Chapter 479: Danger Emerges
There seemed to be no end to the inky depths of this cavern. Their footsteps gradually slowed as the chilly air continued to grow heavier. Apart from the sound of their scattered footsteps, the cavern was eerily quiet.
It almost felt like they’d entered an independent world, completely cut off from everything beyond this endlessly dark cavern.
Jiang Chen suddenly shoved something at Mu Gaoqi, “Gaoqi, take this.” It was the spirit pearl of fire and ice that the tenth rank inspector Feng Beidou from the Sky Sect had given Sunchaser before Jiang Chen and Sunchaser had fought during the Precious Tree Sect alliance. When Sunchaser had been torn apart by the Lotus, it had swallowed the pearl as well, coming into Jiang Chen’s hands. Although Feng Beidou was pained at the loss of this treasure, he wasn’t so thick-faced as to demand it back. After all, his sect had indubitably lost that match. Now that this cavern was setting off Jiang Chen’s senses, he decided to take some precautions in case he was unable to save his fellow disciple, and gave the pearl to Mu Gaoqi in the event of an emergency.
Being Feng Beidou’s treasure, the pearl was a sage realm level item. Mu Gaoqi immediately felt a wondrous sensation suffuse his body when it passed into his hands. His senses instantly reached an equilibrium that was neither felt too cold nor hot, as if he was immersed in the most gentle of spring weather.
With the exception of Mu Gaoqi, the chill from the air pervaded everyone’s bodies, slowing their circulation, numbing their limbs, and generally slowing them to different degrees. It was a good thing that Mu Gaoqi had prepared many Yang Coalescence Pills beforehand, they now proved quite useful in dispelling the cold from their bodies. Everyone took one, driving out much of the chill in their bodies.
A feeble light suddenly appeared in the distance in front of the group.
“That’s it!” Gao Yi grew excited. “Look! That light marks where the lava area begins.”
The group had been unable to resist the scorching heat from the lava last time, which was why they’d stopped. Now that they’d reached the place they’d left off last time, everyone began to agitate.
Jiang Chen’s footsteps suddenly paused at this point. He turned his body ever so slightly, as if he was going to turn around. Yue Pan’s hearty laugh abruptly broke out from behind him, “Are we there? Fantastic!” He walked quickly towards the front after speaking, seeming to want to be the first to enter the next area.
Jiang Chen’s heart hardened slightly, killing intent flashing through him as Yue Pan had passed by them. This was because the moment he’d paused, he’d sensed Yue Pan surreptitiously gathering his momentum to launch an ambush!
Jiang Chen’s Psychic’s Head imparted immense mental strength, allowing his senses to be far sharper than others. As such, no matter how deeply Yue Pan hid his intentions, Jiang Chen could still see right through him. This time, Jiang Chen’s sudden pause had disrupted Yue Pan’s rhythm, forcing him to stifle his actions.
However, Yue Pan’s reaction had been exceedingly fast. He’d immediately changed his attitude and spoken those words, attempting to hide his ulterior motives. But, how could that minor level of scheming possibly hoodwink Jiang Chen?
Jiang Chen sent a silent message to Mu Gaoqi, “The two from the Great Cathedral bear us ill will, you need to be careful.”
Mu Gaoqi nodded lightly. His illusions about these people had been shattered, and he’d finally seen through to their true natures.
The faint light was as if a bright lamp that led the way forward. Earth origin realm Yue Pan in particular kept charging forward, and the others quickly followed, dashing to the fore in an attempt to obtain an advantage.
“Don’t rush.” Jiang Chen’s razor-sharp observation had picked up something. He pulled Mu Gaoqi back, preventing him from charging ahead with the others.
Mu Gaoqi responded, “We walked this path before, and there’s no danger between here and the lava area.”
Jiang Chen said faintly, “No danger before doesn’t mean there’s no danger now.” A ghastly scream suddenly rang out from the front as they conversed.
“Ah! Ambush!” Several screams rang out; it was obvious the front was already a chaotic mess. When Jiang Chen peered forward, he could already see four bodies twitching on the ground—the two from the Dark North Sect, one from the Tristar Sect and one from the Sacred Sword Palace.
Ten had entered the cavern from the five sects. Apart from Jiang Chen and Mu Gaoqi walking in the back, eight had charged to the front. But now, four had fallen to the ground. This scene left everyone openmouthed with astonishment and horror.
Yue Pan suddenly roared, “Someone’s there. Over there! Halt!”
A crisp collision sounded in the air as he spoke.
Sparks flew everywhere as his weapon blocked an incoming crossbow bolt. His counter attack was also slowed because of this. He shot a cold glare to the front, but didn’t have the courage to follow up. It was then that Jiang Chen and Mu Gaoqi finally caught up, still trailing at the back and not approaching the scene too closely.
Feng Wanjian roared angrily, “Mu Gaoqi, you’re a pill master! What the hell are you doing dragging your feet at this time?! Get over here and attend to their wounds!”
Mu Gaoqi was a bit intimidated by Feng Wanjian’s yell, but was immediately reminded of Jiang Chen by his side. As a result, even though his lips twitched, his feet remained firmly planted in the ground.
Jiang Chen flicked a dismissive glance at the bodies on the ground, “What are you yelling about? They were hit by a strong poison and have already died. Even the gods won’t be able to save them, what are you looking at us for?”
Feng Wanjian was immensely startled. One of those bodies was his partner from the sect! If something happened to him, then he’d be fighting a lone fight from here on. The unlucky one from the Tristar Sect was Gao Yi. His peer had been fortunate enough to escape disaster.
“Mu Gaoqi, come take a look first. They might not be dead.”
Mu Gaoqi shook his head. “I’m not doing that, this poison is very evil. It could even spread if I get any closer. If any of you are unafraid of death, you can take a look for yourself.”
The expressions of those remaining all changed drastically at Mu Gaoqi’s words. They unconsciously moved away, taking another seven, eight steps further away from the four down. Mu Gaoqi was by now utterly disappointed in them. If it hadn’t been for Jiang Chen earlier, he wouldn’t even have had the right to enter earlier. He sure as heck wouldn’t risk his life for them now.
Feng Wanjian howled, “Poison? Is it the Walkabout Sect?”
The Walkabout Sect was the one most skilled at using poison out of the six premier sects in the Myriad Domain. Therefore, when Mu Gaoqi mentioned poison, everyone’s first thought was to suspect that they were the ones behind this.
Xu Gang of the Great Cathedral still had a pounding heart. “No wonder they didn’t show up! It looks like we were too naive. They showed up a long time ago and laid a trap for us to carelessly jump in!”
The Tristar Sect disciple suddenly glared viciously at Xu Gang. “Xu Gang, you despicable scoundrel! That concealed weapon was heading for you earlier, but you used my junior brother as your shield! My sect head will definitely hear of this when I return to the sect. We will want an explanation from your Sacred Lion family!”
Xu Gang smiled casually, “Lin Feng, don’t you go slandering others now, hmm?”
Lin Feng retorted angrily, “Xu Gang, confess to what you’ve done!”
Xu Gang laughed lightly, “Vision here is so poor, are you sure you saw me use Gao Yi as a shield? Besides, since we’ve come here, everyone should be aware of how dangerous things can get. Our life and death is something we hold in our own hands. I will die without complaint if you have the ability to use me as a shield.” His tone was as shameless as a bandit’s.
Lin Feng was tongue tied, actually at a loss for words in the face of such shameless words. Feng Wanjian’s face was black as he first looked at Xu Gang, then at Jiang Chen. It was apparent that subtle changes had occurred in the situation after this disaster.
The pair from the Dark North Sect was gone, and there was only one left from both the Tristar Sect and his Sacred Sword Palace. Only the Great Cathedral and Regal Pill Palace still had a full team with no injuries.
“Daoist Lin Feng, you and I are alone now. It seems that we would be wise to form a team.” Feng Wanjian spoke silently, “This Xu Gang and Yue Pan are both the domineering sort. Mu Gaoqi has no opinions worth speaking of, and the fellow he brought is really weird. It’s best if we can make the dogs fight amongst each other.”
Lin Feng had also calmed down. He knew that erupting in open hostilities with the Great Cathedral at this time only lead to certain death. Ignoring Xu Gang, that earth realm cultivator Yue Pan had yet to say anything. If Yue Pan was willing to, he could absolutely wipe the floor with Lin Feng. When his thoughts traveled here, Lin Feng sorted softly and locked gazes with Feng Wanjian. The two of them surreptitiously moved a bit closer.
Yue Pan suddenly smiled, “Alright, enough arguing. The true killer is still loose in the cavern as we stand here. It looks like all of our plans combined haven’t been as devious as those laid by the Walkabout Sect.”
Feng Wanjian also nodded. “The most important issue is that the Walkabout Sect has a head start on us. The more we stand here blathering, the more time they’ve had to make it to the spring.”
Even though this was the case, no one wanted to take the lead after being ambushed. It was Yue Pan who finally laughed loudly, “Looks like I’ll have to be the vanguard since none of you want to walk in the front. However, I’ll say this first, if everyone arrives at the same time, I have first priority to anything good.”
“Hmph! Based on what?” Lin Feng was unwilling to accept this.
Yue Pan chuckled, “Then you walk ahead. I’ll give you first priority then.”
Lin Feng’s heart quailed as he looked down at the dead Gao Yi. He wouldn’t take the lead even if they beat him to death!
Xu Gang smiled easily, “Since no one wants to walk in the front, then no one has the right to dispute senior brother Yue Pan’s suggestion.” Thanks to the change in numbers, Xue Gang’s domineering style was beginning to slowly reveal itself as well.
“Does the Regal Pill Palace have any opinions?” Feng Wanjian looked nonchalantly over, obviously wishing to start up conflict between the two sects.
Jiang Chen smiled noncommittally, “Daoist Yue Pan runs the highest risk in taking the lead, so he naturally should have first priority. This is also only just and fair.”
Yue Pan laughed heartily, “This daoist makes quite some sense. Ah yes, I haven’t asked your name yet.”
“My surname is Chen.” Jiang Chen remembered Mu Gaoqi’s reminder and offered up a fake name.
“Haha, Daoist Chen is deeply conscious of what is right and wrong. Yue Pan has great admiration!” Yue Pan took the lead and started walking forward again, while Xu Gang kept abreast with the others in an unhurried fashion. It could be seen that the two from the Great Cathedral had great cooperation between the two of them. If one walked in the front, the other would always trail at the back. Both were able to support each other and prevent ambushes.
Things were quiet this time, with no more surreptitious attacks. With no further action to speak of, the group quickly arrived at the lava area. It was as if they’d instantly gone from a winter wonderland to the mouth of an active volcano, the temperature instantly rising to a harsh summer’s peak.
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