Chapter 294: Battle of the Arrays; Chen Taiguang’s Act

With a Dawn Sect identity token hung around his neck, and armed with a regular sized formation diagram, Chen Taiguang strode towards the Dawn Sect’s protective formation array.

The identity token would guarantee that he would not be targeted by the protective formation array’s attacks, while the formation diagram allowed him to easily locate the heart of the protective formation array itself, which was also where the eye of the formation array was located.

If Jun Xiaomo witnessed this sight right now, she would most certainly despise Chen Taiguang for his ineptitude.

Quite apart from his heritage as a successor of the Chen Clan, it was a complete disgrace to his abilities as an array master if he needed to rely on the formation diagram in order to locate the heart of the formation array.

However, Jun Xiaomo did not notice these actions of his, so she was presently still wary of the unknown array master’s true abilities. After all, she was unaware of who He Zhang had invited to look into the Sect’s protective formation array, and she was naturally also unaware of the depth of his abilities.

Within a few moments’ time, Chen Taiguang managed to find his way to the heart of the formation array without a hitch.

“Did the person who set up this formation array for you leave behind an Origin Diagram for your reference?” Chen Taiguang asked He Zhang and the rest who were following behind him.

“We don’t have an Origin Diagram. However, the array master did leave us a formation diagram. Using this diagram, we’re able to deactivate and reactivate this protective formation array.” He Zhang explained.

“That formation diagram will do as well. Bring it here.” Chen Taiguang instructed bluntly. Even though He Zhang and the other Sect Elders were severely displeased with Chen Taiguang’s attitude right now, they knew that they could not afford to offend him as yet. After all, they still needed his assistance to check on the Sect’s protective formation array.

Thus, He Zhang and the other Sect Elders retrieved from their Interspatial Rings their respective parts of the formation diagram and began to piece them together. Within moments, the parts had been rejoined to form the whole formation diagram

Then, Chen Taiguang retrieved a sharp spirit tool and stabbed it straight into the heart of the formation diagram, before slowly suffusing his spiritual energy through the spirit tool and into the formation diagram.

The entire sheet of formation diagram began to emit a faint, blue glow, and this glow only continued to intensify as Chen Taiguang continued to pour out his spiritual energy. If one took a closer examination right now, he would realize that the glowing light had begun to slowly course through the inscriptions on the entire formation diagram.

He Zhang and the other Sect Elders watched the blue light intensify with an enigmatic expression in the depths of their eyes.

It was only going to be a matter of moments before they would finally know with some certainty whether or not the Sect’s protective formation array had been tampered by someone.

On the other side at Qin Shanshan’s abode, having discovered the movements around the Sect’s protective formation array, Jun Xiaomo had also retrieved a corresponding formation diagram from her Interspatial Ring and unfolded it on the table in front of her.

After pondering for a moment, she picked up a talisman brush dipped in bright red ink and added a few strokes onto the formation diagram without any hesitation.

Then, having done that, Jun Xiaomo immediately retrieved an amber, translucent pebble and set it carefully on the formation diagram, before operating her true energy and suffusing the formation diagram with her spiritual energy.

The pebble was something that she had earlier removed from the heart of the Sect’s protective formation array. At the same time, she had replaced it and embedded the heart of the formation array with another pebble of her own.

With such alterations, not only would she be empowered to make any changes to the Sect’s protective formation array as she desired; she would even be able to monitor the situation at and surrounding the Sect’s protective formation array at any time she desired.

At this moment, Jun Xiaomo suspended her hands above the formation diagram, closed her eyes and began to release her divine sense.

Ye Xiuwen’s understanding had barely scratched the surface of the deep and profound discipline of formation arrays, and he did not know what Jun Xiaomo was up to right now. Thus, he sat silently at the side, doing his best not to interrupt or disturb her present actions.

Sending her divine sense probing through the formation array, Jun Xiaomo began to see several figures appear before her very eyes. Gradually, these blurry figures became clearer, and clearer, until Jun Xiaomo could finally recognize the minutest details on these persons’ faces. She could see that He Zhang and the other Sect Elders were huddled around a stranger, while the stranger was standing before the Dawn Sect’s formation diagram and appeared to be muttering some mnemonics.

This must be the array master they’d invited to check on the Sect’s protective formation array. I wonder how formidable this person is… Jun Xiaomo remarked in her heart curiously.

Ever since she had been locked up within the Proving Grounds, Jun Xiaomo had over those three hundred years developed a joy and passion for all forms of challenges. Truth be told, she was very curious as to what level she was in terms of her proficiency with formation arrays right now.

Thus, as soon as the fleeting moment of anxiety had passed, Jun Xiaomo began to develop some feelings of expectancy for the challenge that awaited her.

Then, with her divine sense, Jun Xiaomo began to examine the sharp spirit tool that Chen Taiguang had stabbed into the heart of the formation array, hoping to identify the purposes it was used for.

Back when Jun Xiaomo was in the Proving Grounds, she had come across a manuscript which detailed every single spirit tool that was used for or in relation to formation arrays, and she spent a whopping three months memorizing its contents before returning the manuscript to its original place.

This manuscript was something that had been left behind by her great grandmaster, and it was intended to be passed on from generation to generation of disciples. Jun Xiaomo did not have the rights to take possession of it to the exclusion of all others.

Very soon, Jun Xiaomo managed to recall the manuscript’s introduction to the spirit tool that Chen Taiguang was using right now. This spirit tool was used particularly for the purposes of determining whether the heart of the formation array was identical to that of the formation diagram. The array master would use the spirit tool by suffusing his own spiritual energy through the spirit tool and into the formation diagram. If the flow of spiritual energy is obstructed by the formation diagram, it would mean that the formation array had been tampered with by others, and it was no longer the same as it originally had been.

Jun Xiaomo rubbed her chin and curled her lips into a discreet smile.

This array master must be sorely mistaken if he thinks that he would be able to discover traces of her handiwork with such a simple, shallow tool.

With such thoughts on her mind, Jun Xiaomo opened her eyes once more, and she began to paint a few bright red brush strokes over the top of the formation diagram. Then, she increased the output of her spiritual energy that was being suffused into the formation diagram.

On the other side, at the perimeter of the Dawn Sect’s grounds within the forest, Chen Taiguang’s eyes were tightly shut, and his eyebrows were being knitted more tightly by the minute.

As soon as they noticed Chen Taiguang’s expressions, He Zhang and the other Sect Elders immediately began to grow worry and anxious, wondering if things were going to be more complicated than they had earlier expected.

It couldn’t be helped. They were complete idiots when it came to matters of formation arrays, and they knew they could only place all of their hopes on Chen Taiguang at this moment.

Chen Taiguang continued to operate the spiritual energy within his body, sending it through the formation diagram thrice. Finally, he ignited the energy, and it exploded on the formation diagram, causing the entire heart of the formation array to tremble.

He Zhang’s pupils immediately constricted at the massive, ensuing tremor. Then, in the very next moment, his gaze turned incredibly deep and abstruse – If only I could have this level of power at my disposal…

Chen Taiguang finally opened his eyes. However, his eyebrows were still tightly knitted together as he sighed with some measure of profundity, breaking He Zhang’s train of thought.

“What’s the matter? Did the Sect’s protective formation array get tampered by someone?” He Zhang immediately took a few steps forward to seek an answer.

He Zhang was evidently deeply anxious and concerned about this. As Chen Taiguang glanced at He Zhang, a mischievous notion surfaced on his mind –

Truth be told, he had not discovered any peculiarities or issues with the formation array at all. At the very least, his spirit tools had not revealed any abnormalities with the formation array. However, since the few old fogeys from the Dawn Sect had come looking for him with such urgency, this meant that the formation array had shown some signs of abnormality. If he told them that there were no issues with it right now, did this not mean that his abilities were simply sub-par?

Most importantly, if he told them that there were no issues with the formation array right now, how could he still justify the receipt of payment from the leaders of the Dawn Sect?

The Chen Clan had historically always been well-acclaimed and well-reputed in the discipline of formation arrays. Unfortunately, Chen Taiguang was the only child and successor to their craft in his entire generation. Having been spoilt by his parents while growing up, he was incredibly lazy – barely bothering to spend any time learning, understanding and mastering the Chen Clan crafts that had been passed down from generation to generation. In the end, he barely skimmed the surface of it, and his abilities right now were a complete disgrace and a mockery to the glories of his entire Clan.

In fact, his abilities might not even earn him a place among the array masters that were slightly below average, if not for the set of highly useful tools his ancestors had left him. To make matters worse, whenever others invited him to set up a formation array for them or diagnose an issue with the existing formation array, he would always take advantage of their ignorance in the field of formation arrays and pull a veil over their faces, before exaggerating the amount of blood, sweat and tears it took him to accomplish the grand feat that they had asked of him – all so that he could reap much more than what he sowed.

In this regard, he intended to do the very same thing on this visit to the Dawn Sect as well – his intentions were to bag a handsome profit for doing absolutely nothing.

Thus, Chen Taiguang plastered a solemn expression all over his face as he sternly addressed He Zhang and the rest, “It’s a good thing that you’d called me over when you did. Otherwise, you’ll soon see massive issues with this formation array.”

He Zhang swept an investigative gaze across Chen Taiguang’s body as he clarified, “Massive issues?”

“That’s right. Massive issues.” Chen Taiguang nodded his head as he added with a somber expression, “The alterations to your formation array have been incredibly discreet, but the resultant effect is that the perpetrator now has substantial control over the formation array. If not for the fact that I’d noticed a slight peculiarity in the formation array, leading to my discovery of all this, I might very well have been fooled as well.”

At the same time, Jun Xiaomo was observing Chen Taiguang through the formation array as he spouted this bunch of complete nonsense.

If Jun Xiaomo were not the perpetrator who had altered the formation array to begin with, she might very well have been fooled by Chen Taiguang’s present act – even though this man’s abilities in the field of formation arrays were average at best, his abilities in the field of pretension and bullshit were second to none.

In other words, Chen Taiguang’s acting was so convincing that he could even fool someone as adept at the discipline of formation arrays as Jun Xiaomo, much less He Zhang and the rest who barely understood a thing about formation arrays.

Rather erring on the side of caution, He Zhang furrowed his brows as he asked, “Then, what do we do? Do you have any means of resolving this issue for us?”

“Solutions…there are a few. After all, I’m a descendant and a successor of the Chen Clan formation array arts. This isn’t an issue to someone like me.” Chen Taiguang assured He Zhang and the rest. When he mentioned the Chen Clan formation array arts, he even puffed up his chest in pride, as though he were glorying in his ancestor’s achievements.

“Since that’s the case, then we’ll have to trouble brother Chen.” He Zhang suppressed the earlier impatience in his heart and spoke with a harmonious tone of voice.

“That’s fine by me. That said…I might have to expend a substantial amount of spiritual energy in this regard, and I’ll even have so use up some valuable treasures, so your earlier remuneration…I’m afraid it won’t be enough.” Chen Taiguang was implicitly asking He Zhang for an increased payment for his services.

He Zhang’s facial expression immediately grew ashen. He had already agreed to Chen Taiguang’s increased charges once, yet this person is thinking of increasing his fees again?!

“Brother Chen, it would be wise not to be too greedy!” The Fifth Elder immediately castigated Chen Taiguang.

“I’m simply saying it as it is. This problem won’t be easily resolved. Furthermore, if you can’t pay up, then don’t ask for my services to begin with. I’m a busy man, and I don’t need to undertake any assignments that aren’t profitable to me.” Chen Taiguang stood idly by as he responded lazily, “But, don’t say that I didn’t warn you – it’ll be too late for regrets once you pass up on this opportunity. Your formation array is being continually ruined by others. If you leave this be, it’ll sooner or later be completely destroyed.”

“Continually ruined?” A haze was pulled over He Zhang’s heart.

“That’s right. Why would I lie to you? This kind of damage to the formation array isn’t something that can develop over just one or two days.” Chen Taiguang continued to spin his tale.

On the other side, in Qin Shanshan’s room, Jun Xiaomo was practically in stitches from her laughter. She had initially wanted to give the swindler some just desserts for his ineptitude, but when she noticed how this man had completely duped He Zhang and the rest, she decided to let him off the hook.

Besides, the irony of He Zhang paying good money just to invite a swindler to take more money off his hands made her heart feel incredibly satisfied.

“Then do you know who the culprit is?” He Zhang was still suspicious of Jun Ziwen, but he had no means of confirming his suspicions.

“I’m not a god that can calculate these sorts of things like that. Unfortunately, Sect Leader will have to go look for the culprit on your own. I can only be responsible for resolving the issue with the formation array.”

“Then, alright. Name your price.” He Zhang’s heart was so torn by the prospects of forking out more payment to this man that he was on the brink of tearing him to shreds. However, he knew that he had to continue feigning civility as long as the problem remained in place.

Then, as Chen Taiguang began to list his conditions and prices, He Zhang’s face darkened and grew more ashen with each condition listed.

Jun Xiaomo could hardly be bothered to care about what happened next. She retracted her divine sense and pulled back from Sect’s protective formation array. Then, after sitting at her table for a while, she began to burst out into an uproarious laughter once more.

“What’s the matter?” Ye Xiuwen raised his eyebrows curiously.

Jun Xiaomo waved her hands and replied while laughing, “Nothing much. It’s just that I’ve just witnessed someone getting swindled, and I’m feeling good about how things are panning out.”

“Is the person getting swindled…He Zhang?” Ye Xiuwen was not a fool. After analyzing the situation for a moment, he could roughly already guess the gist of what had happened.

“Hahahahaha…that’s right, it’s He Zhang, hahahahaha…” Jun Xiaomo struggled to catch her breath as she continued to laugh uncontrollably.

Ye Xiuwen shook his head with some measure of exasperation.

“Then what about the matter with the formation array?”

“Don’t worry. That fella that they’d invited is no more than a swindler. He didn’t even manage to discover the fact that I’d tampered with the formation array. What else would I need to do?” Jun Xiaomo waved her hands dismissively.

Ye Xiuwen was finally able to set his heart at ease. Then, he began to laugh heartily together with Jun Xiaomo as well.

“But, that said, this fella might have bitten off more than he could chew. I wonder if He Zhang would kill and dispose of him after using him…should I lend this man a hand?” Jun Xiaomo thought aloud as she rubbed her chin mischievously.

Ye Xiuwen raised his eyebrows, but he decided not to burst her bubble at this moment.

After all, he couldn’t deny the fact that he also derived some pleasure seeing He Zhang suffer like that as well.

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