In the wake of Qin Mo's shouts, the still resting disciples immediately stood up on guard, quickly grasping their weapons and bracing themselves as they followed Qin Mo's gaze forward.
The snapping got louder and louder, sounding much like food being chewed. As they listened to it, their bodies trembled in fear. At that moment, all those present were on edge, looking towards the sound's origin and waiting to find out what was to come.
Just as everyone stared wide-eyed, the small shrubbery before them slowly disappeared and a group of large black figures gradually came into view. The crowd of disciples sucked in mouthfuls of cold air.
To their surprise, it was giant forest ants!
The giant forest ant was a type of large black ant that occurred only within forests. It was about a meter high and three meters long. What made it so terrifying though was its large bite.
They were satisfied eating anything; flowers and trees on the roadside, even the flesh and blood of humans and animals.
Generally, the cultivation level of giant forest ants was rather low, roughly only reaching to about the third layer of Qi refining. However, their formidable nature came from the fact that they were herding animals. If they ever were to appear, it would be as a large group.
The giant ants in front of everyone now were about half the height of a person. By now they had already cleared the shrubbery and even the sporadic flowers and vegetation on the ground, having completely emerged from the brush before them.
A panicked look appeared in the eyes of many of the disciples. The giant forest ants ahead of them stood densely packed, just at first glance there appeared to be hundreds of them. No one could have anticipated that so tiny a forest could hide so many.
The two giant antennae at the forehead of one of the giant ants pointed directly at them. As though it could sense the taste of human flesh, the antennae suddenly shook rapidly producing a droning hum. Out of the blue, the leading giant ant's large dark eyes turned in an unusual manner, inside them, a strange white light flashed.
“Ah!” One of the younger disciples, unable to endure the severity of the moment, unconsciously swung the long sword in his hands towards the giant ant in front.
Just then, a loud bang rung as a notch appeared in the sword. While the giant ant merely swayed its hardly ailed body. Yet another feature of the giant forest ant; its ridiculously strong defence. Its body was completely covered in a hard black shell which was impervious to the best common cultivation tools.
It seemed to have been irritated by the disciple's provocation. Its two front claws1 moved slightly, its enormous body was extremely light and it jumped up in place before rushing straight toward the disciple. At the end of its sharp stinger, the sunlight gleamed in an incomparably odd green light. Obviously, it was coated with a strong poison.
The disciple’s pupils constricted and his body froze unable to move. All he could do was watch as the giant ant rushed towards him. In the end, he desperately closed his eyes.
“Get out of the way!” As he heard a clear cold voice beside his ear, the disciple’s body suddenly fell to the ground, painfully thrown back. Yet the disciple didn't care in the slightest, he merely stared wide-eyed at the situation developing before him.
Shixiong held a dark green long sword in his grasp, blocking the giant ant's attack. At that moment, the monster's black against the white clothes created quite the impact.
As though it had not noticed the differing strength, the sword swiftly danced in Qin Mo's hands. After several large blows, the giant ant met his death under his sword. Considering the fact he had already built his foundation, the disparity between his level and the giant ant's level was quite clear.
The giant black ant lay on the ground, dark green liquid seeping from its messy wounds. As the soil first came into contact with these liquids, the originally level land eroded to form multiple pits. Now and then, large quantities of green smoke emerged from them. Its pungent odour made Qin Mo scowl.
As the living giant ants noticed the fallen body on the ground, they rushed forward with great excitement and, in no more than a second, devoured the corpse in its entirety.
Before the crowd could get over the shock, the giant ants once again shifted their focus onto them. It seemed that as they had just made a meal out of their companion, they had become all the more excited and their black eyes assumed a dark red shade. Their long antennae shook and they rushed forward towards them.
Perhaps it was Qin Mo killing one of their own that caused such rage from the other giant ants, as particularly many swarmed around him. From afar, within the dense black mass, only the corner of a white robe could be faintly seen.
Qin Mo clenched Biyoujian in his hand and looked at the giant ants before him. In his eyes, shone a calmness as he swung the long sword at his chest slowly, extremely slowly. Yet none of the giant ants could break through his defence.
After a while, in front of him, an undulating wave pattern slowly emerged. Like ripples on the water's surface, it gradually burst forth. As the surge lines enveloped the giant ants, they seemed to disappear as if melting away.
“Purging Wave sword technique!” Behind him, the disciples watched the scene around Qin Mo and whispered amongst themselves.
Yueqing Sect was not only one of the three major sects under the boundary of the blue sky, it was also still a sword sect and it's disciples, for the most part, were sword cultivators. The Purging Wave sword method was one of its hidden teachings.
The so-called technique, carefully selected for its quality, made use of slow movements. Applying gentleness to conquer strength, it was capable of producing the most powerful corrosive rippling waves and was the technique Qin Mo had just used.
As the disciples that were wearily struggling to cope with the attacking giant ants saw Qin Mo so effortlessly putting an end to the monsters, their eyes couldn't help but light up and within them rose a heroic spirit. Continuing to exert their formidably powerful swordsmanship, they were truly astounding disciples of the sect. In a flash, the giant ants were being annihilated where they stood.
More and more black carcasses piled on the ground, until there were only about ten giant ants left still alive. At that point, the leading giant ant stood in place, raising its body up, its two long antennae violently swaying. For a time, the air was once more filled with an intense buzzing.
Just then, the other ants stopped attacking and silently returned to their leader's side. They lowered their bodies and kneeled in ardent respect, seemingly waiting for something.
Seeing them act in such a way, the already relieved disciples became once again nervous. Uncertain of what more was to come, one after another they concentrated at Qin Mo's side.
“Bang!” An incredibly loud noise sounded. Everyone's gaze followed it as they all froze, stunned.
In the middle of all the buzzing, an even larger forest ant had appeared in the sky. It was the size of about four to five ordinary giant forest ants and its whole body was scarlet. Most peculiar though was the presence of two pairs of enormous wings behind it and it was with these wings that it was currently flying through the air.
The giant red ant approached the leader giant ant, circling around it several times. The leader ant's antennae shook and it immediately kneeled on the ground.
The giant red ant's mandibles2 abruptly swelled and it suddenly jabbed them into the head of the leader ant. At that moment, something appeared to flow into the red ant from its mandibles.
Qin Mo eyes widened. He could clearly see the red ant's cultivation level rising from the 7th layer of Qi refining to the 8th layer.
In a few short moments, all that remained of the leader ant was a shrivelled exoskeleton. The red giant ant drew out its mandibles, shaking its body as though it were dissatisfied. Once again it inserted them into the head of another giant ant and drained it in much the same manner.
All anyone could do was watch blankly as its cultivation level steadily rose, finally breaking through to the foundation building phase.
“Its actually a forest ant queen…” A disciple muttered.
The forest ant queen was, without any reservations, the most powerful of all the giant forest ants. Unlike other giant ants, its only duty was to continuously conceive offspring and the way it enhanced its cultivation was also quite simple; all it had to do was absorb the strength of the other forest ants.
Recalling this information, the faces of all those present became deathly pale. They didn’t want to become food for the queen.
“It doesn't matter, Shixiong has already built his foundation. He's so strong, he's definitely able to defeat this measly little ant!” The disciple who had spoken secretly watched Qin Mo’s face. Noticing that he only looked at the ant queen before him indifferently and, furthermore, didn’t dispute the claim he'd made, he couldn't help but declare even louder.
“Yeah, Shixiong surely will! He's also in the foundation building phase!” Upon hearing this, the rest of the disciples also couldn't help but reveal spirited smiles as they watched Qin Mo in admiration.
After a while, the giant forest ant seemed to be full. Opening its mouth, it turned its attention to the crowd.
Qin Mo tightened his grip around the sword in his hand. As he stepped forward, a hand suddenly reached out to stop him.
“Shixiong, this time let me deal with it.” The sound of a youth's honest voice resonated. Qin Mo turned his head to see Lin Zizheng holding his hand, the corner of his mouth slightly raised, speaking as gently as a light breeze.
Qin Mo stared blankly and then nodded in agreement. In his opinion, every person had to mature at some point. Moreover, Lin Zizheng was this world's protagonist and even if he was ultimately no match for the forest ant queen, Qin Mo was still there.
Though he held these sentiments in his mind, he didn't notice that he still firmly held his sword and his body remained in a stance that appeared prepared to charge forward at any moment. With regard to this Lin Zizheng, who had practically grown up watching him, was still extremely concerned.
Hearing Lin Zizheng's words and then seeing Shixiong's lack of objection, the face of the disciple behind him twisted in dissatisfaction.
“Tch, he's only at the 7th layer of Qi refining! Wanting to already defeat an ant queen is really delusional! Does he want Shixiong to collect his corpse for him?” The speaker was an elite child of the inner sect, his cultivation was already at the 9th layer of Qi refining. He looked at Lin Zizheng with disdain as he ridiculed him.
In the blink of an eye, he noticed that Shixiong was coldly watching him and he swallowed the rest of his words, feeling the regret set into his heart. How could he have forgotten that this Lin Zizheng was Shixiong's attendant. By saying such things about him, one was certain to make Shixiong displeased with them.
Lin Zizheng didn't take the slightest notice to the idle gossip behind him. He cared for no one but Shixiong. This time, he'd undertaken the task simply to show off his capabilities to him, that was all.
Woohoo! Alright! Next chapter is a bit longer than usual but I'll try to get it out during the next week. See ya then babes & boys.
1Fun Fact: Ants like most other arthropods have something called tarsal claws at the ends of their legs. Don't even ask why I know this lol.
2The pincher thingies at an ants mouth typically used to grab food or fight and shit.