Chapter 411: The Living Black Forest [V5C118 – A Distance Within Reach]
This was a feather of the Wings of Inception which had fed on a tremendous amount of blood energy. It was a mystery just how powerful it was, but it shouldn’t be a problem to wipe out a couple of Bai Kongzhaos with it.
The issue lay in whether he could hit her. In the past couple of days, Qianye had launched attacks which he believed would definitely connect, but Bai Kongzhao had always escaped the peril using extremely secretive methods.
This time, Qianye was going to wait for Bai Kongzhao to close in before dealing this fatal blow. That would be the time for him to fire the Wings of Inception.
But Bai Kongzhao was hesitant and holding at this very juncture, a stark contrast to her previous decisive ruthlessness. She gazed at Qianye with perplexed eyes and finally withdrew into the forest and vanished.
Qianye was startled for a moment but later realized that the young girl had chosen to abandon the opportunity before her. Her instincts were indeed unmatched. Qianye also left to continue playing this endless hunting game.
The sky above his head was a dense lead grey color. It was as though the Iron Curtain had already become a part of the sky and would never disperse. Qianye staggered forward with no idea where he was. The scenery before him had turned into an intermittent blur, and many parts of his body had lost all senses.
Up above was the unchanging Iron Curtain, and glancing around, there were only dense woods in every direction. Qianye had lost his sense of time, and his body was growing increasingly light as though he were floating above the clouds. At times, it felt like he was walking over soft cotton despite having stepped on solid ground.
“Am I at the limit?” A notion suddenly popped up amidst his chaotic thoughts. He stopped in a daze and vaguely felt his shoulder lean on a large tree. Just like that, he rested in a standing posture. He dared not sit down because he knew he would never be able to get up again.
“Am I going to die?” This was his second thought.
Death wasn’t frightening. He needed only to close his eyes and relax completely to fall into eternal darkness and serenity. During his daze, Qianye seemed to have returned to his youth. It felt as though he were standing upon the chaotic mess of the junkyard.
He could almost hear the rumble of engines which, to the children of the junkyard, was like heavenly music. The sound indicated that an airship from the upper continent had arrived with new trash. This refuse was the only means of survival.
Qianye suddenly opened his eyes with flames flickering gradually within. I-I can’t die yet!
He shook his head, somewhat clarifying the scenery around him. He could no longer activate his True Sight and only choose a safe direction with his intuition in which to continue his journey.
After a while, Qianye was suddenly startled as he realized that he hadn’t seen Bai Kongzhao for a while. According to the previous pattern, the girl should’ve attacked him two or three times already during this period.
Could it be that she could no longer hold on and has finally collapsed? Qianye shook his head. Bai Kongzhao clearly had reinforcements and supplies behind her. She wasn’t that weak. Since even Qianye had retained enough strength for one last strike, it was only natural for her to make one final attempt.
Fighting for several days with neither rest nor sleep had unknowingly allowed the two to understand one another with incomparable clarity.
Qianye glanced toward his surroundings in an attempt to find the young girl’s traces. However, his expression shifted as his vision gained complete clarity.
A faint mist had spread throughout the forest at some point, and the trees around him had assumed a completely different form. The trunks were pitch-black, and the branches had become twisted and razor sharp. The scene was indescribably eerie.
This is… the Black Forest?
Qianye’s expression was solemn. He had never expected that a thing of the legends would appear before his eyes. So much so that he had no recollection of how he had arrived here—he knew not whether he had walked into the Black Forest or if the original woods had suddenly transformed.
There were numerous mysterious legends about the Black Forest. It was just that most rumors were never proven, so much so that it was controversial whether the forest appeared only in the imagination of the dying person or if it really did exist.
But now, Qianye was very clearly aware that the scenery around him was true.
The mist grew thicker and thicker until the endless array of faintly visible trees and branches had been reduced to a mass of hazy grey. Qianye’s field of vision was limited to a couple hundred meters, and it was filled with trees seemingly carved of black stone. A thought arose in his heart—Bai Kongzhao’s failure to appear might have something to do with the Black Forest.
Qianye didn’t act rashly. He fished out the last blood crystal in his pocket, shattered it, and absorbed the blood energy therein. He spent a moment recovering, then proceeded to observe the surrounding Black Forest with due caution. He might be trapped here forever if he failed to peer into its secrets.
His vision was somewhat blurry as Qianye used True Sight once again, but it didn’t prevent him from sensing the surging darkness which seemed to have flooded the entire world.
At this moment, Bai Kongzhao was standing silently in the distance. She was gazing at the exceedingly dense forest without the slightest of movement, a cape tightly wrapped around her body.
Several Nangong family elites were standing beside her, including a short elderly man.
The old man’s gaze was like lightning as he shot Bai Kongzhao a glance and said in a deep voice, “This old man is Nangong Yuanwang. I’m sure Miss Kongzhao has heard of my name.”
Bai Kongzhao replied indifferently, “I’ve indeed heard of the Nangong family’s second elder. It’s unexpected for you to arrive here personally. Aren’t you afraid of Sky Demon discovering you?”
Nangong Yuanwang let out an amused heh and said proudly, “This old man has been cultivating for over thirty years. Wouldn’t it have been for nothing if I can’t even hide from Sky Demon’s attention?”
Bai Kongzhao replied with an "Mm", and continued, “Then, is the second elder prepared to take action?”
Nangong Yuanwang was immediately stoppered up. Despite his conceit, the man was no divine champion—there was no way he would dare to go all out under the Iron Curtain. Bai Kongzhao’s questioning tone was rather impolite. There was a faint disdain within her words that almost seemed to question his point in coming here without the ability to fight.
Nangong Yuanwang’s expression shifted between blue and white. “This old man received news that Tiancheng has fallen in battle and thus rushed over at full speed. He’s my only son, Miss Bai. Don’t you feel that you should give this old man an explanation?!” At this point, Nangong Yuanwang’s voice had become completely harsh.
Bai Kongzhao, on the other hand, seemed to not have heard the threat in his words. “Nangong Tiancheng? The captain with the short beard?”
“Exactly!” Nangong Yuanwang’s expression was full of anger.
“He died in Qianye’s hands.” And that was Bai Kongzhao’s explanation.
Nangong Yuanwang endured his fury and asked, “Where is Qianye right now? This old man must flay him!”
Bai Kongzhao pointed toward the dense forest in front. “In that direction.”
There was an exceedingly dense forest where she was pointing. The leaves on its trees were oddly verdant, dazzling, and almost seemed to be glowing radiantly under the dusky world of the Iron Curtain. For some unknown reason, Nangong Yuanwang actually felt great alarm after seeing this forest.
“Why does this forest look so peculiar?”
Bai Kongzhao chuckled softly. “Of course, the Black Forest would look different.”
Nangong Yuanwang was startled. “The Black Forest?! It’s not as if this old man has never seen the Black Forest before. Why does it look like this?”
“Then how should it look like?”
Nangong Yuanwang’s brows locked into a frown as he glanced at Bai Kongzhao. “Then how do you know that this is the Black Forest?”
The girl’s reply shrouded the old man’s countenance in a layer of ashen hue. He wanted to act up but managed to swallow his anger after recalling how Bai Aotu was hanging around the Iron Curtain’s border. Moving against Bai Kongzhao was tantamount to offending Bai Aotu.
Someone beside Nangong Yuanwang said slowly, “There are too many legends about the Black Forest, but none of them have been proven. This lowly one is inept but has also experienced the forest once. Both the trees and soil within it are incomparably eerie with no way to understand how it was formed. Apart from that, however, there seems to be nothing especially terrifying about it. This area is still quite a ways from the Black Forest, so why has Miss Kongzhao stopped?”
Bai Kongzhao replied, “That which you have just said is merely the vestige left behind by a dead Black Forest, while the one before us is alive. I do not wish to enter. You lot can go in if you’re willing; that person is definitely inside.”
“A live Black Forest?” People from the Nangong family were all surprised.
Nangong Yuanwang’s expression was solemn as he muttered, “Since Miss Kongzhao knows so much about the Black Forest, I hope you’ll accompany us into it. With our force’s strength, I’m sure we can get through this daunting experience without any accidents.”
“I refuse.” Bai Kongzhao’s refusal was blunt.
A certain person whispered in Nangong Yuanwang’s ears. The latter said immediately, “The price can be easily discussed if you’re willing to enter with us.”
The continuous refusals made Nangong Yuanwang’s countenance turn extremely ugly. He had always been a major character in the Nangong family who had the masses at his beck and call. When had he ever suffered such temper? Even if other people couldn’t agree to his request, they would always refuse tactfully and seek his forgiveness.
But despite this, he had no way to vent his anger because this young girl before him not only possessed a special identity but also boasted peculiar abilities. Of the two hundred-men elite units working with her to hunt down Qianye, one had been wiped out entirely, while the other had been driven to exhaustion—only Bai Kongzhao was able to tangle with Qianye all the way to the end.
This kind of accomplishment proved that one shouldn’t use ranks to measure this seemingly prepubescent girl before him. Moreover, there had to be a reason why a top-ranking character like the arrogant Bai Aotu would view her with such importance.
Bai Kongzhao was adamant about not going into the live Black Forest, so much so that she wasn’t even willing to approach it. Nangong Yuanwang was also an old wily fox; he became vigilant and attempted to probe further. “Miss Kongzhao, I wonder if you can reveal some details about the dangers of this Black Forest.”
The young girl shook her head. “I don’t know either. I just don’t want to go.”
With that, the young girl no longer paid attention to the Nangong family. She simply turned to leave and soon vanished into the mountains like a spirit.
Nangong Yuanwang’s expression was fluctuating wildly as he suddenly spoke to a warrior beside him, “You, bring ten men and scout ahead! Turn back after half an hour.”
The man immediately turned pale, but he daren’t go against Nangong Yuanwang’s orders. He could only clench his teeth and select ten soldiers who would follow him into this eerie forest full of vitality. As expected, an odd scene played out—the figures of the scouting soldiers gradually disappeared after entering the forest despite clearly being in visible range.
These people suddenly vanished right under Nangong Yuanwang’s eyes, and he actually couldn’t get a lock on their auras even with his strength. The old man’s unsightly expression reached its extremes. Right now, all he could do was wait for the soldiers to return at the appointed time. However, everyone had a bad feeling about it.
Afterward, Nangong Yuanwang and his group of people fell into an impasse. They waited for a long while without any news whatsoever from those who had gone into the forest.
Seeing Nangong Yuanwang’s countenance turn anxious, one of his aids said, “Elder, there might not be any results even if we wait longer. Why don’t we leave some people here to wait for them and head back? You mustn’t stay for long under the Iron Curtain.”
Nangong Yuanwang nodded slowly. “Fine, I’ll leave first then. Jiancheng, set up an ambush here with half the men. Kill that brat mercilessly once you see him leave the forest. Yucheng, you bring the rest of the men to hunt for some merits in the surrounding area. We came to kill Qianye in passing, but now the cart is before the horse.”
The aide was clearly relieved at this arrangement. It would be for the best if they could leave this eerie place as soon as possible.
Qianye had no idea how long he had been inside the Black Forest. He was leaning on a tree with his eyes closed.
The surroundings were so silent that it was terrifying. There wasn’t a sound to be heard, not even the rustling of leaves in the wind. However, the prolonged silence gave rise to numerous minute voices. It was as though someone was whispering, as though something was chewing quietly.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Looks like he's in deep sh... erm... cake?
TL: Legion ED: Moxie