There was no light and no wind. Boundless darkness immersed everything, near and far, as if the world had plunged into a limitless bottle of ink, brewing in the eternal silence.
Here was the Savage Land, the western mountain, under the black tide.
At the foot of the western mountain at the Savage Land, every ten days, there must be a day where the black tide arrived. Under the black tide, all living beings would cease to live. Under the blue dome of heaven and above the earth, all living beings would accept its baptism, and not one would be spared.
Under the earth within the mountains, and in the rivers and lakes, each creature huddled in fear waiting for the end of the black tide.
In a nameless cave in the Western Mountain, a young cultivator was wielding a sword, guarding at the mouth of the cave. The plain looking sword was held pointing forward, one end at the mouth of the cave, the other end stabbing the thick ink-like black tide.
A moment later, the arm holding the sword began to tremble. A "humming" sound came out of the sword and, as if there was some creature roaring within that black tide, the cultivator then withdrew the sword and turned away.
The black tide spread in, trying to follow that cultivator into the cave. However, the light from the fire within the cave was quite brilliant, which caused the cultivator's sword to glitter. The black tide hesitated for a moment and then retreated from the cave.
Thus, the cultivator put down the sword, and his eyes shifted toward the golden flame within the cave. The fire didn't come from firewood nor oil, but pieces of glittering jade. A piece of fist-sized jade of this kind would be able to ward off the black tide with its flame for a few hours. And in this cave, there were two or three such jades.
"But, we've nearly collected all of the bright jade in the vicinity. After this black tide is over, we need to move."
That cultivator said, paused, and then continued, "Actually, I think I can try to streak once."
His voice has just fallen when his sword let out a humming sound, and a cold female voice rang in his ear, "If you don't want to die, then don't look for trouble, why don't you understand this?"
"It's not as if I didn't look for trouble once or twice in this western mountain. In short, I am still alive."
"You've already lost your left arm, yet you still want to show off?"
"Yeah, I am missing an arm, so I can't easily stroke my 'sword' in this Savage Land. Therefore, later on, I have to depend on you to masturbate me."
The sword's hum suddenly turned grating, which shook the whole bright jade and the fire. The cultivator hastily apologized, "Sister Autumn, Sister Autumn, I was wrong okay, don't scream at me."
The sword was still buzzing, but the sound was getting smaller, yet the woman's voice was still angry and somewhat stifled. "Move away your foot first."
The cultivator immediately lifted away his foot that just stepped on the sword, and said with a smile, "I'm sorry, my body's instinctive reaction is really fast."
"You, this guy, are really something. I've never seen a person as happy as you in the Savage Land."
"The basic quality of a professional adventurer is to be optimistic."
With that, that cultivator leaned his body against the rock wall as he quietly sat down and began to circulate his breathing according to the Method.
Needless to say, this was Wang Lu and his Sword of Mount Kun's sword spirit, Autumn Beam. Although Nine Regions was vast and boundless, a cultivator who prided himself as a professional adventurer was perhaps only this one and no others.
Currently, Wang Lu had spent more than three hundred nights at the western mountain.
Less than one year ago, his Master had duped him and sent him into this Savage Land without any reason nor explanation. However, with their tacit understanding as the Non-Phase Master and disciple, Wang Lu didn't need an explanation.
He knew that this was something similar to the experiential learning because it happened when he had just reached the fifth level Qi Cultivating Stage and ready to begin training the Non-Phase Sword Qi. Usually, every skills or technique of Non-Phase Method had to be trained in some marvelous or strange way, and this was probably the weird method of training that his Master set out for him.
After he had fallen from the Gate of the Savage Land, sure enough, Wang Lu found a letter in his mustard seed bag, which he didn't know when she put it in.
In the letter, Wang Wu didn't say much, probably she was just too lazy to waste the ink. In the letter, she just told Wang Lu that this was the Savage Land, which was also the place where he would cultivate at. To survive here, he needed to pay attention to the points below. However, even those points were not written in details by her. She didn't even write the vital information about the bright jade, and just simply mentioned about the black tide.
However, for a professional adventurer like Wang Lu, this information from Wang Wu was already enough; Wang Lu already had a certain understanding about this Savage Land.
This understanding came from the previous year's experiential learning. That experiential learning was compulsory for each and every disciple of the Foundation Establishment and below. At the time, because they were still below the Foundation Establishment, the three Successor Disciples also have to descend the mountain for the experiential learning.
However, when the experiential learning actually commenced, the Successor Disciples who went down the mountain was just Wang Lu and Liu Li. In that experiential learning, Liu Li succeeded in reaching the Foundation Establishment Stage, and her battle in the Blood Cloud Gorge was world renown. Meanwhile, Wang Lu had established the Wisdom Sect with millions of followers. Although that kind of thing couldn't be kept quiet forever, it also let many people admire him. These two persons' experiential learning achievements already made many people sigh in admiration towards the Successor Disciples. However, among the three successor disciples on the mountain, the one with the most prestige was always the Sect Leader's Successor Disciple, Zhu Shiyao. However, she didn't participate in that experiential learning.
That year, through the Sect Leader's special arrangement, she went into the Savage Land. Although she was later seriously injured and had to return, her cultivation had actually reached the Sword Nucleus. What was this Sword Nucleus exactly? It was actually the nucleus form of a Xudan. In one year, from the peak Qi Cultivating Stage to the Sword Nucleus, although this wasn't some kind of earth-shaking fact, her terrifying progress surpassed that of the other two by several points. Afterwards, someone had heard that, in the Savage Land, Zhu Shiyao, under the black tide in the western mountain, had slain a Savage Corpse King, thus succeeded in reaching the Sword Nucleus...
What was this Savage Corpse King? If this question was asked to any other cultivators, they might not be able to provide an answer. However, in the Spirit Sword Sect's textbook, the relevant records about it were very clearly written.
Even the weakest Savage Corpse King had the strength close to that of a Jindan Cultivator, yet Zhu Shiyao was able to slay one of them under that dark tide; although there were too many coincidences in the detail, and even if Zhu Shiyao's strength still couldn't be compared to the Jindan Cultivator after reaching Sword Nucleus, but compared to this feat, Liu Li's record of defeating twelve old demons in the Blood Cloud Gorge seemed really pale.
Listening to this gossip, Wang Lu naturally wanted to investigate the Savage Land and the dark tide. The so-called Savage Land was located in the west of Blue River Region. It didn't belong to any countries in the Nine Regions, but it occupied a vast expanse of land in this continent. Legend has it that, before the Age of Chaos, it was formerly a Devil Sect Territory. Then the world's spiritual energy drastically changed and the Devil Sect didn't survive. However, in their last struggle, a few dozens old demons who were close to being True Immortals went completely insane and turned the land the size of one region upside down, tossing every creature there until none survived. Demonic Aura devastated the land, turning it into the Savage Land. After thousands of years, it still couldn't be developed for use. Furthermore, some monsters or creatures in the Savage Land still went out to cause a great storm. After they had been suppressed back, the land was then sealed and isolated from the Nine Regions.
In the end, the key to the seal ended up in the hands of the Spirit Sword Sect. Of course, geographically, Blue River Region bordered the Savage Land, and thus it was natural if the Spirit Sword Sect was responsible for guarding it. As one of the Five Unique within the Nine Regions, the Spirit Sword Sect enjoyed some credit for guarding this "frontier". Later on, people only thought that the Spirit Sword Sect just suppressed and isolated the Savage Land, however, no one knew that the people in the Spirit Sword Sect were actually quite ambitious and had begun to try to develop the Savage Land.
Of course, the so-called development only happened in recent years. Moreover, the region that it tried to develop was very limited. Currently, it was restricted in the western mountain, and it was just to map out its geographical characteristics, as such, there weren't that much actual development happening here… However, just mapping out the western mountain alone could already be called as "finding a load of treasure".
For example, the Black Tide. When the black tide came, the world changed and no living things underneath it could live. However, within the black tide, there were not just nothingness. Some dead spirits were still there, such as the Savage Corpse King and the others who wreaked havoc within the black tide.
These Savage dead spirits were different from the dead spirits in the Nine Regions or even on the Western Continent. Within them contained the power of Primal Chaos, which was somewhat similar to Wang Lu's Primal Chaos Altar. And if these dead spirits were killed by cultivators, the cultivators could get some benefits from the Primal Chaos within these dead spirits' body. Because of its chaotic characteristic, these benefits weren't constant or fixed. For example, they could get unique or special spirit objects or perhaps other rare encounters… At least, Zhu Shiyao was able to reach the Sword Nucleus once she slew one of these Corpse Kings.
He surmised that the reason for why his Master sent him to this Savage Land was probably because of this Primal Chaos Force. He didn't know whether there was any relation between this force and his Non-Phase Method since his Master didn't say it, and he also couldn't just randomly speculate. However, that was of no matter to him because sooner or later, he would know it.
Thus, more than three hundred days and nights had already passed in a blink of an eye.
It was extraordinarily difficult to survive in the Savage Land. Even in the western mountain where there has already been an initial development from Spirit Sword Sect, the monsters there were too strong to expel, thus, there were many monsters still roaming the place. Moreover, they were countless times stronger than those monsters in the Clear Sky Peak. Despite Wang Lu was already tens or hundreds of times more powerful than when he took the experiential learning in the Clear Sky Peak at the moment, most of the time here in the Savage Land, he still had to abide by the principle of survival; lying low and trying to remain hidden.
As for when the black tide arrived, it was like a nightmare. Not to mention within the black tide there were numerous savage dead spirits, the black tide alone was deathly poisonous, enough to kill common cultivators in an instant. With his Non-Phase Method, Non-Phase Bone, and a strong physique comparable to that of a Foundation Establishment Cultivator, within the black tide, Wang Lu would feel difficulty in breathing and dizziness.
If one wanted to survive in the black tide, one either has to hide under the ground, within the mountain, or at the bottom of the lakes and rivers. Even so, these places might not be absolutely safe. Because not only they might already have their own original "tenants", the black tide could even infiltrate the gaps between the rocks. In fact, when he encountered the black tide for the first time after he arrived in the Savage Land, Wang Lu was trapped in a cave by the Savage dead spirits.
If it was any other cultivators, or even Liu Li herself, being trapped in the cave would've been their dead end. After all, no matter how powerful her Brilliant Sword Heart was, where would she go to under the blanket coverage of the black tide? And without completely breaking the siege of this black tide, she couldn't possibly stay fighting all day long. However, Wang Lu's Non-Phase Method gave him a slim chance to survive. He blocked the mouth of the cave with his Three Feet Sword Defense using the Sword of Mount Kun, like one man blocking the choke point to prevent ten thousand men from passing through.
His Non-Phase Sword Art couldn't hurt the enemies, but no matter how powerful they were, they could do nothing to him. First, there were several less-than-knee-length rotten ghost things, later on, there were several deathly pale bone armors trying to make their way in, and then there were will-o'-the-wisps, zombies… All of them couldn't pass through the mouth of the cave even for half a step. What about breaking through the mountain rocks? This land has been contaminated with the black tide for thousands of years, so the rocks have turned unreasonably solid… Until later on, the dead spirits emerged from the black tide and began to converge like the mountains of corpses and seas of blood. However, upon seeing it, Wang Lu just lightly smiled and kept on guarding the cave with his Non-Phase Sword Art. His physical stamina seemed endless, more than those seemingly tireless dead spirits. Occasionally, he would get wounded by them, however, his wounds would always almost instantly healed; he didn't even show any pain reaction at all.
Until finally, a hill-sized dead spirit appeared on the scene. Upon seeing it, Wang Lu inwardly smiled, thinking on how could that big guy enter a tiny cave like this? At the same time, he focused all his attention on it, bracing himself for the inevitable clash.
And then, his left arm was gone.
It turned out that that hill-sized dead spirit was just a distraction—the real attacker had seeped through the crack between rocks in the form of a transparent and invisible ghost fog. This ghost fog could shape itself into something that was nearly invincible, and in one strike, it cut off Wang Lu's arm. Wang Lu did not hesitate and swung his right hand, scattering over a hundred of strengthened Thunderbolt talismans, which instantly blew away that ghost fog.
At the same time, that hill-sized dead spirit began to close on, but after a step, it immediately hesitated, and then eventually chose to retreat.
Like a tide, the mountains of corpses and seas of blood immediately followed behind it as it retreated. In a few minutes, they've all disappeared. And then, not long after, the sunlight sprinkled down and the black tide dissipated… Wang Lu thus managed to survive this day.
Later on, from the "carcass" of this ghost fog inside the cave, Wang Lu found a few blocks of bright jade. How could this invisible ghost fog left behind a tangible bright jade after it's death? This was probably the mysterious work of the Primal Chaos Force. With this bright jade, Wang Lu safely passed the several following black tides. Later on, with enough experience, he found more and more usable location that couldn't be easily infiltrated through the gaps between the rocks. In the Western Mountain, he had also found a lot of bright jade, making the black tide pose no threat to him. Yet, often under the curtain of the night, he sneaked out of his cave to kill a few of the dead spirits using a variety of means, which gave him spirit objects.
After more than three hundred days of survival trip, Wang Lu's strength had reached the peak of his level. Obviously a year ago, he had just broken through the level five Qi Cultivating Stage, but now, he had reached the boundary of the next level. Moreover, the most gratifying thing was that there was still room for rapid progress. As for his cultivation of Non-Phase Sword Bone, Non-Phase Heart Sutra, and so on, needless to say, they mutually reinforced each other.
As for his missing left arm, Wang Lu had never cared about it.
In any case, his other arm was sufficient enough to complete the things that needed to be done… Moreover, missing an arm to survive the most difficult part of this survival trip—the first black tide, was a completely cheap sacrifice. Because when he went back to the Sect, he could casually find any Elder to help him regrow his missing limb. Even now, with his current Non-Phase Sword Bone, it wasn't that difficult to regrow his own limb. It was just that the magical power consumption for that would be too large that he would be left weak for ten days. And within the Savage Land, ten days of weakness meant certain death.
Under the pressure from the black tide, the bright jade fire gradually weakened. However, the black tide outside the cave was also about to end; at most, there would be half an hour of window. Wang Lu was too lazy to add another block of bright jade and just drew his sword, ready to block at the mouth of the cave.
However, just as he drew his sword out, something small rushed in from outside the cave. It was lightning fast, totally different from the dead spirits within that black tide. Even Wang Lu didn't have the time to react.
However, it was natural that he didn't expect this. With the fire from the bright jade, no dead spirits would come near, only the Savage Corpse King dared to do a frontal attack. However, it was unlikely for a Savage Corpse King or top rank powerful dead spirit to appear in Wang Lu's chosen location… That being the case, what was this small thing that wasn't afraid of the bright jade flame?
When he took a closer look, he was surprised. That little thing was actually a little mutt mottled with mixed color. I'll be damned, there's actually a dog in this Savage Land!
Things that seemed strange were usually demons. Without any hesitation, Wang Lu immediately put down his sword, fished out a small iron pot from his mustard seed bag, a porcelain bowl, a ladle, a pair of chopsticks, and seasonings which he put in the… iron pot on top of the bright jade flame. He then took the porcelain bowl and gushingly said, "Come on little buddy, come to my bowl."