This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 72: Abyss
Shen Xuan warily headed towards the entrance and then his eyes immediately narrowed into lines.
The incoming air seemed to be spraying with fine dust, yet the air was actually clean and empty. This meant the primal energies of the universe in the deepest part of the Tianliang palace were so unique the invisible energy felt tangible.
There was nothing in front of him, only pure air, yet the light reflected strangely. People could not sense inside with their sight and perception. It was like nothing was there, but there was also a vast and new world.
Yet as he hesitated to move forward, Ding Ning walked ahead and stepped over the stone entrance, stepping onto the first stone stair.
Shen Xuan looked up slightly at Ding Ning’s back and followed silently. Just as he passed by the stone door, light suddenly shone in front of him. The light was dark green like numerous emeralds had been placed in front of him. But the precious stones would not be alive and sway softly.
Li Xixing and Hu Jingjing followed Shen Xuan onto the first step and simultaneously stopped breathing.
What appeared in front of them were countless swaying long green grasses. The stairs in front of them did not descend directly but slowly wound along the surrounding stone walls.
This palace was like a spiral-shaped hole that went down into the mountain. These winding stone stairs had been dug out of the rock wall. Green grass grew on the rocks and below.
These grasses were taller than people, but were exceptionally soft and clear like transparent gems. They did not look like grasses growing in dry land, but grasses growing in clean ocean water. Because of the unique light reflection, the soft grass seemed to grow above and around them, and even below.
They seemed to have arrived at the bottom of a waterless ocean. So even though they walked on the stairs, they did not know if the palace had a top.
Too much mystery can easily inflict terror in people. Especially when those experts who had been killed through their foreheads had once attempted to break into this place. Where were the corpses of the Tianliang experts, who had killed all the infected and managed to survive before coming here to commit suicide?
Were they here?
To their puzzlement, Ding Ning seemed to be confident and calmly walked at the front. He walked along the winding stone stairs, his pace growing faster until he walked faster than he usually did on Changling’s streets. After going down several dozen stairs, he suddenly stopped and looked at the top of the palace.
Shen Xuan immediately looked up and his gaze flickered. He seemed to understand why Ding Ning had looked up now.
Li Xixing and Hu Jingjing, though, did not understand.
Hu Jingjing always felt inexplicably embarrassed facing Li Xixing but she did not with Ding Ning. She knew that the recognized genius Jing Liuli had studied with this wineshop youth. She was not as good as her, and so there was no problem in appearing stupid in front of him.
And so, she naturally asked softly, “What happened?”
“The spirit rain you and Li Xixing made has stopped.” Ding Ning answered.
Hu Jingjing was shocked. She finally realized that while the long grasses were still swaying, the feeling of rippling light from above had disappeared. Only now did she realize the feeling of ripples when looking up came from the spirit rain falling on the roof.
Ding Ning answered her question but he still kept on looking up.
Hu Jingjing had a new question but in the next moment, like a sun falling into the water, a bright golden light appeared among the transparent watery colors above.
The golden color quickly expanded. Following an ear-piercing shriek, an enormous golden figure flew down urgently, brushing past them and stabbing downwards. This was the golden vulture who had easily killed other birds. Its head had been wounded by some other beast. There was a wound a foot long flowing with golden blood.
This powerful beast whose blood rippled with energy was just the beginning.
Zzt … zzt … zzt …
The ceiling above seemed to be a leaking balloon. Successive air currents hissed. An indigo serpent, a white winged snake, and a black shadow so fast it was almost invisible flew down following the golden vulture.
The indigo serpent more than five feet long paused slightly when passing by them. Clear killing intent spread, but it only paused and then ignored them as though it was afraid of being left behind.
“Should we be faster?” Li Xixing took a deep breath and asked Ding Ning, gazing at the swaying long green grasses.
“No need.” Ding Ning shook his head and then re-examined the wildly swaying grasses around them. “Do not touch the grasses, they are extremely poisonous.”
“Why not warn us earlier?” Shen Xuan looked at his side profile and said in a cold voice.
Ding Ning started to move down the stairs and said, “Because they were not poisonous at the start. You must have heard of the touch-me-not plant … These grasses are similar. When they are stimulated by certain conditions, they will change.”
Shen Xuan did not appear surprised as though his question had just been a pure test. “Why do you have such a strong perception?”
Ding Ning did not hesitate and said crisply, “Because of the Heaven Replenishing Divine Art.”
Shen Xuan said after a moment of silence, “If I take the Heaven Replenishing Divine Art to Zheng Xiu, and tell her these things concerning you, will you still explain with the Heaven Replenishing Divine Art?”
Ding Ning did not look at him and laughed. “That is a matter for the future, and you should have made a choice already.”
After a pause, Ding Ning turned to glance at Shen Xuan who had grown silent. He said in a serious and sincere tone, “In my view, the more I appear mysterious and powerful like this ancestral land, the more incredible, the more confidence you should have in making this choice. Because our relationship is one of cooperation and not master and servant. If everything goes smoothly, I will definitely give you what you want.”
As Shen Xuan listened on, a faint scorn appeared at the corners of his mouth. Then he said, “Do you know what I really want?”
“How about I say and you listen?” Ding Ning laughed.
Shen Xuan unconsciously paused in his steps. He wanted to hear what Ding Ning would say. But then the grasses around them suddenly shattered like calm water being disturbed.
A terrible shriek sounded. The golden vulture who had flown down first was furiously fleeing. It had five or six holes on its body. Half of its golden feathers had fallen off, and it looked worse than the chickens in Changling waiting for slaughter.
After the golden vulture was the fastest black shadow, and the white winged snake.
No one could see what the black shadow was, but when it flew by, it left behind black blood.
The white winged snake’s lower half had disappeared, and some pieces of its organs flowed away with blood. Even if it could fly out, with such serious injuries, it likely could not survive without the spirit rain.
The air shook violently once again and that indigo serpent seemed to roar from within the depths. But then the sound quickly disappeared and the serpent did not come back up.