Chapter 146 - Successive Eliminations
The greatest and most powerful advantage of Gu Yue’s control over the elements was the fact that she could use them to attack, defend, and control, making her strong in every aspect of combat. Now that she had gained her second soul ring and become a Soul Grandmaster, her strength had received a massive boost, firmly cementing her position as the strongest member on the team.
Xie Xie took the lead and scouted for a path ahead while Zhang Yangzi continued to direct his little Black Eagle spirit soul to watch their rear. During his meditation, he had restored his spirit soul enough to come out again, but it was still too weak to contribute in combat and could only share its vision with Zhang Yangzi. If he wanted to completely restore it, he would need to meditate for several more days.
A roar rumbled behind them. Soon, numerous red figures could be seen madly rushing toward them.
Soul Masters weren’t the only ones who could absorb spirit energy; soul beasts could too. It was precisely due to the powerful waves of spirit energy emanating from their bodies that had attracted the soul beasts. Blazing Demon Lions were one of the strongest soul beast races and could easily sense the student’s spirit energy fluctuations, spurring their rapid pursuit.
Run! If they could run for even a moment longer, then it was a moment longer they would live. Even a fraction of a second more would allow them to absorb a bit more spirit energy.
They stood no chance against a whole pride of Blazing Demon Lions. Perhaps if they all possessed three soul rings, they might have had a glimmer of hope.
In a previous trip into the spirit ascension platform, they had been unlucky enough to encounter a pride of Blazing Demon Lions and were met with a deadly fate. That horrific slaughter was still fresh in their memories.
The Blazing Demon Lions had surrounded them, and despite their best efforts to resist, they had been slaughtered within moments. For the rest of that day, they were plagued by the sensation of being burned alive.
This pride of Blazing Demon Lions was definitely an existence that stood at the very apex of the elementary spirit ascension platform. Though the Man-Faced Demon Spider was extremely powerful as an individual, even it wouldn’t be able to survive an onslaught from a pride of wild lions. In such a scenario, its only choice would have been to flee.
The head lion of a pride of Blazing Demon Lions was equivalent to a thousand-year soul beast. As for the remaining lionesses, every one of them had the cultivation of a hundred-year soul beast at least, if not a thousand-year level. They were able to become so powerful simply because they had very few natural predators in this forest. Regardless of whether it was an individual Soul Master or a group of them, it was practically impossible to defeat the Blazing Demon Lions with only three soul rings.
This was the reason why Tang Wulin had immediately given the order to flee the moment he heard that they were being chased by Blazing Demon Lions. The only thing they could do now was to run until they either lost the lions or perished.
Of course, there was a silver lining to this. The roars of the Blazing Demon Lions scared off all other soul beasts. After all, the lions were just as terrifying to soul beasts as they were to humans! Regardless of which lion species, they all shared one thing in common: they were carnivores! They hunted both humans and soul beasts alike.
As such, not a single soul beast dared to block their way in their mad escape. Even if a soul beast were to appear before them, they would soon flee in fear when they heard the declarations of the lions’ hunt.
Despite their best efforts to flee, however, the Blazing Demon Lions were natives and were able to traverse the great forest far more quickly than humans.
Coordination was useless in such dire circumstances.
Surprisingly, the slowest one among them was Wang Jinxi. Just as the lions were about to reach him, he helplessly slapped the button on the back of his hand.
Wang Jinxi disappeared in a flash of light, the spirit energy he had yet to fully absorb drifting over to the remaining four Soul Masters.
The next slowest person was Gu Yue. Although she could enhance her speed with the wind element, she still couldn’t hope to match Agility System Soul Masters or Tang Wulin, who had been born with innate divine strength. She was the second one to hit the button on the back of her hand. Perhaps it was due to her meticulous planning, but after she disappeared in a flash of light, all her unabsorbed spirit power flew toward Tang Wulin with barely any dispersion.
The remaining three were too preoccupied with the Blazing Demon Lions drawing closer and closer to question her control over the spirit energy.
For the time being, they were able to gain a little breathing room thanks to Gu Yue as she had cast a giant blizzard at the pride behind them before she exited, slowing them momentarily.
“Captain! I have an idea,” blurted out Zhang Yangzi.
“What?” Tang Wulin urgently asked as he continued to madly flee. His method of running was different from Xie Xie’s and Zhang Yangzi’s as he wasn’t an Agility System Soul Master, and lacked their raw speed. Instead, he possessed tremendous power. He would launch off the ground like an artillery shell, leaving a deep imprint in the ground each time. Every leap was filled with so much momentum that he didn’t even bother dodging the branches. Instead, he plowed straight through them, just like a bulldozer. Tang Wulin’s actions simply left Zhang Yangzi and Xie Xie speechless.
This wasn’t the point though. The important thing was that with this method, Tang Wulin was actually a bit faster than the other two! In fact, Zhang Yangzi and Xie Xie could enjoy a clear path as long as they stayed right behind Tang Wulin.
“There should definitely be some soul beasts flying in the sky. I’ll try and lure them down here, and maybe they’ll attack the Blazing Demon Lions.”
“Don’t go, It’s too risky.” Tang Wulin immediately rejected the proposal.
Provoking the soul beasts in the sky was an easy matter, but with one mistake, Zhang Yangzi would die.
Zhang Yangzi smiled mischievously. “This is the spirit ascension platform; we won’t really be in danger. If worst comes to worst, I’ll just be a bit shaken for a few days. We’ve already made enough gains to make up for the losses this trip anyway. I haven’t contributed much this time, so let me try this at least.” After he finished speaking, without even waiting for Tang Wulin’s reply, Zhang Yangzi kicked off a tree branch and swiftly climbed up the tree with the aid of his wings.
Zhang Yangzi had yet to forget his first experience in the spirit ascension platform. His failure that time had brought to light many of his shortcomings. It was then that he had truly understood he wasn’t the most outstanding student in his class anymore.
As he approached the top of the tree, a shocking scene filled his eyes.
In his first trip into the spirit ascension platform, he had only seen a single green bird flying, but this time, he witnessed flocks of all kinds of flying soul beasts that covered the sky.
There were a few green birds among the mass of beasts and were in a chaotic battle against each other. Every once in awhile, a killed soul beast would drop from the sky and into the forest thicket.
“What, what is this?!” Just as he was about to reach the tree’s peak, he saw a giant nest with several pitch-black eggs within.
The eggs were large, each similar to the size of a large ball.
“These should be a flying soul beast’s eggs. Big brother is really apologetic, but I’ll have to crack you.” Zhang Yangzi quickly picked up an egg and lifted it overhead. Utilising his second soul skill, Eagle Soars the Sky, he rushed into the sky.
“Hey, whose egg is this? Quickly come claim it!” Zhang Yangzi shouted at the top of his lungs.
The nearby flying soul beasts turned their gazes to this newly ascended human. A moment later, a gigantic black soul beast released a sharp cry full of wrath.
“Hehe. Catch!” While saying this, Zhang Yangzi threw the egg toward the speeding red specks on the ground. After provoking the flying soul beasts, he slapped his escape button with lightning speed.
Zhang Yangzi disappeared in a flash of light while dozens of gigantic flying soul beasts dove into the forest.
As the spirit energy contained within Zhang Yangzi’s body began to disperse, the flying soul beasts arrived just in time to absorb it.
I stole your egg, but you’re gaining so much spirit energy that you’re profiting from this. Of course, you still need to survive the battle with the Blazing Demon Lions. These were Zhang Yangzi’s final thoughts as he disappeared from the spirit ascension platform.
The last two remaining heard a cacophony of twigs breaking and leaves rustling from behind them. Following that, the pressure of the lions’ pursuit dissipated. Tang Wulin and Xie Xie exchanged a knowing look. They knew that Zhang Yangzi had succeeded.
“Nicely done!” Xie Xie couldn't help but praise their fallen comrade.
Zhang Yangzi had given up on absorbing more spirit energy in order to create an opportunity for his teammates to survive.
“Although, I don’t think he had enough spiritual power to absorb much more spirit energy anyways. Haha!” Xie Xie heartily laughed as he sped up once more.
Tang Wulin couldn’t help but crack a smile too. Although he was absorbing more and more spirit energy, he had yet to reach his limits. As for his teammates with two rings, however, they were probably feeling awfully bloated by now.
Suddenly, a dark golden radiance flashed ahead of them.
Xie Xie wasn’t able to stop his mad dash forward in time, so his body was instantly sliced up into pieces and scattered onto the forest floor.
Xie Xie’s corpse then disappeared in a flash of light.
Tang Wulin’s scalp began to tingle. Without any hesitation, he shot Bluesilver Grass out of his hand toward a tree, forcefully changing his direction.
Another dark gold light flashed by and an ear-piercing hissing sound came from where he had been standing just a split-second ago. Three lines in the air could be made out.
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