The chaotic astral wind seemed to have disrupted the natural order of the grassland. This actually made the rest of Jiang Chen's journey proceed even more smoothly. After a period of journeying, his God's Eye caught sight of the end of the grassland. He was delighted. "The disruption caused by the chaotic astral wind actually cleared many of the dangers we would have otherwise encountered along the way. Who'd have thought that we could travel so unimpeded? I can see the end. We should be out of the grassland in less than an hour."
He glanced at the sky. It was already close to dusk. It would be ideal if they could reach the other side of the grassland before night fell. Although day or night didn't make a difference to most cultivators, spirit creatures would become unusually active in the dark. To Jiang Chen, this wasn't necessarily a good thing. Luckily, they were able to increase their pace after the passage of the chaotic astral wind.
They finally passed this vast grassland just moments before sunset. As Jiang Chen stood at the edge of the grassland, he could see a small river meander across. Opposite him was a patch of dense forest. From what he could see on the map, this should be the place that He Hongshu had indicated. He glanced up at the sky—it was almost dark. As he was unwilling to take any more risks, he decided to set up camp on the riverbank and leave the search for the Requiem Wood to tomorrow. The closer he got to the Requiem Wood, the calmer he felt. After summoning Long Xiaoxuan and instructing him to keep watch, he entered a deep state of meditation.
With the dragon guarding them, Jiang Chen felt more at ease. The wood demon parasites might be strong, but they were completely ineffective against Long Xiaoxuan. Dragons excreted a specific kind of saliva that naturally repelled those parasites. In addition to Long Xiaoxuan, Jiang Chen also ordered the mint ginseng to go underground, in case any underground spirit creatures were to suddenly attack them. With such meticulous arrangements made, a few small issues popped up during the night, but nothing particularly dangerous happened. When morning arrived, the two opened their eyes and welcomed the light of a new day. In particular, Huang'er was extremely lively. Today, her eyes seemed to carry a different kind of quality. This was a new day, and perhaps the beginning of her new life.
"Let's go." Jiang Chen made a few adjustments before stepping into the dense forest. After moving just a few hundred meters inwards, most of the sky had already become obscured. The rays of the morning sun were strong, but they couldn't penetrate the dense foliage of this mysterious forest. The deeper they went, the darker it became. However, this had little effect on Jiang Chen because his God's Eye and Evil Golden Eye could see through everything. Even in the dark, he could see everything as clear as day. From time to time, a few noisy wails would resound in the distance, adding a trace of eeriness to the otherwise quiet forest. Occasionally, an ear-splitting roar could be heard as a wild beast displayed its power.
His heart was as tranquil as still water. These kinds of things couldn't obstruct him from progressing forward. "Huang'er, don't worry. My intuition is telling me that the Requiem Wood should be in this forest. As long as it appears, I can definitely obtain it, no matter what it takes."
Huang'er remained silent. She only gently nodded as she held on tightly to Jiang Chen's hand, as if afraid that by letting go, she would lose everything. Suddenly, something pricked at Jiang Chen's consciousness. He instantly leaned to a side as an enormous banana leaf pressed down on him from above. He huffed coldly and brandished his Featherflight Mirror. That green curtain had been careening towards him rapidly, but the Featherflight Mirror promptly halved its speed. The two of them took advantage of the plant's delayed approach to leap to a safer area. Only, they couldn't jump that far away because they had already been surrounded by at least ten such plants.
One by one, like raging bulls, they violently extended green leaves that billowed in the wind, creating layers upon layers of a green canopy that enclosed Jiang Chen and Huang'er within its center. Jiang Chen was furious, and he immediately summoned his Goldbiter Rats. "Ole Gold, let's see what you guys can do!"
There was almost nothing in the heavenly planes that Goldbiter Rats couldn't gnaw through. At Jiang Chen's command, numerous rats surged madly towards those ten green plant-like existences, like prisoners seeing the light of freedom for the first time. Crunch crunch... Ear-piercing gnawing sounds reverberated from all around them. The Goldbiter Rats' bite was definitely renowned throughout the realms. In just a short while, they had gnawed through the ten plant-like creatures without leaving a single piece behind. Instead of recalling the Rats, Jiang Chen summoned Long Xiaoxuan instead. "Brother Long, we need some of your saliva to cleanse these rats so that the Wood Demon Parasites don't attack them."
Jiang Chen might not fear the Wood Demon Parasites, but he didn't dare to let his guard down after entering this place either. Not only did the Wood Demons have parasites at their disposal, but they also possessed a gamut of other bizarre tactics as well. However, their parasites were undoubtedly one of the most intractable problems to deal with.
"Ole Gold, lead your descendants well. Don't wander anywhere and listen to my commands." Since they had already entered the desolate wildlands, Jiang Chen didn't need to be that cautious. He could do as he wished. With the ferocious Long Xiaoxuan and Goldbiter Rats clearing a path for them, the number of presumptuous creatures along the way significantly decreased. It was to the extent that some powerful spirit creatures were completely intimidated by Long Xiaoxuan and didn't dare to misbehave at all. This was precisely the effect that Jiang Chen wished to achieve.
When He Hongshu had initially entered this forest, he had lost his way. Hence, the area where he had discovered the Requiem Wood was not clearly marked on his map. Nonetheless, He Hongshu had mentioned that there was something terrifying in this mysterious jungle, called the Scarlet Dawn Wasp. This kind of wasp reproduced extremely quickly. Once someone was stung by one, their body would start to burn like liquid fire before violently exploding within an hour. Even the gods couldn't save the victim. Back when He Hongshu's party was in this forest, they had unfortunately run into these Scarlet Dawn Wasps. As a result, many of them had perished. Hence, Jiang Chen was especially cautious and didn't dare to barge forwards recklessly.
"Young master Chen, we discovered a large supply of sky rank spirit herbs in front!" The Goldbiter Rat King suddenly ran back excitedly, reporting this piece of good news to Jiang Chen.
"Take me there." It wasn't that surprising to come across sky rank spirit herbs in this place. Nonetheless, Jiang Chen thought of the numerous stalks of sky rank spirit herbs that had lined his path when he had first entered the desolate wildlands. However, those sky rank spirit herbs looked problematic to him. As he followed the Goldbiter Rat King a few hundred meters forward, a vast area filled with countless stalks of spirit herbs stretched before his eyes, as though someone had planted them there. Moreover, they were indeed all sky rank spirit herbs. Jiang Chen combined his God's Eye and Evil Golden Eye to survey the area, but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary.
"These sky rank spirit herbs should be real." Jiang Chen confirmed this once again before he decided that these sky rank spirit herbs should not pose any problems. "Ole Gold, you can take half for your clan. Brother Long, take your pick and leave me the rest."
Long Xiaoxuan hummed softly in thought before he picked some out, but he didn't take much. Jiang Chen swept the entirety of what remained into his possession. The Goldbiter Rats also attained massive benefits as well. After this point, however, Jiang Chen had no further plans to let the rats mess around outside. He summoned all of them back. He had a premonition that although these sky rank spirit herbs were genuine, there could be some unimaginable dangers coming for them later after reaping these sweet benefits.
The demon race was extremely underhanded in the way they conducted things. Jiang Chen certainly didn't believe that the demon race would simply allow human cultivators into their territory so that they could share their wealth with them The appearance of these sky rank spirit herbs in this place could simply be bait. Nonetheless, even if they were bait, there was no way Jiang Chen could turn back. He proceeded forwards, walking side by side with Huang'er. Long Xiaoxuan had succeeded in transforming himself into a skinny youth and was currently leading the way. From behind, his figure looked extremely cold and aloof.
In a deep ravine a few dozen miles from Jiang Chen, a bizarre-looking creature slowly crawled out from with a large white cocoon. That strange creature's body was covered with numerous oily bubbles that appeared extremely nauseating. The loose flesh over its multi-colored body writhed. Even looking at it was enough to give one chills of fear. After it emerged from the large cocoon, it crawled forwards with a startling speed, as though each feeler on its body ended in a sucker. After it crawled for some distance, it reached a neglected altar. This altar was covered with withered dead leaves and the area around it was incomparably desolate. Nonetheless, it emanated a kind of immense power that caused even the monstrous creature to tiptoe around as it approached. The creature came to a stop in front of the altar.
"Yes, yes. Not bad, not bad." From the center of the altar emanated a voice. "You've broken through your cocoon for the seventh time. It looks like you're not far from your true birth."
The monster let out a few grunts, as though it was reporting something to the voice on the altar. The voice on the altar asked in shock, "What did you say? The little ones that you birthed last time were destroyed by someone?"
The monster waved its feelers continuously in the air, looking rather angry.
"Strange, that's strange. Tens of thousands of years have passed and yet, there are still humans able to kill Wood Demon Parasites?" The voice on the altar also seemed to be filled with doubt. However, moments later it sighed, "Perhaps it was an accident. Moreover, your spawn are not yet strong enough. It's possible that someone killed them. Do not be disheartened. With every evolution of yours, the spawn you produce become more and more powerful in both offensive and defensive capabilities. Now, simply wait for enough hosts to wander in and bring your spawn out of the desolate wildlands, hahaha… Us Wood Demons will finally lead the glorious return of the demon race!" The voice on the altar was filled with triumph. Then it suddenly seemed to realize its situation as it sighed lightly, "It's a pity that the ten great generals of my Wood Demon bloodline all died in battle. My own body was destroyed and soul sealed. I can only wait for you to break through nine times and rescue me from here."
"Uwuwuwu." That monstrous creature nodded incessantly, grimacing towards the altar, as though it had been completely moved.
"There's no need for you to be emotional. We have waited ten thousand years. What more is waiting a little longer? Today, I sense that a large number of human cultivators have entered the desolate wildlands. Go and warn King Nineshadows to control his appetite. Otherwise, when I leave this place, I will force him to spit out everything he's eaten with interest."
That monstrous creature didn't seem to have fully awakened. It seemed only to understand one thing—that the being sealed into this altar was its master, and that the orders of its master prevailed over all else.