From Wu Yu's point of view, the Dignified Sword Elemental was without weaknesses. A cold-blooded entity that loved battle, compared to the more lively Ghostly Artificer. But there was also a chance. Between the two, the Ghostly Artificer should be easier to deal with than the Dignified Sword Elemental, and he might have a chance to kill him.
And against the Ghostly Artificer, he could also use the Skeletal Flame Dragon.
Also, Wu Yu had caught a glimpse of the huge castle of the Bloody Yan Cave previously, and he wanted to take a look within.
After spending most of a day traversing the swelteringly hot Infernal Inferno, he finally reached the Bloody Yan Cave again. The huge sphere was densely covered in skulls, and each barred access to the citadel.
The citadel of the ghostly cultivators.
Right now, many were coming and going from the Bloody Yan Cave. The strongest were at the Dao Querying Realm, while the weakest ones were at the Violet Kingdom of the Inner Sea Realm. There were even some Jindan Dao Realm children sticking their heads out from within.
Wu Yu had already gathered information. He had captured many Ghostly Yan Tribe members before and questioned all of them. In the outer perimeter of the Bloody Yan Cave, there were quite a few spirit designs meant to stop the Yan Huang Tribe. However, they were of little consequence and would not be used often. After all, the energy expenditure was too great. But if any Yan Huang Tribe member barged in alone, they would immediately encounter a few major spirit designs.
From a distance, there were many spirit designs standing in Wu Yu's way. However, as he neared the Bloody Yan Cave, there would be fewer. There were only perimeter guards. If the Yan Huang Tribe could reach the vicinity of the Bloody Yan Cave, then they were pretty much doomed anyway.
Wu Yu had no idea how to control where his somersault landed, but after many tries, he roughly knew the distance it covered. Calculating backwards from the endpoint of the Bloody Yan Cave, he measured his starting point and readied himself for a single jump in. That way, he would not trigger the numerous Heaven and Earth Spirit Designs.
Of course, this was risky. A slip up would land him directly in the spirit designs. He would definitely raise all the alarms. Although Wu Yu was confident in jumping out again, he would be hard pressed to make another infiltration if they had their guard up.
"Best if I can succeed in one shot."
Wu Yu was done estimating his position. The Bloody Yan Cave was a good distance away, and he needed an accurate landing. But the second tier of the Somersault Cloud did not have this ability yet.
"I'll just have to wing it."
With luck, he would slip in unnoticed. Without, so be it.
After final adjustments, he took a deep breath. Firstly, he used his Lawful Embodiment of Heaven and Earth, not to become bigger, but smaller. At his smallest, he only reached the average person's calf, and Wu Yu's speed was also faster. It was easier for him to conceal himself. The Full Moon of Nanshan would have been even more suited to this undertaking, as he could camouflage himself directly, making him hard to be found.
The Full Moon of Nanshan would frequently use this technique to spy on babes changing clothes and the like.
Merging with his Somersault Cloud, he leaped with it at speed. In a flash, Wu Yu found himself pressed up against a soft but blood-drenched thing. On second look, he saw that it was the outer wall of the Bloody Yan Cave! As he neared, he saw that it was like the innards of an animal. It was disgusting, and smeared with blood.
The stench of blood here was extremely cloying. So the Bloody Yan Cave was not strictly a sphere. On closer examination, it was oval-shaped…. A stomach.
"Yuck! Yuck!" Ming Long hollered.
Wu Yu was currently physically shrunk. He looked about him, and realized that his luck was not bad. He had made it near the Bloody Yan Cave, and this was thanks to his frequent usage of the Somersault Cloud. Of course, his luck might not be this good next time. If he could succeed even once or twice out of ten, that would be considered decent already.
Looking around him, there were tunnels leading into the Bloody Yan Cave. There were also a few Ghostly Yan Tribe members about. Although they were weak, Wu Yu still kept his guard up. He first hid himself and then dived into a relatively small tunnel once he judged that the coast was clear. He charged in furiously, covering a few li of ground. There was a faint light ahead, and after passing through, he found himself in a ghostly cultivator's world.
Within this huge sphere, the ghostly cultivators had built their citadel. This citadel was probably about the same size as the Immortal City of Northern Frost, albeit differently constructed. The citadel was built on the inner walls of the Bloody Yan Cave, and therefore especially fascinating. From the inner walls, Wu Yu did not see the sky and sun when he looked up, but rather another facade of the inner wall, almost pressing up against it.
But this castle was a baleful sight. The stench of blood clung everywhere, and it was dimly lit. Ghostly shrieks and howls echoed, and it looked genuinely hellish. There were indeed quite a few of Ghostly Yan Tribe members around, but it was not very crowded. Because most were cruel in their manner, even taking to killing and plundering on the streets, many hid in their houses, which presumably had Defensive Spirit Designs and were a little safer.
It looked like territory was very important within the Bloody Yan Cave. Because with territory came the ability to create Defensive Spirit Designs and protect one and one's family. Otherwise, over-exposure to the outside would make one prone to becoming a corpse on the street. Even with a house, they were vulnerable to break-ins and killings. All that he saw was shocking. This world was vast, and all sorts of societies existed. This one was a world of death.
No wonder the ghostly cultivators were so savage and cruel. In such a harsh environment, only the harshest survived. Only the most cunning could design their survival. To live in such a world, one would have to treat and cultivate with great caution, and constantly leave a margin of safety or face deadly situations.
Wu Yu's current goal was modest. He was good at being slippery, and this Bloody Yan Cave had a confusing layout that was easy to hide in. He could see that there might be many people here, but the limited space meant that the war over territory was very intense. As for the world of lava outside, those who headed out would be slain by the Yan Huang Tribe. Or they could face the heat of the Bloody Yan Cave. Some of the Ghostly Yan Tribe members could linger outside, but there would always be family. Once the children were born, they could not live outside. They could not go anywhere before reaching the Primordial Spirit Transformation Realm. That was why the ghostly cultivators had to carve their own spaces within the Bloody Yan Cave.
Or be eliminated!
That was the harshness of their milieu....
This was what the Yan Huang Tribe had forced them to.
However, the Yan Huang Tribe was not in the wrong. The ghostly cultivators were mean-spirited, and they would wreak havoc when they cultivated outside. The Yan Huang Ancient Region could not allow them to sully the environment outside.
Besides, the Yan Huang Tribe had given them a lifeline. From the Yan Huang Tribe's perspective, the polluted tribes could live within this restricted space. Not committing genocide was already generous.
"If both are not in the wrong, then where does the wrong lie?"
Wu Yu started to have his doubts about this cruel world, and was even a little discouraged. Before, he had dichotomized the world clearly into black and white, but now he knew that everyone was a victim of bigger forces at work. No one had chosen to become a Ghostly Yan Tribe member, just like Wu Yu had not wanted to be a mortal. When they were born, their environment decreed their way of life and molded them into viciousness in order to ensure their survival. As for the children, what else could they fill their blank slates with?
Wu Yu realized that he had thought too simply of this world. This world was not populated only by good and bad people. It did not mean that those outside were white and those here were black. It was all a tangled mass. Everyone had their own fate, and no one could mock another's life. All one could do was fight and take. Each person would move towards the direction they thought best.
"This world is full of conflicts. I must stick to my own principles. That is my dao."
He took a deep breath.
He only experienced this blow after entering the Bloody Yan Cave. Right before his eyes, he saw Ghostly Yan Tribe members break through a family's Defensive Spirit Designs and quickly slaughter all within. They snatched the precious treasures and left cackling with glee. Wu Yu was so shocked that he was unable to help. Such things happened constantly throughout the Bloody Yan Cave, and he was powerless.
"There are so many immortals up above. Do they not care about such wretched circumstances...."
Wu Yu thought of the Sky Palace for the first time, and he thought of the Jade Emperor, the Queen Mother, and other household legends....
Suddenly, he understood what the Great Sage, Heaven's Equal had told him over and over again. Why he had to constantly break the rules, and why he constantly had to straighten things out. It was because the Sky Palace was not a place of justice either.....
Wu Yu was still a human, and he did not dare to dream too wildly. But what he currently saw had planted the seeds. He could not forget the piteous cries of the Ghostly Yan Tribe's children as they watched their parents dismembered, and they themselves slain soon after. Their spirits were snatched away, imprisoned within the spirit designs of others. The stronger the despair, the stronger the dao treasure.
"The law of the world is too deep to be measured....
"Good and evil cannot be determined. Devouring, plundering... all of it leaves one conflicted. Life or death, cruelty or suffering, all of it leaves one confused. Since it is all so confusing, I will not care about right or wrong for now. Perhaps I will understand it when I grow stronger."
He calmed down. His priority was to flesh out his dao a little more.
This did not affect his resolution, but simply broadened his perspective. He was no longer restricted to looking at a small part of dao, but could see the truly great dao, a dao that was more farsighted. He understood the Great Sage, Heaven's Equal better, and just what kind of being he was....
As he flitted about here and there under concealment, no one would even dream that a Yan Huang Tribesman could enter the Bloody Yan Cave. Therefore, there were not many defenses in the Bloody Yan Cave. Many were at the Violet Kingdom of the Inner Sea Realm, and a few at the Primordial Spirit Transformation Realm. There were even fewer at the Dao Querying Three Disasters Realm, and those around him were hard pressed to discover Wu Yu.
"Do you know where the Ghostly Artificer is?" Wu Yu had secretly caught someone who seemed to have come from a higher status. He did not let his victim see who he was as he questioned him.
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