Proofer/Editor: nick0 (Pascal)
Once the tree was cut into planks and neatly stacked, Zhang began carrying them back to where Cai Cao was still erecting the tents. Cai Cao did not ask for Zhang’s help and out of respect, Zhang did not offer to help. Thus each man did his own thing, Cai Cao continued to put up the tents, showing no experience at all, while Zhang began sticking the planks that he had cut out from the tree trunks one after the other into the ground.
Although these planks wouldn’t be able to hold back any demonic beasts, they would certainly help to establish Zhang and Cai Cao’s territory, this would help ward off regular animals and keep demonic beasts wary of them. There was also the added sense of security one gets when surrounded on all sides by walls. As the day went on a circular fence was slowly erected and two tents were eventually set up.
When their tasks were completed and only a few more hours of daylight remaining the two men gathered by the warm oven that Zhang had constructed and began preparing their meal. Plenty of rations had been brought along in case no food could be found within the Graveyard. However it was decided that tomorrow when they go exploring the Graveyard, they would see if there were animals that could be hunted and become a sustainable food source for them since they will be staying here for a few days and eating dried rations the entire time would be very unappetizing.
“Rest early, we’re going to have to get up early tomorrow and have a look at the surrounding area.” Cai Cao said to Zhang before entering his tent and going to sleep for the night.
Late in the night while Zhang and Cai Cao were fast asleep, elsewhere within the graveyard, underneath the moonlight, a group of six people were making their way through the woods, some with frantic expressions on their faces.
“What the hell was that?!” A handsome young man dressed in the standard robes of the Misty Mountain Sect screamed with a terrified expression on his face.
“I-I don’t know!” Another young man also dressed in the standard Misty Mountain Sect’s robes.
“This was all your fault! You idiot! Why did you suggest for us to go here!?” A muscular young man roared. He was so over the breaking point that his fear turned to outward rage.
“Shut up Kong Sun! You didn’t have to come here with Brother Cheng!” A scholarly looking young man yelled, oddly enough of the group he was the only one who was able to remain calm.
“Yea Kong Sun, listen to brother Lu Gong. Everyone move quickly! It’s ca-catching up!” Someone screamed as an enormous shadow emerged behind them.
As they weaved through the labyrinth of trees, the enormous shadow continued to close in on them. Within the seemingly never ending darkness, countless blood red eyes emerged. It seemed that whatever or whoever this silhouette seemed to be without shape or form because the shadow itself moved through the woods with blinding speeds, without having to evade the trees at all.
“There’s a clearing up ahead!” The muscular young man referred to as Kong Sun yelled to the others.
Soon enough the group of six found themselves outside of the woods and in a clearing, but to their horror the shadow was no but a few steps away from them.
“Get ready to engage!” One of the young man roared as he drew his sword from it’s scabbard. The others soon joined him and drew their weapons and prepared to make a final stand against their pursuer. Their auras bursted out and revealed the essence of those at the mid elementary realm.
However unlike their expectations, where they fight to the bitter end against the silhouette turned out to be, once the moonlight struck the silhouette, nothing was revealed. It was as if the moonlight itself was absorbed, as only darkness darkness continued to be present.
The darkness soon turned into a rage wave that encircled the group of six, leaving them without a path to escape. With all escape routes shrouded away in darkness, and no way of possibly escaping, the six disciples of the Misty Mountain Sect trembled in fear, well all but one who courageously stared fear in the eye and did not falter. Completely suppressed by an overwhelming pressure they resigned to their fates and stared blankly into the darkness.
Like mist, the darkness enveloped the six and seeped into their very pores. From their mouths, ears, noses and eye, an endless amount of darkness gushed into their bodies.
In a flash, the darkness receded and five corpses that could only be described as corpses were left on the ground, and a single standing figure could be seen standing. In the end only the young man referred to as Lu Gong was left, however his eyes now had an eerie red glow to them and a maddening look could be seen spread across his face.
“Incompatible…” Said Lu Gong as his very own shadow rose up from the ground and engulfed him and the five corpses laying on the ground, leaving nothing behind but six skeletons and some magical weapons.
Situations such as this frequently happen within the Graveyard, which is mainly why it is called the Graveyard to begin with, so no one will come to investigate their deaths.
Early in the morning as the sun peaked out from the horizon, a unbelievably pleasant smell entered into Zhang’s nostrils and he found himself following his nose out of his tent.
Outside was Cai Cao, who was hunched over by the stove that Zhang made. In front of him was a sizzling pan with succulent looking fish on it. From where Cai Cao got this fish, Zhang did not care because the only thing on his mind right now is when he can take a bit out of it. Thus he stood behind Cai Cao with drool dripping out of his mouth as he eyed the juicy looking fish that looked like it would be ready to be eaten at any moment.
Once the fish was done and the two of them had their meal, Zhang and Cai Cao began their exploration of the Graveyard in hopes of stumbling upon rare treasures that would benefit their cultivation.
Like most people who entered the Graveyard, few knew of the true dangers that lurk within, much like the group of six that had met their unfortunate end last night.
However there is a saying that goes, “those who do not know what lurks in the depths do not fear what awaits them.” Henceforth since neither Zhang nor Cai Cao knew of the true dangers within the Graveyard they do not have an ounce of fear within them.
Rather they are somewhat looking forward to their little adventure that they are currently on. The thrill of exploring and possibly finding things and places that few have seen, is always an enticement for adventure seekers.
“We will only skim the outer perimeter of the forest today, once we get a good feel of how things are, we can move deeper in. I also saw that there were some very rare herbs growing in here and that we can trade them for a lot of contribution points if we stumble upon any.” Zhang said to Cai Cao. There had been times when Zhang was in the army, when his comrades became hopelessly lost because they rushed into unknown terrain. So he deemed that it was best to gain an understanding of what lays ahead before proceeding.
Since there was nowhere else that either of them currently needed to be, Zhang and Cai Cao could take their time here. Of course there was the assembly that they had to attend, but that was a while away and they did not need to worry about it.
“When did you become such the expert. I’ll also keep an eye out for herbs.” Cai Cao laughed as he gently slapped Zhang on the back.
With a grin, Zhang took the lead and the two of them made their way through the woods. Generally the animals in the outer ring of the Graveyard were regular animals that possed little to no threat to cultivators. Of course if a tiger or something of the sorts popped up it would be somewhat of a challenge for someone with Zhang’s cultivation, but for someone such as Cai Cao, it would be only a matter of time for him to dispatch the tiger.
That is to say, if Zhang did not have the defective flying sword that he obtained from the weapons exchange counter. Now armed with this treasure, he would be more than well equipped to slay a tiger, thus for the most part the two of them could consider themselves relatively safe for now.
“Oh yea it’s time to use one of those magical items that we got from the shop.” Cai Cao said as he pulled out a scroll from his robes. This of course was the painting of a chicken that he had bought.
Filled with anticipation, Zhang watched as Cai Cao tore the scroll into two and tossed it onto the ground. Once the scroll was ripped into two and tossed onto the ground, it began glowing and before long, a dozen or so chickens appeared on the ground.
“Isn’t it a bit early to be thinking of dinner?” Zhang asked.
“Treasure seeking chicks.” Cai Cao said with a smile as he waved his hand toward the chickens. An instant later the chickens sped through the woods and out of sight.
“Those things seek out treasures?” Zhang asked.
“Yup, once they find treasure they’ll come back and alert whoever tore up the scroll. On top of that we can use them to scout out if there are any dangerous beasts in the area. They’ll move within a 40 feet radius of where I am so we don’t have to worry about anything sneaking up on us.” Cai Cao replied informatively while he pulled out another scroll from his robes and tossing it to Zhang.
“That scroll can temporarily summon a low tier golem. Keep it just in case.” He said to Zhang.
With a nod, Zhang tucked the scroll into his robes and the two of them began walking through the woods once more.
“This please is a treasure trove for rare plants.” Zhang said as he plucked one herb after the other as they continued moving through the woods. They had not even made a total of fifty steps and Zhang and Cai Cao had both collected dozens of herbs already.
“According to that map that we were given, we should be nearing one of the ancient battle zones soon. If there is anything there, the chickens will alert us.” Cai Cao informed Zhang as he picked up a few herbs sticking out of the ground.
It could be said that places like the one that they were going to enter soon have been combed through by other people countless times, but occasionally treasures would still appear and it was rare for people to bring magical items like the ones that Cai Cao had brought.
It was not because these items were rare or anything but most people who enter here generally don’t bring a lot of magical treasures with them. Things such as magical scrolls, cost a fair amount of money to acquire and it is generally deemed wasteful to use them here when there are a few other forbidden areas within the sect that would yield a better harvest. These other forbidden zones aren’t as unique as the Graveyard of course, but the amount of treasures within them are many times greater than the ones here. Thus only a few people have ever come here and have brought Treasure Seeking chicks with them.
Being the oldest forbidden zone within the sect, many people believed that most of the treasures within the Graveyard have already been taken anyway so few come here and even fewer bring magical scrolls to use. The few that come here are mostly made up of adventure seekers and hopefuls such as Zhang and then there are people who come here to train, such as the group of six that had meet their demise.
Soon enough the lush green grass underneath Zhang’s feet disappeared and only scorched barren earth was left.
“You could imagine the intense battle that happened here, the attacks were so powerful that the earth has remained scarred and barren for countless years.” Zhang said as they made their first steps into the ancient battle zone.
“Gather!” Cai Cao said as he made a handsign. Moments later the dozen or so chickens that were summoned earlier were huddled up in front of him.
“Search.” He commanded.
The chickens sped through the scorched ground at amazing speeds. Only a few minutes had passed before one of the chickens began kicking at the ground.
“It seems that it has found something.” Cai Cao gestured to Zhang as he pointed at the chicken.
The ground underneath the chicken soon became upturned and a solid looking object slowly saw the light of the day. By now Zhang and Cai Cao arrived at where the chicken was and were simply waiting for it to dig out whatever was buried in the ground.
“Wow” Zhang said as he saw the object gleam underneath the sunlight.
The chicken crowed once the item was completely unearthened before it sped off once more and began looking for more treasure.
“It’s an iron boot.” Zhang said as he picked up a rusty iron boot from the ground.
“Now we only need them to find the other boot and we’ll have a set of rusty boots.” He laughed.
“I guess had we found this hundreds of years ago, it could be considered a treasure.” Cai Cao said with a sigh as he looked at the rusty iron boot in Zhang’s hand.
Before Zhang could say anything, another one of the chickens began digging into the ground, and the young men tossed the boot aside and made their way towards the chicken in hopes of truly obtaining something they could call treasure.
Of course hopes are usually dashed and dreams were usually crushed because a while later, Zhang now had three rusty boots laid out on the ground in front of him.