Book 7, Chapter 22: Initiative (2)

On the S.S. Clearwater.

The battle was in full swing off in the distance, but Night Rain’s attention wasn’t there.

He was gazing at the back lines.

Up in the sky, the Boundless Palace floated alone, like an imperial carriage. Its status was supreme.

That was Night Rain’s target.

But just like the Perpetual Daylight Palace, the Boundless Palace wasn’t exactly a place the observers could go in and out of.

Fortunately, Night Rain’s plan was more elaborate than just to simply waltz in.

He quietly waited for an opportunity to present itself.

Even though there was theoretically a front line and a back line in battle, the distinction was not so clear in real life.

Origin Energy fluctuations filled the sky. From time to time, explosions of energy would rock the boats, as even the fluctuations were incredibly strong. The Meteor Formation wasn’t able to prevent all of the shockwaves from leaking through, and wave after wave of energy crashed down on the dragon boats behind the front lines, tossing them about as if they were in the middle of a violent storm.

From time to time, Origin Qi Scholars would be sent back from the front lines for treatment before returning to the front lines.

At the same time, carriages designed to transport tools were also traveling back and forth between the two locations.

All of this traffic made the back lines quite chaotic. Night Rain carefully observed all of this and made a mental note of it.

The observers were supposed to observe the progression of the battle and make sure that the opposing army was moving in the expected direction, but both sides were carefully evaluating the trump cards that the other side possessed, searching for weaknesses and secrets.

Both the humans and the Harpies relied on Origin Energy-related instruments to meet a majority of the front line’s needs. As such, they operated under a different system, and grasping this system would mean grasping a portion of the enemy’s secrets.

Of course, this was not the most important target.

The most important target was still the Boundless Sect.

Night Rain shot it yet another surreptitious look.

The opportunity he had been waiting for hadn’t come yet. This made Night Rain feel quite a bit of agitation, but on the surface he remained calm and emotionless.

“Brother Night Rain.” Youthful Labor walked over, a trace of unease in his eyes.

Night Rain shot him a glance, indicating with his eyes that an opportunity would come as long as they patiently waited.

Youthful Labor grew calm again, as if he had understood what Night Rain was saying.

The battle taking place in the air was growing fiercer and fiercer, and casualties were beginning to mount. More and more injured soldiers were being ferried to the back lines as a result, and the time to recovery was increasing as well. From time to time, people would yell:

“Medicine, is there still medicine?”

“Send some men over there?”

“Send a squad to the west and plug up that gap!”

As the battle grew fiercer and casualties increased, peoples’ state of mind would begin to grow unsettled.

Suddenly, a giant fireball came hurtling through the air.

Night Rain’s eyes lit up.

A cultivator on one of the dragon boats, however, suddenly flew forth, slashing the fireball with his sword and dispersing it.

Night Rain sighed quietly.

But this meant that the battle’s intensity was still increasing, and attacks that could make it through the gaps would only increase.

Indeed, following this fireball, more and more attacks began to slip through the cracks.

The Meteor Formation seemed to have taken quite a bit of damage and was compressing its reach in order to maintain efficacy.

This was why more attacks were beginning to make it through in the first place.

And as the Meteor Formation continued to shrink, the number of attacks that would make it through would only increase.

An opportunity would present itself soon.

Night Rain clapped his shoulders to loosen up.

“Hey, you two, split up a little,” one of the human cultivators responsible for keeping an eye on them said.

Youthful Labor immediately replied, “It’s none of your business. We’re not going anywhere.”

The observers were free to converse with each other as they pleased. That human cultivator had probably instinctively told them to split up out of an abundance of caution. All he could do was mutter, “You two are like winged eunuchs.”

“What did you say?” Youthful Labor was infuriated.

Night Rain held him back. “Don’t bother interacting with these kinds of people.”

“Hmph! I want to report you to your Sect Master!” Youthful Labor yelled.

“Please, go right ahead,” the human cultivator replied without a care. “The rules say that we cannot physically touch you, but merely saying a few sentences in passing is not attacking anyone. If you can’t even handle this, then you might as well let yourself be angered to death.”

“You......” Youthful Labor was hopping with anger, but there was nothing he could do or say to the human cultivator.

What he had said was totally right. The humans couldn’t touch them, but by the same token the observers had no choice but to endure the verbal insults that might be thrown their way.

Actually, Le Feng had received similar treatment at the hands of the Harpies, but all of the human observers were quite strong-willed and didn’t take it to heart.

The Harpies, on the other hand, had sent a total of ten observers, and one of them was no older than a child!

At that moment, a brilliant streak of light appeared in the sky, descending towards the dragon boat.

This streak of light was a lightning bolt, both fierce and vicious, accurately striking the dragon boat and cleaving it in two.

Perfectly timed!

Night Rain hurriedly leapt into the air, dragging Youthful Labor with him as a barrier appeared around his body.

However, there seemed to be something wrong with this barrier of his, and Youthful Labor was somehow left outside of it.

The lightning slammed viciously into Youthful Labor’s body. Youthful Labor let out a cry as he fell from the sky, grievously injured. Part of this wound was due to the lightning itself, but most of it was due to the lightning that flickered across Night Rain’s hand for just a second.

Night Rain immediately began to yell loudly, “Hurry! Someone, save him!”

The supervisors responsible for keeping an eye on him hurriedly flew over. These supervisors were forbidden from leaving them or straying too far no matter what happened, and were tasked with protecting them. If any observer died, then it was highly likely the Harpies would believe that the humans had played a hand in their death.

The supervisors were all extremely agitated and immediately flew over to take a look at his wounds. One of them said, “His wounds are very serious. He was struck by Lightning Execution, which is incredibly powerful. Once the energy has gotten inside his body, it will wreak havoc on his internal organs and is incredibly difficult to dispel.”

“We can’t let him die!” one of the other cultivators cried out.

“Only Sect Master can save him.”

“Bring him to see the Sect Master, now!” Night Rain howled madly.

The cultivators began to hesitate.

“What are you waiting for? He’s about to die!” Night Rain yelled.

One of the cultivators finally nodded. “Bring him to the Boundless Palace first.”

“This Harpy is also injured,” another cultivator said as he pointed at Night Rain. The lightning had conducted through Youthful Labor to his body, injuring him quite a bit. Even though his wounds were not nearly as serious as Youthful Labor’s, they were still going to be quite hard to treat.

“Bring them both.”

The human cultivators began to carry the two Harpies towards the Boundless Palace.

At that moment, Su Chen was standing at the Boundless Palace’s war table, issuing commands from time to time as he observed the condition of the battle.

The cultivators had just landed and were about to notify the Sect Master when they suddenly heard Night Rain howl, “Youthful Labor! Youthful Labor!”

The cultivators turned around, stunned, only to find that Youthful Labor had stopped breathing.

One of the cultivators hurried over and soon confirmed that the youth was indeed dead.

Youthful Labor had died!

The youngest, most beloved observer that the Harpies had sent had died, just like that.

This left quite a bit of trouble in the hands of the humans.

The supervisors all glanced at each other, their expressions grim.

From their perspective, they had failed in their duties.

Night Rain hugged Youthful Labor’s corpse as he howled bitterly. The energy from Lightning Execution was still coursing through him, and perhaps his sorrow only served to exacerbate his physical decline.

“Hurry and take him to see Sect Master!” one of the cultivators yelled.

A Harpy observer had already died. They couldn’t afford to lose another.

“Keep an eye on him!” Some of the cultivators were still quite sober-minded.

No matter what, they could not allow this Harpy, who was still alive, to do anything that would put the human race’s endeavors into jeopardy.

They carried Night Rain all the way to where Su Chen was sitting. Everyone was focused on Night Rain, with only a single cultivator responsible for guarding Youthful Labor’s corpse. Even that cultivator was glancing around anxiously, not paying much attention. As such, he failed to notice a black shadow slowly slinking out from underneath Youthful Labor’s corpse.

This shadow seemed to be alive as it snuck deeper and deeper into the palace.

It wasn’t concealed, so if anyone had been paying attention, they would have immediately spotted it.

However, a fierce battle was still going on, and the shadow was very faint. After all, shadows were being cast all over the place, so it was unsurprising that no one noticed this particular shadow sneaking around.

The shadow smoothly glided through the hall, finally arriving at the place where Su Chen was: the Calm Thought Hall.

This place was the Boundless Sect’s nucleus. All of the secrets that pertained to the Boundless Sect were kept here.

This included Su Chen’s research logs, the treasures he had taken from all over the continent, and even many of the sect’s trump cards. All of these items could be found here.

Su Chen had plundered Demonic Emperors, Ravagers, and Harpies already. Now, it seemed that he was about to get a taste of his own medicine.

Even so, the black shadow was totally uninterested in this.

It continued through the hall until it arrived at Su Chen’s research lab.

Because Su Chen would often make mistakes while performing research, nothing of particular value was actually kept in there.

However, it seemed that this place had captured the shadow’s attention.

Not a single person was within the research lab.

Upon entering, the shadow glanced around before suddenly standing up, revealing a tiny figure about a foot tall.

The miniature figure glanced around before jumping onto the research table.

The black shadow seemed to be very familiar with the research table. It came to a specific location, where Su Chen always stood, and performed a quick search before pulling out a special cup. What it did next was shocking.

First, it ripped off its own head, then tossed it into the cup. The shadow’s head turned into a few drops of dark liquid before mixing with the cup itself and disappearing.

The black shadow grew yet another head, causing its body to decrease. After a quick survey of its surroundings, it walked over to a specially-constructed stone tablet and threw its head at it yet again.

After repeating this process three times, the shadow was no bigger than a walnut.

Then, the shadow began to slink away, seemingly heading back to that youth’s body.

At that moment, a voice suddenly spoke. “Soul-Devouring Poison...... So that’s how it is. Your goal was not to steal something from the Boundless Sect but to assassinate me. Well, that does make sense. If the core of Sky City is Sark’s Nucleus, then the human race’s core is me. Killing me is the best way to win. This would be better than any treasure or knowledge you could obtain from us.”

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