“It’s about time, isn’t it?”
Three figures were huddled together as they hid in a cave.
Anybody who saw these three together now would have been really surprised because they were none other than Mu Tian, Hang Chulong, and Yan Wuheng, the three internal disciples who had clearly shown much dislike for each other and even got into an argument.
But now, the three of them had hid quietly in a cave-like solid rock and concealed their presence. Not too far away from them was a clear pond that measured no more than a few feet wide and was brimming with Qi. A strange little tree about 30 centimeters high stood right in the middle of this pond. Its’ leaves and branches were yellowed as if all the life in the tree had gone to the fruit that looked ready to be harvested. The stems were as white as jade and very delicate.
Four or five bright red fruit were bunched up at the top. Very mysteriously, the fruit would give off a faint golden gleam from time to time. This gleam would go round the fruit in an instant, then disappear into the pond, and then the process would repeat.
“There’s still another ten odd days to go.” Yan Wuheng licked his dry lips and stared straight at the strange little tree. It had taken them a lot of effort to hear about how this thing existed inside this secret realm.
The quarreling, mocking, and extortion show they put up before opening the secret realm was just to hide the fact that they were actually a team.
Hang Chulong looked angry as he clenched his teeth and spat, “If you two hadn’t hoped to pocket those Spiritual Stones, we wouldn’t have to just sit here and guard this place.”
When they were activating the formation to open up the secret realm earlier, Yan Wuheng and Mu Tian had pretended that they weren’t the reason why the initial process had failed, when actually they were the ones who wanted to try this process with low-grade Spiritual Stones. If it worked with low-grade Spiritual Stones, they could pocket the mid-grade Spiritual Stones they were supposed to have used.
Unfortunately, the process ended up failing, injuring them and even attracting the attention of wandering cultivators, which was the last thing they wanted.
There were only 50 odd disciples in total from the three major factions of power, and even if the disciples fought each other, things would get too serious. There were plenty of other benefits one could reap from this secret realm and there was no need to go around killing one another. The original plan was to allow these new disciples to pick up some treasures for themselves and learn to fight and kill some of the magical beasts that naturally lived inside this secret realm.
But now, those wandering cultivators had entered the secret realm too. These were people who killed others without batting an eyelid, so these new Seven Kill Sect disciples were in for some trouble. They would be lucky if they could even get out of the secret realm alive, never mind gain experience and pick treasures.
The disciples might stand a chance if they decided to team up and fight the wandering cultivators, but most of them would be too proud and feel too aggrieved to do such a thing. It had been so hard for them to gain access to a secret realm, so each of them hoped to get something out of it. If they teamed up to look for treasures, they might argue over how to split up the treasures they found, which would only give them an additional headache.
But the three seniors didn’t really care if the new disciples ended up all dying or not. At most, they’d get punished for not taking care of them. They were internal disciples, so the leaders of the three factions couldn’t get rid of them as easily as getting rid of servants. These seniors didn’t mind getting scolded, but if their benefits were threatened, they’d just leave the faction. No matter how powerful these leaders were, they were still merely cultivators at the Foundation Establishment stage after all.
This was a painfully accurate picture of how humans were truly selfish in this dangerous and merciless world of cultivators.
“If all of them end up dying, it’ll be a bit difficult for us to explain things,” worriedly said Mu Tian with a frown.
“Why are you afraid of getting scolded for this? These juniors are just external disciples, so if they die, so be it. We intended to use them as cannon fodder in the first place, anyway,” said Hang Chulong expressionlessly as he moved into a more comfortable position.
Yan Wuheng glanced at Mu Tian and chuckled. “I think you’re eyeing the Spiritual herbs that these disciples are going to collect, aren’t you?”
“Ha!” Mu Tian smiled faintly as the frown on his face disappeared. “Brother Yan knows me best.”
“Well, nobody would want to give up those things either,” said Hang Chulong with a laugh. “After eating these Blood Jade Figs, we’d be able to reach Intermediate Foundation Establishment. But if we also get our hands on some Spiritual herbs, we might be able to go even further. It’s too bad…”
The three of them sighed quietly. It was too bad indeed. If those wandering cultivators hadn’t appeared, their plan would have been perfect.
“It’s not all bad,” said Mu Tian quietly as he switched out the used Spiritual Stones at the formation outside the cave entrance for new ones. “If we went according to our original plan, we’d end up becoming enemies with the three leaders. The three of them are backed by very powerful people, and internal disciples like us can’t be compared to direct disciples. If the three leaders get desperate and turn to their backers for help, a direct disciple could vaporize us without much effort.”
“But now that these wandering cultivators have entered the picture, things are different. We can blame these wandering cultivators for the deaths of the external disciples. These wandering cultivators aren’t very advanced in their level of cultivation, but they’re much better at surviving in tough conditions. If you’re afraid that one of the external disciples will tell on us, we could just kill them all before returning. Nobody knows what really happens outside the sect, anyway.”
Yan Wuheng raised an eyebrow and laughed. “You are right. What a great plan, Brother Mu. That way, we wouldn’t be at fault. It would be the fault of the wandering cultivators.”
“But how do we explain the presence of the wandering cultivators? If we had followed their instructions, none of this would have happened.” Hang Chulong was still worried and felt that it would be better to bring a few external disciples back to back up their story. One had to be very careful on this road of cultivation and take one step at a time. One wrong step could kill you, so being cautious was better.
“Humph!” Mu Tian sneered, “This secret realm has been opened so many times and there aren’t many good things left inside. If we hadn’t happened to hear about an almost full ripened Blood Jade Fig tree inside, we wouldn’t have bothered coming to this ridiculously secluded place. We can always just blame everything on the formation. It’s been a few hundred years since this secret realm existed, so who knows what happened along the way? It’s only normal for a few hiccups to occur. If all three of us insist on this story, they can’t possibly verify the truth themselves.”
“You’re right. Brother Mu, this is indeed a good plan,” said Hang Chulong with a smile as he rubbed his hands and the gloomy expression on his face slowly faded away.
“Wandering cultivators!” Gu Suihan was now hiding among the bushes to watch the few men fighting each other not too far away from him.
“That’s a Three-petaled Mara Flower.” His heart lit up when he saw the tiny flower with weird patterns on its petal sitting atop a pile of dead bodies. This flower could be refined into a Heavenly Soul Nourishing Pill, which could help with repairing one’s soul. It wasn’t the most effective pill, but it was better than nothing.
It was hard to refine any pills that could help one’s soul in the first place. Not only was it hard to find the ingredients, but recipes for such pills were extremely hard to come by. These were all items that most people would hoard privately and would never sell in large quantities.
“Three at Peak Qi Activation and one who’s barely hit Foundation Establishment.”
The one Foundation Establishment cultivator was holding up even though he was fighting three people at the same time, but the growing number of wounds on his body showed that he was having a hard time too.
“My fellow cultivators, why must you do this?” The Foundation Establishment cultivator dodged a sword attack, then swung his magic ring-shaped weapons to send out a series of waves in the air that forced his attackers back far enough for him to quickly swallow a pill. He said in a threatening voice, “Don’t force me to kill you.”
“Hoho, Li Daoren, I highly doubt you still have any trump card left that could save you. I heard that you raped and killed a Seven Kill Sect external disciple some years back and the sect is still hunting you down. I can’t believe you had the guts to come in here and compete with Seven Kill Sect disciples. Aren’t you afraid?” said another man in a mocking voice as he thrust his spear towards Li Daoren’s vital parts again and again like the tongue of a snake.
“Haha! The Seven Kill Sect is such a large organization. Why would they care about a small fry like me? If worst comes to worst, I’d go join the Vast Sky Sect! They won’t be able to do anything about me!” Li Daoren chortled as he flicked his fingers and shot a black beam out.
“That’s all you’re capable of?” Another man with a sword had a disdainful look on his face as he brandished his meter-long sword and cut through Li Daoren’s sneak attack. He then thrust his sword towards Li Daoren and the blade of the sword rang loudly as it pierced through the air.
“Second brother, watch out!” shouted the man with a spear as he stared at the younger man with a sword in horror.
Li Daoren snickered. “It’s too late.” He put his ring-shaped weapons together and cast a spell, “Myriad of Poisons, Explosion of the Stars!”
Boom! The black beam that had been cut through earlier suddenly exploded with an ear-deafening blast.
Countless stinky, vomit-inducing blackish-green needles from the mouth of horseflies sprayed out from the explosion.
“AHH!” The young man with a sword quickly retreated with a shout. His sword glowed even more brightly as he flung a Mud Wall Talisman out to buy him some time. The Steel Strength Talisman on his body was instantly activated and gave off a brilliant golden glow.
But the mud wall that had risen was penetrated in the blink of an eye. He couldn’t avoid this attack at all. He glared hatefully at Li Daoren with a threatening and despairing look on his face as he gripped his sword and pounced on Li Daoren like a hungry wolf.
“The Sky Dragon Emerges from the Water!” If he retreated, he would die. If he attacked, both of them would end up dead. So, he decided to attack, becoming one with his sword as he courageously thrust his sword towards Li Daoren like an arrow coming with a determination to kill its victim.
“Circle the Heavens, Trap the Earth!” A fierce glint lit up Li Daoren’s eyes. He didn’t expect this fellow to choose to drag him down as well. He gritted his teeth and swung his ring-shaped weapons while filling them with spiritual energy as quickly as possible. As he swung the weapons in circles, a series of waves burst forth from the middle of the ring and encircled the oncoming sword.
“Away!” shouted Li Daoren as he paled a little. He used his weapons to fling the young man aside as he swiftly threw a Mud Wall Talisman out.
“Mud Shield!” Li Daoren didn’t bother turning back to see how effective this mud wall was, since he didn’t think a mud wall was going to be enough to block the young man’s desperate attempt on his life. He filled his legs with spiritual energy and whooshed off into the distance.
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