Chapter 99: The Sky Darkens
Both the sky above and land below of the valley were covered by a great sea of fire. The heat spread out in rolling waves, and the people outside the valley began sweating through their shirts.
Everyone stared solemnly at the valley and waited in silence, hoping that the Eight Extreme Trigram Fire Formation would be able to completely purify the Soul Devouring Beast and eliminate this threat.
Time passed by slowly.
Gradually, following a strange ‘chi chi’ sound that could be heard from inside the valley, a thick, negative aura was starting to be released and spread outside the valley.
“Not only can the Trigram Fire purify the Soul Devouring Beast, it will also purify the negative feelings.” Liang Zhong looked to the crowd and said in a serious manner, “The aura of negativity can be considered a layer of defense for the Soul Devouring Beast, and after it has been vaporized, it still needs some time to dissipate. All of you should be a bit more careful to not have evil thoughts in your hearts. This will prevent your mind from being affected.”
The crowd nodded in understanding and calmed their hearts, protecting their minds from other thoughts.
“Is Qin Lie okay?” Liang Zhong walked over and looked at Qin Lie, whose eyes were tightly closed and body was occasionally shaking, before frowning and saying, “For him to suddenly fall into such a strange state in a situation like this, seriously…”
Although he did not state it directly, everyone knew that he was somewhat blaming Qin Lie. The Dark Asura Hall generals also softly scoffed upon hearing his words.
At a critical juncture, Qin Lie had failed to call down heavenly lightning. In fact, he had even fallen into a strange state of unconsciousness much like deep sleep, and this somewhat caused everyone to be disappointed in him.
“Luckily, Gao Yu is here,” whispered a Dark Asura Hall general before lifting his head to look at Gao Yu, who was moving further away from them. “If he hadn’t left the valley for whatever inexplicable reason, the chance of our plan succeeding would have been much higher.”
The people from Dark Asura Hall all nodded in agreement. They also all thought that Gao Yu’s odd behavior had added a complication to this trip.
Gao Yu did not bother with them and stayed far away from the crowd, wearing a dark expression.
He simply watched Qin Lie.
No one could guess his thoughts, nor could they understand why he kept staring at Qin Lie. They all assumed that Gao Yu was a weird person and felt that he was someone difficult to socialize with.
A thin trace of negative aura quietly creeped out of the valley from amidst the boiling flames.
Those who kept their minds calm and clear of evil thoughts felt uncomfortable and irritable surrounded by these negative auras. Therefore, everyone sat down, steadied their auras, and focused their minds to fight against it.
Na Nuo, Tu Ze, and Xiong Ba all had their eyes closed as they cleansed the hostile feelings inside their hearts. They did not say a word.
However, Shattered Ice Manor’s Yan Ziqian, Feng Kai, and their men were still whispering to each other with cold expressions; a cruel glitter shone through their eyes from time to time.
After a while, the wicked light in the Shattered Ice Manor martial practitioners grew more and more, even Yan Ziqian and Feng Kai had dark expressions on their faces…
The people from Dark Asura Hall did not pay attention to those from Shattered Ice Manor. They were only looking at the burning valley, worried that the Soul Devouring Beast would not die from this.
After a little while, the one-armed Yan Qingsong suddenly let out a harsh yell, to the crowds surprise, and suddenly made a mad rush towards the closest crimson red pillar as though he didn’t care for his life.
The moment he led at the front, Yan Ziqian, Feng Kai, and the other Shattered Ice Manor’s martial practitioners all attacked the crimson red stone pillar as if possessed.
“Boom Boom Boom! Bang Bang Bang!”
They did not care that the flames were burning them or even about their own lives. They used everything in their power to attack the Eight Extreme Trigram Fire Formation’s stone pillars.
These crimson red stone pillars were originally chosen from the stones within the stone forest, so they weren’t very sturdy to begin with. After being burned by fire, the rocks became brittle, and under the combined assault of Yan Ziqian, Feng Kai, and the others desperate attacks, cracks began to appear on two stone pillars.
The moment the cracks appeared, the firelight that was flying out of the two stone pillars subsequently weakened.
The barrier that sealed the sky also grew much weaker, as if a crack had formed somewhere.
The Soul Devouring Beast’s shrill howls abruptly grew savage, and an even stronger wisp of mind consciousness came out of the valley, firmly controlling Yan Ziqian and the rest.
And so, Yan Ziqian and the others’ attacks on the the stone pillars became even more frenzied than before.
“Dammit!” Liang Zhong’s expression turned as he hurriedly summoned the Azure Moon and readied it to attack Yan Ziqian and his men.
Xie Jingxuan’s eyes were also brimming with shock as she looked towards the sky above the valley and noticed the blazing flames erratically shooting everywhere. She immediately knew that the concentrated purification powers of Eight Extreme Trigram Fire Formation had been diminished yet again.
From the Soul Devouring Beast’s howls, she could detect a trace of excitement, and this made her heart sink.
“Uncle Zhong, there’s no need to worry about their identities. Kill them all.” She had a cold look in her eyes as she gave the order.
Even Liang Zhong, who was rushing towards Yan Ziqian and Feng Kai, looked startled upon hearing her words, and even turned his head mid-flight. “Miss, you mean?”
“Just kill them all.” Xie Jingxuan’s tone was indifferent. “You already warned them to shield their minds and clear them of evil thoughts, but they did not heed your advice. They most likely had murderous intentions and thoughts of betrayal in their hearts from the very beginning. Otherwise, they would not be influenced this easily. Their hostility and murderous intent was directed at one of us.”
After a pause, Xie Jingxuan calmly added, “It is possible that person may be you or me…”
“Miss, are you sure?” Liang Zhong frowned.
“Kill them!” Xie Jingxuan yelled coldly.
Liang Zhong gave a great shudder and then immediately stopped himself, sending only his Azure Moon flying.
Like a crescent moon it fell amidst Yan Ziqian, Feng Kai, and the other Shattered Ice Manor martial practitioners. The crescent spun nimbly, blood splattered, and heads flew.
Yan Ziqian and his men were decapitated and killed in their madness, and their blood splattered against the stone pillars in front of them.
Na Nuo, Xiong Ba, Tu Ze, Zhuo Qian and the others opened their eyes at this moment and watched the immediate execution of the Shattered Ice Manor martial practitioners. They all wore pale expressions, and their gazes turned unnatural.
“An opening appeared inside the valley and the Soul Devouring Beast’s evil consciousness had already taken control of Yan Ziqian and his men.” Xie Jingxuan’s voice was cool. “They had been enslaved by the Soul Devouring Beast. If alive, they would only work against us, becoming our enemies, which would place us in an even more unfavorable position.”
After a pause, she began again, “If anyone among you falls under the control of the Soul Devouring Beast, your fate will be the same as theirs.”
The moment the words were said, everyone felt chilled from the bottom of their hearts. They quickly defended their minds and kept them clean, afraid that they would be affected by the negative emotions.
“Miss, can this be repaired?” Liang Zhong asked solemnly.
Xie Jingxuan shook her head and said, “Let’s wait for a little longer.”
“Mn.” Liang Zhong nodded.
The Soul Devouring Beast’s roars would occasionally come from inside the valley, and they were terrifying. After Xie Jingxuan and Liang Zhong listened carefully for a little while, their expressions turned uglier and uglier.
Fifteen minutes later, Xie Jingxuan suddenly said, “We have failed. Let’s prepare to leave. We cannot handle this Soul Devouring Beast on our own.”
“Understood.” Liang Zhong’s eyes shone with obvious terror as he turned to the crowd, “It is no longer possible to stop the Soul Devouring Beast from breaking through. Everyone is to leave this stone forest immediately while it is still in the process of breaking through. Moreover, once you’ve escaped, return as quickly as possible to your respective cities and bring this news to your elders. They should evacuate every man, woman, and child inside the city!”
“Wh-what is going to happen?” Little Sparrow from Water Moon Sect asked sheepishly.
“Once the Soul Devouring Beast successfully breaks through, it will be able to devour souls who are not strong enough to resist. Because of this, it will attack the closest cities first. Icestone City, Crimson Flame City, and Water Moon City will be its first targets, so these three cities will be facing a most terrifying situation.” Liang Zhong let out a sigh. “We will return to Dark Asura Hall immediately and let the hall send out other elites to take care of this matter, but there is no guarantee we will arrive in time. The worst case would be that our men arrive, but the Soul Devouring Beast has already successfully broken through and attacked one of the three cities. The consequences of that will be…”
Listening to his explanation, everyone could imagine the terrible scene of devastation and loss of life. Their faces were all ashen.
“As we are now, there is nothing we can do to stop the Soul Devouring Beast, so the only option left is to escape, immediately. We will clear the way, so the spirit beast hordes will not be a problem. Everyone, evacuate now!” Xie Jingxuan said coldly.
While in extreme terror, everyone hurriedly prepared to leave, ready to rush out of the stone forest immediately and bring grim news to their respective cities.
Xie Jingxuan and Liang Zhong had also mounted their Profound Nether Beasts, and the duo instructed the Dark Asura Hall generals to carry everyone remaining on their unicorns.
“Let’s move Qin Lie up onto a horse first.” Zhuo Qian yelled and extended a hand to support Qin Lie’s shoulders, about to pull him up onto the horse.
“Boom Boom Boom!”
When her arms touched Qin Lie’s shoulders, from inside Qin Lie’s body, there was the sudden roar of rampant thunder, and a bolt of blazing lightning abruptly appeared on Qin Lie’s neck like an intelligent blue snake.
“Ah!” Zhuo Qian yelled in surprise.
Everyone heard her exclamation, then looked towards her and the Qin Lie beside her with incomprehensible eyes…
“Zzzt Zzt Zzzt!”
The bolts of blue lightning were like vines or intelligent snakes. They repeatedly twisted their way out of Qin Lie’s body and entangled him entirely, causing him to look incredibly eerie.
The deafening roars of frantic thunder kept coming from his body, blasting and shaking everyone’s eardrums.
The sky in this region outside the valley was originally shining with sunlight. But at this moment, it had suddenly become covered in dark clouds, and an oppressive feeling silently covered the entire area.
“The sky… the sky has darkened,” said Kang Zhi after lifting his head.
“Clap Clap Clap!”
A bolt of flashing lightning, as thick as a huge dragon, shot out of the clouds of the highest heaven as if it would tear open the sky, accompanied by thunder that sounded like it would destroy the world.
That terrifying thunder and that zigzagging dragon-like lightning shook everyone’s hearts, filling their faces with shock.
“The sun was literally blazing just now, why is there a thunderstorm all of the sudden?” Xiong Ba of Crimson Flame Association looked puzzledly towards the sky. “From the looks of it, is there going to be a huge downpour? What strange weather…”
The rampant thunder grew fiercer and fiercer, so loud that it caused every person to tremble. Streaks of terrifying lightning like pillars that connected the sky and the land.
The thick and long bolts of lightning madly danced in the sky like chains flung about by gods, intimidating everyone there!
“Miss, th-this is…” Liang Zhong lost control and called out.
He was staring straight at Qin Lie.
“Mn, he’s the one who summoned this thunderstorm. From the looks of it… it has exceeded my expectations completely.” Xie Jingxuan’s eyes were bright and shining, and as she looked deeply at Qin Lie she said suddenly, “If… If this thunderstorm can be added to the Eight Extreme Trigram Fire Formation, then purifying the Soul Devouring Beast will not even be a challenge.”
“That’s right!” Liang Zhong grew excited as he hurriedly rushed to Qin Lie’s side and called out, “Qin Lie, can you hear what I’m saying? If it’s possible, can you draw the lightning into the valley?”
“I will go in myself.”
Incredibly, Qin Lie suddenly stood up without warning. His entire body was flashing with lightning and roaring with thunder. As he opened his eyes, it was as though countless electric snakes swam inside them.
Amidst the crowd’s disbelieving eyes, he suddenly headed towards the valley where the Soul Devouring Beast was. The sky filled with lightning and thunder grew even more maniacal and fearsome as it wondrously followed his advancing figure.
Just like a shadow.