“Those two are very powerful.” Chen Feng was surprised. He quickly stopped breathing and the flow of his primary energy gradually turned calm. A faint sensation of crisis surged into his heart. The present him could not face experts of such calibre.
“Here as well.”
The middle-aged Daoist said nonchalantly and they stopped not far from the ancient tree that Chen Feng was on.
Naturally, Chen Feng understood what he meant. It would appear that the two of them had been lured over by the aftermaths of the lightning strikes as well. At the same time, he wondered what was up with the lightning strikes.
“Yes, the lightning strike decimated all traces of life from this ancient tree. If our calculations are correct, there should be another lightning-struck ancient tree one hundred zhang away from here,” the younger cultivator responded (1 zhang = 3.333 m). There was a nervous note in his voice.
“There is no mistaking it. This is a technique for overcoming tribulation recorded in the ancient books. To think that someone could actually use it.” The middle-aged Daoist nodded his head.
“Could this be a stroke of fortune for us? The other party has only just faced tribulation. Even if it was a success, he or she will be badly wounded. We’ll be able to pick up quite the benefit,” said the younger cultivator with a smile.
“We still need to be careful. Since the other party could utilize such a method to overcome tribulation, he or she must not be an ordinary character,” said the middle-aged Daoist.
“He he, if we do not enter the tiger’s den, how can we capture the tiger cub? The path of cultivation is one of risk, difficulty and obstructions. Without a great deal of fortune, how does one step upon the peerless avenue of immortals? Even if it means one in ten chances of survival, we must not let this opportunity slip by,” said the younger cultivator grimly.
“That is right. We must not delay. Let’s move!” The middle-aged Daoist nodded.
Next, the two figures flashed and disappeared. It was as though they had never appeared there at all. Seeing that left Chen Feng dumbfounded.
“Those two fellows disappeared just like that. Just what level are they at? Or, could they be experts at the Concealed stage?”
“And what exactly did they mean by overcoming tribulation? And what was that about immortals? Do immortals really exist in this world?”
Chen Feng remained up on the tree, not moving as he digested the exchange between the two fellows earlier. From their conversation, it would appear that the old trees were not struck for no reason.
What should I do? Do I return or should I go forward to check things out? Chen Feng began having conflicting thoughts.
One glance was sufficient for him to tell that those two were experts. It was likely that they needed only a finger to kill him off. If he were to follow and be discovered, Chen Feng would most certainly die. And yet, to return right now gave Chen Feng a feeling of unwillingness. His curiosity continuously gnawed at him, desiring to go check it out.
As Chen Feng was struggling to make a decision, a white figure descended from the sky. To Chen Feng’s shock, it was a woman. She looked like a female fairy floating down upon the mundane world.
The white clothes she wore possessed a gauzy texture and her figure seemed shrouded amidst a layer of fog, like an illusionary existence. Her silky hair flowed like a waterfall down her slender figure and perfect bearing; her whole figure glowed with a white, crystalline lustre.
Chen Feng was utterly flabbergasted. This image was something that he could not even dream of. He stared at the woman with unblinking eyes, wanting to see how she looked like. Unfortunately, her whole body was veiled by a strange glowing light. Her face seemed to possess an illusionary quality and Chen Feng was incapable of seeing how she looked like no matter how hard he tried.
After the woman in white landed on the ground, she looked at the marks left by the lightning strike and nodded her head gently. Then, with the same gentle manner, she flew up into the sky; her beautiful hair billowing in the wind as the edges of her white clothes unfurled outwards and she quickly disappeared into the night. However, before she left, Chen Feng could sense her glancing in his direction.
“Did she notice me?” Chen Feng’s mind was thrown into a mess. He remained hidden within the foliage for a long time, unmoving. His heart was thumping violently.
“Was I dreaming earlier? I saw a female fairy!” Chen Feng nearly shouted out.
Soon, however, Chen Feng calmed down. Although the woman appeared like a celestial being, she must only be a cultivator with a higher level of cultivation, just like the middle-aged Daoist and the younger cultivator from earlier. They were all here due to the aftermaths of the lightning strikes.
“Since she can fly, she must at least be in the Concealed stage. Earlier, she seems to have noticed me but said nothing. She probably doesn’t care about a nobody like me.” Thinking about that, Chen Feng felt a sense of loss.
Chen Feng had wanted to climb down the tree when something suddenly flashed before him. A robust middle-aged man mounted upon a large black tiger had suddenly appeared beneath the tree. Immediately, gust after gust of wind blew outwards, causing the surrounding trees to shake.
The black tiger was as black as ink with not a single errant-coloured hair. Its black eyes shone within the night, a strange and shocking sight. It was at least one zhang in length with thick limbs. Its entire body radiated the air of the king of beasts.
What a ferocious tiger! Chen Feng secretly praised in astonishment.
Suddenly, the ears of the black tiger perked. Then, it abruptly snapped its head up to look right at Chen Feng’s direction. Its gaze shot out like lightning bolts, seemingly having gained tangibility. Everywhere it went, branches and leaves would shatter to pieces.
Chen Feng was quick to realize how terrifying the situation was for him. In face of the ferocity displayed by the other party, he was actually incapable of moving at all. He could only watch as the gaze shoot towards him with lightning-like speed.
“I’m dead.” Chen Feng lamented to himself. At the same time, he felt aggrieved. Coming out today, he never expected that he would die to a wild beast’s gaze.
As he was about to die, the primary energy within his body suddenly surged, restoring Chen Feng’s ability to move. Without giving it much thought, he pushed himself aside with everything he had.
A crisp sound rang out. The gaze from one of the tiger’s eyes scraped past Chen Feng’s arm and snapped a thick branch behind him. The other gaze pierced right through the old tree before disappearing into the night sky.
“Guh, gah.” Chen Feng clenched his teeth, not daring to make a single sound. A portion of the flesh on his grazed arm had disappeared, revealing the white bones inside as blood gushed out.
Just one casual gaze had nearly taken his life. Chen Feng screamed out inwardly again and again. However, he did not have the guts to actually make a sound. He could only feel fear spreading through his whole body.
“Forget it. A little fellow who is not even in the Concealed stage cannot even be considered a cultivator,” the robust middle-aged man riding on the black tiger spoke up.
The black tiger performed a casual leap and the two of them disappeared into the forest. This time, not even the sound of winds could be heard. The surrounding forest returned to its tranquil state once more, as though the two of them had never appeared.
Blood dripped down continuously from Chen Feng’s arm and onto the branches and leaves beneath him. Seeing the blood dripping down jolted Chen Feng back to focus. He quickly stopped the blood from flowing out by closing off the corresponding acupoints and controlled the flow of blood before beginning treatment. Pulling out the medicine for wounds, he poured them onto his wound. After that, he ripped out a portion of his clothes to wrap around the wound tightly.
“Sii!” While wrapping his wound, Chen Feng felt so much pain that he gritted his teeth and cold sweat broke out all over him. Clearly, the wound was terribly hard to endure.
“Just what level is that big tiger at? It is so powerful that just one gaze from it nearly killed me. I was truly fortunate earlier to be able to preserve my life. This place is too dangerous. I should quickly leave. It is not worthwhile to go to my death like this.”
After having reached that line of thought, Chen Feng jumped down from the tree and returned through the same path that he had taken earlier, intending to leave the forest.
At that very moment, a thunderous roar echoed out from far away, shaking the mountain forest like a hurricane. The surrounding old trees trembled and Chen Feng felt his vision turning dark. The blood within his body roiled without rest, his blood vessels seemingly on the verge of exploding. Not only that, even the primary energy within his body had become chaotic. Chen Feng hastily circulated his primary energy and focused on his internal breathing. Only then did he manage to calm his body down.
“What power! That is the roar of the black tiger from earlier. Judging from the roar, it is around ten li away. Even though it is so far away, its one roar could contain so much power. It seems I was really lucky just now.” Chen Feng was shocked once more (1 li = 0.5 km).
The sounds of explosions rang out from afar, as though great lightning bolts were descending from the sky. There were also violent sounds of collision. It would appear that there were some people waging a battle.
The winds raged and the mountains heaved. The various wild animals residing in the mountain ran, seemingly in an attempt to escape from a calamity. Some of the larger wild beasts quickly ran past Chen Feng, scaring him in the process. Thankfully, all of them were occupied with escaping and had no time for Chen Feng. Otherwise, those wild beasts would have eaten him alive.
Although Chen Feng was incapable of seeing what was happening in the distance, he could faintly sense it. There in the distance, mighty forces were clashing against one another. Forget going into the fray, he would be decimated just by standing too near them.
“The black tiger seems to be fighting something. There are also shouts from other cultivators mixed in. I wonder if the female fairy in white and the two ghostlike cultivators from earlier are also participating in the fight? A fight of such calibre must certainly be wonderful. A pity, I am incapable of witnessing it.” Chen Feng, who was feeling excitement, suddenly turned crestfallen.
“Forget it, forget it, I am better off leaving this questionable place. Perhaps, coming back after they are done fighting might be a good choice?” Chen Feng walked back and mumbled to himself.
Tens of li away in a mountain forest…
The countless old, towering trees there were now shattered. Some of the big trees, up to hundreds of metres tall, were utterly uprooted and scattered around.
The robust, middle-aged man on the big, black tiger wielded a long and fearsome blade in his hand. His whole body radiated black-coloured flames that seemingly possessed a tangible quality. He was in the midst of confronting a 10-metre-tall, dark green humanoid monster.
The humanoid monster possessed hands and feet. However, its whole body was covered with thick and coarse bark. Its facial features were also very vague. It was a tree spirit that had yet to fully form out its human shape.
Many spirits and monster hid within mountains and wilderness. Through cultivation, humans could learn to grasp magical abilities. Likewise, even wild beasts could awaken and comprehend the great dao. The tree spirit was the manifestation of an ancient tree that had lived for who knows how long. Although it had yet to fully form its human shape, it had a profound level of cultivation. It had made considerable inroads into the dao and was not something that ordinary cultivators could defeat.
As for the robust middle-aged man on the black tiger, he was also quite a powerful character amongst cultivators of the Concealed stage. Earlier, he had worked together with his black tiger to fight against the tree spirit before him. However, they had been unable to gain any advantage over it.
“Go away, I will not pursue the matter of you ambushing me earlier.” A hoarse voice came from the tree spirit’s mouth.
“What a joke! You have just faced Heavenly Tribulation. At present, your vitality is greatly diminished, just the right time for me to kill you. By killing you and seizing the power of your essence, I can refine it and break through once again. How can I let such a good opportunity slip by?” The robust, middle-aged man said slowly and the power of lightning flowed continuously through the fearsome blade in his hand. That was also the reason why the tree spirit was so fearful of him. As for the black tiger, it would constantly release growling sounds, seemingly intent on pouncing at the tree spirit at any given moment.