Chapter 131: The Gates of the Demonic Realm Disappear
"Begin!" Shen Ying hurried the demon. She wanted to go home to eat!
The Demon King wasted no time talking nonsense. He immediately conjured a seal. Ning Zi'an's expression changed and he looked as if he wanted to find somewhere to escape to. Just as he turned to run, an extreme pain shot through his entire body, forcing him to fall to his knees. He began to cramp up all over until he was rolled up into a ball. The black Qi surrounded his body and something floated out of him.
The Demon King stepped forward and reached out, pulling a ball of something out of Ning Zi'an's body. In his hand, he held a ball of something black with bits of red.
The black demonic scars on Ning Zi'an's face were now completely gone. His aura was much weaker than it was just moments before, and he looked extremely pale. He began to cough out blood. Shen Ying noticed that he no longer had the thick Immortal Qi surrounding his body like he did before. "Thank you…" He gathered just enough strength to look up and made eye contact with the Demon King… Frowning, he glanced instead at Shen Ying. "Thank you, Sect Master Shen, for your help."
Shen Ying did not respond. She studied the ball of black and red in the Demon King's hand and asked, "What do we do with that? Burn it?"
Ning Zi'an's face whitened even more, but he did not speak.
"Great Immortal…" The Demon King said in a low voice. "This demon has already become one with the child's mental demons. It's practically a part of his body. If you destroy it, the boy will surely die as well."
"Oh…" Shen Ying nodded. That means that the child has grown an extra but separate body part. If we kill that body part, the child dies as well. The way this world is designed is so strange. "Is there any other solution?"
"Sect Master Shen, don't worry," Ning Zi'an wheezed. He sucked in a deep breath and got to his feet. "Give me this thing and let me handle it."
As he said this, he moved to receive the ball of black Qi and summoned an array. He muttered some sort of course under his breath. In seconds, golden light rays shot out from his body and countless talismans flew into the ball.
"The Rebirth Seal?" the Demon King muttered in shock, frowning. He watched as Ning Zi'an retrieved a golden lotus flower and pushed it into the ball of black Qi. "The Heart- Cleansing Lotus. So that's why!"
"Hey, explain." Shen Ying nudged the Demon King. She was the only one who did not understand what she was seeing.
"Great Immortal…" The Demon King recovered himself and began to explain, "He used the Heart-Cleansing Lotus to cast the Rebirth Seal and send his mental demons that are now outside of his body into reincarnation. This way, he would be able to use the power of the reincarnation to purify and suffocate these mental demons. The Heart-Clearing Lotus is also an immortal treasure which can rid any evil thoughts and intentions. In other words, after reincarnating, he would not be able to become a demon." "Oh…" She did not really understand.
But in the next moment, they saw the ball of black Qi slowly begin to merge with the Heart-Cleansing Lotus. Very quickly, it started to condense and take shape. A minute later, the black Qi and lotus flower were both gone. In their place was an infant who was in a deep sleep.
Whoa, that's some high-level skill!
Shen Ying's eyes widened. Ning Zi'an exerted a great effort to carry the baby up from the floor. Looking at her, he said, "She will not remember anything that has happened before. She only has to go through three more rebirths before she can become a true human and cut off any form of connection with me. When we return to the immortal realm later on, I will personally send her into the Azure World."
Shen Ying stepped forward and studied the baby. It was then that she realised the infant was a female, and there was a red lotus flower birthmark on her forehead. Shen Ying pursed her lips. Was this rebirth technique imported from Thailand? Why did it have the power to change its gender? "Since we're done here, we should head back. Let's go!" Shen Ying pointed toward the still open gates. She walked forward a couple of steps and realised that the stupid child was not following her. "What else?"
"Sect Master Shen, I have settled my problem, but the gates of the demonic realm remain open." Ning Zi'an frowned even more deeply. He turned around and looked cautiously at the Demon King standing behind him. "I don't know how you are related to the demons here or what kind of deal you struck with them, but these demons have always looked down on the immortal realm. We will not let them roam around so easily."
"Child, you watch your mouth," The Demon King shouted, jumping up before Shen Ying could say anything in response. The Demon King was trembling. "Who looked down on you? And who wants to go into the immortal realm? I don't care for it!" Don't spout nonsense in front of the Great Immortal. I
helped you after all. You're repaying my kindness with evil. Just
wait and see - I will fix you!
He immediately changed his expression to a pitiful one and looked at Shen Ying, saying very seriously, "Great Immortal, I really, really, really, really don't have plans to invade the immortal realm. Don't you worry. I promise that I will instruct the demons never to walk through those gates. Whoever walks through them… will have his legs cut off! Please trust me…"
"Oh…" Shen Ying did not care at all about what the Demon King had to say. She patted his shoulder and said, "I believe you!"
"Great Immortal…" The Demon King heaved a sigh of relief.
His boot-licking skills were still coming in handy.
"Great Immortal Shen!" Ning Zi'an was shocked. He was clearly dissatisfied. How can demons be trusted? He was just about to persuade Shen Ying further when…
Shen Ying grabbed his shoulder and said, "Alright! Let's go back!"
"Great Immortal, take care!" Shen Ying walked out of the gates of the demonic realm, turned around and said, "Oh yes, I forgot to tell you. I'm going to close these gates."
The Demon King: "…"
You said you believed me?
Is this a threat? This is most definitely a threat!
When Shen Ying stepped out of the gates, she felt a significant drop in the demonic Qi around her. Ning Zi'an, on the other hand, had spent too long in the demonic realm and was still weak from conjuring the Rebirth Seal. Before he could step out of the demonic realm, he passed out.
Shen Ying had no other choice but to support his weight with one arm and carry the infant with the other. That was how she exited the demonic realm. "Master." Yi Qing was the first to receive her. As she walked closer, he stopped and stared at the baby. "This is…" Where did this infant come from?
Bao Yi, Bao Feiping and the other disciples from the Bao Family began to gather around her.
"Little An!" Bao Yi carried Ning Zi'an over, relieving Shen Ying of his weight. He studied Ning Zi'an's meridians very carefully, then finally heaved a sigh of relief. Then, he noticed the infant in Shen Ying's arms. "Sect Master Shen, this child is?"
He saw two people enter the demonic realm, but why were there three of them now?
Shen Ying immediately handed the female baby infant over to Bao Feiping, who was forced to carry her. "Your granddaughter!"
Bao Feiping: "…" Bao Yi: "…"
Granddaughter? Little An is only eight!
Could they at least ask who gave birth to the child?
"Is it settled?" Lonemoon asked, stepping forward.
"Yes!" Shen Ying nodded.
"Where did you go? What happened inside?"
"Nothing much, I just went to visit the Demon King."
"The Demon King's Palace!" Lonemoon exclaimed. Everybody around him turned to look at the group. "You… saw the Demon King?" "Yes!" She nodded casually. "He looks very much like Rabbit."
Lonemoon paused. She's not referring to the Rabbit Monarch, is she?
Er… Suddenly, he did not want to ask any further. What exactly did she have over demons?
Chapter 132: The Capital Summons
"Relax, the demons will not come again," Shen Ying promised.
Lonemoon looked up at the gates, which were still visible in the air. He turned around to survey his surroundings, noting that demonic Qi still hung in the air. "Even if they don't come over, what can we do with this place?" We can't let this demonic Qi remain around Invincible Sect, right?
Shen Ying frowned. The black fog was indeed a problem. "Why not… I get Little Black here so we can ask him?" I don't think he got very far.
"Little Black?" Who the hell is that? "Wait, what are you doing?"
Lonemoon had barely asked the question when Shen Ying prepared to jump through the gates.
Before Lonemoon could pull Shen Ying back, a bolt of lightning struck down the gates of the demonic realm down from the sky. There was a loud crash. The gates fell into pieces. Big pieces of black stone fell from the sky but disintegrated into dust just before they touched the ground.
"The gates of the demonic realm… are gone!" Yi Qing exclaimed.
Everyone looked up.
Indeed, there was now a big black abyss where the gates were. The black abyss faded away and soon disappeared together with the gates. All that remained was an overcast sky, which also quickly cleared up. If not for the demonic Qi still surrounding the Invincible Sect, they would have suspected if the gates of the demonic realm really was there in the first place.
"What's happened? Did the demonic realm destroy this entrance of its own accord?"
There was a look of confusion on everybody's face. Nobody knew what actually happened, but everybody was relieved that the gates of the demonic realm were finally gone. Only Shen Ying was frowning as she looked around in the sky.
That bolt of lightning…
The gates of the demonic realm had been destroyed. There was no entrance into the immortal realm from the demonic realm anymore. That also meant that there was no way to stuff all the demonic Qi surrounding the Invincible Sect back into the demonic realm. This became a problem as there was also insufficient immortal Qi in the Invincible Sect to dissipate the demonic Qi.
Initially, Lonemoon thought about shifting premises. But he soon realised that the huge amount of demonic Qi in the sect was driving his disciples to give the best they had in defending themselves against it so that they do not get injured. Lonemoon saw this as an opportunity for the disciples to unleash their potential and constantly train their skills. Many of the disciples' cultivation levels swelled because of this. even Lonemoon's cultivation increased because of the defensive arrays he had to set up constantly. Within a few months, he became a Golden Immortal. That was why he changed his mind about shifting premises. The demonic Qi was a natural Cultivation-Increasing Array. All he had to do was adjust the defensive array around the mountain and lock all of the demonic Qi in, separated from the sect…
This way, they would be able to keep enemies out and keep their training resource in a fixed place. If they had nothing to do, they could enter the demonic Qi and train to increase their cultivation level. This was really a blessing in disguise. Everyone in the sect went from full—on panic mode to being overjoyed.
Only Bao Yi and Bao Feiping were unable to get their moods up. The son (or grandson) that they had spent so much effort trying to rescue became Celestial Emperor Chen Ge overnight. In terms of identity and in terms of cultivation level, he far exceeded either of them. They even had a (great-)granddaughter to take care of all of a sudden. All of this was proving to be too much for them to take in.
None of them had the intention to remain at Invincible Sect. When Ning Zi'an had more or less recovered, they suggested that they should take their leave. Lonemoon politely sent them down the hill. It was obvious that their friendship was not as harmonious as it was before all of this happened, but none of them said anything about it.
"Brother Lonemoon, are you sure you don't want to come to Jing Xing City with us?" Bao Feiping asked as he studied the ever-present demonic Qi looming over the Invincible Sect. Worriedly, he said, "That is demonic Qi afterall, and we still don't know if the gates of the demonic realm will re-appear." He, who still did not know what happened in the demonic realm, looked extremely worried.
"Thank you for your kind intentions, City Lord." Lonemoon grinned, "Precisely because the gates of the demonic realm are unstable, my sect is going to remain here." He was mistaken earlier - he did not know that Shen Ying had made such an entrance. His only regret was not letting Shen Ying remain in the demonic realm for a little longer. Such a great opportunity, but she made nothing out of it; what a waste! She called him Father all day, yet she was nothing like him. Sigh!
"Your sect is very noble indeed!" Bao Feiping completely misunderstood Lonemoon and hence looked at him in sheer respect. He turned around and looked at Ning Zi'an, who had an intimidating aura and a surge of immortal Qi bursting forth from his body. A complex expression crossed Bao Feiping's face. He glanced at Lonemoon, opened his mouth to speak, but closed it again without saying a word.
"City Lord, feel free to speak your mind," Lonemoon said.
He suddenly grinned. "The matter concerning An… I mean, Celestial Emperor Chen Ge is a huge one. Can I please trouble your sect to… keep it a secret for now? The Celestial Emperor has not regained his full cultivation afterall. He might have to remain with my family for a period of time, and his true identity cannot be exposed." He lowered his voice and added, "This is the… Celestial Emperor's wish. Brother Lonemoon, you should understand."
Lonemoon frowned. He sensed a hint of a threat in Bao Feiping's final statement which made him unhappy. But looking at Bao Feiping's worried expression, Lonemoon nevertheless nodded and said, "Don't worry. Only Shen Ying, Yi Qing and I know of this matter. We will not spread it."
"Thank you, Brother Lonemoon." Bao Feiping finally heaved a huge sigh of relief and said his goodbyes before turning around to join his family. He bowed toward Ning Zi'an before summoning his flying sword. They flew into the horizon.
Lonemoon felt uncomfortable just looking at them. He could not figure out what the Bao Family was thinking. Were they elated now because they gained a strong backing out of nowhere? Or are they ashamed because they have been taken for a ride by someone of such high authority? Well, this was someone else's business anyway. He decided not to waste too much time thinking about these things, especially because there would not be much interaction between them in the future.
The male lead could stay far, far away from them.
After the family left, the entire Invincible Sect quickly returned to the regular hustle and bustle. Lonemoon even set up a detailed training plan and watched the disciples train every single day.
Obviously, this training plan bore fruit. In just two years, Yu Hong and Si Yu managed to ascend to become true Earth Immortals. The other disciples were also showing signs of forming immortal bones. Even Bitao seemed to be breaking through to become a Golden Immortal. Just as the entire sect became focused on ascending to immortality, a piece of surprising news reached them from the capital city.
"Summon?" Shen Ying paused. "What does that mean?"
"It's from the capital," Lonemoon explained as he held up the red token in his hands. He tossed it over to Yi Qing. "It says we must rush over there within three days."
"How would I know?" Lonemoon was visibly irritated. "This thing flew here on its own. Don't tell me you didn't see it."
"Maybe it's because he's a sword immortal and he just ascended to become a Stygian Immortal," Bitao guessed. "Chong Zhen is considered one of the stronger countries in the Bei Huang continent. There are not many exalted immortals here. Everyone who ascends to become an exalted immortal will be summoned to the capital at least once. There, the Immortal Emperor will reward you. Fellow Immortal Yi Qing is not an exalted immortal, but he is a sword immortal. That's as good as an exalted immortal."
"In other words, they're summoning him there to be rewarded?" Lonemoon hesitated. "Why only now, when he's already been a Stygian Immortal for two years?"
"Maybe it's because of the situation with the gates of the demonic realm in Qu Shuang City earlier," Bitao continued. "That's why they're only thinking of doing this now."
"Do you want to go?" Shen Ying asked Chef.
Yi Qing frowned. He was not in the least bit interested in claiming this type of reward.
"Of course you must go, Great Immortal!" Bitao looked nervous. "Otherwise, you would be disrespectful to His Majesty. Our sect is located in the lower realm of Chong Zhen. If we anger His Majesty, I'm afraid… nothing good will happen to us." "…" Shen Ying was clearly annoyed. This is so troublesome!
She can't stay in the house anymore!
Chapter 133: Heading To The Capital City
Shen Ying and Lonemoon accompanied Yi Qing to the capital city.
Although the transportation array in the immortal realm was far superior to the ones in the lower realm, the journey still took them a full three days. They reached the capital city of Chong Lan country on the very last day of the time limit specified in the summons.
Compared with Qu Shuang city, the capital city was much bigger. This was a city built entirely on the clouds. A variety of ancient buildings could be seen between the layers of clouds. At the very center of the city, a huge palace city suspended above all the other immortal palaces, emanating a golden aura that dazzled the eyes.
At the forefront of the city loomed a towering gate that reached to the sky. There was no one guarding it; instead they saw a huge array formation at the centre of the gate. The top of the array was surrounded by shimmering golden dharmic talismans. Yi Qing took out the summons token. A red light flashed instantly and the token flew directly through the gate. The array at the gate began to darken, revealing a passage.
The three of them walked straight in, and the moment they crossed the entrance, the scenery in front of them changed; more immortal palaces suddenly appeared, shrouded in a misty glow and swirling clouds. From time to time, they could hear the warbling of immortal cranes. The immortal palaces were connected by white jade staircases. Each staircase floated independently. They could see many immortals standing on top of these staircases, which moved automatically. Rare spirit herbs, which were rarely seen in the lower realm, grew wild along the roadside.
They had just arrived at the gate when an immortal clad in green flew towards them from afar. Lonemoon was surprised to find that he was a Stygian Immortal.
The immortal saluted them politely and asked, "Which one of you is Sword Immortal Yi Qing?"
At first, they were surprised; then they remembered the token that had flown in had Yi Qing's name on it. Yi Qing stepped forwards and replied, "I am he."
"Fellow Immortal Yi Qing." Smiling, the man stepped aside and said courteously, "I've orders from His Majesty to wait here for you. Since Fellow Immortal is here, please follow me to the Palace of Arms to pay respects to His Majesty."
"So fast?" asked Yi Qing. Wasn't this just a routine summoning? That the Immortal Emperor actually asked to see him personally given that they had just entered the city surprised him.
"This is not considered fast." Beaming even more widely, the man said, "I have been waiting here for Fellow Immortal for three days."
This time, his reply caused not only Yi Qing, but even Lonemoon to subconsciously frown in perplexity. It appeared that the Immortal Emperor regarded Yi Qing with special importance. "In that case, we'll wait in the city for you." Passing Yi Qing a communication talisman, Lonemoon said, "Look for us after you are done."
Frowning a little, Yi Qing turned towards Shen Ying and said, "Master…."
"Yes, go ahead!" replied Shen Ying, nodding.
Only then did Yi Qing turn to the immortal guide and said, "Please lead the way."
Nodding his head, the guide led Yi Qing in their flight towards that shimmering, golden majestic palace.
"Let's find a place to settle down first, then we can look around the city!" Seeing the two men flying off into the distance, Lonemoon pointed to the city with an expression of eagerness. Suddenly a thought crossed his mind and he instructed Shen Ying, "Stick to me, don't wander about!" "OK." Shen Ying nodded.
But in view of the fact that a certain person had a notorious record of getting lost, Lonemoon decided to play it safe. Grabbing her by the hand, he led her all the way to a restaurant. He booked a private dining compartment, then seeing that it was close to noon, ordered a table full of dishes.
"As we don't know how long Yi Qing will be gone, you'd better eat first. I'm going to the city to look for business opportunities, but I'll be back soon." His main objective in coming to capital city was because of the Invincible Sect; accompanying Yi Qing on his imperial summons was secondary. The appearance of Ning Zi'an had interrupted all his plans. Naturally, all the plans he thought up of to make money had all gone down the drain.
After the Bao father and son left for the new city, they sent some people over to Invincible Sect. But as he had not wanted anything more to do with them, he sent those people back. Perhaps sensing his intentions, they had not contacted Invincible Sect for the past two years.
So during this trip to the capital, he had to look for ways and means to earn money for the Invincible Sect, otherwise there would not be food on the table. If it were only the other immortal disciples, it was not so bad. But the foodie Shen Ying was another matter. He could already picture the commotion she would cause if the food ran out here.
"Remember, don't wander around!"
"Yes, Father Niu!" Seeing the dishes on the table, a happy Shen Ying started work on the food immediately.
Hmmn… not as tasty as the Chef's dishes, but good enough.
Lonemoon's mouth twitched a little. Why did he have a feeling that he was the only one who was worried over nothing. This must be his hundredth and one time that he had regretted putting in his lot with this foodie.
Father Niu certainly knew how to do business, returning a short while later with everything settled. Shen Ying had not even finished eating when she saw him from afar, guiding a plump, … prosperous looking immortal to their room. Exchanging banters, the two of them walked in; they behaved as if they were about to become sworn brothers at any moment.
"And this is?" asked the rotund immortal, as he entered and saw Shen Ying, who was seated at the table holding a piece of meat in her hand.
"Er…" Lonemoon's mouth twitched a little as if he had just remembered Shen Ying's presence here. He had no choice but to explain, "Shen Ying, our sect's…. sect master." The last two words were almost inaudible.
"So you're Sect Master Shen. I'm honored to meet you." The immortal immediately cupped his fists in a salute.
Shen Ying smiled back politely. Nudging Father Niu, she asked, "Who is he?"
"He is Exalted Immortal Shu Jiang, the most famous alchemist in the capital. Half of all the high grade immortal pills in Chong Lan country are refined by him," replied a beaming Lonemoon. Then, through voice transmission, he informed Shen Ying, "The richest man in the city."
"Oh…" Shen Ying understood the situation in a flash. She had to hand it to Lonemoon; in just an hour, he had managed to trick the richest man into coming here, and he was an Exalted Immortal to boot.
"Brother Lonemoon is too kind." Shu Jiang smiled and said, "Since providence has brought us together, if you ever need my help, please do not hesitate to ask. Only…" A look of doubt flickered across his eyes as he looked at Shen Ying. In a veiled tone, he asked, "Regarding the matter that Fellow Immortal just spoke of, is it really true?"
"You mean about the holy place? Of course it's true!"
Seeing that Lonemoon did not seem to display any reservations about the matter in front of Shen Ying, Shu Jiang asked directly, "Is there really such a miraculous place?"
Nodding his head vigorously, Lonemoon said, "Haven't I brought you here just to let you confirm this matter? If you are doubtful, why don't we start straight away?"
Shu Jiang looked pleased to hear this. Then as an idea crossed his mind and he said, "Brother Lonemoon, please wait a moment!"
He suddenly took out a white-colored bell like talisman and put it on the table. At once, a beam of white light shot out from the bell. Within moments, a transparent shield had enveloped the entire dining compartment, shutting out all outside noise.
"I know Brother Lonemoon trusts me, but this matter is of great importance. It's better to be on the safe side."
"What Brother Shu says makes sense!" Nodding his head, Lonemoon fished out a piece of talisman from his robes and said, "This is the object."
"Isn't… this a spirit transmission talisman?"
Chapter 134: The Immortal Emperor's Assignment
"Yes!" A nervous expression replaced the smile on Lonemoon's face as he explained, "The holy place is in a very remote location and is extremely dangerous. Thus it's not advisable to physically enter it. If Brother Shu trusts me, you can activate your divine perception. I will send you in with this talisman."
For a short moment, Shu Jiang was undecided; the emotion that flickered across his face spoke of his inner struggle. But after a while, he clenched his teeth and nodded his head. "I believe in Brother Lonemoon, let's start!" So saying, he got up and moved his chair aside. Then he sat cross-legged on the floor with his eyes closed.
Within moments, an image floated above his body. This was the manifestation of his divine perception.
Smiling, Lonemoon stepped forwards and said, "Take heed, Brother Shu. Although this is a miraculous place, it is also a place filled with mirages. Frightening scenes will appear before you. So don't linger too long there. If you cannot endure it any longer, just come back." Seeing Shu Jiang's nod, Lonemoon activated the talisman in his and tapped it on the image. Immediately, Shu Jiang's image vanished from the compartment.
"Where have you sent him?" asked Shen Ying in between chewing her food.
Wearing an innocent look on his face, Lonemoon sat up and poured himself a cup of water. "I've sent him to the Invincible Sect."
"More accurately, to the foot of the mountain."
"The foot of the mountain?" repeated Shen Ying. Then looking askance at him, she asked, "What scam did you concoct this time?"
Lonemoon took a sip of water. Then narrowing his eyes into a slit like the eyes of a fox, he rebutted, "What do you mean by scam? I only told him that I had discovered a holy place that could quickly boost a person's cultivation level. Whether it be his techniques, comprehension, even his mood and divine perception, all these can be boosted."
"What holy place?" Why hadn't she heard of this place in Invincible Sect?
"It's the demonic Qi!" The demonic Qi in the Invincible Sect could indeed stimulate a person's potential. It would be a waste not to make money out of such a natural place for upgrading one's cultivation. "I've already made inquiries. He's the most wealthy man in Chong Lan country. More than half the shops in the city belong to him. If we want to develop Invincible Sect into a holy place noted for its high end, classy, fashionable and luxurious cultivation training, we definitely need his help.
"So… after all that hullabaloo, what you sold him was some demonic Qi?" It seemed that there was nothing Father Niu was incapable of selling. No wonder that before the trip, he had led Yu Hong and the other girls to the foot of the mountain where they spent half a day setting up the array formation. It must have been for this purpose? "I'm marketing a packaging, don't you understand? Anyway, it's his divine perception that is entering the place, not his body. There's no danger of demonic Qi entering his body."
"Er…" But the demonic Qi was so obvious, wasn't Lonemoon worried that once this person came out and realized the truth, he would settle scores with him?
"That's not going to happen!" answered Lonemoon, a cunning smile on his face. It was as if he knew what was on her mind.
As Shen Ying pondered over the matter, the man sitting on the ground suddenly trembled violently and regained consciousness. Going immediately over to him, Lonemoon saw that his face was pale, bloodless and covered in cold sweat.
"Brother Lonemoon, that place…" He grabbed at Lonemoon in a panic, seemingly anxious to say something.
"Brother Shu, don't panic!" Cutting him off, Lonemoon once again donned the face of a canny businessman. With a merry laugh he said, "The things seen in this holy place varies from person to person, but they are not real. Don't worry about it. Look inside your divine perception and regulate your breathing first."
Shu Jiang calmed down at his words. Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and regulated his breathing. Then he began an internal perception scan. The very next moment, his eyes suddenly burst open and with a stunned expression on his face, exclaimed, "Huh? My… divine perception…"
He discovered that his divine perception had actually grown stronger. Although this change was minute, it was a miracle for someone like him who has not seen an increase in his cultivation for thousands of years. The significant point being that he had been inside for less than a quarter of an hour.
Shu Jiang's face lit up with joy. Seemingly unable to suppress his happiness, he said excitedly, "What Brother Lonemoon told me is indeed true. There is really such an amazing place in this world."
"I also happened to chance upon this place, the only bad thing about it is that this holy place can create hallucinations in the mind. By the way, what did Brother Shu brother see inside?" asked Lonemoon intentionally.
Seemingly taken aback by his question, Shu Jiang remained silent for a while. Then something flickered across his eyes and he immediately changed the subject, saying, "Nothing much. By the way, does Brother Lonemoon really intend to share this place with other immortals?"
"Of course!" Lonemoon did not question Shu Jiang any further. Having hallucinations was another way of saying that the person was trapped by mental demons. However, no immortal with a cultivation level like Shu Jiang would easily admit that he was affected by his mental demons. So he had deliberately planned this set up at the beginning, letting everyone who entered it think that the demonic Qi he saw was just a hallucination, thus quelling their suspicions.
Once he saw that he had convinced Shu Jiang, Lonemoon immediately switched into his business mode and began a vigorous discussion about "The Holy Place Development Project."
Shen Ying viewed what was going on with an incredulous expression on her face. In the meantime, the two men had already set a sky-high price for a perfectly ordinary spirit transmission talisman. Silently praising the business acumen of a certain someone, Shen Ying carried on with her chewing.
It's no wonder I call him Father!
It's so hard to understand the rich man's world!
The two men chatted until sun had set in the west. During that time, Shen Ying finished her lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Finally, the two reached an initial agreement on a partnership. Lonemoon handed ten spirit transmission talismans to Shu Jiang and also got a booking for a new batch of suckers… no, rather cultivators, to enter the Holy Land for training after a three-month auction. In order to express his sincerity, Shu Jiang also left a bag of top grade immortal stones as a deposit.
Shen Ying didn't know how much it was, but when Lonemoon immediately agreed to her request for three more dishes, she guessed that it must have been an astronomical figure.
Just as Shen Ying was thinking of taking advantage of Lonemoon's good mood to put in a supper request, Chef, who had been gone for a good part of the day, finally returned.
"Yo, Chef," greeted Shen Ying with a wave of her hand.
After scanning the room, Yi Qing's gaze alighted on Shu Jiang. Frowning, he asked, "You are?" Why was there another asshole here?
"Nice to meet you, Fellow Immortal." Smiling, Shu Jiang got up to greet him. "I'm Shu Jiang!"
"Exalted Immortal," answered Yi Qing with a nod.
"Why were you away for so long?" asked Lonemoon as he glanced at the sky outside. He discovered that a whole day had passed. "What happened at the Immortal Palace?" "Nothing much." As if recalling something, Yi Qing frowned and added, "The Immortal Emperor wanted to bestow Qing Han City upon me. I declined it."
"What!" exclaimed Lonemoon, his mouth twitching. He had not expected that the so-called reward was a direct gift of an immortal city. And the main thing was, Yi Qing had rejected it!
This prodigal son! For whose sake was he working so hard to make money?
"Why did he suddenly bestow an immortal palace upon you?"
Shen Ying's question got Lonemoon's mind thinking. Shen Ying was right! Exalted immortals were a dime a dozen in Chong Lan, not every one of them could become a city lord. Moreover, Yi Qing was only a Stygian Immortal. Why single him out for special treatment? It couldn't be that the emperor had taken a liking to Yi Qing at first sight, could it? He had some understanding of Yi Qing's character, and he was definitely not the charming type.
"I don't know." Shaking his head, Yi Qing walked to Shen Ying's side. Out of habit, he poured her a cup of tea before continuing, "But… he asked me to go to… Yu Feng Immortal City a month later to take part in some kind of test."
"The Yu Feng Sword Quest!" Shu Jiang suddenly exclaimed. Eyes widened in surprise, he locked his gaze on Yi Qing and asked, "You… You are a sword immortal?"
What do you mean?
Shen Ying and Lonemoon both turned their heads to look at Shu Jiang.
Greatly exhilarated, Shu Jiang looked at Yi Qing with even more enthusiasm than when he had emerged from the demonic Qi. "To think that Fellow Immortal was actually selected by His Majesty as a candidate for the sword quest. You are… really lucky!"
"What's a sword quest?" asked Shen Ying. Shu Jiang was still unable to suppress his excitement. Taking a deep breath, he explained solemnly, "Do the three of you know what kind of place this Yu Feng Immortal City is?"
Chapter 135: Playing Dress-Up At Home
"Yu Lin Immortal Territory is a mystic realm belonging to the outer immortal realm," Shu Jiang said mysteriously. "It is said that in the ancient times, the divine race left behind a piece of land. The environment on that land was extremely evil and dangerous, but very lucky. Legend has it that all the Immortal Emperors around found the Ten Directions Divine Armament here."
"The Ten Directions Divine Armament?" Lonemoon frowned. "What is that?"
"That's the universe-creating treasure that the divine race of the ancient times left behind after they created the world," Shu Jiang explained. "I heard the ten immortal emperors were able to control the entire universe not only because of their high cultivation level, but because they had this divine weapon with them. The divine weapon contains the power of creation!"
"Then what about the sword searching?" Yi Qing asked.
"Oh, that happens because while the Ten Directions Divine Armament has been found by the ten Immortal Emperors, it is said the creators left behind a Divine SIx-Formation Sword, which they had used to split the sky open. That sword has remained in that very Immortal Territory to this day, waiting for the person who is fated to find it."
"A sky-opening divine weapon?" Shen Ying paused. "You mean it split the sky open?"
Shu Jiang nodded vigorously. "It is said that the Six- Formation Sword is truly powerful - strong enough to split the heavens and the earth. It won't be impossible to say that it could even slice through the three realms!"
"Oh, that's not very difficult though, is it?" You just have to open the gates.
Lonemoon and Yi Qing's mouths twitched. They suddenly remembered that Shen Ying had single-handedly opened the gates to another realm. Immediately, their interest and curiosity in the divine weapon became negative. Heh heh, could the rotten divine weapons beat the cheat?
There was absolutely no need to go to that place. "Hahaha, Fellow Immortal Shen, you must be joking." Shu Jiang thought she was kidding and continued speaking, "This Yu Lin Immortal Territory may be very dangerous, but there are countless mysterious and unique treasures inside. Even the rocks, soil and plants that can be found all around are raw materials that can be used for creating top-quality immortal weapons. Any rock that you pick up from along the pathways can be used to refine fourth- or fifth-stage immortal weapons. They are hard to find in the immortal realm!"
"Go! You have to go!" Lonemoon patted Yi Qing on the shoulder and said, "Chef… Yi Qing, I think it's about time that you start training now that you've ascended to become a Stygian Immortal. Since the Immortal Emperor appreciates you this much, you should not let this opportunity pass you by!"
"I'm not going!" Yi Qing rejected him immediately and continued to pour tea into Shen Ying's cup. "If I go, I'll be away for at least three months. It's far too long." He must not leave his master's side. Who knows if some other bastard would come and snatch his master away from him? Lonemoon longed to beat this retard up. Does he know that Invincible Sect is lacking weapons? Can't he do what he can to help? This is such a good opportunity. Lonemoon gritted his teeth, turned to Shen Ying and asked, "Can you take care of your disciple?"
"But it's really too long… " It's three months!
"I'll double your food allowance for next month!"
"Chef, Father Niu is right!" Shen Ying turned to Yi Qing with a serious look on her face. "For the sake of the sect, you cannot give up on such a good opportunity!"
Yi Qing: "…"
"That's right!" Lonemoon's eyes twinkled as he continued, "Or you can ask the Immortal Emperor if you can bring both Shen Ying and I along with you."
"I don't think so!" Shu Jiang answered before Yi Qing even opened his mouth. "Brother Lonemoon, you don't know this but the Yu Lin Immortal Territory only opens once every one thousand years. In order to enter, you have to cross the Lishui River. This river does not allow anything or anyone to pass, except if that thing or person is carrying one particular item. Fellow Immortal Yi Qing, the Immortal Emperor should have pass this item to you, right?"
Yi Qing paused, then he remembered something. He quickly retrieved a green leaf from inside his robes."This is what he gave me when I entered the immortal palace. He said it's a gift to congratulate me on becoming a Stygian Immortal."
"This is it," Shu Jiang confirmed. "This is the Winter Spirit Leaf! Only Young Emperor Xun Shu of the Shang Dong Immortal Abode in Dong Ze has it."
Shen Ying glanced at the big leaf in his palm. It looked like a big four-leaf clover - it can't be eaten. What's so special about it!
"Not only that; outside of Yu Lin Immortal Territory is thick, strong and ever-present sword Qi. Only sword immortals who have gained a lot of enlightenment on sword intent or immortal emperors will be able to pass through the sword Qi and enter the territory," Shu Jiang continued. "That's why His Majesty is looking for sword immortals to look for the sword."
So that's why! This means that they need an access pass; they can't enter the territory at will.
"Brother Shu, what does Young Emperor Xun Shu… like?"
"Brother Lonemoon, please don't be rash." On seeing that Lonemoon was still harbouring hope, Shu Jiang persuaded him, "Only sword immortals can enter the Yu Lin Immortal Territory."
"I am one."
"What?" He's a sword immortal? Since when were there so many sword immortals? "Well…" He looked at Shen Ying. It couldn't be that coincidental, right?
"Oh, you don't have to worry about her," Lonemoon confidently said as he patted Shu Jiang on the shoulder. "The sword Qi is not a problem at all. In fact, we'd be putting her at a disadvantage if we don't use her to defend ourselves against the sword Qi!"
Shu Jiang: "…"
Yi Qing: "…"
Shen Ying: "…" Son of a b*tch!
In Dong Ze.
Their new partner, Shu Jiang, said that Young Emperor Xun Shu is a strange person. Although he has already achieved the status of Young Emperor, he prefers to stay alone in an immortal abode located in the eastern wilderness because he does not like to interact with other people. He enjoys gardening, but he does not plant immortal herbs nor immortal plants. Instead, he just fancies Dao seeds." When Lonemoon heard this, he realised that Young Emperor Xun Shu was just another environmentalist. Five days later…
He and Shen Ying stood outside Shang Dong Immortal Abode, holding Radish, who looked very angry.
"Little Big Sister… Are you really going to abandon me?" Radish's leaves were all shriveled up like preserved vegetables. It looked utterly crestfallen. "Please don't do that. Radish was born yours and will die yours. Can you bare to let my pure body be contaminated by someone else?"
Shen Ying looked at it, sighed loudly and said, "Yes I can bear to!" You're just a vegetable!
Radish: "…" My heart hurts!
"Who is there outside the abode?" They heard a voice beside their ear and felt a strong immortal force pressing down onto them.. Lonemoon's heart jumped. He took in a deep breath and finally managed to relief the pressure off his body. He stepped forward and said, "Your junior and Invincible Sect's sword cultivator Lonemoon is here to pay his respects to Young Emperor Tao."
"A sword cultivator?" The man sounded condescending and disdainful. "One more person who is unafraid to die searching for the sword in the Immortal Territory! Come in!"
Immediately, they saw the words "Shang Dong Immortal Abode" on the stone wall in front of them suddenly split apart to reveal a hole that was big enough for an average-sized man to walk through. They sensed strong immortal Qi coming from within the hole, along with a gust of plant Qi.
Lonemoon was just about to walk inward and dragged a lazy and sleepy Shen Ying beside him along. Both of them entered the abode together. The scene in front of them change to reveal a huge flowerbed filled with different coloured flowers all around them.
A small tower stood not far away from them. It was not big, but it was built entirely using white strips of bamboo. It looked so clear that it resembled a crystal palace. The immortal Qi surrounding it made the entire tower look as though it were glowing.
One could say that it was… quite alluring!
What was more alluring was the man seated on the chair in front of them dressed in attention-grabbing red robes which extended all the way to the ground. He looked like an enormous red flower which sprouted from the ground. His hair spread out across his back and was so long that it swept against his feet. His robes were open in front of his chest, revealing silky smooth flesh underneath it. If he were not flat-chested and it were not clear that he was a man, Lonemoon would have pinned him down as a fascination transvestite.
Xun Shu scanned the people who had just entered. His eyes were full of contempt.
"Greetings, Young Emperor Xun Shu!" Lonemoon bowed politely. "You are the sword cultivator who has come to ask for a Winter Spirit Leaf?" He suddenly broke into a grin and turned around so that a gentle ripple flowed down his red robes. The more they looked at him, the more beautiful they thought he was. It was as if there were no words in the universe that could adequately and satisfactorily describe his looks. Even Radish in human form did not look like much when standing beside him.
Even Shen Ying, who had been yawning just moments before, stepped forward with her eyes widened!
Lonemoon was shocked. He quickly tugged Shen Ying and hissed, "Hey, don't be distracted by his good looks. We have important matters to attend to!"
"No…" Shen Ying blinked, still transfixed. "I just think it's weird."
"His robes." They're so… long. "Huh?" It's not that weird that a man is dressed in red, right? Lonemoon started to say this out loud but was stopped by Shen Ying, who continued.
"They're so long… Won't he step on them?"
Just as she finished speaking, they saw the man stood up. "You think that the Winter Spirit Leaf…" before he could finish, he tripped on his own robes. The figure swayed for awhile and then fell forward, landing heavily on the soil in front of him so that his entire face was now covered in mud.
Shen Ying: "…"
That's why you shouldn't play dress-up at home!
Chapter 136: Xun Shu's Test
Xun Shu stood up very quickly. His expression had changed. He bounced up and removed his robes, tearing it into shreds. He threw it onto the ground and stomping on it angrily. With a wave of his hand, a set of blue robes appeared and he quickly put it on. This time, the robes did not reach the floor.
"Heh, what are you here for… Ah yes, my Winter Spirit Leaf is not meant for just any person," he coughed. He had now recovered his high and mighty posture, as if he had not just tripped and fallen just seconds ago. If not for the mud on his face, they would have thought they imagined him falling down.
Shen Ying: "…"
"Well… Young Emperor Xun Shu!" Father Niu was extremely experienced in negotiation afterall - he was the first to recover from shock. With a controlled expression, he said, "We know that this treasure is extremely valuable. We only heard that Young Emperor Xun has always been generous and that only you have the Winter Spirit Leaf. That's why…" Seeing that Xun Shu still looked disdainful, Lonemoon immediately held up an indignant Radish and handed him over to Xun Shu. "I heard that Young Emperor Xun is the most elegant immortal in the whole of the immortal realm. We were fortunate enough to come across a vegetation spirit. It is well-versed in plant life. If you let it stay with you for just three months, I promise that this beautiful garden of yours will become more spectacular."
"Ji ji ji…" Just as Lonemoon finished speaking, Radish began to struggle for his life. No way was it going to stay there for three months
"A vegetation spirit?" Young Emperor Xun Shu was indeed intrigued enough to glance over at the Radish in Lonemoon's hands, but his face twisted in disgust almost immediately. "How would such a hideous weed fit into my beautiful garden?"
"Ji ji ji…" You are the hideous one. Your entire family is hideous!
The corner of Lonemoon's mouth twitched. This Xun Shu was not just a show-off, he was also extremely vain. He thought for a moment. Then, he shook Radish and said, "Radish, co-operate with me: turn back into your large human form." "Hmph!" Radish did become large, but it did not turn into a human. With a bright flash, it turned from a small radish into an enormous one. Lonemoon could hardly bear the weight with his hands and almost fell to his knees.
"Shit!" This stupid radish only has to stay here for three months, why is it kicking up a fuss? "Don't make me throw you to Yi Qing to be brewed tonight."
But the radish was not to be threatened. It puffed up its chest and retorted, "pfft!" Then, it slowly shrunk back to its original size.
"…" We're going to have additional dishes tonight!
"Enough!" Xun Shu was not at all interested in this vegetation spirit. From out of nowhere, he pulled out a fan. His face still covered in mud, he began to fan himself with an air of self- perceived importance. "You don't have to try so hard to impress me. If you want the Winter Spirit Leaf, you just have to follow my rules." He paused to ponder something. With a twist of his hand, a white box appeared. He waved his hand and a silver dagger appeared inside the box. The dagger flew toward Shen Ying and Lonemoon, circling around them and back to the box that Xun Shu was holding.
"You think you can enter the Immortal Territory because you're a sword cultivator and have been enlightened on the techniques of the sword." He lifted up the box and said, "Inside this box lays a treasure - my weapon, the tenth-grade immortal sword. This box is made up of spirit-absorbing stones. If you have what it takes to break open this box and retrieve the dagger from inside of it, I will give you the Winter Spirit Leaf. Otherwise, going into the Immortal Territory with your lack of skill would just be courting death."
With that, he turned and waved his hand. A tree that was three times as tall as the average man appeared behind him. The tree was thick and rich, covered in four-leaf clovers that resembled the one Yi Qing had shown to them earlier.
"Really?" Lonemoon asked, his eyes twinkling.
"I am a Young Emperor after all. I would not stoop so low as to bluff a lowly sword immortal like you." Xun Shu did not for a second think that either of these two people would be able to break open the box. He had perceived their cultivation level from the moment they stepped through the doorway. One was at best an Earth Immortal and the other was a Golden Immortal. This was a tenth-stage immortal box which even Exalted Immortals could not open.
As he spoke, he raised his hands and the box flew over to the two people.
Lonemoon immediately caught the box, understanding Xun Shu's thoughts. The spirit-absorbing stones were extremely strong and were resistant to immortal Qi. This meant that the box could not be opened with immortal powers. They had to use physical strength. Given his cultivation level, Lonemoon was sure he would not be able to do it. But… he had a cheat!
"Shen Ying, you take care of this box!" He turned and handed the box over to her. Cheater Ying had no other skill, but she was definitely more violent than anyone else!
"Huh?" Shen Ying took hold of the box. "How?" "It's up to you. Just destroy it."
He thought for a second and added, "We just have to take out the…"
Before he could finish speaking, there was a loud crack. Shen Ying clenched her fist, then loosened it. The once strong and solid spirit-absorbing box was now reduced to dust. Even the immortal dagger inside…
"Take out what?" Shen Ying finally processed what Lonemoon had said. She looked down at the pile of dust. "Er… is it too late?"
Xun Shu: "…"
Lonemoon: "…" A while later…
"My tenth-grade immortal sword!" Xun Shu gasped, eyes widened.
"Father Niu, what… what should we do?" Shen Ying was trembling. Why does that man look like he is about to eat us up?
"You're asking me!" Lonemoon felt like he was about to throw up blood. "Why would you smash it to pieces for no reason?"
"Didn't you tell me to destroy it?"
"…" I did not ask you to destroy the dagger along with the box. "Young… Emperor?"
"You… you both…" Xun Shu sounded furious. The fan in his hand turned into a sword as he glared ferociously at them. Lonemoon's heart fell as he thought, we're finished!
"Shen Ying, what should we do?"
"… Run!" Defeated Ying turned around and immediately started to sprint.
Lonemoon felt a gust of wind blow past his ear and saw that the cheat had already disappeared without a trace.
"I will kill you both!" Xun Shu raised his sword and charged toward Lonemoon.
"Bastard, you have no loyalty at all, you only know how to…"
Before Lonemoon could finish speaking, Shen Ying reappeared with another gust of wind. She picked Lonemoon up just before Xun Shu's sword hit him and they both escaped.
Xun Shu swung down on thin air, trembling with fury. Yet, he could no longer sense either of their aura. "You escaped very quickly. Don't let me see you again…"
Just then, there was another gust of wind and the two people re-appeared once more. This time, they sprinted past Xun Shu until they reached the front of the small tower. They stopped, uprooted the tree, lifted it up… and then disappeared for the last time together with the Winter Spirit Tree.
Xun Shu: "…"
A while later…
His mind was a blank. The last shred of self-control he had left disappeared.
"You two bastards, stop right there!" ——————
The Lishui River.
"Yi Qing, this trip to the Yu Feng Immortal City will be extremely dangerous, but this is your chance. You need to give it all you got," Immortal Emperor Ge You smiled as he said to Yi Qing. "If you are able to find the Six-Formation Sword for me, I will surely reward you generously."
"Thank you, Immortal Emperor!" Yi Qing glanced at him and quickly lowered his gaze "My purpose of entering that city is only to train my cultivation. Whether I will be able to find the sword is up to fate. I do not dare make any guarantees."
There was a flicker of frustration on Ge You's face, as if Yi Qing did not know what was good for him. He regained his composure in seconds and said, "Naturally so!" Glancing at the sky, he rushed Yi Qing, "It is getting late. You better head off soon."
"Wait for awhile!" Yi Qing was looking longingly at the path leading up to where they were, but he still did not see any familiar faces. He could not help but frown. Master had promised to meet him here at this time. Why hadn't she arrived? Could it be that she got lost?
Immortal Emperor Ge You was not used to being rejected. Nevermind the fact that Yi Qing had already rejected him three or four times when he tried to reward him - Yi Qing even wanted to seek permission from his master regarding going to the Immortal City. Even though he did later agree, he insisted on staying at the Lishui River for half a day before setting off. Ever since Ge You ascended to become an Exalted Immortal a long time ago, he never met anyone who cared less for his authority. Could Yi Qing be thinking about backing out?
"Yi…" He was just about to tell Yi Qing off and remind him not to put on airs just because he was a sword cultivator, when Yi Qing suddenly interrupted him.
What? Before Ge You could react, he saw several figures flash past him. There was a strong gust of wind which covered his face in dust.
Beside the river stood two more figures. One of them was a man who looked ashen and ready to throw up at any moment. Beside him was a woman in green robes carrying… a huge tree on her shoulder. The leaves on the tree looked extremely familiar!
That is… the Winter Spirit Tree!
An entire tree!
Chapter 137: Let’s Be Reasonable
"Chef!" greeted Shen Ying as she hurled the tree into the water. Pulling the two men along with her, she jumped into the river. "Start the boat quickly, go, go, go!"
"Master, what happened?"
Before Shen Ying could explain further, Lonemoon, who was holding onto the floating tree trunk, started vomiting his guts out. He learnt for the first time that, in addition to airsickness, seasickness and motion sickness, there was also running sickness. That idiot Shen Ying had been running way too fast.
"I've no time to explain, row quickly!" urged Shen Ying.
Despite his bafflement, Yi Qing nevertheless obediently conjured a wind seal. Immediately the three of them floated towards the center of the river. Standing atop the tree trunk, the three of them finally reached the center of the river.
Suddenly they heard an angry roar from the river bank, "Stop, you two rascals!"
A figure clad in blue suddenly appeared on the banks. The immortal Qi enveloping its body was so dense that it stunned even Ge You. With widened eyes and an incredulous expression on his face, he asked, "Young Emperor Xun, why are you here?" Xun Shu hardly ever stepped out of his Shang Dong Immortal Residence.
But Xun Shu ignored him. Instead, he picked up a piece of a fallen leaf on the river bank and conjured a hand seal. Instantly the small leaf transformed into a huge leaf. Xun Shu threw the leaf into the water and jumped on top of it. Then, he steered the leaf boat and headed towards the three Invincible Sect members, all the while roaring, "Where do you think you're going? Come back!"
Ge You: "…" What's happening? "Holy shit!" Turning back to look, Lonemoon's green face instantly turned white with fear. "How did he manage to catch up so quickly? Shen Ying, I thought you lost him?" Then in a frantic tone, he urged Yi Qing, "Chef, quickly, go like the wind, don't stop!"
"But you were the one who's been telling me not to run so fast!" retorted Shen Ying, rolling her eyes. Otherwise, Xun Shu would not have caught up to them.
"Bloody hell! You call that running? That was teleportation!" Lonemoon felt like puking. Taking a deep breath, he said, "Besides, why did you pull out that entire tree?"
"Because you kept saying, the tree, the tree… That's why I went back to pull it up!"
"Did I say tree? I meant the tree leaf!" Next time, can you listen properly before you act?
"…" You gave the wrong instructions and now you blame me! "OK, forget it, help to row will you!" Giving Shen Ying a push, Lonemoon exhorted, "Quickly, once we enter Yu Feng Immortal City, we'll be safe. Only sword immortals can enter that city, he won't be able pursue us any further."
At the same time he conjured a wind seal. Immediately a strong gust of wind rushed towards them, causing the whole tree to shoot like an arrow towards the sword Qi enshrouded bank opposite. Once they entered Yu Feng Immortal City they would be safe once they entered ….
Five minutes later, they reached Yu Feng Immortal City.
The three of them gazed at the man standing before them. Dressed in blue robes which were splattered with dirt, his entire body exuded a murderous vibe.
Shen Ying: "…" Yi Qing: "…"
There was a dead silence.
"Heh… heh heh… heh heh heh!"
You must be kidding me!
Why hadn't anyone told him that Xun Shu was also a sword immortal!
"Run, continue running!" Xun Shu's seductive face was filled with anger. Glaring daggers at them, he snorted. "Hmh! I've never met such shameless people like you!" They had not only destroyed the best-quality immortal sword he had, they even dared to pull out his Winter Spirit tree. He would never rest until he had removed every one of their hides! "Heh heh heh, … Xun… Young Emperor, I just want to tell you… Would you believe us if we told you we didn't mean to pull out your tree?"
"Hmph!" Xu Shu snorted coldly, his whole body trembling with rage. "If you were me, would you believe it?"
"Er…." At a loss for words, Lonemoon pushed the big tree beside him towards Xun Shu. "How about… we return the tree to you?"
Xun Shu's expression grew even darker. Smiling coldly, he replied, "After I remove your hides, I'll also return them to you!"
"…" Lonemoon was speechless before this unassailable logic.
"All right, I admit this is indeed our fault. We're not the kind of people who refuse to own up to our mistakes," said Lonemoon gravely. Sighing deeply, he turned towards Xun Shu and bowed gallantly. "We'll accept whatever punishment Young Emperor Xun wishes to mete."
"Hmph! Then get ready to die." Xun Shu raised the sword in his hand, preparing to attack.
"But… before you start, there's something that has to be clarified," said Lonemoon, stopping Xun Shu in his tracks.
"What is it?"
Stepping to the side, a solemn Lonemoon raised his hand and pointed behind him. "She's the one who crushed the immortal sword, pulled up the tree and came up with the idea to escape. If you have a score to settle, please settle it with her! Thank you!"
With that, he retreated a few steps, revealing a stupefied Shen Ying.
Shen Ying: "…" Son of a b*tch! Xun Shu's immediately turned his wrath on the person in front of him. Twirling his sword, he rushed directly towards Shen Ying. "Good! I'll take care of you first!"
Shen Ying cursed Lonemoon in her heart. Now she knew what was meant by when someone called their team mate a 'God-class level traitor'!
A while later…
"Hai, I say… Comrade Gardener, there is nothing that cannot be discussed amicably. You see… the box you asked me to open was of poor quality, can you blame me for that?" Taking a deep breath, Shen Ying continued in a patient tone, "Then there is that tree. It was really a misunderstanding. There was a little communication delay between Father Niu and me. I hadn't intended to pull it out. If it bothers you, I'll replant it for you, ok?" We're all reasonable people. I'm sure you can tell that we're not bullies, right?"
Xun Shu's mouth twitched. He gritted his teeth as if trying hard to suppress something within him. Finally, he managed to spit out a word, "… Right." "I'm glad we've come to an understanding." Shen Ying nodded her head in satisfaction, "Then regarding the issue of the immortal sword…?"
"… Forget it."
"I'll… plant it!"
"Good, you are really a decent man, an understanding emperor. See, there's nothing that can't be settled over a calm discussion."
"Can you remove your foot from my chest now?" So, her definition of 'calm discussion' meant 'beat first, talk later'. God's teeth! He really thought he was about to die just now. Who was this person? Her strength was really terrifying, he could not retaliate at all!"
"Oh…" Retracting her leg, Shen Ying looked down at the swollen-faced man lying on the ground. After some thought, she extended her hand and said, "Come, let me…"
"What more do you want!" Xun Shu cried out in terror, his face turning as white as a corpse. He backed away from her, as if afraid that her fists would rain down on him again.
Shen Ying: "…" I'm just trying to help you up, do you have to react so dramatically?
The two bystanders:"…"
"Ahem, that er…" Seeing the matter settled, Lonemoon pulled his mind back from the scene he had witnessed just now— the one-sided fighting match that was just a tad unfair to one of the participants. With a cough, he nudged Yi Qing and said, "I thought we're supposed to look for a sword, where shall we start?" It was true that there was nothing that a beating or two couldn't settle.
Yi Qing gazed up at the sky. Then stepping forwards, he said, "It's already noon. According to Immortal Emperor Ge You, Yu Feng Immortal City is the safest when the midday Yang Qi is at its peak. So…" Turning back, Yi Qing looked grave as he swept his gaze over the group of immortals and asked, "Master, are you hungry? Why don't we finish our lunch before setting off!"
Xun Shu: "…"
What a marvellous chef!
Chapter 138: The Task At Hand
"This is the map of the Immortal Territory. The Immortal Emperor handed it to me before we set off," Yi Qing said as he held out a map. There were several land spaces marked out – some were made up of wilderness, some were made up of seas, some were made up of dense rainforests, but most were made up of deserts. "This is only a portion of the Immortal Territory. No one knows how big the entire place is. The places not found on the map are places that nobody have ever made it to before."
Lonemoon studied the map closely and discovered that there was a list written on each piece of land. The list contained the types of animals or things they would discover there. "Did he tell you which way we should go?"
Yi Qing nodded and pointed to the middle. "He told me not to care about any other place on this map. We just have to follow this pathway in the middle and keep heading westward. We have to aim to get to places where nobody has been to before."
"Why?" Lonemoon paused. Isn't it safer to stay within the areas that people have travelled to before? "Hmph, of course he wants to find the Six-Joint Mystics Sword," Xun Shu snorted. "Practically everybody in the immortal realm has a copy of this map. Countless sword immortals have travelled to these places. If the sword was there, they would have found it a long time ago. Naturally, he wants you to search somewhere else."
"This Immortal Emperor wants this sword pretty badly. Speaking of that…" Lonemoon frowned. He glared at Xun Shu and asked, "Why are you here?" And he doesn't look as if he plans to leave anytime soon.
"I… I… Why can't I be here?" A flash of panic crossed Xun Shu's face. He immediately regained his composure and indignantly said, "Although I, heh… have forgiven Shen Ying, I haven't forgiven you. You haven't given me a satisfactory explanation regarding the immortal sword and the Winter Spirit Tree. Don't think about brushing it off. No matter what, I will be tailing you all for three months until you restore my precious Winter Spirit Tree." He subconsciously glanced at Shen Ying, who was chomping on pastries.
"Here!" Lonemoon plucked the radish off his thigh and shoved it at Xun Shu. "You can take rad- I mean, you can take the vegetation spirit and plant it next to the tree. I guarantee that you would be able to grow at least a hundred trees – not just one." The radish was just a form that the vegetation spirit took. Any plant, when grown next to the vegetation spirit, would grow well, whether in the lower realm or the immortal realm.
"Ji ji ji…" The radish jumped out of Xun Shu's arms immediately and shook its leaves in disgust. "Pfft!" Who wants to go back and be planted by this ugly person?
"No way!" Xun Shu was equally unsatisfied with this half- hearted attempt on Lonemoon's part to fix things. He flipped his long, silky hair and said, "Who knows if this is real? Before my tree gets restored, you can forget about escaping responsibility." He stole a glance at Shen Ying once again. What's more, given that person's scary power, they could really…
"You want that sword too, don't you?" Shen Ying suddenly asked.
Xun Shu jumped in fright. His face paled immediately. He had an expression of pure guilt upon being exposed. "Who… who… who wants that Six-Joint Mystics Sword? I… I just haven't been to the Immortal Territory for a long time. I'm bored… That's why I kind-heartedly agreed to accompany you all to check it out. Otherwise, you might die without even knowing why."
Shen Ying stared at him for a few seconds. Then, she said, "Oh…" She didn't say he wanted the Six-Joint Mystics Sword in particular.
Xun Shu: "…"
"Alright, if we're full, we should set off." He was in the wrong afterall, so Lonemoon did not pursue the matter with Xun Shu, whose motivations were clear to everyone present. He stood up and dusted his robes. "Let's go!"
Shen Ying and Yi Qing stood up. The latter summoned his immortal sword and began to fly in the direction that Lonemoon had pointed out earlier. They did not pick the middle path which the Immortal Emperor had instructed Yi Qing to take earlier.
Xun Shu heaved a sigh of relief and chased after the swords. He had initially thought that while the Immortal Territory was wide, they would reach the uncharted area in less than three days. For safety's sake, he personally conjured a defensive array which protected the entire group for fear that an accident would occur when they reached the uncharted area.
But five days had passed… and they were still within the charted territory.
Ten days passed… and they were still within the charted territory.
Fifteen days passed, and they were still…
An entire month had passed and they were still circling around the chartered areas within the maps. To make matters worse, they were going back and forth and covering the same grounds over and over again. It felt as if they were purposely going to the weird places with stones and plants. The moment they found a new type of stone, they would descend and only do one thing: Dig, dig, and dig!
They found raw material for refining tenth-stage weapons, so they dug and dug and dug… They found raw material for refining eighth-stage weapons, so they dug and dug and dug…
They found raw material for refining sixth-stage weapons, so they dug and dug and dug…
They found raw material for refining second-stage weapons, so they dug and dug and dug…
Right before his eyes, a hill of stones several times as tall as an average-sized man was reduced to flat ground. Even the soil surrounding it was dug up in the process.
"Lonemoon, do you have another storage bag? There's a first- stage Moon Crystal Stone here!" Yi Qing pointed at a stone at his feet and said, "All of my fifteen storage bags are full." We shouldn't waste it.
"Yes!" Lonemoon tossed a storage bag over to Yi Qing and instructed, "Dig quickly. If you don't have enough storage space, I have more bags with me!" He was well-prepared. "Enough!" Xun Shu could finally bear it no longer. He threw his immortal shovel onto the floor in frustration. "When exactly are you going to stop digging?" You refuse to look for the divine weapon and insist on digging for stones instead - expecting even me to assist! "Are you here to dig for raw materials to refine weapons or to search for the sword?"
The three of them paused. Neither Lonemoon nor Yi Qing continued digging. Even Shen Ying paused chomping on her fruit and turned to look at Xun Shu. They pondered for a moment and answered in unison.
"Dig for raw materials!"
Xun Shu: "…" You actually admitted it. What exactly do you take this place for?
"Our Invincible Sect is seriously lacking in immortal weapons of different grades. Is there a problem with that?" Lonemoon challenged. They were trying to make a living with their own skills - what was wrong with that? "…" Xun Shu was at a loss for words!
No way, he could not allow them to dig any further. Otherwise, the entire Immortal Territory would lose even its soil. He took in a deep breath and looked at each one of them in turn before he finally became less anxious. Then, he stepped forward and said, "There's no point in digging here. Only sword immortals can enter the Immortal Territory, but there are no good materials left in these outer regions. The first- or second- stage materials that you're finding can be easily found outside of this territory as well. Why should you expend so much effort on collecting them? The higher-level materials are all to be found inside. Inside, you'll even be able to find rare materials like the Heavenly Fire Stones, much less tenth-stage materials."
"Hmm…" Lonemoon looked around him and thought about what Xun Shu said. He did indeed observe that the closer they got to the outer boundaries of the Territory, the more common the raw materials they found were. He had always prioritised stability in all his business endeavours but he had come here to train afterall. It would not be beyond imagination for the three of them would go in and try their luck. What's more, they had already been digging for so long outside. They had more or less sufficient materials. It was time to move on. "Alright! Let's not bother with these first- and second-stage materials anymore. Let's move on!" He waved his hand and headed toward the uncharted regions together with his three companions.
Xun Shu heaved a huge sigh of relief. He had actually managed to persuade the money-faces who were not willing to let even a single stone off. After digging for so long, Xun Shu had almost forgotten how dangerous this place really was.
Very quickly, he realised he had another problem.
"Why did you stop here?" Xun Shu asked when he spotted them resting ahead of him.
"It's dark!" Yi Qing retrieved a quilt and gently covered Shen Ying with it. He continued matter-of-factly, "We should sleep."
"Aren't you immortals?" What did they need to rest for? "Which immortal still needs sleep?" "Shen Ying does," Lonemoon said, gesturing to the person next to him who had already fallen asleep.
"But she doesn't have to sleep through the night. No matter how tired she is, a half-hour nap should do the trick, right?" He was obviously unhappy with the situation. "Don't forget, the Immortal Territory is only open for three months. This won't do, we have to wake her up!"
"No!" Lonemoon and Yi Qing flew to either side of him and restrained him just as he got up to wake Shen Ying up.
Yi Qing: "Don't wake Master up!"
Lonemoon: "Unless you want to die!"
"…" Xun Shu's heart jumped.
What the hell? Just as he was trying to figure things out, they felt the ground beneath them shake. From a place not far away, a roar cut through the peaceful night.
Chapter 139: Awakening of a Great War
Between the stone hills, flames erupted, licking the sky. The ground began to shake vigorously. Almost instinctively, Lonemoon conjured a transparent isolation array in an instant to cover a certain someone who was sleeping on the ground.
The next moment, the spirit stones began to roll down the hills, causing cracking sounds to be heard all around them. Something huge burst out of the ground, covered in burning flames just like a volcano. The entire sky seemed to be covered in smoke. The thing opened its mouth and once again they heard a loud roar which seemed to shake the heavens and the earth.
Lonemoon and Yi Qing subconsciously glanced at the person inside the array and heaved a sigh of relief. Fortunately, he reacted quickly to set up the isolation array. The noise did not permeate through the array and she was still sleeping!
"What kind of beast is this?" Yi Qing frowned. He had never seen a beast like that - so big that he could not clearly make out its features. The flames covering its body did not make things easier. It was obvious they were no ordinary flames. The moment the beast appeared, everything around it was reduced to ash. Even their immortal bodies, from such a great distance, could feel a burning sensation.
"No, this isn't a beast!" Lonemoon lowered his voice, looking more confused. He pointed toward the big thing which had already scorched half of the sky. "Quick, look inside the fire!"
Yi Qing used his divine perception to focus on inside the fire. He saw that the deviant flames covered layers and layers of what looked like metal armour. There were several talismans flashing inside the fire together with what looked like sequins.
"This…" Calling it a weapon cuts it closer than calling it a spirit beast! But the sound they heard did sound like it came from a beast. Unless…
Yi Qing started when he suddenly understood what was happening. He shouted, "It's a Weapon Spirit!"
The weapon already formed sentience! It was hard enough for all the living creatures in the world to gain sentience - but this weapon was clearly a non-living thing. Hard to believe that it had gained sentience! This proved that it was no ordinary weapon to begin with- likely that it is a divine weapon of some sort.
"Why did we meet this so soon? It's a Myriad Sword Case!" Xun Shu raised his hands and conjured a defensive array to protect the group from the raging fire. Then, he continued, "This is the weapon spirit that protects this land. Its body itself is a divine weapon. This fire is known as Ninth-Darkness Ardent Flames. Even divine beings cannot fend themselves against if, much less immortal beings. Ordinary water-elemental immortal techniques are useless against it. All we can do is try our best to attack it. Inside, it even has…"
Before he could finish speaking, the sound of clanking metal filled the air. Hundreds and thousands of immortal swords shot out of the enormous weapon which was engulfed in flames. Each one of the swords carried with it strong sword Qi. Then, the swords turned to point at the small group and flew toward them. In seconds, the sky seemed to be covered by swords.
The Million-Sword Array! And with such rich immortal Qi at that! Each one of those swords were real! Yi Qing's face fell and immediately he began to activate all the immortal Qi in his body. He turned around and instructed Lonemoon, "Watch out for Master!" Then, he flew up into the air, forming a dragon with his sword Qi which charged toward the swords.
"Noted!" The corner of Lonemoon's mouth twitched as he retreated several steps and deflected the swords which Yi Qing's dragon let by using arrays and his own sword. He did not let a single one touch the isolation array which contained Shen Ying.
"Wait! What are you two doing?" Xun Shu anxiously looked at the two of them. "What juncture are we at? You're still trying to keep her from waking up! This is a divine weapon spirit, not some ordinary sword Qi you can easily find outside. You won't be able to fight against it!" Divine weapons were such formidable weapons by themselves; what's more, this divine weapon had sentience. Even if ten Immortal Emperors came to their aid, they might not make it. "We should quickly wake Shen Ying up! Maybe we can win-"
As he spoke, he turned around and headed straight for the isolation array. "No!" Lonemoon went pale immediately. With a wave of his sword, a long line of spirit swords appeared beside him. They flew toward Xun Shu and dragged him back. Lonemoon spoke in a voice stricter than ever before. "Trust me, the consequences of waking her up are far scarier than having to face a weapon spirit!"
What the hell?
Xun Shu paused. He just started to say something when the ground beneath his feet shook violently. Immortal swords suddenly shot out from the ground toward the isolation array behind them.
Lonemoon's heart jumped. He tried to deflect the swords but it was too late. All he could do was watch as the immortal swords which emerged from the ground broke through the isolation array that he had earlier set up. That was not the end of it. The great big weapon spirit suddenly spat out a strong burst of flames, forcing Yi Qing to retreat. Then, it bent its body toward the group, opening its mouth and biting down toward them.
"Master!" Yi Qing shouted in horror.
He watched as the big weapon spirit tore out the piece of land on which Shen Ying was sleeping and swallowed it with a loud roar. A scorched pit remained where Shen Ying had been lying down.
The loud roar once again tore through the night.
Xun Shu: "…"
She was eat… eaten?! (⊙_⊙)
Yi Qing and Lonemoon were extremely pale. They stood rooted to the ground in a daze.
"I said… to wake her up!" Xun Shu looked at the two of them with pity. "Otherwise, she wouldn't-"
"Run!" Lonemoon shouted before Xun Shu could complete his sentence. Immediately, Lonemoon turned around and began to sprint.
At that moment, Yi Qing summoned his flying sword and mounted it, prepared to make his escape. With a loud zip, he disappeared.
Huh? What was going on? Weren't they sad that their companion just died? Why did they run?
Xun Shu's face twisted in confusion. He had no time to react when the weapon spirit in front of him began to shake violently. There was a series of explosions, then the sound of a tower collapsing. The enormous divine weapon came crashing down onto the ground in pieces. All the ground around them was covered in ruined metal and the immortal swords which were in the air also fell down onto the ground atop the ruined metal.
The divine weapon on the floor split right open from the core, and golden light spilled out of it. In the center of the golden light, one person walked out. Golden light mixed with the angry voice of that person in the air.
"What's with the noise!"
Xun Shu felt something overpowering fly toward him, suppressing him so that he could hardly breathe. The killing… killing intent is so strong!
He felt paralysed by fear as his body became ice-cold. In his head, only one word remained: Death!
Suddenly, Yi Qing's and Lonemoon's reactions made sense. He wished he followed them.
"Run!" He activated all the immortal strength he had in his body to run in the direction that the two men disappeared in. The Young Emperor exhausted all his power to run as quickly as the other two had before.
He just wished he could make…
A white light flashed before his eyes and a familiar figure appeared before the three of them.
The three of them: "…" That's way too fast!
Shen Ying stood in front of them in silence and without any expression. The three people felt a chill run down their spine and shoot right into their hearts. Shen Ying narrowed her eyes and stared at the person standing on the far right, reaching out.
Yi Qing was trembling. He pulled a slab of barbequed meat from out of nowhere and shouted, "Master, do you want supper?"
She paused. Then, she turned to face the person next to him…
"I have pastries, do you want some?" Lonemoon immediately held out a bowl of pastries.
Thankfully, he kept some food for himself during dinner.
She paused once more. Then, she turned to face the last person… Xun Shu: "…" Motherf*cker!
"Wait, what do you want… wake up and look closely… I'm Xun Shu… Don't… Help!"
Chapter 140: The Entrance Lies In The Center
When Shen Ying woke up, Father Niu and Chef were digging for something in a pile of broken metal parts. The more Father Niu dug, the more excited he became. The smile on his face was as bright as a sunflower.
"These things are actually made of high-grade materials! Holy Shit! They are made from Heavenly Fire stones. Keep them safe. Yi Qing, do you still have the storage bag? Put them inside quickly. The more the merrier."
Shen Ying gave herself a lazy stretch before waving her hand in greeting. "Good morning!"
The two men, who were busy scavenging, turned their heads and gave her a strange look.
"What?" Why were they looking at her with this expression? Shen Ying went to the pile of debris and gave it a kick. "What's this? Where did this come from?" I didn't see it here yesterday.
"Master, you're awake?" asked Yi Qing tentatively as he walked over to her.
"Umn." She nodded.
"It emerged from the ground," Lonemoon replied. "It was a divine artifact that developed intelligence. Although it's now destroyed, its materials can be reused."
"Oh." Shen Ying did not ask further. Looking around her, she suddenly exclaimed, "The gardener! Where is he? Has he gone home to plant his tree?"
Yi Qing: "…"
Lonemoon: "…" The two men did not answer her, but gave her a queer look, then they lowered their heads and directed their gaze at her feet.
"What wrong?" asked Shen Ying, disconcerted at being the object of their attention. "Why are you looking at me like this?" she asked, subconsciously lowering her head to follow their gaze."What's under my feet…?!"
Holy Shit! There' really someone here! And he's stuck in a crevice in the ground, his whole body as swollen as a ball.
Squatting down, Shen Ying grabbed the man's collar, and pulled forcefully. The man popped out like a plucked radish. After taking a closer look, Shen Ying realized that he was actually Comrade Gardener.
"What are you doing inside? You look very swollen…." Doing this to keep cool was surely going overboard. If it weren't for the familiar blue robes, she wouldn't have recognized him. "I say, you…"
"Don't come near!" Xun Shu got up instantly and sprang back a few meters. His face had lost all traces of its former attractiveness. Shrinking desperately away from her, he shrieked, "Stay away from me, you hear. If you dare come near me, I… I… I… I'll kill myself!"
Shen Ying: "…"
What a scary threat…
"Chef." Nudging Yi Qing, who was next to her, Shen Ying asked in a whisper, "What's with him? Why is he suddenly acting this way?"
"Nothing… Nothing." Yi Qing's mouth twitched a little as he answered, "Maybe because… he didn't get enough sleep yesterday."
Or maybe because he had been beaten up for no reason… "Oh," said Shen Ying, nodding her head. Wasn't it strange to sleep in a crevice? She was just about to ask further when…
Lonemoon suddenly spoke up, "OK, we've gathered enough." Glancing at the terrified Xun Shu, he added, "Once Xun Shu has finished regulating his meridians, we'll set off."
In fact, Shen Ying had been awake for only about ten minutes last night before falling asleep again. Perhaps it was because he got beaten up so badly, for when Xun Shu was punched into the crevice, he absolutely refused to come out from it. When Yi Qing and Lonemoon attempted to help him out, he became frantic and even swore at them.
"I'm not coming out. Don't think you can trick me into coming out to get beaten, you bastards!"
He did not even dare to regulate his meridians, forcing himself to stay awake until Shen Ying woke up the next morning.
The mental trauma he had gone through was indescribable! Xun Shu finally pulled himself together after Lonemoon announced his plans for the day. Warily retreating a few steps, he sat down and started regulating his meridians. Never before had he been beaten up so badly. Had he not been quick-witted and burrowed into the crevice, all his immortal bones would have been broken by her.
And all because she had been interrupted in her sleep! Her waking-up temper was really terrifying!
But Xun Shu was a young emperor with a high level of cultivation, so after regulating his meridians for just an hour, he totally recovered from his injuries. During that period, Shen Ying took the opportunity to have her breakfast.
"Let's set off. The unchartered territory lies just ahead. Everyone be careful!" exhorted Lonemoon. They had the run-in with the intelligent divine artifact immediately after their arrival. Who knew what they else they would encounter later?
Lonemoon mounted his sword and flew off. The four of them started flying straight ahead. A barren landscape stretched into the distance. The place was covered with different types of mountain stones but very few vegetation. But the strange thing was, compared to the previous places they had been where weapon refinement materials were abundant, this place was especially… clean! They could not find any first or second grade materials, let alone high grade weapon refinement ore or divine artifacts.
The four immortals flew around this unchartered territory for four to five days but could not find anything of value. Lonemoon became a little impatient, if the situation was like this further inland, then they might as well head back.
"Father Niu…" asked Shen Ying suddenly, "Why are we back here again?"
"What?" answered Lonemoon, "What do you mean we're back here again? We…"
He did not continue, for following her gaze, he spotted something that startled him. "Holy shit!"
What he saw was a pile of bone fragments, the bones of a beast demon. It wasn't uncommon to find bones in such a barren place but the key issue was… they were the ones who had discarded the bones. Moreover, these were the bones they had left behind after their dinner two days ago.
Lonemoon flew over and examined the bones. It was indeed the pile they had left behind two days ago.
But, this was clearly not the place where they had stopped to rest that day, unless…
Lonemoon's expression changed. Looking back, he instructed, "Yi Qing, activate the Five Elements Array!"
Yi Qing nodded his head. With a sweep of his sword, five swords created from immortal Qi were instantly inserted into five different spots. Conjuring a hand seal, Lonemoon set up an array formation. In a flash, a few beams of light lit up. Their surroundings started to shake and the ground buckled.
Within moments, various objects like dead leaves, weeds, fruit skins, food residues, and rubbish such as bone fragments appeared. They were all things they had left behind the past few days.
All the rubbish was lying within a radius of a few meters.
There were some even lying a few feet apart.
"This…" What happened?
Don't tell me we've been circling the same place!
The key issue was that they had not realized anything was amiss!
"It's the Soul Zither Array!" exclaimed Xun Shu suddenly. Stepping forward, he continued, "The Soul Zither Array can create a circular barrier. No matter how far you go, you will return to the original place, but the scenery inside changes continually. We must be inside this barrier now!"
As he said this, he conjured a seal and muttered a word. Instantly, the seal in his hand flew off. There was a flash of white light and a transparent shield appeared before their eyes. Then some gold objects started amassing not far above them.
On closer examination, they found that it was a map in the shape of a four-leaf clover.
"This must be the entrance to the center of the immortal realm." Xun Shu's eyes lit up, unable to suppress his excitement. He fished out a Winter Spirit leaf from his robes and tossed it towards the map in the sky.
Immediately, the shield in front of them moved and started splitting apart from the center. Within moments, it transformed into something that looked like an archway.
"This is the entrance!" exclaimed Xun Shu, an ecstatic expression on his face. Pointing at the archway, he urged them as he walked towards it, "Let's enter quickly!"
"Oh," said Shen Ying suddenly, "You've been here before!"
"…" Xun Shu instantly stiffened.