Translator: Zen Translations Editor: Zen Translations
“Furthermore, I have heard of this Ghost Demon Forest. The reason for its name is actually because it is home to a very unique Heavenly Beast, known as the Ghost Demon Horse. It is a social Heavenly Beast that lives together in a large group, and are generally at the lower level Zun Stage. Although this Heavenly Beast’s cultivation level is not considered low or high individually, it is one of the easiest to tame. In fact, I actually have the taming method for them. If we manage to catch some Ghost Demon Horses as our mounts, we can probably reach the northern border of the empire within three days.”
“These Ghost Demon Horses have superb endurance, and they are best at charging, especially with their powerful physiques. In fact, within our ZhongTian Empire northern armies, we have a specialised Legion called the Ghost Demon Heavy Cavalry Legion 1. It is only this Legion that is able to fight against the WanShou Empire armies with equal numbers, and it is the credit of the Ghost Demon Horses. However, their Ghost Demon Horses are all bred and raised in human captivity, and are no match for those which grow and live in the wild.”
Hearing Shangguan Fei’er’s words, Zhou Weiqing couldn’t help but feel his heart palpitate in excitement. If each of them could have a Zun Stage Heavenly Beast mount, not only would their overall strength and power increase, their mobility and speed would greatly benefit as well. This was especially so in the future on the battlefield, where a good mount was of utmost importance to a general.
“Are these Ghost Demon Horses easy to catch?” Zhou Weiqing asked.
Seeing that he was tempted, Shangguan Fei’er grinned to herself inwardly before saying: “It should be alright… it isn’t exactly easy, but should not be too hard for us. They do not have any ranged attacks, and the main reason why they are rated as low level Zun Stage is actually because of their bodies and physiques. On their bodies, they have a layer of black scales covering every part of them, easily able to defend against a powerful crossbow bolt. In addition to their speed, endurance and sheer strength and carrying load, they can be said to be the best horse-type mounts in the entire mainland.”
Zhou Weiqing hesitated, looking towards Zang Lang and the others, his brow furrowed.
By now, the others already knew who Shangguan Fei’er was and her status; and for someone like her from the Heaven’s Expanse Palace to praise these Ghost Demon Horses so much, one could definitely imagine how suitable these Heavenly Beasts were as steeds. In that moment, all of them were revealing looks of excitement on their faces.
Lin TianAo said to Zhou Weiqing: “Weiqing, if there really isn’t any Heavenly King Stage beasts and higher, it might be worth the risk for us.”
Zhou Weiqing nodded slowly. He knew that he actually had an advantage to this as well, when in the Demonic Change State he was able to give forth the aura of the Dark Demon God Tiger, and those Heavenly Beasts which weren’t far above him would submit to that presence. Furthermore, with his current cultivation level and the second evolving he had gone through, it would not be to difficult for him to put awe into low level Zun Stage Heavenly Beasts.
After some more thought, Zhou Weiqing finally made his decision, saying: “In that case, we will go through the Ghost Demon Forest. However, we will need to move in a formation. Big bro, you will be in front, and be in charge of the direct defense. Fei’er, you will remain at the back of the party, and be the main defense at the back. Yun Li, you will remain our mobile force, and whichever side requires help, you can judge for yourself to lend aid.”
Lin TianAo nodded, and Shangguan Fei’er grinned excitedly. “Do not worry, with me around, anyone or anything that tries to ambush us from behind, I will take care of them!”
Zhou Weiqing ignored her, continuing: “Crow, you will be on our left flank. Drunken Bao, on our right flank. The rest of us will be in the center. Little Four, you will be in charge of scouting and relaying information. Xiao Yan, you and I will be in the direct center to provide ranged firepower. Zang Lang, you and the other brothers will surround myself and Xiao Yan. When we meet any enemies, do not engage at all without my command, understand?”
Zang Lang agreed respectfully.
Ma Qun sidled over huffily: “What about me, Boss?”
Zhou Weiqing glanced at him and said: “You remain together with Crow.”
Ma Qun gave a vexed look as he said: “Boss, you’re not trying to have her protect me right. I’m quite strong now…” These past few days on the road, he had indeed learned much from Lin TianAo. Of course, his current cultivation level was still low, especially since Zhou Weiqing and the rest had not managed to find time to create Consolidating Equipment Shields for him yet. As such, in terms of cultivation level, he was still below Zang Lang; even with the advantage of his physique and his ultimate Attributes, he would at most be at equal level as Zang Lang.”
“You are indeed strong, that’s why I’m entrusting you to protect Crow!” Zhou Weiqing grinned as he said.
After this basic arrangement of their formation, the group took a rest for a while, having a quick meal of dry rations before moving out once more, following the road on the left towards the Ghost Demon Forest.
The sun was high in the sky, and the air was clear and clean. Bathed by the warm rays of the sun, the hurrying group felt like their body was bathed in a comfortable warmth.
After about two hours of travel, they came to the end of the road, and a large thick forest was before them. Strangely, the trees and their leaves here seemed to have a deeper colour than most other ordinary woods, giving the entire forest a inky-green hue; when the wind blew, it was as if it was a sea before them. The entire scene was a little eerie, and the Ghost Demon Forest truly deserved its name.
At the end of the road, a large road sign presented itself before their eyes.
“Ghost Demon Forest. Be warned, Heavenly Beasts live here, with powerful ones in the core of the forest. Enter at your own risk.” The warning sign had clearly been placed by the ZhongTian Empire.
“Powerful Heavenly Beasts?” Zhou Weiqing turned to look at Shangguan Fei’er querying-ly once more.
Shangguan Fei’er said dismissively: “That is for ordinary people, are you an ordinary person?”
Zhou Weiqing was normally a resolute person who did not like being wishy washy. Since he was already here, he wouldn’t easily turn back, and he also believed in what Shangguan Fei’er said. As such, he said solemnly: “Alright, we will be heading into the forest now. Everyone, close ranks into the formations and we need to be on full alert. Little Miss Muddle, you stay by my side; if any danger appears, you help support and defend us.”
Dou Dou agreed listlessly. Traveling non stop at full speed for the last few days had indeed bored her.
Zhou Weiqing sidled closer to her, saying in an enticing tone: “If we manage to hunt any wild game, I’ll personally barbeque some delicious meat for you to eat, alright?”
Hearing his words, Little Miss Muddle’s eyes immediately lit up, and she nodded vigorously towards him.
Yun Li stood by the side, giving a humph as he said: “Boss, it’s not nice to keep enticing little kids like that.”
Zhou Weiqing looked at Yun Li, then at Little Miss Muddle, saying: “Shouldn’t you be jealous of her talent? Why are you so protective of her?”
Yun Li’s face turned red as he said: “She is just a little girl, so innocent and naive, is it wrong for me to be protective?”
Zhou Weiqing looked at him in surprise, saying: “Old Yun, could you have fallen for Little Miss Muddle?”
“Bullshit! I’m not going to talk to you anymore.” Yun Li said angrily. However, no matter how Zhou Weiqing looked at it, he seemed to be avoiding the topic.
Zhou Weiqing’s lips twitched in an amused grin as he said: “Liking someone is a natural thing. You are not young anymore, one has to marry and raise a family in the future, what are you afraid of? To find a innocent girl like Little Miss Muddle is extremely rare in the world today, you might not be able to find a second one. Old Yun, you’ll have to work doubly hard. Especially in terms of cooking… if you want Little Miss Muddle to fall for you too, you better be able to please her stomach.”
Dou Dou looked at Zhou Weiqing, then at Yun Li, a confused look on her face. “What are you all talking about? How come I do not understand?”
Zhou Weiqing glanced at Yun Li, who was looking rather nervous, then said: “You do not need to understand now, but I believe that in future, Old Yun will give you some delicious food. Come on, let’s go, we need to maintain the formation.”
Looking at Zhou Weiqing, Yun Li couldn’t help but praise him inwardly. That fellow’s observational skills were just too strong, he had barely revealed a hint of interest, and Zhou Weiqing had already guessed his thoughts.
Indeed, Zhou Weiqing had guessed correctly, and Yun Li had already fallen for Little Miss Muddle Dou Dou. These past few days that they had all spent together; at first due to the amazing display of Consolidating Equipment talent that she had shown in the Fei Li City previously, Yun Li had paid much attention to her.
However, the more he noticed her, the more he had started liking her character. Innocent, naive, totally pure like a piece of white blank paper. Besides eating, she did not seem to have any other hobbies. She did not speak much, and also was not fussy about her food; as long as she had something to eat, she had a blissful look on her face. Yun Li started to enjoy watching her eat, and these few days, he had been spellbound several times.
Towards Yun Li’s feelings, Little Miss Muddle naturally did not notice or feel anything, and she continued staying well-behaved beside Zhou Weiqing. Although she loved to eat, she would follow her teacher’s instructions.
As the group entered the Ghost Demon Forest, the first thing they noticed was the change in temperature, as it was much colder here than outside. In truth, for all forests with dense vegetation, when the weather was hot, it would seem much cooler within due to the vegetation blocking the sun. However, it was a lot more obvious in this Ghost Demon Forest, at least five degrees or more lower than normal.
From the outside, the Ghost Demon Forest had seemed rather gloomy and eerie, but it was only when they really entered it that suddenly felt a refreshing, free feeling. Not only was the air crisp and clear, it was slightly moist as well. Taking in several deep breaths, it was as if all the worries and fatigue would melt away, giving them a carefree and relaxed feeling in both body and spirit.
Without any prompting from Zhou Weiqing, Little Four disappeared into the distance as he scouted ahead. The entire group slowed down slightly as they headed deeper into the forest with caution.
At first, everyone was walking along gingerly and full of caution, as this forest was after all supposed to be full of Heavenly Beasts.
However, as time passed, this caution slowly vanished. There were indeed Heavenly Beasts, but their numbers were few and far between, and were also not too powerful, mostly of the Shi or Low Zun Stage, and were easily finished off by either side’s defense.
Zhou Weiqing held his Black Dawn Bow in his hands at the ready, keeping a close watch on the surroundings. Because they were rushing along, he could not keep his Overlord Bow Consolidated all the time as that would be a huge drain on his Heavenly Energy. With the Black Dawn Bow, he would be able to deal with most ordinary situations that cropped up.
Four hours later, the skies slowly darkened, and Zhou Weiqing decided to stop and set up camp.
Setting up camp properly was a skill unto itself, and thus Zang Lang and the other Fei Li Academy graduates were entrusted with the task. They chose an area of relatively high ground, cutting a section of trees to form a small barricade. In such a way, they could still have a wide view of the area around without compromising a barrier which would help delay any attacks from Heavenly Beasts.
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