Chapter 192: The Moon Demon Forest (1)
At the first break of dawn, hundreds of selected cultivators numbering some five hundred that included Lu Qingyun, Qian Jingjing, Yu Tianjian and Gongsun Ya had assembled outside the camp.
With them were a hundred protégés of the Heavenly Fragrance Villa that was led by Feng Xiaoxiao.
Watching the assembly was thousands of other cultivators that had escorted the five hundred selected cultivators to this camp. They were not allowed to follow the expedition group and were told to wait in the camp until the experiential expedition had ended.
Watching the assembly were Yin Shisi and Ouyang Xue who were watching with some reluctance that Lu Qingyun was leaving their sight.
Ouyang Xue muttered, “I pray that he will be safe.”
Yin Shisi nodded quietly, “I hope so too.”
The two of them were now each other’s confidant after spending a year together in solitary.
Yin Shisi added with an anxious smile, “I really hope so. I think that things are not as simple as it looks here.”
“Really?” Feng Xiaoxiao voice could be heard as she approached them, startling the two of them.
“Why are you standing in such a faraway corner? Are you afraid to bid farewell to Senior Lu?” She chuckled softly.
Yin Shisi smiled, “It is good to see you again, Celestial Feng.”
Feng Xiaoxiao chuckled, “Look at you. You have been in the camp for a few days now and you didn’t even bother to visit me? Or is it because you are a saintess now and you are looking down on a mere fifth realm golden celestial like me?”
Yin Shisi was startled as she hastily said, “Not at all. I’m just afraid that you may be a little busy and I didn’t want to bother you.”
Feng Xiaoxiao laughed, “It is only a tease. But I wonder how did you breakthrough to the seventh realm saintess level so quickly.”
Yin Shisi smiled weakly, “I am just lucky.”
Feng Xiaoxiao looked at Ouyang Xue curiously, “And Grand Elder Ouyang Xue is also a fifth realm golden celestial now. This is too astonishing to believe that the two of you have a breakthrough at the same time.”
Ouyang Xue said quietly, “I was lucky as well.”
Feng Xiaoxiao smiled and said, “Since the two of you are worried for your senior brother, why don’t you travel with me instead?”
Yin Shisi and Ouyang Xue were both startled.
“Can we?” Yin Shisi asked.
Feng Xiaoxiao smiled with a light nod, “Of course. If you are in my company then it is a different matter.”
Then she lowered her voice to a whisper, “Actually I may need the help of a saintess. For the past few days, there is a high level cultivator in the vicinity that seems to be keeping a secret tab on our movements. However this high level cultivator is too elusive and I’m afraid that person may be up to no good.”
Then she chuckled with a wink, “So do you want to tag along with me?”
Yin Shisi’s previous anxious eyes were now glowing, “I’m willing!”
Ouyang Xue gasped, “I wonder if I may come as well?”
Feng Xiaoxiao laughed softly, “Sure you can. I may need the aid of an additional fifth realm golden celestial as well.”
Ouyang Xue was gasping softly, “Celestial Feng, I thank you…
Feng Xiaoxiao interrupted with a casual smile, “There is no need to thank me. Who knows if you will curse me for that later?”
Ouyang Xue hastily replied, “I will not.”
“It is only a tease. However, I just have a small request. Unless it is necessary, try not to approach Senior Lu. Let him mingle with the rest of the expedition cultivators. This is to save him from unnecessary gossips.” Feng Xiaoxiao said quietly.
Yin Shisi and Ouyang Xue replied hastily as they extended their hands into a hand bow, “We will and we thank Celestial Feng for your kind grace in allowing us to travel with you.”
Feng Xiaoxiao chuckled softly, “Don’t forget that we are also acquaintances back in the Heavens Ridge Villa. Let’s not go into this thanks or no thanks stuff. Care to explain how you breakthrough?”
Yin Shisi took a glance at Ouyang Xue before she said quietly, “We have entered the Endless Abyssal Sea and have some lucky occurrences. However, please pardon us for unable to share with you the details. We’ve made an oath not to reveal what we have seen inside.”
Feng Xiaoxiao smiled, “That is alright. At least I know what is going on. Alas! I wish that I have the good fortune to go there someday.”
She knew that they were not lying. It was because she practiced the Listening Heart Intricate Skill and would instantly know if a person was insincere or lying.
The Moon Demon Forest was the most dangerous place to the north of the Heavenly Fragrance Divine Realm and it was twice as vast as the Heavenly Fragrance Divine Realm.
It was situated below the northern mountains of the Heavenly Fragrance Divine Realm and lay within the desolate mists.
It was a treacherous place where golden supremacies entered to hunt for their spirit entities and often become the hunted.
And now right, Feng Xiaoxiao was leading everyone down the mountains and into the interiors of the Moon Demon Forest.
There was an air of nervousness and anxiety among the expedition force but for Lu Qingyun he was actually quite light spirited and his wandering eyes were often looking at the overgrowths for the sight of any rare spirit herbs.
He was determined to sneak out of camp at night so that he could gather some spirit herbs.
Qian Jingjing was following Lu Qingyun quite tightly and often put her hands around his arm when he was not noticing.
It seemed to her that Lu Qingyun’s attentions were always on the lookout at the floras that were around them. She could guess that he was on the lookout for rare spirit herbs.
She thought, “He was so impressive yesterday when he was debating with the Eight Alchemist Kings. He must be a high level alchemist himself.”
She had tried to ask him on his alchemist ranking but Lu Qingyun simply returned a faint smile and said nothing.
It was not because Lu Qingyun did not trust her but because he did not want to shock her that he was actually a fourth rank alchemist himself.
Actually Lu Qingyun could also be considered to be an unofficial fifth rank alchemist. Because of the untimely death of his old master, he had not taken the stringent alchemist test to be a fifth rank alchemist. The examiner was naturally his own master of course. Although his old master had said that he was already a fifth rank alchemist in his own right but Lu Qingyun felt that he did not deserve it and moreover, he did not want to graduate from his old master’s tutelage.
Qian Jingjing asked him as they marched in the Moon Demon Forest, “Brother Qingyun, you do not seem to be too worried? Why is that so?”
Lu Qingyun laughed quietly, “Actually I am but it is too early to be worried about.”
“Oh? You mean the worst is yet to come?” She growled lightly.
“Aren’t we safe at the moment?” Lu Qingyun asked her.
“Yes, we are…”
“So what the point of thinking of any dangers?”
Qian Jingjing nodded before she whispered, “Brother Qingyun, how come Yin Shisi and Ouyang Xue seem to be avoiding you? They didn’t even have the courtesy to tell you that they are coming.”
Lu Qingyun laughed softly, “I can guess why. I saw Celestial Feng Xiaoxiao talking to them earlier. The invitation must be a last minute affair. Don’t worry. They are actually concerned about me.”
He stopped his track briefly and he was secretly sighing. “A little too good toward me. I don’t deserve them at all…”
While the entire expedition party was moving into the Moon Demon Forest, a beautiful maiden with an unnatural allure was quietly watching them. She was none other than Yue Lingxi.
“Lu Qingyun, do you think you can steal my Horizons of the Heavens from right under my nose?” She muttered.
With a wry smile, she had taken out a small blow pipe and was playing it around her fingers. “The fun is going to begin real soon for you.”