Phoenix's Requiem - Chapter 192: Impossible
After Yun Ruoyan and Zhuo Yifeng finished their meal, they discussed how they would save Lin Qingxue and Lin Qingchen tomorrow before resting.
At dawn the second day, the two of them rose up even before the sun, but they didn’t hurry to the Chen kingdom team’s oasis. During the night, Rong Yueshan and the Chen kingdom team had to have come up with countless plans for them, so they weren’t in a rush.
As long as Yun Ruoyan didn’t appear, Lin Qingchen and Lin Qingxue wouldn’t be in danger. On the other hand, if they rushed over blindly and Yun Ruoyan were to be caught, then it was highly likely that Rong Yueshan would kill everyone present in order to stop word of the affair from spreading. In that case, Lin Qingchen and Lin Qingxue would be put in even greater danger.
What the two of them needed to do at the moment was to plan for every eventuality.
Zhuo Yifeng found a soft, supple stick in the forest and made himself a haphazard bow. Then, he whittled a few small sticks to serve as arrows.
“Here.” Yun Ruoyan brought out two arrowheads from her storage pouch and handed them to Zhuo Yifeng, whose eyes lit up as soon as he saw them. “Tiger-canine arrowheads! Where did you get them?”
“I retrieved them from the eight-legged evil spirit’s body,” Yun Ruoyan replied.
Only with two such arrows did Zhuo Yifeng finally kill the gigantic beast. Because of its thick flesh, the two arrows remained lodged in its body instead of penetrating it. As Yun Ruoyan was digging out the beast’s core, she coincidentally happened upon the two arrowheads.
Zhuo Yifeng attached them to his wooden arrows and completed his secret weapon.
Thinking the preparations insufficient, Yun Ruoyan then continued searching the forest until she finally found, with Qiuqiu’s help, another secret weapon of equal lethality.
By the time Yun Ruoyan and Zhuo Yifeng departed their oasis, it was evening. While they were walking to the location that Zhao Xu had pointed out for them, they suddenly heard a beast’s thunderous roar from afar, and the two of them looked in the direction of the sound together.
“Someone else is hunting a high-rank beast. Judging from the sound, it’s likely close to the peak of high-rank,” Zhuo Yifeng announced.
Yun Ruoyan looked in the direction of the sound, her face severe. She only had one high-grade beast core on hand at the moment.
The trial was three days long. If she discounted the day they arrived at the trial location, there would only be a day and a night remaining before the end of the trial.
There were eighty or ninety other youths here besides her team and the two other teams with whom she’d conflicted. Those students surely hadn’t been slacking, and were likely diligently slaughtering beasts and collecting rare herbs.
Yun Ruoyan was somewhat worried that she might not make the cut if things were to continue progressing at this pace. In truth, neither the Chen kingdom team nor Rong Yueshan’s team were lazing around. After leaving a few members behind to guard Lin Qingchen and Lin Qingxue, the other members all went beast hunting.
The oasis at which they were situated was quite large, and consisted of a fair number of low- and mid-rank beasts. After their day of hunting, they had managed to kill quite a number of such beasts. However, their spoils paled in comparison to the high-rank beast core that Yun Ruoyan possessed.
The howl of the high-rank magical beast had come from the northernmost oasis in the region. Although it wasn’t the largest in size, it was the farthest from the trial’s entrance and consisted of the highest-ranking beasts.
Deep within that oasis, a giant rock monkey, easily the height of two adults, was inclining its head to the skies and howling. It had a tree trunk in its hands and was waving it wildly at the three members attacking it.
Wang Meng, Yun Ruoyao, and Pei Ziao approached the giant rock monkey from three different directions, dodging its wild attacks as they approached.
Yi Qianying’s cultivation was lower, so she was situated in the distance and observing the fight from afar. However, she too had a hidden weapon. Within her robes was a powder that she had recently concocted. However, because the ingredients for making such a powder were extremely difficult to obtain, she only had a little powder in stock.
Despite the small quantity, it was potent enough to induce sleep on two dozen people. If she were to use it on magical beasts, it would be sufficient to cause the same effect on a dozen low-rank, half a dozen mid-rank, or one high-rank beast. However, for the high-rank beast, she would have to apply the powder in close quarters. As a result, she wouldn’t bring it out unless she was forced to.
Wang Meng was by far the most advanced cultivator in the party, and he reached the giant rock monkey first, climbing up a nearby tree and jumping onto the rock monkey’s shoulder.
Although the giant rock money was supposedly a monkey, its actions weren’t agile or limber. Instead, its massive size made it a little clumsy. Neither was it clever: the only reason it was called a monkey was because of its external appearance.
Under usual circumstances, because of these limitations, giant rock monkeys were unlikely to become high-rank magical beasts. However, its howls and strength made it clear that this particular beast had not only become a high-rank beast, but had even reached the peak of high rank.
There was likely only one explanation for this sort of situation: the giant rock monkey must have eaten some precious heavenly treasure, causing a monumental increase in its cultivation.
Wang Meng continued standing on the giant rock monkey’s shoulders as Pei Ziao and Yun Ruoyao distracted it from the ground with their attacks. While the monkey was distracted, Wang Meng raised the steel sword in his hands and thrust it at its head. The team had judged that the giant rock monkey’s weak point was at the back of its head, and Wang Meng’s attack would undoubtedly be able to kill the beast in one strike.
Just as expected, Wang Meng’s sword thrust deeply into the monkey’s head, ending its life. Blood spurted out of the deep wound, and Wang Meng somersaulted up into the air. He avoided the blood as he landed stably on the ground, his posture natural and graceful.
“Brother Wang, excellent job!” Pei Ziao yelled out excitedly from the ground.
After a full day of hunting, the four of them had managed to secure three mid-rank beast cores, and now their collection would be supplemented by a core from a peak high-rank beast.
Based on their performance, the four of them would pass the trial without a doubt.
“Miss Yun,” Pei Ziao turned to Yun Ruoyao. “Brother Wang is truly a dragon among men!”
Yun Ruoyao was naturally pleased by their performance. She nodded and praised, “Young Master Wang is truly skilled.”
“He would be a perfect husband, wouldn’t he?” Pei Ziao added slyly.
Yun Ruoyao detected something unusual in his voice. For some unknown reason, Pei Ziao had been looking at her and Wang Meng with an unusually suggestive expression the last few days. Yun Ruoyao wasn’t a little girl anymore, and while she might have missed such innuendo once or twice, she clearly understood what Pei Ziao was hinting at.
However, Pei Ziao seemed to be a master at hinting at their relationship without stating it outright, and Yun Ruoyao couldn’t point at any one thing he said in particular that was clearly offensive.
She was a little vexed at Pei Ziao’s train of thought. After all, she and Wang Meng were all but strangers, so how had Pei Ziao come to such a ridiculous conclusion?
They extracted the giant rock monkey’s core to find a spherical, golden-yellow core slightly larger than a baby’s fist. It was so full of spiritual energy that it practically shone, and the movement of light on its dazzling surface was a wonder to behold.
The four of them stared at the beast core, unable to tear their eyes away. A regular cultivator wouldn’t be able to see such a marvelous treasure even once in their lifetime.
“Here, you keep it.” What shocked everyone was that Wang Meng actually handed the incomparably precious treasure to Yun Ruoyao.
Yun Ruoyao herself was first shocked, then filled with glee. Even if she couldn’t own a treasure like this for good, having it temporarily wouldn’t be bad, either. Although Yun Ruoyao was somewhat suspicious of Wang Meng’s motivations, she couldn’t help accepting the gift.
“Young Ma… Brother Wang, where are we headed to next?”
This peak high-rank beast core had caused Yun Ruoyao to change her mode of address from ‘Young Master Wang’ to ‘Brother Wang’.
“Aren’t all of you curious how such a stupid, clumsy beast managed to become a peak high-rank magical beast?” Wang Meng asked.
“Brother Wang, you mean…?”
“This giant rock monkey must have eaten some sort of spiritual herb or fruit that aided in its cultivation,” Wang Meng hypothesized. “And this spiritual herb must be in this oasis, likely close to where we are right now.”
Wang Meng’s words immediately hooked the other three members of his team. A spiritual treasure that could enhance their cultivation was something they could only dream of finding.
“Then we’d better search for it quickly!” they immediately exclaimed together.
“It’s already near evening. To conserve our time, let’s split up and meet back here at sunset,” Wang Meng suggested.
“Alright. I’ll team up with Concubine Yi. Brother Wang, you can work together with Miss Yun,” Pei Ziao continued.
Pei Ziao’s words shocked Yi Qianying. He clearly hated her, so why would he volunteer to be in the same team as she was? Could he have believed what she had said regarding Yun Ruoyan? Yi Qianying accepted Pei Ziao’s suggestion with this hope in mind.
Yun Ruoyao naturally didn’t oppose this suggestion; Wang Meng was strong enough to protect her from any danger, and she was very happy to be in a team with him.
The four of them split up as they began searching the oasis. Pei Ziao walked in front of Yi Qianying, still ignoring her and trying to get her out of his sight.
“Brother Ziao, I…” Yi Qianying couldn’t help speaking up.
“Concubine Yi, please address me as Young Master Pei, or as Pei Ziao,” he replied icily.
The rest of Yi Qianying’s words choked up in her throat, and her face flushed red. “Alright, Pei Ziao! If you so detest me, why did you still volunteer to team up with me?”
Without turning around, Pei Ziao replied, “If you’re so good at detecting people’s emotions, why haven’t you noticed that Wang Meng likes Yun Ruoyao? I’m just trying to help them develop their relationship further.”
“What? There’s no way Young Master Wang would like Sister Ruoyao!”