Plundering the Heavens - lightnovelgate.com
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Since Elder Yingshi thought everyone had grown silent because they didn't know the capabilities of the Black Ice Order, he showed a smile before explaining, "Everyone, there is no need for me to keep it hidden from you all. The Black Ice Order that was given to you was crafted with a special jade that can be found only within the Yin veins beneath our Melodic Ice Palace. It was discovered three hundred years ago by our grand-elder, and he found that it possessed the ability to suppress demons and protect the mind. It can effectively help prevent Qi deviation during moments of breakthrough, increasing the odds of success. One has been given to each of you, equivalent to gifting you all a treasure used for breakthrough; this alone should be enough to display the sincerity of our Melodic Ice Palace!"
When everyone heard his words, they were even more dumbfounded than before. Elder Yingshi simply gave a faint smile, completely unsurprised by this reaction.
In truth, the Melodic Ice Palace had actually decided they wanted to earn a good amount of money from this special jade found in their Yin veins. This kind of jade mine was something all of Chufung—or perhaps the entire Jambu continent—had never heard of before. The jade's unique properties had been personally discovered by the old man Hu Qin, and its abilities to fend off evil and protect the mind could be used both during breakthrough or in critical moments of study. It could in fact be said this was a rare and extremely valuable treasure, with a price to match.
Within the realm of cultivation, resources were the most important consideration. And what sort of items would easiest to exchange for other resources? Definitely unique items like these jades.
With this Serene Ice Jade mine, the Melodic Ice Palace had the opportunity to become the largest sect of Chufung, or potentially even all of Jambu.
The Melodic Ice Palace had given away these Black Ice Orders this time, but that was so word of the unique properties would spread. It was not a stretch to say that once these jades were well-known, there would be no shortage of people seeking them out. From there, the Melodic Ice Palace would be able to use that single jade mine to consolidate a large amount of cultivation resources for themselves.
Elder Yingshi waited for everyone to thank him, yet nobody said anything for a long time. A bit perplexed, he began to look over them, only to be startled by what he saw.
The faces of gratitude he'd expected were not there. Instead, everyone's expression was surprisingly angry.
The Zhu clan guardian was so enraged his chest began to quiver. "This is too much. Is this how the Melodic Ice Palace does things?"
"We might be small clans incomparable to the Melodic Ice Palace and your thousand-year-long history, but for you to toy around with us like this still isn't very proper, is it?" the guardian of the Li clan asked, filled with fury.
"Melodic Ice Palace, heh," Qiao clan's guardian coldly laughed. "The so-called 'paragon of righteousness within Chufung', it seems that title is not exactly true!"
Elder Yingshi was a little upset by this and coldly replied, "Do you think I've exaggerated its capabilities? The function of this Eminent Yin Jade was personally discovered by our grand-elder. Its ability to suppress demons and protect the mind is extremely potent—you'll know when you return and try it!"
This left the Zhu clan guardian even more infuriated, and he pointed a shaking finger towards Elder Yingshi. "You've clearly already taken back the Black Ice Order, yet you're still saying something about trying it when we return? Does the Melodic Ice Palace see all of our clans as something so easily mocked?"
"Precisely! The Melodic Ice Palace has truly gone too far this time!"
"Where is Palace Master Xiao? We need to get him so he can justify all of this!"
"Is the Melodic Ice Palace really planning on completely ruining its relationship with us?"
Elder Yingshi had also sensed something was wrong by now. "Let's not shout and scream. Since when did our Melodic Ice Palace take back the Black Ice Orders?"
"A female disciple of your Melodic Ice Palace clearly took back the Black Ice Orders, yet you want to deny it now?"
"Indeed! I even asked for her name; she's called Fairy Fang!"
"She even went so far as to knock me unconscious to take my Black Ice Order, yet the Melodic Ice Palace is denying it at a time like this?"
The groups of people began to grow outraged as they shouted within the grand hall.
Elder Yingshi's face paled once he realized how serious the situation was, and he immediately sent out a Message Talisman to call Palace Master Xiao Changqing over. After a quick recount of what was going on via whispers, Xiao Changqing was also extremely surprised and asked to hear everything in detail. The responses left him completely stunned as he exclaimed, "How dare someone masquerade as a disciple of the Melodic Ice Palace to cheat you all of the Black Ice Orders!"
When everyone saw even the palace master this surprised, the shouts within the grand hall became less common while curiosity began to grow. As a proud palace master of the Melodic Ice Palace and the oldest disciple of Chufung's top cultivator, Xiao Changqing wasn't someone who needed to put up a false front over such a small matter….
"Was this truly not done by a disciple of your Melodic Ice Palace?"
"The female you spoke of was in Foundation Stage?" Xiao Changqing replied in a heavy tone.
The Zhu clan guardian nodded. "I saw her fly off without using any tools; she is definitely in the Foundation Stage!"
Xiao Changqing released a long sigh. "Then it is certain. Someone must have masqueraded a Melodic Ice Palace disciple. There are only three female Foundation Stage disciples within our Melodic Ice Palace; all of them are over a hundred years old, and all of them were inside the palace the entire time without leaving. The most likely candidate considering the clothing described… would be my little shimei, Ye Gu'yin, but she's already gone deep into the Snowy Mountain with our esteemed shifu."
Everyone within the grand hall was at a loss for words. "Then… what happens now?"
Xiao Changqing sighed and turned towards Elder Yingshi. "The fact these Black Ice Orders were stolen isn't really a big deal. Give all of the special guests here another Eminent Yin Jade as a gift; however, the person who took all the jades has to be found. It is just too strange for someone other than our Melodic Ice Palace disciples to know the abilities of the Eminent Yin Jade. Unless… the esteemed shifu's plans have already been leaked?" He paused at this before suddenly asking in shock, "Those who were left in Cold Soul Valley, where have they gone now?"
Surprised, Elder Yingshi hastily sent out a Message Talisman. "They've already entered the Snowy Mountain…" he replied after some time with a pale face.
Two hours ago, just as Elder Yingshi was inviting people who hadn't successfully captured a cottage to the banquet, the people who'd remained in Cold Soul Valley were being guided by a pale-faced Foundation Stage Melodic Ice Palace elder. The elder was wielding all sorts of flying tools as he led them towards a deep mountain range approximately three hundred or so miles north of Cold Soul Valley. The snow-covered mountain here was so large it seemed to never end, and at its foot was a faint shine, as though a defensive formation had been set up.
"Off you go! The grand opportunity lies within!" The Melodic Ice Palace elder looked towards the depths of the Snowy Mountain for some time before releasing a soft sigh. "Our grand-elder is within. As long as you are able to make your way to the depths of this Snowy Mountain, the grand opportunity awaits you. However, I do have something to remind you: within this mountain, there are numerous formations and traps, along with vicious beasts and insects. Entering the Snowy Mountain's depths isn't easy even for those in Foundation Stage, let alone for you all. However, you needn't panic either; some formation-countering talismans have been hidden within. If you are able to find them, they will be able to help you reduce the pressure of the formations and traps, allowing you to enter the depths of the Snowy Mountain with ease."
"In other words, our task is to obtain the formation-countering talismans, Esteemed Senior?" an elite youth asked.
The elder sighed once more. "It's not specifically required. As long as you are able to enter into the Snowy Mountain's depths, you will be deemed successful. However, the formation-countering talismans help reduce the traps' potency and help you avoid certain dangers—getting your hands on them would naturally be for the best. Those waiting within the Snowy Mountain—including our grand-elder—will also consider the number of formation-countering talismans you obtained to determine your innate strength."
"What do the formation-countering talismans look like? Would you allow us to have a look first?" someone asked another question.
The Melodic Ice Palace elder smiled. "In fact, the first piece of this formation-countering talisman has already been given to you! It is none other than the Black Ice Order in your hands. This order was crafted using the jade unique to our Melodic Ice Palace: the Eminent Yin Jade. It is able to help you fend off the pressure from the formations and traps to a certain degree. All the formation-countering talismans hidden within have been crafted from the same Eminent Yin Jade, but their quality is much higher so they can relieve even more pressure!"
Immediately understanding, the young elites bolstered their courage before walking right towards the entrance of the Snowy Mountain, their guardians following closely behind. It was at that moment the Melodic ice Palace elder continued, "All guardians can stop here now. The young elites will soon enter the Snowy Mountain to face their trials, and you will not be entering together. As for the servants, you may enter directly via the side road to wait for your young masters in the depths of the Snowy Mountain." The meaning was clear: from this point onward, it was up to elite youths to use their own strength and ability to continue forward.
After some advice and urges for caution, all these people parted their own ways. Elder Moye called out to Fang Xing and said he wanted to bring him back to the Myriad Beasts Sect to take him as his pupil, but Fang Xing could only mentally roll his eyes. There was of course no way he would accept such a proposal and so declined straight away before following everyone else to the entrance of the mountain.
Not far away, Ying Qiaoqiao felt a warmth in her heart when she heard this. 'That idiot, did he turn down such a great chance just because he wanted to be by my side?' She was so taken in by her fanciful thoughts that she didn't even notice the behavior of the other elites. They'd gathered together to chatter amongst themselves and quickly came to some sort of agreement before walking towards the depths of the Snowy Mountain together. She was the only one who stood alone in the same spot without anyone paying her any attention, as though she had been intentionally ignored by everyone else.
Ying Qiaoqiao looked helplessly towards the nearby Melodic Ice Palace elder, who looked at her and smiled before saying, "If you are uncertain about passing through the Snowy Mountain alone, you are welcome to make an alliance!"
This finally snapped Ying Qiaoqiao from her reverie. Everyone had already formed alliances, and it was only she who had been so stupid as to not think of it. When she realized what was going on, she immediately looked around and saw a familiar face: Mo Yang from the Hundred Mile Kingdom's Mo clan, whom she'd met on her way here. While he was chatting with two other people in a hushed voice, she quickly walked up to them and softly spoke, "Shixiong Mo…."
Mo Yang turned around and showed a bit of surprise when he saw it was Ying Qiaoqiao. "Does Shimei Qiaoqiao wish to join us for the trip?" he asked with a smile.
Ying Qiaoqiao hastily nodded, expressing her desperation. Mo Yang was immediately moved by her dainty beauty and wanted to agree, but a blue-robed youth beside him immediately spoke up with a cold tone, "Mo Yang, have you forgotten what I told you earlier?"
Mo Yang was slightly taken aback after hearing this blue-robed youth's words, but he released a long sigh when he remembered the awkward status Ying Qiaoqiao had. "Shimei Qiaoqiao, as much as I would love to help you, I cannot. The three of us have known each other ever since childhood, so we are able to cooperate with each other without needing to communicate. Taking you along would make things rather difficult. So as to not delay your trip, it is best we take our separate paths. We shall meet again in the depths of the Snowy Mountain!"
Astonished, Ying Qiaoqiao stood rooted in the same spot, her white china-like cheeks flushing bright red. 'What "meet again in the depths of the Snowy Mountain"? Isn't it obvious you don't want to form a party with me?'
"Hmph, that uncivilized girl from the barbaric Bohai Kingdom wants a piece of the grand opportunity as well?"
"Heh, after what happened to Fairy Ye in Bohai Kingdom, for the Melodic Ice Palace to not directly vent its wrath on the Myriad Beasts Sect was already showing lenience. Yet this girl wants even more from the Melodic Ice Palace? Isn't that being too whimsical?"
"Go go go, that girl is nothing but a magnet for disaster. Whoever gets close to her will experience misfortune!"
"Heaven knows how she passed that first test. All said, she won't have a chance for the second one!"
The suffering Fang Xing had caused for Ye Gu'yin in the Bohai Kingdom had been so great that a lot of the hatred the Melodic Ice Palace felt towards Fang Xing had spilled over onto the Myriad Beasts Sect as well. From this, Ying Qiaoqiao had become a "magnet for disaster" that everyone avoided out of fear they'd get caught up in the palace disciples' grudge and face unnecessary problems. Furthermore, her battle prowess was incredibly low and she wasn't much help from the onset—it was only natural nobody wanted to party with her.
The Melodic Ice Palace elder could only give a soft sigh when he saw this, although he also didn't show any sign of interfering. He knew very well that this little girl from the Bohai Kingdom was a special case, but at this moment, there was no reason to defend her. The grand-elder himself had ordered that all of the elite youths gathered here had to pass through the Snowy Mountain. This was true even for the successor of the Yinglong Dragon, who was the already-confirmed fourth pupil of the grand-elder.
In mere moments, Ying Qiaoqiao was left standing alone in that same spot. While facing the blizzard-like snowfall, she was nearly in tears. "I… what do I do now…?" She was perhaps the youngest one here with one of the lowest cultivation levels. When she thought of how she needed to enter and go through this Snowy Mountain filled with danger and uncertainty, she couldn't help but to become scared. She felt terror deep in her heart.
"What are you crying about? Let your little grandpa take you along!" A crude voice rose up just at that moment. A person appeared and grabbed her hand before tugging her along into the blizzard.