Chapter 762: The Clandestine Operation
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
Liang Pan and Shi Yu both noticed the departure of Lin Feng’s Steel Tree Avatar in secret to follow the Red Dragon King. They were not too bothered by it as most of their attentions were focused on Lin Feng’s original body on Mount Yujing.
Still, they separated a part of their consciousness to monitor Lin Feng’s Steel Tree Avatar to avoid any unforeseen and unexpected circumstances.
Lin Feng was prepared for this. The Steel Tree Avatar was following the Red Dragon King to monitor him as Lin Feng truly felt that something was off.
His secondary motive was also to distract Liang Pan and Shi Yu so that he could execute his clandestine operation with greater discretion.
Rows after rows of mystical glyphs and runes connected together as a somebody was packaged together with the Barrier-Breaking Stone and the Heavenly Oyster’s Golden Pearl and transformed into an obscure light dot. The light dot left Mount Yujing discreetly right the moment when Liang Pan and Shi Yu were distracted by the Steel Tree Avatar.
The layers of mystical glyphs formed a magical barrier and masked the movement of the light dot so that Liang Pan and Shi Yu would be unable to detect it.
The first step of Lin Feng’s clandestine operation was successfully executed.
Lin Feng felt slightly amused. “This is the reason why I have to focus on completing the new spell before my journey into the Ying Sea. It’s still the same old saying – preparation is always important.”
If Liang Pan and Shi Yu were completely focused and they were one with their destiny-level magic treasures, then detection was perhaps possible. However, just that tiny moment of distraction was all Lin Feng needed for the little spot of light to vanish within the clouds and mist above the Ying Sea.
Even though the spot of light remained undetected, both Liang Pan and Shi Yu felt their hearts skip a beat and their blood started to rush a little. Their instincts told them that the events were unfurling toward something not too beneficial for themselves.
The path of life and fate were masked by layers and layers of uncertainty, and their levels of mastery were not high enough to see through everything. It was only their instincts acting up, but it was hard to pinpoint the source of their discomfort.
For Shi Yu, it was possible that Liang Pan was the cause as much as it could be Lin Feng. It could also be because of the other people that were in the Ying Sea with them.
It was the same situation for Liang Pan.
However, as they watched Lin Feng’s confident disposition, they began to heap their doubts and suspicion onto Lin Feng.
“What has he done?” Liang Pan frowned a little as he started to communicate with his avatar on top of the Fangzhang Celestial Mountain at a faraway place. The search for the Penglai Celestial Mountain was ongoing as Liang Pan raised his guard against any unforeseen circumstances.
Zhu Hongwu was a little disturbed by Liang Pan’s description of the situation. “Your majesty, this feeling that you just felt is not a coincidence.”
Liang Pan nodded his head in agreement and said, “We have to find the Penglai Celestial Mountain. However, we cannot be too hasty and we have room for taking a step back. It’s okay even if we have to wait for the next reappearance of the three mountains. The Great Zhou Empire only needs to remain in control of the Fangzhang Celestial Mountain at the end of everything for us to be in a beneficial position in the conflict of the Ying Sea.”
“If we find the Penglai Celestial Mountain, then it will be up to you to retrieve it. My avatar will be on the Fangzhang Celestial Mountain just in case anything happens.”
Zhu Hongwu acknowledged. “Yes, your majesty.”
Once he was settled with the matters regarding the Penglai and Fangzhang Celestial Mountains, Liang Pan’s full attention was accorded once again to Lin Feng and Shi Yu while monitoring the progress regarding the Penglai Celestial Mountain at the same time.
At this point, Zhu Yi, Li Yuanfang, the Da Kong Zen Master and Prince Jingfang were already inside the ancient formation surrounding the mountain.
As they landed on the pieces of jade planks, Zhu Yi and company started to feel a strange transformation in their environment.
The feeling was like as if they were submerged in water. They could see the ripples, but the key idea was that nobody could hear anything. Everything before them also seemed black and white and all color was lost.
At least they could still use their consciousnesses and voice-projection capabilities were unaffected. Zhu Yi studied the magic formation as he pulled out the Green Glass Jade Stand. “Senior, you’ve been inside this magic formation with the Golden Hill Holy Man before. We wish to break the formation again and we need your experience.”
Spiritual energies rippled forth from the jade stand and were converted into audible sounds that only Zhu Yi and company could hear. “This is a natural-born magic formation and has been with the Yingzhou Celestial Mountain since a long time ago. The humans of the Divine Lands have taken to calling the Nameless Ancient Formation.”
“The ancient formation of today is a lot weaker than before. All it can do now is take away our sense of hearing and color. Back when I entered the formation with the Golden Hill Holy Man, the ancient formation was able to jam our sense of vision, touch, hearing, taste and smell all at the same time. Wer were only left with the autonomy of the consciousness to probe and move forward.”
The Green Glass Jade Stand had been assimilated by Lin Feng and the stand now treated Lin Feng as its master. This was the reason why it referred to the Golden Hill Holy Man, its previous owner, the same way as Zhu Yi and the others.
“Even so, the flexibility of our consciousnesses is greatly reduced and our range of function is highly limited,” the Green Glass Soul continued, “The combined effect of our continued exposure to the multiple layers of spatial illusions within the Ying Sea and the deficiency of our senses makes it very easy for us to end up becoming trapped inside.”
“The Golden Hill Holy Man perished because he got himself trapped inside the layers of illusions.”
Zhu Yi and company nodded their heads in unison. Over the years of exploration and adventure, the reputation of the Nameless Ancient Formation surrounding the Yingzhou Celestial Mountain is relatively pervasive.
Legend had it that during the initial appearances of the Three Mountains of the Ying Sea, the power of the Nameless Ancient Formation was at its peak to the point that it was able to jam steal away cultivators’ consciousness and rationality of thought. Once cultivators entered the ancient formation, they were unable to think nor speak and neither were they able to move. They would enter a kind of vegetable state.
This was not even accounting for the other dangerous things all around. A cultivator in a vegetable state in such circumstances was as good as dead.
Emperor Tai launched a great assault on the Nameless Ancient Formation during his time which remarkably nullified its powers. This was the reason why the cultivators that came after were still able to use their consciousnesses and psychic senses.
With their consciousnesses still functional, the people that came after were able to discuss and experiment different resolutions to break the formation. Attack after attack caused the Nameless Ancient Formation to wither year after year.
The Green Glass Soul continued to explain. “From my experience with the Golden Hill Holy Man, who ended up being trapped inside, and the experiences of other adventurers who managed to escape, I can tell you that the method to breaking through this formation is very different from how we normally treat normal magic formations.”
“The core of this formation is the Yingzhou Celestial Mountain itself. If we don’t break through this formation somehow, there is no way we will even get close to the mountain. This means that looking for the eye of the formation is useless. The materials that is being used to set it up comprises the geological factors of the environment and are not fixed – they eve include the layers of illusions of the Ying Sea.”
Li Yuanfang’s eyes sparkled as he listened. “That means the key to breaking the illusion is to use the same method as the Imperial Palace. We have to either attack it from the outside in with brute force, or we use the most primitive method of breaking formations – we analyze its patterns.”
A long time ago, when humans and demons were just becoming civilized, there were already magic formations in existence. These formations were not the brainchildren of great cultivators or powerful demons who made them out of nothing – they were formed through the analysis of the patterns ofvnature and the interactions of Heaven and Earth. The magic formations in practice back then were caricatures and replicas of natural occurrences like the Nameless Ancient Formation of the Yingzhou Celestial Mountain.
This phenomenon was similar to ancient humans mimicking other animals and following their behaviors in order to survive.
The evolution of magic formations since the beginning of time went through a similar process as well. Cultivators analyzed the natural-born ancient formations of the world and studied the profound meanings embodied within, and modelled their own magic formations after these ancient formations using their own mantras.
With the passage of history, humans and demons became more adept at controlling their mana and their mantras, and their understanding of magic formations and the world accumulated over time. They broke free of the shadow cast by natural-born ancient formations, and were finally able to use their personal mantras and masteries as foundations to devise new magic formations based on their own ambitions and desires.
The Green Glass Soul affirmed Yuanfang’s judgment. “You are absolutely correct. In order to break this ancient formation completely, we have to work out the formation patterns – to the very last one.”
He continued to advise Zhu Yi and the others. “From my experience, this ancient formation is not a sphere but rather a spiraling loop of some sort. It only appears like a sphere due to the disproportionate space around it.”
Zhu Yi turned to Li Yuanfang and asked, “What do you think, Sixth Junior?”
Li Yuanfang was not too hasty in reply. His eyes closed into slits as he started to analyze the magic formation by himself and answered Zhu Yi only after he completed careful calculations. “Second Senior, we should split up and meet somewhere afterwards and consolidate our findings. It’s faster this way.”
“I wanted to say the same,” Zhu Yi nodded his head in approval. “Even though the space around the formation is twisted, we can still afford to split up to work things out. We will go a half round in opposite directions and rendezvous at the end. We don’t have to worry about running into other cultivators as well. This place is like our master’s Purple Clouds Maze, and people that enter the ancient formation at different times will find themselves in the same place but in different dimensions. The Da Kong Zen Master and Prince Jingfang won’t be able to see us as long as they haven’t solved the conundrum of the ancient formation. This means that there is guaranteed safety for our splitting up.”
Lin Feng’s Purple Clouds Maze was only used on his foundational disciples as they were tested for their ascension to the status of becoming one of Lin Feng’s direct disciples. It had been used several times after as well, and Zhu Yi and the others were able to replicate it after their levels of mastery became higher and higher. This was the reason why Li Yuanfang understood how it worked.
The two of them agreed on the plan while the Green Glass Soul was a little stunned. Zhu Yi’s idea of going their separate ways meant that he would lead a group and Li Yuanfang would assume leadership of another group at the same time.
There was nothing to be said about Zhu Yi’s level of mastery. However, Li Yuanfang was only in the aurous core beginner stage.
Both Jieyu and Baiguang were a little doubtful as well. They did not know much about Li Yuanfang as the two of them had been in reclusion for quite a prolonged period time. All they knew was that this dark-skinned youth was also Lin Feng’s direct disciple.
“Across the Divine Lands below the level of the immortal soul, and this includes the other seniors and juniors of the Celestial Sect of Wonders, there are not more than five people who are better than my Sixth Junior with magic formations.” Zhu Yi said plainly as he could detect the skepticism of the rest of his company. “Even amongst the immortal soul stage cultivators, there are a great many who are not very good with magic formations. Of this group of people, Sixth Junior is better than every single one of them with regards to the transformations of magic formations.”
The Green Glass Soul, Jieyu and Baiguang turned to look at Li Yuanfang with rather astonished expressions. It was clear that Zhu Yi was a man of truth and he did not take to slander and deceptions in his speech.
Even so, his words sounded a little too extraordinary to be true.
Li Yuanfang glanced at Zhu Yi without a single trace of arrogance nor humility and spoke with a serious attitude. “There are immortal soul stage cultivators in the parties from the Great Qin and the Great Zhou Empire after all. We do not know if there are cultivators who are adept in magic formations amongst their ranks.”
“In the interest of time, you should cast the Soaring Dragon Spell to aid me in my endeavors.”
Zhu Yi nodded in agreement. “I would have done the same even if you hadn’t brought it up.”
With that, his right hand started to move as he began casting the spell. The shadow of an immense dragon shimmered into sight as it roared and started wrapping itself around Li Yuanfang’s body.