There was a brilliant glow right beneath them coming from the diamond crystal they had planted beforehand, so they simply had to head in the direction of the light.
The way in which Elder Feng had set up everything was extremely meticulous. He had made it seem as if the diamond crystal was a natural gemstone that lived in the earth's vein, and the only reason it had exposed itself was due to a crack in the earth's vein.
If one had not known that it was all artificially set up, one might have been fooled into thinking that it was the work of nature, thus losing one's wariness around it.
"We'll hide here."
They stopped at an area not too far away from the diamond crystal. With a wave of his hand, Elder Feng produced a mini whirlpool and dived into it. Zhang Xuan and Pavilion Master Kui Xiao followed closely behind him.
As soon as they entered, the whirlpool vanished, and it looked as if the three had never been there.
"This is... a Spatial Formation?"
It was no wonder Elder Feng was so confident that the Blackback Tortoise had not noticed them. It turned out that he had prepared a Spatial Formation in advance. As long as one could not find the crux of the formation to destroy the structure of the Spatial Formation, it would indeed be extremely difficult to notice them.
But while outsiders were unable to sense their presence, they were able to see what was happening outside clearly with their eyes.
Looking at the dazzling glow emanated by the crystal, Zhang Xuan could not help but exclaim, "It must have been hard for you to find that diamond crystal!"
This diamond could not be melted down to forge weapons, but there was no doubt that it was one of the most beautiful objects across the entire Azure. Just this single one would cost an astronomical price, likely surpassing even the value of a Heavenly High Immortal-tier artifact!
What made it even more difficult to acquire was that it was incredibly rare. Throughout the history of the Forsaken Continent, such crystals had only appeared thrice, and even the largest of them was only the size of a longan.
However, the one before him was even larger than a fist. With this, its value was truly inestimable!
The Sevenstar Pavilion had really gone all out to bait the Blackback Tortoise!
"In order to acquire this diamond crystal, we had to mobilize over ten thousand people and expend a lot of resources." Pavilion Master Kui nodded in response.
He had been the one to plan this operation from the start to the end.
It was true that the cost was frightening, but it would all be worth it if they could capture a Semi-Divinity realm beast.
Putting aside its blood essence and beast core, even its skin and bones could be used to forge precious treasures. If they auctioned the completed products in the Sevenstar Pavilion, they would surely be able to recoup their losses and even earn ten times the amount they had invested!
Two months ago, the only Semi-Divinity realm beasts that the entire Forsaken Continent had seen were all from the Hall of Gods. They had never been spotted anywhere else before, so no one had successfully hunted one.
As such, if they could become the first ones to do so, even if it was just out of the novelty factor, they would definitely be able to make a killing by selling its products.
Furthermore, the beast core and blood essence of a Semi-Divinity realm beast were very likely to be able to raise one's cultivation. In this world where strength reigned mighty, cultivators were willing to pay any price as long as they could advance their cultivation.
As such, the Sevenstar Pavilion had started making preparations as soon as they caught wind of the news that Semi- Divinity realm beasts had started appearing in the Ocean of Exiled Stars. Regardless of whether Zhang Xuan had appeared or not, they would still have gone on with the hunt.
Zhang Xuan nodded in agreement.
Most probably, only the unbelievably rich Sevenstar Pavilion could afford to invest so many resources into an operation like this. The rest of the Six Sects would risk emptying out their treasuries if they tried it.
Of course, the Ethereal Hall likely had the resources to pull off something like that as well, but it was hard to say for sure given how elusive it was. It had branches in all second-tier cities and above, but the location of its headquarters and its actual military might remained a mystery.
Hong long long!
While they were chatting with one another, the full moon rose into the sky. A jolt abruptly shook the surface of the sea, as if an earthquake had happened.
The water began to billow, causing the mirror-like surface to distort continuously and create bizarre light patterns all around.
In this moment, it felt as if all the stars had dived into the sea to frolic around.
"It's beginning," Zhang Xuan muttered softly.
Pavilion Master Kui Xiao and Elder Feng nodded in agreement.
Just as Zhang Xuan had said, something was happening in the Sea of Little Mirror as a result of the rise of the full moon. The Silverback Mayflies were moving around in a panic, causing the choppy waters to turn turbulent. If they had continued using the Double Ripples Water Formation, it would have been rendered ineffective by now.
"It's coming..." Elder Feng's voice sounded.
Raising their heads, the crowd saw a massive sea tortoise slowly swimming over from afar.
This sea tortoise was humongous in terms of physique. Just its width was already more than a hundred meters long. It looked like a massive submarine diving through the water, pushing aside the Silverback Mayfly horde that stood in its way with its sheer weight.
"It has indeed reached the Semi-Divinity realm," Zhang Xuan murmured.
The movements of this sea tortoise were heavy and slow, but in terms of strength, it was on par with Pavilion Master Kui Xiao. If they clashed head-on with one another, even the three of them combined were unlikely to be a match for it.
Zhang Xuan's cultivation had already reached the High Immortal realm, and he was confident that he was invincible within this realm. However, the gap between a High Immortal and a Semi-Divinity was simply too great.
On any other occasion, he would have already fled as far as possible in the face of an expert of such caliber. He would not have dared to confront it directly!
"Prepare to activate the formation," Pavilion Master Kui Xiao said grimly as he drove his energy to its limits. He was ready to make a move alongside the formation to deal this massive fellow a lethal blow.
It was impossible to tame a beast in such a cultivation realm. Instead of wasting his effort, he would rather strike it down directly.
"Something's not right..." Zhang Xuan's eyebrows shot up.
"What's not right?"
The other two turned their heads.
The Blackback Tortoise was already extremely close to them. If they did not activate the formation right now, it was highly likely that the Blackback Tortoise would simply rush over and devour the diamond crystal. Once it fled the area of effect of the formation, all their preparations would be rendered useless!
"The Blackback Tortoise is after the diamond crystal, and the situation it was intending for has come to be. Shouldn't it rush right over to snatch the diamond crystal? Why is it still loitering around the area, as if it's waiting for something? Don't you think that it's bizarre?" Zhang Xuan asked.
Pavilion Master Kui Xiao and Elder Feng thought about it once more, and indeed, something was a little weird.
The massive Blackback Tortoise was in a good position to devour the diamond crystal whole right away, but instead of doing so, it was circling around the area as if it had not noticed it at all.
Its plan was to snatch the diamond crystal and kill Elder Feng and Pavilion Master Kui Xiao by capitalizing on the stampede of the Silverback Mayflies, and the opportunity to do so was right in front of it. Yet, it was refusing to make a move.
"Hehe, no wonder it has been heading in this direction all this while. It turns out that it has noticed this thing. As the saying goes, 'a man will die for his greed, and a bird will die for food'. Beasts are ultimately no more than beasts. To lose its life over a mere diamond... Tsk tsk. It would be rude for me not to make a move when such a massive prey is right before me..."
While the three were trying to figure out the reason behind this anomaly, a voice suddenly sounded from above. Following which, a brilliant ray of light shone down from the surface.
A figure had dived into the water, parting the silvery mirror on the surface to allow some light in momentarily.
"A Semi-Divinity realm expert?" Zhang Xuan narrowed his eyes.
The figure that had entered the water was actually a Semi-Divinity realm expert as well, just like Pavilion Master Kui Xiao and the Blackback Tortoise!
That would explain why the latter had kept circling around the area instead of devouring the diamond crystal right away. It seemed like it was baiting this fellow into making a move!
"It's the head of the Blackmirror Citadel, Bai Xuansheng!" Pavilion Master Kui Xiao was stunned for a moment before sending a telepathic message to Zhang Xuan to explain the situation.
Zhang Xuan assessed the newcomer as he muttered, "The head of the Blackmirror Citadel?"
Of the Six Sects, Blackmirror Citadel was known for its expertise in crafting weapons. The Tongshang Sword was said to be the work of one of the blacksmiths of the Blackmirror Citadel. Who would have thought that he would meet their head over here?
"Why is he here?" Elder Feng was taken aback by the current situation.
Pavilion Master Kui Xiao shook his head and said, "Since we were able to acquire the intelligence that Semi-Divinity realm beasts have started appearing in this region, it isn't too surprising for the others to be able to do so."
There was no one who did not know how valuable Semi-Divinity realm beasts were. Just like how the Sevenstar Pavilion wanted to hunt one down, the same went for the other powers.
"Do we activate the formation?" Elder Feng asked with a livid expression.
With the abrupt appearance of Bai Xuansheng, all their previous plans had been messed up.
"Hold on for the time being..." Zhang Xuan raised his hand. "I have modified the Double Ripples Water Formation to make it even more stable, such that it will be able to stand its ground even amid the stampede of the Silverback Mayflies. However, in return, it has become much more difficult to activate it, such that I'm the only one here who is able to do it. For now, we should keep it as our trump card."
"Previously, I thought that the Blackback Tortoise was making use of the full moon to lure Pavilion Master Kui Xiao in. However, now that I think about it, such a plan is infeasible. There's no way it would have known for sure that Pavilion Master Kui Xiao would be coming. ••
"On the other hand, Citadel Lord Bai Xuansheng has been following him for quite some time. Most likely, its target has been him all along," Zhang Xuan remarked with a smile.
He had already heard the news that the Azure Bridge was descending in advance on his way here. Even if the Blackback Tortoise knew of the news and predicted that Pavilion Master Kui Xiao would make his way here, there was no guarantee that the latter would arrive prior to the flill moon.
If so, it would have been meaningless for it to bide its time here. After all, its plans would unravel as soon as the night of the full moon arrived. In other words, the one whom the Blackback Tortoise was baiting had never been Pavilion Master Kui Xiao!
With the appearance of Citadel Lord Bai, the final piece of the puzzle clicked into place.
Most likely, the Blackback Tortoise had noticed both the diamond crystal and Citadel Lord Bai Xuansheng, so it had intentionally lured the latter here in order to make use of the stampede of the Silverback Mayflies to kill him!
While they were talking, the tremors intensified. As the diamond crystal absorbed more and more energy from the ores, the Silverback Mayflies moved in greater fluster. All those movements caused cracks to appear on the seabed.
Paying no heed to Citadel Lord Bai Xuansheng, the Blackback Tortoise looked around it and realized that the Double Ripples Water Formation still had not been dispelled. A hint of worry appeared in its eyes as it realized that things were not going exactly to its plan.
However, it knew that it could not afford to wait any longer. Thus, it dived forward with its massive body.
As if it had teleported, it arrived right before the diamond crystal in an instant and devoured it whole.
"Is this what you mean by not fast?" Zhang Xuan's lips twitched in horror.
Pavilion Master Kui Xiao had told him that this humongous sea tortoise was only known for its defensive prowess, but its speed was severely lacking. He had taken that information for granted, thinking that it made perfect sense.
Who could have known that such a heavy creature would be capable of charging at such speed?
Its speed was faster than him even when he used all his strength!
If they really fought one another, a ram from the Blackback Tortoise at that speed might have just taken him down! "This..."
With an awkward look on his face, Pavilion Master Kui Xiao turned his gaze toward Elder Feng.
"I... It didn't move this quickly the last time I met it. It traveled at a speed roughly the same as mine," Elder Feng hurriedly explained.
Naturally, he had investigated what the Blackback Tortoise was capable of prior to setting up a trap for it. In fact, the entire trap had been built in order to capitalize on the slow speed of the Blackback Tortoise.
They did not expect it to have been concealing its true strength the whole time!
"It's much smarter than I thought," Zhang Xuan said with a bitter smile.
It actually knew how to hide its true abilities and bide its time in order to lure others into a deadly trap. While this Blackback Tortoise might have appeared to be a little dull, it was far more cunning than it appeared.
Indeed, those who were able to reach the Semi-Divinity realm really should not be underestimated!
"What should we do now?" Pavilion Master Kui Xiao asked.
"Since the Blackback Tortoise has already made its move, we should let the two of them fight one another and be the ones to reap the rewards of their effort!"