Who would’ve ever guessed Gui Xuanyue was Reverend Jiuhua’s son? Mu Yu wrongly assumed Reverend Jiuhua was also a puppet in the same manner Daoist Qing Song was.
Reverend Jiuhua had a nip of tea, then casually responded, “Xuanyue, Elder Chilong shouldn’t be underestimated. He is the eldest individual at Moyun Mountains and is more informed about it than anyone else, so he will supplement your plan well. If it wasn’t for Celestial Prison’s restriction you mentioned, his aptitude would’ve surpassed mine. He is astute, ruthless, decisive and rivals my previous cultivation level. I did want him as my shifu for good reasons. We should keep him under our thumb.”
“Unfortunately, I only have one slave pill. I intended to save it for Sword Shadow Dust Gale. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have to jump through so many hoops.”
“Don’t worry about it. Elder Chilong’s weakness is his cowardly nature. He will never reach Primordial Infant Realm. As long as I take advantage of that, he’ll do everything as I say. According to what I know about him, he’ll be grateful for everything I’ve done. More importantly, we need him to locate Ghost Island,” Reverend Jiuhua explained, having another sip of tea.
“As you command, Father,” Gui Xuanyue replied in a tone devoid of emotion.
“We’re lucky Lord Gui took you in as his disciple and took you away from Moyun Mountains. Your return is perfect. As you want to find Sword Shadow Dust Gale, how about we make a trip to Ghost Island?”
Firstly, Mu Yu was boiling because he heard Gui Xuanyue planned to feed his shifu a slave pill. Secondly, he couldn’t connect the dots; why would his shifu venture to Ghost Island at Golden Core Realm?
“Sword Shadow Dust Gale isn’t there. Ghost Island is the fiend race’s cemetery. It’s too risky for us to venture there. We need my shizun to personally go. The problem is he has ascended beyond Primordial Infant Realm and, therefore, is prohibited entry. That’s why he wants me to control Sword Shadow Dust Gale promptly and have the latter remove the restriction. Of course, Moyun Mountains’ population is part of the equation.”
“I never thought the patriarch everybody at Moyun Mountains belittled is such a formidable man. I even went and insulted him right in his face. I’m lucky his cultivation regressed to Golden Core Realm.”
“Moyun Mountains holds many secrets according to my shizun; not even I know all of them. Besides being a barrier to imprison elemental demons, Moyun Mountains also been the fiend race’s territory for the last thousand years. Everyone outside has their eyes on Moyun Mountains, but Celestial Prison is keeping their ambitions at bay.”
“How are you going to locate him, then?”
“Haha, we have our means. Ordinary methods won’t be of any use. I will use Soul Searching Ghost Formation to find him. The formation’s fundamental requisite is Golden Core Realm cultivators and souls associated with him.”
“Are you referring to the fifty-six I recruited today? How are they related to him?”
“He controls all lives within Moyun Mountains. Hence, its entire population is associated with him. Only forty-seven of the fifty-six candidates’ spirit soul energy meets the requirement. We need another two. I also need you to kill them on my behalf as I can’t.”
“What are you going to do about Daoist Qing Song?”
“Haha, there’s no need to fuss over a puppet. Find two more cultivators for me as soon as possible.”
“Give me a few more days,” responded Reverend Jiuhua, wearing a sinister look.
Gui Xuanyue concealed himself in a black mist and teleported away. Mu Yu continued tailing Reverend Jiuhua for a while. Since Reverend Jiuhua didn’t appear to be following any agenda, Mu Yu returned to the inn entrance. Not long after, Tian Ran was spotted running back.
“What’s the situation?” inquired Mu Yu, feigning ignorance.
“There’s more to this place than we thought. Besides searching for your shifu, Gui Xuanyue is also searching for some Ghost Island place. The situation is becoming more and more complicated. I heard Gui Xuanyue is planning to use Soul Searching Ghost Formation to find your shifu. From what I know, it’s a diabolic secret technique that’s, unfortunately for us, very effective. He intends to sacrifice the forty-nine Golden Core Realm cultivators’ spirit souls to find your shifu. Of course, that means their lives will be forfeited, but I bet they’re totally in the dark. I used my sect’s magic skill to tail Gui Xuanyue without being detected. Because I rarely fight, I’m not confident I can defeat him. We’re just going to have to roll with the punches for now.”
Since Tian Ran reported everything as Mu Yu heard it, he was finally convinced she had been telling the truth all along.
The duo stayed in the city for another two days to keep tabs on Reverend Jiuhua. For the meantime, they were in a pinch due to their lack of combat prowess. Elder Chilong truly was unquestionably loyal to ensure he’d have a constant supply of life extension pills. Within the short span of time, Elder Chilong found cultivators who met Gui Xuanyue’s needs, bringing the total to forty-nine qualified sacrifices.
The forty-nine sacrifices assembled at the city lord’s manor. The lord’s servants’ eyes brimmed with envy, ignorant to the fate awaiting those forty-nine cultivators they envied.
In a loud and clear voice, Reverend Jiuhua announced, “I will take you to a place where you will need to train for some time. It will be arduous; however, the pressure will ensure you gain the abilities to fulfil your duty. If you don’t like hard work, quit now.”
“We will give it our all, Your Eminence. We will not give up,” the forty-nine cultivators pledged in synchrony from their knees.
Cruelty flitted across Reverend Jiuhua’s face. Content, he nodded and waved, enveloping the forty-nine cultivators in a golden light to depart Yi City.
Mu Yu and Tian Ran followed behind the escort.
“Where are they going?” Mu Yu mumbled.
“The cemetery. Is that even a legitimate question?” Xiaoshuai answered.
“How do you know that?” Mu Yu asked.
Xiaoshuai snuggled up in Tian Ran’s embrace. “I keep hearing you two mention Soul Searching Ghost Formation. If they need spirit soul energy, places with prominent yin qi are ideal because of its dark nature. Where else would you find as much yin qi?”
“You sure know a lot for an egg,” Mu Yu commented.
Disordered Burial Valley, a deep underground rift stretching dozens of kilometres and over two hundred and forty metres wide, was a well-known place at Moyun Mountains. Apparently, the bottom of it was littered with corpses. The shrills and howls that were audible from it every night warded off even cultivators.
Neighbouring Disordered Burial Valley was a number of villages. The villagers of aforementioned villages dressed their dead in their best clothing and discarded them in the valley. According to their legends, the valley led to the reincarnation zone in hell, so sending their dead there ensured the dead would be reincarnated. Plenty of people from the city travelled all the way out there to bury the deceased there. Cultivators who dared to venture there often used it to erase corpses.
Though puzzled as to why they were going to Disordered Burial Valley, nobody asked Reverend Jiuhua why they had to go there. Eventually, Reverend Jiuhua explained, “The yin qi at Disordered Burial Valley is dense. I want you to get accustomed to it and learn to withstand it because the cleansing process includes yin qi devouring your body, and that hurts even more. If you can’t withstand the pain of yin qi devouring your body, I can’t help you go through the cleanse.”
Reverend Jiuhua stopped at the border of Disordered Burial Valley. Ash floating in the air covered the depths of the valley. The winds pulled their hairs up erect, but they talked themselves into accepting it for what it was. Little did they know someone with a sinister ghost qi had been waiting for them for a long time.