The starless night in the secret land is still tender.
Wen Guanjing can’t remember how long he has been running. He only knows that he never stopped to take a rest during the last few days. He didn’t even have more than two meals. Yet, he hangs in there.
This is the third time he stops running to eat and rest.
Lying on a piece of rock, Wen Guanjing is soaked in sweat. His clothes are never dry because he is on the run.
Wen has been to an arid desert to do tasks. He stayed there for a few days and nights which made him accustomed to the hard condition. Thus, Wen is not overwhelmed by all the running.
It’s already late at night. The creepy howling of owls comes from the forest now and then. The sound reminds Wen Guanjing that everything around him is real. He has actually made it out.
He feels like a coward. He can’t believe that he listened to Lin Luoran and got out of the underwater palace by himself.
Truth is, Wen considers the jade slip engraved with the Introduction of Swords in his Universal Sack more important than his own life. He is fully aware of how much the Zu Mountain School craves for this lost book of “Introduction”. He must send it back to his school, or die trying!
Wen Guanjing takes out a bottle of water from his Universal Sack. His sack is filled with jade boxes, which are loaded up with all kinds of spirit herbs he and his brothers collected in the secret land before. The jade boxes can prevent the Reiki inside of the herbs from leaking. In order to put all the herbs in his sack, Wen Guanjing had thrown away all the food except for some drinking water.
He is experienced in wilderness survival. He looks around and finds some edible plants. He roasts them with the simplest fire spell. Wen Guanjing only eats a piece and packs the rest. For the last few days, he was hoping that Lin Luoran might be right after him. Therefore, he took the shortest route to the exit according to his jade map. However, it turns out that this is just his wild wish.
After eating, Wen Guanjing wipes away the sweat on his forehead and stands up.
He takes a last glance back and throws away his wild wish. With his flying sword broken, Wen has been going slow in order to wait for her. He can’t do this anymore or else he will not be able to make to the exit in time.
This is really his last glance back.
In the next two days, Wen Guanjing extends his full potential in the field. He tries his best to merge with the environment so that he can avoid fighting with the monsters living in the mountains and get to the exit at the top speed.
Before he is about to collapse because of the tiredness, Wen sees Li Xi’er and his brothers in the distance.
There are bruises on Li’s face and bandages on Qu Yiren’s shoulder. Including Lin Luoran’s hawk, everybody is wounded. Wen Guanjing counts the number. All eight of them are there.
If he were not worried about Lin Luoran, Wen would feel like laughing.
He has no interest in hearing what happened to Li Xi’er and the others. It’s enough for him that they are all here, alive!
Wen Guanjing sighs. Thank God, all his brothers and sisters are ok. Nobody except Lin is missing… The minister will definitely be happy about this, right?
So are the masters of his brothers, right?
These young Huaxia cultivators must be proud of themselves for getting out of the secret land alive. Everybody else will be happy for them…
Li Xi’er has grown up so much during these days. She has proved herself to her brothers so that they no longer see her as the little sister who likes to horse around. Li Xi’er has experienced so many difficulties after being apart from Lin Luoran, and she seldom smiles tenderly like before.
Seeing Wen Guanjing, Li’s tired little face relaxes. She says, “Brother, we found the Foundation-laying Bolus!”
Wen looks around and doesn’t see anyone else but his fellow brothers. He is relaxed. Still, he prudently tells Li Xi’er to stop talking about it now.
Li Xi’er covers her mouth with her hand and calms herself down. She looks up and asks, “Brother Wen, where is Sister Lin?”
Lin Luoran? Is she eaten up by the snakes? Wen Guanjing doesn’t even bear to think about the possibility. Since Li Xi’er asks, he has to face the question, but he really has no idea what to say in reply. He says awkwardly, “We shall wait for her here.”
“What? Sister Lin is still behind?” Li Xi’er pouts. She strokes Goldie’s wing and tries to ignore Wen’s dubious answer.
Wait for her… Till when? Today is the last day to get out.
Li Xi’er looks at the mountains, hoping that Lin Luoran pops up on her flying sword. Li always has this blind faith in her “Sister Lin”.
Wen Guanjing is also looking into the distance. It will certainly be great if Lin Luoran shows up. Even if she doesn’t, he will not believe that she is dead.
He left the teleport jade for her. As long as she escapes from the snakes, she will be able to teleport herself out of the secret land no matter where she is!
It’s getting late. Wen Guanjing has no choice but to pin his hope on this last possibility.
Foreign cultivators constantly come to the exit from all the directions. They walk through the light curtain and step on their way home.
Wen Guanjing secretly counts the number of the foreign cultivators and discovers that all the groups have suffered from losses. Among them, the vampires, the Japanese and the Russians have the heaviest casualties.
God knows what happened to them… Thinking of the two Japanese killed by Lin Luoran without mercy, Wen Guanjing feels that his anger is vented.
The casualties in the British, Japanese and Russian groups during the trip to the secret land mean that the stalemate between the State of Huaxia and those countries will be broken, and lots of negotiations will be going Huaxia’s way. This is the deeper significance of the trip!
What about Lin Luoran, the heroine?
Wen Guanjing closes his eyes and thinks about the moment he lifted up the coffin. While the snakes were crawling, the female corpse laughed — she was not completely dead!
When the crystal coffin floated in the air and Wen and Lin tried hard to run out of the underwater palace, the voice of the corpse came clearly. It said,
“Remember, your body will be mine!”
Snakes were chasing them. Hearing the corpse’s words, Lin Luoran was haunted and run even faster. Wen Guanjing exerted himself to follow. The snakes followed them ashore and kept coming from all directions.
Those snakes had wings so Wen and Lin couldn’t simply ride on sword and leave. Wen Guanjing threw the teleport jade to Lin Luoran and rushed at the snake. He waved his sword in order to draw their attention, and he managed to lead some of the snakes to the other direction.
The corpse’s daunting laugh echoed in Wen’s head. He didn’t look back.
He didn’t look back in order to keep some hope inside…
Night is falling. There are only two hours left until the exit closes. Monsters in the secret land are waking up from their dormancy. Guarding the exit, Wen and his brothers have already killed several waves of reckless little monsters.
This is only the beginning. When the exit will close in one hour, Wen has to send everybody out.
Li Xi’er is forced out of the light curtain, so is Goldie. Qu Yiren and the others can’t understand why she doesn’t want to leave, and Wen never explains.
No one else but the Huaxia cultivators are still standing on the path of flowers.
They will not be able to enter the secret land after walking through the light curtain.
They are waiting. They are waiting for their powerful Sister Lin to appear with a flash of sword.
They wait till the second before the underwater path disappears. Lin Luoran doesn’t show up.
Though Wen Guanjing tells everyone that Lin may have been teleported out, no one is relieved.
Holding anxious Goldie in her arms, Li Xi’er runs to the “elevator”. Goldie’s wings ruin lots of flowers along the path. Tears fall down when no one can see her face.
Sister Lin, you will come back, right?
Crystal, Lin’s “old acquaintance”, chooses to leave by teleporting.
Standing on an open field, Crystal commands the bat sitting on her shoulder to suck up the blood of a single-horned crocodile.
The feeling makes Crystal comfortable like a junkie who just took a bunch of pills.
She never realizes how much she enjoys killing. Since she caught the vampire bat sent by the black shadow Venerable and bonded it with herself, Crystal has been feeling that her strength is doubled. Every time the bat drinks blood, Crystal receives most of the refined energy.
She is becoming strong day by day!
Of course, blood is the fortune of vampires!
Crystal is reluctant to leave, but time is up. Though she is arrogant, she is fully aware that she is not able to fight any of the high-level monsters. Hence, she grabs the jade in her hand and teleports out.
In the dazzling light, Crystal doesn’t see the vampire bat she tamed. Suddenly, she rolls her eyes and hides her surprise.
Not everybody can stand the pain of teleporting. Crystal appears on the platform over the sea and almost pukes.
A woman in Kimono is also teleported to the platform.
Her clothes are a mess. She must have just escaped from a dangerous situation.
Enduring the pain, Crystal’s gaze sweeps across the faces on the cruise. She sneers at Dana, who is standing gently on the deck.
Crystal looks at the Huaxia cultivators — they are quite lucky to still have nine members back! However, the one who is not here, is Lin?
Crystal has mixed feelings. The Huaxia cultivators all seem to be disappointed. Are they expecting Lin to teleport out?
The platform over the sea is disappearing. Crystal twitches her mouth. The last chance of teleporting is gone. No one can teleport out when the platform is not here.
The beauty…is dead?
It’s such a pity — Crystal sighs. She spreads her wings and flies up. Her vampire bat opens its eyes and checks on the view of the sea at night greedily.