Chapter 729 Full of Riddles
When he felt the injuries in his body recover and the toxic force magically dispel, Ge Ming began to realize that the palm had healed him instead of killing him.
He was surprised like never before by this change.
Ye Qingyu looked at him with a solemn expression and declared, "I don't want my hands to be stained with the blood of an innocent, and so will personally investigate this matter. If I find out you're lying, I'll make sure to kill you the next time we meet!"
There was a conclusive resolve in his tone.
Subsequently, he withdrew his hand and slowly fell back.
"I just knew big brother is a good person... Big brother's a good person... Thank you big brother!" Crying with joy, Shui Xiu frantically kowtowed in Ye Qingyu's direction to show her gratitude.
"Little girl, I hope your luck will always be this good..." Perhaps because he saw the Song Xiaojun of old in her, Ye Qingyu was greatly sympathetic to Shui Xiu.
"Take good care of her." He raised the corners of his lips subtly as he looked at the girl whose eyes revealed joy and gratitude, before turning to look at Ge Ming.
The latter, whose complexion gradually regained sanguinity, nodded his head solemnly.
"Goodbye, Shui Xiu."
With his tender voice faintly reverberating among the stone formations, Ye Qingyu's figure glimmered like a light curtain and disappeared in front of the duo.
Two hours later.
In the 16th zone of the Black Demon Pool.
This was a completely different scene from that of the 15th zone.
It was an endless mountain wilderness which was completely covered with all kinds of curious and weird vegetation that emitted black and apple-green lusters.
These lusters refracted through the boundless, billowy Black Demon qi, making it seem as if flickering ghostfire was burning under the cover of the black fog.
Several demonic pillars, which had been assembled through repeated compressions, rose high into the clouds in the distant sky, causing black hurricanes to sweep forth.
As soon as he entered the zone, Ye Qingyu could clearly feel an extremely terrifying power surging among the surrounding Black Demon qi.
Looking across, he saw that the Black Demon qi was incomparably gloomy, such that his range of vision was no more than fifty meters.
He realized that the Black Demon qi that was stirring non-stop above the wilderness in this zone was more turbulent than the one in the 15th zone.
It was brimming with a cruel qi and an evil qi, both of which he had never felt before. This was a completely different suppressive power from what could be found in the 15th zone.
Every wisp of demon qi had been purified through over tens of millions of years of repeated quenching. The extremely frightening suppressive power within could turn a Bitter Sea realm expert into ash and smoke in an instant, while a Heaven Ascension realm expert would be suppressed into an ordinary martial expert.
In other words, any expert who entered the 16th zone or a later zone would find their actual battle strength heavily diminished. In particular, experts who primarily cultivated yuan qi would feel as if their limbs had been taken away. They would not only have to rely on the most primitive combat techniques, but would also be unable to use their inner yuan qi to fly and escape.
At this very moment, Ye Qingyu could also feel that his inner yuan qi was slightly suppressed and that his injuries were healing a little slower.
It was also at this moment that he truly understood why all cities, towns, and forces of different races were concentrated in the 15th zone and earlier.
It was difficult to survive, let alone live, in such a terrifying place.
His purpose for coming here and proceeding deeper into the Black Demon Pool was naturally to find Black Demon Herbs.
Since he had let Ge Ming off, it was unlikely that he could fulfill the Heaven Wasteland Domain's test tasks in the Black Demon Pool by hunting down and killing the criminals on the Alliance of Domains' wanted list.
Aside from the fact that these criminals were very elusive and exceptionally strong, the earlier experience had also made Ye Qingyu aware that they were not as easy to deal with as the information had suggested.
If Ge Ming alone had caused so many twists and turns, one could imagine how frightening the other beings ranked higher than him would be.
Therefore, Ye Qingyu adjusted his target realistically.
He decided to not chase after the wanted criminals, and instead to pick the Black Demon Herbs.
The deeper he ventured into the Black Demon Pool, the greater the suppressive power.
Ye Qingyu recalled seeing in the administration hall records that, beginning from the 16th zone, a martial expert's inner yuan qi would be suppressed by thirty to fifty percent per zone by the Black Demon qi.
The martial emperor who created the Black Demon Pool probably put this in place to protect the Black Demon Pool, I guess.
After carefully surveying for a bit, Ye Qingyu only then began to search for the Black Demon Herbs, which grew in the jungles and valleys of these depths, according to the topographic positions he had remembered.
The information he saw in the administration hall had said that the Black Demon Herb grew individually and often in crevices in which Yin qi had gathered, and was often found in jungle rock formations, cliff bottoms, and narrow valleys.
It was currently harder to find because it was not in season. Throughout the first sixteen zones, there were probably only six or seven spots where Yin qi was abundant and the growth needs of the Black Demon Herb were met during this season.
But for Ye Qingyu, finding these herbs was considerably easy because he had marked out the spots on a topographic map.
"Let's head to the Demon Teeth Valley to take a look first."
He decided after pondering for a bit.
After the time it took for an incense stick to burn off.
The Demon Teeth Valley.
This was a crevice-shaped valley to the easternmost of the 16th zone.
Black mud swamps that emitted a gloomy aura and a rotten smell were scattered on both sides of the valley, which were blocked off by ten-odd thick, sharp, and tusk-shaped black rocks. The narrow and long corridor was only wide enough to accommodate the passing through of one person, and as such, the terrain was dangerous like no other.
Ye Qingyu went back and forth in the valley several times as he carefully searched.
The result was very disappointing to him.
He began to frown after confirming that there was not a trace of the Black Demon Herb.
He had unmistakably marked the Demon Teeth Valley as a place where Black Demon Herbs grew on the topographic map. However, it now appeared that not only was there not a modicum of the said herb here, but there was also no other divine herbs or demon plants.
The situation was a little weird.
It was as if someone had deliberately dug up the entire valley.
Feeling doubtful, he was unable to figure out what was going on. After turning the matter over in his mind, he decided to proceed to and search the next location.
After the time it took to drink a cup of tea.
At the Wicked Fan Cliff.
From afar, the entire cliff brought to mind a giant folding fan that was spread open. Drops of dark green venom permeated through the rocks in between the rib joints, appearing as if countless emeralds were rolling down the cliff ceaselessly.
Passing through the Black Demon qi, Ye Qingyu carefully avoided the area where the venom had fallen and concentrated as he made his way down along the cliff and slowly landed below a rock formation at the bottom.
An astonished expression flashed across his eyes.
Throughout the bottom layer which was several hundred meters in range, save for a few spots where venom had gathered into a pool, the entire black mud layer had been flipped through such that not a blade of grass was left, just like in the earlier valley.
Could it actually be the picking season for divine and demon herbs right now?
That can't be right. The environment shouldn't be destroyed like that even if the herbs were collected.
Ye Qingyu remembered clearly that, along his journey down from the third zone, the divine and demon herbs which he had seen pedlars selling in shops and stalls were mostly types of vegetation which were ranked 50th placed and lower.
The most valuable and rare herb among them was merely the seventh-ranked Dwarf Buckwheat, which was sold at a high price in a large pharmacy in the 14th zone.
In the subsequent "incense-burning" time.
Quickening his footsteps, he went around the Double Wall Valley, the Bullhorn Cliff, the Rainbow Gum Forest, and the Python Skin Pool, which theoretically were places where the Black Demon Herb could appear, yet he found none.
Worth mentioning was also his discovery of traces that the vegetation in these places had been swept through.
What exactly is going on?
Ye Qingyu became more and more mystified.
Some unknown things must have happened in this zone.
He became aware that he would not yield anything and would simply be wasting time if he continued to search blindly, and thus felt it necessary to find someone to ask.
Recalling several information records, he came up with a plan. After he finished searching the Python Skin Pool, he changed his physique and appearance and then turned to walk toward a hilly region where the Black Demon qi was thinner, several kilometers to the west of the valley.
According to the records regarding herb pedlars in the Black Demon Pool, there were several aboriginal natives who lived in the 16th zone generation after generation and had thereby gained an understanding of this dark and desolate place which no outsider could possibly have.
Among these aboriginal inhabitants, there was a race, called the Black Armor Race, whose sense of smell was acute like no one else's and who was adept at climbing cliffs and canyons.
Rumor had it that this was a race derived from the Black Demon Race and pangolin demonic beast, and that for tens of millions of years, they had made their living in the 16th zone by picking and selling valuable and rare vegetation.
A yuan qi-cultivating expert would feel as though their throat was being choked by the suppressive power of the Black Demon qi upon entering the 16th zone. But for the Black Armor Race, the Black Demon qi did not affect them much because they had long depended on four claws and a shell which were as hard as steel rocks, and were thus already used to this kind of environment.
This was also why they would often be engaged by the martial experts in the Black Demon Pool to collect divine and demon herbs for cultivation.
Ye Qingyu darted toward the camp of the Black Armor Race.
Several dozen breaths later.
On a south-facing slope of the hills.
Ten-odd hide-braced tents were untidily pitched here. Several members of the Black Armor Race, whose heads had evolved to be no different from humans' yet their bodies retained a bestial shape, were gathered together furiously discussing something.
Several peculiar machetes, which looked rather crude and not as sharp as most precious weapons, were placed in front of them.
These machetes were made from the polished bones of deceased members of the Black Armor Race.
Unlike the bones of ordinary demonic beasts, the bones of the Black Armor Race had a black luster and contained a trace of Black Demon qi which was rather similar to the qi found throughout the Black Demon Pool.
According to the records of the Demon Plant List in the pentagonal token, the vegetation of the Black Demon Pool, especially the top ten most valuable and rare divine and demon herbs, could not be touched by weapons or hands which contained yuan qi. Therefore, the machetes made from the bones of the Black Armor Race instead preserved their medicinal properties to the maximum extent and were hence extremely suitable for extracting divine and demon herbs.
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