Chapter 376: The Gold-Banded Staff (1) XTB's Thoughts


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Chapter 376: The Gold-Banded Staff (1)

This spiritual force was hidden remarkably well. Those under Foundation Establishment wouldn’t be able to detect it whatsoever—if the Clearcloud Realm didn’t have Foundation Establishment cultivators.

Xu Yangyi closed his eyes, and his spiritual sense erupted in an instant. Nevertheless, he entered that strange monochrome space again. It seemed that spiritual sense detection was completely prohibited during the Sky Burial Festival.

Spiritual sense has been sealed… He furrowed his brows.

“You’ve come?!” Just as he entered, a voice wild with joy began to screech, “I knew it! I knew you would come again! Listen to me, it’s already started… It’s already started! We…”

Xu Yangyi snorted coldly and opened his eyes. Without pause, he took a step forward and jumped down to a building below. This place was under a nation-protector array… but flying was the only activity that was banned. If he wanted to chase after this sea of coffins, a Foundation Establishment cultivator had too many methods available to them!

BOOM! He violently landed on the ground. Everyone in the vicinity was stunned, and they stopped in the middle of their singing.

“Wind Brandishes Traces.” He easily cast a spell. In a moment, he lightly floated a meter above the ground and followingly shot forth like a piercing arrow!

Whoosh! People at both sides were immediately dashed away by a sudden blast of immense wind pressure. In less than ten seconds, Xu Yangyi had already cleaved through the crowds on the water’s surface and rushed to the sea!

Swish! Waves parted and tides were split open. Everyone ashore stared blankly.

“Did I see that that right?” A man looked at the person beside him, his face vacant. “Was that… Was that a high spirit-master?”

No one answered him. This scene had occurred too swiftly. Not one person had reacted. Dumb like wooden chickens, they all watched the great waves quickly fade away as if a speedboat had sent them rising up.

Xu Yangyi stared fixedly at the sea of coffins in the air. He was completely surrounding by seawater now. High waves and faint ripples drew forth torpedo-like traces that soon hurried beyond the nation-protector array on the ocean surface. He inhaled deeply and suddenly leaped into the air.

Very quickly, two wings flashed wide open on his back. He was like a phoenix, soaring in the air. At this time, he just happened to rush outside the array.

Absent of the slightest hesitation, he grabbed out at a coffin, but… just as his finger touched the coffin, the space between his finger and the coffin lid unexpectedly flared with five white lights! The flashes crackled and pulsed chaotically, forcibly rejecting his hand!

A Foundation Establishment cultivation… actually couldn’t snatch a coffin!

He stopped and studied his hand in surprise. Zhao Ziqi was even more stunned. Big bro… you… 

“There’s something else on the surface.” Xu Yangyi regained his bearings, and his gaze became even more solemn. “A formation.”

A formation?! Zhao Ziqi was dazed for two seconds and yelped out involuntarily, T-That’s impossible, right? I…

Zhao Ziqi didn’t finish speaking because Xu Yangyi interrupted him with a raised finger. The demon slayer waved his hand in passing, and hundreds of spirit light balls radiated from his hand. Like a celestial maiden sprinkling flowers, he struck towards the long river of coffins above.

Bang bang bang! A wave of spiritual light glimmered, and several hundred motes of white light loudly erupted! However, where these spirit balls and coffins met, the same white web of qi, akin to a field of electrical arcs, appeared in view! Although these spirit balls struck the white web like leaves in the wind, the web didn’t break! The coffins’ speed didn’t even stop! 

Huuummm… Faint talismans lit up on the surface of the long river of coffins. Through and through, Zhao Ziqi was stricken dumb.

It really is a formation… a Time Extension Formation… but, but h-how is this possible…?

The two of them were silent. The formation on the coffins didn’t seem to be anything, but careful thinking caused one’s hair to stand on edge!

Firstly… these coffins were people who had died in the past decade. If the formations on them were inscribed… What kind of grand feat of engineering was this?!

It could be said that a single State of Shangchen couldn’t accomplish this!

Secondly, Xu Yangyi’s inability to break this formation with a grab… illustrated that the realm of the person, or thing, who set down the formation was above his own! At the very least, two minor boundaries above, reaching the late stage of Foundation Establishment!

Otherwise, such a small formation would’ve broke in one strike regardless of what kind it was!

Thirdly, a Time Extension Formation required an activation focus. For example, the mere Four Directions Heavenly Isolation Array of Nanzhou’s bloody war had required two Dao Masters to work together to mobilize it! And they needed to be close by to activate it! Yet what of now?

No one moved or touched the caskets. This long river formed by millions and millions of coffins floated and roamed through the air like so! Just like an invisible hand in the darkness was pushing them to some place!

As a descendant hailing from a noble lineage of earth masters, Zhao Ziqi was even more sensitive towards such things. He said in a shaky voice, How is this possible… Twenty minutes, we just touched it… Now a Time Extension Formation’s been activated on it twenty minutes later? In other words… in these twenty minutes, some cultivator touched all of these coffins? What kind of speed is that… 

Xu Yangyi reticently studied the coffin sea drifting above his head. He looked behind and saw an infinite wave of coffins. The black tide covered the sky and concealed the earth. The ocean surface was dyed black, not even the sun’s rays able to shine through. He muttered to himself for three seconds and suddenly said, “What if… a human isn’t touching these coffins?”

What? Zhao Ziqi was stupefied.

“What if this thing’s always been under our eyes?”

The inside of Zhao Ziqi’s mind went completely silent. He felt himself to have touched upon the meaning of Xu Yangyi’s words, but still couldn’t figure it out.

Xu Yangyi used his foot to softly tap the sea below. “Understand?”

Zhao Ziqi grew cold and stuttered three seconds later, Brother Xu… you… you’re saying… the ocean below us… is the cultivator activating the formation?

“Apart from this, I can’t come up with any other reason,” Xu Yangyi said coldly. “If there’s a Core Formation cultivator in this realm, the figure behind Zu Huai’en wouldn’t be alive today. I wouldn’t be, either.”

Zhao Ziqi was totally dumbfounded.

This theory was too ridiculous, but it was also the only explanation! From the beginning, the coffins hovered on the ocean’s surface. If this ocean was a living being… then that would explain why Xu Yangyi wasn’t able to discover the one who activated the Time Extension Formation!

Like eyes obscured by a single leaf, unable to see Mount Tai.

Big bro… what do we do now?

The light of Xu Yangyi’s eyes chilled, and he stepped forward, giving chase in the high sky above.

He wanted to see whether this theory was ultimately true or false! If this sea possessed spiritual sense… 

Then it was a demon!

This sea was in the process of demonization!

The sea had experienced hundreds of millions of years, born together with the heaven and earth of the Clearcloud Realm. After endless concealment of its ability, its brilliance taken in kind with the mortal dust, the sea was finally starting to change into a worldly spirit-object! [1]

No one spoke. This theory was too astonishing. In silence, a figure resembling a stream of light flew towards the horizon below the massive flood of coffins. An hour passed, two hours passed… After a full five hours, Xu Yangyi’s gaze flashed. At the sky’s end, he already caught sight of a boundless void.

“The Final 10,000 Miles…” He took a deep breath, unsurprised.

No one knew and no one could return from the whereabouts of the Sky Burial Festival. If said there was some place in the Clearcloud Realm that could conceal certain things so deeply, then it was bound to be here!

It was outside of expectation, but within reason.

However, the vileness of the Final 10,000 Miles’ circumstances far surpassed his expectations!

Rumble… A sudden clap of thunder was heard from the sky. Followingly, a pitch-black tear split open in a distant place in the air. Swarms of lightning creeped out from inside and illuminated this patch of the world into a pale expanse.

A spatial crack… Zhao Ziqi gasped coldly.

Xu Yangyi observed the distant tear with full attention. Spatial cracks were extremely dangerous. If Xiaoqing wasn’t such a mighty figure, allowing him to freely travel back and forth, then the tear was equal to a sharp blade in times of no defense. Whoever entered it would die.

Furthermore… there wasn’t just this one spatial crack here! On the contrary, they were legion!

Big ones were a hundred meters in size. Small ones were only one or two meters.

Big bro, look! All of a sudden, Zhao Ziqi cried out in alarm!

Xu Yangyi’s gaze turned frosty. Needless of Zhao Ziqi’s words, he could still see that the coffins… had stopped.

The State of Shangchen’s countless coffins seemed to be parked like cars. Neat and in form, there wasn’t one trace of disarray, as if the people inside the coffins were still alive. All of them orderly hovered in the air.

Not waiting for the pair to get a clear look, in the next moment… the next second, from all four reaches of the horizon, fields of black thread quietly appeared!

“This…” All Xu Yangyi did was take one glance, and even he sucked in deeply.

It wasn’t black thread.

It… was the entire Clearcloud Realm’s hundred million coffins!

Drifting in the sky, they resembled walking caskets yet also the reaper’s ceremonial army, surging in from everywhere!

Rustle rustle rustle… In barely ten minutes, a hundred million coffins, so much as several hundred of million, stopped almost a thousand meters away in the sky. They consumed the world, hiding everything above. Not even a ray of sunlight managed to pierce through. So silently, they halted at the fringe of heaven’s desire realm. They were no more than a thousand meters away from the Final 10,000 Miles. [2]

God… Zhao Ziqi’s voice was floaty. The corpses of an entire Lesser Thousand Realm… have all gathered here… What’s attracting them here?

Xu Yangyi kept quiet. The Clearcloud Realm absolutely wasn’t so simple on the surface. Merely this sight wasn’t a task anyone could accomplish on Earth!

“Wait,” he said deeply, closed his eyes, and began to meditate in peace.

After roughly four hours or so, the sky  full darkened, already pitch-black like ink. Xu Yangyi quietly opened his eyes and flicked out with his finger. An orb of white light that was over ten meters in size slowly ascended and illuminated the surroundings in a snow-white light.

“It’s here,” he said indifferently.

Huh? Before Zhao Ziqi even reacted, the entire ocean surface began to faintly rock.

It was like an invisible hand was stirring the endless ink-black sea. It started off as a gentle upheaval, but the entire ocean surface started to fiercely whirl in less than a minute!

RUMBLE! In the wake of a loud world-shaking sound, a muffled and distinct creaking noise echoed throughout space.

Something… had opened.

As this noise followed… the entire ocean surface started to uniformly sink down!

Craaasssh… Endless seawater trembled. Under the orb’s illumination, an odd pool tunnel came into view. In the next moment… Xu Yangyi bolted up to his feet and captured the scene before his eyes, in shock.

Like a sponge yet like jello, an entire several-thousand-meter region of the sea sunk down.

This was the ocean surface! The water here was at sea level!

At this moment, though, a section in the middle of the ocean was caving in at an outrageous speed!

1. “Its brilliance taken in kind with the mortal dust”. This is an idiom allegedly said by Laozi. Similar to another idiom that means “to conceal one’s drive and talent”.

2. “Desire Realm”. This a Buddhist term, referring to the three realms. The Desire Realm, the Form Realm, and the Formless Realm. In the desire realm, one can be reborn in the six domains: Deva, Asura, Human, Animal, Hungry Ghost, and Hell.

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