Chapter 233 - Monarchy Pavilion?
Edited by RED
Xu Qi stared blankly at the hole the Icebright Bear had fallen into. No one had expected such a big hole to appear out of the blue. What exactly was going on with Mt Fengwen? There was far too much of a difference from what I had expected. In fact, it was the completely opposite. There were mysteries everywhere!
The Icebright Bear let out a thunderous roar from the hole, pulling Xu Qi's mind back to the present.
Seeing as Zhuque and Xuanwu had jumped into the hole, Xu Qi didn't let his mind wander off any more and quickly beat his Five Elements Wings, following behind them.
The hole was so deep that the sunlight couldn't reach its depths. Zhuque opened the way cautiously, throwing a ball of scarlet flames into the hole to scout ahead.
However, her ball of flames nearly caused the Icebright Bear to suffer for naught. It barely managed to avoid it, keeping its perfectly white fur intact. Only the gods knew how much of its fur would be burned away if it was hit by those scarlet flames!
The three landed at the base of the hole one after another, with the Icebright Bear standing next to Zhuque. It had returned to being slightly bigger than an adult human, looking around frantically. It looked as if it would turn tail to run the moment something unexpected happened.
The flames Zhuque threw were only a tiny source of light within this large hole. All they illuminated was the area their group was standing on, casting light upon the debris around them.
She spread her arms, and the scarlet flames appeared once more in her hands. They morphed into two fiery birds, rising up into the air.
Following Zhuque's unceasing channeling of flames into them, the fiery birds gradually grew larger.
As they did, the area they illuminated naturally grew as well. No one spoke a word during all this, as they all were on guard in case of any danger.
The two huge fiery birds were now like two suns in this cave, bringing light to the darkness.
When Xu Qi saw what was in this cave, his impression of it was that it was truly empty.
Only crushed rocks from the cave-in could be seen around them. After looking up and estimating the height from where they fell, Xu Qi deduced that they were probably right around the foot of the mountain.
Half of the mountain is hollow. Was this the work of nature or man?
Zhuque was filled with curiosity and took the first steps forward, heading deeper in with the two fiery birds following her movement.
Xu Qi and Xuanwu followed behind her, both looking rather tense.
The Icebright Bear, on the other hand, chose to follow them cautiously with its back facing them, guarding their backs. Even after experiencing the fall from the cave-in earlier, it was still uninjured, given how tough its body was.
It hadn't even sustained much injury from falling off Mt Wu Nian, which was several times higher than falling from the middle of Mt Fengwen. Naturally, a fall of this height was no issue for it.
Even so, after falling into this hole, the Icebright Bear seemed to be even more on guard. It kept looking around as it followed behind Xu Qi, looking quite skittish.
After walking for some time, they found themselves at a wall. It seemed like they had reached the other side of the mountain, but they hadn't discovered anything yet.
Xu Qi turned his head sideways, unresigned to the fruitless search. At this moment, Xuanwu patted his shoulder unexpectedly.
Xuanwu's finger was pointing in a certain direction, and Xu Qi slowly raised his head, following to where Xuanwu was pointing at.
Xu Qi's gaze fell onto a stone wall. He immediately felt his scalp going numb, and a cold shiver ran down his spine. There was actually someone there!
A person was standing by the stone wall with their eyes closed, their body virtually melding into the stone wall.
The two fiery birds moved closer to it, allowing the group to see the person's appearance clearly.
The figure had their eyes closed, their complexion no different from a normal person's. It seemed like they were asleep, their right arm lifted slightly. Xu Qi's gaze followed their arm, and realized that it was actually wielding a saber, but the weapon was melded into the stone wall as well.
Their build was more on the robust side, but their appearance didn't look very fearsome. On the contrary, it looked like a gentle middle-aged man, much like Xuanwu.
The most interesting point to Xu Qi, however, was the figure's attire.
His attire seemed to be on the verge of falling apart, and there was a fire insignia on his chest. Xu Qi recognized this insignia. It belonged to the number one cultivation school of Firesoul, the Monarchy Pavilion.
"He's dead?" Xu Qi muttered with uncertainty, looking at the figure.
After hearing that, Xuanwu and Zhuque's gazes fell onto the figure as well. They nodded, acknowledging his words with soft "hmms".
It was no wonder Xu Qi was so intrigued. Although they couldn't sense any aura from this figure, his complexion and expressions were misleading. It seemed as if he was only resting lightly with his eyes shut...
"That saber..?" Xu Qi muttered. Looking at the saber the figure was wielding, Xu Qi couldn't help but think of the Monarchy Pavilion's disciples. They were different from the other cultivation schools, in that all their disciples only had sabers as their weapon of choice.
The saber he was wielding had little difference from the stone wall adjacent to it. It looked to be forged from stone! But they would have to retrieve it to study to be sure...
Xuanwu seemed to know Xu Qi was having thoughts about that saber and advised him, "It's best you don't meddle with that saber."
"Look closely at it. It has actually turned into stone. This person must have died quite a long time ago, and despite that, his appearance is still vivid. If he hadn't taken some special pills to preserve his body, then there's only one other possibility left," Zhuque interjected.
After hearing that, Xuanwu nodded in agreement and added, "The other possibility is that this person was an extremely powerful man during his lifetime. Since his saber has turned into stone, I'm afraid the same goes for his body, too. Someone who could achieve such a feat was no different from ascending to immortality."
Xuanwu suddenly froze in place with his brow furrowed after finishing his words, stealing glances to his sides.
"Aren't the rumors a little too far from reality? It was said that Mt Fengwen was akin to a treasure trove with uncountable spiritual objects, and that many people had soared in their cultivation after obtaining them. Why have we seen nothing after coming here, except for a dead man who has turned into stone? No, that's not right. We encountered worse than seeing nothing! We almost got beaten to death by those eight inhuman things…" Xu Qi complained, looking at the man in the stone wall.
It was no wonder he was feeling so dejected. People had indeed described Mt Fengwen as a mysterious treasure trove, and the rumors seemed believable, too. Many people were crazy about the Fengwen Examinations three years ago, but why would everything flip around after arriving here myself?
Hmm? Fengwen Examination? What were the two keys to Mt Fengwen I obtained and lost three years ago used for? Even Lian Chengwei came to me for the keys, but I have yet to see a single door here! What use is there for a key!?
"Brat, I'm afraid we will have to suffer again!" Xuanwu suddenly said coldly. Xu Qi, who was still filled with resentment, couldn't help but go into a daze after hearing this.
"They're here again," Xuanwu added. The blue mist surged from his body once more. However, it didn't cover the entire cave this time. It only enveloped the group within a half zhang1 radius.
The mist fell, and those familiar blue figures were revealed before Xu Qi again. The only difference was that there were only seven of them this time.
The seven inhuman warriors had appeared here out of nowhere, but it seemed like they had no intentions of making any moves. They only had Xu Qi's group surrounded, standing a short distance away from one another.
Xu Qi looked up towards the large hole caused by the cave-in earlier, hatching a plan to himself.
They had suffered a loss to these warriors previously, but this time, there was an escape path right above them. All he needed to do was to use his Five Elements Wings to fly out of of this hole, and they would be unable to do a thing about it.
On the other hand, Zhuque had thoughts of going on a rampage once these warriors reappeared. From her angry looks, it seemed like she might return to her true form at any moment.
At present, her strength was slightly above Xuanwu's. However, for some unknown reasons, she had not sensed the presence of those warriors on both occasions, annoying her to no end.
The Icebright Bear immediately revealed its ferocious looks after it saw the warriors appeared. Earlier, the Icebright Bear had swatted these warriors away like flies countless times, and yet there didn't seem to be any injuries on them. The only loss they suffered was to the sunlight, dissipating one of them into black mist.
At this moment, Xu Qi suddenly formed rainbow seals in his hands. Zhuque and the Icebright Bear turned into rainbow phantoms with surprised looks on their faces and vanished.
"Damn brat, you won't be able to run away from a beating from that woman when you see her again," Xuanwu mused, looking at the seven warriors around them.
Xu Qi shook his head without replying. It was not wise to be reckless in their current situation. These warriors were obviously hard to fight head-on. Even if Zhuque and Icebright Bear enlarged themselves and collapsed the mountain, it still wouldn't be the end for these warriors. The reason he didn't speak about all this was because he had seen that the sunlight at the top of the hole seemed to have disappeared. Even if he escaped now, those seven warriors would definitely pursue him. He had witnessed their strength earlier. They were freaks who could fuse into one being!
The seven inhuman warriors finally acted. They extended one of their arms uniformly. From the blue mist covering the warriors' figures, Xu Qi could see something slowly forming in their hands at a speed visible to the naked eye. Just moments later, there were sabers in their hands.
After seeing this, Xu Qi couldn't help but glance over to the man in the stone wall.
A thought suddenly flashed in Xu Qi's mind. Could it be that these inhuman beings also belonged to the Monarchy Pavilion?
These seven saber-wielding figures still didn't seem to have any intentions of making a move. They were only standing there quietly, causing Xu Qi and Xuanwu to be at a loss of what to do. However, both of them had a premonition that if they acted first, then these seven warriors would definitely stop them from leaving.
At this moment, ripples suddenly formed from the stone-walled man's lower body, followed by a wave of annoying, sinister laughter.
That wasn't right. This time, it seemed like there was another person here. Yes, a person, a person that was extremely familiar to Xu Qi...
"It's been a long time, Xu Qi!" a voice reached them before that familiar-looking person landed on the ground.
1: As mentioned in an earlier chapter, zhang is a Chinese measurement unit. Each zhang is about 3.3m.