Only about ten breaths of time after Bai Xiaochun and Gongsun Wan’er entered the web, the hole closed up behind them. Not even the slightest mark remained behind to indicate that it had once existed there.
Now, they were separated from the larger world outside.
Inside of the enormous webby chrysalis, Bai Xiaochun and Gongsun Wan’er had very serious expressions on their faces. Currently, they stood on a vast plain.
There were no plants visible, nor any mountains. Even the land was parched and cracked, and seemingly devoid of any life force. In fact, other than the drifting mists, it didn’t contain anything!
Gongsun Wan’er looked around quietly, then pointed off into the distance. “Last time I was in Murknine County, I passed by this area, and I distinctly remember there being a mountain range over there….”
Bai Xiaochun looked at the area toward which Gongsun Wan’er was pointing and saw absolutely nothing.
The two of them exchanged a glance, and both could see the fear and bewilderment in each other’s eyes.
“Interesting,” Gongsun Wan’er said. “There aren’t many things in the Eternal Immortal Domains that can be disturbing to celestials like us. A few days ago, Murknine County was the same as ever, only to suddenly become like this…. As far as I can remember, nothing like this has ever happened before!” Eyes flickering, she sent some divine sense out. Being the domineering person she was, she did nothing to conceal her presence, and even unleashed the power of her cultivation base, announcing to any entities within Murknine County that she had arrived.
Of course, Bai Xiaochun’s personality was very different. Squatting down, he scooped up a handful of soil.
It almost felt like nothing more than ash. He blew on it, and it dispersed into the air. Everything as far as the eye could see was the same, covered with layer upon layer of ash.
“This is even worse than the areas outside that the mists have covered,” he murmured.
Gongsun Wan’er retracted her divine sense, a frown on her face. Strangely, after sending her divine sense out past a certain level, she was unable to retract it, and was forced to simply dispel it.
Performing an incantation gesture with her right hand, she reached up and touched her forehead, then sent out some more divine sense.
“There’s a village up ahead,” she said. “Something’s alive there, but my divine sense can’t enter the area, so it’s hard to say what.”
With that, she blurred into motion. As for Bai Xiaochun, he suppressed his unease, took a deep breath, and followed her.
Everything was absolutely still and quiet, without even the hint of any wind. Strangely, it wasn’t very dark, as the webby chrysalis which made up the sky actually glowed with bright light. Although mortals wouldn’t be able to see it, considering the level of Bai Xiaochun and Gongsun Wan’er’s cultivation bases, they were able to see everything very clearly.
They moved with speed that vastly surpassed demigods. In overall size, Murknine County was actually about the same size as the Heavenspan Realm, but at their current speed, it only took an incense stick’s worth of time before they saw the village up ahead!
In the past, the village might not have been very eye-catching, but now, it most certainly was. Absolutely nothing existed around it other than ash. In contrast, the village was perfectly preserved, and there even appeared to be lamps flickering, and smoke rising up into the air from chimneys.
That only served to make Bai Xiaochun more uneasy. However, no sensation of crisis arose within him as he and Gongsun Wan’er sped closer and closer.
They stopped outside of the village, and as they did… the sound of a young girl laughing suddenly drifted out into the silence!
“Hehehe….” The sudden laughter caused Bai Xiaochun and Gongsun Wan’er’s expressions to flicker.
What was even stranger was that the laughter continued on without cease. Eventually, Gongsun Wan’er snorted coldly.
“Who dares to try to act spooky in front of me!?” A mysterious, ghostly fire sprang up in her eyes as she flew into the village. Now that Bai Xiaochun thought about it, all other types of ghostly beings paled in comparison to Ghostmother. Calming down a bit, he headed into the village after her.
It wasn’t very large, only enough to fit about a hundred households. The streets were clean, very different from the dusty world beyond its borders. There were even many lights twinkling in the windows of the buildings.
But then Bai Xiaochun sent some divine sense out, and realized that he couldn’t sense any actual living beings. His face sank a bit.
Gongsun Wan’er began to push open some of the doors of the buildings, and soon found that they were completely unoccupied. Some of the tables were set with food, but no one sat at them to eat it.
If that were all there were to it, it might not be a big deal. But the endless laughter of that girl continued to assail their ears. And even after entering the village itself, it was impossible to ascertain its source. It was as if it existed everywhere at once.
Divine sense couldn’t even determine its general origin, much less find the girl herself.
Even more unsettling was that the laughter began to come faster and faster, until it caused a sense of impending crisis in Bai Xiaochun’s heart. Then, with no warning whatsoever, it ceased!
Before Bai Xiaochun and Gongsun Wan’er could look around to investigate, the same girl's voice could be heard again. But this time, she wasn’t laughing, she was crying!
Her sobs were filled with bitterness, despair, and even madness, and were far louder than the laughter had been. At that point, the previously still Murknine County was suddenly filled with a gale force wind!
Sounds like muffled thunder filled the air, which was now filled with endless ash and grit. At that point, a hair-raising feeling of danger rose up in Bai Xiaochun.
“Gongsun Wan’er, you’re Ghostmother, right? Can't you hurry up and find whatever ghosts are around here?” At that point he turned to look at her, only to find that she had vanished!
His heart immediately began to pound. Considering the level of his cultivation base, if Gongsun Wan’er had left the area, he should have been able to tell. And yet… she was nowhere to be seen.
“This place is too creepy!” he thought. “Gongsun Wan’er couldn’t have left, which means there’s only one thing that could have happened! There must be a spell formation here that causes space to overlap!” He quickly sent his divine sense out again, simultaneously slapping his bag of holding to produce a fifteen-colored flame. Even as the light of the flame illuminated the area, he threw it down at the ground.
A massive explosion ensued, much like when a drop of water is thrown into a vat of boiling oil.
Flame rippled out in all directions, ripping away at something that was like a veil of concealment. As that happened, Gongsun Wan’er became visible.
She looked shocked, but at the same time, relieved to see Bai Xiaochun. Meanwhile, the explosion of the fifteen-colored flame engulfed the village, causing many of the buildings to dissolve into ashes, and leaving Bai Xiaochun and Gongsun Wan’er within a raging sea of fire.
Even as the fire burned, the weeping continued. However, as the roughly one hundred houses in the village were burned to the ground, Bai Xiaochun realized that in the second story of one of the buildings was a wooden cot. Laying on that cot was a marionette, who was looking at Bai Xiaochun… and weeping.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
This is a bonus chapter brought to you by romilaggarwal611, who won the "wrong but believable prediction" challenge back in chapter 987. If I'm not mistaken, this is the second time for romilaggarwal611 to have won a challenge! Congrats!