"Little fellow, are you sure you aren't duping me? This is the treasure?" Long Chen looked at the huge cave entrance in front of them suspiciously. This cave was emitting an extremely sinister air.
"Yes, I'm sure. I feel like there's a very great opportunity here," said Guo Ran confidently.
"Then why do I feel such a sinister air? It looks like a tomb."
Looking at the huge mountain, he saw it was completely bare and black, without a single strand of grass. It was filled with a sense of decay. It didn't seem at all like a treasure.
"It doesn't just look like a tomb; it really is an ancient tomb," said Guo Ran.
"You want to be a graverobber?" Long Chen was slightly surprised.
"Aiya! Boss, graverobber is such an ugly word! We're just going in to study the ancient culture and explore the historical remains. Let me tell you boss, I'm sure there's treasures inside here. I entered here before, but I was forced out by others. If I hadn't run out fast enough, I would have ended up losing my life!" Guo Ran was somewhat indignant.
"You've already entered before?"
"Yup. Look, this is a rock I picked up from inside there." Guo Ran showed him a certain stone.
Receiving that stone, Long Chen couldn't help being startled. This egg-sized stone was black and completely unremarkable. However, it had to weigh over a thousand pounds.
Then lightly squeezing, he found that it was extremely hard as well. Now that he had advanced to the Tendon Transformation realm, his physical strength was shocking. A light squeeze of his hand could easily crush steel.
But this unremarkable stone wasn't damaged at all. Even as Long Chen increased his strength, there was not the slightest reaction!
"How is it? It's something good, right? If I could purify the essence out of this, it would definitely make a good weapon!" exclaimed Guo Ran.
He could now count as a dabbler in forging arts. As an occupational disease, he was obsessed with these kinds of rare materials.
"It really is something good." Long Chen nodded. Although he didn't know what the origin of this stone was, it was terrifyingly hard. If it was refined, it could make a terrifying weapon. However, this one piece was too small. Once it was refined, there wouldn't be much left.
"Who were you forced out by? Have people already entered?" asked Long Chen.
"Fuck, just thinking about it pisses me off. I entered the earliest, and found that it was an extremely complicated set of caves. It should be the tomb of a shocking person from long ago.
"Not long after I had entered, I ended up walking in a circle. I ended up returning to the entrance, but on the way I also picked up this stone.
"At that time, quite a few monastery disciples appeared. As soon as those bastards saw me, they told me to hand over the treasure.
"I said I had only just entered, and they believed me, as if I had really entered deeper, I wouldn't have just dithered near the entrance.
"Since I didn't have any treasure, they told me scram and wouldn't let me stay in the caves. What do you say boss? Isn't it infuriating? They acted like they owned the place.
"When I said I wouldn't leave, the four of them ganged up on me. From their vicious attitude, they definitely wanted my life!
"I couldn't beat them, especially since one of them was a Favored, so I was forced out," explained Guo Ran furiously.
"Ugh, give it up. You think I don't know you? Stop acting like you suffered such a huge grievance. If you really were to bring out your true methods, I don't believe you'd suffer any loss. Little fellow, get to the point. Is there a need for you to beat around the bush like this?"
Long Chen really did understand Guo Ran too well. Although his personal combat ability wasn't high, that little fellow had studied all kinds of things, becoming crafty enough to take people's lives; no, it should be said he had become wretched enough to take people's lives.
Even Long Chen didn't know how many life-preserving trump cards he had. Otherwise, he wouldn't have fought to get him a spot for the Jiuli secret realm.
"Hehe, boss really is boss. Nothing can hide in front of you. Yes, I deliberately left. But that doesn't change the fact that they assaulted me!" Guo Ran quibbled.
Long Chen's expression was odd, and he looked at Guo Ran's butt, doubtfully asking, "Assault? They wanted to screw you?"
"PFFT! Boss, you really are becoming more and more vulgar!" Guo Ran almost coughed up blood.
"Ok, let's get down to business then. With boss here, we won't have to put up with any more of this crap, whether it's from the Corrupt path or the Righteous path," said Long Chen.
His voice was filled with confidence and a cold killing intent. After having heard that distant, ancient voice, Long Chen felt as if he no longer had any time to waste.
Although he couldn't figure out where the voice came from, he sensed a huge crisis drawing close. He had to get stronger.
He didn't have time to try to use smarts to resolve these troubles. The simplest, most direct, most effective way to resolve troubles was through martial might.
Those Righteous disciples were slowing down his cultivation speed, which was equivalent to getting Long Chen killed as well as killing the people beside him. He didn't care whether they were part of the plot or whether they were misled. Anyone who wanted to kill his people only had one ending: death!
Hearing Long Chen's words, Guo Ran's heart shook. It seemed that after advancing to Tendon Transformation, Long Chen had gained some sort of indescribably domineering aspect that would make anyone feel reverence for him.
"What was your goal in backing out of here?" asked Long Chen.
"Hehe, I wanted them to explore and find the path. I feel like this tomb isn't so simple. There's not even a mark on this map.
"Furthermore, look at the dirt outside. It's all very fresh. In other words, this tomb only appeared in the last twenty years. Some kind of change in the secret realm should have brought it aboveground.
"When I entered, I felt like it was a maze. It's shockingly large inside. In any case, my strength is limited, and it's more fun to go at it in a group than by myself.
"After those Righteous disciples made me leave, I ran into some powerful Righteous disciples and, for a very cheap price, I told them about this tomb's position so they could explore it for themselves!"
"So you were really just using them to find the right path." Long Chen almost laughed.
"Yup. That tomb is shockingly large, and I don't have the ability to consume it all on my own. With this many people helping out, I'll be able to slip in and hopefully get an advantage. But if I had known that you would arrive, I wouldn't have shouted for so many people to come. Us two brothers could have consumed it all for our own, tch!" Guo Ran sighed gloomily.
"What is it?"
Guo Ran was a bit embarrassed. "Maybe my conning skills are too powerful, but a couple Chosen ended up going in.
"More importantly, even Corrupt disciples heard of it and quite a few powerful figures came over.
"Ah, maybe they're fighting and killing each other inside at this very moment. Well, you know me, I don't like being splashed by blood, so I just hid in the distance, waiting without saying anything."
Long Chen was speechless. This little fellow really was evil. But the little fellow's way of handling the situation was very much to Long Chen's taste.
That kind of style could be summed up in the following: even if I can't beat you, I can still play you to death.
"Let's go in and take a look." Long Chen walked through the sinister entrance with Guo Ran. The instant he did, that sinister air penetrated him straight through to his bones.
He had only just walked in tens of meters before seeing two corpses lying on the ground, their blood already dry.
Ordinarily, Tendon Transformation cultivators' blood would still look fresh for three days after dying. From the look of these two corpses, they should have died over a week ago.
From their robes, these two should be Righteous disciples. But they weren't wearing robes from the monastery, so they were most likely from another Righteous sect.
"No way? They killed people as soon as they entered?" Guo Ran was a bit shocked.
"They weren't killed by fellow Righteous disciples. It was done by Corrupt disciples. Look at their injuries. They were all killed with a single attack that came from a crafty angle. That's completely different from the style of the Righteous path. Let's keep going."
Once they had advanced several hundred meters, it had grown much darker. It was lucky that cultivators had powerful eyesight and they could still see everything in a range of thirty meters. But everything beyond that was murky now.
As they were walking, the cave suddenly enlarged, and nine separate paths appeared.
"This is where I got lost. I picked the middle path back then. Look, there's the mark I left behind." Guo Ran pointed to a mark beside one of the tunnels.
"Let's go." Long Chen started walking to one of the other tunnels.
"Boss, how do you know which one is the right one?"
"You spread a faint layer of dust over each one of the entrances. Eight of the nine tunnels have footprints going in and out, but only this cave has no footprints going on. Little fellow, you still have a couple smarts."
Guo Ran truly was smart. That faint layer of dust was something he had specially made. It was extremely difficult to see, especially in this dark cave. If Long Chen didn't understand what kind of person Guo Ran was, he could easily have missed it.
"Boss really is boss!" Guo Ran said admiringly. He had been completely convinced by his observation of even this small detail.
The two of them continued another four hundred meters. The light was growing even darker, and they couldn't even see over three meters ahead of them. Guo Ran's hair was standing on end.
Guo Ran took out an extremely odd cylinder around half a foot long. One side of the cylinder was covered by tens of tiny holes.
This was one of Guo Ran's protective inventions. There was a small trigger that would make it instantly release dozens of steel needles.
Each needle had been coated by a powerful poison Long Chen had given him. It was perfectly suited for close-range fighting.
"Put that toy away. In this darkness, you'd probably end up hitting me. With me present, there's no need for you to do anything," advised Long Chen.
He knew that this invention shot out needles in a broad area. Although he wouldn't die from that poison with his powerful physical body, he still didn't want to be hit with a poison needle.
Guo Ran hastily put it away and laughed mischievously. "Hehe, boss is domineering!"
The two of them continued for a short time when a sharp bend in the path appeared. Just as they turned, a harsh astral wind attacked the two of them.