In the Mission Hall.
This place was one of the sanctum’s most lively regions. Each day, numerous outer sanctum’s disciples would be waiting in the Mission Hall, staring at the Mission Provision List. Once any mission with a generous merit points reward appeared, they would all quickly jump to take it.
After Su Yu came here, he couldn’t help but smack his lips as he looked at the sea of people. Just by casually sweeping his gaze over them, he noticed that there were more than several thousand outer sanctum’s disciples gathered in this place, and all of them were looking at the Mission Provision Lists.
Actually, there were two Mission Provision Lists. One of them was quite big and was hung high in the sky. This one had the missions that most people paid attention to on it.
The other Mission Provision List, which few people cared about, was just a small boulder that was located beside the hall. At the moment, a solemn old man was sitting on the boulder.
This list seemed quite unfrequented. However, once it flickered and a new mission appeared on it, several thousand people’s gazes would be attracted to it, as if the missions that were appearing on this list were special.
“Junior brother Su. There are two Mission Lists, the Human List and the Ghost List. The Human List is the giant one over there. It lists ordinary missions. As for the Ghost List, it’s the one on the small boulder, which lists just special missions. As you can see, there is a great disparity between them.” Xue Qi was clearly quite interested in this trip to the Elegant Spirit Mountain.
Su Yu revealed a pensive look as he asked, “How are the missions special?”
Xue Qi replied with a smile, “Well… For example, the Elegant Spirit Mountain’s mission can only be taken by certain people. As such, some people can’t take them, regardless of their statuses. There are also missions that are special because they are extremely dangerous and most outer sanctum’s disciples can’t accomplish them. Such missions are left on the list for as long as ten years, and even then, all of those who dare to take them will mostly just return in defeat.”
As he thought of missions that still weren’t completed even after ten years, Su Yu was stunned.
“By the way, it’s rumored that there is a mission that has a reward that is more than three million merit points! Moreover, the reward keeps raising in amount year after year! Even the inner sanctum’s geniuses are tempted by such a great reward. But, it’s a pity that all of them have failed to complete it in the past. There are even a dozen people who went missing while attempting carrying out this mission!” Gongsun Wuxie’s eyes shone as she spoke.
Three million merit points? Su Yu was shocked to hear such an amount. Since this mission had a reward of such an astronomical sum, he wouldn’t imagine how difficult it was! Moreover, he wondered who could have issued this mission in the first place!
However, Su Yu was just surprised by this news, and he didn’t actually plan for to take this mission himself. Since this particular mission hadn’t been completed even after ten years and a dozen inner sanctum’s geniuses had died while attempting carry it out, it must be surely difficult!
All of the people who had managed to join the inner sanctum possessed outstanding power, yet they still hadn’t managed to finish this mission. So, Su Yu figured that he would surely not take it on himself. After all, it just didn’t make sense for him to go looking for troubles unnecessarily!
But, he still bore this mission in his mind. Then, after he went to the giant boulder, the crooked old man opened his eyes and cast a glance at Su Yu and his companions, then asked, “The Elegant Spirit Mountain’s mission?” He clearly knew the aims of Su Yu and the others.
Su Yu nodded and said, “That’s right. Elder, please grant us this mission.”
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The crooked old man cast a glance at Su Yu before he slowly took a snow-white centipede from his pocket and threw it at Su Yu. “This is the Black-White Ice Centipede’s white centipede. Bring it with you to the Elegant Spirit Mountain, hand it to the Manor Master, then he will arrange for you all to go on the mission.”
Su Yu was aware of this object’s effects. The Black-White Ice Centipede’s egg would have both male and female centipede babies. The white ones were female and the black ones were male. Since they both had the same origin, they could detect each other.
Such spiritual insects were usually used as keepsakes, as once the centipedes came into contact with each other, an intense reaction would occur. As long as Su Yu held this centipede, went to the Elegant Spirit Mountain, then let it touch the blade centipede of a certain person, it could testify that Su Yu was sent by the sanctum to carry out that specific mission.
“Elder, thank you.” Su Yu cupped his fists at him, then brought the other people with him as he left the sanctum.
Before leaving, Su Yu took another glance at the crooked old man, his gaze flickering slightly.
After Su Yu left, the crooked old man shook his sleeves and a bee flew out of them. The bee then streaked through the air and rushed toward the Fairy Confining Forest.
It was a five-day trip between the Elegant Spirit Mountain and the outer sanctum, as the former was situated in the depths of the Fairy Confining Forest. On the way there, they ran into many dangers.
But, although the group seemed like they had just a single inner sanctum’s Divine Master-disciple and the four demons, they actually still had Zi Xuan among them. Thus as long as the lively demonic beasts in the forest were slightly sensible, they wouldn’t dare instigate any conflict with them. As such, their entire journey was completely safe and without incident.
“Junior brother Su. Your lineup is really great! After all, you have four demons… No, it’s five demons, if we count you too!” As Xue Qi walked over, her alluring fragrance assaulted him. Her seductive eyes shone brightly as she looked at Su Yu with a smile on her face.
Su Yu kept his distance from her as he replied, “Senior sister Xue Qi, you are more powerful than all five of us together. So, what lineup are you talking about?”
As he spoke, Su Yu stroked his chin. He then asked, “Senior sister, I’m really curious… Why do you want to go to the Elegant Spirit Mountain? With your status, it isn’t like you care about a mere 20,000 merit points, right?”
Xue Qi smiled and squinted her eyes as she asked, “Do you really want to know? If you pay me enough, I will tell you…”
Su Yu shrugged his shoulders. Since he knew how black-hearted this woman was, he would surely not take her up on her offer.
“You wanton vixen! Stop trying to make yourself mysteriously seductive. It would be impossible for you to seduce our family’s Yuxian!” At that moment, Tian Renyao flew over and intervened, trying to pull Su Yu away by his arm..
Su Yu’s hair stood on its end as he dodged Tian Renyao skillfully. However, Tian Renyao didn’t care about this, and he still went over to him, and while wearing a faint smile, he said, “Yuxian, don’t care about this vixen! If you want to know anything, I can tell you all that you need to know.”
Su Yu had Goosebumps all over as he evaded him quickly, only to end up unknowingly arriving at Bing Wuxin’s side. Still, Tian Renyao didn’t give up and continued chasing him.
“Enough! Let’s just travel peacefully!” Bing Wuxin said.
“Junior brother, you may not know this, but an accident occurred recently in the Elegant Spirit Mountain. Thus, all of the inner sanctum’s disciples who received news about it looked for a way to go there!” Bai Shanliang coughed slightly before he puked out a mouthful of blood as usual.
Su Yu became slightly nervous upon hearing this. “An accident? Senior brother, please tell me all about it.”
Bai Shanliang then said, “It’s not really important, and the news of it has already spread to the inner sanctum.” Bai Shanliang’s pale face became slightly solemn. “Rumor has it that a ghost has been running amuck in the Elegant Spirit Mountain this last half a year, and many disciples who were on missions or were rearing demonic beasts went missing, without even a corpse left behind!”
He then said, “All of the people who can complete missions in the Elegant Spirit Mountain are mostly inner sanctum disciples. Thus, such news just spread in the inner sanctum, while the outer sanctum’s people are still oblivious to it.”
He then added, “Many of the inner sanctum’s factions are making guesses about it, and they feel like their rivals were behind it. Thus, they all sent their members over to investigate this matter in secret. Senior sister Xue Qi was most likely sent by her faction to investigate it as well.”
Upon hearing this, Su Yu relaxed a little. At first, he assumed that it was all a conspiracy of Shao Yueming’s making, but since it had started half a year ago, it was obvious that it was another anomaly.
Although Bai Shanliang didn’t state this explicitly, Su Yu still understood what he had implied. All of the people who went missing were disciples of the inner sanctum, which had many Divine Master experts within it.
Since even the Divine Masters had disappeared and didn’t even leave any corpses behind, this affair was surely no small matter. However, regardless of what would happen, they could still adopt measures that were appropriate to them. Thus, Su Yu didn’t really fear the ghosts’ attacks.
They passed the journey quietly. After they rushed over for five days, they finally reached a marvelous land. This land was formed by a mass of mountains, which expanded far into the horizon like endless sea waves.
As such, anyone who saw them would have a stifling feeling, as if they would soon be overwhelmed by them. Moreover, this land’s Spiritual Energy was quite strange, and they could all feel a gloomy and cold stream of air lingering around them. Also, all of the mountains here were dark green, and they seemed gloomy and eerie.
“This place was once a battleground of the human and ghost clans, and as such, many ghosts’ corpses are buried in the mountains. A hundred years ago, this land was barren due to the terrifying ghost energy that was within it. But, several dozen years ago, the ghost energy started dissipating gradually, and it was then that the Red Blood Palace started developing it. But, this land still seemed eerie due to the ghost energy that had infiltrated it a hundred years ago.” Bai Shanliang explained everything to them. It seemed like he was quite knowledgeable about it.
Su Yu swept this place with his gaze. He didn’t dare to use his Soul Eyes rashly to check this land’s deepest parts because Zi Xuan was here.
They then ventured into the depths of the boundless mountain ranges, and after they flew for many miles, they suddenly saw a lush plain, which had a fresh and pure Spiritual Energy. As they observed it from the sky, it seemed to them like a circular island that was floating in a sea among boundless sea wave-like mountains.
Bai Shanliang then said, “This is the Elegant Spirit Manor that was established by our Red Blood Palace. After they dug out a hundred great mountains, they established a manor here. A large amount of precious spiritual herbs are planted in its vicinity, thus, many of the sanctum’s apex experts are here protecting it.”
He then warned, “Everyone, you mustn’t cause trouble here, and you must abide by the rules. The experts protecting this place are allowed to kill you first, even before reporting it!”
The other people nodded at him before they flew down to land on the plain. But, before they landed, nine people flew at them. In the lead was a Divine Master expert, yet he was just the leader of a small patrol team here.
“Who are you all?” the team leader shouted at them.
Su Yu didn’t reply, but just took the Black-White Ice Centipede’s white centipede.
Upon seeing this object, the team leader’s grave expression relaxed and he said, “Fine, come with me to pay a visit to the Manor Master.”
It seemed like this team was showing them the way, while they were, in fact, monitoring Su Yu as they brought the group to the manor! When they had just entered the manor, Su Yu felt no less than ten Divine Masters observing him with their intense gazes. Su Yu and the others then went into a side palace hall, while being monitored closely.
“Wait here for a while. The Manor Master will come over soon.” After the team leader spoke to them, he went to notify the Manor Master of their arrival.
After a short while, a middle-aged man wearing a purple gold hat came over, a solemn expression on his face. Nine Divine Master Realm old men, whose cultivations varied, followed closely behind him.
“Greetings, Manor Master Zhang!” Xue Qi poked Su Yu with her elbow as she greeted and saluted him.
Su Yu and the other people in the group saluted him back as they said in unison, “Greetings, Manor Master Zhang.”
When they had just lowered their heads, a wave of soft energy supported them all up. When they raised their heads and looked at him, they witnessed the middle-aged man in the purple gold hat lowering his feet.
While he was taking a step forward, he controlled this soft energy to support them all. His control over his power had clearly reached an almost perfect level!
After Su Yu examined the middle-aged man’s cultivation, he found that it was deep and immeasurable. He was like the outer sanctum’s Lesser Palace Mistress Kong Chan, as they both seemed like deep and unfathomable abysses.
Moreover, he still had nine old men who were each at the early stage of the Divine Master Realm behind him. This lineup was tantamount to a fourth of the outer sanctum’s power.
This land’s protective power was quite terrifying, and this was especially the case since Manor Master Zhang was overseeing it. As such, it would be impossible for the outer sixteen great factions to contend with the Elegant Spirit Manor, unless they used their whole factions’ power.
“You may dispense with curtsying. You are all outstanding and talented youths from the outer sanctum, after all, and we will sooner or later be peers. So, you don’t need to be so formal and overcautious.” Manor Master Zhang’s tone was quite polite, and it was clear that he greatly valued Su Yu and the others.
Since Su Yu took the first position in the outer sanctum’s exam, his future achievements would surely be impressive, while the four demons he brought with him were all Level Nine Fairies, which meant that they were just one step away from reaching the Divine Master Realm. Moreover, it was even rumored that they constrained their cultivation advancements on purpose, as they were for a perfect opportunity to advance further. Otherwise, their cultivations would have reached the Divine Master Realm much earlier.
“Manor Master Zhang, this is our keepsake.” Su Yu took the white centipede and handed it to him.
As Manor Master Zhang’s gaze fell on Su Yu, Su Yu felt like he saw right through him. Su Yu was greatly startled by this and he thought… He is really too powerful!
Su Yu felt such a similar stifling feeling only when he had faced All Creation Old Monsters. Even Palace Mistress Kong Chan wasn’t this powerful!
“Not bad. I heard that you had reached the 50th layer on your first try at the Carp Leaping Over Dragon Gate. Now that I have had the chance to see you, I can tell that you are really outstanding!” Manor Master Zhang said.
Su Yu understood what he was implying. He meant that his aged outward appearance was unusual and caused him to stand out from the others.
“Manor Master Zhang, you are flattering me! I was just lucky,” Su Yu replied modestly.
Manor Master Zhang chuckled, then shook his head and said, “Hehe, luck doesn’t play any part in the Carp Leaping Over Dragon Gate’s trial, so your future achievements will surely be impressive.”
As he spoke, he took the white centipede and swept over it with his gaze. He then took out a black centipede. When both of them came into contact with each other, a multi-colored radiance was emitted from them.
“They are Black-White Ice Centipedes from the same egg, which means that the keepsake isn’t fake!” Manor Master Zhang said. “I will arrange for you to go open up a territory. Jiu An, take the map and be in charge of the navigation!”
Upon hearing this, a bald old man at the middle-stage of the Divine Master Realm, who resembled a monk and had amiable-looking features, took an archaic-looking scroll from his sleeves and spread it out in front of everyone. It was a topographic map of what Su Yu had witnessed in the sky a while ago.
“Jiu An, which region is most suitable for excavation now? It’s difficult for outer sanctum’s disciples to get the chance to come here, so you must assign them a good region,” Manor Master Zhang said, while showing his concern for them.
As Jiu An looked at the map, his gaze fell on the most western region. He then said, “Manor Master, the Eighteen Linked Mountains’ soil is the most fertile. Thus, it’s most suitable for the outer sanctum’s disciples’ excavation. As for the other desolate lands, their soils are hard and firm. As such, only someone at the Divine Master Realm level could manage to split open such firm lands.”
Manor Master Zhang looked at Su Yu and his companions, then said, “I will hand over the Eighteen Linked Mountains to you all. You have just three days, and how much you can excavate will depend on how hardworking you are. Also, the number of merit points that you will get in the end is directly determined by the expanse of land that you excavate. Moreover, if you dig out any important treasures, you can also exchange them for merit points.”
When the group heard this, they were eager to accept such terms..
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“Okay, this is the map of the place. A camp has already been set in the Eighteen Linked Mountains, including supplies and a resting place. You just need to get there in time. Also, there is already a new group of inner sanctum’s disciples there, who are also carrying out an excavation mission. You should all get along well with each other,” Manor Master Zhang said.
Su Yu and the others cupped their fists at him, thanked him, then saw him off. As Tian Renyao watched Manor Master Zhang leave, his eyes shone with a splendid light.
He then said sweetly, “Ah! Manor Master Zhang is so handsome! My heart can’t help but flutter when I look at him!”
All of a sudden, he saw Su Yu out of the corners of his eyes, then said shyly, “However, our Yuxian is surely the manliest one of all, as none can rival him!”
Su Yu felt repulsed by this flattery. He didn’t understand why Tian Renyao was so interested in him! After all, he now had an aged body and face, which wasn’t half as charming as handsome youngsters’.
“Well, it seems like Manor Master Zhang is pretty nice,” Gongsun Wuxie said as she rolled her eyes. “But, isn’t he treating us a bit too well?” She was East Evil, a famous little devil, which explained why she was quite skeptical.
“I agree. It’s really fishy!” Xue Qi, whose brows were furrowed, spoke up suddenly.
Bai Shanliang lowered his head, then mulled over it bit, his expression gradually becoming grave. He then admitted, “That’s right. It’s really fishy.”
Both of them exchanged a glance before Bai Shanliang turned around and looked at Su Yu. He then said solemnly, “I feel like we must be careful. The Eighteen Linked Mountains, which Manor Master Zhang chose for us, isn’t a safe place. In fact, it’s considered to be the most dangerous area, at least for the past half a year.”
Su Yu raised his brows slightly and asked in a deep voice, “Are you implying that some people went missing in the Eighteen Linked Mountains recently?”
Bai Shanliang nodded, then shook his head slowly and said, “It wasn’t some people, but all of the people! They all went missing in the Eighteen Linked Mountains. Because of this, all of the martial artists who are garrisoned here for long periods of time aren’t willing to go there.”