Chapter 68: Entering the Valley
Everyone was silent; no one blinked. Holding their breath, all the people gathered looked at the Guardian, impatient to hear the news about the rankings.
Even the returned experts stared at the Guardian, wide-eyed and fully focused.
"We cannot measure the amount of treasures found since most of them will be used to increase the strength of the participant," The Guardian commented.It was only natural for them to try to increase their power to gain more treasures.
"Consequently, we have decided the ranks will be determined by whoever acquires the most beast cores. The higher ranked beast you kill, the higher you will rank. The participant's emblems depend on the rank of the holder. If you kill a two-star Warrior, you gain a two-star emblem, which is equal to the core of a two-star beast."
"Within the Valley, there are beasts leveled at the ninth rank. As to whether or not you will see them comes down to your luck. We will not save you while you are in the Immortal Valley. Anything that happens, you will face on your own."
Hearing this, some of the participant's eyes were filled with excitement while others had a slight trace of dread.
"We will begin to send the experts into the Immortal Valley individually. All participants make sure to stand one in a line. Everyone will arrive at various places within the Immortal Valley. Your alliances mean nothing," The Guardian continued. His words caused everyone to feel regretful. Every family wished for their participants to go together. Now, it seemed as though they had no one to rely on. Only true power would prevail.
Looking at Bu Huang, Xu Min saw t he had a frown on his face. "Uncle Huang is it not normal for the participants to be split up after entering the Valley?" he asked subtly. All around him, people were mumbling to one another.
Bu Huang looked surprisedly at Xu Min. He was shocked the younger man had guessed accurately. "That is true," he answered. His voice low as well, not wishing to disturb the silence too much. His words, however, caused all the participants to feel stunned in their hearts. The Immortal Valley Ranking was as old as the history of the Immortal Ruins itself, the fact that it suddenly changed, startled Xu Min.
While Xu Min was shocked, he understood that someone like Bu Huang, who had been here for multiple rankings, was far more surprised than himself.
"Well, we cannot do anything about this," he tried to reassure his participants. He said this low, so it did not disturb the Guardians. "Remember what I said, survival is the most important aspect, high ranking comes second. Do not make fires at night and ensure that you don't team up with people you do not trust, if possible."
It was not just Bu Huang who was warning his members. Everyone, patriarchs, sect leaders, and elders, within the square outside the teleportation ruins, warned their members.
"Stand in line!" The Guardian ordered. He called out many participants who rushed to the front of the line. They were the first to be teleported. Bu Huang, in no rush, waited until the last few spots before he made his members get in line.
At the front of the line, fighting had already broken out between some participants. They used their brute force to gain a higher position in the queue. Xu Min and the ones at the back were quite satisfied with their current location.
"One at a time," the Guardian said. He pretended not to see the fighting going on below.One participant after another stepped forward and moved towards the teleportation array.
The queue got smaller and smaller as one person after another vanished. It had taken roughly three hours before it was time for the Bu family participants to enter the transportation device.Xu Min was filled with anticipation. Where would he arrive? What was this Immortal Valley like? Would he have to kill many participants or would it be enough to just hunt down the beasts? Xu Min did not know, but he could feel excitement deep inside, excitement to finally show off his prowess and to fight beasts and to gain treasures. From what he had understood, the Immortal Valley was one massive treasure trove, but it depended on a person's strength to acquire these treasures.
"Look there! A two-star warrior who wants to join this ranking. Is it not a death wish? Although a two-star emblem is not worth much, with this kid being so brazen, he should be taught a final lesson.!" There was a group of the Bu family who finally saw Xu Min's strength, and all of them started laughing. The Bu family, on the other hand, felt ridiculed and many of them clenched their fists.
A smile was on Xu Min's lips as he lifted a finger and pointed towards the speaker Just moments after, a green light flashed so quickly no one could see what this blurry flash was, and moments after a bloodcurdling scream could be heard as the speaker collapsed on the ground.
Without saying anything, Xu Min turned his back to the ones who had just insulted him. Their faces were pale; their bodies trembled slightly. The sudden attack had not required of Xu Min to take a specific stance nor was it an external technique as there had been no movement.
"You killed our martial brother!" someone suddenly shouted out. He was about to rush forward when a Guardian moved between Xu Min and the attacker.
"Your martial brother is not dead," The Guardian said seriously. This was the first time the Guardian had personally intervened in a fight. Everyone felt the air intensify and become tense.
"If you wish revenge for the petrified member of your clan, make sure that you do so within the Immortal Valley." the Guardian stated again.
Xu Min could not help but feel that this Guardian was treating him special. There was something he could not understand since he had nothing to do with this Immortal Valley before.
"Now, It is your turn," the Guardian said to Xu Min. He moved forward, and suddenly a voice spoke into his ear, "beasts are not allowed to join the Immortal Valley rankings. I will look after Cao Cao for you while you are within. I will deliver him back to you when you survive. If you survive. Should you fail, then I will keep Cao Cao as my beast for the rest of his life."
Hearing those words, Xu Min's eyes widened. He felt greatly shocked; even more so once he felt the comfortable snake t usually around his neck had suddenly vanished. With a firm push, Xu Min vanished into the teleportation array.
The world turned blurry; it was as though every color merged with one another. Soon the light vanished, a completely black hole with a strong suction force drew Xu Min into the middle of it.
He felt as though he had been there for years. However, only a second had gone by.
The darkness soon broke, and color once more descended upon the world in front of Xu Min. Brown and green trees could be seen everywhere. He was standing in a small clearance. Right in front of him was his first obstacle, a Horned Redscaled Lizard.
This lizard was clearly of the three-star rank, closing in on the fourth-star rank. Usually, Xu Min would not have felt worried about something as simple as such a beast. However, his safety net provided by Cao Cao was gone. He needed to deal with everything on his own now.
His sword instantly appeared in his hands. With his eyes focused on the Horned Redscaled Lizard, he instantly got ready to attack.
This lizard was like Xu Min. He was a beast which externally practiced. Absorbing all the Qi from such a beast was only possible if he managed to cut through the tough defense of the red scales, something so strong that every beast would take pride in.
Xu Min looked at the beast. They were both slowly moving in a circle, neither of them willing to be the first to advance.
Xu Min took a deep breath. Although he was alone, he was inside a forest. This environment reminded him of the years where he was living in the forest outside the Zhong family compound. A serenity slowly descended upon his mind. A smirk appeared. He moved the sword slightly and finally pounced at the Horned Redscaled Lizard.
The speed with which Xu Min moved was swift. Although he was not as swift as Cao Cao, he was still outstanding.His speed surprised the Horned Redscaled Lizard. Slithering with its tongue, it retreated a few steps before a determination appeared in its eyes. It too charged forward.
The boy with the large sword in his hands and the lizard with its sharp claws and shining scales met face to face. The sword was blocked by the sharp claws, the two caught in a deadlock before shooting backward. Observing each other, they both knew that it was not going to be easy to deal with each other.
"Fine, if I can't get you in close range, let just see how you will manage this!" Xu Min said with gritted teeth. He took a stance, one shard after another was made from Qi, but each shard looked like jade and was as sharp as knives.
A hissing sound could be heard from the throat of the lizard. Its eyes turned dark, seeing Xu Min taking a stance. The lizard's eyes gained a confused expression. It had already seen t Xu Min was capable of standing against him physically, a fact which bruised his self-confidence. Now, the lizard saw he was capable of doing stances also!.
Realizing he was in a bad situation, the Horned Redscaled Lizard turned to run away. However, the time it took to reach his conclusion allowed for Xu Min to execute his attack. Numerous shards appeared behind Xu Min. Xu Min did not hesitate; there was no time for sympathy in this life and death situation. His arm shot forward, pointing at the Lizard which was fleeing.
"Think you are faster than my shards? Humph, keep dreaming," he said with a serious face. The shards shot forward; the shards embedded themselves within the beast's body, legs, feet, and head. Thousands of shards rained down upon the body of the Horned Redscaled Lizard.
Blood started to flow, the speed of which the beast was escaping turned slow. The beast finally collapsed with a wailing cry.
Xu Min understood the smell of blood alongside the cry would cause other beasts to rush in his direction. In turn, Xu Min quickly cut out the beast core from the beast's forehead before he returned to the clearing in the forest. On a stone was a beautiful red flower which had a medicinal aroma wafting from it. The smell reminded Xu Min about the flowers he had found in the valley where Cao Cao's father and mother resided.
Picking up the flower, he climbed to the tree tops. With steady and familiar steps, he moved farther away from the battle scene, constantly on the lookout for new opponents