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Silence, death-like silence.
The two heads seemed to die and seemed to amass. They didn’t open their eyes, and they moreover didn’t move.
Panting for breath, Mo Yeyu watched this scene. He stared blankly for a full thirty seconds and then slapped himself with both his hands.
Slap! Slap! The clear sound reverberated throughout the cave. Xu Yangyi raised a brow, and raised his chin towards the puppeteer.
“I’m an idiot, seriously…” Mo Yeyu inwardly kicked himself because of his stupidity, babbling incoherently. “I’m a real fucking idiot!”
“What’s happening?” Lord Zhao urgently asked.
Mo Yeyu didn’t answer him. Instead, he looked at the supreme-grade spirit stone with a burning-hot gaze. “Commander, didn’t you say… that this spirit stone couldn’t be taken?”
Xu Yangyi was silent, yet his eyes burned with passion again because of these words.
“Do it! Take it!!! Absolutely!!!” Mo Yeyu was already jumping in excitement. “I get it! I understand what’s going on!” His eyes fiery, he said, “Didn’t we all think… that this was the voice of the supreme-grade spirit-stone focus? That what’s going on in front of us is form condensation?”
“Wrong! Completely wrong!” This isn’t the manifestations of two demon forms! This is a water-demon with two consciousnesses!” In his excitement, he hadn’t clearly explained himself. He also realized this and quickly cycled qi at his fingertip, drawing a picture in the air. “Originally, this lake of Profound-Nether Heavy Water only had one consciousness! Someone capable of taking out a supreme-grade spirit stone is undoubtedly a Core Formation ancestor! This supreme-grade spirit stone carried an extremely faint trace of will from this Dao Master! To become the master of this body!”
“This consciousness is just ‘one’! The sole one of this lake! However…” His body was somewhat shivering in excitement. “That Dao Master absolutely would’ve never expected that this lakewater would actually start demonizing through a stroke of luck! But once it started demonizing…”
“A second consciousness would arise!” Xu Yangyi immediately seized onto the main point and said.
“That’s right!” Mo Yeyu laughed happily. “This is the difference between ‘the self’ and ‘the other’! A body cannot have two consciousnesses! So their struggling right now! And that’s why there are two demon forms! In order to hide this formation, all spiritual-sense fluctuations are nearly concealed! I dare swear on the honor of the Mo Clan that the Dao Master can only sense whether the Profound-Nether Heavy Water is here or not! But there’s no way he can detect if the ‘core’ has changed!”
“Then that’s to say that if we take the supreme-grade spirit stone and leave, the Dao Master won’t be able to clearly sense it as long as this water-demon remains. But when he finds out something’s happened, this water-demon will be the scapegoat?” Xu Yangyi rubbed his chin. “And he’ll dump it, huh…”
“So how about it, Branch Master?” Mo Yeyu said excitedly, “Wanna risk going up against a Dao Master’s consciousness?”
“Why not?” Xu Yangyi laughed heartily, his sword-like gaze trained straight on the spirit stone. His worry had been exhausted. A treasure delivered to his door and a scapegoat presented, as well. To not take something that the heavens gave was to suffer calamity in turn!
“It’s not so simple.” At this time, Chu Zhaonan’s voice rang out lowly. His gaze wasn’t on the spirit stone but instead looking at the black skull with incomparable graveness. “That’s Profound-Nether Heavy Water!”
He gnashed his teeth and said, “One drop is heavier than 30,000 catties! According to legend, this water vanished during the middle age of the Qing dynasty! This is lake…” he paused and took a deep breath, “is diluted with a drop of Profound-Nether Heavy Water!”
“Profound-Nether Heavy Water?” Lord Zhao and Zhao Wuye sighed. “I once read about it in an ancient text… If a single drop was found nowadays… while the value might not be as much as this supreme-grade spirit stone, it absolutely isn’t off by too much! If it has to be ranked, it’s definitely an SSS-rank spirit-object!”
Xu Yangyi’s brows shot up. Such a wonderful object actually existed in the world! He also understood why he had only sensed the spiritual-force aggregate of thirty cultivators. This was how terrible the demon’s real battle strength was.
It was compressed.
If explained through the methods of Cultivation Civilization, this was density. Indeed, this lake only had thirty cultivators’ worth of spiritual force, but through the strongest compression… it was perhaps no less than 300 cultivators once mobilized!
“But fortunately…” His gaze landed on the two heads of flowing water, and he narrowed his eyes. “its splitting now. There’s no need for us to go up against such great pressure.”
It was then at that moment, that the head of flowing water encasing the supreme-grade spirit stone finally moved. Its eyes slowly opened, empty as a cave, yet it seemed to glance through everyone present. An ancient and eternal flavor revealed itself in both of its eyes.
Everyone took a deep breath and forced themselves to remain steady.
This was a Dao Master’s trace of will! Even a mere trace put them on strict guard!
“Display your command plate. If you do not have it, you will be erased.” Lips formed of water faintly twitched, and the spirit-stone head spoke dimly without the slightest emotion.
As the spirit-stone head opened its mouth, the black head didn’t even move, seemingly suppressed by the other head.
“Command plate?” Everyone was dumbfounded. Upon reaching this place, a command plate was still needed? Furthermore… this reveal was too unexpected!
Lord Zhao said in astonishment, “What’s a command plate? We don’t have any command plate.”
“No…” Xu Yangyi’s gaze twinkled as he lifted his head. He glanced complicatedly at the three sealed-off exits. “We… really do have a command plate.”
Chu Zhaonan was swift to react. “You’re saying… our command plate?”
Xu Yangyi nodded and took out the command plate, walking over. Presently, only a third of the golden light remained on the medallion.
Even now… not much time was left.
He took a deep breath and stood before the head of flowing water, no less than ten meters away. The head displayed no signs of attack. With a cool expression on his face, he took the command plate and swung it at the water-demon. Unexpectedly, a ray of golden light shot out from the spirit-stone head and settled over the medallion. In the next second, a faintly discernible pattern of veins surprisingly emerged on the entire object!
Xu Yangyi’s gaze slightly narrowed, doubt surging in his heart. He kept on feeling that this struggle over the heavenly paradise was in no way simple. The underground cave, the massive complicated array, the sudden advance withdrawal of almost ten thousand cultivators, a water-demon that was the focus of a formation eye, and the command plate he himself had brought… Separated apart, each one seemed simply. Yet joined together, they formed an immense riddle.
He could almost confirm… someone, someone with very high status, was planning something here. The struggle over the heavenly paradise were merely a veneer. To the clans and powers, it was a struggle of utmost importance, but this mysterious schemer wanted to use this great war to conceal a few things… or perhaps it could be said traces?
Buzz… Not waiting on him to ponder more, the golden light appeared to scan. After sweeping over the command plate, the imprint of a shortsword shockingly appeared on the medallion. Before anyone could even speak, an emotionless voice rang out again, “Verified, one of the great formation’s five command plates.” Leaving them no time to finish contemplating, the next line echoed again. “Not the Profound-Water Command. It is the Scarlet-Gold Command. Command plate is different, exterminate.”
In this instant, Xu Yangyi’s hand holding the command plate suddenly exploded. A black guandao had already emerged in his grasp!
At the same time, a suit of black armor followed with a loud crack, the sum of it forming over his body. Over the course of half a year’s nurture and coalescence, the Shadowlumen Armor was finally useable again!
“Burn…” He took a deep breath, and Falling Moon shook, a soaring red flame suddenly flaring. So close to the water-demon, Xu Yangyi hacked straight towards the head containing the dazzling supreme-grade spirit stone!
Ten Cardinals Red Lotus!
The map discarded and the dagger in sight, the demon slayer seemed to have an appointment. At the same time, Chu Zhaonan drew his pistol at almost unseen speeds, a seemingly ordinary bullet firing straight at the supreme-grade spirit stone!
There was no sound, merely… it was akin to a shadow, not even bringing wind.
In the same moment, both sides of the head rumbled with the sound of earth! Two gigantic puppet-hands, engraved all over with talismans, rumbled and charged ahead! They were no less than ten meters tall! Wreathed in ten blazing conflagrations, ten fingers grabbed towards the heads at left and right! Behind the water-demon’s head, Qin Xueluan raised a hand, and a swarm of hornets droned as they flew out like a burning wave, soaring forth at lightning speed! After all of this, Quan Ningyue, who had remained motionless, spread open her hands to reveal a nebulous orb of spiritual light.
Lord Zhao’s hands came together. As he opened his mouth, a fiery-red vermilion bird, two to three meters long, screamed and came forth. The greatness of its might caused a hot tide to quickly surface in the dark underground cave.
None of them had organized, but they now all happened to use fire-element arcane efforts!
Aren’t you water? Then we’ll just evaporate you until there’s nothing left!
Nonetheless, the head only tilted upwards against the tidal offensive. “Stop.”
In a wink, time seemed to freeze.
Xu Yangyi’s gaze abruptly constricted. His body, which had charged ahead, seemed to enter a muddy swamp, unable as to so much lift a finger. However, the several-meter-long flame dragon shrouding Falling Moon actually showed faint signs of dying out!
In his surroundings, not a single divine ability was able to approach ten meters around the spirit-stone head!
“This is spiritual-sense materialization!!!” Chu Zhaonan shouted, “Foundation Establishment can move around in the air! External qi release! But Core Formation doesn’t require external qi release! Spiritual sense can materialize to injure someone! But it has nothing more than a Dao Master’s strand of will! It just doesn’t risk forcibly bracing!”
No sooner said than done, a drifting swoosh followed at the same time Chu Zhaonan’s voice receded. The surroundings of the spirit-stone head… shockingly rose up with countless balls of green water. There were tens, a hundred, floating in midair!
“Don’t tell me…” Chu Zhaonan’s lips twitched. Not so long ago, it had been drops of water. Now… the water-demon was planning on starting over again! Furthermore, with an even more powerful strength?
His guess became reality in the blink of an eye. These water balls flew swiftly at a speed visible to the naked eye… to form streams of piercing arrows! Each one was a full meter long!
Hum… In the wake of these arrows solidifying, the ground around everyone seemed to sink down. A never-before-felt spiritual force, one of unparalleled heaviness, crept forwards on all sides as if it was tangible!
“Focus!” Xu Yangyi snarled. This move was obviously much more powerful than the involuntary machine-gun sweep a little while ago! As long as they split apart, perhaps they would be seriously injured, if not dead!
“Mo Clan Puppetry Art…” Mo Yeyu’s hands flashed through hand seals, towing afterimages of white spiritual light. In less than a second, both of his hands slammed down. “Crossing Three Mountains!!!”
BOOM!!! In the wake of his hands, two square-shaped fist-sized boxes whirled at his side. Soon, they resembled Rubik’s cubes! Scattering apart at a dizzying pace, they grew larger and formed three enormous walls, steadfastly blocking the front of everyone!
The talismans on the wall flickered. One could immediately detect that they were incredibly thick. At the same time Mo Yeyu cast out this puppet, a grave expression took over all of Jun Man’s face, and his hands weaved seals in kind. Yet simultaneously, the hundreds of piercing arrows at the water-demon’s side merged with crazed roars! With the scream of whistling wind, these arrows came soaring forth, even turning the air fuzzy through their tremors!
Thunk thunk thunk! The volley of arrows fired into the air, and a breaking sound quickly followed with almost no gap in time! The first wall shattered apart with a rumble!
1. The specific Chinese that carries the sentiment for scapegoat is “背锅”, which literally translates to “carrying pot”.
2. Qing dynasty (1644-1911 CE)
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