Chapter 114 - At Wit’s End
“What are you trying to do?”
All of a sudden, Jasmine felt the profound energy in Yun Che’s body begin to abnormally circulate, and immediately became alert. She asked him solemnly: “Are you trying to forcefully comprehend the fifth and sixth stages of this [World Ode of the Phoenix]? Have you gone mad!”
“A chance of a lifetime has been placed right in front of me. If I don’t attempt it, I will regret it forever!” Yun Che replied with his eyes closed. His consciousness was completely submerged into the soul imprint inside the jade rock. This [World Ode of the Phoenix] was recorded using a soul imprint, so one must use soul power to read it. If one managed to successfully comprehend it, it would then be genuinely recorded within one’s own soul. And if one was unable to comprehend it, after leaving the trial ground, the words, images, and methods to circulate profound energy that were recorded on the jade stone would be completely erased from his memory. Therefore, for Yun Che, who only had a month to comprehend the remaining portion of this fragment, it was fundamentally impossible for him to commit the fifth and sixth stages to memory as a temporary solution and then find the first four stages to comprehend in the future.
“Without the first four stages, how are you going to comprehend the fifth and sixth stages? Are you trying to go straight for the fruit when you don’t even have the roots? If you try to force yourself to go on the opposite path, the most likely outcome will be the distortion of your profound veins, messing up your channels, and even the profound entrances that you had fully opened would close one after another.”
“Since I don’t have the foundation of the first to fourth stages, I’ll build my own foundation!” Yun Che answered serenely.
“Build your own foundation? Do you know how many tens of thousands of years the Primordial Phoenix Clan spent to finally obtain this [World Ode of the Phoenix]? And do you realize how many revisions, changes and evolutions it underwent after it was first created? You only have a month’s time at most, and yet you still want to build your own foundation to comprehend the fifth and sixth stages?” Jasmine shook her head, “Even if you really are some peerless genius, it will still be impossible to do so!”
“At least let me attempt it!” Yun Che willfully replied in a low voice. Then, he cut off all other parts of his consciousness, and submerged himself fully within the soul imprint of the [World Ode of the Phoenix]...
However at this moment, neither Yun Che nor Jasmine noticed that under his outer clothing, an eccentric glow suddenly radiated from the pendant he had worn since birth... Which died down in a flash.
Outside the seal formation, Lan Xueruo waited anxiously. One hour passed... Two hours passed… Twelve hours passed… An entire day and night passed… Her expression had long since darkened. The insides of Feng Baichuan’s heart went completely silent as well.
“Do people really die in this training?” Looking at Feng Baichuan who had walked over there again, Lan Xueruo turned to the side and asked with lifeless eyes. She had already asked this same question over a dozen times.
Feng Baichuan sighed deeply in his heart and could only try his best to console her: “Some of the clansmen have indeed died in this trial. But... we shouldn’t be this pessimistic; it cannot be said for sure but perhaps Little Brother Yun passed the training. Our ancestors who passed this trial, had stayed inside for more than a dozen days before coming out. So... let’s wait a bit longer. Maybe he’ll coming out any moment now.”
While saying this, Feng Baichuan, who had experienced the Phoenix trial first-hand, clearly understood that it was impossible to pass the trials with only a power of the first level of the Nascent Profound Realm. Since Yun Che had not come out yet, the only possible outcome was that he had already died in the trial grounds. However, at this moment, he could only use these words to comfort Lan Xueruo, and let her hold onto the traces of hope.
“Clan Leader Feng, do you have any way of letting me in?”
Feng Baichuan shook his head: “Only one person can enter the trial ground every month, I don’t have any ways to let you in.”
Lan Xueruo bit her lip and did not say another word as she silently stood in front of the trial entrance, blankly staring ahead; her heart franticly longed for the appearance of that figure… She did not know what was going on with her, to actually be secretly anxious and worried to this extent. Whenever she thought about the possibility of him dying in the trial grounds, her heart would experience a tearing pain.
Barricaded outside by the Black Demon Mercenary Group, the Thousand Meter Sound Transmission Talisman consumed, the Giant Snow Eagle still in slumber… None of these problems caused her to be at a loss. However, when Yun Che had not come out for an entire day, she mind was in a frenzy, and was unable to calm down at all.
Two days passed… Three days passed… Ten days passed… Fifteen days passed…
Yun Che still had not appeared.
So Lan Xueruo was unable to hold on to any more delusions, and had no choice but to painfully accept the fact that Yun Che had already died in the trial ground and would never come out.
She had been living in darkness these past few days, and the stabbing pain in her heart would not stop, day or night. Originally, she believed the reason for her pain was the loss of a “hope” she had finally found, but she was unable to suppress this kind of pain no matter what, and her heart tightened up whenever she recalled Yun Che’s face. She gradually became perplexed, because she could feel that this kind of suffering had long since exceeded the category of feeling sorry. But she had no idea which part had exceeded, because this kind of feeling was very elusive, and extremely unfamiliar.
“Damn it. Half a month has already passed and they still haven’t come out! Food was clearly prepared inside this cave!”
“What are you worried about! No matter how much food and water they have, there will be a time when their resources run out. Hmph, let’s see how much longer they can hold out.”
The Black Demon Mercenary Group still had not left, because at this point, they were certain that there must be a great treasure hidden inside. They stationed two squads of people to keep watch in turns everyday, and never left the cave unguarded for even a moment.
Under Feng Baichuan’s frugal distribution, only a third of the rations and water that Yun Che had originally left remained after half a month. He knitted his brow every day as he strenuously thought of ways to escape. However, in the face of the absolute pressuring power from outside, he was at his wit’s end and even if he were to think until his brain shut down, all they could do was painfully hold on.
Twenty days passed… Twenty five days passed…
A month passed.
Under the protection of the seal formation, the bereaved Phoenix clan had finally reached the end of the line after holding out with difficulty for an entire month.
The spatial ring that Yun Che passed onto Feng Baichuan had been completely emptied two days prior, and not a single grain of food or droplet of water was left. An adult had a low level of profound energy, which allowed them to last a bit longer, whereas the elderly and children collapsed one after another from the horror of their unyielding hunger. Once they lost consciousness, it was impossible to wake them up anymore.
Feng Baichuan’s eyes were deeply sunken and he sat in a cold corner of the cave as he choked in the deep abyss of powerlessness and despair. At this point, he already had no idea what he should do next… If they were to continue to remain here, their entire clan would starve to death; whereas if they left, the vicious and cruel bandits would kill them all… Perhaps they might even ravage and torture them in every way possible because they did not hand over the so-called treasure, which would be an even more miserable death.
“All of you inside, listen carefully. You only need to come out obediently, then hand over the treasure and that woman, and we can assure you that we would not touch any one of you. Furthermore, we won’t ever enter this area a second time.”
“They truly are a bunch of stupid fellows. What do you hope to achieve by hiding like this? Even if you don’t care about your life, do you not care about the lives of your family and children? You will die sooner or later staying inside. Come out and surrender obediently, and, after you satisfy our conditions, we promise that not a single one of you will die. We’ll even let you all have a good meal first!”
At the brink of despair, the Black Demon Mercenaries’ shouts became harder and harder to resist in everyone’s ears. At this moment, an elderly man tottered up and said: “Clan Leader, what they say is also true; sooner or later we will all starve to death in here. At this point, there simply is no meaning in hiding any longer. We’d better go out and surrender; perhaps they will do as they say and would not harm us.
“Out of the question!” Feng Baichuan actually shook his head and dimly replied: “You should have felt it previously as well,- all of them carried varying degrees of hostility towards us on their bodies. This is a gang of vicious and cruel bandits that have no regard for human lives. If we go out, we will only die more miserably and even suffer from humiliation. Let’s hold on for a while more… Miss Xueruo said her contracted spirit beast is about to wake up; when that time comes, we will have some hope of being saved. Even if we all end up dying… I would rather starve to death than get humiliated to death!”
Just as Feng Baichuan finished speaking, Feng Caiyun’s heart-wrenching cry sounded out. Feng Baichuan suddenly stood up and leapt to the front of his wife, Feng Caiyun… Feng Zu’er and Feng Xian’er had lost consciousness in Feng Caiyun’s bosom. Their faces were pale with a tinge of yellow, and no matter how Feng Caiyun shouted, they gave no response whatsoever.
“Zu’er, Xian’er…” Blood oozed out from Feng Baichuan’s fingertips, and his eyes filled with tears. He then raised his hand to forcefully slapped his head and nearly fainted from despair.
Lan Xueruo, who had been curled up in the corner the entire time, slowly stood up. Perhaps it was way too exhausted, for the Giant Snow Eagle had still not awoken after a month had passed. At this moment, she knew that if they couldn’t come up with any other plan, they wouldn’t be able to hold out for even a day longer.
“Clan Leader Feng, can I trouble you to temporarily open the seal formation outside? I will go out and snatch some food to bring back in.”
Listening to Lan Xueruo’s words, Feng Baichuan became stunned before quickly shaking his head: “No! It’s too dangerous; with so many people outside, how are you going to snatch the food from right under their noses?”
Lan Xueruo replied with a determined gaze: “After all, I do have the profound strength of the True Profound Realm. As long as the few True Profound Realm leaders of theirs are not present, it is unlikely to be dangerous for me. Right now, all these children are already unable to hold out. If I still don’t go and obtain some food, they might…”
Feng Baichuan’s lips trembled. Looking at Feng Zu’er and Feng Xian’er who had lost consciousness, he finally nodded his head and said bitterly: “Miss Lan, then you must be careful… All of us big men here are helpless, yet we can only trouble a girl like you to risk your life for us. It really is…”
“No need to put it that way, Clan Leader Feng. I believe that if Clan Leader Feng had enough power, you would definitely be the first one to go out… Immediately deactivate the seal formation, then immediately activate it again after I’ve exited. Once I get the food, I will signal you through voice to deactivate the seal formation again.”
Even though her plan was accompanied by extremely high risk, it seemed to be the only plausible temporary solution to relieve them of their current crisis. Feng Baichuan stood at the cave entrance, bit open his mouth, dripped his blood on the seal and said with concern: “You must be careful!”
Within Feng Baichuan’s voice, the scarlet colored seal formation flashed before slowly vanishing. With her longsword in hand, Lan Xueruo’s body suddenly shot flying toward the outside as she left behind a flash of white phantom.