This chapter has been brought to you by me, WanderingGummiOfDoom, warlord212, and cactuar0.
Chapter One Hundred and Eighty Eight – Entering The Formation
“The Black Wind Bandits lack strong offensive xiuzhe. It isn’t quite possible to break through Zuo Mo’s formation-defense-style,” Fu Feng said while shaking his head. “In Zuo Mo’s hands, this kind of turtle battle strategy is really used to the extreme. Unless they have troops specializing in offense, it’s impossible to break through the turtle shell. With such a gigantic formation, ningmai would find it difficult to destroy in a full frontal attack.”
Gui Feng lowered his head. He thought about Zuo Mo’s formation-defense-style at the Sword Test Conference that had caused a headache for everyone.
He didn’t have many good ideas about how to resolve the formation-defense-style either.
Unless they could attack before Zuo Mo had set up the formation. Once Zuo Mo had completed the formation, the chance of victory was almost zero.
The formation-defense-style was also called the turtle-style. It was called the strongest defense below jindan. It wasn’t that other people hadn’t thought of mimicking Zuo Mo’s formation-defense-style. But when they tried it themselves, they discovered the formation-defense-style was not so easy to make.
How to quickly set it up was one of the most important problems.
Looking at the present situation, Zuo Mo’s formation-defense-style had reached another stage. His efficiency at setting up and his skill had risen dramatically when compared to the Sword Test Conference.
Other than that, the combination of formations needed to be decided in an extremely short period of time. To control the formations, it also demanded a strong and large consciousness.
After studying it in depth, everyone found that the formation-defense-style was not as simple as imagined. Even the process of Zuo Mo battling Chao An was repeatedly taken out and studied. This was one of the rare battles in recent years where the weak won over the strong. The rich battle strategies involved in the match was enough for every xiuzhe who studied it to marvel.
“Is there really no way?” Another xiuzhe asked.
Fu Feng said deeply, “If you encounter Zuo Mo, do not give him the chance to set up formations.”
“But he has already set up formations,” The xiuzhe looked at the Desolate Wood Reef.
“Then I don’t have any way,” Fu Feng spread his hands and said honestly
Another xiuzhe couldn’t help but say, “There’s so many people. If they just charge in, they could win.”
In their eyes, the difference in strength between the two sides was too extreme. One versus sixty seven, and there were five ningmai. Zuo Mo himself was just in the stage of zhuji. Even if he had the help of the formation, if this many people charged in at the same time, Zuo Mo basically would have no chance.
“If it is anyone else, I would also feel the same,” Fu Feng said patiently. To the zhuji under his command, he never skimped on guidance, “But if it is Zuo Mo, I don’t think so. What formation-defense-style, that’s just the surface. What Zuo Mo is greatest at is strategy. He is most skilled at using all the factors at his disposal, and then turning them into advantages for himself. Even if he didn’t have these factors, he could also create an environment advantageous to himself. He is a born strategist. On this point, Wei Sheng is not as great as him.”
His subordinates all had expressions of understanding.
Fu Feng added, “Of course, maybe, to Zuo Mo, this is a method born out of helplessness. He needs to use other methods to compensate for his flaw of cultivation.”
If Zuo Mo heard Fu Feng’s analysis, he would definitely agree. If one had ling power, who would do all this? Just slice with the sword. He admired Wei Sheng Shixiong very much on this point.
Fu Feng then gave his conclusion, “From when they started to attack the Desolate Wood Reef, they became the reactive side. Desolate Wood Reef is very important to Wu Kong Sword Sect, but why did Wu Kong Sword Sect only send Zuo Mo alone? Because they are very clear that Zuo Mo, who is able to create the formation-defense-style, would be able to create a safe place by himself if he is given enough time. The Black Wind Bandits bully the island because there is only Zuo Mo. What they fail to realize is that Zuo Mo’s offensive abilities might not be strong, but if he is used to guard one island, he is more than enough. Zuo Mo’s growth has exceeded my predictions.”
“Zuo Mo would only ever fight in an environment that is advantageous for him. The Black Wind Bandits are not weak. To use force to overcome technique, they may have a chance at victory. This will be something to see.”
His speech made the thirty something zhuji under him enchanted. Everyone was in zhuji, but the difference was just too great.
“Then if a jindan expert came?” Some people were still not convinced. Clearly, he was very discontent about a zhuji being so arrogant.
“If a jindan expert came, no one can stop them. Only jindan can stop jindan.”
This zhuji could not say a thing.
Zhang Hao also realized that they could not break this turtle shell, even if they kept on bombarding the island. The Black Wind Bandits were still wandering bandits in the end. They moved like the wind and lacked strong offensive moves. Zhang Hao’s greatest wish right now was that everyone would have a talisman like the Sky Flipping Seal, picking it up and throwing it down heavily!
However, wandering bandits that travelled quickly like the Black Wind Bandits usually scorned talismans like the Sky Flipping Seal. They were too difficult to transport.
The threads coming from the orange moon shook. The rings of light chimed endlessly, but they did not break.
Zhang Hao was clear about the power of his flying sword. Even among the ningmai¸ those that could receive his sword head on would be those top ningmai experts.
He was the first one to save Zuo Han from Wei Sheng’s hands. Wei Sheng might have previously been second to Gu Rong Ping, but Gu Rong Ping had steadily faded out of view. Wei Sheng had quickly overtaken Gu Rong Ping as the most promising youth of Sky Moon Jie. Having gone into seclusion after the Sword Test Conference, Wei Sheng’s cultivation had skyrocketed. Everyone guessed he had found a method to break through to Heart Turn Sword Essence.
His amazing battles afterwards almost proved everyone’s speculations. From following Xin Yan in the beginning, to quickly leading his own team, he battled in all directions, and never lost.
No matter if it was in reputation, or strength, he became the first expert in ningmai!
Zhang Hao was not as good as Wei Sheng, but if the ningmai of Sky Moon Jie were ranked, he would belong to the rank of experts. However, he was usually low-key so he was not famous.
But the formation in front of him made him not know what to do.
Zhang Hao had experienced too many tribulations. He did not panic upon meeting a standoff. In the end, Zuo Mo was just one person. No matter how strong the formation was, it needed people to control it. A formation with someone controlling it and without were two completely different things. Formations might have many wonders but in the end, it was still an outside aid. After living through so many days on the blade’s edge, he clearly understood that the true substance of a battle was still a matter of the two sides strength.
This was why true sword xiu experts did not like using other moves. Because they themselves had enough power, and they had absolute confidence in their own strength.
Zhang Hao might not be a sword xiu expert, but he had the same absolute confidence in his group of people.
He suddenly whistled, and everyone instantly stopped.
“Kill!” Zhang Hao charged into the formation first, Zuo Han following tightly after. The other Black Wind Bandits did not hesitate, all of them charging into the formation.
Fu Feng who saw this from afar sighed,“Zuo Mo has the initiative.”
“Having the initiative doesn’t mean he is able to win,” Someone said.
Fu Feng smiled and nodded, “That’s true. But we will know after watching.”
As Zhang Hao entered the formation, he found the scene in front of him change. He was suddenly situated in the wilderness, empty and desolate. An orange moon hung in the sky, exuding a warm light.
As expected, the other had some skill!
He praised inside. If possible, he would definitely have tried to get Zuo Mo to join the Black Wind Bandits. However, he knew it was just a delusion. The other was a core disciple of Wu Kong Sword Sect, would they even properly look at this group of wandering bandits?
He refocused and pushed down this unrealistic thought.
This was not the first time he had to solve a formation, but it was the first time he had faced such a powerful formation. Even though he didn’t understand the formation, but he was still confident because the opponent’s cultivation was one stage below his.
For xiuzhe, one stage meant a difference in the basic attribute of strength.
He also had a small secret, a secret that no one knew: Heart Turn Sword Essence! His [Mountain Opener Sword Scripture] had been cultivated to the stage of Heart Turn Sword Essence!
Holding the flying sword covered in a red light, he slowly proceeded. The red light became even brighter, his body covered by a seemingly tangible red shield.
A five colored fan appeared on Zuo Han’s hand. In the blink of an eye, a multi-colored mist surrounded him, his figure gradually disappearing in the rainbow mist.
Wei Rong’s face was pale, his tall and thin figure shaking in the wind like bamboo. He stared around in terror, wanting to find his fellows, but there was no one in his sight.
Zuo Mo’s eyes were serenely cold. He was completely prepared, the ling power of his body abnormally lively, but his mind empty and calm.
The prey had entered the hunting grounds!
His figure slowly became muddled and then disappeared.
His first target was Zhang Hao. Take the head first! Once he got rid of Zhang Hao, the other people would become headless, and his chances of ambush would be greater.
Zhang Hao’s ningmai cultivation meant that he could not face him head on, but Zuo Mo had his own methods.
Covered by the red light, Zhang Hao did not know that Zuo Mo had locked onto him. However, even if he knew, he wouldn’t feel fear, but would be even more excited.
Suddenly, he stopped, and waved the heavy sword in his hand.
A patch of red sword energies left his sword. The sword energy was extremely large, like a thick red light curtain that blocked in front of him.
Ding ding ding!
Several sword energies hit the red light curtain and bounced off.
Zhang Hao smirked not slowling in his steps as he headed in the direction of the moon. The Wu Kong Flag was a good talisman, and it was powerful. It was a pity that Zuo Mo’s cultivation was too low, and could not release its true power. Sword energies of this degree could kill zhuji, but it wasn’t enough for ningmai like him.
He didn’t know if this was controlled or just an attack of the formation.
He strode towards the crescent moon. He looked to be walking slowly, but it meant he was not easily lost in the illusions. He flooded his legs with ling power. Each step would be like a large hammer. A large hole would appear with each step. All illusions would be shattered. He was taking advantage that Zuo Mo’s cultivation was not as high as him. This method was stupid, but it was extremely effective.
Every formation would have a formation core. The core of the formation was the control center. If he could destroy the formation core, the strongest formation would still collapse in an instant.
Zhang Hao steadily headed towards the moon. All kinds of sword energies along the way were blocked off.
He used ling power to seal his ears to shut off the sounds that disturbed one’s mind. He only focused on walking forward. The sounds that could attack were all blocked by his heavy sword.
The more he walked forward, the more confident he grew.
Formations were very useful, but the difference in the two sides power was too large, it was useless!
He had taken the initiative again!
Translator Ramblings: So the formation core might be the “cover door” thing mentioned way back in the Sword Test Conference. I don’t know why the author didn’t use the same term this time.
This is a somewhat ironic case of Fu Feng thinking too much. He thinks the Wu Kong Sword Sect elders are much wiser than they really are. The Wu Kong Flag was Shi Feng Rong’s deed, and if Zuo Mo hadn’t “screwed up” by learning more about formations from the sword essence formation, he couldn’t have made the formation as power as it is for Desolate Wood Reef. On the other hand, even if he did get to heart turn sword essence, he still might have been sent as the only person available in the sect who had been a core disciple to “protect the retreat.” I’m not actually sure if Pei Yuan Ran let Zuo Mo leave without additional manpower because he believed Zuo Mo was strong enough, or because he thought that the boy hadn’t died yet and is pretty resourceful, but even if he died, it’s still alright since his offensive capabilities are not great and his sword potential is limited.