Chapter 0884: Lost Stone Fores
As soon as Ning Cheng left, the First Bridge of Coping, which already looked almost transparent, turned even more obscure. By the time the Human-faced Poison Centipede rushed past it, one could only hear some small clanking sounds. A moment later, the First Bridge of Coping disappeared without a trace.
Looking at the Human-faced Poison Centipede still chasing after him, but now at a considerable distance, Ning Cheng felt somewhat relieved. Although he cast the First Bridge of Coping with the support of the Seven Bridges Realm Book, it still consumed a lot of energy and vitality. Fortunately, Ning Cheng didn’t need too much celestial essence and spiritual consciousness to escape. Besides, the Starry Sky Wheel only needed Chasing Bull to control it, and he could power it with spirit crystals.
After giving control of the Starry Sky Wheel to Chasing Bull, Ning Cheng focused his attention on the Human-faced Poison Centipede chasing after him. After half a day, Ning Cheng finally felt some relief. Although this Human-faced Poison Centipede could still run after him, his Starry Sky Wheel could at least keep up in speed and stay ahead of it. The current pace of the two was nearly identical.
It was the main reason why Ning Cheng felt so much relief. As long as it couldn’t catch up with the Starry Sky Wheel, the Starry Sky Wheel would eventually lose the Human-faced Poison Centipede. It just needed some more time.
Back in the cabin, Ning Cheng finally recalled the figure he saw before the Human-faced Poison Centipede started chasing after him. That person looked too similar to Shi Qionghua, almost precisely the same. But now that Ning Cheng thought back to it, he felt that the person wasn’t Qionghua.
What was Qionghua and Luofei’s cultivation when they got separated? It should be impossible for Qionghua to become an Eternal cultivator and enter the Grand Essence Mystic Realm in such a short time. Even if she used spirit crystals for cultivating, she couldn’t have made so much progress in such a short amount of time. Could she?
Whether that person was Shi Qionghua or not, he had to meet that female cultivator first.
Putting aside these things for the moment, Ning Cheng also stopped paying attention to the Human-faced Poison Centipede chasing after him. He took off all his clothes and thoroughly started searching his body for any Spiritual Consciousness Imprints.
Two hours later, Ning Cheng had to burn away all his clothes. He couldn’t find a single mark on his body or his clothes; as such, he had to burn his clothes as a precaution and continue escaping.
The Human-faced Poison Centipede didn’t seem to want to give up before killing Ning Cheng. Even after chasing Ning Cheng for over a month, it still didn’t stop. But just as expected, after a month passed by, the Human-faced Poison Centipede could no longer match its speed with the Starry Sky Wheel.
During this month, Ning Cheng had also resumed cultivation. Unfortunately, even after he recovered his cultivation, he couldn’t go down to search for divine grasses as the Human-faced Poison Centipede continued to chase after him.
“Master, that fellow’s crazy. I burned almost half a million spirit crystals, yet that fellow is still chasing after us. It must be an idiot. Can’t it realise that it can’t catch up?” Chasing Bill spoke up angrily on seeing Ning Cheng walk up to the control room. Looking at the star chart, Ning Cheng confirmed that the Human-faced Poison Centipede was still chasing after him.
Ning Cheng smiled and took out a bunch of array discs and handed it to Chasing Bull. “I’ll take control of the Starry Sky Wheel now. You just need to drop these array discs behind us.”
What Ning Cheng had given Chasing Bull were the array discs he had refined at the start. Although these array discs didn’t have to power to block it individually, they could still help hinder the poison centipede.
As Chasing Bull dropped the array discs one by one, the human-faced Poison Centipede’s speed started to slow down gradually. It wasn’t because the array discs managed to stop it, but because of the array discs comings down in the front. As such, the Human-faced Poison Centipede couldn’t maximise its speed.
Moreover, with the Starry Sky Wheel under Ning Cheng’s control, its speed had also risen quite substantially. As a couple of days flew by, the Human-faced Poison Centipede could no longer chase after Ning Cheng. Another day later, Ning Cheng’s spiritual consciousness could no longer detect the human-faced Poison Centipede’s aura.
But to prevent the Human-faced Poison Centipede from catching up, Ning Cheng still kept complete control of the Starry Sky Wheel for the next half a month. He only stopped in front of a stone forest. Rather, Ning Cheng stopped here because he felt something here drawing his Spiritual Consciousness towards it.
Only now did Ning Cheng feel the vastness of the Grand Essence Mystic Realm. He controlled the Starry Sky and flew around for a month or two at almost full speed, yet he didn’t find himself going around in circles.
Putting away the Starry Sky Wheel, Ning Cheng then descended into the stone forest.
This stone forest looked very strange, with tall and steep peaks jutting out of the ground. The tall ones were a hundred or even thousands of feet tall, while the shorter ones were about a few centimetres tall. Standing in the stone forest, Ning Cheng felt as if he had entered a bamboo forest full of bamboo shoots, with high and low bamboo shoots popping up everywhere.
However, no matter where he looked, this stone forest didn’t contain anything apart from those stone peaks. Ning Cheng didn’t even see a single blade of grass. It wouldn’t have mattered if this place was devoid of spirit qi, but Ning Cheng could acutely feel that the spirit qi here was quite dense. This place felt quite suitable for cultivation.
Ning Cheng couldn’t help but ruminate over it as he couldn’t find even a single divine grass in this place. In the Grand Essence Mystic Realm, especially in a spirit qi rich area, no one would believe if someone said that this place contained no divine grasses.
Ning Cheng’s spiritual consciousness stretched out to look at things even more carefully. However, he still did not find any indication of divine grasses.
Quickly, however, Ning Cheng started to feel a slightly cold aura permeating the area apart from the vibrant spirit qi.
As he cultivated the Seven Bridges Spirit Technique, Ning Cheng wasn’t a stranger to different types of cold and even yin-aligned auras. However, he still didn’t like this type of aura very much, so much so that he didn’t want to stay here for long.
But by the time Ning Cheng decided to leave, he discovered something wrong with the place. He couldn’t find the exit at all. Moreover, his spiritual consciousness couldn’t sweep out of the stone forest, nor could he find any sense of direction in this place.
Ning Cheng forced himself to calm down and activated the Twin Wings of the Heavenly Clouds. However, he quickly fell to the ground. From the looks of it, the stone forest’s Forbidden Space Restriction was much stronger than the one over the Grand Essence Ruins’ public square. It prevented him from flying too high. Moreover, while passing through the stone forest, he still couldn’t find his bearings.
Ning Cheng finally came to an understanding that this place most likely a natural maze. One could go in, but one can’t get out.
Ning Cheng didn’t grow anxious just because he found himself in a natural maze. He was currently a Spirit Array Master, which meant that even if he didn’t have an array pattern, he could still get out of this maze.
It’s a pity that he couldn’t lure that stupid centipede in here. Otherwise, he could have trapped the poison centipede in the maze before leaving.
Five days later, Ning Cheng stopped scurrying around like a headless fly. Ning Cheng realised that his understanding of the Dao of Arrays couldn’t help him in this place. Even though five days had gone by, he couldn’t even figure out a single corner of this maze. The only thing he did realise correctly was that this area was a natural maze.
“Snap” Another pile of human bones snapped into two as Ning Cheng touched it. It wasn’t one or two times Ning Cheng saw skeletons while walking in this stone forest. Ning Cheng kept checking whether the bones had any rings. If there were any rings, he would have collected them and then continued searching for the array entrance.
A few days later, he picked up two rings. But the bones Ning Cheng found this time made him stop.
The skeleton he found this time was that of a male cultivator. Plus, the clothes on this skeleton looked quite gorgeous and exquisite. Moreover, the robes still looked pristine, with not even a single speck of dust on it. From this, Ning Cheng understood that this robe was also a top-grade artefact. However, it wasn’t the robe that surprised Ning Cheng, but rather the skeleton.
The skeleton glowed with a faint golden colour. It even contained a faint aura of dao charms circulating around it. Ning Cheng carefully scanned the frame with his spiritual consciousness, confirming that this cultivator had truly fallen.
After a while, Ning Cheng’s eyes fell on the ring on this fallen cultivator’s hand. Even Ning Cheng had to admit that he hadn’t seen such an ornately carved storage ring. Moreover, the finger bones had a pale blue gem-like light covering them, giving one an impression that one was looking at the blue skies’ stars.
Ning Cheng bent down and wanted to take the ring off.
But just when his hand was about to touch the ring, a faint voice emerged, “I haven’t died yet, and you want to grab my things?”
Ning Cheng, caught by surprise, quickly backed away and stretched out his hand. A long spear then suddenly appeared in the palm of his hand.
“Don’t worry; it’s not like I can fight anyway. Besides, my essence spirit is feeble to the point of extinguishing. I used a secret method to force my essence spirit into a fake death state. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have woken up at all.” A weak voice once again emerged from the skeleton in front of him.
Ning Cheng’s spiritual consciousness stretched out and truly found a faint trace of essence spirit fluctuations now coming from the skeletal frame. Ning Cheng would never have thought of picking up a ring from a cultivator who had not fallen. Even if he knew that the cultivator couldn’t resist him, he still wouldn’t do such a thing.
Seeing Ning Cheng not taking any action, the skeleton seemed to have heaved a sigh of relief and said, “Shall we have a friendly discussion? If you can help me, I can tell you how to get out of this place. Of course, I can’t guarantee that you and I can get out, lest you say I lied to you.”
Feeling that this skeleton was speaking the truth, Ning Cheng immediately had a good impression about it in his heart. If this skeleton had ‘guaranteed’ that it could take him out, even without saying anything about saving it first, it would have meant that the skeleton had another plan.
Seeing Ning Cheng not speaking, the skeleton thought Ning Cheng wanted his ring, so he didn’t bother with it and continued. “Entering the Grand Essence Lost Stone Forest, the chance of survival is almost non-existent. But since you can come here, then it means that the Grand Essence Mystic Realm should have opened once again, right? Well, that doesn’t matter. You can say that no one knows how to get out of the Grand Essence Lost Stone Forest except for me. If you want my ring, I can give it to you. But there aren’t any good things inside of it.”
Ning Cheng had to admit that the skeleton was correct about one point. But he still asked about a lingering suspicion, “Did you come here the last time the Grand Essence Mystic Realm opened?”
“Last time?” The skeleton repeated but then fell silent. After a few minutes, it sighed and said, “I’ve slumbered here for over 60,000 years. I got severely injured back then and had to escape to this place 60,000 years ago. I wandered around this place for tens of thousands of years and found many rings. I’m probably the only one who knows the situation in this place. It’s just that although the spirit qi here feels vibrant, one simply can’t absorb it for cultivation. If you noticed the lack of divine grasses in this place, you would have already guessed what’s going on....”
When Ning Cheng heard this, he immediately tried to absorb a trace of spirit qi to try it. However, he stopped immediately. The inability to absorb the spirit qi here didn’t seem to apply to him. He could easily absorb the spirit qi here and turn it into fuel for his cultivation. It most likely was related to the Mysterious Yellow Formless Cultivation Method, but Ning Cheng didn’t say it aloud.
The skeleton continued, “After consuming all the resources I could get, I could only use the secret method to feign death. If no one touched me, I might have never woken up at all.”
Ning Cheng took out two Bodhi Cauldron Heaven Buds and many spirit crystals and threw them towards the skeleton. “I don’t have any medicinal pills, but you can use these two high-grade divine grasses to help you restore your body. You’ll have to do it by yourself.”
The skeleton had lost its muscles, and its essence spirit also had weakened to the point of collapse. Fortunately, although the body had collapsed, the frame remained intact. Bodhi Cauldron Heaven Bud was a high-grade divine grass specifically used to restore one’s body. Plus, with a bunch of spirit crystals, Ning Cheng believed that the skeleton could recover soon.
The skeleton grabbed the two divine grasses and the bunch of spirit crystals in a daze, feeling quite overwhelmed. It had never encountered a person like Ning Cheng. Moreover, Ning Cheng hadn’t negotiated any terms or talked about anything else before taking out those resources. The skeleton knew the preciousness of a Bodhi Caldron Heaven Bud and knew it wasn’t any less precious than an ordinary Dao Fruit. Moreover, rarely if ever, would one find this divine grass within the Grand Essence Mystic Realm.
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