Chapter 11: Shattered Ice Manor
A silver arrow cut across the sky like a lightning bolt, quickly flying towards the Ice Soul Python.
When the arrowhead was about to pierce into the Ice Soul Python’s forehead, a silver light suddenly shone, and spirit energy was emitted outward. The deep-green eyes of the Ice Soul Python was dazzled by the radiant light, and it seemed to have temporarily lost its sight.
However, at this moment, it opened its mouth and spat out a mouthful of cold mist. The cold mist was mixed with shards of ice, landing straight on the arrowhead.
“Kling kling kling!”
As though it had been frozen, the fast-flying arrow actually emitted a heart-chilling sound, as it suddenly descended at flying speed.
The Ice Soul Python swung its head to make a bash, and the arrow actually powerlessly fell aside. It did not cause any damage to it at all.
The lush-green little eyes of the enraged Ice Soul Python turned venomous and sinister. Spitting out its tongue, it blasted apart the surrounding bushes one after another as it madly pounced towards them.
“Watch out!” Zhuo Qian cried out. As she shot out another silver arrow, she roared. “Slaughter it with our combined strength!”
Tu Ze, Kang Zhi and everyone else made their moves one after another.
A crimson blade-beam, like a long, flying arc, exploded from the long saber in Tu Ze’s hands, smashing towards the oncoming Ice Soul Python.
Kang Zhi wailed out strangely, as sharp golden energy rampantly charged out from his long golden spear, brightly emitting streams of golden spear silhouettes that were aimed at the eyes of the Ice Soul Python.
The other four people had all gathered their concentration as well. Circulating their spirit energy and spirit arts, as wind blades, light waves, and fire balls struck towards its two flanks, coordinating with Tu Ze and the two others with their full strength.
Only Qin Lie stayed unmoving at his original position.
According to their several days of discussion, he knew that Tu Ze was currently at the ninth level of the Refinement Realm, and was only a step away from breaking through into the Natal Opening Realm. Zhuo Qian and Kang Zhi were both at the eighth level of the Refinement Realm; the proficiency of their skills were superb, and their battle experience was extremely bountiful as well.
The remaining four people were all at the seventh level of the Refinement Realm, and could also be considered as very outstanding juniors in the Nebula Pavilion.
One at the ninth level, two at the eighth level, and four at the seventh level. With this amount of strength working together to go against the Ice Soul Python, a rank two spirit beast, as long as they stay focused and wary, it was possible for them to kill it.
Not counting the previous battle with the Umbra Lightning Condor, this time could possibly be Qin Lie’s very first battle in its truest sense. Hence, he wanted to first observe the battle tactics which Tu Ze and the rest had, before joining into the fray.
Tu Ze and Kang Zhi, wielding their long saber and long spear in their hands, restricted the Ice Soul Python with head-on confrontations. As for Zhuo Qian, she pulled away a far distance and shot arrows at unexpected moments. Adding the other four people pincering from the two sides, that Ice Soul Python was evidently finding it extremely difficult to cope.
It could only constantly spew out the cold mist which was mixed with scraps of ice shards, in order to barely resist under the seven people’s siege.
The Ice Soul Python’s strongest attack was the ice mist from its mouth. If a martial practitioner were to be struck by it, his entire body would immediately turn frozen stiff, instantly losing his battle strength. If his body were to be invaded by the cold poison, his life might even be at stake.
Tu Ze and the rest deeply knew how frightening the Ice Soul Python could be, and all of them were maintaining a sufficient distance away from it. The moment they saw that it was about to spit out the cold mist, they would instantly choose to avoid it. As they definitely would not clash head-on with the cold mist, they prevented the Ice Soul Python’s strongest attack from being effective every single time.
Among them, Zhuo Qian and a few others would take these opportunate moments to attack. Being struck several times by arrowheads, wind blades, fireballs, and light waves, the surface of the Ice Soul Python’s upper body began to gradually exhibit trails of blood. From its winding movements, its figure was gradually losing its dexterity as well. Clearly, its speed was encumbered by its injuries.
Qin Lie attentively spectated from the side. Through the battle by Tu Ze and the rest, he learned several things.
It shouldn’t be merely one or two days since Tu Ze and the other six began battling shoulder-to-shoulder. Their battle roles were clearly distinguished, and they were very familiar with their coordination. Furthermore, not only were they extremely united, their attacking methods were very intuitive as well.
With their Refinement Realm cultivation levels, under their collaborative effort, the seven of them completely wore out the Ice Soul Python with brute force. The injuries on the python’s body continued to increase, and it gradually lost its ability to retaliate.
Anxiety was quickly lost in the battle. After the seven slowly and gradually wore it down, the Ice Soul Python’s injuries were too severe, and its movements began to slow down. Finally, it lost the battle of attrition to the seven people.
“Haah. Such a waste of the python’s skin. The skin of a rank two spirit beast carries a certain value after all.”
With an aching heart, Kang Zhi stepped forward. Along with Tu Ze, he took out a small bottle, and the two of them poured out a type of liquid from the bottle onto the body of the Ice Soul Python in an even manner.
The corpse of the Ice Soul Python emitted a dense smoke, as its blood and meat began to melt at high speed, causing Qin Lie’s heart to jolt from watching this scene.
Not long later, this nine-meter long Ice Soul Python had actually melted into a puddle of blood. What remained were the python’s skin which was filled with many holes, the python’s skeleton, the beast core, and two rows of sharp teeth.
Evidently, the parts which were not melted, were the materials from the Ice Soul Python that were truly worth a sum of money.
“Twerp, you’re slacking, aren’t you? We had such an intense battle, yet you were just watching from the sidelines?” Tu Ze smiled, and he did not have the slightest bit of intent to criticize him at all. “Could it be that you realized we were not in any danger, and were able to easily defeat the Ice Soul Python, hence you felt that there wasn’t a need for you to step in?”
With the precedence of Qin Lie taking on more than forty Umbra Lightning Condors alone back then, none of the seven of them would feel that he was timid and afraid to act. They simply took it as though he was watching from the sidelines because victory was already in their grasps, and hence, decided to slack off.
“I have too little experience, so I wish to study your battle methods. And, the seven of you are too well-coordinated, so I was afraid that my participation would negatively affect you people instead,” Qin Lie casually said.
“Haha, you’re too modest. With the ability to kill more than forty Umbra Lightning Condors, how could your battle experience possibly be little?” Tu Ze invited him over, and pointed to the materials on the ground. With a prideful tone, he said, “I said this before. If you’re truly able to find Stellar Iron, I will definitely thank you well. Among these python’s skin, skull, teeth, and beast core, you can pick out any of them!”
Zhuo Qian, Kang Zhi, and the rest were all smiling, as they did not mind Tu Ze’s decision at all.
Qin Lie lowered his head to take a look, before he shook his head and said with a smile, “It’s fine. There isn’t a spirit material that I need, so I won’t take them.”
“Swoosh! Swoosh swoosh! Swoosh swoosh swoosh!”
The sharp sounds of arrows piercing through the skies, suddenly came from the bushes. One arrow after another flew out, and their targets were clearly Tu Ze and his followers.
Chu Peng, who was next to Kang Zhi, was struck in the left shoulder by an arrow before he could even react. He staggered a few steps back from the arrow’s penetrative strength, and he screamed out from the intense pain.
Before Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian could even have the time to store the spirit materials from the Ice Soul Python, their eyes instantly reddened, as they greeted the battle with furious roars.
Qin Lie’s expression suddenly turned into fright. As he saw the arrows shooting through the sky, he immediately retreated and searched for a rock to hide.
Luckily, he had wandered around the lake for a few days and was rather familiar with the surroundings. He immediately found a pile of rocks and shouted for Tu Ze and his gang to come over.
Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian swung their swords to break the incoming arrows while shielding Chu Peng and the injured Han Feng. They swiftly ran in Qin Lie’s direction.
Then, a group of of more than ten martial practitioners dressed in dark brown gradually appeared from the bushes.
Among the group, some of them wielded a longbow. Their gazes were sharp as they were continuously shooting their arrows despite their quick movement, with a look as though they had wanted to kill everyone present.
Behind the archers, a silver-haired youth that had a cold expression looked towards Tu Ze and his gang ominously.
The man was also dressed in a dark brown robe and there was a shattered ice design embroidered on the left side of his chest. It looked like it was a special symbol for some sort of force.
“Shattered Ice Manor! Yan Ziqian!”
Zhuo Qian, who was finally under the cover of some rocks, saw that some people had surfaced from the lake, and gritted her teeth so tightly that it was constantly producing a grinding sound. This caused her charming face to reveal an expression of monstrous rage.
“It’s indeed the scoundrels from Shattered Ice Manor!”
Tu Ze placed the injured Chu Peng, Han Feng and others down properly as his face darkened He then wielded his long saber and looked like he was about to rush out to fight in desperation.
“Big Brother Tu, don’t be rash! Wait for them to come closer. We’re too far away at the moment, and are still in the effective radius of the archers!” Zhuo Qian frantically stopped him.
Tu Ze quickly calmed down. Breathing in deeply, he hid behind the pile of rocks and slowly calmed his breathing in preparation for the imminent bloody battle.
Hearing the name Shattered Ice Manor, Qin Lie knew that this battle was going to be unavoidable.
When he was in the state of Thoughtless Tranquility, he could still hear the conversations of the people around him. All these years while he was in the Ling Family’s Dining Hall, he heard more than once about the strength of this power.
Like Nebula Pavilion, Shattered Ice Manor was a Limestone rank power as well, and together with Nebula Pavilion, it was situated in Icestone City.
The entire Icestone City was under the control of the two powers, Nebula Pavilion and Shattered Ice Manor, and these two forces were under the control of the Black Iron ranked force “Dark Asura Hall”. Therefore, logically speaking, Nebula Pavilion and Shattered Ice Manor should be under the restriction of “Dark Asura Hall” and should get along fine.
However, this was not the case.
For some unknown reason, these two powers acted like fire and water within Icestone City. Whether it was in the open or in the dark, they had never stopped fighting. When they were in Icestone City, the two forces would still hold back a little as they instructed their men to not be too overboard.
However, once they left Icestone City, whenever these two powers crossed paths, a bloody battle was bound to ensue and many people died as a result.
Gradually, the two powers’ hatred became stronger and stronger. If it weren’t for “Dark Asura Hall’s” numerous warnings, the two parties would have probably begun a large-scale fight within Icestone City.
Shattered Ice Manor, which was similarly located within Icestone City, was quite near to the Arctic Mountain Range; hence, many martial practitioners often came to the Arctic Mountain Range for training. Every time the martial practitioners of Shattered Ice Manor and Nebula Pavilion crossed paths, it ended up in a bloodbath.
Even the small powers that were under Nebula Pavilion and Shattered Ice Manor would often be in fights due to their higher powers’ conflicts, and many people would die in the midst of those fights as well.
“Tu Ze, don’t hide there like a dead dog, hurry up and come out!” The silver-haired youth who was wearing a cold expression walked forward and coldly said in a sinister tone, “I’ve been chasing this Ice Soul Python for six days and have expended quite a lot of energy. Now you want to take advantage of it. Have you asked the Ice Drake Sword in my hands?”
As he spoke, he drew out snow white longsword that was as beautiful as the autumn waters. It was two fingers thick and shimmered with a cold glow.
On the sword, there was a silvery line of ice, and as the sword was swung, the silvery line of ice seemed to twist like a serpent. Upon closer inspection, it looked as though a serpent dragon was sealed there.
Beside them, a youth from Shattered Ice Manor had gathered the skin, bones, teeth and core of the Ice Soul Python, handed them to him respectfully, and said, “Young Manor Lord, other than a few holes in the skin, the rest are undamaged.”
“Mn, looks like we have to thank them.” Yan Ziqian nodded and looked at him, hinting at him to properly put it away.
Tu Ze and his gang hid behind the pile of rocks. With their own eyes, they saw the people from Shattered Ice Manor collect their spoils of war while insulting them outloud in the process. This caused them to nearly explode with rage.
However, the bows of the martial practitioners from Shattered Ice Manor were still pointing towards them, which prevented them from acting rashly.
“Wait! Wait for them to come closer. Wait for the bows to lose their effectiveness!” Zhuo Qian said coldly.
Everyone gritted their teeth as the nodded in acknowledgement. They held their weapons tightly as they quietly anticipated the enemy’s approach.
During the thunderstorm season, the weather was unpredictable. Initially, the sun was still shining brightly, but now, it was gradually getting dark as thick black clouds started to gather. To them, this gave off a pressure similar to the people from Shattered Ice Manor, which was a feeling of unhappiness and annoyance.
“Brother Lie, act accordingly later. If you see that the situation is dire, you… escape when you get the chance. Don’t worry about us,” Tu Ze whispered.
Qin Lie looked at him in shock before revealing a smile as he replied, “The Ling Family and Nebula Pavilion are affiliated.”
Once he said that, all of them looked a bit moved. Tu Ze’s eyes shined as a sense of pride welled up within him. Before the big battle, he clenched his fist and thumped Qin Lie’s chest.
Nothing else needed to be said.