In comparison to Specter’s Garden multicolored landscape, the Sky Magnet Mountains were much more desolate.
Due to the turbulent, chaotic Origin Energy here, the entire area was much wilder.
The mountains appeared to be no more than random piles of rocks scattered everywhere. Virtually no vegetation could be seen. Nothing appeared to be hiding there.
Even so, you would never know if that was real or not as long as you didn’t get close to it.
That was just how it went when fighting the Astrals. You would never need to worry about not being able to defeat the Astrals in a head-on fight, but there were almost never any opportunities to fight like that anyways. This had been the case at Wind Silence Breach, the Ringed Corridor Plains, and Specter’s Garden, and it would be the case at the Sky Magnet Mountains.
Even though the Astrals had appeared to fight out in the open at Specter’s Garden, that was only a ruse so that they could disperse poison to their opponent’s back lines. They were still lurking about the shadows, but that time Su Chen had just managed to beat them at their own game.
It was extremely likely that there were Astrals hiding amongst this mountain range.
And what Su Chen needed to do was to find them.
“Look. In front of us is Pentagon Hill. Our maps stop there, so we don’t know what is past that,” Wang Xinchao said as he pointed straight ahead.
This Boundless Sect disciple had originally been a blacksmith. He was not one of the strongest disciples in the sect, but he was quite stable. Because he primarily cultivated body techniques, he had studied all of the Boundless Sect’s body refinement techniques, including the Flowing Wind Body technique that Su Chen had cultivated a long time ago. Not only so, but he was able to reach the stage of Great Success in all of them.
It was for this reason that he had been selected to be part of this group.
“Then we should fill out the map a little more,” Iron Cliff chuckled.
Iron Cliff had obviously been invited along on this expedition as well. Even some of the Stoneskins under his command had followed along.
Ever since the Stoneskins had chosen to serve the Boundless Sect, they had found a large tree for themselves.
This tree not only shielded them from the wind and rain, but it also provided them with cultivation techniques. In the past, no Stoneskin could go beyond the Yang Opening Realm. Now, that restriction had been shattered. As the Stoneskins grew stronger, there was even the possibility that the limit would be raised to the Spirit Burning Realm.
Such generosity and the possibility of a boundless future made all the Stoneskins incredibly grateful to Su Chen, to the point where they were even willing to pledge their lives to him.
The Stoneskins who had been living in Hurricane Canyon before this was only a small group. As their reputation began to spread, more and more Stoneskins flocked to seek shelter, causing their ranks to expand. By this point, they were quite a powerful branch of the sect. However, their glory was obscured by the rest of the Boundless Sect’s radiance, so they often went unnoticed. In addition, most of them had not been cultivating for as long, so they had far too few Light Shaking Realm cultivators amongst their ranks. This was why they had never really had an opportunity to demonstrate their true strength.
Today, however, their opportunity had arrived.
These Stoneskins, whose powerful bodies were their calling cards, were far more useful than human cultivators in an environment like the Sky Magnet Mountains.
As such, nearly half of the scouting party was made up of these Stoneskin elites.
The Stoneskins were quite excited to finally have an opportunity to be used in battle. When a young Stoneskin heard what Iron Cliff had said, he couldn’t resist chiming in, “Not only the Sky Magnet Mountains, but all of Gloom Kingdom will come under our control. This territory is bound to become the Boundless Sect’s eventually!”
“Yes, it will belong to the Boundless Sect!” the others cried out in unison.
“Alright, alright, Miye. There’s no need to yell so loudly. We all know where your loyalties lie,” Iron Cliff chuckled as he patted the young Stoneskin on the shoulder.
Miye was the son of the former chieftain of the Hurricane Stoneskins, Harvey.
Harvey had been abandoned by the Stoneskins due to his stubbornness. His life was still quite carefree, but his son, Miye, had become a loyal follower of Iron Cliff. After all, he was one of the first Stoneskins that Iron Cliff had given pointers to. Now, he had ascended to the Light Shaking Realm as well. That rate of cultivation was already quite decent for most humans, let alone a Stoneskin.
This was both because of his own effort and also because of Iron Cliff’s abundant support.
The current Miye was already the strongest Stoneskin, excluding Iron Cliff of course, and would become the future chieftain of the Stoneskins.
“Alright. From here, we will split into ten-man groups and search. Remember, don’t be reckless when you find our targets. Use the transmission boxes to notify everyone else first,” Su Chen commanded.
Every one of the disciples on this expedition had been given a transmission box. The box’s core component was a Void Crystal. These crystals, which were produced from the Astrals themselves, would be used against the Astrals as well.
Once Su Chen gave the command, the expedition split up into their small groups and began to spread out.
Su Chen had selected eight hundred people to accompany him on this expedition, so there were eighty groups in total. Though that seemed quite high, they were covering a vast territory. As such, they were like stones cast into a pond, disappearing after creating a few ripples.
Thankfully, the eighty small stones were also capable of moving. With enough patience, they would eventually run into some of the fish hiding under the surface of the water.
Su Chen moved alone.
Using the same metaphor as before, Su Chen was like the fisherman standing above the pond, searching for targets from his unique vantage point.
After the eighty groups had dispersed, Su Chen flew high into the air, carefully observing the situation below - Sky Magnet Mountains’ interference with flight did nothing to him because he was able to ignore chaotic flows of Origin Energy.
As he floated high in the sky, Su Chen created a flock of clones and scattered them in all directions as he activated his vision to its limit.
The high speed at which he could fly, the range of his eyesight, and the number of clones he could create at once made Su Chen the primary investigating power of the small groups.
Even so, Su Chen was unable to find anything even after a day of searchin.
The same went for the eighty groups as well.
They meticulously combed the mountain range but didn’t find a single Astral.
Was he overthinking things? Perhaps the Astrals hadn’t actually resolved the issue posed by the Sky Magnet Mountains and hadn’t prepared an ambush after all?
No, definitely not!
Su Chen had some understanding of the Astrals, after all.
They were not only sly and crafty, but they also had an innate penchant for research.
They would never let such a large issue go unresearched for tens of thousands of years. If even a single Astral took an interest to the area, their long lifespan and inquisitive mindset made it extremely likely that they would be able to come up with a way to nullify the effects of the mountains.
So where would they be hiding, then?
Su Chen fell into deep thought.
Just as he was pondering this, however, a wave of Origin Energy suddenly rippled out in all directions.
This was a common occurrence in the Sky Magnet Mountains. In other words, this was the source of the chaotic Origin Energy flows in the region. The strange magnetic properties of the mountains attracted Origin Energy and stimulated it such that Origin Qi Scholars wouldn’t be able to use it. And whenever these chaotic flows of Origin Energy appeared, their effects would be amplified.
The chaotic flows of Origin Energy would rise and fall periodically.
When the chaotic flows were not as intense, Origin Qi Scholars would at least be able to utilize certain Origin Skill and Arcana Techniques, but if the chaotic flows were strong, forcibly attempting to unleash an Origin Skill would undoubtedly result in backlash.
In Su Chen’s eyes, however, the secrets of Origin Energy turbulence were fully laid bare.
The moment that the formless wave of Origin Energy appeared, Su Chen was able to sense its appearance, and he could even perceive how strong it was.
As such, he made no attempt to avoid it, instead unleashing a wave of Origin Energy of his own. This wave was not too strong nor too weak, not too dense nor too dispersed. It ran completely counter to the wave of Origin Energy that had just washed over him, destructively interfering with it.
The Origin Energy wave died as quickly as it had appeared, resulting in no effect on Su Chen.
Just as the Origin Energy waves canceled out, however, Su Chen sensed a faint consciousness fluctuation.
This consciousness fluctuation flashed by, but Su Chen was still able to latch onto it.
“Hm?” Su Chen’s consciousness shook.
He immediately realized that the earlier Origin Energy fluctuation could have had nonnatural origins.
“Could it be that they can not only resist it, but even control it? That makes things even more interesting,” Su Chen muttered to himself as he glanced at the large mountain below him.
If the Astrals could control the Origin Energy waves, then that meant they were not using some kind of special medallion that could nullify the effects of the mountains. Instead, they had most likely unlocked the secrets of the chaotic flowing Origin Energy in this place, allowing them to develop ways of controlling them.
But this kind of control was definitely not very advanced. Otherwise, he would have been facing a storm of Origin Energy instead of a relatively simple wave.
Regardless, this gave Su Chen a new direction in which to continue his search.
He hurriedly activated his transmission box. “Everyone, listen closely. The Astrals are most likely hiding underground. What you all need to do now is find the secret entrances. If they are hiding underground, there must be an opening to a tunnel somewhere. And be careful…… They should be capable of controlling Origin Energy fluctuations on a small scale.”
Su Chen closed the transmission box, then flew down to the ground.
Since the Origin Energy fluctuation had found its way here, then that meant that there was at least a location which the Astrals were monitoring him from.
That also implied that there was an entrance somewhere nearby!
One of the mountains beneath Su Chen appeared to be completely solid, but hidden beneath it was actually a giant cave.
An Astral was observing the outside world carefully through a peephole. The walls around him were covered in profound inscriptions, and he held a crystal ball in his hands, which glowed faintly and resonated with the inscriptions on the wall.
He had just gently brushed the surface of the crystal, which had generated that wave of Origin Energy from earlier.
Surprisingly, that wave of Energy had not actually knocked the human out of the sky. That made this Astral a little suspicious.
He lowered his head and glanced at the crystal in his hand, muttering to himself, “What’s the matter with this thing? Is it broken?”
These Origin Energy waves were formless and impossible to sense. Only Su Chen with his special eyes was capable of seeing it, so the low-tier Astral had no idea if the wave had actually been activated or not. All he could see was that the human floating in the sky was still there, causing him to instinctively believe that the crystal had malfunctioned somehow.
And he hadn’t had much time to play around with it yet either, so there was quite a lot about the crystal ball that he didn’t understand.
He never would have expected that this simple action of his would reveal so much to his opponent, and he didn’t notice that the person in the sky had landed on the ground near where he was. That person had already created a number of clones and scattered them in all directions.
After inspecting the crystal ball for some time and ensuring that there was nothing wrong with it, the Astral decided to give it another try.
He glanced back up at the sky but found that there was no one there.
“He’s gone already?”
The low-tier Astral let out a rueful sigh.
Suddenly, he seemed to sense something and whirled around. A pair of icy eyes were staring right at him.