It wasn’t until the group could no longer feel the auras of their pursuers that they stopped running.
By then, an hour had already passed.
“Is everyone alright?” Bai Yunfei asked from his position as the rearguard of the group. Everyone was resting by a small mountain to catch their breaths.
“I’m….I’m good…” Kun shook his hand dismissively from his seat next to a tree trunk. Still, his face had a delighted look on it. “That was….brilliant! Utterly brilliant! Haha, I’ve never fought so hard in my life before, no wonder this place is called the Soulbeast Forest! I never felt so excited before!”
“Ah, stow it, you. We nearly lost our lives there and here you are trying to play hero.” Zhou Feng hissed, his right hand trying to clean the nasty-looking wound on his left shoulder.
“Ah! Brother Zhou! You’re injured!! Here….let me take care of that for you….” Yelping in realization of his pain, Han Yan moved swiftly to his side. With a concentrated expression, she placed both hands onto his wounds. A wave of bluish light started to gather forth underneath her palms, and with time, the wound was completely basked in the glow–this was a very basic form of Hydrotherapy.
“Ah!! It hurts! Lil’ Yan, my sister, I’m hurt too! Come save me! It feels like my arm’s about to snap off….” Kun cried out as he clutched at his arm.
“Then amputate it, what are you crying for?” Ye Zi kicked at him in mock anger.
The fact that they could play around like this meant that everything was fine. Relieved, Bai Yunfei shook his head and walked to a nearby tree to start recovering his own soulforce.
Up above them, the foliage in the trees rustled slightly, revealing a small golden monkey that leapt down onto Zhang Yunpeng’s shoulder. Scratching its head as it communicated to him, Zhang Yunpeng later turned around to face the group, “The wolves gave up the chase. We should be able to rest here for now. We might’ve lost a lot of energy, but we’re not in danger yet.”
Having no one to object, the group began to rest.
“Hey, Bai Yunfei, that move you used earlier….”
Feeling quite bored, Kun suddenly started to spark up conversation with Bai Yunfei, “I know Long said so before, but aren’t you just a little too strong? Becoming a Soul Exalt in an instant….good Gods, I’ve never heard of such a terrifying soul skill before. In fact, I can’t even see any signs of backlash from you?! How in the world did you achieve that…?”
“I’m sure it’s a secret of the Crafting School, a powerful secret that only the disciples of the elders are privy to learn probably. Have you forgotten just who brother Bai is?” Zhang Yunpeng spoke up.
Bai Yunfei gave a noncommittal nod of his head.
“Wow! The Crafting School’s amazing! I have to admit, I’m pretty jealous!” Giving a wistful sigh, Kun shook his head and refocused on his recuperation efforts.
Bai Yunfei looked back to Zhang Yunpeng who was looking at the map even while he was resting, “Boss Zhang, where do you plan to look now?”
“Sigh….we’ve been in the class five area for about a month now, but we’ve already looked through a good portion of the place without even a trace of the snake. I’d like to go deeper in to look, but what do you all think?” Zhang Yunpeng folded the map back up with a sigh.
“Deeper in? Into the class six area? Yunpeng….are you really considering it?” Zhou Feng asked in concern.
Zhang Yunpeng sighed. “By this point, we can only give it a try. We can look for another month in the northwest part of the forest, but if we can’t find anything, then….let’s give up. I can’t put you guys in any more danger on my behalf.”
The rest of the group went silent. Indeed, exploring the class five area for an entire month was already very taxing for the group. Some of the members were already unable to guarantee their own safety by their own strength, and that terrifying battle they were just in was proof of how dangerous it was getting. Aside from Bai Yunfei, the rest of the group had only managed to escape from that battle by the skin of their teeth.
So the fact that Bai Yunfei was able to bale them out made them all extremely grateful that they invited Bai Yunfei into their team.
“That settles it then! We continue for another month!” Ye Zi announced, “Don’t feel so negative, senior. Who’s to say we won’t find the purple-crowned snake? Don’t you worry, no matter how dangerous it gets, we’ll be right there behind you. I’m confident that we’ll be able to save your wife!”
The smiles and nods going around the group led to Zhang Yunpeng smiling himself, “Thank you everyone. With you guys as my friends, I feel that I’ve used up all the luck in my life!”
“Eh? That can’t be right, I remember you saying before that having sister-in-law as your wife was the biggest stroke of luck in your life.”
“Er, I mean….”
Even as an ‘outsider’ to the group, Bai Yunfei felt warmth radiate from himself as he watched the group laugh with one another.
To have friends like those was truly a rare thing.
Bai Yunfei looked up at the starry canopy above him with a small smile. He hadn’t even a single friend in his life until he turned eighteen. But right now….the figures of several people flowed through his mind one after another.
The smile grew wider by a fraction of an inch.
He had plenty of friends now.
“Brother Bai, what do you have planned now?” Zhang Yunpeng asked, “what I mean is, it may very well take us another month before we return to town. Are you willing to come with us?”
“Well, I wasn’t planning on leaving the Soulbeast Forest just yet.” He shook his head, “I was thinking that I should stay here a little longer. And if possible, I’ll probably take a look into the class six area….”
“The class six area!!” Everyone was shocked to hear that. “Haha, you’re a courageous one, brother Bai! The class six area is something I can’t even think about,” Zhang Yunpeng sighed, “even those teams with Soul Exalts as leaders wouldn’t go into the class six area so easily.”
“But if it’s brother Bai, I’m sure he’d be fine. He killed a mid-stage class six soulbeast after all.” Long spoke.
“That’s true.” Zhang Yunpeng nodded sagely. “But still. I hope you won’t find it offensive if I say this, but you might want to hold off on going to the class six area for now. The soulbeast wave only just happened, so we’re not sure just how that’ll affect the class six area. Prudence and patience is key here.”
“But of course,” Bai Yunfei laughed, “thanks for the warning, though. I’ll be sure to be careful.”
“It was destiny that brought you into our team, brother Bai. If we meet again in the future, I’ll hope that you’ll come visit my Shining Star School, I’ll be sure to repay this favor to you then.”
“Haha, if there’s a chance I’ll vi–”
Suddenly, a piercing hiss filled the air, interrupting Bai Yunfei’s speech and sending everyone else into shock.
It was an extremely distinct sound with how it sounded halfway to being the hissing of a snake and the crowing of a chicken. Not only that, the pitch was slightly off-key, but it was loud enough to be heard for hundreds of meters around. But after this sound was heard, it was as though a chain reaction was had, as all of the soulbeasts in the forest immediately started to howl, hiss, and jeer, as if they were….afraid?
Bai Yunfei narrowed his eyes. This was not a normal response to the crying of a soulbeast. He turned around, ready to ask Zhang Yunpeng of his thoughts, only to see the man facing towards the direction of the soulbeast’s cry with an expression mixed in between excitement and shock.
“Boss Zhang, what’s wrong?”
“This sound….there’s no mistaking it, it’s a purple-crowned snake! That’s the cry of a purple-crowned snake!”
“What?!” Everyone cried out in surprise and leapt to their feet.
“We’ve finally found one?” A smile crept over onto Bai Yunfei’s face. Rising to his feet, Bai Yunfei turned to the rest of the group, “Then what are we doing here? Let’s chase after it!”
Heading for the source of the cry, everyone ran at dreadfully fast speeds. Without needing to stop, it only took the group ten minutes around to reach their destination when Zhang Yunpeng’s face grew anxious, as if just realizing that they were going in the wrong direction. Another cry from the soulbeast came from the front along with a burst of elemental power.
Pointing northwest, Bai Yunfei ran towards a small mountain from where the purple-crowned snake was currently behind.
Running the short distance around the mountain, the group chased after Bai Yunfei before finally being stopped by Long, “It’s fighting another soulbeast! And judging from its aura, it’s a….”
“Early-stage class six soulbeast! Both of them!” Bai Yunfei finished his sentence.
That was news to be surprised about. Blanching as they felt the aura of the soulbeasts for themselves, everyone found themselves involuntarily slowing down a notch.
Upon seeing the hesitation on Zhang Yunpeng’s face, Bai Yunfei spoke, “Everyone’s low on soulforce, so let’s take a look at the situation first. There might be two class six soulbeats, but if they’re fighting each other, we’ve a chance still.”
“Brother Bai’s right. Let’s observe the situation for now. An early-stage class six purple-crowned snake is what we’re after. If we can wait for the right moment, we’ll be able to get what we want!” Zhang Yunpeng’s eyes lit up.
Everyone else nodded in agreement.
The group came to a stop on top of the mountain, hidden behind a giant rock that they used for cover while they peeped down on the situation. But when Zhang Yunpeng saw just who the snake was fighting, his eyes widened in fear.
“That’s….that’s a three-eyed bloodlion!!”