Li Qiye and Su Yonghuang stood by the entrance and glanced into the valley ahead.
It was very pretty with verdant trees and long vines everywhere. Moreover, a spirit energy enveloped the entire place without dissipating. A garden for meditation this was; many cultivators would be willing to stay here and train.
There were ponds and small streams connecting here and there. These complex currents formed a water vein. Moreover, the water from each stream didn’t interfere with each other and flowed quietly. It made the valley seem like a water kingdom. Even the potholes were filled with water.
In the middle of such a valley situated an old tree whose branches twisted everywhere. Even though it wasn’t overly large, it was flourishing with green leaves. Its thick bark made its age apparent.
This tree was incredibly conspicuous in this valley as if it was absorbing the massive amount of energy in the valley in order to grow.
Yonghuang was attracted by this scene and asked: “Is that the Reincarnation Nine-Leaves?”
“No, that’s not it. This old tree is still very amazing, but the disparity between it and the nine leaves is considerable, they’re not on the same level at all. The little grass growing beneath this tree is the real Reincarnation Nine-Leaves. It is attached to this tree.” Li Qiye pointed forward.
She followed his direction to take a gander. Below the numerous roots was a grass around one foot long. There were nine round leaves growing from it like little circles with thin teeth on the edges. Because of these sharp edges, it looked as if the leaves were rotating.
Even though the leaves were emitting a faint light as well as the occasional flash that resembled shimmering gems, many were drawn towards the old tree instead. It was because there was too much energy from the tree. Plus, there were many signs pointing to its great age. Even the most ignorant would know that this was a divine tree.
Because of this, the grass growing from the roots of this tree was extraordinary, but it was no match for the tree itself!
Su Yonghuang felt the same way. In the beginning, all of her attention was fixated on the old tree that had experienced the vicissitudes of time. Despite not being an alchemist, she could still tell that moving this energy-rich tree into a sect would grant great benefits for the disciples there. This was precisely the reason why she didn’t notice the Reincarnation Nine-Leaves in the beginning.
“How can you tell that the leaves are ready?” After being reminded by Li Qiye, she carefully gazed at the leaves. The longer she looked, the more extraordinary it seemed. The occasional glimmer from the leaves was wondrous like the stars themselves and full of life.
“Take a closer look at its roots and see if it is about to separate.” He woke her up from her stupor.
She shifted her attention towards the roots of the nine leaves. They were very small and initially looked ordinary. However, they had withstood the test of time just like the tree’s roots. Upon closer inspection, these roots looked like the claws of a true dragon that were clutching at the old tree’s roots. This was why the grass was able to grow on the tree.
However, these claw-like roots were loosening their grasp and seemed to be separating from the other roots.
“Don’t think that it is growing on the old roots. In fact, its roots are linked to the entire ground below. When it is near maturity, its roots will shrink. After so many long years, the process came down to this final moment of convergence. When it truly ripens, it will fall off from the tree…”
He paused for a moment before continuing: “Because of this, it isn’t that easy to take it away. Uprooting it would be akin to overturning the entire Divine Tree Ridge. You have to wait until it matures before doing so. Otherwise, even if you are capable of this task, it would be the same as taking away a dried blade of grass.”
“Buzz!” After Li Qiye finished his explanation, someone suddenly appeared inside the valley. He stood in a puddle with a black light lingering around him. However, with another buzz, he disappeared.
This was the Prince of Darkness from the abyss. He suddenly appeared and disappeared right away, so Yonghuang didn’t know what was going on.
After seeing this, a cultivator shouted: “It’s the prince, that’s the fifth time he has appeared.”
Someone else murmured: “The prince’s group is getting closer and closer to the immortal medicine. It looks like they have a good chance of getting it now.”
“What’s going on?” Yonghuang found the prince’s actions puzzling.
“It shows that he’s going to the right places.” Li Qiye smiled and explained: “If he can’t reappear, I’m afraid he will never be able to come out from this dangerous place.”
With that, he pulled her into the valley. The moment they set foot on its ground, the two also disappeared from sight with a buzz.
“Fiercest has entered as well, do we follow?” A few experts guarding the entrance were stirred.
“Why should we? Isn’t it better to stand guard by the door?” Someone revealed a devious smile; they had their own calculations.
The guards smiled back with a tacit understanding. It was better to hide in the back instead of rushing in. Perhaps they could take advantage of the situation and steal the tiger’s meal right in front of its jaws.
After being pulled inside by Li Qiye, the scene before Yonghuang changed. The spiritual valley was gone, only a great desert with sand everywhere remained.
Not only was sand flying everywhere, it was extremely hard. The grains below their feet seemed to be baking people alive.
“Is this an illusion?” After sensing the tangible changes in the air, Yonghuang had an indescribable feeling. She couldn’t believe that this was the lush Reincarnation Valley they were at a second ago.
“Do you think this is an illusion? There’s no doubt that many illusions are very real and virtually imperceptible. However, this is no illusion.” Li Qiye chuckled.
She couldn’t tell reality from illusion in this place because it was too real: “What is it then?”
“You can think of it as a samsara domain as well as an abandoned land. This place did exist a long time ago. However, for many reasons, it was abandoned.”
She asked while staring at the sand: “Can we leave?”
“It’s not hard.” Li Qiye answered: “Of course, the farther you go, the harder it is to return. However, if you wish to go to the center of the valley, you must surpass the samsara in this place. Otherwise, it’s impossible to enter to obtain the nine leaves.”
“Let’s go.” Li Qiye grabbed her and continued forward.
“Fiercest is also here.” They naturally met more cultivators while walking on this great desert who immediately made way for them.
Yonghuang found that this desert didn’t only have sand. The cultivators here dug up many large beast skeletons and Yin wood.
After they entered the valley and this desert, they couldn’t follow the route taken by the Prince of Darkness. Thus, they stayed here and excavated in order to find treasures among these remains and wood.
The presence of these things underground prompted her next question: “This place didn’t use to be like this, right?”
“You are probably right. Perhaps this used to be an ancient forest with towering trees with birds and fish everywhere.” Li Qiye chuckled.
Yonghuang had trouble imagining what had actually happened for this place to become a wasteland like this.