| Chapter 311: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
Lin Feng's gaze shifted from Sang Luohe to Shi Xingyun, and his eyes shut gently.
"Something doesn't feel right about this girl; her soul is very unusual." Lin Feng could thoroughly distinguish Shi Xingyun's mana waves, but as for her soul, if she herself does not project it astrally, even great Immortal Soul cultivators would not be able to penetrate it.
But as Lin Feng gazed at Shi Xingyun, he still sensed that her soul was strange, which piqued his interest greatly. "Looks like that soul sorcerer of the Northern Tribes may have to eat his own words this time."
Sang Luohe walked slowly to the Hidden Dragon Gorge, but did not enter the Gorge like Shi Xingyun did, and instead sat cross-legged on the ground.
The surrounding crowd stared at him curiously as Sang Luohe sat there with his eyes closed, and his slender face looked serene as ever, as though he was sound asleep.
"What's he doing? He's not entering the Hidden Dragon Gorge?" Many onlookers in the crowd had these questions drifting in their minds.
Only a few of them could vaguely make out a faint light floating above Sang Luohe's head, which morphed into a ray of radiance and entered the Hidden Dragon Gorge.
Zhu Yi turned to Lin Feng and asked, "Master, is that Sang Luohe's soul? But, how can it be like that?"
Regarding astral projection, the higher a cultivator's personal mastery level, the stronger his soul would be, so the form it adopts after astral projection would be clearer and more tangible.
When a Nascent Soul stage cultivator projects his soul astrally, others perceive it as no less than a real person. Aurous Core stage cultivators with strong souls would also produce clear and agile projections that have almost condensed into a physical entity.
Although Sang Luohe trained specifically in soul mastery, when his soul was projected out, it was faded and indiscernible under the overhead sun, like a faint shadow, almost transparent.
Lin Feng explained, "This is the special trait of the soul mantras of the Royal House of the Northern Tribes. Observe carefully, and you'll learn even more from it."
Zhu Yi, Xiao Budian and the rest of the disciples nodded in unison, and observed the Hidden Dragon Gorge attentively.
Inside the gorge, Shi Xingyun lifted his head and gazed at an empty plot of land. He smiled faintly, "Your soul mastery is indeed as deep as the secret mantras of the Royal House of the Northern Tribes."
The interior of the Hidden Dragon Gorge suddenly rang with Sang Luohe's voice coming from every direction.
"Please excuse my inferior skills, Princess Xingyun. I look forward to learning from you."
Before his voice disappeared, Shi Xingyun's vision suddenly turned pitch black, as though she had fallen into a deep abyss and was completely deprived of her six senses.
She could not think, see, hear, smell, taste, or move.
She wanted to step backward, but then realized that she could not move at all. Not being able to even control one's own body would easily make anyone extremely terrified and anxious.
But the onlooking audience could not empathize with what Shi Xingyun was feeling. Most of them could only see Shi Xingyun standing there, silent and motionless like a clay puppet or a wooden statue, while Sang Luohe's physical body was sitting quietly outside the Hidden Dragon Gorge.
"Has it started already?" Zhuge Fengling was baffled, unable to grasp the situation.
Yue Hongyan and Yang Qing similarly knitted their eyebrows, and gazed at the Hidden Dragon Gorge in confusion and uncertainty.
Xiao Budian lowered his head slightly and said to Zhu Yi, "Second Senior, I could make out Sang Luohe's obscure figure, then I saw a black shadow suddenly emerge from his body and leap onto Shi Xingyun. I couldn't see anything else, how much could you observe?"
Zhu Yi stared closely at the light shining forth from the mouth of the Hidden Dragon Gorge, and answered casually, "Not a lot more than you could. That black shadow you saw was a hideous brute covered entirely with purple tattoos."
"But I couldn't see what happened after the black shadow leaped onto Shi Xingyun."
Lin Feng said at one side, "That is the Black Nightmare Prison spell of the Royal House of the Northern Tribes' secret soul spells. It can repress others' souls and sever the connection between the target's soul and his physical body, imprisoning the opponent's soul within one's own spells and depriving the opponent of his six senses."
With Lin Feng's current mastery levels and the strength of his soul, even though he could not fully comprehend the principles behind Sang Luohe's spell, he could still see its effects on Shi Xingyun.
Comparing these against the famed special features of the secret soul spells of the Royal House of the Northern Tribes, one could easily understand what Sang Luohe was doing.
Xiao Budian frowned slightly, "There's not a trace of it. It's too difficult to fend against the soul spells of the Royal House of the Northern Tribes."
"That's not true." Lin Feng smiled, "There are two forces that best counter the secret soul spells, one of them would be thunder spells. Once the heavenly thunder roars, the frightened shaken soul would scatter. Blazing thunder spells deal the greatest damage to people's souls, hence are ideal for opposing soul spells."
"Besides thunder spells, the opponents that soul sorcerers fear the most are incidentally the martial arts cultivators that the Royal House of the Northern Tribes abounds with."
Lin Feng patted Xiao Budian's head. "Great martial arts cultivators are hot-blooded and muscular, fiery like the sun. Their soul and their well-built bodies are linked very tightly to each other, making them almost immovable and similarly effective for countering soul spells."
Among all his disciples, the one who should fear Sang Luohe the least would be Xiao Budian. Even though his soul was weaker than Zhu Yi's, but his physical strength was immense, and he could control the forces of wind and thunder. If pitted against Sang Luohe, he would not be on the losing end.
Zhu Yi nodded at one side. "Indeed, a strong physique would fend off impure spirits easily and prevent evil from invading one's body."
"While that might be true, there are only a handful of people who boast these qualities." Lin Feng thought to himself, "Aside from a select few, the others among the top sixteen Aurous Core cultivators would have an incredibly hard time dealing with Sang Luohe."
Lin Feng scanned the crowd. The elders from the respective sects were also explaining the principles of the spell they witnessed to their disciples, but in fact, most of them were still perplexed as they stared at the Hidden Dragon Gorge.
People are most easily afraid of the unknown, and the majority of the audience there gazed at Sang Luohe's physical body sitting calmly outside the Hidden Dragon Gorge in horror and unease.
This was just an exhibition match at a spiritual conference, so Sang Luohe could afford to be so exposed. One could only imagine that in a real fight to the death, Sang Luohe would definitely conceal his physical body with care before projecting his soul to engage his opponents in battle.
And for most people, they could not even see Sang Luohe, and would already be doomed.
Xiao Budian gazed at the Hidden Dragon Gorge, "How would Shi Xingyun handle this?"
Before he could finish asking his question, Shi Xingyun, who was inside the Hidden Dragon Gorge, already gave her answer.
The young lady in yellow, who was previously as still as a ceramic sculpture, suddenly flickered her sullen eyes and instantly regained her vitality and spiritual energy, but her gaze now contained something completely different from before.
The young lady crooned, and the voice she let out was no human language, instead resembling the odd syllables of a dragon's moan.
The faint figure of a dragon then emerged from her head, lifelike and picturesque. Its overwhelming draconic might diffused to the surroundings, shocking everything in the audience.
"I see, I knew there was something amiss about her soul." This realization dawned upon Lin Feng, and he shook his head and laughed. "But I would have never thought that this brat actually infused the dragon soul of an Immemorial Celestial Dragon into her own soul."
Shi Xingyun obviously could not have relied solely on her own strength to infuse a dragon soul. She must have received assistance from the Great Qin Royal Family.
The original intention of doing so would have been to help her master the mantras within the Secret Manual of the Five Imperial True Dragons, but a side effect of this was that her soul became exceedingly strong.
At least, in the Aurous Core stage, the strength of Shi Xingyun's soul has definitely reached the peak of its potential.
When the Northern Tribes' Prince Xian of the Left witnessed this sight, his eyelids shuddered and he shook his head. He turned to Shi Zongyue, "You people were so willing to invest your capital in her. That's the dragon soul of a pure-blood Immemorial Celestial Dragon, right? Even the Great Void Sect that rears dragons wouldn't bear to use them like this. I reckon that even Crown Prince Chongyun wouldn't enjoy such treatment, right?"
Shi Zongyue smiled, "Our Great Qin Empire only made this one exception, but Xingyun's chance was given to her by her senior."
Upon hearing this, the expressions of all the Immortal Soul cultivators present shifted slightly before quickly reverting back to normal.
Meanwhile in the Hidden Dragon Gorge, Shi Xingyun crooned incessantly. She clasped her hands together and rays of faint gold and white light enveloped her and swirled around her body, morphing into a roaring Platinum Light Dragon, produced from the Abhijina of the Imperial Script of the White Dragon.
Shi Xingyun's Platinum Light Dragon glistened with a dazzling golden luster and bounced around continuously, emitting harsh grating electric sparks that cackled loudly. Rolling storms of lightning then appeared around the Platinum Light Dragon's body.
"Roar!" The dragon soul's figure above Shi Xingyun's head and the Platinum White Dragon before her both let out an incomparably ferocious roar, like the bellow of an Immemorial Dragon, or the cracking of thunderbolts.
Waves upon waves of deafening sounds shook the entire interior of the Hidden Dragon Gorge.
The originally formless sound waves, like the ripples on a water surface spreading outwards, quickly rocked the air and merged into the blurry silhouette of a person. It was Sang Luohe's soul!
Since the start of the battle, Sang Luohe's soul finally revealed itself before the crowd for the first time, and everyone could confirm its presence clearly with their naked eyes.
The blurry figure swayed about violently, as though it was a porcelain object undergoing tremendous shock, with the possibility of breaking at any time.
And Shi Xingyun's roar was incessant, long, and majestic, seemingly unceasing for eternity.
Sang Luohe's soul endured it for a moment, then suddenly flew out of the Hidden Dragon Gorge and returned to his physical body. His body jolted violently and he opened his eyes. His gaze was weak, and he sighed, "I lost."
The arena's audience started a commotion, all looking at Shi Xingyun and Sang Luohe in uncertainty and doubt.
Lin Feng smiled and turned to look at Zhu Yi and Xiao Budian, saying, "How was that?"
Xiao Budian chuckled, "It was a crouching tiger, a hidden dragon."
Zhu Yi muttered, "If not for its inner conflicts, the Great Qin Empire as a whole would definitely surpass the Great Zhou Empire in strength."
Shi Xingyun emerged from the Hidden Dragon Gorge and graciously saluted Sang Luohe before bowing to Shi Zongyue and Prince Xian of the Left, then slowly made her way back to the Great Qin Empire's delegation.
All this time, her expression was calm without a hint of complacency or arrogance.
Lin Feng glanced at her and nodded. "Everything else aside, if comparing the strength of souls alone, this woman would probably be the best among all the Aurous Core stage cultivators present here today."
"A starved camel is still bigger than a horse. Furthermore, this camel that is the Great Qin Empire might be a little old and feeble, but it's still far from dying."
As he pondered to himself, Lin Feng suddenly sensed a reaction from one of his Voice-Projecting Crystals.
What was most surprising was, the person that sent the message was actually Xiao Yan, who had not sent any voice messages for almost a month.