Chapter 774 – Half-bloomed Udumbara (2)
Yun Che turned around in a flash. To his surprise, he found that Zi Ji, Xia Yuanba and Feng Xue'er all stood there with slack expressions on their face. Their eyes were completely blank and their pupils dilated and contracted intermittently. It was as if their souls had left their bodies.
Yun Che's heart was filled with alarm as he rushed over and swiftly grabbed Feng Xue'er with his right hand, hugging her close. At the same time, his left hand shot out, releasing an energy wave that shoved Xia Yuanba and Zi Ji far away. He roared loudly and frantically, "Retreat! Don't look at the purple light!!"
The three of them shuddered simultaneously, as if they were waking up from a dream. Feng Xue'er immediately hugged Yun Che tightly as she curled into his chest, not daring to raise her head again. Yun Che could clearly feel that her heart was racing. Zi Ji and Xia Yuanba practically fell over themselves as they scrambled backwards, and their expressions were ones of stark terror.
"This Netherworld Udumbara Flower indeed lives up to its reputation… No! It is far more terrifying than the legends describe it!" Zi Ji said as his heart hammered in his chest. His face was green and he was unable to compose himself at the moment. That purple light radiated at least one hundred meters outwards and despite that distance, it had so easily drawn him into this nightmare.
"To think that such a terrifying thing… actually exists in this world!" Xia Yuanba said in a rather traumatized voice, "Is it truly just a flower?"
"What did all of you experience just now? What exactly happened?" Yun Che asked as his brows furrowed. When Yun Che had stared at the purple light, he had only felt dazzled for a moment. He had not experienced any abnormality.
"Let's not talk about these things right now!" Zi Ji said somberly. He leaned on a wall, not daring to look at the Netherworld Udumbara Flower again. Even then, he still had a vague feeling that a pair of demonic eyes were staring at him from some place and his heart was beating so fast that it felt like it would explode at any moment, "Yun Che! We only have a short hundred breaths! Right now, more than half of that time has passed! Your luck is extremely good. To think that you were actually able to find this dreadful Netherworld Udumbara Flower. Moreover, it is in half-bloom as well… Quickly seize this opportunity and retrieve it with the fastest possible speed! If we are not able to leave within the designated time limit, we will all be trapped here and die! There will be no chance of survival!"
"I understand!" Yun Che nodded his head, and once he had deposited Feng Xue'er beside the wall, he yelled out a warning, "Xue'er, Yuanba, lean against the wall! You definitely mustn't turn back. I will harvest the Netherworld Udumbara Flower shortly!"
"Big Brother Yun… you must definitely be careful!" Feng Xue'er said in an extremely worried voice. Yun Che had told her about many of the legends associated with the Netherworld Udumbara Flower. But in that brief, horrible instant, she now knew that the dreadfulness of the Netherworld Udumbara Flower had far exceeded her wildest imagination.
"Don't worry! Since I dared to come here, I definitely have a foolproof plan as well!"
Yun Che said this as he rounded the corner, taking more than ten steps towards the Netherworld Udumbara Flower. After that, he stopped and just as he was about to call Jasmine to go harvest the Netherworld Udumbara Flower, he heard Jasmine yell sternly, "Were you not listening to what I just said? Immediately leave this place! Don't bother with the Netherworld Udumbara Flower anymore!"
Yun Che was taken aback, "But…"
"No buts from you!" Jasmine said in an extremely somber tone, "Haven't you noticed that even though this Netherworld Udumbara Flower has already started to bloom, it is only in half-bloom!"
Yun Che was stunned by those words and he raised his head to stare that at that gently swaying purple light.
Within the deep darkness, the Netherworld Udumbara Flower's appearance was still clear for all to see, as if it was right in front of Yun Che. It was slightly taller than three meters in height, its stem and leaves were greenish-black in color. In the middle of that fantastical bright, purple light, a bewitching flower could be seen. Every petal seemed to be made of radiant purple jade, but the flower bud was still faintly curled up and the petals had not fully unfurled. Even though it had an extremely bewitching and enchanting appearance, it had not fully bloomed yet.
The Moon Slaughter Devil Nest was a desolate place, and the air was stale and stagnant. Yet the half-bloomed Netherworld Udumbara Flower gently swayed as it released a light purple mist that seemed to come from the underworld itself. And from time to time, it emitted that nightmarish sound that seemed to be a mix of both wailing and laughter. It was so sinister that it caused the souls of those who heard it to tremble.
And just as Jasmine had said, it had not fully bloomed yet!
Given Yun Che's knowledge regarding plants and herbs, even though this Netherworld Udumbara Flower had not fully bloomed, it looked like it would not be long before it reached full bloom. Perhaps it would take a few more days, or even a few more hours, for it to bloom!
At this moment, the purple light suddenly flashed, and the scene in front of Yun Che blurred before becoming awash in a sea of purple.
A boundless purple world. It was as if he had stepped into some fantastical wonderland, and it caused his heart to become intoxicated and bewildered. All of the nervousness, apprehension and caution in his heart… seemed to melt away completely along with the rest of the emotions in his heart. He became completely relaxed and he felt as if his body had become as light as a feather. He could not help but desire to float up in the air so that he could fly even deeper into this purple-colored world, to the point where he could become one with this fantastical world…
After being lost in delirium for that brief instant, Yun Che jerked back to wakefulness. The purple-colored world instantly shattered before his eyes as it morphed into a pitch-black world which flickered with a bewitching purple light.
What a terrifying ability to invade the soul… Yun Che thought as his forehead was matted in cold sweat and his heart thumped wildly in his chest. A Netherworld Udumbara Flower that had not fully bloomed and was nearly one hundred meters distant from him had actually been able to hypnotize him, someone who possessed the Dragon God Soul, for a brief period of time!
If he had drawn close to it, the consequences would have been unimaginable!
Jasmine had told him that if he was within thirty meters of the flower, he would be wracked by indescribable pain and if he was within fifteen meters of the flower, he was practically committing suicide… Right now, Yun Che was completely convinced that these were not words that were just meant to frighten him.
"Even though it hasn't fully bloomed, it is about seventy to eighty percent done! Will the difference be that drastic if you used this instead of a fully bloomed one?" Yun Che asked in a low voice as he looked to the side.
"It is the difference between the earth and the sky!" Jasmine said sternly, "Only a Netherworld Udumbara Flower in full bloom can perfectly merge my soul with my reconstituted body. The level of power of a Netherworld Udumbara Flower that has not fully bloomed is far from enough and even if you plucked ten thousand of them, they would not be able to perfectly merge my body and my soul. If we attempt to force a merger, I will end up becoming like the current Fen Juechen. My body will be wracked with intense pain due to the rejection of my soul and within a few short years, my physical body will die once more and my soul will be destroyed."
Yun Che, "…"
"No…" Yun Che clenched both his fists tightly as he spoke through gritted teeth, his expression colored with discontent, "It was so hard for us to even find a clue regarding the Netherworld Udumbara Flower… and now it is right in front of us. It is so close to being in full bloom as well…"
"If we miss this chance, the next time it will bloom will be an entire twenty-four years later… Furthermore, we will only be able to enter this Moon Slaughter Devil Nest five hundred years later…"
How could he let go of this Netherworld Udumbara Flower that they had spent seven whole years to find!
"Yun Che, you better listen up and listen good!" Jasmine said gravely, "I desire to obtain a fully bloomed Netherworld Udumbara Flower more than anyone else! But right now, even if there was a fully bloomed Netherworld Udumbara Flower before our eyes, much less this half-bloomed one, we would still not be able to obtain it! Right now, what you need to do is to leave this place quickly!"
"…Why?" Yun Che did not understand and he made no move to retreat as well… he could hear the discontent in Jasmine's voice and he was just as discontented as well!
"This place is terrifying beyond the boundaries of what you can imagine!" Even though the intensity of the darkness energy in this place is extremely weak, but the level of this darkness energy is so high that even I have never seen it before. If my body and soul were whole, the darkness energy in this place would not be able to affect me in the least, but right now, I only have a spirit body. I don't have a physical body to anchor me so I have no way of keeping darkness energy of this level from eating away at my existence! If I were to materialize my spirit body in this place, I would suffer very serious injuries in a matter of minutes and even my soul origin would receive extreme damage!"
Yun Che, "…"
"My spirit body was being eroded by that devilish poison for many years and it's only now that I have completely escaped from its clutches. But I am still many times weaker than I would be in my complete state! I will only slowly regain my true strength after my body has been reconstituted. But if my current spirit body is eroded by darkness energy again… the consequence is that I will not be able to ever fully recover! And my spirit may even end up dissipating forever!!"
Every single word that came from Jasmine's mouth was extremely heavy and they rooted Yun Che in place.
"So even if that was a Netherworld Udumbara Flower in full bloom, I would also not be able to materialize and harvest it. It is even more impossible for you to do it." Jasmine's tone grew more serious by the second, "I am not exaggerating anything in the least! For darkness energy of this level to be continuously released for the past ten thousand years, there must be something that is far more terrifying than anything that you could think of that is hiding in this Moon Slaughter Devil Nest! Even though I am in the Sky Poison Pearl right now, I can still feel my spine tingle in a way that it never has before. Even my spirit perception has been suppressed to a certain…"
Jasmine suddenly stopped talking, causing Yun Che's heart to skip a beat. Then she started shouting sternly, "Hurry up and leave!! There is a living creature hiding somewhere above the Netherworld Udumbara Flower… and it is looking at you right now! Flee immediately!"
"What?" A jolt of shock raced through Yun Che's heart and he unwittingly raised his head to look at the ceiling above the Netherworld Udumbara Flower but all he could see was inky darkness.
At this moment, Zi Ji howled at him from behind, "Yun Che! What are you doing!? You only have thirty breaths left, if you don't hurry up, you won't be able to make it!"
Yun Che did not have time to hesitate any further, he quickly turned around and yelled, "We're getting out of here!"
"But that Netherworld Udumbara Flower…" Xia Yuanba said as he hesitated for a moment. Because the purple light was still shining and that meant that Yun Che had not been able to successfully obtain the flower.
"Don't worry about it, let's hurry up and leave!!" Yun Che shoved Yuanba a long way towards the exit with his palm. He grabbed Feng Xue'er's hand tightly and he used the light of the Phoenix flames to guide him as he rushed towards the exit at the fastest speed possible.
"Is that 'monster' following us?" Yun Che asked anxiously. Because they had just travelled down to his path to reach the deepest part of the Moon Slaughter Devil Nest, they were familiar with it, so they fled at a much greater speed than when they had arrived.
"No, it isn't". Jasmine replied.
"…" Yun Che let out a small sigh of relief as a thought flashed through his mind: A living creature that is hiding within the Moon Slaughter Devil Nest. Could this be the legendary Moon Slaughter Devil Sovereign?
The Moon Slaughter Devil Sovereign should have died more than six thousand years ago. It was not possible for a Tyrant Profound beast to survive for ten thousand years!
Furthermore, the urgency in Jasmine's voice told him that the monster hidden in the darkness was a creature that was too strong for him to fight… So it would definitely not be the Moon Slaughter Devil Sovereign which was only at the Tyrant Profound Realm.
Just what was it!?
"What kind of monster is it? Do you have any insight as to what it's power level is?" Yun Che asked.
"It is far bigger than a normal human. And as for its strength… it should roughly be at the sixth level of the Sovereign Profound Realm! The caveat being that my suppressed spirit perception might not have captured its power level correctly!" Jasmine said in a doubtful voice.
The sixth level of the Sovereign Profound Realm… Yun Che increased his speed yet again as a complicated light flashed in his eyes.
"We still have ten breaths worth of time left. Don't worry, we'll make it." Zi Ji said as his voice grew more relieved but his heart was still shaking with adrenaline and fear… When he had spoken to the Sovereign of the Seas, he had told her that he would yank Yun Che out of the Moon Slaughter Devil Nest once fifty breaths had passed. He never would have thought that they would be in this desperate situation. If they were not able to leave this place within one hundred breaths, the four of them would all die in this place.
"It's just that Brother-in-law was not able to obtain the Netherworld Udumbara Flower." Xia Yuanba said in a somewhat disconsolate voice.
"That was to be expected. Given how terrifying the Netherworld Udumbara Flower is, even if the Four Sacred Masters were to join hands to obtain one, they would definitely not be able to survive the attempt." Zi Ji said as he sighed. Even though Yun Che's objective had not been fulfilled, Supreme Ocean Palace had lived up to its end of the bargain.
Just a few breaths before the opening in the barrier closed, the four companions finally saw a hazy glimmer of light appear in front of them.
"We're at the exit, let's hurry up and get out of here!" Zi Ji, who was the furthest ahead, yelled as his figure blurred and he dashed towards the exit.
"Brother-in-law, hurry!" Xia Yuanba yelled, he was hot on Zi Ji's heels and the moment he exited the barrier, he turned around, fearing that Yun Che was lagging behind.
The exit was right in front of them and once they left, Yun Che would only be able to enter this place again five hundred years from now at the minimum.
Even if he managed to enter five hundred years later, there were no guarantees that they would be able to find a Netherworld Udumbara Flower like they had today.
Yun Che began to slow down. He used both hands to give a mighty shove to Feng Xue'er's shoulder, flinging her far out of the opening of the barrier. Then, he stopped right at the opening itself.
"Yun Che! What are you doing… hurry up and get out!" Jasmine had guessed his intentions in a second and her small face immediately went pale.
"Big Brother Yun!!"
One breath later, Yun Che still had not emerged from the opening made in the barrier. Xia Yuanba and Feng Xue'er both realized that something was wrong at the same time. Xia Yuanba's expression changed dramatically while Feng Xue'er's pretty face lost all of its color as they both rushed towards the opening at the same time.
"Don't worry about me!" Yun Che roared as he pushed both his arms out at full strength towards the opening. He blew the nearby Xia Yuanba and Feng Xue'er, neither of whom could react fast enough to defend themselves, at least three hundred meters away.
"I am going to wait for the Netherworld Udumbara Flower to reach full bloom, so I'm going to have to stay here for a few days… Don't worry about me, don't forget that I have that 'profound ark'!"
"Big Brother Yun…NO!!!" Feng Xue'er's teary cry could be heard from outside the barrier.
"Hurry up and leave!!!" Jasmine yelled with such anxiety and fury that it caused Yun Che's heart and soul to quake, "The laws of space in this area have long ago been distorted by the darkness energy, even the Primordial Profound Ark…"
With a sizzling pop that sounded like the discharge of lightning, the opening in the barrier that had lasted for one hundred breaths instantly snapped shut. The entire barrier glowed with a flowing blue light which blended with the barrier. Not even a small scratch could be seen on it presently, much less an opening, as it completely and perfectly separated what was inside the barrier from the outside world.