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This Young Master is not Cannon Fodder

Chapter 459: Cat and Mouse
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Meng Tingfeng bit back the scream threatening to escape his lips as soon as the shimmering red blood touched him. It hadn’t been the first time he had caused his opponent’s blood to gush out, but it was the first time that his opponent’s blood caused so much damage.

As soon as the red blood touched his skin, it began to corrode it. Not even an immortal’s body could last long against it. Meng Tingfeng immediately formed a barrier of immortal qi by reflex, but it only stalled the corrosion for a split second. In fact, the more Meng Tingfeng tried to defend, the faster the red blood corroded his qi, dwindling his reservoir.

And so Meng Tingfeng retreated before he could finish his slash.

Once he reappeared, Meng Tingfeng expelled the red blood off his body with a burst of qi. However, it was already too late. Blotches of his skin had been eaten away, and his robes, artifacts at the immortal monarch level, had dimmed considerably. If that wasn’t enough, Meng Tingfeng discovered that nearly two percent of his total qi reservoir had disappeared.

Two percent might not sound like a lot, but it meant that if the red dragon blood covered him for fifty seconds, less than a minute, he would become powerless, like a fish on the chopping block.

He stared at the gash trailing down the black dragon’s arm. The blood had long stopped flowing, and it was even forming a scab at an accelerated rate. Among the many martial monarchs or demons Meng Tingfeng had seen, the black dragon definitely reached the forefront in terms of healing ability.

What displeased Meng Tingfeng was the depth of the wound. Sure, the gash was long considering Meng Tingfeng’s and the black dragon’s size, but the depth didn’t even reach the bone. When he slashed, it felt like cutting through quicksand. The deeper he cut, the slower and duller his blade became.

Meng Tingfeng looked up from the wound on the arm and stared into the black dragon’s eyes, which resembled twin suns. From those pair of fiery eyes, he no longer saw the same burning intent to fight. It cooled to a temperature similar to a brown dwarf star.

His instincts, which honed in his long years of cultivation and life-and-death battle, told him that the black dragon hadn’t fully gone all out. Meng Tingfeng had no proof, but he subconsciously believed this gut feeling. More often than not, a cultivator’s feelings would not lead them astray, especially those who have traversed far on the immortal path.

The black dragon’s gaze flickered to Ba Shifang for a split moment and opened its gigantic maws. Instead of flames or some other powerful breath attack that Meng Tingfeng expected, the dragon expelled black gas. However, he dared not underestimate the black gas because it shimmered exactly like the red blood that caused him so much trouble.

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The black gas rapidly expanded as soon as it left the dragon’s mouth and covered the surrounding area in a mist. Meng Tingfeng didn’t stay idle and allow whatever the black dragon wanted to do. He unleashed several strikes of sword-shaped qi fused with sword intent.

But when his attacks entered the black mist, they did not cause any fluctuations. It was as if they had disappeared into nothingness. However, Meng Tingfeng could still detect them because the sword-shaped qi carried his willpower.

Inside the black mist, his attack did not collide or hit anything. Instead, they were rapidly deteriorating under the effect of the black mist. The deterioration soon reached a point that the technique could no longer sustain itself and collapsed into immortal qi, which was rapidly eaten away by the black mist.

Meng Tingfeng wanted to attack again, but Ba Shifang stepped forward. “Allow me.”

Ba Shifang formed several hand seals and then pointed at the mist with his forefinger and middle finger. Wind condensed of five colors blew against the black mist. Ba Shifang didn’t intend to attack whatever was inside the black mist but blow it away.

The black mist refused to move. It was as if the black mist was some sludge that stubbornly anchored to the space. Ba Shifang outwardly frowned and increased the power of the five element wind he conjured. It was until the space in the Vast Void started to distort that the black mist moved. At that point, the black mist just disappeared, as if its previous resistance was an illusion.

And when the black mist disappeared fully, there was no dragon in sight. Not even a scale or fragment was left behind.

“He ran away,” Meng Tingfeng said.

Ba Shifang nodded, also silent. In fact, he also expected this. It’s why he deliberately increased the time to move the black mist. “Our enemy is more powerful than expected. According to the Demon Clan’s usual modus operandi, they should avoid returning to their territory until they are sure they shook off our trail. Do you want to request reinforcements?”

Meng Tingfeng didn’t say anything. Finally, he sheathed the Seven Star Sword. “Just for more searchers. I have a feeling that the guy will appear in front of us soon. When that happens, I’ll be the one to behead him.”

“As long as you take all responsibility,” Ba Shifang said. He didn’t care either way. If Meng Tingfeng wanted to shoulder all the responsibility, he’d be more than happy to oblige.

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Both Ba Shifang and Meng Tingfeng entered the unnamed realm. Although it was an unranked realm, qi still existed. It was just more biased and took extra time to convert. Well, for Meng Tingfeng. Ba Shifang could convert almost all types of qi.

Meng Tingfeng found a quiet location to recuperate. He already contacted the Numinous Sword Sect and had the investigators search for any traces. At once, he began to absorb the surrounding spiritual qi.

Ba Shifang looked over from his own spot. He was quite surprised when he saw Meng Tingfeng absorbing five types of qi. Most immortal monarchs could only absorb five different types of qi when they became a fifth-step immortal monarch, however immortal monarchs who cultivated a law outside of the five elements were different.

He knew Meng Tingfeng comprehended the Law of the Stars, so it didn’t surprise him that he absorbed stellar qi. However, he never expected Meng Tingfeng to become a fourth-step monarch so quickly. Once Ba Shifang recalled Meng Tingfeng’s strength from their previous bout, a hint of urgency appeared in his heart.

Aside from Tianyi and his clones, Ba Shifang never felt that other cultivators could have the same power as him in the same realm. Logically, he knew this was false, an illusion brought about by Tianyi’s monstrous power and talent. The world was full of the unknown. Nothing was absolute.

There might be monsters even greater than Tianyi. Ba Shifang hadn’t forgotten about Bao Ling.

He knew Tianyi. While others might disdain winning through attrition, he knew Tianyi had no problem winning with such a tactic if he was not in a rush or because of rules. However, he still gave up and conceded victory to Bao Ling. That already explained a lot.

Still, knowing was knowing. Only after experiencing it did Ba Shifang feel a sense of threat. So, while he also reported to the Immortal Court and requested for more true immortal investigators, he also asked Tianyi to supply him with more energy of the five elements.

Not long later, a beautiful white pillar pierced the dimensional boundary of the unranked realm and landed in front of Ba Shifang. The pillar dwarfed any conventional structure made by human hands. The exterior of its multi-level structure was filled with relief sculptures depicting the accomplishments of the Immortal Court.

The appearance of the Descending Immortal Embassy surprised Ba Shifang. Strictly speaking, the Descending Immortal Embassy could be classified under a subcategory of an immortal boat. As an immortal artifact, its defensive ability was not top-notch. It could still defend against everything under the Immortal Realm, but its true purpose was to transport cultivators through the Vast Void.

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Tianyi and many other disciples once used it to enter the Demon Cage Realm. At its core, there was an abundant supply of qi to make up for the fact that only those in the Origin Immortal Realm could replenish their qi in the Vast Void.

Once the immortals exited, Ba Shifang learned that the Immortal Court directly dispatched a hundred true immortals. As for materials he requested from Tianyi, they were also delivered. When he inspected the spatial ring, even Ba Shifang was shocked by the amount of materials containing the energy of the five elements. It didn’t contain ten times the amount he needed to upgrade his martial body to the peak, but it was still around seven to eight times the amount he requested.

His former main body, Tianyi, was probably the only one in the entire Three Thousand Immortal Realms System who could hand out so many resources with a flip of his hand. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call Tianyi an endless resource point. The only problem was collecting them, but it seems that Tianyi had been doing a fine job at that, with no prompting.

Ba Shifang shook his head. He wasn’t Tianyi’s minder, and he was sure Tianyi didn’t want a mere former clone to tell him what to do. So, he hunkered down and started to absorb the energy with the materials provided by Tianyi. In this way, years passed.

It wasn’t until the true immortal investigator finally discovered Jiaohu and Donghai Longzi’s traces did they report to Ba Shifang. Actually, they discovered faint traces of the demons long ago, but they couldn’t be sure. It was messy, like someone had deliberately obscured the tracks and left false clues, so it took a long while.

After Ba Shifang and Meng Tingfeng chased after the trail, they arrived at a lower-rank realm. However, the Demon Clans had long evacuated, leaving only the native demons of the lower-rank realm. Although they missed their target, neither Ba Shifang nor Meng Tingfeng gave up. After all, there was a reason the Demon Clan could evade the investigation of the Numinous Sword Sect and Immortal Court for so long. So, the two found a secluded place and resumed cultivating.

Every once in a while, the true immortals would report that they caught the trail of the Demon Clan. Sometimes it would only take a few months at the shortest, but other times it would take more than a decade to find their trail again. Most of the time, they would only find an abandoned outpost or just evidence of the Demon Clan once staying in a certain realm.

A few times, the duo would encounter Jiaohu or Donghai Longzi, where the former would escape while the latter acted as a distraction and shield. Meng Tingfeng took this time to evaluate his growth.

Ba Shifang discovered that after repeated clashes, Meng Tingfeng’s swordplay would become faster, sharper, and more accurate. The wounds he caused in Donghai Longzi couldn’t cause any fatal injuries, but the number increased dramatically.

Of course, Ba Shifang knew that Donghai Longzi hadn’t used all his strength. Otherwise, Meng Tingfeng might have already died. Still, neither Ba Shifang nor Donghai Longzi wanted to see Meng Tingfeng grow so fast. It was both based on personal feelings and a strategic outlook. The stronger Meng Tingfeng became, the more troublesome he would become when the Immortal Court and the Numinous Sword Sect vied for hegemony over the Three Thousand Immortal Realms System.

So, after many considerations, Donghai Longzi resigned himself as a punching bag. Sword immortals were known for their explosive growth under pressure in battle. As long as Donghai Longzi didn’t actively fight and reduced the pressure as much as possible, Meng Tingfeng should not receive much benefits. Plus, Meng Tingfeng hadn’t displayed any powerful attack that could threaten his life yet.

Meng Tingfeng also discovered this. Even if he worked with Ba Shifang, they couldn’t take down Donghai Longzi by themselves. Left with no choice and seeing no more hope of tempering himself, Meng Tingfeng finally asked for reinforcements. Ba Shifang followed suit.

Soon, the Immortal Court and the Numinous Sword Sect each dispatched two more immortal monarchs. And this game of cat and mouse continued for a hundred and forty-seven more years until they discovered the Demon Clan’s true plot.