NETS - Chapter 173: Finally Regrouped
As time passed, the now fully recovered Lu Ping was slowly nearing the Seven Star Palace. Midway through his journey, Lu Ping spotted a forest from afar and the Psychic Charm given to him by Ji Zi-Xuan suddenly vibrated. Lu Ping rejoiced—it seemed like he was finally reuniting with his fellow sect cultivators.
He rushed towards the forest on foot, not because he didn't want to ride on Lu Qin's back, but that flying in the sky was too risky as it would make him an obvious target, especially in a place like the Heaven of Seven Stars where crises could be found on every corner.
But when Lu Ping finally reached the forest, he suddenly frowned.
The Psychic Charms worked both ways, meaning Ji Zi-Xuan and Yin Zi-Chu should have known about his arrival by now. Yet, they didn’t come out to welcome him even when he’d stopped outside the forest.
Lu Ping looked at the silent woodland and pondered, then he quietly spread out his divine sense and snuck quietly through the trees.
"You two are Zhen Ling Sect’s Twin Talents, who teamed up and fought against Xuan Ling Sect’s Miao Wei-Dong, right?"
In the forest, five men in black were confronting Ji Zi-Xuan and Yin Zi-Chu, the leader of the group questioning the pair with a sneer.
"You cowardly rats don’t even dare to show your faces, but you’re clearly from the Ocean Overturning Gang, right? What’s vermin like you scurrying out of your shabby holes for?"
Lu Ping didn't expect that Ji Zi-Xuan, who was always gentle and elegant, could be so sarcastic in his speech.
Although flushed with anger, the leader ignored Ji Zi-Xuan's mockery and said, "Ten days ago, twenty of us fought with another group of cultivators. During that battle, I fought on par with the group’s leader, who was called Ai Bo-Tao. I wonder if you two can survive against me and my four friends."
Yin Zi-Chu simply raised his top-grade dual short swords and replied coldly, "We’ll see!"
Just as the Ocean Overturning Gang leader was about to say more, Yin Zi-Chu suddenly blinked to the right and disappeared from their sight. Shocked, the leader shouted to the cultivators on his left, "Watch out!"
He quickly flung out his hands, his sleeves suddenly stretching out and turning into a cloth barrier, which tried to wrap around the cultivator on the leftmost side.
However, the cloth barrier had only just extended thirty feet when a wooden monkey abruptly leaped out from the side and crashed into it, stopping it from stretching further.
The cultivator on the leftmost side was hit by Yin Zi-Chu’s sneak attack, one of his arms chopped off into the sky.
"Bastards! Surround them, and strike them with all your might! Leave no survivors!"
The leader was furious; he certainly didn’t expect one of them to be wounded so badly and so quickly. After giving the order, he took the lead and flung his Flying Cloud Sleeves toward Yin Zi-Chu.
The other two cultivators pushed in from the sides and rescued the wounded cultivator from Yin Zi-Chu’s further attacks.
Once the wounded cultivator was taken away, the leader turned around and swiped his hand in the air. A three-feet long, nonagon Crystal Mace appeared in his hand, and he hammered it down ferociously towards Ji Zi-Xuan.
On the other side, Yin Zi-Chu was kept occupied by the remaining three Ocean Overturning Gang cultivators. With nimble movements, he quickly shifted positions to avoid getting caught.
Ji Zi-Xuan and Yin Zi-Chu grew up together, and so they had a good understanding of each other. Together, they were a combination more formidable than just two Seventh Layer Blood Condensation cultivators alone.
However, their foes had obviously come prepared, and appeared to have thought of a way to tackle the duo’s fighting styles.
Although they couldn’t catch up with Yin Zi-Chu's speed and sharp swordsmanship, their fluid coordination was enough to block Yin Zi-Chu from getting close to Ji Zi-Xuan, preventing the duo from teaming up.
Seeing no other options left, Ji Zi-Xuan had no choice but to release his two strongest puppets. Both were equivalent to a Late Blood Condensation cultivator.
The first puppet—an ironclad soldier wielding a broadsword—stepped forward and parried the oncoming Crystal Mace.
The Crystal Mace recoiled from the force, but the impact also sent the ironclad soldier several steps backwards. The Crystal Mace left a big chip on the broadsword, and the puppet’s arms creaked and rattled as if about to be shaken off.
Ji Zi-Xuan's eyes twitched and his heart ached; this ironclad puppet was his most prized creation. He hurriedly commanded the second armored puppet Lu Ping had seen earlier to help the ironclad puppet fight.
Since Ji Zi-Xuan used his arcane energy and divine sense to control the two puppets to fight for him, he could only take out an octagonal shield to serve as protection for himself.
At this time, Lu Ping was hiding more than a thousand feet away from the battlefield, which was just out of range of both sides' divine senses. In the meantime, Lu Ping could still clearly grasp the situation in the forest with his eyes.
The reason why he hid so far was because of his poor ability to use stealth techniques, which made it easy for others to detect him with their divine senses. The leader of these Ocean Overturning Gang cultivators was clearly a formidable opponent—Lu Ping didn’t want to lose the element of surprise by exposing his presence.
By this point, Ji Zi-Xuan was in a dangerous situation. Yin Zi-Chu was tied up fighting three cultivators whose cultivation bases were higher than his, so he was also struggling to defend himself.
The leader felt they had the situation under control and he said proudly, "Do you still want to fight? If you truly understand your situation, then you know it’s time to take out that mystic treasure you found. Who knows, it might be strong enough for you to overpower us?"
Lu Ping cast his stealth technique and snuck a couple hundred feet forward. The other cultivators had slackened their vigilance thinking that victory was already at hand—none of them detected Lu Ping.
Yin Zi-Chu slashed his swords and shot out 128 sword lights towards his attackers, his swordsmanship a fine line away from achieving the State of Intent. The cultivators were shocked by his sudden outburst and they quickly moved to defend themselves.
Yin Zi-Chu seized this opportunity to quickly leave the cultivators behind, speeding in the direction of Lu Ping’s hiding place.
"No good, he's running away!"
"He abandoned his friend, I guess the Zhen Ling Sect is no better than the rest!"
"Do you think you can escape? That last attack must have cost you a lot of arcane energy. You won't go far before it dries up!"
Cursing loudly, the three Ocean Overturning Gang cultivators quickly chased after him.
Yin Zi-Chu ran a hundred feet away, his speed gradually flagging, as if his arcane energy was quickly depleting with each step.
The three cultivators were so excited, they roared with laughter as they raised their mystic instruments to attack Yin Zi-Chu's back.
Yin Zi-Chu had “no choice” but to turn around and defend himself, but he only had two short swords, which could only deflect two of the three mystic instruments.
Seeing that the third mystic instrument was about to break Yin Zi-Chu's aegis energy and hit him hard, the Ocean Overturning Gang cultivators were all overjoyed, and didn’t notice the look of mockery in Yin Zi-Chu's eyes.
A green sword light suddenly flashed out from the back of a tree behind Yin Zi-Chu. It deflected the third mystic instrument and continued towards one of the cultivators without slowing down.
Shocked, the cultivator exclaimed in a panic and hastily raised another mystic instrument in front of him in defense.
After a series of creaking noises that lasted less than a second, the high-grade defensive mystic instrument shattered into pieces, successfully stopping the green sword.
However, his offensive and defensive mystic instruments were now damaged and destroyed, greatly impairing his cultivation base. His chest tightened as if it was rammed, and a mouthful of blood gushed up from his throat.
But the cultivator was so frightened that he couldn’t care less about his injuries. He quickly retreated towards his fellow comrades, in hopes that they would save him.
However, it was too late.
The cultivator suddenly felt a chill on his chest, and when he looked down, he saw blood start to spread from two pinholes on his shirt.