Chapter 36: Ambush

Yang Qi was gradually coming to understand what the Chiliocosm Mirror could do.

One could send true energy into the mirror, and then cultivate an energy art in illusory form. Although it was only an illusion, it could still provide extremely valuable experience.

When cultivating energy arts in reality, one always ran the risk of circulating one’s energy incorrectly, and experiencing cultivation deviation. And if an energy spasm occurred, one could theoretically explode.

To be able to practice cultivation in the illusory world of the mirror was much safer. One could become thoroughly familiar with how to properly circulate one's energy through the meridians before engaging in real-life training.

Even better, the Chiliocosm Mirror would conform to each individual’s current state, and would help correct errors in one’s martial discipline.

There were also other functions to the mirror that he had yet to uncover.

“This mirror is incredible, Father. You take it.” Yang Qi knew that the sooner his father mastered the Four Seasons Swordplay, the better, and this mirror could be of great help in that regard.

Now that Yang Zhan was in the Master of Energy level, he was much closer to reaching the highest level of enlightenment. Once he broke through the final shackle holding him in the Energy Arts level, he would reach the Lifeseizing level. To do so would require, not only a major accumulation of resources, but also a royal-class energy art. Before, it would have been impossible for him. But if he could use the Chiliocosm Mirror to truly understand the transformations of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and thus learn the Four Seasons Swordplay, then he really would have the hope of reaching the Lifeseizing level.

“Okay. With the Chiliocosm Mirror, I can increase my cultivation base to the point of being able to fight with Yan Gufeng. He's definitely planning to unify the territory controlled by Yanhaven and then officially declare it to be the State of Yan. And the Yang Clan will be his biggest obstacle in doing that. In the end, Qi’er, all of our hopes rest on you.”

“Father, I won’t let any harm come to the clan. Don't worry. I'm completely confident in being able to ambush the chief elders from the Chen Clan. I’ll be back safely before you know it.” With that, he turned and sprang into motion, vanishing in the blink of an eye.

Yang Yunchong sighed deeply. “Third brother’s cultivation base keeps getting higher and higher. It just keeps getting likelier and likelier that he’ll reach the Lifeseizing level. What will it be like if the Yang Clan actually has a Lifeseizer? How glorious would that be?”

Yang Zhan nodded. “Lifeseizers can live four or five hundred years, and are strong enough to lead enormous clans to the heights of glory. However, I'm still worried about Qi’er’s safety. What if his incredible progress now means that he’ll end up running into a major cultivation obstacle in the future?”

Yang Hualong took a more lighthearted perspective. “In any case, third brother is thousands of times stronger than he was in the past, and that's a blessing for our clan. Even if his progress stalls eventually, he’ll still count as a consummate expert.” 

“You have a good point,” Yang Zhan said. Flicking his sleeve, he continued, “Very well, the two of you focus hard on your cultivation. No slacking off! All three of us can work on unlocking the quintessence of the Four Seasons Swordplay. Royal-class energy arts such as this cannot be taken lightly.” 

There was no question that, with this new technique, Yang Yunchong and Yang Hualong would also achieve meteoric progress.

A day passed, and the other clans in Yanhaven were still completely focused on the previous clan warfare.

There was no royal or imperial law governing the Rich-Lush Continent as a whole. Local law was enforced by the city magistrate, and as for the rich and powerful clans, they enforced their own rules.

When two such clans went to war, then as long as the city magistrate didn’t interfere, then the most powerful clan would come out on top, and the weaker one would be the loser.

**

It was night, and Yanhaven was quiet. In many of the aristocratic clans, discussions were raging regarding the figurative storm that would likely hit the city soon.

“The Yang Clan won! The Chen Clan’s centuries-old foundation was destroyed!”

“You're right. But the weird thing is that the city magistrate didn’t do anything. He just let them fight it out. You would expect him to take advantage of the situation to take out both of the clans in question.”

“Well, you know the old saying, right? Don’t shoot the rat; you might break the vases. The Yan Clan was probably worried about innocent city dwellers getting caught in the crossfire. I guess he didn’t expect Yang Zhan to actually become a Master of Energy.”

“Master of Energy! I can’t believe we have two Masters of Energy in Yanhaven now. If they fight, it's going to be like a contest between giants.”

“The only thing we can do is wait and see what happens. If things get dicey, we might have to leave the city and return after the catastrophe passes.”

“I used to think that Yang Qi was just a silkpants. Who could have ever predicted that he would become as powerful as a grandmaster of energy arts? He single-handedly wiped out the entire Chen Clan. I heard that he might have been possessed by an old demon. Yang Zhan is even collecting spirit medicines that are used to neutralize demon energy. I guess he plans to use his Master of Energy cultivation base to subjugate whatever evil spirit took over his son.”

“Ah, no wonder! And here I thought that Yang Qi had come across some good fortune that fueled his progress. But it makes much more sense that he was possessed. Well, eventually the little punk will probably lose his mind to that spirit, and turn into a murderous devil. And if he becomes a monster, then there’s no way his existence will be tolerated.”

Everyone knew that even though the Chen Clan’s direct bloodline had been wiped out, they still had their council of chief elders, as well as subsidiary clans, all of whom would be coming soon to make a stand against the Yang Clan.

The reserve powers of the rich and powerful clans were nothing to be taken lightly. For one thing, they all had venerable Masters of Energy who normally spent their time in seclusion. Such people wouldn’t often make public appearances, but when critical moments arrived for the clans, they would.

**

Somewhere outside of Yanhaven was a place in the mountains where the road became cramped and narrow.

Suddenly, a pair of majestic black wings flapped, and a figure appeared, speeding along the road. The resulting blast of wind caused all sorts of birds to fly up out of the surrounding shrubbery. Crows, owls, and other birds all cried out in shock and terror.

Yang Qi came to a stop, floating there in the air above the road, his Fiend-Devil Wings keeping him aloft. He looked almost like a devil from hell, with black energy swirling around him, a long spear held in his hand.

The dark of night was the perfect time for an ambush.

Because he was alone on this attempt to assassinate the chief elders of the Chen Clan, he could use the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth to his heart’s content.

For now, his cultivation base was solidly in the seventh phase, the Energy Manifestation level. However, because he could use the strength of seven ancient megamammoths, as long as he continued to work on his cultivation, it wouldn’t be long before he reached the eighth phase, the Energy Incarnation level.

This particular path was remote and not oft-traveled, surrounded by numerous mountains, and far removed from even the smallest hamlets or villages. On this particular moonless night, the wind wailed through the valleys, making the entire place seem particularly sinister.

Yang Qi alighted onto the road, where he stood unmoving, staring down the road as if he were waiting for something or someone.

After all, the Chen Clan forces had to pass through this area to get to Yanhaven.

The Chen and Yang Clan’s had been at odds for many years, and had long since compiled detailed intelligence reports about each other. In fact, both sides knew exactly where the council of chief elders of the other was located.

As for the Chen Clan’s council of chief elders, they normally holed up on a place called Mount Green.

This path which connected Mount Green to Yanhaven was a treacherous one that even Masters of Energy would tread with utmost caution.

After all, not everyone was like Yang Qi, with Fiend-Devil Wings that made it easy for him to fly for hundreds of kilometers without resting.

Most Masters of Energy could fly, but could only do so for a few dozen kilometers before having to drop to the ground and proceed on foot for a time.

It was even possible for bad landings to result in deaths.

For that reason, the experts of the Chen Clan were saving energy, and being safer, by not flying. It was the same with the Yang Clan chief elders; the chief elder who had visited the clan some time back had been flying on a golden eagle.

Yang Qi stood there patiently, keeping his true energy reined in. Eventually, he sat down cross-legged and began to perform breathing exercises. As the lightning mammoth stirred within him, feeding the quintessence of its life force in an eighth particle within him, he could feel another ancient megamammoth struggling to wake up.

Without that lightning mammoth, Yang Qi would have been forced to use his own true energy and quintessence to wake up the particles, which would have been much more difficult.

Considering how weak he was to begin with, he wouldn’t even have been able to awaken a single particle by now.

The quintessence of Yang Qi’s life force was like a drop of dew, whereas the lightning mammoth’s was like a flowing river.

As for the particles, they were like deep, empty wells.

If he tried to fill in those wells one drop of water at a time, it would have been impossible. That was why most people never made much progress cultivating the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth. Those who did advanced through the cultivation levels much more slowly.

From this it could be seen how difficult the technique was. How could a god-like cultivation method such as that be useful to humans?

In fact, Yang Qi was starting to get extremely nervous about what would happen when the lightning mammoth’s quintessence ran out. How would he further his cultivation? Could he progress on his own? Or would he have to steal life force quintessence from somewhere? But how?

Of course, based on what he knew of the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, he understood that after a certain point, his true energy would transform. He would create a Hellfire Crucible inside himself that would be capable of melting and refining anything. Presumably, he could consume external life force quintessence of others to replenish his own, in the form of demon cores, golden medicinal pills, and the like.

Perhaps that was the way to get the quintessence he needed.

The more deeply he sank into cultivating this technique, the more he understood about gods and spirits, and the more he comprehended the nature of hell. In fact, his entire world view was changing.

In his meditations, he had come to the realization that the Rich-Lush Continent was like a speck of dust in a larger world. It was essentially a tiny village, whereas heaven and earth at large were boundless and unfathomable, just waiting for him to explore and understand it, and even… to dominate it.

As his true energy flowed, the eighth particle inside of him wriggled like a chrysalis on the verge of breaking open.

It was at this point that he heard something like the sound of hoofbeats, coming from some distance down the path. It sounded like dozens of them. After a few breaths of time passed, he realized that the sound did not come from ordinary horses.

Rising to his feet, he looked at a dozen riders heading in his direction. Their mounts were horse-like, but twice the size of ordinary horses, and covered in scales.

They were flood stallions, the legendary hybrid offspring of horses and floodwyrms. Not only were they incredibly powerful, but also extremely expensive, with a single one being worth hundreds of thousands of energy convergence pills.

The experts of the Chen Clan had arrived.

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