The mission team proceeded in their original formation. Since the deathly energy in the air was too dense, they could only dimly see the distant structure.
The building was further away than they’d imagined. They didn’t get close until walking on foot for a whole hour. Only then did they realize that this structure was actually a sacrificial altar.
The altar’s base was forged of pure green stones with nine steps.
It had four stone pillars, one in each corner. The pillars were undecorated, but on top, they each had a purple crystal.
There was one more pillar in the center. Both its height and width were far greater than the other four. It, too, had a purple crystal ball on top, which emanated faint light.
“What’s up with this altar?” Xue Mo glanced solemnly at Ye Zichen. Sometimes, altars represented religious faith. Some were used to pray for prosperity. They were common outside of cities, in towns and villages.
“You really haven’t realized it yet?” Ye Zichen retracted his gaze, then pointed at the purple clouds of death qi surrounding them. “This death qi, as well as the dark purple smog I released when I cut open that corpse, are all gathering at the altar.”
“You’re right.” Murong Xue crossed her arms and nodded. “The death qi is far denser here than anywhere else.”
“So you’re saying that this might be the core of the problem?” asked Luo Zi.
Ye Zichen made no comment either way. There was no way to know for certain yet.
Li Hu tilted his head, walked right up to the central pillar, and hefted his twin battleaxes. “If this is all because of the altar, let’s just crush it!”
With that, he hefted his weapons and slammed them into the altar.
“Don’t….!” Ye Zichen, Xue Mo, Murong Xue, and Jiang Yong shouted practically in unison. However, their attempts to stop him were just a little too late. Li Hu’s battleaxe slammed into the central pillar with a mighty bang.
“Someone has damaged the sacrificial altar.” The moment the axe hit its mark, a few hundred furry bodies burrowed their way out of the surrounding yellow sands. It was a group of magical beasts!
“Subterranean Beasts! Don’t they live in the south of the Yao Realm? Why are they here?” exclaimed the flowers of the Appearance Association in unison.
“Isn’t it obvious? Subterranean Beasts from the Yao Realm have appeared outside Barren Sands City. This is such a sensitive location that there’s no way they aren’t involved with what happened here,” snorted Luo Zi. His expression darkened.
“They’re truly hideous,” said Murong Xue disdainfully.
“What’s going on?” Li Hu had only just come to his senses. He watched the slowly gathering Subterranean Beasts in a daze, then asked the others for clarification.
“This is all your fault, isn’t it?” Luo Zi rolled his eyes.
“They’re Subterranean Beasts. They’re low-grade divine beasts. When they’re young, they’re comparable to human immortal experts. Adults are generally at least third stage sky supremes. The ones in front of us should all be adults, which means we now have to face at least a hundred third-stage sky supreme opponents.” Xue Mo hefted her dagger and looked over the impending swarm. The others summoned their weapons as well.
“What should we do?” asked Jiang Yong. Just like Li Hu, he wielded an axe.
“What else can we do?” Ye Zichen looked at the swarm of Subterranean Beasts, clenched his demigod longsword, and said, “Let’s fight our way through.”
With that, Ye Zichen charged to the south of the pillar and into battle. “Sword Slash Maelstrom!”
Countless illusory blades gathered behind him, then flew into the swarm. However, not even one landed on the beasts. Instead, they hit the desert sands.
Upon impact, they stirred up sandstorms so fierce, no one could open their eyes.
A short but strong figure cut through the fierce sands. Following each flash of silver light, a Subterranean Beast toppled to the ground.
“It’s a pleasure working with you.” Xue Mo appeared beside Ye Zichen. Blood flowed from her dagger.
“Subterranean Beasts are relatively dim-witted. If we work together, we might really be able to take them all out.”
Ye Zichen nodded in response. He was only a seventh-stage earth supreme. Actually, he could defeat the Subterranean Beasts on his own if he really wanted to, but he didn’t want to reveal his true strength too early. Acting as her assistant was good too.
He glanced over at the others. The Aspiration Society was fighting in the west. Jiang Yong was right in the thick of things, and every swing of his axe was effective.
The Appearance Association was fighting in the North. Murong Xue fought like wildfire, and the two “golden flowers” were helping her out.
In the east, Chen Guangfa, Luo Zi, and Li Hu looked like they were fending for themselves well enough.
“Let’s go.” Ye Zichen refocused on the fight ahead of them. This was no time to worry about the others. If anyone were going to fall, it would actually be the two of them. All the other groups included eight and ninth stage sky supremes, while he and Xue Mo...
One was a seventh-stage earth supreme, while the other had only just become a sky supreme.
After six hours of brutal combat, they’d slaughtered practically every last Subterranean Beast.
Actually, the others had a relatively easy time; it was just Ye Zichen and Xue Mo who struggled. Fortunately, after the higher-level students finished killing their share of beasts, they rushed to Ye Zichen and Xue Mo’s aid.
“Little beasts! Go on and report to the River Styx!” Jiang Yong roared in fury, then cut the very last Subterranean Beast in half through its waist. Fresh blood splattered across his face; you couldn’t even see his skin through all that red.
“The more time I spend with you, the less I respect you,” said Murong Xue. She crossed her arms and sneered. Of everyone who’d fought the Subterranean Beasts, only Jiang Yong and Li Hu, the ax-wielders, were covered in blood.
Her disdainful gaze flitted across their bodies. Finally, she shook her head and sighed. “Barbarians.”
Li Hu scratched his head in mild embarrassment. He had nothing to say for himself. If not for him trying to destroy the pillar with brute force, they wouldn’t have had to go through all this fuss.
Jiang Yong was bathed in blood, but he laughed uproariously as if it didn’t matter. He wiped the blood from his face and hefted his great axe. “This is what it means to be a true man.”
These words were obviously directed at Murong Xue, but she simply rolled her eyes in return. Nevertheless, she took out a cloth and tossed it at him. “Hurry up and wipe off your face! You’re filthy!”
By now, even Ye Zichen and the others could tell that there was something going on between the two of them.
No one paid the quarreling lovers any heed. Instead, they took medicine and recovered their divine power, or otherwise attended to their own affairs. Jiang Yong grinned, then wiped his face and arms with a cloth. Just as he was about to return it to Murong Xue’s spatial ring….
He collapsed.Previous Chapter Next Chapter