Chapter 411: The Unwelcome Troublemaker
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
The tranquility and the peace of the Northern Polar Sea was no more and was very happening at this point. Uncountable streams of mana were rippling through the air as everybody was trying to search this ice-cold world while maintaining a safe distance from everybody else to prevent conflict.
The currently active people in the Icy and Snowy Lands were either locals inhabiting the area or powers near the border of the Northern Polar Sea.
It was quite frequent that these people met each other in daily life, and many of them had old grudges amongst themselves. Now, everybody was rushing down to the hiding spot of the Secret Manual of Kun Peng and this only served to inflame their past differences.
They were unable to determine the exact location of the Secret Manual of Kun Peng within the Northern Polar Sea, and everybody was just subconsciously moving closer to the center of the frozen sea.
A slovenly-clothed and seemingly unkempt elderly figure stepped out from the void. He was counting with his fingers and muttered under his breath, “Don’t be afraid. It’s not in the area around the center of the sea. It should be around here. The problem is that the surface area of the Northern Polar Sea is way to big – even I can’t find the exact location of the item.”
He calculated for a moment longer and scratched his head in defeat. With a wave of his sleeve, a good dozen people fell to the ground.
Amongst these people, there were strong and weak cultivators; the stronger ones were of the aurous core stage and the weaker ones were only of the Qi cultivation stage.
When the Qi cultivation stage cultivators fell onto the ice, they immediately began to shiver all over and instantly pulled out a talisman-paper. Only when they managed to distribute the mana around their body did they regain their warmth.
A couple of foundation establishment cultivators also picked up their talisman-papers respectively to resist the cold. Even the aurous core stage cultivators were no different. Although they had the option to rely upon their own strength to counter the extreme cold, they chose to do otherwise because the former would consume a huge chunk of their mana.
After a long time, when all their mana had been used up, they would ultimately perish in this frozen land. Therefore, they forged talismans to fight the cold and saved up on their own mana so they would still have the strength in case they ran into a fight or a conflict.
The throng of cultivators began to greet the unkempt old man respectively. “Master!” No matter their level of mastery, they were all disciples of the old man.
This elderly man was the River Map Grandmaster and was a nascent soul stage cultivator. He was adept in the ways of magic formations and brought his disciples travelling south of the frozen sea, and coincidentally overhead news of the Secret Manual of Kun Peng. And so they were here to try their luck as well.
The Secret Manual of Kun Peng was hidden beneath infinite layers of black ice and its exact location was not easy to fix. However, the Secret Manual itself was forged with the last ounces of power that Kun Peng had before he died to preserve his remains. The changing of the power within was in itself an extremely unique and complex magic formation.
The River Map Grandmaster was adept in the arts of magic formations, thus he had a unique perspective of the complexity and profundity of magic formations. The number of magic formations that he had seen was uncountable, and once he reached the Northern Polar Sea, by feeling the spiritual energy flowing underneath it he could at least make some headway.
Still, without any concrete leads and relying solely upon himself to determine the location of the Secret Manual of Kun Peng was a statistical improbability.
The old man’s mood was pretty good despite all this. He was not worried and treated this as a learning experience for his disciples.
This was the reason why he let all of his disciples out and said, “The Secret Manual of Kun Peng is indeed attractive. If I find it then it’s my good fortune but if I don’t then so be it. The lot of you don’t have to be so stubborn. Just treat it as a form of training and experience so that you have a chance to use the things that I have taught you. Consider it a hands-on lesson – take heed and learn.”
“Who knows, one of you might get lucky today and find the location of the Secret Manual.”
The group of disciples answered him at once. “Yes, Master.”
The entire company immediately began to concentrate and feel the movements and changes of the spiritual energy beneath the frozen surface.
Once the River Map Grandmaster sent out his disciples, he did not slack off and continued to investigate the ripples of spiritual energy. At the same time, he was paying attention to the changes around him to prevent anybody from creating trouble with them.
Even though his mastery was high, he did not help his entire bunch of disciples battle the cold with his own mana as doing so would hinder their experience with the environment’s flow of spiritual energy as it became a kind of barrier.
Amongst the group of disciples, a Qi cultivation stage cultivator shivered. His mastery was relatively low after all, and even though he had a talisman to help protect him from the cold, he still felt like the cold was almost unbearable so he retrieved another talisman from his pocket.
A person beside saw what was happening and frowned slightly. “Don’t waste talismans. We don’t know how long we’re going to have to spend at this frozen place. There is a great number of powerful people around the area. If something big comes and master is not there to take care of us, we have to rely on ourselves. Every extra piece of talisman is an added advantage.”
This individual was young and he had a very attractive look. His eyes flared with energy but his expression was plain and stoic. At first look, he had the feel of a really experienced old man.
The Qi cultivation stage cultivator heard the words and became furious. “Li Yuanfang, of course you can say such things now that you’re in the foundation establishment stage.”
What Li Yuanfang just said did not really make sense as everybody around them were also conserving their own energy and mana and drawing upon the talismans for warmth.
Both he and Li Yuanfang were formation cultivators. The physical gap between Qi cultivation stage and the foundation establishment stage was not great, and if one did not use his or her own mana the cold that they experienced were very similar.
Li Yuanfang did not retort in a similar manner but only replied quietly, “I also feel the cold and I feel it more acutely than you do. This is because I have concentrated the mana from my talisman to increase the area that it covers. The talisman that you are using is still useable for a little more than six hours, while mine can still be used for another eight and a half.”
The Qi cultivation stage cultivator was still slightly upset. “Are you trying to show off to me?”
The two of them were one of the more junior disciples under the River Map Grandmaster. Their levels of mastery were originally quite similar, but Li Yuanfang’s recent successful ascension to the foundation establishment stage threw the other into the dust.
Li Yuanfang was still calm. “This is for your own good. One person’s success can be ruined by a tiny detail that you overlooked, and once the little mistakes stack up then you will find great trouble at your hands.”
An aurous core stage cultivator beside him frowned and said, “Quiet, all of you. Focus on the magic formation. More bullshit is useless.”
What was just said seemed to show a play on rank. Even though he was clearly reprimanding the two of them, it was directed more towards Li Yuanfang.
The Qi cultivation stage cultivator exclaimed in response. “Yes, Senior!” Subsequently, he shot a gleeful look at Li Yuanfang.
Li Yuanfang nodded his head silently and said no more. Except, he eyed the formation map that the aurous core stage cultivator drew on the surface of the ice.
The “Senior” closed his eyes into a squint. “What? Li Junior, you have something else to say?”
Li Yuanfang’s expression remained unchanged and replied, “Big Senior, the fourth and seventh glyph on your map is flipped and the thirteenth glyph has been wrongly drawn.”
The people around them flashed their eye whites and revealed expressions of “Oh, it was true.”
Even though Li Yuanfang entered the sect relatively late compared to his mates, he was prodigally talented on magic formations and was doted upon by the River Map Grandmaster.
However, he had several problems with his personality. For one, if one were to put it nicely, he was serious and meticulous. If one were to put it more negatively, he loved to point out other people’s errors.
Li Yuanfang was down-to-earth and was something of a perfectionist.
If it was only this, other people could still accept it as it was nothing much but what made people even more upset was that his attitude did not simply apply to himself but he imposed it upon others with no chance given. He gave no chance to whoever he was talking to.
Initially, his seniors and juniors thought he was just intentionally showing off and was just a naturally egotistic and arrogant individual.
However there was once when he obtained a formation map from the River Map Grandmaster when the latter was younger and mercilessly pointed out the mistakes on the map in front of everyone. Everybody at the scene was immediately rendered speechless as they realized this individual was not extremely arrogant or anything – he just simply had a poor emotional quotient.
Still, this attitude of his was somehow aligned with the tastes of the River Map Grandmaster. After the initial shock in response to his audacity, the River Map Grandmaster burst out in laughter back then.
So, his eldest senior, whose face was red as a lobster and faced with everybody else’s piteous eyes, subconsciously shifted his standing position to block the original formation map with his body.
Li Yuanfang’s expression was still calm while his eldest senior glared at him with flaming eyes. He had already “greeted” all of Li Yuanfang’s ancestors from eight generations ago. “If not for the fact that master is looking out for you, I will definitely teach you a lesson.”
There was somebody else that was laughing sadistically at the eldest senior. “This is your fault for trying to stir it up with that annoying dude. You like finding trouble for yourself, eh?”
The River Map Grandmaster favored Li Yuanfang’s natural talent but also knew that his personality made him gullible and others would easily take advantage of him. Even the other disciples from his own sect could not stand him, let alone outsiders.
Even though the River Map Grandmaster could protect him like that, and the other disciples did not dare to really take ‘revenge’, they could still ostracize and marginalize him.
Therefore, when the River Map Grandmaster was passing on his mantra to Li Yuanfang he warned him to change that bad habit of his.
When Li Yuanfang detected mistakes in his seniors’ or his juniors’ formation maps, most of the time he would remain silent. However, every man’s ego could not be denied and especially for disciples that entered the sect before Li Yuangfang did – such as his eldest senior. They were always so confident that they did not make any mistakes.
Yet, most of the time they would end up getting “whacked” by Li Yuanfang, much like what just transpired.
The whole group of them were watching the drama when the River Map Grandmaster suddenly said, “All be quiet.”
Everybody recovered and followed their master’s gaze towards the horizon. After a long while, a few streaks of aurora light, some red and some blue, surged across their heads.
“They’re from the Heavenly Lake Sect.” The River Map Grandmaster said slowly. Once Li Yuanfang and the others heard the news, their hearts skipped a beat. Due to the fact that the Northern Polar Sea was way too barren, there were not that many big cultivation powers within the area. The Heavenly Lake Sect could be considered to be the sect that was the furthest away from here.
The Heavenly Lake Sect was inherently cruel and demanding. Now that the exact location of the Secret Manual of Kun Peng had not been determined, the moment it was found there was a possibility that they would resort to cleaning out their competitors.
The River Map Grandmaster continued, “Let’s not care about the outsiders first. Focus on our own tasks at hand. The magic formation emanating from the Secret Manual of Kun Peng is complex and profound. If you all can just understand and fathom a tiny part of it then your time here will not have been wasted.”
Everybody acknowledged aloud, but the majority of the people present began to fantasize about obtaining the Secret Manual of Kun Peng. If they obtained the power from the Secret Manual, how powerful would they become?
Their lives would change so drastically.
Li Yuanfang did not share their fantasies, however. He followed the River Map Grandmaster’s instructions with obedience and was concentrating on understanding and unraveling the changes in spiritual energy around him.
Suddenly, a dragon roar pierced the sky and the River Map Grandmaster, along with everybody else, turned around to the horizon.
Most of the cultivators on the Northern Polar Sea watched the sky in shock as well. Where the focus of their gazes were appeared a gap in the void, and the head of a gigantic black dragon emerged from it. On top of its large head sat a purple-robed scholar and a purple-robed girl with flowing red hair.
Most of the people did not recognize them, but individuals from the Heavenly Lake Sect scrutinized them for a moment and their expressions instantly changed. “It’s the Celestial Sect of Wonders!”