This current hiding spot was closest to his destination. Jing Meng Hun would order to continue the search operation as soon as the sky turned bright. Therefore, Chu Yang would have to set-out on the road leading to the main peak at the earliest.
This was his only chance.
The road to the main peak was perhaps even more difficult to traverse. However, Chu Yang must go there to replenish his stock of medicinal efficacies. That was necessary for his survival.
He had been hiding for almost half-an-hour when the sky began to brighten-up.
Jing Meng Hun’s voice resounded, “Has anyone discovered anything?” his voice reverberated in all directions. He had shouted-out loud because the experts of the Golden Horse Riders Department were scattered everywhere.
“I didn’t find anything here.”
“Nothing’s here either.”
Jing Meng Hun’s complexion turned unsightly. An invisible falcon flew-off as he shook his hands. A sound of flapping wings was heard after a while; the invisible falcon had returned. It landed on Jing Meng Hun’s hand. A look of relief appeared on his face as he read the message brought by the falcon. “It says here – they haven’t found King of Hell Chu on the other side of the intersection. This means that he’s still hidden in this mountain. Continue to look for him.”
“If he’s not found today…” Jing Meng Hun’s countenance changed as he clenched his teeth. He then raised his head to look at the mountain and spoke bitterly, “… then we’ll have no other choice but to set fire to the mountain.”
[Set fire to the mountain!]
Everyone looked at each other in dismay; they looked hesitant. [This is one of the biggest taboos in the Nine Heavens Continent. Setting fire to a mountain is equivalent to burning the source of livelihood of hundreds-of-thousands of people. It’s akin to indirectly killing thousands of innocent people.]
[Is King Level Expert Jing going to risk universal condemnation?]
“This person is our biggest enemy from Iron Cloud.” Jing Meng Hun spoke heavily, “But, we’re here to catch King of Hell Chu. And, we may even catch him today. We won’t need to set fire to the mountain in that case.”
Everyone remained silent.
“Start searching! Move quickly! Inform others as soon as you find any anomaly.” Jing Meng Hun waved his hand as an indication for them to scatter.
Everyone moved and rushed out in all directions.
Suddenly, Chu Yang pranced-out of his hiding place. His body soared in the air along with the experts of the Golden Horse Riders Department. He became a part of the dispersing crowd, and advanced on the path to search for himself…
Someone noticed Chu Yang moving around. But, Chu Yang’s timing was perfect. Moreover, the manner in which he moved and carried himself made him seem like ‘one of them’. Anyway, only one individual had seen him; that too his fuzzy back-profile. That individual hadn’t felt concerned since everyone in the group was rushing in different directions. Therefore, no one suspected Chu Yang…
It was King of Hell Chu’s plan to slip-away from right under their noses.
“Good Heavens! I seemed to have the protection of the Heavenly Blessings.” Chu Yang exhaled a deep breath. He moved hurriedly. “You’re treating me so well. I must’ve made you change your attitude in this life. You must’ve felt a twinge of guilt and remorse.”
Chu Yang was indulging in flights of fancy in his heart. He turned around and started to move hurriedly. He stuck close to the ground as he fled several hundred feet. Then, he turned around a corner, and rushed far away from the vision of the group of experts. Finally, he slowed down his speed.
He couldn’t go fast any longer. The saber-cut on his thigh was so deep that his bone was visible. Any movement caused him immense pain. Blood seeped out of his wound in a constant manner.
“I’m miserable,” Chu Yang touched his thigh. He was extremely alert and observant of his surroundings even though he was moving slow. He was advancing towards the main peak. He hadn’t taken the main road. Instead, he was moving along an inaccessible path that was filled with lush vegetation. An average person wouldn’t know that such a shortcut even existed…
Only Chu Yang could’ve possessed such a detailed knowledge of Beyond the Heavens Sect since he was an ‘ex-aboriginal inhabitant’ of this place.
Chu Yang entered the main peak with ease since he was familiar with the route. Then, he approached the Elixir Garden.
The Sword Point began to jump excitedly.
“As expected… there are remnants here…” Chu Yang was overjoyed. But, he walked silently on tiptoes, “I don’t know how much is left behind for me… Well, beggars can’t be choosers. I shall accept the leftovers…”
A feeling of pain and bitterness appeared on his face as he walked up to a spot surrounded by big trees.
Wu Yun Liang was worthy of being considered as this generation’s leader of the Sect – pertaining to his outstanding skills and grand vision. The Elixir Garden had been wiped clean before they had relocated from here; only a few ordinary herbal medicines were left behind…
“Bah! I shouldn’t have come here… I had to take such a big risk to reach this place,” Chu Yang sighed as he carefully approached the herbal medicines, and allowed the Sword Point to absorb their medicinal efficacies. He was about to leave when he realized that the Sword Point was still quivering unceasingly.
He followed the direction pointed by the Sword Point. Suddenly, his eyes lit-up, “So… that’s how it is. They took everything growing above the ground… but some deep roots were left behind since they had moved in a hurry. Many rhizomes have been left behind here…”
Chu Yang found seven or eight rhizomes of elixirs with the help of the Sword Point. He had finally accumulated some medicinal efficacies. However, these rhizomes were few in numbers. Moreover, a rhizome was only a section of a full-grown plant.
The Sword Spirit kept saying in his consciousness that this had appeared as a timely help. Now, the healing process could finally be completed.
The Sword Spirit would’ve looked at such a small amount of medicinal efficacies with disdain and called it pathetic if they had come across it earlier…
The experts of the Golden Horse Riders Department had passed from this place a few times during the course of events. However, Chu Yang had managed to avoid them every time.
Then, he sneaked his way towards the main hall.
The main hall had been burned down; it had fallen into ruins. The experts of the Golden Horse Riders Department had already searched this place. They had smashed each and every stone, and had reduced the whole place to a pile of rubbles…
However, this didn’t pose any difficulty to Chu Yang as he was familiar with the place. He carefully chose a spot. A flagstone and a big stone were revealed as he pushed aside the dust from the surface. A smile appeared on his face as he saw this.
This would be as difficult as ascending to the heavens for an average person. However, it had provided Chu Yang the best place to hide.
Chu Yang lifted the flagstone and jumped inside. The flagstone fell after him, and the opening was closed again. It stirred-up dust in the air. But, Chu Yang had disappeared by then…
This was a safe spot. The Golden Horse Riders Department wouldn’t find him even if they turn the entire mountain upside down; they wouldn’t be able to find Chu Yang if he didn’t come out on his own.
Chu Yang swiftly went deeper underground; like a mole. He found the secret path going straight downwards without spending much time or effort. He felt the vigorous cold air growing abundant as he continued to move. He went all the way inside, and passed through the seven green jade doors. He smiled as he finally reached the innermost place.
This place looked the same as before.
However, the stones that he had dug out back then to fill the opening had frozen under the influence of cold air. They had integrated into one another – forming an inseparable entity.
But, this didn’t pose an obstacle in Chu Yang’s way.
He pulled-out the long sword from the sheath. It was infused with the cold energy that he had collected from the ‘Seven Shades Congregation Grounds’. Then, he inserted it into the frozen mass at a lightning speed. The long sword pierced the stone-mass like a hot knife cutting through butter. The entire body of the sword – except for the hilt – disappeared inside the mass.
“I wonder what treasures are hidden in the Seven Shades Congregation Grounds,” Chu Yang muttered to himself. Then, he picked-up a square-shaped stone and kept it aside.
He dug out a big hole with his hands in the blink of an eye. Chu Yang noticed the Sword Point lying on the dug-up spot. It was in a pointed shape; it seemed to be pointing at something.
Chu Yang took a deep breath. He brandished his long sword in a circle, and inserted it into the core of the square-shaped stone with a flick of his wrist. Suddenly, Chu Yang felt as if something was different. He focused his attention to look. He was startled.
There was a strange and solid substance on the tip of the sword. It wasn’t gold or jade; it wasn’t a rock either. It was a piece of pure stone.
“Take it,” the Sword Spirit said inside his mind. He sounded very impatient, “Rejoice, young fellow! You’ve found a wonderful treasure. It’s something you’ve been desperately looking for.”
Chu Yang laughed and asked, “What’s this?”
“This is mysterious jade crystal.” Sword Spirit replied, “You keep digging for one-hundred-and-fifty feet downward from here. Also, keep storing the dug-up material inside the Nine Tribulations Space. Young fellow, if you’re lucky… then you’ve obtained one of the first-rate treasures found on the Nine Heavens Continent. This treasure is one of the nine great herbal medicines.”
“Nine great herbal medicines?” Chu Yang’s body shivered as his face flushed red. His pupils dilated as he asked, “Really? Does it mean that we can make the Nine Tribulations Pill?”
“That’s right!” the Sword Spirit answered in an excited tone,” My spiritual sense was too weak the last time. So, I couldn’t discover it. Who would’ve thought that such a top-notch ‘heaven and earth’ treasure will be found in such a barren place! This… is probably the mysterious ice jade paste.”
“Mysterious ice jade paste? What’s that?” Chu Yang asked while digging unceasingly. Meanwhile, the mysterious jade crystal kept piling-up inside the Nine Tribulations Space. Chu Yang was extremely excited, [Qing Wu, your injury will finally get cured.]
[I’ll succeed in making the Nine Tribulation Pill soon. Qing Wu, just wait for me. I’ll come to the Middle Three Heavens once this war is over. I’ll finally change your fate.]
[Qing Wu! I did it!]
“You don’t know about mysterious ice jade paste?” Sword Spirit asked in an angry tone, “Do you at least know what nine great herbal medicines are?”
“I don’t know,” Chu Yang shook his head as he replied.
Sword Spirit heaved a deep sigh.
“The so-called nine great herbal medicines are – in fact – the nine great heavenly treasures. But, you must remember that these nine great heavenly treasures may exist in the shape of ginseng… or spirit mushroom… or in form of flowing river… or a burning fire. But… at the root level… all the nine great heavenly treasures possess jade properties. These miraculous treasures are formed in a kind of miraculous moment when the spiritual jade – found between the Heaven and earth – gets combined with the elixir at its side. Then, it absorbs the essence of the sun and the moon along with the spirit energy from the environment.
“So, the nine great herbal medicines can cure any injury. Even the so-called nine great elixirs with their enormous medicinal efficacies can’t achieve this feat. That’s because the nine great herbal medicines are the very embodiment of the spirit jade.
“The spirit jade in Diwu Qing Rou’s possession is in the form of a ginseng.
“Mysterious ice jade paste is usually located hundreds of feet below the ground… and stays like that for immemorial number of years. It also gives birth to rare mysterious jade crystal in its surroundings.”