With this piece of white silk, Wang Lu and Wen Bao finally crossed through the Lotus Pond, and the next day, they arrived at the boundary of the Azure Dragon Gorge
Azure Dragon Gorge was the last destination, as well as the widest area, in the Small Clear Sky Peak. It has the most abundant and most valuable products, but it also has the highest difficulty in the experiential learning. Before the Azure Dragon Gorge, the strongest monster was the Full Moon Roar, a category two first rank monster. However, in the Azure Dragon Gorge, even a category three monster was not uncommon.
In theory, to enter the Azure Dragon Gorge, the disciple must be at least in the Qi Cultivating Stage. Moreover, the disciple must enter with a team of at least five members to minimize the risk, particularly at the rear part of the Azure Dragon Gorge, where the spiritual energy concentration was the highest. Consequently, this area would often birth category three high rank monsters; a monster that could refine "internal alchemy".
Once a monster refined an internal alchemy, in theory, they were virtually equal with a Xudan Stage cultivator. However, a cultivator would often equip themselves with magical treasures and elixirs, and when they faced off, the number of cultivators would often be higher than these monsters. Moreover, as an ancient sect, the Spirit Sword Sect's disciples have robust foundation and superior cultivation method, so they were stronger than ordinary same-level cultivators. Thus, even Foundation Establishment Stage disciples or lower could contend with monsters with internal alchemy.
For the last ten years, the Spirit Sword Sect liked to send teams of talented newcomers to this place to conduct monsters crusade, and most of them have cultivation levels between Qi Cultivating Stage and Foundation Establishment Stage. A minority of them were already in the Foundation Establishment or Xudan Stage senior disciples, who would act as a team leader responsible for subduing or perhaps put an end to these recently-has-the-internal-alchemy monsters. Several months ago, as one of the most promising newcomers, Yue Yun once participated in this monsters crusade. Because of good performance, he obtain the "team leader" qualification, thus, about a month after, he led the even more fresh face Zhu Qin and the others on the experiential learning at the Small Clear Sky Peak. However, amongst those who entered for about two years, Wang Lu's class' progress was still the fastest.
Azure Dragon Gorge was truly the land of the dead. Although Wang Lu and Wen Bao smoothly crossed through the Lotus Pond, once they arrived in the canyon, a surge of cold wind blew on their face, which seemed like a warning from the restriction spells on the Small Clear Sky Peak, telling them not to die.
Meanwhile, the piece of white silk on Wang Lu's wrist gradually lost its "shock and awe" effect. The surrounding monsters and insects no longer fled in panic and instead stopped in their track. Some of them even started to gather to observe the situation.
Wang Lu inwardly sighed, thinking, "In the end, this white silk is not a real artifact; the thing that keeps off these monsters is not a real superior aura, but Master's body fragrance that soaked into the clothes."
A month ago, his master dashed through the Azure Dragon Gorge on top of her flying sword and wantonly plundered the precious herbs and materials. In order to avoid trouble, she spread out her aura, which shocked and frightened all the wild lives in this Azure Dragon Gorge. Since then, her Jindan's aura, which blotted out the sky, was deeply imprinted in the hearts of many monsters in this Azure Dragon Gorge. Even just a whiff of her body fragrance from a piece of white silk was enough to turn their mind into chaos and send them away in a panic. Moreover, that piece of underwear was just an ordinary used underwear; it was not a magical tool nor a talisman, so it would not impact their challenge point whatsoever. Thus, it was the best cost-effective clearance artifact.
However, this artifact could not solve everything; if Wang Lu used it too long, those monsters would become numb to it, and he himself would appear to have a perverted taste. Thus, Wang Lu hastily retrieved that piece of white silk back.
Fortunately, there was a unique advantage in the Azure Dragon Gorge—those low-level social monsters like the Long-tailed Poisonous Toad were few, and the types that liked to roam about were even fewer.
Thus, although this Azure Dragon Gorge was the place where the most powerful monsters reside, for Wang Lu who wholeheartedly determined to complete the peerless mode of the experiential learning challenge, the risk was instead smaller than when they were in the Lotus Pond.
"Let's get ready. Starting now, any random monsters that we can knock down would earn us hundreds of challenge points."
Wen Bao ruefully smiled. "I presume the difficulty would also increase by hundreds, right? From here, most of the monsters are category three or above, how are we going to fight them?"
"So what if they're category three monsters? We'll use the same cheap trick! We'll find the perfect method! Magical beast, see how I am going to crush you!"
Wen Bao was taken aback. "Senior Brother, how can we crush those magical beasts?"
"Report back to the Sect Leader, ask him to get rid of it. Why do you still need me to teach you about this?"
"Actually, objectively, we still can't contend with those category three monsters with our current strength. In this Azure Dragon Gorge, there are more than two hundred big or medium sized monsters. Of which, more than two hundred species of them can easily kill us. Even me, with my ultra tough body, it would still be the same."
Wen Bao started to use his finger to count. "Then wouldn't this mean any one of them can be deadly!?"
Wang Lu said, "Not necessarily. There are at least ten species of herbivores, which act as food for those carnivores - if we meet them, at least we can still escape."
"Even against herbivores we can only escape? Then… Senior Brother, how exactly are we going to fight?"
"Didn't I tell you already? It's through trickery. As the saying goes, when you're sick, people will take advantage and take your life. This reasoning can be applied here. The ecological environment in this Azure Dragon Gorge is so complex; it's not going to be difficult for us to find one or two severely wounded monsters. Isn't that a bargain?"
Wen Bao's eyes lit up. "It turns out to be so! You really are Senior Brother! But, I don't think it would be easy to find severely wounded monsters. How are we going to do it?"
"In general, it's indeed not easy. But this time, it will—because there's me."
From when he plundered the place a month ago, Wang Lu knew that there were many advantages that he could pick up in this Azure Dragon Gorge. At that time, when his Master spread out her Jindan Stage aura, there were several unyielding ones. Those were the deranged monsters, which came to be by over-absorbing the surrounding spiritual energy, or physiologically in their period of insanity—they could not perceive someone whose level was far above them, and thus, still madly charged at the duo master and disciple.
Wang Wu was never a kindhearted person. She wielded her Emerald Green Bamboo Sword and sent them into a coma. Wang Lu still clearly remembered inside a cave at the rear part of the Azure Dragon Gorge, there was a Little Thunder whose legs were broken off and forced to sleep.
Little Thunder was a category three low rank monster that was known for their speed. Its strongest weapon was a pair of strong hind legs as well as the ability to discharge lightning. If it was normal, even a hundred fatties would throw their lives against it. However, more than a month ago, when Wang Wu passed by, she broke its hind legs and destroy its lightning discharge ability. Thus, this Little Thunder has no ability that could harm Wang Lu and Wen Bao; it was truly the best bargain choice.
Of course, that was a month ago. By now, this Little Thunder could already borrow the lightning from nature to injure its enemy and self-heal itself. But Wang Lu clearly remembered that, in the recent months, there had been no thunderstorm in this Small Clear Sky Peak, so there was nothing that this Little Thunder could borrow! Even with its self-healing ability, it couldn't possibly healed it's broken limbs so quickly.
The only problem was that the lair of this Little Thunder was rather concealed. There was a natural illusion outside its cave, so unless one were extremely familiar with the terrain, it would be difficult to find. However, the last time when Wang Lu followed his Master, they directly rushed into the cave and grabbed a few strands of singing grass; the terrain had been clearly imprinted in his memory.
Thus, half a day later, Wang Lu pulled Wen Bao from a precipice of a cliff and crossed into a deep cave. In the depths of a cave, a beast with long ashen tail and broken lower limbs lifted its head with a frightened look.
This Little Thunder apparently clearly remembered that a month ago, Wang Lu had intruded into its cave with that fiend. However, even though a month has passed by, its wound has just stabilized, far from having recovery signs, much less its broken lightning discharge ability...
Nevertheless, since its territory was being invaded, this two-meter length small beast still propped up its upper body and bared its teeth; static electric discharge could be seen between its teeth. Although it was severely wounded, a fierce beast was still a fierce beast. It even dared to fight a Jindan Stage expert, much less two novice cultivators!
Wen Bao was scared by this fierce beast's intimidation. "M-monster!"
Wang Lu confidently strode forward and swung his purple soft sword on its head.
With the defense nature of his Soft Cloud Sword and Non-Phase Sword Bone, there was nothing imposing at all in Wang Lu's move; it was more like a humiliating declaration of war. But, the Little Thunder was oblivious to that; it only knew that the opponent had made the first move. Even though it couldn't use its lower limbs, it did not dread this fight. After it easily evaded the first sword move, its upper limb crouched down, and then it sprung forward as its fangs aimed at Wang Lu's neck!
If this was an ordinary careless opponent, it was highly likely that this move would be lethal. However, Wang Lu was ready for it; although he couldn't use his sword wielding right hand, he had already held his left arm horizontally in front of him to block his neck from being bitten.
Blood sprayed out. Little Thunder had savagely bitten Wang Lu's left arm. Its sharp teeth went deep into the muscle and straight through the bone.
Although Non-Phase Sword Bone had upgraded Wang Lu's defense capability, so much so that he now could withstand a direct strike from the black iron sword, however, he was still vulnerable to a bite from a category three monster.
The nearby Wen Bao was shocked; he had never thought his Senior Brother would immediately get hurt! Although he was anxious, he could not afford to be afraid, so he raised his sword and rushed forward.
However, when he arrived at Wang Lu's side, he saw Wang Lu's free and at ease smile.
And then, the Little Thunder suddenly loosened its mouth and coughed, which caused the cave to shake. It then fell to the ground and continued to twitch as if it was in great pain.
"Senior Brother, this, this is…"
Wang Lu lowered his bleeding left arm. "It's nothing, I just smeared half a bottle of super hot concentrated mustard sauce on my arm. Ha! Good luck in eating Wang Lu's sashimi… What are you waiting for? Do it."
Wen Bao froze for a moment and then nodded. He lifted his sword and knocked out the incapacitated Little Thunder.
When he turned back, Wang Lu had already wrapped the wound on his left arm with that piece of white silk and put up a thumbs up to him. "Nice job. We just earn two hundred points!"
"Two hundred points?"
"A victory, crossing through the Azure Dragon Gorge, plus maximum differences in our cultivation level with the Little Thunder, it adds up to eight multipliers, so two hundred points is not an exaggeration." Wang Lu nonchalantly said and then stood up. "Okay, get ready for the next one."
"You still want to continue!? Senior Brother, you…"
"Haha, it's just my left arm that is injured, I still have my right arm, don't I? Two hundred points per victory, this is an opportunity that I'm afraid we'll never be going to have in the future. In any case, with our Sect Leader's power, even if all of our limbs are broken, he could still save us both, what are you afraid of?"
"Senior Brother Wang Lu, is this what you told me about the spirit of a professional adventurer?"
"Uh, this is a strong dedication to achievements."
Their journey continued. With Wang Lu's extraordinary memory and a little bit of luck, in three days, with careful setups and implementation, their combined effort took down three severely wounded monsters in a row. One of them was even a category three middle-rank monster. Unfortunately, it's injury was severe, so when it risked its life after being tied down by Wang Lu, it couldn't resist the strike from the fatty.
After successfully defeating four category three monsters in a row, the fatty was already unclear on how much challenge points that they had earned in this trip. According to Wang Lu's argument, achieving successive victories in the Azure Dragon Gorge would earn them multiple bonus points, and as long as they continued to win...
"Well, we probably wouldn't be able to do this indefinitely."
Wen Bao was still imagining the magical treasures that he could acquire with his thousand challenge points when Wang Lu shook his head. "There is no easy pick anymore, we have taken them all. Our next encounter is anyone's guess. No need to take that risk."
Wen Bao was stunned, but he still couldn't accept this. "But, Senior Brother, like you said, as long as we can take down another monster similar to Little Thunder, the challenge points reward would be five or six hundred!"
"That's if we can keep our lives. Do you really think our lineup—one ninth level Qi Cultivating and one peak Body Refining Stage—could fare in this Azure Dragon Gorge? The monsters here are two levels above us! In addition to those seriously wounded and dying monsters, we can't beat anything else here. Stop being too excited, cool off a bit, okay?"
While speaking, Wang Lu's peripheral vision skimmed over a hillside, and he could not help but become shock.
Between the hillside groves, something red firmly attracted his attention. Although it looked no different than the small wild fruit that could be seen all throughout the place, as a top student in the specialized herbology class, how could he not recognize this Red Refined Fruit!
Amongst the many precious plants and herbs that grew up in the Small Clear Sky Peak, the reputation of two species of Red Fruit was especially prominent. One was Cinnabar Fruit, while the other one was this Red Refined Fruit. The value of Red Refined Fruit was even more than that of Cinnabar Fruit. The Spirit Sword Sect's internal price for this fruit was ten thousand spirit stones each.
When they plundered this place more than a month ago, Wang Wu drooled over this Red Refined Fruit so much; this fruit has a great effect on their Non-Phase Method. Unfortunately, the medicinal power of this fruit was hidden inside, so it was difficult to use the Primordial Spirit Induction to sense their whereabout. Moreover, at that time, their time was limited, and not enough time to do blanket search… Unexpectedly, this time, he accidentally bumped into it!
This was a rare opportunity. Most of the time, the medicinal plants that have the same level as this Red Refined Fruit were harvested by the peak owner or his disciples. However, because of its property, this fruit would often slip through the peak owner's sense - actually, when Wang Wu conducted her raid, she bypassed most of the precious herbs.
Right now, the owner of this Clear Sky Peak was still wandering outside the region and would return in one or two weeks, at which time, Wang Lu might not have this same opportunity again.
However, this Red Refined Fruit must be guarded by a guardian monster. And in this Azure Dragon Gorge, the most common guardian monster was the Golden Thread Red Refined Snake. Although it was only category three low-rank monster, he was still not its match. Of course, picking fruit and knocking out a monster were two different things. They might not need to fight the Golden Thread Red Refined Snake to the death. However, for a novice team like him and Wen Bao, besides staking their lives, what else could they do?
Option one: Wang Lu as the bait and the fatty as the fruit picker. Expected result: Wang Lu severely wounded and dying, the clumsy fatty crushed the fruit, i.e., a dead loss.
Option two: The fatty became the bait and Wang Lu picked up the herbal plant. Expected result: Hahaha.
Facing this Red Refined Fruit's temptation, for a moment, Wang Lu could not make up his mind. His strong dedication to achievement and his professional adventurer spirit were in a fierce direct clash with his reason.
In the end, Wang Lu could only sigh and had to give up on the fruit.
Because by his calculation, based on the resources at hand, even if they went all out, it would still be impossible to get that Red Refined Fruit. In that case, it was useless to be persistent, in any case… The next plan was ready!
"Hehe, a certain arrogant official, prepare yourself, I am coming for you!"