On the walls of yellow sand, the towering bare rocks looked like frozen waves. A blood-red sun coiled in the sky, staining the world in front of them with a dark color.
Jing Yue focused his gaze and saw hundreds of caves on every bare rock, like huge beehives.
According to the four maps, they had entered the second level of the secret realm. Among these thousands of caves, only 20 would lead to the third level, while the rest of the caves either held treasures or were guarded by ferocious beasts. But the caves leading to the third level were always moving and changing around. If lucky enough, one might run into it as soon as they arrived. If not, they might not even find one among thousands.
Since only a maximum of five people could enter each cave, everyone looked at each other and naturally divided into groups according to their sects.
Jing Yue and Qin Yanzhi formed one group. They could have joined the Tiangang Sect or Bodhisattva Yu that only had three disciples since five people’s combat power was definitely stronger than that of two.
But even if they were willing, the other two were unlikely to agree, especially Tiangang Sect. If they allowed Mini Frostcloud Sect to follow along, it was estimated that even if they were not killed by ferocious beasts, they would be schemed to death by Jing Yue.
Thus, everyone waved happily and separated.
As soon as Jing Yue and Qin Yanzhi entered the cave, they felt that the cave was suddenly sealed off. They could no longer connect with the outside world as if they had entered a small secret realm.
He already knew at this point that the only way to see the light of day again was to obtain the treasures in the cave or to kill the fierce beasts in it.
In front was a long tunnel, winding to the depths. The air in the cave was dark and humid, and the mud ground was very smooth like creatures were crawling repeatedly over it.
Jing Yue tried to release his divine consciousness to investigate but recalled that it was ineffective in the caves. He pushed blue phoenix back, who was trying to get out of his arms. “I think there are snakes here. If you don’t want to end up as their food ration, you need to stay quiet.”
Blue phoenix immediately said nervously, “Ji-ji hates snakes! Ji-ji hates dragons first and snakes second. Jing-jing must kill it quickly!”
Jing Yue signaled to Qin Yanzhi with his eyes and the two of them walked deeper into the cave.
The corridor was a bit narrow but still allowed two people to walk side-by-side. On the way, Jing Yue picked up some scales. After careful observation, he could only confirm that it was a snake but not the species.
Blue phoenix flapped its wings in disgust. “Throw it away quickly! Those are the scales of the Hydra. It’s ugly and smelly. The head is heavy and the bottom is light. It’s also stupid as hell. Jing-jing, don’t be afraid.”
In terms of identifying beasts, Ji-ji had proven its reliability several times, and it was also correct this time.
When they passed through the tunnel, the cave suddenly opened up, and a hydra curled up in it. Without Jing Yue having to move a muscle, a sword light flashed across, and nine snake heads were cut off with one strike.
A behemoth was wiped out before it could even react, simply no dignity to speak of.
Jing Yue applauded. “Yanzhi's sword is really extraordinary. I think you will be invincible when you reach the Foundation Establishment stage. I wonder who will win if we fought.”
“I naturally won't lose against others. If I’m up against Gege,” the corners of Qin Yanzhi's mouth curved. “I don't want to lose, so I will definitely not fight you.”
“Hmph! Bootlicker!” blue phoenix expressed its disdain.
Meanwhile, the disciples of Tiangang Sect were also walking in the tunnel, which was very long with no end to it.
They cursed Jing Yue as they walked, and Pockmarks Yu said, “Hehe, I see shadows on that Jing fellow’s forehead with dark clouds overhead. Maybe he will encounter a ghost face spider! When the time comes for him to die in the mouth of the beast, it can also be considered as removing a pest for the cultivation world.”
The other two felt very gratified just imagining the scene! They started describing the scenes they conjured. The more they thought about it, the more excited they became as if their imagination had become a fact.
While they were talking, Jing Yue and Qin Yanzhi entered the second cave.
The cave was very spacious with a ceiling at least 50 or 60 feet high, and the rock walls were covered with mold and cobwebs.
Jing Yue said casually, “Once, a disciple of Bluecloud Valley only found three caves and successfully led to the third floor. I wonder how our luck will be.”
Qin Yanzhi was about to speak when suddenly, he frowned.
There was a faint stench of corpses in the cave and Jing Yue naturally smelled it too.
It was recorded on the map that among all the ferocious beasts that the predecessors encountered on the second floor, the top three were ghost face spider, ape corpse, and prison wolf.
Suddenly, a gust of wind with a stench hit. Jing Yue turned his head and saw a dark figure grabbing Qin Yanzhi from behind.
Qin Yanzhi swiped his long sword while stepping sideways in evasion, almost slashing the black shadow. The black shadow didn’t stop and rushed forward due to the momentum, passing by Qin Yanzhi. At this moment, Qin Yanzhi suddenly changed his sword to the other hand and made a backward stab. The shadow screamed and a big hole appeared at the waist.
When the black shadow stopped, Jing Yue finally saw that the other party looked like an ape, with a large head and long arms, yellow skin wrapped around the bones, and a body smelling like a corpse. He covered his nose and mouth and said, “Yanzhi, be careful of the corpse venom.”
As soon as he said that, the ape corpse spewed out green mist from its mouth, angrily hammering towards Qin Yanzhi.
Qin Yanzhi directly met the blows. With a light tap of his toes, his body flew into the air. He made a forward flip, rendered his body in an inverted position, and with his hands holding the sword, he stabbed straight down on the ape corpse’s head!
The ape corpse tried to dodge but the sword intent seemed to permeate the surroundings. It was forced to be trapped in a square inch of the ground and could only raise its hand to block the attack. With a sound like sawing wood, the right arm of the ape corpse was cut off from the elbow.
The ape corpse howled in pain. In a blink of an eye, the fallen forearm broke apart into five pieces and all stood up again, turning into five small zombies, and all pounced on Qin Yanzhi.
On the side, Jing Yue looked at this scene with his arms folded. He nodded when he saw this. “Sure enough, it’s a body-splitting technique. It seems that the ape corpse has reached the strength of absolute-level Foundation Establishment stage.”
He saw blue phoenix poking its head out and said, “Ji-ji, it’s time to show your prowess. Let’s see if your leaf blade can hit the small zombies.”
Blue phoenix’s beady eyes lit up immediately. “Ji-ji can do it!”
Qin Yanzhi, who was fighting hard, heard two chirps and became nervous subconsciously. He was worried that the blue phoenix’s accuracy was too poor to distinguish friend from foe.
Reality proved that he had underestimated blue phoenix. Ji-ji blew out a total of five leaf blades, and each piece accurately hit the small zombies… but there was not much use. The little zombies paused momentarily before changing direction and charged toward Jing Yue instead.
Blue phoenix was so frightened that it plunged into Jing Yue's arms, making him laugh aloud with amusement. With a flick of his sleeves, several small zombies were frozen into ice sculptures.
Jing Yue, “Okay, it’s all taken care of.”
Blue phoenix poked its head out a little, showing only its small eyes, and saw the few frozen little zombies. It shivered again before flying out from Jing Yue’s arms boldly. First, it observed the little zombies from a distance, before jumping up to them. It stretched out a claw and kicked it before pouncing back into Jing Yue’s arms, saying bitterly, “Hmph, Ji-ji will kick you to death!”
Jing Yue, “…”
While blue phoenix was showing off, Qin Yanzhi was still fighting fiercely. At this time, the body of the ape corpse was already riddled with more than a dozen large and small holes, distributed in an artistic fashion. When Qin Yanzhi cut off the right foot of the ape corpse with another strike of his sword, the body of the ape corpse swayed and knelt on the ground.
With a roar, the mutilated arms of the ape corpse shook. The body turned dark green and quickly grew bigger. When it stood up staggeringly again, it was already four or five feet tall.
Although it was missing one foot, it still stood firm. It lifted the injured leg and stomped on Qin Yanzhi. Qin Yanzhi stepped back and inadvertently inhaled the smell of that foot while dodging. His face suddenly turned pale and almost retched.
He became angry and didn’t want to mess around with the ape corpse any longer. With a flip, he jumped onto the knee of the ape corpse. The ape corpse raised its claws to grab him. Qin Yanzhi spun around, twisted the other arm, and broke it.
Then, Qin Yanzhi jumped on its shoulder, and then leaped up to the top of the head, lifted the sword upside down, “Stab!”
The wooden sword penetrated through the head of the ape corpse and pierced the opponent's body at the speed of lightning. The ape corpse split into two and collapsed with a bang.
Qin Yanzhi jumped down from the air but stumbled when he landed. Jing Yue quickly stepped forward to support him. “What's wrong? Did you inhale the corpse venom?”
Qin Yanzhi leaned on Jing Yue and nodded feebly, “Ge, I'm dizzy.”
Jing Yue hurried to help him disperse the corpse poison with spiritual energy but Qin Yanzhi grabbed his hand. “It’s okay. Just let me lean on you for a while.”
Jing Yue, “…”
He realized that Qin Yanzhi's old problem of being a clingy person had struck again, and was being completely shameless, but… for the sake of the other party's good performance, let’s not expose it, okay?
Seeing that Jing Yue didn't push him away, Qin Yanzhi quickly cocked the corner of his mouth and resumed a weak state.
Only blue phoenix muttered unhappily, “What a scheming boy…”
Meanwhile, in a cave very close to them, the disciples of Bodhisattva Yu were excitedly putting away the two small porcelain bottles on the shelf. Zhao Ying said ecstatically, “It's clear marrow jasper dew. I didn't expect that we could bump into it!”
Another disciple also looked happy, “600 years ago, Tianshui Palace also got a bottle. I heard that Sect Leader Kushui relied on this dew to prolong her life for 200 years and finally formed a golden core with the aid of the Golden Lotus Elixir.”
The remaining disciple said, “They only have one bottle, but we have two. Even if we don’t get anything else later, with these two bottles of dew, it’s worth it!”
Zhao Ying said angrily, “What do you mean we won’t get anything else? Do you know how to talk?”
The disciple said nervously, “Zhao-shixiong, don't be angry, that's not what I meant.” He changed the topic abruptly. “I wonder how the other sects are doing. I don't think anyone will be luckier than us.”
He was absolutely right. At this time, Bluecloud Valley was surrounded by poisonous bats, while Tianshui Palace faced a rare beast, and both sides fell into a desperate battle.
The monks of Cihang Gate just wrapped up. They encountered several plant spirits that were quite easy to take care of. The main point was that the carcasses of those plant spirits were first-class medicinal materials. Yongming squatted down, recited Amitabha, and carefully put the carcasses into the Qiankun bag.
As for Tiangang Sect, when they reached the end of the tunnel, they found nothing in the cave. The three of them were at a loss and could only turn back in confusion. However, not long after they turned back, they saw that the way ahead had been blocked, and on top of the dense cobwebs, spiders with human faces stared at them greedily.
“G-ghost face spiders?”
Just as the Tiangang Sect was in despair, Jing Yue and his gang arrived at the third cave. Once they entered, they faced a rock wall.
The wall was smooth with some incomplete writings on it. Jing Yue stared at it intently and recited softly, “Ask where the tavern is, the shepherd boy points to Apricot Blossom Village.”
“I know! Ji-ji knows this!” blue phoenix immediately said. “This is a work by poet Du Mu…”
It swayed its head and was about to recite the poem when Jing Yue said with joy, “Found it! Looks like we're lucky.”
Ji-ji was dumbfounded. It turned out that the third level was an illusionary realm, and these verses were clues to the contents of the illusion. As long as the cave with the verses was found, participants could be directly transported to the third level of the secret realm.
Jing Yue and Qin Yanzhi looked at each other and placed their palms on the rock wall according to the map.
Then, the rock wall opened.