Chapter 722: Under the Tree
The rolling leaf fir was still growing. Several of its roots eagerly pulled out from the soil and danced wildly in the air.
Filled with fresh blood, they emanated a terrifying aura and a nauseating smell of rot. Everyone could distinctively smell it even through the barrier, and their expressions soured at that.
“W-what’s underneath the tree? Is that really… human blood in its roots?” Ye Ranran couldn’t help but mutter this question under her breath. Otherwise, there’s no explanation for that bloody smell. If it’s really blood in there, that’s truly terrifying! Just whose blood does it contain?!
Jiang Yucheng and his gang were silent though. Having been dragged underneath, they knew exactly what was going on down there.
“We can’t stay here any longer! We have to leave right away!” As Qin Yi spoke, he silently looked at Chu Liuyue.
Although Chu Liuyue didn’t look back at him, she knew what he meant. Nodding in agreement, she added, “That’s right! Something strange is going on with that tree, and there’s no telling what will happen to us if we stay.”
She then made a move to retreat further, but she stopped when Elder Qiuxi said, “We can’t leave yet! The Third Princess is still underneath that tree! What’s going to happen to her if we leave?”
He forgot about her earlier, but now that he has nothing to gain since Tuan Zi has acknowledged me as its master, he suddenly remembered that she’s missing? Chu Liuyue sneered. “In that case, why don’t you go down and take a look, Elder Qiuxi?”
Elder Qiuxi quickened his pace and stopped right in front of Chu Liuyue. “The red-tailed phoenix had been perching on the mother tree all along. Since it’s your fiend now, that makes you the most suitable person to go down! Didn’t you also say that the red mist wouldn’t pose any problem to you since you have the red-tailed phoenix?”
Although I know that he’s shameless, I didn’t know that his shamelessness knows no bounds. Trust him to say that so calmly with conviction. Chu Liuyue burst out into laughter out of fury. “Are you asking me—the person with the lowest cultivation level—to go find the Third Princess by myself? You sure think highly of me.”
Elder Qiuxi wasn’t bothered by her retort. “Since the legendary fiend is yours, you’re the best person to go look for the Third Princess.”
It looks like he’s still holding a grudge against me… I knew that I’d attract the envy of others, but given Tuan Zi’s earlier situation, there wasn’t any way I could avoid their notice. Although I expected trouble from contracting with Tuan Zi, I didn’t expect it to happen so early.
“Elder Qiuxi, I’m also very worried about the Third Princess. I don’t mind taking the lead, but our chances of finding the Third Princess will increase if we all go together. Don’t you think so?” Chu Liuyue couldn’t be bothered to make an excuse to push the responsibility away, so she just agreed to it.
In fact, she would go looking for Shangguan Wan herself even without Elder Qiuxi’s suggestion, for she clearly saw Shangguan Wan jumping into the hole entirely on her own accord. There’s definitely something fishy going on. Who knows? Shangguan Wan might not even want to be found even though I’m willing to go look for her! Since Elder Qiuxi wants my help, then he should also do his part in searching for Shangguan Wan!
A slight frown formed on Elder Qiuxi’s forehead. He had intended to let Chu Liuyue go down by herself, but he found himself unable to refute what she said.
Chu Liuyue turned to face Jiang Yucheng with a smile. “I believe that the person who’s most worried about the Third Princess is Eldest Young Master Jiang. Hence, I trust that he’ll definitely agree to go down with me to look for her. Am I right, Eldest Young Master Jiang?”
Jiang Yucheng’s expression darkened a little. He had no intention of going down at all since he knew what was going on below. On top of that, he had also sensed that something was wrong with his body. Even though he tried his best to rest and recover a little earlier, his internal and external injuries weren’t completely healed. If I encounter danger again…
Unfortunately, he couldn’t say ‘no’ in front of so many people. His voice was biting-cold as he said, “Of course.”
“That’s not a wise decision.” Qin Yi cut in with a disapproving look on his face. “The mother tree’s seal has been broken, so we don’t know what kind of danger lurks underneath. Not even Laosi and I dare to go head-to-head against it. You’ll just be courting your deaths if you go down now! Not only will you fail to find the person you’re looking for, but you might even lose your lives as well!”
Chu Liuyue knitted her brows slightly. She knew that Qin Yi was objecting to her going down, but she had to go down regardless. “Brother Qin, we appreciate your advice, but we can’t just sit and do nothing when the Third Princess has gone missing and might even be in danger. I’d like to ask you to take care of my friends.”
“What do you mean, Liuyue? You’re not letting us join you?” asked Mu Hongyu hurriedly.
Qiang Wanzhou walked straight toward Chu Liuyue immediately. Before crossing the greenish barrier, he gripped the Cloud-Sky Copper Sword in his hand and looked at Qin Yi. “I go wherever she goes.”
Although Qin Yi was also rather worried, he couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of Qiang Wanzhou. Does he think that he’s the only one who’s concerned about her safety? If she insists on going, there’s no way Laosi and I will stay outside.
A loud rumbling sound came from behind just then.
When they looked back, they saw the ground suddenly collapsing along with the withered trees. A huge ravine was formed in no time, and it was getting bigger. Soon, the same thing began happening everywhere else.
An uneasy feeling crept up Chu Liuyue’s heart as she pointed her toes and flew upward. A trace of shock surfaced on her face when she got a clear look at the scene below.
The ground was collapsing in the shape of a circle with the mother tree in the middle. Most importantly, it was starting to spread toward the outer perimeter as well. Like invisible waves, the entire Mystic Forest started crumbling.
The lush trees were now completely bare and withered with the red mist surrounding them.
The sky had once again turned bleak as well. Unlike the phenomenon that was triggered during the Nine-Colored Heavenly Pheasant’s breakthrough, the sky appeared eerie now.
Chu Liuyue looked toward the mother tree in the middle once more.
All the trees had withered and were swallowed in this howling wind, but not only did the mother tree remain safe and sound, but it was also continuously growing.
Could it be swallowing the other trees’ energy?! A spine-chilling thought appeared in Chu Liuyue’s mind as she stared at its lush, green leaves. If I’m not wrong, many people must be trapped under those trees just like Jiang Yucheng earlier. In that case… Shangguan Wan must be underneath the mother tree!