“Ji Wujiong.” Meng Qi furrowed her brow. She anxiously glanced towards the forest, where Xue Jinwen and Pei Mufeng might still be waiting for rescue. “Just get to the point!” she snapped. With her friends’ lives potentially in danger, she had no patience to listen to Ji Wujiong’s ramblings about the so-called Demon Monarch.
Su Junmo, who was standing aside, had just opened his mouth and was about to refute, but Meng Qi was faster. Seeing her interrupting Ji Wujiong first, he shut up and smiled contentedly, finally saying nothing.
Ji Wujiong sneered in response. Holding his black saber, he continued to draw on the ground, “There is one particular saying in the Three Realms. Have you heard about it?”
“What?” Meng Qixiu frowned.
Ji Wujiong spoke slowly, “In some places, strength is the only way to break through.” He continued to explain, “There are countless cultivators in the Three Realms, and many of them are strong, yet there are some perilous locations that can only be overcome by brute force. Alternatively…” He paused, emphasizing his point, “One could trade a life for a life.”
The remaining members of the group were struck with surprise, and their eyes involuntarily turned toward the depths of the forest. Was this one of those places Ji Wujiong spoke of? A location that could only be overcome with a powerful cultivation base or through… sacrificing lives.
“Sister Xue got in. How did she do it?” Meng Qi asked.
“Meng Qi, have you ever seen a hunter’s trap?” Ji Wujiong didn’t answer her question directly, “If you want prey to get into the trap, you will need bait.”
“You mean, Sister Xue and Pavilion Master Pei are the bait?” Meng Qi’s frown deepened. “But this is the Starfallen Sea. If we don’t come here, what’s the use of setting up a bait?”
Ji Wujiong directed his attention toward Xue Chengxuan and inquired, “Do you possess something related to her?”
“Yes,” Xue Chengxuan nodded and retrieved a small, unremarkable blue stone from his storage space. Attached to the stone was a thin black string, making it resemble a pendant. “This is the life stone that all members of the main family possess,” he explained. “With it, we can sense each other’s presence within a radius of one thousand miles.”
So that’s it. Meng Qi looked from the blue stone to Xue Chengxuan, realizing why he had been so certain about Xue Jinwen’s survival. The Feng Alliance’s Xue Clan was an ancient clan that had existed for nearly ten thousand years, and its legacy was incomparable to that of many ordinary sects. She had also come across records of life stones in several books, although this thing had become rare in modern days.
“To sum it up,” Ji Wujiong said lazily, “the forest has taken Xue Jinwen captive and realized that there are others in the Starfallen Sea who are connected to her. It’s only natural that it would attempt to lure in more prey.”
“What exactly is Zhihui Valley?” Meng Qi asked.
Ji Wujiong rambled on and on for a long time, but he still didn’t explain clearly the function of this valley.
However, it seemed to have something to do with the white tiger clan…
Meng Qi’s heart fluttered. Was it also related to Yun Qingyan? He was the White Tiger Sovereign, so he should have mastered his clan’s secret knowledge.
Ji Wujiong commented casually, “I have no idea. It’s the secret location of the Celestial Demon White Tiger Clan. How would an outsider like me know about it?”
Meng Qi: “…”
“Wha—?! Then why did you say that you have a solution just now!” Sikong Xing exploded, “You even shamelessly negotiated conditions with Meng Qi!”
“Heh.” Ji Wujiong chuckled, “Although I don’t know what’s in Zhihui Valley, I know how to get in.”
“Afterward?” Sikong Xing pushed, “What about the way out?”
“That depends…” Ji Wujiong’s eyes turned gloomy, and the corners of his lips curled up into a cold smile, “…whether that thing is ‘willing’ to let you out again.”
“That thing? Willing?” Meng Qi quickly interjected, “What do you mean?”
Ji Wujiong folded his hands, “Just my guess, though. But I suppose the valley has already developed a consciousness on its own, since it was intelligent enough to use Xue Jinwen as bait to lure us in.”
“It’s possible.” Meng Qi nodded.
“I don’t know how Sister Xue is inside.” Sikong Xing murmured, “There’s no way to contact her. But Xu Zijun…” She looked at Pei Mufeng’s junior brother, “Do you have a way to contact your Pavilion Master?”
Xu Zijun shook his head: “Xingluo Pavilion has a contact method, true. I have tried it just now, but without spiritual aura on the other side, it is impossible to build communication.”
For a while, everyone fell silent.
“Ji Wujiong.” Meng Qi spoke out, “Tell us your method.”
“I can draw an array on each person. I figure the spirit stones we got from the snake can do it.” Ji Wujiong explained, “Enough for us to enter.”
“Then… can’t we use the same method to get out?” Sikong Xing asked.
“It is said that the devil cultivators who perished in Zhihui Valley were all at least at the Void Comprehending stage.” Ji Wujiong replied. “A method I could come up with, they naturally could too. What’s more, the demon elders who lured them into the valley were also cultivators above the Void Comprehending, yet none of them walked out alive.”
“Wait a moment!” Meng Qi interrupted. “You also mentioned that after the Demon Monarch came out, he dispatched his guards into the valley to retrieve the corpses of the elders. If none of them managed to make it out alive, how could the story have been passed down? How did they manage to achieve that?”
“Oh, that’s a good question.” Ji Wujiong nodded, “They can return because they had the Demon Monarch’s order in hand.”
Su Junmo: “…”
Sikong Xing: “!!!”
Meng Qi: “???”
“The Demon Monarch’s Order rules over the demon realm.” Instead of Ji Wujiong, it was Su Junmo who spoke up, “With the order in hand, no place in the Demon Realm is off limits. In front of the order, any beings in the Demon Realm bow their heads.”
“I see.” Meng Qi nodded. This method was indeed impossible for them. She frowned slightly and looked towards the dark woods. Both Xue Jinwen and Pei Mufeng were inside, and they couldn’t just give up like this, but the valley was too dangerous. If they really proceeded forward, no one could guarantee their lives, including Xue Jinwen’s and Pei Mufeng’s.
“How?” Ji Wujiong asked, “Do you want to try it?”
Meng Qi frowned, hesitated to speak.
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