Chapter 121: Demonic River, Demonic Qi Overflowing
The black gas suddenly flew up and penetrated the body of one of the Jiang Clan Martial Grand Masters. The Martial Grand Master was caught off guard and allowed the black gas to enter!
The Martial Grand Master cried out miserably. His skin instantly turned jet black while his body lay on the ground trembling continuously; his eyes bulged as though he was a demon.
"Bang!" Jiang Mingxun decisively pulled out his saber and chopped this Martial Grand Master in half. The two halves of the body squirmed around as they struggled to merge back together. Duanmu Qing sent an ice pillar at it before it stopped moving.
"This is Demonic Qi. The things floating on the top of the river are all Demonic Qi. This is a genuine Demonic River." Jiang Mingxun looked at the river and said in horror, "After living for so long, I have never seen so much Demonic Qi."
Demonic Qi? The cultivators of the noble clans all took a deep breath; they were all astonished. Many of them here had taken part in Demonic Beast Trial Grounds. They all had some understanding of Demonic Qi, but they had never explored the core zone of these Trial Grounds. Thus, they have never seen Demonic Qi for themselves before.
If all the black gases on the river, which lead to an unknown place, were Demonic Qi then when they were all gathered together it would be very horrifying; even the seven great prohibited zones of the continent would not compare to it.
The Guiyi Marquis muttered to himself for a long time before saying, "The situation is more complicated than I had thought. For there to be this much Demonic Qi, there must be a Spatial Tear leading to the Demonic World that is not sealed. We should report this to the three Holy Grounds. Otherwise, there may be dire consequence."
Hua Yunfei shook his head, "I don't think we need to. This is the final resting place of the ancient Sages. How can there be a large spatial tear? This river appeared in the Ancient Era, and I believe the tear is not large. Just that it has been a long time and a large amount has been accumulated.
Ji Changkong said in an unusual manner, "I concur with Hua Yunfei's opinion. If there was a large Spatial Tear, the three Holy Grounds would have found it by now. It is rumored every Holy Ground has a Treasure Mirror for monitoring spatial tears. Yet, they have not found this place.
Momentarily, everyone began discussing whether the Demonic River was a result of a large spatial tear or not. The older cultivators leaned on the opinions of the Guiyi Marquis; the younger cultivators were clearly willing to take more risk and did not wish to back out easily.
"Chi! Chi! Chi! Chi!"
As everyone debated endlessly, there was a splash from the surface of the black water. Bats covered in the black gas leaped out of the river and flew towards the crowd.
"All the Martial Grand Masters take a step back. The Demonic Qi on these Demonic Beasts is too dense." Ji Changkong shouted as he frowned.
A Martial Grand Master took too long to retreat and was bitten by a bat type demonic beast. He was instantly demonized and he gave off a black aura. He turned to the people beside him, attempting to kill them.
The Guiyi Marquis raised his long spear and pierced the demonized Martial Grand Master. A strand Dragon Qi penetrated his body and blasted him to bits.
"You guys focus on killing the Demonic Beasts; I will deal with the demonized people. You must be fast. If they have been demonized for an extended period of time, they will be horrifyingly strong."
"Astral Swordplay First Move, Respondent Starlight." A boundless river of stars appeared behind Ji Changkong. There were points of bright starlight appearing on his sword. When the bats came into contact with those points, they immediately exploded into bits.
The people of the noble clans were being continuously demonized. Once that happened, the Guiyi Marquis and his subordinates killed them immediately. None of them showed any mercy. After a long time, countless Demonic Beast corpses littered the ground.
This sudden fight ended in no time. However, everyone was scared witless, as though they just went through a large fight.
Suddenly, Duanmu Qing said, "Although the Demonic Qi on this Demonic Beast is very dense, it is not very strong. I believe it is likely the spatial tear is not very large."
Indeed, if there were a large spatial tear the Demonic Beasts they encountered, based on the Demonic Qi they saw, would be at least Rank 6. They would not be as weak as these bats.
Everyone considered Duanmu Qing's opinion. After they took a tally of the deaths, they continued on their journey. Surprisingly, there were no more Demonic Beasts suddenly coming out.
After walking downstream the black river for more than four hours, there were blocked by the mountain side. The river went through a hole in the mountain side, flowing to an unknown place.
"Quickly, take a look at the other side; there seems to be a stone platform," a cultivator said and pointed to the other side just as everyone was dispirited at not being able to find the way.
Ji Changkong looked in the direction he pointed. There was indeed a stone platform. The stone platform did not seem to be very high. There were steps leading up to it on all sides. At the top of the stone platform, there seem to be something on it giving off a faint light.
"The Sage's coffin might be there; it has to be there. I can feel the righteous Qi of a Sage," Hua Yunfei exclaimed joyfully.
Everyone started to discuss how to cross the river. The river was just tens of meters wide, but it was not a distance anyone could leap over easily. Furthermore, even the Martial Saints did not dare to touch the Demonic Qi on the surface of the water.
Finally, the six Hua Clan Martial Saints worked together and sent out a holy river into the Demonic River. It cleansed the surface of the river; at which point, the Duanmu Clan Martial Saints quickly froze a path through the river.
Everyone walked on the ice and rushed towards the opposite side, heading in the direction of the stone platform. Even though the stone platform did not seem far, the group walked for an hour before arriving at its foot.
When they arrived at the stone platform which they thought was not very tall, they discovered they were wrong. This stone platform was actually a thousand meters tall. They were not able to see the other end of the platform. It felt like a road leading to heaven.
"That's right; it must be here. This is a small realm the Sages developed," an old man said excitedly as he stared at the platform which seemed to extend into the sky.
When the crowd heard this, they were astonished in their heart. They looked at the thousand-meters tall stone platform and suddenly understood. If there was not small realm here, this stone platform would have pierced through the mountain above it.
Hua Yunfei revealed an expression of joy and asked, "What are we waiting for? Let's go!" After he spoke, he took the lead and headed up the stone platform which seemed to lead to heaven.
"Pu! Pu! Pu!"
All the disciples of the noble clans were not willing to lag behind. They followed quickly and when they climbed ten odd steps, they all felt something was wrong. They felt the weight on their feet was becoming heavier with each step. Every step they took expended a large amount of effort.
Ji Changkong stopped and closed his eyes, carefully feeling everything. When he raised his leg, there were no obstructions, but when he landed on the stone platform, he immediately felt some of his energy disappear.
After a long time, Ji Changkong opened his eyes and said, "Something is wrong here; every step we take consumes some Essence. At first, we barely felt anything; after a while, it becomes obvious."
When everyone heard his words, they stopped. After carefully feeling it for themselves, they all had extremely shocked expressions. They looked at the seemingly endless steps; there was still a long way to go before they reached the top.
Hua Yunfei said, "This is already the final hurdle; we can't just give up. In the worst case, we just leave after we have exhausted all our Essence."
Ji Changkong revealed a bitter smile, "That's where the problem lies... Try walking back; just a step will do."
When a Martial Grand Master heard him, he tried going down. The moment he landed his feet, he felt a large amount of his Essence being absorbed. He panicked without any reason and wanted to leave this place immediately. He took a deep breath and jumped down.
To the horror of everyone present, they saw cultivator's body withered up slowly. Finally, when he landed, he became a set of white bones; all the skin and meat on him were gone.
"What is going on? Why is the consumption of life force so great? Is this stone platform a demon?" A Jiang Clan Martial Grand Master asked while his entire body trembled in incomparable fear.
The faces of all the noble clan disciples went pale. To think the stone platform was so horrifying. Is this the legendary path to heaven? It is said, it is easy to go to heaven but difficult to get out of it.
Ji Changkong frowned, "Any Martial Grand Masters without an inherited Martial Spirit can leave now. Do not jump down; you will not survive doing so."
Very soon, all the Martial Grand Masters slowly headed down. Even though there were only ten odd steps, it felt like a journey of thousands of meters.
"Bang!" A Martial Grand Master reached the third step from the bottom and could no longer take it. There was a loud bang and he turned into a pile of white bones.
The people beside were utterly demoralized with fear. Some of them could not resist jumping when they saw there were only two steps left. In the end, they, too, exploded into bits.
When all the Martial Grand Masters reached the bottom, they heaved a sigh of relief in their hearts. They quickly sat on the ground and worked on recovering their Essence.
Aside from the successors of the noble clans, only Martial Saints remained on the stone platform. The Guiyi Marquis looked at the top of the platform and muttered, "There are at least ten thousand steps. Even if we make it up, how are we going to get down?"
These thoughts lingered in everyone's heart like a huge pit, one which they would not be able to cross. Up until now, they had not exhausted much Essence. However, as they climbed higher, it would require even more Essence to come down. The shadow of death lingered in everyone's hearts.
Ji Changkong said calmly, "A thousand years ago, after the Thunder Emperor disappeared, there were no other Martial Emperors; there might not have even been a Martial Sage."
"Now, such a great opportunity is presented to us. Although the odds of surviving this are not high, it might not necessarily be impossible. All the great emperors from the past did not achieve their success in a smooth sailing manner."
After Ji Changkong spoke, he took the lead and headed up. The people here were all talented geniuses; they were not willing to lag behind and become the stepping stones for others. They did not hesitate as they followed along.
Along the way, the group saw countless white bones on the stone platform. The higher they climbed, they more they saw; the stone platform was literally filled with white bones. The group ended up not being able to avoid them and could only crush the bones under their feet as they walked.
As they continued further, purple bones started to appear. The group exclaimed in shock, "These are Martial Emperor experts. Just how many experts are buried here? Even Martial Emperors were not able to escape this fate of death?"