Even after blasting the shell that Lu Yin tossed out as bait to smithereens, the palm-sized astral beasts still did not give up. They continued bombarding the general area with sound waves until everything was reduced to dust.
Lu Yin endured the extremely foul stench of the astral beast he was hiding by as he stared at the palm-sized astral beasts. Although they were small, their sonic attacks were even more powerful than Liu Yin’s strikes. It had to be said that their innate gift was very strong, allowing them to survive in battle against the humans until today.
But these beasts were a bit too strange. Nothing this powerful had appeared during the sneak attacks on the bases, and yet, they had appeared here. There was definitely something strange going on.
The more powerful astral beasts were no less intelligent than humans. During the many days he had spent at the base, Lu Yin had heard on multiple occasions that the astral beasts were also sent on missions, like the human troops. By this point, he felt that this group of astral beasts were definitely not simple; had they been in the middle of a mission?
He could not be blamed for thinking this, as this group of astral beasts had trapped even him. There were no Explorer realm astral beasts in this group, either, which was definitely rare. Additionally, this group was strong enough to wipe out a base in an instant if they attacked, but they seemed to be intentionally avoiding the bases. They were most likely either trying to team up with other groups to attack a specific area, or they had some special mission.
Lu Yin could have escaped after he dodged those palm-sized astral beasts’ sound waves, but after thinking things through, he decided to stay. If these beasts really were on some kind of special mission, then he might be able to earn some contributions if he stayed.
Although he was just a student, the reason why he had come to the warfront was still to learn through experience. If he could earn some contributions, then he would definitely not give up, especially not if all he had to pay was enduring a loathsome stench.
Before long, the group of astral beasts started to move westwards again. The large group did not run on the ground; rather, they manipulated the soil to carry them along, as if it were a vehicle carrying them. This method also meant that they left no footprints behind.
They were indeed very smart. Lu Yin’s eyes gleamed when he saw this. The beasts had clearly realized that he had tracked them down by following their footprints; thus, they had switched to this mode of transportation specifically to avoid being followed in the future.
Half a day later, the group of astral beasts stopped moving. The astral beast that Lu Yin was hiding in, along with all the others of the same type, moved towards the center of the group. The horde of beasts methodically separated in a practiced motion to form a defensive layout. Lu Yin’s eyes flashed when he saw that there was actually a human in the center of the formation, though it was unknown if he was alive as he was just laying there. Beside him was a strange-looking, earthworm-like astral beast with twisting threads that undulated in a dancing motion around its body. Under Lu Yin’s observant gaze, one of the threads inserted itself into the person’s ear.
Lu Yin’s eyes narrowed as his scalp went numb.
After a moment, the thread completely vanished into the person’s brain. The person lying on the ground then slowly opened his eyes and stiffly stood up. He calmly walked out of the crowd of astral beasts, and not a single beast made any move to stop him. After he walked out, his eyes gradually regained their clarity, and a smile appeared on his face. Then, he flew away.
Lu Yin was dazed. What had just happened? Was the person that he had seen just now under the astral beasts’ control? That shouldn’t be the case. How could an astral beast have such a strange innate gift?
After that person left, the astral beast group returned to its previous state with the earthworm-like astral beast protected in the center. Fortunately, the creature that Lu Yin was hidden within was not too far from the center, and he could clearly make out the earthworm-like astral beast.
They did not move very far before the group suddenly changed directions when the top of the earthworm beast’s head emitted a faint light.
Lu Yin continued to follow the group in this manner as they roamed across Planet Conan.
At the same time, Shui Chuanxiao was dealing with another headache. “Commander, another warship has been destroyed. Over 2,500 soldiers were killed on that spacecraft,” En Ya, his female deputy, reported solemnly.
Shui Chuanxiao’s eyes grew frosty. “We can’t wait any longer. The number of controlled people is increasing with every day that passes. Any longer and my spacecraft will also run the risk of being destroyed.”
En Ya hesitated. “Are we really going to use that? There aren’t even twenty people in the entire frontier allied troops who are qualified to use it, and it’ll be a huge loss if an accident occurs to any one of them.”
“Pass down my command and have them all assemble. They’ll start from the hundred planets guarding the center and sweep out. They will thoroughly explore each planet. Request help from the Erudite Flowzone as well.”
En Ya acknowledged the command.
“Right, aren’t the students from the Astral Combat Academy here as well? There should be quite a few of them who can help out, so let them participate too,” Shui Chuanxiao suddenly said as an afterthought.
En Ya was immediately put in a difficult position. “This mission is a bit too difficult for them, sir. Even if the students can find a drove of astral beasts protecting the Sheng Ao, they might not be able to escape with their power. Last time, we even discovered that there were the two Guais in a drove. When those two beasts fight together, even an Explorer needs to be careful. It’s too dangerous for a mere student.”
Shui Chuanxiao shook his head. “I know, but there’s no choice. Go, the safety of the frontier is the most important priority. Carry out your orders.”
En Ya nodded helplessly and turned to leave.
Not long after, Liu Shaoqiu, Silver, Xue Liuyun, and Liu Yin received new orders and were shipped off to Planet Cangyuan, which was one of the hundred planets in the center of the defense line.
The four were shocked by this development as they were just students. However, they were indeed very powerful. There were other powerhouses among the soldiers who could match the strength of these elite students, but they had relied on time and experience to slowly build up their power. And why were these students carrying out this important mission? What about Chao Zhi, Tasha, and Lanke? In terms of just combat strength, Chao Zhi was definitely no weaker than the selected students—the only difference separating the four from the rest was that they had all comprehended a domain.
Shui Chuanxiao’s mission for them was simple. He assembled all of the soldiers who could use a domain and had them infiltrate a drove of astral beasts to find the species that was called Sheng Ao; they were the ones that could control humans.
There were too many astral beasts on the protected planets for the soldiers to eliminate every single one of them. The only option was to send skilled people to infiltrate each group to find out the Sheng Ao’s weakness. With that, they could then plan a reasonable strategy.
This mission was quite dangerous, and the astral beasts were not foolish, either. Every single Sheng Ao was protected by strong powerhouses.
Shui Chuanxiao and the rest naturally did not know that Lu Yin was the closest person to a Sheng Ao at this time. He had even found this thing’s weakness, or rather, its natural tendencies.
Every living thing had its own natural tendencies that became its strengths and weaknesses. For example, humans had an inherent ability to adapt to any complicated environment and could use tools. Astral beasts similarly had their own tendencies, which even determined whether they lived in groups or in solitary. Lu Yin guessed that this earthworm-shaped astral beast that could control humans lived by itself, to the extent that it did not even want to meet other members of its own species. Every time its head glowed, the astral beast drove would change directions. Even if the horde only changed directions three times over multiple days, it was still enough for Lu Yin to make a calculated guess.
It might be changing directions to avoid something that it loathed, a human base, a similar race, or maybe something else entirely. Lu Yin could deduce no other reason for its glowing head.
It was the most likely that it could either sense human bases or other members of the same species.
Lu Yin decided to continue observing the strange, earthworm-like beast, as he had grown accustomed to the stench over these few days. Even if he did not use his Invisible Aura Technique, he might not be exposed at this point as he had also started to stink.
There were over a hundred planets that composed the Erudite Flowzone’s border, and they were divided into three groups: left, center, and right. The left and right each held thirty seven planets while there were a hundred planets protecting the center. Planet Cangyuan was the largest planet as well as the one closest to Shui Chuanxiao.
Currently, the soldiers had discovered thousands of humans who were being controlled. Almost every planet along the entire warfront had discovered at least one person being manipulated, which added up to quite a substantial number. Shui Chuanxiao was thus forced to make a decisive move, and he had assembled all of the domain users under his command to carry out this mission.
A domain was extremely difficult to comprehend, and even a top-notch institution like the Astral Combat Academy could not produce many of these experts, let alone the rest of the universe; the probability was just too small. Throughout the Erudite Flowzone’s entire frontier allied troops, there were around twenty domain experts under the Explorer realm. This was already a rather sizable number.
On Planet Cangyuan, within a burning forest, Liu Shaoqiu hid inside a tree that had been hollowed out as he watched a giant drove of astral beasts rush past him. He suddenly moved and hid inside one just like Lu Yin was doing. He then frowned as the smell was too horrible.
On another planet, Xue Liuyun similarly encountered a drove and hid within it.
For domain experts, infiltrating a drove of astral beasts was not very hard as their domain could change their odor and completely integrate them into their environment. Only super-intelligent astral beasts would notice them, and any other would simply be oblivious to their presence.
Zhuo Daynight had once used this ability to sit on the back of an ant in the Umbral Butterfly Weave without ever being noticed.
Liu Yin was still searching for a group of astral beasts to infiltrate while Silver stepped across countless floating corpses as the herd trembled and rushed to escape into the distance.
“What a headache. Lu Yin suddenly went missing. So, is he really that person’s descendant? Or was his Zishan bloodline a facade from the start?” Silver muttered to himself as he stepped past the rivers of blood and headed into the distance.
Lu Yin remained hidden for ten days on Planet Conan, and the herd of beasts that he was hidden within had changed direction five times. Every time, it was triggered when the top of that earthworm-looking creature’s head glowed. There were two times when the herd had remained stationary until the radiance on its head gradually dimmed down. This confirmed to Lu Yin that the astral beast herd was changing directions not when it encountered a human base but rather when they ran into another creature of the same species, since a base could not possibly move on its own.
Just as Lu Yin was considering whether he should continue hiding, beams of light blasted the ground. The drove of astral beasts had been discovered by some soldiers.
The enormous sound waves converged and shot towards the sky where it collided with the light beams. The resulting after shocks distorted the void.
From the sky, multiple warships incessantly bombarded the group of astral beasts with their energy weapons.
Lu Yin’s eyes flashed, and he instantly appeared directly behind the earthworm-like creature before casually striking it. The earthworm-like creature immediately died since its defenses were pitifully weak; however, his actions agitated the palm-sized astral beasts who abandoned their anti-aerial assault to focus their attacks on Lu Yin.
Lu Yin had already obliterated the earthworm creature’s corpse and found the reason for its glowing head. It was a round ball that was probably the creature’s brain.
Countless sound waves continued to bombard the area while Lu Yin sneered disdainfully. After observing them for so many days, he had long since seen through the sound waves. He easily used Flash to continuously dodge them. The all-encompassing sound waves could destroy a portion of the astral beasts, but they could not harm him at all. This was the power of his Cosmic Art. Given enough time, no matter how strong his opponent was, Lu Yin would eventually fully analyze their techniques and come up with an appropriate countermeasure.
The warships in the sky continued to bombard the ground, but they purposefully avoided Lu Yin’s location.
Not long after, Lu Yin used Flash and a Cosmic Palm to slaughter the remaining palm-sized astral beasts. He then flew up to meet the warships.
A person walked out of a spacecraft and grimly confronted Lu Yin. “Who are you?”
“I’m Astral Combat Academy’s Lu Yin.”
That person was stunned. “You’re Lu Yin? Didn’t you go missing?”
Lu Yin smiled. “I’m back.”
The soldier looked suspiciously at Lu Yin and then at the ground, hesitating about something.
Lu Yin was suspicious, but he did not speak and only watched on silently.
Not long after, that person spoke, “Did you kill the Sheng Ao?”
Lu Yin was puzzled. “What’s a Sheng Ao?”
“An astral beast that can control humans.” He then stared closely at Lu Yin, clearly suspicious of whether Lu Yin had been compromised.
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Translated By: Choco
Edited By: Neshi/Nyxnox
TLC'ed By: OMA