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A huge ancient tree appeared in front of Luo Hao. Dozens metres high, it was so thick that ten people couldn’t circle it hand in hand. The leaves almost covered the sky.
Luo Hao stopped walking suddenly and released Mu Yu Die, then gazed at the ancient tree. He looked dignified and seemed to be making a crucial decision.
As Zhao Xin, Di Yalan, and Hu Long came near the ancient tree, they turned serious as well, seemingly knowing there was something unusual about this tree.
Shi Yan frowned, and he began to stare at this huge tree too, not saying a word.
Luo Hao took a deep breath and turned to them, speaking in a low voice: “To the right side of this Sky Tree, there are hardly any demon beasts, so most warriors and trade caravans choose this way when they cross the Dark Forest. This route is quite safe. Even if we encounter some demon beasts, they would be of low level - Level One or Level Two. And this route is closer to the Merchant Union, merely taking ten days to get there.”
Zhao Xin and the other two nodded. Apparently they all knew it.
After pausing for a while, Luo Hao added in a serious manner, “But to the left of the Sky Tree, the situation is totally different! It’s a longer way to the Merchant Union, and is haunted with demon beasts and many audacious warriors and soldiers. Those who dare to go this way are mostly tough guys. Being in danger all the time, they follow no restrictions of any kind. If we choose this way, we need to look out for not only demon beasts, but also for those irrational warriors and soldiers, especially when we have two pretty girls here among us...”
“Humph! Anyone who would want to take advantage of me, I will chop his head off!” Di Yalan made a cutting motion in the air, with coldness in her beautiful eyes.
“Uncle Luo, what do you think?” Zhao Xin asked.
“If we advance to the right, those from the Dark World will catch up in approximately one day and there will be a nasty fight.” Having no choice and depressed, Luo Hao said, “No one knows if we would be lucky enough in these upcoming days. And if their reinforcements came, it doesn’t bode well for us...”
“What about going to the left?” Hu Long asked.
“If we go to the left, we would come across demon beasts, and more likely, we will be killed by those insane warriors. But it will be the same for those from the Dark World. They have bad reputation, and hardly anyone will go against them in the Fire Empire. Yet in this situation, they are the targets of the demon beasts and warriors. If they meet high-grade demon beasts accidentally, it’s possible that they all will be killed...”
Luo Hao made his speech slowly, and after explaining them the situation, he remarked, “To go via the right side, we won’t be confronting any demon beasts or warriors, but the Dark World will be a huge threat. To the left, we may be attacked by demon beasts and warriors, but the Dark World shall also be threatened. Therefore, to go via the left, we have a greater possibility to escape.”
“Go to the left then!” Mu Yu Die said decisively.
“Ok.” Luo Hao nodded, and took a glance at Shi Yan, and said, “Hey kid, there is still time if you want to leave. Otherwise… you will have no chance.”
“I will go with you guys.” Shi Yan had made up his mind. There was a very irrational side in his personality. That’s why he had drowned in extreme sports, which were like games of death, for the past ten years.
When Luo Hao was depicting the danger of the left side, Shi Yan couldn’t help but get excited.
Luo Hao nodded and waved his arm, “Well, let’s set off. From now on, everyone must be on alert!”
One hour later.
Mo Chaoge and the warriors from the Mo family also stopped at the Sky Tree.
“Second Uncle, which way would they have chosen?” Mo Yanyu asked.
“I will chase by the right side. If I don’t come back in two hours, you guys catch up this way. However, if I don’t find them in two hours, they should have taken the left way.” Mo Chaoge thought for a while and ordered them to wait at the intersection. Then he flew away to the right side.
After one and a half hours, Mo Chaoge came back with a pale face, “Not even a slightest sign of these people. How dare they take the left side! Everybody watch out! There are many demon beasts and warriors on the left side. Never be negligent! Remember, don’t make a fuss with those warriors and soldiers. These people are all lunatics. Don’t provoke these people who don’t know what death is.”
Three Saber-toothed Rhinos were strolling along a brook leisurely. They were Level-3 demon beasts. A silver glow shone on the back, their teeth were as sharp as sabers, while their fist-like brown eyes glittered with a murderous look. The three rhinos were all covered by hard mud, which formed a natural armour, through which any normal weapon would find hard to cut.
The three Saber-toothed Rhinos were sipping water now and then, while looking around discreetly, seemingly to be looking for game.
In the bushes not far from them, Luo Hao made a gesture to imply everybody to be quiet.
Until the three Saber-toothed Rhinos walked away slowly, Luo Hao uttered a sigh of relief. He said, “Saber-toothed Rhinos are Level-3 demon beasts, equaling Human Realm Warriors. They move fast and have sharp tusks. Low leveled warriors would either be injured or be killed once they met Saber-toothed Rhinos.”
Shi Yan kept wandering his eyes over those slowly disappearing rhinos, showing an interest in having a fight with them.
“Rather than killing the demon beasts here, our goal is to protect Die. Everybody remember this! Don’t bring up any unnecessary ramifications.” Luo Hao seemed to have noticed Shi Yan’s thoughts, and thus reminded them casually.
Shi Yan grinned, and nodded to show he understood.
“Let’s keep going. We need to be watchful here. To keep an eye on the surroundings is more important than moving forward fast. Try to get away from demon beasts and warriors. Don’t get ourselves in trouble.” Luo Hao added. Then he advanced with the troop.
It was getting dark.
Beside a lush tree at the brook, Zhao Xin and the other two separated and examined the surroundings with a cautious eye, in case any demon beast showed up.
Shi Yan sat upright on the wet ground with a serious look.
Bloodl.u.s.t was lingering in Shi Yan’s mind like smoke. He had an urge to release it. It was high time he purify the Profound Qi he absorbed from the two Star emissaries, thus he was becoming a little impatient.
Luo Hao stood beside Mu Yu Die all the times. Frowning, he focused his eyes on Shi Yan, lest this boy took any abnormal action.
Mu Yu Die looked indifferent, and she stared at Shi Yan for a while. When she saw the aggressive look on his face, she sat down gently and crossed her legs. Setting the ancient zither on her legs, she began to play.
Hearing the zither, the concentrated bloodthirst in Shi Yan’s mind seemed to be resolved by a certain power and gradually faded away.
Holding his breath and focusing his mind, Shi Yan operated his Profound Qi peacefully.
One hour later, a warm flow gushed out of his meridians all over his body.
Shi Yan’s body trembled.
Suddenly, Shi Yan got a severe thirst in his body. The weird power gushing out from his meridians was absorbed by his muscles and bones, before it could mix with the Profound Qi in his abdomen. The warm stream went into his muscles and bones, and set root in his blood and flesh.
Within several breaths, the weird warm stream from his meridians pervaded into his blood, flesh and bones all over the body, which astonished him a lot.
Thus, Shi Yan began to feel the warm stream flowing in his blood, flesh and bones.
There was a heavy strike in his head, and the next moment, he felt a strange change in his body.
Turning pale with fear, he opened his eyes promptly to find his bare arms turning grey, bit by bit.
Shi Yan was frightened. He began to withdraw his attention from his body, not giving a single thought to the sudden change.
As his thoughts changed, his hardening body soon went back to normal.
Concentrating, Shi Yan looked at the others. Luo Hao and Mu Yu Die were chatting behind a tree not far from him, without noticing what he had just experienced.
Relieved, happiness took over his face, as he secretly enjoyed a mirthful time.
His body became hard, which meant the Petrifaction Martial Spirit of the Shi family had awakened!
The Petrifaction Martial Spirit was exclusive to the Shi family. As one’s level increased, it became stronger and stronger, to the extent that one won’t be damaged by weapons and the impact of Profound Qi.
Before, Shi Yan had thought that the owner of his body didn’t possess this Martial Spirit. It surprised him that it had awakened after he reached Nascent Realm. He was ecstatic.
The Petrifaction Martial Spirit was beneficial in battles. After Petrification, one’s body would be as hard as rock, but was still very agile, which would increase one’s ability a lot.
Apart from Petrifaction, Shi Yan also found he also possessed the Immortal Martial Spirit, which could achieve self-recovery. With the help of these two Martial Spirits and more training, he couldn’t imagine how powerful his body would become.
“No!” Shi Yan frowned and thought, “Don’t Martial Spirits show up not long after birth? But this body is already seventeen, and yet my Martial Spirit can still awaken? Too strange! Or does it have something to do with the weird energy gushing out from the meridians?”
An idea suddenly flashed in his mind. The activation of the two Martial Spirits; Petrifaction and Immortal, were somehow related to the blood pool and the changes in his meridians.
Shi Yan guessed that the weird stream gushing out from his meridians could stimulate the Martial Spirit hidden in one’s body. With this thought, he was so excited that he wanted to sing out loud and celebrate!
A Martial Spirit was inherited. Generally, it got stronger as one’s level increased. There were hardly any other ways to strengthen a Martial Spirit.
A Martial Spirit was the gift that a warrior was most proud of, and also the vital thing to define a warrior’s ability. Warriors trained arduously to improve their Martial Spirit.
But even if one’s level had upgraded, there were limitations in increasing the level of a Martial Spirit.
On the Grace Mainland, even those legendary G.o.d-Level alchemists could barely refine pills effective to general Martial Spirits. Those pills were rare and precious on the Grace Mainland, and were believed to exist merely in legends.
Nonetheless, the effect those pills had on Martial Spirits was also quite limited. After all, Martial Spirits were an inherited gift, which was very hard to change.
Surprisingly, the weird warm stream gushing out from Shi Yan’s meridians seemed to go against the rules. It could virtually stimulate Martial Spirit and increase its ability.