As the Cavern Slaves began to panic, the magicians were able to cast their spells at will. The Servant-class beasts had no chance of defending themselves from the overwhelming power of Intermediate Magic!
Not long afterwards, the Cavern Slaves in front of the group totally lost hope and began to flee into the caves nearby.
While a few escaped, those that stayed ended up as piles of corpses lying on the ground with crushed flesh and severed limbs. None of them were in one piece.
When only a few of the beasts were left, Mu Ningxue cast her Ice Magic to seal off the caves to the sides.
The layer of ice solidified swiftly, forming a frozen wall which completely blocked the entrance to the caves, preventing the Cavern Slaves from ambushing them again.
"Let's go, there's no point staying here any longer," Mu Ningxue said to the crowd.
The railway tunnel was not very wide. They did not have much space to move around, so Wind and Lightning Intermediate Spells were not suitable to cast here. They also had no idea if they were any more Cavern Slaves hiding somewhere in the tunnel. They had to leave as soon as possible.
"Let's go!" Lu Zhenghe yelled.
The group proceeded forward. The Cavern Slaves behind them were still uttering angry cries.
Xu Dalong, Zhao Mingyue, Qingqing and the rest managed to hold them off. Everyone let out a relieved sigh when they found the path ahead was clear.
"Forest of Kun¹!"
Qingqing finally had the chance to use her Plant Element Intermediate Spell, under the protection of her teammates. The Forest of Kun summoned plenty of thorns, vines, and branches behind them, blocking the path of the Cavern Slaves.
It would take some time for them to destroy the Forest of Kun. Xu Dalong, Zhao Mingyue, Shen Mingxiao, Qingqing, and the others who were in charge of protecting the rear immediately regrouped with the others.
"Those with Earth Element, use the Earth Wave!" Lu Zhenghe shouted.
Xu Dalong and Luo Song quickly cast the Earth Wave, the soil below moving forward in ripples, increasing the speed of the group as they forged ahead.
The remaining length of the tunnel was filthy and filled with a foul scent. Rotted corpses and feces could be seen everywhere. However, none of the students were too bothered by that, as they were still being chased by a huge number of beasts behind them. They continued to follow the railway.
"I can see light ahead! We made it, we're almost outside!" blurted out Lu Zhenghe, who was leading the way.
Lu Zhenghe had already summoned his Violent Mark Wolf to clear the path. It smashed the Cavern Slaves it stumbled onto to death straight away.
The others also quickened their paces when they saw the light.
Most of them found it difficult to open their eyes for a while after spending a prolonged period in darkness. However, the moment they entered the sunlight, it felt extremely pleasant, just like entering a bath!
"Do a headcount, quick!" Lu Zhenghe seemed to have some sort of experience as a team leader. He did not let his guard down even after exiting the tunnel.
"Good on our side!" Liao Mingxuan quickly counted the eight people from their school.
Song Xia immediately counted her group, but her face turned pale when she counted eight in total. She blurted out in panic, "We are missing one!"
The Pearl Institute had nine in total, including Bai Tingting with her rare Healing Element. However, Song Xia still failed to count nine people after doing a recount.
"Who's missing?" Mu Nujiao asked worriedly.
"Peng Liang is here, Luo Song is here, Zhao Manting...Oh my god, Mo Fan isn't here!" Song Xia felt her heart clenching.
"Damn it, I'm going to save him!" Zhao Manting let out a curse and turned around, heading straight for the tunnel.
Mu Nujiao did not hesitate to follow Zhao Manting too, but a figure with an icy aura acted faster than her.
"Don't be ridiculous, if he weren't here with us, he is probably a pile of minced meat now," Shen Mingxiao said.
There was no way Shen Mingxiao would go back into the filthy, smelly tunnel after trying so hard to escape it. Besides, he had spent half of his energy during the battle, so he would most likely be killed if he were trapped inside once again.
"Who were you describing?" asked a figure appeared from the shadows.
"Holy crap, you scared me to death!" Zhao Manting cursed again when he saw Mo Fan coming out from the tunnel.
The others halted in their tracks too, before letting out relieved sighs.
If someone were to die before they even reached the desolated city, how difficult would their actual mission be?
"What were you up to? I thought you were walking ahead of us just then," Mu Nujiao asked Mo Fan curiously.
Mu Nujiao's eyes flickered suspiciously, but since Mo Fan was not willing to tell her, she decided not to ask further.
"Since everyone's fine, we should leave this place and find somewhere to set up a camp," Song Xia said.
"I agree, I'm dying from the smell."
"I'm feeling a slight headache, probably because I've spent too much energy."
"How's Xiao Feng doing?"
"The bone is being reconstructed. He'll need some time..." Bai Tingting said.
The group was quite confident with their capabilities when they first entered the tunnel, but all of them were extremely tired and depressed now, with wounds all over.
The one that suffered the most severe injury was Xiao Feng. Peng Liang was protecting him throughout the entire battle.
Luckily, they had a Healer in their team. Otherwise, they would have lost one of their crew even before arriving at the desolate city!
The group found a place with a supply of water close to the railway. After checking the perimeter to make sure they weren't any beasts around, they began to put up tents and rest up.
As the night fell, the boys sat around the campfire. The light from it shone upon their young faces.
The night was extremely quiet. The only sound was the crackling noise from the burning wood. Suddenly, Zhao Manting broke the silence as he whispered, "Are you sure they are bathing in the river?"
"That's right, Mu Nujiao, Mu Nujiao is there too..."
A strong burst of hormones resulted in a weird atmosphere between them. Some swallowed hard, some licked their dry lips, while others could not help but glance in the direction of the river.
"Peng Liang, why don't you go and take a look? With your Shadow Element, they won't notice you at all."
"Err, I don't think that's a good idea." Peng Liang said with a red face.
Despite saying that, Peng Liang's body betrayed him, turning into a puff of shadow and disappearing into the woods.
Everyone was envious seeing Peng Liang making his move. Why didn't we awaken a Shadow Element too?...
"Huh, why are the trees freezing?"
"I'm afraid Peng Liang was exposed. HAHAHA, that idiot, our captain's Ice Domain isn't just for decoration. It could pick up the ripple of magic energy from a certain distance. Peng Liang is done for!" Xu Dalong instantly burst out laughing.
(1) This used to be Forest of Kun Gao in previous chapters, but I've refined it to Forest of Kun instead. Kun (坤) here is one of the eight trigrams of Bagua and is used to denote the Earth. 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far