“There’s a Deputy Territorial Lord for Howling Moon Mountain,”
The rat said, “The reason why you guys are being exposed is because of the Deputy Territorial Lord, Chan Ruyi.”
Su Zimo murmured slowly and a look of realization filled his eyes, as though he thought of something.
The rat continued, “Lord Chan Ruyi’s true form is an ancient remnant beast, the Mystic Jade Cricket of the Cricket race that rules over the mountainous region within a few thousand kilometers radius of Howling Moon Mountain.”
“The five of you are a large mark and easily recognizable as you travel through the forest. As long as there are crickets, your location will be exposed.”
The spirit tiger and the others were dumbfounded.
Although he had spent a period of time in the Wild Lion Ridge with monkey, he had never heard of such means.
How many crickets were there in the forest?
There were probably innumerable!
This meant that every single move they made had been watched by the enemies the entire time!
“The ordinary cicadas cannot even be considered as spirit demons. However, once they become sentient, they possess the communication method unique to the Cicada race and can relay your location to Lord Chan Ruyi’s side.”
Su Zimo nodded silently.
There was no mistake.
Back when they were hiding in the first cave, Su Zimo already felt something odd when he heard the crickets outside the cave.
He felt that something was amiss, as though they were being spied on, but he could not put his finger to it.
Now, he knew where the problem was.
“What should we do?”
Little Fox was worried.
According to the rat, they had been spied on the entire time and would be discovered no matter where they were – there was nowhere for them to hide!
After all, there were crickets everywhere in the forest.
“The best way is to leave the radius of Howling Moon Mountain temporarily,”
Su Zimo said deeply, “Once we break through from the Core Formation realm and cultivate our Essence Spirits to become fiend demons, we can hide our aura and change our appearances. Those crickets won’t be able to recognize us even if we return here.”
“Brother, you sure are smart. You’re absolutely right,”
The rat complimented him hurriedly.
Qing Qing furrowed her brow. “However, we know nothing about Howling Moon Mountain. If we move without any direction, we’ll be caught by that Chan Ruyi person before we even leave Howling Moon Mountain.”
Su Zimo did not reply and merely turned to look at the rat with a fake smile.
The spirit tiger’s heart stirred and his gaze turned fierce as he said threateningly, “Rat, take us out or… humph!”
The rat broke out in sweat and said hurriedly, “Don’t get worked up, Brother Batian. The reason why I’m here is to present you guys with a map of Howling Moon Mountain.”
The rat threw out a map made of beast hide as it spoke.
However, it did not come personally and half of its body was still hidden in the hole, as though it was ready to escape at any moment, afraid that the spirit tiger might capture it.
Su Zimo picked up the map and gave it a rough glance.
Apart from the terrain, the map even possessed some information about the territories nearby Howling Moon Mountain – this was way too important to them!
With this map, they could easily choose a nearest direction and method to leave Howling Moon Mountain!
Previously, they sprinted eastwards the entire way. If they continued in that direction, they won’t be able to leave Howling Moon Mountain even after half a month!
However, after checking with the map, they could escape from this place within a couple of days if they changed directions and headed to the south!
“Rat, this map isn’t fake, is it?”
The spirit tiger looked askance at the rat and asked, “Why are you so kind as to come such a long distance just to help us?”
Su Zimo was also watching the rat when the spirit tiger asked the question.
The spirit tiger’s worries were not unfounded.
The rat rubbed its palms together and said embarrassedly, “I brought you guys here and I truly feel bad for everything that happened later on. We don’t owe one another anything else after I give you this map.”
Su Zimo was relieved.
There was no hint of panic in the rat’s eyes – it did not seem like it was lying.
“Since that’s the case, let’s move now!”
Su Zimo could sense that the number of spirit demons gathering were increasing.
They won’t be able to escape if this carried on and Chan Ruyi arrived with more fiend demons!
Before departing, Su Zimo turned and looked at the rat. “Won’t you be implicated for giving us the map?”
The rat waved it off. “I found this place through my own capabilities as well. As long as you guys don’t tell, nobody will know that I gave you the map.”
“Farewell, see you again!”
Su Zimo led monkey and the others out of the waterfall and fled into the distance.
“We had better not meet again,”
The rat looked at the direction where Su Zimo’s group departed and murmured. It burrowed into the hole and vanished in the blink of an eye.
Three days later.
The Black Sand Ridge was also a territory that was side by side to Howling Moon Mountain.
The name of its Territorial Lord was the Black Sand Monster and its true form was unknown. It possessed frightening strength, was bloodthirsty and its territory was much larger than Howling Moon Mountain.
At this moment, Su Zimo’s group located a secluded cave at the intersection of Black Sand Ridge and Howling Moon Mountain and settled down temporarily.
Once they were out of the territory of Howling Moon Mountain, they were free from the tracking of the Cricket race.
Su Zimo set up array formations painstakingly in the vicinity of the cave once again for safety precautions.
Monkey, the spirit tiger, Qing Qing and Little Fox were cultivating within and their conditions gradually stabilized. Slowly, they were in perfect conditions for their breakthroughs to the Nascent Soul realm at any moment!
Su Zimo guarded the entrance of the cave motionlessly, trying his best to repress his churning Inner Core and the throbbing Golden Core in his abdomen.
Suddenly, his eyes jerked open and he turned back, sensing something.
The first to break through was monkey!
Monkey’s aura had already begun to transform!
A wisp of faint might engulfed downwards.
That was Heaven and Earth powers!
Although it was only a single wisp, it was terrifying enough!
Monkey’s flesh split apart and his fur fell off. However, immediately after, new layers of flesh grew atop one another and his entire body became taller and stronger!
The transformation process of a body was extremely painful.
Monkey’s body quivered the entire time.
However, he had a proud expression and did not make a single peep of sound!
The aura led the spirit tiger’s body to change as well!
Suddenly, the spirit tiger let out a roar and reverted to his true form. A series of crackling sounds could be heard from within his body as it expanded and his muscles swelled!
Qing Qing began her breakthrough after the spirit tiger.
Her breakthrough triggered the bloodline of the Bi Fang that was within her body and her body blazed with a light green flame; her aura intensified continuously!
Little Fox was the last to break through.
It was different from monkey, the spirit tiger and Qing Qing.
Little Fox’s breakthrough created the least commotion and a pink mist shrouded her body. Steam rose with a faint fragrance that could bewitch one’s mind!
Su Zimo watched fixedly with a nervous expression.
A breakthrough of the Core Formation realm to cultivate an Essence Spirit was equivalent to communicating with Heaven and Earth and advancing instantly!
It was a heavenly-defying act that was extremely dangerous!
Throughout history, there had been countless people who died at this stage, be it demons or human cultivators.
If one failed the breakthrough process from the Foundation Establishment realm to the Golden Core realm, their spirit meridians would be snapped and their spirit energies would disperse entirely. However, they had a chance to live as mortals.
But a failure in advancement from the Core Formation realm to the Nascent Soul realm would result in instant death!
An unknown period of time passed.
The auras around monkey, the spirit tiger, Qing Qing and Little Fox gradually stabilized and their furrowed brows became relaxed as well.
A tremendous amount of lifeforce surged from within their bodies!
Su Zimo knew that the four of them had already become fiend demons!
Next, it was his turn.