Wind and snow assaulted his face. Li Qingshan appeared on an icebound mountain out of thin air. It glistened with white snow as far as the eye could see as huge snowflakes fell from the air.
The tall mountain was the very centre of the battlefield, giving an extremely vast view. Li Qingshan had a bird’s-eye view of the surroundings, only to see black specks appear in the distant snowy land. There were roughly two hundred people, and there were a few Foundation Establishment cultivators among them. Although they had all kept their auras hidden away, they could not fool Li Qingshan’s senses. However, he did not know any of them.
It’s more crowded than I imagined it to be!
A region of several dozen kilometers across was indeed an extremely vast region for mortals, but it was not that large to cultivators. It would only take half a day at most for Qi Practitioners to explore the place, let alone Foundation Establishment cultivators.
Would it be a chaotic encounter right from the beginning?
As Li Qingshan observed his surroundings, the other Foundation Establishment cultivators sensed him too. They raised their heads and looked through the wind and snow. When they made out his familiar figure, their faces all changed.
Afterwards, they all took off without the slightest hesitation, flying off in all directions. They were only afraid they would be a little too slow, and he would catch up to them and take their medals.
The eyesight of Qi Practitioners was not as powerful, and they lacked sharp senses. Obscured by the wind and snow, they could only see a few kilometers away at most. The Foundation Establishment cultivators gave off light when they flew away, which led to some disturbances, but seeing how the balls of light were not flying towards them, they all eased up.
Many Qi Practitioners took out their medal and stared at it with fervent light. As long as they managed to keep this item for ten days, then all would be well. If they were lucky, perhaps they could even collect a few more. The stronger Qi Practitioners began to silently approach the weaker auras nearby.
Li Qingshan stood on the top of the mountain and had no intentions to chase down everyone. He was not particularly interested in collecting medals. He was primarily here to deal with the vindictive attacks of Si Qing, E Dan, and Jia Zhen’s subordinates and disciples.
He took out a glazed ball that resembled a compass. The bright red needle was fixed firmly in a single location. This was the item of contact Liu Zhangqing had given to him. All the cultivators from the Academy of the Hundred Schools of the Clear River prefecture possessed one. They all pointed towards Liu Zhangqing.
This was the plan they had come up with right from the beginning. Everyone would gather together as quickly as possible after entering the Dragon Arena so that they could gain an advantage in numbers first, avoiding separate battles and being defeated individually.
With Li Qingshan’s speed of flight, it would not take him very long to reach where they converged. Being together with them would without a doubt assist him. However, after a moment of consideration, Li Qingshan stowed the glazed ball away.
He was absolutely confident that his current position had already been sold out. Once his enemies gathered enough force, they would rush over without the slightest hesitation; a battle to the death would follow.
He was actually still a little worried. Once he converged with Liu Zhangqing and the others, he would cause troubles for all of them. I’d still be better off dealing with my own problems by myself! Let’s see whether it’s actually you who destroys me, or it’s actually me who massacres your disciples and grand disciples!
Si Qing’s voice suddenly rang out from the sky. “Thank you all for participating. In order to give you the opportunity to unleash your full strength, there will be no one monitoring your actions. You are welcome to use everything you have to obtain medals, as well as other spoils of battle so that you can guarantee your final victory.”
“I’d like to say that in here, not everyone will survive the ten days, but none of the dead or the weak are worth any sympathy. Only the living, the strong, can survive. For the sake of this path of cultivation, fight and kill with everything you have!”
Without a doubt, he said that to establish the atmosphere of the chaotic battle, which cast a shadow over everyone’s hearts. Even the naive optimists suddenly felt the competition probably would not be as simple as it originally seemed.
“In other words, no matter who kills who, it’s all within the rules?”
Li Qingshan sneered in response to this statement of ill intent. He sat down on the top of the mountain and sent his soul sense into the Three Absolutes Calligraphy in his possession, beginning the refinement.
This was a forest of jagged stone that aligned with the spiritual qi of the world, forming a natural maze-like formation. Faint, white mist permeated the place, making the strange rocks resemble vicious demons and beasts. If a mortal were to set foot in it, they would definitely be trapped in there for the rest of their lives.
It originally existed on the boundary between the Dragon province and the Harmony province. Si Qing had collected it for the Dragon Arena. Afterwards, a formation master consolidated it, which made it a special battleground.
A young disciple of the school of Yin-yang currently carried a compass, finding his way. He was not anxious at all. Instead, he smiled confidently. Apart from being skilled in divination, the school of Yin-yang was rather knowledgeable in destroying formations, and he happened to be among the best of the best.
The heavens are basically smiling at me! I can both advance on the offence and retreat on the defence with this place. As long as I grasp the operation pattern of this formation, I’ll be able to use this favourable geography to my advantage. If I fail with my attacks, I can retreat into the formation. Even Foundation Establishment cultivators can’t do anything to me if they don’t understand the wonders of this formation!
Right as he thought of that, a black shadow suddenly shot towards him. Frantic, he was unable to dodge in time, and the black shadow brushed past him. Looking back, the black shadow had already vanished into the forest of stone.
He was still shaken. He was not even certain whether that was a person at all. If it were a human, the black shadow was a little too small. He took another step forward before suddenly collapsing on the ground, noticing tremendous pain from his waist. He had been completely reduced into two, bisected along his waist while alive. His internal organs flowed out with his blood.
“Aahh!!!” In a panic, he let out a deafening scream, but it was absorbed by the forest of stone and unable to travel particularly far away.
He managed to calm down after great difficulty. Before he could even think about whether the black shadow was responsible for this, he reached for his recovery medicine in a hurry, only to discover that the hundred treasures pouch that was supposed to be on his waist had already vanished. His heart immediately sank.
With his cultivation at the ninth layer of Qi Practitioner and the fact that he was not a disciple of the school of Medicine, it was impossible for him to heal a wound like that by himself. Moreover, a strange power had been imbued into the horrific wound along his waist. It had completely died off the moment he had been cut apart, unable to heal.
“Save me! I want to leave!”
However, there obviously was no reply. If he wanted to leave here, then he had to wait ten days. All he could do was watch helplessly as he bled, soaking the soil around him and waiting for the arrival of death in pain. In despair, he began screaming again.
He struggled to understand why the black shadow wanted to kill him. If he wanted his medal, then he could have given it to him. Suddenly, he remembered what Si Qing had said—only the strong could survive!
The black shadow moved through the forest of stone like it was its own backyard. He was one of the fighters from the banquet that night, the dwarf. His expression seemed as relaxed as if he had just crushed an ant.
It was a battle that his victory was originally guaranteed in, but he ended up losing, directly allowing Li Qingshan to choose an advantageous battleground for the final battle. He was believed to be the reason for their defeat, so he suffered severe punishment from Si Qing. He felt furious inside, so he was especially vicious when he struck.
Very soon, he arrived at the centre of the forest of stone. A few people were already waiting there. Every single one of them was a Foundation Establishment cultivator, and they all gave off a faint aura of murderousness. Their leader happened to the scarred man who wielded the high grade arcane artifact, the Earth Shattering Hammer of the Eight Directions.
The dwarf asked, “How’s the prey?”
“He’s still on the snow mountain. He hasn’t moved yet.”
The scarred man’s eyes seemed to be able to see through space, allowing him to see Li Qingshan’s location. As the owner of this Dragon Arena, it was far too easy for Si Qing to cheat.
They had a total of three missions this time. The first was to provoke the cultivators into killing each other, the second was to take back as many medals as possible, and the last was to kill Li Qingshan. They were relatively confident with the first two missions, while the last mission was the most troublesome.
“Is he the person they’re converging towards?”
“No, the cultivators of the Clear River prefecture haven’t approached him. They’re gathering around another person. He seems to be the only one there as if he’s waiting for us!”
“Waiting for us! We have nineteen Foundation Establishment cultivators. Doesn’t he know?”
“Perhaps it’s exactly because he knows that he’s chosen to remain there, wanting to deal with us all alone. It’s like what his highness had guessed. He’s an arrogant bastard!”
The scarred man swung his Earth Shattering Hammer of the Eight Directions viciously, striking the ground with a great boom. The ground shook and fierce winds filled the surroundings.
“He’s probably treating us like the trash from the school of Novels!”
A cold, sinister light flashed through the dwarf’s eyes. He had witnessed Li Qingshan’s battle against eight other people, but he did not find it particularly impressive. He alone could slaughter eight pieces of trash who did not know how to fight at all.
“He’s underestimating us, but that’s for the best. I’ll definitely smash him into mince meat!”
“When do we set off?”
“Wait until everyone has assembled. That was his highness’ orders!”
No one dared to defy Si Qing’s orders, so they waited in the forest of stone, preparing to gather all of their strength and tear Li Qingshan to shreds. As for the several hundred Qi Practitioners who were relatively weaker under Si Qing and the others’ command, they had already entered this huge, chaotic battle, making sure to stir up a lot of turmoil.
Hua Chenglu raised her head and looked around, but she could not see the sky. Layers above layers of leaves completely blocked off the light. The surroundings were as dark as night. She took out the glazed ball and began travelling in the direction of the needle before suddenly halting.
There was a rustle in the tree canopy, and a man in black flew down. A sliver of surprise flashed through his eyes. There were plenty of pretty women among cultivators, but such great beauty was rare. However, he immediately recovered his composure and said coldly.
“Hand over your medal!”
Hua Chenglu frowned. The enemy was a tenth layer Qi Practitioner, far more powerful than her. And, from the way he was dressed, he should have been Si Qing’s subordinate, so he was probably even more difficult to deal with than regular tenth layer Qi Practitioners.
The man in black was not expecting to obtain her medal with just that. Right when he was about to strike, an item flew towards him. It was not fast, so he caught it with ease. It was exactly the medal he wanted, which left him surprised.
“Take it and move aside!”
Hua Chenglu had never really cared about the value of the medals. Let alone a thousand spiritual stones, even if they were worth ten thousand spiritual stones, so what? If Si Qing had not passed an order with his identity as the Marquis of Ruyi and made all the disciples of the academy take part, Hua Chengzan would have never let her set foot in this Dragon Arena.
If she began fighting here, it would definitely attract a lot of attention. Her priority was still to gather with everyone else. She could always find her lost medal again.
“Hold on! Your hundred treasures pouch too!” The man in black’s lips curled. The cultivators of the Ruyi commandery sure are naive. It’s no wonder his highness wants us to teach them a lesson.