Chapter 172: Dangers Lurking on Every Side
Located in the middle, with the mountain on one side and the river on the other, Qingshan Town had a beautiful scenery and fresh air. The town itself had few residents, totaling only more than one thousand families living here.
Even though there were only had a handful number of shops in the town, but yet, they provided everything, albeit small in numbers. There were also convenience stores that sold daily necessities, teahouses and also a hotel on the busiest block of the town.
After Tang Xiu got off at the hotel entrance, he saw a middle-aged man with a big stature wearing black-colored working clothes striding over to greet him.
"Hello, are you Mr. Tang?"
"I am!" Tang Xiu replied.
The middle-aged man respectfully replied, "Mr. Tang, our Boss and Mr. Shao have been waiting for you for a long time, please come with me."
Tang Xiu nodded as he followed the big middle-aged man into the hotel. As he arrived in the spacious and bright room on the second floor, he saw Miao Wentang and Shao Mingzhen there. With his acute sight, he could see that they were injured with only a glance. Although the injuries were not too serious, it still made their appearance quite miserable.
"You finally came, Brother Tang. Well, it could be said that we've suffered quite disastrous losses this time. If you weren't willing to come, we were actually prepared to go home right away." Miao Wentang approached in stride as he said with a bitter smile.
Tang Xiu said with a faint smile, "It's alright. We're all cultivators, and I also happened to have a need of a number of precious ores recently. So I'm quite grateful that you remembered to call me about this good thing."
Shao Mingzhen said with a helpless tone, "Brother Tang, the thing is, about this good thing we told you about, we have yet to figure out clearly about it! We did get information that there are precious ores inside that cavern, but we haven't yet been able to verify it. We also have tried to go there repeatedly, but we haven't ventured much deeper into the interior of this Sky Cavern."
Tang Xiu nodded and said, "I'm well aware of your situation. However, the both of you are cultivators with formidable strength; and even I am not necessarily a match for any of you. So when you called me before, something was holding you back, wasn't it?"
"Yes, something is indeed stopping us. Brother Tang, I hope you won't see it as a strange thing. We've encountered a very powerful baneful creature nearby the forested mountain in this Primeforest Mountain Range. That thing resembles a tiger and leopard, but yet isn't either. Its body is much smaller compared to a common cheetah, but its speed is extremely fast. That thing is also highly intelligent. We thought of every means to contain that thing, but even so, we paid quite a price as we got injured in the end. As for that thing, it merely only got minor wounds. Moreover, that creature left toward the natural maze in that Sky Cavern as if it knew that we are unfamiliar with the place. In the end, we ended up suffering quite a big loss because of that baneful thing. Of the dozen trusted men I brought at that time, five of them died inside." Miao Wentang said.
Tang Xiu squinted his eyes and slowly said, "You haven't seen that baneful creature before? You haven't even found its records in the ancient book?"
"Nope!" Both of them shook their heads.
Tang Xiu said, "Well, if so, since you're wounded, take a rest for today. And early in the next morning, we'll set out to Primeforest Mountain Range."
Miao Wentang rubbed his hands and said with a laugh, "Hehehe, Brother Tang, our injuries are already nothing. We previously bought a precious prescription from you when we came back from the Evil Dragon sea territory, remember? After we took it, it didn't take two days for our injuries to be completely healed. Two days ago, before we came back here, we picked a lot of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs and ingredients according to your prescription. And after taking the medication, our internal injuries have nearly convalesced, and the trauma on our skin and flesh also healed in these two days."
"You were picking herbs there?" Tang Xiu asked in surprise.
"Yeah, we did pick up those herbs! This Primeforest Mountain Range is almost undeveloped and still preserves its primeval state; so there are a lot of precious herbs to grow here. A lot of people from the medicine business in the country will come to this place once in awhile to buy some herbs and medicinal ingredients from the local residents." Miao Wentang said.
Tang Xiu said with a smile, "So this place is just like a treasure mountain. Alright, we'll look for our chances and pick some herbs when we go back there."
Miao Wentang said, "I've already ordered some men to prepare some suitcases, so we can bring them when we leave for the mountain."
In the next day...
The injuries on Miao Wentang and Shao Mingzhen's bodies had been healed and no longer affected their strength. When dawn had just come, the group left the town on foot to the forested mountain.
The mountain forest was luxuriantly flourished with vegetation and had countless blooming flowers. It was really a beautiful sight to behold. The mountain pathway itself was very rough, but everyone walked on it as though it was a plain, flat ground. Miao Wentang and Shao Mingzhen brought only a few people; a total of six middle-aged men with big builts. Even though they were not cultivators, but their foundation and skills in martial arts were also very deep.
The next day.
After having traversed through the hills and dales, they finally arrived near the Sky Cavern. They didn't encounter much danger along the way, and only suffered some attacks from some wild beasts, for which they killed all of them. After all, Miao Wentang and Shao Mingzhen had passed this pathway a few times already, so they were quite familiar with the route.
Halfway up to the mountainside.
Miao Wentang began to set up a camp and prepared to spend the night in this place. Shao Mingzhen then came toward Tang Xiu. He looked over toward the distance, seeing the laid up mountain range from above. Then, he said with a sigh, "This Primeforest Mountain Range truly resembles a beautiful picturesque painting. But in actuality, it's filled with grave dangers hidden within. If it were average people, perhaps, it would be very difficult for them to come here."
Tang Xiu nodded and said, "This place indeed lurks with dangers on every side. According to what you said, the distance to our destination is very close from here. So the men under you and Miao Wentang should stay here! They're not cultivators. Not only will they be unable to help us, they will even become a burden and implicate us."
"I also think the same. We've lost too many people already, so we can't afford to continue losing more people." Shao Mingzhen said.
"You take a rest after dinner. I'll be taking the night watch." Tang Xiu said.
Shao Mingzhen quickly said, "Brother Tang, I think it's better to let others take the night watch duty while the three of us take a good rest to recover our spirits. So tomorrow when we enter the Sky Cavern, we can fully showcase our best abilities."
"No, I have a hunch that the baneful creature you told me about will perhaps appear tonight. If we can't deal with it, our later days will be very tough to bear!" Tang Xiu shook his head and said.
Shao Mingzhen replied with a helpless expression, "But that baneful thing is extremely fast! We simply have no way to kill it!"
Tang Xiu said with a smile, "I'll handle it. As long as it dares to come back, I'll let that thing come, but it won't be able to get away."
"Ah, Brother Tang, you have a way?" Shao Mingzhen asked with a surprise.
"Yes, using a formation array!" Tang Xiu said.
Shao Mingzhen's eyes shone as he immediately clapped his hands and applauded, "Right, if you can set up a trapping array, not only will that mysterious creature be trapped in the formation array, we can kill it easier. If so, begin to lay that formation array immediately! I'll go tell Miao Wentang and let those men prepare to capture and kill that baneful creature!"
Tang Xiu stopped him as he shook his head and said, "No need. I alone am enough to deal with this thing. You take a good rest tonight. If everyone is involved, it might become problematic later."
The one day when he stayed in Qingshan Town, he actually didn't stay idle and bought a lot of things. Not only did he bought good quality jade stones, he also bought charm paper and ink, for which he drew a Lightning Symbol. He was worried that the men under Shao Mingzhen and Miao Wentang would see him using this Lightning Symbol.
Keeping a low profile would lead to fewer incidents!
About his ability to refine Lightning Symbols, aside from Miao Wentang and Shao Mingzhen, perhaps only Dao Master Ziyi knew about it. So he couldn't let this matter to be exposed and keep the number of people who knew it to as few as possible.
Shao Mingzhen asked with a hesitation, "You'll go alone? How about I go with you?"
For a moment, Tang Xiu was silent. Then, he said, "You stay here. I'll arrange the formation array in another place and try to find a way to lead that baneful creature to the array. I'll take along Miao Wentang with me, while you stay here to protect the others."
Shao Mingzhen said, "Alright. If you need my help, find a way to send me a message. I'll immediately caught up with you."
Late at night.
Tang Xiu and Miao Wentang hid in the dense thicket grove with some open space in the middle of the trees. After igniting a fire, Tang Xiu scattered the Snake Aromatic Herb he picked up along the way onto the bonfire. The herb itself had a good effect on health and was usually used for blood tonics. However, its major function was that it was able to attract a lot of wild animals.
After he returned back to Earth, Tang Xiu intentionally read "The Herbal Guide Compendium", "Chinese Herbal Medicine Comprehensive Collection", "The Yellow Emperor's Internal Canon", "Bian Que Pharmacological Compilation", as well as other traditional Chinese medicine books. Therefore, he had a deep knowledge about the medicinal ingredients on Earth.
Early hours before dawn...
Miao Wentang, who was also hiding in the grove, whispered, "Brother Tang, you said that the baneful creature will be attracted to this thing?"
Tang Xiu pressed down his voice and said, "Since that thing took the initiative to attack you, that means the creature is aggressive in nature. If the bonfire here is within its territory, it should cause that thing to pay attention. In addition, the smell of this Snake Aromatic Herb is drifting around the radius of kilometers. If it is also a carnivorous beast, it wouldn't be able to bear the temptation. Just be patient, we wait until it got on the hook."
Miao Wentang nodded silently.
He was a cultivator, and the aspect he didn't lack was patience. Upon seeing how confident Tang Xiu was, his confidence also increased a lot.
In a short moment!
Two wild wolves appeared in the surrounding and then looked up and let out a howling call. Half minute later, various pairs of green and clear eyes appeared in the thick patch of grasses. There were at least dozens of wild wolves that seemed to be attracted by the bonfire and circled around it.
Suddenly, the alpha wild wolf began to howl as the other wolves that followed it also looked up to the sky and howled as they quickly rushed to one direction extremely fast.
"What happened?" Miao Wentang asked in a whisper.
Tang Xiu squinted his eyes. He released his perception to all directions. After he enveloped the radius of two hundred meters, his expression slightly changed and whispered back, "It's here."
With his spiritual perception, he could clearly "see" that baneful creature's appearance. The creature was indeed just like what Miao Wentang and Shao Mingzhen had described. It resembled a tiger and leopard, but yet wasn't either. The most conspicuous thing was its back. There was unexpectedly an inch long raised thorns on it.
"It's bigger than a cat and smaller than a leopard. It has a vigorous build and an extremely high vigilance."
Through his observation, Tang Xiu evaluated the creature inside his heart.
He was as though an experienced hunter; patiently observing the baneful creature that was slowly approaching and would soon arrive at the edge of the formation array he had deployed. If it approached another ten meters, the creature would enter the array, and it would be very difficult for it to escape and run away.
However, just when Tang Xiu thought that the baneful creature would enter the formation array, it suddenly changed its direction.
I was thinking to change Qingshan Town to Greenhill Town, but I chose to retain the original name since the place refers to a real place in China. However, I can't pinpoint which Qingshan Town though.