Qin Lie, Tu Ze, Na Nuo, and the others were shocked by Gao Yu’s words and looked in the direction he was pointing.
At this moment, Liang Zhong suddenly spoke, “You are Gao Yu? You can come with Qin Lie and I into the depths of the stone forest and help with our mission.”
Gao Yu’s face was dark. “What mission?”
“You will naturally learn.“ Liang Zhong’s brow creased. “You are also of Nebula Pavilion, so you must comply with our orders. You and Qin Lie will come with me. The others are not permitted to enter. Mn, you will naturally understand what you are curious about now if you come with us. You will find out what those black clouds are.”
Finishing, Liang Zhong walked towards the depths of the stone forest and motioned for Qin Lie and Gao Yu to follow.
“Qin Lie, what’s going on?” Tu Ze asked with shock.
Zhuo Qian, Na Nuo and the others also looked at him in hopes that he would spill a bit of information to dispel some of their confusion.
“I really don’t know.”
Qin Lie shook his head. Seeing Liang Zhong’s impatient face, he could not say more. He could only follow with Gao Yu behind Liang Zhong’s Profound Nether Beast as they walked further into the depths of the stone forest.
“Tu Ze, how is he at Nebula Pavilion? I’ve never heard of him before, what are his origins?” After Qin Lie and Gao Yu departed, Na Nuo’s eyes turned as she looked at Zhuo Qian and asked with giggles, “Is he like her, also coming down from Dark Asura Hall to gain experience with your Nebula Pavilion? Who’s his important father?”
The young females of Water Moon Sect also crowded over and prattled their inquiries.
Qin Lie’s arrival had turned the tides of the battle for Tu Ze and the others. He also knew someone that successfully repaired Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian’s failed spirit artifacts. Not only that, but he also seemed to be following Xie Jingxuan and had a large connection to Dark Asura Hall…
They naturally believed that Qin Lie was of extraordinary origins as Zhuo Qian, and that Qin Lie’s identity was of someone even more important.
“Nothing to do with you.” Before Tu Ze could reply, Zhuo Qian snorted and then frowned. “Divide the spirit materials up quickly. We still need to find a place to heal our wounds, so we can’t afford to waste any time here.”
Na Nuo’s face was slightly cold. “The bodies of the spirit beasts are all here. You can cut Shattered Ice Manor’s section, and we can do the remainder ourselves.”
“Chu Peng, Kang Zhi!” Zhuo Qian ordered, “You two take the work. We will be leaving here soon, do not waste time.”
Kang Zhi, Han Feng, and the others had wanted to converse more with the youthful females of Water Moon Sect. Hearing Zhuo Qian order them, they could only helplessly start on their tasks.
Tu Ze sat down to the side and swallowed a few medicinal pills to heal his injuries.
Na Nuo glanced over in this direction but did not speak anymore as though she found it uninteresting. Instead, all she did was silently wait with the group of females.
Qin Lie and Gao Yu followed behind the Profound Nether Beast past a patch of high stone peaks to a strange place where peculiar stones formed a forest.
In this area, the stones were as straight as swords, their tips pointing towards the sky forming a sword forest.
The surroundings were dark and cold, exuding an uncomfortable feeling. However, the natural energies in this place were extremely abundant, much better than anywhere else within the stone forest.
一Under a sword-shaped rock, Xie Jingxuan continued to sit on the Profound Nether Beast as she listened to Ban Hong’s report.
There were many Dark Asura Hall martial practitioners scattered about. All of them were respectful, but there was clear worry between their brows as though they were unsettled by some matter.
Seeing Liang Zhong arriving with Qin Lie and Gao Yu, Xie Jingxuan showed some slight astonishment and stopped Ban Hong. Having Ban Hong step aside, she then motioned for Liang Zhong to come forward.
The Profound Nether Beast that Liang Zhong was riding moved forward. He knew what she wanted to ask and explained preemptively, “This boy is Gao Yu. He has been pursuing a soul fragment of the Soul Devouring Beast from Icestone City. The boy says he can feel the presence of the Soul Devouring Beast’s soul fragment. Just now, when we were outside, he pointed to the area we put our highest priority on and said that there are more soul fragments of the Soul Devouring Beast there…”
Xie Jingxuan’s eyes grew slightly brighter as she looked to Gao Yu. “He is that sensitive to soul?”
“Mn, the spirit art the boy is cultivating is special, it seems… to be the kind of spell that can control vengeful spirits.” Liang Zhong lowered his voice, “This kind of art is hard to find and extremely difficult to cultivate. Additionally, it is hard to accomplish anything with it. Even within Dark Asura Hall, there are rarely people that cultivate such a dark and unpredictable spirit art. I felt that he would be of use, so I brought him as well.”
Xie Jingxuan nodded slightly.
“Miss, I just recently inspected the spirit artifacts in Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian’s possession. The spirit diagrams that were mended… was completed by the same person who made the spirit diagrams in the Spirit Gathering Boards,” Liang Zong said in a deep voice.
“Hm?” Xie Jingxuan did not understand.
“It’s like this,” Liang Zhong explained, “Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian had invited Great Master Lu to forge the spirit artifacts but problems happened in the process; supposedly, the spirit diagrams were in conflict. As a result… Great Master Lu did not complete either of the two spirit artifacts and caused both spirit artifacts to become defective. Qin Lie took the two defective artifacts and said he would seek someone to help complete the spirit diagrams. On the trip here, he gave the two spirit artifacts back to Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian…”
Liang Zhong paused and then said, “You saw the results as well. The two spirit artifacts perfectly complemented Tu Zi and Zhuo Qian’s spirit arts as though they were made specifically for them and became a part of their user’s bodies.”
Xie Jingxuan’s eyes lit up. “You mean?”
“Hehe, it seems the owner of Li’s Shop is a great artificer.” Liang Zhong’s face showed great respect. “He is able to give new life to the spirit artifacts that Great Master Lu had failed to make. This person’s skill in forging is definitely a level above Great Master Lu!”
“Are you sure it is him?” Xie Jingxuan murmured to herself.
“Of course, it has to be him.” Liang Zhong was very confident. “I have long been suspicious that the Spirit Gathering Boards were made by Li Mu’s hands. Even Armament Pavilion doesn’t have something this unique, and we never saw them anywhere else. Where would Li Mu get his inventory? The spirit diagrams inside these two spirit artifacts are the same as the ones in the Spirit Gathering Boards, isn’t that enough to show a connection?”
Xie Jingxuan thought and then nodded lightly. “It seems so.”
“When we go to Li’s Shop next time, we need to be more careful. Such a high level artificer must have a great background.” Liang Zhong’s expression was stern. “I will also get people to investigate this Li Mu’s true identity and examine his history.”
“Mn, if there are more Spirit Gathering Boards, we can probably relax this time, “ Xie Jingxuan said.
“Miss, what is the situation right now?” Liang Zhong inquired.
“Look for yourself.” Xie Jingxuan sighed lightly.
Liang Zhong’s face became heavy. He suddenly flew up from the Profound Nether Beast and nimbly climbed onto the largest stone peak. After he quickly got on top of the pillar, he looked on from his vantage point, ten meters high.
Upon looking down, he saw there was an area in the depths of the stone forest that was shrouded in black cloud, completely hiding what was within.
The black clouds moved as though they were alive and emitted an extremely dark, cold, and malicious presence. Even this far away, Liang Zhong could feel the terrifying ripples inside it.
There were many spirit beasts surrounding there, many of which were Rank Two. These spirit beasts gathered around the black cloud and closed off every path that lead in.
If one wanted to reach the thickest part of the black cloud, they had to kill spirit beasts and, at the very least, create a path themselves.
Liang Zhong’s brows were deeply locked. He made a rough calculation and found there were hundreds of Rank One spirit beasts and twenty to thirty Rank Two spirit beasts. It would be hard work to clean out a road, not very easy at all.
After watching for a while, Liang Zhong’s brow did not relax as he said, “The situation is not optimistic.”
“Mn, we brought too few people and did not predict that so many spirit beasts would have gathered up. It is unlikely that making a path will be easy.” Xie Jingxuan thought for a while and said, “We might have to use Tu Ze, Na Nuo, and the others…”
“What does Miss plan to make them do?” Liang Zhong asked respectfully.
“They will gather and draw away spirit beasts from that side. At best, they can kill some and take some of the pressure off us.” Xie Jingxuan’s face was indifferent as she calmly continued, “We cannot expend too much energy on the spirit beasts or waste too much strength. The Soul Devouring Beast… is our goal and also our most important mission this time around.”
“The young ones are too weak. If they truly enrage the spirit beasts, there will be heavy losses,” Liang Zhong said worriedly.
“On this road, everyone must face hardship and contend with death at all times. I know that it really is a difficult task for them to face herd of spirit beasts, but we do not have any better solutions.” Xie Jingxuan was also helpless. She thought and then said, “When I was ten, I was already fighting in the first level of the Nether Battlefield and have ended up before death’s door many times. Unless they are baptized by blood, these people cannot be left in charge. They will never be even able to take a single step into Dark Asura Hall at any point in their lives. They otherwise cannot be of help to us.”
“Understood.” Liang Zhong listened for a while and inwardly sighed. He then nodded lightly. “I will arrange it.”
Six hours later.
Xiong Ba of Crimson Flame Association, Na Nuo of Water Moon Sect, Yan Ziqian who had just finished treating his wounds as well as Tu Ze, Zhuo Qian, and the others all appeared in this area.
Qin Lie and Gao Yu were also at the location and had shocked expressions as they looked at Liang Zhong who had gathered everyone.
“Originally, I hadn’t not planned to have you all participate, but the current situation is dire, and we need to borrow your strength to take a portion of the pressure from the spirit beasts off of us.” Liang Zhong came to the front of the members from all four factions and sat high up on his Profound Nether Beast as he said, “A Soul Devouring Beast has somehow escaped from the Nether Battlefield. Taking advantage of the chaotic battle between spirit beasts and martial practitioners in the Arctic Mountain Range, this Soul Devouring Beast has consumed a large number of soul and quickly evolved, rapidly increasing its strength.”
“Soul Devouring Beasts are spirit beasts of the Nether Battlefield. This Soul Devouring Beast evolves quickly. As the souls it consumes become stronger, it can continue to evolve without limit! Rank Three Soul Devouring Beasts possess the ability to divide their souls. The main soul can be divided into dozens of soul fragments that can leave the body to search for and consume souls.”
“The black cloud Gao Yu saw was one of the soul fragments of the Soul Devouring Beast that was consuming the souls of those who had just recently died to increase its strength.”
“The fighting between spirit beast and martial practitioners in Arctic Mountain Range has been frequent. Many spirit beasts have died, and many of our martial practitioners have sacrificed themselves. This Soul Devouring Beast managed to catch this one in a thousand chance. When this Soul Devouring Beast came out of the Nether battlefield, it was just Rank One, and now it is Rank Three and progressing to becoming Rank Four. It is becoming even more frightening.
Liang Zhong pointed deep into the stone forest with a heavy expression. “Right now, it is in the depths of the stone forest. It will soon attempt to reach Rank Four. If you cannot kill it before it breaks into Rank Four, when that happens, it will acquire new abilities and become extremely difficult to kill. It will become a never-ending threat!”