John looked down at the now dead Bloodfiend Sect disciples that laid before him. Their bodies were quite mutilated, showing that their last few hours were quite excruciating.
John waved his hand, and the three bodies disappeared. He sat down, and began to ruminate over the information he had extracted from them. Adam watched John from the other side of the cavern, still shaken from what he had witnessed. He had never seen something so brutal.
John's mind replayed the conversation he had with the youths. It had taken quite a bit of 'effort' to get the answers out of them, but John was able to make them finally crack.
First, he had asked why they did not have spatial talismans, and they answered that only the most promising disciples of the Bloodfiend sect were given such a thing. The sect would never waste money on Outer Disciples like themselves.
John then asked about their purpose of coming into the wastelands, and the answer was expected. The Bloodfiend Sect wanted their disciples to look for treasures, and to also eliminate as many of the other sect disciples as possible. They would need to cover their tracks and not openly kill, as drawing the ire of all three sects would be quite burdensome, but as long as they could kill without being discovered, they were encouraged to do so.
Lastly, John asked about the 'promising disciples' that the sect cared about the most. According to the two disciples before John, there were seven total disciples that stood at the top of the Bloodfiend Sect. They were divided into two groups, and were known as the Four Kings and Three Emperors.
The Three Emperors stood at the very top of the youths that had entered, and all had cultivations at the Early Core Formation Realm. However, they were at the top of the early realm, and were primed to break through at any moment. Their combat prowess was considered to be impossible to beat in the same realm.
Below them were the Four Kings, who were also in the Early Core Formation Realm. Their strength was below the Three Emperors, but was still terrifying. Due to the nature of power reigning supreme in the Bloodfiend Sect, these disciples had been the ones to venture into the heart of the wastelands, and so the Outer and Inner Disciples had to settle for the scraps on the outside areas.
'I guess it makes sense why these three were all the way out here. They were forced to do so, as the central grounds have been claimed by the most powerful of their sect.'
John had asked about the combat abilities of the seven disciples, and any battle arts they knew. However, even the Bloodfiend Sect disciples did not know, as they had never seen them fight. John tried to probe for more information, but eventually, the two youths knew they were not getting out alive, and decided to kill themselves.
"Hahaha, you may be strong, but if you run into one of our Emperors or Kings, you're dead," the girl laughed as she sent a burst of Qi into her body, destroying her heart. The boy did the same.
'Early Core Formation, and about to break through to the Mid Core Formation Realm at any moment. It seems I really do need to raise my strength as much as possible while I venture into the heart of these lands.'
John sent his soulform into his palace realm, and stood before the corpses of the three youths. He quickly extracted their blood essence, and began to send it directly towards his body dantian. Due to the unique connection between the palace realm and his body dantian, John was able to send blood essence directly into it without anyone noticing.
To Adam, John was just sitting there quietly.
John had just been shy of breaking through to the Late Qi Condensation Realm for body cultivation back in the sect, and these three Late Qi Condensation youths was exactly what he needed to get over that final hurdle.
A muffled boom echoed inside John's body. His eyes slowly opened as he clenched his hands over and over, feeling his newfound body strength. Both his essence and body cultivations were now in the Late Qi Condensation Realm.
After feeling out his newfound strength, John suddenly stood up and walked over to Adam. Adam had already collected the remaining spirit crystals, and so there was no more value to being in the cave.
"Let's go," John said as he walked through the formation Adam had set up.
Adam nodded and followed closely, unsure of what to say. He was still recovering from what he had witnessed. As they began to leave the cave, John noticed Adam's disposition.
"This is how the cultivation world is. They tried to kill us, so it's only right that we can kill them," John said as he continued to walk forward.
"I..I know, but was the latter part really necessary?" Adam asked.
"As far as I'm concerned, if someone tries to kill me, their life is mine to do with as I please," John replied in a blunt tone. "You really need to harden your resolve, or you're going to die before long. The cultivation world does not accommodate the meek and timid."
"I know, it'll just take a while," Adam replied....
John nodded his head in approval. "At least you know this. If you had tried to reason with me into believing I was wrong and that I should have let them live, I would have left you right here and now," John replied.
The two of them left the cave, and inspected the outside area. They spotted no one else.
"Let's keep heading towards the central wastelands. We already found such a thing, I can't imagine what exists deeper into the lands."
John and Adam began to venture forth, and John was deep in thought once more.
'My body dantian is back to acting normal, which is good. I'll just have to keep a close eye on it from now on.'
John and Adam continued to walk deeper into the wastelands, and several dozen miles later, they came to a stop. Before them, patches of vegetation were starting to become visible in the barren wastelands. Although it was just grass for now, both John and Adam could see that in the very far distance, trees were visible.
"Plant life? Either they were resistant to the storm, or the storm didn't affect the central lands," John surmised. "Let's continue."
The two of them ventured forward, and the patches of grass soon became a dense field. Bushes began to pop up, then trees. Before long, it looked exactly the same as the lands directly outside the wastelands. Every direction was lush with vegetation.
As they crested over a small hill, a lake suddenly became visible below them. Its waters were crystal clear, and the sun shimmered brightly off the water's surface, making it appear quite beautiful. The lake was several miles wide, and large fish were seen swimming below the surface.
"Those are Soulspirit Carp!" Adam exclaimed as he rushed forward.
John quickly followed behind, and the two of them came to a stop directly at the shoreline.
"They really are Soulspirit Carp. Eating them boosts your soul strength slightly, and also aids your cultivation. They're extremely rare!" Adam exclaimed in an excited tone.
Adam was about to rush in to try to catch some, when John suddenly reached out and grabbed the neck of his robe.
"Gah!" Adam cried out as he was quickly dragged backwards.
Che! Che! Che!
Adam was about to yell at John and ask for an explanation, but his eyes went wide as he noticed a volley of arrows pierce the ground directly where he was standing previously. Had John not pulled him back, they would have hit him.
Adam noticed John looking over to their side, at the top of a cliff above them. He looked up as well, and he quickly spotted four youths standing at the top. The group contained two girls and two boys, and they each wore beautiful white robes, which appeared to almost be mist like.
The robes billowed gently in the breeze, and each of the youths gave off a calm and relaxing feeling, as if they were mist and clouds.
"Friends, we would prefer it if you did not disturb the waters," one of the girls spoke up. Her voice sounded enchanting and ethereal, and Adam's previous anger quickly washed away as a smile appeared on his face. He appeared to be in a daze.
John frowned as he stared at the girl. His soul power flared outwards, and Adam immediately snapped out of his daze.
The four youths had slight surprise wash over their faces.
"I would prefer if you don't use a soul art on me or my friend, or try to mow us down with your arrows" John said as he stared directly at the four of them. His scythe suddenly appeared in his hands.