“Those fellows are all ordinary cultivators. The three fellows killed earlier were at the hundred opened meridians (5th) layer. To be able to reach this level of cultivation at such an age, they can be considered experts amongst the ordinary,” said Ye Ziming.
“Mining personnel? Mining operation? Give me the full details!” Chen Feng growled at Third Senior Brother.
“Although our Purplecloud Sky Grotto did discover a Magic crystal mine, only a small number of high-ranking members knows about this. In order to circumvent any leaks in information, we have to search for some other cultivators for the mining operation,” said Third Senior Brother truthfully.
Hearing those words, Chen Feng’s eyes lit up. “In other words, after they are done with their task, they will be silenced?”
“Yes,” whispered Third Senior Brother.
“Mongrels!” Chen Feng was unable to stop himself from swearing.
“To think that the infamous Purplecloud Sky Grotto would resort to such methods. And you have the gall to call yourselves an immortal dao sect.”
“Brother Chen, there is no need to be so angry. This is the survival of the fittest rule in the cultivation world. It is not just the Six Great Sky Grottoes, even the orthodox immortal dao sects use such methods. For the sake of power, which of them would not secretly commit illegal activities?” said Ye Ziming with a sneer.
“It is said that those who cultivate demonic cultivation techniques are brutal and murderous. Yet some times, compared to the righteousness of the famed orthodox sects, the transparency of the demonic sects seems much more honourable.” Lu Ta, too, sneered.
“I was thinking we should use this opportunity to steal some Magic crystals. Now, though, it seems there is a change of plans.” Chen Feng considered for a moment before revealing a smile.
“I say, you are the Third Senior Brother of Purplecloud Sky Grotto. You should be considered a high-ranking member. You should have come here before, right?” Chen Feng asked Third Senior Brother.
“I have been here a few times before.” Third Senior Brother dared not lie and remained honest with his answers.
“In that case, tell us about the situation here. How much manpower did your Purplecloud Sky Grotto dispatch here? Also, since you fellows have given this Magic crystal mine to Nine Firmaments Palace, they should have dispatched some people here as well, right?” asked Chen Feng.
“Normally, there would be three elders protecting this place. There are also two head assistants. On Nine Firmaments Palace’s side, I believe they had sent a few inner disciples over. However, I did receive news that our Sect Master has been asking for more personnel from Nine Firmaments Palace recently. Thus, Nine Firmaments Palace will be sending some experts over soon,” said Third Senior Brother.
“Experts? What level are these experts at?” asked Chen Feng again.
“I do not know. Maybe Concealed stage cultivators, or maybe Sky Human stage cultivators,” replied Third Senior Brother.
“Nine Firmaments Palace is an immortal dao sect, defended by Immortal Humans. If they do send out some Sky Human stage cultivators over, we will be unable to get anything,” said a frowning Ye Ziming.
“In that case, I have a plan.” A glint of light flashed across Chen Feng’s eyes.
“If we cannot get it, just leak the news about Purplecloud Sky Grotto possessing a Magic crystal mine. I believe the other Sky Grottoes and even some second-rate sects will be unwilling to sit back and do nothing about this.” Chen Feng, who said that, got the feeling that he was suggesting something vicious.
“I think there is no need for us to leak the news.” There was a peculiar expression on Ye Ziming’s face as he looked into the distance.
Not too far from where they were hiding, light flashed out and three men, fully garbed in black, appeared before the eyes of Chen Feng’s group.
“These three fellows look so strange. They must be here for the Magic crystal mine as well,” said Ye Ziming.
Chen Feng secretly channelled his divine sense to quickly check them.
“Three level 5 Concealed stage cultivators.” Chen Feng was quick to determine their cultivation bases.
After appearing, the three men in black quickly checked their surroundings before leaning close together to discuss something. Finally, the three of them displayed traces of dark red light from their bodies simultaneously. Then, they moved forward.
“The three of them have Array Break Talismans. Hey, hey! It seems those fellows are more prepared than us,” said Ye Ziming with a smile.
In but a few breaths’ worth of time, the three men in black had entered the mountains, disappearing from sight.
Bang! Ding! Ding!
Immediately, the sounds of battle rang out from within the mountains. The sounds only lasted for a short interval, three breaths’ worth of time, before everything returned to normalcy.
“What happened?” Lu Ta became curious.
“Be quiet, someone is coming out,” said Chen Feng through secret vocal transmission.
Two cultivators, one male and one female, quickly rushed out from the mountains. The male was handsome and elegant while the female was graceful and charming. Their clothes billowed as their bodies emanated a wave of energy outwards. Should ordinary humans see them, they would certainly think that they were immortals descending upon the mundane world.
The moment they appeared, their eyes blazed like torches as they glanced around.
“Divine Void Camouflage!” Ye Ziming whispered and a faint light spread outwards, turning their group transparent to the eye. They have been hidden within space itself. Even if someone were to stand right in front of them, that someone would be unable to see them.
“Let’s go back.”
The male and female cultivator searched for a while before flying back into the mountains.
“Who are those two?” asked Chen Feng.
“They are our Purplecloud Sky Grotto’s Second Senior Brother and Second Senior Sister,” replied Third Senior Brother.
“The two of them are indeed stronger than you. However, have they condensed out Soulflames?” asked Chen Feng further. Earlier, Chen Feng was able to determine that the two of them were at level 6 of the Concealed stage. Still, it was likely they had yet to condense out Soulflames. If they did, they would have noticed him probing them.
“No. The two of them have only recently advanced to level 6 of the Concealed stage,” said Third Senior Brother, a trace of envy flashing across his face. However, Chen Feng happened to notice it.
“Oh? Is that right? Well, you are the Third Senior Brother while they are the Second Senior Brother and Second Senior Sister. It is only normal for their cultivation bases to outstrip yours,” said Chen Feng with a smile.
“Humph! If not for their paired cultivation technique, could their cultivation bases be higher than mine?” Third Senior Brother could not stop himself from blurting out.
“Paired cultivation?” Chen Feng exchanged glances with the others. This was a somewhat amusing scenario.
“Purplecloud Sky Grotto has a paired cultivation technique?” asked a snickering Ye Ziming.
“It is not a cultivation technique from our Purplecloud Sky Grotto. They happened to come by it when they were out on a mission,” said Third Senior Brother through gnashed teeth.
“It seems there are people standing guard within the mountains. It will be somewhat difficult for us to enter,” said Chen Feng.
“The mountains here cover a radius of hundreds of li. There is no way they could station someone at every spot. Let’s go check out some other spots,” suggested Ye Ziming (1 li = 0.5 km).
Next, they swiftly brought Third Senior Brother with them as they headed in a different direction.
Four hours later…
“Tsk! Tsk! Purplecloud Sky Grotto is truly capable. To think they could set up a restrictive barrier around these mountains, across a radius of hundreds of li. Between every ten plus li, there are two Concealed stage cultivators standing guard. It will truly be difficult to secretly enter,” said Ye Ziming with a smile.
“I know of a place where you can enter However, that place is host to intense lightning powers,” Third Senior Brother suddenly said.
“Lightning powers? Very well, lead the way,” said Chen Feng.
Their group made their way through the edges of the mountains, covering a distance of hundreds of li before stopping at a certain spot. They could feel a faint power of lightning in the air there.
“There is a passageway here which leads to Purple Mountains. However, there are strong lightning powers within this passageway. The deeper you go, the more powerful it becomes, most Concealed stage cultivators would find it hard to endure. Furthermore, there is the risk of dying,” said Third Senior Brother.
“How kind of you to help us. Surely, you are not planning anything, are you?” Chen Feng sneered at Third Senior Brother.
“At this point, even if you fellows let me go, I can no longer return to Purplecloud Sky Grotto. I might as well do a good job. As such, I could preserve my life,” said Third Senior Brother. There was a certain clarity within his voice.
“You sure can let go. Fine, if we truly succeed, letting you go is not out of the question,” said Chen Feng with a smile.
Chen Feng had only just released his divine sense out when he felt strands of lightning power swarm over like a swarm of bees. They tore and bit at him, causing a wave of aching pain to assail his mind. Seeing the divine sense he released on the verge of dissipating, he hurriedly retracted them. However, despite the short period of time it spent outside, the surrounding lightning powers had dissipated one third of the divine sense that he released earlier.
Indeed. Although I have condensed out my Soulflame, without the tempering from lightning, it remains incredibly weak. I was too careless just now. Chen Feng thought to himself. Having felt the destructive power of lightning earlier, Chen Feng became greatly alarmed.
“Brother Chen, it is dangerous!”
“Brother Chen, are you all right?”
Both Ye Ziming and Lu Ta reacted.
“It is nothing. I am just feeling out the lightning powers here,” said Chen Feng with a smile.
“Brother Chen, you are being too reckless. Only Sky Human stage cultivators who have overcome Lightning Tribulation can send their divine sense across lightning. For cultivators like us, when our divine sense encounter lightning powers, they could easily be shattered apart. A light encounter would result in a serious injury while a heavy one could result in the soul getting shattered apart,” said Ye Ziming.
Four Ears transformed into a golden beam of light as he quickly rushed forward. It did not take long for him to disappear from sight. “Four Ears is performing reconnaissance. Given his powerful fleshly body, he can temporarily block off the surrounding power of lightning. Let’s follow suit,” said Chen Feng.
“All right. Although we cannot release our divine senses, we can use this opportunity to hone our fleshly bodies.” Ye Ziming nodded his head.
Many amongst the small number of cultivators with powerful fleshly bodies would enter places with lightning powers to temper their bodies. Although the power of lightning was one of the most destructive powers in the world, cultivators who stay within the lightnings could cultivate their fleshly bodies by practicing a special cultivation technique. It was the equivalent of forging iron through intense flames. By burning away the impurities within, high-quality steel could be forged.
“The terrain here is truly unique to be able to produce such powerful lightning powers. Ordinary cultivators below the Concealed stage cannot even reach this place. And if Concealed stage cultivators come here, they would be unable to fly,” said Chen Feng as he felt the drifting strands of lightning powers.
As Chen Feng’s group continued their advance, the surrounding lightning powers gradually grew stronger. In the beginning, Chen Feng was able to rely on the strength of his fleshly body to take them on. However, as the lightning powers grew in intensity, the muscles on Chen Feng’s body began to spasm uncontrollably. Some of his hairs began getting burnt and a scorched scent wafted out from his body.
By the time they covered a distance of one kilometre, Chen Feng and Ye Ziming had already condensed out a thick layer of barrier, made from potent energy. Lu Ta was the only one who continued to rely on his powerful fleshly body to bitterly endure it. As for Third Senior Brother, Chen Feng had kept him inside the Longevity Tower long ago.