Pop. As soon as the small ghost flew into the passage, it ruptured into a ball of Yin Qi. Wang Tiangu, whose spiritual sense was connected to the ghost, paled when this happened; it seemed as if its destruction had caused him quite a bit of damage.
Wang Tiangu looked at the Confucian scholar with a furious gaze and asked, "What's going on? Could it be that there is some trick behind the passage?"
"Did you believe that the passage to the Spirit Ether Garden would be ordinary? Let alone some minor ghost with a hollow form, even ghost king grade souls would scatter as soon as they entered. Even if I were to enter the garden, I would need to draw support from the body of the scroll. In any case, the passage has been opened. It will be up to you on whether or not you can pass through it." The Confucian scholar spoke with a tone of indifference and then transformed back into a ball of green light and flew directly into the floating portrait scroll.
Wang Tiangu's expression turned sullen. From the scholar's words, it seemed that formless entities like ghosts had no method of entering the passage. He and Wang Tiansheng exchanged looks of surprise.
Wei Wuya mulled all of this over and said, "I've already used my spiritual sense to look across the passageway. Although I am only able to see a vague image, there is no doubt that there is a space beyond the passageway. I do not have the patience to further deliberate over the matter, and will be heading through first, as to avoid any mishaps that may appear due to hesitation." He then took off into the passage in a streak of green light.
Wang Tiansheng's expression stirred at the sight of this. He turned to his disciples and commanded, "You three will stay here and stand guard. Junior Martial Brother Wang, let's not be overly cautious and go together. A bit of danger is simply the cost of going to the Spirit Ether Garden." He then turned to look at the portrait in front of him and saw that there was no further change.
Wang Tiansheng extended his hand and summoned the scroll before putting it away in his sleeve. Then with Wang Tiangu beside him, he flew into the passageway. Since it was said that the Spirit Ether Garden contains all heavenly medicines, if they were too far behind Wei Wuya, they could suffer quite a loss.
As a result, the three quickly entered the passageway and disappeared without a trace while directly passing through the border between worlds.
"This isn't the Spirit Ether Garden!" At the very front, Wei Wuya arrived through the passage. He surveyed this unfamiliar land with a gloomy expression.
There were no other colors at their destination apart from grey, and piles of black stone were spread out as far as the eye could see. All Wei Wuya could see for five kilometers around them was grey mist that reached a hundred meters into the sky.
Before any of them had arrived, they wouldn't have believed the Spirit Ether Garden's legends, where all kinds of spiritual herbs grew and possessed several times more spiritual Qi than the mortal realm. However, when Wang Tiansheng and Wang Tiangu arrived, their expressions appeared odd as if containing both anger and surprise.
Wei Wuya turned his head and looked at them with slight surprise before raising his guard. He originally believed that they would've called upon Master Cang Kun's remnant soul from the portrait scroll in anger once they arrived at the so-called Spirit Ether Garden.
Eventually, the Ghost Spirit Sect Master broke the silence and said, "Junior Martial Brother, do you feel it? The devilish Qi here is at least two times greater than that of the mortal realm. If we were to fight here, the might of our devilish arts should be substantially increased."
Wang Tiangu's eyes flickered and he replied with a complex expression, "Senior Martial Brother, we cultivate the same devilish arts. How could I not feel it? If we were to cultivate here, we would have a very large chance of breaking through our bottlenecks."
When Wei Wuya heard this, the stone he was standing on shattered and he gloomily said, "Fellow Daoists, are you not going to call upon the soul remnant and interrogate him? Don't tell me that I've exerted such a great effort only to arrive here."
When Wang Tiansheng heard this, he was reminded of the anger he had towards the soul remnant and replied with a malevolent expression, "Of course. If he doesn't give us an explanation, I will show him the pain of soul refinement." He then tossed the scroll on the ground, wishing to summon Master Cang Kun's soul remnant.
But before Wang Tiansheng could execute the technique to summon him, light flashed from the scroll and a ball of green light shot out. Standing at the side, Wang Tiangu acted swiftly, releasing a foot-large black hand of light to grab it. However, the ball of green light seemed to have already predicted this and was able to quickly avoid it before streaking across the air.
Knowing his place, Wei Wuya simply watched from the side. As for Wang Tiansheng, he was furious from the soul remnant's imprudence.
He summoned a crimson command medallion with a flip of his hand and a harsh expression appeared on his face. He fiercely shook the medallion in the direction that the green light flew off and the medallion began to glow in crimson light, slowing down the ball of green light in the distance and causing it to sway.
Wang Tiansheng rejoiced at the sight of this, but the ball of green light began to stabilize and flew off with even greater speed. In the blink of an eye, it turned into a small speck of light in the distance. Not only was the Ghost Spirit Sect Master stunned by this, the other two were also dumbstruck.
"If I am not mistaken, the Ghost Spirit Sect's Soulfright curse no longer has an effect on the soul remnant. Interesting. I will go and capture it in your place and see what the ghost intends." Wearing a cold smile on his face, Wei Wuya streaked through the air in a blur of green.
Wang Tiangu recovered from his shock and said, "Senior Martial Brother, what..."
"When I used the Soulfright Curse on him earlier, it was working as intended, as you personally witnessed. Now, I am also quite interested in why it has no effect on it. Let's follow after him. I also wish to know what he is scheming to have brought us here." With a malevolent expression on his face and an ominous glint shining from his eyes, Wang Tiansheng shot after them. Given that this pocket dimension was only so large, he didn't need to fear that they would escape from sight.
Wang Tiangu bitterly laughed and could only follow after him.
Not long after, the two arrived near the center of the pocket dimension and found Wei Wuya facing the materialized form of the Confucian scholar in confrontation. The scholar didn't display the slightest trace of fear, somewhat to the two's surprise. But when the two raised their head to look behind him, they felt a wave of alarm.
Thirty meters behind the Confucian scholar, there was a hundred meter tall demonic statue carved out of fiery crystal that was shrouded in faint mist. It had two arms, four legs, a single corn, and pitch-black scales that shimmered with light. It had an evil and fierce appearance with bared fangs.
Wang Tiangu's heart thumped and he cried out in alarm, "What is this? It has such dense devilish Qi."
He wasn't shocked by the huge demonic statue's appearance, but the dense devilish Qi that it emitted nearby despite being sealed. It was several times denser than what they had felt where they arrived, arousing a faint feeling of trepidation.
"We'll talk about that later. First, we'll hear what he has to say." Wang Tiansheng looked at the demonic statue with fear, but after some hesitation, he floated down to Wei Wuya's side with Wang Tiangu. After all, he didn't have much to fear with the backing of a late Nascent Soul cultivator.
When the scholar saw the other two arrive, he smiled without the slightest fear. "Fellow Daoists, come. This is good. Now I won't have to explain myself more than once."
"For what reason did you bring us here?" Wang Tiansheng spoke calmly, but after examining the scholar, his heart was shaken.
This was because the crimson talisman characters were continuously flickering across the scholar's body. The Soulfright Curse was clearly under full effect, but despite the pulsing talisman characters roaming his skin, the scholar was wearing a beaming smile that didn't contain even a trace of pain. Not to mention that his materialized form was completely stable and didn't show any signs of distortion.
With complete calm, the scholar said, "Given that Fellow Daoists Wang cultivated a devilish art passed down from antiquity, I'm sure they've felt a devilish Qi that isn't present in the mortal world."
"So what? Do you mean to say that this is the Spirit Ether Garden?" Wang Tiangu asked.
The scholar chuckled and said, "The Spirit Ether Garden? It could be, or not."
An icy expression appeared on Wang Tiangu's face. "What do you mean by that? Do you still wish to play with us even after we arrived here?"
The Confucian scholar wore an odd expression and said, "Did you truly believe that the cultivators of antiquity would leave behind a secret area filled with medicine and spiritual Qi for you later generations? Countless years in the past, there truly was such a thing as the Spirit Ether Garden and several of them in fact. But now, they are all plucked clean and were destroyed in battles for possession. It might be true that this was an abandoned Spirit Ether Garden, but now, it is simply a pocket dimension that borders our Holy Realm and the mortal realm."
"Holy Realm? You're an Elder Devil!" When Wei Wuya heard him, he shouted out in alarm with a harsh voice. At that same time, he hastily formed an incantation gesture and submerged his body in green roiling mist.