Tan Laoxi found Guo Shier staring at him. He sighed, realizing that he blurted out some vulgar words yet again.
"Shier, Uncle is used to speaking like this," he explained apologetically. "But if you say so, Uncle will stop talking."
Guo Shier was too lazy and just ignored the incident. "All right, wash up first," he said. "Then we eat and rest. Let's start early tomorrow."
After eating, Guo Shier walked to the edge of the pond wearing a thin fur coat. He sat on the rock and watched the glowing sun disappear little by little along the horizon. The sunset painted the sky fiery red.
Luo Jie walked up to him and asked, "Shier, what's the matter?"
Guo Shier smiled. "It’s nothing, just sitting. Master, do you have something to tell me?"
"Nothing, I just saw you sitting here, so I came to take a look. Hehe! Are you homesick?"
"No, I haven't had a concept of home for a long time."
Guo Shier was an unencumbered Lama in his first two lives. He was just a lonely old man with no children, so the feeling of home did not exist for him.
Luo Jie was a little surprised. "You came from the Guo clansmen. Hehe! Now that you've advanced to Artificer Grandmaster level, if you go back you would be treated differently."
But Shier has never even thought of coming back since leaving. On the day his soul was awakened, he was chosen by the North Rune Sect and left his hometown. He never had time to develop any connection to his home and clan.
"Master, the West Rune Sect brought out so many Marked Horses this time. Do you know what their purpose is?"
"Not just Marked Horses, but also an ancient Glyph," Luo Jie commented. "But no Grandmaster can activate it. You know what this means…"
Guo Shier's eyes sparkled. "A True Treasure Glyph? True Spirit Glyph?" he asked enthusiastically.
"I don't know. But I'm determined to know."
Guo Shier nodded. "Ah, in any case, we have to grab it! Master should also try high-level Glyphs. Maybe after your advancement, your Innate Rune Book will be different."
"I also want to confirm that. Maybe after the advancement, I can manipulate more advanced Glyphs."
Guo Shier smiled. "After our trip here in this Secret Realm, we should return as soon as possible. Hehe! There is so much we don't know."
Luo Jie laughed. "My current idea is a little different. If we can get into another World as soon as possible, maybe you can learn better and more useful knowledge. I think we are too underdeveloped here. Reaching a Grandmaster level is far from enough."
"Master, if we travel to that kind of place, wouldn't it be dangerous?
"Certainly! I’m sure it’s very dangerous. Are you scared?"
"No, I'm not afraid," Guo Shier replied without hesitation.
Luo Jie laughed. "Me neither. Hehe! I expect to find more out there."
For Luo Jie who has already reached the top and suddenly discovered a higher mountain, this was a compelling challenge.
"We should increase and solidify our own strength as soon as possible if we want to go to other Worlds," Guo Shier said. "Otherwise we may not have enough strength to protect ourselves."
Luo Jie nodded in approval. "Before undertaking this endeavor, we must first enhance our own strength. Hehe! We should find as many powerful Glyphs as we can. We have a chance of collecting True Treasure and True Spirit Level Glyphs since the Grandmasters here can't activate them."
For seven or eight consecutive days, they continually hunted Marked Beasts in the area.
Qi Nanshan killed a multicolored Marked Leopard with one hit. Not only did he surprise himself—he also impressed the entire hunting group.
Even a weak Marked Beast could be very difficult to deal with, even for Marked Warrior Grandmasters. They usually needed an entire team's strength to kill one. But Qi Nanshan actually defeated a Marked Leopard with one punch. His performance gave the group confidence. They started believing in their ability to hunt Marked Beast Variants.
"There is a forest not far ahead where there are more Marked Beasts. Damn this mother… Uh, no. I mean, we should be careful," said Tan Laoxi, trying very hard to control his swearing.
Most of the trees in the forest were normal sized, but there were a few distinctively thinner ones. The clearings were covered in waist-deep weeds and shrubs. There were many herbivores wandering the woods.
Guo Shier narrowed his eyes and observed the surroundings. "It’s dangerous here," he said. "Although the field of vision is still relatively open, the weeds and shrubs are too thick. I can't see what's hiding between those spaces. Take note of this, everyone. Nanshan Grandpa, watch over the Masters. Everybody else, pay attention and be vigilant. Let's go in!"
"From here on, Marked Beasts will appear more and more," Tan Laoxi said, seemingly pleased with himself, "Hey Shier, I haven't used foul language for says. What the fuck. It’s not easy, ah…"
Guo Shier sighed. "You just blurted another curse word out. Augh! To really change, you have to work hard!"
Everyone can't help but laugh.
But the light moment was interrupted by Qi NanShan's shouting. "Be careful!" he yelled. "Marked Snow Wolf, a group of Marked Snow Wolves!!!"
Not far from the woods there was a small mound with a few Marked Snow Wolves on top. Their green pupils were evident from afar. They stared at the group while releasing a cold aura.
A horde of beasts is the most terrifying thing one can encounter when hunting in the mountains. Whether you're running on the ground or flying without enough strength, if you encounter hordes of Marked Beasts, you're finished.
Guo Shier immediately revealed his plan. "Battle formation! Uncle Xiao Feng, Uncle Luo Jing—you two in front. Uncle Tan, you’re in charge of destroying the Marked Snow Wolves that they can’t stop."
"Uncle Ying Mo, you are responsible for the left side. Uncle Luo, you are responsible for the right side. Elder Sister Lan, you are responsible for our rear side. Be careful of being attacked," he continued. "I, Master, and the rest—move to the center! Grandpa Nanshan, your task is the most important. Kill the Marked Wolf King!"
The Marked Snow Wolves did not immediately launch an attack. One of them stood up and stared at the group.
This particular Marked Snow Wolf was several times larger than ordinary Marked Snow Wolves. It was almost as big as a tiger. Its fur was white and released a trace of cold aura. It was an Ice Attribute Marked Beast.
"How many? How many Marked Snow Wolves?" asked Guo Shier.
"There are four on top of the hill and three below it," Qi Nanshan said. I don’t know if there’s any behind the hill."
Seven is a very scary number. An Intermediate Rank squad won't be able to handle such a horde and would rather escape than go into battle. Wolves are some of the toughest beasts to handle—and an Ice Attribute Marked Beast is even harder to beat.
Tan Laoxi could no longer stop himself from cursing. "Damn, what the fuck is this? Fucking group of Marked Snow Wolves! This is so fucked up, what fucking luck. I don't want to die!"
Guo Shier shouted, "Shut up Uncle Tan! We have so many Grandmasters. Afraid my ass!"
Seven Marked Snow Wolves was not enough to scare Luo Jie's squad.
However, while everyone was on high alert, a few more Marked Snow Wolves emerged from the bushes. A couple of Coyotes poked their heads out.
"This is a Wolf’s Den!" Qi Nanshan shouted. "Be careful—the wolves are launching an attack!"
A single Marked Snow Wolf from the encirclement suddenly sprang towards the hill. The fur on his body was actually silver. The lazy Snow Wolves were emboldened by the move and immediately stood one by one. They started baring their teeth on the human visitors.
"The Marked Wolf King came out!" Guo Shier shouted.
Luo Jie looked carefully. "This Marked Wolf King is a Variant!"
"A very beautiful Marked Wolf King," Guo Shier said, almost in awe. "This silver Marked Wolf King skin, I want it!"
His comment somehow relaxed the tense atmosphere.
Luo Jie glanced at him with admiration. "Good! Da-Shan, do not break the Marked Wolf King's fur! Shier want its skin!"
With the roar of the Marked Wolf King, a number of Marked Snow Wolves lept out from the underbrush.
"There are 12 Marked Snow Wolves and six Coyotes," Qi Nanshan said calmly.
All the participants finally revealed themselves.
The battle was about to commence.
Guo Shier opened his mouth and exhaled a black mist that turned into a Giant Scorpion. He released his Dark Winged Scorpion, followed by his Armored Bull.
His field of vision suddenly widened as he jumped on the back of the bull.
The Armored Bull was two meters tall. After fully materializing with its thick hide, it turned into a very good shield and mount.
Luo Jie, Tan Laoxi, and Lantian Bao also took out their own Innate Rune Book to prepare for the fight.
Lantian Bao took out a fist-sized Golden Beetle that flew around her body, while a dozen of colorful Snakes stood ready at her feet. They looked so threatening that a Marked Warrior Master who had been guarding her could not help but walk a few steps away.
Tan Laoxi released a spirit of two Marked Bears to guard himself. This was common practice. Artificers protect themselves before going into battle.
"Once the Wolves launch an attack, I’ll deal with the Marked Wolf King!" said Qi Nanshan. He was fully confident of his strength.
The Marked Wolf King let out another roar. Suddenly, his body shot over as fast as lightning, leaving a streak of silver in its wake.
It was evidently trying to open a path for the other Marked Snow Wolves to use as an opportunity to get into the human group.
"You're mine!" Qi Nanshan shouted as he moved just as swiftly to welcome the Snow Wolf King.
Xiao Feng and Luo Jing each held a Rune Shield and a Rune Blade in their hands. Their primary task was to block the advance of the other Snow Wolves. Luo Jie, Guo Shier, Tan Laoxi and Lantian Bao—the four Grandmasters—were to be the main killers.
Guo Shier had his Dark Winged Scorpion and his Sword Glyph ready to attack. He did not take out his Bird Glyph for the time being. He knew that the Bird Glyph's power was not enough to shake a Grandmaster level defense. He experienced this in a battle on one of the Secret Planes. He reasoned that he has not fully explored the mysteries of the Bird Glyph, hence, he cannot use the Bird Glyph's true power.
Xiao Feng blocked the advance of a Marked Snow Wolf. At the moment of impact, he felt his whole body shake. He was surprised at how strong the Marked Snow Wolf was.
He tried to slash the Marked Snow Wolf's head using the Rune Blade is his hands.
The hacked Marked Snow Wolf turned up and over from the force of the hit. But Xiao Feng immediately realized that his Rune Blade was not able to penetrate the Marked Snow Wolf's fur.
Another Marked Snow Wolf rushed in and took advantage of his distraction. Xiao Feng shouted in alarm and angled his Rune Shield towards the Marked Snow Wolf.
Guo Shier's eyes heated up as two golden lines shot out from them.