The cultivators that had emerged from the screen of light were in sorry states, but all of them possessed Nascent Soul cultivation. No matter how arrogant he may be, he didn’t dare to turn a blind eye. More importantly, the explosions had given him a faint feeling of foreboding.
The newly arrived were the four elders of the Sacred Poison Sect and the group of five vagrant cultivators which included the dubious Master Scatterwind. One among them said, “Brother Qian is astonishingly capable. He had arrived a step faster than us. Yi! Is that the Nine Serenities Sect’s Fellow Daoist Fu? Who are those other two?”
“So it was Brother Hua. Your arrival is quite timely,” with a trace of lingering worry, Old Man Fu then quickly asked, “Could enlighten us on what was behind that recent explosion?”
A large man amongst the vagrants snorted and said, “That is what we should be asking. Since you arrived earlier, you must’ve been the ones who placed down the illusion formation outside. It had erupted after we passed through, sealing the opening.”
When they heard this, their expressions faintly changed, staring at Han Li, Bai Yaoyi and Old Man Fu with unfriendly bearings.
“You misunderstand. When we arrived, there were already others present. We had nothing to do with the illusion formation you speak of,” Old Man Fu’s face sank and he bluntly asked, “Could it be you plan on taking out your grievances on us?”
During such complicated situations, one couldn't reveal weakness or risk being assailed by all sides.
“There are others here?” This time, even Old Devil Qian was surprised.
Old Man Fu snorted and explained, “We were taken here unintentionally through an ancient spell formation. At the time, we heard the sounds of people breaking a restriction at the top of the mountain. However, we were trapped in a restriction for several days and had lost track of them. I reckon this illusion formation should have something to do with them.”
“Is that true?” The large man and the rest of the cultivators all appeared doubtful.
The Sacred Poison Sect’s Grand Elder Hua Tianqi said, “Brother Fu is the enforcement elder of the Nine Serenities Sect. If they truly opened the seal, then their Sect Elder Gu should be personally presiding over this matter.”
“That is a fair point!” The large man found this reasoning sound after a moment of thought.
Hua Tianqi curiosity glanced around and said, “But just as we entered, you three and Brother Qian appeared to be at odds. Could it be that you have done something to offend each other?” It was obvious to see that they were readied for battle.
“This is...” A trace of hesitation appeared on the old man’s face as he thought of a reply.
In a palace hall far on the top of Kunwu Mountain, the large-headed eccentric was holding a small golden hammer. With each wave, he summoned an arc of silver-white lightning, shattering stone puppet after puppet.
Behind him, the other Ye Clan elders were controlling their own magic treasures, fiercely attacking the stone puppets in front of them.
These puppets all took the form of birds or four-legged beasts. Not only were they incredibly sturdy, but were able to release many simple magic techniques from their mouths in a formidable fashion. They wildly rushed into the hall from the surrounding palace corridors as if there were no end to them.
The Ye Clan cultivators all remained calm in the face of these relentless enemies and focused on controlling their magic tools as if they were simply stalling for time.
Then shortly after, a violent explosion sounded out from the distance. A corridor had collapsed and halted a stream of stone puppets with it.
The Ye Clan cultivators all smiled.
Not long after, three other corridors had collapsed with explosions one after another, completely cutting off all streams of puppets. The elders then soon exterminated the remaining few in the hall.
One of them mused, “What in the world are these? They are quite different from the mechanisms of the current age...”
With the assailants now cleared, those present now relaxed and sat down cross-legged with spiritual stones in their hands. Although the situation hadn’t appeared very dangerous, they had been using the full might of their magic treasures and consumed much of their strength.
A streak of white light flew out from the last destroyed corridor and quickly arrived before them to reveal a white-robed Confucian scholar.
He smiled and said, “Elder Han, you were correct. These corridors lead to various side chambers where they were emerging. I’ve destroyed all the restrictions in accordance to your guidance.”
“It was nothing,” the disguised Elder Devil calmly replied, “I only happened to know of this grand puppet formation from an ancient book I happened upon. If we were to rather endure, we would’ve slowly been worn away.”
The scholar chuckled and happily said, “It seems bringing you along was the right choice. I fear we’ll have to rely on you again in the future.”
“The Grand Elder flatters me. I would’ve done my utmost regardless.” The Elder Devil faintly smiled and spoke with a polite tone. The scholar nodded with satisfaction at his response.
Then, the large-headed eccentric abruptly laughed, “It should be about time for the formation we placed to explode. If we’re lucky, it might buy us some time.”
“Indeed,” the scholar replied with a stern expression, “There should be people rushing through by now given the time we spent here. The formation should collapse the opening for a time. Regardless, the seal would’ve weakened after some time even without our meddling.”
“There is still some time before the seal completely collapses. It should be long enough for us to seize the treasures.” The eccentric then turned to the scholar and asked, “But where exactly are we on the mountain? Surely we can’t be too far away from the main buildings?”
The scholar pondered for a moment and slowly said, “Yes, that should be about right. However, we’re now encountering restrictions with far greater frequency. It should illustrate that we’ve arrived near an important place on Kunwu Mountain.”
“That is good. However, there is a troublesome matter to address. That Silver-winged Nightfiend has been following us. Why is this? Does it wish to mount a sneak attack?” The eccentric then turned to look at the entrance of the large hall with a trace of apprehension.
The others unconsciously followed his gaze, but found nothing there.
Nevertheless, they knew that it was most likely hiding and was observing them from a distance, much to their distress.
Were it not for the fact that they had two late-Nascent Soul cultivators, they wouldn’t have dared to continue forward.
The scholar muttered to himself for a moment and said, “That refined corpse is somewhat troublesome. If we had enough time, we could injure it or even hunt it down. However, time is of the essence. Currently, it is only observing us, and we would risk enraging it if we take action. Perhaps it will later trap itself in a restriction.”
When the others heard this, they found the words to be reasonable and agreed. After all, the devil possessed masterful movement techniques. It was nearly impossible for them to escape from it.
Once they all restored a portion of their magic power, they immediately left the hall and made their way out.
When their surroundings lit up, they were all dumbstruck.
In front of them laid a dozen different stairways that stretched off in different directions. However, each path was clouded by a white fog so no one couldn't tell where they led. This was much to their shock.
One of the older cultivators sighed and turned to the scholar with a wry smile, “How will we deal with this? Even if we had one person search each area, we can’t cover everything.”
The scholar quickly calmed the old man, “There is no need to be nervous. This clearly shows that we’ve arrived at the heart of Kunwu Mountain. Splitting our numbers individually is out of the question as we can’t protect ourselves alone. How about we head over to there and take a look first?” He pointed to a platform made of white jade where all the steps joined. It was a couple of kilometers away, but it was clearly massive.
The others raised no objections and followed after, taking off to the air. But not far into their journey, they all fell to the ground.
“There is a restriction preventing flight! Why would it be placed here?” The eccentric shouted.
Fortunately, they hadn’t flown high and thus didn’t suffer any injuries. Rather, they were happy to discover this restriction. This was a sign that they had entered a very important place in the Kunwu Mountains.
Old Devil Qian astonishedly recalled his attack and hastily turned around, assuming a careful attitude. “What just happened? Why are you in such a panic?”