With Feng Yi’s retreat, there was no way to change the fact that the Feng Family had been defeated. Following Ling Yushi, Ling Feng, and Ling Xin’s exertion to kill, any Feng Family member who couldn’t retreat quickly enough was slaughtered on the spot.
Qin Lie didn’t continue fighting and instead walked over and picked up the Green Wing Axe. Feeling it for a moment, he discovered that the Green Wing Axe was not completely ruined yet and could still be used for a while longer. Because of that, he couldn’t help but rejoice a little inside.
“Eighth level of Refinement’s Feng Yi still wasn’t particularly powerful. Head to head… it didn’t feel like he was stronger than me.”
Qin Lie pondered to himself, thinking back to the previous battle. As he circulated his energy to observe the state of his body, his eyes suddenly lit up a bit.
He discovered that as he circulated spirit energy, the spirit energy within his dantian’s spirit sea would come surging out, following his muscles and veins as it converged towards his arms and then palms before discharging out of his fingers and entering into the spirit artifact.
However, this wasn’t even his full strength!
As the spirit energy circulated, wisps of thunder and lightning energy began to accumulate within his muscles, veins, flesh, bones, and even his organs. This was what caused his spirit energy to become violent and fierce, not only increasing the power of his spirit energy, but also allowing it to use the energy of thunder and lightning which in turn greatly increased his power!
He suddenly understood.
These last five years, he had constantly been tempering and refining his physique with the power of the lightning from the Ninth Heaven. However, the thunder and lightning energy that had surged into his body and ravaged through it hadn’t completely disappeared. Instead, some had infused into his physique, becoming another source of power outside of his spirit energy!
During a fight against someone else, he could use this thunder and lightning energy to explosively enhance his fighting capabilities!
Currently, he was only at the seventh level of the Refinement Realm. However, if he used this thunder and lightning energy during a fight, increasing his level of strength by one, then he could even fight head to head with Feng Yi and not feel disadvantaged.
Thus, assuming this was true, Feng Jie and Feng Lun who were at the same level as him were simply unable to defend against him.
“…So it was like this. Seems like not a single bit of my years of harsh, bitter tempering were a waste after all! Not only did Heavenly Thunder Eradication greatly increase the strength of my body, it also allows me to use thunder and lightning energy. It is indeed violent and overbearing!”
Qin Lie silently thought to himself, the corners of his mouth gradually forming a joyful smile. Afterwards, he stopped circulating Heavenly Thunder Eradication and tried to control the spirit energy within his spirit sea again.
A relatively calmer spirit energy surged out of the spirit sea, flowing along the same path through to his palm and then into the Green Wing Axe.
The Green Wing Axe suddenly released a misty green halo. Carefully examining it, Qin Lie immediately detected that there was no longer any thunder or lightning energy inside it.
Sure enough, when he didn’t circulate Heavenly Thunder Eradication, the spirit energy within his body was normal and wouldn’t destroy the structure of the spirit artifact.
“It’s another low grade spirit artifact. This simple “Spirit Gathering” diagram, it’s no different from the one inside the short spear…”
Relying on his mind energy to feel about, Qin Lie became disappointed yet again. He immediately withdrew his spirit energy, hefting the axe as he walked back towards the Ling Family’s people.
“Qin Lie!” Before Ling Yushi could even speak, Ling Ying had already shouted out, her small face overflowing with excitement and an inexplicable expression. “You are so bad, you actually tricked us for so long! Say, have you been acting the fool this entire time to watch us make fun of you?”
“I never would have thought that Qin Lie would actually be this strong!” Ling Xiao excitedly chimed in.
“You stinkin’ brat!” Ling Feng walked over, and pounded his chest in jest. He was also full of happiness.
“This time… it is really thanks to you. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to avoid this,” said Ling Yushi, her bright eyes shining.
“Ling Yang died,” commented Ling Xin, solemnly. He was the only person who hadn’t walked over, still standing in the back with his head bowed.
Qin Lie glanced at him from afar before silently walking over and quietly saying, “Then you better live well and kill all of the Feng Family members to avenge him.”
Ling Xin fiercely raised his head, looking deep at Qin Lie. From within his tiger-like eyes, complex emotions flowed out. With a profound tone, he said, “I, Ling Xin, owe you my life! In the future, I will definitely repay you!”
Surprised, Qin Lie shook his head, replying, “You don’t owe me anything. I killed Feng Jie for everyone’s sake, as well as for my own. Relying on my own power, I wouldn’t have been able to contend with the Feng Family at all. If not for you all, I would have died at their hands, with absolutely no way to live.”
“I owe you my life anyways!” stubbornly said Ling Xin.
“Including Feng Yi, a total of three Feng Family members escaped. When they find Shattered Ice Manor’s people, they will come to kill us again.” Qin Lie took a breath and then bitterly smiled, continuing, “So we are still in danger. Everyone, let’s not talk too much and get out of here before we say any more.”
Everyone nodded their heads to express their acknowledgement.
When he took command of escaping this time, whenever they encountered an area where spirit beasts might gather and had to decide whether or not they would avoid the area, no one questioned his decision.
The sky slowly darkened as Qin Lie and his party gathered within a valley filled with giant, towering shrubs.
The shrubs within the valley were even taller than them, providing them with natural camouflage. No matter how powerful Shattered Ice Manor was, it was pretty much impossible for them to find them through discreet means.
“If all goes well, we will enter Frost Mist Mountain the day after tomorrow. Once we reach Frost Mist Mountain, we will be able to send word back to the Ling Family. Furthermore, martial practitioners of Nebula Pavilion can often be found moving around there. If we are lucky enough to encounter any, we might truly have dodged this disaster,” explained Qin Lie while looking behind him and pointing at Frost Mist Mountain, which was partially hidden from view.
Everyone huddled together, each holding some dried meat to eat as they attentively listened to his words.
“Qin Lie, how are you so familiar with the Arctic Mountain Range? These few years you’ve been constantly holed up within Herb Mountain, so how can you understand the circumstances within the Arctic Mountain Range to such a degree?” smilingly asked Ling Feng as he drank some clean water.
It was clear from their eyes that everyone else was wondering this too.
“It was my grandpa who was rather familiar with the Arctic Mountain Range. He told me about some of it before…” Qin Lie hesitated for a moment, then continued, “Tonight will be the most difficult night. Everyone make sure you are well rested. In a bit, when we are mentally ready, we will continue rushing along our path through the night.”
“Mn, everyone disperse.” Seeing that Qin Lie didn’t want to say anymore, Ling Feng let the matter rest with a smile and instructed everyone to go rest.
Everyone gradually dispersed, picking areas to sit down cross-legged and rest. Ling Ying was also extremely tired and thus didn’t continue pestering Qin Lie, causing him to secretly feel relieved.
“I truly need to thank you. If you weren’t here, Ling Ying and I… our fates would have been extremely tragic and the rest of them would have been massacred.” After everyone dispersed, Ling Yushi remained behind, her bright eyes shining. At this moment, she was somewhat afraid to look at Qin Lie and instead looked in Ling Ying’s direction. “That girl has become very curious towards you. I had thought that she would pester you till it was unbearable again, but it seems that she really is completely exhausted.”
“She does talk a little too much.” Qin Lie nodded in agreement. “I’ve become frightened of her questions. Her not coming over here relieves me greatly.”
Seeing the lingering fear on Qin Lie’s face, Ling Yushi couldn’t help but let out a laugh. After thinking for a moment, she gently asked, “I’ve paid attention to the expression within your eyes many times, and sometimes, they are truly blank. You haven’t always been acting the fool these five years, have you?”
“Mn, most of the time I am actually in that kind of dumb state, it is a kind of cultivation method. It was only recently that I truly reawakened…” With the circumstances the way they were now, there was no need for him to hide certain things any longer, and so, he gave Ling Yushi a simple explanation.
“Last time, last time when I helped you bathe, you… what kind of state where you in?” shyly whispered Ling Yushi, her face turning slightly rosy as she suddenly lowered her head.
“You helped me bathe? When was that? I don’t quite remember, it must have been while I was cultivating.” Qin Lie’s heart beat faster as he quickly acted like he knew nothing.
Upon hearing him say that, Ling Yushi, whose heart was in a mess, concluded that his words were insincere, though she couldn’t quite grasp why she came to that conclusion. Even so, she felt like she was going to die of embarrassment and in a panic, with her face crimson red, she blurted out, “Th-then I will go and rest first…” Once she finished her sentence, she hurriedly walked far away from him with her head lowered.
Qin Lie rubbed his face, abruptly discovering that the skin on his face had become extremely thick. Watching the shyly blushing Ling Yushi in the distance, he secretly laughed to himself, finding it amusing and thinking: You are clearly older than me by two years, but your skin is still thinner than mine. This girl… she’s truly interesting.
“That rotten guy, is he speaking the truth or not? If it’s true, then that time… he already had a reaction?” On the other hand, Ling Yushi’s heart was still in turmoil unable to calm down even with her back to Qin Lie.
After an hour, as the Ling Family members were still recovering, the sound of shrubs snapping suddenly emanated over.
The expressions of Ling Yushi, Ling Ying, and the others greatly changed. Then they hastily shouted for everyone to be careful and hide themselves. Everyone took out their weapons to be ready to fight at a moment’s notice.
No one dared to act rashly. They didn’t dare to flee either. Because as soon as they began running, it would immediately expose their position due to the snapping of shrubs.
They lowered their heads, hiding amongst the dense shrubs, not even daring to breathe. They hoped the people wouldn’t come closer towards them.
But the more afraid of something one was, the more likely it would come towards you. From the sounds of snapping shrubs, they could tell that the incoming people were drawing closer their way.
Ling Feng’s face became sullen, silently gesturing to everyone to be prepared to fight and to take initiative to ambush the incoming party so they could catch the enemy unaware.
Even Qin Lie clenched his Green Wing Axe with his solemnly eyes staring in the direction that the sound came from, cursing their luck.
Suddenly, a bleeding person appeared before of them.
The Ling Family members became dazed for a moment as they also saw Gao Yu and two other Gao Family members behind Liu Yan, similarly bleeding from their bodies.
Upon realizing that these people were Liu Yan and the Gao Family members, Ling Yushi, Ling Feng, and the others quickly burrowed out, shouting out greetings. They were pleasantly surprised.
Then, Qin Lie’s expression changed, cursing in his heart. If Liu Yan and the rest appeared, then those of Shattered Ice Manor had to be nearby as well. For them to meet with Liu Yan, there was no benefit at all. In fact, it made it more dangerous.
Conversely, upon seeing the Ling Family’s people, Liu Yan, Gao Yu, and the others saw hope, their eyes brightening up.
“Why would you guys be here?” softly exclaimed Liu Yan. He swept his gaze across the Ling Family’s people, then finally fixed upon Qin Lie’s body. He said with heavy sarcasm: “Qin Lie! Very good! Very good indeed!”
Gao Yu’s expression was just as dark. He coldly looked at Qin Lie saying, “Not all of us died, are you disappointed?”
Qin Lie couldn’t help but laugh wryly. He knew with Liu Yan and Gao Yu’s insight, they had long since guessed that the person who had helped the Ling Family escape was him and had also seen through his intentions.