HSSB141: Beat to the draw!
The spirit formation left behind in Old Man Great Sorrow’s old residence once possessed great power.
However, even though the spirit formation had been concealed and quiet for all this time, with Old Man Great Sorrow already having been dead for so long, it had gradually lost some of its spiritual qi.
With the spiritual qi being lost, affected by the passing of time, the spirit formation became incomplete, its power far from its previous peak.
Even still, one would need to be at least a Martial Grandmaster if they wanted to break through the formation through pure force alone.
The cold fog was pervasive, corroding the bones. While seemingly minor, as time passed, it would unceasingly corrode one’s body with them unawares.
Even a Martial Grandmaster expert, having stayed within the ice fog for too long, would also gradually succumb.
When the aura-qi used to withstand the cold was no more and one had still not managed to walk out of that ice fog bewildering formation, they would be frozen directly to death within the cold fog, becoming a part of that cold ice.
Moreover, when withstanding the harsh coldness, one would still have to face the attacks of the repeatedly reviving Ice Crystal Guards, with more always standing up to take the place of those which had fallen, draining their energy even faster.
None of these, however, were too difficult for Yan Zhaoge.
Constantly calculating the changes in the flow of the spiritual qi here, Yan Zhaoge was able to gradually grasp the key to breaking the formation, getting quicker as he progressed.
While the area before him was still suffused with fog, Yan Zhaoge’s spiritual sense was becoming more and more acute as he gradually became able to clearly identify the direction he was heading.
Very quickly, before Yan Zhaoge and Ah Hu appeared a platform, formed completely of cold ice with numerous spirit patterns circulating about it.
Standing on the platform, Yan Zhaoge bent down and reached out his palm, pressing it on the surface of the layer of ice.
A cold feeling emanated; the layer of ice was hard and sturdy.
Even with Yan Zhaoge’s current cultivation base, the feeling that it would be extremely difficult to destroy still welled up within his heart.
The ice layer influenced Yan Zhaoge’s aura-qi as he could feel that within the cold ice also existed a strange circulatory flow of qi, forming its own system. Wanting to infuse his aura-qi within, Yan Zhaoge found that it was harder than expected, as he experienced the rejection of the spiritual qi within the ice layer.
Smiling, neither hurried nor temperamental, Yan Zhaoge first ensured the stable circulation of his own aura-qi before he once again slowly attempted to feel for the laws of equilibrium of the spiritual qi flowing beneath the layer of ice.
Ah Hu reached out with both hands, directly grabbing the heads of two Ice Crystal Guards, before smashing them towards each other!
Colliding, the heads of the two Ice Crystal Guards instantly shattered.
Without turning around, Ah Hu asked, “Young Master?”
Yan Zhaoge said, “It’s fine; this is a part of the spirit formation, an existence that seems like a ‘door’ while also a ‘tunnel’.”
“The spiritual qi within the ice layer has formed a stable circulation equilibrium, and I have to find a way to integrate my aura-qi within this equilibrium, merging them together. That way, we would be able to get past the ice layer and descend to the next level.
Saying thusly, Yan Zhaoge shook the aura-qi within his body, the ice layer beneath his palms suddenly lighting up with a radiance as, the next moment, his figure vanished.
Ah Hu shattered an Ice Crystal Guard to pieces with a backhand before he copied Yan Zhaoge’s actions, his figure also vanishing as the ice layer of the platform flickered with a light.
Getting through the ice layer, Yan Zhaoge and Ah Hu arrived in a massive ice chamber.
The cold fog had vanished; this ice chamber was completely empty except from its centre, where there laid a massive coffin formed of ice crystals.
Ah Hu looked curiously at the coffin, “This is Old Man Great Sorrow’s tomb?”
Yan Zhaoge shook his head, “Fake tomb; it’s also a part of the hidden mechanisms and spirit formation. The coffin itself should hold a dangerous hidden mechanism.”
Shutting his eyes, Yan Zhaoge carefully felt for a moment before he leapt upwards, his body flipping upside down as he landed on the ceiling of the ice chamber.
As though he was standing on the ice chamber’s ceiling, positioned upside down, Yan Zhaoge walked several steps left and right, treading out a strange rhythm.
After a while, he suddenly stopped, now being precisely above where the coffin of ice crystals was.
On the ceiling of the ice chamber, beneath Yan Zhaoge’s feet, a radiance shone once more on the ice layer.
Ah Hu grinned as he too jumped onto the ceiling of the ice chamber, before the two of them disappeared from within the room.
Once more through the hidden mechanisms of the spirit formation, the scene before Yan Zhaoge’s eyes abruptly changed, from a snowy white world of cold ice, suddenly coming to a crimson red world of blazing flames!
A vast river of flames appeared before the two, holding an unbearable atmosphere which would almost induce suffocation.
Beneath the East Strangling Snow Mountains that were covered by white ice, was shockingly a huge zone of lava.
Gazing far through the all-encompassing flames, Yan Zhaoge vaguely saw that at the centre of the river of lava, there was a gigantic rock rising tall like a solitary isle in the middle of nowhere.
As the blazing hot lava flowed, terrifying sparks of fire splattered ceaselessly on to that gigantic rock.
Leaping across the river of lava, Yan Zhaoge and Ah Hu arrived on the gigantic rock at its centre that resembled a solitary isle.
At the centre of the rock there was, shockingly, a stone coffin. Over the stone coffin hovered words written in flame, “Alas! Alas!”
This was Old Man Great Sorrow’s true burial ground.
While the situation was as he had predicted, Yan Zhaoge couldn’t get his spirits up, while Ah Hu also looked surprised, “I can’t feel the presence of the Sacred Artifact fragment ah.”
He shook his huge head, “Young Master, could it be that Old Man Great Sorrow placed the Sacred Artifact elsewhere, and it had never been here all along?”
Yan Zhaoge didn’t answer, first coming before the stone coffin and bowing. Coming to his senses, Ah Hu also did the same.
Next, Yan Zhaoge closed his eyes, carefully feeling their surroundings for a moment before now he reopened them, “The Sacred Artifact fragment was indeed once here; however, we’ve been beat to the draw for it.”
Ah Hu looked a little unhappy, “Young Master, we haven’t spent much time here. If that Lin Zhou beat us to the draw and took away that Sacred Artifact fragment, with not even his shadow still remaining here upon our arrival, isn’t that speed of his a little too fast?”
“I still thought that he’d still be trapped within that ice fog bewildering formation, while we had already overtaken him.”
“Although I’ve heard that Lin Zhou’s cultivation has been improving by leaps and bounds recently, throwing Yan Shan whom he had previously always been level with behind, he still can’t have become a Martial Grandmaster so quickly, right?”
“Even if he is now a Martial Grandmaster, unless he is very strong, it would also not have been possible for him to crack that ice fog bewildering formation so quickly.”
“While Old Man Great Sorrow is dead, the spirit formation that he left behind is not that easy to crack,” Ah Hu hesitated slightly for a moment, “This was even faster than your speed, Young Master…”
Ah Hu scratched the back of his head, “It is like he knew where to walk as soon as he came in, not having to decipher and crack the bewildering formation on the spot; or perhaps there is a shortcut here, and he directly used it to enter.”
This was really one of the rare times that Yan Zhaoge had fallen a step behind someone ever since having crossed over to this world.
Stroking his temple, Yan Zhaoge surveyed the surrounding world of flames, “Is it that in terms of ability, there is always an expert above an expert, a sky above a sky; or is it to say that, he really came in here with a complete grasp of what he would be facing inside?”
His gaze finally stopped at Old Man Great Sorrow’s stone coffin, where those words formed of flame were preserved and solidified in mid-air, eternal.
The two ‘Alas’ words, having experienced the passing of many ages, seemed to be able to let one pass through time, feeling as well the regret that Old Man Great Sorrow had felt all those years ago before his death, unresigned to his fate.
As Yan Zhaoge was pondering, the world of flame which the two of them were in suddenly shuddered intensely.
The river of lava surrounding the giant rock suddenly roiled, the rocks above them fragmenting and plummeting downwards non-stop!
This underground zone of lava seemed about to transform into a sea of flames, the heavens collapsing and the earth concaving!
At the core of the spirit formation, where ice and fire intermingled, the Thunder Rumbling Young Master Lin Zhou looked calmly at the pair currently trapped within the violent world of lava.
“Breaking the formation step by step, this is not something to which I can compare,” Lin Zhou’s gaze was a little strange, “But, since you don’t know the location of the secret passage, that shows that you are not the same type of person as me.”
“Although I don’t know how there came to be such a huge change to your destined path, causing so many things to change, you have indeed churned the waters all turbid, rendering me unable to be certain of my originally clear memories, not daring to believe in what I had previously been confident of.”
“If you completely vanish within this underground world of lava, perhaps everything of the ‘past’ can return to its original path?”
Lin Zhou murmured, “This way, the number of chips within my hands will also be a little more. Anyway, you are also a thorn in my Heavenly Thunder Hall’s flesh.”
“Since it is so, then it’s best farewell forever, Broad Creed Young Master, Yan Zhaoge.”