Chapter 140: Horned Snake
Travelling through the cave, each day brought them closer and closer to their destination and every day was spent exactly like the first.
After having travelled with Hui Yue and his friends for a short time, the awkward atmosphere between the formation specialists and the rest quickly softened up and conversation started appearing between the two groups.
Although no one spoke about important things, nor did they give away any important information, instead they would converse about the enticing battle which they were rushing towards not to mention talk about the weather or the various discussion about the vegetation they came past.
Although the conversation was not deep, nor especially important it managed to bring forth a much more comfortable atmosphere and everyone was calm and relaxed as they made their way towards the dense mountain range looming in the distance.
Day by day they were getting closer to the mountain and one late afternoon they finally found themselves standing at the foot of the mountain. Excited smiles appeared on their faces as they got ready to climb the final stretch which was standing in their way.
Seeing that they were so close, everyone pushed their limits to the extreme as they rushed towards the top of the mountain climbing the rough and steep ground in an incredible speed, the twelve cultivators raced towards the top.
Hui Yue was the first to reach the top, most likely due to Zhou Long holding back the others, and his eyes gazed down towards the valley between the two parallel mountain ranges, only to widen in surprise as Hui Yue sucked in a deep breath of air.
When Zhou Long had stated that the beast was gigantic, he had in no way overstated the size of the beast. Although it was true that it did not fill the entire valley it was at least a few kilometers long.
The scales were mud-green and each scale was as tall as Hui Yue, their length double the human. The long body was laying completely still within the valley and right below Hui Yue was the snake’s head. A head so large that Hui Yue started wondering whether or not he truly would be capable of assisting Zhou Long with getting rid of this ancient snake.
The head was many times larger than what Hui Yue expected, the size ten metres long and seven metres wide. On the forehead of the snake was a tall, somewhat jagged, swirled horn. The horn seemed to have a very sharp edge and the bone it was created from was simply too astonishing, having a silvery hue shining from within.
Soon afterwards one person after another caught up to Hui Yue, all of them having solemn expressions on their faces as they looked down upon the massive beast. Although they had felt fairly certain about their abilities to defeat it previously, that confidence quickly crumbled next to the sleeping beast.
“Let us make camp here,” Zhou Long said with a quiet voice as he looked at the beast, his eyes not showing any surprise or lack of confidence, it was obvious that he had seen it multiple times before.
Hearing Zhou Long’s comment Hui Yue nodded his head. Although he too was taken aback by the size of the beast, he had long since noticed that it was truly in a deep slumber, and if they managed to attack while it was still asleep, it was highly likely that they could defeat it.
The one thing which made Hui Yue feel the most certain about their win was Zhou Long. The man was not ordinary, and to have him dispatched to this Demon Dwelling Cave also showed how much the higher ups valued this demon core.
Thinking about Zhou Long’s abilities and how easily he vanquished both the elemental flame and the beastly soul shadows with but a clench of his hands vigilance once again appeared in his eyes while he watched their surroundings.
Setting up camp was as smooth an action as it had been the other days, and as soon as the food was cooked everyone gathered around Zhou Long, impatient to hear what their plans would be.
“The beast down there is, as you all guessed, the Demon Dwelling Beast which this cave is named after,” Zhou Long stated as he lazily stretched while looking down the ravine where the body of the giant snake was visible for all to see.
Zhou Long showed no expressions of fear or hesitation as he looked at the beast, just patient apathy, as though he was looking at a worm something he could easily crush.
“Tomorrow at sunrise we will move down the ravine to the valley below. When we are there then we will split into three groups. The formation specialists will go to the right side, I will take the left side, and the rest of you go to the front of the snake’s head.”
“While we attack everyone will have to look after themselves, and if anyone dies they can not blame anyone other than themselves for being weak.”
“The formation spiritual arts will need to use the elemental flame and I expect you to also use Elemental Starfall as well.” Having said that, Zhou Long sent a meaningful glance towards the formation specialists who all nodded their heads.
“I expect that you use whatever attacks you have,” Zhou Long said with a smile to Hui Yue, “Do whatever you can, but keep in mind that your survival is of the greatest importance.”
Hearing this once more, Hui Yue could not help but wonder why exactly it was so important that he survive, but he had no intention of discussing it with the older man and instead he nodded his head and ate his food without looking at Zhou Long any more than necessary.
The evening had gone much like the others and everyone went to sleep early, though Hui Yue stayed awake for the first night watch.
Having wrapped himself up in a blanket, his eyes were looking down on the beast below which was illuminated by the light cascading down from the moon and stars above. The beast was obviously deep asleep and Hui Yue saw no reasons for the beast to be waking up, nor was there any signs of it being close to waking up.
Could it be that they had decided to execute it because they needed the powerful beast core? Hui Yue knew that the strength of the beast below was most likely that of the Emperor rank. It did not feel as powerful as Lan Feng, however it felt far stronger than Xie Lan and Xu Piao, the aura which was evident of all the cultivators close by.
Thinking about auras, the only one who seemed to have an aura as strong as the one Lan Feng possessed was Zhou Lan, however, Hui Yue had the impression that he was an Emperor ranked cultivator, most likely a peak ranked Emperor.
“Can I sit here?” Once again, Zhou Long managed to arrive out of nowhere, and Hui Yue had no way of noticing the other man causing him to feel slightly uncomfortable every time the man appeared.
Although Hui Yue was uncomfortable and stayed vigilant, his body did not reveal anything and neither was any worry evident within his eyes, instead he looked as he would when he talking with Sha Yun.
Patting the ground beside him, Hui Yue gestured for Zhou Long to take a seat and although it was a casual gesture, it was a gesture which showed that Hui Yue approved of Zhou Long as one of his friends. This caused the man’s smile to increase quite a bit.
“Are you nervous for tomorrow?” Zhou Long finally asked after having been seated still for some time his eyes squinted slightly as he was looking at the beast below.
“I’m not too worried,” Hui Yue said with a smile on his face. “To be honest, I am quite certain that you alone are enough to deal with this beast,” He continued while observing the expressions on Zhou Long’s face.
A knowing little smirk appeared on his face, it was simply impossible to understand what the smile meant.
“It will be dangerous,” Zhou Long said quietly, “Even with me here. It will be dangerous. Should you be in a position where you cannot handle the beast, make sure you come to me. I will make certain that you survive.” Zhou Long promised while patting Hui Yue on the shoulder before he stood up. “I better get some sleep,” He said as an excuse for moving away, “Tomorrow will be a great battle you will need of all the rest you can get.”
As Zhou Long left Hui Yue, the white-haired boy furrowed his brows as he thought about the words the man said. He would help Hui Yue survive, but what about Hui Yue’s friends? Were they not going to be getting any help?
As the sun broke through the sky, everyone was already up and about having packed up the tents and eaten their breakfast.
Today was the busy day where they would go hunting for the largest snake Hui Yue had ever seen, let alone heard about. Although he was slightly disturbed by the words Zhou Long said earlier, he also trusted his own ability to keep his friends alive and the hunt was something they were all looked forward to.
Moving down the ravine was much simpler than what he expected, and the twelve cultivators moved silently down the steep mountain side, quickly descending into the mist filled valley below.
The reason Zhou Long had chosen the morning was not only because the beast was in a deep slumber then, but also because it was a reptile. It was a beast which gained its strength from the heat radiating from the sun and as soon as it was high in the sky, the beast would be both stronger and faster. Being able to defeat it, Zhou Long needed the perfect timing, and that was exactly what they were going for.
The closer they got to the beast, the heavier the pressure was upon them all as they started to feel the sweat was trickling down their faces. Their hearts were beating erratically and they could not help but smile with excitement as they were closing in on their target.
Reaching the beast, the pressure was so intense that even Hui Yue felt the cold sweat on his back, yet even so he was not scared. If anything it increased his excitement and he could not help but feel helplessly bound by the urge to fight it.
Standing next to the beast, Hui Yue gestured for his friends to follow him and with ten metres between them and the snout of the snake they finally stopped; they stood staring agape at the massive face which was larger than the inn they stayed at.
The snake-like eyes were closed and its breath was a strong wind each time it exhaled. Standing in position, Hui Yue did not summon black blood, as he understood that direct contact with such a large beast would be deadly. Instead he summoned a flame in his hand which slowly turned from dark red to light blue.
Looking at the blue flame, Hui Yue could not help but smile in excitement, and behind him his friends were preparing in their own way.
Deng Wu had summoned a small army of fifty or so soul shadow beasts, while Sha Yun moved further back, but merged with the Earth, the earth itself claiming some of her body in the process.
Wang Ju Long was different from the others, in her hands was the red staff which Hui Yue bought for her, and in front of her was a large army of small poppy flowers; all of them standing in front of Little Poppy, ready to attack whenever Zhou Long gave the order.