Ye Qiao also knew that right then, time was life so there wasn’t much time for him to deliberate.
“Alright, let’s make for the mountain valley!” Ye Qiao made the decision on the spot.
The group of people didn’t bother thinking about chasing after Ye Rong now. In their eyes, by this time, Ye Rong had definitely already been swallowed by the tide of rats.
This was because the tide had come from the direction they’d just left in. Since they’d left in that direction, they would naturally run into the tide of rats. There was no way they could survive!
Although he was also running for his life now, Ye Qiao was actually a bit excited apart from feeling nervous.
For Ye Rong to die in this fashion was even better than him sending someone to assassinate Ye Rong. If everyone died beneath the tide of rats, Ye Qiao would emerge an innocent man. His reputation would bear no stain and this result was absolutely perfect.
Ye Qiao’s group made haste and quickly arrived in the mountain valley.
Ling Xuan analyzed the terrain. “Second prince, there are two roads in this area that will both take us around the mountain valley. We should be able to make it to open ground after this. At that time, the power of the rat tide will be greatly diminished. They can’t possibly overrun the entire maze realm.”
“You make a judgment and see which road is better. This matter can’t be delayed; we can’t waste any more time.” Ye Qiao was still a bit cautious.
Ling Xuan and the others gathered together and quickly chose a road.
“Your Highness, according to our analysis, we should go left. That route should take us past the mountain valley faster. We can…”
Ling Xuan’s voice suddenly faded as an exceedingly bizarre expression floated onto his face as though he’d seen a ghost. His eyes looked straight ahead, staring at an area before them.
“Ling Xuan, what is it?” Ye Qiao couldn’t help but follow the direction of his gaze when he saw Ling Xuan’s strange reaction.
Ye Qiao’s entire body shuddered as he too, displayed an expression of disbelief. What was Jiang Chen doing here? Hadn’t he already left?
And, he’d left in the opposite direction too. Could he teleport? Now that was too ridiculous!
Jiang Chen naturally didn’t know how to teleport. He had merely used the difference in time to loop around the mountain valley. They weren’t that far apart so looping back around only required him to traverse a few hundred li. Jiang Chen hadn’t expended much time at all when he had traveled at full speed.
Besides, with the Rat King controlling the rat tide, they had grasped the perfect moment to act. He’d waited until the rats had occupied the mountain area before herding Ye Qiao and the others to the mountain valley.
In this way, Ye Qiao was like a turtle in a jar.
“You’re in such a hurry, second prince, what’s wrong?” Jiang Chen had an easy smile on his face.
Ye Qiao had no energy to bullshit with Jiang Chen at this moment. “Jiang Chen, I don’t have the time to verbally spar with you. Where’s number four? Didn’t you guys set off in that direction? Why did you circle back?”
Jiang Chen smiled, “The fourth prince? They’re on their way of course. I had some matters to take care of so I came back. I’ll immediately go and meet up with them after I take care of things.”
“On their way? Meet up?” Ye Qiao smiled. “Jiang Chen, does this mean that you were really the only one to come back here?”
Ye Qiao had been a bit worried when he first saw Jiang Chen — worried that number four had also come back instead of being swallowed by the rat tide. His heart settled down again when Jiang Chen said that he was the only one who had returned.
“Just me, second prince. You’ve yet to answer my question. What are you doing here?”
Ye Qiao displayed a meaningful smile, “Nothing much. We heard that there was a spirit creature here and wanted to try our luck. Jiang Chen, go conduct your business and reconvene with number four when you’re done. I’m going to hunt the spirit creature and won’t chat any longer. We’ll go our separate ways now.”
Ye Qiao was feeling quite gleeful inside. Jiang Chen, do you think you’re hot shit? If you’ve got the guts, stay here and don’t leave! And you still want to meet up with Ye Rong? Ye Rong and the others are likely shards of bone by now!
He naturally wouldn’t be so kind as to remind Jiang Chen about the tide of rats behind them.
Jiang Chen chuckled. “Hunting a spirit creature? The second prince is in such a hurry that it doesn’t seem like you are simply hunting a spirit creature. Could it be that you have some unspeakable secret?”
Ye Qiao’s face froze as he shouted, “Jiang Chen, watch your tone! I’m going about my business; how dare you slander me?”
If it wasn’t for the fact that time was of the essence, Ye Qiao would’ve surely rushed up with his personal guards without a second thought and chopped Jiang Chen up into little pieces. However, he didn’t have the leisure to do so at the moment.
The rat tide would here arrive at any moment. Wasting more time with Jiang Chen would mean that the danger they were in would increase.
“Second prince, I also mean well. I know of an area with a lot of spirit creatures. There’s too many to kill, even. If the second prince likes to hunt spirit creatures, I can guarantee that you’ll like it.”
“Huh. No need for your generosity. Go tell your master of it. Come, let’s go!” Ye Qiao snorted coldly and didn’t pay any attention to Jiang Chen.
“Second prince, do you honestly think that you can still leave?” Jiang Chen chuckled.
“What do you mean?” Ye Qiao’s body halted as killing intent flooded his face. He suddenly turned back to glare at Jiang Chen.
“What do I mean?” Jiang Chen took a few leisurely steps forward. “Second prince, you must be feeling quite proud of yourself at this moment. You think you’re so smart as to destroy those two idiots Ye Dai and Ye Zheng with a borrowed knife, and then happen to stick it into the fourth prince as well. In this way, you’ll be the only one left out of the four who had the most amount of hope to attain the position of Crown Prince. You’d be justifiably made the Crown Prince without a doubt after leaving the maze realm, wouldn’t you?”
“What… what are you talking about? What borrowed knife? You’re absolutely ridiculous Jiang Chen! I’ll kill you for sure if you keep spouting nonsense!”
“You wouldn’t dare.” Jiang Chen smiled faintly. “You don’t even have the courage to linger here. Would you dare kill me if even I stood here and let you attack me?”
“Jiang Chen, what are you trying to say?” Ye Qiao’s heart chilled.
“What am I trying to say? Can you really not guess? You’re such a smart person and even now, you still can’t see it? You triggered the rat tide and killed both Ye Dai and Ye Zheng. Do you think you can get away with that?”
“You… you’re making ludicrous accusations!” Of course Ye Qiao continued to deny things. He still thought that Jiang Chen was making things out of midair and didn’t have any proof.
“It doesn’t matter whether I am or am not. Either way, you can’t leave.”
“Your Highness! The rat tide has already cut off all routes. We’re surrounded!” Ling Xuan suddenly realized that the two directions leading away from the mountain valley had already been thoroughly blocked.
They were truly turtles in a jar now!
“What?!” Ye Qiao’s expression changed greatly.
“Jiang Chen, you were purposefully playing for time, weren’t you?” Ye Qiao’s eyes were vicious as he grit his teeth.
“You guessed correctly.” Jiang Chen chuckled and didn’t deny it.
“Crazy lunatic!” Ye Qiao cursed loudly. “Do you think that you can get away even if you delay us? Do you think your master can escape?”
Jiang Chen smiled faintly, “Me delaying you has nothing to do with Ye Rong.”
“Then what was it for?!” Ye Qiao was infuriated.
“The reason’s simple. You guys made a move on me first so I’m just here to collect on debts. Remember, although I may be easy to talk to, you will die for pissing me off.”
Jiang Chen’s tone turned cold. “Don’t play innocent with me. Your two men did their job quite nicely, but they should at least clean the traces of blood off themselves. Not wiping their asses after taking a dump, what’s the deal with that, eh?”
Ye Qiao’s face was qute ugly now, “This means that you purposefully came here to hold us up?”
“You’re right.” Jiang Chen laughed softly.
“Hahaha, crazy, you’re completely crazy. You’ve succeeded in delaying us but now what? We’re all going to die together. Madman, a madman!” Ye Qiao shook in his anger.
“You think too much, I said that I was here to collect on debts. I’ll leave as soon as I’m finished!”
“Leave? Dream on! That way there has long since been blocked off by the rat tide. Both ways out have been surrounded by now. You want to leave? Not unless you stick wings on your back.”
“Then what are you smirking about if you know?” Ye Qiao’s eyes revealed his internal struggle.
“Because I’m the one who triggered the rat tide this time. The fact that we could emerge unscathed from last time’s rat tide means I can do the same this time.”
Jiang Chen laughed heartily as his body flashed before he landed on top of a tall and large tree. “Ye Qiao, enjoy your last moments. I’ll stand here and admire the view of your death struggles!”
Wham, wham, wham!
The rat tide converged on them from all directions like a tidal wave.
The golden colored seas once again swept across the land.
All the members of Ye Qiao’s group were all flabbergasted and petrified. As they looked at the rat tide swarming from all directions, despair grew in their hearts!
A flash of brilliance suddenly hit Ling Xuan as he called out, “Everyone, go bring down Jiang Chen! This brat isn’t afraid of the rat tide and so he must have a plan. We’ll have a shot for survival if we take him with us!”
This suggestion helped Ye Qiao come to his senses.
He’d been on the brink of despair when the light of hope shot out from his eyes. He too called out, “Right, everyone work together and capture Jiang Chen!”
Ling Xuan’s level of training was the highest as he grasped the air with one hand and his longsword with the other. He flew towards Jiang Chen with a desperate motion.
Ling Shi and Ling Xuan also knew that this was a battle of life and death; how would they retain any of their strength? They also split up left and right in a pincer movement as they shot towards Jiang Chen.
“Hurry, hurry! The rat tide is arriving soon!” Ye Qiao screamed out with all his might. “Everyone go! What are you guys doing standing there in a daze? Go!”
Out in front, Ling Xuan only had one notion at that moment, and that was to capture Jiang Chen and force out the method to avoid the rat tide.
Otherwise, only death awaited them.
He was very well aware that the rat tide wasn’t something that human strength could withstand. There was only a strand of hope if they wanted to avoid the rats.
The aura of his sword was like a dragon; the stroke arrived in front of Jiang Chen in the span of a second.
The unexpected happened.
Just as his body was about to draw near Jiang Chen, a surge of strength broke through from the earth and shot towards the heavens, bringing with it a wave of mud like an erupting volcano.
An enormous Goldbiter Rat leapt out from the mud wave, pouncing towards Ling Xuan with a flash of golden light, completing ignoring the force behind his strike.
A crisp breaking sound rang out as the sword was halted in its tracks. The Goldbiter Rat had merely clenched its paw and shattered it into shards.
In the next moment, the Goldbiter Rat’s other paw had landed on Ling Xuan’s chest. Its sharply fanged mouth opened as it chomped down on Ling Xuan’s neck!
Ling Xuan’s neck was immediately bitten through.
That Goldbiter Rat actually grasped Ling Xuan’s body and started gnawing away at it. It had finished eating Ling Xuan within a few breaths.
Ling Xuan, a solid first level spirit realm, a practitioner who’d been about to set foot into the second level, was like a child who’d just learned how to walk in front of this Goldbiter Rat. He had been completely defenseless. The imposing sword strike had been easily defused with a light grab.
If Ling Shi and Ling Feng on the two sides hadn’t reacted quickly and if the Goldbiter Rat hadn’t been more interested in Ling Xuan, they likely wouldn’t have escaped this disaster either.
After all, this Goldbiter Rat was simply too strong and its speed too fast. These so-called spirit realm practitioners were a complete joke compared to the Goldbiter Rats.
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