Immortal - Book 2: Chapter 41
Every Tree or Bush is an Enemy Soldier
Book 2: The Golden Lock of the Eight Gates
Chapter 41: Every Tree or Bush is an Enemy Soldier
They had only taken a hundred steps inside the sandstorm, when all of the sudden, the sandstorm dispersed. It seemed as if the sandstorm was physically blocked from going deeper inside.
There was a gate, a huge gate about 300 meters high. Around the gate, the sandstorm raged unabated. Yet, the gate seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. It was like a door to another dimension. It was an intriguing sight to behold.
A thin layer of fog obscured the inside. On the top of the gate hung a jade plaque with the character “Shang” written on it, which seemed to flicker in and out of existence.
The Shang Gate!
Among the eight gates, the Shang Gate represented danger and ill fortune.
Other groups of people had already charged through the gate. Princess Qianyou fearlessly led her group through the gate.
Zhong Shan, holding the two girls, followed.
They abruptly left the sandstorm behind and entered a vast grassland that stretched as far as the eye could see. The sky was high and the ground was red, red with fresh blood. The next second, what seemed to be an entire army suddenly appeared on the empty grassland and charged at them with swords drawn.
A swarm of powerful soldiers charged, mad for blood. Some of them were badly mutilated, almost all of them were wounded. They were as crazy as wounded animals.
Seeing the change of scenery, Zhong Shan’s pupils shrunk and he gazed into the charging army.
All of it was an illusion. Zhong Shan had endured a lot during his lifetime. His will power was strong as rock and certainly wouldn’t waver by a weak illusion?
In the blink of an eye, the blood soaked battlefield disappeared. The soldiers disappeared and the grassland retreated. Even the sky seemed to back away. Zhong Shan seemed to have fallen into a vacant space with nothing around him. But, his surroundings appeared to whirl about him.
In a short while, his surroundings stopped whirling and became a vast expanse of white. After he staring at the emptiness, it changed into a huge cave filled with snakes. An endless sea of snakes slithered all over the cavern, burying their neighbors as they moved about. Zhong Shan stood right in the middle of the wriggling mass.
Zhong Shan faced it with a cool head. Since he knew it was just an illusion, he looked at it calmly. Again, the cave of snakes had no effect on him. The the surroundings changed into a mass of hungry ghosts gnawing at his body……
Altogether, he had seen eight illusions. The determined Zhong Shan maintained his cool. How could illusions shake his resolve?
All the illusions soon subsided, leaving a slightly dazed Zhong Shan back in reality.
There were 16 people in his group, standing together in an open area. In the distance, he could see the other people who had entered ahead of them. Some were in great confusion, some were putting themselves in compromising positions, some were trembling in fear, and some were even fighting with the others. Further away, there was another huge gate, though this one was without any plaque hanging above it.
Zhong Shan saw some of the people who entered that gate right after they had sobered up. He assumed that he had also earned the right to go into that gate now.
Not long after, Yinglan also sobered up. Tianling-er and Beiqingsi seemed to have recovered even earlier than Zhong Shan.
“Zhong Shan, what happened to them? By the way, why were you in a trance when we just walked in?” Tianling-er whispered to Zhong Shan.
Zhong Shan was speechless. Didn’t Tianling-er experience those illusion? How could it be?
“Granduncle, I have never thought the area where I used to mislead the enemies in my formation could be turned into illusions in this perfect formation. How amazing.” Yinglan marveled.
Beiqingsi, who was next to them, didn’t say anything, only looking around with a furrowed brow. No one knew what she was thinking about.
Princess Qianyou had returned to reality long ago. She, like Zhong Shan, had maintained her senses soon after encountering the illusions. Yet, she didn’t try to wake up the others in her group. She was observing her 10 subordinates.
This was a ‘mind formation’, specifically to bewitch one’s senses. Those who didn’t have a matured mental state would be quickly thrown into confusion. They would either be killed or kill their companions. It was a superb formation to overpower the enemy.
The two right-hand guards, Ah Da and Ah Er, didn’t disappoint Princess Qianyou. They remained calm and quickly regained their senses.
Gu Lin, however, was curling into a ball, shivering. Princess Qianyou looked at him with disgust.
Among the other 8 subordinates, five of them had woken up. The remaining three, however, were in a sorrowful state, one was taking his clothes off, one raised his sword towards his own people, and the third one was shivering just like Gu Lin.
She used the opportunity to check on the mental strength of her subordinates. What she didn’t expect was to find the other group with Zhong Shan all with clear minds. Their minds were even stronger than those in the Gold Core Stage?
It was understandable for the white haired woman who was already at the higher level of the Gold Core Stage. But the other three? Tianling-er could come out of it quickly probably because she was still very naive and simple minded. Yet, what about the other two? Zhong Shan? The black robed person?
The black robed person hadn’t even reached the Xiantian Stage. How could such a low leveled person break out of it so easily? What Princess Qianyou didn’t know was that Yinglan had been on the battlefield for 12 years. She had been through life and death many times over on the field of battle. Her mind was strong enough to withstand all the illusions.
Princess Qianyou glanced at the three subordinates and Gu Lin with a frown. She was exasperated that they didn’t live up to her expectations.
“Hmph~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~”
Princess Qianyou’s snort seemed to carried with it a strange power that pierced the ears of the confused four.
They shuddered as if they had heard a clap of thunder.
In a daze, the frightful four all woke up.
“Qianyou, Qianyou, what just happened? What’s going on?” Gu Lin was soaking wet with sweat and asked with a fearful face. Apparently, Gu Lin had been scared to death inside his illusion.
“Ah Da.” Qianyou called with a soft voice.
“Yes.” Ah Da immediately bowed in reply.
With a turn of his hand, pebbles flew into Ah Da’s hand and he quickly threw them out at all the others trapped in the illusion. He used just the right amount of force and struck each of them directly at their temples.
All of his targets woke as if startled from a nightmare. They looked around and unable to find who had brought them back to reality. After they saw the other huge gate, all of them hastily swarmed in without a second glance back.
Princess Qianyou glanced again at Zhong Shan’s group with great interest, there was a peculiar smile on her face.
“Let’s go.” Princess Qianyou gave out the order again.
They all followed Princess Qianyou to move onto the second gate.
Right before the gate, Princess Qianyou stopped and turned to her subordinates after some thought, “The ‘mind formation’ just now was only of middling strength. It only breaks down your mind. What follows, according to Mr. Shuijing, will be a tougher challenge, a ‘mind and body formation’ which hurts not only the mind but the body as well. Don’t make a fool of yourself.”
“Yes.” The three men who had lost themselves earlier shamefully replied.
As for Gu Lin, he remained silent, as if it didn’t apply to him.
“Then, let’s go.” Princess Qianyou spoke again.
They entered the second gate. A vast grassland appeared right in front of them just like before. But there was no third gate insight.
There was no sun in the sky, only a huge eye that illuminated the landscape as if watching all below it.
“Is that the formation eye?” Gu Lin looked at the strange sun like eye in the sky in amazement.
“It’s the formation eye, the dragon eye we’re looking for. We have to find the route to safely reach the dragon eye in this formation.” Princess Qianyou nodded.
“Then let’s fly up there.” Gu Lin immediately said.
“This isn’t the world outside. Fly? The dragon eye will always fly higher than you can fly. This is a formation where reality mixes with illusion. In order to reach the dragon eye, we must find an invisible door.” Princess Qianyou said.
“An invisible door? Where is it?” Gu Lin asked.
“We should find out soon. It won’t take long before Mr. Shuijing completes his mission over there, then the invisible door will show itself. We just need to hold on for a while.” Princess Qianyou said.
“Then let’s withdraw from here. Let Ah Da stay here. When the invisible door appears, he can come inform us.” Gu Lin spoke proudly as if he had figured out something no one else could.
“Withdraw? You can only come in through this gate, you can’t go out.” Princess Qianyou earnestly declared.
“You can’t go back out?” Gu Lin was surprised.
“If we go back through this gate, it won’t be the Shang Gate anymore. We’ll be at one of the seven other gates. It would be impossible to return to here again.” Princess Qianyou warned.
“Ugh?” Gu Lin couldn’t believe what he had heard.
Zhong Shan looked around the grassland.
The ground wasn’t bloody like the last one, yet it was equally dangerous, or even more so.
Zhong Shan could see those who had entered ahead of them fighting with the army which had surrounded them.
Army? Where was the army coming from? Wasn’t this formation set up by only one person?
As Zhong Shan was wondering, suddenly, he noticed that the patch of grass that was near them grow taller, then they all took on human forms. Everyone of them had a sword in their hands and charged towards them. The grass transformed into an army? Every tree or bush was an enemy soldier?