Chapter 458: Empress Mountain
When Yun Jiuge woke up, Zi Shang was no longer around. A row of Defensive Charms was pasted on the door. One look told her that Zi Shang had left them behind.
She stretched her body lazily and pushed open the door to go out.
The airship was parked in the air, and the milky-white Defense shield had been raised.
Zi Shang and the others were standing at the bow of the airship looking down. Qiu Sen and Yin Shili had solemn-looking expressions on their faces.
Baili Moyun and Nangong Li stood at the stern. When they saw Yun Jiuge coming out, they waved to her and said, "Come over here."
"What are you looking at?" Yun Jiuge asked as she went over and looked down.
It was already dusk, and the sun had set halfway with a saffron light remaining.
The verdant and lush mountain range of Shiwan Grand Mountain ran endlessly. But the Spiritual Energy was very thin. Occasionally, swathes of gray or black miasma could be seen. It proved itself to be a Sacred Land for nurturing parasites.
"I heard the Seniors saying just now that the Secret Realm entrance has been occupied by a group of Miao people. They were discussing on what to do," Baili Moyun said, pointing to an abuttal to the east.
"Miao people?" Yun Jiuge answered. She opened the Spiritual Eye and carefully looked at the area where Baili Moyun had pointed to.
She only saw a large swathe of black air beneath that lushness. But it looked different from miasma.
"The Shiwan Grand Mountain is under the Miao people's rule. Although the Five Poison Sect is not listed as one of the five devilish sects, it's also considered a medium-sized sect. Its strength is not to be underestimated. If they've occupied the entrance of this Secret Realm, it'd be difficult for us to enter collectedly," said Baili Moyun with a worried look across his face. He originally thought that taking the Yin Corpse Sect's big airship would be smooth sailing. He did not expect so many twists and turns.
"The Sect Leader will have a way of dealing with it. We don't have to worry about it," replied Yun Jiuge, taking a furtive look at Zi Shang.
Zi Shang would have already come up with a way over at the other side. He was walking towards them now.
"Get ready, everyone. We'll find a place to land first and then we'll scout the situation," Yin Shili spoke, mainly for Yun Jiuge's benefit.
"Got it," Yun Jiuge said. She gave Zi Shang a glance and went back to the room to pack her things.
Not long later, Zi Shang came in.
"What's going on at the entrance to the Secret Realm? Don't tell me the Five Poison Sect also has a treasure map in their hands?" asked Yun Jiuge. How could there be so many treasure maps everywhere!
"For now it's not clear whether the Five Poison Sect is the problem," Zi Shang replied, spreading his hands to display a sheepskin scroll in front of Yun Jiuge.
"Did you get this from Qiu Sen?" Yun Jiuge asked in surprise.
Zi Shang nodded. He had asked Yin Shili to obtain it. Qiu Sen was somewhat reluctant at first, but did not kick up a fuss.
Yun Jiuge took it to have a closer look. She found that the route on the treasure map was quite simple. It indicated quite clearly that the entrance was on Empress Mountain.
"Did Qiu Sen say anything on how to get in?" Yun Jiuge asked. The Secret Realm was in another space, so the first step was to find its entrance. And the most important thing was to figure out how to enter.
"He said that the method to enter the Secret Realm is different every time. The last time they went to the entrance, he was sucked inside. But I think he's still hiding something from us," answered Zi Shang. He thought about whether to find an opportunity to use the Demonic Eye to fish for information from Qiu Sen.
"He must be hiding something for sure. Oh, I forgot to tell you. Baili Moyun suspects that a part of Nangong Yue's soul has returned to Ziyun Sect. Shall we use this piece of information as an exchange with him?" Yun Jiuge suggested. She did not want to resort to violence if the issue could be resolved peacefully.
"We can take advantage of it at the right time," Zi Shang replied with a nod. A great amount of Demonic Power was needed to use the Demonic Eye against a Golden Core Cultivator. Conserving it might be a better option.
"We can go to Jun Yichen and Luo Tian to ask about the situation. I wonder if Feifei can find them," Yun Jiuge muttered as she summoned Feifei.
The black-and-white butterfly danced lightly and gracefully around her, with Life Qi and Death Qi alternating in between its wings.
"Feifei, let's go down and look for Xiao Hong and Life's Origin Parasite, okay?" said Yun Jiuge while she threw a Cherry Pill to it.
"No problem, leave it to me," Feifei promised as it swallowed the Cherry Pill.
"It looks too conspicuous this way. Let me first seal its Reincarnation Ability, so that it won't be discovered by others. If you want to lift the seal, just feed it a drop of blood and that'll do," remarked Zi Shang, lifting his hand to point toward Feifei.
A purple glow enveloped Feifei's body and sealed the Life Qi and Death Qi circulating around its wings.
The black-and-white wings also turned fluffy gray, making it look like a moth.
"Boo-hoo, I look ugly," Feifei muttered as it sobbed inconsolably on Yun Jiuge's shoulders. It could not tolerate its ugliness.
"It's alright. This will last for just a few days. I'll help you lift the seal when we return," comforted Yun Jiuge. She consoled Feifei by stroking its head saying, "Big sister's blood is good stuff. You won't regret it."
"Okay then!" Feifei had to concur that its master's blood was tantalizing.
"Miss Yun, we've reached the place," Baili Moyun's shout came from near the door.
"You'd better hurry and leave. Don't let Chun Sanniang see you," Yun Jiuge urged Zi Shang. She chased him out and then left the room as if nothing had happened.
The airship's landing spot was a small, open ground. The ancient wood overhead blocked out the sunlight, making the whole place very dark.
Yun Jiuge stood together with Baili Moyun and Nangong Li after she got off the airship.
Zi Shang stood opposite her. Next to him, Yin Shili raised his hands to put the airship away and said, "Shall we head to the entrance first to see if followers from the Five Poison Sect have occupied the place?"
"Sure," answered Zi Shang with a nod.
"I'll lead the way!" Chun Sanniang said as she sneaked a peek at Zi Shang.
"Chun Sanniang is most familiar with this place. Following her will save us a lot of trouble," said Yin Shili. Even though he did not know what happened earlier, he was clear that Chun Sanniang was now fearful of Zi Shang like a mouse seeing a cat.
If Zi Shang wanted to target Chun Sanniang, he would be helpless being sandwiched in the middle. So, he tried to put in a good word for Chun Sanniang.
"Let's go!" Zi Shang exclaimed, not objecting.
Chun Sanniang was overly excited at receiving Zi Shang's affirmation. She took out a large, fist sized ball of white string from the Magical Bottomless Bag and tossed it on the ground.
The ball of white string automatically rolled forward, paving a ray of white light to guide the crowd.
Yun Jiuge and the others followed that ray of white light and did not meet with any danger along the way. They also did not encounter any miasma or Poisonous Gas. Soon, they arrived at the Empress Mountain.
The Empress Mountain was shaped like a beautiful woman with her head bowed. At this time, a row of ramparts encircled the foot of the mountain. They were all built with pillars of sturdy pine wood measuring the height of two persons.
Rows of people clad in Miao clothes could be seen patrolling on the ramparts. Each of them had colorful Legendary Venomous Insects on their body.
Looking further up, tiers of stilted buildings could be seen one after another all the way up to the top of the mountain. Countless oil lamps stood out in the dark.
"It's the Five Poison Sect indeed. The cream of the crop among all Sects," said Qiu Sen as he stood above a big tree looking down.
Although the Yin Corpse Sect was not afraid of the Five Poison Sect, they had kept their Sect in the dark about this trip.
If the Sect Leader went back to deploy the troops, then all the devilish sects would know where the Secret Realm lay. They would definitely want a piece of the action by then.