outside, chasing it all the way to within the stone forest, to right here. At that time, when I arrived, the souls of these three spirit beasts were also sucked away by the black clouds. Those black clouds… moved towards the depths of the stone forest. I must go investigate and clearly figure out what happened!”
Gao Yu clearly stated his reasons.
Upon hearing Gao Yu’s explanation, the expressions of Tu Ze, Zhuo Qian, and a group of ladies from Water Moon Sect all slightly changed. Their hairs were all on end as they became restless after Gao Yu’s words.
“Now that you mention it, I remember that, three days ago, when we were fighting these three spirit beasts, there was seemingly… seemingly a cluster of black clouds in the sky above us,” said Na Nuo, shocked.
Black clouds? A mysterious existence which sucked souls?
A chill also emerged within the depths of Qin Lie’s heart. He knew that regardless of whether it was a martial practitioner or spirit beast, they all had souls. Furthermore, regardless of whether a martial practitioner or spirit beast became stronger, their soul would also become stronger. Once martial practitioners reached a certain level, they would even have to specially cultivate their souls. The souls of some powerful practitioners could even leave their flesh…
Once a martial practitioner or spirit beast died, their souls would slowly disperse, returning to the world.
The black clouds could amalgamate dead souls before they were able to dissipate. Just this was evil enough to cause everyone who listened to feel a little scared.
Surprisingly, at this time, Liang Zhong’s eyes, which had previously been filled with displeasure towards Gao Yu, suddenly slightly lit up. “You’re saying that you chased the black clouds here from all the way by the outskirts of Icestone City? You can… sense its movements?”
“Mn.” Gao Yu nodded, then pointed towards the depths of the stone forest. After pondering for a moment, the expression in his eyes suddenly rippled, as if he too felt some uneasiness. However, he grit his teeth and gloomily said, “It’s in there, just follow the direction I’m pointing. A-also, there are a lot of those things!”
After his remark, everyone’s hearts froze as they looked in the direction that Gao Yu pointed.
—It was indeed the direction that Xie Jingxuan, Ban Hong, and the others had proceeded in earlier.