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No longer dwelling on the thoughts plaguing his mind, he knew he’d already run astray from the safe path. It really wouldn’t be wise for him to stay in the area a moment longer. After Miao Yi studied his surroundings, he carefully backtracked to the safe zone, all the while eyeing the vicinity to see if there were any immortal herbs in sight. 

There was no way he’d continue venturing into the danger zone to find Zhao Xingwu. He wasn’t even sure whether Zhao Xingwu would be able to leave the place alive.

By the time he quietly, and with difficulty, found his way back to the safe zone, the sky had already started to turn dark. 

It was too dangerous for him to wander around in this place at night. He couldn’t even see the road clearly, let alone keep watch for another appearance of that unpredictable monster, which ended up vanishing as quickly as it came. 

The most important thing to consider was that he’d run a long way, so he was dreadfully exhausted, which left him with no choice but to search for a place to rest. Looking all around him, he felt his way through the darkness into the forest of stones located at the foot of the mountain. 

After barging through the stones, he discovered a small cave hidden amongst them. His heart was relieved. It was the best place to spend the night, since it was sheltered on the outside by the surrounding forest of stones.

But what he didn’t expect was that after twisting his body in a cat-like manner to enter the cave, abruptly, a large hand immediately came out of nowhere and started strangling his neck. To save himself, Miao Yi instinctively stabbed out with his butcher knife, but the other person’s own reaction was extraordinary, quickly disrupting Miao Yi’s attack by locking down his wrist.

The two men finally stood facing each other in the cave. When Miao Yi saw the other man’s face clearly, his eyes flickered to signal the other person to let him go.

The other person was in fact, the big, sturdy man from before. Never would he have expected the man to hide away in this place too.

“It’s you?” The man was stunned, creasing his eyebrows as he slowly let go of Miao Yi. At the same time, he seized the butcher knife from Miao Yi’s hand with his own. Apparently, he still didn’t feel at ease with Miao Yi. This was because the sight of Miao Yi’s earlier show of cruelty still freshly lingered in his mind. He was worried Miao Yi would stab him in the back. 

“Cough, cough!” Flushing a shade of bright red, Miao Yi clutched his neck and coughed twice. 

The man swiftly covered Miao Yi’s mouth, lowered his own voice and snapped, “Shut up! Is the monster still out there?”

As it turned out, he was hiding here because he had run into the monster again. 

Miao Yi waved his hand and waited for the other man to loosen his grip. He gasped for air, shaking his head as he said, “I didn’t see the monster when I was on my way here.”

The man poked his head out of the cave and surveyed the area. After a while, he pulled his head back to stare at Miao Yi, frowning as he said, “Kid, such a young age and already so ruthless. Looking back, I still feel something’s not right no matter how I think about it. You didn’t look like you were stealing anything at all.  Instead, you looked more like you wanted so badly to dispose of them, just to have peace of mind. Kid, tell me honestly. Did those three people really have the immortal herb on them?”

Miao Yi stared at the butcher knife that had fallen into the other man’s hands. After thinking about it, he decided not to hide the truth. Thus, he roughly explained the situation, but with reservations.

“Those three were really goddamn fools! I say kid, young as you are, you’re not dumb at all when it comes to cheating people. I say... Bah! I’m not that bright either, I was also used in your ploy, and I even almost lost my life.” The big, sturdy man laughed at himself in self-mockery.

He looked back, glancing at the bag hung over Miao Yi’s body and asked, “I was too absorbed in running for my life, so I lost all the food and drinks I brought along with me. Kid, you don’t mind sharing a portion with me, right?”

Without another word, Miao Yi unpacked his bag, taking out the rations and water to give to the man and said, “Uncle, how about we take turns resting and guarding tonight? In this awful place, it’s not safe for a person to fall into a deep sleep.”

He could tell that the man was skilled in martial arts. Right from the beginning, Miao Yi wouldn’t have been a worthy opponent for him in a fight. He was also slightly worried that the man harbored ill intentions towards him, so he decided to let the other man understand that he still had some use for him. 

The big, sturdy man threw him a meaningful look, curling his lips into a playful, knowing smile. Without another word, he accepted the food and ate while glancing outside the cave, as he mumbled, “I reckon the sky outside is not that dark yet. The fog is quite bad here, so it gets dark earlier.”

Just like that, as both of them ate, they fell into conversation, engaging in small talk. Apparently the big, sturdy man’s name was Yan Beihong, he was originally a Military Commander of a city with a population of one million people. He got into trouble because he stole the City Lord’s concubine, implicating his entire family in the end. So in a fit of rage, he killed the City Lord and ran away. 

He’d had it rough, living through the days of being hunted everywhere on a regular basis. In a state of desperation, he decided it was a safer bet to simply barge into the Boundless Secular World. 

Yan Beihong also felt it strange that a young kid like Miao Yi would come all the way here to court death. It was important to be forthright when cooperating with others, so Miao Yi did not conceal the truth from him. 

As promised earlier on, they both took turns between resting and keeping watch during the night.

They cooperated with each other pleasantly throughout the night, with Miao Yi thinking back on how easily his words had caused a group of people to ransack each other. He understood very well that he would be in trouble too, should he manage to pick the immortal herb for himself. So on the very next day, he took the initiative, and requested to form an alliance with Yan Beihong.  

Yan Beihong neither agreed nor rejected his request. Once the sun had risen, he threw the butcher knife back to Miao Yi, and they went off on the road together. 

After the encounter with the Hell Mantis, they learned from their past mistakes and didn’t dare act rashly by running off the safe path. They wouldn’t be able to narrowly escape every time. Thus, they decided to move along the safe path on the map.

But what they saw along the way revealed that the so-called safe path didn’t appear to be safe at all. Human body remains, consisting of broken legs and limbs, could be seen all along the path.

Judging from the bloody corpses that showed traces of being chewed on or were sliced open, it was obvious that many had encountered and suffered the wrath of the Hell Mantis’s ambush. 

Before their own eyes, a herd of Hell Mantises casually crawled past, and they practically shrank back behind a boulder in absolute terror.

They gradually discovered that although the Hell Mantis was a bloodthirsty killer, it would not totally annihilate its victims, and would still give them a path to survival. It was as though the more spineless and cowardly a person was, the more likely the Hell Mantis would not withhold its mercy. 

As they went further in, they were apprehensive to find the aftermath from landslides and the diversion in course of a river. The destruction seen on the ground was in a state of such disastrous proportions it could not have been caused by a human being. It was hard to imagine the events that had transpired. Unless, the Great War of Immortals and Devil had really happened here? 

The next dreadful encounter made Miao Yi felt lucky that he and Yan Beihong had teamed up together. 

Although the immortal herb, Glorious Star, was only grown natively in the Boundless Secular World, you couldn’t exactly find it growing everywhere. For a few days, they travelled further around the Boundless Secular World, and still they could not see a shadow’s trace of even one immortal herb.

The most scariest part was that after narrowly escaping the Hell Mantis’s ambush, they encountered another threat, this time from their own kind. 

While fleeing for his life, Yan Beihong had lost the food he had carried on him. Miao Yi, himself, only brought ten days worth of rations, since nobody in their right mind would come in carrying around one month’s worth, so he could still survive for another ten days if he kept the rations for himself. When shared between the two of them, the rest of the food wouldn’t even last five days.

The problem of a shortage of food was obviously apparent to others as well. The two of them found themselves surrounded by a group of five who ordered them to hand over the pathetic amount of rations that they had left.

Yan Beihong showed no signs of fear as he laughed coldly. He immediately unsheathed his broadsword and charged upfront.

It was no wonder that he was once a Military Commander of a city populated by millions of people. He was skilled and valiant, and nearly every strike of his blade was accompanied with blood. He forcefully took on all five by himself, beheading the entire group. 

Wiping off the blood stains from his broadsword, Yan Beihong packed up whatever rations he could harvest from the five bodies, throwing them at Miao Yi for him to carry on his back. And so, they had two additional days of food. 

But the next day, Yan Beihong met someone even more skilled than him.

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