“Despicable! Obscene! Shameless!” Qing Cheng’s voice quivered as she growled through clenched teeth.
Xiao Chen flicked his finger again. The bra on Qing Cheng’s chest instantly slid off, scaring her into silence.
Xiao Chen did not know what the scenery in front was like, and he was not inclined to find out. He said coldly, “Not speaking anymore? Good, then it is my turn. I will only ask you one question: are you going to use my friends to threaten me again?”
Most of the Specter Boat was already underwater. When Xiao Bai and the other two saw Xiao Chen charging into the Eight Ghost Palanquin, joy filled their faces.
However, the Eight Ghost Palanquin remained still for a long time while the Specter Boat sank deeper and deeper. When it looked like it would completely sink in, their expressions could not help but turn grave again.
Xiao Bai said sullenly, “Something must have happened to Elder Brother Xiao Chen. There is no more time to wait. I am going to activate the will clone.”
Yuan Xu quickly stopped Xiao Bai, saying, “Wait a little longer. Xiao Chen is not someone who would make a move if he is not confident.”
“However, if we keep waiting, we will end up sinking—”
Before Xiao Bai finished speaking, she saw a white flash of light in front. With a ‘whoosh,’ the Eight Ghost Palanquin sucked in the three right as the Specter Boat submerged.
The three felt something under their feet; they had arrived in the palanquin, standing next to Xiao Chen and Qing Cheng.
Qing Cheng had her clothes back on already, frustration written across her astonishingly beautiful face. An ice flower imprint looked very eye-catching on her forehead.
Xiao Chen smiled as he stood upright. His expression was calm with no ripples in it.
Kong Yuan’s face filled with doubt. He could not understand what was going on. How could Qing Cheng, who hated Xiao Chen to the bone just a while ago, stand next to Xiao Chen like that?
“What’s going on? This is?”
Smiling, Xiao Chen said, “Everything is fine. Miss Qing Cheng was just joking with everyone earlier. She temporarily gave us this palanquin and will be traveling with us.”
“Is that true?!”
Naturally, the three did not believe him. Even Xiao Bai looked at Qing Cheng with a suspicious expression, feeling that something was wrong.
Xiao Chen remained calm and collected as he glanced at Qing Cheng.
Qing Cheng said with an embarrassed smile, “Yes, this lady never robbed from others before. When I saw my old friend Xiao Chen, I could not resist playing a joke. Haha! I hope the few of you do not mind.”
Regardless of the three’s skepticism, the Eight Ghost Palanquin moved as Xiao Chen wished under his control, heading to the opposite side of the Underworld River.
Along the way, the group passed through thousands of wandering spirits as they traveled in this place where no one resided.
Inside the palanquin, Kong Yuan watched the scenes flashing by outside the window. He marveled, “The Eight Ghost Palanquin lives up to its reputation. It can even fly above the Underworld River. It is worthy of being the Secret Treasure that the Ghost Empress Xi Xun refined.”
Something occurred to Yuan Xu, so he asked, “I heard that the Ghost Empress Xi Xun has grown much stronger recently and is thinking of fighting the Mountain Monarch for mastery of the Ghost Domain. I wonder if they have fought yet.”
The Mountain Monarch was the Master of the Ghost Domain. He was the East Mountain Ghost Monarch. However, others liked to call him the Mountain Monarch. Only the Ghost Race preferred to use his full title.
Qing Cheng glanced at Yuan Xu and exclaimed in surprise, “Even though you are a pretty boy, you know quite a lot. However, what does it have to do with you whether they fight or not? Why ask so many questions?”
The other party was Xiao Chen’s friend, so Yuan Xu could not afford to lose his temper. He could only hold back the rage on his charming and fair face. This situation made Kong Yuan laugh uncontrollably.
Suddenly, Qing Cheng noticed that Xiao Chen was frowning slightly. With a quick thought, she smiled apologetically and said, “Sorry, sorry, this lady normally speaks like this. Young Master Yuan, please don’t take offense. Master’s strength indeed soared greatly. However, there is still a distance to the Mountain Monarch. Why would she cause trouble for herself by going to fight?”
Suddenly, the thoughts of Xiao Chen, who was controlling the Eight Ghost Palanquin, paused. Earlier, they seemed to have overtaken the group from the Medicine God Valley.
In the Specter Boat that the Medicine God Valley’s people hired on the Underworld River, there were six people from the Medicine God Valley. These people stood at the bow. Of the six, one was an Alchemist while the rest were cultivators groomed by the Medicine God Valley, all of them grandmaster-level Martial Sages.
The three other people in the group were not from the Medicine God Valley. Their cultivations were even more incredible; two of them were only a bit shy of great grandmaster-level Martial Sage. After cultivating for several hundred years, they might advance at any moment.
As for the person leading this trio, he was a bona fide great grandmaster-level Martial Sage called Gongsun Hualong.
Clearly, the Alchemist was the person who tied the group of nine together. This person was called Wei Mingtao, more commonly known as Mister Wei. He was one of the Medicine God Valley’s three grandmaster Alchemists. His Alchemy abilities and strength were even higher than Mister Qin’s.
When Mister Wei saw the Eight Ghost Palanquin fly overhead, greed flashed in his eyes. “The Eight Ghost Palanquin. If we can use this palanquin, our chances of getting the Icy Snow Flame would increase by fifty percent. Unfortunately…”
As for what was unfortunate, everyone understood without it needing to be said.
The Eight Ghost Palanquin was the creation of the Ghost Empress Xi Xun. In the Ghost Domain, who would dare to offend the Ghost Empress Xi Xun by having designs on this Eight Ghost Palanquin? Even when outside the Ghost Domain, most would give her some face when seeing the Eight Ghost Palanquin.
Someone immediately said, “Mister Wei, there is no need to worry. On this trip, we have Senior Gongsun Hualong. We will definitely obtain the Icy Snow Flame.”
Gongsun Hualong, whose eyes were closed in rest, suddenly opened his eyes. He countered, “How could it be that easy? Among the Yin-attributed flames, the Icy Snow Flame ranks among the top five. It is born at the shores of Last Breath Lake and might have some strong Phantom guarding it.”
Mister Wei smiled and said, “Mister Gongsun, there is no need to be so pessimistic. Before this old man came here, I already found a Soul Slaying Mirror. It can kill spirits and Phantoms.
“Soul Slaying Mirror?” Gongsun Hualong’s face froze for a while. Then he said, “It should be a replica. If it were the original, then this trip would really be in the bag.”
Mister Wei nodded and said, “Although it is a replica, its grade is not low. If we are careful, it should not be of a big problem.”
The Eight Ghost Palanquin flew for an hour. After passing through an area filled with dense mist, the scene before the group changed. They could no longer see the Underworld River.
After flying for another hour, Xiao Chen noticed that he had expended too much of his Magic Energy. He put away the Eight Ghost Palanquin and officially stepped into the Nine Layers of Purgatory.
The sky was boundlessly dark. A broken black sun hung at the horizon, but it did not give off any warmth.
Spatial cracks littered the place, revealing what seemed like small worlds and showing all sorts of terrifying scenes.
The ground was completely covered in soft, fine, black sand, forming black desert dunes stretching into the distance. There were some ancient palaces at the limits of the group’s vision, looking indistinct like mirages.
This place was quiet, so silent that it felt scary.
As one of the Ghost Race, Qing Cheng was no stranger to the Nine Layers of Purgatory. She pointed to the desert below and said, “This is the Mute Desert. During the Immortal Epoch, this was the first layer of purgatory—the Tongue Pulling Hell. It specialized in punishing those who were glib, those who slandered, those who sowed dissension, and those who lied.
“It had Immortal Scissors, called the Flood Dragon Scissors, that pulled the tongues of the talkative people out for fifty kilometers. Based on the severity of the sin, it would cut off a certain number of pieces. Every cut was so painful, it felt worse than death. For those with serious offenses, their tongues would be cut into millions of pieces, which would take hundreds of years. Only after that could they undergo rebirth.
“Thus, while we are here, don’t speak too much. What the mute ghosts underground hate the most is hearing people speak.”
Qing Cheng looked serious as she spoke of the peculiarities of this Mute Desert in detail. After the rest heard the description, their hairs stood on end, and their expressions changed.
Xiao Chen showed a poker face, not feeling anything. This was now the Martial Epoch; the six paths of reincarnation had broken long ago. The supernatural beings of hell no longer existed. The horrors of hell had nothing to do with them.
“Do you know how to get to the Yellow Springs Road?”
Based on the information that Ying Qiong provided Xiao Chen, the Paramita Flower and Three Life Stone could be found at the Yellow Springs Road.
The red Paramita Flower grew everywhere on both sides of the Yellow Springs Road and was very easy to find. The Three Life Stone could be found at the Bridge of Helplessness at the end of the Yellow Springs Road. Xiao Chen could just pick up a small piece.
As for the Soul Returning Grass, Xiao Chen did not know where it was. Originally, he had planned to ask the Ghost Race cultivators. Now that Qing Cheng was here and had agreed to help, that would not be a problem.
When Qing Cheng heard the words “Yellow Springs Road,” her expression changed. She pulled Xiao Chen aside and said sullenly, “Yellow Springs Road! You actually want to go to the Yellow Springs Road?! Didn’t you say that you are searching for Soul Returning Grass?”
Xiao Chen replied calmly, “I did not say that I was looking for only Soul Returning Grass. I just asked you where to find it.”
Qing Cheng declared hatefully, “If the eighteen layers of hell still existed, you would definitely be thrown into the Tongue Pulling Hell for at least a hundred years. Your tongue would be cut so many times that you would not even dare to speak anymore. There’s no way I will go to the Yellow Springs Road. If you want to go, you can go by yourself!”
Xiao Chen smiled faintly and said, “The one who lies and should go to the Tongue Pulling Hell should be you. You agreed to travel with me and help me find what I’m looking for. That was why I decided to let you go and lend the Cycle Banner to you for three months.
“Even if you don’t want to go to Yellow Springs Road, you have to.”
Without waiting for Qing Cheng to answer, Xiao Chen turned around and walked away. She clenched her teeth. However, when she touched the ice-cold flower mark on her forehead, she could not do anything.
“Elder Brother Xiao Chen, what’s wrong with your friend? Is she not willing to help us?” Xiao Bai asked somewhat worriedly as she looked into the distance at Qing Cheng, who kept kicking the sand.
Kong Yuan also looked over curiously. If they had Qing Cheng’s help, the danger would no doubt be much lower.
Yuan Xu frowned and said, “This woman is behaving very strangely. Furthermore, she is the Ghost Empress’s disciple. I don’t think she is reliable. I think we’d best go alone.”
“Pretty boy, you look very pure and proper, but you have a bad habit of badmouthing others behind their backs. When did I say that I’m not going?”
A cold wind blew, and Qing Cheng silently arrived beside Xiao Chen.
Xiao Chen turned to face Qing Cheng, who had rejoined the group. He did not feel surprised at this development. After assuring Yuan Xu, he asked, “How do we get to Yellow Springs Road? Tell us all.”
“Originally, after leaving the Underworld River and passing the Gates of Hell, we would arrive at Yellow Springs Road. Unfortunately, after the six paths of reincarnation broke, the entire underworld turned chaotic. Many spaces shattered. The Gates of Hell also relocated to the center of the eighth layer’s Last Breath Lake.”
Last Breath Lake. There was a phrase “breathed one’s last” or “last breath.” The meaning of this lake’s name was that one would definitely die. Since this was one of the few dangerous places of the Nine Layers of Purgatory, Qing Cheng was naturally unwilling to go there.
Just at this moment, a pitch-black flood dragon spirit suddenly flew out from the desert in the distance. Black sand rained down as it raised its head to the sky and roared like it was fighting someone.
The calm of the Mute Desert instantly disappeared. The entire desert suddenly trembled. Countless beings that already became spirits emerged from the sand.
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