The area around the three-pronged mountain was just as strange as the mountain itself, it was as if a wide variety of environments had been stitched together to form a single whole. Because of that, as Liang Chen and Yan Ling headed for the Fiend King's Tomb, they constantly found themselves in new and strange places. They could be in the middle of a dense forest one second, and then after taking two steps the forest would end and give way for a scorched wasteland, which would then give way to a hilly plain.
Never in his life had Liang Chen seen or heard about a place as strange and mysterious as this, a place that contained so many varied environments within a small area. Because of this, even Liang Chen started to have fun as they ran around and investigated everything Yan Ling found interesting. He was already having fun, just being with Yan Ling was enough to make him enjoy himself, but now he found that it only got more and more fun, a childlike joy slowly appearing in his chest.
The two of them were currently moving over a small hill covered in snow so deep that they sank down to their knees. The strange thing about this hill was that the foot of the hill was in full bloom, colorful flowers covering the entire base of it, it was only halfway up the hill that the snow started to appear.
Yan Ling was rummaging through the snow, checking if anything was growing beneath it, and just as Liang Chen was going to join her, he felt a faint tremble coming from his interspatial ring. Liang Chen immediately sent a sliver of his mind into the ring to locate the source of the tremor, but it vanished just as swiftly as it arrived, his ring falling silent.
Liang Chen looked at his interspatial ring with slightly narrowed eyes, scanning every inch of its inside and outside. Something within his interspatial ring had just trembled, as if it was reacting to something. But since it had vanished so quickly, he was unable to figure out just what it was that had trembled, so he could only temporarily put it aside.
The two made their way to the top of the hill and saw that the other side of the hill wasn't covered in snow, but rather covered by a faint layer of mist, white flowers blooming amongst the mist. And just past this mist, right at the bottom of the hill, stood a stone forest where the stones were covered in a light-green moss. Yan Ling hadn't forgotten one of Liang Chen's skills, so she pointed at the mist before entering it.
"What do you think, Little Freak, is it poisonous?"
Liang Chen had already told her about his ability to detect poison back when they first met in the Mystic's Hidden Realm, and he had then once again shown it off when they accepted a mission in the Snow Mirror nation. Now that they were in a place like this, she was determined to work this ability of his to the bone, asking about nearly everything they saw. Liang Chen looked at the mist and the flowers, shrugging his shoulders and casually walking into the mist.
"Yup, about as poisonous as it can get. You entering it would be the same as asking for death."
Yan Ling's expression changed a bit upon hearing his judgment, carefully examining the mist in front of her. Liang Chen had entered the mist, but he didn't walk too deep into it, staying in a place where Yan Ling would be able to see him. Yan Ling continued to seriously examine the mist for over a minute before she caught a glimpse of the faint smile that hung on Liang Chen's face. She instantly understood what he had done and found herself unable to resist cursing at him.
"You absolute bastard, I'll kick your ass!"
Yan Ling charged into the mist and started chasing after the now fleeing Liang Chen, flailing her arms as she tried to grab onto him and hold him down. But no matter how fast she ran, Liang Chen always managed to stay just a few centimeters out of reach, deliberately making it seem like she had a chance to catch him so that she would keep chasing him. But just as the two reached the bottom of the hill, entering the stone forest that had stones reaching almost 20 meters into the sky, Yan Ling stopped her steps, calling out to Liang Chen.
"Stop, there's a Demonic beast hiding not far from here, it might decide to ambush us."
Liang Chen instantly halted his steps, putting so much force into his foot that the earth beneath him cracked. Liang Chen and Yan Ling liked to play and joke around, but both of them knew when it was time to be serious, and now was certainly one of those times. Liang Chen swept the area around them with narrowed eyes, closely examining the stones, searching for any signs of a hidden Demonic beast. After not finding anything after half a minute of searching, he tilted his head towards Yan Ling.
"I can't find it, it seems to be able to cover up the electric signals in its body."
Liang Chen didn't think that Yan Ling was messing with him, there was something in her voice that made him certain that she was telling the truth. Yan Ling cast her gaze towards the right, her eyes landing on a fishtail-shaped boulder that was standing around half a kilometer away from them. She gave a slight nod at the boulder, her lips starting to curl up faintly.
"It's hiding behind that boulder over there. It's pretty big but its strength isn't all that high. What do you think, want to stock up on some more meat?"
Demonic beast meat was excellent for cultivators to increase the speed of their cultivation, it was only a step below bathing in their blood. Liang Chen wouldn't be able to eat the meat if the Demonic beast wasn't of the time, lightning, or poison element, but as Yan Ling didn't have any restrictions like this, he saw no harm in picking up some more meat.
"Doesn't sound like a shabby plan, looking at how much you usually eat, we might run out of meat before the end of this month. You wanna take care of it or should I?"
Liang Chen tilted his head slightly, a faint smirk on his face. Yan Ling returned a scowl at him, scrunching up her nose and letting out a light snort.
"Are you sure you wanna comment on a lady's eating habits? Especially when she is the only one to actually eat your food? I'll deal with it, just give me Little Yuma, I haven't seen him in quite a while."
Yan Ling held out her arm, beckoning with her fingers for Liang Chen to hand her Yumao. She hadn't seen Yumao ever since the two of them returned from their previous mission in Green Rivers city, so she wanted to play around with him a bit again. But Liang Chen could only shake his head and give a light shrug of his shoulders.
"No can do, he's still locked up in his little cocoon. The energy within it has started to drastically decrease, so he should be coming out soon, but he can't come out right now."
Yumao had focused on devouring the various corpses he had picked up, using them to increase his strength right after they returned to the sect. He had completely sealed himself up in a cocoon of darkness, with not even Liang Chen able to see through it and peek on what was going on inside it. Faced with the reality of the situation, Yan Ling could only stick her tongue out slightly and sulk.
"Bleh, you better tell me the moment he comes out, he owes me a bit of playing time."
After sticking out her tongue, Yan Ling cast her eyes back onto the fishtail-shaped boulder. She swiped her interspatial ring and took out her weapon, the white sword that was slightly curved and incredibly thin. The two then started to approach the boulder, Liang Chen walking a short distance behind Yan Ling and keeping an eye on their surroundings.
Once they arrived within 200 meters of the boulder, it seemed like the beast hiding behind it was unable to remain calm, jumping out from its hiding spot. The Demonic beast looked like a large and long-armed sloth, at least five meters tall, with light-gray fur and two large flappy ears that resembled those of an elephant. It had two large fangs growing up from its lower jaw, both fangs almost reaching its nose.
The beast let out a loud roar that caused the surrounding stones to tremble slightly, the sound echoing between the tall stones. Yan Ling used this roar as a signal of the battle's start, dashing forward with her entire body surrounded by wind, pushing her speed to its peak. The Demonic beast had the strength of a cultivator at the middle stage of the Heaven's Gate realm, meaning that Yan Ling shouldn't have any trouble beating it as long as it wasn't a Divine Beast.
The sloth slammed out with both its arms in a clapping motion, aiming to smash Yan Ling with a single attack. Yan Ling responded by jumping up, stepping on the right arm of the beast. The moment her feet came in contact with the beast's arm, a sharp and ferocious wind was released by the sole of her feet, leaving several gashes in the arm of the sloth.
The Demonic beast reacted quickly, swinging his arm sideways as fast as he could to throw her off. But Yan Ling had clearly already expected this, stabbing down with her sword and burying it as deep as she could into the arm of the beast, using the sword to prevent herself from being flung off as the beast swung its arm around.
Her sword was special, engraved with several arrays, so the moment she stabbed the Demonic beast, a strange wind started to surround the arm that was stabbed, forcibly slowing the speed at which the beast could move its arm. The sloth continued to swing its arm around, so Yan Ling knew that she would eventually lose her grip on her sword and be flung away. Since that was the case, she changed her tactic a little.
She pulled out the sword slightly and used the force of the beast's swing, as well as her law of wind, to aid her attack, spinning around the beast's arm and carving a deep gash around the beast's elbow. When she spun around to the spot where she had first stabbed the sword into the beast's arm, she kicked off the monster's arm and jumped away, putting some distance between them again.
The sloth now had several gashes in its right arm, as well as a cut that went around its entire elbow and nearly took off its entire arm. After landing on the ground again, Yan Ling crouched slightly to dampen the landing, looking at the Demonic beast and unconsciously licking her lips slightly. Yan Ling enjoyed seeing her strength grow, she enjoyed knowing just how much stronger she had gotten, and there was no better way of finding out than taking part in a battle.
The sloth let out a nearly ear-shattering roar, smashing the ground in front of it with its two fists. As it smashed the ground and threw up a large amount of dirt, the earth that had been thrown into the air started to gather around the beast's body, coating every inch of it in a thick layer of earth that started to solidify and harden, forming a thick defensive shield. Just by looking at this scene, it was easy to guess that the sloth was a Demonic beast that could use the element of earth. But since it hadn't used it in an attacking manner earlier, it might be that it was only able to use the element of earth in a defensive manner.
But with this layer of hardened earth covering its entire body, it quickly became much harder for Yan Ling to wound the beast with normal attacks. But Yan Ling was quick-witted, so she came up with a new plan after giving the entire sloth a quick look-over. She once again dashed forward, repeating the same motions she had done at the start of the battle.
And just like the beast had done at the start of the battle, it slammed out with both its arms in a clapping motion. But this time its arms were slightly raised, prepared to react the moment Yan Ling tried to jump up. But just as the beast's hands were about to crash into her, she leaned backward and dodged beneath the hands, sliding along a small patch of ice that she had created on the ground.
She had to lie down on her side to dodge the clapping hands, but thanks to the ice, she was able to continue moving forward. After sliding for a short distance, she reached out with her arm and grabbed onto the upper-arm of the sloth. The hardened earth that covered the beast was so solid that she didn't even bother trying to pierce it with her sword, she had a different reason for grabbing onto the beast's arm.
Using the hold she had on the monster's arm, she kicked off the ground and swung herself up from the ground. Normally this would send her straight up, but since she was holding onto the beast's arm, she was able to twist her trajectory slightly and fling herself at the beast's neck. She stepped on the beast's neck and grabbed onto its large ear, allowing her to stand sideways on the beast's thick neck.
Even its neck was covered in hardened earth, so attacking that place was also useless. The beast opened its mouth and seemed like it wanted to turn its head and bite at her, a situation Yan Ling took full advantage of. She let go of her sword and stretched out her now empty arm, a large ball of water gathering in front of her palm. As the beast turned its head, she let go of its ear and grabbed onto one of the fangs that grew up from its lower jaw, using her arm to raise her up until she was right in front of the beast's face.
She sent the ball of water she had created directly into the sloth's open mouth, forcing a large amount of water down its throat, flooding its lungs. This caused the monster's body to start a coughing fit in an attempt to push out the water that had entered its lungs. This meant that for a short second, the beast lost full concentration, the hardened earth that had covered its body falling off like a snake shedding its skin.
Yan Ling let out a victorious laughter, sharp blades of wind gathering around her right hand, the hand which had forced all the water down the beast's throat. She stabbed out with her hand, the blades of wind turning her entire arm into something akin to a sharp spear, allowing her arm to stab into the sloth's throat.
The coughing fit that the Demonic beast was experiencing grew even worse, blood pouring out from its mouth and throat as it started to convulse. Yan Ling kicked off from the beast, jumping back and making sure that she landed gracefully, raising both her arms to signify the successful landing. Shortly after she landed, the hole in the sloth's throat proved to be too much for it, and it fell over dead.
Liang Chen, who was still standing a short distance away and had made sure to keep a close eye on their surroundings, could not help but give a nod of his head. He had focused on his cultivation with all his might after returning from their previous mission, but wasn't Yan Ling doing the exact same? And this was the fruit of her hard labor, even though she was just a cultivator at the early stage of the Heaven's Gate realm, she could easily kill a Demonic beast with the strength of someone at the middle stage of the Heaven's Gate realm.
And what's more, she was able to do this without having to activate her secret technique, so there was no telling how strong she would be once she actually activated that secret technique and fought with all her might. After seeing the beast fall over and making sure that it was dead, Yan Ling turned around and sent a victorious smile at Liang Chen, laughing proudly. Liang Chen knew what she wanted, and since she had earned it, he decided to indulge her.
"Aye, you did well. Your strength really grows fast, it seems like I need to take care that my undefeated streak against you doesn't suddenly end."
Liang Chen walked forward and gave Yan Ling a thumbs up, making sure to praise her until she blushed slightly and tried to hide it with some more laughter. Liang Chen then walked over to the dead Demonic beast and stored its body into his interspatial ring. As he was the one who was in charge of cooking, it was, of course, he who had to carry the corpse and make sure that he took it apart properly later on. After Liang Chen stored the corpse into his interspatial ring, Yan Ling stretched her body and then pointed into the distance.
"That was a nice workout, but unless they have one of your elements, we should probably avoid the other Demonic beasts we encounter in the future. We are getting closer to the Fiend King's Tomb, and the faster we get there the better."
Liang Chen had no objections to this arrangement, nodding his head in agreement. He swiped his interspatial ring and took out a large piece of cloth, handing it to Yan Ling so that she could clean up her arm, which was covered in Demonic beast blood. Once she was clean again, the two of them continued on their path to the Fiend King's Tomb.