Chapter 129: Battleground
"Congratulations," the amalgamation bestowed upon Xu Min. He could even hear the surprise in the voice as it spoke.
"To think that you can achieve one miracle after another. First, you manage to break into the seventh-star Warrior rank that swiftly. Then you manage to overcome your heart demon, and now you even managed to consume the pill of transcendence."
"I guess it really was the right decision to give you this pill." the amalgamation continued before another light beam shone; one last pill appeared in the light.
"This pill is not as great as the pill of transcendence. As a matter of fact, it is not even the strongest pill I have at my disposal, but it is the most suitable one for you right now."
"It is a pill of foundation, a pill which builds your foundation of your cultivation base."
"You just reached the eight-star Warrior rank. Now your cultivation is unstable. It needs to be solidified. To do so, you need to either spend some time cultivating or consume this pill."
"The pill is made for the middle ranks, not so much the high-ranked stars.Thus how much it can benefit you, I do not know. Nevertheless, try consuming it, and we will see what will happen."
The amalgamation explained more than usual. Xu Min was surprised to hear that such a medicinal pearl existed. He quickly and eagerly accepted the amalgamation’s offer.
He instantly popped the pill into his mouth and sat down to cultivate. Energy floated through his body, but it was far from as powerful as it had been before when he consumed the pill of transcendence.
The energy he felt was different It was less wild, but a lot denser than it had been before. It slowly built up the foundation of Xu Min's new rank. However just as the amalgamation had said, it was not enough to fully build his foundations.
A few days passed where Xu Min was just sitting down and cultivating. He was, absorbing the essence of the heavens and the earth while he was seated in meditation.
Soon he was not doing anything else but cultivating. His foundations became solidified under the constant cultivation.
"You are done now. I cannot do anymore for you. You already consumed the rewards, and you have passed all of my trials," The amalgamation stated. Xu Min opened his eyes; a newfound sharpness was evident within.
"If you wish to leave the Immortal Valley without going through the portal, you will need to walk through the entire valley until you reach the outside." the amalgamation continued to explain. "You have that lion with you; he will be able to tell you the way and ensure that you avoid all the dangerous areas." Soon the entrance to the Bood Pagoda opened, and Xu Min stood up. He bowed deeply to the empty chamber and turned to leave.
As he left, Xu Min was shocked when he exited the Blood Pagoda. The outside was a battlefield!
It was impossible to say exactly how long it had been since Xu Min entered the Blood Pagoda, but outside there were countless corpses of Golden-Furred Blood Lions littered on the ground. Most importantly, though, there were no signs of neither Ye Ling nor Cao Cao.
Xu Min felt his entire body go numb. He had left his two brothers alone, and now they were at some unknown place. His eyes hardened, and his teeth clenched. He scoured the entire battleground to see if there were any survivors. Nonetheless, no matter where he looked all he saw was beasts that had been torn to bits.
Just as his mind was descending into hopelessness, he heard someone call his name, "Xu Min! We are okay!"
The voice was familiar. The knot that had tightened within Xu Min's heart was slowly untying itself. He felt a deep sensation of relief wash his body.
Turning around, he saw Cao Cao and Ye Ling. Both were much bigger than they had been before, but their bodies contained many scars and gaping wounds.
"What happened?!" Xu Min asked shocked and angry at the same time. He was not angry at Cao Cao and Ye Ling, but furious at whoever had caused them this pain.
"Don't worry about us," Ye Ling said with a toothy grin. "I was an outcast from the Golden-furred Blood Lion sect. When they came to visit the Blood Pagoda and saw Cao Cao and me, they instantly attacked. Since then we have killed anyone who has come for us, yet I fear that stronger experts will be coming soon."
"As well, we have consumed quite a few beast cores. These beast cores have helped us increase our strength tremendously. Even though it is like this, we are not strong enough to stand against the ones of the seventh or eight ranks, so we feared that we could not wait for you here any much longer."
"However, you appeared at just the right time. Let us hesitate no longer and leave instantly," Cao Cao said nervously. Xu Min nodded his head in agreement. There was no reason to stay on this battlefield.
"We need to leave the valley by traveling through it. We cannot use the formations or portals since they are controlled by the elves and fairies. Since I left the academy, I am certain that if they find me, then I will be put into forced seclusion for quite a long time. I do not have time for that right now, so let us return to the outside world!"
Ye Ling and Cao Cao nodded their heads. Just by looking at Xu Min they had sensed that he had reached the eight star of the Warrior rank and to have reached this rank meant he had succeeded in the Blood Pagoda.
Now they needed to force their way through the Immortal Valley. Xu Min had no idea how large the valley was, but he assumed it was long.
Even worse, they had to be cautious during their trip. Xu Min was a fugitive of the fairy and elf academy while Cao Cao and Ye Ling had killed numerous beasts of the Golden-Furred Blood Lion clan. Of course, both of these groups were not going to let them go easily.
Sighing Xu Min understood that this trip was not going to be easy, but he also knew they had no other choice. He was so close to getting his revenge, so close to leaving behind the past and moving on to the future, and so close to the things that truly mattered to him. He could not give up now.Thus he could not help but smile slightly as he followed behind Ye Ling and Cao Cao through the forest.
It was clear that these two beasts knew the area around the Blood Pagoda so well they could navigate it in their sleep. They were avoiding every single beast and walking only on small beast trails.
"We need to hurry," Xu Min said anxiously. Now that he was so close to his goal he finally started to feel worried. What if something stopped him? What if someone blocked him now? Xu Min had no idea how long it would take him to reach the stage where he could seek out revenge if he got stopped now.
The group moved through the forest at a decent pace, but they did not rush. All three of them understood that if they rushed through the valley, they would be much easier targets, They would be easier targets not just for their pursuers but also for any strong beast that might be hiding within the valley.
Fortunately, Ye Ling knew which area belonged to which beast sects. He also knew where the majestic beasts of the high rank had their territories. Consequently, they clearly knew which areas to avoid.
Their advance was not straight through the valley since many of the areas were simply too dangerous, and their already long route was even longer.
The fortunate part of this twisted route was that it was easier to lose their followers because no one knew exactly which way they were traveling.
Although they could track them, it made it much harder to find their tracks when they were traveling in seemingly many directions through the valley.
The first couple of days, Xu Min and the two beasts were traveling at a fairly slow pace, but they encountered nothing threatening. They saw no beasts other than the normal inhabitants of the forest and most of those beasts made sure to hide far away from the trio.
After a week of constant travel, they ran into their first patrol of Golden-Furred Blood Lions. This patrol was not very large. Xu Min slaughtered them all before they even had the time to yelp out in surprise.
After killing these lions, Xu Min and his friends understood they needed to pick up their pace a little more than before. They sped up their advance.
After two weeks of travel, they ran into two people from the academy. They were not here for the sake of finding Xu Min. However, once they saw him, they were eager to display their ability and capture him. Apparently, Mu Jianyao created a mission where anybody who captured Xu Min would win a significant portion of contribution points.
Unfortunately, neither of the two elves were strong enough to pose any threat to Xu Min.He gently knocked them out before clearing the entire area so that they would not be attacked while being out cold.
Continuing through the forest, not many were capable of stopping the trio. Every time they came across lions they would slaughter them. Cao Cao and Ye Ling would then consume their beast cores and grow more powerful. Every time they came across students, they would knock them out, making sure that there were no beasts around.
Although Xu Min did not feel like he belonged to the academy any longer, he still did not wish to make enemies with them. He ensured that no one died. One day he even wished to visit there again, but not before he had become an Immortal himself. He felt as if he owed Mu Jianyao an explanation.
Ye Ling and Cao Cao had no qualms about killing the students. Nevertheless, because of Xu Min's decision, neither of them said anything and kept the students alive. To them, Xu Min's decision was more important than laws. These decisions were something that they could not, and would not, go against.
The closer they came to the edge of the Immortal Valley the fewer beasts and experts they ran into.
Xu Min had expected to run into mercenaries or another sort of humans who would venture into the valley to train or gain materials. However, no matter how close to the outskirts they came to, they never saw even the slightest sign of a human having come by.
Only then did he understand that the Immortal Valley was fully under the control of the elves.
"Although you are a refugee from the academy, it seems that they are not that keen on catching you," Cao Cao finally said as they could see the outside of the valley in front of them. They were becoming excited, though, but none of them dared to believe that they had truly made it out before they had crossed the last line of trees.
"What do you mean?" asked Xu Min curiously as he continued to run forward. Cao Cao just shook his head, "you are strong, yes, and we have traveled a complicated route, but do you truly believe that an Immortal would not have caught up with us already if they wished to bring you back?"
"Not only would they have caught up with us, but they would also have been able to finish us in less than a minute. You are an eight-star warrior, but even though there is only one star between you and the Immortal rank, that difference is comparable to the heavens and the earth! The academy has let you go. One day you owe them a great explanation."