Xue Jinwen suddenly interjected with a smile. Her gaze inadvertently swept over Lu Qingran as she told Meng Qi, “We can talk about these things later. Let’s leave here first.”
“Okay.” Meng Qi reached out and held Xue Jinwen’s hand, then reached out to Lu Qingran, “Fellow Daoist Lu, let’s go.”
“But…” Lu Qingran cast a worried glance at Sikong Zhan, “He’s injured so badly. I think we should send him out first. I can wait here. I don’t mind, really.”
“Up to you.” Meng Qi didn’t bother to argue with Lu Qingran. She then turned to Pei Mufeng, “Then I’ll send them out first.”
After Meng Qi finished speaking, she reached out and took Sikong Zhan’s right hand.
Sikong Zhan’s face turned even redder.
With quick strides, Meng Qi led the two out of the clearing. The silence enveloping the forest from the moment she entered remained unbroken, as if all life and sounds had disappeared except for the towering trees. Even the sound of their footsteps failed to make a single noise.
The jade token given to her by Yun Qingyan was already in Meng Qi’s hand. As soon as they left the clearing and entered the forest, the jade token emitted a faint glow and warmed up slightly. Although the light was not bright, it was enough to envelop all three of them.
“What is this?” Xue Jinwen asked curiously. However, as soon as she spoke, she realized that her words were being consumed by the strange forest, leaving her unable to hear her own voice.
Meng Qi shook her head and quickened her pace. She remained vigilant of her surroundings. She had entered successfully just now, but who knew what would happen when she went out. After all, Ji Wujiong’s words could not always be trusted.
“Haha—” Sure enough, the soft laughter suddenly echoed again. Meng Qi quickly looked around, but the forest was still silent, with no signs of movement. “Did you guys…” She opened her mouth and looked at Xue Jinwen, whose expression remained unchanged, silently mouthing, “Did you hear anything?”
Xue Jinwen was startled, then shook her head slowly while carefully listening for any changes in their surroundings.
Neither of them noticed that Sikong Zhan, who was standing on Meng Qi’s left side, had become somewhat bewildered and dazed from the moment he saw the jade token hanging from her wrist.
He… did he see it right? The item this young human cultivator tied on her wrist was… that thing?! The thing whose appearance would immediately cause a bloody storm throughout the Demon Realm and be sought after by countless ambitious and powerful demons?!
Sikong Zhan stared at Meng Qi dazedly. Did she use this exalted object as a token to carry them through this strange forest?!
Meng Qi didn’t notice Sikong Zhan’s shocked state. She nodded to Xue Jinwen and quickened her pace, proceeding forward.
“Haha…” They hadn’t walked a few steps when the laughter sounded again. This time it came from the right of their group. Although the laughter was light and short, Meng Qi could hear it clearly this time. It was the voice of a young woman, beautiful like silver bells but with a hint of cold killing intent.
“Quick!” She mouthed to Xue Jinwen.
“Haha—” the laughter sounded again, “Don’t be afraid; I’m not interested in them.” This time, the woman was not only laughing but also speaking. Her voice was not loud, but it seemed to be ringing directly in Meng Qi’s ears, “Little girl, why do you have the five spirits cauldron with you?”
Meng Qi was startled and stopped abruptly.
Xue Jinwen and Sikong Zhan were surprised and turned to look at her.
“You…” Meng Qi opened her mouth, her lips moving slightly.
Even though the other two couldn’t hear the sound, they gradually realized something was wrong.
“Hmm?” The young woman’s voice sounded again, “Oh? And… oh? This medical note… where did you get it?” Her voice was pleasant, even gentle, but it gave Meng Qi an indescribable sense of uneasiness.
Most importantly, she found this voice familiar.
Meng Qi had an excellent memory, and it was not long ago since she met the remnant memory of Lin Yan in the Grand Tournament barrier. Every word, voice, and tone from Lin Yan was still fresh in her memory, and she couldn’t possibly mistake it. If her memory wasn’t wrong, the voice now speaking in her ears was exactly the same as Senior Lin Yan’s. However, the voice sounded a bit more eerie, lacking the same gentle and comforting tone as the one she heard in the Grand Tournament.
“Oh? These turn out to be complete volumes.” The voice sighed softly, “Really generous.”
Meng Qi suddenly felt a sharp pain piercing her spiritual sea, as if something sharp was penetrating it. “Tsk tsk tsk… you, a mere Golden Core, can actually find the Buddhist Sand and cultivate the five spirits cauldron to the first level? And… hmm? What’s engraved on it? Lihuo Fire Array? You are quite remarkable, little girl!”
“Ugh—” Meng Qi let out a soundless gasp. The piercing pain intensified, obviously because something was invading her spiritual sea. But how did they do it? The voice could even inspect the natal weapon in her spiritual sea. Meng Qi felt a chill run down her spine and shuddered. What exactly was the thing in this forest that had a voice similar to Senior Lin Yan’s and was able to easily invade her spiritual sea?
What did the voice want to do?!
Without warning, Meng Qi grabbed Xue Jinwen and Sikong Zhan and bolted toward the edge of the forest. Despite its ominous atmosphere, the forest was not particularly vast, and even without the use of spiritual aura, their cultivation allowed them to run at a swift pace.
Meng Qi completely ignored the voice and hurriedly took the three of them out of the forest as fast as she could.
As they sprinted past the towering trees, the light ahead grew increasingly bright. Then, they broke through the last line of trees and found themselves at the edge of the forest. Ahead of them stood Sikong Xing in her bright red dress, peering anxiously in their direction.
“Meng Qiqi!” Her eyes suddenly lit up, and she waved at them, “Sister Xue!”
Meng Qi breathed a sigh of relief. Without slowing their pace, they pushed through the trees until they finally emerged from the forest and came to a stop.
“Meng Qiqi!” Sikong Xing hastily rushed to her. The rest of the group, except for Ji Wujiong, also did the same.
“You guys are finally out!” Su Junmo let out a sigh of relief as the wind brushed past him, sending a shiver down his spine. Even though Meng Qi hadn’t been gone for very long, he kept sweating profusely with worry. If something had gone wrong and Meng Qi never returned, he might have to atone with his life!
“Eh?” When Sikong Xing finally let go of Meng Qi, she noticed the man next to them, “Didn’t you say that Pavilion Master Pei is inside? This is not him, right? Wait… y-you are Sikong Zhan!”
Exhaling deeply, Meng Qi turned her gaze toward the forest. After a moment of silence, she pressed her lips together and said, “Pavilion Master Pei is still in there. I need to go back.”
“Meng Qiqi!” Chu Tianfeng couldn’t take it anymore. He marched up to Meng Qi and extended his hand. “Give me that thing; I’ll go this time!” He stared straight at her and assured her, “I’ll give it back to you immediately when I am out. I won’t keep it for myself.” He paused for a while before adding, “I can make a soul oath.”
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