Chapter 8: Testing the Waters
Bolts of blue lightning struck down from the sky, turning Qin Lie's expression cold. Immediately puffing his chest out, he fully channeled Heavenly Thunder Eradication.
“Bzzt, bzzt, bzzt!”
Countless bright, blue flares of electric currents simultaneously burrowed into Qin Lie. Surges of rapidly flowing lightning energy instantly started wrecking havoc within his muscles and veins.
Qin Lie’s eyes suddenly lit up as he cackled in excitement.
The initial invading electric currents came violently and tyrannically. However, after channeling Heavenly Thunder Eradication, they were tamed in an instant, completely absorbing themselves into his skeleton.
A wonderful feeling emanated from every single pore of his body. Qin Lie's body overflowed with energy, his mind rejuvenated.
Fatal to any other normal person, the electric currents acted as high grade tonic spirit herbs to him. Not only did they fail to paralyze him, they rather left him feeling deeply refreshed and energized.
“Just what I wanted!”
Instead of the dread that he should have felt under the onslaught of the Umbra Lightning Condors, Qin Lie felt rather thrilled. When the nearest condor came within reach, his hand shot out like whip to grab it.
The condor’s steely claws lashed out at him, but he caught them in each of his hands. With a shout, Qin Lie’s muscles bulged and he tore the zealous condor in two, its blood and guts splattering everywhere.
One strike, one kill. He couldn’t be more ecstatic. Every single condor that left the safety of the sky to engage him in melee combat on the ground would find themselves grabbed by the talons and ripped in half by his deft hands.
Previously, when the Umbra Lightning Condors assaulted Tu Ze, Zhuo Qian and the rest, the condors waited until their lightning hit before ambushing the group all at once.
Despite touting cultivation levels at the late stages of the Refinement Realm, Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian's bodies couldn't compare to that freak, Qin Lie. Their bodies turned numb, and their limbs fell limp the moment lightning struck them. In an instant, their combat power plummeted to almost nothing.
When battling the condors, they feared taking the brunt of the lightning attacks, to the point that when they went to rescue their incapacitated companions, they took extreme caution to avoid getting hit themselves. Thus, they gained no ground in the battle against the condors.
But Qin Lie took a completely different course of action to battle the condors!
He paid no heed to their barrage of lighting as it only served to benefit him, despite the danger it posed to Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian. It increased his combat power, stimulating his body and mind.
His body was already tough in the first place, so the fierce attacks by the Umbra Lightning Condors, with their sharp beaks and talons, failed to give Qin Lie any significant injuries.
Without a thought for protecting themselves, or their bodies' naturally inferior defense, these rank one spirit beasts only focused on offense. They were doomed to be ripped apart the moment they were caught.
His manner of fighting was simple and direct. Cruel and violent, yet very effective!
In just a short span of time, over ten of the Umbra Lightning Condors laid at his feet after shrieking their last, miserable cry.
Any other spirit beasts would have accepted their defeat long ago, and gone running with their tail between their legs.
But not the Umbra Lightning Condors, they were all birdbrained! Although they felt something amiss as Qin Lie decimated their ranks like a natural-born predator, they couldn't stop their assault. They set themselves into a frenzy at the sight of their slain comrades and barreled towards him without a care for their own lives.
The outcome was decided long ago.
One by one, the condors fell at the feet of Qin Lie. The fight didn't hold an ounce of suspense.
Moments later, the gruesome one-sided slaughter ended. Qin Lie stood victorious atop the pile of condor corpses, smeared and stained with their blood and feathers.
Despite his overwhelming advantage, Qin Lie's body was still full of scratches. Luckily though, it was nothing his strong constitution couldn’t handle.
He understood well that to any other low-ranked martial practitioner, the Umbra Lightning Condors would have been an absolute nightmare to face.
If Tu Ze's group of seven stayed to battle, it would not have been the condors that were decimated.
Not in a hurry to harvest the beast cores, Qin Lie closed his eyes and stood in place, trying to ascertain his body's condition from within.
Current after current of electricity flowed through his veins. He willed them steadily towards his abdomen to gather at his Dantian. Then, a warm surge of joy sprouted from the bottom of his heart and he couldn’t help but reveal a large grin.
At that instant, all the power of lightning that the Umbra Lightning Condors had attacked him with were mysteriously absorbed by him! Following the channeling of Heavenly Thunder Eradication, they were slowly converted into his own spirit force!
At this, Qin Lie immediately felt that this trip was not a wasted one anymore. In fact, his smile became even brighter as he eyed the beast corpses around him.
On the other side.
Tu Ze, Zhuo Qian and the rest were fleeing in a panic. Their hearts were heavy and they wore grave expressions. They had already made preparations to enter combat immediately if need be.
Even an average martial practitioner at the Natal Opening Realm would have to yield against the combined battle prowess of more than forty Umbra Lightning Condors. The young-looking Qin Lie was obviously there to feed those condors. Once he died, the condors would surely chase after them with haste.
Therefore, they didn't dare to relax a single bit for once the condors caught up with them, they would be embroiled in yet another harsh battle.
However, they didn't catch a single glimpse of the condors after their long anticipation. They started to grow suspicious.
Mere steps away from completely leaving Solitary Ridge, Tu Ze finally felt that something was wrong. He signaled everyone to turn around while remaining in their defensive formation, and started to scrutinize the horizon behind them.
There was not even a shadow of a condor!
Even the smoking hot Zhuo Qian, who remained impassive at the most critical of moments, was dumbfounded as she wiped the aromatic sweat off her neck, her beautiful eyes glistening.
“Previously, I had heard the piercing shrieks of the Umbra Lightning Condors. There was no doubt that a fight did take place…”. Even though Tu Ze’s appearance was crude, his thoughts were meticulous. Leaning against his long sabre, he stabilized his breathing, unwilling to waste even a single moment to recuperate his spirit force. He continued in a deep voice, ”Since there isn’t a trace of the condors, there can only be one possibility——that kid is giving them serious trouble!”
“How is that possible?”, the chubby Kang Zhi exclaimed.
“The condors will definitely not chase after us without tearing that kid apart first. Since they have yet to make an appearance, it goes to show that the feathered bastards are having trouble killing him.” Tu Ze’s analysis was spot on. After pondering for a while, he gritted his teeth and shouted: “Let’s kill our way back!”
“Big brother Tu?”, Kang Zhi said bitterly while shaking his head, ”It wasn’t easy for us to escape, why should we go back in? It isn't our concern whether the boy lived or not, what matters is we survived. Why risk our lives again?”
“Agreed,” the remaining people said in assessment. Evidently, they had enough of the Umbra Lightning Condors that did not fear death. They were very reluctant to put themselves in danger again.
“Zhuo Qian, what do you think?” Tu Ze raised his head and asked.
Shrugging the shoulders of her provocative body, Zhuo Qian revealed an expression of interest and said, ”I don't mind. It's just taking a look, isn't it? Since the condors have yet to catch up with us, they naturally should have ran into serious trouble. I'm really curious to find out whether the crazy kid’s dead. We ought to thank him if he’s still alive.”
“Mn, regardless if he’s alive or not we should really thank that little brother. It would have been awfully difficult for the seven of us to make it out alive. The forty plus Umbra Lightning Condors were certainly something we weren't able to handle…” Tu Ze said in a stern tone.
“Then what are we waiting for?” Zhuo Qian flung her marooned hair back, taking the initiative to rush back into Solitary Ridge, her figure robust like a female leopard. “Every bit of delay means every inch closer that little guy is to death. Since we have made our decision, we shouldn’t hesitate like a bunch of ladies!”
Agitated by her words, her previously cowardly comrades became ashamed, dashing after her with loud bellows.
Tu Ze rubbed his nose and stared at the bunch of guys that were acting like they were pumped up on steroids and cursed under his breath, ”Damn, seems like only Zhuo Qian is able to handle you bastards during critical moments!”
Many women were more collected than men when faced with danger. Zhuo Qian was precisely such a woman.
Previously, when she witnessed the Umbra Lightning Condors furiously hurling themselves at Qin Lie after being aggravated, she was struck dumb and didn't have a chance to react.
However, she realized soon after that it could be their only chance to escape. Thus, she urged her partners to abandon him with a scream, dashing out of Solitary Ridge with their lives.
At that moment, she was fully convinced that Qin Lie would not escape death’s grasp. Even if the group of seven had pulled out all the stops to help him, he would not be saved. In fact, it would be very likely that the seven of them would have joined his fate.
Hence, she decisively acted to urge her partners to leave.
Given the circumstances, there was doubt that the choice she made was the smartest. There was no way she would have known that Qin Lie was the perfect counter against the Umbra Lightning Condors.
She only started to question herself when she realized that they were no longer being chased by the condors. The suspicion that Qin Lie might still be alive flickered in her heart.
Eager to make amendments, she was the first to turn back without hesitation, hastily making her way back into Solitary Ridge.
“I hope it's not too late…”
Zhuo Qian thought darkly as she neared the danger zone, grasping her bow tightly in her nervousness.
Cutting through the dense trees, Zhuo Qian arrived at a deeper region of Solitary Ridge and desperately looked towards the place where they had escaped from prior.
Zhuo Qian screamed suddenly.
Tu Ze and the rest were following closely behind. Hearing her scream, their faces changed and they scrambled towards her.
They joined her with loud exclaims of their own…
They were greeted by the sight of Qin Lie in the middle of piles of Umbra Lightning Condor feathers and corpses. None of the corpses were whole; they were all torn into halves, evidently dying in a miserable fashion.
Qin Lie, who only received slight injuries, was squatting among them, harvesting the beast cores from their foreheads.
The group of seven stared in absolute astonishment. Their mouths were opened wide in their shock and their eyeballs were threatening to pop out of their sockets.
“Holy shit, am I seeing things?” The chubby Kang Zhi said while rubbing his eyes, staring at Qin Lie as though he was a monster. “Those were more than forty Umbra Lightning Condors! They all died? And they died this miserably?!”
Qin Lie lifted his head and spotted the returning group of people. He said with a smile, ”I have a spirit artifact on me which coincidentally made me immune to the lightning attacks. It definitely wasn't because I had a high cultivation level.”
“F*ck, you lil’ brat, couldn't you have mentioned it earlier?” Tu Ze stepped forward with big smiles and gave Qin Lie a friendly punch.
Qin Lie groaned to himself. Believing that they wouldn't return, he had planned to harvest all the beast cores for himself after massacring the Umbra Lightning Condors.
——He was absolutely hoping to avoid any sorts of interaction with Tu Ze and his party..
“Well, I was afraid that my spirit artifact wouldn't work. I didn't wish to implicate you, which was why I didn’t say anything…” explained Qin Lie.
Since this wasn’t Ling Town, he didn’t have to act, so his demeanor was natural.
Not a trace of dullness could be seen in Qin Lie’s eyes. In fact, they were unusually active. Coupled with his pretty face, he was actually devilishly attractive.
“You’re too green, kid. Your lie wasn't smooth enough. If you were indeed worried that your spirit artifact might fail you, would you really have dared to walk here into your death?” Zhuo Qian glanced at him and straightforwardly said, ”Your first action when you arrived was to grab the beast cores. Just admit that you’re greedy, there’s no need to find other excuses. Seriously, you think we’re the same as you? You thought we’re going to fight over mere rank one spirit beast cores with you?”
“Hahaha, we’re from Nebula Pavilion. My name’s Tu Ze, this sister here’s called Zhuo Qian and that’s Kang Zhi…” Tu Ze made simple introductions of his companions while laughing broadly. “We heard rumors that there was Stellar Iron in the proximity, hence we came to try our luck. Hehe, don’t worry, we really do not care about those rank one beast cores. Nobody’s going to fight you for them…”
Qin Lie’s heart trembled.
rank one beast cores were definitely not luxurious goods. However, to the majority of all martial practitioners, the cores weren’t cheap commodities either. At the very least, he knew that none of the Ling Family martial practitioners would be as uninterested as them.
Even though Tu Ze and the others hailed from Nebula Pavilion, they were still youths at the Refinement Realm. Their indifference towards the rank one beast cores were enough evidence that the backgrounds of the group of seven were surely not simple.