Plundering The Heavens - Chapter 31

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Chapter 31: Mount Miasma
Translator: Actias-Myriea
'So they actually want to use me as monster bait....'
Fang Xing had pretended to be asleep the entire time, but it was still a bit of a shock to him to
overhear their true intentions; his lips and brows tightened ever so slightly, and even such
minor changes to his face caught the attention of Hou Qing. Throughout the entire journey,
Fang Xing may have successfully played the part of a naive child perfectly, but Hou Qing had
heard it all from Liu: ’’He may be young, but he's exceptionally cunning and vicious.’’ Hou Qing
believed that Fang Xing had been too perfect.
Subconsciously, Hou Qing had kept a close eye on Fang Xing, and this was one of the main
reasons why Fang Xing had not been able to escape along the way. At the exact moment the
small changes appeared on Fang Xing's face, Fang Xing himself also realized it should not have
happened and that he had exposed a tear in his disguise. Hastily thinking up a cover, Fang Xing
turned his body and muttered out, ’’This Spirit Stone is from Shixiong Hou! You all stay away
from it....’’
Seeing this, Hou Qing relaxed, a faint smile replacing his expression.
Shixiong Lyu heard the same and laughed, speaking almost in a whisper, ’’Looks like Shidi Fang
does get bullied quite a lot in the sect, too. He's now seeing you, 'Shixiong Hou', as a giant tree
with plenty of shade to protect him! Aii, I've actually taken quite a liking to him within the past
few days. If there's another way, how about we think of it? So that his life can be spared?’’
’’Humph. Shixiong Lyu, don't you sound like you're not taking this seriously enough?’’ a ghastly
voice interrupted Lyu. It belonged to the other third-tier disciple, Qian, and no one knew when
he had moved closer to the two. With an icy voice, he continued on, ’’I know you've always had a
soft spot for things like this, but this is no time for child's play. By sacrificing the kid, it'll
reduce so much of our risk; what can you have against this? You should have seen him as
nothing more than a walking corpse the moment we left the sect.’’
Lyu looked awkwardly to Qian and quietly sighed. ’’You are right. I've gotten all soft again.’’
As though Lyu had forced himself to toughen up, he proceeded to talk to the rest of the group
about the details of the plan and how they would best make use of their ’’bait’’. It seemed Lyu
had been invited on the mission because of his extreme familiarity with the Python Toad's
habits, and as they went deeper into the details of how the plan was going to be performed,
Fang Xing could feel an increased heat buzzing within his brain upon hearing the horrors they
were going to put him through.
As it turned out, in order for the Python Toad to smell both human blood and Qi at the same
time, they were going to stab Fang Xing in all eighteen of the most Qi-abundant acupoints on
his body. Then, by destroying his entire dantian[1], his Qi would have nowhere to return to and
the blood and Qi would both pour out. They would finally nail Fang Xing inside the trap they
had prepared earlier, and Fang Xing's cries of pain would make him a perfectly-presented
gourmet treat to lure in the beast.

This was more than just using Fang Xing as monster bait. This was a monstrous act in itself.
If they were to use Fang Xing only to tempt the beast, there might still be a chance for him to
survive, but their methods would ensure his life would end. Even if he were to somehow
narrowly escape his death, he would be left so crippled that it may as well not even matter.
'You soulless bastards....' While Fang Xing cursed in his head, he flipped to the other side once
more, covering the already soaked back of his robe from view.

’’Hey kiddo, wake up!’’ A fiendish Zhao kicked Fang Xing in the early morning and since Fang
Xing was still half asleep Qian joined in with two more kicks.
Within only a single night, all four of them had changed their attitudes towards him
completely. As if to prevent themselves from becoming a second soft-hearted Lyu, all four of
them had begun to abuse Fang Xing both physically and verbally.
Fang Xing didn't mind the change. He knew exactly why they had begun to act like this and had
seen it all back at Guiyan Valley; when following the lead for a robbery, those who were
normally kindhearted would typically become even more ferocious than those who were truly
immoral. It was all to compensate for their sense of remorse and guilt.
Even Lyu had changed. While he did not abuse Fang Xing directly, he had become quiet and
isolated himself. Fang Xing didn't give too much thought to such changes in attitudes and
instead stopped pretending to get closer to them as well. He only did as he was told and stayed
away from trouble.
After two more days, the party of five had arrived in front of a majestic mountain. The
mountain range stretched farther than the eye could see before disappearing into a thick smog
while low-hanging clouds covered the peaks and obscured just how tall each mountain
stretched. With but a single glance, it was possible to see the cliffs and stones arrayed in a
dangerous, unpredictable pattern, and the ear could pick up the howls of wild beasts coming
from deeper within. Altogether, the locale was heavy with a terrifying, ominous aura that clung
to every orifice.
Even the well-tamed Dragon Horses began to grow restless as they closed in towards the
mountain.
’’This is Mount Miasma. Legend has it that a few hundred years ago, it was the home of a beast
with its cultivation at the Foundation Stage that was eventually killed by a group of cultivators
from the Feilin Cave, although those cultivators all died in the battle as well. While there
haven't been any sightings of Foundation Stage beasts since then, there is still a myriad of
creatures and beasts in the third and fourth tier of the Spirit Stage, and our target the Python
Toad is one of these.’’ Hou Qing gazed meaningfully towards the mountain range in front of
him. With a sigh, he ordered the rest of the party to feed their Dragon Horses a Hibernation Pill
before storing the Dragon Horses into their bags.
A Hibernation Pill did exactly what it implied: after its consumption, the consumer would fall
into a deep state of sleep as though in hibernation, their bodies would harden and they would
no longer feel any sensations. With this, they could be stored in storage bags or rings and be
released when they were needed in the future, whereupon they would be fed an antidote to
return to their normal selves. Only a small amount of damage would be done to their bodies
with each use, and the accumulated damage would only show itself later on.

Since the storage bags were vacuum spaces with their own dimension, a living creature that
hadn't taken a Hibernation Pill would be suffocated to death once inside.
Mount Miasma was extremely dangerous, and especially since the Dragon Horses were easily
startled by the scent of beasts, their only option was to enter the range by foot. Fang Xing had
been sandwiched between the men as they proceeded into the area, each one of them ordered by
Hou Qing to keep a close eye on him; in the past few days, Hou Qing had noticed that Fang Xing
was indeed not as innocent as he had appeared to be.
Without any other option, Fang Xing followed the men just as he had been ordered. He was
emotionless as he tried his best to think of a way to escape the mess that would otherwise find
him.
Once they'd entered the smog, it became clear that the mountain itself was even more arduous
than it had initially appeared to be. Deadly snakes and insects roamed freely, and it was
fortunate that all five of them were cultivators. The pellets used to repel these creatures were
basic items that everyone would have a ready supply of, and even those beasts that had
managed to cultivate Qi who were not afraid of the pellet would be cut in half by Hou Qing
after they came within a certain distance of the party.
The movements of Hou Qing's sword were fast and sleek, and even if someone was to ignore his
cultivation level, his martial arts skills would also be on par with those masters in the mortal
realm. It was no wonder he was known as the most powerful outer court disciple of the Qing-
Yun Sect!

NOTES
[1]dantian: As its last appearance was in chapter 4, dantian, or in this case 气海 (lit. sea of Qi,
which is essentially the same as dantian in this case) refers to the region in the body where a
person's Qi is concentrated, located below the belly button. It is an important focal point for
meditative and exercise techniques.



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