"Hey, did you hear about it? Two of the members from the third team disappeared yesterday! And one of them was a Peak Late-stage Soul Exalt!!"
"What?! Another one? Why didn't I hear about it?"
"The higher-ups are squashing information leaks. I'm friends with people from the third team and managed to hear about it. They say the last place the two were found in was the newly-opened tunnel about two and a half kilometers down."
"How many disappearances does this one make? The sixth or seventh? I've only been here for two months, but that's too many disappearances for my liking. People calling this place 'Mt. Ominous' sounds about right now that I think about it..."
"Hey, that's on you for not knowing. When I came here a half a year ago, I already know that over a hundred people disappeared! News of the disappearances were usually squashed by the Qin. Only those working in the mines know about it, the rest of the world doesn't hear a peep!"
"What do you think's happening? I heard there's some sort of terrifying monster down here with us. Some are saying it's a soul cultivator training in the demonic arts. Others are saying this place is a natural disaster zone like one of the Three Danger Zones...which one do you think is more likely?"
"How should I know? No one even knows if those people really disappeared or not. Only those that are gone, or maybe the Qin know what's going on here. But it can't be let known outside of the mines, even if those guys are alive still. It's a secret that's been maintained for over ten years..."
"What?! You're saying these disappearances have been happening for...over ten years?!"
"Exactly. I heard it from an even older miner."
"That's terrifying...I don't feel like staying down here anymore now that I've heard about this."
"Haha, relax. All the disappearances happen at the two and a half kilometer elevation level. Only Soul Ancestors and those stronger are allowed down there. You and I are just Soul Warriors, one kilometer is the deepest we can go. If you went down as you were now, you wouldn't even be able to take the geotic energy down there."
"The geotic energy? What's that?"
"How do you not even know that? It's the 'earth's energy', simply put. In even simpler words, it's the aggregation of all the elemental energies into one. If the energy above the nine heavens is chaotic energy, then the energy beneath the earth is geotic energy. A soul cultivator won't be able to handle either of the two energies. If they're too weak, then the energy will invade the body and force them to lose control. If that happens, they'll explode and die!"
"Damn...so there was something as dangerous as that underneath here! My essence origin hasn't even formed, so there's no chance of that exploding..."
"Now now, that's enough mocking yourself. There's no use talking about something like this. Let's take the chance to train instead. Training in here is many times better than outside!"
"Yes yes, lets. Time to train..."
Bai Yunfei listened to the conversation of the two with interest. He waited until the two began to train before he headed down in secret.
"So people have been disappearing in these mines? That's strange, is there really some kind of monster in here?" Bai Yunfei wondered to himself as he continued downwards, "If there's a monster, how strong is it, I wonder? The Qin is managing to control the flow of information here, but do they know the reason for it all? Or...does it have to do with them?"
Unbeknownst to him, Bai Yunfei was already at the two-and-a-half kilometer depth point.
The energy down at this elevation was starting to grow richer, but also more 'chaotic'. Elemental energy was flowing forth from all sorts of different primal grades and blending together for an almost volatile mixture. Most of these primal stones were of mid-grade quality at the very least.
There weren't as many people mining away at this elevation, but the weakest of the miners were of the Early-stage Soul Ancestor level at the very least. There were a great deal more Soul Exalts in this area, but most of them were currently very still as they trained. The goal of many miners here was to train. Mining was just a secondary goal for them.
"It's...a little strange here..."
Bai Yunfei murmured. He had been feeling off ever since he got here, but it wasn't because of the geotic energy that was swirling around him. There was some sort of pressure coming from his own soul in the form of a warning. It was as though his 'intuition' was telling him that there was danger here.
"Eh? There's even a Soul King nearby, is he the one in charge of protecting this area? There's a very strange aura coming from down beneath, what's going on here..."
Bai Yunfei froze up. Pivoting on his right leg, he swung around to protect his head with his right hand!
There was a metallic clang as a series of sparks flew off from Bai Yunfei's hand. A black dagger fell from there before a black ghostlike figure took it back. In the blink of an eye, the figure was already gone behind a boulder ten meters away.
Someone was ambushing him in here!!
A Soul King! There was a Soul King with skill in concealment!
Bai Yunfei knew right away what he had to do. Using his soulsense, he scanned for the area behind the boulder to find his ambusher.
But there was nothing there!
As shocked as he was at the outcome, he wasn't out for the count just yet. Using just enough soulforce to ensure no one else would detect it, Bai Yunfei enhanced his soulsense scan to look around himself.
His eyes lit up a second later as he turned to his right. There was a whooshing sound as a streak of green light flew from around another boulder thirty meters away. The light spun around in a circular arc to strike at his throat!
Shifting his foot, Bai Yunfei evaded the attack by using the Wave Treading Steps. He slunk back to his original position once the attack passed and watched as it flew onwards to hit the wall behind him.
After he managed to evade that attack, Bai Yunfei used his soulsense to scan the area where the attack came from. Again, he couldn't sense the presence of anyone there.
As he was trying to regain his original stance and position, Bai Yunfei was forced to abandon his efforts and bring up his right hand to protect his ear.
The streak of green light that missed Bai Yunfei earlier rebounded back towards him. Unable to dodge it this time, Bai Yunfei swung his hand up to deflect the streak of light. It bounced off from his arm with a metallic clang and deposited itself into a nearby wall. Now able to see what was attacking him, Bai Yunfei realized the weapon was a crescent-moon shaped blade!
"This is..." Bai Yunfei was astonished to see the weapon. He immediately turned around to bring his right hand up to protect his head.
There was another echo as the black dagger from last time stopped an inch away from his nose before he managed to stop it.
It was the second time he managed to stop his assailant from attacking him, but Bai Yunfei smiled this time after he blocked it. "It's been a long time since we last met, Mingfeng, so what's with all this hostility?"