Xue Ningxiang turned to Zhuo Fan with a start.
Zhuo Fan spoke while gazing at the weeds around the cave, “That is Soothing Grass!”
“That’s perfect, it can help relieve fatigue. What is wrong with that?” Xie Tianyang asked.
Zhuo Fan said annoyed, “That’s true for humans, but for spiritual beasts, it has a calming effect that attracts nearby spiritual beasts.”
Xie Tianyang was anxious, “That means… trap?”
Zhuo Fan nodded, “Yes, a trap made by predators. The Burrowing Mouse was drawn here and led us right to it!”
“Curses, you can just bury your head and run, but we’ll have to suffer. Why had I taken you in any way?” Xie Tianyang snapped at the critter.
He wasn’t as brash usually, but he was now hurt and powerless to resist an attack. In this grim state, falling in a trap was the last straw.
To escape from the seventh elder yet die in a beast’s trap was something this genius disciple couldn’t accept.
The Burrowing Mouse squeaked a few times with a lowered head.
Xue Ningxiang hugged it to her chest and spoke softly to Zhuo Fan, “What do we do now?”
She had ill-feelings towards Zhuo Fan but she always turned to him for help when the going got tough.
“What else?! Run!” Xie Tianyang cut him off.
Zhuo Fan asked hastily, “What time is it?”
Xue Ningxiang looked outside the cave, but the rain clouds blocked the sky. She shook her head, “I’m not sure, a day must’ve passed by now.”
“Damn!” Zhuo Fan said gravely, “The Energy Concealing Pill must have worn off and we are now easy targets. I’m guessing beasts must be coming here in droves!”
“What?” Xie Tianyang jumped, “You said… droves?”
Zhuo Fan nodded, “The truly strong spiritual beasts don’t stoop so low to use this trick. Only low-level spiritual beasts place traps and move in packs.”
Just then, along with the sound of rain, roars of beast echoed, and several pairs of cruel eyes fixed on the cave’s mouth.
A rough look would spot around a thousand heads.
Zhuo Fan sighed, “We’re finished. Bloodthirsty Wolves are 2nd level spiritual beasts but with their numbers, they must have a 3rd level wolf king among them. Not even a 4th level spiritual beast would dare to mess with them.”
Xie Tianyang saw the faint green eyes getting ever closer, “Woe is me! Heaven must be jealous of my outstanding talent and wants to pluck me.”
Xue Ningxiang looked worried while Zhuo Fan had his trademark unflappable expression.
Zhuo Fan said, “Give your sword to Ning’er!”
“Ning’er?” Xie Tianyang didn’t understand, “My Star Sword may be a 4th-grade spiritual weapon, but Ning’er is in the Qi Condensation Stage. It’s not enough to deal with those savage beasts.”
He spoke of the difference in cultivation and leveled his eyes at Zhuo Fan, “She isn’t like you, fighting Bone Tempering and Profound Heaven experts while in Qi Condensation Stage.”
Zhuo Fan smiled, “Ning’er won’t be fighting the beasts, but escaping their encirclement.”
He took out a bottle from his ring but didn’t have the strength to lift it.
“Ning’er, take this Energy Concealing Pill.”
Zhuo Fan spoke calmly, “Use it to leave Allbeast Mountain Range once you break the encirclement, but don’t go to your clan. Leave the city.”
Xie Tianyang now understood Zhuo Fan’s plan. So he too took out his Star Sword.
Their debt to Ning’er was too great, and at this point, they were nothing but dead weights.
Seeing their firm gazes, Xue Ningxiang took the sword and ran outside.
Both Xie Tianyang and Zhuo Fan revealed a smile, feeling a weight being lifted off their chests.
“This way, we can repay her kindness. Even if we die, we can do it free of regrets!” Xie Tianyang mumbled.
Zhuo Fan spoke blandly, “I don’t care about returning favors, just felt unwilling to die like this. I just don’t want this girl to keep looking after me.”
“Humph, how cold-hearted!” Xie Tianyang snapped.
After that short banter, the two were at peace, waiting for the Bloodthirsty Wolves to devour them.
But then wails came, followed by blood splattering on both of them.
When they looked towards the mouth of the cave, they were shocked to see Xue Ningxiang standing guard at the entrance. Some Bloodthirsty Wolves were circling around trying to enter but were cut down by her.
With her standing guard and this being the only entrance, the wolves were kept at bay.
“Ning’er, what are you doing?” Zhuo Fan shouted.
Xue Ningxiang slashed and three more wolves fell. She looked back with a shy smile, “See, with me standing here, they will never get in!”
“Idiot, those are nothing but cannon fodder. The wolf king wouldn’t care if they died. He’s trying to tire you out before killing you!” Zhuo Fan cursed, but his eyes were filled with worry.
Xue Ningxiang smiled, “That wolf king is a beast uncaring for his pack, but you are my most important friends. I won’t abandon you.”
She killed another two incoming wolves.
Because of the blood loss and the fatigue of carrying the two, she felt weak and pale. She was shaking with the wind and seemed like she might collapse any second. Yet her eyes were headstrong.
Xue Ningxiang slashed, again and again, piling wolf corpses at her feet in a pool of blood.
Her brows were drenched, her breathing haggard, her arms numb, but her back remained straight against the incoming storm.
Watching her frail body, Zhuo Fan’s eyes filled with warmth.
He closed his eyes, not wishing to see the end as pain laced his heart.
Xie Tianyang yelled, “I just realized, we’re both damn bastards.”
Zhuo Fan groaned a response. Xie Tianyang looked over to Xue Ningxiang braving outside and he also closed his eyes.
Xue Ningxiang let out a cry as a wolf bit her wrist when her strength failed her. It then pinned her to the ground.
Then another wolf pounced on her other hand. She wanted to get up and keep fighting but felt too weak to move. She had surpassed the limits of her body long ago and was now powerless to deal with two weak wolves. She couldn’t even feel the blood flowing out from the bite wounds on her hands.
Zhuo Fan and Xie Tianyang knew this was going to happen but kept their eyes closed. They wanted to be spared from the sight of the girl getting mauled.
While two wolves pinned her arms, the rest were closing in as Xue Ningxiang’s breathing grew faint.
If they could, the two in the cave would’ve covered their ears.
In celebration of a successful hunt, the pack howled and the wolf king, three times bigger than the rest, strutted before Xue Ningxiang.
Licking its fangs, the wolf king howled and opened its maw to ravage Xue Ningxiang.
With her eyes blacking out, all she could see were vague shapes.
Zhuo Fan and Xie Tianyang still had their eyes closed.
Just as the wolf king was about to bite her, a sudden roar echoed from deep within the Allbeast Mountain Range. Zhuo Fan and Xie Tianyang blanked out the moment it reached them.
The thousand Bloodthirsty Wolves pack collapsed one after the other, with only the wolf king staggering from fear.
But before it could retreat, a flame swept over the wolves, not even leaving ash behind.
Even the wolf king couldn’t survive and disappeared from this world.
Unbelievable enough, Zhuo Fan’s party survived unharmed, though unconscious…
Zhuo Fan vaguely heard someone calling him and opened his eyes.
[What is with this foggy place? Where am I?] He looked around.
But then it occurred to him, he was heavily wounded so how could he move?
Suddenly, two blue flames ignited. It fused together to reveal a burning blue-robed figure floating high above.
“Is your name Zhuo Fan? I heard the two kids call you as such!” The figure smiled. His voice fit a sturdy middle-aged man, but it wasn’t clear from his appearance.
Zhuo Fan was suspicious, “Who are you?”
“You don’t need to know.” The figure replied, “This is my domain, and here, I ask the questions!”
“Zhuo Fan, why have you come to Allbeast Mountain Range?” the blue figure asked.
Zhuo Fan thought for a moment, “To capture a spiritual beast and make it my demonic creature!”
“What spiritual beast?”
“6th level spiritual beast, Thunder Skylark!”
Zhuo Fan’s eyes swiveled, “Why else, to increase my power!”
A loud noise resounded and Zhuo Fan felt like his head was about to explode.
“Ha-ha-ha…” The figure laughed, “Boy, we are inside your consciousness. It’s easy for me to tell when you lie.”
Zhuo Fan looked at the figure in fear.
He could enter other’s consciousness on his own. Such power went beyond Radiant Stage, maybe even above the mortal domain.
“Are you… from the Sacred Domain…” Zhuo Fan gasped.
He never thought that it was possible to run into a Sacred Domain’s expert in the mortal domain.
The figure was also surprised that Zhuo Fan knew about Sacred Domain and nodded, “You aren’t normal to know of Sacred Domain, to apply ancient arrays, and refine the Blood Infant…”
Zhuo Fan was shocked to find that all his actions were monitored, this man even knew of Blood Infant.
Matters regarding Patriarch Blood Demon were decades old and very few people knew of them even in the Sacred Domain. If he hadn’t stumbled upon the Nine Serenities Secret Records, he would be none the wiser.
“W-who exactly are you?”
“I said it before, only I ask the questions here!” The figure replied coldly, “Why do you want the Thunder Skylark. Speak the truth!”
Zhuo Fan was pensive, but found no way out, “I want to go to Lightning Canyon and search for the Heavenly Emperor’s remnant. For that, I need the Thunder Skylark to block the purple lightning!”
The blue figure never anticipated such an answer, but laughed in glee, “Ha-ha-ha, good. Great even. That is a good place. You should definitely go!”
The figure vanished and popped right in front of Zhuo Fan’s face. Zhuo Fan was startled but didn’t pick up any bad intentions from him.
The figure then tapped Zhuo Fan’s forehead and a blue flame seeped in. Zhuo Fan only felt gentle energy from his forehead.
“Ha-ha-ha, boy, we are fated so here’s a gift. I hope you can help me in the future!”
The figure was gone but his words rang in Zhuo Fan’s ears, “You can find the Thunder Skylark three thousand miles into the third area. Do your best to catch it…”