Chapter 1017: Deep Underground
The ones who floated above Mercenary City were members of the upper echelon of Mercenary City. They were all elders, and even the weakest of them was a Saint Ruler.
“Grand elder, just what has happened…”
“Our city has the protective power of the barrier, and it’s extremely tough. How has it ended up like this now…”
“Has the barrier of our city disappeared…”
All the elders fell into a discussion, as they stared at the city riddled with huge cracks. They felt extremely suspicious and curious about the incident that Mercenary City had suffered as well as some panic and confusion at the same time.
The grand elder sternly stared at the huge cracks that covered all the streets and alleys. He too felt confused, unsure what exactly that had happened to Mercenary City and why it was like this now.
Suddenly, Tian Jian seemed to think of something. A gleam of light flashed through his eyes, and he thought, “Has something happened to the barrier spirit?” His face immediately darkened slightly when he thought of that possibility. Mo Tianyun left the barrier spirit behind here all those years ago. Its existence was extremely important to Mercenary City, as it was the unnamed protector god of Mercenary City. If something really happened to the barrier spirit, it would definitely be an extremely heavy hit to Mercenary City.
“It’s a pity that I can’t communicate with the barrier spirit on my own initiative. I wonder what has happened to Mercenary City. If only Jian Chen was here. Though a great battle has just erupted in the direction of the Cross Mountains. There were magical beast Saint Emperors who took part in it, so by the looks of things, the two magical beast experts by Jian Chen’s side probably fought the Saint Emperors of the Beast God Continent once again. Jian Chen should also be nearby if that’s really the case,” thought Tian Jian. He had sensed the battle in the Cross Mountains earlier and wanted to go have a look. However, Mercenary City suddenly began to shake violently, so he had to stay behind.
At this moment, several tremendous presences appeared outside and rapidly approached the city with lightning speed.
Tian Jian’s gaze froze, and he quickly looked toward the direction of the presences. He could not help but smile. “Jian Chen really has come at the right time. I just happened to need him to communicate with the barrier spirit and see what just has happened to Mercenary City.”
Jian Chen, Houston, Rui Jin, Hei Yu, and Hong Lian flew over from afar side-by-side. All of their gazes became mixed when they saw the huge barrier above the city. A sliver of respect appeared in Houston, Rui Jin, Hong Lian, and Hei Yu’s eyes. It was the respect for the strong.
They all knew that barrier spirit was the little girl who had surpassed Saint Emperor.
Jian Chen never went into detail about Xiao Ling’s true identity. To him, it did not matter whether Xiao Ling was a spirit of the earth or a barrier spirit. It was no longer important.
“Looks like something big really has happened here now that all the people of Mercenary City are in a panic.” Jian Chen noticed the difference in Mercenary City from afar and his brows immediately furrowed in worry.
Very soon, Jian Chen’s group met up with the elders of Mercenary City. After a few greetings, they directly proceeded to the main topic.
“Senior Tian Jian, may I ask just what has happened with Mercenary City? Why has it become like this?” Jian Chen asked, as he looked at the messy Mercenary City.
“We don’t know either. You can only ask the barrier spirit if you want to learn just what has happened today. Jian Chen, you have a close relationship with the barrier spirit. I hope you can communicate with the barrier spirit and ask what caused the incident with Mercenary City,” Tian Jian asked sternly.
“I’ll try,” replied Jian Chen. A sliver of uneasiness appeared in his heart for some reason, because he thought amount some secretive matters Mo Tianyun had told him before.
Afterward, Jian Chen softly called Xiao Ling’s name a few times. However, he did not get any response this time.
Jian Chen felt even grimmer. Currently, he felt more and more certain his thoughts. He had already connected the unforeseen event of Mercenary City and Xiao Ling’s loss of composure earlier to the seal beneath Mercenary City. Some problem must have happened to it.
“Senior Tian Jian, I am unable to help you this time,” Jian Chen said rather dejectedly. He furrowed his brows from worry. He felt deeply anxious about Xiao Ling’s safety.
“Sigh,” Tian Jian exhaled deeply. He raised his head to look at the huge barrier that was still present, and he too furrowed his brows tightly. Since Mo Tianyun founded Mercenary City, it had gone through the wind and the rain, but something like this had never happened before.
The light in Jian Chen’s eyes flickered for a while. He was hesitating over whether he should tell Tian Jian and the others about the seal, so that they could mentally prepare themselves.
At this moment, an invisible force suddenly surrounded Jian Chen. Before Jian Chen could even react, it bound him tightly. Then, it pulled him downward with lightning speed.
“Jian Chen!” Rui Jin cried out. He immediately turned into a blur in an attempt to grab Jian Chen.
However, Jian Chen just fell too quickly. Even with Rui jin’s strength, he could not grab him. In that instant, an invisible forced pulled Jian Chen to the ground. Then, he directly disappeared into the ground as everyone watched on in shock. It left behind no mark on the floor.
The expressions of Rui Jin, Hei Yu, Hong Lian, and Houston all changed when they saw that. They glanced at each other before they all descended as if they had a tacit understanding of each other. They wanted to blast open the ground to save Jian Chen.
“Please wait!” Tian Jian obstructed them and said, “There’s no need to worry, everyone. Mercenary City is protected by the barrier spirit, so outsiders cannot harm Jian Chen in here at all. Since Jian Chen is close with the barrier spirit, I assume that it’s extremely likely that it was the barrier spirit itself that pulled Jian Chen into the ground.”
Rui Jin, Hei Yu, Hong Lian, and Houston immediately calmed down after they heard this. They returned to the skies, as they quietly waited for Jian Chen.
The mysterious force caused Jian Chen to rapidly sink and the soil parted as he moved downward. As such, he did not become stained with any silt or mud at all.
Jian Chen had already experienced this before. He knew that Xiao Ling was behind this, so he was extremely calm. He let the force surround his body and did not show any resistance.
Very soon, Jian Chen arrived in the depths underground. It was completely dark, to the point that he could not even see before him. Even with Jian Chen’s eyesight, he could see nothing.
Jian Chen subconsciously expanded his presence, but he could only expand it less than a thousand meters even with its current power. A mysterious power suppressed his presence.
However, through the senses of his presence, Jian Chen could tell that he was in a huge space underground.
“The energy here has become much thinner than the last time I came here,” Jian Chen thought in surprise. He could still remember clearly that when Xiao Ling had taken him here for the first time, the energy was so thick that it had almost become liquid. Only a few years had passed since then, yet the energy had already become this thin. It was being consumed at a shocking rate.
At this moment, a ball of white light suddenly appeared in the pitch-black world. It illuminated everything.
“Xiao Ling!” Jian Chen immediately cried out when he saw the ball of light.
The ball of light was from Xiao Ling. Her body seemed extremely illusionary, as if she was a figure constructed from light.
Xiao Ling was no longer as energetic as before. Two clear streaks of tears ran down her cute, innocent face as fear clouded it completely. Something seemed to be frightening her.
Jian Chen felt pained when he saw Xiao Ling like that. He asked in concern, “Xiao Ling, what has happened to you? What has happened?”
“Wah…” Suddenly, Xiao Ling began to cry. She threw herself at Jian Chen’s chest, as she cried loudly, hugging Jian Chen tightly.
“Don’t cry Xiao Ling, come on. Tell big brother what has happened.” Jian Chen hugged Xiao Ling back, as he comforted her. Although Xiao Ling’s body was formed from energy, the energy had basically corporealized. As such, there were almost no differences to hugging a person with flesh and blood, except for the fact that Xiao Ling did not give off any heat.
“Big brother… big brother… Xiao Ling is so scared… Xiao Ling is so scared. Master, master where are you? Come back quickly, Xiao Ling really is so scared,” Xiao Ling sobbed in Jian Chen’s bosom. She was quite frightened.
Jian Chen felt sympathetic, as he looked at Xiao Ling’s weeping expression. He comforted softly, “Don’t be scared, Xiao Ling. Isn’t big brother here? Don’t worry, big brother will protect you.”
Jian Chen comforted Xiao Ling for a very long time before she finally calmed down. Afterward, he asked, “Xiao Ling, tell me honestly. Has something happened to the seal?”
Xiao Ling dried her tears and nodded her head firmly. She said, “Yeah, big brother, something ran out from the se-” Xiao Ling suddenly stopped and immediately covered her mouth with her hand. She said with a muffled voice, “No, Xiao Ling can’t say it. Master said that Xiao Ling can’t say it to anyone.”
Jian Chen smiled and said, “Xiao Ling, big brother saw your master a few years ago. Your master told big brother about everything here. There’s a seal deep beneath Mercenary City, which seals up the entrance to the World of Forsaken Saints. Is big brother right?”
Xiao Ling unblinkingly stared at Jian Chen with her bright and innocent eyes, before nodding firmly twice. She had basically affirmed Jian Chen’s words.
“Xiao Ling, even your master has told everything to big brother. You shouldn’t hide it from big brother any longer. Be good, tell big brother what has happened here, okay?” Jian Chen said.
“Okay. But big brother isn’t allowed to tell anyone else. Master didn’t let me to tell anyone all those years ago,” Xiao Ling said seriously.
Jian Chen nodded silently.
Afterward, Xiao Ling described everything that had happened to Jian Chen. She hid nothing. Jian Chen immediately revealed an extremely ugly expression when he learned that a peerless expert of the World of Forsaken Saints had been attacking the seal.
“Xiao Ling, just how powerful is that expert from the World of Forsaken Saints who attacked the seal? Can you defeat him?” Jian Chen asked nervously. At this moment, he was so uneasy that his heart was beating heavily.
Xiao Ling shook her head without any hesitation and said, “Big brother, that person is very strong. Master previously set down two seals all those years ago, one on the other side and one here. That person used a single attack to break through master’s seal on the other side, and the seal here probably would’ve been broken as well if Xiao Ling didn’t use everything she had to support it. Not only did Xiao Ling use up all the energy that she had accumulated over many years to keep up the seal, but she even consumed a lot of her power. Xiao Ling definitely wouldn't be able to bear with it if that person comes and attacks a few more times.”