Lin Luoran feels that she is a jinx.
Lava is still rolling after a day. It keeps gathering.
The animals all start to panic because of this abnormality. They crowd into the higher spots on the platform in order to keep themselves safe in case the lava bursts into the sanctuary.
There are dozens of animals in various sizes and different levels of the food chain. At first, they lived in peace with each other because they were all refugees from the disaster. As the safe place in the sanctuary became smaller, a turmoil started as Lin expected.
The turmoil was started by an ant. It stepped into the territory of the gophers and one of the gophers ate the ant. Before the ant slipped into the gopher’s stomach, the other ants got angry and they sent an army.
A saying goes that a million ants are able to kill an elephant. Except for the gophers who are also super productive, other animals are normally not so stupid to drift into a fight with the ants.
Therefore, the other animals just sit by and watch.
The fight came to an end soon. The battleground was covered by the dead bodies of ants and gophers. The fittest survives in natural selection. Lin was fine with this.
What disgusted her was that the gophers and the ants later fought for the dead bodies on the ground. They were not collecting their enemies’ bodies as trophies. They fought for the bodies of their own… Lin thought that the gophers and the ants were about to bury their friends. Wen also was moved because he believed that the animals and insects also had feelings.
Soon enough, the reality slapped both Wen and Lin in the face.
The gophers dragged the dead gophers back and the ants dragged the dead ants back… Then, Lin witnessed a group of gophers tear apart the bodies of the dead gophers and eat them clean. The ants first gave the dead ants to their queen and they ate clean what was left.
Lin felt that her stomach was rolling. She needed a strong willpower to not throw up.
It was just like humans ate humans. While mating, female mantis would bite the male’s head off when the male wasn’t paying attention. The female one would eat the entire body of the male one, which would serve as the nourishment for its unborn baby… Let’s say that this is the way how mantises breed. However, why did the gophers and the ants do this when they were just stuck here for a day?
Were the ants take back the bodies of the dead ants because they were small and easy to carry? Were the gophers do that because the meat of the dead gophers can fill the alive one’s belly? If so, why did they start a fight…? It seemed that the gophers and the ants had planned to eliminate the old and the weak ones of their own in order to prepare for the crueler war against all the other animals.
Nevertheless, Lin really couldn’t accept the animals’ behavior of eating the dead bodies of the old and weak ones of their own.
Lin doesn’t worry about the shortage of food. She just hates to be harassed later — when the fight between the animals gets fiercer, the animals will set Wen and Lin as targets. This sanctuary is crowded with so many animals. Though these animals are not strong enough to threat Lin and Wen as the scorpion king did, Lin and Wen would have to fight for a while if the animals attacked them.
The first day in the sanctuary passes in the silence of Lin and Wen.
In the heat, both humans and the animals feel sleepy. Lin and Wen sit down back to back. Lin uses her spiritual mind, which is very weak now, to warn the cyan little fox not to leave her side. Then she returns tranquility and starts to cultivate.
Wen’s level of cultivation has dropped, but he doesn’t regret calling out the “Fire-proof Dome” before. This sanctuary is surrounded by lava and the fire Reiki around is abundant. He takes the chance and tries to restore his power.
Both of them are somehow anxious. They are in this situation because of the murals, yet they don’t have a clue about the murals… The inhibition in the relic in the desert is clearly the work of cultivators.
Did the inhibition cause the sudden sand sink, or were there somebody or something that wanted them to come to this underground world?
Wen clearly thinks deeper than Lin about these questions. He grew up in a family of cultivators so he has certain advantages over Lin. For example, information and materials — Wen is 100% sure that this underground world is unknown to humans.
There are abnormal animals, complex tunnels and glowing plants, herbs, and the Strange Fire… If this place were found by humans earlier, the world of cultivation would fight for this treasured place.
Therefore, the answer to the mystery of “the disappearance of cultivators on and above the level of Gathering Vitality” may be here. The problem is that he doesn’t know where to find it.
When Lin opens her eyes again, she sees the red glow on the walls around. This arched platform is as hot as before, which means that the lava is still around.
The cyan little fox is not in her arms.
Lin is surprised and she jumps up and looks for the little fox. Thank God that the cyan little fox is meters away from her and it is digging into the ground. Lin is relieved but then she frowns.
She was cultivating last night. How did she fall asleep?
Wen’s head is bowed. Lin holds back her anxiety and wakes Wen up.
The both of them fell asleep… This is not normal. In this environment, they were both cultivating with their guard up. How could they fall asleep?
Lin Luoran looks around. Many animals are sleeping too. The huge seal in the center of the platform is snoring and the gophers and the ants are soundly asleep.
However, gentle animals, such as the cyan little fox, the rabbits in the size of hounds, and the dear are not affected, or they have woken up earlier than Lin. These gentle animals are all digging into the ground.
If these gentle animals were not asleep, Lin should be the first one to wake up because her level of cultivation is the highest… Lin shivers. If she didn’t wake up, or she wasn’t the first, maybe she would have been taken away by some creatures?
Lin talks about this with Wen and both of them think that a “mysterious being” in a much higher level clearly lives in this underground world. Maybe it is the “curse from the demon” Yakee talked about. Maybe it is a powerful monster.
What on earth is it? A beast cultivator, the demon, or…a cultivator?
Lin Luoran gets worried. She is not afraid of a strong enemy, but she is scared by this strong enemy who doesn’t show up. This being is not only powerful but also thoughtful. Lin fears that this being may be hard to deal with.
“Squeak— ” The cyan little fox stops digging and throws something to Lin.
This is the root of some plant. Buried deep in the ground, there is a tender shoot on the root. If it were not dug out, the root would grow out of the ground when the right season comes.
“Is this for me?” Seeing that the little fox is making gestures to ask Lin to pick the root up, Lin finally comes to her sense. This little fox is so smart. Though it knows that they have caught some rabbits on the way here, it dug out the root anyway. Is it planning to save the root for the future?
Now, Lin Luoran realizes that all the rabbits and deer are also digging into the ground for the roots of plants or dry grass.
When Lin is moved by the adaptability of animals, she notices that Wen is worried. She tries to activate the atmosphere, “how about we roast a rabbit?”
As saying so, Lin takes out a rabbit from her space and passes it to Wen. Wen casts a spell and roasts the rabbit. The rabbit is so big that Lin, Wen, and the little fox can’t finish the meat. The little fox is so full that its belly pops out.
Of course, even so, the cyan little fox still keeps an eye on the root it dug out. It won’t let anyone get near the root.
The fragrance of roasted rabbit wakes the other animals up. Though the rabbit meat smells so good, the animals know that the two humans are powerful. They won’t come and mess with Lin and Wen until the last minute.
However, the animals are hungry. The predators, including the huge seal, start to attack the rabbits and the dear.
The rabbits and the deer run around, but the ground is covered with blood. The cyan little fox is startled by the screams and it buries its head in Lin’s arms. Lin frowns. Suddenly, Wen says,
“Sister Lin, these predators don’t attack the rabbits and dear just for food… Have you notice that the lava around us is gathering during the night? These rabbits and dear keep digging into the ground, the platform is sinking…”
If a wave of lava comes, the creatures in the sanctuary will all die except for Lin and Wen who can ride on the flying sword.
In fact, riding on the flying sword is not the best plan. Lin is not sure how far the sanctuary is from the outside world. She doesn’t know whether she will be able to dig a hole up and run away before the lava fills the sanctuary — Besides, Lin doesn’t want to leave now. She hasn’t found Baojia yet.
As soon as the thought comes into Lin’s mind, the roof of the sanctuary starts to shake. It’s like God is joking with her. Light pours in. Lin calls out a light dome over herself, Wen, and the little fox. The other animals are more or less hurt by the stones falling down.
When everything returns peaceful, Lin Luoran looks up. In the hazy light, she sees a woman riding on an animal whose four feet are on fire. They land on the ground.
The animals in the sanctuary are creeping on the ground, shivering. Lin and Wen are standing straight, eyes widely open because of surprise.
The woman looks around and murmurs to herself. She doesn’t get off the Fire-hoof Beast.
“Baojia— ” Lin Luoran calls out. Baojia is here. Lin can’t help feeling glad yet upset.
The woman looks at Lin with cold eyes. Her expressions are so indifferent, like Lin is a stranger to her.