Chapter 20: More People Means More Power
Translator: Subudai11 Editor: Chrissy
The Misty Peak of Spirit Sword Sect had an excellent tradition of watching the fun together.
Initially, it was just the two older and younger disciples in black and white clothing who were bored, and thus, started to ridicule the participants' performance in the Immortal Path. But as Hai Yunfan began to face off with the last hurdle in the Frozen Wind Valley, which was a category 3 ninth rank monster, more and more disciples in black and white clothing came over, and full of vim, they started pointing and commenting at his performance
"Hey, this kid is pretty fast. He went this far in just ten days?"
"So what if he's fast? No one got through this Immortal Path for hundreds of years. The faster he walk, the closer he is from the failure. The last hurdle is a category 3 ninth rank monster... Huh, isn't this the mammoth species from the Western Continent ? Who put it here? This big guy is one of the most overbearing monsters of its level; it's probably even stronger than the seventh or eighth rank monster of the same category. He might as well give up."
"You can't be sure of that, he had used his magical treasures to weaken the mammoth to seventy percent of its original strength; its level had dropped by a category..."
"What's the use? If Sect Leader's cultivation level is reduced by one stage, would you then be able to defeat him?"
"Stop bickering, look, Hai Yunfan is making his move!"
"Oh, he actually wants to cut the thick and coarse skin of that mammoth with his toothpick of a sword, what a courage, truly admirable!"
"Yes, knowing that it's a futile action but he is still wielding that sword, truly praiseworthy."
"Ah, he's been hit, oh, oh, look, he seems to fall off the cliff."
"... Did he really fall off the cliff?"
"He didn't? Let's wait and see, perhaps he'll fly up and make a comeback."
"... It's been a while, and he still hasn't moved! He's just lying motionlessly in the snow!"
"What is he doing? What about his hidden trump card? Where is that "comeback"?"
"He won't die just like that, won't he? Weren't many of our Martial Uncles have a high regard for him? A few days before, Master also said he's the most promising one to finish the Immortal Path. He can't die here just like that!?"
"Master probably wanted to use this to teach us that anything can happen in the path of Immortal Cultivation, so we need to guard against arrogance and rashness."
"... Ai, in short, he's finished. Everyone disperse, there's nothing to see here anymore."
In just a few minutes, the gathered crowd completely dispersed, leaving only the two original older and younger disciples.
After a while, the younger disciple asked, "... Senior Martial Brother, that Hai Yunfan is not really dead, right?"
The older disciple was staring at the animated cloud. He said somewhat hesitantly, "I think he did it on purpose? When he flew away after being hit, his posture seemed unnatural, although I am not entirely sure since I saw it through the cloud. But on the other hand, facing an opponent that is impossible to beat, perhaps jumping off the cliff could give him a chance to survive."
"... Ah! Senior Martial Brother, he's starting to move!"
The younger disciple exclaimed in a pleasant surprise as he pointed at the change in the animated cloud.
Hai Yunfan was, of course, not dead. If he died, his years of training his family's secret swordsmanship, Soft Cloud Sword Art, would have been in vain.
Immortal Gathering would not accept someone who had already started cultivating, and Hai Yunfan also happened to only train in the martial art of the mortal world. While his talent in cultivation was only third rate, his talent in martial arts was first class. In the age of twelve, he had already mastered fifty to sixty percent of the Soft Cloud Sword Art, and he had used one of the three best weapons in the Grand Cloud Empire, Soft Cloud Flexible Sword, to display his exquisite swordsmanship.
A full-blown strike from the mammoth was extremely powerful. But to deal with a small insect-like Hai Yunfan, it did not need to go all out. It merely needed to swing its thick pillar-like trunk to make someone as small as Hai Yunfan meet a cruel death... Even if not death, it could always swing its trunk twice or thrice.
Hai Yunfan used his Sword Cloud Flexible Sword to block the mammoth's attack at the precise moment, and then he borrowed the momentum to fly off the cliff. If he had just moved away to the side, the mammoth would have trampled him to death on the spot.
As for falling off the cliff, it was not too much of a problem for him because the Frozen Wind Valley was packed with thick snow. Moreover, he had also used the neutralizing power of his Soft Cloud Sword... Although the impact from falling off the cliff combined with the mammoth's striking power almost made him spit out blood, but this could be counted as a victory for him, because a mere mortal had survived an attack from a category 3 ninth rank monster.
After shaking his head to cast away his dizziness, Hai Yunfan stood up and smiled. It was not a satisfied smile, but rather a bitter one. Although he had weakened the strength of the monster three times in a row, victory was still out of reach for him. He had no more card up his sleeve anymore. This time, his Immortal Path seemed to have stopped here.
Of course, this did not mean that he was about to give up. After thinking about it, he finally started to climb the cliff. Using his infinite stamina that he gained from the Peach Blossom Village, Hai Yunfan finally returned to the starting point of the last valley in the Frozen Wind Valley in three days. But by this time, another participant had caught up with him.
Surprisingly, the person who had caught up with him was Wang Lu's errand boy, Wang Zhong!
When he looked at Wang Zhong, Hai Yunfan almost did not recognize him. The last time they met, he was still the timid little errand boy who followed his young master, but this time, he seemed to have become a gloomy young man. His previous innocent youth image had completely disappeared.
But this was not a surprise for Hai Yunfan who was born in the Royal family. The moment he saw Wang Zhong, he immediately knew that the kid had a rebellious nature. Especially in the Immortal Path, where everything was possible, the kid would not stay under someone else forever. Indeed, as Hai Yunfan had expected, the kid had broken up with Wang Lu. No wonder his face had changed dramatically. Sure enough, vicissitudes in life could make people mature.
When Hai Yunfan saw Wang Zhong, Wang Zhong also saw Hai Yunfan's eyes. In a flash, his gloomy and dreary face was replaced by a sincere and simple smile.
Hai Yunfan also put a smile on his face; no matter what had happened between Wang Zhong and Wang Lu, he, as the third party, had nothing to do with it. In any case, they would face the last trial of the Frozen Wind Valley together, so why shouldn't he be cordial to him?
"Wang Zhong? I didn't think that I'd see you here."
Hearing that the opposite party had accurately called his name, Wang Zhong was somewhat moved, but he immediately cut to the point, "Are you resting here, your highness?"
Although he asked that question, his eyes had swept over Hai Yunfan's tattered clothes and the mud that covered all over his body. Moreover, Hai Yunfan was the first to leave the Peach Blossom Village, yet other people had caught up with him. All of these descriptions were enough to show that Hai Yunfan was in trouble.
Hai Yunfan did not conceal anything; he directly told him about his frustrating experience. The more he told his story, the more ugly Wang Zhong's face became.
Along the way here, Wang Zhong had painstakingly tried his hardest. Half of the reward that he gained from the Peach Blossom Village had been used up because he thought that the remaining half would suffice for the rest of the journey. But upon hearing Hai Yunfan's description about the monster, Wang Zhong knew that he had no chance at all.
He also did not hide anything. "I've got five Invisibility Talismans from the Peach Blossom Village. They can hide someone up to three meters away from the target, but they can't cover the smell and the sound... If the monster blocking our path up there is like what your highness said, then I think my Invisibility Talisman is not going to be useful."
Hai Yunfan said, "It's not good even if we can get around that mammoth. I feel like we must think of a way to defeat it; sidestepping it wouldn't count."
"Defeat that monster? What kind of joke is that? How could we defeat that monster when we're not even Immortal Cultivators?"
Hai Yunfan explained, "If we can take advantage of the environment, it is still possible. For example, we could lure it to fall off the cliff, look for another monster to fight with it... try to seek our own breakthroughs under this extreme natural condition, and so on. There's always a way."
Wang Zhong smiled but did not say anything. Hai Yunfan's rhetoric just now made him remember his ex-young master, which made him somewhat uncomfortable.
Hai Yunfan continued, "In my previous encounter with the monster, I found that it was very intelligent. It had also lived in this Frozen Wind Valley longer than we had. So, I think it would be difficult for us to design a trap for it. Moreover, its strength is also far greater than the other monsters here, so pitting it against the third party is also unrealistic either... Oh, no wonder nobody was able to finish this Immortal Path for hundreds of years."
Wang Zhong could not help but say, "Over the past hundred of years, there was also no Peach Blossom Village. Right now, we have the rewards from the Peach Blossom Village. We might have a chance."
Hai Yunfan found it somewhat funny. "By relying on your invisibility talisman?"
"Of course it's not just me, there are also a few of my friends."
Hai Yunfan was finally taken aback.
After Peach Blossom Village, there were about four to five paths, and approximately, only thirteen or fourteen people were able to leave Peach Blossom Village. So, the average participants on each path should be around three to four. But from what Wang Zhong said, it seemed like there were quite a lot of people in this Frozen Wind Valley..."
Hai Yunfan also thought, "Moreover, he already found a party? No wonder he had a falling out with Wang Lu, it turned out that he felt secure that he got a backer. Hmm, this means that he found me first because his group assigned him to be the Pathfinder. But who could persuade Wang Zhong to willingly abandon his Young Master?"
Before long, the answer to this question revealed himself.
Unexpectedly, the one who put a wedge between the errand boy and his young master was Zhu Qin, the prince of the Great Ming Kingdom of the Blue River Region.
In the Nine Regions, the Great Ming Kingdom could only be considered as a fifth-rated country. They could not even be compared to the Grand Cloud Empire's vassal country, let alone the Grand Cloud Empire itself. But precisely because it was just a small country with mediocre power that the members of its Royal Family were especially great in interpersonal relationships. Moreover, Wang Zhong, who was a subject of the Great Ming Kingdom, naturally has an instinctive reverence to his country's Royal Family. As long as the prince of his own country was willing to entice him, Wang Zhong, this around ten years old kid, was not going to refuse him.
Walking behind Prince Zhu Qin were two other people who were also prominent nobles from various countries. Their willingness to defer Zhu Qin as the leader of their party was the testament of Zhu Qin's excellent social skill.
Of course, even though his social skill was excellent, in front of a fierce person like Hai Yunfan, he still had to be reverent and respectful. After exchanging some pleasantries, the two sides went straight to the point and began to discuss the strategy to deal with the monster.
Zhu Qin said, "Let's combine all the resources that we have now... Fifteen Spirit Sword Talismans, one Returning Dream Bell, three Invisibility Talismans, one pack of Softening Rock Powder, one Flute of a Hundred Birds... oh, and three used up Weakening Scarecrow."
Hai Yunfan indifferently shrugged, signaling the opposite party to continue.
"In addition, each one of us has a different special reward such as unlimited stamina, double strength... If each of us goes there alone, I believe we would be like his highness Hai Yunfan here; it would be a miracle if we can come here alive. But if we work together, we might have a chance to clear this path."
Hai Yunfan nodded in approval and added, "At least we don't need to compete at this trial, everyone's goal is the same."
"That's right, as long as we can defeat that beast, all of us will become the inner disciple of the Spirit Sword Sect. If anyone wants to compete, we can compete after that."
Wang Zhong said with a smile, "Furthermore, for us five people to be able to meet on the same path, it must be because of fate. More people means more power, so we'll definitely pass this!"
"Haha, that's right, more people means more power."
After they had agreed to cooperate, the next thing they did was come up with a battle plan. The plan was simple; everyone would attack together at the same time. Hypnotizing the mammoth with the Returning Dream Bell, breaking its defense with the Softening Rock Powder, harassing it with the Flute of a Hundred Birds, and then everyone would use the Spirit Sword Talismans to target its vital parts.
According to Hai Yunfan's calculation, this plan has more than seventy percent chance of success; after all, he had weakened the monster using his weakening scarecrow. If the monster was still in its original strength, they had no chance of winning.
After setting up the plan, without further ado, they leaped into action because the longer they wait, the sooner the Weakening Scarecrow would lose its effect.
Then, with Hai Yunfan at the front, the group of five cautiously approached the mammoth's cave. Along the old route, they carefully passed the last corner, and then Hai Yunfan once again saw the ice beast that forced him to jump off a cliff.
"Wait a minute... are my eyes blurred?"
Hai Yunfan vigorously rubbed his eyes, nearly squeezing the water out of it.
"Or did the impact of the fall on my head made me unable to judge its size correctly?"
Hai Yunfan's surprise was not without reason, because, a hundred meters away, the beast crouching in the cave seemed to be twice as big.
Initially, its height was thirty-three meters. With the Weakening Scarecrow, its height was reduced to around twenty-three meters. But now, its height was almost fifty meters. The icicles that covered its body have also become sharper, and under its thick fur, its muscles seemed to have swelled up several times, making the monster even more massive and fiercer.
Upon seeing this scene, the several people behind Hai Yunfan could not help but exclaim, "What, what the hell is that thing?"
"Are we supposed to deal with this guy? We are just going to be its refreshment!"
"That Softening Rock Powder probably can't even melt a single icicle on it!"
"Can the Spirit Sword Talisman even make it itch?"
Horrified, Zhu Qin suddenly turned around and pulled Hai Yunfan aside. "Didn't you say that you had weakened it using your Weakening Scarecrow three times in a row?"
Hai Yunfan wryly smiled while inwardly yelling, "Why would I need to lie about this kind of thing? Do I get a point for killing a teammate? Would you die if you use your brain? This monster is clearly mutated!"
In the Immortal Cultivation World, a mutated monster was not a rare thing. A monster could accidentally swallow a treasure, acquire an enlightenment after many years of arduous cultivation, or be cured of hemorrhoid that had plagued it for years... All of these could cause a monster's cultivation and size to sharply increase overnight. Once there was a millennium old fox demon who grew overnight from a category 3 small demon to a category 6 Nine-tailed Fox. The Western Mammoth's change from twenty-three meters to almost fifty meters in height was mild compared to that.
But then again, that fox demon managed to increase its cultivation rapidly because it met an infatuated Yuanying Stage old man who willingly lose parts of his cultivation in order to perform a double cultivation. With this mammoth's hideous and fierce appearance, which "hardcore" senior martial brother of the Spirit Sword Sect would want to have intercourse with it? If there was, please stand up so that everyone could pay their respect.
Clearly, there was another reason for its mutation.
"What the hell is this?"
On the clouds above them, the elder of the Misty Peak, Liu Xian, flew into a rage, "Which bastard randomly modified the Frozen Wind Valley? Category 3 ninth level monster is not fierce enough? Did it have to be upgraded to a Category 3 third level monster which can stomp a Foundation Establishment Stage cultivator with one foot? Do you hate newcomers that much?"
In front of Liu Xian, several disciples in black and white clothing looked at each other and then bowed their heads in silence. Although their master was yelling, it appeared that the anger was not directed at them... In this Immortal Gathering, the only person who has the right to change the Immortal Map was the Sect Leader. Besides him, there was only one other person that they could think of who would dare to do such a thing...
Sure enough, amidst Liu Xian's flurry of curses, an indignant woman's voice sounded from behind him.
"Senior Martial Brother, you're talking shxt again. I found out that since you reached Jindan and after your Yuanying was born, you became more hot-tempered; could it be a postpartum depression?"
Liu Xian's Primordial Spirit nearly broke into two because of anger. He turned around and pointed at the woman in white clothes. "If you don't give a clear explanation today, I will report this to the Sect Leader and ask for his explanation!"
The woman sneered. "Explanation? Fine, I'll give you the explanation! This Immortal Map was indeed modified by me, but I did it only to make the Immortal Map more humane!"
Liu Xian was thoroughly "shocked and awed" by her shamelessness. His whole body was trembling with anger as he pointed at the cloud. "You call category 3 third rank monster humane!?"
The woman was not ashamed at all, but instead she smiled triumphantly. "That's right. When Hai Yunfan went against the monster alone, its strength was only category 3 ninth rank. But now, since they have set up a five-man team, the mammoth's strength should naturally be raised a little. It's like the old saying 'more people means more power!'"
Liu Xian almost fell to the floor. "You motherf... You mean because there are more people in the team, the mammoth's power should be greater!?"
 Nine Regions is the name of the continent in the East
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