The two men regained their consciousness, they were indeed from two separate factions and one even mentioned that his clan brother had been slain by some other monsters not long ago. This brought the number of core formation elders up to seven, three had passed away in the jungle filled with game monsters.
The first man had a full beard and black hair, his stature was average the same as his height. His hair was all over the place, the days in the jungle weren’t kind to this man as he looked a bit sickly probably some side effects from the spider venom. The second gentleman looked like a Shaolin monk. He had six dots on his forehead and a long white beard that went to about his navel, he was even wearing large round beads around his neck.
The first man’s name was from a clan called the Kwok clan, and the baldy wasn’t from a clan at all but instead from some kind of small Buddhist sect. It was quite a low-level sect, core formation cultivators were the strongest warriors that they possessed. The name of the sect was Tranquil Lotus Sect and it was also participating in this expedition to earn some resources and favor with the dark palm sect.
Matt’s attention moved to the dark-haired elder though, he was grasping his hair tightly, eyes bulging out and red, his brows furrowed.
“Blasted Dark Palm Sect, they lied to us… we are doomed…”
He kept holding onto his head and trembling, he was seemingly in shock as he kept mumbling to himself and not really paying attention to the group that had rescued him. He was firmly slapped into shape by the Huo clan young master, that was getting annoyed by how he didn’t even thank them for the rescue.
“What are you mumbling about you old fart, get a hold of yourself, what is this about the dark palm sect?”
The man looked up at the crimson-haired man, then at the other people that were staring at him as he let out an uncomfortable sounding laugh.
“Ah ha ha, don’t you understand… they played us all… there will be no reward… there is no treasure, we will all die here…”
Everyone looked at him suspiciously, the man knew something that they didn’t.
“Oh, why would you say such a thing?”
Matt chimed in moving closer, as he was afraid that his new brother would do something drastic to the man that lost his marbles. The man just looked at him and took out some kind of jade, it looked like some kind of more advanced communication jade but it was a bit cracked. He threw it on the ground and started talking, even without the other people having to ask.
“The Sect contacted us a couple of months ago, they mentioned this forsaken place and promised treasures and riches if we took this communication jade with us and reported what was in the secret ground to them.”
“We didn’t think much of it, we only thought that we would go in and leave. They must have blocked most of the information about this place, we just assumed the previous people were incompetent…”
The man slumped onto his knees, clearly not thinking that he could get out of this alive.
“But there hasn’t been any word from outside and these monsters just keep coming, they never stop.”
Matt placed his hand on the man’s shoulder thanks to his tranquil will he was able to somewhat calm other people down. The calming feeling washed over the nervous cultivator, that slowly started to calm himself down.
“Calm down, Everyone knows that we were probably sent here as some kind of experiment, but if we stay together we still stand a chance.”
Kwok Xun looked up at the man that had a strange positive outlook on things, he could feel that the cultivator was quite powerful, probably being in the great circle of core formation but he wasn’t quite sure. He wanted to believe him, but after having spend weeks running away and battling strange monsters he was just tired.
“You should listen to brother Dong, but we can also just leave you here if you are going to be a hindrance.”
Huo Qiang chimed in, Matt’s brows furrowing as he started threatening the dude that had PTSD. Though it showed some effects as after calming down, the man went red in the face with rage and jumped up.
“Me? a hindrance?”
He glared at the younger crimson-haired man, who was just grinning back not really caring one way or the other. In his opinion it would probably be better to just leave this guy here, why would they need someone that was a coward? Though when he looked at Zhang Dong, looking for approval he found the man staring daggers at him which made his smile turn upsidedown.
‘What are you doing you meat for brains, I even managed to calm him down and you riled him up again.’
“I’m sure you were through a lot, but so were all of us, before brother Dong came and rescued us all.”
Feng Liena moved in, she was carrying herself a bit differently than usual. Matt expected her to threaten the guy, or even try to give him a couple of smacks. Instead, she was quite calm, she was talking softly while keeping eye contact and with a gentle smile on her face. Was this her normal character when she dropped the female lead act? She also called him brother without the little part, which was a sign of progress.
While the tanned beauty was talking, he glanced to the baldy on the side. The man was remaining silent while sitting down, he was clearly in a cultivation position and by the Qi signature, he was trying to heal his wounds. When he noticed Matt’s gaze on him, he just nodded while clasping his hands, probably just his way of saying thank you.
Kwok Xun looked at the lady, then back to Huo Qiang who turned his face to the side, seemingly embarrassed when the woman mentioned that he was rescued by Zhang Dong as well. The man let out a long sight before nodding and turning to Matt, he made a decision.
“Well, if you are willing I will accompany you.”
The man proclaimed while thinking that he didn’t have any other choice if he wanted to survive.
The group got reorganized, they had seven members now which meant that the overall battle strength had increased. Matt wasn’t sure how to arrange the group this time around, but he decided to put the girls in the middle, the two new arrivals were in the back with mutton chops elder and he and Qiang were in the front.
They tracked along and finally, they spotted a change of scenery. There were two massive mountain ranges to the side, going straight up into the clouds. This mountain range formed a path of some sort as the path to the sides was blocked by them and the path forward was getting narrower with each step. It looked like the secret ground wanted them to move between these two mountains soon enough they figured out why.
There was a clearing, in that clearing stood a massive monster. It looked somewhat like a snake but it had two large legs protruding from the front part and the middle body part was a lot thicker than the rear tail part, it also had two serpent heads. They were a bit away from the thing that looked like the guardian of this area, behind it was a large gate embedded into bedrock.
“I bet the next area is past that gate… we either have to beat this monster of sneak past it?”
The group looked at the monster while thinking about possible ways of getting through. Matt didn’t think sneaking was an option, the gate would probably only open after the monster was slain and busting through it would probably be more difficult than killing the boss that was guarding it.
|Netherserpent [ Core formation late stage ]|
‘Hm, only in the late stage?’
Matt thought that a final boss would be stronger than the minibosses like the goblin chieftain he came upon in the jungle.
‘Maybe the jungle part is harder than the actual boss?’
The thing was just standing there, probably waiting for trespassers to get into its domain. The party of cultivators was eager to move on, they spent many weeks in that godforsaken jungle and just wanted to get out of here. Matt couldn’t really see any problems in attacking this monster as it didn’t pose much of a threat so he decided to move forward along with the strongest members of his party to back him up.
Firing of range attacks was still not working out so the warriors had to get close and personal. The moment they got into what the monster deemed as its territory, it gave off a loud roar. It thumped with it two huge legs making the ground shake, but instead of running towards them it opened up that large snake-like mouth.
Everyone was a seasoned fighter so they knew what the monster was doing, part of them dodged to the left while some to the right as the breath attack was fired off by the green beast. One snakehead was breathing regular crimson fire, while the other was blue in hue turning the ground to ice the moment it connected.
“Can you get its attention?” Matt shouted out.
“Leave it to us, brother Dong!” Huo Qiang replied as he moved in closer towards one of the heads along with his retainer.
Feng Liena moved over to the other head with the other cultivators, pelting it with weakened ranged attacks the serpent head snapping angrily at them as they came closer.
It didn’t take long for Zhang Dong to move closer, he waited for the monster to fire off its breath attack at his party members. Soon the time came, sword Qi formed around his longsword that gave out a humming noise as if it was resonating with his energies. Just as the left head closed its mouth, moving slightly upwards to charge its attack up he moved in. He stacked his condensation and avatar form onto each other for a speed an power boost, vanishing from everyone’s sight for a fraction of a second and appearing behind the monster head that he was aiming at, the sword already having drawn blood.
The monster’s head flew up into the air and flopped onto the ground, green blood gushing like a geyser from the stump. The monster’s remaining head quickly looked at the giant wound, eyes all read as it looked at the person that delivered the blow. The man in question only looked at it, a smile on his face.
“Shouldn’t you really be looking at me?”
The monster, of course, didn’t reply as it was getting ready to burn the puny human with its fire breath but before it could do that if felt something coming from behind. When it turned around, it saw a fist clad in fire coming right for it the creature couldn’t react and got sucker-punched right on the chin. It fell backward, its lower jaw popping out if the joint and just flopping against its elongated neck in a gruesome fashion.
Matt didn’t really need to do much now, the other cultivators overwhelmed the monster with sheer numbers. It couldn’t use its mouth anymore or use its breathing skill either. The serpent quickly turned into a punching bag, the ending came after Liena managed to decapitate the remaining head with the help of her battle fans.
The heads remained on the ground, the monster was slain and unmoving.
“Haha, there still might be hope.”
Kwok Xun declared while giving one of the giant heads a kick. But Matt was still remaining vigilant, the large gate wasn’t opening and he couldn’t really tell if the monster was really dead. He should have delivered the last hit, then he would know when the system gave him a prompt but now he could only wait and see.
Suddenly he felt something and quickly shouted.
“No… get back!”
Kwok Xun turned to Zhang Dong who was charging towards him, not knowing why. But when he turned to the head that he just kicked he saw something bursting out from it. He didn’t have enough time to react, only being able to watch as a metallic glint was swiping towards his neck. He then heard a sound of metal colliding with metal as Matt intercepted the attack that came for the cultivator’s neck.
What was standing there was a human-sized snake man, holding two large sabers and locked in a battle of strength with Zhang Dong. The smaller monster somehow jumped out from the cut of head of the previous slain beast. The same happened with the other severed head, the two snake men were both giving of different auras, one of fire while the second of ice.
“I’ll handle this one, go help the others with the other one…”
Matt managed to push the creature back, he already noticed that it was a lot faster and more diverse with its attacks than the regular Netherserpent. Luckily the remaining body didn’t seem like it would be turning into more monsters. These two were just slightly stronger than the larger beast and the surprise tactic would only work once, the peculiar thing about these two creatures was that no matter how much they stabbed and maimed them they just wouldn’t die.
If they chopped off its head again, it would just grow back instantly. The wounds on its body regenerated at an astonishing pace, the cultivators were slowly losing their stamina and Qi during the prolonged fight.
‘Are these creatures immortal? How do we beat them?’
Then an idea popped into Matt’s head as he moved. He sliced off both of his hands and legs, slamming it down to the ground, his foot placed on the monster’s chest as he held it down on the ground.
“Hey, quickly cut off the head of the one you are fighting!”
Matt shouted at the other cultivators, that didn’t think cutting its head would do anything but the team leader was saying it so they had to try. The moment the decapitation happened, Matt sprung into action. He cleaved downwards on the thrashing monster that was regenerating its limbs, being sure to decapitate it at the same time as the others did the other beast.
Just as planned the moment the two heads rolled onto the ground, the monster’s bodies started shaking. There was no regeneration anymore, the fight was over as the bodies dissolved into nothingness leaving only the sabers behind.
The large gates started creaking open and the cultivators could finally see what awaited them behind them. What it was, was a world filled with lava and a giant castle in the distance.