The Desolate Era - Book 8, Chapter 30 - Hunted
Deep within the subterranean region.
Ji Ning was seated in the lotus position. Wisps of earthfire were unceasingly being absorbed into his Zifu region. The glow of the goldflame earthfire within the crack in the ground was now much weaker than before.
“Eh?” Northson’s face suddenly changed. “What is it?” Qingqing hurriedly looked towards him. “A person has arrived!” Northson’s face was now quite solemn. “It could also be a monster. Either way, some form of lifeform has barged into the mountain.”
Earlier, they had set down an alarm formation within the mountain. Since alarm formations were meant to warn the user, they naturally were hidden extremely well, to the point where they didn’t cause any elemental ki ripples at all. Anyone who barged into the region would unconsciously activate the alarm formation. However, there was no way for Northson to know exactly who had arrived.
“Activate the bewildering formation,” Northson instructed. “Even if it is a Wanxiang Adept or Diremonster who has come…even if they enter the underground river region, from a distance, they will be baffled and affected by the bewildering formation.”
“Alright.” Qingqing hurriedly activated the formation which Ning had given her.
The Wanxiang Adept of Snowdragon Mountain, Dong One, was currently in an excellent mood, and he led these two other Adepts down towards the underground river in a very practiced manner.
“This really is quite hidden,” the nearby, bald, black-robed woman laughed. The bald, white-robed man by her side nodded. “One can only enter this mountain through movement arts…if one didn’t have a divine sense, one really wouldn’t be able to find this place and enter. Fellow Daoist Dong, how did you enter this place?”
“You are mistaken.” Dong One shook his head. “There is an extremely well-hidden entrance to the insides of this mountain from the outside world. I found it by accident, but I’ve already destroyed that entrance.”
“Ah, so that’s the situation.” The two bald Adepts both nodded. Soon, the three of them reached the river. “Look.” Dong One pointed towards the distance. If we follow that river and constantly advance, we will shortly be able to see the earthfire vein.”
“After we discover the earthfire vein, we two fellow disciples will carry out our promise.” The bald, white-robed man smiled. “Good.” Dong One nodded.
Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!
The three advanced at high speed along the river. A short while later, Dong One suddenly stretched his hand out and barked, “Halt.” The man and woman looked towards him. “What is it?”
“Something’s wrong.” Dong One frowned as he stared forward. “Logically speaking, by now, we should be able to see the earthfire in the distance. But I can’t see it.”
“What?!” The two Adepts were both shocked. The female one barked fiercely, “You are playing us!” But her white-robed senior apprentice-brother shook his head. “Don’t be hasty. Fellow Daoisti Dong has already sworn an oath to the Dao of the Heavens. He shouldn’t have lied to us…and I can vaguely sense elemental ki ripples from up ahead.”
“Ripples?” Dong One and the black-robed woman both looked towards him. “Yes.” The white-robed man nodded. “Let’s continue to move forward. You’ll be able to sense it soon as well.”
“Redleaf [Hongye] lives up to his reputation,” Dong One sighed in amazement to himself. “The genius disciple of the Bloodlotus Monastery! The power and sensitivity of his soul is far superior to mine.” The reason why he had chosen these two was precisely because he knew that Redleaf was extremely powerful; if he hadn’t been delayed by other matters, he probably would’ve become a Raindragon Guard long ago. Redleaf definitely had many magic treasures; knowing this, Dong One chose to trade with him.
They advanced by another half-kilometer. By now, both Dong One and the woman could sense the elemental ki ripples as well. “That’s a bewildering formation,” the white-robed Redleaf said softly. “In addition, it is an extremely complicated one. It seems, fellow Daoist Dong, that another Immortal cultivator came after you left.”
“What!? What were the chances of that!?” Dong One gritted his teeth. But of course, he had no idea that even before he came, the Azure Skysnake had already discovered this place.
“This bewildering formation is an Earth-ranked magic treasure, and the user should be at the Wanxiang level,” Redleaf sent mentally to them. “In addition…generally speaking, only Wanxiang Adepts will go harvest this type of earthfire. If my guess is correct, they’ve already discovered our arrival. However, since they haven’t moved to attack, they probably aren’t confident in being able to beat us.”
“Right.” Dong One and the black-robed woman both nodded.
“Let’s wait a bit. Let me break this formation,” Redleaf said. “The two of you stay outside. You are not to enter.”
“Don’t worry, senior apprentice-brother,” the black-robed woman said hurriedly.
Redleaf’s eyes were filled with complete confidence. And then, he walked to enter the bewildering formation.
Within the bewildering formation. “That’s Dong One, Redbud [Hongrui], and Redleaf!” Through the bewildering formation, Northson quietly peered towards the three figures who were flying down through the distant river. Upon seeing this, he was shocked.
“Who are they?” Qingqing hurriedly asked. “Dong One is of Snowdragon Mountain. Redbud and Redleaf are two disciples from the Bloodlotus Monastery,” Northson said.
As the two were chatting amongst each other, the nearby Ning, who was in the middle of harvesting the earthfire while seated in the lotus position, began to grow anxious. Because of how incomparably strong his soul was, even stronger than those of many Primal Daoists, he didn’t have to completely block off his six senses while implanting earthfire.
“Dong One? Redbud? Redleaf?” A thought came to Ning’s mind. “These three…when we all reported our names and titles at the Crimson Dragon Mountains, when Redleaf reported his name, all the Wanxiang Adepts were shocked. Clearly, this Adept Redleaf is an extraordinary figure. I have to speed it up.”
Previously, Ning had been extremely cautious, making safety his top priority. However, in reality, he was capable of going a good deal faster, while just increasing the level of danger very slightly.
“Absorb!” One wisp of earthfire after another entered Ning’s mouth and his Zifu region. Within his Zifu region, the amount of earthfire within the ‘earthfire island’, which was far away from the ‘dire-ice island’, was beginning to grow.
Outside the formation, Redleaf walked forward while calling out in a high voice, “I don’t know which fellow Daoist is within this formation, but I would like to ask you to collect it. We can negotiate things peacefully. But if you aren’t willing to do so and force me to break this formation, then we’ll have to shed all pretense of cordiality.”
“Redleaf.” An icy voice rang out from within the formation. “Leave obediently. If you really break this formation, then we’ll fight to the death!”
“Whose voice is that?” Adept Redleaf frowned. The distant Dong One and Redbud frowned as well, because they were very familiar with the voices of every single member of the hundred who had joined this Raindragon Guard trial, but they couldn’t tell whose voice this was.
“Since he can call me out by name, he definitely is one of the hundred,” Redleaf mused to himself. “Since he intentionally disguised his voice, and tried to frighten me off by saying we would fight to the death…hmph, if he was actually powerful, why would he have to use these techniques?”
Adept Redleaf calmly stepped directly into the bewildering formation. Upon doing so, the surrounding space instantly grew chaotic. A bewildering fog drifted everywhere, and it became difficult to even tell the directions. Adept Redleaf stood there within the formation, taking a few casual steps forward. After attuning himself to the transformations of the formation, he instantly began to laugh.
“Junior apprentice-sister, fellow Daoist Dong, I’ll definitely break this formation within two hours.” Adept Redleaf’s voice rang out.
One minute after another passed. Murderous auras began to emite from Northson and Qingqing. “Three in total,” Northson said with a growl. “Qingqing, you take care of that woman, who seems to be the weakest. Leave the other two to me.”
“Can you handle it?” Qingqing looked at him. “Don’t worry. I also have some things which Master bestowed upon me which I’ve never used. When the time comes, I’ll definitely annihilate both of them with one blow. Do you think that we disciples of the Black-White College are so easily antagonized?” A cold light was flashing in Northson’s eyes.
“Right, right. Even I’ve heard of the famous reputation of the Black-White College. Supposedly, every single member is a supreme genius.” Qingqing nodded. “Leave that woman to me, then…”
Northson and Qingqing were incomparably cautious, preparing to battle at any moment.
“Absorb!” Ning began to absorb the earthfire at an even more rapid pace.
The massive body of the Dragonwhale King had appeared in the air above this squat mountain. It stared down towards the mountain, its dark green eyes filled with a heaven-shaking killing intent.
“Right here? Human brat, Ji Ning, I hope you are still here!” The Dragonwhale King sent out his will. Boom! A vast, rolling wave of divine sense instantly spread out in every direction. It had trained for more than ten thousand years, after all; its soul was incomparably powerful, and its Dao-heart was also very resilient. Thus, upon becoming a Primal Diremonster…after but a single day, he had acquired divine sense!
Some Primal Daoists would need six months or a year to acquire their divine sense after their breakthrough. If one’s foundation was insufficiently stable, then the rate at which one would acquire divine sense would naturally be slower. Someone like Ji Ning, who possessed a divine sense at the Zifu level…could only be described as an utter monster. It was no wonder that so many believed him to be a reincarnated Immortal!
The Dragonwhale’s divine sense spread out to a range of a hundred kilometers, completely covering the short mountain below. “Eh? Nobody?” The Dragonwhale King frowned. “Wait; that mountain actually has an alarm formation within it.” The divine sense could see everything within its range with perfect clarity. Although not even Redleaf or Dong One had been able to discover the alarm formation, the Dragonwhale King had effortlessly discovered it.
“There must be someone there.” The Dragonwhale King instantly charged tens of kilometers downward, towards the short mountain below. And then, with a single blinking movement, moved deeper inside the mountain.
Within the mountain. The Dragonwhale once more spread its divine sense. “Hahaha…” A look of savage joy instantly appeared on the Dragonwhale’s face. This time, he effortless detected that less than a hundred kilometers away, close to an underground river, there were several human cultivators.
“That human brat, Ji Ning, is harvesting earthfire? And there is a human cultivator who is outside a formation, trying to break it?” The Dragonwhale laughed coldly. “These humans are actually fighting amongst themselves…how laughable. Unfortunately…all of them shall die.”
“I will set down a massive spacelock sealing formation outside, and then kill them all.” The Dragonwhale immediately began to carry out his plan.
None of the humans had detected the arrival of the Dragonwhale. The Dragonwhale had intentionally avoided the alarm formation. The only person who was aware of his arrival…was Ji Ning!
When the Dragonwhale’s divine sense had swept out towards him, Ning’s own divine sense had naturally detected it. After all, in terms of just divine sense, Ning was even more formidable than the Dragonwhale.
“Divine sense?” Ning was shocked. “A Primal Daoist? Or a Primal Diremonster?” Ning was truly stunned. Ning slowed down his absorption of the earthfire, and with a single thought, instantly spread his divine sense out towards every direction. He instantly discovered the Dragonwhale King, who had already moved to the skies above the short mountain. The Dragonwhale King was currently planting formation flags everywhere, preparing a spacelock sealing formation.
“Hahaha…human brat?” The Dragonwhale sensed Ning’s divine sense. Instantly, he sent through divine sense, “I have to thank you. If it hadn’t been for you, how could I have broken through to become a Primal so easily? Hahaha, to thank you, I will annihilate all of those humans who are planning to act against you. But of course, all of you will die as well. Hahaha…”
The Dragonwhale instantly used his blinking movement technique to go inside the mountain once more. He soon arrived at the underground river, then charged forward.
Right at this moment, Dong One and Redbud were outside the formation, watching as Adept Redleaf was striving to defeat the formation from within it. “The Wanxiang Adept within the formation is dead for sure.” Redbud’s eyes were filled with eagerness. “Right.” Dong One was eager as well.
Dong One had no idea…that within the formation were the two people he feared the most; Ji Ning and Mu Northson. And, at this moment, a Dragonwhale King was charging straight towards him!
Most importantly of all…the surrounding area was completely sealed by a spacelock sealing formation. There was no way to flee at all.