1248 - A Crisis

Chapter 1248 - A Crisis 

The vicious beasts flew at low altitudes and would charge downward time and time again, spewing out destructive flames from their mouths, as they caused an explosion each time they saw a suspicious area.

Flames burned brightly on the plains at different intervals. 

Thankfully, rain suddenly fell from the skies and it was the middle of spring, so the grass and woods were lush and green. There were very few dry twigs and branches, so these fires did not spread. 

Most of the plants that grew on the grassy plains, stretching for thousands of meters, were a kind of plant called Rising Steps. These plants were similar to reeds but taller. During mid-spring, the stems of these plants were not as thick as a human wrist but they grew rapidly; at the moment they were several dozen meters tall. These plants didn't have any branches but completely covered the grassy plains, making it impossible to see the ground from the top. The entire grassy plains were like a rolling green ocean and thoroughly blanketed everything under its surface, hiding it from sight. 

The vicious beasts patrolled the area, as though they were hunting for something. 

Lan Tian, who was hidden under the cover of the plants, was clad in full armor; he had pulled down the visor of his helmet, so only his eyes could be seen. No one else recognized him, apart from Hon Kong and the mysterious tall and skinny expert; everyone else assumed that this was a guard hired by the Academy. 

Lan Tian traveled with White Deer Academy the entire time. They concealed their tracks and silently made their way forward to the south. The number of students and teachers was halved, as compared to when they had first left Deer City, and a large majority of those from White Deer Academy were injured. Along the way, they were pursued by the vicious beasts, and also had to be on their guard at all times for the fierce beasts that were native to the grassy plains—the native beasts were not happy to see humans invading their land at all. 

Hon Kong was trying to comfort the panicked students. 

These students might one day grow up to be well-respected prodigies of the Heaven Wasteland Domain, just as Ye Qingyu had done, but they were still considered kids at this point in time. They couldn't help but feel frightened in the face of such sudden disaster and several students sobbed softly. They were like frightened ducklings in the face of a tempest; it was the scariest nightmare of their young lives. 

The mysterious tall and skinny expert never left Lan Tian's side. 

Lan Tian had still been in good spirits when they had first left Deer City. He would extend a helping hand to the students and bicker with the teachers, but as time went on, he became more and more withdrawn, as though he was a completely different person; a dazed look flashed past his eyes under the visor. 

The grassy plains had always been home to the demonic beasts of the grasslands and even if there wasn't a beast horde in pursuit of the group, this place was still extremely dangerous. 

Over the past few years, it wasn't only the intellectual lifeforms cultivating the martial way who experienced unprecedented breakthroughs; not only the formation martial way's standards had increased tremendously, the demonic beasts native to the Heaven Wasteland Domain had also become even more powerful. All creatures had become more powerful. Before the beast horde had descended upon Deer City, the grassland demonic beasts had always kept to their territory on the grassy plains and hence, the empire had never sent anyone to destroy them. However, these beasts were now a nightmare to the four groups of people escaping through the plains. 

Lan Tian had requested the mysterious tall and skinny expert to help and use his teleportation skills to bring everyone out of danger, but his request had been turned down. 

Hon Kong didn't seem to approve of Lan Tian's idea, either. 

Since the beast horde was not launching a full-scale pursuit, perhaps that person wasn't absolutely certain that Lan Tian was present. If the mysterious expert agreed to Lan Tian's request and some of his aura leaked out, this would possibly expose Lan Tian's identity. No one would be able to pay the price if that happened. 

"Everyone, let's rest here for a while," Hon Kong said. 

Hundreds of students and teachers were all completely exhausted. After his cue, they immediately laid down on the spot to rest.

Lan Tian silently stood at the outermost fringe of the group and looked very troubled. He was on high alert as he guarded the rest. 

The mysterious expert stood beside Lan Tian, his face cold and devoid of expression. 

Many teachers and students looked at them gratefully. Lan Tian had tried his best to take care of everyone along the way and had not uttered a single word of complaint, as though he didn't feel tired nor needed any rest. The mysterious tall and skinny expert seemed very aloof and had not uttered a single word, but each time the group met with danger, he and Hon Kong would join forces to help the group. 

Many younger students were completely fatigued and panted heavily. Then, they sat cross-legged on the ground and exerted their mysterious techniques to calm their breathing and made use of the time they had to try to regain some energy. 

Hon Kong sighed inwardly and rose to his feet as he said, "Calm seas will never be able to train good sailors. Although the journey has been tough and hazardous, as long as you move forward with determination, I'm sure that your strength will skyrocket and nothing will be able to deter you in the future. Look at Deputy Spokesperson Ye Qingyu, the person many of you look up to, He took the initiative to stop his schooling in order to train himself. He headed to the most dangerous place in the empire, Youyan Pass, to serve in the army, and had once entered Snow Demon Court to carry out military missions. His predicament back then is similar to our current predicament, and he managed to succeed and achieve all that he has done because of his determination to push forward." 

Many young students' eyes lit up at the mention of Ye Qingyu. 

The students of White Deer Academy regarded Ye Qingyu as their idol and emotional support. They aimed to walk in Ye Qingyu's footsteps and the level of admiration they had for him was as fervent as seen on members of a cult. Thus, when Hon Kong used Ye Qingyu as an example to encourage them, every young student was suddenly full of determination and drive. 

Then, the mysterious tall and skinny expert suddenly said, "Someone's coming." 

Everyone immediately tensed and became vigilant. They instinctively fanned out in a formation and readied themselves for battle. 

Hon Kong was not as nervous as the rest of them since the mysterious expert had said 'someone' and did not say that a 'demonic beast' was approaching.  

There was a rustling sound and someone parted the long plants. 

"Who's that?" Lan Tian was the first to rush over. 

The mysterious tall and skinny expert followed closely behind. 

Soon, Lan Tian returned with several dozen people. 

There was one person in the group who wore a light suit of armor. She had a shapely body and there was an air of authority in her gentle features that commanded respect. This middle-aged woman had taken care of her looks, so her features were exceedingly beautiful; her skin was like jade and strong yuan qi energy ripples circulated within her body. Several armored women stood behind her as well, as several experts who seemed to be bodyguards or personal guards. Their aura was extremely strong, the mark of true experts. 

"Madam Qin?" Hon Kong exclaimed. "How did you...?" 

The authoritative middle-aged beautiful woman was none other than the mistress of the Ye residence, Qin Lan. Ye Qingyu respected her as his mother, so she enjoyed a special status within the Heaven Wasteland Empire.

Hon Kong knew that Ye Qingyu had installed a special small teleportation formation, or he wouldn't have suggested Song Qingluo to pay the Ye residence a visit, so he had assumed Qin Lan and the others would have used the teleportation formation to flee Deer City and head to a safe place. He hadn't expected to run into Qin Lan and the others in these dangerous grassy plains. Qin Lan was accompanied by the female martial artists Xiao Cao, Qing Qing, Lang Yong, and these people were all very close to Ye Qingyu.

"It's you, Academy Director Hon Kong," Qin Lan greeted him with a sigh of relief. 

"Uncle Hon Kong," Xiao Cao greeted Hon Kong. 

"What are you doing here?" Hon Kong asked with a complicated expression. 

He had not tried to use the teleportation formation within the Ye residence to whisk Lan Tian and the others away, because he had not wanted to implicate these people. After all, Ye Qingyu had done so much for the Heaven Wasteland Domain and the Vast Thousand Domains, sacrificing a lot in the process; Hon Kong did not want to get Ye Qingyu's kin involved. However, who would have thought that he'd run into Qin Lan and the others in the most dangerous environment? In that moment, Hon Kong couldn't decide whether it was a blessing or a disaster. 

After he probed further, he found out that Qin Lan had indeed attempted to use the teleportation formation to send everyone in the Ye residence to safety, the night the hordes of beasts had attacked, but a mysterious and frightening force had blanketed the sky above Deer City and stopped the formation from activating. This also rendered useless all of the other formations that Ye Qingyu had laid out. They had ultimately managed to leave Deer CIty alive because the commander of the northern gate and his men had sacrificed themselves to ensure their safety. They had headed south and suffered through a lot before reaching that place. Fortunately, Ye Qingyu had left behind certain techniques and artifacts that saved their lives along the way. 

"If that's the case, then let's set forth together," Hon Kong said. 

This might just be fate. 

Even if he didn't want to get Qn Lan and the rest involved, he couldn't possibly watch and do nothing as a group of women ran around like headless chickens in grassy plains filled with demonic beasts. This would end tragically. 

"I've already contacted Snow Capital and the reinforcements sent by Her Highness will be here shortly," Qin Lan said. The devices that Ye Qingyu left behind might have been rendered useless by that mysterious and terrifying force, but they could still be used. After she escaped, she still managed to use Ye Qingyu's devices to contact Yu Xiaoxing at the imperial city of Snow Capital. Yu Xiaoxing knew how much Qin Lan and the others meant to Ye Qingyu, so she sent out the best soldiers of the empire to rescue them at the first instance. 

The students of White Deer Academy cheered excitedly. 

Lan Tian was the only one who remained silent. 

He was wondering whether he should really escape to Snow Capital. 

If that person were to come, the city walls and valiant soldiers of the imperial city might not be able to ward him off. Then, wouldn't Snow Capital experience the same disaster that had befallen to Deer City? Would the slaughter at the Boundless River be repeated there at Snow Capital? If that was the case, did it mean that he would bring disaster and death wherever he went? When would his days of fleeing for his life come to an end?

Lan Tian remained silent as he pondered.

Soon, the group set off once more after they had rested. They continued to switch locations to prevent the flying vicious beasts from detecting their presence.

Approximately thirty minutes later, their tracks were finally discovered. 

Countless vicious beasts growled furiously as they charged downward. To make matters worse, a giant King of Birds that was ten thousand meters tall had also appeared in the sky, like a huge rain cloud blocking out the sky. A figure that was shrouded in darkness and evil stood proud on the King of Birds' back. His Emperor qi circulated; his aura was extremely rich and abundant, as though a divine demonic king who had the power to control everything had finally appeared. He only had to release a wisp of his aura to cause all the demonic beasts on the grassy plains to tremble in fear. 

"Hehe, Ye Qingyu's kin? Very well, since I can't find him, I shall kill them to vent my anger. This is also a beautiful thing. Hahaha, I shall let you experience the pain of losing your close ones," the figure that swirled with Emperor qi laughed maliciously. 

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