Miaoling’s entire body was in a cold sweat, as if her soul had been drained away. Chen Mo quickly carried her into Yeyao’s room. When he set her on the bed, Miaoling seemed unwilling to let go, however, her whole body was without strength, only weakly clinging for a moment.
“She is fine. A moment of carelessness and she was stricken with one of Nan Jiang’s poison bugs. She will be weak for the time being.” Yeyao tapped her finger, pressing it against Miaoling’s brow. “A night’s rest will do the trick.”
Chen Mo let out a sigh of relief. He had thought that Miaoling’s sudden jump down from the Tree of God was because she took things too hard.
Yeyao saw Chen Mo’s worry and was a bit comforted. “Go rest. Tomorrow, I will talk to the Great King regarding the Unexplored Region.”
Seeing that Miaoling was alright, Chen Mo grunted and bade Yeyao farewell.
“Silly child, I never expected you would be stung by a poison gu, apprentice.” Yeyao lovingly stroked the girl’s forehead.
“Master.” Miaoling had a bit of strength.
The girl’s eyes were completely red and puffy, “Master, my heart hurts so much…”
Yeyao faintly smiled and pinched the girl’s cheek. She gently comforted her: “Hang in there a little longer, and it won’t hurt anymore.”
The next day.
Chen Mo, Qin Shaoxu, and the others waited outside Great King Mulu’s stilt house for Yeyao’s news. Ting Nanyuan and Miaoling were playing with Nianyou. The two women were very fond of Nianyou, but Ting Nanyuan was especially. Qin Shaoxu recently was a bit detached to her, so Ting Nanyuan diverted her mood onto the little loli, however, Nianyou was a bit oblivious.
Qin Shaoxu watched them, and then he walked to Chen Mo’s side and whispered: “What happened last night?”
“Nothing happened, what’s the matter.” Chen Mo retracted his thoughts.
“I saw you and Miaoling.” Qin Shaoxu said.
Chen Mo knew that this was difficult to hide, “I had a heart-to-heart with her last night.”
Chen Mo nodded. His gaze turned to the faraway yet eye-catching Tree of God before shifting back to Miaoling.
Miaoling also noticed Chen Mo. She made a scary face and continued to whisper to Ting Nanyuan. Compared to last night, her current mood was much more energetic, as if nothing had happened last night.
This was good, too. He had not come to Nan Jiang to talk about love affairs, after all.
After a while, the stilt house’s doors opened. Great King Mulu swaggered out with Yeyao and others trailing behind her.
“In consideration of High Master Yeyao’s face, This King shall make an exception to permit you Central Plains people entry into the Unexplored Region. Hmph. You Central Plains people but owe This King a favor.” Great King Mulu loftily said.
They did not know what Yeyao said to her, but it only took one night for Great King Mulu to agree. As for this favor she spoke of, everyone knew in their hearts that this was but spectacle.
“As long as we can find the Lingering Impurity Dew, This Qin shall remember this favor.” Qin Shaoxu cupped his fist, calmly making a promise.
Great King Mulu stared at Qin Shaoxu and snorted. Then, her red hot gaze focused on Chen Mo and Miaoling. She revealed an unsettling grin, “However, This King still wants to see the Lover Flower. Saintess Miaoling, you must not fail your master’s kindness.”
Great King Mulu impatiently waved her hand, and turned around back into the building.
“Follow me.” Tan Ji coldly said.
Following him on the road to the Unexplored Region, Ting Nanyuan curiously asked Chen Mo: “You and Miaoling plan to go pick the Lover Flower?”
Chen Mo shook his head.
Everyone looked at Miaoling. The girl chuckled, not replying. Ting Nanyuan thought that this was probably an excuse to trick Great King Mulu into allowing them entry to the Unexplored Region. But she did not care. So long as she could help Shaoxu complete his wish, the Wuyang Princess did not mind this too much.
They walked for several dozen li. The dense forest on both sides thinned out, replaced by an abundance of odd flowers and grasses. Then, a light purple grove appeared before them. To call it a grove would not be too appropriate. High up, there was an extensive canopy covering this land. This forest canopy was exotic, incomparably bright and multi-colored. Some of this land was even emitting a purple poison fog.
Centipedes several meters in length occasionally traveled to and fro in this canopy.
At first glance, the unusual multicolored sight was very fantastical.
Lingering Impurity Unexplored Region.
It was also one of Nan Jiang’s sacred places. Legend said that because one of the Ancient Miao’s Saintess fell in love with a Star General and was entrapped by her feelings, her tears became a river. Because she naturally refined gu, her tears were also multicolored. These tears covered a range of a hundred li. In the end, they made this place’s vegetation grow exotically, showing a unique style in the green forest.
A river of tears cut through the middle of this Unexplored Region. Legend said that one could see past memories they had forgotten.1
Therefore, the Ancient Miao recorded this as the Lingering Impurity Unexplored Region. Of course, there was another name, “Lover Unexplored Region.”
The legend was actually quite beautiful, but to see this bizarre and monstrous undergrowth always generally made people’s hearts feel cold. Star World had a very popular saying, “the more beautiful something looks, the more deadly it is.” For a multi-colored world like this, the poison within was perhaps beyond anyone’s imagination.
“Hmph, Central Plains people, do not blame me for not warning you. This Lingering Impurity Unexplored Region contains three thousand poison gu. Even we the Ancient Miao Clan do not dare tread lightly here. If only you can return alive.” Tan Ji sneered.
“What is there to fear.” Qin Shaoxu faintly smiled.
Everyone wanted to walk into the Unexplored Region, but Chen Mo discovered that Yeyao was not at all winning to enter together with them.
“Master, aren’t you coming?”
“I will enter a little later. You can go first. Going together will attract unneeded danger.” Yeyao said. As a Great Gu Master, Chen Mo knew that this Unexplored Region should not pose great danger to her.
Therefore, Chen Mo, Qin Shaoxu, Ting Nanyuan, Nianyou, and Miaoling walked into that thick leaf entrance of the Unexplored Region.
Not longer after they left, a white elephant stepped out of the forest.
“High Master Yeyao, if only you truly can help This King refine the Lover Gu.” Great King Mulu arrogantly looked at Yeyao. Evidently, she had some perception. “Otherwise, your apprentice need not think of leaving this place.”
“Refining the legendary Love Gu is Yeyao’s lifelong pursuit. Yeyao naturally will do the utmost, but everything can only depend on the Will of Heaven.” Yeyao said.
“The Will of Heaven.” Great King Mulu sneered, loathing this phrasing.
After Chen Mo and the others walked for about ten minutes, they very quickly were unable to see even a trace of the green forest outside. Purple mud was underfoot, and all manner of tongue-shaped grass shoots sprouted forth. The surroundings were an expanse of odd, gigantic flowers and other vegetation.
Starting from that moment they entered the Unexplored Region, Chen Mo sensed his body was clearly unwell. Not only him, but Ting Nanyuan also had the same feeling. At the very beginning, the girl was still able to vivaciously lavish praise about the Unexplored REgion’s beautiful scenery, but very quickly, she fell quiet, in low spirits.
“You guys better drink some wine for now.” Miaoling halted their advance, taking out a wine gourd and several lotus leaves that were curled into cylinders, filling them with wine.
“What wine is this?”
“Poison wine that can ruin your guts.”
“Poison wine?” Chen Mo was taken aback.
Miaoling covered her snickering mouth.
Chen Mo knew that she was teasing him.
“This is Clear Mind Wine. It can cure poison. The Unexplored Region is full of poison, many of which are very powerful. We must drink every so often, otherwise, you will not last even if you are a Saint of War.” After Miaoling finished explaining, she drank a mouthful herself.
Chen Mo also did not hesitate at all to drink a second mouthful.
The wine was refreshing like peppermint. After it entered his bloodstream, his body’s discomfort felt much better, as she said.
“You first.” Qin Shaoxu took a cup and passed it in front of Ting Nanyuan.
“Shaoxu, you drink first.” Seeing her beloved be considerate of her, Ting Nanyuan swooned.
“Don’t talk back.” Qin Shaoxu sternly said.
Ting Nanyuan then showed a conflicted expression, but on the inside, she drank it down happily.
After drinking the Clear Mind Wine, Miaoling then took out a small box, opened it, and released a yellow honeybee. “This is a ‘Guide Bee,’ it can help point us the way back. The Unexplored Region is very big, and there are a lot of traps in here. It’s easy to get lost.” Miaoling explained.
Chen Mo asked her: “Miaoling, you look very experienced. Have you been here before?”
“I’m the Saintess, of course I’ve been here before.” Miaoling proudly said. “My gu arts certainly weren’t just handed to me by the Heavens.”
“Then you know where the Lingering Impurity Dew is?”
“I have never heard of the Lingering Impurity Dew, but if the dew you’re talking about is produced from facing the rising sun, then there is only one place.” Miaoling said. “But I’m afraid it will take a few days to get there.”
“Let’s quickly set forth then.” Qin Shaoxu’s tone was urgent.
Over the next few hours, the poison fog in the Unexplored Region became increasingly intense. Everyone was required to drink once every two to three hours, and for the sake of safety, Miaoling divided the Clear Mind Wine so that each person had one bag. According to her explanation, the further in they ventured, the more concentrated the poison became. This poison was not just the ordinary kind. There were some that automatically absorbed into a warrior’s pores and entered the bloodstream from there. It would react, poisoning and congealing blood. Even if a Thunder Tribulation cultivator could use magic energy to control it, they would be unable to sustain the consumption, finally dying after depleting their power. This was one of the reasons why Tan Ji said that the Ancient Miao Clan did not dare tread lightly here.
Due to the complex terrain of the Unexplored Region, there was every kind of monstrous grass acting as an obstruction. Their progress forward was very slow. Chen Mo wanted to try and use the Nebula Flying Chariot, but seeing the rolling poison clouds, he could only dismiss this idea.
After walking for an unknown amount of time, Miaoling found a safe zone for them to temporarily rest and drink.
“Big Brother, my legs hurt.” The little loli reached her arms out.
Chen Mo picked her up and sat down. His limbs were also numb and stinging. He looked at the others, noticing that Ting Nanyuan was very uncomfortable. If it was not for her apprehensions of maintaining the image of a virtuous lady in front of Qin Shaoxu, the Wuyang Princess perhaps would have wanted to take off her shoes.
“It’s hard right now, huh. Compared to the path up ahead, the place we’re walking in now is Heaven.” Miaoling teased.
“Huh, no way.” Ting Nanyuan wanted to die. She was only an Essence Flower warrior, she had neither the stamina nor the patience.
“In a moment, the next vegetation has been called ‘Tonguethorn.’2 These ‘Tonguethorn’ can prick through skin. Even if you wore iron shoes, you can still feel the sting.” Miaoling explained.
The Tonguethorn was one of Nan Jiang’s poison grasses. It appeared somewhat like a tongue, was very slender, and it had thorns. Even fully armored cavalry would feel the prick of these thorns. This sting would make the body very weak, but if the path forward was very long, this would be indescribably painful.
The road beforehand also had Tonguethorn Grass, but they were sparse, not affecting the situation. However, this also left Ting Nanyuan somewhat in agony.
Upon hearing this, Ting Nanyuan scrunched up her face, wanting to die. “Then I’d rather ride a flying chariot.”
“Are there any other shortcuts?” Qin Shaoxu asked.
“Shortcuts…” Miaoling hesitated.
“What shortcuts are there?” Chen Mo asked.
“There is, but it’s more dangerous.” Miaoling said.
“How much more?”
“Go through the Life-taking path. That place has a Rank Seven Demon Bug, ‘Hundred Rigor.’ It’s very dangerous.”