Chapter 80: A Successive String of Bizarre Occurrences
Except, Jiang Chen possessed superb skills and was quite daring. He put his apprehensions to the side.
Indeed, after proceeding roughly fifty to one hundred kilometers, the depth of the Boundless Catacombs became noticeably deeper. The various underground creatures within the catacombs also became more lively.
Jiang Chen’s hauls became rich again on the following third and fourth days.
Eleven green spirit pearls on the third day…
Eight spirit pearls on the fourth day…
The sum total at the end of the four days was 34 pearls in total.
“Four days and 34 pearls. At this rate, I can still complete the mission ahead of time.” Jiang Chen calculated that there was still a difference of 66 pearls between his current gains and the requirements of the mission.
However, a bizarre thing happened again on the fifth day.
The number of Greenwing Swordbirds in the surrounding fifty to one hundred kilometers had once again decreased.
“Do the Greenwing Swordbirds really possess this level of intelligence?” Jiang Chen was a bit confused. There was no such detail included in the introduction from the official information in the Hidden Dragon Trials.
In addition, according to the experience of those who’d gone before him, there should be enough numbers of Greenwing Swordbirds in the first and second levels for everyone.
Only a mission of the first rank would need occasional venturing into the third level.
Yet, according to Jiang Chen’s calculations, he should’ve already entered the second level, and it was quite apparent that the Greenwing Swordbirds had all been slaughtered.
“Damn it, someone’s screwing with me! When did the Greenwing Swordbirds become so hard to find? The information was all lies! It said that the most common creature underground was this Greenwing Swordbird, but I haven’t even seen a freaking feather these days.”
“Seriously. I’m only attempting a mission of the seventh rank, and only need ten green spirit pearls. Are the heavens preventing me from completing even such a simple mission?”
Jiang Chen once again heard similar complaints.
He too felt that it was odd. Logically speaking, if the Greenwing Swordbirds were this hard to find, then the quota set by the mission wouldn’t be this high.
Could it be that someone had driven away the Greenwing Swordbirds through man made measures?
Jiang Chen’s brow creased faintly at the thought of this possibility. This wasn’t outside the realm of possibility. With Long Yinye and Long Juxue’s domineering traits, they could absolutely commit this sort of action.
“If they had some sort of special methods to drive away all the Greenwing Swordbirds, or to release a signal that the Swordbirds were afraid of, they could absolutely drive all the Greenwing Swordbirds into the depths of the catacombs.”
Jiang Chen cursed inwardly when his thoughts traveled down this path. He felt that his speculations were right on target.
“If it truly is as I’ve speculated, then the Long brother and sister are simply being too ruthless. They’re cutting off the path of survival for the heirs of the low ranked dukedoms!”
The strength of the heirs of the low ranked dukedoms were mediocre. They didn’t have the ability to wander into the third level of the catacombs, and could only flit around in guerilla warfare in the first and second levels.
If all the Greenwing Swordbirds were driven away from the first and second levels, then it’d a disaster of annihilation for these people!
“But what benefits would this bring to them?” Jiang Chen thought carefully.
To make it more convenient for them to hunt? Although that reason was possible, it couldn’t be the main reason. With the strength of the Long brother and sister, they wouldn’t spend so much effort to kill Greenwing Swordbirds.
To suppress other dukes? This possibility was also likely. After all, the Duke of Soaring Dragon had overweening ambitions. Suppressing the dukes that weren’t on his side, and helping those under his banner to achieve their aims, thus causing the various dukedoms to come under his jurisdiction… this was highly likely!
“Mm! If the Long brother and sister killed enough Greenwing Swordbirds, those under their banner could receive green spirit pearls from their hands, while the heirs that were an eyesore in their eyes would receive faces full of dust and nothing at all, even losing their dukedom!”
Such vicious malice! Indeed, a malicious scheme for the purposes of extinction!
“There is indeed nothing that the Long family won’t do. However, how would I, Jiang Chen, be led by the nose by you?” Jiang Chen was also thoroughly infuriated by the Long family plots.
Jiang Chen simply decided not to proceed any further. Four or five days worth of hunting had given him a great deal of training. The portents of an imminent breakthrough had repeatedly appeared at the boundaries of his eight meridians true qi.
Jiang Chen found an isolated corner, and simply decided to start training.
If Jiang Chen had the intentions to conceal himself, he actually wouldn’t be worried that anyone would come disturb him in the Boundless Catacombs. However, just because no one could find him, didn’t mean that it was absolutely safe.
The most frightening things in these catacombs were the underground creatures.
Jiang Chen prepared a few simple setups, and cleverly arranged all sorts of poison, forming a self preservation trap.
Whether it was man or underground creature, as long as they ventured into this ring, they would be poisoned.
Two days passed.
Jiang Chen opened his eyes. He firmly suppressed each current of raging true qi within his body. Nine meridians true qi were as if nine overflowing rivers, with extensive momentum, as they ran rampant throughout his body.
“Further progress has been made, another step has been taken forward.” A satisfied smile was shown on Jiang Chen’s face. “Nine meridians true qi is the peak of the advanced realm of true qi. Another step forward will allow me to become a true qi master. Except, with my current training, what need would I have to fear of a true qi master of ten meridians true qi?”
It wasn’t that Jiang Chen was over confident, but that he truly had the capital to be arrogant.
After entering nine meridians true qi, one’s battle strength was bound to increase in spades when accompanied by strong martial techniques.
Particularly “God’s Eye”. After surviving in the catacombs for six or seven days, Jiang Chen could clearly feel that the realm of “God’s Eye” had risen again, and had entered the sixth level.
“It looks like my ‘God’s Eye’ is the most remarkable out of the four great abilities. It’s pitch black within the catacombs, but it’s actually benefited the training of ‘God’s Eye’ the most.”
The sixth level of “God’s Eye” was indeed on a much more advanced level when compared to before. There was no difference between a dark and gloomy day during the daytime and these dark catacombs to Jiang Chen’s eyes.
Although his vision wasn’t as wide as it would be on a sunny day, it was already a potent advantage when compared to the other practitioners.
A breakthrough and an increase in strength. This made Jiang Chen feel even more assured.
“Long brother and sister, I wonder what kind of mess the two of you have created now! Huh, no matter what kind of disturbance they create, all will still have to come to a head in the third level. The fourth level is a forbidden zone. Princess Zouyu has emphasized and repeated her warnings that we can’t enter it. Therefore, as much as they create havoc, the third level is their absolute limit!”
Jiang Chen was different from the lower ranked dukedom heirs. Those people were unwilling to venture into the third level, but he, Jiang Chen, had the capability to do so.
When Jiang Chen walked out of this isolated corner, he discovered that he had underestimated the intelligence of others. He discovered from the random comments and remarks of the outside world that the heirs had already discovered that someone was up to mischief. The heirs had all now formed into groups of two or three, and were heading into the third level.
The power of one was limited, but a team would work, right?
As for who was up to mischief, most speculations pointed to the Long brother and sister.
However, there was another frightening sort of rumor that splashed this pail of dirty water onto him, Jiang Chen!
“Looks like the Long brother and sister have spent some effort, and thought about targeting me?” Jiang Chen smiled coolly. He was weary of the game of the cat catching the mice.
Since there were so many boring speculations in the outside world, Jiang Chen decisively decided not to conceal himself anymore, and not avoid crowds as he had done before.
One day later, Jiang Chen felt that the temperature in the catacombs had decreased even more. The marsh and bog beneath his feet also felt ripe with danger.
“Looks like I’ve entered the third level.” Jiang Chen became prudent and cautious with where he set his feet.
Monsters would occasionally bubble up from the depths of this marsh. There were tentacled monsters, evil plants, and all sorts of armor eating demonic bugs…
Even Jiang Chen’s progress forward noticeably slowed down.
However, the amount of Greenwing Swordbirds noticeably increased after entering the third level.
Except, Jiang Chen had to spend quite a bit of time handling the numerous threats beneath his feet. It was bound to affect his hunt of Greenwing Swordbirds.
Jiang Chen killed another twenty three Greenwing Swordbirds after three days.
In this way, he’d collected 57 green spirit pearls.
Precisely ten days had passed.
“57 pearls in ten days. This is a bit slower than I’d thought. Except, oddly enough, why hasn’t there been a single Silverwing Swordbird along the way?”
Jiang Chen was a bit tired of killing Greenwing Swordbirds. One had to know that one Silverwing Swordbird would result in one silver pearl.
One silver pearl was the equivalent of ten green spirit pearls.
Jiang Chen only had 43 green spirit pearls left to collect, but if converted into silver spirit pearls, that was only five silver spirit pearls.
“Look, that’s Jiang Chen!”
“Yeah, this Jiang Chen has finally appeared. But why is he still collecting green spirit pearls?”
“This means that he shouldn’t be the one causing trouble. If it was him, he would’ve long since collected enough!”
Jiang Chen had purposefully revealed himself to prove this point to the outside world, and to force the Long brother and sister duo out from the corners.
“Brother Jiang Chen.” Bai Zhanyun walked out from a dark corner.
“Brother Bai.” The two of them had formed a friendship after an exchange of blows. Jiang Chen didn’t harbor any ill intent towards Bai Zhanyun, and at least the latter was aware of his error, and was being responsible for it.
“You must also know that someone is causing trouble within the Boundless Catacombs, and has driven all of the Greenwing Swordbirds to the third level. This has caused everyone to have a very difficult time in hunting. Ten days have passed, but most are quite far off from reaching their quota! How has brother Jiang Chen fared?”
“I’m still half off.” Jiang Chen didn’t bother concealing anything.
“Then this means that brother Jiang Chen isn’t the one causing trouble?”
“Do you think I’m that bored?” Jiang Chen’s tone was remote. “Some people are obsessed with ambition, and seek to dictate the competition through control of the Greenwing Swordbirds, thus controlling the jurisdiction of the dukedoms. This is an act of ‘Those who adhere to me will ascend, and those who defy me will die’.”
“This… can the Long family really be behind this?” Bai Zhanyun’s face grew slightly cold.
Others immediately detected the abnormalities in this when everything was laid out. They called out, “Right, look everyone! Who are amongst those unable to hunt down Greenwing Swordbirds? Have you seen any of the heirs that are close to Soaring Dragon?”
“That’s right, we haven’t seen any of them! This Long family is indeed manipulating the competition!”
“Damn it, too despicable and utterly shameless! This is still the dominion of the Eastern Kingdom! Aren’t they afraid of arousing public anger with their actions?”
The pent up range and anger of these heirs were unleashed in the span of a moment.
This matter was quite clear now. Those who weren’t close with the Duke of Soaring Dragon, or hadn’t come under his banner were basically empty handed, with no gains whatsoever.
Those heirs close to the Duke of Soaring Dragon were conspicuously absent from the premises.
Even idiots could see that the Long brother and sister were behind this!
However, they also tragically discovered that the rules of the Hidden Dragon Trials didn’t seem to prohibit such things from happening.