The groups finally set off to go to their arrays. Zhi Guan waited until all of them were out of sight before he turned to the group that would stay behind. “If there are no questions, you can start on your task as well. Check in here every now and then to see how the others are doing. If there are several of them and they returned early they could take a look at another one of the arrays.”
The disciple in charge of the group nodded and then waved for the others to follow her, leading them away.
Zhi Guan turned to his own group and then motioned down the path to the array that they were supposed to take. From what they had found out beforehand from the lines of the array, this one would lead further into the south and the distance should be quite far as well.
This was the kind of place that would be the furthest away from any help from their own sect. Thus, Zhi Guan had decided that their group should be the ones who take it. Also, there were still the disciples of the Zhen Yan Sect with them which was located further to the south. So in the worst case, they could still send a distress signal to their sect and hopefully get them some help. In the current situation, this was clearly the best arrangement.
The group stepped into the array, every member imbuing a bit of spiritual energy and vanishing from the spot instantly.
They reappeared in a dark room, their surroundings completely silent. For a moment, they just stood there, surveying everything around them to make sure that there wouldn’t be a secret ambush waiting for them. Surprisingly, there was nothing there.
Zhi Guan raised his hand, his fingertips lighting up with spiritual energy, and then waved for them to spread out. They looked through the room which turned out to be some kind of hall beneath the ground. There wasn’t much in there that attracted any kind of attention save for maybe the huge columns that were holding up the ceiling. After a minute, the disciples reconvened in the middle of the room.
“Anything of note?” Zhi Guan looked at everyone but all the disciples shook their heads.
“There are a couple of doors on each side. But inside this room, I haven’t seen anything.”
Zhi Guan nodded and then turned to look at one of the doors that the disciple had mentioned. There were five on each of the longer walls, as well as one on the front and back of the room, meaning that there were twelve places that were left to be investigated.
Zhi Guan pondered for a moment and took the time to look at the disciples again. None of them were of a low level but just a high level was not enough. Experience was important as was judging the situation. Right now, they didn’t know what kind of places lay ahead of them. It would be best to be careful. “Let’s investigate them one by one. It’s better to stay together for the time being. If we find out that there isn’t much to look out for in this place, then we can still split up later on.”
The disciples nodded and followed him to the door at the front end of the hall.
Contrary to Yang Wu Huang, Zhi Guan was not somebody who would let others take the fall. He grabbed his sword in one hand and pushed the door open with the other, ready to strike out should something happen. As a result, there was nothing there save for a long corridor.
Zhi Guan narrowed his eyes and stepped inside, glancing at the walls and ceiling to make sure there wouldn’t be any nasty surprises. There was a faint breeze blowing toward them as if there was an opening in front.
Shen Lei stepped in after him and leaned closer. “Up there might be an entrance or exit.”
Zhi Guan nodded and turned back to the others. “Be careful. We might have reached one side of the building. From here, it is likely that there might be demonic practitioners. So try to keep any noise down and if you step outside, keep to the wall or any corners if possible to give yourself some cover.”
These disciples likely didn’t need to be told but it was still better to be prudent. Having reminded them, Zhi Guan went ahead, Shen Lei directly behind him, ready to attack at any time.
There were no surprises waiting for them in the corridor. They made their way through without trouble, finally reaching the door on the other side. Just looking at it, they could tell how heavy it was. This did indeed look like the entrance of the whole structure. There was no doubt about it anymore.
Zhi Guan and Shen Lei exchanged another glance and then motioned for the other disciples to step back against the wall so they wouldn’t expose themselves. Then, Zhi Guan went to open the door while Shen Lei was standing on the other side, ready to strike and help him out if something went wrong.
The door swung open silently. There was the sound of wind outside but it didn’t carry the telltale signs of humans being close. Instead, everything seemed quiet. Since it had already gotten late after their exploration of the caverns before, there wasn’t much light left either.
The disciples exchanged glances and Shen Lei finally stepped outside, staying close to the door so he could retreat at any moment. After looking around for a bit, he gave a faint hum and stepped back inside, shaking his head. “This is the entrance to the building for sure but there aren’t any cultivators around. It’s as if this whole place has been abandoned.”
Zhi Guan slightly furrowed his brows. “This place should be huge judging from the corridor and the hall we just left. Abandoning this kind of place … it doesn’t seem smart.”
Shen Lei gave a hum. “If anything, I’d say it smells like a trap.”