He had been turned into dust almost impossible to be seen by the naked eye.
Even before he could scream, he had been slaughtered.
The third Invigorated Meridian realm martial artist who was about to cross the river was about to step onto the surface, yet, he forcefully held himself back and turned around.
Such an abrupt use of power cause him to spit out a mouthful of blood.
His injuries were not light!
However, he was just happy to be alive!
If he didn't manage to stop, there was no way he could escape.
The scene had caught everybody off guard!
And extremely terrifying!
This was too sudden, even two strong martial artists in the Invigorated Meridian realm were unable to even react before they were blown up into smithereens.
They had not vanished, as the people following behind were well aware.
All except Qi Heng, who was all the way at the back.
Because of his injuries, he was not able to clearly see how his brother in arms and Han Xiao’s Zhou Changzhen had vanished.
When he had finally made it to the river bank, all he could see was the water flowing, the surroundings calm and quiet.
The remaining people were pale, their faces devoid of any color.
Xiao Zhangqing murmured, his terror clearly visible, "brother Zhou Changzhen carried with him... a protective magical tool, it couldn't withstand that at all? He died... just like that?"
Another one of the Jiu Xiao Invigorated Meridian realm martial artists took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down.
"In so many years, we have explored our fair share of ancient ruins. However, this is the first time we have met with such a dangerous place."
Sun Wei added, "I have also never seen an ancient ruin so well preserved, here... other than the fact that there is no sign of life, everything else, is too normal. And this... is where the abnormality lies."
"What's the meaning of saying all of these now?"
One of the Invigorated Meridian realm martial artists from Jiu Xiao sect was extremely rude. He shared a close relationship with the one who had just died. Having seen his brother die in such a horrific manner had caused him great grief.
Sun Wei glanced at him and said coldly, "Don't make it sound like I caused his death, I lost one of my brothers as well!"
"Enough, stop arguing. No one is happy about something like that happening, just calm down for abit." Xiao Zhangqing attempted to broker peace before turning to Wang Nan, who had spat out blood just now, "Are you ok?"
Wang Nan was the third man in line, the one who had almost stepped into the river.
Wang Nan retrieved a small jade bottle and swallowed a medicinal pellet before wiping away the blood on the edge of his mouth with his hand. He smiled bitterly and shook his head, "I'm fine, but that was dangerous!"
Qi Heng’s eyes widened when he finally understood what was happening, "They’re... dead?"
"Junior, did you realize this?" One of Qi Heng’s seniors said with a sour expression.
Qi Heng was stunned stiff, even though he saw his senior as well as Han Xiao’s Zhou Changzhen disappear, due to the interference from his injuries, he did not manage to get a clear look.
A little fantasy still played at the back of his mind. Could they have made it to a secret room?
At that moment, he felt a sudden chill and couldn't hold back a sneeze.
The Jiu Xiao sect had sent a total of four Invigorated Meridian realm martial artists, including Qi Heng.
Such a cultivation level in the Jiu Xiao ancient sect was not particularly high.
The exception was people like Qi Heng with strong talent and influential backers within the ancient sect. They had to be young when they attained the Invigorated Meridian realm. They were considered Heaven’s Pride in their youth, and the elites of the future.
However, to the commoners, anyone capable of attaining the Invigorated Meridian realm was considered an exceptionally strong individual.
To the underworld Chu Clan, anyone in the Invigorated Meridian realm was considered an expert.
Virtually anyone who trained in the pocket dimensions outside of earth would not return unless absolutely required.
As the time grows longer since the reversal of the magnetic fields, the situation would slowly start to change and there would be more and more experts.
For the time being however, anyone capable of attaining the Invigorated Meridian realm was treated like a treasure within the underworld clans.
However, for the Jiu Xiao and Han Xiao ancient sects, they sent such individuals on expeditions to explore the ruins, with the motive of gaining magical treasures of value.
The key point here was ‘explore’.
If it was a ruin that had been left completely wrecked and with no danger, it would have been every man for himself.
Whatever one could get was all down to fate and chance.
Sometimes, one could find a magical tool of decent level, albeit damaged, whilst other times, one could not find anything.
After all, not all ruins contained treasure.
As time goes by, after thousands of years, the ruins would have gone through many cycles of change, sufficient to destroy many things.
However, if they met a particularly strong and forbidden place, like this one!
Then, their mission would be solely to explore it.
All they need to do is to get a rough picture of what is going on inside, and report back to the seniors. Then, stronger individuals would take charge.
All the explorers would also naturally get a portion of the loot.
If they could retrieve a large amount of treasure from the ruins, they would receive an even higher reward.
However, this time, they were blinded by the possibly loot and riches in store for them just a reach away.
The palace hidden in the valley was simply too majestic.
These men were not hermits, and they had seen it being described in many ancient texts and annals.
"Many aeons ago, there was a glorious sect. It was grand and its influence spread over thousands of miles. It built a palace for its members, and it was as majestic as Heaven’s Temple..."
Such a situation was only heard of but never experienced. Even the disciples of the ancient sects found it difficult to suppress the deep seated thirst in their hearts for such ancient inheritance and top grade magical tools.
As such, any thoughts of mere exploration... had been tossed out of the window long ago.
Since they had already entered the treasure trough, how could they return empty handed?
Such a thought was present even in Chu Yu, not to mention these disciples of ancient sects, who had an even clearer idea of what treasures could be inside an unscathed, pristine ruin.
Qi Heng’s lips twitched, even though he was high up the Jiu Xiao ancient sect hierachy, as well as one of Heaven’s Pride.
In this case however, he was completely flustered.
"Now what?" Qi Heng asked bitterly, as he felt his nose getting increasingly painful.
The excitement he felt earlier had completely vanished.
Xiao Zhangqing from Hanxiao frowned, as if he was deep in thought.
One of Qi Heng’s seniors suggested, "Why not, we... head back!"
"Go back? You must be joking!" One of the Jiu Xiao Invigorated Meridian realm martial artists widened his eyes and looked to his brothers, " You want to go back? Why should we go back? After so many years, we have finally gotten such a great opportunity, and yet you want to go back? After we go back, what can we gain? A few superior medicinal pellets? I damaged piece of high level magical tool as a reward?"
This Jiu Xiao Invigorated Meridian realm martial artist looked at his brothers agitatedly and yelled, "I’m not going back! I must find my way in!"
As he spoke, he carefully removed an old and broken talisman. Before anyone could react, he bit his tongue, and spat his blood onto the talisman.
A golden light shot out from the edge of this broken and damaged talisman!
The light was extremely bright!
Almost like a little sun, it wrapped up this Jiu Xiao Invigorated Meridian realm martial artist, and it radiated with a strong energy fluctuations.
The others who saw this were stunned momentarily.
"This..." Xiao Zhangqing squinted, staring at the Jiu Xiao Invigorated Meridian realm martial artist wrapped in golden light, "Is this the protective talisman that the tales speak of? The golden light... this is a superior protective talisman!"
"Not bad! This is indeed a superior protective talisman, it can block the attack of a Xiantian cultivator!"
Through the light, the Jiu Xiao Invigorated Meridian realm martial artist said rather proudly, "Many years ago, I found with some luck when exploring an ancient ruin. I have always brought it along with me, waiting for a chance like this. Everyone, wish me luck..."
His voice had elements of pride.
The others were all jealous of a superior protective talisman capable of blocking the attack of a Xiantian cultivator.
That was a real piece of treasure!
He had used it without hesitation...
Everyone else knew that a talisman activated by the blood from one’s tongue tip prevented it from being used by anyone else.
As such, they could only look on with envy.
This Invigorated Meridian realm martial artist cloaked in the golden light retreated a few steps before making a mad dash for the river.
On the Jiu Xiao side, only Qi Heng and a senior were left whilst on the Han Xiao side, only Xiao Zhangqing, Wang nan and Sun Wei were left.
As for Chu Yu, he was with Lin Shimeng, hiding on a mountain top many miles away, watching them silently.
An Invigorated Meridian realm martial artist could reach speeds twice the speed of sound.
Under normal circumstances, crossing a river hundreds of meters wide would have only taken half a second... or even faster.
As such, such a distance should have been a piece of cake!
Yet, to the five people on the bank, as well as Chu Yu and Lin Shimeng on the mountain top miles away, the time felt extremely long.
In the moment he rushed out, it was as if time stopped!
In the moment that the golden silhouette reached the middle of the river.
Everybody’s heart leaped into their mouths!
It was so nerve wrecking!
Yet Chu Yu was not included, because he was aware of the details!
He opened up his vertical eye in his forehead. He could clearly see that when the golden silhouette arrived in the airspace just above the middle of the river, the countless threads of power that lay on the river’s surfaced were activated!
That feeling was almost like an army firing in unison on the battlefield!
All of the energy was overwhelming!
All of them were directed to that ball of gold!
Even though the Jiu Xiao Invigorated Meridian realm martial artist was quick, the power on the river’s surface... was even faster.
Furthermore, it was not merely just quicker by a little!
It was many times quicker!
As such, when Qi Heng and the group saw that ball of gold explode.
When the light rays entered their eyes, shocking their hearts...
Chu Yu had known for a long time, the moment the Jiu Xiao Invigorated Meridian realm martial artist had stepped onto the river, he had stepped onto... a path of death.
He seemed to be in the middle of the river... maybe even closer to the other side when he blew apart, yet it was just an illusion.
The explosion of gold caused the river’s surface to be showered with golden rain.
Stars and dots, drifted slowly on the surface of the river.
Very quickly, the river’s surface was calm once again.
The five people on the river bank, as well as Chu Yu and Lin Shimeng on the mountain top miles away, paled.
They were shocked speechless.
There was no way to cross this river.
All of a sudden, a small empty boat drifted towards them.