Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The tree men were unable to walk upright, but they could burrow and travel underground. There was a deep and wide underground passageway, and it was pitch-dark.
The tree men used the tendrils and roots below their bodies to attach to themselves to the stone wall of the passageway and slide across it like octopuses. Their seemingly enormous and clumsy bodies moved surprisingly fast in the passageway.
“This wasn’t dug by you tree men, right?” Su Yu’s eyes shone with a bright light. He caught a glimpse of the inner side of the stone wall, which was full of marks that had been chiseled with knives.
“We received help from the human Divine Masters,” the chief tree man answered, without turning its head.
Su Yu looked thoughtful as he asked, “Enslaved humans?”
The chief tree man snorted. “Inferior living creatures like humans have no worth if they are enslaved. The human Divine Masters offered their help willingly.”
Willingly? Su Yu was doubtful… Isn’t it a fact that the living creatures that enter the Desolate Evil Jungle can never leave again? How could it be possible that the human Divine Masters actually offered their help willingly?
Suddenly, a name occurred to Su Yu. “It must be Yaomu Daoren,” Su Yu muttered.
According to the rumors, he was the only one who could freely enter and leave the Desolate Evil Jungle. There was no other exception.
The chief tree man nodded. “Yes, he received a boon from the Tree God and offered his help willingly, excavating a passageway that enables us tree men to move around conveniently.”
The chief tree man paused, then said with pride, “Human, if you could really help the tree men, the Tree God will compensate you generously and give a good account of you in front of Lord Yinmu.”
About a few hundred miles in front of them, a faint light suddenly appeared in the pitch-black underground passageway. The place ahead resembled a bright sun, brilliant and dazzling. They had reached the exit!
Su Yu closed his eyes, feeling a shaft of warm sunlight fall on his cheek. He slowly opened his eyes, which were filled with awe. The misty world that had been saturated with a thick fog was gone, never to return.
The sky was cerulean and the emerald lakes stretched endlessly, while countless tree men, big and small, were growing skyward. Above the tall grasses, finches flew merrily and spring flowers were blossoming in full glory.
All kinds of living creatures roamed everywhere. The singing of birds and the sweet fragrance of flowers were also everywhere. The entire place was filled with peace.
“An Arcadia?” Su Yu murmured.
No one could have predicted that the inner part of the Desolate Evil Jungle, which was known for its evils and dangers, would be as beautiful and glorious as a bright pearl.
“We’ve arrived at the Holy Land! Come with me.” The chief tree man’s trunk glimmered with ancient bronze, and its colossal body was gradually diminishing, taking the form of a human.
It had a robust build that was entirely covered with tree patterns. Its facial features looked as if they had been chiseled by a knife. Even though its form and features resembled a human’s, there were great differences between the two.
“An adult ancient bronze tree man can transform into the form of a godly human, but it will only last for an hour. If the time doesn’t call for it, there’s no need for us to transform,” the tree man said.
The form of a godly human? Su Yu was stunned… Isn’t that the human form?
As if reading Su Yu’s mind, the chief tree man snorted. “This is not the human form! It’s the godly human form! For any living creatures, the ultimate evolutionary form will be the godly human form. You humans are just similar to the godly human form by nature. Don’t think that noble creatures like the tree men would take your form!”
The godly human form is the ultimate form of all living creatures? Su Yu thought that there were too many uncertainties in the world. The starry sky, the 10,000 races, godly humans… These were all unknown mysteries. It was even Su Yu’s first time seeing the tree men in person.
The chief tree man led them through the endless forests. Along the way, there were an incalculable number of ancient bronze tree men, at least 10,000 of them, in fact.
Based on their cultivations, with the lowest being the seventh-grade Almighty and the highest being the ninth-grade Almighty, if they charged out from the Desolate Evil Jungle, they could devastate the Blessed and Heavenly Lands ten times over. Despite its vastness, the Central Prefecture would not be able to defend itself from the tree men’s attack either.
However, the tree men’s weakness lay in their bodies. They could only move around in the godly human form for an hour above ground, and even then, they could easily be constrained by humans.
Fairy Ling’s pretty eyes were filled with fright. “There are so many tree men, occupying a single corner of the Jiuzhou Continent. They have absolutely no difficulty standing alongside Jiuzhou.”
“Ooh… So many tree men! It’ll be fun taming them…” Gongsun Wuxie’s eyes glimmered mischievously.
“Haha, your courage is admirable.” A light, crisp laughter sounded behind them suddenly. And… The voice had spoken in the human language!
At the end of the forest, a bright, mirror-like lake was embedded within the lush, green grassland. An elder clad in a green shirt was sitting by the lakeside. His back was facing them, and he had a fishing rod in his hand.
Gongsun Wuxie pouted her petite mouth. “Old man, you are playing tricks. I’m afraid of you.”
Su Yu’s and Fairy Ling’s eyes shone as they stared at the elder’s back and wondered… Is he a human?
“Haha…” The elder set down his fishing rod, turned around, and flashed a light smile.
The moment he turned around, they realized that the elder’s complexion was silver white and his face was filled with wood patterns. Surprisingly, he was part of the Mu race.
“You know the human language?” Su Yu asked.
The silver-faced elder had a smile on his face. “Once, a human taught me some basics. Hence, I know a little.”
“Lord Yinmu, they’re here,” the chief tree man said.
“Alright, you can go. Two other humans have broken in. They seem to have found the road leading right to the Fountain of Life. Go and capture them.” The silver-faced elder was the Lord Yinmu, who the chief tree man had mentioned earlier. He was in control of all of the situations in the Desolate Evil Jungle.
Yinmu looked over to Su Yu and the others, his eyes casting a quick glance at Fairy Ling, while pausing momentarily on Gongsun Wuxie. He then laughed and said, “The Herb of Immortality! Little human, you’re very lucky to have mistakenly consumed the Holy Herb of the race of spiritual herbs. You must have come here to cleanse the medicinal effect with the Fountain of Life.”
Fairy Ling quietly kept Gongsun Wuxie behind her, while shock and terror rose in her heart. Yinmu could see right through the details in Gongsun Wuxie’s body! Not even an All Creation Old Monster could do that!
“You’ve come to the wrong place. The Fountain of Life can degrade everything but the races of Mu, including the spiritual herbs and tree men, which belong to the Mu race. Hence, it is also hard for them to be degraded,” Yinmu explained patiently.
Useless? Fairy Ling and Gongsun Wuxie did not believe it, and they remained unsatisfied with his words.
“If the Fountain of Life was useful, it wouldn’t allow the corpses of our race in the outer circumference to be occupied by evil spirits that could not be gotten rid of even until now, thus forcing us to request help from you humans,” Yinmu sighed, his eyes looking over to Su Yu, while shining with a shrewd light.
He then said, “You’re the only living creature since Yaomu Daoren that is well-versed in ancient Mu words. We’ve been waiting for you for a long time.”
Just as Su Yu had expected, the tree men needed his help.
“Please, tell me the whole course of matters first,” Su Yu said.
Yinmu nodded, while lightly waving his palm. In that moment, countless tree roots sprouted from underground, winding around Fairy Ling and Gongsun Wuxie and dragging them down below.
“Don’t worry, young human, I don’t want those two extra people to hear what I’m about to say,” Yinmu said. “They’ve been brought to a safe place and will meet up with you later. Besides, I’ll present you with some small gifts.”
Su Yu slightly released the fingers that were pinching the silk after he heard this. The Yinmu before him was profound beyond measure, and his intuition told him that he was no weaker than any of the five Golden Light Guards.
“The story goes like this…10,000 years ago, the Tree God was plotted against by an old friend. He escaped the starry sky and accidentally fell into the Jiuzhou Continent. He was badly injured and was getting weaker by the day.Thus, he was trapped in this place, completely immobile,” Yinmu said.
Su Yu heard the Tree God being mentioned again, so he asked, “Who is the Tree God?”
“Our God,” Yinmu answered, his face reverent. “We ancient bronze tree men all relied upon the Tree God for survival. Once, our race proliferated and thrived, during the peak period, there were millions of tree men. But, ever since we fell into Jiuzhou, the Tree God fell dormant.”
Yinmu shook his head. “Losing his protection was like losing our spirit, and many tree men withered, shrunk, and gradually died. Besides, without the purification of the Tree God, they were eroded by evil spirits, becoming vicious, man-eating evil trees.”
He then added, “In the last several thousands of years, the conditions have become even worse. Without the nourishment from the Tree God, less tree men are being born. Now, only a couple of the tree men’s seeds can germinate successfully every year. If this carries on, all of us will be dead in less than a few hundred years.”
Su Yu said, “So… You do not want to just sit and wait for your death.”
Yinmu nodded. “Yes. We’ve been trying to figure out what to do. The Tree God’s injuries spring from the evil Seal Force. This seal was devised with ancient Mu words, which was attached inside the tree men’s body, feeding on their spirits, causing the Tree God to shrink and wither away, day by day.”
Judging from that, the so-called old friend who plotted against the Tree God was also from the Mu race, and he was proficient in the ancient Mu words that the ancient bronze tree men were unfamiliar with.
Yinmu said, “The seal itself isn’t the most terrifying part, as the Tree God could rely on the purifying ability to easily eliminate the seal. The problem is that the Tree God was unable to recognize all of the long-lost ancient Mu words that were used to devise the seal. If he could recognize them all, it would be much easier.”
He then added, “Therefore, we pinned our hopes on this bleak Jiuzhou Continent, hoping that one day, an expert who knows the ancient Mu words will appear. We’d been waiting for 5,000 years before Yaomu Daoren appeared. However, he only managed to decipher two-tenths of the ancient Mu words before he died. Although the tree men assisted him in training to the mortal fairy level, enabling him to live through another 4,000 years, he still passed away, as ultimately, the humans’ lifespan is too short.”
Yinmu sighed, while lifting his head to look at Su Yu, agitation flickering in his eyes. “We thought that it was all over, worrying that the ancient bronze tree men would be buried in this bleak land. But, then you came!”
He then said to Su Yu with a glimmer in his eyes, “Even if you had not entered the Desolate Evil Jungle, I’d decided to step out of the jungle on my own to bring you inside.”
After hearing the whole story, Su Yu drew in a light breath and thought… The Tree God sounds like an extremely terrifying existence! He could easily promote a human to the mortal fairy level! Thinking back on it, all nine of the Grand Prefecture Kings had already attained the mortal fairy level…
“I can’t promise to be able to decipher all of the ancient Mu words, but I can promise that I’ll try my best.” Su Yu’s eyes flickered as he asked, “But, what can you promise me in return?” Right now, their lives were still in the hands of the ancient bronze tree men.
“The ancient bronze tree men aren’t a race that are fond of killing. We’re forced to use the flesh and blood of living creatures to breed our offspring. If you could decipher the seal on the Tree God and help him recover, we would not need to kill anymore!” Yinmu said.
He then stared at Su Yu as he added, “Besides, you’ll receive rewards from the Tree God. Think about it, Yaomu Daoren was only an average All Creation strong man among the humans, but with the help of the Tree God, he attained the mortal fairy level. If you could provide more help for the Tree God, the benefits you’ll receive will be beyond your imagination!”
Su Yu definitely desired the benefits, but they were not a necessity. What mattered the most was preserving his life.
“Fine. I hope that you will keep your word,” Su Yu said.
Yinmu smiled. “Come with me. Before you meet the Tree God, I’ll bring you to Yaomu Daoren’s place of tranquil demise. He had left behind a part of the ancient Mu words, which could be useful to you.”
Yaomu Daoren’s place of tranquil demise! Su Yu was eager to see it.