The Desolate Era - Book 8, Chapter 11 - The Wild Marshes of the Gaol Mountains
When standing atop the clouds and staring downwards, one would be vaguely make out the Immortal residences that lay scattered throughout the winding mouontains. Occasionally, one would also seem some figures flying about on magic treasures; most likely, those were Raindragon Guards.
Just as Ji Ning and Mu Northson were staring with curiosity towards those Immortal cultivators, suddenly…the cloud began to sink downwards.
“That’s…” Ning saw, in the distance, a towering mountain peak, atop which a massive, complicated, tower-shaped formation had been built.
Boom! The cloud landed, and Ning’s group of Immortal cultivators stared towards the tower-shaped formation. This tower-shaped formation up ahead faintly glimmered with gray light, and it was 2400 meters high! The base had a diameter of three hundred meters, and was divided into what appeared to be nine halls. The entire tower-shaped formation’s structure appeared to be made from rare metals, and it was covered with the carvings of many runes. The densely clustered runes covered the entire, 2400 meter high tower-shaped formation.
The entire tower-shaped formation emanated a hazy gray light. Only the tip of the tower shone with a white light. Next to the formation, there were ten old men dressed in plain clothes who were on guard.
“This is the teleportation array?” Northson’s eyes were shining. “Should be,” Ning said, also incredibly curious.
They had heard long ago about the legendary ‘teleportation arrays’, but had never used them. In Stillwater Commandery, only the Raindragon Guards, along with a very few number of others, had the right to use the teleportation array. But of course, one could bring one’s retainers and spirit-beasts along. It was only because Ning’s group was here to join the Raindragon Guard that an exception was made and they were permitted to use it once.
“A teleportation array that is 2400 meters high? The division stationed in my homeland has a teleportation array as well, but it is only 300 meters high, much smaller than this one.”
“I’ve never even seen one.”
Although these Immortal practitioners all had seen many things, upon seeing this massive teleportation array, they all sighed in amazement. As for those ten plainly dressed elders, upon they all bowed towards that silver-haired, black-robed elder.
“Make your preparations,” the silver-haired, black-robed elder instructed. “These hundred Immortal cultivators are to be sent directly to the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains!”
“Yes.” The ten elders immediately entered the grand formation, which began to change subtly. As for the silver-haired elder, he glanced towards Ning’s group of a hundred, then said in a sonorous voice, “This teleportation array is a top-tier teleportation array. It can even teleport you directly to the imperial capital of the Grand Xia Dynasty! You can reach any region of this vast world through this teleportation array and arrive in an instant.”
“Although the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains are two million kilometers away, you will arrive in an instant,” the silver-haired, black-robed elder said. “Eh?!” Suddenly, the silver-haired elder’s face changed slightly. Swoosh! He suddenly disappeared fro the spot.
This completely astonished Ning and the others, who were still listening to him speak. “Why did he vanish?”
“Something important must have occurred.”
“Immortals truly are extraordinary. He vanished in an instant, and it wasn’t some sort of movement technique.” The Immortal cultivators all began to chat amongst themselves.
The ten plainly dressed elders who were guarding the teleportation array were all puzzled as well. Why’d he leave? To change the destination and to verify the teleportation was a simple, fast matter.
“Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning,” Northson whispered. “Although I’ve heard of the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains long ago, I don’t know how dangerous it is, exactly.”
“It is quite famous…it is ranked as one of the most dangerous locations within the borders of our Stillwater Commandery. I heard that in that place, there are many areas where space is fractured, and which might lead directly to some fractured dimensions. There are many monsters lying in wait there, and according to legend, even Fiendgods lie in hiding there,” Ning said.
The land under the control of the Grand Xia Dynasty was simply too vast. Aside from some safe areas like Swallow Mountain, there were also countless mysterious, special, dangerous regions!
Even the Earth of Ning’s previous life had, in an area of ten thousand kilometers, countless mysteries and secret areas. The same was true, naturally, for the vast world ruled over by the Grand Xia Dynasty. Within Stillwater Commandery, there were quite a few bizarre places, and some had been created as part of the aftermath of battles that had occurred back in the Fiendgod Era. There were also Immortal estates, relic sites left behind by major powers, and more.
One of the top ten danger zones of the entire Stillwater Commandery were the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains! However, these danger zones were also filled with countless opportunities.
“I, too, have heard that there are Fiendgods here.” Suddenly, a handsome, white-robed man moved closer to them. Ning and Northson both turned to look.
“Fellow Daoists Ji Ning, Mu Northson,” the handsome, white-robed man immediately said with a laugh. “I am Eastriver Cloudsoar, and my Daoist title is Cloudsoar as well.”
“My Daoist title is Twinwood,” Northson said quite straightforwardly. At the same time, he glanced at Ning, then continued, “My senior apprentice-brother is Ji Ning. His Daoist title is Darknorth! Right, you just spoke of Fiendgods…can it be that there truly are Fiendgods within the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains?”
The handsome, white-robed man immediately said, “Can it be that you two have never heard of the legends of the ‘Gaol Mountains’?” “The legends of the Gaol Mountains?” Ning and Northson exchanged glances, then shook their heads.
“According to legend, an unfathomably long time ago, just as the Fiendgod Era was drawing to an end,” Cloudsoar said slowly, “The group of powerful Immortals who had established the Grand Xia Dynasty used a tremendously powerful magic treasure to imprison and seal a large group of Fiendgods! This powerful magic treasure is the ‘Gaol Mountains’. It would have been incredibly difficult to kill all the Fiendgods, and most likely some of the Immortals would have died as well. Thus, they simply used the Gaol Mountains to seal these Fiendgods away. The Gaol Mountains sealed them away from the outside world, completely separating them away and preventing them from absorbing the energy of the outside world. The Fiendgods would only grow weaker and weaker, and after a million years, they would become incomparably weak.”
Ning and Northson listened and nodded. Immortal cultivators and Fiendgods; at a certain level, they wouldn’t need to eat or drink, but they would still need to absorb energy from the outside world. Ki Refiners would absorb natural, elemental ki, while Fiendgods and Fiendgod Body Refiners would absorb some other types of energy, such as the energy of the Five Elements, the energy of the stars, the energy of the sun and the moon, etc. If one was unable to absorb energy from the outside world, one would naturally grow weaker and weaker.
“But afterwards…an extremely powerful Fiendgod who was amongst the group that had been sealed away actually managed to break through the Gaol Mountains and charge out of the sealed grounds! A wild, savage battle erupted. The Immortals and the Fiendgods fought viciously, causing the entire region to shatter and crack. Although no one knows what the results of that battle were, the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains ended up the way they currently are,” Cloudsoar said.
Ning laughed. “The Eastriver clan lives up to its reputation. You even know about secrets like this.” Cloudsoar laughed as well. “I’ve just flipped through some books on myths and legends and heard of this explanation. I have no idea if it is real or not.”
“I heard that back in the Fiendgod Era, the Fiendgods dominated this world,” Ning said. “Now, however, it is us humans who dominate the vast world, with monsters being somewhat weaker…and there are almost no Fiendgods left.”
Northson’s eyes were shining. “I’m quite curious about the Fiendgod Era as well.” Cloudsoar laughed. “When we grow stronger, we’ll naturally learn more.”
“This must be clearly investigated!” The silver-haired, black-robed man was in midair, and his voice snapped out icily. Next to him was a black-furred, three-eyed hound who stood in midair. It spoke out. “Yes! If anyone from the Northmont clan of Stillwater impedes us…”
“Kill them all!” The silver-haired, black-robed elder said in a cold voice. “Don’t act in your capacity as Raindragon Guards, but kill all those who oppose you. This matter must be investigated.”
“Yes,” the three-eyed, black-furred hound said respectfully.
“These Marquisates have grown too accustomed to ruling over the territory which has been enfeoffed to them. They all grow restless, and every so often, they need to be given a drubbing,” the silver-haired, black-robed elder said in a cold voice. “It seems yet another group of people shall die in the Northmont clan of Stillwater Commandery. Go!”
“Yes.” The body of the black-furred, three-eyed hound flickered, and then it disappeared without a trace.
Only now did the silver-haired, black-robed elder ride his flying cloud downwards at a leisurely pace. Soon, he arrived at the mountain peak which contained the teleportation array. Atop the peak was Ning, Northson, and the rest of the Immortal practitioners, all of whom had been waiting for quite some time.
Whoosh! The silver-haired, black-robed elder landed. Instantly, the surrounding area fell silent. Those ten plainly dressed elders all looked towards him respectfully as well.
“All of you, listen clearly,” the silver-haired, black-robed elder said. “Those of you who wish to join the Raindragon Guard; your testing grounds shall be the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains! This place is one of the most famous, most dangerous locations of Stillwater Commandery. What you need to do is to survive in the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains for three months, and bring back the head of a Wanxiang-level monster.”
“If you survive three months and bring back the head of a Wanxiang-level monster, you will join our Raindragon Guard. If you die in the wild marshes or come back without the corpse or head of a Wanxiang-level monster, then you will have failed. Understood?”
The silver-robed elder swept them with a gaze. The hundred Immortal cultivators all nodded, not hesitating in the slightest. There were many who participated in the Raindragon Guard trials, and this mission they had been assigned could be considered an ordinary one. Since they dared to come…they naturally had some degree of self-confidence.
“Excellent.” The silver-haired, black-robed elder nodded. “Since that’s the case, then all of you can head out now. I hope that in three months time, I’ll be able to see you return with the head of a monster. Remember; don’t underestimate those monsters. You wish to kill them, but they also wish to kill you. The hatred that has built up between us over countless years means that they won’t show you any mercy at all.
The hundred Immortal cultivators all agreed. Even the youngest amongst them, Mu Northson, had a look of resolve in his eyes.
“All of you, come in. Don’t go beyond the limits of the teleportation base.”
The ten plainly dressed elders began to make the arrangements. Ning’s group all moved into the teleportation array. The entire teleportation array was enormous, capable of transporting thousands of individuals.
“Senior apprentice-brother Ji Ning, my master instructed me…that after we go to the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains, we must be wary of not only the monsters, but also of other Immortal cultivators,” Northson sent mentally.
“They all know that we are disciples of the Black-White College. The disciples of the Black-White College are incomparably few in number, and each of us carry priceless treasures on us. Thus, sometimes there will be group attacks launched against us disciples of the Black-White College. We are not yet Raindragon Guards…there are no laws against fighting amongst potential recruits.”
Laughing, Ning glanced at Northson. Indeed, human hearts were hard to fathom. In his previous life, he had lived during the era of the information explosion…Ning had definitely learned far more things than most of the people who lived in this comparatively closed, barbarian world.
Despite that, Ning still said, “I know. Junior apprentice-brother, you must be careful as well.”
“Right. If we two disciples join forces, hmph…if one comes, we’ll kill one. If ten come, we’ll kill ten!” Northson sent back.
The entire surrounding teleportation formation lit up. The blurry gray light on the surface of the tower began to brighten, covering the entire teleportation formation. Someone looking in from the outside would no longer be able to see Ning and the other hundred Immortal cultivators within.
The white light emanating from the peak of the tower suddenly increased in luminosity a thousandfold. Its brilliance made it appear to be a second Golden Crow within the skies.
After the bright light turned dim, the blurry gray light returned to normal as well. Ning and the hundred Immortal cultivators within the formation had already disappeared. By now, they had already arrived at the wild marshes of the Gaol Mountains.