Translator: Flying Lines
At this moment, an astonishing scene took place. Not far ahead, a yellow-brown serpent-like thing suddenly sprang from the thick pile of leaves. It opened its giant mouth, revealing several hideous fangs, and seized the weird bird at once. The bird was torn up by its sickle-sharp claws in a blink and swallowed into its stomach.
After swallowing the strange bird, this horrible monster of dead-leaf color gradually calmed down. Upon the shake of its body, everything recovered to the original state. It concealed itself again quietly under the fallen leaves.
Shiao Chen and the others took a glance at one another, swallowing nervously while detecting everyone’s fright. Their scalps began to tingle as they imagined what the consequence would be if they had walked over.
Although the speed of the multi-feet monster moved extremely fast, Shiao Chen was still able to see it clearly. Its whole yellow-brown body measured more than thirty meters’ long with dense rows of thin shining feet sharp as sickles under the belly. Each foot was nearly one meter long and dark-blue in color, indicating that it was obviously hypertoxic.
At the thought of how rapid the monster flew to the bird, Shiao Chen felt a tremble all over him, recognizing there could be no escape if he had been captured by the monster.
By everyone's eyes, Chu Kuang was the one struggled to keep calm and said, "This monster is extremely fast and meanwhile highly toxic, a brute indeed. However, its natural five senses are insufficient, so it can only decide preys’ location by hearing. Therefore, as long as we remain silent, it cannot notice us. Besides, it’s no clever thing and will return to its den for dormancy after enough feeding, and this, I suppose, is the time to pass through this place. "
The crowd nodded. Shiao Chen blinked his eyes but said nothing.
As they had presumed, four hours later, the horrible monster swallowed another two preys that had set their feet here by mistake, and then, wiggling its gigantic body, left away. It was not until making sure the monster was more than far away did Shiao Chen and the others carefully resume their journey.
On the following trip, formidable demons and monsters showed up from time to time but luckily by Chu Kuang’s lead, they were able to pass through the place safe and sound. Only for once at the territory of a tri-color striped leopard, Di Qiu got into a little trouble but fortunately no serious wound was made to him before getting rid of its chase.
"Oho! We finally arrived. Here is the entrance to the adobe of the ancient cultivator." The inconspicuous stone cave in front made Chu Kuang feel relaxed. Seeing his expression, Shiao Chen pondered for a while.
Overwhelmed by joy, the two brothers Di Qiu and Di Shuai apparently did not notice this. As for Wu Wanli, he just stood behind Chu Kuang, making no remarks for others to figure out his thoughts.
"Chu Kuang my junior brother, I wondered why you never mentioned the danger of this journey up front? We almost lost our lives." Di Qiu looked gloomy. Although the wound on his left arm was bound up, blood still constantly oozed out. But for his quick reaction, he might have been the dinner for the leopard.
Hearing this, Chu Kuang immediately turned sullen and retorted in a cold voice, “Though the journey is full of risks, no dangers would have happened to you if you have followed my instructions. But for your greed to take the spirit tool on the ground, how would the leopard be alerted? You asked for it. How can you blame me? Let me make this clear. There will be even more dangerous situations, and you shall all lost your lives if you don’t follow my lead!”
"You..." Di Qiu's face turned red, and a mix of shame and anger flickered in his eyes. "Fine. I quit! Di Shuai, are you leaving with me or staying here?"
"Leaving? No way you can get out of here without my lead. Pray not to become dinner for monsters." Chu Kuang snorted, cold-faced.
Noticing the fact, Di Qiu’s face turned pale at once, and his imposing manner went weaker. Shiao Chen’s face changed as well, fixing his eyes coldly on Chu Kuang.
"Come on, guys. We made great effort to get here. What are we fighting for among ourselves before discovering any treasure? Let’s meet half way and go on exploring the adobe of the ancient cultivator together.” Wu Wanli suddenly laughed to make both of their face saved.
Di Shuai pulled his brother and said something into his ear. The two sides were finally settled down.
Chu Kuang knew his words was inappropriate, so he bowed to Shiao Chen, "Please don’t be bothered by what I said. I meant no harm. Our goal has been searching for treasures. Once we find any, we will leave this place together."
Shiao Chen made no comment but his eyes turned gentler, saying, "It’d be best if you do as you say."
The five people ostensibly resumed harmony. Chu Kuang led the way in the front followed by Wu Wanli, Di brothers and Shiao Chen. As for their real thoughts, no one could ever know.
The cave was pitch-dark inside, but fortunately everyone was prepared to equip themselves with a moonstone in their hands. Their moving was slow in the darkness. After about three hundred meters away, an empty karst cave appeared in front of them. They were faced with seven black holes leading to no-one-knows where.
"Only one of these seven paths is right. I have explored this place no less than a dozen times and was almost killed before I finally found the passage to the next place. However, after arriving here, all is for us to explore." Chu Kuang said and strode straight to one of the holes. Shiao Chen and the others followed closely.
Nothing abnormal occurred on the way, and the five people arrived safely in a hall about thirty meters in size. There was nothing in the hall, and on the opposite wall were three portals which were shining in blood-red. No one knew where it would lead to. Scattering on the ground were skeleton pieces as if madly torn up by someone.
"This hall is the deepest place I have entered. By estimate, only one of the three portals is safe. If the wrong one is chosen, I’m afraid what happens to us will be exactly the same as the bones on the ground.”
Shiao Chen nodded and channeled his spiritual power to eyes, so his vision became much clearer in the darkness and saw clearly the blurred inscriptions on the portal. The words were as smooth as tadpoles like a masterpiece by heaven and they were exactly the words on the gold seal.
Death! Impasse! Ruin!
The three blood-colored runes seemed to exude some kind of spooky power. Just one look at them made Shiao Chen become so violent that he wanted to destroy everything he saw.
Siao Chen suddenly closed his eyes and meditated on Soul Muddling Scripture. It was quite some time later before he suppressed this violent impulse.
"Liu Yun my friend, do you have any idea on what’s happening?" Chu Kuang asked, a bit nervous.
They only felt the sudden burst of violence from Shiao Chen but could not figure out the reason for it.
"Be careful not to see the three characters on the portal, because they will negatively affect your spirit and mind." Shiao Chen said and his voice still sounded fearful. Hadn’t been for the fact that his divine sense, by virtue of Soul Muddling Scripture, far exceeded that of the same level cultivators, there was no way for him to get through this crisis so easily. It was very likely the possessors of the skeletons on the ground were killed by this weird seduction from the runes.
"These three portals are inscribed respectively the words Death, Impasse, and Ruin. Which one should we choose?"
"I believe Impasse suggests the portal would lead to a dead end. We can roll this out first. Then Death and Ruin. An old saying goes: Confront a person with the danger of death and he will fight to live. Why not choose Death?" Chu Kuang said calmly with brilliance shining in his eyes.
"Emmm…" The Di brothers displayed their obvious hesitation, not knowing which to choose.
Wu Wanli still remained silent. He didn’t say a single word after his attempt to quiet the quarrel happened before.
Shiao Chen looked at Chu Kuang with vigilance, but he didn’t have to worry about being found out in his black robe.
"Since Chu is so confident, then we choose Death."
"Okay." The Di brothers nodded suggesting agreement.
Joy sprawled from the depth of Chu Kuang’s eyes. Though he was careful to hide it, Shiao Chen was able to discover it and became even more alerted.
As the crowd walked slowly along the hall, creepy sound of skeletons cracking up under their feet could be heard. Chu Kuang led the road in front and carried out a spell to silently open the closed portal, Death.
What appeared in front of everyone was a corridor installed with lunar stones and luminous stones, a sharp contrast with the dim hall.
No oncoming spell traps happened. Everyone felt a little relived and set their feet into it.
An unusual quietness hovered over the corridor. A few distance later, a half skeleton appeared in front of them.
This half skeleton had been cut into two pieces at the waist and left in a pose of struggling to crawl outside. On the ground were deep and shallow finger prints that the body carved with his fingertips, indicating its desperation to escape from this place.
The five people looked up, finding out the finger prints lasted at least a hundred meters. Based on the perseverance and severe wound, it must be a cultivator of high level, at least Foundation-Establishment period.
A broken sword was left beside the skeleton. Chu Kuang picked it up, and said after a while of examination, "A spirit tool, and the grade is not low. This person is at least a mid-stage Foundation-Establishment cultivator."
The sudden appearance of the half skeleton casted a layer of gloom on everyone’s mind. The road ahead seemed much more depressing.
Going forward for another two hundred meters, one more half skeleton appeared. This half was the part below waist, a perfect match with the former one. The most terrifying thing was the traces and gullies spreading in the corridor. A ferocious fight must have taken place here.
The crowed became even more depressed and continued to forge ahead. After a dozen meters, two sets of statues showed up at each side of the corridor. They were stone-armed guards holding gigantic swords in their hands. Though having undergone years of erosion, their over six meters’ height and vacant eyes on the solemn faces were still terrifying. Only after several rounds of examination and making sure nothing was abnormal did the five people feel relaxed.
After several hundred meters, more and more skeletons were found on the ground. The traces of fight became more obvious and the statues denser. The stone-armed guards were even replaced by silver-armed ones. No one knew the indication. The creepier was that no hint besides the cracked stone pieces on the ground was left as to who was the murder that had killed them all
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