Book 6, Chapter 87: Gradual Advance

Void Crystals were incredibly rare spatial-type materials. Unlike Void Starmetal, it was not used to make armor or weapons. Instead, it was a vital component for utility tools such as spatial rings, communication devices, or even transport formations.

One example of its usage was the transmission puppet that Patelocke was possessing; it had a Void Crystal as its core.

Void Crystals were even rarer than Void Starmetal. After all, it was much harder for a consciousness entity to be annihilated by the void.

But now that Su Chen had confirmed that the Astrals had such a use, it was impossible for him to politely hold himself back any longer. He immediately commanded his disciples to capture all of the Astrals alive.

And he spared no expense to maximize his yield. Afterwards, he personally sent the Astrals into the void and extracted their Void Crystals one after another before leaving.

With these newly acquired Void Crystals, Su Chen would be able to create even more ancient transmission puppets. That meant that Patelocke would no longer have to stay in one place for long periods of time. With an ancient transmission puppet of his own, Su Chen would be able to communicate with anyone at any place and at any time. In a similar vein, he could also create long-range teleportation formations. The benefits that this would bring to the entire Primordial Continent was quite apparent.

From this point of view, these Astrals were truly living treasures.

He had originally planned on exterminating their entire race, causing these half-organic half-specter lifeforms to go completely extinct. But now, he had found a surprising use for them, causing him to re-evaluate the value of the Astrals’ continued existence.

After an hour, Wind Silence Breach was completely subdued. All of the Astrals had either been killed or captured.

Su Chen hadn’t expended much of his energy while fighting the Astrals, but he was actually beginning to grow somewhat tired from constantly throwing Astrals into the void.

As these Astrals were thrown into the void en masse, the number of Void Crystals that Su Chen had also began to increase.

He called Jiang Hanfeng over and explained his plans for the teleportation formation. And the moment he pulled out a Void Crystal, Jiang Hanfeng felt his knees go weak.

After this brief interlude, the invasion continued.

Past Wind Silence Breach were the Ringed Corridor Plains.

The Ringed Corridor Plains were not one of the four natural defensive environments of the Gloom Kingdom, but its terrain was still quite unique in its own right. There was a large magnetic field underground, which caused the terrain to transform every so often.

In other words, the ground would move and shift on its own accord.

As a result, the Ringed Corridor Plains was constantly shaking with earthquakes all year round. Deep gulches and scarred ravines dotted the surface of the plains, creating a roughly hewn and uneven surface.

In this volatile environment, any lifeforms that inhabited this region could be here today and gone tomorrow.

Even its landmarks and features would constantly shift locations.

There were a total of three Astral communities living in the Ringed Corridor Plains. None of them were able to live in the same place for long due to the fluctuating terrain, and they would constantly migrate around the land.

As such, the only way to find and finish off the three Astral communities in a timely manner was to split up the Boundless Sect’s disciples.

But this would also decrease the effectiveness of the Boundless Sect’s offensive.

The Boundless Sect’s higher-ups began to discuss the matter at length.

“Speed is of the utmost importance. It’s been no more than half a day since we first attacked the Astrals, so they most likely haven’t discovered our presence yet, nor have they gathered together. I believe that we should not waste our time in the Ringed Corridor Plains and instead push through to the Wanlai Caves,” Lin Shaoxuan said as he drew a straight line on the map that directly passed through the center of the Ringed Corridor Plains, Nightmare Forest, Specter’s Garden, Damaged Canyon, and Reaper’s Temple before ending at Wanlai Caves to demonstrate his point.

A majority of the Boundless Sect supported Lin Shaoxuan’s proposed plan, but there were also many people who harbored different ideas.

“It’s not going to be possible for us to wipe out the Astrals all at once. I agree that the current Boundless Sect is the most powerful force that has ever existed in human history, but that doesn’t mean that the Astrals won’t be able to mount a respectable counterattack against us. They have been around for tens of thousands of years, so we should expect their sleeves to be quite deep. If we blindly attack our opponents without adequate preparations, we may just run out of steam and find ourselves in grave danger…… I think that it would be wisest if we advanced step by step and prepare for a long-term battle,” Shi Kaihuang argued.

This old man always prioritized steadiness and disagreed with rushing things.

In comparison, Lin Shaoxuan, who represented the younger generation, was much more impulsive and decisive.

This was not a surprise. The Boundless Sect’s strength was truly greater now than it had ever been.

Between the cultivation techniques that Su Chen had developed and the large quantity of improved medicines that he had created, many of the Astrals’ attacks were rendered useless. Additionally, their large numbers of high-tiered cultivators made them seemingly invincible. As long as they didn’t try to attack a heavily fortified place like Sky City, they would be able to go anywhere they pleased.

The Astrals were not even worth mentioning in comparison.

With such a powerful force at their disposal, Li Chongshan preferred to finish the job in one fell swoop.

However, Shi Kaihuang’s opinion was not so easily ignored either.

No one knew just what tricks the Astrals had up their sleeves. If they barged into enemy territory without grasping a full picture of their opponent’s strength, it was not impossible for them to invite calamity upon their own heads.

As such, Shi Kaihuang’s proposal also garnered quite a bit of support.

Su Chen thought about this problem for some time before saying, “Well, then why don’t we spend some time thinking about what kinds of secret tricks the Astrals might have up their sleeves?”

That was hard to speculate about.

Jiang Hanfeng tossed out, “It could be some kind of ultra-powerful formation.”

Li Chongshan hypothesized, “Or it might be an extremely dangerous unique environment.”

Chu Yingwan said, “It could be some kind of legendary technique.”

Zhu Xianyao guessed, “They might also have the aid of some mysterious, powerful ally.”

Gu Qingluo’s answer was the most interesting. “Perhaps there is an Origin Beast laying dormant somewhere in the depths of Wanlai Caves.”

Everybody had their own ideas, and these ideas all seemed possible.

No one knew exactly what kinds of concealed techniques or plots the Astrals might have up their sleeves, but they all quickly realized that there were a multitude of ways that the Astrals could potentially turn the tables on them.

If they weren’t extra careful, it was very likely for them to eventually fall prey to some kind of hidden trap.

Su Chen had used a very simple method to help everyone realize the dangers that they were facing. When they were the ones who uttered the dangers aloud, some of the disciples who had grown overconfident due to their recent string of successes sobered up a little.

When Su Chen saw that everyone had calmed down, he continued his speech. “It seems that everyone is now on the same page. Very good. Even though we have won some key initial battles, part of that is due to the element of surprise being on our side. Very soon, Wanlai Caves will receive notice that humans have invaded their territory, and they will definitely respond in kind. Right now, we need to prioritize not quickly seizing territory, but rather cutting off the Astrals’ ability to recuperate, as well as as much information as we possibly can, as quickly as we can. The Astrals are already few in number, and every one that we kill reduces their threat by a little. As a foreign race, there is no common ground for us to negotiate on. As such, we will slowly but surely strangle them and reduce the territory available to them, until we have completely wiped them all out!”

Thus, Su Chen was able to quickly and effectively resolve this series of discussions.

The Boundless Sect’s method of attack had been decided with this. They would no longer try to advance at a breakneck pace — instead, they would fight their battles slowly but surely, focusing their attention on quashing the supplies and foundation of their opponents.

Once the command was given, the best way to handle the Ringed Corridor Plains became abundantly clear.

Divide and conquer!

A large-scale takeover of the Ringed Corridor Plains began to unfold.

Right now, there were currently a total of sixty thousand Boundless Sect disciples in the Gloomy Kingdom. Of these, twenty-three thousand were Light Shaking Realm cultivators and two thousand were Spirit Burning Realm cultivators — the Boundless Sect’s main combat force. Of the remaining thirty-five thousand disciples, thirty thousand were Yang Opening Realm cultivators. They were a part of the second echelon and were tasked with handling the less important skirmishes as well as maintaining formations, cleaning up after the main force, and supporting the other disciples at critical moments. They also served as reserve soldiers for the main force — as soon as one of them ascended to the Light Shaking Realm, they would be promoted to the main force.

The remaining five thousand were all below the Yang Opening Realm. They were mostly responsible for handling logistics, such as piloting the floating frigates, the palace, and the Cloud Piercing Shuttles, manufacturing equipment like Origin Tools, puppets, and medicines, and even handling basic living necessities like cooking.

Now that a general plan had been laid out, the sixty thousand combat soldiers were split up into ten battalions that began to comb over the plains in search of the three Astral communities. The sooner they discovered these communities, the better — even though they had decided to take things one step at a time, the Boundless Sect still hoped to utilize the element of surprise as best as they could.

The ten battalions split off to search in different directions. Each battalion was split into six companies, and each company was composed of ten small squadrons. These squadrons were the smallest subdivision, each containing a hundred soldiers as that was the minimum size a unit could be at and still fight against the Astrals.

Ye Fenghan was the commander of the Hidden Mountain Company’s fourth squadron.

His second-in-command was Chang He.

These two had returned to the Boundless Sect soon after taking care of the matter related to Lin Zuiliu. They had then fought under Lin Shaoxuan against Long Sang for some time before rejoining and participating in the offensive against the Astrals.

In terms of the accomplishments that Ye Fenghan had contributed up to now, he was more than qualified to command a company or even perhaps a battalion.

However, Ye Fenghan had no interest in building up his authority. He had spent all of his contribution points on cultivation resources, Origin Skills, and equipment, so his status had remained roughly the same. His strength, however, had drastically increased compared to before. He had currently formed seven Lotus Platforms and was considered a reserve member of the Spirit Burning Realm troops.

Chang He had also advanced quite far, and he had also successfully formed seven Lotus Platforms.

But even though his strength had increased, Chang He was still just as talkative as before, regardless of whether or not he actually had anything of substance to say.

“Hey, did you hear? Something good has appeared on the contributions exchange site.”

“What?”

“Apparently, it’s a transmission box that’s roughly the size of your palm. It allows you to communicate with anyone within a five thousand kilometer radius of you, but there’s a prerequisite for the other party to also have a transmission box, and you also have to memorize a special password. Seems like kind of a hassle.”

Ye Fenghang didn’t even blink twice before saying, “You are too easily swayed by outward appearances. Even though this transmission box is a good thing, it won’t increase your strength at all. It’s totally pointless to waste contribution points on something like that.”

Chang He unhappily replied, “Hey, can you not think so inflexibl? Besides cultivating, you must have some form of amusement, right? For instance, won’t we be able to talk with Night Demon whenever we want if we have this box?”

When Ye Fenghan heard Night Demon’s name, his heart involuntarily trembled, but his expression remained as stoic as ever. “Why would I want to talk to her?

“Ai, you’re so boring. Night Demon is a good girl, even though she’s a bit dumb, and silly at times, and……”

Chang He trailed off towards the end, as he had realized that something wasn’t quite right.

After a moment’s thought, he tactfully changed the subject. “Actually, you can get the transmission box without paying any cultivation points. I heard that the first squad to find an Astral community will be rewarded with a transmission box…… In my opinion, this is a strategically valuable item, and they should just give it to us instead of offering it as a reward.”

Ye Fenghan shot him an annoyed glare. “This item must be incredibly difficult to construct. If they were just handed it out, how would they decide who should receive one and who shouldn’t? That would be another source of conflict in and of itself. The current method is much better. But I also heard that these transmission boxes are made from materials related to the Astrals. The more of them we capture alive, the more transmission boxes there will be overall. As such, the contribution points for capturing an Astral alive are probably even greater than killing one.”

Chang He found Ye Fenghan’s response to be incredibly amusing. “Ha, so even a stone-faced person like you is interested in these boxes! Are you still gonna deny it?”

Ye Fenghan ignored him. All he said was, “I just think that, with this item, we will be better able to report any discoveries that we make.”

“Don’t be such a spoilsport! I know that you just want to talk to Night Demon!”

Ye Fenghan immediately felt that Chang He was being extremely unreasonable, especially since he had managed to say exactly what he had been thinking. How extremely annoying!

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