Pei Zheng's expression was serious. His lips were tightly closed. His steps flurried. His burly figure moved around the passageway like an agile cat, progressing forward quickly.
The spiral passageway was like a never-ending maze. It was plain and boring.
After turning round after round, Pei Zheng's face was still like a stone sculpture. Even if the surrounding temperature had risen to a level that normal people couldn't endure, even if his clothes had already been fried by the high-temperature Qi flow till it curled up, his expression was still the same. In the deepest recesses of his heart surrounded by the extremely cold expression, it had already been boiling. It was just like the lava flow in the underground fire vein, churning repeatedly.
This was an underground fire vein!
The immensity of the value didn't need to be stated by him. The Great Jin's four smelting families, the Wu, the Pei, the Luo and the Jian, each had its own distinctive personality. Each of them had their own backers. In the several hundreds of years of battles and compromises, there was an unstable equilibrium formed. Among the four families, some were strong and some were weak, but the difference was not much. No family could have the confidence to say that they could definitely destroy the other families. They couldn't even completely suppress each other. Even the underground fire vein itself couldn't change all that.
Among the four families, none of them truly possessed an underground fire vein. As for this underground fire vein, it couldn't be possessed by any of the four families. Jin Nanqing saw this point very clearly, as did Pei Zheng.
Even if that was the case, he still had to come. Not for other reasons, but for the slightest chance to obtain the fire attribute Spiritual Stones. It was worth it for him to come. The news that Zhonghe City had discovered an underground fire vein had spread for four days. The Zhonghe City that was lost was just returned to the imperial court's hands. Given the usual efficiency of the imperial court, four days was not enough for them to react. Now, this underground fire vein was on an empty period. Everyone could go in there and obtain benefits therein.
The only thing he was worried about, was that he came too late.
To the imperial court, four days were just a matter of breath. To the greedy pugilists, however, it was already enough to do a lot of things.
Though he was anxious, there was also news that made
him heartened. For example, the passageway deep into the underground fire vein was permeating with fire poison. Only if one's cultivation level was at or beyond Three could he get in successfully, if not, then he could only die.
This was a piece of good news. Within the thousand miles radius of Zhonghe City, those who reached Level Three were few. Even if they reached Level Three, at most they would only be interested in the Fire Way Spiritual Stones. Even if they were lucky enough to find the Spiritual Stones, they would sell them in the end. The Pei Family didn't lack money.
Besides, even if their cultivation had reached Level Three, even Level Four, or Five, they may not dare to enter.
That was because he heard a piece of laughable news today. Prince Xiaoming of the Sect of Flame had just entered Level Nine with the underground fire vein and killed Tian Long Taoism's Wang She inside. For a while, there were talks all around. Of course, that was only restricted to Zhonghe City. And the news was just spread out yesterday.
Ordinarily, people would laugh at this piece of strange news. The situation now, however, was different. This underground fire vein was discovered by the Sect of Flame. That was why they would plan a rebellion that seemed foolish to high IQ people to occupy the Great Jin's heartlands, Zhonghe City. But now, the news of the underground fire vein had spread. A lot of people were confused. Because the Sect of Flame didn't lack underground fire veins at all. Prince Xiaoming was the Sect's youngest Venerable and was the expert with the brightest future. Why must she raise her own cultivation by an underground fire vein in the Great Jin's heartlands?
In this way, the loss must outweigh the gain! Although the value of an underground fire vein was great, it couldn't make up the Sect of Flame's losses this time. Because it was all known that once this fire vein was discovered, it would ultimately belong to the imperial court. The Sect of Flame's actions were tantamount to spending a huge sum of money to make bridal clothes for the imperial court. This was an obvious case of a trade that incurred losses. Some may even define the Sect of Flame and the Jin as one family!
Pei Zheng surely couldn't care less. He wasn't interested in the Sect of Flame's motives!
There was, however, a truth he couldn't ignore. Wang She brought a group of people from the military camp to the underground fire vein. He still hadn't come out yet.
This was the crux of the problem. These last few days there were people continuously entering the fire vein's huge passageway, and people continuously came out. The situation regarding the fire vein was getting brighter. Because the inside was filled with fire poison, the people who initially entered with Wang She were all dead. Their bodies were lying along the passageway. Only a few who were recognized by people were carried out. As for the other corpses, it couldn't be handled until the imperial court made the decision!
This was a pugilist's life. It was filled with contradictions. On one hand, once one's strength was strong enough, they could depend on their strength to build their own empire and gain endless wealth. On the other hand, if one's strength was not strong enough, they would have to face the helplessness and the sorrow of dying in a misfortunate event.
Wang She was a problem. Pei Zheng didn't wish to invite this trouble. As an Elder of the Pei Family, however, who was the closest to the fire vein, he had to come. Even if it was just for show, he had to come!
The quiet passageway suddenly transmitted some slight trembling. This trembling was so light that it was hard to detect.
Pei Zheng's thick eyebrows frowned. He was a Level Five expert, his five senses had already reached an extremely sensitive stage. No matter how slight the abnormality within the surrounding air was, it wouldn't escape him.
"It seems that someone is injured!"
His heart flashed a thought. The body advancing forward stopped slightly. It gradually shifted to a hiding spot inside the passageway. Within an instant, two figures came out from the passageway inside.
"Jian Yulei?!" borrowing the faint light inside the passageway, Pei Zheng saw the figures clearly. A man in his thirties was carrying an old man in his fifties and struggling to walk outwards.
"There is Jian Yu as well. He is actually injured. Who injured them? Could it be Wang She!"
Watching the two figures leaving slowly, Pei Zheng's eyebrows furrowed.
Jian Yulei and Jian Yu were people from the Jian family. The Jian Family was the same as the Pei Family and the Wu Family, they belonged to the Great Jin's four smelting families.
Jian Yulei was the Jian Family's Elder. His cultivation was lower than him by one level, at the peak of Level Four. Jian Yu, who was supporting him, was the Jian Family's expert in the younger generation. He was young yet he had already reached a cultivation of Level Three. It was said that he could reach the Bone-Forging Realm very quickly.
The two peoples' situations, however, showed a fact that it was very obvious that they were beaten off.
"Could it really be that Wang She was still inside, and was occupying the whole underground fire vein?!" Pei Zheng's mind flashed across an unlucky omen. After the two people from the Jian Family disappeared at the bend, he came out from the hiding spot inside the passageway. He hummed for a while and continued moving forward. No matter what was in front, he had to go forward. It wasn't a dangerous place anyway. Since the two people from the Jian Family were able to make it out alive, he naturally wouldn't have any problems.
After walking for an hour, he saw a few more people walking out from the deep parts of the passageway. Their faces were equally defeated, and they were all wounded as well. There was even an Elder from the Luo Family.
"The Pei, the Luo, the Jian and the Wu; including me, there are already people from three families out of the four. What about the Wu's?" It was said that they were in a military camp right from the start. There was even a kid who had a first-class merit in conquering the city. Who knew if he had survived in this fire vein? A 13-year-old Level Three expert, how amazing. If it was not the few kids from the Wu's bragging fragrantly, then the family which had gained the greatest benefit this time around would be the Wu's!"
Pei Zheng's heart flashed across various news that he had heard the past few days. He had some feelings in his heart. Before his feelings came to an end, however, his steps stopped.
This was another bend in the underground passage. It was very narrow, much narrower than the thick passageway. It was only big enough for two to three people to go through. In the center of the passageway, there was a person sitting. He was very young, 12-13 years old. His face was very refined and his smile was very warm.
He was sitting in the middle of the passageway. There were two silver hammers placed in front of him. His hair was somewhat messy. His Qi flow wasn't very calm. He had a strange expression and laughing to himself. The most important thing was that this young man's cultivation was at Level Three!
"Are you... Zhou Bao?!"
Pei Zheng very easily retrieved the information from his mind about this young man. After all, this kid's performance in conquering Zhonghe City was too attention-grabbing. His age and his strength were amazing enough to be gossiped about in the pugilist world. Furthermore this Zhonghe City was just conquered not long ago, this topic was still hot.
"Zhou Bao, the Wu's disciple, pays his respects to Senior!" Junior Leopard smiled slightly. He was not surprised that this imposing middle-aged man in front of him knew about him. Among the people who came here the past two days, half of them already knew who he was with one look. It was obvious that he was very famous outside. Unfortunately, he was kept a prisoner in this damned passageway. If not, he wouldn't mind going out to enjoy the treatment of a chivalrous young hero.
"You are so young and your cultivation has already reached such a high stage. I am beneath you!" Pei Zheng said, "Since the Wu's have a talent like you, instead of keeping you in the headquarters, they let you come out to make a din, either Wu Yansheng's brain is damaged, or he wants to dispose of you!"
Junior Leopard smiled. He didn't mind being faced with these kinds of remarks. Actually, it was not the Wu Family who asked him to come out to execute the task but his teacher who won it over for him. The purpose couldn't be revealed to anyone, but it was definitely not to dispose of himself.
"Who are you?!" Junior Leopard asked, his tone extremely warm.
"Pei Zheng of the Pei Family!"
Junior Leopard nodded slightly. He pointed at the back, "You wish to go over?!"
"This definitely is my purpose!"
"Finish me, and you can enter!"
"Little friend, I admit that you are very outstanding and strong. You have reached Level Three at such a young age. You are not, however, strong enough to block me!"
"Then... you may have a try!" Junior Leopard said warmly. Following his warm voice, he exploded suddenly and pounced forward towards Pei Zheng like an angry wave of the sea.