The Daoist Seal - Chapter 60
Valley of the Dark River
After leaving the Heavenly Maiden Peak, Jiang Xiaofan headed towards Xuanyang Pavilion to take up a task. Even without Ye Yuanxue by his side, he still had to venture outside and accumulate experiences. Not to mention, Lin Quan and Tang You needed the training more than he did. Their cultivation levels were still too low.
However, what exasperated him was that Qin Luo hadn’t left but instead followed him to the pavilion like an infatuated puppy. He repeatedly asked Jiang Xiaofan to teach him how to enter the Heavenly Maiden Peak since he wanted to see for himself what it was like up there.
However, Jiang Xiaofan could care less about him. You think that there’s a tactic to enter the Heavenly Maiden Peak? He then rubbed his chin. Well, there technically is one. Hm…. You need to first have a good moral character. Jiang Xiaofan glanced at Qin Luo, tsked, and shook his head in disapproval. This child has no hope.
He browsed through the list of available tasks. Lin Quan and Tang You desperately needed training. Because of their low-level cultivations, a yellow-grade task was ideal for them, such as one with the difficulty level of hunting one hundred Fire Bird gallbladders.
He had decided on another yellow-grade task, similar to the one that he had completed before. His assignment was to travel to the Mingyun Grottoes in search for a few pieces of Cangxue stones. These stones were a necessary ingredient for the refinement of a certain pill. Supposedly, there dwelled a good number of demons inside the grottoes, but their cultivation levels were no higher than the fifth heaven of Micro Realm.
This task would require plentiful engagement in combat, and combat was the easiest way of elevating their cultivations. It could also increase their combat experiences. Therefore, this task was suitable for Lin Quan and Tang You.
Although this was what he had in mind and wanted to take up, there was an annoying guy beside him who was causing mischief. Qin Luo snatched the jade scroll from his hands and took a look at it. Abruptly, he shook his head, threw it back, and selected another one. Satisfied with his choice, he remarked, “For you! This task is better. It has more rewards!”
Jiang Xiaofan was dubious but nonetheless looked over it. He immediately wanted to curse at Qin Luo and give him a few good kicks. This assignment was to explore a several-thousands-of-year-old tomb of a mighty cultivator and bring back the findings to the sect.
Fine, he’s right. Completion of the task would bring about numerous contribution points which were multiple times more than the points offered by the Cangxue stones task. But damn it! This is an earth-grade!
Earth-grade, huh? It wasn’t of much concern to Jiang Xiaofan. He could complete it despite the troubles that he would have to go through. However, there was no way that Lin Quan and Tang You could complete it. An earth-grade was designed for those with the cultivations at the fifth heaven of Realm of Dust and higher!
He wanted to exchange the earth-grade for the yellow-grade that he had chosen earlier. However, after a brief look around, he was stupefied. The hell?! Some other disciple had taken away the yellow-grade, and the only one left in all of the Xuanyang Pavilion was this earth-grade task.
He glowered at Qin Luo and fumed, “Look at what you have done!”
“Brother, relax. It’s my obligation after all!” As if Qin Luo hadn’t noticed Jiang Xiaofan’s look of murderous intent in his eyes, he beamed a sly grin at him and whispered, “So, how do I enter the Heavenly Maiden Peak?”
Jiang Xiaofan was utterly defeated by Qin Luo’s persistence. I don’t understand how this guy was able to the core disciple of the Heavenly Cloud Peak. No matter how I look at it, he just doesn’t seem like one. Is he really that strong? Jiang Xiaofan was extremely doubtful!
However, Qin Luo didn’t appear all that bad. At the very least, he wasn’t hateful.
Now that he thought about it, the earth-grade task wasn’t too terrible. Jiang Xiaofan began to rub his chin. If I go alone, I’d be somewhat handicapped. But….
He then set his sights on Qin Luo. Since Ning Meng had claimed that this guy was the Heavenly Cloud Peak’s core disciple, his cultivation shouldn’t be too shabby and at the very minimum, his level should be at Phantom Saint. Then, can I use his services for free? Hm, yes. In fact, it’s necessary that I do so!
Jiang Xiaofan cleared his throat and patted Qin Luo on the shoulder. “Qin Shixiong, do you have any busy matters that need attending to?”
Qin Luo had no clue that Jiang Xiaofan was setting him up and thought that Jiang Xiaofan was going to teach him how to enter the Heavenly Maiden Peak. Therefore, his eyes instantly lit up, aggressively shook his head, and replied, “No! Not busy one bit!”
Jiang Xiaofan inwardly cackled but maintained a fixed expression on his face. He lamented, “Brother Qin, did you know? I really wanted to take up that yellow-grade task, but you made me lose it and gave me this difficult earth-grade task instead. You might not care, but I don’t think that I can complete it. Would you mind lending me a helping hand?”
Since he had already taken this task, he did not consider giving it up. The contribution points were just too tempting. He had already made up his mind to drag Qin Luo with him.
Qin Luo shook his head. “I’m afraid that I cannot. I still have to collect data!”
Jiang Xiaofan wanted to give him two more kicks. Data my ass! That’s called peeping! You’re such a shameless peeping tom!
He then sighed again and gazed towards the Heavenly Maiden Peak. “By the way, those disciples at the Heavenly Maiden Peak sure are beautiful. They’re all so stunning and demure. Every time I go up there, I don’t even want to come back down.”
Afterward, they stood shoulder to shoulder beyond the gate of the Emperor’s Heaven Sect and observed the Heavenly Maiden Peak from afar once more.
Because this task was earth-grade, he didn’t invite Tang You and Lin Quan on the journey together. It just wasn’t suitable for them. Even though he now had Qin Luo, there lay ahead too many unpredictable factors ahead. Yellow-grade tasks were better for them after all.
Besides, Tang You and Lin Quan didn’t necessarily need to train with him. They could venture by themselves. As a result, Jiang Xiaofan returned to Standstill Peak to inform them about the situation, and then dragged Qin Luo to depart for the Valley of the Dark River.
The Valley of the Dark River was a long way from the base of the Emperor’s Heaven Sect. If walking by foot, it would take at least a dozen years to reach there. The distance was even greater than traveling from the sect to the Ice Palace as it would also take about half a month to reach the valley on the flying sword. Had it been the Jiang Xiaofan of the past, there was no way that he would go, not even if his life was on the line.
However, he was now a Realm of Dust cultivator and could rely on his own spiritual energy to fly. He no longer needed to use the flying sword technique and, consequently, feel dizzy from it. With his and Qin Luo’s speed, it would take approximately five days to reach the Valley of the Dark River.
“Is there really a several-thousands-of-years-old tomb?” Jiang Xiaofan asked Qin Luo as they glided across the sky.
Qin Luo nodded and answered, “It appears to be so. It’s been a hot topic lately. Numerous cultivators from other sects have already rushed over. Supposedly, there will even be some elder-level cultivators who will arrive there soon.”
Jiang Xiaofan was quite surprised. He knew that Qin Luo’s mention of elder-level cultivators was a reference to the elders of the four largest sects, and most of them had cultivations at the realm of Human Emperor.
But with so many powerful cultivators arriving on the scene, what were the other weaker cultivators doing there then? Those elder-level cultivators could basically pluck the stars and chase the moon if they wanted to. Those beneath their levels would just scatter and run away.
Qin Luo continued, “It’s like this. Rumor has it that a madman from six thousand years ago is buried there, and this man had wreaked havoc on Planet Ziwei not just once but several times. Each of his storms shook Heaven and Earth. Naturally, his mausoleum is of exceptional significance. There has to be some sort of world-shattering thing in it!”
Jiang Xiaofan nodded in agreement. Having once browsed through the ancient archives at the Pavilion of Stored Scriptures, he knew of the existence of this madman. If the rumors were true, then the tomb must contain some sort of Heaven-defying object which enticed the Human Emperor cultivators to seek after it.
He then began to fantasize. How can the existence of an ancient tomb like this be ordinary at all? There has to be something valuable buried deep down there. Jiang Xiaofan muttered, “Madman’s ancient tomb, huh? Maybe I can fish for a treasure or two.”
At the same time, he also knew that the tomb was filled with unforeseen, great dangers. Otherwise, the Emperor’s Heaven Sect would have neither labeled this task as earth-grade nor offered so many contribution points. There had to be something terrible awaiting them!
Qin Luo also reminded him that the Valley of the Dark River was an extremely unusual place. Its existence dated so far back that it was even difficult for scholars to attach a year to it. In addition, the valley was extremely sinister. It was filled with demonic miasma all year round, and occasionally, the terrifying screams of ghosts could be heard, sounding like the resentful howls of the netherworld.
A few decades ago, someone with cultivation at Human Emperor had once unintentionally wandered into the valley. Like a rock that sank to the bottom of the sea, he had disappeared without sound nor trace. No one had seen him since then.
Jiang Xiaofan’s heart jumped out of his chest upon hearing this story. This Valley of the Dark River is definitely not a walk in the park! That person most likely died in there. And to think, he’s a Human Emperor cultivator! There was nothing but the dead of silence before and after he went in! What a frightening place!
Yet, he now had a deeper understanding of that so-called madman. Jiang Xiaofan couldn’t believe that the madman had laid himself to rest in that kind of place. He was indeed worthy of that title. Mad. Very mad.
Not long after, they arrived at their destination. Jiang Xiaofan was amazed by Qin Luo throughout the whole journey. He didn’t know how strong Qin Luo was, but he was very fast. Jiang Xiaofan even had to use his Shadow Steps to match his pace.
He marveled at Qin Luo. This guy may be a perverted sleazebag, but I have to admit that he is capable. Becoming a core disciple of the Heavenly Cloud Peak definitely wasn’t a fluke.
On the other hand, Qin Luo was even more astounded by Jiang Xiaofan’s capabilities. His cultivation was already beyond Phantom Saint. Because he wanted to gauge Jiang Xiaofan’s strength, Qin Luo raised his speed to nearly maximum. To his astonishment, Jiang Xiaofan not only caught up to him with ease, but he also didn’t seem to use up much energy either.
“Brother, you’re outstanding!” Qin Luo sincerely complimented him.
The outskirts of the valley were now filled with people. Jiang Xiaofan swept a casual glance around the area and discovered that there were many worthy cultivators among the crowd. Most of them had cultivations at the Realm of Dust. There were even a few Phantom Saint cultivators.
He wasn’t surprised by the turnout. The emergence of the ancient tomb would undoubtedly draw a lot of people towards it. In order to reap its benefits, numerous cultivators from all directions had rushed over.
Jiang Xiaofan caught a glimpse of the miasma hovering over the Valley of the Dark River. There were also many bizarre-looking, primordial vegetations, but they all grew on the outskirts. It was difficult to peer any further into the depth of the valley.
Because the valley was a unique place situated in an oddly-formed terrain and was covered all year long by the mysterious miasma, even a very powerful cultivator could only vaguely paint a picture of the land with spiritual awareness.
Not long ago, the valley’s miasma had been momentarily dispersed by the winds. Someone had spotted the shadow of what seemed like a mausoleum. With the historical clues left by the ancient archives, that cultivator had deduced that the mausoleum had to be the resting place of the infamous madman. This was what led to today’s gathering of cultivators from all around the world.