Chapter 0238: The Umbra Cave Opens


After Ye Chengying, the other Seven Astral Pillars started to show up one after another, each stirring interest with their arrival.

"That one's called Wang Chao, from one of the three great families of Xia. He has a lower eighth-grade topaz beast resonance. He probably has the strongest defensive abilities among the Seven Astral Pillars..." Chi Chan introduced. Li Luo and the others saw a barrel-chested youth with a glimmering, golden hue to his skin. He stood there like a wall of gold, and there was an immovability to his stance.

"That one is Zhong Taiqiu. His father is one of the few governors in the Xia Kingdom that control three provinces. He has a lower eighth-grade devil python resonance."

Zhong Taiqiu looked rather unremarkable, with a friendly smile that puffed his cheeks upwards to the point that his eyes were slits. Still, there was a slippery feel to the man.

"Governor of three provinces."

Li Luo was suitably impressed. This was on a completely different level from Shi Huang's father.

Perhaps he had too much bad history with governors' sons before, but Li Luo took an instant dislike to Zhong Taiqiu.

"The girl on the far left is called Qiao Yu. She's the one with the most ordinary background in the Seven Astral Pillars. Her accomplishments are all results of her sheer hard work and ability. She has a lower eighth-grade lightning resonance, and a fiery temper to match. She doesn't like those pompous elites who think very highly of themselves. You'd best stay away from her, Li Luo. You're exactly that sort of elite."

Qiao Yu had a neat, short bob of silver hair, and she was pretty in a girl-next-door sort of way. She could be considered as good looking as Ye Chengying, and she wore modest, plain clothing, including long pants that showed off her height.

Li Luo was stung. "Mentor, perhaps my background is quite elite, but do you really think I'm puffed up and loose?"

Chi Chan's eyes flicked over to Bai Mengmeng. "Oh, do I?"

Li Luo shook his head irritatedly. He had no idea why his mentor had developed this wrong impression of him. It was the curse of being handsome... which he had no control over.

"I think you've seen the last members of the Seven Astral Pillars before. House Jinque's young lord Si Tianming... He's the one who most recently ascended to the Seven Astral Pillars."

"Si Tianming, huh..."

Li Luo looked at the man with oily, green hair. Welp, another one he didn't quite like.

Now all seven were gathered.

Such was the importance of the Umbra Cave, that not a single Seven Astral Pillar could be absent.

As more and more students started to gather, a few of the tree's branches began to twinkle with light, and Vice Principal Su Xin appeared.

Her cheeks were drawn with tension, a sharp contrast to her usual, warm and smiling composure. It was a sobering look.

"Students. You all know why you are here.

"The Umbra Cave is open, and the corruption within spreads rapidly. We must cull it quickly, before it overruns into the world as we know it.

"This year's purging missions begin now.

"The corruption is especially bad this year, so the school has decided to include One Star Violet Vibrance squads as well. You will need to find a Three Star Hall squad to pair up with you when you enter."

A low muttering broke out. Even for the seniors, it was the first time they had seen One Star squads being included.

The First Princess frowned. "I wonder how bad the extent of corruption is this year, to warrant this."

Although only their Violet Vibrance squads were included for now, it looked to be a clear pilot test. Which meant that eventually, One Star Gold Gleam squads might also be included.

The Umbra Cave was in bad shape for sure.

As the First Princess of the Xia Kingdom, she was even more worried than the others, as this concerned her kingdom. If the Umbra Cave fell, it was not only the Astral Sage College that would suffer, but all of her territory.

That was not an outcome she could accept.

Gong Shenjun nodded in agreement. "I suggested to the school before: why not open the Umbra Cave to all the powers in the Xia Kingdom and get them to help? But the school simply replied that the time was not yet right."

"I'm sure they have their own considerations. The Umbra Cave is nothing to take lightly. It has to be carefully handled because the stakes are high."

"Perhaps," Gong Shenjun said slowly, looking at Vice Principal Su Xin.

The vice principal's voice rang out again. "As per our past cullings, the Violet Vibrance mentors will lead the first batch to wipe out the strongest Others. They will advance deep in, to lend the principal their strength.

"The second batch will be Four Star squads, cleaning up any stragglers that might have been overlooked.

"The Three Star squads and Two Star squads should focus on improving the general safety, cleaning up what you can."

Strategy explained, she turned to the Violet Vibrance mentors by her side. "If we're all prepared...

“Let's go."

The mentors nodded solemnly.

In the next moment, worldly natural energy surged in a kaleidoscope of colors, forming a web that stretched across the whole sky. A keening sound filled the air, covering the entire school.

Shoosh!

A ribbon of rainbow-colored resonant power arched in the sky, twisting in ancient and complicated runes before connecting to the trunk of the Tree of Resonant Power.

Rumble!

Suddenly, the Tree of Resonant Power cracked with a loud bang, as though some beast had been awakened. The gap in the trunk grew wider and wider at the base, until finally there was an ancient door about a dozen feet wide.

There was a primalcy to it, an ancientness that seemed to precede all that they had ever known.

Creak.

The heavy, wooden door slowly creaked open.

Behind it, complete darkness.

Whoo!

An eerie wind howled from within, and the temperature in the courtyard plummeted. A wave of terror blew past the students.

They looked at the black gap with trepidation.

This... was the Umbra Cave?

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