As this man was laughing, a gust of wind suddenly appeared. The miner who stood beside him had struck the back of the man’s head with his pickaxe. As the pickaxe pierced through his skull, the sharp point of the tool came out of the man’s mouth. The spirit crystal that was once in his palm flew into the air, radiating a shimmering blue light.
Just as it was about to hit the ground, a hand suddenly reached out to grab it. It was the miner who had struck the man to death. He dropped his pickaxe, letting it fall into the bottomless pit with the man he had killed to be devoured by darkness.
But before the miner had his share of glee, a fulu seal drifted on top of his head. When the seal came in contact with him, his body immediately burst into flames. The miner frantically tried to pat away the flames on his body as he screamed in pain, while his other hand held onto the crystal tightly.
Someone squatted beside the platform, as they tried to hide their grin. “Hey, throw the spirit crystal to me, then I’ll save you!”
The burning man lifted his head; his face was filled with anger and despair. His hatred was so intense that even the flames couldn’t cover the anger on his face. He gritted his teeth as he yelled, “Don’t you dare! Even if I had to die with it, I still wouldn’t hand this to you!”
As he finished his sentence, he began to laugh hysterically. And with one jump, he leapt into the bottomless pit.
The crowd watched the burning man descend into the dark bottomless pit, the ball of flame becoming smaller and smaller. His laugher turned more pitiful as it slowly faded away. Then, like a thunder strike, a loud crack could be heard as it echoed throughout the cave.
Those who stood on the platform stared as the burning man held onto the rare crystal and descended into the pit with greed in their eyes, it was only when the flame turned a speck of light that they finally decided to look away, letting out a long sigh. However, it was unclear if they were sighing to the loss of life, the loss of a rare crystal or sighing about the cruelty of men.
These people glanced at one another; their gaze was filled with caution, distrust and critique. All of them looked as if it had nothing to do with them while they stared at everyone with judgement in their eyes.
Chengfeng watched this scene unfold as felt his back turned cold, he hadn’t even noticed where or who the fulu seal came from. Before his eyes, these two strong men who swung their pickaxes were still living and breathing, became corpses in a blink of an eye. He realised how little meaning their lives meant in the mines, and how fragile it could be!
Chengfeng finally understood that what Su You had told him was not an exaggeration. In this place, the ones who posed the biggest threats were the people surrounding them! They seemed honest and hardworking one second, but their cruel humanity and deceiving nature would be revealed next!
Yuehan, on the other hand, had seen the ugly side of humanity multiple times. She cautiously hid behind Chengfeng as she softly tugged at his sleeve. Chengfeng quickly understood what she meant. He then cautiously stared at the men standing by the platform, the pair carefully avoided them as they walked into another passageway in the cave.
These men stared at Chengfeng as he was leaving, only looking away when they made sure he had left. Among those were one or two men who looked at Yuehan with yearning.
To them, a spirit crystal was something they could risk their lives to kill for because this was something that could change their fate. However, a beautiful young woman like Yuehan was like a hero’s grave. A true man would never bet their life on a beautiful young lady.
Chengfeng and Yuehan hurriedly left the stone cave as far as they could. When the noise of mining had finally begun to sound fainter, both of them let out a sigh of relief in unison as their body shivered in fear.
But what the two of them didn’t know was that when they thought they had finally escaped the lion’s den, another storm was already brewing their way.
Shiwu Mountain, Shiwu Peak.
Three figures flashed by in a hurry, they had only stopped when they reached the entrance of an abandoned mine. It turned out, these mysterious figures were Grand Senior Brother, Qin Mieqin and Ouyang Nan from Hidden Sword Court.
Grand Senior Brother quickly observed their surroundings, then reached out his hand to pluck out some weeds from the abandoned mine. In one glance, a row of twisted and eerie looking arrays appeared before them. As Grand Senior Brother retracted his hand, the weeds were planted back to cover the arrays he had cast.
Grand Senior Brother glanced at Qin Mieqin, his gaze filled with questions. Qin Mieqin and Grand Senior Brother had known each other for many years, with just one look, he had already understood what Grand Senior Brother meant. “Don’t worry, I have used a mission as an excuse and planted the entire surrounding mountain with the Earth Shaking Array. When activated, it would be no different from the dragon’s path. No one would ever find out.” Qin Mieqin reassured.
Ouyang Nan rubbed his chin as he spoke, “I bought all the materials just like you advised. But, won’t this array leave any traces behind?”
Qin Mieqin glanced at him as he replied coldly, “I have told you to read The Art of Mystical Arrays many times, but you never listen! Did you think you would be fully prepared just by reading The Book of Arrays? Now you’re embarrassing yourself once again.”
Ouyang Nan’s face had turned slightly red before retorting, “What’s the use if I learned these things? Do you think I could conjure up an array by myself? Or are you trying to say that the disciples of Hidden Sword Court could cast one up in our current state? Not to mention, every specialist is a master of their field, even if you mastered all arrays, you still need others that learned it as well to make it work!”
Qin Mieqin let out a sigh, “This is considered as a large type of array. The reason why I chose this location to cast an array is that this is one of Shiwu Mountain’s backbone. Once this area shakes, it would immediately cause an earthquake within Shiwu Mountain. As for the array, the runic patterns would be removed by the constant rumbling the moment it is activated. So there will be absolutely no evidence left by the time the earthquake occurs.
Grand Senior Brother nodded, “Great. You’ve always been meticulous with your preparations, so I have no doubts with your abilities.”
Ouyang Nan wanted to object, he opened his mouth to say something, but ultimately chose to swallow it back. He grumpily spoke, “I’ll guard this area, both of you can head to the other two places.”
Qin Mieqin reminded, “Remember, 5 o’clock in the afternoon. We will activate it at the same time!”
Grand Senior Brother commanded in a low voice, “Keep track of the time!”
The three of them took out a sphere-shaped timer at the same time. The timer was a ball filled with clear liquid, inside it was an hourglass engraved with a time scale.
The hourglass was floating in the middle of the clear ball, yet no matter how you turned it, it would still maintain upright with the time perfectly aligned while the sand particles slowly flowed down to the base.
At this moment, the sand within the hourglass was almost to its end, only a few grains of sand were left while the remaining had piled to the 4 o’clock mark. The most interesting part about it was that the top half of the clock’s engravement was illuminating in a faint light, clearly showing the viewer what the time was. When the last grain of sand had fallen, it would immediately turn around to reset itself, and the other half of the engravement would illuminate instead.
The upper part of the scale was originally illuminated with red light, and this light only hovered at the position corresponding to the time of the scale. As long as the viewer looked at the brightly illuminated time scale, he would immediately know what the current time was. Currently, the bright scale in the upper part of the scale dimmed, and the lower part glowed pale green to indicate that the time of the day has entered night time when the Yang Qi has begun to decline, while the Yin Qi was gradually growing...
After the three of them had set the time together, they looked at one another. As Grand Senior Brother was about to leave, Mieqin suddenly spoke, “Grand Senior Brother! Think carefully! Once we do this, there’s no turning back!”
Grand Senior Brother turned around as he stared at Qin Mieqin, “Are you scared?”
Qin Mieqin said in a low voice, “What I’m scared of… Is that Hidden Sword Court would perish in our hands!”
Grand Senior Brother looked up into the sky as he smiled ghastly, “The three heavenly courts have done the most despicable things to destroy us! Rather than settle with our fate, we should fight back together! We must let them know that us Hidden Sword Court is not one to be messed with!”
Ouyang Nan was now pumped, “Grand Senior Brother is right! Since we aren’t able to get any benefits from Shiwu Mountain, don’t for a second think that they could reap the benefits too! We must break this bowl of rice, now everyone won’t have a grain to eat!”
Qin Mieqin thought to himself, then let out a sigh, “It’s such a shame, the few young Junior Brothers from Hidden Sword Court will be…”
Grand Senior Brother fell silent for a moment, he then lifted his head with strong determination in his eyes, “If there is no sacrifice, there would be no future!”