The bottom of the stele was the entrance to the dimensional zone where military troops were standing guard. Li Xuan took out two entrance passes before they entered.
Going down the blue-tiled stairs beneath the stele, they ventured deep underground. Zhou Wen finally knew why the people of Luoyang described dimensional zones as dungeons.
In an underground space tens of meters deep, a dilapidated ancient city connected as one with the underground world. All sorts of blue-tiled ancient architecture made it appear like a maze.
At fixed distances, oil lanterns hung on the blue-tiled walls for lighting purposes. The dim yellow light made the already dark and humid ancient dungeon appear even older.
Zhou Wen and Li Xuan were on a street. The buildings that stood on either side were engraved with several symbols related to Buddhism. Even the blue-tiled roofs were engraved with flying fairies.
"Trading 8-valued Strength Crystals for 8-valued Speed Crystals. Grab it if you want it!"
"One Buddha Heart Lotus Crystal. Only trading, no selling…"
"The most complete and detailed Buddha City map. With one map in hand, Buddha City is your oyster…"
There were several youths dressed in school uniforms setting up stalls along both sides of the street. Clearly, they were seniors of Sunset College.
Zhou Wen had wanted to buy a map but was stopped by Li Xuan.
"Buddha City was only recently discovered. The students here can only explore the vicinity. What value can their maps have? I have here the latest map released by the military. It's much more useful than theirs. Let's head over to the Lotus Pond to try our luck. Let's see if we can find the Buddha Heart Lotus," Li Xuan said as he walked with a map in hand.
"What's a Buddha Heart Lotus?" Zhou Wen asked.
"It's a kind of plant-type dimensional creature. Didn't I mention that organ-type Companion Beasts were found here? Buddha Heart Lotus is one of them. Buddha Heart Lotus in Companion Beast form is the heart," Li Xuan explained.
Li Xuan held the map and navigated the dark dungeon with Zhou Wen in tow. Perhaps a result of the dimensional creatures having been wiped clean, they didn't encounter a single one.
After walking for nearly an hour, the scene before them opened up. They saw a large swath of green lotus leaves appear in their sights. They were as green as jadeite and they shimmered with a green glow.
This huge underground lotus pond was several acres in size. The glimmering green light dyed the entire underground world with a green hue and at spots relatively far from the bank, one could see huge white lotus flowers blooming.
"Is that the Buddha Heart Lotus?" Zhou Wen stared at the huge white lotus and asked.
"That's right. That's the Buddha Heart Lotus, a plant-type dimensional creature. However, those Buddha Heart Lotuses are too far from the bank. Unless one can fly, there's no way of getting near them," Li Xuan said.
"Can't you swim over?" Zhou Wen looked at the water in the pond. It was a transparent green and resembled crystals.
"Definitely not. The water here can even melt steel beams. Humans will be reduced to nothing instantly," Li Xuan hurriedly said.
"If that's the case, what's the point of coming?" Zhou Wen frowned slightly.
"That's why I said we are trying our luck. If a Buddha Heart Lotus happens to bloom near the bank, we have a chance." Li Xuan rubbed his nose and said, "But it seems we aren't having much luck. There isn't a Buddha Heart Lotus blooming by the bank."
Just as he said that they heard galloping sounds coming from behind them. They turned their heads and saw a white horse bolt over with a cold-eyed man sitting on it.
The white horse was extremely fast, allowing him to arrive in front of the lotus pond almost instantaneously. However, the man had no intention of reining his horse in and it didn't drop in speed at all. It rushed straight into the lotus pond.
In the next second, Zhou Wen was astonished to find a pair of snow-white wings grow out from the white horse's sides. It leaped into the air and flew above the lotus pond.
"White-Winged Flying Horse at the Mortal stage. A very rare Companion Beast. That's presently the only one in Sunset College. Its owner is Sunset College's sophomore, Luo Xuan. He's been called one of the four most handsome hunks of Sunset College. I don't like him; he's very arrogant," Li Xuan said as he looked at the White-Winged Flying Horse in envy.
His Jade-Eyed White Tiger was far faster than the White-Winged Flying Horse, but it couldn't fly. Naturally, he wasn't able to ride on a white horse and leap across the lotus pond as coolly as Luo Xuan.
Luo Xuan rode on his white horse and approached a Buddha Heart Lotus. When he was about ten meters away from it, he suddenly saw the petals of a Buddha Heart Lotus close up on itself, turning into an oval. When the petals suddenly spread open, a green lotus seed was shot out, seemingly blasting Luo Xuan with a cannonball.
With a stoic expression, a flash appeared at Luo Xuan's waist, halving the green lotus seed. Only then did others notice a sword in his hand.
"What a fast move!" Zhou Wen was somewhat astonished.
"The Luo family are swordsmen. The Azure Star Sword Anthology is a rather famous sword art. It's not surprising that he's fast with his sword,' Li Xuan said, feeling sour grapes.
It wasn't that he was jealous of Luo Xuan's sword techniques. It was just that the White-Winged Flying Horse drew too much attention. Although it was at the Mortal stage, it was cooler than his Jade-Eyed White Tiger.
Zhou Wen was envious as well. Although the Mutated Skeleton Ant was strong, it had a frightening look. In terms of looks, the White-Winged Flying Horse was on a completely different level.
Of course, Zhou Wen didn't care about looks. It was simply that the White-Winged Flying Horse's ability of flight made it extremely useful.
The White-Winged Flying Horse swept across the white lotus pond as Luo Xuan swept his sword, slicing off the huge white Buddha Heart Lotuses.
Li Xuan and Zhou Wen could only watch in envy as the Buddha Heart Lotuses were harvested by Luo Xuan.
"If I had known, I would have tried to obtain a Companion Beast that can fly," Li Xuan said through gritted teeth.
"Forget it. Let's head elsewhere to take a look. There should be other dimensional creatures apart from Buddha Heart Lotuses, right?" Zhou Wen asked.
"The area ahead has dimensional creatures, but it's a little odd there. When the military explored the area, many people died for no reason. It wasn't an exception even with Legendary experts. It has already been labeled a restricted zone. Ordinary students cannot approach the area," Li Xuan said as he looked at his map.
Intrigued, Zhou Wen asked Li Xuan, "How did those people die?"
"If the cause of death was known, it wouldn't be called odd. They just died while walking. No dimensional creature was sighted, nor were there any wounds. Even when the corpses were taken back for an autopsy, it was discovered that their organs had failed and they had shriveled terribly," Li Xuan said.
"Other than these two places, is there nowhere else in Buddha City with dimensional creatures?" Zhou Wen frowned slightly.
"There's definitely more in the deeper areas of Buddha City. However, even the military hasn't explored the area, so how would the typical student dare to venture in? It would only be courting death. We can't risk our lives for adventure, right?"
After a pause, Li Xuan added, "In fact, the military has offered a reward. If anyone can crack the mystery of the deaths, the military will reward them with a Legendary Companion Egg. Furthermore, they will be awarded perpetual rights to entering Buddha City."
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