Meanwhile, beneath the Luochen Clan mansion was a sprawling, underground necropolis. In one part of the necropolis was a lake of simmering blood, filled with countless floating skeletons.
The glitter of a spell formation could be seen surrounding the entire thing, and countless members of the Luochen Clan were prostrating themselves around the lake. There were men and women, youngsters and old-timers, all of whom knelt at key nexuses within the spell formation.
It was with utter solemnity that one by one, they would slice open their right hands and squeeze blood down onto the nexuses, which carried the blood into the central lake.
In the very middle of that lake of blood, an old man sat cross-legged. His hair was long and white, and he seemed threatening without being angry. With every breath he took, the lake of blood bubbled.
Suddenly, the man's eyes opened, and they gleamed with a blood-colored glow.
"What's going on!?" he demanded, his cold voice echoing throughout the necropolis.
One of the clan members closest to him was a young man, who looked exactly like the young man from up in the courtyard who had tried to kill Bai Xiaochun and the others. He leaned over and whispered, "Patriarch, three disciples from the Spirit Stream Sect showed up. It happened so quickly that I was caught unprepared. I was worried that it would influence the larger task at hand, so my puppet body on the outside, along with the spell formation and the other puppets, tried to kill them. Unfortunately... I'm so useless, Senior. I only managed to kill one. The other two escaped, and... they took the other disciple we caught last time with them."
The young man was feeling quite discouraged. Normally speaking, if a disciple of the Spirit Stream Sect went missing, it would take at least half a year before the sect officially declared them as missing. Only then would other disciples be sent to investigate. Considering that, by the time such disciples arrived in the Fallenstar Mountains, at least nine months should have passed.
However, only four months had gone by, and yet disciples from the Spirit Stream Sect had already arrived. It wasn't just this young man who was taken aback. No one in the entire Luochen Clan could have guessed that the disappearance of a mere Outer Sect disciple was anything to worry about. Logically speaking, no one should have been sent to investigate so quickly.
Furthermore, if Hou Yunfei hadn't managed to uncover the secrets of the Luochen Clan, they would never have taken him captive. According to their original plan, they needed half a year to be completely prepared, then rise up and free themselves from the control of the Spirit Stream Sect!
However, that meant they still need a month of time....
"Two Outer Sect disciples...? Hmph! The defensive spell formation has already been activated. Seal the area and send people to track them down and kill them. We only need one more month... and then nothing will be able to stop us!" The old man didn't seem to be worried at all about what had happened, and closed his eyes to continue meditating.
The young man sighed, bowing his head in compliance.
It didn't take long before seven figures emerged from within the Luochen Clan. The one in the lead position was the same young man, whose cultivation base was in the eighth level of Qi Condensation.
Of the other six, the weakest were in the sixth level of Qi Condensation, with two being in the seventh.
"They won't be able to get far. Let's go!" The seven cultivators shot into the jungle, eyes shining with killing intent.
Out in the jungle, Bai Xiaochun and Du Lingfei were moving along as fast as possible while simultaneously propping up Hou Yunfei. They tried to use their Windskiff, but apparently the same interference from the spell formation that made transmission jade slips inoperable had the same effect on the ship.
The expressions on the faces of Bai Xiaochun and Du Lingfei grew even darker.
Bai Xiaochun's face was pale, and the sensation of imminent crisis within him couldn't be greater. Every inch of flesh and blood within him was screaming out at him to flee as fast as he could!
If he went any slower, he would surely die!
The sensation of danger was far greater than what he had felt from Feng Yan. After all, even though Feng Yan had tried to kill him, he had been nervous about it and tried to do it secretly.
Bai Xiaochun had known all along that as long as he was careful, he would most likely be able to avoid whatever move Feng Yan made against him, and could probably even strike back at him.
But now... the instant he thought about the information in their possession, he trembled, and sweat began to pour down his face. Considering that they knew about the Luochen Clan's betrayal, it was obvious that they wouldn't hesitate to kill all of them.
They would no doubt go to any and all lengths to ensure their silence.
Furthermore, they wouldn't strike out in secret, they would attack like a lightning bolt!
Nor would they allow much time for them to get very far away. In fact, there were almost certainly members of the Luochen Clan chasing after them already.
"Damn you, Hall of Justice. This mission... is not the type that Outer Sect disciples can handle!!" Then Bai Xiaochun remembered that the Luochen Clan had a Foundation Establishment Patriarch, and he began to shake even harder.
"Foundation Establishment.... The difference between Qi Condensation and Foundation Establishment is like the difference between being mortal and being in Qi Condensation...." Bai Xiaochun was so nervous that his eyes were bloodshot.
"I practice cultivation... to live forever...." Bai Xiaochun wanted to cry, but no tears would come. He looked over at Hou Yunfei, and knew that he would never be able to abandon him just to gain some speed. That was something he could never bring himself to do.
Du Lingfei's face was pale; her cultivation base was the weakest of them all, and her internal spiritual energy was recovering very slowly. The more time passed, the worse she felt about the situation.
She knew that they were facing almost certain death. Perhaps someone in the seventh level of Qi Condensation might be able to fight back against a Foundation Establishment Patriarch. But now, Feng Yan was dead, and she was only in the fifth level of Qi Condensation, with no hope of being able to break through to the next level any time soon. As for Bai Xiaochun... considering how scared he was of dying, Du Lingfei would never place any hope in him.
"I never imagined I would die on my first mission outside of the sect," she thought, laughing bitterly. However, things weren't over yet, and it wasn't the time to give up, so she gritted her teeth and produced a medicinal pill from within her bag of holding and popped it into her mouth. Then she looked over at Bai Xiaochun, who was pale-faced and shivering, and she sighed. At the moment, she no longer felt any scorn for him. Producing a medicinal pill bottle, she tossed it over to him.
"Junior Brother Bai, make sure to keep your internal spiritual energy up."
Bai Xiaochun stared in shock at the medicinal pill bottle, then opened it and consumed one of the pills. It was at this point that he suddenly remembered something, and produced two medicinal pill bottles from Feng Yan's bag of holding.
"Elder Brother Feng had some medicinal pills," he said, handing one of the bottles to Du Lingfei.
She accepted it silently, and the two of them proceeded along as fast as possible. Before long, they were back in the location where they had discovered Hou Yunfei's jade slip. When Du Lingfei saw that tree, she sighed inwardly.
By now, it was useless to have regrets, so without another word, they continued to speed along. Gradually, Du Lingfei began to slow down, which made Bai Xiaochun even more nervous. Finally, he then grabbed her by the arm and pulled her along, carrying Hou Yunfei at the same time.
Du Lingfei had long since noticed that Bai Xiaochun was much faster than her. When he grabbed her arm, she almost pulled away, but when she saw the look of terror on his face, she sighed and allowed him to pull her along.
It was at this point that Hou Yunfei shivered, and his eyes slowly opened. He looked exhausted.
After assessing his current position, he laughed bitterly and said, "Junior Brother Bai, I never thought that, after all these years, we would meet again like this."
Seeing that Hou Yunfei was awake, Du Lingfei quickly offered him a medicinal pill.
Bai Xiaochun looked at Hou Yunfei and sighed. "Elder Brother Hou...."
"There's still hope for us," Hou Yunfei said. "For their own personal benefit, the Luochen Clan slaughtered people from the mortal world, extracting their blood and bones for use in a spell formation. Their Foundation Establishment Patriarch is currently presiding over the Inverse Blood Grand Magic, so he can't personally come after us. Furthermore, the entire Luochen Clan is maintaining the spell formation. Therefore... they won't be able to send very many people after us!"
Hou Yunfei smiled, took the medicinal pill from Du Lingfei, and swallowed it. Then, his eyes began to shine as he said, "Although we can't get a message to the sect from this location, if we get far enough away, we'll definitely be able to!
"Something big like this, an entire cultivator clan rebelling, will definitely provoke a huge reaction from the sect!"
Thanks to the medicinal pill, he no longer needed help from Bai Xiaochun, and began to speed along on his own power.
Because of that, they managed to pick up speed. Soon, the borders of the Fallenstar Mountains became visible, and eventually, they shot out into the open, whereupon Du Lingfei pulled out a jade slip and tried to make contact with the sect. Moments later, her face drained of blood, and she shook her head.
"Still not working...?" muttered Bai Xiaochun, his heart pounding. Hou Yunfei merely stood there silently.
None of them spoke any further as they continued on dejectedly. It was at this point that, all of a sudden, a whistling sound could be heard from behind them. Their faces fell as seven figures burst out of the trees not too far away.
In the lead was the young man in the eighth level of Qi Condensation, who looked at Bai Xiaochun and the others, eyes flickering with killing intent.
"Like I said, you... can't get away! Never forget that the person who killed you is named Chen Yue! Kill them!"
The Luochen Clan members immediately pulled out magical devices, and cold light appeared in their eyes as they closed in.
The faces of Bai Xiaochun, Du Lingfei, and Hou Yunfei flickered, and they gritted their teeth as they tried to pick up speed.
Chen Yue was laughing coldly as he flicked his sleeve, causing a violet skull to appear. As it sped through the air, it cackled madly, and within the blink of an eye, it was almost directly upon Bai Xiaochun and the others. At that point, Chen Yue waved his finger, and the skull exploded.
The resulting shockwave sent the three Spirit Stream Sect disciples spinning apart. Du Lingfei and Hou Yunfei suddenly lost their momentum, and were almost instantly surrounded by the Luochen Clan members.
Bai Xiaochun, however, kept speeding along. Before, he had been somewhat held back by the other two, but now that he was on his own, he burst out with incredible speed, breaking free of the Luochen Clan members. It only took a moment for him to put dozens of meters between them, and from the look of it, he was only starting to pick up speed.
Even Chen Yue, the only member of the Luochen Clan in the Eighth level of Qi Condensation, could do nothing but stare in shock.
"He's fast," Chen Yue said coolly. "First kill these two, then we'll go after him!" Waving his sleeve, he turned to Du Lingfei and Hou Yunfei, killing intent boiling.
Du Lingfei coughed up a mouthful of blood. Her body was already spattered in blood; she was surrounded and certain that she was going to die. As she looked at Bai Xiaochun fleeing off into the distance, she began to laugh bitterly.
She was well aware that Bai Xiaochun feared death, so although she wasn't very surprised, she couldn't help but feel bitter and hopeless.
"Junior Brother Bai, I hope you manage to get away...." she thought. At the same time, she performed an incantation gesture, sending a flying sword out with the power of Lightness-in-Heaviness. Coughing up more blood, she continued to try to defend herself.
Hou Yunfei was also laughing bitterly, but his eyes shone with a cold light. He let out a roar, and although his spiritual energy was mostly depleted, he wasn't ready to just give in. Gritting his teeth, he prepared to take some of the enemy with him as he died, if only to buy some more time for Bai Xiaochun.