With grim expressions, the explorers from the Realm of a Hundred Battles marched on cautiously, as if they were walking on thin ice.
The strange environment, the large pack of Specters, and the Phantasms that lurked in the dark and unleashed screeches made the explorers grow increasingly vigilant.
With an expressionless face, Nie Tian marched on beside Dong Li.
Dong Li had learned from her previous lesson. Every once in a while, she would stop to ask Nie Tian for his discoveries in a low voice.
Nie Tian, who didn’t discover any more anomalies, shook his head to let her know that everything looked good.
Only after seeing Nie Tian shake his head would Dong Li put her mind at ease and start marching again.
Meanwhile, she noticed that Qin Yan and Qian Xin would turn to glance at them from time to time.
Therefore, she was increasingly careful when she communicated with Nie Tian, fearing that Qian Xin and the others would question her intentions, and thus jeopardize the unity of the whole team.
Qiu Liang from the Pill Pavilion Sect seemed to possess a substantial amount of Blaze Pills. Marching at the forefront, he continued to cast them, forming new blazing rings.
The Specters floating about in the phantasm Qi were by nature afraid of flames, and thus didn’t dare to charge into the blazing defense.
After marching for a few more minutes...
The cold bodies of three dead Spirit God Sect Qi warriors entered the teams’ sight. Each of them had blood coming out of their bulging eyes.
They seemed to have died from the same cause as the corpses they had discovered before.
Cao Qiushui let out a sigh and said, “It seems that people from the Spirit God Sect have found this place after all. Apparently, it was the Specter activities in the area that exposed this Phantasm relic. I just hope that the truly powerful experts from the Spirit God Sect haven’t received word and come over to this place.”
Dong Mingxuan looked off into the depths of the valley, saying, “You’re right, it might be more troublesome if they come. Their incantations have profound connections to the Phantasms’ incantations. For thousands of years, they have never given up exploring Phantasm relics.
“They’ve hoped that they could solve more profound mysteries and gain more knowledge from relics the Phantasms left behind.
“If the Spirit God Sect is aware that another Phantasm relic has been discovered in the Realm of Dark Underworld, they probably would have turned out in full force to unveil the secrets within it.
“That would be terrible news for us.”
The crowd whispered to each other as they marched by the dead Spirit God Sect Qi warriors and deeper into the valley.
The further in they went, the more floating Specters they could see.
Not only that, but the sizes of the Specters became larger, and their faces became clearer.
Apparently, the Specters in the depths of the valley weren’t just the discarnate souls of human Qi warriors, but some of them were clearly the discarnate souls of spirit beasts.
That meant that humans weren’t the only ones that had been killed and made into Specters, but powerful, local spirit beasts too.
All of a sudden, a gray Specter wreathed in rich, cyan phantasm Qi flew out of the depths of the valley.
It seemed to be the discarnate soul of a formidable spirit beast. It had a set of huge, bat-like wings, and with a cyan face and sharp fans, its face was clear and recognizable. Dong Mingxuan’s expression flickered. “A Demonface Blood Bat!”
Demonface Blood Bats were a kind of spirit beast that could only be found in the Realm of Dark Underworld. As fifth grade spirit beasts, their strength equaled that of Worldly realm experts.
It was said that Demonface Blood Bats were one of the oldest species in the Realm of Dark Underworld. Supposedly, they even had been closely related to the Phantasms when they had dominated this realm.
Back then, the Phantasms had the custom of breeding Demonface Blood Bats and using them as mounts.
Even though this Demonface Blood Bat that had appeared out of nowhere was also a Specter, it seemed to emanate a peculiar aura of flesh and blood.
In the blink of an eye, the Demonface Blood Bat broke through Qiu Liang’s fiery circle.
Screeching, it flew past Shen Zhong, Dong Mingxuan, and the other Worldly realm experts, who were each able to inflict serious damage on it, and swooped toward the location where the Gu Clan members were gathered, as if it possessed intelligence.
An extremely brutal and bloodthirsty expression appeared on its sinister, fanged face.
Standing behind Gu Haofeng, a middle Greater Heaven stage Gu Clan member brandished the golden sword in his hand to form a dazzling, golden light screen, hoping to stop it.
However, the Demonface Blood Bat didn’t show the slightest fear, and burst through the golden light screen completely unscathed.
The Demonface Blood Bat, which should have been in an intangible form, ripped the man’s throat out with its sharp claws.
While reminding his subordinates to be careful at the top of his lungs, Gu Haofeng took out a cyan thunderball and used it to bombard the Demonface Blood Bat.
Upon exploding, the thunderball gave rise to great amounts of lightning, as well as loud rolls of thunder.
Blasted by the mighty thunderball, the gray Demonface Blood Bat, which used to be a fifth grade spirit beast, scattered and disappeared, leaving cyan fumes lingering in the air.
“Thunder power is indeed very effective on Specters!”
With a cold laugh, Gu Haofeng lifted his sword wreathed in lightning and sparks with one hand and took out another thunderball with the other.
He jumped to his subordinate’s side, who had died at the Demonface Blood Bat’s claws, and then smashed the man’s head in with his sword.
As his sword crushed his subordinate’s skull, Nie Tian saw a wisp of cyan smoke dissipate like a candle that had gone out.
Before the man’s discarnate soul could absorb the phantasm Qi and morph into a Specter, Gu Haofeng destroyed it and eliminated that possibility.
He took a deep breath and said to his other subordinates with a grim expression, “These are perilous times. From now on, no matter who among us dies, you shouldn’t be held back by your emotions. You should destroy their souls as soon as they die, so that they don’t come back as Specters and attack you!”
With pale faces, his subordinates nodded at him gently.
They were well-aware that their young lord was known as a merciless person. Therefore, none of them expected him to be held back by his lord-servant relationship with them when a critical time came.
“That’s right!” Gu Han, the Worldly realm expert from the Gu Clan, said with a nod, as if he approved of Gu Haofeng’s statement very much.
Dong Mingxuan also turned around and addressed the other Dong Clan members, “Gu Hanfeng is right. The Specters we’ll encounter from here forward will be in larger numbers and more powerful. None of you should be soft-hearted on this matter! Once your companion is dead, he or she will no longer be your companion, but rather something that will become a Specter! You must never show mercy when you deal with them, and you must kill them at the first possible moment!”
“Got it,” Dong Li said in a low voice.
“Be careful, Qiu Liang,” Shen Zhong reminded. “Specters more powerful than that Demonface Blood Bat might be waiting ahead of us. Such powerful Specters will have no problem breaking through your blazing rings.”
“Sure.” Qiu Liang also realized that, due to his arrogance, he hadn’t taken the initiative to attack the Demonface Blood Bat with his fiery rings. Because of that, it had burst through his defenses effortlessly and killed one of Gu Haofeng’s subordinates with a single strike.
After the team resumed their march, many more powerful Specters popped up just as Shen Zhong had predicted.
Some of them had transformed from high grade spirit beasts, while others had transformed from powerful human Qi warriors. The more powerful they had been when they were alive, the more powerful they would be after they had been turned into Specters.
As more and more Specters swarmed out from the depths of the valley, Qiu Liang found it increasingly difficult to handle their attacks.
It wasn’t very long before many powerful Specters burst through Qiu Liang’s fiery defense and charged into the crowd of explorers.
Every junior, including Nie Tian, became those Specters’ targets. Without any hesitation, he summoned his flame power to form a blazing shield around him. Then, he formed beams of flames with the Flame Spirit Incantation and used them to bash the incoming Specters.
Thanks to Shen Zhong, Dong Mingxuan, and the other Worldly realm experts, the powerful Specters were wiped out soon after they burst through Qiu Liang’s defense.
Gu Haofeng’s performance in battle turned out to be the most eye-catching among the juniors.
The lightning-wreathed sword in his hand and his thunderballs seemed to become the bane of the Specters.
Even though his cultivation base wasn’t very outstanding, by relying on his lightning and thunder incantations, the destructive damage he dealt to the Specters matched even that of the Worldly realm experts.
Surrounded by slithering cyan lightning, he stepped forward, holding his sword and with a arrogant expression on his face.
No matter how fierce the Specters were, they would naturally cower when facing him.
As the team continued to march forward, Gu Haofeng gradually moved to the forefront with Dong Mingxuan, Shen Zhong, and the other Worldly realm experts.
Under his protection, none of his subordinates were threatened by any Specters.
Meanwhile, the Worldly realm experts seemed to trust him. Not only did they not get angry seeing him stepping to the forefront, but they even praised him for shouldering their pressure voluntarily.
Gradually, Gu Haofeng’s thunderballs played an increasingly significant role in killing Specters.
Later, Qiu Liang even intentionally gave Gu Haofeng chances to kill more Specters, knowing he was able to handle them.
Since thunder and lightning were the Specters’ worst natural enemies, by relying on his substantial amount of thunderballs, Gu Haofeng soon became the most prominent junior in the mountain valley.
Gu Haofeng enjoyed the feeling very much. He laughed broadly as he cleared a safe path that was filled with lightning and rolling thunder for the whole team using his sword and thunderballs.
Translator: Alcohol Sword Immortal a.k.a. Beerblade. (Follow me on Twitter)
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I'll continue to introduce you to some some of most frequently used hieroglyphic characters in Chinese language.
The following shows how character has evolved through time. Guess what it means. The answer is in the lower right corner. (Hint: it's worshiped in many cultures)
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(answer: the sun)