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Chapter 0665: Crisis upon Crisis
Ning Cheng couldn’t help but turn sombre on the thought of seeing so many statues in front and all around him. It immediately induced a significant amount of fear in his heart. From the looks of it, these statues definitely could attack. Most likely, these statues attacked if someone walked into their attack range. But could he avoid all of them?
Knowing that these statues could attack cloaked in stealth, Ning Cheng immediately decided to avoid coming close to them while in action. He did not feel any interest in figuring out what was going on, his cultivation was still ordinary in this place. It was already pushing it just to protect himself after coming here.
“Dao Friend Ning….” Just as Ning Cheng was about the leave the range of the statues, a weak call came from somewhere behind him.
Ning Cheng felt a little familiarity from the voice. He immediately turned around and honed in on another statue no far from him. When he saw the figure, he couldn’t help but speak out feeling incredulous, “Brother Song?!”
This statue looked exactly as Song Chengbo but was slightly different from the other statues that he had seen. The ‘skin’ of this statue was only light grey in colour, unlike the deep grey or even black colour of the other statues. Moreover, the skin over Song Chengbo’s face also had blood dripping from it, which made it completely different from the other statues.
“Brother Song, what’s the matter with you?” Although Ning Cheng asked Song Chengbo, he could already vaguely guess a few things.
Song Chengbo’s voice grew weaker by the moment, “I don’t have much time. Please do me a favour….”
“Wait….” Ning Cheng knew that Sang Chengbo wanted to speak about what happened, but he immediately interrupted, “Is there any way to reverse this situation?”
“There are two Transformational Spiritual Rattans in my storage ring, which can reverse the assimilation of my Spiritual Qi…..” Song Chengbo did not continue to explain but rather spoke with a pleading look, “It’s too late for me. You can have these Transformation Spiritual Rattans. Please help me deliver a letter…..”
As Song Chengbo spoke till here, he simply couldn’t talk anymore. Even his eyes had involuntarily closed. At the same time, the colour of his skin also grew darker, including his face. At this moment, his previously somewhat ruddy face had disappeared entirely.
Ning Cheng raised his hand and quickly grabbed Song Chengbo’s storage ring, and used his Spiritual Consciousness to pierce through the restrictions covering Song Chengbo’s storage ring. Although Song Cheng’s cultivation surpassed Ning Cheng, his attainments in understanding array formations and Spiritual Consciousness were not necessarily better compared to Ning Cheng. Ning Cheng quickly broke the restrictions and opened Song Chengbo’s storage ring.
Ning Cheng understood why Song Chengbo wanted to give him the Transformation Spiritual Rattan and not let it go waste on saving him. That’s because he was worried that Ning Cheng wouldn’t be able to take it out in time or maybe he wouldn’t do it at all. Facing a Heaven Seated Expert on the verge of death, others would only think about ways of obtaining the ring of a Heaven Seated Powerhouses. Who would willingly try to save such people? Moreover, Song Chengbo most likely believed that Ning Cheng couldn’t even open the storage ring belonging to a Heaven Seated Expert. How could anyone open the storage ring without Spiritual Consciousness? Even if one could use their Spiritual Consciousness inside of this place, a Heaven’s Mandate Cultivator would not be able to open the storage ring belonging to a Heaven Seated Expert in a short time.
But apparently, he did not know that a freak like Ning Cheng existed. He didn’t know that Ning Cheng could easily open his ring, which meant that Ning Cheng could save him.
Even if one had never seen a Transformation Spiritual Rattan before, Ning Cheng, as a Grade 6 Celestial River Pill King, quickly located the Transformational Spiritual Rattan within Song Chengbo’s storage ring.
The storage ring indeed contained two Transformation Spiritual Rattans. Ning Cheng took one of the Transformation Spiritual Rattan, raised his hands, and quickly extracted a few drops of Spiritual Liquid from the Transformation Spiritual Rattan before letting it fly into Song Chengbo’s mouth.
In just a few breaths, Ning Cheng felt shocked to see Song Chengbo’s almost petrified body slowly softening up. The grey colour over his face also started to fade away slowly replaced by the previous ruddy complexion. The grey colour slowly retreated from his face and soon receded to his hands, while gradually fading away, like snow melting under sunlight.
Song Chengbo finally opened his eyes, and Ning Cheng could see a glimmer of shock and surprise mixed with gratitude flash through them. Apparently, he realised that Ning Cheng must have fed him a few drops of the Spiritual Liquid from the Transformational Spiritual Rattan. The gratitude Song Chengbo felt simply could not be conveyed with mere words. Therefore, he quickly closed his eyes and started operating his heavenly cycle.
With Song Chengbo actively taking control of the situation within his body, the grey colour covering his body started quickly to recede. After an incense stick worth of time, Song Chengbo reopened his eyes and took in a long breath before standing up.
The recovered Song Chengbo bowed towards Ning Cheng and said, “Brother Ning, many thanks for saving my life. Without you, this Song Chengbo would have ceased to exist in this world.”
Ning Cheng smiled and returned Song Chengbo’s storage ring to him and said, “Brother Song, since we’re friends, just a simple thank you would have sufficed. But what is going on in this place? How did you end up almost assimilated into a clay sculpture? Moreover, since you have the Transformational Spiritual Rattan, why did you keep it in your storage ring?”
Ning Cheng felt a bit confused while he pondered over such actions and the situation around him. Since Song Chengbo knew that he couldn’t use his Spiritual Consciousness in this place, then wouldn’t he also see that it would be useless to keep the Transformation Spiritual Rattan in his storage ring?
Song Chengbo gave out a sigh, “Brother Ning, let’s talk about this later. This Song Chengbo’s greatest fortune in his life was to meet a friend so open and above-board like Brother Ning. I do not have anything to say about what Brother Ning wants to do in the future, but if you have any need of me, I will never go back on it nor would I do it half-heartedly.”
Ning Cheng not only returned his storage ring, but he also had saved him. In such a cruel place, showing such favour was on the same level as trying to surmount the heavens. What’s more, he had even resigned himself to let Ning Cheng have the storage ring, but he simply couldn’t manage to speak out those words before losing consciousness.
Ning Cheng shrugged his shoulders and said, “Brother Song, there’s no need to talk about it. Why don’t you tell me about these statues here, are these statues all cultivators?”
Song Chengbo nodded before speaking up with a solemn voice, “That’s right, these statues are all transformed cultivators who came in from the outside. However, although they were all cultivators like us in the past, most of these statues have no remaining life in them. If Brother Ning had not saved me, I would have completely transformed into a statue and would have never woken up again. As for those statues, which can still attack, those cultivators were all experts within experts when alive. Although these experts had already transformed into sculptures for thousands of years, they can still attack anyone who invariantly comes in within their attack range.”
Ning Cheng sucked in a breath of cold air. Even Song Chengbo, with a Heaven Seated Cultivation, almost died to these sculptures, if not for his intervention. If that was the case, then what was the cultivation of those who had transformed into statues over countless years ago and yet could still attack people? Were they all powerhouses beyond the Eternal Realm?
“No wonder Brother Ning could roam alone in the void. You can even bring out your Spiritual Consciousness outside the Temple of Falling Stars. At least, I’ve never seen anyone capable of doing it. The Temple of Falling Stars is actually called the Temple of Fallen Stars, and this place is just the outer periphery of the Temple of Fallen Stars. For cultivators who do not understand this place, they would perhaps think that the Spacial Wind Edges are the most dangerous things here. But the fact is, the most dangerous things in this place are these clay statues. If it weren’t for Brother Ning, I would have definitely died in this place.”
Song Chengbo still felt immensely grateful towards Ning Cheng. If Ning Cheng had initially teamed up with them, there was still a slight chance that Ning Cheng would have saved him. But Ning Cheng was only a passer-by, yet he even chose to help him.
Ning Cheng smiled, “Brother Song doesn’t have to worry about such trifling matters. Does whoever gets attacked by those clay statues get assimilated into a statue too?”
“That’s right, but it doesn’t happen when the statue attacks you. For the start of the assimilation process of transforming into a statue, those statues would not only have to attack you but also draw blood from you. Once attacked by the statues and it managed to draw blood, one must immediately take out and use the Transformation Spiritual Rattan. Otherwise, no one would be able to save you. I had four Transformational Spiritual Rattans, out of which I kept two within reach on the outside, but that bastard backstabbed me….. Sigh, let’s not talk about it.” Song Chengbo still held some fear in his heart while he tried to explain.
Ning Cheng guessed that something must have happened between him and his teammates, but Ning Cheng did not ask about it. Just when he was about to ask about the situation inside the Temple of Fallen Stars, Song Chengbo spoke up, “These statues at the periphery of the gravel desert are just the outer edge of the Temple of Fallen Stars, after which comes the Wood Transformation Forest. The last time I came here, I had obtained a Great Heaven Essence Fruit from the periphery of the Wood Transformation Forest. Brother Ning, no matter what, you must not step inside the Wood Transformation Forest. Even if you could use your Spiritual Consciousness, you should only explore the forest’s periphery. You will definitely die if you go in.”
Ning Cheng questioned, “Brother Song, is the Wood Transformation Forest the same as the statues here in the gravel desert. Would your body transform into wood if you ended up entangling with the wooden-attributed things inside?”
Song Chengbo’s expressions turned even more dignified, “That’s right, but the Wood Transformation Forest is also significantly different from the statues in the gravel desert. The statues here are quite spread apart, and only a few statues here would take the initiative to attack others who come too close to them. However, in the Wooden Transformation Forest, there is vegetation everywhere. If you get caught in it even by accident, you’ll never be able to get out alive. If you can’t escape, you’ll end up turning into another piece of wood in just a dozen breaths. More importantly, the Transformational Spiritual Rattan cannot reverse the situation of transforming into wood. However, I do know that if one searches around the periphery of the Wood Transformation Forest, one would eventually encounter a Great Heaven Essence Fruit.”
“Many thanks for this reminder; otherwise, I most likely would have fallen.” Ning Cheng gave out a sigh. At the same time, he also understood the meaning of the phrase ‘saving people was saving oneself’. Looks like this phrase really had some truth to it. Otherwise, if he had stepped into the Wood Transformation Forest unknowingly, wouldn’t it result in his death?
Song Chengbo returned the remaining unused Transformational Spiritual Rattan to Ning Cheng and said, “Brother Ning, I’m going out. As for this Transformational Spiritual Rattan, I found them outside the Wood Transformation Forest. You can keep it with you to use later.”
“Doesn’t Brother Song plan on going in?” Ning Cheng asked.
Song Chengbo shook his head, “I’m not going in. What I came here looking for has already been taken away. It wouldn’t make any sense for me to go in again.”
Ning Cheng did not try to persuade Song Chengbo. Since Song Chengbo did not want to head in, then he would go alone to explore.
“Brother Ning, before I leave, there is something else I want to share with you.” Song Chengbo took the initiative to share things with Ning Cheng, “First of all, you should not think that these statues here would only attack the cultivators coming near them to transform into statues. In fact, there are some precious statues in this place. Some of these cultivators-turned-statues cultivated some Grand Spirit Techniques before their death. Therefore, their clay statues would contain some powerful spirit technique laws, which others can try to understand. Moreover, there are also some statues here, which seem to contain nothing on the surface. But the fact is, they would have many things hidden within their bodies.”
“Many thanks for Brother Song’s advice.” Ning Cheng understood that this information was not something that one could buy.
Song Chengbo pointed to the distance, “Second, the Wood Transformation Forest surrounds the Temple of Fallen Stars from all sides; therefore, as long as you can pass through the Wood Transformation Forest, it is possible to enter the Temple of Fallen Stars. I heard that the inside of the Temple of Fallen Stars contains countless starry sky treasures. But your cultivation is still too low to go there. I suggest that you temporarily put aside the idea of entering the Temple of Fallen Stars.”
“Take care of yourself. I’ll be leaving now. Oh, yes, if you want to come out, you don’t have to worry about directions. As long as you keep walking straight in any direction and you would eventually reach the two giant pillars. I’m going to find that bastard to settle some scores. If I don’t die, let’s meet up in Eternal Night City.” After Song Chengbo finished, he cupped his fists towards Ning Cheng and quickly disappeared.
 堕星庙 – Temple of Fallen Stars, 坠星庙 – Temple of Falling Stars. It’s a bit of a wordplay here as 堕 and 坠 mean the same thing, i.e. ‘to fall’. But to make the differentiation here, I chose to use ‘Falling’ and ‘Fallen’.
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