Chapter 884: Myriad Corpse Valley
Huang'er received the wood spirit spring essence with an elegant nod. Her clear eyes had become a bit more serious. She was aware of the inflammatory effects that yin-attributed beings had on her Generation Binding Curse, so she took them very seriously. She had been tormented by the curse since she was little and had long since come to terms with it. However, today was different. If something happened to her, Jiang Chen would be affected as well. Huang'er didn't want to drag him down with her.
Jiang Chen activated his God's Eye and looked into the distance. The valley was obscured with fog. It appeared equally gloomy no matter the season, as if sunlight was forever incapable of piercing through it, giving the valley an incredibly sinister feeling. Regardless, time waited for no one. Jiang Chen and Huang'er exchanged a glance. "Let's go."
The moment the two of them entered the valley, they heard a voice call out from behind them, "Daoist Huang, please wait."
Even without turning around, Jiang Chen could identify the owner of the voice as the creator of their alliance, the Prince of Shangping. He didn't slow down as he continued to dash deeper into the valley. He didn't want to deal with any side issues, so he called out instead, "Prince of Shangping, let us walk our separate paths on this wide road." His attitude clearly indicated that he didn't wish to interact with the Prince of Shangping.
The Prince of Shangping appeared startled before he forced out a laugh. "Daoist Huang seems to hold some enmity towards me, but from the bottom of my heart I hold nothing but praise for you. Today, I wish to share an opportunity with you."
Jiang Chen didn't turn his head at all. Mocking laughter rang in his trail. "Just enjoy it yourself. I have no interest in whatever opportunities you may have for me."
The Prince of Shangping had never imagined that this man wouldn't even give him a chance. A small seed of irritation took root in his heart. However, he was very careful not to expose his exasperation, or else his scheme would completely fall apart.
Jiang Chen held zero interest in the other's nonsense. Although he did not know why the Prince of Shangping had sought him out, his instincts told him that this Prince of Shangping definitely did not hold nearly as much goodwill towards him as he tried to make it seem.
"My liege, the Prince of Shangping has entered the Myriad Corpse Valley along with a cultivator named Huang. According to this servant's earlier deductions, this Prince of Shangping might wish to take advantage of Huang." The person from earlier contacted the Shadow Demon King through a secret method.
"Tsk tsk, I'm interested in both of these two fellows. Who'd have thought that they would stroll in together?" The king clicked his tongue in wonder.
"Should we move now?" The person asked.
"No rush. Let them fight it out for a while first. Afterwards, we'll seize the opportunity to break them down one by one. How far are the others from here?"
"This servant has planted a number of mechanisms along the way. If anyone sees them, they'll be lured here step by step. This servant has also followed Your Majesty's instructions and planted these mechanisms in order to separate all of them. In doing so, it'll prevent a surge of people from entering this place and interfering with Your Majesty's plans."
"Mm, not a bad job. Continue to execute the plan. Be aware of the Wood Demon's movements at all times. They will definitely not let me enjoy this feast alone."
"Huang'er, seal your senses and consciousness. I'll guide you," Jiang Chen whispered. The dark forest surrounded them like a dense fog. Shadowy figures flickered hauntingly within the fog. The further they traveled into the valley, the more they could sense the yin qi that pervaded the place. If an ordinary person entered this place, they might even be directly swallowed by the yin qi. Even an ordinary cultivator wouldn't have much luck traversing this valley. This fiendish yin qi was definitely not something they could defend against.
Not only did Jiang Chen have to be mindful of the situation around him, but he also had to pay attention to the Prince of Shangping. This caused him to greatly slow down his pace. He didn't dare travel any faster lest he miss any warning signs of sudden situations. If they continued at this speed, they would need at least two hours to make it through the valley, and that was assuming that everything went smoothly. Clearly, such smooth sailing was nothing but wishful thinking.
As Jiang Chen moved, he suddenly realized that the scenery alongside him was continuously shifting. Countless tombstones were springing up one after one from the loosening soil. If they were just ordinary tombstones, he had nothing much to fear. However, these tombstones were very abnormal. Strange characters had been inscribed on the surface of every tombstone, as if they had been summoned straight from the depths of hell. In the moment it took Jiang Chen to bring up his guard, those tombstones actually started to move, as if they had grown legs. Piece by piece, they arranged themselves in an orderly fashion, and in the blink of an eye they had formed a formation, blocking the duo's path.
Jiang Chen's eyes darkened as he gazed at these tombstones. He abruptly activated his God's Eye, his gaze penetrating deep into the ground past these tombstones. Beneath the ground, each tombstone was actually supported by several bone apparitions that were rapidly moving these tombstones around.
"Pfft, such pretense!" Just as Jiang Chen was about to dispose of them, he heard the howl of wind whistle past his ear. The Prince of Shangping and his subordinate had caught up to them. Jiang Chen restrained himself from impulsively making a move. Instead, he stood to the side, gazing at the Prince of Shangping with a supercilious smile. "Prince of Shangping, these tombstones are a little strange. I'll leave them to your Highness' remarkable prowess."
The Prince of Shangping sternly replied, "This place is somewhat bizarre. Why not attack together?"
Jiang Chen shook his head. "It's hard for me to fight right now. I'll have to trouble you instead."
The Prince of Shangping shot a passing glance at Huang'er, who lay in Jiang Chen's arms. He furrowed his brows and asked, "What happened to this daoist?"
Jiang Chen calmly replied, "She's not very used to all this yin qi. If the Prince of Shangping views me as a friend, then help me out by getting rid of these. How about it?"
The Prince of Shangping thought for a second before he nodded. "I've known that this place was suspicious all along. It's natural for us human cultivators to travel in groups and work together after entering the desolate wildlands. Since Daoist Huang is inconvenienced, I will try my best. If I am unable to handle everything alone, I ask that Daoist Huang refrain from simply watching from the sidelines."
"If Your Highness is having trouble, how can I simply watch from the sidelines? How would I have the confidence to proceed further if even Your Highness has fallen?" Jiang Chen watched a patch of tombstones with a shadowy gaze as he spoke calmly.
The Prince of Shangping nodded. His profound gaze was fixated on those stone plates. Suddenly, he pointed to the sky with a talisman in hand. "Shatter!"
Once he activated the talisman, it immediately split apart. Countless streaks of violet-colored energy snaked over the tombstones. The light carried an enormous explosive power, rumbling loudly as it traveled.
Boom! This Exorcism Rune seemed extraordinarily destructive against demonic yin creatures. The violet, snake-like lightning crashed against the tombstones with a roar, and the tombstones were instantly ground into a fine powder as they shattered one after another.
The Prince of Shangping smiled leisurely. "That wasn't much. Please proceed, Daoist Huang!"
Jiang Chen's appearance remained normal, but he was sneering inwardly. As expected, this Prince of Shangping bore him no goodwill. His attack had seemed vicious, but he had only destroyed the tombstones. The bone apparitions beneath the ground had been left untouched. There was no way he could believe that someone as discerning as the Prince of Shangping would overlook the bone apparitions below the tombstones. Jiang Chen had run into these bone apparitions before. They possessed the ability to transform. When needed, they could even take the shape of a human.
The tombstones had been destroyed but at least a hundred bone apparitions were still buried below ground. The constructs were not intelligent enough to realize that the two humans standing above them had long since discovered their existence. When Jiang Chen saw that the Prince of Shangping prompted him to go first, he knew it was definitely not out of kindness. He chuckled, "Your Highness should complete his act of goodwill. Why not lead the way?"
The Prince of Shangping kept a straight face as he nodded, "This place is rather suspicious. It's truly inappropriate to ask Daoist Huang to create a path for us while he cares for his friend. However, I am worried about placing you behind me. How about this? Ole Shen, you lead the way. I will bring up the rear. We'll work together to cross this valley."
Jiang Chen smiled calmly but didn't move from his spot. He suddenly asked, "Your Highness, this valley is so dangerous. Why are you so adamant about crossing it?"
The Prince of Shangping sighed. "I received news that an opportunity lies at the end of this valley." "What opportunity?" Jiang Chen could not help but ask.
"Hehe, since Daoist Huang does not seem interested in working with me, you'll have to forgive me for keeping this to myself," The Prince of Shangping's smile was veiled with mystery.
Jiang Chen silently cursed this sly old fox, but his expression remained etched in stone, as he did not inquire further. He waved a hand, "Since Your Highness has such a great opportunity, why don't we return to our old rules? The road is wide—we can each walk our own paths."
The Prince of Shangping blinked in surprise. "There's only one road here. Are you thinking of leaving the valley?"
Jiang Chen laughed. "I'll wait for Your Highness to leave first. I don't want our relationship to be hurt by you thinking that I wish to fight you for this opportunity."
In the end, Jiang Chen was still unable to trust this Prince of Shangping.
The other smiled wryly, "Fellow daoist, you don't seem to trust me very much."
"Better to be a little prudent when I'm not in my home territory." Actually, Jiang Chen's heart was seething with anxiety. The reason he had requested for the Prince of Shangping to walk ahead was so that he did not have to expose his back to the man. If the prince walked ahead, Jiang Chen would still have sufficient time to react even if this old timer deployed any malicious schemes. Moreover, although the tombstones in front of them had been destroyed, Jiang Chen was unwilling to dispose of those bone apparitions by himself.
The Prince of Shangping sighed lightly. At this point, he could only pretend to be ignorant of the numerous bone apparitions hiding underground. He gestured to his follower, "Since Daoist Huang cannot trust us, let us walk on ahead."
When the prince saw that Jiang Chen continued to be on his guard and keep him at arm's length, he instantly wanted to erupt with hostility. However, he still managed to control himself. Without absolute guarantee of victory, he would never make his move. This was his principle, particularly since he was in this strange of a valley. If he wanted something, he had to attain it in one fell swoop.
Whether it was out of fear of the powerful talismans that the Prince of Shangping had deployed or for some other reason, the bone apparitions did not attack the Prince of Shangping as he walked past them. When Jiang Chen witnessed this, he thought it was somewhat unfathomable, and he became somewhat hesitant. The bone apparitions had not attacked this Prince of Shangping when he'd walked past. If he himself did the same, would they remain docile as well? If that was the case, this was actually a great opportunity.
However, if the bone apparitions suddenly attacked him, what Jiang Chen was truly afraid of was not those pesky little monsters, but rather the cultivator who had walked in front of him. He had a way to deal with bone apparitions. But bone apparitions on top of the Prince of Shangping? That was difficult to say.