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Chapter 28: Missive

    Chapter 28: Missive

    Translator: CKtalon  Editor: CKtalon

    Amid the long stretches of Green Tooth Mountain, Yi Xiao instructed, "We will be heading to Mist Lake Valley. Elder Qian, check the surroundings and decide how we should avoid the demons."

    "Alright, let me do it."

    The thin old demonic servant's nose suddenly changed into a black dog's nose. Sniffing with it, he was able to distinguish numerous scents.

    Qin Yun watched by the side. Even an ordinary dog had a sharp nose so a dog demon's nose was even acuter. Furthermore, the strength of the old demonic servant far exceeded the nineteen demon leaders under the water god.

    "Green Tooth Mountain lives up to its name of being Grand Dominance County's highest mountain. There are indeed many demons lurking within. In a range of five kilometers, I have discovered quite a number." Uncle Qian said immediately. "Follow me, I will lead the way."

    "Let's go."

    Yi Xiao, Qin Yun, and Jia Huairen followed closely behind.

    As they proceeded on, Qin Yun and company truly did not encounter a single demon under Elder Qian's guidance.

    Uncle Qian would sniff with his nose from time to time. After traveling deep into the mountains for an hour, he came to an abrupt stop and said in hushed tones, "Miss Yi, we are fifteen hundred meters away from Mist Lake Valley. There are large amounts of demonic auras in there. As they are mixed with one another, they are probably staying there. I can't distinguish them. However, I can determine that there are at least a hundred demons residing there."

    "Just Mist Lake Valley alone has more than a hundred demons hidden in it?" Yi Xiao's expression changed slightly.

    Even lesser demons would typically have a strength that matched the tenth level of Qi Refinement, one equivalent to knocking open the gate of immortality.

    For example, back when Qin Yun slew the old demon Chu Yong in the underground palace, he had been attacked by seven lesser demons. In fact, all of the seven lesser demons were forces to be reckoned with! If there were more than a hundred of such lesser demons...even cultivators would fear them.

    "The thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit is in Mist Lake Valley. With a hundred demons there, it is likely that they are guarding the thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit," said Yi Xiao. "From the looks of it, the demons place a great deal of importance on the spirit fruit."

    "Miss Yi, what should we do next?" Uncle Qian asked, "There are too many demons in Mist Lake Valley."

    "Let's enter it first and find a spot where we can see the thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit." Yi Xiao said with all seriousness, "We have to be certain that we can see the Ice Jade Fruit turn ripe!"

    "Alright."

    Uncle Qian immediately led the way without any complaints.

    "Are we entering Mist Lake Valley now?" Jia Huairen immediately asked softly, "Shouldn't we wait for the appointed hour before entering?"

    "If we enter only when the time comes, it would be too late after discovering that the spirit fruit has ripened or been plucked. Moreover, we have to determine the trajectory needed to pluck the fruit after entering. We need to enter ahead of time," Yi Xiao looked at Jia Huairen and remarked, "Why? Are you afraid?"

    "No, not at all. How can I be afraid?" Jia Huairen knew that he could no longer retreat having come so far.

    Qin Yun remained calm. After all, he had stayed three years in the northern borders. He did not feel a tinge of nervousness at all.

    Despite a short distance of fifteen hundred meters, the quartet proceeded at a pace that gradually turned slower. They were afraid to stir the demons.

    "Can you see it?"

    Peering down the mountainside, Qin Yun and company saw the valley beneath them.

    The most eye-catching thing about Mist Lake Valley was the hot gases it emitted. The lake water was perennially warm, with hot gases billowing, misting the entire area. It was also why it was called 'Mist Lake'. Not far from the misty lake, there was a fruit tree that looked like an ice sculpture. Under the sun's rays, it could still scatter the sunlight despite the mist.

    There was only one blue fruit hanging on the fruit tree.

    There were more than ten demons standing around it languidly! Extending the radius to the entire valley, there were easily twenty to thirty demons scattered throughout the area. Even the two mountainsides that lined the valley were guarded by demons. If these demons were hiding in human cities, they would naturally be in human form. However, there was no need to do so in the deep mountains. All of them had beast heads, with weapons held in hand or by their waists.

    "On the mountain cliffs along the sides, there are about seven demons hiding. They must be there to observe the surroundings." Uncle Qian took a sniff and immediately said in hushed tones, There are thirty to forty demons that permanently stand guard in the valley. And in that house in the middle, it is likely where the demons take their breaks in shifts. I can sense that most of the demonic aura is coming from that house."

    Qin Yun looked down. The house with its courtyard spanned quite a vast area. However, the construction was rather rough on the edges. After all, it was just a temporary residence used to guard the thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit.

    "Miss Yi, how shall we pluck the spirit fruit?" asked Qin Yun.

    "The fruit tree's surroundings are flat." Yi Xiao frowned and whispered, "More than ten demons are circling the fruit tree. There are about twenty to thirty demons that are a distance away from it. Any commotion will lead to the swaths of demons inside the house to charge out. The valley is too empty, with nothing to provide cover and concealment. To pluck the fruit...one has to rely on an invisibility spell."

    "Invisibility spell?" Qin Yun's eyes lit up.

    An invisibility spell was an extremely difficult Dharma spell to cultivate in. Typically, only Connate realm experts could master it. As for demons? Due to the different demon species, all of them had different innate talents. Some could burrow into the ground or fly by nature. Some could even turn invisible, so it was pointless envying them. On the contrary, demons envied human cultivators for having a high perception that aided cultivation.

    A demon had to cultivate for more than a thousand years and they might still not match some of the best human cultivators that only cultivated for a decade!

    However, humans envied demons for their long lifespans! Even Connate Golden Core experts only had a lifespan of five hundred years.

    Each side had their own advantages.

    "Probably Brother Qin is the only one that can pluck the fruit," said Yi Xiao. "Jia Huairen probably doesn't have the guts to pluck the fruit. Elder Qian can't use Dao talismans either."

    "We'll have to rely on you, Brother Qin." Jia Huairen said with an obsequious smile.

    What a joke.

    To retrieve the fruit, one might be discovered before touching the fruit if one had bad luck.

    Even if one wasn't discovered out of sheer capability, the demons would immediately discover him once the fruit was plucked. When that happened, it was very likely that one would be encircled and attacked.

    "Alright, leave it to me." Qin Yun nodded. He also knew that the mission could only be left to him.

    Yi Xiao took out a Dao talisman.

    Qin Yun took a look and indeed, it was an Invisibility Charm. To be honest, he too had one! However, Invisibility Charms were rather expensive. As an itinerant cultivator, it was not easy for him to accumulate resources. He could not be compared with disciples from top sects.

    "Brother Qin, plucking the fruit is the most dangerous endeavor. I'll have to trouble you. If it doesn't work out, give up the spirit fruit and make sure you save yourself." Yi Xiao handed the talisman to Qin Yun.

    "Don't worry, I'll definitely save myself first." Qin Yun took the talisman over.

    "We'll be counting on you later, Brother Qin." Jia Huairen flattered by the side. Ever since he knew that Qin Yun had slain a terrifying demon like the rhinoceros demon, he only felt reverential fear for Qin Yun. After all... facing any terrifyingly formidable expert that could kill him in one move left him lacking in confidence. Furthermore, Jia Huairen had never experienced much danger in his life.

    Qin Yun looked down and considered his rough line of attack.

    "Let's go. We should continue our approach." Yi Xiao said, "It will aid us in reinforcing Brother Qin when the time comes."

    "Continue our approach?" Jia Huairen's expression changed slightly.

    "If we are thousands of feet away from him, we will not be able to reinforce him when he plucks the fruit." Yi Xiao said, "Let's continue heading down."

    Qin Yun gave Yi Xiao a smiling glance. Yi Xiao was rather decisive.

    The quartet was even more careful this time.

    Qin Yun and Yi Xiao activated their Dharma Eyes to survey the surroundings. However, they still relied on Uncle Qian! It was because the Dharma Eyes was limited in range. When he was checking Chu Yong's residence, he had failed to see the demons in the underground palace with his Dharma Eyes due to the distance.

    Uncle Qian led the trio and tried very carefully to approach the thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit tree.

    "We can't approach any further. We are still six hundred feet away from the fruit tree." Uncle Qian transmitted his voice. "Thankfully, there are few demons here-only a few dozen demons standing guard around here. Furthermore, demons are lazy. If they were human armies on alert, there's no way we can come this close."

    "Six hundred feet is sufficient." Yi Xiao nodded. This bit of distance was something her lightning techniques could traverse in support of Qin Yun.

    It would not have been of use if they were thousands of feet away like before.

    "All we can do now is wait. We have to wait for the fruit to ripen." Yi Xiao said with a voice transmission.

    "Alright."

    Everyone present, including Qin Yun, turned completely still. They lay in wait silently for the spirit fruit to ripen.

    ******

    And on the roads.

    Early in the middle of the night, the county governor had secretly opened the city gates and left with his guards. They quickly arrived at Serene City. However, according to plan, they did not enter the city. Instead, they headed straight for the foot of Green Tooth Mountain.

    The county governor was sitting in a horse carriage with a group of guards surrounding the carriage. Commander Fang was also naturally following closely behind.

    "Swoosh."

    A hawk flew down from the sky.

    "Oh?" A personal guard looked up and immediately raised his arm, to which the hawk landed on.

    The personal guard retrieved the missive tied to the hawk leg. He hurriedly handed it to the county governor's son, Wen Chong.

    "A letter?" Wen Chong took it. After looking at the emblem on the letter, he frowned. He opened the missive to take a look.

    "Halt! Father. Father!"

    Wen Chong shouted anxiously.

    The entire convoy came to a halt as the county governor pulled open the carriage's curtains and looked out. "What's the matter?"

    Wen Chong handed the missive to him.

    The county governor took the letter and the contents of the missive were very simple. "Rumors have it that the water god has invited his junior brother, White Tiger to Grand Dominance County to help guard the thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit."

    Just that simple sentence chilled the county governor's heart instantly!

    "White Tiger?"

    "The water god has invited his junior brother, White Tiger, to help him?"

    The county governor's heart palpitated as his hands could not help but tremble.

    "How can this be?" How can this be? Do the heavens want me dead? Does it?" The county governor muttered to himself.

    "Doesn't the White Tiger reside permanently in the area around Steadfast Mountain County's Blackwind Ridge? About three thousand lesser demons in Blackwind Ridge listen to its command. This White Tiger has command over the winds, allowing him to fly. Yet, such a powerful demon is the junior brother of the water god? He has been invited to guard the thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit?" Wen Chong was also somewhat panicking. After all, his father would not live past the next few years without the Ice Jade Fruit.

    "Such powerful demons have their own cultivation methods." The county governor said in a deep tone, "Cultivation methods naturally have their own heritage and masters. It's only normal to be fellow martial brothers. I thought that... the water god is too immersed in wreaking havoc so he would not dare leave the Jiang river's lake. There would be, at most, many demons on Green Tooth Mountain but I never expected him to invite White Tiger!

    "Could this news be fake?" Wen Chong could not help but ask.

    Some humans surrendered themselves to demons.

    And similarly, there were other lesser demons that sought the patronage of humans. They could get numerous benefits from humans. The missive was sent by a demon that had sought the patronage of the county governor.

    "Since White Tiger is mentioned, it's very likely true." Although the county governor did not wish to believe in it, the years had made him wise. He naturally knew how probable the piece of news was. "The water god might not know the exact time of en the thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit's ripening but it is capable of narrowing it down to within half a month. He has invited his junior brother, White Tiger to help guard it for half a month."

    "But for this thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit, it's for increasing one's longevity. A demon like him has extremely great longevity. Why would he need the fruit to increase it further?" The county governor's expression turned somewhat ferocious.

    "Then, what do we do?" Wen Chong panicked as well.

    "If White Tiger is there, there is no hope for Yi Xiao and company." The county governor said heavily. "What I'm afraid of is that they will not be able to return alive, especially Yi Xiao. If she were to die on Green Tooth Mountain... the Yi family and even the Divine Firmament Chapter will not let the matter rest easily."

    "I'll get someone to send the message," said Wen Chong immediately.

    The county governor looked at the sky and said with a sigh, "It's too late. It's almost the appointed time. To go from here to Green Tooth Mountain, enter it and reach Mist Lake Valley would take too long. It's too late, too late!"

    Once he said that, the county governor closed the curtain.

    "Do we continue advancing?" asked Wen Chong.

    "Continue. Let's wait at the foot of Green Tooth Mountain. Perhaps, we might see them come out alive." The county governor's voice sounded like it had aged greatly. If White Tiger was there, the county governor saw no chance of himself obtaining the thousand-year-old Ice Jade Fruit. Was it the end of his wish to extending his life by twenty years?

    "White Tiger, White Tiger..." There was a low mutter coming from within the carriage.

    Wen Chong's expression darkened as well. He immediately shouted, "Continue advancing."
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