Wang Baole's staggering form continued running inside the region of the sword body, disregarding his increasingly serious injuries. He ran without rest, using everything he had in him.
Before he had started though, he left a puppet at the place he had teleported to. Then, without turning back, he raced away.
Fortunately, after some time racing in the sword body, he finally found himself in a familiar area. He was able to identify where he was.
*I'm not anywhere near the sword handle…* Pale-faced, Wang Baole's spirits sank, and his heart grew heavy as he realized where he was.
He knew he only had two options. He could follow the original plan of traveling to the sword handle and returning to the Vast Expanse Dao Palace, where he could then use the teleportation array formation to leave the ancient sword and return to the Federation. Or, he could venture deeper into the sword body!
The first option was definitely the better choice and the one he preferred. However… even though it might seem simpler and worry-free, there were greater chances of the unexpected happening.
*If Daoist You Ran survived and comes after me, I won't be able to avoid his pursuit even if I escape into the sword handle…*
*I can only bet on his death or that he wouldn't be able to catch up with me in time.* Wang Baole fell silent. He was torn. However, the mental struggle didn't last long before decisiveness flashed across his eyes. He turned and started running in another direction—not towards the sword handle but deeper into the sword body!
The blood in his body continued to churn as he ran. Fortunately, his physical body was resilient, and his recovery was boosted by the green lotus. That allowed him to maintain his speed.
Nevertheless, he couldn't keep the blood from rising to his mouth. After flying for some time, he finally couldn't stop himself from spitting out a mouthful of blood.
There were small pieces of flesh mixed with the blood. He didn't know where they came from, but the churning he had been feeling inside him eased considerably after he had spat out that mouthful of blood. However, the moment of ease was followed by dizziness and waves of pain that continued ceaselessly.
*Hurt my internal organs…* There was a dark look on Wang Baole's face. He extended his senses into his body and concluded that those chunks of flesh had probably been his organs.
Throwing them up had felt like hollowing himself out. Endless exhaustion rose inside him and spread to every part of his body. His vision was growing blurry.
A sudden urge to just lie down assaulted him, threatening to pull him under like a tsunami. Before that could happen, Wang Baole bit his tongue. The pain helped clear the fog from his mind. His eyes cleared as his breathing quickened.
*I can't stop. I can't just rely on luck!* Wang Baole took a deep breath, gritted his teeth, and continued running. He had chosen to enter the sword body to avoid pursuit. It wasn't because he couldn't gamble on the outcome if he had chosen otherwise but because he dared not do so!
He would be left with no other options should he lose that gamble. If he chose to enter the sword body, the potential for trouble might seem greater, but so was his chances of survival.
After all, the hexes in the sword body posed no danger to him while they were obstacles to others!
Even so, Wang Baole knew how powerful Daoist You Ran's cultivation was and how many tricks he had up his sleeve. If Daoist You Ran did come after him, Wang Baole couldn't simply place all his hopes on the hexes.
*I need to keep widening the distance between us and give myself more time so that I can venture deeper into the sword body. There's a greater chance then that Daoist You Ran will find it difficult to pursue me. That's going to be hard though…* Wang Baole's eyes flashed as the gears in his head spun furiously. He kept on his path, advancing rapidly towards a place he remembered.
*No matter what I choose in the end, be it to escape or ensure that Daoist You Ran is too afraid to come after me, I'll need to perform another long-distance teleportation!*
*I can either make use of the teleportations that result in the frequent change in landscape, or I could make use of… the Immortal Platform!* There was a look of determination in Wang Baole's eyes. He remembered that an Immortal Platform could be found in the direction he was now traveling.
His long-term plan was to travel towards the Immortal Platform and make use of it to teleport away so that Daoist You Ran could no longer come after him. His short-term plan was to locate areas that were in the midst of teleportation and make use of them to teleport further away!
After organizing his thoughts and making up his mind, Wang Baole swallowed another pill and continued running. A loud rumbling erupted from where Wang Baole had reappeared outside the battleship. Daoist You Ran emerged.
His appearance was immediately sensed by the puppet that Wang Baole had left behind. It blew itself up instantly. Daoist You Ran was one step too late in stopping it. He got to the puppet and stared at the pile of disintegrated materials with a dark look on his face.
*Vicious, decisive, careful, and with numerous tricks up his sleeve… I've underestimated Wang Baole!* The murderous intent in Daoist You Ran's eyes intensified. He formed a series of hand seals and unleashed some spell that located where Wang Baole was. Then, he started the chase. He was determined. This time… he wasn't going to rest until Wang Baole was dead!
When Daoist You Ran locked onto Wang Baole and left in pursuit, a distance away from him, alarm flashed across Wang Baole's face as he raced ahead. He had left the puppet behind to keep watch. It would be great if Daoist You Ran didn't follow the traces that had been left behind by his teleportation and given chase, but if he did, Wang Baole would know immediately. That would be the worst-case scenario. However, Wang Baole was prepared for it. That was why he didn't hesitate when he sensed Daoist You Ran. Instead, he let loose another burst of speed!
He had been traveling at top speed, but this wasn't the time to worry. He set aside concerns for how it might aggravate his injuries and unleashed his full speed as well as his Lightning Immortal Transformation. He was like a bolt of lightning. He stopped searching for any regional teleportations that might be in the vicinity and instead concentrated solely on reaching the Immortal Platform.
Time was of the essence. There was no room for distractions. With his full speed unleashed, he charged brashly into one hex after another, passing them one by one.
The hexes lost their effect as soon as Wang Baole approached, allowing him to pass through before reactivating themselves again. Wang Baole approached his destination rapidly.
Daoist You Ran, on the other hand, possessed powerful cultivation that allowed him to force his way through hexed areas. Even should the hexes explode around him, the resultant damage was minimal. However, there were still too many of them, which caused some delay. His speed, which should have surpassed Wang Baole's, was slightly reduced because of that.
In addition, the sword body was governed by chaotic laws that led to great uncertainty during teleportations. Daoist You Ran was forced to rely on his spells as he conducted his pursuit. He could only narrow the distance between him and Wang Baole, unable to reach him in an instant!
The distance between him and Wang Baole narrowed as he chased after the latter anxiously. When he finally saw Wang Baole in the distance, he gritted his teeth and chose to teleport instead of charging through the hexes.
He vanished then reappeared less than a hundred feet behind Wang Baole, his face pale. He hastily waved his hand and made a grab at Wang Baole before retreating hurriedly.
The space he had stood at earlier immediately caved in. Numerous, gaping tears in space appeared, ready to rip everything apart. Even though Daoist You Ran was a powerful cultivator, he still gasped at the sight.
Wang Baole raised his right hand in a wave, sending a Dharmic Armament out behind him that self-destructed. The shock waves collided with Daoist You Ran's grab. Wang Baole spat out another mouthful of blood. Daoist You Ran's attack had been hasty, and he had managed to block it successfully with his Dharmic Armament, but the backlash still managed to aggravate his existing injuries.
Wang Baole didn't slow down though. Instead, he picked up his pace and formed a series of hand seals while he continued to run. Numerous spheres of electricity materialized. He flung them into the hexed areas that he passed by, blowing them up and triggering a series of explosions as the hexes blew up in his wake. His intention was to create obstacles in Daoist You Ran's path as well as to stir more chaos.
The sword body was already filled with chaos, like a volcano on the verge of eruption. What Wang Baole was doing was adding fuel to the fire, intensifying the chaotic elements and inflaming the Sea of Fire.
"Wang Baole!" The expression on Daoist You Ran's face was dark and stormy. He had to dodge some of the explosions, which in turn widened the distance between him and Wang Baole. He dared not teleport easily now. He had struggled with his earlier attempt and nearly landed where he hadn't wanted to due to the chaotic laws of this place. Even though he had forcibly changed his landing, that had led to a spatial collapse. After his shock, he had learned to be more cautious.