Shrouding the Heavens

Chapter 104

Chapter 104 People From Six Thousand Years Ago Within the Forbidden Land

Within the Ancient Desolation Forbidden Land, bold and ancient trees with winding branches spread everywhere. Each ancient tree was like a small mountain that reached towards the sky. Thick vines hung everywhere, looking just like serpents, each capable of being wound around a huge mountain. This land was filled with robust energy.

If one didn’t know the truth, then seeing this vigorous and thriving vegetation, one might think this was some holy land. However, once one carefully looked, they would see some anomalies. Such a large forbidden land didn’t have the slightest sounds of birds or beasts, and not even an insect could be seen. It was quiet. A deathly quiet. 

This time, the three parties had joined hands and carefully selected their people. They didn’t accept everyone, only bringing around ninety cultivators.

“The depths of the area forbidden to life has nine sacred mountains. Our three mountains will separate here and each climb our own sacred mountain in order to not have to unevenly split the divine medicines,” proposed the Flickering Light Sacred Land’s knight Xu Daoling.

The Flickering Light Sacred Land had brought over thirty people, each person riding upon a mount. They all had extremely large and buff bodies, and these matched up with their huge powerful beasts. This was because whether it was a cultivator or a demonic beast, after entering this land, the divine energy spring within them would become sealed and it was then extremely difficult to use divine abilities. Stronger bodies would have the advantage at that time. The Jiang Family and the Ji Family also had such considerations, and all their mounts were exceptionally gifted with strength.

The Jiang Family brought over twenty experts. Their leader was an old man called Jiang Hanchong. He was mounted upon a beast which was completely covered in black scales that flickered devilishly. He laughed, saying, “Elder brother Xiu, that doesn’t seem appropriate. These lands are filled with unknown dangers. It would be best for us to travel together. I think that even if we were to climb up one sacred mountain and pluck its divine medicine, it should be enough for all three parties. Having gone this many years without anybody able to succeed, it would be best for us to not scatter our troops. 

Jiang Hanchong carelessly glanced at Ye Fan, his eyes flashing with a strange color. Ye Fan’s heart immediately shivered. He was rather sensitive to the Jiang Family, as it was this noble family’s knights that had chased after him two years ago, leaving him no path under the heavens to escape.

The Flickering Light Sacred Land’s old knight Xu Daoling shook his head, saying, “I feel that that the forbidden land’s most terrible aspect is the curse’s strength. Even if all of us stay together, it would be useless. It would be better for us to split apart, and then we might be able to gain some respective opportunities.”

The Jiang Family’s Elder Jiang Hanchong pondered and smiled, looking once again at Ye Fan before saying, “Our Jiang Family only brought twenty people. We don’t have enough manpower, so I would like to ask elder brother Xiong to borrow some people.”

Ye Fan’s entire body was covered with armor. Even his head was covered by a helmet, tightly concealing his face so that only his two eyes could be seen. At this moment he knew that the Jiang Family had people that had recognized him. There must be members of the group that had chased after him before.

The Flickering Light Sacred Land’s Xu Daoling was informed about Ye Fan’s consumption of the sacred fruit and of his greater ability to resist the curse. He had been preparing to use him to pluck the divine medicine within the forbidden land. Now he realized that the Jiang Family’s people must have also taken note of Ye Fan, and so he immediately refused.

The Ji Family’s Elder was Ji Yunfeng, who was coolly watching like a bystander. He didn’t say anything at all about what the two people were trying to hide, instead saying, “It’s still early to be talking about this. Let’s wait until we arrive deeper within the forbidden land to make this decision.”

The other two parties listened to his proposal and continued forward. At the beginning, none of them had any sort of feeling out of the ordinary. But in the last ten kilometers, each person had felt a strange sensation.

“My body’s divine energy spring is no longer bubbling and seems to be about to disappear…” one of the Jiang Family’s cultivators was the first to shout in alarm.

“My Spring of Life has been closed and divine energy no longer flows out of it.” A Flickering Light Sacred Land expert’s face also changed color. 

Everyone’s faces became unsightly. Their bodies no longer produced Life Qi, and even their Seas of Bitterness were slowly drying up.

“What are you getting panicked about? We long since expected this!” the Jiang Family’s Elder Jiang Hanchong rebuked him with a shout.

The Ji Family’s Elder Ji Yunfeng also opened his mouth, saying, “Even if the divine energy source-spring dries up, it’s not important. We don’t need divine abilities here as long as we are capable of resisting the curse’s power.”

At this moment, Ye Fan felt that his Spring of Life’s life energy had weakened a bit; however, it hadn’t dried up and was still bubbling as before. As for his golden Sea of Bitterness, although it did seem to dim slightly, it also didn’t dry up.

“Could it be that after the Ancient Desolation’s Sacred Body’s potential is drawn out it can resist this place’s evil power?!” Ye Fan muttered to himself excitedly. He now had enough hidden cards in his hands that they could definitely be killer trump cards.

Zhou Yi, Lin Jia, Wang Ziwen, Li Xiaoman, Zhang Ziling, and Liu Yiyi were all seated upon beasts, following behind the troops. There were a couple knights in charge of guarding them.

Once they were another ten kilometers in, many of their ferocious beasts started to roar, making everyone restless. Amongst them, the weakest ones actually trembled and fell prostrate upon the ground, no longer advancing forward.

The terrain in front of them was completely flat, no longer mountainous. The ancient trees reached for the heavens, their huge branches were like hands reaching out towards the sky. It was a verdant place that didn’t seem strange at all.

Everyone carefully advanced. No one spoke at all. They were holding either lances or swords in their hands, prepared to launch an attack at any moment. Without being able to use their divine abilities, this was their own option.

After advancing another two hundred meters, the tree trunks were now twenty meters in circumference. The ten beasts at the very front of their group all suddenly stood up, throwing off the cultivators mounted upon them. 

Behind one of the ancient trees was a white skeleton standing there perfectly still and facing everyone, releasing a strange demonic air. All of the knights retreated, tightly holding the lances and swords in their hands in front of them.

“There’s no trace of life or divine energy fluctuations. It’s just a skeleton…” The knights that had been thrown off by their all mounts all strode over, using the blades in their hands to slash apart that skeleton.

But a completely shocking thing happened. The moment the skeleton collapsed, the knights all screamed. Originally they were wearing divine armor that glowed brightly, along with a blade in their hands that was difficult to damage. But at this moment, their gear all quickly darkened and then began to crack unceasingly, in the end cascading off their bodies like withered tree bark.

Those knights’ eyes seemed to become sunken, their flesh withered, and they all began to fall down like dust. It was like they had passed throughout countless years, experiencing the erosion of thousands of years, turning into ashes and only leaving behind a white skeleton that collapsed onto the ground.

“Retreat!” The Jiang Family’s senior Jiang Hanchong shouted, “Everyone get back.”

Everyone felt an evil demonic power so they quickly retreated. Those mounts were even more restless, constantly howling.

That scene just now had truly struck fear in people’s hearts. Seven vibrant lives had turned to dust in just the blink of an eye. This kind of death caused everyone to feel cold. 

The front of their group was completely silent and nothing else occurred. All that remained were seven skeletons. Even the armor they had been wearing was completely broken down.

The Ji Family’s senior Ji Yunfeng shouted, “We’ll detour around this place. If something strange appears again, no one should act hastily!”

After passing through this ancient forest, one of the knights suddenly shouted out in fear, “My hand…”

He was originally a young cultivator, but at this moment his hand had become extremely rough and wrinkled, losing all its luster. He quickly took off his helmet and tremblingly touched his face, starting to scream.

Everyone was completely horrified. At this moment, this knight’s face was full of wrinkles and his old and white-haired body was stopped, his life energy almost completely gone, like he was on the verge of dying.

Beside him, another couple knights all started to emit aged frightened screams, the same thing happening to them. Each person had become old, their life force draining away.

“Why…” One of the knight’s body was stooped and trembling, the light in his eyes gradually dimming until he collapsed and fell off his mount, having died of old age.

In another short couple moments, another couple of aged knights also died and fell off their mounts. Even their mounts were quickly aging. They were no longer powerful and vigorous, instead appearing emaciated like they were diseased. These beasts’ lifespans were greater than those of humans, so they didn’t die from their aging. 

Ye Fan noticed that all the people who had died were those who had approached those white skeletons before when their beasts had been startled into throwing them off. This caused people’s hearts to shiver. 

The Flickering Light Sacred Land’s senior knight Xu Daoling quietly reminded them, “Now you’ve all seen how fearsome this area forbidden to life is. Everyone should be less careless and hasty.”

Their journey became more depressed, no one speaking and everyone in different moods, unable to predict whether they would live or die.

Ye Fan was mounted upon a ferocious beast and carefully examining the surrounding vegetation extremely closely. He noticed many spiritual medicines that had fully matured, and it was unknown just how many years the medicinal herbs had grown.

A Dragon Tongue Grass sparkled bright green, appearing as if it had been carved of jadeite. It was almost at the point that it could no longer be called a grass. Perhaps calling it a jade tree would be more appropriate. It was two meters tall, the inner portion of the grass appearing like a small dragon sticking out its bright tongue. 

And not far was a lake with an even brighter jade lotus within it, its huge lotus seed head containing nine lotus seeds as big as chicken eggs, sparkling and bright, a pure dark green like jade. Even from far away it was possible to smell a refreshing fragrance. 

But no one wasted time on stopping for these things. They didn’t have any extra time to squander, else even if they were able to ascend the sacred mountains and pluck the divine medicine, their life force would have already been exhausted and they would die.

One of the Jiang Family’s knights was mounted on a ferocious beast whose whole body was covered in shining red clouds. He approached Ye Fan and rode alongside him, and with an extremely faint voice, he taunted, “Why aren’t you running away again? Two years ago, didn’t you run very fast? Just like a stray dog…”

Ye Fan glanced at him, saying, “To me, you seem much more like the dog. Two years have already passed, but you can still identify my scent.”

“Your mouth might be capable, but we’ll see if once I slowly kill you whether you’ll still dare to say such things,” this knight faintly sneered, saying, “I hear that you aren’t even capable of cultivating. It really is a case of stupid people having great courage. When the time comes, you’ll die without even knowing what killed you.”

“Are you really so sure you’ll be able to slaughter me so easily?” Ye Fan was very calm, not becoming even the slightest bit angry.

“Do you want the Flickering Light Sacred Land to shelter you? Dream on. When we get to the mountains, just obediently go gather the sacred medicines for us and I might leave you behind with a full corpse. I think that deep down you should know that there’s no way we’ll let you leave here alive.” This knight named Jiang Feng revealed a dense killing intent, saying, “Of course, I can also let you be content. As long as you give me that ancestral precious treasure, I’ll let you die painlessly.”

“Don’t you think you’re talking about this a bit too early?” Ye Fan stared indifferently at him, saying, “Within this Ancient Desolation Forbidden Land, until the final moment, who knows who will die and who will live. Maybe I’ll even twist off your neck.”

This Jiang Feng glanced at him contemptuously. “Even though my divine energy source-spring has temporarily dried up, killing you is no different from stamping an ant. It won’t require any effort.”

“You have quite a bit of confidence in yourself,” Ye Fan sneered back, saying no more.

Jiang Feng had a brutal and cold smile on his face as he said sinisterly, “Of the five knights who chased after you back then, three of them are here. We’d all like to resume that chase. Of course, in the end the result will definitely be different.”

Fifty kilometers into the area forbidden to life, they could finally see the nine sacred mountains. They didn’t seem very large, but they had an imposing and majestic air, putting everyone under an endless pressure.

“That is…”

All of them couldn’t help but suck in a breath of cold air, feeling as if their scalps had turned numb. The nine sacred mountains circled around an endless abyss. Countless skeletons had climbed out of there, snow white and densely packed.

“What’s going on?!” Everyone felt their hair stand up on end.

“They’re most likely people from six thousand years ago….” the Jiang Family’s Elder Jiang Yunfeng said with a heavy expression.

The Flickering Light’s Elder Xu Daoling nodded, saying, “Right, it should be them. Back then when the immortal sect Sacred Land entered the Ancient Desolation Abyss, countless experts fell. It should be them!”

Ye Fan also felt cold all over. In this moment, he thought of the old madman. These countless skeletons should all be his old friends from his sect.