At the center of the seven tall stone pillars, the stone ground was littered with holes, appearing in the form of a sunken valley.
Many odd-shaped stones riddled the surroundings, and there were the feces and hair of spirit beasts lying on the ground. It was obvious that there were spirit beasts operating in this area.
The sun hung high, and under the bright sunlight, a few of the valley’s stone pillars cast shadows on the floor. Among them, there were three shadowy areas where spirit beasts were squatting underneath to rest while avoiding the sunlight.
They included a Silver Flame Spider, a Golden Haired Ape, and a Poison Scale Scorpion. They were all Rank Two spirit beasts, and their strength could compare to a martial practitioner in the Natal Opening Realm.
All three spirit beasts were several meters tall, and among them, the Poison Scale Scorpion’s entire body was covered in a glittering poisonous green. A smell of acidic-poison surrounded its body.
The Silver Flame Spider laid on top of a web, seemingly asleep. The Golden Haired Ape had a full body of golden hair, just over two meters tall and brutal-looking golden eyes.
At a juncture so small that it could only fit two people side by side, Yan Qingsong’s actions were careful as he poked his head into the open.
He explained in a soft voice to Na Nuo behind him, “A Silver Flame Spider, Golden Haired Ape and Poison Scale Scorpion are all here. They dislike sunlight and are all resting under the shade at the moment. Come and take a look.” He quietly slanted his body so that Na Nuo could come up too.
Na Nuo went up, and after her bright eyes swept across the area once, she giggled softly, “Not bad, your information is very accurate. With our abilities, we can totally take all three of these Rank Two beasts.”
“As for how are we going to split the loot, that will depend on who puts in the most effort,” Yan Ziqian said from behind.
Na Nuo nodded once, then pulled out a white jade ruler and walked straight out into the open towards the the Silver Flame Spider. “I’ll take care of the spider by myself. You and my sisters shall fight the remaining two beasts. That will be our arrangement.”
While Yan Ziqian and Feng Kai were surprised, Na Nuo waved the Formless Ruler in her hands once, and almost instantly, the entire small valley became filled with a heavy power and the skies filled with countless ruler shadows.
All three beasts immediately noticed the danger and immediately got up from their shade. They were all roaring and growling before angrily rushing towards the group of people.
With a sweet giggle, Na Nuo’s lithe figure fell like the wind right in front of the Silver Flame Spider.
“Whoosh Whoosh Whoosh!”
Many balls of silver flame floated from the spider’s body like bubbles.
Not only were those silver-colored flames not hot at all, they were so abnormally cold that even a strange noise resounded as if the air itself was being frozen.
“Stupid spider, do you really think you can hurt me with that?”
Na Nuo’s expression was relaxed as she suddenly threw out her Formless Ruler; the sky of ruler shadows carried within themselves a tremendous pressure. They then fell onto the Silver Flame Spider like a heavy downpour, striking it until it howled shrilly.
“That’s indeed worthy of a Profound Grade spirit artifact; most impressive,” said Yan Qingsong with admiration after taking a glance from in the back.
“Feng Kai, you and Qingsong will take care of the Poison Scale Scorpion. I’ll help our friends from Water Moon Sect deal with the Golden Haired Ape!” Yan Ziqian yelled once and charged towards the Golden Haired Ape with the girls from Water Moon Sect.
Feng Kai and Yan Ziqian were both at the early stage of the Natal Opening Realm, so they wouldn’t have too much of a disadvantage when fighting against a Rank Two spirit beast. Add in a few Refinement Realm companions to the mix, bombarding the beasts with spirit artifacts and techniques, wouldn’t make it too hard to kill a Rank Two spirit beast.
Everyone had been operating around this natural stone forest for a while now, so they were getting more and more experienced in fighting spirit beasts. Once the operation had begun, the martial practitioner with the highest realm would fight at the front to attract the majority of the firepower. Those with slightly weaker realms would spread out and attack from both wings using spirit artifacts, techniques, arrows, and spears.
As a result, since the spirit beast was being attacked from all sides – it could defend the front but not the back, defend the left side but not the right – they would normally be injured all over and slowly exhausted until they were worn down to death.
This time, there were no exceptions as well.
Under the leadership of the young leaders, Na Nuo, Feng Kai, and Yan Ziqian, and the combined strength of more than twenty juniors, it didn’t take them too much time before they physically blasted the three Rank Two spirit beasts until they were hurt all over. In the end the beasts collapsed to the ground.
“I took down the Silver Flame Spider on my own, so that one’s ours for sure. You showed some effort on the Golden Haired Ape as well, so we’ll just take its skin and the core and give you the rest. The Poison Scale Scorpion is yours entirely. Any questions?”
Na Nuo gave her opinion with a face full of smiles beside the three bloody spirit beasts.
Out of all three beasts, the Silver Flame Spider had the highest value and the Golden Haired Ape followed right after. The Poison Scale Scorpion was the lousiest of them…
Since she had claimed the Silver Flame Spider under her own name and demanded the Golden Haired Ape’s fur and core, it could be said that she had reaped the benefits entirely. Smiling at Yan Ziqian, her smile suddenly turned gentle as she said in a coy tone, “You are the rich men from Shattered Ice Manor, surely you wouldn’t haggle with us poor ladies, would you?”
Yan Ziqian and his group’s faces shook a little before they all helplessly nodded their heads, accepting this way of splitting the loot.
“Then we are in agreement!” Na Nuo waved a hand. “We’ll leave it to you guys to dissect the bodies, and once the spirit materials have been arranged, all you need to do is to pass us the materials that belong to us.”
She turned her head and smiled proudly at her sisters in the back. The girls from Water Moon Sect also responded with smiling giggles.
“I knew that we wouldn’t be walking off with much from the moment we came to you. Hehe, thankfully we weren’t planning on that.” Yan Qingsong wiped the spirit beasts’ blood off his body and coolly inquired, “Once we’ve finished splitting the spirit materials, why don’t we all drink a bit and celebrate later? Surely you won’t reject our invitation?”
The moment he said that, Yan Ziqian, Feng Kai, and the rest of the martial practitioners from Shattered Ice Manor all looked towards the girls of Water Moon Sect in expectation.
—This was their real goal.
“No problem. I’m sure that my sisters would like to know such pleasing-looking fellows too,” Na Nuo promised without hesitation.
The men’s eyes obviously brightened, and their expressions were also excited.
“Alright boys, let’s get the job done and we’ll drink some wine with the sisters and talk about life or something,” Yan Qingsong said in a pleased tone.
The Shattered Ice Manor martial practitioners immediately busied themselves in high spirits, and the little loss they suffered on the spirit materials had been forgotten long ago.
They did not notice that, atop their heads, a black cloud had floated over without notice…
There was not a cloud to be found under the hot sun, so when a black cloud had suddenly appeared out of nowhere, it appeared both strange and bizarre.
Columns of grayish-brown smoke, invisible to the normal human eye, began to float out of the bodies of the three spirit beasts. As if attracted by the black clouds, they began to slowly float, and without anyone noticing, slipped into the black cloud.
The black cloud was originally just as big as a disc. After a temporary stay, it had obviously grown larger.
However, the crowd from Shattered Ice Manor was filled with thoughts of getting to know the girls from Water Moon Sect better and thus did not pay attention to the sky nor notice anything amiss.
After a while, no more grayish-brown smoke was emitted the three spirit beasts, and the black cloud had also grown a lot larger.
At this moment, Gao Yu, who had been following the black cloud all this time, had finally arrived to this area.
The moment he appeared, both Shattered Ice Manor and Water Moon Sect’s crowds immediately noticed and looked towards him.
“Gao Yu, hehe, what a coincidence.” Yan Qingsong grinned with slightly chilly eyes. “Didn’t you say you were going to kill me back at Celestial Wolf Mountain? I’ve been waiting for you to do that for so long, yet you never came. You disappoint me.”
“Gao Family’s Gao Yu.” Feng Kai’s face darkened. “The responsibility of my brother’s lost arm at Celestial Wolf Mountain falls on you as well!”
“Yan Qingsong!” Gao Yu’s handsome face was dark, and his eyes flashed with a dark and evil light. He was like a poisonous snake that gave people an incredibly uncomfortable and dangerous feeling.
Still, his main objective today wasn’t Yan Qingsong. He immediately looked towards the black cloud in the sky upon arrival.
After Gao Yu had arrived, that black cloud too appeared to be alerted and quietly floated away.
“I have no time for you today. The next time we meet, I will kill you!” The moment he saw the black cloud leaving, Gao Yu’s face immediately turned urgent and was about to hastily follow it.
“Hehe, do you really think that I will give you a ‘next time’?” Yan Qingsong frowned. “I heard that you’ve broken through to the ninth level of the Refinement Realm and share the same realm as me now. I have always been such a coward and I never overestimate myself. I won’t wait until you grow stronger where you’ll become a real threat to me.”
After a pause, Yan Qingsong suddenly leaped towards Gao Yu. “So, in order to prevent you from becoming a threat to me in the future, I believe I will feel much assured if I kill you first today!”
Yan Qingsong had always been famous in Shattered Ice Manor for his schemes and ruthlessness. He was a very careful man who would not leave too many chances for his enemies.
From the moment Gao Yu declared that he was going to kill him, he had been paying him attention from the dark. The moment he knew Gao Yu entered Nebula Pavilion and broke through to the ninth level of the Refinement Realm, he immediately felt pressured and saw Gao Yu as a target that he needed to get rid of sooner rather than later. Since Gao Yu had walked right into his lap, why would he ever let him leave so easily?
In almost an instant, Yan Qingsong had rushed over right in front of Gao Yu, blocking his way and seizing the initiative.
“You’re courting death!” Gao Yu was worried about that black cloud, and the moment he saw Yan Qingsong interfering, he immediately felt murderous and fought him.
“God dammit, they’re actually fighting! This crazy Gao Yu, didn’t he see that they have so many men?”
Just as Tu Ze, Zhuo Qian, and their group hurriedly rushed over into the valley, they immediately saw Gao Yu and Yan Qingsong fighting each other. Fatty Kang Zhi immediately stomped his feet and yelled as he glared daggers at Gao Yu.
“Brother Tu, look, aren’t these the three spirit beasts that we discovered?” coldly asked Chu Peng as he looked at the bodies of the spirit beasts on the floor.
“And here I was wondering why you guys suddenly left. I see now that you were planning to sneak in while we were weak. Tu Ze, you sure scheme well alright!” After a brief shock, as if he had just suddenly reacted, Yan Ziqian suddenly said with a cold voice and cold eyes, “Do you really think that we would have expended so much spirit energy on the spirit beasts that you would be able to gain the upper hand from that?”
The moment he finished, he rushed over with his Ice Drake Sword, yelling, “These people are here to take advantage of us!”
Both Feng Kai and the people of Shattered Ice Manor did not think that Tu Ze and the others were there to protect Gao Yu. They assumed that they were in cahoots in the first place, and they had also chosen this exact moment after they had killed the spirit beasts to appear. So obviously they were trying to snatch their loot after their strength had been expended.
Almost instantly, both sides had reignited their war and became involved in an intense melee.
Both sides had fought against each other several times and were familiar enough to know each other’s opponents, so they immediately found their targets and began fighting.
Yan Ziquan versus Tu Ze and Feng Kai versus Zhuo Qian. Originally, Kang Zhi was going to fight Yan Qingsong, but because Gao Yu had locked down Yan Qingsong like a madman, he had moved on to a different opponent. Everyone else had their own opponents, and they began killing each other inside the valley.
“Sister Na Nuo, this…”
The girls of Water Moon Sect still hadn’t digested the situation. All of a sudden, the people from Shattered Ice Manor and Nebula Pavilion were fighting each other, and they found the valley a mess.
“What does it have to do with us?” Na Nuo herself was stunned for a second, but she immediately broke into a smile. “All we need to do is to watch from the sidelines!”
Once they heard her words, the girls from Water Moon Sect relaxed. Giggling, they began to chatter excitedly while pointing at the fighters and making all sorts of comments.
“Sigh, the longblade in Tu Ze’s hands still has holes from the Ice Drake Sword from the previous few battles. How is he going to fight?”
“From the looks of it, Tu Ze is still going to be at a disadvantage. Come on, that Yan Ziqian is totally relying on the advantage of his spirit artifact.”
“Feng Kai and Zhuo Qian’s spirit artifacts are about the same rank, but Feng Kai is older and he was in the early stage of the Natal Opening Realm for a long time. Zhuo Qian has only broken through to the Natal Opening Realm, and she’s also not too used to the fighting style of the Natal Opening Realm. She won’t have any advantage against Feng Kai at all. Yeah, it’ll probably be just like before where she gets pummeled by Feng Kai. That’s the reality of it. The two of them have quite the gap between them after all.”
“Look, as I thought, both Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian are injured!”
“Oh! Look at that Gao Yu fellow, he seems pretty fierce! As for that Yan Qingsong… his bark is loud alright, but it doesn’t look like he has the advantage, does he?”
“Gao Yu, I’ve heard about this person. There was a rumor that he’s a little… psychotic. He once tortured and killed a girl.”
“What, really? How disgusting!”
“Mn, he sure doesn’t look like a good guy no matter how you look at him. If things don’t look good for Yan Qingsong, then maybe I’ll help him myself! Nothing suits that psychotic fellow better than death itself!”
Just like Na Nuo, the girls from Water Moon Sect stayed out of the way while watching and heatedly discussing the fight.
Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian were not Yan Ziqian and Feng Kai’s match during the previous battle, and this time, they also didn’t have the upper hand.
The crimson longblade in Tu Ze’s hands had many holes in it, so during the clash against the Ice Drake Sword, he was at a complete disadvantage.
At this moment, three more bloody wounds had appeared on Tu Ze’s chest. After the chill had seeped into the blood stain, the blood had even turned into bloody crystals. From the outside, his blood appeared very fresh, but only Tu Ze knew that, inside the wound, the chill was seeping into his chest bit by bit, causing him to feel cramped all over and gradually slow down.
“If my spirit artifact was created successfully, then how would I possibly suffer such a loss? Do the heavens mean to suppress me as well so I won’t ever compare to this bastard Yan Ziqian?!”
With a hideous expression and bloody red eyes, Tu Ze clashed against Yan Ziqian, but his heart screamed in defiance on the inside.
“You damnable traitor, if Great Master Lu hadn’t broken my Dragon Bone Whip again, I would have whipped your face bloody a long time ago!” Gritting her teeth, Zhuo Qian’s beautiful face yelled furiously.
There were two new tight wounds on top of her snow white arm. The wound was shocking to the eye, and even her bones could be vaguely seen.
It was at this moment that the wind-like, sweeping sound of spirit beasts had come from afar, and very soon, a pair of gloomy Profound Nether Beasts abruptly appeared.
“We’re here.” Liang Zhong frowned and took a glance towards the valley. Then he said in surprise, “They’re actually infighting, and pretty intense too.”
“Brother Tu! Sister Qian!”
The moment the Profound Nether Beast stopped, Qin Lie also clearly saw the scenery inside the valley. His eyes instantly turned red, like a beast that had been enraged and became stricken suddenly with hysteria.
His handsome face became instantly filled with a color of irritation and madness. Even his body became afflicted with an odd shuddering.
—He recklessly rushed forth.