In terms of speed, the lines of the feathered wings of the Goldwing Swordbirds were quite perfect. They were basically uncontested in speed when bursting through short distances.
In terms of stamina, however, the Goldwing Swordbird’s body wasn’t big and the construction of their feathered wings determined that their stamina wouldn’t hold out for long distance flight.
Jiang Chen spurred on the Goldwing Swordbirds and flew at max speed for half an hour before catching up to Gouyu and the others. The entire crew was excited to see Jiang Chen return safely.
“We need to pick up our speed and leave the Azure Heaven Northern Palace territory as fast as possible. That band of people are all desperados that have been spoiled by the Palace and they won’t be willing to let us off that easily.”
Jiang Chen was also quite resigned. Many things could not be done according to his will when he was in someone else’s territory.
If anyone had dared to block the way and attempt to rob him within the Eastern Kingdom, Jiang Chen would’ve long since shot him dead with one arrow.
Of course, it wasn’t that Jiang Chen was afraid of the Palace, but that he’d considered the fact that the entire group had just arrived and he didn’t wish to cause trouble and embroil others.
However, Jiang Chen hadn’t thought that even though he’d exercised such forbearance and self restraint it still hadn’t been enough to make senior brother Kuang aware of the overwhelming odds against him. When the latter had seen others from his camp, he’d immediately embellished with highly colorful details and won over many senior brothers who were much stronger than him. He’d gathered a hundred or so of these compatriots and split them up into four or five different teams, starting the search for Jiang Chen’s group in the manner of casting a net.
Within the northwestern territory of the Skylaurel Kingdom, the Azure Heaven Northern Palace held absolute dominion.
Upon hearing that their junior had been bullied by a bunch of strangers, the senior brothers that were on good terms with senior brother Kuang were all greatly infuriated.
When they further heard that the crowd of strangers had brought a large number of steeds with them and that they all looked superior to the green wyverns, those senior brothers with middling relations with senior brother Kuang also joined in on the search teams.
“Let’s take advantage of this rare opportunity!”
“Let’s go out and grab our share!”
The disciples of the Azure Blue Northern Palace held quite an advantage within their area of influence; they could fly anywhere they wished to shorten the travel.
For them, there were no restrictions within the Palace territory. They didn’t need to ask for permission whenever they passed through any government offices or any dukedoms. They could come and go as they wished.
In this regard, a search and capture operation naturally held a great advantage.
As for Jiang Chen’s group, they naturally couldn’t fly around randomly given that it was their first visit to a foreign land. They had to follow the flight path.
In this regard, their flight path was long since mapped out by the others.
A big net that came from all quarters closed tighter and tighter around them.
After roughly two hours, Jiang Chen’s party was more than a thousand li away from the place of conflict. They would begin to slowly leave the Palace’s territory after another four to five hundred li.
They wouldn’t have to worry about trouble much as long as they left the the Palace’s sphere of influence.
As domineering as the Palace was, they wouldn’t cross their own borders on a mere manhunt. Even if they acted recklessly and cared for nobody, they wouldn’t be able to cross into other territories to kill as wilfully as they could in their own territory.
Jiang Chen felt a baffling sense of pressure in his heart the longer they flew.
His “Boulder’s Heart” had already been trained to the peak of the third level by now, and it wasn’t too far off from the fourth realm.
This was to say, his instincts were much greater than they were in the trials of the Boundless Catacoimbs.
“Everyone be careful, the Azure Heaven Northern Palace will surely not have given up. I suspect that they are still pursuing us. Everyone, be on your guard.”
“Come if they dare, who’s afraid of them!” Princess Gouyu fondled the handle of her sword as a proud curve appeared her sexy lips.
Jiang Chen looked at his eight personal guards and then looked to his father’s side.
On this trip, their band of twenty or so had only brought twenty Goldwing Swordbirds with them. The rest of the Goldwing Swordbirds had been situated in desolate areas and temporarily hadn’t followed them.
This was also a strategy that Jiang Chen had created. After all, the might and presence of several hundred, almost a thousand Goldwing Swordbirds crossing the borders would be overly frightening.
They would definitely become a target if they held such a high profile.
Events proved that Jiang Chen’s concerns had been right. Forget about almost a thousand Goldwing Swordbirds, their band had been targeted by others when each person rode a Goldwing Swordbird.
“Damnit, is there no end with this Azure Heaven Northern Palace?” Jiang Chen’s Ear of the Zephyr had already caught traces of the enemy’s movement.
“Everyone on guard and continue on our way. Maintain battle formation,” ordered Jiang Chen.
The Jiang Chen of now wasn’t the same person above the Second Crossing and the person who’d ate quite a defeat at the hands of a spirit dao practitioner. He had been training the Goldwing Swordbirds all these months in the Eight Trigrams Assimilation Formation.
The formation could now be broken apart into many smaller formations and could even be reassembled into mid-sized formations. Large numbers of Goldwing Swordbirds could also be formed into big formations.
Without a doubt, the individual fighting strength of his eight personal guards were the lowest of those by Jiang Chen’s side right now. Apart from Xue Tong, they were all practitioners of eight meridians true qi. His potential was a bit greater, and he’d already entered nine meridians true qi.
However, the eight of them also had an advantage, and that was familiarity with the formation. After the exposure of several months, their mastery over this formation had already allowed them to grasp seventy to eighty percent of the formation.
Now, combined with the battle strength of the Goldwing Swordbirds, eight people riding on their eight Swordbirds could at least face more than ten true qi masters without being at a disadvantage.
If their training broke through to the true qi master realm, then they’d even be able to exchange a few passes with a spirit dao practitioner.
Jiang Feng’s batch of personal guards with Jiang Ying at the head were stronger overall, particularly as Jiang Ying had even entered the ranks of true qi masters.
Of course, the one with the strongest fighting ability within their group was still Jiang Chen.
Apart from Jiang Chen, Princess Gouyu and his father Jiang Feng would be the next strongest.
“Gouyu, you’re in charge of leading the eight personal guards and I’ll take care of my father’s side. Closely defend the left and right flanks, and don’t let them scatter our front line.” Jiang Chen reminded her.
Gouyu lifted her exquisite chin as her neck, pink as jade, also lifted. “Don’t worry, I won’t be a burden to you!”
The group proceeded at an even pace whilst maintaining the formation. Although they knew full well that pursuit was coming, they still didn’t fly randomly or change their flight path.
They hadn’t even resolved the troubles at hand. If they blundered into another forbidden zone and caused even more trouble, that would only serve to bring on more headaches.
“Senior brother Yi, do you see them? They’re in front!” Senior brother Kuang’s tone grew quite agitated when he discovered Jiang Chen’s group.
This time, senior brother Kuang’s posturing was noticeably lower as he accompanied another youth. This youth’s expression was cold, and his lean face appeared quite frosty. There was a scar from a knife beneath the corner of his eye, one that resembled a crawling worm, giving this youth a few more hints of viciousness.
This person was the person that senior brother Kuang wished to kiss up to – senior brother Yi.
“Go and stop them!” This senior brother Yi’s voice was as cold as a blade’s.
A band of more than ten spurred on the green wyverns and charged down at great speed.
“Brat, still want to escape?” Senior brother Kuang yelled out loudly.
“You want to die?” Jiang Chen had actually discovered this group of behind them, and saw that this Kuang surnamed fellow still hadn’t changed his mind and was actually rushing out in front.
He no longer hesitated and shot an arrow back as he turned his head.
This arrow was incredibly sudden and exceptionally fast. Senior brother Kuang was rushing forward quite quickly, but senior brother Yi was even faster. One couldn’t even see how he made a move, when suddenly a sudden streak of silver white light furled into existence and a silver chain caught the arrow when it was ten meters away from senior brother Kuang.
The person manipulating the chain was the scar-faced senior brother Yi.
This person laughed coldly, “What kind of skill do you have in ambushing with a hidden arrow?”
The silver chain flung out with a shake of his arm and the arrow reflected back towards Jiang Chen, turning into a current of air.
Jiang Chen was also slightly surprised to see this person make a move.
“Is this person a spirit dao practitioner?”
This strength had noticeably exceeded the level of a true qi master. But it seemed to be missing something to be labeled the spirit realm.
Jiang Chen had personally witnessed the power of a spirit dao practitioner. Even the weaker Xu Zhen had had far greater battle capabilities than this person in front of him.
If he had to measure this person’s strength, then he’d be roughly between the peak of the true qi realm and spirit dao.
Jiang Chen still didn’t dare underestimate this person, however. It was a good thing that the four times refined spirit weapon, the Da Yu bow, was in his hand. He waved the longbow in his hand and brushed away the reflected arrow.
“This will be a bit tricky!” Jiang Chen thought privately.
“Senior brother Yi, thank you for your helping hand!” That senior brother Kuang had become conceited with satisfaction and had almost repeated his prior mistakes. If senior brother Yi hadn’t made a move with this arrow, it would’ve boded more ill than well for him.
“Don’t talk nonsense. I’ll restrain this person. You handle the others.”
Senior brother Yi had locked onto Jiang Chen from a far distance aways.
The two practitioners stared at each other through the air, the auras locked onto each other. They were at an impasse for the moment. No one seemed to want to make the first move, as if whoever made the first move would lose the initiative.
“Your strength is not that bad. It’s a pity that you’re still in the true qi realm and not my opponent!” The voice of senior brother Yi was as sharp as metal, piercing and irritating.
“As if you’re a spirit dao practitioner.” Jiang Chen was contemptuous.
“Even though I’m not a true spirit dao practitioner, I still have half a step in the spirit dao realm. It’s enough to crush someone like you, who is merely at the peak of the true qi realm!”
Senior brother Yi’s aura abruptly rose after he finished speaking.
His entire being was like a tempest, full of the mysteries of power.
“Three moves!” Senior brother Yi said coolly. “I will dispose of you within three moves!”
The wind rose and the clouds moved.
The air current in the void next to senior brother Yi suddenly pulsed with no forewarning whatsoever. The currents of air seemed to form a rhythm that moved to the same tempo.
This wasn’t true qi and was full of more mysteries than true qi.
“Chain of cloud and wind, lock on!”
Senior brother Yi seemed to turn into a magician when a silver white chain suddenly crawled out of the air around him. It abruptly started spiraling towards Jiang Chen according to the rhythm of the air currents.
“A spirit qi air current!”
Jiang Chen was greatly surprised. This senior brother Yi wasn’t boasting emptily when he called himself a “half step in the spirit dao realm”. Although his control over spirit power wasn’t that practiced, but this truly was an air current formed from spirit qi.
Accompanied by the attacks of the chain, the air around Jiang Chen was immediately sealed off in the span of a moment!
Jiang Chen’s gaze was deep as he’d grasped the nameless saber in his hand at the very moment that senior brother Yi had started his attack. Using the incantation of the blade as a conduit, vast waves of true qi surged through like the tidewaters.
The Goldwing Swordbird beneath him was Jiang Chen’s old partner by now. It knew that Jiang Chen was going to make a move and so matched the rhythm of his true qi, matching its strength to a perfect peak.
“The vast ocean rages and the great billows surge… cleave!”
The Goldwing Swordbird shot to the forefront as a golden colored light drew out a beautiful curve and the peerless glint of a blade shot out within that cleave.
It was the third form of the Vast Ocean Current Splitter – Wave Surge!