The strange things they were seeing far surpassed anything they had seen during the first part of the journey. The trip from East Sea City to World City had been like a romp through the park compared to this. Although they had faced some tricky situations, overall, everything had gone quite smoothly.
The path from World City to Great Wall City was much more tempestuous. Whether it was the vegetation or the animals, everything was bizarre to the extreme, and of course, left Bai Xiaochun completely terrified. Even Zhao Tianjiao, with his incredible cultivation base and extraordinary courage, proceeded with extreme caution.
Chen Yueshan seemed a bit pale in the face, and the others in the group were shaken terribly on numerous occasions. Even the slightest breeze left them jumpy.
This was a very different world than the one they were used to. The spiritual energy was weak, leaving everyone feeling stifled. They even had to rely on magical devices and spirit stones to sustain flight.
As for the spiritual energy within their bodies, they didn’t dare to use it. In fact, to prevent it from seeping out, Zhao Tianjiao magically sealed himself.
Everyone else took similar actions. Of course, Bai Xiaochun had taken such precautions much earlier....
Although sealing one’s own body would slightly reduce one’s spiritual senses, it would solve the problem of leaking spiritual energy. That was important in a place where spiritual energy was scarce, and one was essentially adrift alone, unconnected to heaven and earth.
That method was useful for solving the problem of spiritual energy leakage, but did nothing to alleviate the danger. Whether it was because of the souls flying about, or the bizarre entities which inhabited these lands, they had to proceed with extreme caution.
Despite their carefulness, an incident occurred about two months after they left World City. They were all sitting cross-legged on the magical skiff that Zhao Tianjiao had purchased, when suddenly, a terrifying howl split the air.
The deafening cry pierced through the skiff’s sealing shields to batter the minds of everyone onboard. Zhao Tianjiao’s eyes opened, and Bai Xiaochun’s heart trembled. Everyone looked up in the sky to see what appeared to be clouds converging together.
Within moments, they had taken the shape of an enormous beetle, fully 3,000 meters long, which quickly turned pitch black!
Clearly, this 3,000-meter-long pitch-black beetle was attempting to block their path, and its intense howls caused everything in the area to shake.
“A Wildlands cloudgyre!!” Chen Yueshan blurted. Zhao Tianjiao’s face fell, and the others in the group seemed equally shaken.
“The origin of Wildlands cloudgyres are unclear,” Zhao Tianjiao said, “and no one knows exactly how they form. If I remember correctly, they can pop up anywhere in the Wildlands, whether that’s inside the Great Wall or outside!
“They have no predefined form, and can take almost any shape, even that of plants or vegetation. Clearly, this cloudgyre has taken the form of a beetle!
“Cloudgyres aren’t really animals; they’re a manifestation of the weather, and one this big will surely attract the attention of Great Wall City!”
Without any hesitation, he steered the flying skiff to the side in an attempt to avoid the black beetle. As the skiff veered off course, an intense sensation of danger filled Bai Xiaochun, and his heart leapt up into his throat.
However, even as they tried to change directions, the 3,000-meter-long beetle stopped roaring and then looked over at them with a cold gaze.
That gaze in and of itself was enough to drive Bai Xiaochun wild with fear, and send his mind spinning. Everyone else was also sweating in fear.
Before anyone could react, the black beetle once again let out a deafening roar, then opened its mandibles....
Instantly, a gravitational force spread out, accompanied by thunderous rumblings and screaming winds. It was almost as if the black beetle’s mandibles had become a black hole!
Everything began to shake, causing dust and pebbles to rise up into the air, and even distorting the clouds above. A nearby flock of vicious-looking birds screamed as they were sucked toward the beetle.
The ground was shaking so hard that a hill in the area was ripped off of the ground and began to spin toward the beetle.
Everyone’s minds were being battered by waves of shock, and as they did their best to remain firmly attached to the skiff, their hair and garments whipped in the wind. If they weren’t already being protected by the spiritual power of the vessel itself, they would have been pulled out into the air and ripped to shreds. In fact, the skiff was already twisting and distorting on the verge of breaking.
From high above, it looked like the black beetle was the center of an enormous vortex sucking in everything around it, even the trees!
Zhao Tianjiao, Bai Xiaochun and everyone else were extremely nervous, and didn’t think for a moment about conserving spiritual energy. They immediately unleashed the full power of their cultivation bases to power the skiff as it flew out of the vortex.
As the skiff struggled through the air, the spirit stones which had been placed into its power slots glittered with bright light, then turned dark and transformed into ash.
The spirit stones having been fully drained, and with the extra power from the cultivation bases of the entire group, the skiff seemed to roar with rage as it pulled out of the gravitational vortex and then shot off into the distance.
Behind them, the black beetle howled in rage, but didn’t pursue them.
Bai Xiaochun sat there in taciturn silence, his mind a blank. All of his cultivation base power was being poured into the skiff, and it was the same with everyone else. Only after they had gone all out to flee, and were some distance away, did they slow the skiff and stop near a random mountain. There, they breathed long sighs of relief, and exchanged awkward glances that were tinged with lingering fear.
“That cloudgyre... was at least as powerful as the great circle of the Nascent Soul stage....”
“Cloudgyre....” Bai Xiaochun looked over his shoulder in the direction they had fled from. He felt like he had just barely made it out of that situation with his poor little life. If the flying skiff hadn’t been able to rip free from the gravitation vortex, what would have happened...?
There was no answer to the question. In the Wildlands, cloudgyres didn’t just cause problems for cultivator, but the savages as well. They were manifestations of the weather, not the power of humans, and nothing that entered their jaws ever came back out alive.
Therefore, no one really knew what happened to the things that they consumed....
“I can't believe that freakish thing even exists....” Bai Xiaochun said with a frown.
Trying to sound comforting, Zhao Tianjiao said, “With our command medallions... we should be mostly safe as long as we’re careful. As long as we don’t go beyond the Great Wall....”
Chen Yueshan was a bit ashen, but she nodded. The only thing they could do in this sparsely populated land was hope that the power of the command medallions truly would keep them safe. That was what they were designed to do, considering that they were disciples of the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect.
“You sure about that...?” Bai Xiaochun said, scowling on the verge of tears as he pulled out the command medallion. He already regretted coming along with Zhao Tianjiao to this place. It would have been a much better idea to stay holed up in East Sea City for ten years. Better and safer!
Evening was falling. Unfortunately, draining the spirit stones to gain a burst of speed had damaged the power slots on the skiff, and they couldn't use it anymore.
However, Zhao Tianjiao and his group had begun the journey well prepared. After a bit of rest, Chen Yueshan produced another flying skiff, which they set up with new spirit stones and then resumed their journey.
Along the way, they were even more cautious than before. They had wasted a lot of their own cultivation base power, and the spiritual energy of heaven and earth was very weak. Therefore, they had to use spirit stones to recover, a process which was long and difficult.
Two more months went by. During that time, they faced some dangerous situations, but passed through them all safely. Even still, the mental strain was growing.
Thankfully, the slow and steady recovering process of their cultivation bases had pushed them close to their peak level. As a result, Bai Xiaochun felt a lot safer than before.
At one point, Zhao Tianjiao shook his head and said, “Even I still can't believe that things are so dangerous inside the Great Wall.... I wonder what it’s like on the other side.
“Xiaochun, our main goal still hasn’t changed. After we get to the Great Wall, we’re going outside to get some experience. Are you going to join us?”
Bai Xiaochun looked out wistfully at the lands around them, and then shook his head.
“I don’t think so,” he replied. “Um... I think I’ll explore Great Wall City a bit. The better I get to know the city, the less trouble I’ll have later on.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter