AST 910 - The Strength of the Sky Prison Sect, Balancing Act on a Tightrope
“Why is that?” Qing Shui was puzzled.
“Within my Mu Clan, the one you have the deepest relationship with is that girl who calls herself Mu Qing. The smartest choice for you would be to take her away. Given your abilities, it shouldn’t be too hard,” the Elder laughed.
Without external circumstances, leaving with Mu Qing would be easy for Qing Shui. He could take her away with two consecutive Nine Continents Steps, and then escape with her on the Fire Bird. There would be no opportunity for the Sky Prison Sect to chase.
However, he could not comprehend why the Elder would say such a thing.
“I could easily take Mu Qing and leave, but would she willingly come with me?” Qing Shui smiled towards the Elder.
“Hah, you aren’t ruthless enough and too indecisive. Hesitating when a snap decision is required will invariably lead to trouble. If you cannot change this habit of yours, even with your formidable strength, this could still end disastrously,” the Elder sighed while looking at Qing Shui.
Qing Shui could not understand why the Elder sighed. Why would the Elder say these things? As a member of the Mu Clan, did he really wish for Qing Shui to leave?
“Elder, do you not wish for the Mu Clan to become stronger?” Qing Shui turned around and asked.
“Of course I do, but getting stronger isn’t child’s play. You are one of the most talented people I have seen in my life. The truth is, I do not want to see you die. I want to see your growth and achievements in the next ten, fifty, and hundred years. Unfortunately, there is no hope now.” The Elder stopped, as if he felt pity towards the situation.
This feeling was understandable. An elder who loved martial arts saw an exceptionally talented prodigy at the tail end of his life. It was normal and understandable that he would be fond of this talent. It was just like seeing a beautiful flower bud; most people would want to see it in full bloom. If just a flower bud was already so beautiful, it would be even more alluring when it was in full bloom.
If not for having some psychological abnormality or some compelling reason, nobody would ruthlessly destroy the blossom. One reason would be if the flower was a beauty but the heart was as malicious as a snake or a scorpion…
“Alright, we seem to have talked too much about the distant future. Let’s talk about the matter with the Sky Prison Sect today.” The Elder looked at Qing Shui and laughed.
“Sure, I had the same thought. Please, if you can provide me with some pointers on what to do.” Qing Shui was not overly confident either. He relied on the fact that he had formations, the Nine Palace Steps and tamed beasts.
Right now, the members of Mu Clan with the Duality Minutest Formation should be at least stronger than the Sky Prison Sect in their formation. Other than this, there’s really no other advantage.
With the addition of the Elder, Qing Shui seemed to have gained a pillar of support.
“You critically injured the Sky Prison’s Old Fifth, so there will be no peaceful settlement in this case. This will be a battle to the death. Their goal is our complete annihilation. This is the usual style of the Sky Prison Sect. With their strength, I can only say that we are walking on a tightrope between two deep cliffs.”
“Elder, how many martial artists with similar strength to you are in the Sky Prison Sect?” Qing Shui asked out of curiosity.
“The Sky Prison Sect has eight Masters. The Sky Prison’s Old Fifth was the weakest one. There are several whose strength is only slightly more than his. However, the Sky Prison Sect has three Heads: the First, Second, and Third of the eight Masters. They are the martial artists with the same strength as me,” the Elder said while looking at Qing Shui.
Qing Shui was not surprised. Having three formidable martial artists like that was not strange. Qing Shui felt that they were not the only ones he had to pay attention to, so he remained silent and continued to listen to the Elder. To know thyself was to know thy enemy. That was the way to emerge victorious in every battle. The more intel he had before the battle with the Sky Prison Sect, the more he would know about his opponent.
“The eight Masters of Sky Prison Sect are as close as brothers; furthermore, they have two Elders above them. Their strengths are at least fifteen hundred stars. Their abilities in terms of formations and the Sky Prison Sabre are frightening.” The Elder said, helplessly.
Listening to this, Qing Shui felt shocked. The Sky Prison Sect was undoubtedly a Super Sect, the top of a hundred thousand elites. Hearing about their strength, made Qing Shui’s scalp tingled.
“I’m not sure if those two old farts will come or not.” Qing Shui thought in his mind. If those two did not come, then the situation would be manageable. If they did come, it would be devastating to the Mu Clan if their formation broke.
The Elder seemed to have seen through Qing Shui’s thoughts. He smiled and said, “The Sky Prison Sect’s two old beasts will not come unless you annihilate the entire Sky Prison Sect. Otherwise, they won’t interfere in such a small matter.”
“Elder, you know the things I placed in the Mu Clan. With your strength, how long would the formation hold you back?” Qing Shui asked after much thought.
“If there were no obstacles, I’d be able to break through it in fifteen minutes. In any shorter timeframe, it would be too difficult,” the Elder said after thinking for a bit.
This was bad news for Qing Shui, since the Mu Clan’s Elder did not have any previous knowledge of formations. However, the Sky Prison Sect was different. They were well versed in several formations. Unfortunately, Qing Shui had not been successful with the Nine Palace Eight Trigrams Formation, otherwise he would be confident enough to fend off all of them.
“I can help you hold off one without too much difficulty, but that’s only one of them. For the rest , you must think of some other method. Other than the Masters of Sky Prison Sect, the rest are not a problem to worry about. If they retreat to their formation to save themselves, then you should be careful. Rumor has it that it is a formation within a formation.” The Elder said after a bit of hesitation.
“Formation within a formation?”
Qing Shui was familiar with the concept of a formation within a formation. It was just placing a formation within another one, but the requirements to do so were high. Formations within formations were strong and could provide temporary salvation. For example, if Qing Shui was trapped within a formation while being attacked from all four sides, he could place a formation within the formation to give himself time to find a way to break through.
However, formations within a formation were not easy to place. This was because formations could counteract each other, which could render the formation within useless.
There was a special type of formation within a formation that was especially potent. It could forcibly steal the other formation’s Spirit Qi. Qing Shui knew this was the type of formation within a formation that the Elder was mentioning.
Another type of formation within a formation was a trap formation inside another trap formation. One example would be a bigger Duality Minutest Formation with a smaller Duality Minutest Formation inside. However, the Duality Minutest Formation used in conjunction with the Five Elements Minor Formation was not considered a formation within a formation.
The Five Elements Minor Formation was a Death Formation. It required the cooperation of several martial artists.
When it came to large-scale close quarter killing, people would have to cooperate in order to annihilate the enemy. This could not be considered a formation, but rather the foundation of a formation.
Usually, there would be no conflict. Using the Duality Minutest Formation with the Five Elements Minor Formation had originally been Qing Shui’s idea anyway. It was a method of self-preservation for the Mu Clan.
He had even taught them the Duality Steps, so that they could use it with the Duality Minutest Formation.
They continued to discuss many things, but the Elder did not make any decisions. These decisions were left to Qing Shui and the head of the Mu Clan to decide. He was just an observer who was willing to help them hold off the opposition for a bit. Mainly, he just wanted to do what he could, so that when he departed the world, he could go in peace.
This was because the Mu Clan would undergo a huge change because of the youngster in front of his eyes.
By the time Qing Shui got up to leave, it was already morning. He spotted Mu Qing’s silhouette in the distance.
“Elder!” Mu Qing paid her respects to the Elder.
“Haha. Good, good. The talent of our Mu Clan is the best. Missy, remember to cherish what is in front of you,” the Elder said with a smile. He then left after waving goodbye.
Qing Shui bowed with a smile. Mu Qing blushed while bowing. She then left together with Qing Shui.
She had understood the Elder’s true meaning from his words. Before, she had a guilty conscience but hearing the Elder’s words made her happy, since she had gained the support of the Elder. Now she could really do what she wanted.
“Qing Shui, why were you at the Elder’s manor? He doesn’t pay attention to the affairs of the world anymore, but how come he invited you over?” Mu Qing said while walking with Qing Shui a bit further.
“I went to see if the surrounding formation had any issues, but accidentally ended up at the Elder’s manor. How did you know I was here?” Qing Shui said, looking at Mu Qing.
Mu Qing said as her cheeks turned red, “I tried to find you in many places, but thought you had left. However, the Elder sent word and told me you were here.” Mu Qing said all this while looking downwards, trying to avoid eye contact with Qing Shui.
Qing Shui smiled and stretched his hand out to hold hers. He softly grasped her hand once and let go.
He sighed in his mind. The Elder had said he was indecisive. He had enough self-awareness to know this was true. Even now, he realized if he did not want to chase her, he should not be giving her hope. However, Qing Shui felt that he had to do this, because this simple action could awaken her desire to live.
Mu Qing did not say a word. She was happy at this moment, and smiled towards Qing Shui. As she walked forward, her dress accompanied her seductive figure marvelously.
Sometime after noon, Qing Shui decided to wait in his room for a bit. However, an uproar could be heard outside. As he stepped out the door, he spotted Mu Qing heading over as well. Both of them rushed towards the direction that the sound was coming from.
“The members of the Sky Prison Sect are here, everyone get ready!”
“Kill those brutes! I have long been unable to stand their belittling behavior.”
“That’s right, kill them! They rely on formations to bully people. Today, we fight them inside the formation. Either they die or we die.”
Noise continued to reach Qing Shui’s ears. It looked like the Sky Prison Sect had arrived.
By the time Qing Shui and Mu Qing rushed over to the front yard, more than half of the Mu Clan had already gathered. The women had already hidden themselves in the secret chamber. It had been sealed beforehand with a formation. If nobody eventually went to unseal the formation, it meant that they had been annihilated. Thus, they would by then escape through the secret passage. Whether they could escape in one piece would be up to them at that point.
Mu Fengyang, Mu Qian and several other people were here. They were all Mu Qing’s elders, part of the direct bloodline of the Mu Clan. Other people had already been dismissed. In this situation, they would not able to help in any way, and could even end up being distractions. Thus, their absence did not create any ill will. However, many whose strength was decent still decided to stay. More importantly, they were all completely loyal to the Mu Clan, otherwise they would not have been allowed to stay behind.
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