Chapter 1992: Strange Runes

Qin You’s gang had six people total with clearly defined roles. The two in the center held down the fort. Two more geniuses fanned out to either side, observing suspicious movements from every cardinal.

This division of labor blessed their highway robbery with great efficiency. In only one or two days, they had amassed quite a sizable sum of orbs. Each genius possessed several.

If they kept doing this, they would have at least a hundred-odd orbs among the six of them when the half-month was over.

“Senior brother Qin, I see something in that direction. I’ll go take a look.” The Void Sacred Land’s cultivator, Ding, volunteered.

“Sure. Go see if a fat target has arrived.” Qin You was the clear leader of the gang and one of the two that commanded the operation.

“Junior brother Lin, you go scout for business as well.” This junior brother was the Polylore genius in green from earlier.

The genius nodded, then headed out as instructed.

However, neither junior brother Ding or Lin returned after a full half-hour.

A white-haired cultivator furrowed his brow. “What’re they doing? They’re so undisciplined! Didn’t we agree that each scouting trip isn’t to exceed half an hour? We’re not here on vacation. Why aren’t they taking this seriously?”

His white hair made him unique among the crowd, and his demeanor showed that he was rather upset.

Qin You was a bit frustrated as well. But as the leader, he had to be more tolerant of his underlings’ faults. The white-haired cultivator was free to speak his mind, but he was not.

The geniuses of the other sacred lands were hardly inferior to him in status. They had yielded authority to him merely out of respect for the Flora Sacred Land’s renown.

Technically, they were free to leave at any time.

Another fifteen minutes passed, but Ding and Lin were nowhere to be found.

Wrinkles appeared all over Qin You’s forehead. “What the heck are those two up to?” he murmured. “Did they plot to pull a prank on us or what?”

If the geniuses’ comrades weren’t still here, he would almost wonder whether they’d run off by themselves. Perhaps they no longer wanted to cooperate?

“Big brother Qin, senior brother Lin still hasn’t yet returned. I’d like to see what’s happened to him,” the other cultivator from Polylore suggested.

The remaining cultivator from Void did likewise.

“Hold on.” Qin You was rather less supportive. “If something’s happened to the two junior brothers, won’t you going out there be like moths to a flame?”

The two young geniuses both paled. Has something happened?

“Big brother Qin, my team will be in big trouble if something bad has happened to senior brother Ding. I really must go take a look.”

This gathering of six was only a temporary alliance, formed out of desire for raw profit alone. Their modus operandi was to ambush others and share in the plundered loot.

When it came down to things, the geniuses tended to think more highly of their teammates. After all, the rankings were decided based on teamwide achievements. The fact that their long absent teammates were also their peers only added to their worry.

“You two are really stubborn,” Qin You frowned, then nodded. “Well, be careful out there. Remember to signal immediately if something happens, don’t just brute force it. Use your brains.”

The two remaining geniuses weren’t in the mood to accept advice. They inclined their heads in a perfunctory manner before escaping.

Only Qin You and his white-haired comrade from Flora were left.

“Senior brother Qin, I feel like something’s off.” The white-haired cultivator was forthright towards his peer and captain.

“Yes, I’ve realized that as well. Prepare yourself, junior brother. We should leave this place at once. Those other guys are probably in deep trouble. They would send a message back otherwise.”

The white-haired cultivator blinked. “We’re not waiting for them?”

“I don’t think they’ll come back.” Qin You shook his head. “Plus, us lingering here will have alerted others for sure. We need to relocate this little enterprise of ours.”

“Alright then.”

The white-haired cultivator was very accommodating to this. He had sensed something awry quite a while ago. If the four others didn’t come back, the two of them wouldn’t gain anything by staying.

Any attempt to waylay others would likely backfire on them.

As they readied to leave, Qin You glanced inquisitively toward a patch of space.

“Who is it?”

The two Flora geniuses moved in synchronicity. Qin You’s voice barely fell before their backs were already turned to each other’s in caution.

Suddenly, strange runes appeared suspended in midair. More and more came into view, like transparent bricks that were built upon each other into great walls. It was a spooky sight to see.

The runes were fluid and esoteric, impossibly difficult to make out against each other’s radiance.

“What is this, senior brother?” The white-haired cultivator couldn’t make heads or tails of it. “Is this a formation?”

Qin You frowned and shook his head. “Doesn’t look like it. Still, these runes are very strange. We need to retreat before they lock us in!”

“Where to?”

“The south looks the thinnest. Come!” Qin You fled without hesitation.

The two geniuses shot with impossible swiftness toward the south.

Unfortunately, they soon realized that the runes in this direction were only multiplying. There was no exit to be had here.

“Not good. We can’t get out this way. This way!” A cursory test was enough to reveal to Qin You the runes’ terrifying energy. They couldn’t possibly brute force their way past!

They switched directions four or five times, but was walled off each time by the interwoven fabrics of reality and illusion. None of the directions they had headed in had actually been weak spots.

Their flight was like that of headless chickens.

Thump, thump, thump, thump!

As they attempted to break away, the four who’d disappeared earlier fell at their feet.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Thankfully murder isn't allowed, or those would've been four heads like the Martial Sacred Land rebellion.