Xuefeng's group looked at each other and stayed behind. The whole purpose of leaving the Cultivators alive was to use them as bait and test the Thunder Goddess' strength. They were all bound to die either way. Xuefeng couldn't leave any chances of being disturbed when fighting her.
"Alright! You all know what to do!" the leader called out excitedly before starting the countdown. "On my signal! Three! Two! One! Go!"
All Cultivators momentarily set off, launching through the bright exit with all their protection barriers deployed. No one seemed to underestimate the dangers in the third level.
"Team Eight! Why are you not moving?!" the leader questioned sternly when only Xuefeng's group stayed behind. "Time is of the essence! You will lose your chance!"
"Why are you not going then?" Xuefeng asked back casually, throwing them off. The leader from the Dark Fate Sect and his two subordinates didn't look eager to go inside.
"We are coordinating the whole operation. It's natural for us to stay behind," the leader replied with a frown, only to freeze out of his will.
"You are useless to us then," Nuwa commented, invading their Souls to kill them one by one. Their bodies instantly dropped from the air, displaying the power of Soul Arts.
"Whoa…" Dandan widened her eyes. "That was fast."
Everyone else was already used to the impulsive Nuwa, so they didn't bat an eye.
"They were dead meat anyway," Nuwa shrugged as she casually collected their Storage Rings. "If I can kill them without effort, there is no reason to prolong it."
"We work smarter, not harder," Xuefeng explained as he led the way, walking towards the edge of the exit. A bright light assaulted them before they finally witnessed the whole new world paint itself in front of them.
Just as Xuefeng saw in his vision, the third level of the Hellhole was strange, having both the sun and the vast sky spreading throughout the horizon. Trees, rivers, and endless grasslands made them feel like they found themselves in a different Realm.
Xuefeng was about to peek down to check how high the drop was when Ming stopped him halfway.
'Wait, there is something strange ahead,' Ming informed before appearing next to him. "I can sense weird fluctuation of Qi in front of us."
She wrapped her hand with Fate Qi and reached out to check. To everyone's surprise, Ming's palm collided with an invisible barrier.
"I knew it was impossible for a world this vast to exist underneath the Heaven Realm," Ming commented as she pulled away. "I have no idea how or who did it, but this barrier acts like an always active passageway to another Realm. One won't even realize they left the Heaven Realm since it doesn't have any restrictions in place."
Ming formed a small ball of Fate Qi and sent it inside with no disturbance to prove her point.
"Cultivators and Qi can flow through the passageway, which would explain why the Hellhole has all nine Elemental Qi in the air," Ming pointed out while squinting her eyes. "Whoever created this Realm was skilled enough to connect it to the Heaven Realm. Technically they are two separate Realms but practically, they act like one."
"Is that something to worry about?" Xuefeng asked seriously, seeing Ming wasn't exactly happy about it.
"It's not something to worry about unless the creator of this Realm decides to close the passageways, making it impossible to return. They should have full control over it, which worries me. We should be careful inside," Ming warned. "I don't think we would be able to bring everyone outside in time if we can't handle the danger."
The only way to travel between Realms was the cube, and they didn't charge it yet. They emptied it after their recent travels between Lands, so If the Thunder Goddess ended up exceeding his expectations, it would be over for them. ...
"Alright, listen up," Xuefeng clapped to gather their attention. "I want all of you to empty your pockets from all Fate Stones you own. We don't have any other choice."
"Oh, come on!" Drakos immediately protested as he bit into another Fate Stone. "Why do we have to empty our stock? I finally got a new stash to continue Cultivating whenever I want."
He pointed at the new Realm ahead of them and suggested, "Can't we just take some from there? Fate Stone Ore is everywhere."
Drakos didn't exaggerate when he used it as an argument. Besides the beautiful scenery, the countless large Fate Stone crystals sticking out from the ground were present all over the place. Just a few of them would be enough to charge the cube for another usage.
"We will wait for everyone to come back and then we will rob them first. If that's not enough, I will need everyone's assistance," Xuefeng compromised as they had to wait anyway. "We are still yet to see the Thunder Goddess appear."
"Deal!" Drakos accepted eagerly only to pull out more Fate Stones as if trying to eat as many as he could. Xuefeng only rolled his eyes but before he said anything, Yiren was already there.
Just her presence alone made Drakos slow down while running away from his natural predator.
"If I may ask a question, who is this Thunder Goddess?" Ryan asked, changing the topic. "They also mentioned some thunder lady. Is she our target?"
"That's right," Xuefeng nodded. "She has a Thunder Stone that I need for my Elemental Bracelet."
He didn't need to hide anything as Ryan would find out anyway later on.
"Oh, I see. I guess she must be—" Ryan spoke but was cut off in the middle as a loud beast roar disturbed them.
With a quick look, they noticed tens of beasts ran towards the Cultivators with a crazed look in their eyes. The Beasts didn't look very happy at the visitors, but something else looked off.
"There is one more thing I forgot to mention earlier. If the creator of this Realm is still alive, they will know if anyone enters their Realm," Ming reported as she glanced at organized beasts that ran in a formation. "It seems like they already got discovered."
The teams that extracted ore were only halfway done so multiple teams flew forward and prepared a defensive formation, ready to face the wave of beasts. Unfortunately, it wasn't their lucky day.
Out of nowhere, a ball of golden lightning appeared right about them in the sky and immediately burst out, sending a shockwave that instantly struck them. They didn't even have the chance to defend themselves before their bodies evaporated.
"Thunder lady! Everyone ru—!" Cultivators screamed in panic at the sudden attack yet a woman who came out of the Golden Lightning had no mercy in her eyes.
She extended her two arms and Lightning formed into two snakes that snapped their maws at the nearest cultivators, swallowing them one by one. The Beasts were just a diversion to distract them while she came without a warning, taking them out on her own.
Ryan's mouth was wide open as he stared at her purple hair floating in the wind. "Ehem… About that stone you wanted… Good luck," Ryan muttered as he gave Xuefeng a supportive pat on the shoulder.
The Beasts respected Thunder Goddess and stopped their charge as she cleaned the place from any souls. Their surroundings suddenly turned silent but instead of leaving, her gaze fell at the exit, locking on Xuefeng's eyes.