Chapter 318: Accompany Me, Junior Brother Yun Jiu
To most people, Yun Jiuge appeared to be simply another cultivator moving through the Qi Refining Stage. However, back when she was still living in the Lei Kingdom, she'd been strong enough to be regarded as a high-level spiritual practitioner. Her powers were like those possessed by cultivators who had reached the Foundation Establishment Stage.
Now that she had to start from scratch, she was able to understand a lot of things better than before. It was very easy for her to give advice to two disciples, who had only entered the third level of the Qi Refining Stage.
"Tsk. Look at him! He's giving others advice! He really thinks he's some big shot around here!" Broom Eyebrows Chen scoffed.
"Exactly! Who does he think he is? Senior Brother Su is the only one in a position to give advice to others, and he hasn't said a word! Those low-ranked disciples are so foolish," some of the other disciples echoed Broom Eyebrows Chen's views.
Su Junqing did not say a word. However, anyone could tell that he was distraught due to the gloomy look on his face.
"Don't be angry, Senior Brother Su. We are going to reach the Black Pond soon. And when we do…" Broom Eyebrows Chen trailed off in mid-sentence. He had a wicked smile on his face.
Su Junqing's face lit up a little. He asked the group, "Are all of you ready for what's next?"
"Don't worry, Senior Brother Su. That lad will be gone forever once we make our way there. I promise," replied Broom Eyebrows Chen.
Broom Eyebrows Chen despised Yun Jiu. Before, after he'd worked with Su Junqing to get rid of Fatty Qiu, he had become the boss of the Number Two Peak.
However, after leading close to 700 disciples out of the grasslands, Yun Jiu had become a savior close to many of their' hearts. At this rate, Yun Jiu would definitely take over Broom Eyebrows Chen's position and become the new boss once they'd finished this expedition and returned to the Outer Peaks.
There was no way that he would let Yun Jiu take his position away from him. Thus, Yun Jiu had to die.
Su Junqing gathered himself before he rose to his feet and said, "Everyone, this is not a good place to rest. There's a small valley up ahead. It'll be safer there. Let's rest there instead."
"Understood," the disciples answered at once.
Senior Brother Su might not have been very reliable during this expedition, but he was still their leader. Additionally, he was also Elder Mo Hua's favorite. The lower-ranked disciples did not have the guts to go against him.
The journey to the small valley, which Su Junqing had talked about, was rather peaceful. A few Demonic Beasts appeared along the way, but they were quickly dealt with by the higher-ranked disciples.
Yun Jiuge and the rest of the disciples finally reached the small valley around sunset.
The place was completely empty and devoid of any grass. However, the emptiness provided comfort to the disciples, who had just survived the nightmarish grasslands.
Before Su Junqing could give them any instructions, the secondary disciples grouped themselves into the same groups that they had formed earlier and started several bonfires.
Yun Jiuge quietly went into a corner. Bing Xinlian and Little Fatty followed behind her and even helped her start a fire. To an outsider, this pair appeared to be serving Yun Jiuge as her underlings.
Su Junqing, the Liu Sisters, Broom Eyebrows Chen, and several other high-ranked disciples started a bonfire amid all the disciples. Their blaze was the largest and burned the brightest.
"Senior Brother Yun Jiu! I can't believe how those two sisters are treating you right now! You have always treated them kindly, but look at them now! They haven't even come over to greet you once!" Little Fatty muttered under his breath. He felt upset for Yun Jiu.
Yun Jiuge threw a cursory glance toward the Liu Sisters.
Earlier, the two sisters had found a spot to wash. They were dressed in new clothes at the moment, but they did not look refreshed at all.
They both wore drawn expressions on their faces as they huddled close together next to the fire. They did not even bother sparing a glance in Yun Jiuge's direction.
Before they had entered the Secret Realm, Yun Jiuge had told the two sisters to keep their distance from her. They were only supposed to contact her if they noticed Su Junqing getting up to something untoward. Thus, she was very pleased with their behavior so far. They had done everything she'd told them to.
"Senior Brother Su, didn't the Sect give you a map? Why don't you tell us about the areas that we still need to pass through?" Broom Eyebrows Chen asked in a loud voice.
"Yeah! Tell us in advance so that we can all discuss everything together! We will certainly not blame you when accidents happen. Unlike somebody…" smirked some of the higher-ranked disciples. They were insinuating that Yun Jiu was a terrible person.
"I am indeed at fault for what happened in the grasslands. My lack of foresight has cost everyone dearly," Su Junqing repented remorsefully.
His humble-brag endeared him to the low-ranked disciples.
It was rare for a proper disciple of the Yin Corpse Sect to apologize for his mistakes. Most of the proper disciples were arrogant. They never apologized to the lower-ranked disciples even if they were at fault.
"Don't say that, Senior Brother Su. You fought bravely and helped open up a path for us at the front. If it had not been for your hard work, we would have all died in the grasslands."
"We would not have made it here without your help."
Broom Eyebrows Chen and his underlings began to lick Su Junqing's boots.
Su Junqing noticed that the mood was favorable to him, so he went on to say, "Based on the map given to me by the Sect, we will need to go through the Death Swamp next. The swamp is shrouded in miasma, and it is also infested with poisonous mosquitoes and bugs. Not only that, but there are also Armored Crocodiles roaming around. It is even more treacherous than the grasslands."
Su Junqing had a grave expression on his face. He knew how dangerous the swamp was, and he was certainly not trying to scare the disciples by exaggerating. He had heard that in previous years, half of the disciples died every time a group passed through the swamp. Even he had to be on full alert while attempting to cross it.
"Oh my god! Doesn't that mean we'll all die if we enter the swamp?" Broom Eyebrows Chen yelled in a thunderous voice.
The lower-ranked disciples turned ghastly pale when they heard these words.
There had been more than a thousand of them before they'd entered the Secret Realm, but now there were only about seven hundred left. A lot of the disciples had died trying to pass through the grasslands.
If the swamp was even more perilous than the grasslands, then their chances of survival were even more dismal.
Liu Tian'er grabbed onto her sister's hand, pitifully. They could not count on Su Junqing to save them. They had to find a way to stay by Senior Brother Yun Jiu's side at all costs.
Liu Mei'er gave her sister's hand a gentle pat. All they could do right now was take one step at a time and see how things unfolded from here on out.
"Senior Brother Yun Jiu, what should we do now?" Little Fatty nervously swallowed a mouthful of saliva.
His uncle had given him a protective talisman to help him survive the swamp in one piece. However, after experiencing the terror of the grasslands earlier, he was not sure if the talisman could really save his life.
"Let him finish speaking," Yun Jiuge said. She was sure that Su Junqing had not said all these terrifying things just to scare the disciples. He must have some solution up his sleeve.
Just as she expected, Su Junqing soon began talking once again. After the disciples had been discussing the issue for quite some time, Su Junqing piped up, "The swamp might be a perilous place, but the Sect has found a way to get across it safely."
"There's a way for us to get through the swamp safely? What is it? Hurry up and tell us, Senior Brother Su!" cried the disciples all together.
Obviously, none of them wanted to die. They were all desperate to hear about how they could get through the swamp in one piece.
"Everyone listen to me," Su Junqing announced and gestured for everyone to quieten down. He waited till everyone was silent before he went on to say, "If we want to make our way past the swamp safely, we have to head over to the Black Pond, which is about five miles away from here, and find the Black Crystal Reeds.
"The Black Crystal Reed is capable of dispelling the miasma, and it can also repel the dangerous mosquitoes and bugs. Not only that, but it can even ward off Armored Crocodiles! All you need to do is to carry a Black Crystal Reed with you."
"Is the Black Pond a dangerous place?" the disciples asked. They were all scared out of their wits after the experience in the fearsome grasslands.
"There are a bunch of Rank Two Fang Fish in the Black Pond. However, the Sect has specially refined a pill that allows us to avoid them. We'll be safe if we go to the Black Pond at night," Su Junqing answered.
"Senior Brother Su, I volunteer to go get those Black Crystal Reeds for everyone."
Broom Eyebrows Chen rose to his feet and was instantly met with a round of applause from the disciples.
They were overjoyed to hear someone volunteer to take on such a dangerous task on their behalf.
"Junior Brother Chen! You are such a kind-hearted man. I have a total of six pills. You can select five more disciples to accompany you," Su Junqing said.
"Junior Brother Wang, Junior Brother Qiu…" Broom Eyebrows Chen named four of his underlings. Then, he pointed in Yun Jiuge's direction and said with a smile, "Since he's so lucky, I'd like to make use of Junior Brother Yun Jiu's good luck. I hope the six of us can successfully bring back enough Black Crystal Reeds for everyone."