Chapter 980: Splitting Up

The Elder Devil calmly nodded, “I will strive my hardest for those devilish artifacts.”

“Good, then let he matters proceed. Everyone, follow me to the bottom of the lake. Although this area is remote, we should be careful in case a passing cultivator spots us and save any potential trouble.” with that said, the square-faced man shined with light and dived in.

One after another, the others followed suit.

In the blink of an eye, they had disappeared, leaving behind only ripples in the lake and a calm breeze.

...

Thousands of kilometers away, Han Li and company had encountered a bit of trouble.

Under Han Li’s mental command, a ball of yellow radiance shot out from his body and easily crushed an incoming horned Yin ghost. Then, golden light flared around him and cut through two other nearby wraiths, scattering their bodies into smoke.

He turned his gaze to Old Man Fu and the others. They were currently using their magic treasures to strike down other specters. Although these ghosts were small and slender, they were relentless and fierce.

Han Li appeared unhappy at the sight of this.

After Cultivator Yuan tore through a ghost with a flick of green flame, he said, “Brother Fu, we’ve been traveling for several days now, but we still haven’t found any trace of the Umbra Yin Horse. And while these low-grade ghosts are weak and feral, they impede our progress dealing with them.” Han Li shared these same sentiments.

Old Man Fu replied, “There is no need to be so anxious, Brother Yuan. The cave is large and the horse is very skilled in concealment. As for these ghosts, they are destroyed with little effort. So long as you occasionally replenish your magic power with spirit stones, we’ll be able to last for quite a while.”

Bai Yaoyi glanced around her and sighed, “While that is true, blocking the soul-shaking Yin winds already consumes a significant amount of magic power. With our current cultivation, we’ll be able only to hold out for two months more."

They were currently in a huge passage that was a hundred meters tall. The walls twinkled with freezing inky ice, and black winds far denser than at the entrance continuously spun nearby. Their wails were enough to inspire trepidation.

But when the winds entered the range of the Dark Violet Pearl’s ring of light, they greatly weakened. Even so, Han Li and company maintained a blinding light all over their bodies, not daring to allow the winds to make the slightest contact.

Hordes of small ghosts unceasingly manifest from the accumulated Yin Qi and charge towards them like moths to the flame.

In a glint of cold light, the last of the current wave of ghosts was cleaved through by Bai Yaoyi’s flying saber, clearing the way for the time being. Then, their magic treasures were recalled to their side as they floated forward.

The storm of Yin winds inside the cave prevented their spiritual sense from looking afar, and without sight, they didn’t dare to make haste. Otherwise, they would’ve been able to search through the cave in only a matter of days.

After the time it took to finish a meal, the Yin winds ahead of them suddenly turned violent as they appeared at a fork in the road, one large passage and two smaller ones.

A cold glint flashed from Han Li’s eyes and he said, “Another one? This will not do. If we have to travel through multiple paths, we won’t be able to search through all the caverns in two months. We have to split up.”

Cultivator Yuan looked at the pearl in the old man’s hand and shook his head, “There is only one Dark Violet Pearl. Without its protection, blocking the soul-shaking Yin winds will take up too much magic power. The amount of time we will be able to stay in the caves will be greatly reduced.”

Unphased, Old Man Fu said, “If it’s a matter of the pearl, I can consume a bit of blood essence to give you the protection of the pearl temporarily. So long as the strength of the Yin winds remain constant, the protection should be able to last about a week.”

“That should be enough for us to look deep into each of the passages, but we’ll need to way to find you again after the Dark Violet Pearl’s light disappears. We’ll have to leave behind marks of magic power on all of us so that we’ll be able to find each other."

Bai Yaoyi then frowned and asked, “Although it isn’t very likely, what will we do if one of us encounters a high-grade ghost?”

Cultivator Yuan snorted and said, “If its a ghost that a mid-Nascent Soul cultivator can’t deal with, it would have to be a ghost monarch. But, this isn’t a true Yin underworld. How can a bit of Yin Qi possibly produce something on that level? There will only be a few stronger ghosts in the cave depths. The rumored one here is only a legend. No one had personally seen it. Additionally, we’ll have to take the risk regardless. Once the period of weakened Yin winds come to an end, we’ll no longer be able to remain here.”

When Old Man Fu and the black-robed woman heard this, they exchanged a glance and revealed a trace of hesitation.

Originally, they hadn’t thought to separate in order to maintain their safety, but there were far more passages in the Yin Yang Cave than they originally anticipated. If they didn’t split up, it was very possible they would return empty-handed.

Bai Yaoyi pondered for a moment and raised no opposition. It appeared she found his words acceptable.

Old Man Fu eventually came to a decision and said, “Alright, we’ll follow your suggestion. But everyone will have to take care! Do not travel out of a three day range from me, or you won’t be able to replenish the protective light on time.

Han Li looked at the center passage and said, “Don’t worry, this tunnel is sure to be the main passage down, and the forking tunnels shouldn’t be too long. Three days should be more than enough for us to search through them.”

Old Man Fu then spat out a mist of blood essence onto the Dark Violet Pearl, causing it to surge.

He then struck it with a series of spell seals and reached out to the pearl with his free hand, summoning a ball of dazzling purple light.

With the light in hand, he swept his eyes across the party members and tossed it towards his junior martial sister. With a flash, the ball of light disappeared into her body and a small ring of purple radiance surrounded her.

When the others saw that the technique was effective, they felt at ease and had the old man do the same to them.

Then after they placed markers of the magic power upon one another, they split up into three.

Old Man Fu naturally paired with his junior martial sister and they rushed down the center passageway. As for Cultivator Yuan and Han Li, they decided to take the left and right branching paths respectively. Bai Yaoyi was the last to decide and hesitated for a moment before following after Han Li.

When Han Li sensed her following after him, he slowed down to let her catch up, then traveled together side by side.

Along the way, she asked, “Does Brother Han feel that the Yin Yang Cave doesn’t live up to its reputation? They say that after entering, one will find themselves in extreme peril, but we didn’t encounter anything that was a problem, apart from those soul-shaking Yin winds. Could the rumors be exaggerated?”

Han Li was somewhat surprised by the question and replied with a smile, “Although I don’t know much about this place, I’m sure that it deserves its title as one of the seven most dangerous places in the Great Jin. Fellow Daoist Bai, don’t forget that these soul-shaking winds are so harsh that if a cultivator under Nascent Soul stage were to enter, that alone would be sure to tear them to pieces even with a protective treasure. And it also stands to mention that we’re only safe because of the Dark Violet Pearl’s protective light, not to mention that we’ve only encountered the lowest grade of Yin ghosts over the past few days. As we enter deeper, the Yin Qi will be far denser and will produce even harsher ghosts.”

“Brother Han’s words are reasonable. However, I still feel a bit doubtful... Yi! Yin ghosts are coming!” As Bai Yaoyi talked with Han Li, eight Yin ghosts suddenly appeared from a nearby winds and fiercely changed towards them.

In flashes of blue and golden light, the Yin ghosts were cleanly executed.

Then, the two slowly tread forward, but after half a day of searching, they hadn’t found anything.

Just as the two were about to head back, a fierce Yin wind suddenly blew past them with a frigid, piercing whistle.

“What’s this?” Bai Yaoyi said with a start.

Han Li blinked and replied, “That sounds like a refined corpse. It should’ve come from a high-grade ghost.”

“A refined corpse, What are the chances?” Bai Yaoyi said with a raised brow.

The two then approached the source of the sound without any fear.

After they turned a corner, they found themselves at the entrance to a cavern that was ten meters tall. It howled incessantly with exceptionally violent Yin winds, and the faint sounds of a ghostly whistle could be heard within.

Yi! What’s that?” Bai Yaoyi glanced inside and saw something that was sealed in the glistening ice.

She raised her hand and struck it with a fist-sized fireball. With a sudden bang, the scarlet flames melted the ice to reveal the object’s true form. It was a blue flying sword that was stuck halfway into the wall.

But in the instant the ice melted, the lively flying sword began to shine with a dim light and let out a clear ring. Then it began to tremble as if attempting to shake itself free.

Bai Yaoyi was astounded by the sight and with a wave of her sleeve, released a rope of crimson flame. With embers flickering in the air, it wrapped around the sword and pulled it into her hand.

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ed: akiwimain