Three days later, on the nameless island fifty miles south of Huang Li Island.
Three flashes of lights shot across the horizon and landed on the island. They were two young ladies and a young man, all donning the garments of Zhen Ling Sect disciples.
To Lu Ping’s surprise, he recognized three of them.
The lady clad in red was Hu Lili, the young lady who exchanged a batch of blood charms from Lu Ping in the trade fair. The lady clad in green was the outer disciple who sold Lu Ping the copper mirror mystic instrument; she was just a Grade 3 disciple back then. The honest-looking young man, who was also the weakest in cultivation level, was the one who traded Dark Iron for Lu Ping’s wolf teeth club mystic instrument.
Lu Ping had been hiding on the island with an Invisibility Charm and Spirit Concealing Charm for almost two days. He was surprised at seeing them together; he never thought the three of them would team up.
The lady in green glanced around and said to the lady in red, “Sister Lili, this should be it, right? We’ve been searching the sea for almost two months now.”
Hu Lili smiled and replied, “It should be. I’ve spent months looking up a lot of jade scrolls before I narrowed it down to this area.”
The honest-looking young man said, “Hehe, how nice would it be if this really were Cultivator Sheng Tao’s cave-dwelling. A hundred years ago, he was a famous alchemist in the North Ocean. We would be fortunate to find some Blood Condensation Pellets inside.”
Hu Lili gave him a look and said, “Niu Dazhuang, don’t always dream about good things. After all, it has been a hundred years, who knows what remains inside. Someone else might have plundered this cave-dwelling clean long before us.”
Niu Dazhuang smiled and stayed silent. The lady in green continued, “Brother Da Zhuang, the cave-dwelling might be protected by an array formation. We may need your mystic instrument to break it.”
Pounding his chest, Niu Dazhuang said, “No problem! It’s not like you’ve never seen my mystic instrument. It may be low-grade, but its attack is definitely ranked at mid-grade. After all, I exchanged a piece of Dark Iron for it.”
At the mention of the trade fair, Hu Lili said, “Speaking of that Lu Ping, after the trade fair, I traded a few dozen blood charms from him in preparation for today. He’s quite good at charm-crafting and an expert among the Grade 3 disciples. If only we knew him better, it would’ve been nice to invite him to join us today.”
Hu Lili suddenly remembered something and she said to the lady in green, “Zheng Jie, didn’t you make a trade with him too?”
The lady in green, Zheng Jie, twitched her lips. “That guy is a miser. He really took advantage of me in that trade.”
Hu Lili, who was walking while meticulously observing her surroundings, smiled and didn’t answer. Suddenly, she stopped to take out an old map and compared it to their location.
“It’s here. See that rock assemblage on the east? It’s actually an illusionary array formation. Behind the array is Cultivator Sheng Tao’s cave-dwelling,” Hu Lili said confidently, “Da Zhuang, hit that reef with your mystic instrument.”
“Alright!” Niu Dazhuang spat a mouthful of saliva on his palm and rubbed his hands. He took out the wolf-teeth club from his interspatial pouch and waved it around, smashing it on the reef with a loud battle cry.
Strangely, even after crushing the reef, nothing much happened. The rock assemblage only shuddered for a second before becoming still quickly after. Then, the reef flickered with light and recovered to its original state.
“It really is a Rock Assemblage Array. The array is still intact, meaning no one has entered before. Follow my command, we will break this array formation,” Hu Lili was clearly familiar with such arrays.
Zheng Jie and Niu Dazhuang were extremely happy to hear that the cave-dwelling remained unexplored.
Hu Lili carefully observed the rocks in front of them. With a sudden smile, she raised her hand, shooting out eight top-grade blood charms toward eight reefs of different sizes.
Boom, boom, boom—
The reefs exploded into pieces and the rock assemblage shuddered violently. Hu Lili carefully observed the array formation again and noticed four other reefs that didn’t shudder. She raised her hand and shot out another four charms at those four reefs. The rock assemblage stopped shuddering.
Hu Lili heaved a long breath. “It’s done. The array formation lacks power since no one is controlling it. On top of that, a hundred years have passed, so most of its power has dwindled over time. I’ve temporarily gained control of the array formation, we just need to smash the rest of the reefs now.”
Cheering at this news, Niu Dazhuang and Zheng Jie destroyed the remaining reefs with their mystic instruments.
It took almost two hours to clear them out. Immediately after that, a cave-dwelling appeared. Flush with excitement, they made their way towards the entrance.
It was then that it happened. Out of nowhere, a silver needle mystic instrument appeared and hurtled toward Hu Lili’s back. It was so sudden that by the time Hu Lili reacted, it was already too late.
Throwing out two blood charms, she could only hinder the silver needle’s momentum for a split second. But the silver needle was able to break through defensive spells in the first place.
Hu Lili did her best to evade the incoming attack, but the silver needle still pierced through her shoulder, leaving behind a gaping hole and a splash of blood.
Shocked and angered, Zheng Jie and Niu Dazhuang quickly cast out their mystic instruments and surrounded Hu Lili protectively.
Zheng Jie shouted grimly, “Who’s there? Show yourself!”
A burst of triumphant laughter accompanied the emergence of arcane energies a few dozen feet behind them. Five cultivators clad in Xuan Ling Sect disciple clothing appeared out of thin air. Clearly, they must have used invisibility spells or charms to conceal their presence.
However, the arcane energies flowing from them suggested to Lu Ping that a mystic instrument that could grant invisibility had been used instead.
When the trio saw the Xuan Ling Sect disciples, their expressions changed. The thought of asking how they were discovered was no longer important.
The Xuan Ling Sect disciples didn’t plan on giving them time to ask questions either. Five mystic instruments flew towards the trio from five different directions.
Hu Lili simply bandaged the wound on her shoulder and joined the battle. Controlling a low-grade flying sword, she defended the incoming attacks with her friends.
Be it in terms of number or prowess, the three Zhen Ling Sect disciples were inferior to the five Xuan Ling Sect disciples. Not to mention that Hu Lili was heavily wounded.
Lu Ping looked at the situation and considered whether to quietly save his martial siblings from this predicament. After all, they were from the same sect and had crossed paths before.
Hmm, I’d best take down at least two of them. This way, both sides will suffer equal losses and I can gain the most out of it.
While Lu Ping was quietly looking for a chance to take action, there were new developments in the battle situation.
Knowing they were in danger, the Zhen Ling Sect disciples attacked without holding back. Niu Dazhuang even went as far as tanking the attacks just so he could severely injure the weakest Junior Martial Brother Zhou into vomiting blood.
Hu Lili was quick-witted and seized her chance while the Xuan Ling Sect disciples were flustered because of Junior Martial Brother Zhou’s injury. She raised her hand and shot out three blood charms at Junior Martial Brother Yin.
Junior Martial Brother Yin was already distracted by Junior Martial Brother Zhou’s injury. Then he saw the three charms hurtling towards him turn into three fireballs. He immediately recognized them as top-grade blood charms and grew even more panicked.
After using almost everything he had, he was eventually able to ward off the three incoming fireballs. But before he could heave a breath of relief, a flying sword flashed past him and severed his arm.
At the same time, Zheng Jie who was in charge of the defenses was continuously attacked by three mystic instruments. Badly injured, blood flowed down from the corner of her mouth and she could barely hold herself together.
The Xuan Ling Sect disciples were frustrated; despite having the upper hand at first, they still suffered the big loss of having two severely wounded disciples. They gave up their plan of toying with their prey and lashed out wildly.
The Zhen Ling Sect disciples struggled to hold their ground but were still seriously injured. They were in great danger!
Just when Lu Ping was about to rescue them, an appalling aura suffused the air.
Not far away from them, a huge snake, its width as large as a bucket, rose above the waters.
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