After going through the wide stone passage, the path abruptly opened up to an incredibly huge cave that filled every corner of Qin Lie’s eyes.
The stone cave was at the center of the mountain’s belly. It was acres wide and the walls were dozens of meters tall. At first glance, this cave appeared to be a gigantic hall.
There were many stone doors in the surrounding stone walls. Some were open while others were tightly sealed. Every door seemed to lead to another cave.
The space inside this mountain was like a labyrinth. Anyone who was unfamiliar with this place would definitely lose their way if they rushed in recklessly.
“Let me out of here!”
Terrible wails and screams echoed from the stone doors at the sides. They were like the howl of ghouls or the low sobbing of ghosts. It was incredibly hair raising.
Qin Lie walked closer to an open door, looked inside, and discovered an old man who was only skin and bones and looked as dry as a corpse. Inside the room, his collarbone was pierced with chains and his feet were punctured by iron nails. His body was completely nailed in place.
The old man roared and shook his body crazily, causing the chains to clank noisily.
“This is…?” Qin Lie turned around and looked at Song Tingyu.
Song Tingyu’s expression was a little unnatural. Under Qin Lie’s gaze, she let out a couple of dry laughs and said in embarrassment, “There were plenty of forces who went against Profound Heaven Alliance in the past few years. Some of our vassal Black Iron forces have… unruly people within them as well. A few years ago, we fought overseas and also made many enemies. Some of these people are valuable. We keep them alive so that we can obtain things of value from them, so…”
She didn’t need to explain. Qin Lie could see with his own eyes that this was a prison where the enemies of Profound Heaven Alliance were kept.
“Can’t you just isolate their memories forcefully? Don’t you havehe Memory Fragment Crystals?” Qin Lie voiced his doubt.
“Memory Fragment Crystals doesn’t work on everyone.” Song Tingyu pointed at the old man inside the stone room and softly explained, “Take him for example. He is at the middle stage of the Fulfillment Realm and his soul is incredibly powerful. Unless we exterminate his soul and quickly isolate his memories before it completely dissipates, the process would fail because of the strength of his soul and the fact that he’s on guard.”
“Why don’t you do it, then?” Qin Lie asked in surprise.
“Because we need him alive.” Song Tingyu did not explain further.
Qin Lie also understood that some matters were inconvenient for her to talk about, so he didn’t pursue the matter.
“Miss, the three patriarchs request that you bring Qin Lie over.” A voice came from an open stone door rather far away from Qin Lie.
“Follow me.” Song Tingyu, who had been standing for a while, signalled Qin Lie with her eyes and led him through the door.
The moment he entered the door, the light suddenly dimmed as a massive prison cell abruptly appeared in front of Qin Lie.
This cell was filled with the vomit inducing stench of a rotten corpse. It was wet, dark, and echoes of dark wind blew inside it.
A dozen or so Horned Demons, with dead eyes and bodies as thin as ghouls, were locked in separate cells at every corner of the wall.
There were a few rotten corpses inside the cells and also many piles of dried bones in them.
Song Yu, Xie Yaoyang, Nie Yun, Song Zhu, and a couple of old men from Profound Heaven Alliance all stood outside the prison cells. A frost iron fence separated the captors from the captives. They covered their noses and looked at the cells in disgust.
“Father. Uncle Nie. Uncle Xie. Everyone.” Song Tingyu led Qin Lie to their side and said softly, “I have brought Qin Lie.”
“Mn.” Song Yu smiled slightly and beckoned for Qin Lie to walk closer.
Xie Yaoyang, Nie Yun, Song Zhi, and the other important figures of Profound Heaven Alliance’s three great families were all sizing up Qin Lie, but Xie Yaoyang and Song Zhi were the only ones who nodded toward Qin Lie with friendliness. The rest of them wore calm and indifferent faces, disregarding an unimportant figure like Qin Lie.
“Qin Lie, the reason I asked Yu’er to summon you here at midnight is because I need your help with something.” Song Yu cut right to the chase and said openly, “In recent years, Profound Heaven Alliance and Eight Extreme Alliance have been fighting against the evil races of the Nether Realm. Bloody wars would often break out between our forces in the Nether Battlefield after a certain amount of time, and we would sometimes be able to capture one or two Horned Demon warriors alive… What you see now are the Horned Demons we captured alive in the Nether Battlefield. We have imprisoned them here to isolate their memories with the Memory Fragment Crystals and gain knowledge about the evil races of the Nether Realm.”
Qin Lie nodded quietly.
When he moved close and looked at the Horned Demons within the prison cells, he realized that the Horned Demon warriors shrunk at the corners of the walls had scars and wounds all over their bodies. Even their faces wore shocking scars.
The fingers of some had been cut off, and the tails of others—a physical feature unique only to the Horned Demon Race—had been cut off as well. There were even people missing eyeballs…
It was very obvious that Profound Heaven Alliance’s treatment of foreign races was no gentler than the Horned Demon Race’s treatment of the human race.
Wars between different races were often this terrible. To perish on the battlefield could be said to be a good result, because the consequences of being captured alive… were far more terrible than dying immediately.
“Eh? A six horned warrior!” Qin Lie suddenly exclaimed in a low tone.
There was an old Horned Demon riddled with thick scars and nailed onto the wall at the center of the prison cell, his limbs spread by gigantic iron nails. He clearly had six horns atop his head!
This old Horned Demon had his eyes closed as he faced the crowd with splayed limbs. His limbs, collarbone, shoulders, and other vital areas were all pierced by iron nails and pinned tightly to the wall.
The stone wall behind him was engraved with a complex pattern, much like a spider web, and these patterns glittered with light and emanated powerful soul energy flucuations.
It was like another layer of shackles.
The old man was as thin as a corpse, almost like the time when Xue Li was imprisoned inside the spirit pattern pillars. His body was covered with numerous scars that seemed to go bone deep. A single look was enough to strike fear in one’s heart.
“That’s right. He is a Horn Demon warrior with six horns whose strength is equal to a human Fragmentation Realm expert.” Song Yu’s expression gradually became serious as he recounted the process they underwent to capture the old man, “Many years ago, this evil race elite killed many Eight Extreme Temple experts at the Nether Battlefield, broke through all of their thick defense lines, charged right out of the Nether Battlefield, and actually stepped foot on the Scarlet Tide Continent. He charged straight toward Profound Heaven Alliance territory from the direction of Nebula Pavilion while killing many people along the way.”
Xie Yaoyang, Nie Yun, Song Zhi, and the others all wore looks of residual fear when they heard Song Yu talk about the past.
A hint of fear appeared in the eyes of Profound Heaven Alliance’s experts when they looked at the old Horned Demon man with six horns in the prison cell.
“That damned Eight Exteme Temple didn’t tell us that this man was actually a six horned elite. As a result, Profound Heaven Alliance wrongly estimated his strength, and all five waves of martial practitioners that we sent after him were slaughtered to the last man.” Song Yu gritted his teeth. “Because of this, Profound Heaven Alliance suffered a terrible loss and three Fulfillment Realm martial practitioners lost their lives!”
Qin Lie couldn’t help but look at the old Horned Demon whose eyes were closed with a bit of awe.
“Thankfully, we reacted in time as I, Old Xie, and Old Yun personally led the experts of our clan to hunt him down. Finally, at the edge of the Arctic Mountain Range three hundred miles away from your Ling Town, we manage to severely injure and capture this man.” Song Yu sucked in a deep breath. “Even then, we lost quite a lot of men, and both Old Xie and Old Yun suffered differing degrees of injuries.”
Qin Lie was shocked.
The three patriarchs of Profound Heaven Alliance were all Fragmentation Realms experts. In addition to their clans’ experts, they had personally taken part in hunting down this evil race outsider, and yet they still suffered grievous losses before they finally managed to capture this old Horned Demon with six horns alive.
Just how fearsome was this old man?
“You no longer have to worry.” Song Zhi interrupted and smiled cheerfully, “He is still from an evil race after all. They can only recover with nether demonic energy, and this absolutely fearsome Horned Demon elite cannot utilize any nether demonic energy to recover in this place. Furthermore, he had to use his own powers to resist the corrosion of the world’s spirit energy every day. The current him is almost as weak as a mortal human, and there is no way that he can regain his former glory.”
“Mn. Right now, he is no threat,” Xue Yaoyang also chimed in.
Qin Lie looked deeply at the demon inside the prison cell, pondering for a moment before turning around to ask, “What do you want me to do?”
“About that… I heard that you know the language of the Nether Realm, don’t you?” Song Zhi chuckled. “This is a little embarrassing, but there is no human in the entire Scarlet Tide Continent who knows the Nether Realm’s language. It is said that there are some experts overseas who are familiar with the Nether Realm, but… we cannot trust those people and therefore haven’t invited them over.
Qin Lie did not say anything. He simply looked at Song Zhi and waited for the next explanation.
“This old Horned Demon with six horns must be pretty extraordinary in the Horned Demon Race. His seniority should be pretty high as well.” Song Zhi stroked his beard and smiled. “He might know if there are any Profound Yin Nine Leaf Lotuses with the Horned Demon Race. We summoned you, hoping that you could ask them about information regarding it.”
The eyes of Xie Yaoyang, Nie Yun, and a couple other Profound Heaven Alliance experts lit up slightly when they heard Song Zhi bring up the Profound Yin Nine Leaf Lotus.
Qin Lie immediately understood what he meant.
The Profound Yin Nine Leaf Lotus, capable of enduring some Nirvana Fire when a Fragmentation Realm martial practitioner was ascending to a higher realm, was a treasure that everyone in this place dreamed of!
Song Yu wasn’t the only one who was affected. Nie Yun, Xie Yaoyang, and a couple of other Profound Heaven Alliance experts at the peak of the Fulfillment Realm or the early stage of the Fragmentation Realm were all planning for their futures, hoping that they could obtain a Profound Yin Nine Leaf Lotus.
“Even if he knows whether or not the Horned Demon Race has any Profound Yin Nine Leaf Lotuses, then what?” Qin Lie asked in surprise, “What could he do in his current state?”
“If the Horned Demon Race truly has the Profound Yin Nine Leaf Lotus… then we can exchange this person for them.” Song Zhi did not look like he was joking as he said seriously, “Such a powerful six horned elite must be a pretty important figure within his specific Horned Demon Clan. I believe that the Horned Demon Race would be tempted to exchange the Profound Yin Nine Leaf Lotus for this person. No matter how precious a spirit material is, it is just a spirit material in the end. It should not be more valuable than a six horned elite, right?”
“You are willing to release him alive for the Profound Yin Nine Leaf Lotus?” Qin Lie’s expression changed slightly.
Song Yu, Xie Yaoyang, and Nie Yun nodded in unison.