Chapter 163: Conference
“We can confirm that that place was a great Arcana Master’s laboratory, all the way at the peak of the mountain. However, the mountain is layered with Origin Formations, making it a very restricted area,” He Yuandong said as he spread the map and pointed at the tall mountain on the map.
At the top of the stone mountain headquarters, a small high-level conference was going on.
“Restricted area” was a form of jargon within the ruins. It implied that the area was full of dangers and restrictive Origin Formations.
Restricted areas could be found all over the ruins. As legacies of the Arcana Kingdom, every ruins would have a restricted area. This was the reason why Su Chen and the others didn’t decide to rush over immediately.
Breaking into a restricted area required them to concentrate all of their manpower on that task!
This was also why everyone was searching for resources right now while not everyone was present. It wasn’t just to find the other students but also to deal with the easier tasks first before taking on the harder tasks.
The map of the ruins was already completed to a satisfactory degree, and Zhao Xin, who had completed the map, had returned to the stone mountain for some time already.
Zhao Xin had focused most of his attention when finishing up the map on mapping out the mountain. Thus, the scenery was very detailed; it almost looked like someone had taken a bird’s-eye view picture of the mountain.
Based on the map, there was a massive ring-shaped castle at the peak of the mountain. Because the center area protruded and towered over the peak of the mountain, it looked as if it were floating in midair.
He Yuandong was referring to the whole mountain when he said that it was a restricted area.
He Yuandong had tried entering the castle at one point, but because they didn’t have any students who were proficient in Origin Formations with them, every step would potentially be dangerous. In the end, they were forced to retreat after only making a bit of headway.
However, this trip of theirs was just a scouting expedition anyways. They would rather have nothing happen than make some kind of important contribution at this stage.
As the scouting party began to recount everything they had discovered about the castle, the students who were proficient in Origin Formations began to record them down so that they could prepare appropriately for them.
Because everyone had basically gathered together, they had also concluded a preliminary investigation of the tall mountain. Next, they could begin to develop a strategy on how to approach the tall mountain.
However, Su Chen suddenly asked, “Right, did you run into any Ferocious Race youths in the mountains?”
Shen Yucheng replied, “We ran into them twice but didn’t run into any Scarlet Fiends.”
The Ferocious Race didn’t learn things like alchemy or Origin Formations, but that didn’t mean that they had no way of dealing with them.
There were individuals amongst the Ferocious Race known as Scarlet Fiends. They were specialized to deal with Origin Formations because the Totemic Inscriptions on their body conferred a powerful resistance to Origin Formations and could disrupt them effectively. However, because Scarlet Fiends usually relied on their physique to directly assault the Origin Formations, they would often receive serious wounds. Because breaking these Origin Formations would result in self-harm, if their wounds accumulated, they would eventually die.
Put simply, they didn’t know how to lay down Origin Formations, but they had a way to destroy them. They really were a race that was created to destroy things.
But to the Ferocious Race, there was another even simpler method, which was just to follow the humans.
After fighting for thousands of years, the predatory Ferocious Race had already developed a way to deal with their shortcomings. To them, the human race was both their mortal enemies and a tool that could be utilized.
Thus, no one would be surprised if the Ferocious Race hadn’t brought Scarlet Fiends.
“Was it in the same place both times?” Su Chen asked.
“No,” Shen Yucheng replied, shaking his head.
Of the two times they had run into the Ferocious Race youths, once was in the mountain. At that point, everyone was focusing on breaking through the Origin Formations, but none of them seemed particularly skilled. That was why Wang Yucheng could confirm that the opponent had no Scarlet Fiends. The other time was at the outskirts of the mountain. They unintentionally ran into three Ferocious Race youths who charged them, wanting to do battle. However, He Yuandong and the others had no desire to fight, and they immediately retreated.
Su Chen thought for a moment, then said, “The Ferocious Race youths may not have completely finished gathering yet.”
“You’re sure?” Everyone felt their spirits rise somewhat.
There was too big of a difference between them having completely grouped up versus not having grouped up yet, that much was obvious.
Su Chen pulled out a piece of paper. The page was filled with details on every encounter with the Ferocious Race that had happened in the past few days.
Su Chen said, “Look, three days ago, Qingluo and the others ran into two Ferocious Race youths near this forest. Two days later, three more Ferocious Race youths appeared there. Entering a place where there are already no resources indicates that they aren’t receiving directions from the others yet. In addition, five Ferocious Race youths appeared within this area simultaneously but in three different specific locations. Evidently, they are still fighting on their own and have yet to form any larger groups.
They didn’t have the careful Zhao Xin looking for other students nor Su Chen to establish a center of operations. It wouldn’t be easy for the Ferocious Race youths to coordinate their efforts. Most importantly, what would they do if they got together? Gathering resources in groups would be much more inefficient, their strength wasn’t enough to assault the research lab yet, and if they ran into any humans, the humans would need to be willing to fight them. Because of this, even if any temporary groupings occurred, they could also fragment shortly thereafter, resulting in this kind of scenario.
But this kind of scenario wouldn’t last too long. After sweeping the ruins for resources, the Ferocious Race’s attention would once again turn to the research lab.
At that time, the Ferocious Race would begin to really group up.
Because they were sending out small teams, who were bringing back large quantities of precious resources, to gather resources every day, Su Chen was quite clear about the resource situation of the ruins. At this point, the ruins were almost completely stripped of its natural resources.
“Two days. At most, we have two days until the natural resources nearby will be completely exhausted. At that point, the Ferocious Race youths will begin to gather,” Su Chen said. “This period of time is the advantage we have. My recommendation is that we don’t need to be in such a hurry to go to the mountain in the north. The mountain won’t go anywhere anyway, and there’s more than enough time for us to search it. Our current goal should probably be to use these few days to decrease the gap in strength between us and the Ferocious Race!”
At this point, the difference in strength between the two sides wasn’t that large.
Normally, the period of disorder before was beneficial to the Ferocious Race. Under those scattered conditions, the Ferocious Race youths were more powerful than their human counterparts. Only after gathering together would the human students have an opportunity to display their advantages.
However, Su Chen’s two endeavors resulted in the deaths of four Ferocious Race youths, one of them a Temple Warrior, instantly wiping out the human students’ earlier disadvantage and resulting in the two sides possessing roughly equal standing.
To the humans, this was a great benefit because they were now in a position to put their advantages on full display.
Because of this, Su Chen hoped to use this advantageous period to deal with the Ferocious Race youths first.
He Yuandong nodded. “Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ says that if you keep the land but lose the people, you lose both; but if you keep the people and lose the land, you will still be able to recover. I support Su Chen’s idea; the research lab won’t be going anywhere. We should try to deal with these Ferocious Race bastards first.”
Qi Weiyan said, “But utilizing these two days won’t be too easy. Those Ferocious Race youths don’t seem stupid; they are quite tricky to fight, and they won’t engage in battle when they know they can’t win. If we send too few people, we don’t know if we’ll win, while if we send too many, they won’t fight us in the first place. Also, those guys aren’t particularly slow either.”
“Even the craftiest wolf cannot escape an experienced hunter’s grasp,” Su Chen said calmly.