Chapter 171: Turtles
Disheartened by his failed plot to get the readers to make a glossary iEndWorlds sat in a corner awaiting the end of time.
“Couldn't we have just killed them?” Lingqi asked with a yawn as she laid beside her husband atop a fluffy cloud that was taking its time returning to where the students and soldiers of Aurora were.
“We could have but then that would only draw more attention to this area and cause more people to come here. Before we find out if the treasure is still here or not it would be best to keep a low profile.” Zhang said as he poked Lingqi on the cheek.
If they killed the group of level ten cultivators then they would have to kill everyone within the camp as well, which of course would prompt the Lunar Sect to send people to investigate the disappearance of their people. This would then result in the situation possibly spiraling out of control.
There was also the option of forgoing the whole charade and revealing his status as a saint, however upon hearing about some council of saints, Zhang felt that it would only serve to inconvenience him if reveals his status.
But of all the reasons that prompted Zhang from hiding his power, there was one highly impractically one and that was the fact that he wished to see the looks on those people’s faces after they find out that he is a saint.
Before long Zhang and the beauties arrived at where their students were setting up camp. For the most part, only a few hundred of their soldiers were stationed on the ground to supervise the students while the rest were given time off and allowed to stay within the Sky Fortress which Zhang had moved elsewhere so it would not be discovered so easily.
After disembarking from the Sky Fortress, the thousands of students of the Imperial Institute could be seen busily pitching their tents.
“They have much to learn.” Zhang said with a smile as he and the beauties made their way through untidy rows of crudely pitched tents.
“If I remember correctly that tent you pitched when we were making our way through the Dragon’s Maw, wasn't so perfect either.” Yuying said with a laugh as she teased Zhang.
“That was so I could avoid pitching a large tent. How else would my plan to obtain two beauties succeed?” Zhang laughed as a devious smile appeared on his face.
“You rascal.” Yuying said as she lightly punched Zhang on the shoulder.
After a few hours and a lot of help from Zhang’s soldiers, the students of the Imperial Institute were able to erect a fairly sturdy camp that came equipped with a small fence that encircled its entire perimeter.
The thousands of students of the institute had also split up into smaller groups that numbered somewhere from four to ten people each. These groups of students would have to accomplish a series of tasks that were devised to test their ingenuity and resourcefulness. Tasks such as identifying ten different types of herbs a day and turning them into one of the institute’s faculty, capturing demonic beasts, scavenging the corpses of demonic beasts, locating and retrieving rare materials, etc. At the end of the field trip after Zhang and the beauties had hopefully retrieved the hidden treasure, a rewarding ceremony would take place and the students would be rewarded based on what they managed to accomplish.
Of course for the duration of the field trip before the reward ceremony, the safety of the students is one of Zhang’s highest priorities so despite being challenged to accomplish difficult tasks, the students are kept under constant surveillance by the elite guard who had dispersed into the forest upon disembarking the Sky Fortress.
The day after the camp was pitched and the students broke up into teams, they began to disperse into the forest with eager faces brimming with excitement. For many, if not all of these students, this would be the first time they would get to experience such a trip so their hopes and dreams went wild while competitiveness and adventurous feelings skyrocketed.
“Look at all of these plants!” One of Lingqi’s students wearing white and green robes said with brightened eyes as he and his group of friends began collecting the large bounty presented to them by the forest.
“Th-that’s a Devil Fanged Clover!” Another one of Lingqi’s students yelled as they spotted a beautiful flower with four red leaves that were shaped like curving fangs.
“Stop! Don’t touch it! According to Master Lingqi, Devil Fanged Clovers are extremely dangerous because they are usually…” Yet another one of Lingqi’s student tried to say but before she could finish her sentence, her teammate already pounced upon the Devil Fanged Clover and moments later a deafening screech made its way into everyone’s ears as the earth began to rumble.
“Devil Fanged Clovers highly resemble a plant that grows on the head of a demonic beast called a Blood Fang Rat that tends to burrow by trees….” The female student said with a sigh at her teammate's blunder.
Moments later the ground beneath their feet ceased shaking and a red colored rat the size of a bear stared down upon this group comprised of Lingqi’s students.
This red colored rat had a mouth filled with curved fangs and blood-red eyes that screamed danger. Its arms were armed with grotesque looking claws that were covered in dirt.
“Everyone stay calm and don't make any sudden movements. If we coordinate attacks, we can defeat it.” A member of the group said as he pulled out a clear vial that was filled with a green colored liquid.
Before long the Blood Fang Rat charged forward while brandishing its vast array of sharp weapons.
To the rat’s surprise, it was bombarded by a dozen vials filled with a mixture of poisons that inflicted a wide range of symptoms on it.
Its vision was taken away by a cloud of pink mist that made its eyes feel like they were set ablaze while it's limbs felt numb due to a green liquid that splashed onto its fur. While patches of its skin were slowly melting away and revealing white bone that is normally hidden behind a layer of flesh.
Normally even seasoned soldiers would avoid confronting a demonic beast of the fourth level of cultivation like the Blood Fang Rat due to the difference in power between a human and a beast, however, thanks to the training the students received from the institute they were able to hold their own.
Clearly at a disadvantage, the Blood Fang Rat fell into a maddened state and began to attack with
unrestrainable fury. Blinded by anger the rat unleashed random attacks in all directions without any pattern, causing trees to fall and boulders to be smashed.
But despite its show of strength the rat soon fell victim to the poisons the students used.
“Let’s bring this back to camp before heading out again.” The female student that tried to warn her teammate about the Blood Fanged Rat suggested.
Like this group, most of the groups of students who were dispersed through the forest found themselves face to face with the many predators that lurked in this place where few people tread.
While most were able to manage and come out victorious when facing the beasts of the forest in battle there were a few who found themselves in dire straits due to their lack of preparation or lack of strength. These students, of course, would be saved by the elite guard who either helped them deliver the few final blows to their enemy or aid them in escaping.
True to the nature of the trip, all of the students were able to gain real battle experience that would not only serve to help them grow but would one day add to the strength of the empire when it is in need of their strength.
“They're doing well.” Zhang said with a wide grin on his face as he watched the students bring their harvests back to camp before eagerly heading back into the woods.
Of course, there were a few who were somewhat shaken due to their near death experiences, but after a bit coaching, a little encouragement paired with hands-on teaching from Zhang and the beauties, these students were back up and about in little to no time.
Accompanying some of the students, Zhang, and the beauties even got the opportunity to show off a few their skills much to the awe of their audience.
While their masters were out and about, Little White and the horde of Wraith Spiders roamed the forest by themselves, ready to fill their stomachs.
Unlike the Wraith Spiders who worked in groups to quickly subdue and secure prey, Little White was actually able to use its miniature form to lure other demonic beasts into attacking it. Of course, those unfortunate enough to attack Little White would then find themselves cut to ribbons and used as food in a matter of seconds.
Much to the despair of the demonic beasts that lived in the forest they were not only being hunted by the institute’s students, Little White, the Wraith Spiders, Zhang and the beauties, but also Golden Winged Eagles that Zhang allowed to roam free and the various demonic beasts that had paired up with students.
Despite the large number of demonic beasts that were being hunted, not even a fraction of those that called the forest home were killed. That goes to show the pure volume of demonic beasts that lived in this area.
“If I remember correctly it should be somewhere around here.” Zhang said as he and the beauties walked through the dense forest after breaking off from their group of students.
“Sense it's been hundreds of thousands of years, the ground must have shifted quite a bit.” Yuying said as she failed to spot any caves that lead to an outrageous hoard of treasure.
“Shhhh.” Ai hushed everyone as she pointed toward a group of people that were moving on the opposite side of a bush not too far from where they were.
“Remember to be careful, the eighth elder told us to keep an eye out for that other group and monitor them until he is able to determine if they are related to master Dan Jin or not.” A man who happened to be a level six cultivator said to his companions whose cultivation a ranged from levels five to seven.
“What if they spot us?” Someone asked.
“They wouldn't dare do anything to us with so many elders around. I heard they only have five level, ten cultivators, while we have nearly twenty elders on our side.” The first man to speak said with a face full of confidence.
“On top of the elders here, if anything were to happen to us the grand elders and maybe even the sect master will arrive to teach them a lesson. I doubt they would be willing to offend our sect even if we do cause them some trouble.” The man also added.
“I heard from one of the senior brothers, that they spotted some pretty girls apart of that other group. Maybe if we have a little luck on our side we might get to have a bit of fun.” Another man said with a lecherous grin.
“That look filled with blind confidence…” Zhang mumbled with an irritated look on his face upon hearing what these men were talking about. Since his students were the future of his empire, Zhang, of course, would try to prevent and eating push any and all harm that could possibly befall them.
“Should I go give them a beating?” Ai asked as she saw her husband's irritated face.
“No need I just came up with something.” Zhang said as a devious grin replaced his irritated one.
In a flash, his shadow extended and hundreds of turtles the size of dogs began to rise out from the dark depths.
As the disciples of the Lunar Sect were talking amongst themselves, a legion of turtles slowly moved out from the forest’s underbrush. At first, there was only one turtle but one soon turned to two and two soon turned to a dozen.
“What the fuck? Why are there turtles here?” One of the Lunar Sect’s disciples questioned as turtles continued to appear and encircle them.
Before they knew it there was no longer any path of escape and became scared out of their wits as the dog sized turtles showed off their power by biting large chunks of wood out of dozens of trees causing them to topple over.
“What kind of sick joke is this?” Someone mumbled as all of the trees around them fell over and the turtles all began to stare at them with blank expressions. As if some whacked nightmare had come to life, this group of disciples from the Lunar Sect found themselves in an odd situation surrounded by dog-sized turtles that would snap at them if they were to even move an inch. Ironically, the turtles moved at the pace of a snail but when the group of Lunar Sect disciples tried to flee they could become as fast as lightning.
“Draw your swords, men! We’ll force our way out!” A cry echoed through the forest as blades gleamed under the sun’s rays. However, an instant later the once perfect blades were shattered and previously intact robes were torn by the jaws of the Abyssal Turtles and the disciples of the Lunar Sect were left in their undergarments.
After ascending and becoming a saint although the Abyssal Beasts Zhang could create could not contend with saints they were more than enough to deal with most people who were at the tenth level of cultivation or under. Meaning if Zhang wanted to then the turtles would be more than capable of killing all of the disciples of the Lunar Sect within the forest let alone this group of individuals.
But since his priority was still obtaining the Rising Moon Sword and the vast pools of liquid mithril, Zhang decided to spare them for the time being since the elite guard would prevent any of the students from being in harm's way.
“Let’s go.” Zhang said with a chuckle as he and the beauties peered through a bush and saw how stricken with fear the men surrounded by turtles were.