Chapter 629: Divide and Conquer
Fatty Wu suddenly grinned. “Senior brother Cao, the opponent’s formation is already repeating itself. This can only mean that there aren’t any more tricks to this formation.”
Cao Jin was delighted to hear this. “So he’s exhausted his bag of tricks! Junior brother Wu, now it’s up to you!”
Fatty Wu was in great spirits. He’d been wary of this formation before since it had a couple of variations, and each variation had its own unique dangers. It was more than enough to bring a great deal of pressure on the fatty’s shoulders, but his saving grace was that even though the formation was powerful and complicated, it was still only deployed at a basic level. Fatty Wu understood that this was a limit of the formation brought about by the low cultivation level of the formation master. If the formation master’s cultivation had been higher, then it would’ve been easy enough to confine and kill the two of them within this marvelous formation. Just as he mustered all his attention and energy to execute the formation splitting technique, the formation was suddenly taken down.
The formation’s disappearance caused the scenery to return to what it was originally. The two stood by the path once again, weeds obscuring the path ahead of them as dense forest crowded in from each side.
Fatty Wu’s face flickered through a variety of expressions as he looked around. He frowned, “Senior brother Cao, I was wondering why this fellow could swap through formation changes so quickly. It looks like he might not be a formation master after all.”
“What do you mean?” Cao Jin didn’t understand this sudden declaration.
“There are no vestiges of a formation setup in the surroundings. A strong formation would always leave some traces in the surroundings, or at least some spirit energy residue. There’s no evidence at all to be found here.”
“You mean to say…” Cao Jin suddenly thought of something as his expression flickered.
“This kid must’ve used up a seriously large portion of his good luck and gotten his hands on a strong formation disk, but doesn’t really know how to use it. It would explain why the formation he could deploy wasn’t too high a level. But, a formation disk!” A look of greed gleamed in Fatty Wu’s eyes. To a formation master, a formation disk was even more enticing than sky rank herbs. With the fatty’s experience in formations, how would he not be able to understand that this wasn’t a formation that had been set up by hand, but one that had been projected by a formation disk?
Setting up a formation by hand required time and formation flags. A foundation had to be laid, and that would leave visible traces in the surroundings. Once the formation was destroyed, there would always be some glyph remnants still present in the air.
But the fatty hadn’t sensed a single fragment.
What did that mean? It meant that the one who’d set the formation up hadn’t done so through any particularly impressive methods, but had just used a formation disk to summon the entire thing. There were many advantages to a formation disk; it was quick, easy and very convenient. But the complexity of the formation deployed didn’t necessarily indicate a corresponding level of skill behind the one deploying it.
“Senior brother Cao, you can have Shi Zhen’s share. I only want my own and this disk.” Fatty Wu took a deep breath and once more revisited the terms of dividing up the loot.
Cao Jin thought momentarily and felt that he didn’t have much use for a mere formation disk. He nodded, “We’re agreed.”
The two suddenly felt an enormous pressure descend on their heads as they spoke. They lifted their heads, and saw an enormous mountain crashing down on them!”
“Get back!” Despite his great surprise, Cao Jin didn’t panic. He raised his hand, and the mountain ground to a stop, arrested by his bare hand. As light shone from his hand, Cao Jin called upon his reserves of strength and actually lifted it up!
But it seemed that his efforts wouldn’t fully pan out, as the mountain once again descended down on Cao Jin again. This was Jiang Chen’s golden magnetic mountain, and the very embodiment of domineering strength. Even earth sage realm cultivators wouldn’t be able to withstand this blow. But Cao Jin was Cao Jin, he wasn’t at the peak of sage realm for nothing. His bare hand alone was enough to hold back the mountain, no matter how many times it crashed down on him. However, although he put up a fierce resistance and was now itching to blow the mountain to smithereens, he couldn’t shave off the slightest shard from the mountain no matter how much strength he used.
“This mountain is a bit odd!” Cao Jin was slightly surprised, because even someone as strong as him could feel a force of attraction acting on him whenever this mountain crashed down on him. There was an odd magnetic power to it, making it so that his return blows could never reach the core of the mountain. However, Jiang Chen’s aim wasn’t Cao Jin. He was well aware that it would be difficult to try and crush Cao Jin to death with the magnetic golden mountain. His goal was to just keep Cao Jin preoccupied.
The true target of his butcher’s knife was the fatty! The fatty had been relegated to the outskirts by the titanic size of the mountain. When he saw how preoccupied Cao Jin was by the mountain, he guessed that the enemy wanted to separate him and Cao Jin. However, the fatty was bold and confident in his skills, unafraid of anything. He activated some of the talismans in his hand and set down some defensive formations around him.
Fatties were usually quite afraid of death, and often had many ways to protect their lives. This was also why the fatty was so persistent in studying formations. Formations would usually offer one more chances to save their lives when one’s strength wasn’t up to par. It was at this time that the fatty suddenly heard some small sounds. He was already feeling like there was an enemy behind every bush and tree to begin with, so he hurriedly looked around every which way.
He suddenly saw a few bead-like items roll to his feet. Fatty Wu’s heart spasmed as he had an exceedingly bad premonition about this turn of events. Golden light abruptly flashed from the beads as they all turned into exceedingly sturdy golden-armored warriors. The warriors were wholly unreasonable, brandishing their weapons without another word and started charging at Fatty Wu.
He saw the six warriors that lead the vanguard at the human sage realm, but he was confident that his formations would be able to handle them. However, three earth sage realm warriors followed closely on their heels. This caused some panic to surge in his heart. He threw out multiple talismans in a row, trying to keep the earth sage level attacks from reaching him. And yet, he tragically discovered that that wasn’t even the end after he’d beaten the warriors, this wasn’t the end of things!
There were three more sky sage realm warriors right behind them! Their momentum and strength weren't on par with Cao Jin, but more than enough to take out the fatty when they acted together. Not to mention that there were a large number of earth sage and human sage golden-armored warriors as well! In his urgency, Fatty Wu kept crying out for help, “Help me, senior brother Cao!”
Cao Jin punched out with both fists when he heard the fatty’s call, elegantly evading the magnetic golden mountain to take long strides towards the fatty. When the warriors saw Cao Jin arrive, the six human sage realm warriors leapt over to restrain Cao Jin.
A series of continuous solid punches that connected precisely with its intended targets sent all of the warriors flying with a dominating air. The caveat here though, was that Jiang Chen was manipulating them. When he’d met the warriors in the tower, they’d only had the strength for a single blow. But now that the “Soldier Rosary Beads” were in Jiang Chen’s hands and had been refined by him, he could decide how to use them with a mere thought. Under his control, the warriors came pouncing over without fear just after they were sent flying.
On the other side, Fatty Wu was howling with pain and agony. Trying to fight three sky sage warriors at the same time had landed him in perilously hot water very quickly. Jiang Chen seized the opportunity to once again summon the magnetic golden mountain. This time, he didn’t send it towards Cao Jin, but smashed it down on Fatty Wu with all his strength.
Fatty Wu was in a panicked mess already, and the magnetic golden mountain was the straw that broke the camel’s back as it came crashing down on him. Under an expanding golden light, a ghastly scream echoed in the air as a pile of bloody flesh took the place of the little fatty..
Jiang Chen was delighted to see that he’d done away with Fatty Wu and formed a quick hand seal, putting away the magnetic golden mountain and the Soldier Rosary Beads. At the same time, he activated the formation disk of the Minor Artifice Formation with his consciousness to summon it. Jiang Chen knew that it was impossible to confine Cao Jin with the formation; he knew the formation splitting technique as well. All Jiang Chen wanted to do was to slow Cao Jin down and give himself a chance to retreat with ease.
He also knew that although he was first level sage realm, there was a great gap between him and the Cao Jin who sat at peak sage realm. Jiang Chen knew that he would have no chance winning a face to face encounter. He wasn’t belittling himself; he was well aware of his many advantages, but there was still a gap between him and a top disciple of a first rank sect. To say nothing of anything else, the other would have treasures like a monsoon rain, and the resources he’d been able to make use of to date were at least ten times or a hundred times in excess of what had been available to Jiang Chen. That a genius of a first rank sect could train to this level was absolutely an indicator of the favor and attention showered on him. This wasn’t something that Jiang Chen could measure up to. Therefore, he wasn’t at all self conscious in the face of this gap.
A tempestuous fury, an everburning anger the likes he had never felt before rose in Cao Jin’s heart when he saw Fatty Wu being crushed to death in front of him. He’d never thought that the two peers that he’d invited would die right in front of him. This was clear evidence that even if the opponent wasn’t strong, his tricks and methods were endless. It was extremely difficult for one to defend themselves!
“Jiang Chen! I know it’s you! I’ll scatter your ashes to the wind!” Cao Jin struck out savagely with the Moonshatter Awl, creating a small crack in the Minor Artifice Formation. He blasted through the crack in search of Jiang Chen’s presence, and tracked him down to the banks of the lake about an hour later.
Jiang Chen was leisurely standing on the side, watching an infuriated and raging Cao Jin. There were hints of mockery and jeering visible on his relaxed face.
“Jiang Chen!” Cao Jin’s eyes were about to shoot fire. As one of the ten great disciples of the Ninesuns Sky Sect, he’d never lost his composure to such a state.
Jiang Chen, however, smiled faintly. “It looks like the Tristar Sect is a loyal dog after all. They’d rather have their sect be destroyed just so they could point their masters here.”
Cao Jin stared fixedly at Jiang Chen, subjugating his anger and calming himself with effort. It was apparent that Cao Jin didn’t view Jiang Chen as an ordinary opponent anymore. No matter Jiang Chen’s level of cultivation, it was obvious from all that had happened that he was a strong rival and had to be treated with full attention. “Jiang Chen, hand over the spirit herbs and the pill recipe for the Longevity Pill. If you do so, this Cao from the Cao family could possibly spare you.”
Jiang Chen laughed instead. “Cao family? Your surname is Cao? So you’re not that Yong Xingyun?”
“You know Yong Xingyun?” Cao Jin started slightly and then immediately guessed at something. He smiled coldly. “You were the one who killed Ding Tong alright! Good, very good! A mere Myriad Domain cultivator dared kill three Sky Sect disciples! Jiang Chen, I have to admit that you’ve got some balls!”
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