The Astral River was wide, and it also stretched up and down as far as one could see, dividing the universe in two.
At this moment, Lu Yin had seen an indescribably terrifying amount of rune lines flash past within the Astral River. Those rune lines had caused his entire body to tremble with fear, and his scalp had gone numb. Although he had not seen anything clearly, he was certain of how terrifying the owner of those rune lines was, as they were in no way inferior to what he had seen from Ancestor Tong or Ancestor Sightless. In other words, a strange creature within the Astral River had just swam by them that was powerful enough to rival a Cosmic Imprinter.
Nobody knew how the Astral River had been formed, but it split the entire universe, or rather the entire Fifth Mainland, to form the Innerverse and the Outerverse. There were also its tributaries that flowed throughout the Innerverse, sectioning it into countless flowzones, but all of these tributaries were connected to the Astral River.
Every year, countless people explored the Astral River, and every year, countless people also ended up dying within it.
The simplest example was fishing from an Astral River Ark. One had to be a Cruiser at the bare minimum to even qualify to participate, and that was just the most basic qualification.
If even fishing in the Astral River was so dangerous, then one could just imagine how terrifying the Astral River itself was.
Nobody knew what lived within the Astral River, and it was possible that only Progenitors were able to clearly explore its depths.
At this moment, Lu Yin had just seen the terrifying side of the Astral River.
Fortunately, that creature that had a power level of about a million did not stop, and it vanished instantly. Its speed was incredibly fast. Perhaps, in the creature’s eyes, they were nothing more than some miscellaneous fish in the river, and it merely might not have had the interest to spare them even a glance.
The crowd continued to cheer as they chased down and killed the fleeing Sixth Mainland cultivators.
The Sixth Mainland cultivators were just about to return to the Innerverse.
The width of the Astral River at the area where it separated the Innerverse and the Outerverse was actually not very far.
On the other side of the river, where the Astral River bordered the Innerverse, the situation should have been very peaceful. However, at this time, one spacecraft after another was approaching from the distance, and they all lined up near the edge of the Astral River upon arriving. Even further away was an extremely large continent whose end was impossible to see. It was floating through space at a surprising speed, and it was covered with all types of resources: ores, star essence, strange creatures, various weapons, and even a few buildings and people.
These were the resources that the Sixth Mainland had plundered from the Innerverse. At regular intervals, the Sixth Mainland’s forces would transport a large amount of resources back before dividing them among the three participating realms. The amount of plundered resources was staggering, and they were also all-inclusive, though ores and star essence were the most common items. The buildings on this continent were the library collections of the Innerverse’s powers, and they contained battle techniques, arts, and secrets that had been gathered by these powers over the course of countless years.
Aside from those resources, there were also a countless number of captured Innerverse cultivators who would also be sent back to the Sixth Mainland. These people were valuable for the Sixth Mainland as some of them had rare innate gifts while others had impressive power levels and could be used as sparring partners. There were even some that simply looked exotic, and of course, there were also incomparably beautiful girls who were being sent back to become servants.
The Sixth Mainland had put forth strenuous efforts in their invasion of the Innerverse because the Sea King had restored the Fifth Mainland’s sky. This meant that the Fifth Mainland once again had the possibility to birth a Progenitor. The Sixth Mainland had to eliminate any such possibilities, and they wanted to eradicate the Fifth Mainland’s cultivation civilization while also plundering them.
War was fought for profits, as only profits could drive a war machine.
These resources were the profits that the people of the Sixth Mainland were able to see with their own eyes.
This continent loaded with resources was just a drop in the ocean, but even still, the amount that it held was very exaggerated. The war in the Innerverse had lasted for more than five years now, and the Sixth Mainland had transported similar floating treasure continents back home numerous times. Each time they did so, they had to deal with Innerverse powerhouses that ambushed them and attempted to destroy things, and they were rarely able to peacefully return to the Sixth Mainland.
This time, the ones escorting the resources were from the War Martial Realm’s Toolcasting family. In contrast to the Tong family and the Sightless Clan, the Toolcasting family held a higher status as their family contained an Empyrean Imprinter.
They were the War Martial Realm’s most powerful family. They were not “one of” the most powerful families simply because there were no other families in the realm. The entire War Martial Realm only had the singular Toolcasting family, and the entire War Martial Realm viewed toolcasting as their sole privilege. As such, the War Martial Realm also had its own grading system that was distinct from all the other realms: they had Augmenters.
The War Martial Realm’s Empyrean Imprinter was known as the Ancestor Toolwielder, and their Realmling was simply known as Toolwielder. Aside from these two, the rest of the cultivators from the Toolcasting family were known as Augmenters, and they were differentiated by stages that went from first to ninth with first being the lowest and ninth the highest. The family’s Ninth Stage Augmenter was actually a Cosmic Imprinter.
This time, the most powerful individual among the treasure continent’s escorts was a Ninth Stage Augmenter. There were also Seventh Stage and Fourth Stage Augmenters present, and even their Realmling, Toolwielder, was there.
Although the treasure continent was not very wide, it was very long, and it traveled parallel to the Astral River as it steadily headed towards the Sixth Mainland’s Mara River.
The side of the treasure continent that was next to the Astral River did not have that many powerhouses standing guard because the entire reason why they were traveling so close to the Astral River was to use it as a shield. It would be hard for the Innerverse’s experts to attack that side of the treasure continent, and thus, more guards could be stationed on the other side.
On the side of the continent that faced away from the Astral River, countless hammers floated in the air, showing the presence of the Toolcasting family.
With the Ninth Stage Augmenter escorting this continent, plus the multiple experts from the Toolcasting family, this transport was considered absolutely safe, especially the side that was facing the Astral River. Logically, it would not have to deal with any sneak attacks by Innerverse cultivators.
However, things don’t always go according to plan. The place where the Tong family and Sightless Clan tore through the Astral River to invade the Outerverse was ultimately also where they fled back to the Innerverse in defeat. And the retreating Sixth Mainland cultivators were not the only people to appear in the Innerverse, as Astral-9's Headmaster and Elder He were also chasing after them along with a group of experts.
The two opposing sides streamed out of the Astral River as a massacre unfolded in the Innerverse. Coincidentally, this was also when the treasure continent and its transport crew appeared in the distance.
Lu Yin looked to the east and saw the floating continent, which made him blink. What is that?
The people from the Tong family grew excited, and they rushed off to ask the escorts for help.
Atop on the continent carrying the plundered resources, the Toolwielder Realmling stared off into the distance. “It’s the people from the Tong family and the Sightless Clan! That- did they tear through the Astral River?”
Since the Innerverse was under the suppression of the everpresent cosmic phenomenon, the Tong family and the Sightless Clan’s worries went away as soon as they entered the Innerverse. Although they might not have had as many experts as the Outerverse’s forces, since everyone’s power level was suppressed, the two families felt that they should be able to pull through.
Even Ancestor Sightless and Yuan Shi were forced to suppress their power level the moment they entered the Innerverse.
The fight had suddenly become a contest of numbers.
The scales of the battle tipped once again, this time in favor of the Sixth Mainland.
This was especially true when an expert from the Toolcasting family flew out from the treasure continent. Elder He was left helpless, and he looked over at Astral-9's Headmaster. “Retreat. That’s the Toolcasting family, and they’re even stronger than the Tong family and the Sightless Clan. We’ll just have to guard the other side of the Astral River as Yuan Shi restores the Astral River to its previous state.”
Astral-9's Headmaster was frustrated, but they really did not have any other choice. “Withdraw!”
Upon seeing the people from the Outerverse start trying to withdraw, the Sixth Mainland cultivators were unwilling to let them leave so simply. They wanted to chase after the Fifth Mainland cultivators and capture them.
The Sightless Clan’s Imprinter suppressed his injuries and attempted to block the path back to the Astral River, determined to prevent the Outerverse cultivators from escaping.
As long as they took out this group of cultivators from the Outerverse, then even if that Outerverse powerhouse who was able to rival a Cosmic Imprinter won his battle, there would be no one for him to give orders to. In that situation, the Outerverse resources could still be plundered.
In the distance, a group of experts from the Toolcasting family charged out from the floating treasure continent. Their orders were not to actually battle against the group from the Outerverse, but rather to scare them and to prevent any of the transported resources from being lost. Even the Toolcasting family did not want any mishaps to happen at this time, as this task was related to the division of profits between the three realms that had invaded the Innerverse.
They only wanted to ferry these resources back to the Sixth Mainland and then return to the Innerverse to assess the situation.
However, the Toolwielder Realmling wanted to detain one person in particular: Wendy Yushan.
Back in the Daosource Sect's ruins, he had been attracted to the young woman the moment he had laid eyes on her. He had never imagined that she would be someone from the Fifth Mainland, but this was even better. Now, he could capture her and take her back.
Ancestor Sightless appeared from the void, still carrying Ancestor Tong with a hand. By now, Ancestor Tong had slightly recovered from his injuries, but it would be impossible for him to fight anytime in the near future. He had been injured by an item from the Arrow Progenitor, not some random run-of-the-mill weapon.
Yuan Shi appeared across from Ancestor Sightless with a serious expression.
Within the Innerverse, due to the suppression by the cosmic phenomenon, he was unable to display his full strength despite his monstrous power. His advantage had suddenly become seemingly nonexistent whereas his opponents had been reinforced by a group of experts.
Yuan Shi did not know that the people from the Toolcasting family merely wanted to scare the Outerverse cultivators away, but he also wanted to withdraw.
Across from him, Ancestor Sightless was able to see through Yuan Shi’s thoughts, and the Cosmic Imprinter tossed Ancestor Tong towards the continent before clapping his hands together. A formless halo gradually spread out, and in an instant, it enveloped all of the people who were next to the edge of the Astral River. This whole time, Ancestor Sightless had not used his innate gift. This was not because he did not have one, but rather because it had not been the right time yet.
Now was the right time.
Yuan Shi’s expression changed drastically, and he immediately moved towards Ancestor Sightless.
But he was already too late. As the halo spread out, everyone was teleported onto the treasure continent, and they left the Astral River behind them.
Ancestor Sightless’s innate gift could instantaneously transport any people or items within the halo to another place within view. In truth, such an innate gift was not very useful to someone at Ancestor Sightless’s strength level, as he could cross the universe with just one step while the range of his sight was too small. However, at this moment, his innate gift had been used to great effect.
If the Outerverse crowd still wanted to escape, then they now needed to escape from the treasure continent first. The continent was covered with Sixth Mainland cultivators who were protecting the resources as well as experts from the Toolcasting family, and they had just been joined by the Tong family and Sightless Clan’s experts. Escaping was practically an impossible mission, and it seemed certain that the Outerverse cultivators would be taken to the Sixth Mainland along with this shipment of resources as prisoners.
The continent was small compared to the Astral River, but was still very large since it had specifically been built to ferry all these resources that had been plundered from the Innerverse back to the Sixth Mainland. When Lu Yin opened his eyes, he saw all sorts of minerals that stretched endlessly into the distance, and nearby, there was a very wretched-looking person hiding within some ore.
That person could never have imagined that Lu Yin would suddenly appear next to him, and he turned around to exchange glances with Lu Yin. At this moment, Lu Yin felt completely incredulous; wasn’t this Ling Que?
Ling Que blinked, also in disbelief of what he was seeing. He then rubbed his eyes vigorously, focused his gaze, swallowed his saliva, and raised a hand to awkwardly wave at Lu Yin. “How are you doing?”
Lu Yin nodded out of reflex. “Still good.”
“Oh,” Ling Que grunted in acknowledgement. He then stopped speaking, as the atmosphere had become awkward.
However, the next moment , the two charged forward and stared at each other. “Did you betray the Innerverse?” they asked each other at the same time.
“Nonsense, of course not!” they said, in unison again.
“Stop copying me!” They were still speaking the same words, and then they both backed up several meters and stared at each other.
Lu Yin’s finger twitched. This fellow was actually on the Sixth Mainland’s treasure continent—what could he be doing if not betraying the Innerverse? Lu Yin did not believe that, with Ling Que’s strength, he could hide right under the noses of the experts of the Toolcasting family.
Across from Lu Yin, Ling Que had the same thought, as he did not believe that Lu Yin was capable of hiding right underneath the eyes of the Toolcasting family.
At that moment, the sounds of battle could be heard in the distance. The two looked over at the same time, and they saw the cultivators from the Outerverse fighting against the transport crew as well as the other cultivators from the Sixth Mainland.
Lu Yin instantly attacked Ling Que, and Ling Que did the same.
Ling Que had already prepared his Mighty Slash, and he was ready to ambush Lu Yin at a moment’s notice. The two had not met each other in five years, and Ling Que clearly had not noticed the disparity between himself and Lu Yin.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Choco
Edited By: Neshi/Nyxnox
TLC'ed By: OMA