Chapter 20: Immortal Cave
Cao Cao and Xu Min both made their way down the bustling street of the small town. The small snake constantly looked at the numerous street stalls selling food; however, this time Xu Min did not buy anything. He could only do nothing and sigh heavily as he opened his mouth to complain about not getting enough food.
‘I’m a snake in the midst of growing into adulthood. How can you not feed me food?!’ an indignant voice sounded out from within the head of Xu Min. The only reply it got was a chuckle from the young man. He left the main street and readied himself to follow the mercenaries and guards into the forest in front of him.
‘So Cao Cao, you’ve lived within this forest for a long time right?’ Xu Min asked curiously while looking around at the people in front of him. He noticed that none of them knew where they had to move to. Each group was going in different directions, so they hoped that they would be the lucky ones to come across the cave. None of them even knew whether or not there truly was a cave to be found within the forest.
Hearing the question, Cao Cao snorted in contempt as he thought the answer was obvious. ‘I’ll buy you all the food you want for dinner if you take me to this cave,’ Xu Min edged the snake. He was offering the only thing he knew the snake would definitely work for. Only after a few moments did the snake stop contemplating and the previous indignant expression had suddenly changed to excitement.
‘I know where the cave is,’ the snake said. ‘But it doesn’t matter because it was emptied long ago.’ ‘Emptied?’ Xu Min asked, feeling slightly disappointed. He truly wished to see a cave which had previously been the lair of an extreme expert. However, here he was being told that there was no such thing. Disappointment was shown on his face.
Seeing the disappointment, Cao Cao felt slightly guilty. Although he was not a big fan of Xu Min yet, he knew that the human had given him a lot of food these last few days. In addition, he had not asked for anything in return. Not only had he given him all the food it had asked for, but he had also started patting the head of the snake, something that it had found incredibly comfortable.
Seeing that he had gained quite a lot, the small snake pouted for a moment before deciding to pay him back even if it was just a little. ‘Although it had been emptied long ago, I can still show you where it is,’ the small snake said. It was trying to cheer up Xu Min in the only way it knew how to. ‘It is empty, but it is still an immortal cave created by a genius expert.’
Hearing these words, Xu Min nodded his head. Although he could not get any of the items, he could still see the cave. Soon after, the snake started to describe the way that they should take. Unlike the other groups, Xu Min was not waiting at random places or looking through every nook and cranny looking for the cave. Instead, he started moving with a certainty that none of the others had, something which brought the attention of many groups to him.
Moving through the forest with a certain confidence caused many smaller groups to follow behind him. This was something that Xu Min did not notice at first as they kept a fair distance between them. As he went further and further into the forest however, he soon felt that there were people behind him when the groups were within his range. He soon stopped and pretended that he too was confused; however, his act didn’t cause any of the groups to leave. Instead, Xu Min felt the groups moved closer and closer towards him.
As he felt the groups inching in on him, he knew they had unfriendly intentions. He instantly climbed onto a tree and continued advancing through the treetops.
Having moved into the trees, he caused many of the groups that were following him to stop because they were unable to follow him. Moving with speeds as swift as Xu Min moved in the treetops was something that could only be done by few cultivators. However, many of the cultivators who had followed him were far above him in rank and they managed to follow suit. Although they could not decrease the distance between them and him, they managed to continue following him which caused the young man to feel very worried about his options.
‘We can always go to father’s lair,’ the snake said with a careless voice. However, Xu Min shook his head, ‘No, that valley is filled with medicinal plants. If even one of them survives and escapes, they will come back with many experienced experts and harvest them all. They’ll bring so many people that even your dad will have problems.’
‘This is something we’ll have to deal with on our own.’ Xu Min said with his eyes dark and his mood sour. He truly wished to visit the cave, but currently, it seemed as though it was not an option for him.
Suddenly, a smile appeared on his face as the cave was exactly where he needed to go. With a single thought, he once more followed the way that was shown to him by the snake.
‘I didn’t think you wanted to go to the cave anyway,’ the snake said, but showed the way towards the cave without complaint. Hastening his speed, Xu Min inched closer to the cave. As he approached it though, he noticed that the people following him were decreasing in numbers. Only a couple were unable to follow him, but the majority still held out. As they went deeper into the forest, the majority continued to remain steady as they used their their full power to keep the weaker Xu Min within their sights.
The wild chase went on for two more hours before they finally arrived at a mountain side. When Xu Min climbed the mountain side, he saw a massive cave right in front of him. As he saw the cave, the others behind him noticed it too. They no longer paid any attention towards Xu Min who kept rushing through the high tree tops and quickly vanished into the forest on the opposite side of the mountain.
Seeing Xu Min escape into the distance, the groups that were following him focused on the cave that they had heard so much about. As soon as they entered, anger filled their eyes and they ordered their swiftest men to locate and capture Xu Min. Nothing was left within the cave and the only thing that could be seen was the furniture made from stone. Not even a scroll of parchment could be found lying in the corners.
Xu Min was not dumb as he knew that the groups would be anything but satisfied with what they had found within the cave. Which was why he quickly made his escape. Moments after he heard the sound of smashing trees and agitated men as he swiftly escaped through the opposite side of the mountain into an area he had never been in before. Xu Min was already far into the middle of the forest and many beasts within this area were dangerous. So far, he had been exceptionally lucky as he had not run into even a single beast. However, he knew that the further he ventured, the more likely he was to run into a beast.
Unfortunately, he had no other option than to keep moving forward. His hope was to keep running across the treetops so that the majority of the beasts on the ground would not notice him as much. After running further ahead, he suddenly noticed the sounds of fighting behind him. As he looked back, he saw demon beasts after demon beasts blocking the road from the pursuers.
Xu Min was not dumb. He instantly understood that something like this had to do with Cao Cao. Now was not the time to ask the snake, but instead it was time to keep moving forward in order to constantly increase the lead he had gained from the men following behind him.
Having moved for a long while, Xu Min finally slowed down. He was unable to notice anyone following behind him. The forest was filled with the sounds of demon beasts, yet none of them were coming close to Xu Min as long as Cao Cao was fastened to his neck.
Xu Min’s aura was that of a One-Star Warrior. With Cao Cao coiled up around his neck, Cao Cao’s aura overwhelmed his own weak aura. He was really thankful for that.
‘Let us return to your father’s place,’ Xu Min said. His heart was beating quickly as he felt the auras of the strong foes headed towards his way. However, Cao Cao shook his head.
‘This forest belongs to my father,’ he said with a gleam in his green eyes. ‘Do you think anyone within this forest dares to go against me, the only son of my father? Even if I bring in a human, no one will touch you although they might come to see what you look like.’
Hearing this, Xu Min saw how demon beasts after demon beasts appeared in front of him. There were Demonic Golden Collared Wolves, Blood Red Peacocks, Violet Fanged Panthers, Thunderstrike Crown Sparrows, and even Winged Horses.
Looking at these beasts, it was obvious that none of them seemingly had any ill intentions. However. Xu Min felt incredibly nervous as the beasts inched closer. They were looking at him, sniffing him and even touching him. Had Cao Cao not been by his side, it was obvious that he would have been eaten long ago. As they currently had no intentions of harming him, instead, curiosity was shown.
‘These beasts have never seen a human before,’ Cao Cao said with a laughter as he saw and felt the discomfort in the heart of Xu Min. They were all either late Middle-Stage Warrior Rank or even the Advanced Warrior Rank beasts. All of them were so strong that it would take nothing but a swat of their paws to kill the human. Xu Min had a hard time understanding the potency of their strength.
‘This is my place. I always play with these guys when I’m bored. Hey, hey, I saved you! You should buy me a lot of food!’ Cao Cao’s eyes were shining with happiness.
Seeing that the snake was happy, Xu Min could not keep the feeling of danger from what was around him. Instead, he started laughing out loud as he patted the snake on top of the head.
“Sure,” he said out loud as the many beasts looked at him curiously. None of them were capable of speaking the human language. However, they knew that the snake’s father, the King of the Forest, was capable of speaking the human tongue. In many ways, Xu Min was as exciting to them as they were to him.
Xu Min knew that he owed Cao Cao a lot. Although the problem had started initially on their trip towards the immortal cave, he knew that it had been him who had wanted to go in the first place. As soon as they were followed by a force much stronger than him, he found that in an emergency, Cao Cao had saved his life. This caused him to land within the inner area of the forest safely.
‘I promise to buy anything you want,’ Xu Min said quietly. ‘But we can’t return to the city we came from. We will need to travel through the forest. If we go back, we will be caught by the guys who followed us. Even if you were to bring your friends, we won’t be able to manage.’
‘That’s fine,’ Cao Cao said, ‘I need to say goodbye to my friends. In the future I will be living in the human world together with you.’ His face was all smiles and Xu Min was capable of feeling an excitement bubbling inside of the young snake. Laughing out loud once more, Xu Min moved the snake back onto his neck where it coiled around. They slowly started moving towards the opposite end of the forest. It was time for him and Cao Cao to start venturing into the world on the other side.