Chapter 136: Entering the Wasteland in Disguise
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: Novel Saga
The Chen Prefecture of the Da Qi Kingdom... in the depths of the Ling Shan Mountain...
The mountain didn't have a gigantic towering peak. But, it had undulating ranges of hills that extended far ahead. The multiple layers of mountain ranges looked like a green jade because of the dense forest cover. Moreover, it was surrounded by ocean water.
The mountain was usually sheathed in clouds early in the morning. The entire mountain range looked like dragons and phoenixes' base from afar. It was indeed a beautiful landscape.
There were two purple-hued mountain peaks on the mountain... where a dragon's head was supposed to be. They were ordinary in height. But, they looked like two horns of a dragon. These two peaks were perennially shrouded by purple mist.
Various kinds of buildings could be seen on top of these two mountain peaks. Most of them had attics. These attics were connected by flying bridges. Flickering shadows of people could be seen through the red pillars of these bridges.
The main gate of the Tian Yin Sect was situated at this place. It was one of the three big Sects of the Da Qi Kingdom.
A four-storied palace was located on one of these two peaks. It was purple in color. Therefore, it looked exceptionally illustrious.
The entire palace was built from a kind of a purple boulder with golden spots. So, these boulders radiated a glittering golden light under the sunlight.
A maiden sat cross-legged in a stone room in the palace. She was extremely beautiful, and had a graceful aura around her. She was attired in a graceful royal robe that was green in color. There were numerous densely-packed blue charm characters drawn all over her clothes. Her clothes would occasionally flutter and emit undulating waves of water-attribute magic power in the air.
Suddenly, a blue light beam shot up from the top of her head. The beam was as thick as a fist. It seemed as if a whale had sprayed out water. The beam turned into a rainfall of blue light that sprinkled around her, and took the form of a stream of light.
The stream of light then started to accumulate around the beautiful maiden's body. It gradually became denser, and turned into an ocean-blue color. The stream of light trembled after an unknown passage of time, and a blue lotus flower emerged from its surface. The full-bloomed lotus then started to prop her up into the air.
Suddenly, the jade bracelet on the woman's hand slightly quivered. It exuded a halo of a faint-purple light. Several tiny charm characters started to appear within the halo. They quickly took the form of a small magic formula.
The magic spell shot out a jade slip with a flash of purple light; it was as big as a human palm.
The graceful woman opened her eyes, and caught the slip between her two fingers. Then, she gently placed it against her forehead.
Suddenly, her complexion changed. Then, the layer of blue light shrouding her body dispersed into thin air.
She stood-up and rushed out of the room.
Then, a dozen or more figures flew towards the mountain peak from all directions. And, they hurried towards an assembly hall in the purple palace.
The assembly hall had become empty again after half an hour.
The royal-dressed woman sat on the seat of honor. Her delicate eyebrows were tightly knitted. A trace of fatigue could be seen on her face. She rubbed her swollen head for a while. She then turned over her hand, and took out a white jade slip. She placed it against her forehead.
She activated the Communicative Magic Spell. She then flicked her right hand. The white jade slip disappeared into the void. She stood-up after a while, and walked towards the rear part of the hall. It seemed as if her mind was preoccupied with something.
The headquarters of the seven big Sects' union was situated on the Qing Shan Mountain in the territory of the Da Qi Kingdom.
A middle-aged woman sat in a green robe in a stone room. She pasted a white jade slip on her forehead. Her complexion turned pale. She then stood-up and hurried out of the room.
The doors of several other stone rooms opened at the same time. Someone hurriedly stepped out of each of the rooms. All of them had one thing in common - a dignified look on their faces. An elder of the Black Demon Sect surnamed Xie was also among them.
After some time... on the towering peak of the palace...
Seven figures sat on either side of the hall. Each one of them had a profound and powerful aura around them.
These seven elders were the leaders of the union's headquarters. They were staying here to manage the routine matters of the union. They had been appointed by their respective Sects as the representatives of their Sects. So, they were subjected to their respective Sect's orders. They had to take care of all the matters that related to the barbarian race.
The atmosphere inside the main hall seemed to be heavy and repressive; so much so that everyone was tongue-tied.
"Elders, eleven islands of the three Kingdoms were invaded by the 'Sea' race in one night this time. The people who fell prey to them were mostly the guarding troops. They've suffered disastrous casualties; especially our Da Qi Kingdom. This kind of incident has never happened in the last three-hundred years. The Sea race has openly violated the ceasefire agreement that had been formed earlier. They've fearlessly mounted a serial invasion in our territory. So, we need to be very careful," the leader sent by the Black Turtle Sect stood-up and said. He was a thirty-year-old man with bushy eyebrows.
"Presently, we're fully occupied with an ongoing battle against the barbarian race. So, we'll be caught in a dire situation if the Sea race also plunges into this battle. It would be similar to getting attacked from both the front and rear sides. So, considering the present situation... I suggest that we should negotiate with the barbarians for peace," an old lady dressed in a purple gown spoke-up in an anxious tone.
Two or three people nodded in her support. But, the other people looked a little hesitant. They didn't express their views openly.
"There are numerous small and large barbarian tribes. So, the barbarians may not reach an integrated opinion in a short time if we openly propose the peace agreement to them. Instead, they may come up with some presumptuous request that might not be easy for us to commit to," the man with the bushy eyebrows said.
"Humph! The East China Sea is wide and boundless. So, the strength of the Sea race is beyond our imagination. Neither the human race... nor the barbarian race can contend against them alone. I'm afraid that the barbarians would be doomed in case one of our three kingdoms is eradicated by the sea race... Then, the barbarians would be exposed to the Sea race. We only need to let the barbarians know the pros and cons of the situation. I believe that the barbarians aren't dim-witted people. Naturally, they wouldn't sit back and allow the Sea race to reap all the profits," the graceful lady of the Tian Yin Sect said slowly.
"The barbarians are brutal people with barbarous and unpredictable temperament. So, common theories won't work on them. I think we should make two-way preparations. Firstly - we should strengthen our defense on the border of the Sea coast. We should also forbid any sea-going activities. Secondly - we should dispatch a diplomatic group in secrecy. They'll discuss all the matters with the barbarian's High Priest in order to stop this war," the blue-robed elder from the Heavenly Sword Sect shook his head and said.
"That's right. The High Priest never leaves the forbidden area of the barbarians' wasteland. But, he's quite famous for his wisdom. He would never make a decision that would allow a third party to reap any profits. Moreover, he's the spiritual leader of the barbarians. So, he commands high respect and fame among them. All the tribes will comply with him if he agrees to cease the war," the elder surnamed Xie of the Black Demon Sect said.
Everyone present in the hall nodded in agreement.
"In that case... we should make a recommendation for an appropriate candidate who can lead this secret mission..." the purple-robed old lady from the Yin Fu Palace said.
"Princess Huo Wu of the Da Qi Kingdom is currently a disciple of our Tian Yin Sect. I think she's the appropriate candidate for this mission," a middle-aged married woman's eyes glinted as she suggested. She wore a white gown and a golden hairpin.
The dual identities of Princess Huo Wu indeed made her the appropriate candidate for this mission. She could represent her Sect as well as the biggest Kingdom - the Da Qi Kingdom. Other elders nodded in agreement after they had considered the proposal for a while.
The matters pertaining to the peace agreement and the appropriate candidate had been determined. So, the elders began to discuss other issues. They talked about issues like pulling back the frontline battle and sending reinforcements to the coastlines of the East China Sea.
The hall was calm for a short while. Then, the heated arguments started to be exchanged once again.
The negotiation team quietly departed from the Da Qi Kingdom with its leader Princess Huo Wu three days later.
The scorching sun was high-up in the sky. It was roasting the infinite wasteland underneath. Nothing but rust-colored dry cracks could be seen everywhere on the land.
The piece of the barren land had a few clumps of small purple plants growing on them. One or two small bushes could also be seen. They seemed to be standing upright in a stubborn manner.
Some orange-colored rocks could also be seen lying on the ground. They were of different sizes.
These rocks seemed to be lying there since several years. It seemed that they had been constantly beaten and abraded by the wind and scorching sun. Myriad crumbs of stones would roll into the air with the gust of wind every now and then. These crumbs would dance against the wind for some time; as if telling it about the bleakness of this place.
This desolated land was a true portrayal of the barbarian wasteland. The entire wasteland looked like that. Moreover, such bleakness continued to shower its gloominess even thousands of kilometers from there.
A full-braided barbarian clad in hides appeared in the bleakness of the land. He was moving slowly towards the shadow of a huge rock; it was fifty to sixty feet high.
The barbarian had dark-complexion and a powerfully built stature. However, he would be considered thin and diminutive if he was to be compared with the other barbarian men.
A silver sheath and a giant bow-pouch hung on his shoulder. He also held a black blade in his right hand. The hilt of that blade was wrapped in a tattered cloth. In addition, another bow-pouch was suspended from his waist. It was bulging with arrows. His steady walk seemed exceptionally valiant.
This diminutive barbarian was none other than Shi Mu; he was disguised as a barbarian. He had entered the barbarians' wasteland almost a fortnight ago.
Shi Mu had tried his best to stay away from the frequently bypassing barbarian cavalrymen, and ferocious beasts and animals throughout his journey. However, his unfamiliarity with this land had made his journey utterly difficult.
Fortunately, he had started to enter the depths of the wasteland.
Shi Mu swept his vigilant eyes all around; he was relieved. There was an unending bleakness in this place. However, there was still no existence of any living creature.
Shi Mu put down his black blade, and took out the water container to have a sip of water. He then sat down cross-legged in the shadow of the rock. He focused his mind and started to practice the Art of Breeding Heavenly Elephants.
There was an extreme scarcity of water in the barbarians' wasteland. But, his journey under the scorching sun demanded a huge consumption of water. However, Shi Mu didn't have a huge storage of water. Therefore, he chose to rest during the daytime and advanced in the night.
Unfortunately, he had no other choice in order to survive in this land. But, he knew that the nights in the wasteland were also extremely dangerous since all kinds of beasts and poisonous bugs became the most active during the night.
However, he was most preoccupied with the problem related to the shortage of water. He found it extremely difficult to find water when needed. He now had a rough idea of a regular pattern on the basis of his experience. He always found a water resource whenever he was in a forest.
He hadn't been well-prepared when he had entered the wasteland for the first time. So, he had often run into the plights of water shortage. But, he had been lucky since he often ran into some kind-hearted barbarians on the way. They were so generous that they would give him their own water containers after hearing of his predicament. They would also tell him about the nearby water sources. Their timely help had prevented him from getting into greater danger.
Shi Mu had met with an accident on his first night in the wasteland. He had been accidentally bitten by a small poisonous ant. So, his right leg had started to swell-up. Fortunately, he had bumped into an old barbarian man. He had voluntarily used a strange medicinal herb on Shi Mu's wound. This had helped him in neutralizing the ant's poison.
Shi Mu had eventually realized that the common barbarians were like humans - kind-hearted and generous. Shi Mu was pleasantly surprised at this discovery. This realization made him a lot less hostile towards the barbarians.
A trace of strange glint flashed across Shi Mu's eyes as the sun slid down in the western horizon. It seemed as if he had been possessed by a murderous aura.
He sprang-up from the ground like a leopard, and wielded the black blade.
He realized that he had been surrounded by several hundred wolf-like ferocious beasts. These beasts had faint-purple fur. Each of them was as big as a calf. Their hungry eyes were glinting with fierceness.
Shi Mu could tell from a glance that these flagitious animals were the famous Wind Wolves of the barbarian wasteland.
The color of their fur was similar to most of the plants in this land. They would walk slowly with light steps once they had locked their prey. Then, they'd jumped into action like a strong gust of wind. Therefore, they were known for their perfect sneak attacks.
Several wolves stood in front of him. But, there was a relatively bigger wolf that stood out in the crowd. It looked like the head of the pack. It had caught Shi Mu's attention even though it was hidden behind the other wolves.
Shi Mu's eyebrows furrowed. He rushed forward and leapt-up into the air as he brandished his black blade. His blade transformed into a black blade-shadow, and chopped down the alpha-wolf in a furious manner.
An ear-piercing sound was heard.
Six or seven wolves swooped down on Shi Mu from all directions - like a bolt of lightning. Their snow-white teeth and claws advanced towards him at an astonishing speed.
A dozen blade-shadows rushed in all directions as Shi Mu waved his arm.
'Puff!' a dull thumping sound was heard - as if a sharp weapon had pierced someone's flesh.
Suddenly, a nasty smell of blood filled the air. The seven wind wolves had been slashed into two halves by Shi Mu's blade.
However, Shi Mu was forced to stop his movement owing to the strike. But, several black forms pounced on him before he could figure out the next plan. The alpha-wolf disappeared amid the pack of wolves at the same time.