The search was troublesome. These experts were systematically scanning the ground and forest that was located beneath the mountain on which they had found refuge.
There were experts split into groups; some were moving on the ground, traversing the forest from beneath, while a small group was patrolling the skies on flying Fierce Beasts.
They were combing through the area with meticulous care, and Xue Wei gritted his teeth and felt uncomfortable.
He knew nothing of Hei Gou's change – that he now had wings and was capable of flying at lightning speed – as he had been unconscious when they escaped Lingyun Town.
"I need to save my newfound brother," Xue Wei mumbled to himself as he looked at Hei Gou with worried eyes.
Hei Gou was in a deep sleep. His eyes were closed, and his breathing was steady. When Xue Wei looked at Hei Gou, he was reminded of the black lines under his eyes and how his body had seemed incredibly feeble the moment that Xue Wei had awakened.
Xue Wei knew by instinct that Hei Gou had watched over him, day in and day out, for a long time. The black dog had ensured that he was safe, and constantly worried about what to do should their pursuers catch up to them.
Even though Hei Gou had known that their lives were at risk and that someone would eventually discover their location, he had still faithfully remained by Xue Wei's side, knowing full well that he was putting his life at risk.
Xue Wei, who knew all of this, had not said any words of thanks to Hei Gou. He had instead kept the warmth in his heart, and he would do anything to protect his brother.
The hunters came closer and closer to the mountain. Xue Wei's body tensed more and more. He started considering his options.
Should he run away? Use his own body to lure the experts away from Hei Gou? Although that was risky for him, it was likely that it would be the best solution. Even so, he could not guarantee they would leave the mountain residence unchecked the moment Xue Wei showed himself.
Hei Gou was still deeply asleep. The black circles under his eyes were slowly vanishing, and he seemed as if he was improving by the minute.
Since Hei Gou was getting better, Xue Wei did not want to trouble him, but he was at a complete loss for what to do.
He sat down and started thinking about what exactly was happening. He knew that the more he thought, the more danger they were in, but he was hesitant. He did not wish to leave Hei Gou now that he had finally found a friend, but he was also willing to give up his life for said friend, knowing full well that his friend would do the same for him.
Xue Wei was deep in thought when he suddenly felt something moving in the cave. When he looked up, he saw that Hei Gou was awake and sat on the stone bed while looking at him with worry in his eyes.
"You did not sleep a lot," Xue Wei said, but Hei Gou just shrugged his shoulders. Although he had not slept for a long time, his face was much less haggard than before. The charming smile that he always wore was back in position.
"Well, what is happening? You look as if you are about to make a life-changing decision? It is natural that I cannot sleep when you are making the atmosphere so tense!"
Xue Wei grimaced. He knew that he could not hide anything from Hei Gou at the current point in time, so instead he pointed out of the cave, moved to the side, and allowed the black dog to see for himself.
When he saw what was happening outside, his handsome face turned solemn and his smile faltered for a short moment.
"I knew they were supposed to arrive sooner or later, but this is unexpected and rather unfortunate," Hei Gou sighed and Xue Wei nodded his head.
"I am thinking of using myself as bait," Xue Wei said. "I will run away as fast and as far as I can while you move the other way. They will chase me so you should be able to escape safely."
Hei Gou's face turned dark, and the smile completely vanished. An ice cold feeling started spreading from his body, which took Xue Wei by surprise.
"I am not going to run away!" Hei Gou hissed. Were he not worried that his voice would alert the pursuers of their location, then he would clearly have screamed at the top of his lungs.
"We are in this together so we live and we die together as brothers!" he exclaimed fervently. "Also don't give up just yet," the smile returned to his lips.
"We have one path of escape," he said and his voice was suddenly filled with confidence.
"I told you before," Hei Gou said with a grin, "my body transformed the moment I merged my blood with yours."
"I am now not just an ordinary Celestial Dog. I am a mutated one. My body has grown wings, and I will be able to outrun most Fierce Beasts equivalent to the Heavenly Warriors, but I do not know for how long I will be able to keep that up."
"The only reason I am able to do so is because my strength is equivalent to a Peak Sky Warrior, as I am a Primordial Beast whose body has mutated."
"The mutation has improved everything about me; I am a serious contender now when it comes to the youths with the highest potential in the current younger generation of Primordial Beasts."
"Since this is the case, I imagine that it is possible for me to fly away from the Fierce Beasts on our tail." Hei Gou sounded confident, but when Xue Wei looked at him, he saw a slight hesitation within his eyes.
"I will gladly put my life in your hands," Xue Wei said decisively. "If we get caught, then so be it, we will figure out something together. And if we die, then we have at least lived a few days more than we would have on our own."
Hei Gou nodded his head. "I will rest for another hour," he said decisively. His smile was nowhere to be seen, and although he sounded confident, he knew that his physical condition was far from optimal.
"I am going to cultivate too," Xue Wei said. "Perhaps I can have a breakthrough in the Azure Dragon Scripture," he said after a bit of hesitation. However, the moment those words left Xue Wei’s mouth, Hei Gou stared at him with an open mouth.
"You are cultivating the Azure Dragon Scripture?!" he exclaimed, almost forgetting to keep his voice down. Xue Wei, who just realized that he had revealed his secret, nodded his head.
"I am keeping it a secret, but you are my brother. I guess you knowing is no problem."
"The Azure Dragon Scripture is a scripture that the sovereign beasts created!" Hei Gou said excitedly. "It is a legendary scripture that only the chosen can train. How on earth did you get your hands on such a rare and outstanding technique? You are from the small Kingdom of Heping!"
"Relax," Xue Wei laughed, "I will tell you all about it when we have spare time, but right now we need to focus on survival. I will see if I can break through. Right now, I can transform my arms into that of an Azure Dragon’s; perhaps I will be able to learn how to sprout wings all of a sudden?"
Xue Wei was half joking, half serious, but Hei Gou just snorted and shook his head. His eyes showed reverence when he looked at Xue Wei, but they also showed warmth.
These two outcasts had found one another and managed to become friends in a life-and-death situation. In this world they had no one but each other, and they truly valued one another highly.
Although their time together was brief, they had already gone through so much together that they would always trust each other with their lives.
Xue Wei and Hei Gou sat down in the lotus position and started cultivating. Their goal was to improve their condition so that they could flee as fast as possible when the time came; neither believed that they would be able to fight against the group of Heavenly Warriors that was chasing them. They also both swore in their hearts that there would be a day when they would return and get revenge.
Not for their own sake, but because the hunters had put their valued friend in danger.
Both emptied their minds of thoughts and descended into deep meditation. They felt at peace and at one with the world surrounding them. They felt how energy was roaming from the outside world into their bodies.
It was traveling through their meridians and changed from the essence of the heavens and the earth to their personal Qi.
Xue Wei's Qi was azure in color; it was all stored within the pearl-like core inside his dantian, and right now Xue Wei felt that his body was filled with energy. He felt that his body was at the peak of what he could expect from it.
He had been sleeping for a long time, and his body had continuously absorbed energy while he was unconscious, causing him to be overflowing with Qi.
Hei Gou, on the other hand, was like a used cloth. He was exhausted. His body was constantly absorbing the surrounding energy wantonly, as if he did not even care whether or not his body had time to properly transmute it.
The hour went by fast. Although Xue Wei had hoped to have a breakthrough in the Azure Dragon Scripture, this did not happen. As for Hei Gou, although his condition improved slightly, it was not enough to say that he was in a good state.
Xue Wei and Hei Gou looked at one another. Although they were filled with uncertainty about their future, neither of them were hesitant and neither of them regretted their decision.
Xue Wei nodded to Hei Gou, who started to transform back into his original shape.
Last time Xue Wei had seen Hei Gou in his true form as a Celestial Dog was when he had saved him. Back then, he had been a massive black dog, but the black dog that appeared in front of the youngster now was at least twicedouble as big as it had been previously, and a set of black crow-like wings extended from its back.
The massive dog’s eyes were gentle when they looked at Xue Wei, but the young man could not help but take a deep breath in shock. "You are a big doggie!" he exclaimed in shock. Hei Gou growled at him in response. As to whether or not it was a proud growl or a dismissive growl, Xue Wei had no idea.
"Okay, well, let us move!" Xue Wei said after having stared at him for a whole minute. He jumped onto Hei Gou's back, and the big crow-like black feathered wings started flapping.
"I am going to go all out," Hei Gou said with a smirk on his face, revealing his sharp canines. "I am a Celestial Dog. My ancestor was named Tian Gou and he could swallow the sun and the moon. Although I might not be strong enough to swallow those yet, I can absorb all light in an area. It should give us some time to escape!"
Having said this, Hei Gou’s wings started flapping with lightning-like speed. Hei Gou and Xue Wei shot out from the cave in the mountain in an instant.Previous Chapter Next Chapter