Chapter 225 - Zombie Jiao-dragon [1. Those long snake-like dragons in the Chinese folklore. In order to differentiate them from western winged dragons, I’ll be using Jiao-dragon as per Ren’s suggestions. xD]
Everyone secretly prepared themselves and, as a group, quietly snuck away from the camp. They only had a cooperating relationship with the Jade Seal Family and Nie Li didn’t want their activities to become overly restricted.
The entrance to the first level of the Nine-Layered Deathlands was a long winding road that lead into a dense fog.
Everything was shrouded in thick layers of fog, making it impossible to see.
Occasionally, the shadows of a few people were seen walking upon the narrow path, heading deeper into the fog.
Within the fog, Nie Li could periodically sense the auras of death drifting towards him on a nonexistent wind.
The ground was littered with bones and damaged weapons and armours. Many had undergone heavy corrosion over time. A casual touch could reduce them to ashes.
Sensing the terrifying death aura, everyone shivered.
“Fortunately, there are a lot of people here.” Lu Piao withdrew his head closer to his body. This place really wasn’t suitable for humans.
Along the way, they occasionally passed other groups of people, which eased their nervousness.
Those that had come here were warriors from the various families of the Nether Realm. Most were at least of Black Gold rank, with a few Legend ranks. Demigod rank experts wouldn’t bother to come to the first layer of the Deathlands.
Upon entering the opaque fog, their surroundings suddenly fluctuated. The moving figures of the warriors from the various families suddenly vanished.
“What’s going on? Why did those people disappear?” Du Ze asked in curiousity.
Ye Ziyun and the others also couldn’t help showing curiosity in their eyes. Those people had only been tens of meters away. Why did they suddenly disappear?
Nie Li knitted his brows and urgently said, “Follow me closely. Someone has placed a [Fog of Misleading] over this area that causes people to easily lose their way. The Fog of Misleading usually lasts for an entire day before dissipating, but I would guess that this fog has roughly an hour or so left before it evaporates. If you get lost, then we’ll gather again when the fog clears.”
Right after those words left Nie Li’s mouth, he looked around and realized that Lu Piao and Xiao Xue were already nowhere to be seen.
After that it was Du Ze, then Duan Jian.
The surrounding people disappeared one after another. Nie Li quickly grabbed Ye Ziyun’s hand and reached for Xiao Ning’er’s. However, her silhouette had already vanished into the fog. When the surrounding fog fluctuated again, Yu Yan thought she saw something and took off as well.
“Ning’er!” Nie Li yelled, however, Xiao Ning’er was already gone.
“Where are Ning’er and the rest?” Ye Ziyun asked with a tone of nervousness and worry.
“It’ll be alright. They may have strayed away from us, but our soul realms have already formed the Soul Array, so we should be able sense their presence.” Nie Li briefly reached out his senses before saying, “We’ll meet up eventually!”
Having her hand grabbed by Nie Li, Ye Ziyun couldn’t help turning slightly red. However, she didn’t dare let go because she knew that the Fog of Misleading would separate them if they let their guards down for even a moment. She never imagined that she would suddenly become Nie Li’s fiancée and still felt a little uncomfortable with her new title.
Nie Li lead Ye Ziyun outside the range of the fog.
Having traversed through the dense fog for hours, Nie Li and Ye Ziyun finally exited it. Although they could sense that the others’ were not far from their location, they knew that actually finding them would not be an easy task.
After exiting the fog, Nie Li saw many figures in the distance, soaring and skimming the ground as rays of scarlet light. A wave of mysterious and majestic auras were spreading throughout their surroundings and he could sense that it contained an unquantifiable amount of pure energy.
A thought moved Nie Li’s heart. Could this be the sign of some treasure being born?
“Follow me.” Nie Li said to Ye Ziyun as he skimmed forward.
Ye Ziyun followed behind Nie Li as the two of them flew towards the distant scene.
Before them was a huge lake with muddy water. However, there seemed to be something hidden within its depths, as the scarlet rays penetrated the muddy lakewater and emerged again. Just sensing the aura within would give others a relaxed sensation.
The object in the lake had obviously attracted the lust from countless others.
Experts from the various families were gathered at the edge of the lake, trying to contest over for the treasure in the lake. However, no one dared to enter it. This wasn’t the first time many of them had come here. Although the first layer of the Nine-Layered Deathlands was rather safe, many places still had danger lurking around. Especially in the lake, no one knew what was hidden in that abyss.
The treasure in the lake must have attracted the greed of many.
“I never thought that the first layer of the Nine-Layered Deathlands would have something hidden in it. Such pure energy, this is definitely something powerful!”
Around the edge of the lake, hundreds of warriors had already gathered, taking guard against one another.
Once the treasure was born, there would definitely be a bloody scramble for it.
“Who dares to enter the lake and fish it up?” One of the well-dressed young masters knitted his brows. There wasn’t any meaning in waiting at the edge of the lake for something to surface.
“Young master, I have just recalled something. In the past, there were legends about this lake harbouring some treasure. A few years ago, this place suddenly blossomed with red lights, but they disappeared very quickly. Afterwards, several Demigod ranked warriors came over to investigate this matter but didn’t find anything, so the investigation was dropped!” said one of the servants standing beside side the silver armoured man with respect.
The well-dressed young master furrowed his brows for a brief moment. Who knew when the treasure within the lake will conceal itself again? Their chances were fleeting!
The young master made a grab with his right hand, lifted the servant, and threw him into the lake. That servant was a Black Gold rank warrior, but had actually been caught and lifted like a baby bird.
“Get down there and fish it up for me!” The well-dressed young master ordered in cold arrogance.
The servant that had been thrown into the lake with a plop didn’t dare to come up. Instead, he dived into the water and began his search. He gradually disappeared into the muddy lakewater. Suddenly, violent ripples appeared across the lake’s surface.
A moment later, a dense cloud of blood floated up.
Upon seeing this scene, everyone’s faces turned ghastly pale. There was probably something terrifying hidden in the lake and the poor servant was probably done for.
The well-dressed young master’s face also turned colder. Losing one of his men and receiving nothing in return had darkened his mood.
The crowd distanced itself a little from the well-dressed young master, each fearing himself to be the next one thrown in.
“Who is that man?”
“You don’t even know who he is? He’s Cang Ming from the Soul Winged Family. He’s reputed to be the number one genius in the entire Nether Realm!”
“So he is that Cang Ming?!”
Everyone had fear written on their faces. Cang Ming was worthy to be known as the number one genius of the Nether Realm, as he had reached the pinnacle of the Legendary rank at a young age. It’s said that he had come prepared this time, trying to become the successor of Nether Realm’s master!
Not far away from Cang Ming, several figures stood proudly, each with an aura comparable to Cang Ming’s.
Originally, people of this level wouldn’t come to such a place. However, there were still three days until the seventh layer opened up and most of them were bored of waiting. To pass the time, they had came to Deathlands to sightsee. They never imagined that they would encounter this scarlet treasury by chance.
Glancing at the warriors from the various families, Ye Ziyun’s elegant face expressed loathing, especially towards Cang Ming who treated human life like dirt. Compared to him, even those at Glory City appeared kindhearted. Aside from the Sacred Family and a few others, people didn’t usually kill each other.
Although everyone was lusting after the treasure in the lake, no one dared to go down.
Suddenly, a clear voice rang out from far away as it laughed, “Brother Cang Ming, why don’t the two go down and fish the treasure up? As for the distribution of the treasure, we’ll decide after that.”
The one who spoke was a delicate young man around sixteen to seventeen years old. He wore very luxurious, bright white clothes and stood very proud. His clothes fluttered in the wind as he displayed a tranquil smile and a carefree attitude.
“Who is that man?”
“Mu Ye of the Soul Refinery Family, he’s also a super genius. It’s just that he’s been secluded in his training for many years and hasn’t seen much of the outside world since he was young. Most people have no idea as to what degree his cultivation has reached!”
The discussions in the crowd were all heard by Nie Li. Both Mu Ye and that Cang Ming were from the super families in the Nether Realm! It seemed like the number of people coming after this treasure was indeed quite high!
Upon hearing Mu Ye’s words, Cang Ming laughed and said, “Since you have already said so, why wouldn’t I dare?”
Although he has no idea what was hidden in the depths of the lake, he was unafraid. He had the treasured armour that has been passed down through his family, so he, naturally, wouldn’t be weak.
*Plop!* *Plop!* *Plop!*
Cang Ming, Mu Ye and four other warriors jumped into the lake.
After the six of them, no one else dared to follow up.
Those warriors standing at the edge of the lake felt their scalps going numb from staring into the muddy lakewater. This was, after all, the Nine-Layered Deathlands with many unexplored areas. Who knows if a terrifying creature is hiding within?
Right after the six warriors entered, the lakewater rolled and pillars of water shot high into the sky. A banging sound was heard from the bottom of the lake; an intense fight must be going on.
Suddenly, a huge demon beast rushed out of the lake, issuing furious roars as it flew into the sky. On its forehead, a pearl was embedded that emitted a dazzling scarlet luster.
This demon beast slightly resembled a lizard, with black scales covering its entire body. Although its four limbs were oddly short, it had a long tail tens of meters long, and released a terrifying aura of death from its body.
Seeing this scene, everyone by the edge of the lake was scared to the point that their expressions changed as they cried out in surprise.
“That’s...the zombie Jiao-dragon!”
The crowd of over a hundred people who had been standing by the lake immediately scattered like birds, leaving behind only those who were prepared to fight.
“What’s a zombie Jiao-dragon?” Ye Ziyun asked out of curiosity. Although they stood very far from it, she could still clearly distinguish the features of the demon beast.
“The zombie Jiao-dragon is a snake-type demon beast, born from a mountain of thousands of corpses. They grow by devouring the power left behind from the corpses, then formed into a creature with intelligence. All fully-formed zombie Jiao-dragons have Legend rank strength. After every millennium, the zombie Jiao-dragon would become stronger by one level. Upon reaching ten thousand years, it would become an existence that could rival the Spiritual Gods.”