Oblivious to the fact that war against the Federation had broken out, Wang Baole continued traveling across the sword body. He flew speedily across the lands, passing spatial tears, hexed regions, sudden changes in the landscape, as well as demons and beasts prowling the lands unharmed.
Nothing seemed capable of stopping the traveling mist in its path as it crossed the vastness of the heavens and the earth swiftly!
The traveling mist was so amazing that Wang Baole began to regret the lost opportunity of displaying his majestic figure to the world.
"This is the last attempt at losing weight!" Wang Baole muttered to himself inside the traveling mist. His mind was made up. The first thing he was going to do when he returned to the Federation and became the Federation President was to make a declaration. He was going to redefine fatness as the new standard for beauty!
*Everyone will have to fatten themselves up. That's the only way to ensure that Earth progresses. It's the only way to strike fear into all extraterrestrial civilizations' hearts when they see us!* The more he thought about it, the more the logic made sense. A huge figure was a strong visual impact, after all.
*I mean, when you place a huge mountain of flesh and a bean sprout next to one another, who are people gonna be more afraid of?* Wang Baole considered the scenario seriously and concluded that the former would be more terrifying. This strengthened his resolve.
*For humankind's survival, for the future of the civilization… and also to pick apart and solve the genetic mystery that caused the premature deaths of my ancestors. There might actually be some incredible secret hiding somewhere in there!* Wang Baole allowed his imagination to run wild while he approached the sword handle steadily.
An hour passed. At his current speed, Wang Baole believed that he would be able to leave the sword body in another hour. He began fantasizing about his future again, anticipation growing in his heart as he traveled. Then, suddenly, something caught his attention. The traveling mist stilled in mid-air. It shifted and revealed Wang Baole's surprised face.
*I sense Soul Conduit realm divine powers…* His head tilted towards the northwest as he gazed into the distance. His eyes didn't manage to see anything amiss. However, since his cultivation had reached the Nascent Soul realm, his spiritual senses had improved exponentially. His senses were hinting that something was going on there.
Wang Baole narrowed his eyes. He thought for a bit, then steered the traveling mist northwest.
Darkness blanketed the region while hexes littered the lands in the northwest. Spatial tears appeared in the sky randomly. In the heavens, a middle-aged woman, face pale and hair loosened and in a mess, was running for her life.
She was seriously injured, and her fleeing at full speed didn't help with her wounds. Blood flowed freely from her lips. Behind her were numerous figures exuding an icy aura and giving chase. They came from all directions, surrounding the woman and leaving her nowhere to escape.
The pursuers weren't Dao Palace cultivators. Their three heads and six arms clearly identified them as Never-Ending Clan members!
The woman… was a familiar face that would be recognized immediately by any cultivator of the Dao Palace. She was… one of the four Grand Supreme Elders of the Vast Expanse Dao Palace, Feng Qiuran!
Zhao Yameng hadn't been the only one who had escaped when Wang Baole had blown up his Thearch Armor in the Never-Ending Clan battleship and disrupted the latter's teleportation interference. Feng Qiuran had escaped as well!
Compared to Zhao Yameng, Feng Qiuran had clearly been identified as an important target by Daoist You Ran. Even though the latter had chosen to go after Wang Baole in a moment of anger, he hadn't forgotten to send Never-Ending Clan members after Feng Qiuran as well.
After his resurrection, Daoist You Ran led Mie Liezi and the Never-Ending Clan battleship off of the ancient sword and towards the Federation. Regardless, his orders to pursue and kill Feng Qiuran had remained.
Feng Qiuran had spent her time in hiding all this while, narrowly escaping death. If she wasn't at the Soul Conduit realm and didn't have a few unique lifesavers up her sleeve, she would have been killed a long time ago.
Nevertheless… Feng Qiuran was now at the end of her rope. Her cultivation had fallen from the Soul Conduit realm to the Nascent Soul realm, and she had once again been discovered. She had no choice but to run. However, the severity of her injuries, the extent of her exhaustion, and the ceaseless, punishing guilt she felt had taken a toll on her. She was a dead cultivator walking.
She had no hope, no future in sight, no possibility of surviving this. Her fate had been determined the moment she stepped onto the battleship.
*Is this the end for me…* A tragic smile painted Feng Qiuran's lips. She spat out a mouthful of blood, no longer able to control the injuries wrecking her body. They continued to unleash havoc inside her. Her internal organs were bruised and bleeding, her meridians collapsed in multiple places. Life was slowly draining out of her. She felt only despair.
Her vision was a blur as three Never-Ending Clan cultivators flanked her on both sides. Icy glints flickered in their eyes as they charged towards her like arrows released from a bow. Another Never-Ending Clan cultivator behind her did the same, unleashing a sudden burst of speed and rushing straight at her. In front of Feng Qiuran, slightly to her right, another Never-Ending Clan cultivator dashed towards her as well.
There were five of them, some with a cruel twist to their lips, some devoid of all emotion, and some excited. They had old, unhealed injuries and were only at the Nascent Soul realm. But it wasn't impossible for the five of them to take on a grievously injured Feng Qiuran. If they hadn't been worried about Feng Qiuran unleashing a final lethal attack before her death, they would have killed her some time ago.
They had kept her alive for another reason. Daoist You Ran wanted her captured alive, if possible. Having Feng Qiuran under his control would be akin to having another Soul Conduit realm cultivator under his command. Besides, Feng Qiuran held an important position and status in the Dao Palace. She could help Daoist You Ran strengthen his hold over the Dao Palace.
That was why Feng Qiuran was still alive now. Nevertheless… she was at her wits' end. She was like prey caught in a trap, powerless and hardly a threat at all. The five Never-Ending Clan cultivators finally closed in for the kill!
Thunder rumbled in the skies. A faint, glowing barrier materialized around Feng Qiuran as the five Never-Ending Clan cultivators charged at her, blocking their spells and creating a backlash that drove her enemies back. They didn't suffer many injuries from the backlash. Feng Qiuran, on the other hand, spat out a mouthful of blood as she stumbled and fell to the ground, unable to maintain flight.
The five Never-Ending Clan cultivators rushed at Feng Qiuran instantly. Two of them formed a series of hand seals and barked out a curse.
A sudden overpowering force, capable of trapping one's spirit, descended from the sky. The other three Never-Ending Clan cultivators each whipped out a small mirror. The light reflected from the mirrors transformed into a large illusory web. They dashed towards Feng Qiuran and flung the web over her.
Everything happened in the blink of an eye. The five cultivators had coordinated their attacks flawlessly, and in her current state, Feng Qiuran was hardly a match for them. The glowing web fell over her in the next instant and bound her tightly within. Lightning crackled as it surged through the web, causing Feng Qiuran to spit out another mouthful of blood and pass out.
"Let's go!" The five Never-Ending Clan members didn't hesitate. They transformed into five rainbows immediately and dashed off into the distance. They intended to leave this place and report their successful capture.
Just as they were about to depart, however, mist suddenly appeared in the distant sky. It seemed like an ordinary mist at first. Then, it seemed to recognize the five Never-Ending Clan members for who they were. The mist began to shift. It grew in size suddenly, amidst a series of deafening rumbles, and transformed into an enormous face.
It was Wang Baole!
He saw the five Never-Ending Clan members as well as Feng Qiuran, unconscious and caught inside the web of light.
The five Never-Ending Clan members turned their eyes towards Wang Baole as soon as he appeared. An intense light appeared in their eyes. They didn't leave. Instead, they stopped. A smile appeared on one cultivator's face, one tinged with cruelty and scorn. He put Feng Qiuran in his storage bag, then said something to his companions in the Never-Ending Clan's language.
"You lost the bet. I said we didn't need to hurry to capture Feng Qiuran. If we continued chasing her for a while, it'd definitely draw out some other unlucky soul. Look, see what we managed to fish out."
Wang Baole's eyes shone brightly as he hovered in mid-air. He started reciting the sutra in his head before any of the Never-Ending Clan members could reply to their companion. Then, as an immense power descended from the heavens, he said coolly, in the ancient Dark Sect's tongue.
"Have you ever caught a shark?"
As soon as he said that, the awesome power of the sutra shot down from the skies and flooded the area!
The smoke that formed Wang Baole's face roared and boiled, then rushed towards the five Never-Ending Clan members with the force of a tsunami!