The situation inside the Ten-Fold Formation cannot be seen from the outside. The cultivators below Taiyin Mountain were watching intently at the two rows of candles in front of the formation. The candles would go out here and there, making people nervous. The small cluster of candle flames, under the scrutiny of so many eyes, inexplicably gave rise to a sense of blood and violence.

Whenever the candles flickered in the wind, everyone would become alert. Water Pit rubbed his eyes and continued to stare, whispering, “I never want to light candles again in my life.”

In the formation, Cheng Qian and Han Yuan exchanged silent glances.

Cheng Qian silently stood by for a while, and his anger gradually subsided. He thought to himself, “If I were him, what would I do?”

After thinking it over, considering his sharp and sarcastic nature as a youth, he would probably act even more ruthlessly and become more twisted. It was just that he was luckier, as these things didn’t happen to him.

After all, how many people in the world were like Senior Martial Brother?

When he was young, Cheng Qian thought Senior Martial Brother was a bit gluttonous and lenient, lacking a certain extreme in his behavior. It wasn’t until he grew up and matured that he realized that Senior Martial Brother was actually better at enduring harm than others.

There were many tough men who could withstand losing a limb without changing their expression, but there were not many who could calmly maintain their true self in the face of deep resentment and hatred.

Anyway, Cheng Qian felt that he couldn’t do it himself.

With this thought, Cheng Qian suddenly felt that he had no right to blame Han Yuan.

“Get up, why are you crying? Am I wrong to scold you, you bastard?” Cheng Qian kicked Han Yuan with his toe and said, “There’s a problem with this Ten-Fold Formation. I don’t understand formations, but you should at least do something useful.”

Han Yuan sullenly asked, “Are there people from Wu Changtian’s side in the Ninth Sage?”

“More than that.” Cheng Qian briefly explained the information from Zhe Shi and their speculation.

Han Yuan’s face changed, and he turned wicked again, sneering, “Haha, just as I thought, these wavering big shots are also having their day!”

After speaking, his expression returned to normal, becoming the usual Han Yuan, and he said with deep concern, “If your guess is correct, if there are other formations outside the Ten-Fold Formation, they must be monitoring this formation. If we disturb the Ten-Fold Formation recklessly, we might startle the snake.”

It was clearly the same face, but the difference in just a few words was like night and day. They could hardly be recognized as the same person.

“…” Cheng Qian remained silent for a moment. “Can you please stop buzzing in my ear?”

Han Yuan’s face shifted, as if two people were constantly fighting for dominance. Finally, perhaps Han Yuan was beaten and intimidated by Cheng Qian, and the Heart Demon won.

The Heart Demon Han Yuan said disdainfully, “But if you have a treasure that can hide your anger and make the formation unaware of you, it might think you’re dead.”

Cheng Qian didn’t have that kind of treasure, but it didn’t mean he couldn’t do it. Just as Han Yuan finished speaking, Cheng Qian lowered his head and snapped his thumb ring open. In an instant, two more white candles were extinguished compared to before.

Cheng Qian counted the remaining candles, his figure swaying slightly, and he suddenly seemed like a stone. If Han Yuan hadn’t known he was there from the beginning, he would hardly have sensed another person.

Han Yuan was shocked. “You…”

Cheng Qian ignored him, just staring at the mirror on the thumb ring. The next moment, indeed, one white candle swayed in the wind, and the flame went out.

Han Yuan reached out and touched Cheng Qian’s hand, feeling a slight chill from his body. This Heart Demon revealed some interest and asked, “Great technique! What’s the trick?”

“Thanks to you, my flesh and blood body was dead,” Cheng Qian said irritably, “so I had to refine a stone to dwell in. And then?”

Han Yuan’s gaze flickered, and although a malicious smile played on his face, he remained calm. Withdrawing his probing hand, he said nonchalantly, “Since the Ten-Fold Formation believes you’re already dead, naturally it will transport others over. Wu Changtian doesn’t want to gamble with me; he just wants to take my life here. Since he has planted his people, how could he not tamper with the formation? If you want to break the formation, you’ll need to get your hands on what controls the formation from him.”

Cheng Qian asked, “Since you knew it all along, why did you agree?”

Han Yuan shrugged and said, “Just go along with his wishes. It would be a resounding slap to his face in front of the whole world. Hahaha, Tianyan House failed to steal the chicken and ended up losing the rice. Once I thought about it, I felt relieved.”

The Heart Demon Han Yuan raised by Han Yuan simply couldn’t be reasoned with. He didn’t care about the benefits versus the costs, nor did he consider what would happen if things didn’t go as planned and he fell into someone else’s trap. He just wanted to satisfy his own immediate desires, and for the sake of that moment’s satisfaction, he could do anything.

Cheng Qian sighed. There was no reasoning with this person. He said, “How can you be sure that the next person to arrive will be from Tianyan House?”

The Heart Demon Han Yuan expressionlessly said, “There was an unlucky fellow at the beginning, and then it was you. Counting you, you’re the third person to be transported to me. If this one isn’t it, then either the person planted by Wu Changtian was killed by someone else, or they’re just taking too long. It doesn’t matter though. If this one isn’t it, I’ll kill him and wait for the next. It’s no trouble.”

Cheng Qian: “…One day, I will personally kill you.”

Han Yuan was delighted to hear that and laughed, “Dying by the ‘Good-for-Nothing Sword,’ that would truly be my luck in three lifetimes.”

Suddenly, his laughter abruptly stopped, and footsteps could be heard from the side.

Indeed, the formation had brought another person!

Cheng Qian clenched the Frost Blade tightly. He couldn’t allow Han Yuan to kill someone in front of him. But as the person got closer, he suddenly felt something strange because the person carried a strong aura of blood, indicating that he was a demonic cultivator.

How could it be a demonic cultivator?

Did the formation consider that people from the same camp might also fight each other?

Cheng Qian and Han Yuan exchanged a glance. Cheng Qian rolled up the light above his head and slipped into the shadows in the darkness.

After a moment, a white-clad demonic cultivator drifted over, resembling a graceful worldly gentleman.

This person was also one of the Nine Saints, and Cheng Qian had some impression of him because his attire and behavior were quite different from other demonic cultivators.

The man stopped inside the formation, seeing Han Yuan without any trace of nervousness. It seemed he wasn’t surprised or afraid at all. He smiled and said, “Lord Mo Long, what a coincidence to meet each other in this formation!”

This person had a refined and elegant appearance, but his voice was loud and rough, like a broken gong. It carried the accent of an unknown cornfield. It didn’t sound like he was calling out “Lord Mo Long,” but rather like a water buffalo calling out to be milked.

Han Yuan glanced at him. “Luo Zhengyi.”

Cheng Qian: “…”

The demonic cultivator named Zhengyi cheerfully responded, striding toward Han Yuan. He said, “To meet a fellow colleague in this formation is a perfect opportunity for me to rest. Oh, Lord Mo Long, why is your face bruised? Did you encounter some trouble just now?”

Han Yuan’s eyebrows slightly furrowed, but he remained silent.

If this Luo Zhengyi was really someone arranged by Wu Changtian to deal with Han Yuan, then the logical arrangement would be that only two demonic cultivators remained in the formation, the Ten-Fold Formation would be broken, and Han Yuan would strike when he thought he had won. So, whether or not it was appropriate for him to appear at this time and deliberately inform Han Yuan that there was something fishy about this formation?

In the blink of an eye, Cheng Qian remembered what Han Yuan had said about there possibly being surveillance if there were formations outside the formation!

Then, wasn’t the person who didn’t leave the outer formation intentionally trying to sabotage Wu Changtian?

In an instant, Luo Zhengyi strode to Cheng Qian’s side, looking as if he could produce two jars of wine at any moment and enjoy a drink with Han Yuan. A strong light suddenly swept across Cheng Qian’s eyes, causing his eyelids to twitch. When he looked again, one of Han Yuan’s hands had unexpectedly turned into a dragon claw, with large scales emitting a chilling light. The demonic aura that saw blood sealed throats instantly tore apart half of Luo Zhengyi’s body.

That white-clothed scholar became half bone, half skeleton, with his head hanging disproportionately from a mass of bloody flesh. However, he casually returned the hand.

It was seen that he had pulled out a small bell from somewhere in his hand. A series of urgent bell sounds rang out, and the Ten-Fold Formation suddenly underwent a drastic change. A swamp with a bloody stench appeared beneath Han Yuan.

That bell could control the Ten-Fold Formation!

Luo Zhengyi shook the bell while holding it and reached out to cradle his half-dislodged face, saying, “Tsk, my dignified bones are exposed. Unfortunately, it seems that we’ve both been duped. I’m quite upset about it too. But explaining these things to you is useless. Whether you believe it or not, you’re going to kill me. So, let’s get started!”

As soon as he finished speaking, the swamp beneath Han Yuan dragged him down. He snorted coldly, transforming into a giant dragon and letting out a long roar, causing the entire Ten-Fold Formation to tremble.

But what is a formation?

There are the ways of heaven and earth, such as water flowing downwards, intense fire melting gold, birth, old age, sickness, and death, etc. People in the world, no matter how great their abilities, cannot escape these grand rules. Formations are simply the resetting of rules within a certain range. When a person enters a formation, unless they break the formation and leave, they will be at the mercy of the formation’s master.

No matter how powerful the Dragon Demon was, the swamp clung to him like his shadow.

Luo Zhengyi looked up, opening his mouth wide. His half-bone face, with almost independent mandibles, watched Han Yuan’s misery with delight.

Just then, a faint sound of metal and stone came from behind.

Luo Zhengyi’s almost-split head suddenly twisted towards the back. “What…”

Before he could utter the word “person,” Luo Zhengyi didn’t even see a ghostly figure, but he felt a gust of frost and snow rushing towards him.

Was there something wrong with the Ten-Fold Formation?

In the next moment, as he turned his head, his head was sliced off by that ghostly sword. A black aura suddenly emerged from Luo Zhengyi’s severed neck—it was his spiritual essence.

Cheng Qian acted swiftly and reached out to snatch the bell from the corpse’s hand without even asking about its usage. Taking the initiative, he swung it forcefully.

The Ten-Fold Formation immediately responded to his intent, creating a strong gust of qi that nailed the demonic cultivator’s spiritual essence to the ground. At the same time, Han Yuan was also affected. Despite his quick evasion, he narrowly escaped having his scales scraped off.

A vague human figure remained on the ground, with a trickle of blood slowly seeping out. But after a moment, the demonic cultivator’s spiritual essence dissipated completely.

Han Yuan reverted to human form and licked the abrasions on his arm. “Junior martial brother, this ‘righteous and noble gentleman’ of yours is quite adept at launching sneak attacks from behind and making decisive kills.”

Cheng Qian ignored him and picked up the bell in his hand, gesturing with it. He asked indifferently, “I want to find Senior Martial Brother. How do I use this?”

Han Yuan replied, “You immerse your divine consciousness into the bell, and you will be able to see the entire Ten-Fold Formation… the areas that haven’t been tampered with. With the bell in your possession, you become the master of the formation and can move it at will.”

The Heart Demon raised by Han Yuan had a bit of a twisted mouth. He watched Cheng Qian clumsily manipulate the bell and couldn’t help but speak, “You seem to be still concerned about him—Junior Martial Brother, do you want to know what Senior Martial Brother’s Heart Demon is in Suzaku Tower?”

Cheng Qian remained expressionless. “I know.”

Han Yuan’s eyebrows twitched, and the subtle malice on his face turned into clear astonishment. He silently examined Cheng Qian for a moment and said, “Then do you know your own fate and destiny?”

Cheng Qian didn’t respond, seeming uninterested.

Han Yuan continued, “You and Tong Ru are both ascendant fates, emotionally indifferent and cold. People like you are best suited for cultivation. You have a persistent nature, fewer distractions than others, and it’s easier for you to eliminate stray thoughts. If you follow the opportunities, you can achieve great things…”

Cheng Qian dismissed it. “Did Tong Ru achieve anything great? He rotted into a pile of bones in the Forget Sorrow Valley, didn’t he?”

“Having fewer distractions doesn’t mean you lack love, hate, joy, or anger. Who made him abandon himself and be unbreakable?” Han Yuan sneered coldly. “Regarding what you call the Great Dao, what do sects, master-disciple relationships, and human emotions matter? Those who aspire to the Great Dao are still entangled by these things. It’s no wonder he fell into demonic cultivation. If he could break through the Three-Life Secret Realm, he might have ascended to the Upper Realm by now.”

The Ten-Fold Formation inside the bell was quite complex, and Cheng Qian couldn’t fully understand it. With Han Yuan’s incessant chatter by his side, he felt an itch in his hands, wanting to fight that guy again.

Han Yuan said, “If you don’t focus on cultivating your Great Dao, are you also going to follow in his footsteps?”

Cheng Qian replied without looking up, “I’m willing to.”

Han Yuan sharply laughed, “So you’re pretending to cultivate as an immortal and follow the Dao? I see you’re willingly embracing degradation.”

Cheng Qian retorted, “At least I don’t let my Heart Demon dictate everything.”

Han Yuan said, “Then don’t worry. If you can’t control it and lose your primordial yang, let’s see if you’ll have any stray thoughts.”

Cheng Qian remained silent.

These demonic cultivators had truly become despicable.

For once, Han Yuan was left speechless, and he intensified his provocations, “Male and female cultivators in a relationship at least find a balance between yin and yang. It’s not indulgence. What are you and Senior Martial Brother then?”

He squinted suddenly, “Oh, perhaps you already have stray thoughts and want to taste Senior Martial Brother?”

As soon as this version of the Heart Demon Han Yuan spoke, he was promptly beaten again, and he didn’t retaliate. After being beaten, he seemed quite pleased, making people suspect that he had deliberately provoked the fight.

When Cheng Qian acted, he was both indignant and ashamed. Not only was Han Yuan foul-mouthed, but he also truly stirred up memories of the Heart Demon Valley. Immediately, Cheng Qian forcibly suppressed those thoughts, and with his divine consciousness turned upside down inside the bell, he roughly lifted the beaten Han Yuan by his bruised and swollen face. At the same time, he rudely tore open the surrounding barriers with the bell in his hand, and the two of them instantly arrived where Yan Zhengming was.

As soon as they landed, they saw Yan Zhengming pinning a demonic cultivator to the ground with an expressionless face. His sword aura pierced into the inner chamber, leaving the demonic cultivator’s spiritual essence with nowhere to escape. Splatters of blood flew around, landing on his collar and cheeks. Sensing the disturbance in the formation, he turned his head abruptly, his oppressive killing intent not subsiding.

Cheng Qian was momentarily stunned, feeling his heart pounding fiercely.

Upon seeing Cheng Qian, Yan Zhengming blinked rapidly, and the sword aura that permeated his eyes suddenly dissipated.

He looked at the purple-clad Han Yuan in astonishment and asked, “What’s going on?”

Cheng Qian gathered his thoughts amidst dryness in his throat and briefly explained the situation, leaving out Han Yuan, who had been playing dead since meeting Senior Martial Brother.

Yan Zhengming listened silently, then took off his ring and opened the mirror on the inside. From entering the Ten-Fold Formation until now, it hadn’t been an hour yet, but almost half of the candles on the two rows had already gone out.

Cheng Qian stole a glance at him. On one hand, he felt itchy, and on the other hand, he found it highly disrespectful. Feeling awkward and unsure how to suppress his “evil thoughts,” he could only intensify his resentment towards Han Yuan.

Suddenly, Yan Zhengming seemed to have discovered something and turned his back abruptly.

Cheng Qian snapped back to his senses, thinking something was wrong. He cleared his throat and asked, “What?”

He saw Yan Zhengming take out a snowy white handkerchief from his pocket and carefully wiped away the bloodstains from his face using the mirror on the ring.

Cheng Qian: “…”

Outside the Ten-Fold Formation, a day and night had passed, and now only two candles remained—one black and one white.

Just as the second-to-last candle was about to extinguish, the water pit suddenly grabbed Li Jun’s arm, and sharp nails dug into his flesh.

Li Jun’s heart trembled, but he didn’t dare show it in front of his junior martial sister. He pretended to be calm and said, “It’s nothing. Think about it—the moment they entered, they must have started with one-on-one encounters. It won’t take long for the fastest attacker and the demonic cultivator to meet each other. I guess Xiao Qian and Senior Martial Brother will soon encounter Fourth Junior Martial Brother. Maybe they already have something to manipulate the formation.”

Before he finished speaking, a commotion suddenly broke out among the crowd. They all looked in the same direction.

A group of flying horses descended from the sky, surrounded by cultivators dressed in the style of Tianyan Pavilion. They were escorting a flying carriage, and each horse wore a pure gold mask. The carriage was embroidered with nine dragons, as if the dragons were about to break through the fabric and ascend. This decoration was more than just for show. Even from a distance, Li Jun could feel the aura similar to the true dragon flag emanating from it.

Water pit looked over and said, “Who are those people? They seem rich.”

Li Jun raised his hand and pressed her head down, whispering, “Sit quietly in the corner.”

After a while, he said, “It’s probably the people from Tianyan Pavilion who are here to close the net. But the nine dragons… Could it be someone from the imperial family?”

As he spoke, the caravan descended like a ladder of clouds and arrived before them in an instant.

You Liang frowned, walked forward amidst the whispers of the crowd, and said to the leader, “Senior Uncle Xuanhuang, Senior Brother Wu and I were sent here by the Sect Master to set up a formation and intercept the demonic dragon Han Yuan in Taiyin Mountain. Senior Uncle, is there any instruction from the Sect Master?”

You Liang paused, glanced at the nine-dragon carriage, and continued, “With the arrival of the Third Prince, does the Sect Master have any specific instructions?”

The middle-aged cultivator named Xuanhuang looked down from the back of his flying horse and gave You Liang a glance. He said, “Your senior brother spoke to me before. Sword cultivators should focus on cultivating quietly. There are too many trivial matters in the sect that may hinder your progress. I agree with what he said, You Liang. Today, you can remove your symbol. I know a few powerful sword cultivators who have traveled overseas. Maybe I can take you to meet them someday. Perhaps you might have a teacher-disciple affinity.”

You Liang’s expression changed.

Xuanhuang said, “Make way. What blood oath? You guys are willing to make a blood oath with a bunch of demons. Aren’t you afraid of being ridiculed? Seize them all!”

As he spoke, countless black dots gathered in the sky, and a large group of giant eagles swiftly flew closer.

Water pit exclaimed, “Oh! Demons… No, not demons.”

Li Jun asked, “What?”

Water pit furrowed her brows, “These eagles are just ordinary birds, not members of our demon clan. I’m afraid they’ve been forcibly fed pills and turned into demonic cultivators. They haven’t undergone cultivation and lack spiritual intelligence. With a little training, they become obedient beasts.”

The army of giant eagles hovered over the crowd like divine soldiers descending from the sky. The leading eagle, as big as a pony, opened its mouth and spewed a flame that seemed to have a striking resemblance to Water Pit’s Samadhi True Fire.

The flame fell to the ground, turning into a sea of fire. Several demonic cultivators were caught off guard and were left in a sorry state after being burned. One of them failed to escape and, upon being touched by the flame, his demonic aura immediately boiled. In just a moment, he turned into a pot of minced meat.