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NETS - Chapter 124 – Ai Botao

In the sky above the azure sea, a clear chirping sounded out. A monster bird with three feet long wings flew across the sky. A faint human figure could be seen on the back of the bird.

On an unknown island, Cultivator Cheng and Cultivator Huang, whom Lu Ping had met previously, were standing on a huge boulder. They were looking afar as if they were waiting for someone.

Cultivator Cheng said impatiently to Cultivator Huang, "Big Brother Huang, it's almost time, Lu Qi is not coming, right?"

Cultivator Huang smiled and said, "Patience, Brother Cheng."

Just as Cultivator Huang finished speaking, they heard a loud and clear bird call coming from the horizon. The two of them were both very sharp-sighted, and already saw that the cultivator sitting on the back of the monster bird was Lu Qi, whom they were waiting for.

The giant monster bird arrived in a flash and circled above the island. Lu Ping threw a medicinal pellet to the bird and the bird let out a happy chirp.

Then, Lu Ping shook the pouch in his hand, and the giant monster bird was immediately kept back in his spirit pet pouch, while Lu Ping himself slowly landed on the island.

"Hahaha, Brother Lu came just on time, you really are a man of your words!"

It was Cultivator Huang who spoke.

Lu Ping was humble and replied by saying that he was being overpraised.

Cultivator Cheng said enviously, "Brother Lu Qi, your flying mount is the monster bird that you captured that day, right? Brother Lu is really capable, that monster bird should be a Sixth Layer Blood Condensation Realm Gale Falcon. It is not easy even for ordinary Late Blood Condensation Realm cultivators to subdue it, let alone Brother Lu's Fifth Layer Blood Condensation Realm cultivator. I am very impressed."

Lu Ping didn’t want to elaborate on his prowess and so he only said, "I just got lucky."

The duo didn’t buy Lu Ping's perfunctory words, but they also didn’t go deeper in the topic. After all, every cultivator has their own secrets, and it was taboo to pry into these secrets.

Cultivator Huang smiled, "Haha, Brother Lu, come and follow me. I will introduce you to the famous Xi Ling Island's Young Master Ai Botao."

Lu Ping followed the two of them to a dazzling coral archipelago.

Cultivator Huang took out a jade token from his hand and quietly recited some chants, while making a set of hand seals with both hands.

As his arcane energy rippled out, the fluctuating image of a small island appeared in front of them, similar to a reflection in water. The image of the island slowly parted to the sides and revealed a cloudy path before them.

Cultivator Cheng also took out a jade token. Lu Ping noticed that the two jade tokens were exactly the same as the one Cultivator Huang had given to him before. It seemed that the jade token was some kind of a token of passage. Realising this, he also took the jade token out from his interspatial ring.

Cultivator Cheng led the group towards the island that was split apart.

After walking through the cloudy path, they heard someone ahead of them ask, "Is this Brother Huang and Brother Cheng returning?"

Cultivator Huang laughed and said, "It's Brother Peng. Yes, it’s us, and we also brought Brother Lu Qi, whom we invited earlier."

The three of them took a few more steps forward and the clouds lifted. Lu Ping realized that this was still a small island, but the landscape was very different from the one used to cover it.

There was a tall cultivator standing in front of them. When he saw the three of them enter, he first smiled at Lu Ping to welcome him and then said, "Come with me, everyone has arrived, with only you three left."

Cultivator Huang's face was solemn, "So soon? Didn't you say that the rendezvous would be in the evening?"

Cultivator Peng replied, "The situation has changed, those Ocean Overturning Gang brats have suddenly accelerated their investigation progress, as if they have discovered something. So, Young Master Ai has urgently gathered us together. I’m afraid he is going to make an early move as well."

Cultivator Cheng and Cultivator Huang wore somber expressions. They stopped talking and followed Cultivator Peng towards a cave that had been opened up in the center of the island. Lu Ping also followed closely behind, while quietly listening to the trio's conversation.

As soon as they entered the cave, they heard a hearty laugh and were greeted by a dignified cultivator who said, "Brother Huang and Brother Cheng, you have finally arrived."

Cheng and Huang clasped their fists together and said, "Young Master Ai, fortunately we haven’t failed you."

Ai Botao said happily, "That’s good to hear!"

Then he turned to Lu Ping and smiled, "This must be Brother Lu who has been praised by the two brothers?"

Lu Ping smiled lightly and said with his hands clasped together, "I am Lu Qi. It’s Brother Cheng and Brother Huang that have overpraised me."

Ai Botao waved his hand and said, "Brother Lu is too modest. I have always admired Brother Huang's vision. Since he said that Brother Lu is good, then Brother Lu must have something outstanding."

Lu Ping smiled but didn’t say anything. Ai Botao also didn’t dwell on this, and turned to Cultivator Peng, "Peng, take the three of them to the cave to rest. We will discuss the Ocean Overturning Gang later when Brother Wei returns."

Cultivator Peng nodded his head and brought the three of them into the cave. It was then that Lu Ping realized that there were already 30 to 40 cultivators inside the cave. They were all either meditating or chatting quietly.

When they saw Lu Ping and the other three enter the cave, those who were familiar with each other exchanged greetings, while those who were unfamiliar also smiled and greeted each other. This clearly showed that the relationship between everyone was very cordial.

Lu Ping learned from Cultivator Huang and Cultivator Cheng that some of these cultivators were Ai Botao's clan cultivators, some were rogue cultivator groups under Xi Ling Island’s Ai Clan, while others were simply rogue cultivators who joined the operation halfway, like Lu Ping.

Lu Ping saw that whilst people didn’t know each other well, they could get along without any fear. He remembered Ai Botao’s amicable and approachable spirit and secretly praised his skillfulness and ability to make friends.

Lu Ping also remembered that Ai Shutao, whom he had met on Fei Ling Island, was also from Ai Clan, and he wondered what his relationship with Ai Botao was.

At that moment, Ai Botao entered the cave with a cold-looking cultivator. Everyone looked at him with rapt attention, even the cultivators who had been meditating.

Ai Botao said in a deep voice, "Gentlemen, we have just received the latest news. I’m afraid that our operation against the Ocean Overturning Gang will have to be brought forward. Brother Wei will explain the details to you.”

Cultivator Wei, who looked at everyone with a cold expression, said straightforwardly, "I have some experience in hiding my tracks, so I was sent by Brother Ai to follow the Ocean Overturning Gang’s movements. This time, the Ocean Overturning Gang has dispatched a team of experts from its Furious Sea Division. There are 50 cultivators in total. They are led by five Late Blood Condensation Realm cultivators, the strongest of which is in the Ninth Layer Blood Condensation Realm. The rest are experts in the Mid Blood Condensation Realm and above."

The crowd were all discussing what they had heard from Cultivator Wei. Lu Ping listened carefully to their conversations, most of them were weighing the strengths of both sides and assessing their chances of victory.

Ai Botao saw that there was a small ruckus in the crowd, so he put his hands out and pressed down to signal the crowd to be quiet. The crowd saw Ai Botao's gesture and immediately quieted down. This amount of prestige Ai Botao had amongst this group of cultivators, surprised Lu Ping.

Ai Botao said, "Gentlemen, Brother Wei has already discovered our opponent’s strength. At the same time, judging from the signs left behind by their movements, the Ocean Overturning Gang seems to be searching for the place where another gang of sea pirates, they had eliminated previously, kept their hidden treasure.”

At this moment, a cultivator stood up and said, "Young Master Ai, I think I don’t have to remind everyone about the Ocean Overturning Gang cultivators’ strength amongst cultivators of the same level. But I do want to point out that its Furious Sea Division alone has sent out 50 cultivators, yet there are only 42 of us here. If we fight, I'm afraid we don't have much of a chance to win."

Ai Botao was obviously prepared for this, and smiled confidently, "Brother Zhang has a point, but I also want remind you that our group of 42 cultivators are all also above the Mid Blood Condensation Realm, we even have seven Late Blood Condensation Realm cultivator among us. Although there isn’t a Ninth Layer Blood Condensation Realm, I have instructed Brother Cheng Feng and Brother Huang to bring us a wonderful mystic instrument.”

Cultivator Huang hurriedly stood up and said, “That’s right. I was ordered by Young Master Ai to bring us a large mystic instrument that can conceal our movements, it’s called the 'Green Veil'. This mystic instrument allows us to infiltrate Ocean Overturning Gang from dozens of feet away, without being detected. This ensures that we will be able to make a successful sneak attack, catching them by surprise.”

Cultivator Huang handed Ai Botao a neatly folded silk net during his speech.

Once the Eighth Layer Blood Condensation Realm, Ai Botao, applied his arcane energy to the mystic instrument, the thin-looking net instantly enlarged. It stopped once it reached 20 to 30 feet in size, big enough to contain all the cultivators inside the cave.

Lu Ping probed with his divine sense. His divine sense passed through the green net without any obstruction. However, Ai Botao, who was inside of Green Veil seemed to be non-existent, Lu Ping’s divine sense couldn’t pick up on Ai Botao’s presence at all.

The rest of the group also tried to sense Ai Bota, but found they were unable to. They were all amazed and thought that with this mystic instrument, they had a much better chance of winning.

Ai Botao, seeing the eager expressions of the crowd, knew that this large mystic instrument had strengthened their determination and morale to eliminate the Ocean Overturning Gang, so he quickly followed up by saying:

"All of you have gathered with me, Ai Botao, here because you have a deep hatred against the Ocean Overturning Gang. Like you all, I bear the same hatred against them. Many cultivators from my Xi Ling Island were robbed and killed by the Ocean Overturning Gang. Even a team of Ai Clan members were killed by them. As the eldest son of the Ai Clan, I naturally will not forgive them. I will make sure they pay for their crimes."

Most of the cultivators in the cave had grudges against the Ocean Overturning Gang. When they heard Ai Botao's impassioned words, they all felt their energy rising, directed at their common enemy.

Seeing the high spirits from the cultivators in front of him, Ai Botao continued, "This time we have the element of surprise on our side, but they are higher in numbers after all. Moreover, I believe all of us know they are stronger than ordinary cultivators in the same level, some of you know this from the mouths of others, and many of you have even personally fought them before.

“Therefore, in this operation, we are not looking to kill all of them. Rather, we want to hit them hard and ruin the Ocean Overturning Gang's plan to search for the hidden treasures. Of course, towards the end of the operation, whether or not we can secure a part of the hidden treasures will depend on our own capabilities."

Ai Botao's final decision on the division of the hidden treasures ignited the cultivators’ spirits to the maximum. They couldn’t wait to depart and carry out the operation.

RD's Notes:

Editor: Immortal BloodRogue

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Currently translated up to Chapter 160.
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Written by SleepingAutumn. Translated by RD. Edited by Milkbiscuit, Immortal BloodRogue.