Tian Lin Mountain was given its name for being the natural borderline between Tian clan and Lin clan. The land to the south belonged to Tian clan, while Lin clan occupied the land to the north.
Tian Lin Mountain's main peak stood over ten thousand feet tall. Because it was situated on a land filled with geothermal energy and hot springs, the peak was infested with rich vegetation and many waterfalls, giving it a splendid scenery. To the west of the main peak laid a valley. It stretched tens of miles long, filled with over thirty hot spring pools where steaming water gurgled out endlessly throughout the year. The rich nutrients in the water nourished the land and brought it fertilized soil that was perfect for farming.
Some days ago, a small-scale earthquake struck Tian Lin Mountain. It did not cause too much damage, but a hole was opened up on a cliff wall right inside of this valley. The hole had a triangular shape, measuring about seventy to eighty feet tall. It led to a cave filled with biting coldness, with a chilly breeze blowing ceaselessly out of it, freezing some hot spring pools nearby and covering them with a thick layer of ice. When the hot and cold vapors clashed and blended, they produced many snowflakes that blotted the valley, giving it a look of midwinter.
Wu Qi and his company were standing right before the cave entrance when True Lord Windbreaking and Supremacy Five Mountains returned. It did not take them too much time to slaughter every single member of Lin clan. Guided by Tian He and Tian Dao, it only took them less than the time to finish a pot of tea to complete the task, even without alerting anyone. When they returned, Wu Qi and his company had yet to enter the cave.
The chilly breeze blowing out of the cave contained a copious amount of water element energy. The immense energy formed into fist-sized energy balls that one could not see with naked eyes in the air, shooting rapidly in all directions. Some of them hit Wu Qi and his companions' faces and bodies, making them feel pain.
Wu Qi took a deep breath. Suddenly, the incorporeal and invisible chilly breeze blowing out of the cave transformed into white mists that one could see with naked eyes. They swirled through the air and produced nearly inaudible whistling, squeezing into Wu Qi's body through his pores. Ten innate Gold Cores devoured these energies at an incredible rate. Wu Qi found out that the quality of the energy was surprisingly high. It had nearly approached the borderline between Houtian and Xiantian.
Anyone who meditated here would have his cultivation base improved ten times faster. Nevertheless, as the natural energy here was pure water element energy, it was only suitable for the native of Xue Yuan Planet who practiced cold element cultivation technique.
Tian Ju gave Wu Qi, who was now shrouded by balls of white mist, a reverent look and said in a low voice, "Seniors, this is the land of treasure Tian clan and Lin clan are fighting for. We have gone in once to investigate. The cave wall is filled with thick ice cubes, while amidst the rock layer underneath the ice are countless cold element energy stones. Although we've only gone in for three to five miles, we've seen over one hundred thousand pieces of energy stones."
Wu Qi nodded and said with a deep voice, "Let's go in and have a look."
Although he said like that, instead of entering the cave straightaway, he pulled out thirty-six pieces of pre-made formation discs from the Black Dragon Spirit Ring. He assembled them and mounted plenty of energy stones in the formation, using it to deploy a 'Tri-Origin Illusionary Moon Slaughtering Formation', which contained an illusion formation, an enchanting formation, and a killing formation. He was quick in deploying the formation, as in just less than fifteen minutes, the entire valley was veiled by a vast whiteness emitting from the formation.
Yan Qijun looked at Wu Qi bewilderingly as he nodded his head thoughtfully and asked, "You've also learned the Dao of Formation from Heaven Breaking Sword Sect?"
Wu Qi nodded reservedly and said nothing.
Zhao Kuo was looking at Wu Qi with great surprise as well, then he shook his head. On this Elder Brother of his that came by force, Zhao Kuo felt he had nothing more to comment. Although Zhao Kuo was a very clever and quick-witted man, after getting in touch with the Dao of Formation for some period of time, he gave up the idea of further studying it. Unless it was a clever man with extraordinary talent, it was nearly impossible for someone to attain sufficient skill in the Dao of Formations.
Looking at how Wu Qi skillfully deployed the formation that he could not understand at all, Zhao Kuo's heart which was still nursing some grievance previously had gradually calmed down. 'I might just sincerely take Wu Qi as my Elder Brother!' thought Zhao Kuo in his mind. 'What could I lose anyway? Since I've already surrendered to him, I should stop thinking about other plans. Also, it seems I can obtain quite a lot of benefits by following him!'
In the meanwhile, Xiong Wanling and the rest of the Nascent Divinity demon kings shuddered with terror. The formation deployed by Wu Qi was emanating an extremely menacing aura. However, on using divine will to examine it, they sensed nothing at all, as if there was nothing that ever existed in this place. Even with their vast experiences and knowledge, they could not tell what made this formation so powerful. Nevertheless, based on their instinct, they knew once they were trapped in it, they would never be able to come out again.
The three demon kings who Wu Qi forcibly subdued bowed their proud heads respectfully. Just like Zhao Kuo, the last bit of resentment in their hearts had vanished instantly.
Although it was just a formation, it had made everyone present to have their thoughts changed. Yan Qijun even put up the look of a Master and began to lecture Tian He and Tian Dao, "This is a lesson you should remember. You need to have a backup plan in everything you do. Don't ever act recklessly, and never place your own safety in other people's hands. After this formation is deployed, only then can we investigate the cave with peace of mind. Without it, enemies might have followed our footsteps and come ambushing us from behind, throwing us into great danger."
Tian Ju and his sons kept nodding and bowing at Yan Qijun as if they were suddenly enlightened, telling him that they had learned something valuable today.
Amidst the wondering glances from everyone, Wu Qi produced another formation disc of a mini teleportation formation, then mounted a fist-sized Spatial Breaching Spirit Gold on it. He turned to look at the people around him, who were staring at him in bewilderment, then smiled and said, "We need to construct a teleportation formation first, and I'll bring one with me. Once we encounter any dangerous situation inside the cave, as long as the surrounding void is not locked down, we can always retreat safely."
He placed the formation disc firmly behind a few mountain rocks near the cave entrance, then smiled and said, "Of course, I don't think any of us are followed by bad luck, and there are not many restrictive spells that can lock down the void under the heaven. There is no way we can be so unlucky to find one today!"
Clasping his hands behind his back, Yan Qijun nodded with a smile on his face. The level of satisfaction he had for this son-in-law had grown higher and higher. Even before facing a defeating situation, Wu Qi had already prepared a retreating route. One could call him a coward, but it was more of an evidence that he was very careful in everything he did, and would always leave himself a retreating route, a backup plan. Finally, Yan Qijun felt he could entrust Princess Zhang Le to Wu Qi.
After Wu Qi was done with his preparation, the company entered the cave filled with extreme coldness in single file. He Qianqiu, who had the quickest reflexes and fastest speed, took the lead, followed by Wu Qi, who was protected by Xiong Wanling and Supremacy Five Mountains from both sides. Yan Qijun, Zhao Kuo, and the father and sons of Tian clan walked in the middle, while Green Shadow and True Lord Windbreaking brought up the rear with high vigilance, preparing to face any sudden situation.
Just as Tian Ju said, after the entrance was a very long tunnel. It measured slightly over one hundred feet in both height and width, with the cave wall fully covered with a layer of ten feet thick ice. Under the transparent ice layer, one could see countless cold element energy stones socketed within the rock wall. The smallest of these energy stones had the size of an adult's fist, while they even found some rare natural energy stones as large as a water bucket. Judging by their appearance, their quality was at least mid-grade and above.
The energy inside the tunnel was incredibly dense. These energies gathered together and brought a pale blue hue to the atmosphere. It made them look like walking underwater. The surrounding energy stones emitted a pale gleam, and when countless energy stones shone together, they brightly lit the tunnel.
The tunnel was extremely long upon looking. It stretched downward at a thirty-degree slope, leading to an unknown destination. Wu Qi and his company strode forward quickly. In just fifteen minutes, they had traveled over sixty miles of distance, yet they could not see the end of the tunnel. At this point in time, the density of energy in the air had reached an awe-inspiring level. Walking in the tunnel was like walking through a pool of sticky glue, where a strong resistance force kept preventing them from going further.
The further they went, the greater was the number of energy stones found underneath the ice layer, and their sizes grew bigger as well. Nearly overlapping each other, these energy stones filled the cave wall, forming into a tunnel completely constructed with energy stones. Tian Ju and his sons stared blankly at the countless energy stones before them, walking stiffly with the company with their eyes going wide.
"Look at this, what you found is a tunnel that can cost your life." said Wu Qi with a smile on his face, "Even if this place is discovered by the few strongest clans on Xue Yuan Planet, they would be faced with an inevitable fate of having their entire clan slaughtered, not to mention Tian clan and Lin clan. If those Heaven Immortals knew there is such a strange tunnel here, they will never behave themselves as your wish... Eh?!"
Suddenly, Wu Qi sprung to his feet, dashing one hundred feet forward in a twinkle. Then, he carefully dug out a cluster of half-transparent, pale-blue Ganoderma from an ice cube placed randomly next to their path that was emitting a faint, elegant aroma. The cluster of Ganoderma had a size of a human head, consisting a total of seventy-two thumb-sized Ganoderma, stacking on top of each other layer upon layer, and looked really adorable.
Yan Qijun and the rest of them came quickly over, each having their eyes fixed on the cluster of Ganoderma.
Wu Qi carefully sniffed the aroma of the Ganoderma, then gave its appearance a thorough examination. Finally, he nodded and said, "That's right, this is an 'Eight-Nine Fragrant Ganoderma', a precious treasure that can be ranked the sixth-tier among all immortal spirit herbs. It will grow a new leaf every ten thousand years. This one has a total of seventy-two leaves… Obviously, it has been growing for at least 720,000 years. It will stop growing new leaves after having seventy-two leaves."
He flipped the Ganoderma over, pointing at the rings of creases underneath the pale-blue leaves as he said, "After growing for 720,000 years and having a total of seventy-two leaves, for every Period it grows, it will gain one more ring under the leaf. I've counted a total of ninety-eight rings here. That means after this cluster of Eight-Nine Fragrant Ganoderma grew all its leaves, it has continued living for ninety-eight Periods!"
Zhao Kuo was stunned. Looking at this rare spirit herb, he asked foolishly, "What is the use of it? Can I become a Heaven Immortal straightaway after eating it?"
Wu Qi produced a jade case and placed the cluster of Ganoderma in it. Shaking his head, he said with a sigh, "What is the use of it? As it is a tier-six immortal herb, rumors say that a Gold Immortal can use it to concoct some pills. Any cultivators below the realm of Gold Immortal will die instantly after eating it. Do you want to give it a try?"
Wu Qi turned to look at Zhao Kuo, while the latter immediately shook his head. In Tranquil Vimalā Sect, there was information about how to classify immortal herbs and pills. The immortal herbs which Heaven Immortals could use were tier-nine, eight, and seven. They could use these immortal herbs to concoct all kinds of pills and consume without worries. Immortal herbs and pills of tier-six, five, and four could only be enjoyed by Gold Immortals, and they could instantly kill Heaven Immortals. Finally, immortal herbs of tier-three, two, and one could only be used by Primordial Immortals.
Apart from some extremely rare natural spirit roots which could be consumed even by ordinary mortals, all the other immortal herbs had their respective limitation to the overall strength that could use them.
Thoughts began to fill everyone's mind. Although they had just entered the cave not long ago, they had already found an Eight-Nine Fragrant Ganoderma of excellent quality. What else would be waiting for them further into the cave?
Without being told by Wu Qi, everyone cast out their sword beams, carefully flying further through the tunnel.