AIP - Chapter 121: Backlash
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Outside the bamboo forest, Zhao Xiliang was completely focused on breaking the formation. He held numerous spiritual threads in his hand that were attached to different points and were constantly disrupting the operation of the formation.
Under his control, the Azure Astral Formation gradually began to spin out of control. Smoke began to rise from the Stop Gate as it approached its limit.
Zhao Xiliang chuckled at the sight. "While the Hawk Hall has laid down an Azure Astral Formation, it's clear that the person who laid down the formation isn't here. A formation without a controller is like a city without soldiers. You think a formation alone can deal with me? Break!"
He pushed his hand toward the Azure Astral Formation, and a giant handprint pressed down on the formation. Suddenly, several dozen figures flew out of the formation.
One of them moved as quickly as lightning, aiming straight at the center of Zhao Xiliang's forehead.
Zhao Xiliang was aghast. With a brief glance, he could tell that this person was a Mortal Shedding Realm cultivator, so he did not dare to take this attack. Enduring the pain, he drew back his hands and thrust out his palms several times, manifesting palms that sealed the space around him. Pa! Pa! Pa! Sword light exploded against palm winds, releasing startling spiritual shockwaves. Zhao Xiliang grunted and fell back. While he had managed to block the attack, the formation that had been on the verge of collapse had restabilized.
"Bastard!" Zhao Xiliang was so angry that he wanted to vomit blood.
The Stop Gate erupted with light. Control had been restored, and the Azure Astrals now sent a gale at Zhao Xiliang, forcing him to retreat again.
At the same time, the swordsman pursued, sword energy flowing out as he sent three sharp sword waves at Zhao Xiliang.
He knew that he was dead, so all he wanted was to try and bring another Mortal Shedding Realm expert with him.
But as he swung his sword, he heard a light snort at his ear.
This sound was like a ringing bell, and Qi Ming saw stars for a brief second. His sword froze, and he failed to make the thrust.
In the distance, an azure palm appeared, approaching at high speeds and striking him right in the chest.
Qi Ming's body swayed, and he looked down at his chest and saw an azure handprint upon it.
"The Yi Wood Azure Essence Palm… Xie Fengtang…" Qi Ming was barely able to squeeze out these words, after which his body rapidly withered, his clothes, flesh, and blood all decaying, and a gust of wind blew away the remaining dust.
After this blow struck true, Xie Fengtang charged out and thrust a palm at the bamboo forest before him.
This palm instantly kicked up a storm, and in the distance, the Azure Astral Winds stirred, turning into thousands of scythes that shot at Xie Fengtang in a bladed storm.
The disruption of the formation had failed, so Xie Fengtang had decided to go in personally and destroy the formation.
As the Azure Astral Winds assailed him, Xie Fengtang roared and thrust out his palms. Boom! Boom! Boom! He thrust out his palm ten-some times, impacting against the air and creating ten-some vortices that swept toward the storm of azure scythes. As these two waves of spiritual energy collided against each other, azure flames burst out and rained over the world, turning the entire world green.
"Yue'er!" Xie Fengtang shouted.
Si Yue'er flew past him, a flower basket in her hand. She threw the flower basket down, and the petals in the basket drifted out and bloomed into tens of thousands of flowers that blocked that downpour of Azure Astral Wind.
Xin Yue, Daoist Ku, and the other teachers of Basking Moon took action, causing the entire bamboo forest to shake and sway.
No matter how powerful the Azure Astral Formation was, it could not withstand the combined might of the Basking Moon teachers, and it gradually began to break.
At this moment, a yellow light flashed within the formation. Xie Fengtang spotted it and shouted, "It really is the Five Elements Earth Escape Art! Do everything you can to stop it!"
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
The teachers raised their hands in unison and thrust them at the yellow light in the formation, upsetting the spiritual energy in an attempt to interrupt the art manifestation.
As the Astral Winds dissipated and the formation began to fall apart, azure light erupted within the formation. A fire descended from the sky and slammed into the center, unleashing an even greater burst of yellow light.
Xie Fengtang was startled. "Where did this Heavenfire come from?"
Zhao Xiliang saw this and paled. "Not good! Heavenfire burns Wood, and Fire generates Earth! This is a method of accelerating the Five Elements Earth Escape Art! They have a formation expert helping them."
Qi Ming's sudden attack could be put off as a coincidence, but the descent of Heavenfire removed any possibility of a coincidence.
The Five Elements generated each other, and of these, Fire generated Earth.
Basking Moon Academy had locked down the area, so it had guessed that its enemy would use the Five Elements Earth Escape Art to flee. This was precisely why no one used any Fire spells, for fear that this would accelerate the casting.
They had not expected the enemy to use the Wood attribute of the Azure Astral Formation to bring down Heavenfire and ruin Basking Moon Academy's plan.
Everyone grew anxious and unleashed their full might, waves of spiritual energy exploding. Finally, the Azure Astral Formation broke and collapsed under their combined attacks.
Xie Fengtang shot through the bamboo forest and thrust forward with his palm.
A palm infused with azure energy slammed against the yellow dome. At the same time, the yellow dome let out a powerful light and then, boom! It vanished, leaving behind a giant bottomless pit in the ground.
"Bastards!" Xie Fengtang furiously roared as he watched his enemies vanish right in front of him.
"They managed to escape?" Si Yue'er dropped down from the sky and looked around in shock.
Even though the teachers of Basking Moon Academy had been working together and Celestial Heart Realm Xie Fengtang had been personally overseeing the operation, the enemy had still managed to escape. If this news got out, the Basking Moon Sect would be humiliated!
Xie Fengtang angrily snorted, "So long as they still have Tang Jie, it doesn't matter where they run!"
He opened his hand, revealing the loan receipt that showed that Tang Jie owed one hundred thousand spirit coins.
A yellow light flashed, and ten-some people appeared somewhere in the wilderness.
The moment they appeared, one of them vomited blood and collapsed to the ground.
"Zhu Yun!" Gu Changqing shouted as he went to help up his subordinate, but he found that the man was already dead.
Xie Fengtang's palm hadn't been able to keep them, but the aftershocks had badly wounded them. This Zhu Yun had taken the attack directly, and while the body had escaped, his life was no more.
Gu Changqing felt a tinge of sorrow at the death of his subordinate.
He turned his head and counted. He discovered that he only had fifteen men left.
The Hawk Hall had sent forty-some good men to Wanquan City, and more than half of them had died in this one battle!
"Tang Jie!" someone abruptly shouted.
A Hawk Hall subordinate charged up, grabbed Tang Jie, and shouted, "This is all because of you! Because of you!"
He began to punch and kick Tang Jie.
Tang Jie let him beat him, watching with cold eyes.
He softly said, "The one before you beat me, and he just died."
"You're threatening me?" The Hawk Hall subordinate exploded with rage.
Tang Jie shook his head. "I don’t threaten people."
The man smiled in anger. Grabbing Tang Jie by the neck, he shouted, "I'll kill you, and then let's see what you…"
"Gu Bai, stop!" Gu Changqing shouted.
"Eagle Master!" That man called Gu Bai trembled.
Gu Changqing coldly said, "Everyone's fates were sealed the moment they entered the Hawk Hall and went to Sageheart. Either we complete the mission and return as heroes, or we fail the mission and die as strangers in a strange land. This world is all about killing or being killed. Some of our brothers have gone, and we can feel sad, but we cannot let them die in vain. I presume that I do not need to explain Tang Jie's importance to you."
Gu Bai reluctantly released his grip on Tang Jie. After some thought, he decided that he wasn't done and kicked Tang Jie.
Gu Changqing looked around and said, "This wasn't the location we designated. Xie Fengtang's palm prevented the Five Elements Earth Escape Art from exhibiting its full might. Kong Wulang, take some men and look around to see where we are. And then find some clothes so we can all change."
"Yes!" A Hawk Hall subordinate hurried off with two men.
Gu Changqing strode over to Tang Jie and said, "How did the Basking Moon Sect find you? And why did you help us?"
Tang Jie grinned at Gu Changqing. "In the past, you had only one question: Am I Tang Jiye or not? After capturing me, you had a second question: Where is the Martial Mirror? And just now, you had a third question: How did the Basking Moon Sect find me? And then there's the fourth question: Why am I helping you? …Don't you find it very amusing? You captured me, but not only did you not get the answer you wanted, you only have more and more questions."
Tang Jie was punched in the belly.
Drawing back his fist, Gu Changqing said, "I want an answer, not mocking!"
Tang Jie clenched his teeth in pain. "An answer? The answer is that because of your actions, the Basking Moon Sect has basically concluded that I am Tang Jiye! Do you think anything good will happen to me once I fall into their hands?"
Gu Changqing nodded. "So you would rather be captured by us than fall into the Basking Moon Sect's hands?"
"This is all your fault! I already said that I wasn't Tang Jiye, but you insisted that I was. Even if I return to the Basking Moon Sect, I'll still probably be interrogated. They won't be as determined and resolute as you lot. If they don't get what they want, they might even decide to kill me on the spot and then blame the entire thing on you!"
"Bullshit! If you didn't want to go back to the Basking Moon Sect, why would you lure them to us?" Gu Bai shouted. "Eagle Master, this kid hasn't said a word of truth. Let's just use Soulscour on him."
Two of his good friends had died in the Basking Moon Sect's attack, so he loathed Tang Jie.
"Yes, use Soulscour!"
"Use it, Eagle Master!"
The others all agreed.
Who didn't have a few good friends? Tang Jie's actions had killed so many people that he was hated by more than just one.
Gu Changqing hesitated.
Soulscour was extremely unreliable, and they might lose some important information, so Gu Changqing only wanted to use it as a last resort. But it now seemed that there was no choice except to use Soulscour.
The Basking Moon Sect had probably been able to find them so quickly because they had done something to Tang Jie. If they didn't find the reason, they would be hunted down until the very end.
Realizing this, Gu Changqing finally nodded.
Gu Bai savagely smiled as he walked over and said, "Kid, this is your last chance. Start talking or I'll use the Soulscour spell on you!"
Tang Jie looked sympathetically at him.
"You're seeking death!"
Being looked at like this infuriated Gu Bai, so he began to make the hand signs for the Soulscour spell.
The Soulscour spell was a high-level spell art that involved the Spirit Will. In normal circumstances, only those at the Celestial Heart Realm could learn it.
It was only because the Hawk Hall's people needed to use it often that they were able to learn this spell art before they were supposed to. But they were only barely able to use it, and were unable to apply the spell to a talisman. Thus, when Zhuang Shen had gone in, they had had him take a Soulscour talisman.
At this moment, as Gu Bai made the hand signs, large beads of sweat formed on his forehead. It was clear that this spell was placing an enormous burden on him.
Once he had finished the art circulation, he tapped Tang Jie's forehead with his finger.
Other Hawk Hall members had already grabbed onto Tang Jie so that he couldn't avoid it.
But Tang Jie didn't even try. He let Gu Bai's finger touch his forehead, a smile in his eyes.
Gu Changqing saw this and mentally trembled. He wanted to stop Gu Bai, but he ultimately failed to speak.
As Gu Bai's finger touched Tang Jie's forehead, spiritual power was sent into Tang Jie's mind.
In normal circumstances, the Spirit Will would forcefully convert Tang Jie's thoughts into images that would enter Gu Bai's mind. Of course, this would deal an enormous mental shock to Tang Jie.
But when his finger touched, he felt his spiritual power running into some kind of wall that it couldn't break through. He was taken aback and thought to himself, This kid has a really formidable will. But he thought nothing more of it and simply redoubled his spiritual energy.
A moment later, his field of vision widened. But different from the memory images he expected, all he saw was an endless sea of blood.
He was in the middle of the sea of blood, waves raging around him and gales howling. Gu Bai looked around in shock and blurted out, "Where is this place?"
No one answered!
This was a mental battle, and his voice was purely a transmission of his will. It echoed through the sea of blood, and what came in reply was a fierce and furious roar.
The roar of a tiger erupted in Gu Bai's mind.
This time, he could now see that there was a giant tiger standing at the end of the sea of blood, its giant maw opened to him.
Waves appeared on the sea of blood, sweeping him toward the giant tiger's mouth. It was like a black hole, ready to devour him in both body and soul… "No!"
Gu Bai yelled in fear.
In the wilderness, Gu Changqing and the others saw Gu Bai throw back his head and vomit blood, after which he collapsed to the ground.
"Gu Bai, what's wrong?" The others rushed to help him up.
Gu Bai slowly opened his eyes.
There was no light in them.
He slackly gazed at them as if he didn't recognize any of them, and then he giggled like a child.
Gu Changqing instantly placed two fingers on Gu Bai's neck, and then he turned ghastly pale. "The Soulscour failed, and backlashed on his body… He's become an imbecile!"
These words were like a bolt of lightning crashing on their heads.
Only Tang Jie calmly lay back on the ground, muttering as he looked up at the sky, "As I said, I don’t threaten people."