Complicated looks graced the crowd's faces for a time. Even Imperial Prince Zhao looked grave and beckoned Jiang Chen over. "Little Chen, tell us everything you know in detail."
Jiang Chen had prepared his script early on, so he immediately responded with, "I was attacked by both Granny Goldneedle and Sir Miao at the same time, but for some reason the two of them suddenly fell out with each other afterwards. Granny Goldneedle was no match for Sir Miao, and she tried to escape Cloudshatter Mountain. However, she was devoured by a kind of energy when she reached the edge of the formation. It was then I realized an unknown power has blocked the way out of the formation completely."
"What happened to Granny Goldneedle after she was devoured?" Prince Zhao had heard of the old woman's name. He knew that she was a third level emperor realm cultivator.
"There are no more signs of life. She's probably dead." Jiang Chen sighed.
"What about Sir Miao?" Prince Zhao asked again.
"I killed him." This wasn't a lie at least. "After I killed Sir Miao and discovered that the way out was completely blocked, I didn't linger and immediately made my way here. However, these people tried to stop me. If you haven't arrived, I may not even be able to come in, Your Highness."
Jiang Chen's words were woven with half lies and truth. He had cleverly taken himself out of the picture and avoided mentioning the demon race at the same time. He wasn't afraid to bring up the demon race, but he was afraid that these people would immediately lose heart, scatter, and be easily turned into sacrifices for the demon emperor.
He might not feel any goodwill towards these people, and in fact wished only misfortune on them, but he couldn't allow them to die right now. They were useful pawns in the fight against the Veranda master. Even If they had to die, Jiang Chen would rather he killed them with his own hands instead of the demon emperor. Their deaths would greatly fuel the demon emperor's cultivation, placing Jiang chen in a very disadvantageous position.He might not be able to eliminate all of the people on his own, but he was absolutely confident in his ability to protect himself. But, he had almost no chance of victory if his opponent was a peak demon great emperor of ancient times, unless he used Guo Ran's restriction left in his abode, assuming that the demon great emperor was gullible enough to walk inside.
Considering the wealth of knowledge and experience an ancient demon emperor might possess, it was doubtful that he would be careless enough to make an entry. If his enemy didn't walk inside, then the restrictions it contained were completely useless.
He could use the abode to save himself, but he wouldn't be able to stop the demon emperor from leaving the mountain. Therefore, the ideal outcome would be to make this group fight the Veranda master to a standstill and prevent the demon emperor from emerging at the same time.
"Your Highness, if the way out really is blocked, I think it's a sign of how greedy the Veranda master truly is." Elder Zhang couldn't help but speak a word of caution.
Prince Zhao frowned. "What is he planning? He can't be planning to catch us all in one fell swoop, can he? Is he really that greedy?"
Everyone fell silent at this and the atmosphere grew a little heavy. The prince waved his hands once as his ruthless personality shone. "Let us forget the Veranda master for now. We'll deal with whatever comes our way later. We have great numbers on our side, and he's just a coward who doesn't even dare to show his face. What can he possibly do to us?"
Imperial Prince Zhao was forced to make such a statement in order to raise his men's spirits. He was aware that an evil plot lurked behind the scenes, but his first priority was to find the treasure that made the earth pulse.
As for the other matters, they had to be set aside no matter how urgent they were. Even if the treasure was bait and he was prey stepping into an obvious trap, Prince Zhao still couldn't find it within himself to walk away from it. He had a feeling that this treasure could rewrite the destiny of the Great Scarlet Mid Region itself! If he could obtain this treasure, the decline that had afflicted the region lately would be swept away in an instant. Success and prosperity would come to them, and perhaps one day their destiny might even grow big enough to qualify them as an upper region.
"Old Zhang, take a group of men with you and guard this place unto the death. Kill the Veranda master the second he shows up!"
Old Zhang was a sixth level emperor realm cultivator himself, which put him on equal footing with the Veranda master. With the men Prince Zhao lent him, he should be able to deal with the Veranda master even if the latter suddenly grew another two heads and four hands.
Prince Zhao then looked to the three great sects. "Everyone, it seems that the Veranda master's web of schemes extends even to us. Since all our lives are currently at stake, don't you think you should lend us a hand too?"
As the three great sects hesitated, a voice suddenly came from the crowd. "Prince Zhao, I am but a mere wandering cultivator, but I can't help but feel that something's a little odd about this whole thing."
Prince Zhao's face turned dark. "Who are you?"
The man smiled. "I am just a nobody, so I doubt you have use for my name. I am curious about something though, do you think that Daoist Chen's words can be trusted?"
"What do you mean?" Prince Zhao was expressionless. "My men are absolutely loyal to the royal family. If you plan to sow discord among my people, I must say that your method is a little crude."
"I have absolutely no intentions of sowing discord among the royal family, on the contrary, I am thinking on behalf of the royal family's well being. Imperial Prince Zhao, this Daoist Chen isn't anyone important within the royal family, right? Do you really think he can take out the famous wandering cultivator, Sir Miao, in such a short time? Moreover, don't you think that his statement lacks substance and is full of holes if you scrutinize it closely?"
Jiang Chen smiled and stared at this person deeply. "Now I'm curious. This is the royal family's internal business. Are you telling me that you, an outsider, knows us better than we know ourselves?"
Jiang Chen looked calm, but anxiety was actually gnawing at him from the inside. Judging from his tone, this wandering cultivator was obviously trying to undermine his credibility. He might even be in cahoots with the Veranda master! Perhaps the Veranda master had secretly ordered him to stand up in accusation.
After all, he had survived the attack from the wandering cultivators. The fact that he was still safe and sound was no doubt ringing alarm bells in the Veranda master's head. Moreover, he had tampered with the Veranda master's plans and sent Wei Xing'er away from here. It must have affected the Veranda master's plans somehow. Considering the other's personality, Jiang Chen was certain that the man would try to prevent him from causing further damage even if he wasn't present to deal with Jiang Chen personally.
"The royal family? Can you swear a heavenly oath and prove that you truly represent the royal family?" The wandering cultivator who accused Jiang Chen sneered in response.
Jiang Chen refused to show weakness. "If you'll swear a heavenly oath and prove that you're not an accomplice of the Veranda master, then why not!"
He turned with a cupped fist salute and looked at Prince Zhao.
"Your Highness, you can send someone to check the edges of the formation and know if I'm trustworthy right away. I may not have witnessed everything with my own eyes, but if there's one thing I'm certain of, the Veranda master is cooking up a big plot that involves all of us. He's planning to get us all in one go! If you remember, Granny Goldneedle is someone the Veranda master spent a lot of money to hire. If she hadn't discovered some clues about his scheme, why would she suddenly leave? Why would she be killed by the restriction in the end?"
Prince Zhao frowned and shot Jiang Chen a meaningful glance, then looked back at the wandering cultivator. "Since you're the one who's accusing my subordinate of lying, would you mind swearing a heavenly oath and prove that you're not an accomplice of the Veranda master?"
The wandering cultivator snorted coldly. "I was hired by the Veranda master. It's my job to handle his problems. So if you wish to call me an accomplice of the Veranda master, I can't exactly deny it, can I? This has nothing to do with me accusing Daoist Chen of lying, however."
"Like hell it isn't! If you represent the Veranda master's interest, then you are causing trouble by accusing my subordinate!" Prince Zhao scolded coldly.
Old Zhang beckoned Jiang Chen to walk closer. He had no choice but to comply.
"Little Chen, are you absolutely sure that what you told us is the absolute truth?" Old Zhang asked calmly.
Jiang Chen's eyes were honest. "Elder Zhang, I'm going to say this again. If we let our guard down around the Veranda master, I don't think many of us are going to leave this place alive!"
As they spoke, the ground beneath their feet suddenly shook. Everyone stumbled on their feet as the tremors grew in intensity. The shaking quickly turned into a full blown earthquake. In the next moment, the giant rocks of the rock forest stood up one by one like stone giants. They floated as if they were given a life of their own. The rocks floated slowly at the beginning, but they quickly gained in speed.
It was as if meteors were falling from the sky as the rocks moved about swiftly. They flew and rammed into one another seemingly at random in the enormous area, blotting out the sky. Even the smallest rock was three meters tall. The biggest one was around sixty to ninety meters.
When giant rocks of this size rammed into one another, it literally felt like the mountains were crumbling, and the earth itself was cracking in half.
A lot of cultivators were struck by the flying rocks. Logically speaking, the flying rocks shouldn't be a fatal threat to any emperor realm cultivator despite their flying speed. However, they seemed to be imbued with some sort of powerful art of strength that hurt badly even at the slightest brush. Those caught by the rocks died upon impact. Their flesh and blood splattered all over in gory fashion.
For a time, the place was in absolute chaos. Naturally, Jiang Chen couldn't afford to hang around and speak with Old Zhang in this situation. He immediately executed the Kunpeng Meteoric Escape and dodged the rocks. No one was faster than him in this place.
The others weren't as lucky, however. The flying rocks were moving faster and faster, and anyone who ran to the edge of the giant rock formation were immediately thrown back into the center by a powerful pulse. It completely cut off their retreat.
Jiang Chen immediately understood that they were all in great danger when he saw the same thing happening everywhere. This giant rock formation was obviously the very core of the earthpulse.
"This isn't good!" An unsettling feeling passed through Jiang Chen's mind. In the next moment, order suddenly took over the flying rocks.
The flying rocks started arranging themselves into an enormous disk as if they had a mind of their own. The disk spun so quickly that a powerful vortex in the air sucked everyone in. Not even Prince Zhao was able to escape.
The scene before everyone's eyes grew dimmer and dimmer. The enormous disk-like formation of rocks that covered the sky cast darker and darker shadows upon them. It didn't take long before absolute darkness consumed everyone.