In front lay a mountain wall with a narrow entrance inside. The walls were high and steep, as if they had been carved by a sword. The blackish blue rock exposed to the outside shone with a metallic luster. A stone tablet stood outside the entrance, a bit over 10 feet high, with a single phrase written atop it.
‘Forbidden Land. Do Not Enter.’
Perhaps it was because Immortal Eclipse Valley was confident that no one would think about breaking into this area, but there were no cultivators standing guard. A guide walked forwards several steps and carefully took out a jade card from his chest. As if it sensed something, the jade card lit up and flew from his hand until it fell into the mountain wall entrance.
Ripples appeared in the empty void, as if a soft and gentle breeze were wafting across the surface of a quiet lake. Qin Yu felt a chill creep up his back and he froze where he was. If he had bumped into these ripples without preparation, he would likely have been torn to shreds and even his soul would have been destroyed.
An alchemist’s divine sense was far stronger than that of an ordinary cultivator. At this time, the nine other people beside him all had stiff complexions. No…that was wrong, there was actually a single exception. The mysterious cultivator who was shrouded in a yin chill was incomparably calm, even calmer than before.
The ripples dispersed. The guiding cultivators turned and said, “The Radiant Red Wood is in the valley. After entering, do not use your magic power without permission. Make sure to remember this!”
The guide walked in first. Qin Yu followed at the very end of the group as they entered the narrow entrance. After passing a dozen meters or so, the surroundings began to light up and a five to six mile wide valley appeared before everyone. However, nobody cared to observe their surroundings at this moment; all of their attention was drawn towards the ancient heaven-towering tree in the center of the valley.
The tree was almost a thousand feet tall and as thick as seven or eight people standing side by side. The sturdy roots were like great hands that gripped the earth, and the crown of leaves nearly covered half the valley. A divine red light emitted from the tree’s body, trunk, and leaves, filling everyone’s line of sight. The dazzling red light seemed as if it flowed here from ancient times and the flickering flames that burned continuously on the branches made the dark red jade-like fruits even more beautiful.
A vast and ancient aura mixed in with the vicissitudes of time caused awe to rise in the hearts of all those present.
Radiant Red Wood!
This was the Radiant Red Wood!
The eyes of the guiding cultivators filled with envy. One turned and said, “This is a rare chance. You must all take advantage of this and make sure you don’t miss such a wonderful opportunity.”
A violent aura suddenly erupted. A figure rushed out from the group. With a flick of his sleeve, black blood crows surrounded him like a swarm of locusts as he hurtled towards the Radiant Red Wood.
It was that person!
Qin Yu was shocked.
The guiding cultivator’s complexion sank, but it soon turned into a sneer. He allowed the person to rush towards the Radiant Red Wood, not bothering to stop him.
The buzzing of vibrating wings rose up and winged insects began to fly out from the Radiant Red Wood. Because the tree was covered in the divine red light, they had been unable to see these insects. These were the same Purpleback Bluewing Ants that had eaten three Golden Core cultivators just a while ago!
After being awakened, the insects were enraged. They shot towards the black blood crows, tearing it apart and swallowed it. The person that rushed out frowned and then roared out loud. A blood red light ignited all over his body and his speed suddenly accelerated, allowing him to avoid the swarm of ants and strike the Radiant Red Wood.
With a loud explosion, terrifying fluctuations of strength erupted. The cultivator had actually blown himself up! The Radiant Red Wood’s thick and sturdy trunk faintly shivered. A rich divine red light surged like streams of water, instantly melting away and dispersing the impact force. The power of an exploding Golden Core was actually unable to harm the Radiant Red Wood in the least!
The complexions of the guiding cultivators changed. After waiting for the Purpleback Bluewing Ants to fly back to the Radiant Red Wood, one of them said, “You all have one month. When the time arrives, leave on your own. If you exceed the time limit you will be attacked by the Purpleback Bluewing Ants. If that happens, you should know what will happen.”
After speaking, the guiding cultivators turned and left. It was completely out of the ordinary for the Radiant Red Wood to suffer a suicidal sneak attack like this; they had to report it to their higher ups as soon as possible.
The valley fell quiet once more. Looking at the Radiant Red Wood, several people hesitated and gulped. They had watched as one of the people who came here with them had died without a grave. And although he had come here with sinister plans and had found death on his own initiative, it still caused their hearts to shake. Of course, their fear and awe towards these Purpleback Bluewing Ants was also one of the reasons they didn’t dare to step forwards.
They had personally witnessed just how horrifying these spirit insects from ancient times were. As they all thought about how close they were to the Radiant Red Wood, they felt their scalps tingle.
“Everyone, don’t worry. Since Immortal Eclipse Valley has arranged for us to come here, they should have made adequate preparations, so don’t worry too much.” Wang Zifeng of the Flowing River Sect slowly spoke up. He had a handsome appearance and an elegant bearing. In the competition, his Soul Shrouding Pill had ranked third.
“Well said. A month will pass in the blink of an eye. Since we came here, we can’t just waste our time.”
In the group of nine, two Golden Core realm alchemists glanced at each other and then stepped forwards, each sitting in a relatively spacious area beneath the Radiant Red Wood. As Golden Core cultivators they naturally couldn’t shame their own statuses and dawdle with a group of juniors.
Wang Zifeng turned, “Junior-apprentice Sister Xueqing, should we go there together?”
Yun Xueqing shook her head, “I appreciate Senior-apprentice Brother Wang’s good intentions, but I should cultivate by myself.” The Nine Revolution Gold Pill had ranked seventh. Although her ranking was a bit low, her beautiful and refined appearance enabled her to be one of the most dazzling participants.
Wang Zifeng’s smile didn’t dim. “That’s also good. Junior-apprentice sister should choose first then.” He turned his head back and swept his gaze around. He coldly said, “Everyone, the two seniors have already chosen and Junior-apprentice Sister Yun is next. For the rest of us, how about we choose areas depending on our ranking? Of course, that person is last.”
“Good, let’s do as Brother Wang says.”
“That person is last!”
Wang Zifeng sneered with disdain. He found Qin Yu extremely displeasing to the eyes. This was not only because Qin Yu had gone through the ‘backdoor’ to get here, but also because he had once asked Daoist Wang to be his teacher but had been refused.
Yun Xueqing glanced at Qin Yu. When everyone’s gazes gathered on her, she said, “I thank fellow daoists for your kindness. Allow me to apologize in advance.” She flew beneath the Radiant Red Wood.
Wang Zifeng fell down not too far away from her. The other five quickly found their spots, nearly taking up all the good positions around the Radiant Red Wood.
‘That person’ quietly found a corner and closed his eyes in meditation as he cultivated. As for losing his temper, erupting in anger, and other such actions, sorry everyone, but he wasn’t in the mood to do so.
Closing his eyes, Qin Yu soon entered into a cultivating state. The pores around his body opened as he revolved his cultivation method, absorbing the strength of the heavens and earth.
For the first time, he felt the joy of rapidly absorbing spiritual strength by relying on his own ability. Of course, this rapid speed was only relatively speaking.
Immortal Eclipse Valley, core valley land.
In a hall, two figures sat facing each other. Fog wreathed their bodies, making them seem incomparably mystical.
“A disciple just sent in a message. A Golden Core managed to enter Immortal Eclipse Valley and launched a suicidal attack against the Radiant Red Wood.” The person on the left quietly said. After a moment he continued, “In addition, when combined with the matter of fellow daoist Jiang Li using the Five Element Sword Formation to repel the three demons from the demonic path, it is a bit strange. They don’t seem to have any intention of starting a prolonged war.”
Sitting across from him, a dark red spot seemed to form between the old man’s forehead, as if infernal blood energy was lingering there. “My Immortal Eclipse Valley has a thousand year long inheritance. What need have we to fear some mere evil demons? Pass down orders to strengthen the defenses. It is always better to be cautious. I want to see just what those small fries from the demonic faction are plotting!”
The person on the left nodded and said, “That seems to be the best choice for now.”
Rumble rumble rumble –
With a continuous low and deep rumbling, nine vortexes of spiritual strength appeared beneath the Radiant Red Wood. The two Golden Core realm alchemists had the largest vortexes, illustrating their superior ability to absorb spiritual strength due to their higher cultivations. Besides them, Wang Zifeng, Yun Xueqing, and another quiet man were the fastest. The other three were a bit worse, but their performance wasn’t too bad.
As for Qin Yu, he was pitiable. His vortex had only faintly formed, on a completely different level from the others. Everyone was able to see this from the corner of their eyes and their contempt towards him only increased. Indeed, this fellow had only made it here through the backdoor. Who knew why Daoist Wang took a liking to him?
A family always knew their family affairs the best. Qin Yu had long since abandoned any and all hope in his martial talent. After feeling a bit helpless about this situation, he calmed down. He detected the looks cast his way, but he didn’t place them in his heart. If there wasn’t an accident, then in a month he would be able to obtain a derived portion of the Radiant Red Wood’s root system and he would be able to use the little blue lamp to cultivate it into a mature version.
At that time, he would be able to eat Radiant Red Fruits at his leisure and be able to rest beneath the Radiant Red Wood whenever he wanted. How could you fellows even compare to that?
Time slowly passed. The Radiant Red Wood formed a natural domain around it, and its function to accelerate one’s cultivation could be called extraordinary. As time passed, people continued to make breakthroughs. Even the two Golden Core realm cultivators made a breakthrough in their cultivations. As everyone was immersed in their own cultivation and reluctant to wake up, countless little eyes lit up atop the Radiant Red Wood and the sound of buzzing wings filled the valley.
The two Golden Core alchemists opened their eyes in anger, but in the next moment they were scared silly. They noticed that high above their heads, an endless swarm of eyes were stubbornly staring at them. They quietly calculated the time in their heads and discovered a month had passed. This realization left them disappointed.
“It’s unexpectedly been a month!”
“I didn’t sense it at all!”
“It would be so wonderful if I could continue cultivating like this!”
Several people sighed in regret as they rose up. It could be seen from their actions that the Purpleback Bluewing Ants weren’t a joke. If they didn’t quickly leave, they would truly be torn into shreds and eaten up.
In a month, Wang Zifeng had continuously broken through three boundaries and had reached perfection of Foundation Establishment, only a sliver away from Golden Core. He was satisfied with his gains.
His figure flashed and he arrived at Yun Xueqing’s side. He cupped his hands across his chest and said, “Junior-apprentice Sister Xueqing, congratulations.”
Yun Xueqing had also broken through three boundaries and reached the ninth level of Foundation Establishment, just a bit worse than Wang Zifeng. Even for the normally aloof and apathetic Yun Xueqing, such a harvest still left her smiling. “Senior-apprentice Brother Wang, I congratulate you too.”
Wang Zifeng’s smile widened. “My father has already made an agreement with Immortal Eclipse Valley. As long as I was able to enter into the top ten, I could stay in Immortal Eclipse Valley for half a year and study alchemy. Junior-apprentice Sister Xueqing, do you also plan on staying behind?”
Yun Xueqing nodded. “I will be staying here for half a year too.”
Wang Zifeng clapped his hands. “Very good. Later on, the two of us need to help each other.”
From outside the valley, the voice of an Immortal Eclipse Valley cultivator rang in. “A month has passed. All of you need to quickly exit!”
Wang Zifeng smiled. He gestured with his hand, “Junior-apprentice Sister Xueqing, please.”
Yun Xueqing nodded. But just as she was about to step forwards, she suddenly frowned. “That person…”
Wang Zifeng turned his head over and sneered. “It’s impossible that he cannot hear the buzzing of the Purpleback Bluewing Ants. Since he isn’t willing to wake up, this is also his choice.”
Yun Xueqing thought about it and shook her head. “We’re still acquaintances.” She raised her voice, “Fellow daoist Qin Yu, a month has passed!”
All eyes gathered on him.
Qin Yu suddenly felt helpless. If all of you don’t leave, how will I have the chance to dig out a part of the Radiant Red Wood’s roots and maybe take advantage of the Purpleback Bluewing Ants? However, since Yun Xueqing only had good intentions in reminding him, he opened his eyes and smiled at her before immediately closing them once more.
Wang Zifeng coldly said, “He doesn’t know right from wrong! Junior-apprentice Sister Xueqing, since he wants to stay then let’s leave him alone. Let’s go.”
Yun Xueqing glanced at Qin Yu one more time before nodding and leaving the valley. She had already reminded him, so if he still chose to stay, that was his choice.
With the two Golden Core realm alchemists leading the way, the group of eight left the range of the Radiant Red Wood. A strength suddenly emerged in the void and swept them up, pulling them out of the valley. One of the men who had guided them here initially stood waiting for them. He swept his eyes around and frowned. “How come you’re missing a person?”
Wang Zifeng cupped his hands across his chest. “Reporting to Senior-apprentice Brother Qi, we have already reminded Qin Yu but he still chose to stay behind, so we had no choice but to leave him there.”
Qi Jiang shouted out, “What insolence! He is just seeking death!” He formed a mudra with his hands and prepared to forcefully extract Qin Yu from the valley. But at this time, the sound of buzzing wings reverberated around them. Even though they were standing outside the valley they could hear the sounds and feel the demonic energy roaring towards them.
Qi Jiang sighed and lowered his hands. “There isn’t enough time.” The Purpleback Bluewing Ants were a cruel and vicious species. After being suppressed by Immortal Eclipse Valley for a month, they had reached their limit. After regaining their freedom they would tear Qin Yu to pieces.
The Radiant Red Wood had the power of accelerating one’s cultivating speed, and to cultivators that weren’t too fast at cultivating to begin with, this sort of temptation was ten times, or even a hundred times greater than any drug. Over the years, even Immortal Eclipse Valley had disciples that had entered and then weren’t willing to leave on time, and were eventually eaten up by the Purpleback Bluewing Ants.
Qi Jiang shook his head, “Come, this place will be sealed soon.”
The group stepped into the fog, and with a surge of wind, vanished from sight.
An invisible sealing strength erupted from the valley, sealing away the entire area for 10 miles!