Upon his arrival, the very first thing that Lin Mu could feel was the spirit Qi in the air.
"Huh? Did the spirit Qi concentration increase?" Lin Mu questioned.
Lin Mu spread his spirit sense and tried to observe it and discovered that the spirit Qi in the air was not the attribute less spirit Qi that was common, but instead it was the fire attribute spirit Qi.
"What is happening here?" Lin Mu questioned.
It was now that Little Shrubby spoke up.
"The fire elemental spirit Qi… it's as if it has formed a stream in the air. It's flowing towards the palace." Little Shrubby spoke.
"Huh? You can see it even at this level?" Lin Mu questioned.
"Yes." Little Shrubby answered.
"Hmm… that's new. You weren't able to do that before, were you?" Lin Mu asked.
"Nope, I learned it recently." Little Shrubby replied.
"That's just his bloodline accommodating his body. It's normal since he had two strong bloodlines that are of the fire element. Rather it would be usual if he was unable to do this." Xukong explained.
"I see… it's certainly helpful. Though it does not answer why all the spirit Qi is heading towards the palace." Lin Mu said as he furrowed his brows.
His mind first went the negative way, and he wondered if a strong cultivator was there and was absorbing this all. But then he was reminded that a formation could do the same.
"Did Jing Luo set up an extra spirit Qi gathering formation there, perhaps?" Lin Mu wondered.
"You'll have to go there and see. No use standing around here." Xukong prodded on.
Lin Mu nodded his head and headed directly to the palace. He had already gotten all the permissions and had free rein to do pretty much anything in the city. His position as the guest elder of the kingdom guaranteed that.
Plus, right now Lin Mu's cultivation base had reached the Dao Shell realm and there was no one in this kingdom that could even sense him if he chose to hide himself. The same could not be said for Little Shrubby though.
Still, the moving fire attribute spirit Qi in the air helped mask his presence as well. Little Shrubby was not actually seen by many people and thus it would probably cause some trouble if a beast as big as him appeared in the city.
Whenever commoners or even cultivators saw beasts as strong as this near the human cities, their first thought is that it is attacking them and that they need to run/fight. For that very reason, Lin Mu and Little Shrubby sped directly to the palace.
At their speed, there wasn't anyone that could see them anyway.
The moment Lin Mu entered the innermost ring of the palace, he felt like he had passed through some kind of a membrane. And once he fully entered it, he felt another thing.
"WHAT THE HELL?" Lin Mu couldn't help but exclaim.
Everywhere around him, he could see red motes of light floating around.
"Such dense fire attribute spirit Qi? How?!" Lin Mu was shocked.
He looked outside and then around him, finding that no one knew about it. The people outside seemed to be fully oblivious to this.
'Just what was that membrane?' Lin Mu wondered and checked it with his spirit sense.
After about a minute, he remembered the description of a formation that was similar to this.
"An altered version of an isolating formation… this one not only hides the things inside it also prevents the spirit Qi from escaping. The spirit Qi can enter but can't leave." Lin Mu remembered.
He checked the runes hidden within it and realized that the style was a bit familiar to him.
"This is Jing Luo's work, no doubt." Lin Mu recognized.
"Seems like he's been busy with a lot of things in your absence," Xukong spoke.
"Mmhmm… he should have finished his work with the large formation array set around the entire Hong Lin kingdom. But even if it has been several months, this seems to be cutting a bit close.
For him to make a formation array as complex as this, he would have needed at least a month. That combined with the detection formation he was making around the kingdom… something doesn't add up." Lin Mu said.
He let his spirit sense wander and it quickly entered the palace. In there, he saw it being mostly empty. Even the servants that were around were missing. The situation seemed to be getting even stranger.
Lin Mu became alert and moved inside. Soon his spirit sense reached the royal court, but it was blocked there.
"This is far more suspicious now. Did something happen to King Hong?" Lin Mu wondered.
His spirit sense checked the rest of the palace for people, but didn't find anyone. All the ministers, servants, maids, and workers were missing. Even Adverser Liu seemed to be missing right now.
"Be ready for anything. Things maybe wrong." Xukong warned.
"Yes senior." Lin Mu said as he withdrew six of his spirit weapons.
All of them hovered behind him, ready to attack, while Lin Mu's spirit sense split into multiple tendrils covering a spherical radius around him. Now there was no attack that could get into a radius of two hundred meters without Lin Mu detecting it.
"There's more than one person inside. But I can't tell who they are, the fire elemental spirit Qi in the air is burning away their scent." Little Shrubby spoke.
Lin Mu narrowed his eyes and thought of all the potential scenarios that could happen; from Gu Yao being here to some treasure being brought into the palace. He also thought if the others were being held hostage inside or something.
The likelihood of it happening was low since he had received no message on his jade slips, but he wanted to be ready just in case. His lips started to move as faint chants came out of his mouth.
Severing Heart Sutra!