Ao Jiao flew out of the Immortal Spirit Ring and said with a frown, “Xiao Chen, I think it’s best that you do not go down. This place keeps giving me the willies.”
Xiao Chen turned around and looked at Ao Jiao. Then, he raised his eyebrows and asked doubtfully, “Little Ao Jiao, why do you seem somewhat different?”
This was the first time he saw Ao Jiao after she consumed the Azure Underworld Fruit. Her appearance, figure, and attitude had not changed at all. However, he had a feeling that there was something he had not noticed.
Did I sense wrongly?
Smiling faintly, Ao Jiao extended her hand and gestured for Xiao Chen to take it.
Xiao Chen grabbed Ao Jiao’s hand. Her skin felt smooth and soft, and gave off a faint warmth. He was shocked. Warmth! What’s going on?! There’s body temperature.
As an Item Spirit, how could Ao Jiao have body temperature? That was inexplicable.
“Hehe! I did not ask you to use so much force.” Ao Jiao giggled.
Xiao Chen quickly let go and apologized. Then, he asked, “What’s going on? The Azure Underworld Fruit has such an effect?”
Ao Jiao said, “Remember when we were in the Azure Dragon Palace, that old man—the Azure Dragon Palace’s Item Spirit—sent me off with a prod to my forehead? After I woke up, my body has been undergoing a slow change.”
Xiao Chen recalled that there had indeed been such an event. Back then, the old Item Spirit seemed to have said that Xiao Chen would end up thanking him when Ao Jiao woke up.
“What kind of change exactly?”
There was both a spark and confusion in Ao Jiao’s eyes. She shook her head and said, “I don’t exactly know what change it is, but what I can clearly feel is that I can now cultivate. Furthermore, this became even clearer after I revived.
“The mind-nourishing Azure Underworld Fruit allowed my strength to increase greatly. You have seen the results for yourself. As for what I will end up changing into, I do not know, either.”
Xiao Chen thought for a while before saying, “Since it was the doing of the old man from the Azure Dragon Palace, it should not be a bad thing. After I become a Martial Emperor, we will understand after I personally ask him.”
“Alright, I will accompany you down, then. Right now, I’m strong enough to face a Great Perfection quasi-Emperor.” Ao Jiao nodded.
There was a flash of golden light. Little Yellow Feather appeared, showing off its might. It chirped noisily, indicating that it wanted to go as well.
Xiao Chen felt touched. However, he smiled and said, “The two of you are not allowed out. I’ll go alone. If there is any danger, I can use the Freedom Wings to leave quickly.”
“No buts. Just listen to me, alright?”
It was hard to figure out just how dangerous this was. Xiao Chen did not want Ao Jiao to take the risk, especially at this moment.
Ao Jiao felt helpless. Cradling Little Yellow Feather, she said, “Very well. I will listen to you. If there is any danger, remember to leave immediately.”
“Don’t worry. It should be fine. The ferocious beast already went far away, together with the evil dragon, or perhaps to go and find a new Spirit Vein. Furthermore, I still have the life-protecting plume feather that Little Yellow Feather gave me.”
Xiao Chen smiled faintly. After Ao Jiao and Little Yellow Feather entered the Immortal Spirit Ring, he took a deep breath and dove into the vast scarlet sea.
He sank rapidly and arrived at the original location of the dragon cave. As he took in the chaotic scene, he carefully observed and looked around.
If Xiao Chen searched in the direction of the source vein, he would definitely find the Holy Spirit Vein associated with it.
After subduing the Holy Spirit Vein, he intended to go and search for the evil dragon. As long as the plan succeeded, he would gain a lot. He would be able to break through to Small Perfection quasi-Emperor at the very least.
The tall mountains and the seabed were all wrecked. Even after spending a long time searching for the source vein, he could not find it. In the end, he only discovered several signs that the evil dragon had left.
Half a day later, Xiao Chen opened his Heavenly Eye once again.
Then, he observed the hills about fifty kilometers to the east. That was the place where the geography was the best preserved, so he should have an easier time finding something there.
Xiao Chen pushed off the seabed and flew in the water. His velocity nearly tore the sea in half, leaving behind a vacuum.
He came to a stop on the hill and looked forward. To others, the geography might appear chaotic and disorderly, utterly incomprehensible. However, scenes flashed in his mind as he compared what he saw to the Paradise Secret Canon.
As he swept his gaze around, the scene cleared up and slowly became complete.
“It should be there!” Xiao Chen said softly as his Heavenly Eye saw a certain piece of geography more than tens of thousands of kilometers away.
The returning dragon entering headfirst; thousand of mountains surrounding, bearing witness in all directions. This is definitely correct.
It was really not easy to find this branch of the source vein when the geography lay in ruins.
Xiao Chen closed his Heavenly Eye, intending to go over to make one final verification. Then he could simply follow the source vein and find the Holy Spirit Vein that this source vein was nurturing.
As for the Spirit Veins of the other ranks, he did not care about them, hence would not waste any effort on them.
Just at this moment, something strange happened. Countless scarlet bubbles surged up. Xiao Chen’s chest tightened with a strong feeling that something was wrong.
A strange roar came from the distance.
Xiao Chen’s body started trembling uncontrollably as if he had met with a strong enemy. A bone-deep fear froze him; he could not move at all.
Why did this happen? What is going on? What exactly is coming? Xiao Chen felt panic in his heart. It became incredibly hard for him to do anything.
He could not even raise his eyelids, much less activate the Freedom Wings.
Xiao Chen collapsed to his knees on the seabed. As the mysterious beast approached, he felt that if he still did not move, he would really be buried here.
Ao Jiao quickly flew out and pulled on Xiao Chen, intending to retreat and bring him out of the water.
“If you don’t want him to die, you’d best not move.”
Just as Ao Jiao was about to use her own energy and take Xiao Chen away, an old man suddenly appeared. The old man formed hand seals, and banners flew out of his body.
This person hid behind the heavenly mysteries and protected this area.
The scarlet bubbles streaming up intensified. The entire scarlet sea surged, looking extremely horrifying.
When that mysterious beast approached, Xiao Chen felt that the little Azure Dragon hidden in his dantian seemed like it was carrying a mountain, pressed down and suffering. As for Xiao Chen himself, he suffered even more.
This was his first time encountering such a situation. After the shock and panic in his heart passed, he did his best to calm himself down.
What exactly is this beast for my body to feel such fear? It even made the Azure Dragon Martial Spirit, which has turned into a Yuanying, tremble in fear.
I have to figure this out. Otherwise, this will be a significant hidden danger to me in the future.
Xiao Chen sensed the mysterious beast circling in the scarlet sea over and over like it was searching for something. It left only a long time later.
Once everything was tranquil again, Xiao Chen blinked. His body recovered back to normal. He spun around and looked guardedly at the person who rescued him.
When Xiao Chen saw this person’s appearance, he was slightly surprised. It was actually the Geomaster that the Sole Hegemon Mountain Manor invited, the one that Yuan Qinghuan called the strongest Geomaster—Jiang Tian.
Ao Jiao stood by Xiao Chen, watching Jiang Tian warily as well. This person had appeared suddenly, his intent unfathomable.
Jiang Tian did not show any concern over the two’s vigilance. He carefully put away all the Worldly Wind Water Banners and gestured that they would speak after they left the water.
The water splashed up, and Xiao Chen and Ao Jiao broke out of the sea. Ao Jiao asked anxiously, “Xiao Chen, are you alright?”
Xiao Chen had not received any actual physical damage. So he shook his head to indicate that there was nothing to worry about.
Ao Jiao personally checked him and relaxed when she verified that he was fine.
“Splash!” Jiang Tian burst out of the water and eyed Xiao Chen coldly. Then, he asked indifferently, “You cultivated the Heavenly Eye? It looks like you obtained the Yuwen Clan’s Dragon Seeking Art. Were you the one who used a technique to interfere with my astrological reading?”
This person radiated a certain might and aura. However, his cultivation was much lower than Xiao Chen’s; he was only a grandmaster-level Martial Sage.
Nevertheless, the way Jiang Tian spoke was condescending, without any consideration whatsoever for a quasi-Emperor like Xiao Chen.
Moreover, it seemed to naturally put strong pressure on Xiao Chen. This was the innate aura of a major character; the weak would not be able to imitate it.
Xiao Chen nodded calmly. There was no point in denying it.
Jiang Tian snorted coldly. “You are really arrogant, daring to do anything. Perhaps I actually should not have saved you earlier but let that Hou ghost swallow you up.”
[TL Note: The Hou is a legendary Chinese beast. There are many legends about it. One says that it is like a dog and eats humans. Another says that it is the nemesis of dragons and snacks on their brains. A popular legend is that they are guardians of good and evil.]
Xiao Chen raised his eyebrows and said, “You know what that thing is?”
“There are very few things in this world that I do not know. That was a Hou, an ancient ferocious beast. It eats dragons, snacking on their brains and swallowing their marrow. To it, killing a dragon is like squishing an earthworm. They are the nemesis of all dragonkind.
“If the Azure Emperor had not killed it ten thousand years ago, leaving a disembodied soul, you would not have survived even if you had eight lives,” Jiang Tian explained unhurriedly with a cold smile.
Dragons unexpectedly had a nemesis. Furthermore, it was such a tyrannical nemesis. This was news to Xiao Chen, causing him a significant shock.
He finally understood why his body had trembled in fear, feeling powerless.
Xiao Chen was the Azure Dragon King and possessed the Azure Dragon Martial Spirit. Furthermore, he cultivated the Azure Dragon Body Nourishing Art. Whether he was willing or not, the mark of the dragon was already deeply imprinted into his bones. No matter what he did, he would not be able to wash it off.
Fortunately, the Azure Dragon King killed the Hou, leaving only a soul.
“Why did it come here?” Xiao Chen asked, meeting Jiang Tian’s eyes. He kept getting a mysterious feeling from this person, as if things were indeed as Jiang Tian said: there were few things Jiang Tian did not know.
“Naturally, it is because it smelled a dragon. It wants to eat up that nine-star evil dragon to recover its strength,” Jiang Tian replied indifferently.
Then, he said coldly, “Enough idle chit chat. Hand over the Divine Grade Black Patterned Gold you obtained at the Cloud Treasure City’s auction previously.”
“This old man saved your life. Do you think that it is for free?!”
Xiao Chen was speechless. This was the first time he met someone this domineering. It was not like he had asked for rescue.
However, even if Xiao Chen wanted to, he would not be able to hand over the Divine Grade Black Patterned Gold. He already infused all of it into the Dragon Revealing Mirror.
Ao Jiao, who was at the side, could no longer continue watching. She scolded angrily, “You shameless old fellow! How can someone just forcefully save someone and extort things?!”
Xiao Chen raised his hand to stop Ao Jiao. Then, he took out the Dragon Revealing Mirror, which was filled with spirituality and a withdrawn treasure light. Then, he handed it to the other party and said, “I already used the Divine Grade Black Patterned Gold. If you want it, you can melt down this Dragon Revealing Mirror.”
Ao Jiao watched with anxious red eyes. The Dragon Revealing Mirror was critical for determining whether Xiao Chen could subdue Holy Spirit Veins or not. How could he just hand it over?
Jiang Tian received the Dragon Revealing Mirror, but his expression seemed dissatisfied. He said appraisingly, “Your handiwork is pretty good. Of the present dragon-seeking Secret Treasures, it definitely can rank within the top ten. Unfortunately, I do not know the Paradise Secret Canon and cannot activate it. I can only melt it down like trash and even after that, I can obtain only about half of the Divine Grade Black Patterned Gold.”
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