960 I’m Behind You Guys
The Shadow Canyon was approximately 150 kilometers away from where Ge Nan lived.
The reason this place was called Shadow Canyon was because of its unusual magnetic field that caused dark clouds to form above the canyon all year long. There was hardly any sunlight; the place seemed to be eternally hiding in the shadows.
Due to the special magnetic field, the area within the canyon would weaken detective abilities such as the Territory skill. Even imperial-level purple gold-rank powerhouses would find that their territory was heavily interfered with or even blocked if they were to investigate this area from tens of kilometers away.
Shi Qiang picked this place as the assembly point on purpose to prevent exposing their trail of the hunt this time, preventing any candidates from escaping.
At approximately 11.20 a.m., Shi Qiang arrived at the entrance of the Shadow Canyon. He was ten minutes early.
More than 40 people gathered at the entrance. Their combat strength ranged from imperial-level black gold-rank to imperial-level yellow gold-rank, and most of them were talking to familiar faces. Upon seeing that Shi Qiang was there, they greeted him with a smile. Some of them began voicing their doubts after greeting him.
"Brother Qiang, could you tell us exactly what's going on?"
"Brother Qiang, does this have something to do with the candidates since you've gathered so many people this time?"
Shi Qiang glanced through the people there. He had greeted at least 50 people. The bulk of them were present although there were still 11 of them who had yet to arrive. Looking at the time, he did not rush things since there were still ten more minutes to the agreed time.
"Don't worry. I'll tell you what's happening when everyone is here."
The other ten arrived one after another not long later.
Two imperial-level white gold-ranks were the last to arrive. They did not seem to want to be there earlier than the agreed time.
However, Shi Qiang frowned slightly after the two arrived because his good buddy Ge Nan did not make it.
"Old Shi, I guess everyone's here, hmm?" asked a bald man, glancing at the time and raising his brow. He was one of the two imperial-level white gold-rank people who arrived last.
"One more person isn't here yet…" Shi Qiang shook his head. "But he's the one who provided the information anyway, so we can talk about the mission first.
"It's Ge Nan who provided the information this time. Perhaps some of you know him. He contacted me this morning all of a sudden, saying that a team of candidates attacked him. He told me that he might not be the only one who was attacked. From my investigation, indeed, there are five other imperial-level yellow gold-rank powerhouses in his area who have lost contact. They might've been killed by the candidates.
"According to the information he provided, there are more than 100 people among this bunch of candidates. There's an Imperial Censor who is leading them, and he has a couple of imperial-level yellow gold-rank summoning beats."
"More than 100 candidates?! How is it possible that they gathered so fast? I thought it's only been half a day since the Royal Trials began." The bald man raised a question, "How could you believe this kind of ridiculous news?"
"That's not entirely impossible. After all, the Royal Trials are connected to hundreds of worlds if not 1,000 at the moment. Maybe they're connected to some huge organization from some massive world that's willing to spend on training Royalties."
"To some major organizations, it's easy for them to get a god-level or even true god-level group dimensional portal to transport them to the targeted coordinates. Moreover, an immortal-level Imperial Censor who can cross ranks and control imperial-level yellow gold-rank imperial monsters must be the best of the best among Imperial Censors. If I'm in the high management of that organization, I'd be willing to spend to train such a person." The other man with almond-shaped eyes who was standing beside him offered a different opinion. He had a combat strength of imperial-level white gold-rank, which was the same as the bald man.
After expressing his opinion, the man with the almond-shaped eyes looked at Shi Qiang. "But, Old Shi, are you sure you can trust that information provider called Ge Nan?"
"Don't worry. He won't lie to me," Shi Qiang said very firmly. He was even willing to share the reason why he trusted Ge Nan.
"Alright then. Since you said that, there's nothing more I'd like to ask," concluded the man while spreading his hands.
"From what you said, I suppose this team of candidates should be moving around. So, how do we locate them?" The bald man did not dwell on the question earlier and asked another question.
"That's the hunting plan that I'm going to share." Shi Qiang nodded. "I've already informed some of the imperial-level yellow gold-rank powerhouses who are around the area where the attackers were. They'll inform us as soon as they're attacked. Apart from that, the three of us will lead a team each to search in this area. As soon as any team finds the target, they must inform the other two teams immediately. Our top priority is to kill the entire candidate team instead of wanting the reward to ourselves because we've no idea what other techniques that Imperial Censor has."
It was almost 11.50 a.m. after they were done with the discussion.
Shi Qiang frowned slightly. It had been almost 20 minutes since the agreed time passed, but Ge Nan had yet to arrive.
"Ge Nan isn't here yet. Maybe something's really wrong." The bald man looked at the time and could not help but mutter to himself.
"Maybe he's stuck. Let me call him." Shi Qiang took out the communication talisman. The call was picked up immediately as soon as he dialed Ge Nan's number.
"Ge Nan, are you coming or not?! It's almost 20 minutes past the agreed time!"
"I'm sorry. Ge Nan isn't coming." A young man's voice was heard on the other side of the talisman. It was clear that it was not Ge Nan.
"Who are you?!" Shi Qiang was stunned to hear that unfamiliar voice and demanded immediately. However, he already knew the answer as soon as he asked the question.
"I suppose you've already guessed who I am," said the young voice with a smile.
"Where's Ge Nan? What did you do to him?" Although he guessed the answer to the question, Shi Qiang wanted to confirm if what happened was really as bad as he thought.
"I activated his communication talisman, so what do you think?" asked the voice on the other side.
Shi Qiang looked extremely aghast to hear that.
There were only two possibilities when the communication talisman was activated. One was that the owner of the talisman had wiped his own seal away while the other was that the owner was dead and the seal had faded on its own.
Clearly, it was impossible that Ge Nan would wipe the seal away from his talisman. Only the second possibility remained.
"Where are you? Do you dare to reveal your coordinates?" Shi Qiang held his fists tightly and asked while clenching his teeth.
"I'm at the canyon behind you guys. Now, the question is, do you guys dare to come in?" retorted the young voice, "If you guys don't dare to do that, I'll come to you guys instead."
Shi Qiang was stunned for a moment, but he did not fall for it. "Then, you can come to us. Don't worry. I won't kill you so easily. I'll break every bone in your body and leave you to die slowly in sheer agony."
"Save your nursery-level threat." The young voice sounded fearless. "But since you asked me to come to you, I'll fulfill your wish then."
A silhouette walked out of the canyon entrance before the voice was even done speaking.
The people present were stunned to see the person's face.
There was only one person who looked younger than 20 years old. A monster that looked like a scimitar-toothed cat with an elephant trunk ambled beside him.
"Keep the three imperial-level white gold-ranks for interrogation and kill the rest." The young man extended his hand and patted the head of the monster with the elephant trunk.
The monster lifted its trunk up high and let out a screech as waves that were tenfolds faster than the speed of sound rippled out.
All of the convicts collapsed wherever the waves spread out. Shi Qiang and the other two imperial-level white gold-rank powerhouses were the only one standing where they were. They had completely lost focus in both their eyes.