Chapter 143: An Unacceptable Price
While Su Chen was busy plundering the Mother Goddess Sect, Serene Dream Lotus Crown and the other high-status members of the Mother Goddess Sect were flying towards where Kelesda had been spotted.
As Sky Country’s most wanted individual, Kelesda was a major target for Serene Dream Lotus Crown. She was willing to pay almost any price to finish him off — of course, if she knew about the price she was currently paying, she might have reconsidered that stance.
But even so, that was her current mindset.
Kelesda was waiting at the base of Vast Cloud Peak.
Of course, he had changed his appearance, but that was pointless in front of Serene Dream Lotus Crown. Kelesda had no way of physically altering himself, so it was only natural that it was instantly seen through.
However, Kelesda wasn’t willing to give up so easily.
The hatred he felt for Su Chen was bone-deep, and it constantly tormented him. Even though he knew that he was putting himself in extreme danger by staying here, he still needed to come.
But just because he was mad with rage, that didn’t mean that he was an idiot.
As such, he had stopped his pursuit at the base of the mountain. He was certain that Su Chen was going to try to use the Mother Goddess Sect to deal with him. So, he decided to sit there and wait instead of forcefully making a move.
Very quickly, Serene Dream Lotus Crown and the upper echelons of the Mother Goddess Sect arrived. When they saw Kelesda, one of the Head Bishops loudly yelled, “Divine Light Revelation!”
Kelesda’s true expression was immediately revealed under the glare of the holy light.
“It’s him!” All of the Mother Goddess Sect experts were delighted when they saw Kelesda’s face.
Just as they were about to attack, Kelesda said, “I’m not against fighting. But before you do that, will you listen to what I am about to say?”
One of the bishops defiantly said, “What is there for us to listen to?”
However, they didn’t immediately attack.
Kelesda’s reputation of being a legendary Arcana Master preceded him. This kind of strength was not to be toyed with. The Mother Goddess Sect would definitely win if they were to really fight just based on the strength that they had amassed here. However, it also went without question that Kelesda would be able to take some of them with him.
And Kelesda had never appeared so publicly before. His sudden appearance at the base of Vast Cloud Peak was far too out of the norm. It was only natural that they were approaching the situation with extreme caution.
Despite their suspicions, however, they still continued to posture stubbornly. If the Sect Master wasn’t present, they probably would have attacked already.
Kelesda only looked at Serene Dream Lotus Crown. “Serene Dream, you and I are not of common status. Even if we ultimately end up fighting, we should still be able to have a discussion beforehand, right?”
Serene Dream Lotus Crown’s eyebrow jumped. “What exactly are you trying to say?”
Kelesda calmly replied, “Halcyon Wing Streak was probably the one who told you that I am here, right?”
The Harpies were all taken aback. Serene Dream Lotus Crown also realized that something was off. “You know him?”
“Was he also the one who told you that a Desolate Beast awoke in the southwest?”
Serene Dream Lotus Crown’s expression sank. “He also said that you were the one who awakened the Desolate Beast. Kelesda, you bastard, do you know what you’ve done? You’ve plunged all of Sky Country into a desperate fight for our lives!”
“I was the one who awakened the Desolate Beast?!” Kelesda tilted his head back and madly howled with a rage-filled laughter. “Is that what that bastard said? Then did he tell you that when that Desolate Beast awakened, it completely wiped out Fate’s Hands’ headquarters, causing countless lives to be needlessly lost?”
“What?” The Mother Goddess Sect’s bishops were all stunned by Kelesda’s words.
Only Serene Dream Crown Lotus remained somewhat composed. “In other words, besides you, Fate’s Hands has been wiped out? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?”
Kelesda retreated a few steps as he cried out in despair, “Yes, all of Fate’s Hands has been destroyed apart from a few members who were out on missions. And all of this came about because of that bastard Halcyon Wing Streak!”
“Him? The kid that was humiliated by those humans?” One of the Head Bishops was still in disbelief at this revelation.
“What if I told you that that ‘kid’ is also someone who obtained Jade Clearmist’s secret treasure, gained control over Method Power, and is already a Ninth-Ring Arcana Master that’s mastered four elements?” Kelesda replied caustically.
“That’s impossible!” all of the other Harpies cried out at the same time.
Even Serene Dream Lotus Crown’s expression sank. “Thoughtless!”
One of the Head Bishops standing behind her quickly reported, “Halcyon Wing Streak comes from the Halcyon Wing Clan. His father is Halcyon Wing Mourning. Seven years ago, Halcyon Wing Streak was captured and fell into human hands at the Jade Dragon border and he only returned two years ago during a hostage exchange. At that time, he was merely a Fifth-Ring Arcana Master. Not long after returning home, he became fed up with the way the other Harpies viewed him and set out on a solo journey. After that, his whereabouts are unknown.”
This Head Bishop, who was known as Thoughtless, only had one primary responsibility: gathering intelligence. He had an eidetic memory, and he understood almost everything about many Harpies throughout the country.
Just the fact that he had even taken notice of a Fifth-Ring Arcana Master at all was quite impressive.
“Reaching the Ninth Ring from the Fifth in only two years? And mastery over four elements?” Serene Dream Lotus Crown muttered in a low voice. “Do you think that that’s even possible?”
“Impossible.” The Head Bishops all shook their heads.
Even Kelesda said, “That’s what I believed as well, but I know what I witnessed with my very own eyes. I also got to know him more over a period of a year. No one knows his strength better than me. This Harpy is incredibly intelligent and well-learned in both ancient and current matters. There’s no way that he’s just a normal Harpy.”
Even though they were on opposing sides, all the Harpies here still understood Kelesda’s nature quite well.
Given how arrogant he typically was, the best thing he could possibly say about a junior was “not bad.” That would have already been quite the high praise.
For him to say something like that…… was he even still Kelesda?
Everyone was stunned after hearing his words.
One of the Head Bishops said, “It’s basically impossible for someone to jump from the Fifth Ring to the Ninth Ring in just two years.”
“Basically?” Serene Dream Lotus Crown glanced at her subordinate. “So you’re telling me there is indeed a possibility?”
“Well…… It wouldn’t be possible through normal cultivation, but it is possible if he relied on external items,” the Head Bishop replied, steeling himself as he did so.
“External items……” Serene Dream Lotus Crown muttered to herself as item after item flashed through her mind. She appeared lost in thought for a number of seconds.
But no matter what item she considered, none of them could have brought about such a fantastic rate of improvement.
Serene Dream Lotus Crown couldn’t help but shake her head. “Mastering four elements and climbing from the Fifth Ring to the Ninth Ring in only two years…… That might take seventeen or so divine-class medicines or hundreds of legendary medicines to accomplish. Even Sky Country’s imperial treasury wouldn’t be able to sustain that kind of expenditure rate.”
“No, but there is one item that can achieve an even greater effect than any other medicine,” one of the Head Bishops gingerly pointed out.
Serene Dream Lotus Crown trembled as she cried out, “Lifesource Candles?”
Lifesource Candles were even more effective than legendary medicines, but legendary medicines were already hard enough to find. Lifesource Candles were only produced by humans.
The humans relied on Lifesource Candles as their primary trump card, as it allowed them to produce tons of powerful experts, rivaling even the Astrals in their number of experts.
Only this item could produce such a high-tier Arcana Master in such a short time period.
“Humans……” Serene Dream Lotus Crown muttered to herself before her eyes lit up. “Halcyon Wing Streak only just returned from human territory. Could it be……”
“He must have sold us out to the humans!”
Serene Dream Lotus Crown asked, “What kind of information could he possibly have given in exchange for hundreds of Lifesource Candles?”
All of the Head Bishops were stunned.
Even though only humans possessed the Lifesource Candles, they were incredibly rare even amongst humans.
Humans would typically only have a single Lifesource Candle on them, and they would typically use its power to defeat a stronger opponent that they would normally lose to — in essence, a temporary breakthrough. As such, they were mostly carried around by high-status individuals as a precaution against future high-level attacks.
Consuming them like medicine just to reach a high cultivation base…… Even the imperial Crown Prince probably couldn’t afford to be that wasteful.
“Is he perhaps not Halcyon Wing Streak but a human?” one of the Head Bishops asked suspiciously.
“No, he’s definitely a Harpy. I saw his wings. Those were real, physical wings.” A single sentence from Kelesda was enough to refocus the conversation.
So how had a single Harpy managed to get his hands on that many Lifesource Candles?
That was yet another conundrum.
“Maybe it’s not Lifesource Candles but some other divine object?” Some Harpies came up with an alternative explanation.
They debated back and forth for some time about how Su Chen could have possibly managed to accomplish this, but weren’t able to come to a unified conclusion in the end.
It was Serene Dream Lotus Crown who spoke up towards the end. “Enough! No matter how Halcyon Wing Streak ascended, that’s not important. Right now, what matters is…… You, Kelesda!”
Everyone turned to face Kelesda yet again.
Serene Dream Lotus Crown said, “Kelesda, if that’s all you wanted to say, then we knew all that already. Is there anything else you want to say?”
“Of course.” Kelesda chuckled coldly as he continued, “There are three more points. First of all, he was the one who awakened the Desolate Beast.”
Serene Dream Lotus Crown’s heart sank. So that was indeed how it was.
Actually, she had guessed this was the case before Kelesda had even said anything.
But just because she could guess his first point didn’t mean that she could guess the next few.
Kelesda said, “The second item is that the reason I became involved with him in the first place is because he plundered Fate’s Hands’ headquarters.”
When they heard this, all of the Mother Goddess Sect Harpies were stunned.
The fact that he could accomplish something of that magnitude had deep implications. None of them were idiots.
As they processed Kelesda’s words, they all suddenly realized how dangerous it was to leave this guy alone within the Mother Goddess Sect.
Serene Dream Lotus Crown had even thought of rewarding Halcyon Wing Streak earlier, but now that Kelesda had made his point, she immediately understood what was going on.
He had just been testing the waters!
“I’m going……” some of the Head Bishops began to call out.
Serene Dream Lotus Crown said, “Everyone, don’t panic! No matter what that brat’s true motives are, the sect’s guards are still present. I refuse to believe that they’re unable to handle a mere Ninth-Ring Arcana Master. We must trust in our sect’s disciples!”
All of the Head Bishops bowed to Serene Dream Lotus Crown. “Sect Master is truly wise!”
Serene Dream Lotus Crown glanced at Kelesda. “I believe that my disciples will be able to handle that overconfident thief. Even if they can’t, we can sustain some losses. The Mother Goddess Sect has paid too much of a price over the years due to your actions. If it only takes a few treasures to claim your life here today, I am very willing to accept that price! But before then, don’t even think about trying to have any of my strength withdraw from here today.”
When he heard this, Kelesda smiled slightly. “Can I make my third point now?”
“Speak!” Serene Dream Lotus Crown’s aura was already beginning to surge.
Kelesda pretended not to notice.
He calmly said, “The Desolate Beast, the Thousand Poisons Toad…… is currently on its way here.”