Chapter 256: Hard March
The outer world.
Song Siyuan, Xie Zhizhang, Zhan Tianyi and the group of Profound Heaven Alliance and Eight Extreme Temple martial practitioners stationed themselves outside Armament City, waiting quietly for the explosive sounds of the Terminator Profound Bombs.
However, after waiting for a long time, they still hadn’t heard any explosions from Armament City.
Song Siyuan’s expression gradually turned grave, “Could something have happened to them?”
“There shouldn’t be. The Flowing Cloud Rainbow Butterfly’s speed is extremely quick; there shouldn’t be any nether beasts capable of matching its speed,” Xie Zhizhang consoled him. “Plus, with Tingyu’s abilities, it shouldn’t be too difficult for them to deal with the average evil races.”
The seriousness in Song Siyuan’s eyes did not fade. He was still worried as he said, “I’m worried if there might be high ranking evil races who came over.”
“This timing… is still too soon.” Xie Zhizhang said again.
The group waited quietly.
Finally, the Flowing Cloud Rainbow Butterfly appeared, having flown back while crying sadly the entire way. Song Tingyu and Qin Lie’s figures were nowhere to be seen.
The expressions of Song Siyuan and Xie Zhizhang finally changed.
“What happened?” Song Siyuan exclaimed impatiently.
The Flowing Cloud Rainbow Butterfly flew to him and cried out just as hastily, explaining what happened earlier and ceaselessly urging him to save Song Tingyu.
“What? They were pulled into the Nether Realm by a reverse gravity field?” Xie Zhizhang couldn’t help but cry out in shock. “Only a high rank evil race would come through using a reverse gravity field. They actually happened upon the arrival of a high rank evil race! They were even pulled directly into the Nether Realm. This, this is…”
He did not say anything after those words.
But everyone could hear the meaning regardless—Song Tingyu and Qin Lie’s fates were in dire straits.
“Tingyu has entered the Nether Realm. She actually entered the Nether Realm…” Song Siyuan’s face was ashen. He wasn’t stupid. He almost instantly deduced the duo’s ending.
“If the humans of the Scarlet Tide Continent accidentally enter Nether Realm, their fate… would be unspeakable.” When Eight Extreme Temple’s Green Robed Envoy Zhan Tianyi figured out what happened, he too let out a long sigh, “Brother Song, please restrain your grief and come to terms with the inevitable. Humans who step into the Nether Realm will be hunted by the entire continent just like the evil races who come to our Scarlet Tide Continent. There is basically no chance of survival.”
“How am I going to explain this to my elder brother…” Song Siyuan was wrought with grief.
“The situation has worsened with the arrival of a high rank evil race. Sigh. Let us get ready for a difficult fight.” Zhan Tianyi slowly calmed down. “Both Profound Heaven Alliance and Eight Extreme Temple will face heavy losses. Those two… let’s just assume that they are the first batch of victims.”
Be it in their minds or through their words, they had sentenced Qin Lie and Song Tingyu to death. They did not think that the two could survive in the Nether Realm.
“They probably assumed that I died.” Inside Nether Realm, within the thick forest. Song Tingyu pulled at the corner of her lips to draw out a somewhat bitter smile.
“I have no ties anyway.” Qin Lie said indifferently.
“Flap flap flap!”
Three Spirit Hunting Beasts, each about six to seven meters long, circled the dark gray sky above. They bore resemblance to Ghost Birds but were more than ten times larger.
The Spirit Hunting Beasts were all Rank Three nether beasts, the equivalent of Fulfillment Realm martial practitioners. They were bird-type nether beasts with sharp claws that could tear through steel and stone. They loved to eat the brains of humankind the most and had acute insight towards living beings with spirit energy inside them.
The Ghost Birds that Liang Zhong had raised were descended from the evil races of the Nether Realm. They were slowly raised as the variant of a Spirit Hunting Beast.
By putting it through an art of blood sacrifice unique to evil races and mingling the Spirit Hunting Beast’s blood with a portion of a spirit beast’s bloodline, they managed to raise a Ghost Bird that could adapt not only to the environment of the Nether Battlefield, but also to the Spirit Realm.
Because the Ghost Bird’s blood was mixed with the fresh blood of spirit beasts, it did not fear sunlight and could even fly through it. However, because its bloodline was impure, its rank was incredibly weak and its room for growth was nearly non-existent.
The Spirit Hunting Beast was a pure bred nether beast. It might not be able to endure the Spirit Realm’s environment for a long time, but in the Nether Realm it was incredibly powerful!
The three Spirit Hunting Beasts had circled above this forest for a very long time, searching for Qin Lie and Song Tingyu to track them down and lead the elites of the evil races to kill them.
It was also because of the Spirit Hunting Beasts that Song Tingyu and Qin Lie did not dare to fly in the sky, instead quietly walking under the cover of the forest’s thick canopy.
“I can hide the spirit energy and soul aura on my body, preventing the Spirit Hunting Beasts from detecting my presence.” Song Tingyu took out a glittering cold blade and cut at the roots of a lush ancient tree.
This ancient tree’s serrated branches and leaves were shaking violently just earlier. After its roots were stabbed several times by her long blade, the last bit of its evil life drained away.
In this forest, this type of savage tree was extremely dangerous. It instinctively hated them and, the moment they got close to any tree of this kind, they would attack immediately.
The duo had already gotten used to it. Along the way, the moment they saw this type of ancient tree, they would immediately cut off the evil life force inside its roots—this prevented the ancient tree from ambushing them.
“I can cover my aura because I have a special treasure with me that can isolate my spirit energy and life force.” Song Tingyu stared at Qin Lie curiously with glittering eyes. “How about you? I didn’t see you taking out any spirit artifacts or garb yourself in some special armor. Why do the Spirit Hunting Beasts fail to track you?”
Along the way the Spirit Hunting Beasts had flown overhead again and again, searching for them. Song Tingyu was worried and frightful, certain that Qin Lie would expose their positions.
Yet the Spirit Hunting Beasts continued flying past them again and again, somehow failing to discover Qin Lie beneath them.
She focused her attention and realized that every time the Spirit Hunting Beasts were about to get close, his life force, aura, and even the shape of his soul would transform—it was as if everything had been hidden in an instant.
If Qin Lie wasn’t right beside her, even she would think that Qin Lie had disappeared into thin air. She closed her eyes and realized that she could not detect any fluctuation of energy on Qin Lie’s body.
Yet he stood right in front of her…
What she didn’t know was that, at that moment, Qin Lie had immediately entered into the state of Thoughtless Tranquility. In that state he could magically merge with the environment, becoming a part of it.
His life force, his energy, the flow of his blood, and the magnetic field of his soul… All of his characteristics would be greatly slowed down by the state of Thoughtless Tranquility. It caused him to be as if he had turned into air and instantly disappeared from the world, slipping out of anyone’s grasp. Naturally he could not be locked down in this state.
This was the reason why the Spirit Hunting Beasts were unable to track him down.
Qin Lie did not clear her doubt. Instead, he frowned and asked, “You seem to have an objective. Where are you heading?”
“If you tell me how you are able to avoid the Spirit Hunting Beasts, then I will tell you where I’m heading. How’s that?” Song Tingyu smiled beautifully and stared at him with glittering eyes. “Very fair, isn’t it?”
Qin Lie did not say anything. He looked deeply into Song Tingyu’s eyes and suddenly said, “You are different from before.”
“Before?” Song Tingyu was surprised.
“Back when Eight Extreme Temple’s Mo He was around.” Qin Lie nodded.
A trace of embarrassment suddenly appeared on Song Tingyu’s face. Her charm immediately rose to the surface as ripples of light appeared in her beautiful eyes. It was as if it could captivate any man.
Last time she had yet to clear the charm seed within her heart so, when she faced Qin Lie, she would appear to be deeply in love. Every action and every smile had been filled with emotion.
That was how she managed to trick even Mo He. Not even he could discern anything odd before giving up on killing Qin Lie in the end.
She had appeared sincere because Qin Lie’s imprint existed inside her heart at that time, causing him to feel like getting close to her.
By now, Song Tingyu had already dealt with the troubles brought by her concept backfiring. Her heart and mind did not have the charm seed any longer, so naturally she lost her weakness as well.
Therefore, her speech, expressions, and actions were slightly different from before. Qin Lie had clearly noticed these differences.
“Heh, that situation… will not happen anymore.” Song Tingyu quickly regained her calm and smiled lightly. “It is a very strange feeling. I have experienced it firsthand and found it rather lovely. However, it was also too passive, and I dislike being passive. I like seizing the initiative and grabbing hold of someone’s heart. I dislike the opposite.” She smiled at Qin Lie.
Qin Lie did not understand the meaning behind her words.
She did not explain either.
The duo found a place to hide and sat down. They took out their spirit stones to recover.
They were unable to absorb nether demonic energy to cultivate inside the Nether Realm and were forced to spend spirit energy to protect their bodies at every moment to purify the nether demonic energy they breathed into their lungs.
Therefore their spirit energy consumption was huge. Every time they walked any distance, they would have to borrow the spirit energy inside spirit stones and spirit pills to replenish themselves, guaranteeing that their spirit seas were always at a full state so they could deal with danger at any moment.
Although Qin Lie had his own opinion towards the Nether Realm’s terrible environment, Song Tingyu’s words did make him feel a bit better, “Be content. The Nether Realm may be hard on us, but it isn’t too bad yet. When the evil races enter Spirit Realm they would be exposed to the strong sunlight which is far more difficult for them. They can only operate at night and they probably feel worse than us after absorbing spirit energy.”
Underneath an ancient tree that would need ten people to completely encompass, three Spirit Hunting Beasts knelt behind a person. This man was a member of the Horned Demon Race. He wore black bestial armor and had four curved horns lining the back of his neck. A dark and evil light shone from deep within his dark brown pupils.
He was two and a half meters tall and his body had the appearance of black stone. He gave off a feeling of indestructibility.
He held a gigantic hammer forged from the skull of a nether beast which was filled with ugly thorns. There was blood on the thorns. He seemed to have been waiting for a long time.
Song Tingyu and Qin Lie had traveled stealthily and avoided the areas they assumed were dangerous, all the way until they reached this ancient tree.
They immediately saw this person from the Horned Demon Race.
“A Horned Demon clansman with four curved horns!” Song Tingyu exclaimed as her gaze became serious. “The equivalent of a Netherpassage Realm martial practitioner!”
Qin Lie went pale.
Thanks to Song Tingyu’s explanations, Qin Lie also knew how to identify ranks within the Horned Demon Race. Those with a curved horn behind their neck was the equivalent of a Refinement Realm martial practitioner. Those with two horns was the equivalent of Natal Opening Realm martial practitioner.
Going by this logic, this one with four curved horns was comparable to a Netherpassage Realm expert.
“I knew you would pass through this place!” He said coldly in the language of the Nether Realm.