A triumphant victory.
The Boundless Sect decimated the Astral soldiers stationed in Specter’s Garden.
The miracle Ulric had been waiting for never came. He had briefly entertained thoughts of sacrificing himself along with the rest of his compatriots, but he had eventually chosen to retreat.
As a race with a wealth of combat experience, the Astrals had quite a few ways of escaping. As such, nearly three thousand of them had managed to escape with their lives.
This number was quite high given how badly they had just been stomped.
But there was nothing Su Chen could do. After all, they were still in enemy territory, and he could not carelessly pursue after them. When the Astrals actually made the decision to flee, they were able to get away without much trouble.
Thankfully, Su Chen didn’t appear to care much. After all, they would clash at Wanlai Caves again sooner or later, and whether or not these three thousand Astrals were present then didn’t actually matter much.
Within the Boundless Sect’s palace.
Su Chen met with Ye Fenghan yet again.
“You did a pretty good job this time. Is there a reward you would like?” Su Chen asked straightforwardly.
Ye Fenghan immediately got down on his knees. “I do not need any reward, but if possible, I would like to become Sect Master’s apprentice!”
“You want to become my personal disciple?” Su Chen pondered for a moment before shaking his head.
Ye Fenghan felt his heart sink. Had all of his efforts been in vain? Were they still not enough for Sect Master to accept him as his personal disciple?
Su Chen was already speaking. “It’s not that I don’t want to accept you, but that it would be pointless even if I did. I am not planning on concealing any of my techniques, and I will eventually publish them so that anyone who has enough contribution points can learn them. The path I am traveling down leaves me no time to give pointers. As such, there really isn’t much of a difference if you become my personal disciple or not. This even extends to the position of Sect Master; when the Boundless Sect needs to choose my successor, they will not restrict selection to my personal disciples alone. Instead, they will choose any disciple who is truly up to the task. As such, you will find that being my personal disciple grants you no special privileges. I only refused you because I didn’t want you to feel disillusioned later on.”
Ye Fenghan was still bitterly disappointed when he heard this. After a moment’s thought, he said somewhat despondently, “If that’s the case, then I would like to learn Sect Master’s Flaming Phoenix Theurgy Art.”
“You want to learn that? No problem.” Su Chen gently tapped the air with his finger, and a mote of light flew forth from it into Ye Fenghan’s forehead.
“I have given you the cultivation method already. The rest of the path will be yours to walk.”
“Many thanks, Sect Master!” Ye Fenghan bowed before standing back up. “Oh, Sect Master, about the Damaged Canyon and Reaper’s Temple......”
Su Chen interrupted him. “You won’t need to go there. It’s not very dangerous.”
“Hm? Why is that?”
“Because the Astrals have given the command to retreat all the way to Wanlai Caves...... They are going to make their last stand there.”
If they were going to make their last stand at Wanlai Caves, then they had already given up on trying to defeat their enemies in Damaged Canyon or Reaper’s Temple. In other words, there would be no trump cards that could pose a serious threat to the Boundless Sect.
If that was the case, then Su Chen naturally no longer had anything to fear.
Specter’s Garden was extremely vast. It would take a long time to fully occupy it.
Su Chen didn’t want to wait that long, so after resting and reorganizing for a little, the Boundless Sect army moved on.
While they had delayed quite a bit in the Ringed Corridor Plains, the Boundless Sect this time moved as swiftly as the wind, basically stepping on the fleeing Astrals’ coattails all the way to the Damaged Canyon.
Damaged Canyon was actually in essence a complicated, torturous mountain range known as the Sky Magnet Mountains.
Apparently, these mountains had been formed by a giant chunk of magnetic rock that had fallen from the sky.
Whether or not that rock was magnetic was unknown, but it was undeniable that this mountain range had a few unique characteristics of its own.
One of the most noteworthy properties was that Origin Energy would flow in an exceptionally turbulent manner.
In other words, this place could spontaneously create chaotic flows of Origin Energy even in the absence of a large group of cultivators attacking all at once. Anyone who found themselves in this region would find their control over Origin Energy drastically decreased.
This effect was the most pronounced in a canyon in the middle of the mountain range. There, it was virtually impossible to use Origin Energy, which was why it was named Damaged Canyon.
Because there, no Origin Skills could be used.
And because even the sky was affected, it was impossible to just fly through the region. The Boundless Sect needed to walk through the area on foot.
Worth mentioning was that, even though it was impossible to utilize Origin Energy, the area was still populated by powerful Demonic Beasts.
These Demonic Beasts relied not on their Origin Energy skills but on their innately powerful bodies. In this kind of restricted area, their strength was all physical.
Apparently, the enmity between the Astrals and the Ravagers had actually stemmed from this place.
The Ravagers had felt that a place like this, where all that mattered was one’s physical strength, was perfect for them to possess. Unfortunately, the Astrals didn’t necessarily agree with that logic.
In any case, Sky Magnet Mountains was not a location that was friendly to Origin Energy users.
Even though it was not a no-man’s-land like Wind Silence Breach or Specter’s Garden, its effect on Origin Energy had much greater implications for powerful individuals over low-tier cultivators. In comparison, the dangers that the four forbidden areas posed were not actually that terrifying to stronger cultivators.
As such, calling the place a no-man's-land really depended on the person. To powerful individuals, Sky Magnet Mountains were the real no-man’s-land.
After the Boundless Sect arrived, they descended to the ground.
As soon as they had gotten close, Gu Qingluo frowned. “I can sense some strange force affecting me and weakening my control over my Origin Energy.”
“The Sky Magnet Mountains live up to their reputation. We’re only on the edge, but the effect is already this great.” Su Chen could obviously sense it as well and sent word to the other disciples. “We will not be able to fly through this area and can only walk through it on foot. Everyone, make sure to be careful.”
The other Boundless Sect disciples could also sense that something was different, and they began to descend from the sky one by one.
“Sect Master, it seems there are no Astrals here. They probably all retreated,” Lin Xiao reported.
“I’m not surprised. The Astrals are even more affected than we are in this kind of place,” Lin Shaoxuan said.
The Astrals relied entirely on Origin Energy to fight, while humans primarily focused on increasing their own personal strength when cultivating. As such, their vitality would increase after every ascension.
“Don’t be too bold,” Shi Kaihuang warned. “The Astrals are in control of this area. How do you know that they haven’t found a way to nullify the effects of the Sky Magnet Mountains yet?”
Cheng Tianhai replied, “Because if they had, they wouldn’t have given the order for everyone to retreat and gather at Wanlai Caves. I think it should be fine.”
Li Chongshan immediately said, “This is exactly what I think is strange. Do you not think that we found out that they were retreating to Wanlai Caves too easily?”
Even Su Chen was momentarily taken aback by that.
He hadn’t paid much thought to it at the time, but now with Li Chongshan and Shi Kaihuang both taking exception to it, he immediately realized that something was wrong.
Su Chen’s expression sank. “Order all the disciples to stop immediately. Call Yanto and Fenghan over.”
A moment later, the two of them arrived on the scene.
Su Chen directly asked, “Yanto, Ye Fenghan, did Ulric ever tell you to directly retreat to Wanlai Caves if the plan failed when you were interacting with him?”
Ye Fenghan was taken aback. After a moment’s thought, he replied, “No, I didn’t hear anything like that.”
“Did he tell any of the other Astrals to do that?”
Ye Fenghan thought carefully, then shook his head. “I didn’t hear anything like that.”
Su Chen’s expression was quite gloomy.
He lowered his head in thought for a moment, then suddenly laughed, “How dangerous. We almost walked right into their trap.”
Li Chongshan and Shi Kaihuang also began to understand.
Chu Yingwan said calmly, “So that means that the intelligence we gathered at Specter’s Garden was purposefully slipped to us by them? Then there is probably a good show awaiting us inside the Sky Magnet Mountains.”
Ye Fenghan’s expression shifted slightly. “It is impossible to use Origin Energy in the Sky Magnet Mountains. But if the Astrals have figured out a way around it and have just kept it a secret, then...... won’t we be like lambs led to the slaughter if we go in?”
Jun Moxie laughed coldly. “If that’s the case, then even our fight at Specter’s Garden could have been a ploy to bait us here. Of course, if they had been able to wipe us out with the poison, that would have been for the best. But if they couldn’t, then they would immediately try to draw us to Sky Magnet Mountains. This place...... is very dangerous!”
Reality dawned on everyone as to just how much danger they had been in. When they glanced back at the mountain range, a shiver ran up their spines.
Their enemies were not idiots, and they were not weak.
In order to survive, they were fighting with all their might.
“Then what should we do?” Even the normally brash Cheng Tianhai was somewhat anxious. “We can’t just stop attacking now, can we?”
It was impossible that the Boundless Sect would stop their offensive. They wouldn’t retreat just because there was a possibility of danger.
However, they did need to consider how they would attack.
Su Chen thought for some time before finally speaking. “There are only two ways to resolve the issue of turbulent Origin Energy in the Sky Magnet Mountains that I can think of. The first is to develop a technique that can resist its effects, and the second is to find some kind of treasure that can do that. A cultivation technique is out of the question. After all, Yanto is amongst our ranks, and he doesn’t have any technique that can deal with the effects of the Sky Magnet Mountains.”
He was an Astral, but he had never heard of such a technique before.
Actually, Su Chen was a veteran in dealing with chaotic flows of Origin Energy, but he was only ever able to ensure that he could act freely even in turbulent Origin Energy. However, he had never developed it into a full technique.
Su Chen continued. “As such, the Astrals probably stumbled across some kind of treasure that resolved this issue for them. And if it’s a treasure, that means we can take it. If they can use it, we can use it too.”
Everyone’s eyes lit up.
“Sect Master means......”
“We will use a battle to foster a battle. We will use our enemy’s treasure to resolve the issue of the Sky Magnet Mountains,” Su Chen said.
He chuckled. “It seems like we’re going to need to send in a scouting party first after all.”
Ye Fenghan immediately clenched his fists. “Sect Master, I am willing to go.”
Unexpectedly, Su Chen shook his head. “You are not suited for close-quarters combat. This mission will need to be carried out by the right people. The selection criteria will just be those who have cultivated powerful body techniques and can fight even if the Origin Energy around them is chaotic.”
“As for the leader......” Su Chen thought for a moment, then said, “I will lead this group.”
No one was more suited for this than Su Chen.