He Zhang had all of his innumerable deep, dark secrets hidden all over the forbidden grounds, and could not afford to let anyone take these secrets out of the place alive with them.
Thus, He Zhang had gone all out to ensure that anyone who breached the forbidden grounds would find it all the more difficult to leave. After all, it was not as though nobody had attempted to enter the Dawn Sect’s forbidden grounds in the past to begin with. That said, all of these trespassers had invariably found themselves being trapped by the formation arrays within the forbidden grounds, eventually becoming fresh food and nutrients that were fed directly to He Zhang’s pet demonic beasts.
If Jun Xiaomo were on her own, it might not have been too tall a task for her to breakthrough the formation arrays and escape from the forbidden grounds. However, she knew that it was going to be far more difficult if she were to do so while looking after ten grievously wounded martial brothers.
“Martial sister, if there’s really no way, then you should just leave this place. It’s already incredible that you’re able to remove those spirit-draining hooks that were on our bodies. At worst, if He Zhang at the others come in and discover that we’ve been released, we’ll just go all out and fight with him! Even if we die, we’re going to take a few of them down with us!” Chen Feiyu gnashed his teeth as he made an extreme suggestion, and a deep trace of hatred could be seen in the depths of his eyes.
He didn’t know what He Zhang had done to his martial brother Wei to transform his entire constitution into that of an acquired demonic body, making him an existence that the spiritual cultivation world could never co-exist with. But he knew that if He Zhang had not done all these things, the Heavenly Peak would never have ended up in its current predicament.
Thus, Chen Feiyu’s hatred was at an all time high, and he could hardly resist the urge that was roiling within his body to tear He Zhang and his lackeys to shreds.
“Martial brother Chen, enough! Don’t get consumed by the hatred. With your current condition, do you think you could even do a single thing against Qin Lingyu, much less He Zhang?” Jun Xiaomo furrowed her brows as she added, “Besides, we’d expended so much time and energy coming in here to rescue you, not just so that I could watch all of you end up perishing to He Zhang’s demonic claws.”
“We? Xiaomo, apart from you, did anyone else come in here with you? Has master and the rest come as well?” Chen Feiyu asked with some measure of agitation.
Jun Xiaomo was slightly stunned by the question as she suddenly recalled how she had been separated from Ye Xiuwen.
That’s right! Martial brother is still located beside the demonic river. I wonder if the demonic energy emanated by the river is causing any harm to his body. Jun Xiaomo furrowed her brows in concern for Ye Xiuwen’s safety.
“Martial sister Xiaomo?” Chen Feiyu discovered that Jun Xiaomo seemed to have grown distracted and taciturn, and he couldn’t help but press the question again.
Jun Xiaomo shut her eyes, shook her head and responded with a soft voice, “It’s not father and mother and the rest. It’s martial brother Ye.”
“Martial brother Ye?! Martial brother Ye isn’t dead?! He’s come back from the Death’s Gorge? That’s great news!” Chen Feiyu exclaimed with joy. The other Heavenly Peak disciples also looked towards Jun Xiaomo with eyes filled with gratitude, excitement, joy and other like emotions. There was even a trace of disbelief in their eyes.
After all, rumours had it that nobody had ever returned alive after falling into the depths of the Death’s Gorge. Yet Ye Xiuwen had done the impossible – and he was even here to rescue them!
Jun Xiaomo lifted her head and smiled with her slightly-pale face, “That’s right. I’d never expected to encounter martial brother Ye on my way in either.”
“That’s great! Martial sister Xiaomo isn’t dead, and neither is martial brother Ye. If master and his wife learn of this news, how overjoyed would they be?!” Chen Feiyu exclaimed as tears filled his eyes, “Oh yes, if martial sister is here, then what about martial brother Ye? Where’s he?”
“He…” Jun Xiaomo paused. Ye Xiuwen was still trapped in that place that was filled with demonic energy, and she was unaware of whether he would meet with any mishaps or not.
“What’s happened to him? Don’t tell me that he’s encountered a mishap because he’d come in here to rescue us?” Chen Feiyu asked anxiously, and pangs of remorse began to manifest outwardly in an instant.
If martial brother Ye had truly met with a mishap as a result of his attempts to save them, how could they possibly rejoice even if they could leave this place alive?
“It’s nothing much. Don’t worry too much, martial brother Chen.” Jun Xiaomo steadied her spirits and suppressed the concern in her heart as she consoled Chen Feiyu with a smile, “Martial brother Ye and I have just employed the tactics of divide and conquer. He’ll be reunited with us in no time. Oh yes, we’d best leave this place quickly. This isn’t some place that we should be hanging around for no reason. He Zhang has already discovered the fact that we’d entered the forbidden grounds, and I’m afraid that he’ll be here in no time.”
“But how are we going to leave in our current state?” Chen Feiyu complained, evidently worried for the condition of his other martial brothers, “Martial sister Xiaomo, there’s no way you’re going to be able to bring us out of here like this. We might even end up becoming your deadweight and burden you.”
“Don’t worry. Since I can make my way in here, I’ll definitely have a way to bring you out. These few years I’ve been missing from the world hasn’t been lived in vain after all.” Jun Xiaomo assured Chen Feiyu with confidence. It was both to bolster the Heavenly Peak disciples’ confidence in her, as well as to boost her faith in her own abilities.
Thus, Chen Feiyu no longer harped on the issue. That said, he did remind Jun Xiaomo that if they encountered with any dangerous situations that were not easily resolved, it would be fine if she left them behind and went on her own. After all, they could always live to fight another day – He Zhang needed the Heavenly Peak disciples around as hostages, and he would never kill them off so easily. There was no need to implicate Jun Xiaomo and drag her into the mess at this stage.
Jun Xiaomo’s heart was once again filled with warmth. This was the Heavenly Peak martial brothers whom she knew after all, and there was not a single moment when they would place their own interests over others. The other Dawn Sect disciples were far more selfish and self-interested than them.
Jun Xiaomo stuffed another bag of recovery pills to her martial brothers. Then, she retrieved over ten yellow-coloured human-shaped talismans, one for each of the martial brothers she had just released from their shackles. She collected one drop of blood from each of her martial brother, dripped them onto one talisman each, and then she began to recite the mnemonics for creating Humanoid Puppets.
In the blink of an eye, the prison cell was filled with over ten doppelgangers of her martial brothers.
These Humanoid Puppets mimicked the auras of each of her martial brothers, yet they did not possess any life. Thus, Jun Xiaomo began to place each of these Humanoid Puppets onto the hooks, making it appear as though Chen Feiyu and the rest of the Heavenly Peak disciples were still trapped within the prison cell.
“This is…?” Chen Feiyu was taken aback at the sight.
“This is a Humanoid Puppet. It’s basically made from a slightly more complex talisman, and it’s not a real human being. With them, He Zhang won’t be able to discover so easily the fact that you’ve all been released. This can buy us some time.”
“That’s right! I’d almost forgotten the fact that martial sister had gone to the Zephyr Sect to learn more about talismans and formation arrays!” Chen Feiyu smiled radiantly, taking pride in what his little martial sister had achieved.
Having lived for over six hundred years now, Jun Xiaomo didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the fact that her martial brothers were still treating her as the young and immature little martial sister that they thought she was. That said, she knew that all of this was a manifestation of the fact that they saw her as a loved one.
“Alright, let’s not dally any further. Let’s get going.” Jun Xiaomo patted Chen Feiyu’s shoulder as she prompted them. After consuming the recovery pills given by Jun Xiaomo, the Heavenly Peak disciples finally managed to muster enough strength to ambulate.
After Jun Xiaomo resealing the prison cell with the same formation array, she led the Heavenly Peak disciples and began to make their way out along the long corridor leading out from the prison cell. However as soon as they arrived at the place from which Jun Xiaomo had arrived through the whirlpool, Jun Xiaomo noticed another problem with her plans – she had arrived at this place serendipitously through a whirlpool to which she possessed no form of control whatsoever. How could she possibly know the way back?
Right now, when she looked up at where she had earlier come from, she could no longer see a whirlpool swirling there. It was evident that the whirlpool had occurred serendipitously, and it might well have been a one-way street at that, allowing a person to enter but not leave the premises.
What could she do now?
No. Since He Zhang can come and go as he wishes, there must be a way to leave this place. I’ll just have to find it.
“Martial sister, what’s the matter?” Chen Feiyu had noticed Jun Xiaomo’s hesitance by now.
“Nothing much. Martial brother Chen, I’ve got some high-quality Invisibility Talismans here, and they can be used to conceal both your appearances as well as your auras. Wait for me here while I scout ahead. That’s right. If you encounter martial brother Ye, leave with him first. I’ll have my own means to leave this place later on.” Jun Xiaomo pulled out a wad of talismans and stuffed them into Chen Feiyu’s hands.
However, Chen Feiyu was worried for her. He knew that his little martial sister would never abandon them and run off on her own, and it was precisely because of this that he was all the more worried Jun Xiaomo would be running off to do something dangerous on her own.
As soon as she discovered what Chen Feiyu was thinking, Jun Xiaomo did her best to dispel his suspicions as she remarked, “Don’t worry, martial brother Chen. With martial brother Ye around, are you still worried that I’ll run into some mishap or a dangerous situation? I’ve already thoroughly discussed the plans with martial brother Ye before coming here to rescue you. Nothing’s going to go wrong.”
Chen Feiyu pondered over Jun Xiaomo’s words and realized that she was right – with Ye Xiuwen around, he would never allow Jun Xiaomo to take risks on her own. Thus, he trusted in the plans that the two had earlier discussed and made with each other.
With that, Chen Feiyu no longer held Jun Xiaomo back. He did according to what Jun Xiaomo had suggested and applied the high-quality Invisibility Talismans onto his bodies, and the other martial brothers followed suit as well.
Once Jun Xiaomo ensured that they were well-concealed and well-hidden, she turned to leave. As Chen Feiyu watched Jun Xiaomo’s figure pull further and further away from them, for some strange reason, he began to find a trace of uneasiness surface on his heart.
How could he have known that Jun Xiaomo and Ye Xiuwen had only serendipitously encountered each other through their hidden identities prior to this? Furthermore, even though Jun Xiaomo had now learnt of Ye Xiuwen’s true identity, it was not the same of Ye Xiuwen – he did not know that “Qin Shanshan” was none other than Jun Xiaomo; and he was still under the impression that Jun Xiaomo was dead!
After leaving Chen Feiyu and the rest behind her, Jun Xiaomo walked along the long path, past the prison cells, as she searched for the possible locations where the heart of the forbidden grounds’ formation array could be.
This was a thought that had just occurred to Jun Xiaomo. The Dawn Sect’s forbidden grounds were filled with so many complex formation arrays, yet He Zhang seemed to be able to come and go to and from this place with such ease. This naturally pointed to one likelihood, and that was the fact that there was a main formation array that was tying all of these smaller formation arrays together. In turn, it was because He Zhang had control over this main formation array that he could safely traverse through all of the various, complex formation arrays without sustaining attacks from any of them.
Thus, Jun Xiaomo had thought to search for the heart of the main formation array. As long as she could locate it and alter it to suit her needs, she would essentially be able to control the entire forbidden ground to do her bidding.
Jun Xiaomo might not necessarily be able to defeat He Zhang and the rest if she fought them alone, based solely on her combat abilities. However, when it came to the realm of formation arrays, Jun Xiaomo sincerely believed that there were no more than ten people in the entire cultivation world that could best her abilities in this regard.
As Jun Xiaomo walked along, she continued to probe and assess the location of the heart of the formation array using some of the specialized talismans within her Interspatial Ring. Gradually, as she made more and more headway in that regard, she also grew more and more certain about her earlier guess.
As long as she could alter and take control of the master formation array within the forbidden grounds, she would have nothing to fear even if a hundred exact replicas of He Zhang showed up.
With such thoughts dancing around in her heart, Jun Xiaomo’s lips began to curl into a delighted smile.
On the other side, the surface of the pool of blood immediately began to undulate violently as soon as Ye Xiuwen drew close to it. Then, in the very next instant, innumerable creatures that appeared to be little worms began to congregate and huddle together to form a flesh heap in a goosebumps-inducing fashion.
Ye Xiuwen’s spirits tensed up and he immediately retreated, placing his sword in front of him in a defensive stance as he did so.
Swoosh! A large lump of flesh suddenly leapt out of the pool of blood and shot straight towards Ye Xiuwen.
Ye Xiuwen flicked the sword in his arm and sliced the massive heap of flesh in half. As soon as the two halves crashed onto the ground, countless red worms could be seen writhing on the ground.
It was only at this moment that Ye Xiuwen discovered that the lump of flesh was actually the husk of human being that had thoroughly been digested by these worms!
Just what exactly is He Zhang nurturing in these grounds?!
A profound sense of disgust lurched within Ye Xiuwen’s chest, and the sharp, incisive gleam in his eyes grew incredibly harsh and frigid.Previous Chapter Next Chapter