Suspicion was infectious.
Jiang Chen had hidden himself in order to observe the reactions of those beneath. His especially powerful consciousness allowed him to perceive more than most with his God’s Eye.
He found the loudest instigators that tried to lay low after doing all they could to stoke the flames.
After committing their appearances to memory, he informed the ten forefathers of this. They immediately picked out the troublemakers from the crowd.
Seeing the ten forefathers act personally, the atmosphere grew even more panicked. Many were pale and shaking.
“The sacred lands are going to kill us all!”
There were more agitators among the crowd. Jiang Chen sent out the Vermilion Bird, who darted into the throng of people and plucked out the bastards responsible.
The Eternal forefather was positively icy. “Think with your brains for once. Do the ten sacred lands need cannon fodder of your caliber?
“Even if we did, we would merely drive you to scatter in every direction to attract attention. Wouldn’t that be more convenient for us?”
His words shook everyone’s ears and hearts like a thunderclap. This explanation made much more sense than whatever they’d been imagining.
“To tell the truth, we’ve long suspected that there are a number of participating factions here today who have defected to outside enemies. We simply haven’t revealed this until it was necessary. Now, to avoid hysteria, we are going to keep exactly who the traitors are a secret. These people that we’ve already captured though, are extremely dubious. We will imprison them separately and investigate more fully after all of us are safe. Any real traitors will be summarily executed! No one innocent will be punished!
“All of you need to make one decision. Do you want to get into the airboats and cooperate, or stay here on Sandplain and fend for yourselves?”
The Eternal forefather was rather less vehement than before, but in this situation, staying meant certain death.
For the rest of the factions, the sacred lands’ statement that they weren’t needed as bait was quite reassuring.
There was no reason for these reputable leaders to lie publicly and cast aside their pride for the sake of earning a bunch of second and third rate factions’ temporary trust.
The factions that’d been long-time supporters of the sacred lands were the first to volunteer.
“We will enter the airboats.”
“The ten sacred lands have always led us. I believe in them to guide us out of these dire straits.”
“If we must doubt even the sacred lands, who can we trust in Myriad Abyss?”
A number of factions got into their respective airboats one by one. Only a few remained hesitant, but the disappearing throng around them pressured them into largely making the same choice.
At last, only a few dozen stragglers were left in place.
The Eternal forefather looked at them coldly. Even if these people weren’t traitors, they lacked any loyalty to the sacred lands.
The other forefathers instantly understood what he wanted.
The airboats were sealed one by one, until only the most loyal elites from the sacred lands were left.
“Alright. Since you lot have chosen to stay, we won’t strongarm you into leaving. However, before we leave ourselves, you will have to bear with some temporary measures.”
The forefathers flew up one by one, creating a divine barrier that isolated these stragglers from the outside world.
“Hmph. This barrier will last for two hours. You will be safe from the mist for that time, but you cannot leave. After that, you can either contact your masters or do whatever else you like!”
Not everyone who stayed was necessarily a traitor, but the forefathers had no reason to show them compassion. They should have all been cut down on the spot, so what the forefathers were doing was already merciful.
“Jiang Chen, the airboats are gathered. What do we do next?”
Jiang Chen cast out his consciousness to ensure there were no concealed spies.
“Come with me!”
He rushed to the beach, then pointed into the distance. “Do you see that island? If we put the airboats on top of it, the island will carry us out of here.”
The island was none other than the body of the Black Tortoise. It was one of the race’s traits to transform into an island indistinguishable from any other.
Parking the airboats required a negligible amount of space upon the tortoise’s back.
“Where did this island come from?” the others remarked in astonishment.
“Don’t think too hard about it.” Jiang Chen smiled mysteriously. “This island can move by itself. It swims incredibly fast, as fast as we fly.”
That too was surprising.
The airboats all landed on the ‘island’, just like Jiang Chen had ordered.
“Ready yourselves. All sacred land forces, stay on high alert and prepare for a fight. The enemy might not expect us to swim, but we should anticipate an engagement nevertheless,” the young man uttered a serious reminder.
There wasn’t much of a need for him to do so. Those who remained outside the airboats were experienced fighters in their own rights.
After a few more necessary preparations, Jiang Chen gave the order for the Black Tortoise to start moving. Within moments, it began to skate over the ocean surface.
The Black Tortoise was capable of creating great waves around it as it swam, preventing others from seeing its true form.
Any scouts would have their vision obscured by the cresting waters, and would remain none the wiser as to what was actually happening. The most they would suspect would be that some powerful sea creature was on the move.
Human cultivators typically avoided confronting such organisms and lifeforms.
Some marine creatures were extremely weak, but others were horrendously strong. The ambushing enemy wouldn’t possibly want to incur extra risk by introducing a volatile factor like an unknown creature.
This was the reason for Jiang Chen’s confidence.
The ten sacred lands’ people were in high spirits. The tortoise cut a path through the sea, causing a swelling wall of brine to splash up all around it. They traveled outward at a quick, steady pace.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Howl's Moving Castle, sea edition?