Chapter 275 – Auspicious Emperor
“These two soul beasts are too powerful,” Gu Yue said. “They could instantly eliminate all of us with a single swipe. I don’t think being here will help us pass this trial, but why else would they have us discover these soul beasts?”
Tang Wulin shook his head. “Let’s quietly observe the two first. They seem to be evenly matched. If we wait until they’re both exhausted, maybe we can reap some rewards? If they defeat each other and only have a single breath of life left, then even we should be able to deal with them!”
He knew his own strength, as well as the strength of his team, better than anyone else. He also knew it would be foolish to these mighty lords of the forest head on.
The single difference between this place and the spirit ascension platform was the lack of an escape button! In other words, dying was the only way to get out early. Having encountered these two beasts, death had become a very real possibility for them, one in which not even a single scrap of their corpses would remain. They needed to exercise extreme caution if they wanted to avoid such an agonizing end.
The four of them gathered at the edge of the valley and peered at the soul beasts once more.
The clashes between the two lights grew increasingly fierce. They couldn’t tell which one held the advantage.
Suddenly, the two lights shined intensely bright, explosively colliding one more time. After separating, the lights grew dim and revealed the soul beasts within them.
The Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear was in terrible condition, and its opponent showed no sign of weakness, almost as if it were a spirited horse. Its third eye shone a brilliant red. Fear crept into the bear’s eyes as the dark-gold light that surrounded it dimmed even further.
“I’ve got it!” Xie Xie blurted.
“So what is it?” Tang Wulin asked.
“I think that golden soul beast is the auspicious beast of legends!” Xie Xie answered.
Tang Wulin, Gu Yue, and Xu Xiaoyan looked at him doubtfully.
Xie Xie nodded.
“Legend has it that, in the Great Star Dou Forest, there once lived an auspicious beast known as the Auspicious Emperor. It has been said that, as long as it resided in the forest, fortune would smile upon all the beasts that inhabited the forest and their cultivation would progress much faster than normal. However, when it died, misfortune plagued the Great Star Dou Forest and drove the soul beasts to attack Shrek City in a beast tide. You guys should remember this from the Spirit Ice Douluo’s legend.
“The Auspicious Emperor is a Three-eyed Golden Lion. The legends say that the Spirit Ice Douluo absorbed its soul ring and soul bone. It provided a skull, the strongest spiritual-type bone that has always ranked number one. It’s no wonder that not even the Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear is able to beat it. This is the Auspicious Emperor after all! It’s on a whole different level!”
A Three-eyed Golden Lion… called the Auspicious Emperor? Even its name sounds powerful!
“It looks so cool!” Xu Xiaoyan exclaimed, her eyes practically twinkling with stars. “It would be great if it could become my spirit soul.”
“Keep dreaming,” Xie Xie scoffed. “That’s a Three-eyed Golden Lion, a beast that is supposedly even smarter than humans. Oh, right! I just remembered something. In the Spirit Ice Douluo’s biography, the story says that the Three-eyed Golden Lion transformed into a human and fell in love with the Spirit Ice Douluo. It later sacrificed itself to become his soul ring and save him from a deadly crisis. Yet its selfless act then led to the decline of the Great Star Dou forest and the wave of beasts attacking Shrek City.”
“Why haven’t I ever seen anything like that in the biography I read?” Tang Wulin asked.
Xie Xie smirked. “My family collects biographies! We have biographies that normal people would never have access to.”
“So soul beasts are approaching extinction because that Three-eyed Golden Lion sacrificed itself?” Gu Yue asked, a pensive expression on her face. “But… why would the Auspicious Emperor sacrifice itself for a single human? Didn’t it even consider its fellow beasts?”
“You wouldn’t understand,” Xie Xie said. “Logic doesn’t matter when someone falls in love. A person would forsake everything for love. I bet that’s the reason why the Three-eyed Golden Lion sacrificed itself. Didn’t it fall in love with the Spirit Ice Douluo?”
Gu Yue couldn’t understand why, but she suddenly glanced at Tang Wulin.
The earth shook as a deep rumble resounded throughout the valley.
Tang Wulin attached strands of Bluesilver Grass to his three teammates, keeping them safe as the four of them crawled away.
The wind whistled, suddenly growing in intensity. Tang Wulin turned around to see the two beasts taking their battle elsewhere.
The end of the valley was nowhere in sight. The sounds of battle continued to grow quieter and quieter as the two clashing beasts disappeared into the distance.
“Are they gone?”
The four of them let out a collective sigh of relief.
They were mere ants before those two almighty beasts, and they were lucky to avoid being noticed.
“Aren’t those two the reason why we didn’t meet any soul beasts in the forest?” Xu Xiaoyan asked.
Tang Wulin nodded. “This valley and the surrounding area are probably a part of the territory belonging to one of them. The other must have come to seize it or some other benefit..”
“We don’t know whose territory it is though. It would be great if this region belonged to the Three-eyed Golden Lion. Since it’s a sign of good luck, there would definitely be some treasures hidden here.” Xie Xie’s eyes lit up. “Didn’t they say we could bring anything we find in here back to the real world?”
Tang Wulin looked at him. “How about we go take a look then?”
“Yeah! Let’s go!” Xie Xie exclaimed, bursting with excitement. “This is an illusory world anyway. Even if we die here, we won’t really die in the real world. This is an amazing opportunity. If we don’t go take a look, we’ll regret it forever!”
Tang Wulin shifted his gaze to the two girls. Gu Yue nodded.
Xu Xiaoyan smiled. “It’s up to you, Captain.”
“Then we’re going!” Fire seemed to blaze to life in Tang Wulin’s eyes as he quietly stood up and ventured into the valley.
Like a newborn calf that didn’t fear a lion, they didn’t fear death in this illusory world. Since failing didn’t have any real consequences, they confidently ventured into what could be the lair of a legendary Auspicious Emperor.
Using Tang Wulin’s Bluesilver Grass, the four of them slowly rappelled down the side of the valley. Although it was steep, it didn’t prove much of a challenge for them. Progressing slowly and steadily, they soon reached the bottom.
Gazing at the thick mist in the distance, they could no longer see any trace of the two great soul beasts. It seemed like they wouldn’t return anytime soon.
They proceeded deeper into the valley, their guards up as they scanned in different directions.
The scene of the two formidable beasts battling was still fresh in their minds. Their hearts thumped louder and louder with each step.
The battle had truly been terrifying.
As they moved, they saw countless deep scars that the wandering battle had left throughout the winding valley. The stone of the valley was no different than tofu in the face of the attack of the beasts. The vast expanse of the valley floor was devoid of vegetation. This was evidently the work of the heaven-shaking battle from before.
“Captain, look!” Xu Xiaoyan pointed.
Tang Wulin’s gaze followed her finger and his eyes then lit up.
Not far from them was a cave, the entrance of which was about five meters tall. Darkness shrouded this cave, and its destination was a mystery.
“Is that the lair of one of the two beasts?” Tang Wulin muttered to himself.
“Let’s go find out!” Xie Xie immediately began running, forcing the other three to chase after him.
After reaching the entrance to the cave, Xie Xie took a moment to scout the area before waiting for his teammates to catch up.
“Captain, I think this could actually be the lair of the Three-eyed Golden Lion!” he shouted, gulping nervously.
“Huh? What makes you think that?” Tang Wulin asked.
“Since we’ve fought a Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear, you might remember its rancid odor,” Xie Xie said. “This cave, however, smells fresh, yet a bit musky. Legends have described the Three-eyed Golden Lion smelling like this, so I think this is its lair.””
“Alright. Let’s go see for ourselves,” Tang Wulin immediately decided. This was not the time to hesitate, just in case those two beasts suddenly returned!
The four of them dove into the cave, swiftly advancing into its depths.
The cave was pitch-black, as if it were a completely different world. The ceiling soon grew beyond five meters tall and opened up into a wide space.
After they came around a bend, twinkling lights appeared.
Gemstones littered the ground, shining with a myriad of brilliant prismatic lights.