The further they advanced in the canyon, the deeper they went into the abyss. The entire space up ahead was completely pitch black without even the slightest hint of light, as if they'd made their way down into an infernal hell.
However, all of the Chi Rong beings' eyes were shimmering with piercing red light, allowing them to see in the darkness, so all of them remained quite calm.
Not long after that, a strange cry erupted from the darkness up ahead, and a vast flock of bird-sized bats with purplish-red eyes pounced toward them while letting loose sharp screeches.
Zhu Yinzi was flying at the forefront of the group, and he merely looked on with expressionlessly at the menacing oncoming bats before abruptly flapping his wings.
Countless feathers shot forth amid a flash of red light before transforming into countless streaks of fire that passed through the flock of bats in the blink of an eye.
A series of loud explosions erupted, and all of the bats plummeted from the sky as fireballs with not a single one surviving that attack.
Thus, the Chi Rong beings continued onward without even being slowed down at all, and quickly disappeared into the darkness.
As long as they kept flying along this canyon, they'd be able to reach the second level of the earth abyss after a day and a night.
On a vast stretch of red land, a massive black shadow flashed through the air, seemingly fleeing from something in a panicked manner.
Not long after the black shadow flew past, spiritual light flashed in the distant sky, and a dozen or so streaks of spiritual light of different colors emerged, flying toward the same direction.
All of these beings had different types of wings growing from their backs, but they all had black tattoos on their faces. They were the beings of the Sevenpass Race, the number one branch among the Flying Spirit Race.
The thin female child flying at the forefront of the group was none other than Ao Qing, whom all of the holy disciples were wary of.
Ao Qing looked on at the fleeing black shadow up ahead with a cold smile on her face and pursued it in an unhurried manner.
After a while, a burly man among the Sevenpass Race holy disciples couldn't help but suggest, "Senior Martial Sister Ao, the direction that this Goldentusk Beast is escaping is diverging away from the entrance to the second level that we're heading toward. Wouldn't it be best to kill it now rather than continue to follow it?"
"Where's the hurry? It's very rare to encounter pack-dwelling mid-grade demon beasts like the Goldentusk Beast on just the first level of the earth abyss, so we naturally have to kill all of them at once. Are you doubting my ability to complete the trial just because we have to slightly delay our descent into the next level?" Ao Qing asked in an emotionless voice.
The burly man was given a fright upon hearing this, and he hurriedly explained, "Of course not! I wouldn't dare to think such a thing. I'm just afraid that the Infernal Flame Fruits will be taken by the holy disciples from the other branches."
"If we really do get there too late, then we can just take other people's fruits. If that doesn't work, we can always go to the fourth level of the earth abyss; there'll definitely be a vast quantity of those fruits down there," Ao Qing chuckled coldly in an implacable manner.
The burly man didn't dare to say anything else upon hearing that.
Thus, they continued to pursue the fleeing black shadow in an unhurried manner like a pride of lions toying with their prey.
Amid a vast expanse of rugged rocks, three Flying Spirit Race beings with blue feathered wings on their backs and scales all over their faces had surrounded a demon beast of darkness, and had launched a ferocious assault against it. This demonic creature had the head of a deer and the body of a human, and it was around 20 feet tall.
Black Qi was swirling around its body, and it held a massive black trident in its hands, managing to hold its own even in the face of several holy disciples. Furthermore, it seemed to only be growing more powerful as the battle wore on, and it was instead the three holy disciples who were slowly being forced onto the backfoot.
This was only the first level of the earth abyss, so they had no idea how a high-grade demon beast like the Deer-Faced Demon had ended up here.
However, seeing as this carnivorous demon beast was trying to prey on them, they had no choice but to fight for their lives.
Elsewhere, most of the Flying Spirit Race holy disciples on the first level had encountered unexpected troubles. However, there were also some holy disciples who had enjoyed remarkably smooth journeys, and were entering the second level as the Chi Rong beings had.
Meanwhile, in order to avoid the antagonistic Flying Spirit Race branches, Han Li had no choice but to head toward the most secluded entrance, and the flying carriage had flown for over half a day with the trio inside it.
Perhaps it was because this carriage's concealment restriction really was working or because there weren't many demon beasts on this route to begin with. In any case, they encountered no further complications during the rest of their journey, and after flying for two days and two nights, they had passed through two forests and a set of mountain ranges, arriving in a place deep within the first level of the earth abyss.
At this rate, it would only take them another day to arrive at the entrance to the second level.
Lei Lan and Bai Bi were quite elated by their progress.
However, after flying for several tens of thousands of kilometers further, a vast expanse of black mountain ranges suddenly appeared up ahead.
The three of them immediately stopped the carriage in alarm.
"According to the map, there should be a set of plains here; why are there mountain ranges instead?" Bai Bi murmured as he looked at the massive mountains up ahead.
Lei Lan was also rather dumbstruck.
Even from a distance, they could tell that all of the mountains in the mountain ranges were extremely tall. Some of them had extended to the very top of the underground world, leaving only small gaps between mountains through which one could pass, and that presented quite a daunting prospect.
No one knew just how long these mountain ranges extended for, nor whether there were any hazards awaiting them inside.
Han Li's eyes narrowed as suddenly exited the flying carriage, then descended onto the nearby ground to carefully inspect something.
Lei Lan and Bai Bi were rather surprised by what Han Li was doing, but after exchanging a quick glance, they also flew out of the carriage and landed beside Han Li.
"From the signs nearby, it appears that this set of mountain ranges has only appeared here in the past century. It was most likely moved here by someone with unfathomable power," Han Li said in a slow voice.
Lei Lan's face paled upon hearing this, and Bai Bi's expression was also rather disgruntled.
"There's no need to panic. Even the Demon Monarchs in the deepest level of the earth abyss aren't capable of such a monumental feat through their own power. This was most likely done through the assistance of some kind of treasure or formation. The only alternative possibility is that a True Spirit level demon beast has appeared in the deepest level of the abyss," Han Li said with a smile.
"I see." As a holy disciple of the Tian Peng Race, Bai Bi was no ordinary being, and he quickly realized that Han Li was right.
"Even so, the situation here isn't quite right. The desert that we passed through earlier also appeared out of nowhere. Why are the demon beasts of the earth abyss doing this? What could their intentions be?" A concerned look appeared on Lei Lan's face.
"Perhaps this is all due to the beast torrent. Even if that isn't the case and there's another reason behind all this, there's no way that the earth abyss trial would be canceled. Hence, all we can do is get to the third level, then bring back the Infernal Flame Fruit as quickly as possible and report these sightings to the higher-ups in our Tian Peng Race," Han Li said in an unflustered manner. After all, he had many similar past experiences, so this was not something new to him.
"You're right, Brother Han. However, this set of mountain ranges really is quite peculiar. If we fly through the gaps between the mountains, who knows what dangers we could encounter? But if we try to go around it..." Bai Bi said in a hesitant voice.
"We definitely can't go around it," Lei Lan rejected before analyzing, "According to the map, on one side of this land is the earth abyss wind belt, while the Black Abyssal Flying Ants' nests lay on the other side. The earth abyss winds in the wind belt are far more powerful than the gusts we've encountered before, and the glacial power imbued within them can freeze us instantly; it's a renowned restricted area. As for the ant's nests, there are hundreds of thousands of flying ants in there. If we try to force our way through it with our cultivation bases, there's at least a 50% chance that we'd all die in there."
"So that means our only choice is to pass through these mountain ranges," Han Li murmured to himself as he stroked his chin.
"Not necessarily. If we go around in an even larger circle, we can skirt around all of these hazards, but that'll take at least an extra seven or eight days. That delay could prove to be extremely detrimental to our search for the Infernal Flame Fruit." Lei Lan was becoming rather hesitant.
Meanwhile, Han Li was staring at the mountain ranges up ahead in silence.
At this moment, both Bai Bi and Lei Lan also fell silent, entrusting the final decision to Han Li.
After a while, Han Li finally made his decision. "These mountain ranges give me a very eerie feeling; if we really do go through it, I feel like we'll encounter some extreme hazards. Even if we can force our way through the mountain ranges, we'll most likely have expended a large amount of magic power, and that certainly won't hold us in good stead for the rest of the trial. As for entering the second level a few days late, I don't think that's too much of an issue. With these few days of delay, the branches that are targeting us won't be able to predict our route and ambush us. Besides, there are so many trial-takers, and there won't be all that many Infernal Flame Fruits to be found on the second level. I intend to take you two to the third level anyway, so it's better to waste some time rather than face the unknown dangers within those mountain ranges."
He then flew back into the flying carriage. Lei Lan and Bai Bi held a brief discussion through voice transmission upon seeing this before also returning to the carriage.
"Brother Han, I think we should discuss this matter in further depth. Perhaps the mountain ranges aren't as dangerous as we imagine," Bai Bi said as soon as he entered the carriage.
Even though he felt like Han Li's decision made sense, he still couldn't help but feel that wasting so much time was not wise.
"Speak no further; I won't enter these mountain ranges," Han said in an indifferent voice, cutting off what Bai Bi was about to say next.
The carriage then shot forth toward another direction at his behest.
Seeing as Han Li was so determined, Bai Bi heaved a resigned sigh and fell silent. Lei Lan didn't contribute anything further to the conversation, either,
Unbeknownst to two of them, Han Li was not feeling anywhere near as resolute and assured as he appeared.
At this moment, a wisp of his spiritual sense was connected to the Weeping Soul Beast inside his spirit beast bracelet, trying to soothe the beast's violent and uneasy emotions. At the same time, he was wondering what could the cause of its emotional outburst.
Just as he was approaching those mountain ranges earlier, the Weeping Soul Bead within his body suddenly began to heat up. His heart jolted with shock in response, and he hurriedly established a connection with the Weeping Soul Beast in his spirit beast bracelet. As a result, he discovered that the beast was in an extremely abnormal ruffled state, growling incessantly while rushing around in an erratic manner.Previous Chapter Next Chapter