Translator: Flying Lines
In the next few days, Shiao Chen kept swallowing pills and meditating. Although he could not make a breakthrough, the spiritual power within his body once again became a bit more solid, and the consumed divine sense also restored even with slight enhancement.
Around mountains at the back of Luoyun Valley was a peripheral forest where human trace was rarely detected. However, that was not the case for this day. Four young men stood on an open lot, two in each group standing at a distance, seemingly in a climate of distrust.
"Chu Kuang, my junior brother, we have arrived as agreed. Why are we not leaving?" Under the old tree, the twin brothers asked out of vigilance.
"Di Qiu, my senior brother, take it easy. Just wait for a moment." Chu Kuang took a glance at the twins and said in a calmingly low voice. However, a bit of anxiety and restlessness sprawled out of his eyes.
"Is it true that in addition to we brothers, Chu Kuang also invited others to go together?" The Di brothers took a look at each other and their faces could not help but turned at bit sullen.
Chu Kuang hesitated for a while, and then explained slowly, "This journey to explore the adobe of ancient cultivator is a tough task which, I’m afraid, is beyond us four, even though I think I’m fully prepared. So I have invited another one to assist us. However, you can rest assured. For one thing, I’m not sure he will come or not. For another, although he is not a weak cultivator, he definitely can’t make an opponent against neither of us nor you brothers. You can put your heart at rest, my senior brothers."
On hearing this, Di Qiu’s and Di Shuai’s faces turned a bit relaxed, but still refused to look the other two in the eye, appearing to be secretly planning something that no one could know.
Having observed this, Chu Kuang sneered at them inconspicuously, and then closed his eyes to maintain his spirit. The young man near him, who had been meditating cross-legged and never talked, now stretched the corners of his mouth, showing some coldness.
"The time has come. Though I don’t reach the realm of Foundation Establishment, I can make it with more care." Shiao Chen muttered to himself. Then he took off heading straight out of the valley. Before getting outside, though, he was careful to use a little trick at the entrance of the secret herbal garden to put the stone he had chopped off back. Assured this would not be found out, he left with satisfied nodding.
Shiao Chen carried out Qi concealing technique to stabilize his cultivation at the 8th level of Qi-refining period. In the black gown obtained at the exchange gathering, he headed straight for the agreed place after leaving herbal garden.
Looking from far away at the four people waiting on the ground, Shiao Chen frowned slightly and then landed.
"Oh, my friend, you finally came." Chu Kuang said with a flash of joy in his eyes. Being the first one to have detected Shiao Chen, Chu Kuang immediately stood up to greet him.
The cultivation of all these four was revealed by their perception of Shiao Chen’s approaching. Chu Kuang, with the highest cultivation, was the first to stand up, and then the silent man behind him raised his eyebrows slightly. The Di brothers were the last to detect the rapid approaching breath.
Shiao Chen indiscernibly took a sweeping glance at the four people. Due to the huge gap of cultivation, they didn’t notice Shiao Chen’s screening. Shiao Chen nodded to greet them.
"This is Wu Wanli, our senior brother; these two are Di Qiu and Di Shuai, also senior brothers. May I ask how to address you?" Chu Kuang smiled and looked at Shiao Chen, demonstrating his willingness to treat him on an equal footing.
Shiao Chen made little of Chu Kuang’s attitude. He folded his hand to greet everyone, "You can call me Liu Yun." Then he sat down cross-legged.
Chu Kuang, who could make his way to be the first person in the young generation of Luoyun Valley, undoubtably possessed a high cultivation and a sharp mind, so it was no wonder that he could deduct Shiao Chen’s cultivation by all the suspicious hints since that day. Shiao Chen was by no means caught by surprise.
Wu Wanli nodded slightly to Shiao Chen before closing his eyes again. However, Di Qiu and and Di Shuai were quite dissatisfied seeing that Shiao Chen wore a black gown and didn’t plan to show them his real look, but they were sophisticated enough not to show it on their faces and just looked a bit indifferent.
When everyone sat down, Chu Kuang waved to set a simple spell of soundproofing, and said, "You probably already know something about the adobe. Let’s sort things out in advance. The treasures we get from this adventure will be evenly distributed. Please do follow my command, otherwise you have no one to blame amidst all the trials and tribulations."
The Di brothers nodded slightly. Apparently, they had already known something about it.
Shiao Chen frowned a little and said slowly, "The adobe of ancient cultivators is full of dangers, which I suppose are far beyond our cultivation."
"Don’t worry, brother Liu Yun. I have explored the adobe once. I don’t dare to say that I know it all well but I’m aware of the danger of it. Otherwise, how dare I go there risking my life?" Chu Kuang said with a shimmer of confidence in his eyes.
Shiao Chen was a little shocked but still nodded, indicating no problem.
"Okay, if that's the case, then let's go." Chu Kuang took the lead to fly up high in the sky and quickly got out of sight after deciding the direction.
The Di brothers and Wu Wanli followed closely, and Shiao Chen was the last one.
After leaving Luoyun Valley, the four immediately speeded up. In merely one day, they were at least ten thousand miles away. At this point, they entered the region of Desolate Mountains.
There were hundreds of thousands of isolated mountains where demons and beasts were rampant. At the periphery, there were first-class demons whose cultivation was equivalent to the Qi-refining period. The closer to the center of the region, the higher cultivation the monsters had. As the legends went, at the very core of the Desolate Mountains, there were even demons of fifth-class, a domineering presence equated with human race of None Descending Realm.
Slowing down, Chu Kuang was the first to land on a mountain followed by the others.
"The adobe of the ancient cultivator is right here situated at the middle of the mountain, but it’s in the depths of the wilderness with all kinds of rampant beasts and demons, some of which are indeed no weak ones. Therefore, we have to be careful and discreet in case accidents may catch us by surprise." Chu Kuang looked solemn and even used the technique of Confidential Sound Transmission. He was truly being serious and cautious.
Shiao Chen and the other three nodded, indicating that they understood.
Chu Kuang walked in the front to blaze the trail; the Di brothers and Wu Wanli followed in the middle and Shiao Chen at the rear. They cautiously carried out techniques to climb the mountain.
The mountain was hovered by extreme silence which made the caws and roars from now and then even more gloomy and frightening. High above the sky, flocks of bizarre birds with beaks like iron hooks constantly flew by.
"Wait." Chu Kuang hummed. His eyes fixed on a clearing covered by piles of dead leaves in front of him; his face turned pale and sweat oozed out on his forehead. "Hold your breath; don't make any sound."
Shiao Chen and the others also felt the anomaly here. It seemed that after entering this place, they did not hear any sound. Even in the sky there was no trace of demons or beasts. Everything seemed very weird.
All of a sudden, a strange noise came from the sky. Shiao Chen and others looked up. Two birds with iron hook beaks and inky feathers were fighting up in the sky.
One was suddenly knocked down by the other and rapidly fell a few feet. The one that had the upper hand screamed complacently in a harsh voice. Suddenly, however, it recognized the place, and, with fears in the eyes, turned around to fly away straight to the sky so quickly that it even showed no interest in beating harder its defeated opponent.
At the same time, the defeated bird that just landed at the height of the treetops screamed with fear, struggling to flap its wings and trying desperately to leave this place.
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