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In the land where Yi Yun secluded himself, there was an azure-blue lake in the middle of an extended mountain range and valley. During windless days, the lake's surface would be calm, without even a single ripple. At night, the lake would reflect the round moon, exuding great beauty.
As it was uninhabited, Ling Xie'er had taken it upon herself to become the lake's owner. She named it Mirror Moon Lake.
At that moment, by the bank of Mirror Moon Lake, four men and two women landed with spectacular speckles of light.
The person leading the group looked like a middle-aged mortal in his fifties. He was severely lacking in lifeblood and there was a wound on his chest. It looked like it was a slash wound.
The middle-aged man looked at the surrounding terrain and said, "We have already escaped deep into the mountains but there are many desolate beasts and Fey beasts here. If we venture deeper into the woods, we might encounter danger. I'm injured and can hardly repress the poison in my body. I can't go on further as I need to rest here to recuperate. If we were to continue and enter the woods, I'm afraid we might perish."
As he spoke, the middle-aged man was panting. His face had several purplish patches that were obvious signs of poison.
"Senior Brother, I'll set up a concealment array here. Let's recuperate here," a woman that looked to be in her thirties said.
Among this group of people, three men and two women looked rather old. There was another young man that looked about fourteen. He had a round face that was still very child-like. His raven-black eyes exuded hints of an unyielding will.
When he heard his martial uncle's instructions, the youth began clearing the ground and setting up an area for resting. He was still young and unable to help set up any concealment array. All he could do were some miscellaneous chores.
"This lake sure is beautiful. It reminds me of our sect's ice lake. The only difference is the scenery."
As she looked at Mirror Moon Lake, a woman that appeared middle-aged sighed wistfully.
It snowed perennially at their sect's ice lake but it never froze in any season. In winter, there would be pink winter plums sprouting by the lakeside, making for a picturesque scene.
Another woman in her thirties shook her head and said, "Don't be sad. Although our sect no longer exists, we are still alive. When Ling'er grows up, we can reestablish Ice Lake Island."
As she spoke, the woman ruffled the youth's head. She exuded tender, loving care, for they were the only few left from Ice Lake Island.
The youth did not say a word. All he did was secretly turn firm and determined. He was in his teens but he was already carrying a heavy mission on his shoulders.
As the two women spoke, they set up the array flags. The concealment array, which was Ice Lake Island's best concealment array, was almost done. With it successfully set up, they would be temporarily safe.
The deep mountains were rather cold and desolate but there was some spiritual energy. They could recuperate for a few days before making a decision on what their future held.
The middle-aged man that led them had already consumed some pills and began meditating to treat himself. However, the purplish patches on his face did not rescind. His chest wound also did not seem to recover, and instead flowed more incessantly. One could vaguely make out blackness in his blood.
"Martial Uncle! Are you alright!?"
The youth was the first to notice the man's odd state. He panicked, for the middle-aged man was the pillar of support among the six of them. He was the deputy island lord of Ice Lake Island. They were only able to remain alive and come this far because he had fought so desperately.
"Senior Brother, didn't you consume the Frost Cocooned Iceheart Pill? Why isn't it able to curb the spread of the poison?"
The woman in her thirties panicked. She believed that things would be fine once the anti-poison pill was eaten.
At that moment, the middle-aged man suddenly struck his chest and spat out a mouthful of black blood. When it landed on the grass, it immediately withered away the green grass, robbing it of its vibrancy.
After the middle-aged man forced out the mouthful of poisoned blood, he finally managed to catch his breath.
"I won't be dying so soon!" he said while gritting his teeth. An unusual redness flashed across his face. The poison was indeed domineering, preventing the Frost Cocooned Iceheart Pill from completely expelling it from his body. All the pill could do was repress the poison.
He did not know if he would ever get rid of the poison at its root. If he didn’t remove it, he probably would not live more than a few years.
The middle-aged man was not afraid of death. He was only afraid that his death would result in Ling'er losing his guidance and protection, and that he wouldn’t have the chance to mature.
"Senior Brother, nothing untoward should happen to you."
Said a slightly younger man. His face was filled with worry but, just as he spoke, a rainbow-colored beam of light shot out from the lake in front of him. The light charged into the sky as immensely rich spiritual energy rushed at them.
The group was alarmed. Could the scene that was unfolding before them be the birth of a mysterious treasure?
"No, it's an array formation!"
The middle-aged leader was more knowledgeable. The moment he spoke, immense energy rushed over. The concealment array that was halfway set up was dissipated from the surge!
The array flags were launched into the sky!
That was one of their sect's core array formations. Yet, it had been dissipated by the remnant energies of the array formation that was already located here.
At that moment, the group realized that the lake in front of them had shrunk, revealing trees by the bank. Didn't this mean that what they had been looking at all this time was an illusion?
The group exchanged looks. Two of the women had even scooped water from the lake out of their love for cleanliness. They had used the water to wash their faces, so how could the cool and refreshing lake water be an illusion?
"It's a concealment array formation but it's extremely esoteric, far superior than our Ice Lake Island's. I wonder if an expert resides here or if we have accidentally intruded onto a ruin."
The middle-aged man wore a solemn expression. Either one of the possibilities were extremely dangerous, especially the former. Some reclusive experts had odd personalities. It was now a question of what would happen.
At that moment, they saw the space in front of them distort. A teenager that looked sixteen or seventeen appeared out of thin air with a young girl that was slightly older than a decade.
The young girl had two hair buns and her red face still had a little baby fat. She looked innocent and adorable, like a pixie that resided in the woods.
As for the youth, he looked handsome and had an extraordinary bearing. His eyes were deep like the starry sky and appeared unfathomable. His aura was converged, making him resemble a beautiful piece of jade that had been restored to its original simplicity. He made it difficult for others to describe him.
Who… were they?
The middle-aged man was dumbstruck. They had deliberately escaped into an uninhabited land but ended up encountering others. Furthermore, they were such peculiar people.
Although they looked young, the middle-aged man was certain that they were definitely no ordinary youths.
"You mentioned that your sect had been wiped out?"
At that moment, the youth spoke. He spoke in a slow tone but it seemed to ring within their hearts.
The youth was none other than Yi Yun, who had just come out of seclusion.
The middle-aged man faltered for a moment before nodding his head slowly.
He was feeling completely flabbergasted. The youth had heard their conversation but they had not even noticed the duo’s existence.
"Ice Lake Island… I have never heard of this sect. Is your sect from around here?"
"Yes, but we are only a tiny sect. Senior, it is only natural that you have never heard of it. We had escaped here and accidentally disturbed your peaceful cultivation. Please do not blame us for our ignorance." The middle-aged man had already begun speaking politely. He guessed that the youth was probably an old monster that had eaten Youth Retention Pills. He had been secluding himself here but they had stupidly trespassed. It was truly a tragedy.
"I see…" Yi Yun nodded. His gaze flittered across the middle-aged man's chest wound. "Tell me, how was your sect wiped out?"
If it was only a typical feud between sects that lead to their destruction, Yi Yun would not bother about it. In a warrior's world, sects were wiped out all the time. Not only did small sects experience it, even the Myriad Immortal Pavilion had been wiped out.
There was no right and wrong in such matters, only victory and defeat. Yi Yun would not interfere in such matters.
However, Yi Yun had sensed a familiar aura from the middle-aged man's wound.
The aura left him wary.