That being said, he couldn't just up and go murder someone. Since they had reacted so quickly and forcefully after he took down a single small group of talentless outer disciples, what would happen if he killed some disciples who were in the spiritual accumulation realm? He couldn't do things randomly.
Fortunately, it was unlikely that the young cultivators had enough wits to overcome one of his schemes if he worked hard enough. He began to prepare himself…
He first flew to a big rock he had seen before to the west of his new nest. He wrote something on it by coating his wing in spiritual energy and using it as if a pen to write. It was far from artistic but it was readable which was good enough.
Then, he went away and began to pick rocks of decent sizes and wrote on them the same way. Once he had finished four stones, he picked them up and went on to find some human idiots. Those stones were invitations. Tailored to get the curiosity of the young cultivators.
He searched for groups that weren't too far from the big rock and had a few particularities:
=> He needed them to be a small group of maximum four people.
=> He needed them not to have anyone at a stage higher than five.
Regarding the first requirement, it was due to time. It was likely that once the killing began, the sect would be alerted and he expected them to send a swift response. Fortunately, they had underestimated him and seemed to want to use him as a polishing tool for their youths. He would use that against them. But regardless, he would be pressed by time.
As for the second requirement, it wasn't because he couldn't take down a cultivator stronger than that. As long as there wasn't a change in realms, which was around every 10 stages, techniques could bridge the gaps. And, when it came to techniques and mastery, he was far beyond the youths. It was because he wanted all cultivators to be around the same level for his plan to work…
Once he found four groups fitting the requirements, he dropped the stones close to them and easy for them to discover. If they didn't…Well, too bad for him.
Done with his set-up, he went to hide in a tree not too far from the big rock but in the opposite direction of the four groups. The big rock would effectively be between them.
Yo-Han was a young cultivator from the Devouring Heavens Sect. He was fifteen years old and already at the 3rd stage of spiritual accumulation. He couldn't be considered a genius but he was just a little above average. And that was more than enough in this bottom ranked sect for him to enjoy benefits he wouldn't have gotten elsewhere.
These days, he spent all his time outside the sect, in its surrounding woods. It was all due to a missive that had shocked the entire disciple population. One of the Grand Elders was willing to tutor for one week whoever brought him, dead or alive, an intruder at the spiritual accumulation stage.
It had been close to four months since he entered the forest with two friends of the same stage. They didn't need anyone else as there wasn't much danger to them in the forest. Beasts at the body refinement realm were hopeless in front of spiritual energy. As for not being able to fight off the being they were searching for? They believed they could make mince meat out of it. It was arrogance obviously but they did lack worldly experience, having stayed in the sect until now.
They could have asked others to join them, they had many more friends, but they did not. Because there was only one person who would get to be tutored. And that meant that if they found and captured it, they would have to face the other members of the team. Only one could get the reward and no one would relinquish their right to it.
Which was why those months had been quite tense between them. They were friends but not best friends. They hoped to find the damn thing and then defeat the other two. Still, they probably wouldn't go as far as murder, maybe crippling would be enough?
Anyways, they had dreams.
Many fellow disciples had left the forest long ago. After all, everyone had searched for so long and none found even a trace of the being. According to some other groups they met along the way, even the elders who put up the missive were starting to worry. Still, the trio stayed in the forest and searched with all they had.
They believed it was still hiding somewhere.
And, as if to answer their prayers, they stumbled across a rock. Rocks weren't rare but something made this one different. It had words carved into it through the use of spiritual energy. And if that wasn't enough, the message was very captivating:
"You who search for me, find me at the big rock to the west!"
There was only one being that people were searching for in this forest. The trio got excited in seconds. Were they the chosen ones?! But they calmed down in seconds. After a moment, they asked each other whether it could be a trap or a joke from some of their friends or another team.
It happened a few times before to other groups…
But he, Yo-Han, didn't care. It was an opportunity. That's how he saw it. If it was real, jackpot. If not, they could just move on and keep searching, admitting that they had been baited and get a laugh out of it.
There was nothing to lose!
He easily convinced his two friends. Now, they only needed to find the big rock mentioned… First, they destroyed the rock with the words carved on it. If it was real, they didn't want someone else to find the invitation. And then, they began their run towards the west, using their spiritual energy to sense the surroundings, searching for a big rock.
They found it approximately half an hour later. It was hard to miss. And they were certain this was the right rock. Because there were some carvings similar to the previous rock upon it. And there were two other groups waiting there eyeing each other.
As they approached, they could feel the enmity from them. Sure, they would fight if it came down to it but the murderous aura was still a bit much. They thought so until they saw the carvings:
"Only the one left standing will have the rights to meet me"
That was quite the arrogance right there. Did this being think he was some kind of god? Asking them to fight each other to the death…what a joke! Yet, no one was leaving the surroundings and was eyeing the other warily.
Yo-Han wondered if they really planned to go along with this. Just in case, he whispered to his two friends: "Let's join hands if things go south"
The two nodded in agreement.
The two groups that were there didn't have anyone at a stage higher than the third so, it was doable. At least, there wasn't anyone who could overpower all the others.
The group to his right had three and the one to his left had four. Both groups glared at each other until one of the guys from the team of four stepped out and spoke:
"Hey guys, we're all from the same sect, we're like family, let's not be like that just because of a message on a rock. Why don't we join hands instead? I'm sure the thing we're searching for is still somewhere around here? What do you guys think?"
The proposition was sound. After all, it was likely that it was observing them. However, they didn't have the chance to think more about his offer as two bolts of spiritual energy hit him squarely in the chest, sending him flying away, bloodied.
They only saw the direction from which the bolts came from… One came from behind him while another came from behind a guy from the other group. This didn't look good.
The third group who just had one of its members destroyed bellowed angrily. Considering they just advocated peace only be slapped, it was obvious that they would be angry. However, Yo-Han wasn't the culprit!
Someone was trapping them…And it was working well. To the third group, both of the other groups had attacked their leader at the same time. That was all they saw. And so, they attacked fiercely.
Yo-Han cursed angrily as he told his two friends: "Fight back!"
And from there, the surroundings became chaotic as a savage melee took place. Yo-Han hated the fact that they ended up in such a situation but it was already too late…