Chapter 121 - Tracking
This was a quiet place in the inner part of FenXiang Valley, built against the mountain. Surrounded by lofty walls on three sides, only the front door was left unlocked, obscuring the interior from people outside.
Even though FenXiang Valley underwent such huge changes in the past few days but in the nearby area here, FenXiang Valley disciples still were not seen around, because this was the residence of the FenXiang Valley’s master Yun YiLan and also the place of his seclusion.
Every since Yun YiLan started his seclusion, FenXiang Valley disciples were prohibited from entering this area but of course, FenXiang Valley disciples naturally guarded the perimeter of this place like a bastion of iron. And for those that were able to access TianXiang residence, other than ShangGuan Ce whom Yun YiLan had always heavily relied on, only his personally- imparted-skills disciple LiXun could enter the place and meet his greatly respected teacher.
As for the rest including the older generation like LuShun, all were too prohibited from the place.
Even to the extent where FenXiang Valley was inﬁltrated and the nine-tailed celestial fox which had been incarcerated for three hundred years was released, and even when there was a possibility that the legendary FenXiang Valley treasure Inferno Mirror might appear, Yun YiLan never once emerged, only overseeing the situation through ShangGuan Ce.
He in that small courtyard, what seclusion was he exactly doing?
This question, had often surface in many of the FenXiang Valley’s disciples’ hearts.
The sky gradually lightened, ShangGuan Ce in the slightly damp morning air, lightly pushed open this door, walked in and then closed the door. Appearing before him, was a courtyard that he was already familiar with, a few bodhi trees gently swayed their branches in the morning breeze, other than a small path in the middle, the surroundings were all green grass. Other than that, there was nothing.
The residence of one of the world’s three biggest Good Faction sect leader, was actually so simple and plain.
At the end of the path, there was a white and dark grey small house with two yards, built against the mountain, the wooden door painted purple was also unlocked.
ShangGuan Ce walked over, pushed opened the door and then closed it.
Silence immediately descended, as if the turmoil of the mortal world, all at the moment when he raised his hand, locked out of the house.
In the room, there was nobody, only a few simple furnitures, on the tables and chairs, there seemed to be a light layer of dust.
ShangGuan Ce focused himself and walked straight into the house, came to a cupboard and pulled the left drawer, stretched his hand in and seemed to activate something, in the next moment, a low sound was heard behind him.
The entire wall, unhurriedly withdrew to the right, revealing a solid rock wall with a dim tunnel cut in the middle of it, only wide enough for one person.
ShangGuan Ce did not hesitate and walk in, not long after his ﬁgure disappeared into the dim tunnel, the door unhurriedly closed up, disappearing without a trace.
In the dim tunnel, a stone about the size of a pebble set into the wall every few intervals gave off light, for the purpose of illumination. And while he was walking, he did not experience any feeling of suffocation, naturally a ventilation channel existed somewhere here. The path was not considered long, very soon he reached his destination, a stone chamber similar to the size of the room outside. There was nothing in the stone chamber, only a folding screen placed horizontally in the middle, blocking his view.
Suddenly, from behind the chamber, an extremely haggard voice was heard, “Is it ShangGuan junior brother?”
ShangGuan Ce walked forward two steps, leaving about four, ﬁve steps from the screen, respectfully said, “Yes, senior brother, is your body still feeling alright?”
Seemed like that voice belonged to the reputable FenXiang Valley valley master Yun YiLan which had shook the world but somehow this Good Faction giant ﬁgure named together with Qing Yun Sect Reverend DaoXuan, Tian Yin Temple PuHong Master, right now sounded like a dying old man who had a deﬁciency of qi.
He was heard laughing quietly, faintly said, “My body? Will it still get well, it can only be like this, just slowly waiting for death.” ShangGuan Ce’s countenance changed, a complicated expression on his face, he was about to say something when he was interrupted by Yun YiLan’s weak voice, “How is things?”
ShangGuan Ce hesitated for a moment then said, “We have somehow more or less investigated, the person who had provoked the human ﬁsh on that night was Evil sect HeHuan Sect Jin PingEr, most probably because HeHuan Sect men were assassinated by the human ﬁsh in the death marsh so she used ruthless methods for revenge.”
Yun YiLan was silent for a while behind the screen, his voice suddenly turned deep and said, “Then of our clandestine important matter, did she found out?”
ShangGuan Ce’s body suddenly trembled, in this instant, that voice behind the screen suddenly was ﬁlled with authority.
“From what I think, she still has not.”
“Then that is good, ‘ Yun YiLan seemed relieved, said, “Else if the matter is leaked out, so many years of hard work, would most likely go down the drain.”
ShangGuan Ce nodded and said, “Senior brother can be rest assured.”
Yun YiLan paused for a while, said, “That evildoer who had sneaked into the Inferno Altar and released the nine-tailed celestial fox, have you investigated who was it?”
ShangGuan Ce said, “Last night Li Xun teacher-nephew and Ke RuHui tracked down Jin PingEr near TianShui Stockade, heard from him this morning, the Evil sect Ghost King Sect Ghost Li was also there and he made a sneak attack on Ke RuHui, causing his death. Luckily Qing Yun Sect Lu XueQi, who was sent by Reverend DaoXuan to inquire after senior brother, met him along the way and lent a hand, he was then able to escape from the two evil people’s pincer attack.”
“Ghost Li?” Yun YiLan’s voice paused for a moment, said, “Don’t tell me it is that Zhang Xiao Fan who had betrayed Qing Yun ten years ago?” ShangGuan Ce nodded and said, “It is that person, the Qing Yun Hill battle which shocked the world, Zhang Xiao Fan betrayed Qing Yun, in the short space of ten years his skills improved by leaps and bounds, now he is already the number one general under Ghost King.”
Yun YiLan snorted, said, “Reverend DaoXuan that old fellow has grown old, his mind is also somehow muddled, he had such a talent yet he could not use.”
ShangGuan Ce smiled and said, “Li Xun teacher-nephew also said, he suspected that the person who sneaked into Inferno Altar and made a mess was Ghost Li and to rescue the nine- tailed celestial fox, without our FenXiang Valley secretly handed-down incantation, only the thousand-ﬁre-essence Inferno Mirror can unlock the Inferno Fire-smelt-shackles. Based on his deduction, most likely the Inferno Mirror is with Ghost Li.”
Yun YiLan was quiet for a moment, suddenly said, “What do you think?” ShangGuan Ce, separated by the screen, his countenance changed, after a moment respectfully said, “I too think there is a very high possibility.”
Yun YiLan’s voice, faintly travelled from behind the screen, said, “That time when I met with DaoXuan that old Taoist priest, he boasted his own sect to be distinguished and upright and has always insisted on his ideal that he would rather let off than to kill the wrong person, and had sung his own praises to me, do you still remember?”
ShangGuan Ce was surprised and did not understand why Yun YiLan would mention this long-ago matter but he could only nodded and said, “That’s right, at that time I was also beside senior brother and remembered very clearly, Reverend DaoXuan did indeed said that.”
Yun YiLan gave a faint laugh, said, “But it looks like ten years ago, Qing Yun Hill TongTian Peak, when he used Zhu Xian Ancient Sword to strike at that disciple called Zhang Xiao Fan, what mentality was that? Most likely it was already rather kill the wrong person then let go!” ShangGuan Ce was silent.
Yun YiLan laughed quietly then said, “You can leave! The matters here, I will still leave it to you.”
ShangGuan Ce hesitated for a moment, but still asked, “Then about Ghost Li…”
Yun YiLan’s voice was heard clearly over the screen.
“Rather kill the wrong person then let go!”
ShangGuan Ce’s face muscles twitched once then he nodded and said, “Yes.”
After speaking, he turned around and left.
Not long after, his ﬁgure disappeared into the dim tunnel and a short moment after, a deep groan from the mechanism closing up was heard, evidently he had opened the secret door and left.
In the quiet stone chamber, Yun YiLan’s laughter suddenly rang out, carrying a trace of desolation and seemed to also be scornful, “What were you thinking, pushing all of it to Li Xun, claiming that he had deduced it, you thought I would not know? Three hundred years ago because you were derelict in your duties, you lost the Inferno Mirror but after three hundred years, junior brother! You still did not make any progress!”
“He he, he he…”
The desolate and bleak laughter, in the cold stone chamber, reverberated.
After leaving TianXiang residence, ShangGuan Ce walked out of that door, for some reason, even with his level of skills, he let out a sigh of relief. He collected himself, contemplated for a while and then headed outside, after the familiar winding road, he came to a rather majestic hall, an inscribed board with three words written on it:
Mountain River Hall.
The name, together with this imposing big hall, gave one the impression of it looking disdainfully at the world. One wondered when FenXiang Valley forefathers built this hall to receive guests, did they also thought that one day, they would be ranked among the ﬁrst in the world.
ShangGuan Ce while thinking of that, slowly walked in.
There were people sitting in the hall, other than the FenXiang Valley disciples standing aside, the guests in the hall were all Good Faction people who had came to send their regards, about ten over number of people, Li Xun was sitting and accompanying them. And in ShangGuan Ce’s eyes, the most important thing was, the two people sitting right at the front.
The two outstanding disciples of today’s two most distinguished sects, naturally they represented their sects so even though their ages were not like the other elders but their ranks surpassed them.
FaXiang, as usual in bluish white monk robe, an amiable smile on his face, chatted cordially with Li Xun, replying appropriately. And Li Xun and FaXiang, considered to have known each other for quite some time, were quite delighted to see each other, evident from the way they talked, just that in between the chats, Li Xun’s eyes frequently wandered over to Lu XueQi who was sitting beside FaXiang.
ShangGuan Ce saw all of that, by then everyone had noticed him walking into the hall and had stood up one after another. ShangGuan Ce smiled and returned the greetings, walked to the seat of honour, his eyes unexpectedly also glancing over at Lu XueQi and FaXiang.
The two of them gave obeisance to him at the same time, Lu XueQi still did not speak, FaXiang instead smiled and said, “It has been many years since we last met, ShangGuan teacher uncle’s health is still as good, it is indeed fortunate.”
ShangGuan Ce shook his head and [he he] laughed, said, “Old already, old already, already useless.” Speaking, he stretched out his hands to invite the guests to take a seat.
A thought went through his mind, for these past years, FaXiang’s reputation in Tian Yin Temple and the world’s Good Faction was like the sun at high noon, everyone had already expected him to be the successor of Tian Yin Temple, therefore this time he represented Tian Yin Temple PuHong Master to be here, it was not unexpected.
But over at Qing Yun Hill, it was heard that the main branch’s disciple, Su YiCai, among the young disciples, was the most highly regarded by Reverend DaoXuan but of course the publicity that Lu XueQi had for the past few years was also very glaring and strong, including her exceptional beauty, was something that the Good Faction cultivations had been discussing with great relish.
ShangGuan Ce pondered, guessed that this time Qing Yun Sect sent Lu XueQi over, there must be other purposes but naturally his face did not reveal that, and as what he was usually, smiled and said to the group, “Everyone, my humble self ShangGuan Ce, here I am extremely grateful for fellow Faction members’ concerns for our lowly valley, the volcano eruption a few days ago was indeed a natural calamity of Heaven and Earth, because of everyone’s blessings, our lowly valley has not yet suffered any damage.”
Fa Xiang smiled and said, “Amitabha, that could not be better. But heard from those rumours, FenXiang Valley valley master Yun YiLan elder senior seemed to have some mishap, my venerable teacher PuHong Master has always been on good relations with Yun elder senior and so allowed me to enquire on his behalf.”
With his words, he had asked the question that was on the mind of most of the people in the hall, after all the actions of Fen Xiang Valley in this period were unusual, especially after such a big incident, the valley master Yun YiLan throughout did not reveal himself, it truly made people felt bewildered.
For the short moment, everyone following each other, turned their attention onto ShangGuan Ce.
ShangGuan Ce smiled and said, “Actually to tell everyone the truth, I have just came from the valley master’s residence, ‘TianXiang Residence’.”
Everyone immediately made [Ah], [Oh] exclamations, ShangGuan Ce waited until the group settled down, stood up and cupped his hands towards the crowd, smiled and said, “The good intentions and concerns of everyone, I have already relayed each one to the valley master, valley master is extremely grateful. Just that Yun senior brother is really at the critical moment of his seclusion and so is unable to come out and meet the guests, will like to ask everyone to please forgive us for any impropriety.”
After speaking, he smiled and cupped his ﬁst in the other hand, Li Xun beside him also stood up and made the same gesture with him.
The crowd looked at each other, after a moment, FaXiang stood up, smiled and said, “Since ShangGuan patron has said it so, guessed Yun elder senior must deﬁnitely be safe and healthy, we are also relieved. We really have intruded on you during this period.”
ShangGuan Ce and Li Xun replied at the same time, “Not at all, not at all.”
FaXiang glanced at Lu XueQi beside him but the lady was expressionless, like an ice, especially her complexion, almost pale like translucent, indistinctly with some melancholy.
FaXiang made a wry smile in his heart, he knew that Lu XueQi no matter what, would never of her own accord speak up and so spoke on her behalf, “Yun senior’s health is well then that could not be better. Other than Li Xun senior brother mentioned just now about some Evil Sect evildoers taking the opportunity to create trouble, is there anything that require our help?” ShangGuan Ce paused for a moment, said, “The evildoers are tricky and cunning, loved to hit a person when he is down, they took advantage of the natural calamity and secretly made their move on our lowly valley, it is really detestable. Luckily our defense is tight and have chased them out of the valley. Although we will not leave the matter at that but unfortunately until today we still cannot ﬁnd them. FenXiang Valley has sent out many disciples but even up to now, other than a few insigniﬁcant ﬁgures, only yesterday night Li Xun teacher- nephew and Miss Lu XueQi tracked down Evil sect HeHuan Sect Jin PingEr, a pity we let her slipped off again. Right now we also don’t know how we should investigate?”
FaXiang frowned, the rest of the crowd also were speechless and the Evil sect today had ﬂourished in its power, on top of that Jin PingEr was the world’s reputable ruthless lady, those lowly skilled Good Faction cultivators might also not want to offend her.
And over at FenXiang Valley, because of different reasons, actually they did not wish for other sects to interfere.
Immediately ShangGuan Ce signalled to Li Xun with his eyes, Li Xun understood and stepped forward, cupped his hands to his chest and said, “My humble self here thank everyone for your good intentions but FenXiang Valley will do our utmost, even if it takes a long time but we will deﬁnitely investigate this matter therefore we also do not wish to trouble everyone…”
Suddenly, a cold voice, spoke beside him.
Everyone was startled, turned to look, it was that icy girl, Lu XueQi, who had been keeping quiet.
This cold lady highly regarded by the world, her face as cold as frost, just that in the cold eyes, there seemed to be a glimmer indistinctly, what exactly was she thinking in her heart?
“Those evildoers, “her voice, reverberated in everyone’s ears, “most likely went to a place called ‘Seven Mile Cave’” The rest of the people immediately started discussing among themselves, only Li Xun’s body shook once, immediately his eyes while looking at Lu XueQi, had another strange expression.
“Yesterday night while in a ﬁght with those evildoers, Li Xun senior brother and I both heard the evil lady Jin PingEr said to
…” her voice, paused, then regained its normality, continued, “to Evil sect Ghost King Sect Ghost Li, ‘Seven Mile Cave’ these three words.”
ShangGuan Ce frowned, glanced at Li Xun, this news, Li Xun for some reason, did not tell him.
In the great hall, for the moment everyone looked at FenXiang Valley, ShangGuan Ce contemplated and then smiled and said, “Unexpectedly Miss Lu has a clue, since it is so, our lowly valley will immediately send someone to check it out, as for our fellow Faction cultivators, actually you all don’t have to go, after all this is southern border and everyone only came to send their regards to our valley master. Therefore the good intentions of everyone, our lowly valley appreciate it.” Everyone agreed with an acknowledgment.
Li Xun, while everyone was talking, quietly stood behind ShangGuan Ce and looked at Lu XueQi. Last night as he was pursuing Jin PingEr, ﬁrst, Jin PingEr’s skills were not below him, secondly, Jin PingEr had always been crafty and after using a few tricks in succession, she ﬁnally shook him loose. While he was fuming, he recalled Lu XueQi was still in the TianShui Stronghold and facing Ghost King Sect Ghost Li and so hurried back.
Unexpectedly along the way, he met Lu XueQi who was returning on her sword, after meeting her, he could not help but was shocked, Lu XueQi at that time looked like she had lost her soul, her face was pale with no traces of blood and her white clothes even had dark red spots, it was the marks of blood.
While alarmed, he called her in succession, that then made Lu XueQi came out of her reverie but she only quietly looked at him and then went straight back to FenXiang Valley. This icy cold girl, with her once fellow sect mate Ghost Li, in that decrepit TianShui Stronghold, what had exactly happened?
Was it an intense ﬁght? Was it a talk?
Somehow, when Li Xun thought about that, an inexplicable anger surged up in his heart.
His expression changed with his complicated feelings, and all these, did not escape ShangGuan Ce’s eyes.
Just that, these two people, never spoke a word, with a smile on their faces, spoke cordially.
In the end, it was decided that the other sect representers would return and because Lu XueQi and FaXiang’s sects had deep relations with FenXiang Valley, in addition the information was given by Lu XueQi, both of them stayed back and would go with FenXiang Valley men to Seven Mile Cave to thoroughly investigate. And almost at the same time, Ghost Li and Xiao Bai carrying Xiao Hui, appeared at the horse-head mountain.
Looking at this lofty mountain that resembled the head of a horse, Xiao Bai smiled sweetly and said, “Legend said that there is a deep cave on this hill, a Dog Deity worshipped by Miao people resides in it. There is a narrow mountain path at the foot of the mountain, big enough for only one person to walk through, once through it, it will be the Seven Mile Cave inhabited by Miao people.”
Ghost Li expressionlessly looked at the mountain in front, without saying a word, quietly walked ahead. Since last night until now, he had not spoken a word.
Xiao Bai stood behind, watched his back, a faint smile on her lips, she turned and patted Xiao Hui on her shoulder, said, “Then let’s go.”
Xiao Hui [zhi zhi] called out, grinned, suddenly jumped down from her shoulder, ran ahead in a few steps, with a [sou] sound, scurried up to Ghost Li’s shoulder, sat down, turned and waved to Xiao Bai. Xiao Bao shook her head and laughed softly, followed along.
Chapter 122 - Seven Mile Cave
Walking into the narrow tight mountain path, twisting and turning, on both sides of the solid steep stone faces, rocks thrusted out intermittently, if one was not careful, one’s head might hit into it.
And looking at the rock walls surroundings, water droplets were still dripping at most places, tiny water pools formed where the water ﬂows were the heaviest. On the top and bottom of the rock walls, at the dark areas, quite a number of dark green mosses grew on the rocks, contributing a slightly damp cold feeling to the air.
Ghost Li and Xiao Bai made several turns before they managed to turn out of this unknown number of years old mountain path and to see the sun again.
This day, the sun had just risen, different from the hazy weather for the past few days, it instead seemed to be rather sunny. After just walking out from the dim tunnel, under the sunlight, Ghost Li and Xiao Bai squinted their eyes instinctively, felt that the sunlight streaming down from the sky seemed to also carry a beautiful halo, shining down on them.
After a while their eyes adjusted, from a distance the bustling sounds of activities slowly became distinct.
Both of them looked ahead, the scene opened up abruptly before them, surrounded by mountains, a ﬂat fertile and open land appeared before them.
Rows of buildings and blocks of houses rich with Miao people’s distinctive style rose steeply from the ground or built along the mountains or tightly joined together. And there was even a small clear brook, ﬂowing down from the dense mountains ahead, in this paradise-like land, meandering through. A lot of the Miao houses were built on both sides of the brook.
And above the water, looking from afar, the Miao people built three bridges and all were unalike, one was a wooden bridge and the most simple, two huge trees tied together and laid horizontally across the banks, that became a bridge.
As for the other two, were made from stone and even more distinctive. Built by piling huge stones, crude and solid, placed ﬂat at where the water surface was narrower and then using thick heavy stone slabs to stack on top of it, it became a bridge, this was the simple and practical way of building a bridge in the southern border.
But the last stone bridge was instead made from small rocks and without any bridge pier, it was an arch bridge, each stone tightly pressed together, suspended across the brook, clearly it had the Central Plains distinctive architecture, to see it here, it was really puzzling.
Ghost Li saw it all and was surprised but nothing was shown on his face. He and Xiao Bai continued to walk forward, the crowd gradually thickened and became even more lively. Most of loud chatter around them were in Miao language, to Ghost Li he only heard gibberish and could not understand a single word. Xiao Bai walked beside him and looked around, many of the Miao people also turned to look at them, because their faces were unfamiliar so mostly took a few more glances but did not show any hostile expressions. After walking for a while, she quietly spoke to Ghost Li, “Seemed like the southern border in these few years has indeed became very much peaceful.”
Ghost Li was surprised, asked puzzledly, “What is it?”
Xiao Bai said, “When I came here the last time, the Miao people were vigilance and on the alert when they saw outsiders, like they were facing a great enemy. At that time, rivalry between the ﬁve tribes’ were violent and cruel and ﬁghts broke out frequently among the tribes, if outsiders dared to come to this Seven Mile Cave and without any skills to protect themselves, most likely they would not survive. But looking at the situation today, I guessed the ﬁghts must have reduced much over the past few years.”
Ghost Li nodded slightly and looked around him, by now they had already walked into the centre of the Miao people, this broad path was on one side of the brook, most of the tightly joined houses of the Miao people were on one side while the other side was the clear river water, with many green trees lining the shores.
At a quick glance, most of the Miao houses were built using wood, its architecture greatly different from the Central Plains, squarish, simple and unadorned, and savage animals’ bones were hung at the houses’ corners, main doors and walls edges, the more ferocious the animals were, the more commonly they were seen, probably it was the Miao people’s custom, to display the bravery of the owner of the house.
Both sides of the path had stalls set up by Miao people peddling their goods but most of the stuffs were wild animals’ furs, raw meat and only further ahead in the centre were one or two stalls selling small jewellery, jades etc playthings.
Xiao Bai smiled and said, “The furs here are all good grade stuffs and the prices are very cheap, if you want to get, buy some here, it is very worth it.”
Ghost Li’s lips twitched but he did not speak, continued to walk straight ahead. He slowly walked to the river bank and looked down, the water was extremely clear, from the banks, even the rocks at the river beds could also be seen, the number of big and small ﬁshes swimming and frolicking in the water were even innumerable.
At a distance, a bird seemed to ﬂit past, ﬂapping its wings it landed onto the water, raised its head and looked around, and then contentedly closed its wings and moved gently on the water surface.
The living creatures of Heaven and Earth, in this place, unusually harmoniously.
Xiao Bai slowly came over, Xiao Hui who had somehow again gone over to her shoulder, curiously stuck out its head and peered down into the brook.
“What do we do now?” Ghost Li indifferently asked.
Xiao Bai contemplated for a while, said, “Well to say the matter was also three hundred years ago, if at that time that person did not have our level of cultivation then most likely he had already passed away, we better ﬁrst ﬁnd the whereabouts of the person.”
Ghost Li silently nodded, said, “Where is he?”
Xiao Bai smiled, pointed ahead with her ﬁnger, said, “There.”
Ghost Li looked up, suddenly was taken aback. Where Xiao Bai had pointed was an area deep inside the Miao habitation, built halfway up the mountain, a stone terrace building far high up from the ordinary Miao houses.
Ghost Li frowned and quietly said, “Altar.”
Xiao Bai smiled and said, “That’s right.”
Ghost Li did not speak but in his heart, he felt slightly alarmed, not for anything but the fact that the altar in southern border had a special signiﬁcant. He had frequently visited the southern border for the past years, although he was preoccupied and wholeheartedly searching for the mysterious black shaman tribe and therefore did not pay much attention to the southern border custom but as for some basic things, he was still aware.
At the southern border land, Zhuang, Miao, Tu, Li and GaoShan these ﬁve tribes, controlled different areas and maybe because each tribes were different and so each had different beliefs, deities and religions but within the different tribes, they all had a speciﬁc place to worship their deities and ancestors and that was the altar.
The altar among the southern border tribes, indeed had a high status, to the majority of the tribes people, most of the times when the shaman in the altar spoke and the words spoken by the great mysterious deity, there wasn’t any difference. In the past when the wars among the ﬁve tribes were at their peaks, it was the same before each battle, to ﬁrst consult the shaman in the altar and explain the situation to the deity, until the deity -- also meaning the great shaman personally giving permission, the tribe leader then could launch a fresh new war. As such it could be seen, the altar and the shaman in it, what kind of status they had in southern border!
And to what he knew, those shaman had always seldom receive outsiders.
Ghost Li after remaining silent for a while, turned and spoke to Xiao Bai, “That is Miao people’s altar, the person that you mentioned, don’t tell me…”
Xiao Bai smiled faintly and interrupted him, “That’s right, three hundred years ago, what I saw here, was that the great shaman in the Miao tribe using Soul Return powerful art, saving that Miao person whose one soul and three mortal forms had been absorbed by the mountain spirit evil demon.”
The great Miao shaman…
Ghost Li’s lips twitched again, if to say that the shaman in the altar had revered position in the southern border tribes, then as being the most powerful and with the highest status, and delivering the deity decree personally each time, the shaman could be also be said as the deity in the common people’s eyes.
If someone dared to offend the great shaman, Ghost Li did not have any doubt at all, that all of the Miao people in this land and even all of the Miao people in the entire southern border would with all of their might, ﬁght him.
Xiao Bai looked at Ghost Li with interest, smiled and said, “So how, what do we do now?”
Ghost Li glanced at her, the early dawn rays landed on her face, as if refracting it out, carrying with it a faint warmth.
He did not speak a word, turned over and towards that altar halfway up in the mountain, unhurriedly walked.
Xiao Bai smiled and followed along. This place, known as Seven Mile Cave, naturally covered an area as wide and known as the biggest inhabitation of the Miao people in the southern border, as they went deeper in, they could see more and more Miao people.
From the fairly large path that they were travelling on, smaller paths constantly branched out to the sides, like an exuberant large tree branching out and expanding.
Looking at the two of them from a distance, the road underneath them led straight to that altar in the distance, therefore also saving them the hassle of asking directions.
Just that as they went deeper in, the number of Miao people noticing them traversing also increased, the whisperings around them unceasingly. Almost about the time to brew half a cup of tea, they came to the foot of the lofty enormous mountain where the altar was.
Then, they stopped, not because they hesitated but because the Miao soldiers stationed at the foot of the mountain prevented them. Ghost Li felt slightly agitated but the situation before them was not exactly unexpected. Of course! As the holy supreme altar of the Miao people, if there was no increased surveillance, it would instead be unusual.
The number of Miao soldiers guarding the mountain foot were in fact not little, a quick glance, there were at least several able-bodied men, either near or far they stood at the road leading up to the mountain, standing guard.
Right now blocking their way were two Miao men who stood at the forefront, they were dressed like ordinary Miao people but the only difference was a tough-and-tensile-looking rattan- made wooden shield on their chest and their hands holding long pointed spears, seemed like that was the difference between Miao soldiers and ordinary Miao people.
The two Miao people assessed Ghost Li and Xiao Bai from head to toes a few times, after which most of their gazes lingered on Xiao Bai’s beautiful face and then loudly said, “Ji li ji li hu lu lu, hua la hua la lu lu hu…” Ghost Li turned his head and looked at Xiao Bai, Xiao Bai shrugged and said, “Don’t ask me, being incarcerated for so long, how would I still remember these local languages?”
Ghost Li kept quiet, turned back and thought for a moment, said, “We have an urgent matter and wish to pay a visit to your great shaman.” Because he had a favour to ask so it was unusual that his speech now was slightly more polite.
But evidently, this Miao inhabitation was far from the civilised innkeeper and waiter in the TianShui Stockade inn who could understand the Central Plains language, after hearing Ghost Li’s words, the two Miao people frowned even deeper, looked at each other but also held up the long spears in their hands, their faces solemn, loudly shouted, “Hu hu lu lu hua la la, lu lu hu hu ji li li…”
Ghost Li was taken aback and for the moment helpless, truthfully speaking he had, for BiYao, ran around for the past ten years trying to ﬁnd the black shaman tribe and now with much difﬁculty he had managed to ﬁnd some leads but instead was blocked by these Miao soldiers, he was actually very agitated and really wished to knock down those people straightaway, dashed into the altar to ﬁnd that whatever great shaman and let him cure BiYao.
Just that after all he was no longer that ignorant young man and knew that right now he must not be rash else if things became worse, it would produce the opposite of his desired outcome. But while he hesitated, because of their communication breakdown, he used his hand to point once at that altar located in the middle of the mountain, using a polite voice said, “We want to go up to your altar and pay a visit to the great shaman.”
He did not know if the Miao people understood his words but when he pointed towards the altar, immediately all of the Miao people in the surroundings, including those Miao soldiers standing in the distance and also including those Miao people who were following them to watch the fun, became incensed and started to scold and shout loudly, the Miao soldiers even [hua la la] surrounded them, besieging them.
Ghost Li was shocked, Xiao Bai beside him said in a low voice, “Oh dear, you might have violated the Miao people big taboo.” Ghost Li bewilderedly asked, “What did I do?”
Xiao Bai looked at the surrounding angry crowd, quietly said, “To the Miao people the altar is a holy and untouchable place, even in everyday conversations it cannot be casually mention, using your ﬁnger to point towards the altar is an even more disrespectful action, the most insulting gesture to the Miao people.”
Ghost Li glared at her, angrily said, “Such an important thing and you actually didn’t tell me beforehand?”
Xiao Bai laughed lightly, as if revealing some of her loveliness, gently said, “Think about it too, I had been imprisoned for three hundred years, how would I still remember so much…”
Ghost Li was lost for words again, for the moment felt his head was swimming.
The surrounding Miao people saw them not showing any fear and instead looked composed and quietly chatted among themselves, the man at least still looked anxious, that woman instead looked totally unconcerned about the surrounding Miao people, smiling sweetly, gazing around.
There were many Miao women around them, watching Xiao Bai’s graceful appearance, they were all secretly envying but when they saw many more Miao men’s eyes glowing while watching Xiao Bai, immediately there was a stir in the scene, instantly [ji li hua la] sounds repeatedly rang out, most were that to this adulterous pair insulting the holy altar, their crimes could not be forgiven and should be executed by the deaths of a thousand knives.
While about it, there were several young men who could not help but tried to dispute with a few words, said that the one who had insulted the altar was that man and the woman did not commit any wrong, why not kill that man and leave the woman, it would also be good to made her my wife etc…
Before they could ﬁnish, those few men were immediately drowned in the Miao women crowd, by their mothers, elder sisters, younger sisters, aunties, third auntie, sixth auntie and even Miao women who had no relations to them, hit by their hands or kicked by their legs or their hairs pulled or their ears grabbed, punched on their eyes or hit on their chests, anyway hands and feet poured from the sky, wailing like ghost and howling like wolves, after a while, [pu tong pu tong] sounds were heard in succession, those men one by one with bruises and swollen faces were ﬂung down into the brook, creating huge water waves.
The ﬁerce Miao women, could be clearly seen.
Those Miao soldiers did not expect such a big reaction from those Miao women and that they were actually more infuriated than those soldiers who were only qualiﬁed to guard the altar because they were the most loyal and steadfast, felt such abhorrence towards the outsiders who had insulted the altar and beat up those who made any slightest plea or opinion.
That Miao soldier at the forefront seemed to be the leader of those Miao soldiers, he took a glance at those young men who were still crying their faces out in the river, coughed once and looked at Ghost Li and Xiao Bai, immediately his face turned frost and without looking at Xiao Bai at all, stared unwavering at Ghost Li, as if he feared that this man might slipped off or afraid that his own gaze might wandered, in a loud angry voice he said, “Ha ha lu lu ji li li, hua la ji li hu lu lu!” Over at Ghost Li, he was also very worried, although he did not know why suddenly there would be a large group of Miao women coming together and bash up those few young Miao people and threw them into the river but assumed that the Miao people was from a different tribe and most likely had some strange custom, and so kept his composure.
But as he could not communicate with those Miao people and he himself had unknowingly infringed the big taboo of Miao people, enraging the Miao people. As the surrounding Miao people around them increased, although both he and Xiao Bai were Central Plains cultivators and deﬁnitely not afraid of the large number of Miao people or that they were tall and robust but unfortunately right now he really needed a favour from this Miao tribe.
Those ten years, from hope to disappointment and to almost despair, it was really agonizing. Now that suddenly there was such a wonderful hope igniting once again, no matter what he was not willing to let it go easily. But right now he could not communicate with them and if he gestured again it might not convey well, and what if again he unwittingly committed another Miao taboo, it would be too unjust. He stood there, unable to force his way through and even unwilling to walk away, in a dilemma, it was really an awkward predicament.
And the surrounding Miao people after seeing that those two people were unrepentable and still standing there wordlessly, the guy still had some anxiety expression but that woman actually smiled even more dazzling and seemed to be even happier being surrounded, her smile became more and more sweeter and in fact still smiled to a few Miao men who was staring at her, immediately making those men swooning.
The surrounding Miao women saw it all and immediately like a pot exploded, it was really enough was enough, the uproar became louder and almost drowning out the two of them in saliva.
Looked like the crowd was going out of hand, the Miao women in the crowd was about to charge up, to properly teach this coquettish seductress a good lesson, in the name of the deity in the altar to vent their grievances, a loud shout came from behind those soldiers who were guarding the mountain path. The voice was imposing and vigorous and could actually suppressed the clamour made by so many people, and the voice was ﬁlled with authority. The surrounding Miao people seemed to recognized the voice and quietened down at once, looked up to the mountain, evidently this person had a high prestige among the Miao people.
Chapter 123 - Strong Liquor
A group of Miao people walked down from the mountain, Ghost Li and Xiao Bai turned to look and saw seven or eight sturdy Miao soldiers escorting an elderly who looked to be in his early ﬁfties.
The loud shout just now, was made by this elderly man.
The surrounding Miao soldiers bowed, the agitated crowd also turned silent, everyone bowed their heads, showing deference to the elder.
Until the group of people came near, that elder walked out from the group, came to Ghost Li and Xiao Bai and looked at them, the two of them also assessed him at the same time.
The elder’s body build was quite tall and sturdy, however because of his advanced age, grey hairs was seen at his temples but he looked very healthy and vigorous, a pair of eyes bright and piercing, right now he was frowning and carefully scrutinized the two of them. Then, that elder said, “Ji li ji li hu lu lu, hu la hu la lu lu hu?”
Ghost Li was stunned, the words seemed similar to what the soldier was asking him previously, most likely they had the same meaning and should be questioning his identity and his purpose here?
But he could only guess and still did not understand the meaning of the words. He could only say, “We have an urgent matter, wish to..” While speaking, he was about to raise his hand and realized with a start, quickly placed his hand down and said, “wish to pay a visit to the great shaman in the altar.”
As he spoke, he was feeling vexed too, these Miao people could not understand his words at all, what was the point of saying it? But to remain quiet would be even more rude and instead might infuriated those Miao people, for the moment he felt very anxious.
Unexpectedly like Heaven had answered his prayers, the elder heard Ghost Li’s words, frowned and again assessed them from top to bottom, and then suddenly spoke, using clumsy Central Plains language, “You, you are Central Plains people?” Ghost Li and Xiao Bai were shocked and then immediately delighted, right now the world’s sweetest sound was most probably this elder’s thick-with-local-accent words. Ghost Li quickly nodded, said, “That’s right, that’s right, we have come from Central Plains and have an urgent matter, wish to pay a visit to your honorable tribe’s shaman.”
The elder glanced at them, saw them wearing the southern border ethnic costume but the materials looked coarse. However the demeanours of these two people did not look simple and evidently not ordinary merchants, especially that girl, with her naturally endowed beauty, these clothes which even ordinary Miao woman would not take a fancy to, worn by her actually had an unique distinctive style.
“Who are you? Why are you looking for the great shaman?” The elder drawled.
Ghost Li and Xiao Bai looked at each other, cupped his hands before his chest and said, “This..Sir, I have a friend who is seriously injured, nine out of ten of her three souls and seven mortal forms had scattered, leaving only the remnant of one soul. For ten years she is like a dead person, it is really…” When he spoke until here, an image of BiYao lying in the Majestic Fox Mountain freezing stone chamber suddenly appeared in his mind and for one moment, he became emotional, his voice involuntarily quivered. Although many of the Miao people surrounding them could not understand what he was saying but when they saw his expression and from the tone of his voice, they could roughly guessed what he was beseeching something and for a moment, had a favorable impression of this person.
As for Xiao Bai standing beside Ghost Li, a pair of bright eyes watching him, at that very moment, that faint smile which had always been on her lips and looked like it had seen beyond the worldly affairs, disappeared and became solemn.
Ghost Li composed himself, said, “An enlightened man once advised me, this type of injury and condition would deﬁnitely need an extraordinary person who knows the Soul Return Unusual Art and use the remnant of her single soul to carry out the extraordinary spell to call back the scattered souls, so that the person could fully recover. I had been searching hard for ten years but unfortunately I am unable to ﬁnd it in the vast world. Luckily recently, “ He glanced at Xiao Bai and continued, “recently I heard that your honorable tribe great shaman knows such soul-calling extraordinary spell therefore especially came to beseech the great shaman to please save her. My humble self would be extremely grateful!”
After that elder heard it, he frowned tightly, his expression looked extremely complicated but looking at Ghost Li’s sincere expression and really did not look at he was lying, after a pause, said, “It’s rare that the Central Plains men still has such affections but I cannot decide for this matter, wait here for a while, I will go up the altar and ask for the great shaman’s decision. If the elder refused to see you all then I can’t help too.”
Ghost Li was exulted, nodded hurriedly and said, “Thank you Sir.”
That elder nodded, hesitated for a moment then turned around and spoke a few words to the Miao soldiers beside him, those few soldiers nodded at the same time. Then the Miao elder walked back to the mountain by himself, the remaining soldiers slowly gathered around and watched the two of them, not sure if they were surveilling! Or carrying out orders to protect them. As for the Miao onlookers who saw that the elder conversed in gibberish with those two outsiders (to them, the Central Plains language was also incoherent) and then instructed those soldiers to watch over them, he himself walked back to the altar, for a moment whispers and all sorts of speculations were heard.
With so many pairs of eyes, Ghost Li’s heart was heavy and his mind preoccupied, he did not notice the rest of the Miao people at all, Xiao Bai instead again revealed a sweet smile, surveyed the surroundings unhurriedly, inciting numerous lewd or jealous or angry stares.
Only Xiao Hui on her shoulder was curiously looking around and not interested in those people, its gaze ﬁnally stopped on that brook by the side and developed a great interest in the ﬁshes swimming in it, stared intently at it and grinning from time to time. Its body also began to move restlessly, looking like it wanted to jump into the brook to play.
The Miao altar was built entirely from enormous rocks, majestically towering yet with a hint of primitive and crude form. That elder walked up the path and came before the altar, there was a terrace in front of the altar, paved and levelled from long rectangular stone slabs. Behind the terrace, was where the altar was.
Two enormous stone pillars, erected towering in front of the altar, one look at it, most probably at least ten zhangs tall, and not a single ﬁssure was seen on the stone pillars, it was actually perfectly carved from one enormous stone, one really wondered where did the Miao ancestors ﬁnd such an enormous stone and could actually transport and erect it before the altar.
Walking past these two pillars, would be the altar built from stone. The Seven Mile Cave Miao tribe altar had always been well-known in the southern border. Half of it was because it was built from enormous stones and the other half was because hewing directly in the mountain, excavating out from the solid hard rock walls.
The elder walked in and immediately the surrounding light dimmed. The temperature also seemed to be much lower.
The elder evidently was an important ﬁgure and very familiar with this sacred place in the Miao people’s hearts, he did not have any hesitation and walked straight deep into the altar, occasionally a Miao shaman appeared and both parties exchanged greetings. If Ghost Li and Xiao Bai saw it, most probably they could guess the identity of this elder.
For someone that could exchange greetings with the Miao shamans, other than the other shamans in the altar, only the Miao tribe leader was qualiﬁed.
The elder continued to walk in, passing through the wide tunnel and came to the deepest part of the altar, which was also the biggest room in this altar.
Hanging above the stone door was an ornament made from a ferocious beast bones, the stone walls beside were also painted with blood, symbolizing the devotion in ancestral sacriﬁce.
Looking at it in the dark, all of these seemed extremely savage.
But to the Miao people, this was the most sacred place, the elder had a solemn expression on his face, he straightened out his clothes and unhurriedly walked in. In the enormous stone chamber, absolutely empty except in the innermost area, a ﬁre burned, looked especially bright in the dimness.
In front of the ﬁre sat a strange stone statue carved from the same enormous stones, its head looked like a dog but it had ten feet and even had sharp claws on it, and on its back, a pair of wings, it was really a strange statue and looked like it was the deity that the Miao people worshipped.
And in such a huge stone chamber, there was only one person, his back image looked very old and hunched, quietly sat before the ﬁre, as if in meditation and also like he was reticent.
This strange place somehow gave one an eerie feeling that time had stopped and came to a standstill.
Over here, everything seemed still and tranquil.
The ﬁre burned strongly, causing that person’s ﬁgure in front of it, to ﬂicker between brightness and darkness. The elderly unhurriedly walked up, stopped about one zhang before that person, lowered his voice and respectfully said, “Great shaman master.”
The ﬁgure sitting in front of the ﬁre stirred, a frail voice was heard saying, “Tu MaGu, why are you back again? The Dog deity decree, didn’t I just tell it to you just now? Unless you still have any doubts?”
The elderly who was addressed as Tu MaGu, was the current tribe leader of the Miao in the southern border, he was heard respectfully replying, “Great shaman, I understand the Dog deity decree fully and I will deﬁnitely do what the Dog deity’s decree said.”
The great shaman still did not turn around and he was heard saying, “Hm, that is good. But what is it that made you turn back, I sense your heart is disturbed.”
Tu MaGu frowned slightly, seemed to be deliberating on how to describe the matter, after a while he decided to say it directly, “Great shaman, two strangers from Central Plains have come to the Seven Mile Cave below, they hope to be able to meet great shaman.”
The great shaman before the ﬁre shifted, his head which had been facing that Dog deity statue and ﬁre, turned over slightly but only his thinning head of grey hair could be seen.
“Who is it? I have not leave this altar for nearly a hundred years, why would there be Central Plains people here to ﬁnd me?”
Tu MaGu said, “Yes, I felt very puzzled too so came up to consult great shaman, should we let them come up?”
The great shaman contemplated for a while, said, “Did they say what are they here for?”
Tu MaGu replied, “Yes, a man and a woman came, that man said he wish to invite great shaman to help him treat a friend’s illness.” The great shaman snorted, said, “I have to serve the Dog deity and do not have the time to bother with these people, reject them for me.”
Tu MaGu was stunned for a moment but did not comment further, “Alright, then I will go and convey your wishes.” Speaking, he turned around and headed out.
He had only taken a few steps when suddenly he heard the great shaman’s voice behind him said, “Wait.”
Tu MaGu turned around and asked, “What is it, is there any other matters, great shaman?”
The great shaman’s hunched ﬁgure was still facing the ﬁre but his aged voice wafted slowly over, “The illness that they are seeking me to treat, what is it?”
Tu MaGu said, “From what they said, it was a rather unusual sickness, seemed like nine out of ten of a person’s soul was gone…” The great shaman’s ﬁgure in front of the ﬁre suddenly shook.
Tu MaGu continued to say, “That man said, a master once advised him, that for this kind of condition, only Soul Return spell could cure it. Not sure from where the man had gotten the information, said that great shaman might know such spell, therefore wish to beseech great shaman to treat.”
Tu MaGu slowly ﬁnished his words but the great shaman did not have any reaction, his ﬁgure unmoving, not sure what was he thinking in his heart.
The ﬁre leaped and shrank ceaselessly, engulﬁng the wood in the ﬁre, Tu MaGu waited for a long time but the great shaman still did not speak, he then hesitantly said, “Great shaman then I...will go and reject them, ask them to leave immediately?”
The great shaman was still silent, not even speaking a word.
Ma TuGu slowly turned around and headed out but just when he was about to leave the stone chamber, the great shaman voice, again was heard. This time, even he could also tell, the great shaman who had always been mysterious and wise, like he had pondered through long and complicated thoughts, slowly spoke.
“You...bring them up!”
Ghost Li could not help but tightened his ﬁsts and then slowly released them, he realized with a start, his palms were sweaty because of his anxiety.
How long was it, since he had felt this agitated and yearning? As his anxiety increased, Ghost Li kept staring at that altar halfway in the mountain. But that elderly, had left for quite some time and still had not returned.
Unless, that great shaman in the altar, refused to treat outsiders?
Or, don’t tell him he had committed another taboo? Ghost Li could not help his thoughts, even his heart also started to beat faster.
Xiao Bai by his side, watched his face, watched this man who could not hide his anxiety, that concealed deep love, seemed to etch onto his face.
She sighed lightly and turned her head over.
The surrounding Miao onlookers, were not as many as before, after all they had waited for such a long time but the tribe leader had not returned after entering the altar and also did not leave any instructions on how to handle these two outsiders, a part of the crowd had dispersed.
But because Xiao Bai was too beautiful, attracted many of the young Miao men to stand around, while blantly looking at her, they chatted and laughed loudly, most likely talking about her beauty.
As for the monkey Xiao Hui, it has since jumped down from Xiao Bai’s shoulder, ran to the riverside, crouched beside the clear brook and watched the ﬁshes swimming in-between the rocks, suddenly it threw itself in and tried to catch the ﬁshes with its hands. However the ﬁshes were all crafty and slippery, wriggled here and there and escaped from its hands, in the end he was drenched in water sprays.
But Xiao Hui did not mind, withdrew his hands and patiently waited, after a while, the water surface was still again and those ﬁshes swam back, Xiao Hui waited for his chance and pounced again. As such the cycle started once more, Xiao Hui was greatly interested in this game and was not tire of playing it again and again.
At the foot of the mountain, the crowd slowly dispersed, the place regained its peacefulness.
Tu MaGu still had not returned, Ghost Li felt more and more anxious, almost a few times he wanted to dash up and charge into the altar, grabbed hold of that great shaman and begged him properly but each time he thought of it, he thought of BiYao, eventually he forcibly repressed the urge.
Waiting, was actually so torturous. The anxiety on his face gradually became apparent, other than Xiao Bai, the Miao soldiers also started to notice it, they looked at each other, actually those Miao soldiers also felt greatly puzzled.
Wasn’t it just a question, why would it need such a long time, unless tribe leader and the great shaman had other important matters?
The Miao people were coarse and simple, although they still did not understand who those two people were but to let those two to wait here for so long, those Miao people also somehow felt embarrassed.
After a while, the young tall leader came up, coarsely spoke to Ghost Li, “Hu lu lu, gua la la!”
Ghost Li was startled, did not understand what he meant but saw the Miao soldier took an animal skin bag from his waist and threw it over to him. Ghost Li caught it, felt it heavy in his hands, he saw a wooden stopper at the mouth of the bag and looking at the Miao soldier again who stretched his hand to his mouth, making a drinking action. Ghost Li realized then pulled out the stopper, the strong smell of alcohol was thick, it was indeed a bag of strong liquor.
Ghost Li laughed wry, he was not a person who was fond of drinking and now he was even more not in the mood but those Miao people were watching him, he felt he should not let down their good intentions and so nodded and smiled to the Miao soldier, placed the bag into his mouth and forced himself to drink a mouthful.
Unexpectedly with this mouthful, immediately he grimaced, the liquor fermented by the Miao people was really very strong, it even had the southern border character, a spicy and numbing taste, invading his throat with a force, as he was unprepared, he felt it quite unbearable.
His reaction was all seen by those Miao people and several laughed loudly out, most probably this was not the ﬁrst time they had seen the expression made by Central Plains people unused to the Miao’s fermented strong liquor, their laugher carrying their pride.
Ghost Li was angry but then he thought to himself that those people did not have any malicious intent and besides, he needed to ask a favour from them, how could he throw a ﬁt, so he could only laughed bitterly and was about to return the wine bag, that Miao soldier [he he] laughed and stretched out his hand to take back.
Suddenly a fair hand stretched over from the side, taking the big bag of liquor from Ghost Li. The crowd and Ghost Li were all stunned, the one receiving the wine bag, was actually Xiao Bai who was quietly standing beside.
She held up the wine bag to her nose, breathed deeply in, that wine fragrance assaulted her nose, it was extremely strong but this girl seemed not to be bothered at all and instead looked intoxicated. She then raised up both of her hands and placed the wine bag into her mouth, drank it with big mouthfuls.
Everyone was shocked, even Ghost Li was shocked! Xiao Bai after taking a long draft, put down the bag, contentment slowly emerged on her face, after a while exclaimed softly, “Good wine!”
The chorus of shouts were from the Miao soldiers. The strong liquor of the southern border Miao, the Miao had always turned ﬁerce and tough after drinking and in their region, the strongest man had always been the one who could hold his alcohol the best. In the Miao tribe, women usually would not touch the strong liquor that only those men drank.
Unexpectedly today in front of them this woman who looked gentle and lovely, could surprisingly drink this strong liquor with great gusto and looking at her reaction after drinking, it was simply the distinctive look of a veteran drunkard. Each of the Miao men loved to drink, immediately a stir went around the crowd and cheers were heard.
On Xiao Bai’s fair face, because of the liquor, a faint blush covered her face but she was suddenly invigorated, her right hand holding the wine bag, her left hand loosened, snapped her ﬁnger lightly at the group of Miao soldiers, making a thin pa] sound.
A commotion went through the group of Miao soldiers,everyone looked surprised and amused, that gesture was clearly among the southern border Miao tribe, a gesture made between the men to initiate a drinking challenge, this woman who looked to be from Central Plains actually made a totally accurate gesture, for the moment they looked at each other.
But even more formidable, making their eyes go wide, was actually at the later part.
Xiao Bai laughed lightly, her eyes looking genuinely tender like water, she raised her head, swaying her hair, placed the wine bag in her mouth, [gu lu gu lu] drank heavily.
The Miao crowd was taken aback, Ghost Li, could not understand the situation and yet did not mind, however he only blamed Xiao Bai in his heart that at this moment she could still create such thing but in the Miao people’s eyes, this woman right now was almost like the world’s number one unusual woman.
The Miao liquor was extremely strong, such a big bag of wine, currently in the entire Miao tribe, not a single man could drink it all in one breath, most likely would be already knocked out after drinking three quarters of it. But now watching this woman’s throat drinking unceasingly and by large mouthfuls, for the moment one by one, the Miao men’s countenances changed.
And Xiao Bai just had to make that extremely classic hand gesture!
The Miao people was after all, outspoken and straightforward, and when so many men saw a woman who looked gentle, challenging them, how could they have any slightest thought of backing away. Not knowing who was the ﬁrst to shout out, threw the long pointed spear onto the ground, untied the wine bag on his waist and raised his head to drink. As per the Miao custom every man had a wine bag with him, once it started immediately like a pot exploding, the Miao crowd vied to drink, the scene was really spectacular.
Only that young Miao leader, who suddenly came out of his reverie, stretched to take his wine bag at his waist but unexpectedly discovered it missing, he then realized his wine bag was already in Xiao Bai’s hand. Watching all of his fellow tribe mates drinking, the Miao leader’s face turned all red with panic, if he did not drink right now, he might be shamed for thousands of years.
His eyes looked around, had an idea in moment of desperation, the Miao leader with a [sou] scuttled to a Miao soldier who was standing beside the river, abruptly snatched the wine bag from his hand and started to drink it down with big mouthfuls.
That soldier immediately was enraged, as said rather be killed but must never be denied to drink, with a roar he looked to charge up to snatch his wine back, unexpectedly the Miao leader was already prepared, suddenly with one kick, immediately kicked him into the river, [hua la] a sound large water waves splashed out, scaring Xiao Hui who was playing by the shore.
The soldier felt extremely wronged and this matter concerned his face, how could he let it go, immediately he scurried back up the bank, with one quick look he knew he could not ﬁght against the Miao soldier leader, stomped his feet angrily and ran with big strides, dashed into a house by the side and among the surprised cries, the man actually snatched a big bag of liquor out, with a [sua] sound, stood with the other Miao soldiers, [gu lu gu lu] drank in big mouthfuls.
Ghost Li watched dumbfoundedly, for a moment forgot about the altar up in the mountain, he saw a large group of Miao men standing at one side, the other side was a demure lady, both sides drinking like crazy, the sight although was spectacular but yet amusing, making one sweat for them.
Right now the scene was really too fascinating, immediately attracting the other Miao people, in an instant the news spread and hearing the Miao people shrill voices talking continuously, [hu la la] a large crowd encircling them, at least three times larger than the previous crowd. The merchant left their stalls, the hunters left their preys, the inhabitants of the houses all ran out, surrounding this area so tight that water could not trickle through, crowds and crowds of people, it was really a sea of people.
Shouts and shrieks were heard frequently from the crowd, most probably those were cheers from the people who were too excited.
In the center of the crowd, the critical moment had came for those in the challenge, the strong Miao liquor, how could it be idle, even though they were the Miao soldiers who frequently drank, right now slowly people started to fall down.
Every time someone fell, immediately [hua] exclamations would be heard from the crowd and a commotion but the people’s expressions were all ﬁlled with excitement.
After another period, more and more Miao men revealed pained expressions, they were all red in the faces, standing unsteadily and wavered, although they were still making an effort to hold up but as the world turned upside down, they could only dejectedly fell down. [Pa, pa, pa!]
The Miao soldiers’ alcohol tolerance limits were about the same, a big group fell, over at the Miao side, only three were left, struggling to hold up, including that young Miao soldier leader.
Instead over at Xiao Bai, the crowd was astonished, Xiao Bai’s eyes were halfway closed, the redness on her face slowly thickened, almost as if it was going to seep out from her fair skin, extremely alluring. And even that shimmering eyes, glimmering like it was going to ﬂow out, making one mesmerized upon looking at it.
Just that even her beauty was such, her alcohol tolerance was even more scary, until now, she showed no signs of unsteadiness and was still drinking big mouthfuls of the strong liquor.
A few women were in the crowd and all knew much about drinking, one look and they knew that this woman was not pretending, she was really using her own alcohol tolerance to compete with those men, surprised and in awed, especially her exceptional beauty, all cheered and shouted.
Two mufﬂed sounds, again from the Miao side, two had fallen, right now, only that Miao young soldier was struggling but looking at his staggering footsteps, evidently he was also at his limit.
And over at Xiao Bai, her face was also gradually turned redder, suddenly her body slanted, the onlookers cried out at the same time, Xiao Bai instead slowly put down the wine bag, drew out a long breath, both of her eyes looked like tears were about to spill out, the liquor increasing her charms, she was as beautiful as a ﬂower, her right hand was still holding the wine bag, her left hand instead waved to the crowd, smiling sweetly she said, “Ah KeXi!” An uproar went up in the crowd, [Ah KeXi] meant good wine in Miao language, this lady’s alcohol limit was bewilderingly huge and just at the right time called out “Good wine…”
Instantly loud applauses exploded from the crowd.
Xiao Bai ﬂinged her head, seemed to be slightly drunk, her footsteps were also unsteady, slowly walked to Ghost Li, leaned against him, [he he] laughing at him.
Ghost Li was speechless.
Xiao Bai closed her eyes, her head lightly moved, suddenly another smile, loudly laughed and said, “Three hundred years! Three hundred years!”
Her head raised, hand raised, drank!
That drinking posture, was also so captivating and alluring! [Bang!]
The last Miao person, that leader ﬁnally also fell down, even though how unwilling he was but his face was as red as Xiao Hui’s arse, was already incapacitated, after a moment he was unconscious, sleeping soundly on the ground. Someone by the side ran over and lifted his wine bag to check, there was still less than half of liquor left, the person’s countenance changed and announced it loudly to the crowd, there was a commotion instantly, evidently this was already an inconceivable record.
But, the people did not forget, there was still an incredulous girl, still drinking.
Xiao Bai’s face, right now was like a red jade, even her fair neck and her slightly revealed upper chest skin, were also faintly red.
Looking at her, right now she also could not stand straight but she leaned against Ghost Li and still drinking in big mouthfuls. The crowd gradually became quiet, everyone’s expression had already turned from excitement to respect.
Finally, Xiao Bai after drinking the last drop, both of her eyes seemed heavily closed then she smiled with her face red, her expression sluggish and then with a swing of her hand, threw the big wine bag away.
Immediately someone ran over and pick up the bag to inspect, and then discovered, the wine bag was actually empty!
That person was dumbstruck then loudly announced to the crowd which was staring at him intently, the people was silent for a long while, suddenly exploded with earth-shaking shrieks and cheers.
In the hubbub, Ghost Li, as if sitting on a bed of nails, Xiao Bai’s slackened body leaning softly against him, her face white and rosy, her eyes half opened, shimmering with tenderness, watching him intently. “Are, are you alright?” Ghost Li after repressing for a long while, muttered only this sentence.
Xiao Bai stretched her hand and grabbed his clothes, her body paused, as if the alcohol had went up her head, her white teeth bit gently on her lips, even her breathing was getting heavier but the tenderness in her eyes, the smile on her lips, never once changed.
“You…” Xiao Bai’s voice, was as gentle as the water about to drip out, at Ghost Li’s ears, softly said.
“Have you ever liked me?”
Chapter 124 - The Altar
Ghost Li was in a startled but saw Xiao Bai’s eyes were full of tenderness, glistening with water like it was about to ﬂow out, reﬂecting his own face in it, his heart involuntarily jumped.
“You are drunk.” Ghost Li said, beads of perspiration appeared on his head.
Xiao Bai right now could no longer stand on her own, all of her body’s weight leaning onto Ghost Li. Her white teeth bit gently on her red lips, a low moan escaped from her mouth, a coquettish demeanor that mesmerized one’s soul, slowly, she leaned her head against Ghost Li’s shoulder.
“You…” This intoxicated, stunning girl, softly said.
Seemed like the after effects of the alcohol was too strong, she gently rubbed her head on Ghost Li’s shoulder, it could be she was having a headache! But her voice, was still softly speaking at Ghost Li’s ears, saying, “You this person, have been living too hard! Do you know it?
Ghost Li was in jitters after being called “Little fool” by her but the words were spoken with tenderness and her body was giving off a faint whiff of fragrance every now and then, lingering around.
The ultimate was, her that exceptional beautiful face lazily lying on his shoulder, her entire body leaning against him, he did not dare to move and could not move.
If this was in Central Plains, it would invite numerous slanderous gossips but the custom of southern border was liberal, most of the Miao people did not mind and instead most assumed they were a couple, especially after Xiao Bai’s incredible feat really shocked the Miao village, so much less even commented.
Only some young Miao men who adored Xiao Bai, felt depressed. While Ghost Li was at a lost, also at the same time somehow his heart was musing over what Xiao Bai said just now, the words, “living too hard“ slowly resounded in his heart, for a moment lost in thoughts.
Then at that moment, suddenly [zhi zhi] sounds were heard beside him, it was Xiao Hui. He then recalled that Xiao Hui has been playing by the side and because the liquor challenge was too stunning, he himself for a moment forgot about Xiao Hui, he turned his head to look.
Unexpectedly, Ghost Li almost choked on his words again.
Xiao Hui had ran up from the shore and crouched near where Ghost Li, Xiao Bai were, its three eyes roving around, extremely curious about the situation.
Now that the liquor challenge was over, the Miao people were busy clearing up, some walked over to lift those fallen drunk soldiers, Ghost Li was also holding up the liquor-sodden Xiao Bai and did not know whether to laugh or cry. And the current scene was even more chaotic, not to mention the drunken Miao people lying around everywhere, the long pointed spears, weapons etc, rattan amours including those big wine bags that were dropped onto the ground by the drunken Miao people, littering everywhere, and some of the bags were not even sealed properly, leaking the remnant of the liquor slowly, infusing the air with a thick strong liquor fragrance.
The monkey nature was inherently inquisitive and Xiao Hui was a spiritual intelligent animal, its inquisitiveness was ten times stronger than normal monkeys. Taking advantage where nobody was watching, it slyly sneaked to a fallen drunk Miao soldier lying on the ground by the side, its head looking around once to check its surroundings and then after ensuring nobody was watching it, it carefully picked up the wine bag that had fallen beside the soldier.
The smell of the liquor immediately surged up, Xiao Hui breathed in deeply, its three eyes spinned around, making a bewildered expression, evidently it had never encountered such a thing before.
Very carefully it sat on the ground, turning its monkey head around, looked cautiously around once more and then slowly put it into its mouth, drank a mouthful.
After drinking, Xiao Hui placed the wine bag down, its monkey mouth opened and closed, opened and closed! Suddenly looking exulted, it seemed to like this taste very much and could not help but make [zhi zhi] sounds.
It was also at this moment, Ghost Li heard the sounds and turned over, the ﬁrst look and he saw that even the monkey was also drinking, after the initial shock, the anger was not something trivial. Thinking to himself that things nowadays had really became crazy, whether was it fox or monkey, all had started to drink “alcohol”...
“Xiao Hui, come here!”
Ghost Li loudly called out, Xiao Hui was startled, looked over to Ghost Li, saw its master face was stern, scratched its head and put down the wine bag, ran towards Ghost Li.
After a few steps, it suddenly thought of something and turned its head around again, ran back to that drunkard and grabbed the wine bag with half a bag of wine left and then dragged it back with it.
Ghost Li felt exasperated but then noticed many of the Miao people had also witnessed the monkey’s actions and all started laughing loudly. The Miao people were straightforward and outspoken, especially most of the men loved to drink, when they saw that this monkey actually shared their passion, a bond was formed and they felt that with the world in view, their Miao tribe liquor was still the best in the world, if one does not believe, you could see that even a monkey could not help but drink one mouthful…
For a moment, many of the Miao people actually became excited, the crowd took out bananas and fruits, threw it all towards Xiao Hui, clearly showing their fondness towards it, giving it food.
Xiao Hui at the beginning was shocked, the sky had suddenly changed its countenance and innumerable strange objects had started to drop down, it had no way to hide, as such it became enraged, [zhi zhi] shrieked out and made ﬁerce expressions to the Miao people. However, after a while it looked around carefully, the objects were all lovely fruits, how could it not be delighted, immediately it stretched its hand to the ground and picked up a few bananas, and then slowly slipped back to Ghost Li, sat its butt on the ground and ate the banana. And the wine bag that it was holding in its hand, was brought back with it.
Ghost Li watched Xiao Hui, saw it eating happily and at times stuck out its head and put the wine bag into its mouth, drank up a mouthful.
The monkey had took a few mouthfuls of the strong liquor and yet its face did not seemed to look red, apparently it was able to hold its alcohol well. Ghost Li was about to say something but looking back at Xiao Bai who was still leaning on his shoulder and intoxicated, he suddenly sighed, swallowed his words and did not say anything.
Instead Xiao Hui was grinning happily, saw that Ghost Li kept passing glances, it stretched out its monkey hand and took a banana from the ground, and passed it to Ghost Li, seemed like it was quite loyal and wanted to share the good things with Ghost Li. Ghost Li was silent, conﬂicting expressions shown on his face and ﬁnally he slowly shook his head, turned around and did not look at the monkey again. The monkey shrugged its shoulders, could not understand why its master was not interested in those delicious food and instead happily devoured it, ignoring him. It peered around, scurried out and grabbed a few more bananas back, placed it on the ground in front of it and slowly savoured it.
The complete disarrayed scene was what greeted the Miao tribe leader Tu MaGu when he came down from the altar.
The soldiers who were responsible for guarding the altar were all drunk and sprawled all around, the air was ﬁlled with the liquor fragrance; in the distant, crowds of Miao people stood around and watched, loud laughters were heard from time to time; as for the two Central Plains people, the guy was still standing at where he was previously, just that his expression looked uncomfortable while the girl seemed to be drunk, her face was glowingly ﬂushed, leaning entirely on the man but she could still stand, at least this was better than those Miao soldiers who were lying drunk on the ground.
Even the strange three eyed monkey that came along with them, sat at their feet and with every bite of the fruits, it drank one mouthful of the liquor, looked to be in high spirits. Tu MaGu was not a fool, after a few more looks and again at the wine bags littered on the ground and the Miao onlookers’ expressions, he knew these were not any scheme devised by the Central Plains people and instead it was his own men who were useless.
When the tribe leader walked down, someone had already ran forward, spoke quietly in his ear and brieﬂy explained everything.
Looking at those drunken soldiers, Ma TuGu was fuming with anger, thinking to himself that those useless things could actually disregard the sacred task of guarding the altar. And even more abominable was, twenty over men competed against one delicate woman and yet collapsed drunk, if this was spread around, their Miao tribe’s reputation would fall into disrepute and mocked behind by the other four tribes in the southern border until their deaths.
He then decided, he had to deal with these useless Miao people after he returned, Ma TuGu forced a smile and pretended to look nonchalantly at the scene, walked towards Ghost Li. Ghost Li by then had also saw Ma TuGu walking over, his heart thumped once, even though this liquor challenge was not fought using real weapons but the mass of Miao people sprawled drunk on the ground, anyone could tell that the Miao people had been disgraced. When Ma TuGu came down from the mountain, Ghost Li from a distant saw something amiss with his expression, evidently he was very angry.
Although right now he was walking over with a forced smile but how could Ghost Li not discern the unhappiness in his heart. Ghost Li could only lament Xiao Bai in his heart for creating such a mess. When Tu MaGu came near, Ghost Li forced a smile and said, “Sir, I, I this friend of mine, she, she really do not know her etiquettes and so created so much…” Tu MaGu shook his head, said, “You don’t have to explain, I already know it all, actually it is all because my men are too useless.” Ghost Li kept quiet and then carefully said, “Then is the great shaman willing to see us?” Ma TuGu glanced at him and then looked at Xiao Bai with her eyes half closed, panting slightly and leaning on Ghost Li, laughed wry and said, “You all can go up! The great shaman has agreed to meet both of you.” Ghost Li was exulted, hurriedly said, “Thank you Sir.”
Tu MaGu said, “I am the Miao tribe leader, you can just call me Tu MaGu.” Ghost Li was stunned, although he could tell that this elder was held in high prestige by the Miao people but he did not expect that he was actually the tribe leader, immediately he nodded and said, “As such I thank you tribe leader.” Tu MaGu shook his head, said, “Quickly go up! The great shaman is still waiting for all of you!”
Ghost Li acknowledged and wanted to set off for the altar but was held back by Xiao Bai, looking at her soft-like-boneless body still leaning weakly onto him, if he were to walk off like that, she would have to fall onto the ground. He spoke in a low voice to Xiao Bai, “Xiao Bai, I am going to see the great shaman, stand on your own and wait here for me alright?” Xiao Bai, unclear if she had heard him clearly in her intoxication but upon hearing Ghost Li’s voice beside her ear, she did not open her eyes, her face smiled, extremely lovely but she did not speak, only her hand which had grabbed on to his clothes, tightened.
Ghost Li was helpless, besides this was an unfamiliar place and with Xiao Bai in this state, if he were to leave her alone here, inevitably he would feel uneasy. He thought of many ways and he could only sigh, stretched his hands out to support her and walked up the mountain together. Tu MaGu led the way, Ghost Li supporting Xiao Bai following, Xiao Bai’s body was still weak and even her steps were light, most of her weight was on Ghost Li’s hand. Ghost Li frowned and felt an inexplicable feeling, suddenly, he seemed to recall something and turned around, indeed Xiao Hui was still there, at the same spot eating its fruits and drinking, making [zhi zhi] laughing sounds from time to time, so happy that it forgot itself.
Ghost Li kicked with his leg, a banana ﬂew up and hit just right at Xiao Hui’s head, scaring Xiao Hui, its monkey head turned around violently, using its hand to rub the area where it was hit. Ghost Li angrily said, “Going.” Then supporting (carrying?) Xiao Bai and followed Tu MaGu up to the altar.
Xiao Hui scratched its head, stood up and threw down the fruits in its hands (actually it had eaten much of it), at the same time shook that wine bag. That soldier had a strong alcohol tolerance and drank much of the liquor, including that wine bag had fallen onto the ground and much had ﬂowed out. The remaining liquor, after being drunk by the monkey for some time, had reached the bottom. Xiao Hui threw the wine bag on the ground and was about to follow Ghost Li, suddenly it paused and made a hiccup sound, its monkey’s face too slowly turned red, looked like the Miao liquor was really extraordinary, right now the alcohol was slowly travelling up to its head. But Xiao Hui was after all a spiritual animal, although its face was gradually turning red but it still behaved as normal and quickly ran over to follow Ghost Li.
Just that while following behind on the way up, the Miao soldiers who were standing guard were now lying on the ground drunk, their wine bags littered the ground. Ghost Li supporting Xiao Bai walked past ahead, Xiao Hui walked and walked, suddenly it stopped and picked up another big wine bag from the ground, it raised its hands to shake it, [gu lu gu lu] a splashing sound was heard, seemed like much still remained, the monkey could not refrain from showing its delight.
With the pleasant surprise, Xiao Hui immediately became happy, picked a wine bag from the right hand side, shook it once or twice; picked up another from the left, shook it again. While it walked on, it keep picking, too bad the monkey only had two hands, dropped one after it picked another, but because of its greediness, it refused to give up any, it placed all of its collection together, a total of seven, eight wine bags but it was unable to bring it along, anxiously it could only make [zhi zhi] shrieks.
It was about to look up and seek help from its master but unexpectedly it got a shock, its master and that Miao elder had already walked far and almost reaching the altar. Xiao Hui [zhi zhi] shrieked, jumped here and there frantically, grabbed its ear and scratched its cheeks, like ants on a hot stove, ﬁnally it made a painful decision, grabbed up two wine bags, both hands dragging behind on the ground, ran with all its might up the mountain.
Luckily the wine bags made by Miao people were thick and sturdy, if not, to be dragged by it like that, it would have broke long ago. Looking at the monkey’s amusing sight, sounds of laughters from among the Miao crowd onlookers, wafted over from far, reverberated in the Seven Mile Cave.
Xiao Hui rushed along the way and ﬁnally caught up to Ghost Li at the entrance of the altar, panting heavily.
Ghost Li gave a sideways glance, the monkey’s mouth was opened and its tongue rolling out, panting with loud breaths but its hands were still tightly holding onto the two wine bags, he was stunned and then shook his head, turned his head back. Tu MaGu made a gesture towards the altar, said, “Follow me!”
Ghost Li nodded and said, “Many thanks.”
Tu MaGu smiled and went in ﬁrst, Ghost Li behind him also followed in. Once entering the altar, the dimness enveloped over, greatly contrasting with the bright sunshine world outside. The great shaman master might had gave some speciﬁc instructions as on their way in, Tu MaGu and Ghost Li did not encounter anyone else in the altar. Xiao Bai was deep in her intoxication, Ghost Li’s heart was preoccupied and did not observe the surroundings, only Xiao Hui dragging the two big wine bags behind them, hiccuped every once in awhile, its monkey eyes peering curiously around. In the dim altar, on those rock walls, the red colours could be faintly seen, looked to be painted with fresh blood. And at the corner of the rock walls, savage-looking ornaments of ferocious beast bones were frequently seen there. Xiao Hui [zhi zhi] called out twice and seemed uneasy, it quickened its steps and followed Ghost Li closely but its hands which were still holding on to those wine bags, never once let go. Their way in was quite smooth and very quickly they reached the deepest part of the altar, the stone chamber where the great shaman was. Ghost Li suddenly frowned, even though right now he was feeling quite nervous but he could sense the icy cold energy emitted by the Sinister Orb in his body suddenly stirred, in this stone chamber, there seemed to be a enigmatic unfathomable energy, triggering the Sinister Orb. Tu MaGu turned around and said to Ghost Li, “Here it is, the great shaman is inside, let’s go in!”
Ghost Li nodded and followed Tu MaGu in, one glance and they saw the hunched ﬁgure back facing them, sitting in front of the ﬁre. Tu MaGu signalled to them to wait and then walked forward, stopped at where he did previously, respectfully said, “Great shaman, they are here.”
The great shaman’s aged voice was heard speaking unhurriedly, to Ghost Li’s ears, it was actually ﬂuent authentic Central Plains language, saying, “Invite them over! Tu MaGu, there is nothing more for you to do here, you can go!”
Tu MaGu acknowledged, turned and spoke to Ghost Li, “Then you all shall have a talk with the great shaman! I will go out ﬁrst.” Ghost Li nodded and said, “Tribe leader, I really thank you.”
Tu MaGu smiled and said, “It was nothing.” Speaking, he glanced at Xiao Bai who was in the crook of Ghost Li’s arms, mused to himself that there was actually such a girl with such remarkable alcohol tolerance in this world, it was really unbelieveable. While musing, he unhurriedly left.
Until Tu MaGu’s ﬁgure disappeared, Ghost Li turned over and looked ahead. That hunched ﬁgure ﬂickered ceaselessly in the ﬁrelight, ﬂickering between the darkness, giving a surreal feeling and full of mystery. He was still hesitating on how to beseech him when the great shaman’s voice spoke, “Young man, come over!”
When Ghost Li heard the elderly voice, reverence suddenly rose in his heart, immediately he acknowledged with a word, “Yes.” He, while supporting Xiao Bai, slowly walked over, about six chi behind the elder, he paused for a moment and did not continue, stood where he was.
Xiao Hui, dragging the two big wine bags, also followed along, closely trailing Ghost Li’s feet, its three eyes unceasingly glancing left and right, assessing the surroundings and lastly it’s eyes stopped at that strange Dog deity statue, it could not stop looking at it. “Take a seat!” The great shaman’s aged voice quietly said.
Ghost Li obeyed, Xiao Bai by now could not stand and the liquor’s full strength had seemed to suffused her, she looked to be very drowsy, leaned against Ghost Li, rubbed her head against Ghost Li’s shoulder a few times and then fell into a deep sleep. As for Xiao Hui, it seemed to be also affected by the quiet atmosphere in this stone chamber, it did not dare to even breathe loudly, quietly sat beside Xiao Bai, placed the wine bags beside it, quietly took one and drank a mouthful. Its monkey eyes rovered and looked towards that great shaman.
“You all are looking for me, what is it for?” The great shaman was still facing the ﬁre and did not turn around.
Ghost Li said, “Great shaman, I have a friend, she lost two of her souls and seven mortal forms, leaving only one remnant of her soul, now that it has been a total of ten years, like a dead person. I heard that great shaman you know the Soul Return Unusual Art and would be able to save her. Please great shaman you must, must save her…” At the last words, his voice seemed to quiver. Ten years of agonizing wait, bitter search, as if all at this moment, gushed up to his heart.
The great shaman did not speak and remained silent, the stone chamber seemed to sink into tranquility, only that ﬁre in front of the great shaman, crackled and burned, wavering between darkness and light. After a long while, the great shaman broke the silence and said, “That friend of yours, how did she have this illness?” Ghost Li hesitated for a moment, unhurriedly said, “Ten years ago I with...fought with the enemies, the other party had unfathomable powers and used a celestial sword with mighty power to strike down, I was helpless to block it. She, she disregarded her life, ignited all of her body’s blood to fuse with her three souls and seven mortal forms, that then managed to save me but she herself had already became…” His voice choked, paused for a long while and then continued, “But luckily she had a rare treasure ‘HeHuan Bell’ on her, at the critical moment it hooked one of her souls in, this then let us have a glimmer of hope. Great shaman, I beg you to please save her.”
The great shaman’s back ﬁgure suddenly seemed to age by a degree in the ﬁrelight, he slowly said, “The friend that you mentioned, is she from the Evil sect?” Ghost Li got a shock, he was afraid of the Evil sect notoriety and therefore did not dare to speciﬁcally mention it, unexpectedly the great shaman after hearing his words, would suddenly bring it up directly. While he was still at a lost, the great shaman’s aged voice again said, “She must be a girl! And the incantation that was used, would be the Evil sect secret skill ‘Infatuation Curse’, right?”
[Translator’s note: ‘He’,’She’ intonation are the same]
Ghost Li was greatly shocked, surprised and delighted, surprised that this elder in the deep dark altar of the southern border, would actually be an exceptional person that had kept away from the worldly affairs; delighted because the more powerful his ability was, then the hope of saving BiYao would even be bigger. Immediately disregarding everything, he hurriedly nodded, said, “Great shaman is indeed discernible, it is as such. But although the world has vilify the Evil sect but this friend of mine, she really has a heart of gold, I beseech great shaman to use your miraculous hands and bring her back to life, save her this once!”
The great shaman’s shoulders, seemed to move slightly, in the burning crackling ﬁre sounds, there seemed to be a soft sigh, that sound was faintly grieved, indistinctly heart-broken. “The Good and Evil sects of your Central Plains, to me this wildlands barbarian, do not have any special distinctions, you don’t have to worry about this.”
Ghost Li was exulted, was about to say something but the great shaman continued on to say, “The Soul Return Unusual Art that you said, I indeed know a little. But as to whether can it save your friend, I do not have much conﬁdence…”
Ghost Li’s heart trembled, his eyes felt warm, for these ten years, the moment now, ﬁnally within the layers of darkness, he saw a weak ray of hope. However, the great shaman still continued on, “But before this, I still have a question, you must ﬁrst answer me.”
Ghost Li nodded hurriedly, said, “Great shaman, please speak.”
The great shaman unhurriedly said, “Who was it that told you, the great shaman in the Miao altar, inherited this Soul Return Unusual Art?” Ghost Li was stunned upon hearing it, involuntarily turned to Xiao Bai. Xiao Bai’s soft body had already slipped down from his shoulder, using Ghost Li’s thigh as her pillow, with a faint smile on her lips, was sleeping soundly.
Ghost Li was concentrating fully on his talk with the great shaman and hence did not notice her. And looking further ahead, Xiao Hui’s face was also ﬂorid, the two bags of liquor remnants appeared to have been drunk ﬁnished, mouthful by mouthful, by it. Right now it was leaning against Xiao Bai, using Xiao Bai’s stomach as pillow, four of its limbs sprayed open, sprawled out on its back on the ﬂoor, its stomach rose up and down, fast asleep. Ghost Li turned his head back, looked at the great shaman’s ﬁgure, for the moment he did not know what to say, shook his head and smiled wry.
Chapter 125 - Li Tribe
The southern border, Seven Mile Cave.
Miao Tribe altar.
Deep inside the dusky quiet temple hall, the sober Ghost Li and the great shaman did not speak, only the ﬁre made occasional crackling sounds. Other than that, in the quiet altar, there was another strange sound.
Xiao Hui the monkey, drunk and fast asleep, and now snoring.
Ghost Li was often with Xiao Hui but did not notice that Xiao Hui snore in its sleep, seemed like the Miao strong liquor was really extraordinary. The monkey’s face was ﬂorid, its tummy rose up and down ceaselessly, in its adorableness there was still a comical side.
But although both were in a drunken state, Xiao Bai’s posture was far more better than Xiao Hui, this nine-tailed celestial fox who had practised for a thousand years, her cultivation naturally exceeded Xiao Hui, after the big showdown, her skin fair with pink blush, her head inclined, a captivating seductive look on her face, she was indeed an evil spirit that would turn the world upside-down.
Ghost Li sighed in his heart, turned his head back.
The great shaman was still facing the ﬁre and did not turn over but at this moment he unhurriedly spoke, “This friend of yours, seemed not to be an ordinary human!”
Ghost Li was astonished, thought to himself that this great shaman was enigmatic, could it be that he had seen through Xiao Bai’s identity as a nine-tailed celestial fox? Although the ﬁve southern border tribes’ customs were greatly different from Central Plains, they were also much closer to spiritual intelligent animals than Central Plains locals but this type of evil spirit, how would they view it, Ghost Li did not have much conﬁdence.
He contemplated for a moment, carefully considered his words and unhurriedly said, “What, why would great shaman look at her, this kind of woman, differently?”
The great shaman was quiet for a moment, indifferently said, “Like her, a delicate woman and yet her alcohol capacity beat several of our Miao strong men, can she still be an ordinary person?”
Ghost Li was stunned and then relieved but just recalling Xiao Bai’s impressive feat with the Miao crowd at the bottom of the mountain, he could not help but shake his head.
Maybe, after being incarcerated in the dark Inferno Altar and living a lonely and painful three hundred years of time, she too needed to release and vent it out once!
Ghost Li turned his head slightly, Xiao Bai was still quietly lying on his leg, quietly sleeping. The gentle breathing, slightly closed lips and lids, long and elegant eyelashes occasionally ﬂuttered, like a child who was asleep yet troubled or maybe she saw something in her dreams? Just that nobody knew, the person she was today, could she still sleep well, would she have nightmares, agonizing her in her dreams?
Xiao Bai’s delicate brows, gently frowned, as if she sensed the attention but it also seemed like she had dreamt of something, she shifted her head slightly and then went off again into a deep sleep.
Her face lit up by the ﬁrelight, showing less of her coquettishness but had a never-seen-before innocence.
Ghost Li shifted his gaze, looked towards the great shaman, said, “She has drank too much liquor, I’m afraid she wouldn’t be able to answer your question, great shaman.”
The great shaman was clearly not surprised and did not even turn to look at this girl, after pausing for a while, he unhurriedly said, “There is one thing, you may not know.”
Ghost Li was surprised, said, “What is it, please speak?” The great shaman’s hunched ﬁgure, casted a long shadow in front of the ﬁre, slightly wavering, even his voice also seemed to be ﬂoating, “This Soul Return Unusual Art has always been handed down to the Miao tribe altar’s shamans, to say it even more explicitly, only the generations of great shamans know this skill and have never taught it to outsiders, even my own tribe people is not aware of this. But this lady looked so young, how did she come to know of this, I really do not understand.”
Ghost Li was stunned, Xiao Bai was a thousand-years-old cultivated evil fox, just that because of her high abilities, she could then transform to a human and her appearance alluring and beautiful, to compare experience and knowledge, indeed not many in this world could compare to her.
Just that those words naturally could not be mention to the great shaman, Ghost Li quickly avoided the topic, said, “Great shaman your head did not even turn around and have yet to see her, how do you know she is a young lady?”
The great shaman’s head inclined slightly, he seemed to give a quiet laugh, maybe he had ﬁgured out Ghost Li’s thoughts, said, “Since this lady is already drunk, let’s wait for her to sober up ﬁrst before we continue! Since you are a visitor from afar, look for our Miao tribe leader Tu MaGu, I will convey my instructions to him, to let him arrange for all of you to stay here for a few days.”
Ghost Li frowned, he really could not wait to settle things with the great shaman immediately and then leave to save BiYao but from his tone, although his voice was calm but without a doubt, he wanted to ﬁrst ﬁnd out about Xiao Bai’s origin before deciding. Now that he had a favour to ask from him and to think of it, since he had already waited for ten years, what's more another day?
Ghost Li inhaled deeply, nodded and said, “Alright.”
The great shaman quietly said, “Then you can leave!”
Ghost Li nodded his head at the great shaman’s back ﬁgure and was about to stand up and leave when he suddenly paused. Xiao Bai was still sleeping soundly on his leg, evidently she was knocked out from the liquor, how was he going to wake her up? Ghost Li, with difﬁculty, tried to call her up but Xiao Bai was dead to the world and in her stupor she looked like she was irritated at being disturbed, her small lips pouted and she ﬂipped over, sank into deep sleep again.
It did not matter that she ﬂipped over but Xiao Hui who was leaning against her stomach, knocked its head against the ﬂoor with a [pu tong] sound. However the monkey seemed oblivious and continued to snore, seemed like spiritual intelligent animals, even the monkey’s head was also extremely solid, far tougher than ordinary monkeys.
Ghost Li sighed, shook his head and after hesitating for a while, he had no choice but to bend over and help Xiao Bai up, and then stood up and stretched out both hands to carry Xiao Bai, at the same time pulled Xiao Hui over his shoulder, carrying both human (fox) and monkey, walked out.
Xiao Bai lying in the crook of his arms, an indistinct fragrance, a faint smile and that fair face with a pink blush gently wavered in front of his eyes.
Ghost Li inhaled deeply, strided out and left the altar. …
Walking out of the dim altar, passing through that two enormous stone pillars at the entrance, the sunlight immediately shone down onto his face.
A warm feeling travelled up from his body. Ghost Li squinted slightly and saw not far ahead, with his hands clasped behind his back and gazing at the scenery of this Seven Mile Cave from the mountain, was Tu MaGu.
A shaman-looked-alike Miao person walked out from the altar behind Ghost Li, passed by Ghost Li and walked to Tu MaGu, whispered a few words to him. Tu MaGu looked back, took a few glances at Ghost Li and then at Xiao Bai who was in her liquor-induced sleep, nodded and seemed to be agreeing to something.
That shaman expressionlessly turned, without a glance at Ghost Li, walked straight back to the altar and disappeared into the dimness. Tu MaGu smiled and walked over, said, “How is it, did the great shaman agreed?”
Ghost Li smiled and said, “I still don’t know yet, he allowed us to stay here.”
Tu MaGu nodded and said, “I get it, just follow me.” And then he turned and walked down the mountain. Ghost Li carrying Xiao Bai and Xiao Hui followed behind him, Tu MaGu spoke, “Our place is remote and backwards, it cannot be compared to the luxuries of your Central Plains, all of you just make yourselves at home, he he.”
Ghost Li felt that this tribe leader was rather easy-going, nodded and said, “Tribe leader you are too kind, it is us who are intruding on all of you.”
Tu MaGu [he he] laughed and did not speak further.
After coming down from the mountain, Tu MaGu paused for a moment and then led Ghost Li to the riverside. On the way, many of the Miao people stared at them, most of their gazes lingered on Xiao Bai.
They crossed the stone bridge that a while ago Ghost Li discerned it to be of Central Plains architecture, came to the opposite shore where a secluded house was built beside and facing a row of green trees.
Ghost Li stood behind Tu MaGu, quick frown on his face, this house was not very big, with only one level and one unit, squarish, simple and unadorned, completely built from wood and on the outside walls of the house, wild beast furs, bones that usually adorned the common Miao houses were not seen.
Tu MaGu turned his head over, said, “This house has been vacant for quite a while but we have always been maintaining it so it is still considered clean, besides, not many people come to this area, both of you just make do with this for one night.”
Ghost Li dipped his head slightly, said, “Many thanks tribe leader.” Tu MaGu smiled, glanced again at Xiao Bai who was in Ghost Li’s arms, said, “Then I shall not disturb you all any longer, both of you have a rest ﬁrst”
After speaking, he was about to leave but stopped in his tracks, as if recalling something, said, “In a while I will also send someone over with some food, both of you be at ease and take a rest. Our customs are simple and basic here, it is hard on you all.”
Ghost Li shook his head in succession, said, “You are too kind, many thanks tribe leader.”
Tu MaGu nodded and then turned to leave. Ghost Li walked him off a distance and until he had gone far, turned back and again assessed the house.
No matter from which angle, this house looked like it was built by someone from Central Plains…
He carried Xiao Bai and Xiao Hui, went up and pushed opened the door, walked in. The house was furnished very simply, one bed one table, a few wooden chairs, the walls were made from neatly arranged paulownia wood of the same sizes, the windows on one side of the walls were opened, the entire room had a faint wood fragrance.
Ghost Li was never a person who placed emphasis on luxury residences and as such, such simplicity instead suited his style. He walked over and ﬁrst placed Xiao Bai on the bed, Xiao Bai mumbled to herself and then fell into a deep sleep again.
Ghost Li shook his head, carried Xiao Hui down from his shoulder, the monkey opened and closed its mouth, clicked its tongue from time to time, looking at its contented face, Ghost Li sighed and also placed it on the bed.
Looking at the human and monkey slumbering forms, Ghost Li turned and walked to sit beside the table. The room seemed to quiet down suddenly, other than their breathings, there were no other sounds.
Inside this foreign land unfamiliar house, he solitary, quietly sitting. Outside the window, the sun was shining bright and beautifully.
Ten miles away from the Seven Mile Cave encircled by mountains, a stretch of mountain range lay unbroken. On one of the mountaintop, stood two people, both was gazing at that fertile land in the centre of the mountains.
“So that is Seven Mile Cave!”
The person who was standing in front, quietly spoke, his words were heavy with sorrow, indignation and longing.
Under the sunlight, this was a very sturdy and tall man, he was half naked and the lower half of his body was clothed in animal-skin pants. A muscular bronze body as a result of frequent exposure to the sun and wind. On that sinewy body, a bear head tattoo appeared on his chest. Other than that, enormous huge scars criss-crossed all over his body, it was easy to imagine that he had fought numerous times with countless of terrible wild beasts.
“Yes, tribe leader.” Answering him was a man who was standing slightly behind him, “That is Seven Mile Cave.” He was dressed similar to the person in front of him but other than the animal-skin pants, he was also wearing a fur-made clothes and at a glance, he was much smaller size than that sturdy ﬁgure in front of him.
As of now, a faint smile seemed to be on the corner of his lips, gazing ahead, he unhurriedly said, “That, is the Miao tribe base which has lead the southern border for two hundred years. At the same time, our Li tribe heirloom celestial weapon, ‘Jade Bone’, is also in the Seven Mile Cave Miao tribe altar, under that evil Miao dog deity statue, suppressed under for a total of two hundred years!”
The piercing sound, suddenly emitted from that sturdy man, the person behind him looked up, the person whom was addressed by him as Li tribe tribe leader, clenched his ﬁsts tightly, the sounds were made by his joints from the enormous pressure force.
“Two hundred years already! Two hundred years already!” The sturdy man’s voice was not loud but he seemed to be crying out to himself.
“Yes, it has been two hundred years already. Two hundred years ago, we were ambushed by those despicable Miao people, their evil great shaman used malicious evil spells to curse our warriors to death, snatched our sacred ‘Jade Bone’ which we worshipped and drove us to the most barren region of the southern border, made us live the hardest two hundred years of our lives.” The person standing behind, used a cold tone, indifferently speaking of a hatred for a sworn enemy.
The strong mountain breeze blew past the Li tribe leader’s mountain-like body, like a knife but just that he seemed oblivious to it. Right now his eyes only had that hot piece of land surrounded by a mountain range.
“Losing the Jade Bone is the highest disrespect and insult to the Bear Deity!” The person standing behind continued to speak, “Therefore for two hundred years, the Bear Deity is incensed and refused to look after our Li tribe again. Knowing today, as long as we defeat the Miao and take back our Jade Bone, the Bear Deity will deﬁnitely care for our Li tribe again and we can then occupy the best land in the southern border and let our tribe and successive generations to live here.”
His voice suddenly turned pitch-high, said, “Tribe leader, we must not allow our future children to be like us, to ﬁght with those ﬁre-wolves, black-tigers monsters that even our best ﬁghters cannot ward off, just to obtain some food to eat.”
“We must survive, we want the best land!” He hatefully said.
Ahead, that huge man tribe leader did not turn his head back but his angry and heavy breathing already revealed his feelings. After a period of silence, he turned his head back, said, “The other three tribes, are they really not a problem?”
The person behind immediately nodded, “Yes, tribe leader, the Miaos has always been a tyrant in the southern border here, the other three tribes have long hated the sight of them. The Zhuang tribe has the greatest number of people but instead it is forced to be under the Miao, they have long been unwilling; Tu tribe has always been aloof and maintains a distance from the other four tribes, refused to get involved in the tribes’ tussles; the last Gao tribe is the weakest with the least people, it can only self-defence, unable to expand.”
An ambiguous expression appeared on his face, he quietly said, “Tribe leader, we only need to deal one blow to the Miao tribe and rout them out, with our Li tribe warriors’ bravery obtained from ﬁghting with the most ferocious savage beasts over these past two hundred years and including the Bear Deity’s blessing, the day where we rule the southern border is just round the corner.”
The Li tribe leader’s eyes immediately revealed a burning glare, even just by looking at the Seven Mile Cave ahead it seemed to make him quiver, agitation and longing and maybe there was also the innate bloodthirsty characteristic of a warrior.
Just that he was after all the tribe leader and not an empty- minded boor, after the initial agitation, he composed himself and then turned and stared intently at the man behind him, said, “Ah HeTai, it is said that the evil Miao great shaman has already lived for three hundred years and still resides in the deepest corner of the Miao altar. His evil skills are the most terrible powers in the southern border, can you really handle him?”
The person who was addressed as Ah HeTai, an enigmatic smile emerged on his face, said, “Tribe leader, I have already before you, demonstrated the magical powers bestowed upon me by that Beast Deity Excellency from the ten thousand great mountains, including the magical weapon that he has given me, if the great shaman is already dead then forget it, if not even if he is still alive, I deﬁnitely can defeat him.”
The Li tribe leader nodded his head heavily, actually the great shaman’s shadow had always like a dark cloud shrouded over the different southern border’s tribes heads and to the Li tribe, it was a nightmare that refused to go away. But ever since this person called Ah HeTai who went missing since young, mysteriously returned from the ten thousand great mountains and revealed unimaginable powers, the powers were so strong that it could galvanise the entire Li tribe to once again bring out the hatred buried deep inside their hearts.
In order to survive, in order to live a better life. The Li tribe leader gritted his teeth, on his tall sturdy body, that enormous bear head tattoo looked even more savage and scary.
“Two hundreds of score, we will avenge it tonight!” He spitted out those words through his gritted teeth.
The sunlight shone onto his and Ah HeTai’s bodies, shinning warmthly on the mountain ranges, behind the two people, on the mountain slope back-facing the sun, countless of Li tribe soldiers, some standing some at attention, their faces stern and solemn, every one of them was well-built and sturdy and on their scars-riddled chests, that savage bear head tattoo, seemed to roar in the coming wind!
X x x
Seven Mile Cave, secluded small house.
Ghost Li sat beside the table in the house, quiet and unspeaking, the time over here, seemed to slowed down its steps suddenly, silent and tormenting. In this kind of tranquility, what would you think of?
Maybe the past times…
The time of the youth, like a sigh resounding in the times past, gently surged and then again quietly fell and ﬁnally disappeared without a trace.
His expression indifferent, his brows slightly frowning.
The scenery outside the window was like a painting.
Until, suddenly a sound, awoke him from his deep thoughts.
[Dong, dong dong] A tiny sound of knocking the door, suddenly sounded in the house.
Ghost Li turned his head and looked out of the house entrance.
Chapter 126 - Black Fire
[Dong, dong dong...]
The sound of knocking again but no one spoke from outside the door. Ghost Li, frowning, walked over and opened the door.
A person stood at the entrance, was a thirteen, fourteen years old young Miao teenager, his face still possessed the innocence of a child, his hand carrying a basket, in it were some dishes and drinks, seemed like Tu MaGu had sent someone with food over.
The young man passed the basket over, Ghost Li nodded and said, “Many thanks.”
That young man grinned but only muttered a sound of [yi ya], Ghost Li was stunned, this young man was actually mute, no wonder he only knocked and did not speak. He could not help but appraised the young man with a few more glances, the young man’s clothes was patched up many times, evidently it had been worn for a long time, compared against the Miao people seen walking at the Seven Mile Cave streets just now, the difference was glaring, most probably the young man did not have a high status here and most likely an orphan.
The thought of the word, orphan, stupeﬁed Ghost Li but in that short moment, that young man after smiling to him, turned and left, looking at his expression and departing ﬁgure, he did not seem depressed or sad, instead he looked quite happy.
Ghost Li watched that departing young man’s ﬁgure until it gradually went far away, suddenly he felt an inexplicable melancholy, gently sighed, turned and went in, with a [pa] sound, he shut the door.
The sun slowly sank in the west, the sky gradually darkened, many of the Miao houses, one by one lighted up. The dim yellow lights ﬁltered out of each window, ﬂickered ceaselessly in the darkness, vanishing and appearing, like a silent eye in the night.
Each household, under every light, everyone would most probably have their own moods and lives!
Ghost Li stood at the window, gazed far upon the Miao people’s residences, not speaking a word.
The night breeze picked up speed, distant sounds of joyous laughter from the Miao people travelled over frequently, intervals broken by sounds of dogs barking from somewhere, these sounds carried over by the wind instead highlighted the tranquility on this piece of land.
Maybe those ordinary Miao people compared to the cultivated Taoists people, were much more happier.
Ghost Li slowly shut the window, turned over, cutting himself off from the world outside the window. He got a start when he turned over, Xiao Bai who was quietly sleeping just now, had already woke up and was leaning against the wall by the bed, quietly looking at him.
Ghost Li looked at her, said, “You awake?”
Xiao Bai smiled, used her hand to gently rub her forehead, said, “Is there tea, pour one cup for me! I’ve got a headache.”
Ghost Li walked to the table, poured a cup of water, handed it over to her, said, “How would there be tea at this Miao place, drink some water instead!”
Xiao Bai nodded her head, took the cup and drank a few mouthfuls, she seemed more invigorated, let out a long sigh and then sneaked a glance at Ghost Li, said, “Do you blame me?”
Ghost Li gave a wry laugh, shook his head and said, “If it’s not for you, I won’t know that the Miao great shaman might have the chance to save BiYao, forget it, tomorrow we will go and see him again.” Xiao Bai nodded her head, said, “I was in a stupor after I was drunk, have you seen the Miao great shaman?”
Ghost Li nodded and said, “Well I did meet him and he also admitted that he knows the Soul Return Unusual Art. However, he insisted to know your origins and how you came to know this secret before he will agreed.” While speaking, he could not help but feel anxious, whether the nine-tailed celestial fox was willing to reveal her identity, he had no inkling on Xiao Bai’s response.
Xiao Bai was silent for a while, faintly said, “After daybreak tomorrow, I will go with you to see him!”
Ghost Li nodded his head, was about to speak further, Xiao Bai suddenly laughed and said, “Look at this monkey, it is actually in a deeper drunken stupor than me.”
Ghost Li looked at Xiao Hui who was still lying beside Xiao Bai, with its four limbs sprawled opened and soundly asleep, shook his head in silence. Xiao Bai stretched out her hand, smoothed Xiao Hui’s head, her eyes travelled up to Xiao Hui’s third eye in the centre of its forehead, after a moment of deliberation, raised her head and spoke to Ghost Li, “There is one matter, I have thought about it for a long time, it is regarding Xiao Hui’s third eye…”
Before she could ﬁnish, suddenly outside their house, deafening noises like dog barking exploded over the Seven Mile Cave’s sky, the noise shook the surroundings, as if the entire mountain ranges were also quaking. Even with their level of cultivations, they could also feel their ears ringing.
Both of them were startled, Ghost Li with hurried steps walked to the door, pulled opened it and walked out. The booming sound reverberated within the Seven Mile Cave, incessant echos continued to reverberate. By now all of the Miao people were already alarmed by the noises and the original tranquility instantly shattered.
Ghost Li saw countless of Miao people dashing out of their houses, looking far out, their faces registered shock and fear, many of them kept repeating the same words but he could not understand what they were saying. Footsteps sounded behind him, Xiao Bai had also walked out, stood beside him and looked at the ﬂurried Miao people, she heard the words that they shouted repeatedly and her eyebrows slowly frowned, she quietly said, “There might be trouble.”
Ghost Li could also tell something was not right, said, “What happened, what are those Miao people saying?”
Xiao Bai’s face was grave, said, “That loud sound just now, was a warning siren made by the Dog Deity statue that the Miao people worships, unless the tribe is at its peril, the Dog Deity would never make this warning. From what I know, for the past thousand years, the Miao Dog Deity has only made such a warning once.”
Ghost Li felt a wave of frustration, right now BiYao’s biggest hope of survival hinged on that enigmatic great shaman of the Miao altar and yet this bizarre thing just had to happen at this juncture. Just when he was about to speak and enquire more from Xiao Bai, in the initial quiet night sky of the Seven Mile Cave, phenomenal changes started appearing. The night sky which was full of twinkling stars, thick dark clouds suddenly started to gather together and covered the sky full of stars. The layers of dark clouds from all directions ﬂocked together, wind and clouds changed, extremely unusual.
The tiny humans standing on the ground, could not help but exclaimed in fear and shock, great number of humans started to panic and run around, following which even more started to kneel and pray in the direction of the Miao altar.
Under the heavy black clouds, this stretch of paradise land became a scene of desolation.
Ghost Li frowned, quietly said, “There are skilled cultivated taoists in there.”
Xiao Bai beside him, looked at the sky and said, “Where are they from, do you know?”
Ghost Li slowly shook his head, said, “From the skill formation of the winds and clouds, it is very unusual, it doesn’t look like it came from Central Plains Good Faction skills and it is also greatly different from the Evil sect.”
Xiao Bai’s lips twitched, a strange expression ﬂitted through her face, she seemed to recall something but for some reason, she did not say it out.
With the descending black clouds sinking lower and lower, the Miao people in the Seven Mile Cave seemed to have difﬁculty even in breathing, the shock it caused everyone, was even more evident in the chaos. And at this moment of chaos, a ﬁgure suddenly jumped out from the crowd, Ghost Li saw from afar, it was the Miao tribe leader Tu MaGu.
Tu MaGu bellowed to the Miao people, he waved strongly with his arm and slowly the people started to calm down slightly, under Tu MaGu’s commands, the women and children all started to run towards a mountaintop located at a distance, leaving the able-bodied and sturdy men, among them many held weapons, obviously the Miao people also understood the peril of the situation and were prepared to ﬁght to their death. In the scene of chaos, Tu MaGu looked towards the shore and saw both of them standing outside the door, he was taken aback and then nodded his head to indicate his acknowledgement and again placed his attention back to leading his people.
The black clouds slowly descended, casting Xiao Bai’s face in- between light and dark. Suddenly, she quietly said to Ghost Li, “With such a highly-skilled unfathomable person, most likely the Miaos are not his match, do you want to help them?”
Ghost Li deliberated for a while, nodded and said, “Since BiYao needs their help…”
Before he could ﬁnish, suddenly a strange deafening sound was heard from the black clouds, like thunder, like an animal roar, instantly half of the black clouds seemed to be inﬂamed, brilliant lights shone out, glaring golden lights inside and outside of the clouds.
After a moment, a rumble was heard deep inside the clouds layers, an enormous ball of ﬁre descended from the sky, carrying raging ﬁre but in the centre of it, a strange black ﬂame burned within it. Before it landed, the surrounding trees blackened and shrivelled. The Miao people were extremely shocked, shouts and screams were heard but this ﬁreball’s force was extremely swift, before the Miao people could run and avoid, a sharp piercing sound was heard, struck with a [boom] sound and clashed onto the people on the ground.
In the deafening sound, numerous broken limbs, following the raging ﬁre, ﬂew out, an appalling scene of devastation, anguished wails were heard everywhere.
Ghost Li’s countenance changed, unexpectedly the person within the black clouds had hit out without a warning, he was about to ﬂy up to help the Miao people when he felt his clothes tightened behind his back, it was Xiao Bai who was pulling him back.
Ghost Li felt puzzled and looked at her, Xiao Bai shifted her gaze far ahead, said, “Don’t be impatient, look over there.”
Ghost Li followed her gaze and looked, the Miao altar situated halfway up the mountain, on that levelled platform, the area where it was lit up by the raging ﬁre ﬂames, a skinny hunched ﬁgure stood there, his head tilted up to watch the sky. Although the distance was too far and the person’s face could not be clearly seen but from the posture, Ghost Li immediately recognized the person to be that enigmatic great shaman in the Miao altar.
He stopped in his tracks, watched that old ﬁgure in the mountain from afar.
The ﬁre clouds in the sky increased in intensity, dyed the entire night sky red, like an apocalyptic sign, the complete destruction of Heaven and Earth, in this southern border, acted out in fervertly.
Thundering rumbles, the night wind soarching hot, suddenly an astonished cry, behind the Miao warriors, cries of battle sounds were heard.
The Miao people turned pale, Tu MaGu’s countenance changed even drastically, Seven Mile Cave was a place that was easy to defend but hard to attack, with only one mountain path leading to the outside world, the Miao people had always guarded it with heavy troops yet right now someone had stealthily attacked, unless..
Tonight was really the day where the Miao tribe would be exterminated?
Just that the Miao tribe had dominated the southern border for as long as two hundred years, Tu MaGu as the tribe leader, still maintained his composure in the midst of chaos, with a loud shout, he was the ﬁrst to charge towards the attackers from the back, after a moment the Miao warriors started charging after him.
The night colour like blood, innumerable cold glints from the weapons, instantly gleamed everywhere, streaked across the night sky, spraying fresh red blood.
The ﬁre raged, Heaven and Earth on the point of breaking, that bunch of warriors like demonic ghosts, their chests tattooed with savage bear heads, leapt and roared, dashing out madly from the darkness. Their eyes were crazed, bloodthirsty, the foremost person, his physique extremely tall, his naked upper body riddled with scars, an enormous stone axe in his hands, cutting down left and right, wherever he passed by, blood ﬁlled the ground, wails rang out.
The Miao soldiers were known for their bravery but ﬁrst, because tonight incident came too sudden and with the Dog Deity’s cry, it was an ominous sign seen in a thousand years, the Miao people were shaken and beyond terriﬁed; second, the Li tribe had lay in ambush for a long time, with their sudden attack, including the courage moulded out from two hundred years in the southern border badlands and also the thought of their tribe perishing if they failed, in that moment the Miao warriors whom had dominated the southern border were unable to hold them back and started to move back.
Tu MaGu’s eyes looked as if ﬁre were about to spew out, by now he had already recognized the enemy’s face and bellowed, “Li tribe!”
That Li tribe leader raised his arm and brought down his axe, another Miao soldier was hacked to death, he savagely smiled at him, “Miao dogs, two hundred years of enmity, today all of you have to pay it in full!” He had just spoken and as if following his words, Li tribe numerous warriors roared out in unison, like a wild beast howling at the moon, with inﬁnite frenzy, charged up, the Miaos even more could not withhold them, looked like they were going to collapse.
At this critical moment, suddenly in this valley, a deep low mysterious voice sounded, like a whisper, like otherworldly, reverberated and wrapped around every inch of this Seven Mile Cave.
The Miao warriors were immediately exulted, their spirits greatly boosted but instead over at Li tribe side, starting from the tribe leader and onwards, everyone faces abruptly revealed panic.
The great shaman whose fame shook the southern border, ﬁnally emerged the Miao tribe’s moment of dire peril.
Red light, ﬂashed once in the horizon of burning sky and then expanded rapidly, from the great shaman standing at the platform in the middle of the mountain, it blanketed over the entire Seven Mile Cave. Wherever it passed, the burning ﬂames started to be extinguished.
After a while, the red light had already reached the battle ground between the Miao and Li tribes, coming in from the back, the Miaos were unaffected under the red light but before the red light reached the end, one of the Li warriors touched the mysterious red light and suddenly let out a miserable cry, fell down and convulsed ceaselessly, after a moment his entire body trembled, blood ﬂowed out of the seven apertures in his face and died.
The Li tribe turned pale and started to step back, these warriors were used to killing and any type of strong enemy or enormous beast before them, to ask them to attack, they would not even bat an eyelid. But this kind of mysterious witchcraft, had always been the most feared force of the southern border tribes, immediately, fear appeared on everyone’s faces.
The Li tribe leader’s face also revealed uncontrollable panic, the Miao great shaman’s reputation, to the other four southern border tribes, it was like an existence of a terrible demon, right now, he deeply understood this point. But he did not issue the command to retreat, instead he looked up.
That raging ﬁre burning strongly in the night sky, broiling and surging ﬁercely!
Laughter, suddenly boomed, carrying disdain and malevolence.
The sky full of clouds, instantly illuminated, the raging ﬁre seemed to become transparent and blazing suddenly, transformed into an enormous terrible beast in the sky. The wind fed the ﬁre, the ﬁre ﬂames leapt higher, the sky changing constantly, like a turbulent great sea, howling unceasingly.
Before the clouds, a person emerged, like a celestial being, its body was inﬂamed, looking down from the sky, it looked like an arrogant deity.
But he gestured and danced in the sky, making a series of peculiar movements, the next moment like a mysterious force behind him roaring, the entire sky of ﬂames surged up, the clouds swirled crazily, a loud explosion was heard and in that instant, innumerable ﬁreballs dropped down from the sky, each raging with ﬁre, heading for the mortal world.
The crowd below, including Ghost Li and Xiao Bai, their faces turned pale, with only one ﬁreball just now and its power was already so formidable, once these innumerable ﬁreballs landed, most likely Seven Mile Cave would immediately turned into a sea of ﬁre and could no longer be salvaged.
If the common people could deduce that then naturally the great shaman could also, the red light in the valley brightened up almost at the same time, looking from afar, although his expression could not be seen clearly but that thin frail body under the astonishing might of the burning sky, seemed especially frail.
The crowd could see clearly now, that sheet of red light actually came from the great shaman’s body, to say it speciﬁcally, it was projected out from the wooden staff in his hand. That wooden shaft was black in color, held upright and its height was even taller than the great shaman, especially the tip of the shaft, a strange stone, neither gold nor jade, was set in it, under the great shaman’s mysterious conjuring, it projected an even stronger red light.
A commotion immediately went around the Li tribe, numerous warriors instantly became red-eyed, the Li tribe leader, that huge man even gave a bellow, as if carrying two hundred years of inﬁnite enmity.
He, with his head facing the sky, bellowed, “The great Bear Deity ahhhhhhh….”
That voice was mournful and ﬁerce, shook the countryside, instantly all of the Li tribe warriors cried out at the same time and charged up, that glint of blood-spraying moment, was the border of life and death.
The night was burning, people were in a frenzy! The Miao warriors fought with all of their mights but facing the frenzied Li tribe warriors, they gradually lost their ﬁghting spirits and started to move backwards.
That river in Seven Mile Cave, slowly turned red, reﬂecting the numerous ﬁreballs descending from the sky!
The red light suddenly exploded, rising towards the sky and facing those enormous ﬁreballs, forming a sheet of red screen, enveloping the Seven Mile Cave sky.
The inﬂamed ﬁreballs, almost all at the same time touched the red screen, loud explosions reverberated in the mountain ranges, blowing up into balls of enormous red ﬂames.
The great shaman raised both of his hands over his head, that long staff pointing straight at the horizon, full force battling with that mysterious man in the sky. Just that as time passed, the force from the sky became stronger and stronger, almost beyond a human’s might. The great shaman was taken aback, in the Li tribe, there was never such skills in a thousand years, if not during that holy weapons battle between the two tribes two hundred years ago to determine their fates, they would have used it long ago.
But before him, that mysterious ﬁgure in the sky, right now was like an unbeatable God of War.
Deep inside the great shaman’s heart, a fog grew bigger and bigger, this bizarre skill simply did not exist in the world and in the southern border, secretly rumoured for several thousands years, that mysterious evil demon legend…
The horizon, the raging ﬁre, Ah HeTai standing high up in the clouds, his eager face illuminated red by the surrounding ﬁre ﬂames, could no longer conceal his conceitment. Deeply shocked by his tribe calamity since young, he forsaked everything else and went deep into the ten thousands great mountains and found that evil demon, beseeched its inﬁnite great powers and today, ﬁnally he could save his tribe from abyss of hardship. And the ﬁrst step to the Li tribe’s perfect life, was at this moment, to trample the entire Miao tribe, take back the Jade Bone set in the Miao’s sacred weapon, ‘Black Staff’, offer sacriﬁces to the mighty Bear Deity, no, what was the Bear Deity, when the Li tribe was in hardship, where was the Bear Deity?
Ah HeTai cried out in fury in his heart, conjured his powers, instantly another several huge ﬁreballs leapt out from the clouds, while he was happily watching every ﬁreball collision with the red screen, and that once unbeatable ﬁgure trembling each time, his mind was already made up, the Li tribe after their victory, he wanted the entire tribe to change their religion to worship that deity, only it, could bring new life to the Li tribe!
Note: Li tribe - originated from a branch of the ancient bai yue, far before the Qin Han dynasties, ‘Luo Yue’ branch from the mainland crossed the sea to Hainan island, Sui dynasty named the inhabitants of Hainan island as ‘Li Liao’, also the ancestors of Li tribe. Today mainly resides at Hainan southern province autonomous prefecture Li tribe and Miao tribe, the rest scattered to Wanning, Tunchang, Qionghai, Chengmai, Luxian, Ding’an etc mixed with the Han people. Li
evolved from their pronunciation of the word ‘shan ling’. BaiYue - a generic term for southern ethnic groups. Shan ling means a chain of mountains.]
Chapter 127 - Broken-hearted
The raging ﬂames lit up the sky, the splendid radiance illuminating near and far to be as bright as daytime, even as far as hundred miles beyond, booms and rumbles could still be heard.
Looking at that ﬂickering red coloured ﬁreballs’ collisions from a distance, the group stopped and stared.
FenXiang Valley with ShangGuan Ce leading them, bringing Li Xun, LuShun and several others, as well as Qing Yun Sect Lu XueQi, Tian Yin Temple FaXiang, standing on the ancient path more than hundred miles away from Seven Mile Cave, watching that madly ﬂickering scene.
Li Xun frowned and said, “Seems like there is trouble.”
FaXiang gazed far, with a deep voice said, “That ﬁrelight’s evil aura ﬁlls up the sky, it is very abnormal, I’m afraid evil spirits are causing trouble.” Li Xun turned his head around, glanced at Lu XueQi who was standing at a side, saw the girl with her face impassive, unspeaking, he then went up to report to ShangGuan Ce, “ShangGuan teacher uncle, what shall we do?”
FaXiang and the rest all looked towards ShangGuan Ce, saw ShangGuan Ce raising his eyes looking afar, his expression suddenly became extremely peculiar, as if bewildered, as if dumbfounded.
After hearing Li Xun’s question, like being startled, his body shook and his expression back to normal, after a slight moment of hesitation, he said, “Since it’s from the evil way, we are duty-bound and naturally should go forward. There is no time to lose, let’s hurry, looking at that demonic ﬂames soaring up high, I’m afraid the evil sorcerer’s skill is not low, the suffering would be greater. The earlier we arrive, the more lives we can save.”
FaXiang brought his palms together and said, “ShangGuan teacher uncle is right.” ShangGuan Ce nodded and said, “As such, I will make my way ﬁrst, all of you quickly catch up!”
After speaking, without waiting for their replies, he waved his hand, grey light ﬂashed and the ﬁgure transformed into a stream of bright light streaking across the sky, speeding towards the Seven Mile Cave.
A cold snort was heard from the group, everyone was stunned, it was LuShun who was looking disapprovingly.
LiXun felt embarrassed, after all both of them were his own seniors and he felt he should not comment anything, he turned around and spoke to FaXiang and Lu XueQi, said, “Then let’s quickly head over too!”
FaXiang and Lu XueQi nodded and soared up at the same time, Li Xun followed after. LuShun looked very unwilling but as ShangGuan Ce’s status among the group was evidently very much higher than him and furthermore Li Xun had also spoken, the rest of the disciples started to follow, leaving only LuShun, in the end he could only complained a few words under his breath and then ﬂew up.
At the front, FaXiang and Lu XueQi ﬂew side by side, Li Xun who started out slightly later than them, was gradually catching up with them.
Just when Li Xun was about more than one zhang away from them, Lu XueQi suddenly muttered to herself, “ShangGuan Ce left in such a rush!”
FaXiang beside her, shrouded in the magical weapon, Reincarnation Pearl’s golden light, his pale blue monk robe ﬂapped strongly against the wind, he glanced sideways at Lu XueQi, her clothes as white as snow, her face as cold as frost, like a delicate beautiful fairy from the nine heavens soaring in the night sky.
His eyes gleamed, a meaningful smile emerged from his lips, quietly said, “Yes! He really left in a hurry…” [Si!] A sound and Li Xun caught up with them and ﬂew with them, after a while, LuShun also caught up, at that moment, presumably ShangGuan Ce’s skills were really enigmatic, ahead of them, ShangGuan Ce’s ﬁgure had already disappeared.
In the Seven Mile Cave, the sounds of battle intensiﬁed. Although the great shaman at the platform halfway up the mountain was struggling but under the enigmatic shaman’s conjuring, that black staff set with Jade Bone projected stronger and stronger red light, enveloping the entire upper half of the Seven Mile Cave, under the terrible assaults of the huge ﬁreballs from the sky, still struggling to hold on.
The red screen trembled violently quite a few times, looking as if it was going to collapse under the ﬁreballs assaults but the great shaman gestured and danced, making peculiar movements and again withstood it. Just that nobody stood near him, if not, one would see that on the creased face of the great shaman, blood was ﬂowing out of his face seven apertures, most likely he was at the end of his limit.
And in the valley, Miao, Li the two tribes warriors fought in close combat, the situation was also not favourable to the Miao tribe. The Miao warriors who revered the great shaman like a deity, saw that the great shaman was actually being repressed by that evil demon in the sky and including the bark made by the Dog Deity after a thousand years, an ominous omen, despair thoughts resounded in everyone’s hearts. On the contrary, the Li tribe warriors morale were running high, even their eyes had turned red from killing.
Ghost Li stood afar, frowning tightly, the sorcery performed by that mysterious person in the sky, was extremely unique and weird, especially traces of strange black ﬁres within the ﬂames, he had never seen or heard of it before, not even recorded in the ancient books collection of Ghost King Sect.
The southern border, actually had such a person, in the huge wide world, hidden dragons and crouching tigers, there was nothing that it did not have.
Ghost Li watched as the great shaman gradually weakened and was about to ﬂy up and assist when he heard miserable cries suddenly from somewhere distant, most of them women and children’s. Turning his head to look, the nearby mountain top where the Miao women and children were hiding, had been discovered by a group of Li tribe warriors and immediately like a wolf entering a sheep ﬂock, blood sprayed like rain and the smell of blood heavy in the wind.
Ghost Li’s body trembled, these ten years he had experienced countless of bloody scenes but those killed were not the helpless and innocent commoners. For some reason, right now, those crying sounds of the women and children, suddenly like a sharp sword stabbed deep into his heart.
In his adolescence, the sight of mountains of bodies piled up, sea of blood, that tragic scene of GrassTemple Village, the relatives and neighbours who had watched him since young, did they too died like that...
Xiao Bai standing beside, suddenly turned her head, a thick malevolent smell of blood, from this man beside her, wafted out.
His eyes, suddenly had turned all red.
In the Miao crowd, a woman cried out miserably while being struck by a Li soldier, a child behind her had a terriﬁed expression, his mouth was opened wide and he ran with big strides but there was no sound, it was because he was the mute child who had delivered food to Ghost Li.
That murderer whose face was splattered with blood laughed maliciously and pursued, in a few steps he had reached the child’s back, raising his sharp stone axe, he hacked down heavily. That child fell down helplessly, at the last moment of his life, watched in despair with his mouth wide opened.
Blood sprayed everywhere, burst forth suddenly in the night sky. A sturdy body in an instant fell apart, landed like rain, Ghost Li drenched in blood and wind, his eyes red, breathing deeply.
His face facing the sky, a long howl!
The cry was so mournful, like a despair shout made by an evil spirit, ten years of struggle from descension into depravity, straight to the sky. The crowd were startled!
That child’s entire body trembled, looking at that evil black stick lighted up in an instant in Ghost Li’s hand, gleaming with a strange light of avaricious for blood. In the next moment, the surrounding several Li warriors who were pursuing the women and children and now stood dumbfounded, were torn apart by an invisible sinister power, copious amount of blood ﬂew up to the sky, gathered in mid-air like a ﬂood, encircled that mad and despondent ﬁgure, swiftly ﬂowed and then slowly being absorbed into the sinister orb in Ghost Li’s hand.
All of the people there, stood in shock, watching this monster-like person, their eyes ﬁlled with fear.
The sinister orb glowed brighter and brighter, the familiar icy-cold feeling travelled around his body incessantly, right now after absorbing several humans’ blood essence, the sinister orb like being bathed in new life, its evil power increased greatly, the strange red light became brighter and brighter, reﬂecting Ghost Li’s eyes, like a ghost ﬁre. Xiao Bai stood at a distance, stared dumbfoundedly at that ﬁgure who was slowly turning into someone who was mad with blood, abruptly turned her head over, unwilling to continue watching, in the blood-rain-night-wind, she seemed to sigh softly.
The lust that had long disappeared, the shout buried deep inside his heart, the obstination which throughout time had once appeared brieﬂy and died away, suddenly leapt up again.
He shouted crazily.
Heaven and Earth answered.
The ﬁre ﬂames in the sky, the red screen on earth, both trembled at the same time.
In that blood light, an otherworldly hideous laughter was heard. One foot, stepped out!
The bloody smell immediately ﬁlled the surrounding air, numerous people scattered and escaped, they could not understand why this person who had came to save them, suddenly turned into a demon.
Just that, just that, that sweet fresh blood was just in front, making one revel in and unable to resist, he breathed deeply and panted heavily, in his manic state, was there still a trace of anguish…
Was it loneliness because of madness?
Or was it madness because of loneliness?
The Sinister Orb was just beside his hand, accompanying and depending on each other, faithful and steadfast, just that that ﬂickering red light, seemed to be mocking the mortals. Descend into depravity, descend into depravity!
The thousands of living things like ants,
life was by nature lonely!
Stretching out his hand to grab, blood still dripping by the side of the ﬁnger, that mute boy underneath his palm, trembling and unable to move, watching that red screen sweeping over and blotting out the sky and sun, was, that, the moment of death….
“Zhang! Xiao! Fan…”
In the horizon, the voice suddenly rang out, like cutting through ice and snow, like a phoenix cry in the nine heavens, ﬁlled with inﬁnite fury, ﬁlled with inﬁnite grief! Lu XueQi, with her snow-white clothes, broke through the blood-light, her TianYa Sword unsheathed suddenly, blue light shone out, illuminating her face, her eyes, her anger and grief.
The red light suddenly rose to meet, a thunderous boom, instantly a radius of ten zhangs of land entirely split and cracked, the distant river which was dyed red spurted upwards, dying the entire horizon red.
In the rain of blood, the great shaman in the distant was already beginning to falter, the red screen gradually weakened, huge ﬁreballs started to slip through the screen, crashing into the Seven Mile Cave below, in the explosions and miserable cries, the ﬁre raged and burned, like an apocalyptic scene.
In the sea of ﬁre, the red and blue clashed and then separated, the white attired girl slowly landed, her face with no trace of blood.
In front of her, that quietly panting person, shrouded in the ominous blood ﬁre, holding the Sinister Orb evil stick… Hot wind, ﬂuttered her clothes and hair. In the ﬁre light, her body was clearly trembling.
Only the hand that was holding TianYa, because of the effort it took, it did not move a slightest bit.
Sharp sounds and FaXiang, Li Xun and the rest also landed behind Lu XueQi, the only person not seen in the group was ShangGuan Ce. The group saw Ghost Li, who looked like a ﬁend, blood all over his body, and his expression looking even more terrible and savage, all that had previously knew him, not one was not shocked, Li Xun was at least better but in FaXiang eyes, an inconsolable anguish ﬂashed by, his body also quivered, chanting quietly.
“You, you…” Lu XueQi’s expression, could no longer maintain her composure, grief and anger, at that moment, she could not even continue speaking.
Li Xun stood aside and saw Lu XueQi’s expression, he was of course an intelligent man and naturally would not assume that Lu XueQi losing her composure was just because she was angry. “Zhang Xiao Fan!” Li Xun bellowed, his expression stern and angry, said, “The southern border tribe in this valley has always been neutral with Central Plains, what enmity did you have with them to kill them like this?”
Ghost Li and Lu XueQi’s bodies, almost at the same time trembled once.
Ghost Li who was shrouded in Sinister Orb’s red glow, slowly looked at the surroundings, Miao, Li tribes after battling for a long while, both tribes which already had deep enmities, right now could only ﬁght until only one party goes down, their attacks merciless, dead bodies spewed everywhere, most unbearable to look at, their deaths tragic; and the mass group of women and children who were pursued out from their hiding place by the Li soldiers, scattered disorderly, dead or injured.
Li and Miao tribes were archenemies, even to the women and children they were also merciless, the tragic scene, including the surrounding raging ﬁre ﬂames, formed a living hell on earth. And Ghost Li drenched in blood, right now, no matter in whose eyes, was the killer who created all of these!
He was just like a devouring blood evil king, standing on this carnage scene.
Greedy and evil, cruel and frenzied!
Maybe, there was a deeply hidden despair.
The delayed pure strong Yang energy, as if being repressed immobile by the evil power of the Sinister Orb, until then, drip by drip released out, dispersing little by little the heavy icy cold energy twining deep inside his heart.
But he suddenly laughed miserably, maybe he would rather not wake up.
Through the raging burning ﬁre, that white attired girl’s broken-hearted eyes looked through all of the obstacles in the world and whose heart did it directly pierce through?
She slowly raised the sword in her hand, TianYa’s light like autumn waters.
“Zhang, Xiao, Fan…”
The faint voice, over at the raging burning ﬁre, quietly travelled over. She bit broken her lips, tears ﬂowing.
The tears mixed together with the blood droplets, dripped gently on TianYa Sword, quietly, dripping past, when it landed, it had already turned into blood water.
Who, had hurt whose heart…
“Ah!” Ghost Li screamed at the sky, in the sea of blood and ﬁre, although his heart was clear and bright, he was instead crazy.
Severed it! Severed it!
Cut the past away cleanly!
He laughed hideously in the ﬁrelight, using his madness to cover the pain, the Sinister Orb projected out boundless blood light, accompanying its master, towards the Good Faction - charging!
Someone, distantly, sighed gently but in the end, nobody could hear it.
That despondent ﬁgure, as if vaguely from the past, Good Faction men angrily shouted and prepared to defend, reﬂecting in Lu XueQi’s eyes, was that ﬁgure. Her lips, quivering, muttering to herself, that person madly charging over…
“Zhang Xiao Fan…” Using a voice that nobody could hear, quietly, the third time, calling.
Then, she wielded her sword and charged up, white clothes like snow, like a withered yet still beautiful lily in the ﬁre.
In the sharp sound, TianYa Celestial Sword’s thousands of light rays, covered the sky, the Sinister Orb’s red light like forces of evil, faintly discernible in the blue light, even how brilliant the blue light became, it could not be totally suppressed.
Rumble, the huge ﬁreballs from the sky descended, two ﬁgures came together and again intertwined, in this living hell, the two people, ﬁnally again battled. Even though, the two ﬁgures, looked so desolate in the ﬁrelight.
Ah HeTai could not focus somehow, initially things were going on so well, unexpectedly things changed, strange things happened one after another in Seven Mile Cave, strangers appeared one after another and all of them were all cultivated martial people, among them were also some highly-skilled people that even he was also wary of.
Just that those people below were all very strange, exchanging not even a few words, they started ﬁghting among themselves and ignored him. And the Li tribe who were in a highly advantageous position, after those people attacked, were all shocked and paled like the Miao tribe, started to back away.
Ah HeTai cursed in his heart and could not be bothered about it anymore, before he left the mountain, that devil king’s cold words reverberated in his ear -- “As long as you take back your Li tribe sacred weapon Jade Bone and also take away the Miao tribe sacred weapon Black Staff, then Li tribe taking over Miao tribe would be irreversible…” He breathed deeply and again concentrated his attention onto the great shaman who was still holding on, with a loud roar, he suddenly spread open both arms, instantly from the fourteen joints on both of his hands blood spurted out, almost at the same time, numerous huge ﬁreballs with black ﬂames increased in intensity, each rolling out from the clouds and headed towards the great shaman.
The weak red screen ﬁnally could not sustain, under the constant attacks of the ﬁreballs with black ﬂames, after a while, collapsed.
Instantly, the entire Seven Mile Cave turned into a sea of ﬁre, and the great shaman, after crying out, fell onto the ground.
Ah HeTai was exulted, swiftly ﬂew down from the sky, in an instant was at the levelled platform beside the great shaman.
The great shaman struggled to stand up with the support of the black staff, cried out, “You, you are mad, you actually went to beseech the evil beast…” Ah HeTai without waiting for him to ﬁnish, with one kick kicked the already frail old man down and snatched the Black Staff at the same time, looked carefully at the tip of the staff, it was really the sacred weapon Jade Bone that the Li tribe had pinned for a total of two hundred years.
“Ha ha ha ha…”
He was extremely conceited and wasting no time, he was about to add on a fatal blow to the nemesis of Li tribe nemesis for several hundred years but a glint ﬂashed at the side of his eyes, he saw that the outsiders had already noticed what he was doing and all had started to rise and head over.
Ah HeTai was alarmed and immediately decided not to meddle more, anyway after this battle, the great shaman under the evil power of the demon king, was already like an invalid, not a threat at all to the Li tribe.
He made up his mind and hugged the Black Staff in front of his chest, his mouth chanting the mysterious incantations, and the next moment ﬁre descended from the sky, enveloped him within it, and then he charged up to the sky, in the raging ﬁre ﬂames, he disappeared.
Leaving a hell-like Seven Mile Cave and a haggard old man on the platform, dejectedly panting softly, shouting, “Evil Beast! That is the Evil Beast! How could you dare to…”
Chapter 128 - Evil Shaman
The ﬁre burning in the horizon gradually dimmed down, Ah HeTai concealed within the dark clouds, sped away from the Seven Mile Cave.
After traveling an hour and after he had made sure that there were no longer any outsiders pursuing him, he then slowly descended from the clouds, returning back to the ground, landing at one of the mountain valley.
Both Li and Miao tribes had heavy casualties but Ah HeTai seemed not in a hurry to return to his remaining Li tribe people. He carefully assessed the black staff in his hand, a mysterious shaman power faintly circulating in the black staff body, making this hot-blooded Li tribe person’s body resounding with the power within.
He could even imagine, he himself wielding the Jade Bone Black Staff and dominating the southern border, the once powerful and great shaman, would be himself in the future. As for his panic-stricken tribe now, he did not have to worry too much since that tribe leader was so intended on his revenge, let him have a good kill, if not with his boarish nature, he might have a problem controlling him in the future.
Ah HeTai coldly laughed, held the black staff tightly in his chest, right now this moment, he no longer had any fear. Not even that devil king whom had given him his power. Despite the fact that his current skills was still not that devil king’s match but he and that great shaman both knew the origins and circumstances of that mysterious devil king, without the southern border ﬁve tribes sacred weapons assembling together, that devil king could never hope to be revived from the “Subdue Devil Cave’ in the ten thousands great mountains.
The thought of even the devil king which had terrorized the entire southern border, was also being played out by him, Ah HeTai was beyond delighted, unable to contain himself, he laughed out loudly.
The sound reverberated in the night air, reverberated within the mountains.
“Ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha…” While he was rejoicing, suddenly a light palm sound came from the darkness on the other side of the mountain valley, at the same time a voice, deep and faint, was heard, “Amazing, amazing!”
Ah HeTai’s body shook, whipped his body around but saw only darkness, he could not see anything clearly, loudly shouted, “Who is it, come out!”
In the darkness, two balls of crimson ﬁre ﬂames suddenly burned, followed by a series of low breathing sounds, like an enormous beast growling quietly, was heard from the darkness.
Ah HeTai’s countenance changed greatly.
That two balls of crimson ﬁres did not move, watched Ah HeTai from the darkness. Before the crimson ﬁres, a black- attired person walked out from the darkness.
That person seemed to ﬂow out from the darkness, his entire body from the head to the feet were clothed in black, leaving only his eyes uncovered, the empty holes chilling. And his body was stiff, he did not walk out, leaving about a distance of two chi from the ground, he ﬂoated out.
Ah HeTai’s nostrils shrank, the expression on his face tensed up, like he had seen a demon.
That black-attired man unhurriedly said, “Ah HeTai, as expected you did not let the Beast Deity down and obtained both the Jade Bone and Black Staff.”
Ah HeTai subconciously grabbed the black staff tighter, this action was observed by the black-attired man and behind him, where that two balls of crimson ﬁres were, an angry roar was heard.
The black-attired man raised his hand slightly, the strange beast behind him quietened down, he then unhurriedly said, “Ah HeTai, seems like you do not wish to keep your promise made to Beast Deity and give us the two sacred weapons!” Ah HeTai’s expression changed, conﬂicting, evidently the ‘Beast Deity’ to him was a terrible existence but after a few internal struggles, greed eventually won the war.
“Pei!” Ah HeTai’s face revealed a vicious expression, coldly said, “I now have the Black Staff, Jade Bone, these are the weapons which once scattered the evil beast’s souls, if you are not afraid, come and try!”
The black-attired man, after a while, said, “So to say, you really have the intention to betray Beast Deity.”
Ah HeTai raised the Jade Bone Black Staff, felt the shaman power within it surging, he truly felt he had the world in his hand, he could not help but laughed wildly, “So what, don’t assume I don’t know, without gathering the southern border ﬁve tribes sacred weapons, the evil beast has no chance of reviving in the Subdue Demon Cave. Without him, even with you and your evil dragon behind you, before my sacred weapons, what are you? Ha ha ha ha ha…”
… The two balls of crimson ﬁres behind the black-attired man made [ao ao ao] low roars, it was clearly enraged, the black- attired man was instead very calm, coldly looked at Ah HeTai and said, “Don’t forget, these ﬁve sacred weapons, where did it come from? All of you these southern border barbarians have only use thirty percent of its shaman powers. If not for that, even if you have the power invested by the Beast Deity, how would you be able to snatch it from that old fart great shaman of the Miao tribe.” His voice gradually became deeper, his words became colder, said, “I am giving you the last warning, do not go against the Beast Deity!”
For some reason, Ah HeTai’s heart hiccupped once, even he himself also sensed that his body was trembling. But after a moment, he again tightened his grip around the Jade Bone Black Staff.
“Go and die!” His eyes wide, waving the black staff, a stream of black ﬁre instantly ignited and spurted out, towards the black-attired man. The areas that the ﬁre passed by withered and turned black.
The black-attired man coldly snorted and he did not seem to be making any action but the black ﬁre was suddenly blocked by an invisible power three chi before him. But looking at Ah HeTai’s expression, he was not surprised and evidently he was just testing him only.
On the contrary, after experiencing this attack, he had already conﬁrmed what he had surmised in his heart a long time ago, the Jade Bone Black Staff these sacred weapons could amplify the powers that the Beast Deity invested in him ten times more, if not with his original powers, he would need to conjure for at least half a day but now he could achieve it with one wave.
Thinking of that, Ah HeTai became even more conceited and felt even more disdained at the black-attired person in front of him, he again laughed loudly out.
The black-attired man watched Ah HeTai’s arrogant demeanour but did not appear angry, he only indifferently said, “The Beast Deity is really wise, he knew that you are a cunning person, once you have got what you want, you will deﬁnitely betray.” Ah HeTai grinned hideously, said, “So what, there are really many number of demons and evil spirits with high shaman powers under the Beast Deity in the Subdue Demon Cave but other than you this evil shaman, who else could come out? With just your weak powers now, don’t tell me you still want to snatch it from my hands?”
The black-attired man watched Ah HeTai’s arrogant face, suddenly laughed mockingly, without speaking, he stretched his hands into his bosom and took out something.
The thing once out of the evil shaman’s bosom, started to glow faintly, looking at it from afar, it was a pearl gleaming with black glow, in this dark night, if one did not look at it carefully, one would not be able to see it clearly.
Ah HeTai looked at that bead and started to be nervous, although he claimed not to fear the mysterious black-attired man but even though the shaman’s power was not that powerful but he had always been the right-hand man of the Beast Deity, nobody knew what kind of powers he really had. Just when he was deliberating if he should attack immediately and stopped the black-attired man from his antics, that black-attired man clapped his hands together and made an even more absurd action.
He gripped his hands tight and a sound of [pi pa] was heard, he had crushed the black pearl and the next moment, the remnants of the pearl-like sand, slipped through his palms.
Ah HeTai was shocked by his actions, he prepared his defense, he had heard of the evil shaman’s poison skill. Just that the mountain breeze blew past, the crushed pieces picked by the wind and the wind direction was totally opposite from him, he waited for a while but nothing happened.
Ah HeTai ha ha laughed loudly, said, “Whatever weird antics that you make, no matter what, can you stop me…”
Before he could ﬁnish, his voice suddenly ceased abruptly, like something stuck in his throat. Almost at the same time, suddenly a ﬁre light lighted up from the darkness, illuminating the surroundings, like daylight. And the source of this ﬁre light was actually from Ah HeTai’s body.
Following which, [pu pu pu…] series of sounds were heard, from Ah HeTai’s body, several light beams shone out, at a glance, almost like several empty holes had opened up in his body at the same time, it looked comical yet horrible.
Ah HeTai could not speak another word again, he opened his mouth, slowly looked up, a terriﬁed and inconceivable look on his face.
The black-attired man coldly ﬂoated before him, unhurriedly said, “The Beast Deity has long discerned that you are unreliable and when he invested the black ﬁre in you, he deliberately left this ‘Black Fire Essence Pearl’ behind, once this Black Fire Essence Pearl is destroyed, the Black Fire energy would rebounded on its master and make you die under the power that the Beast Deity invested in you!”
Ah HeTai’s eyes were ﬁlled with fear and regret, he opened his mouth but only made hoarse breathing sounds, after a moment, [pu pu pu] muted sounds were heard in succession, the black ﬁre screamed out from his body, swallowing his entire body with raging ﬂames.
In a short moment, this ambitious man had already reduced to ashes.
Only the Jade Bone Black Staff remained, quietly lying among the ashes.
The black-attired man ﬂoated over, stretched his hand and with a movement, the Jade Bone Black Staff ﬂew up to his hand, he coldly laughed and was about to leave when suddenly he whipped his head around and looked at the other dark side of the mountain valley, in a deep voice said, “Who is it?”
After a long period of silence in the darkness, a ﬁgure slowly walked out, grey robes white hair, his face creased with wrinkles, it was FenXiang Valley ShangGuan Ce.
He looked at the black-attired man and at the two balls of crimson ﬁres which were full of hostility behind the black- attired man, lastly, his eyes landed on the Jade Bone Black Staff in the black-attired man’s hand.
His face, suddenly seemed to age thirty years.
The black-attired man clearly was not expecting to meet ShangGuan Ce at this place and looking at his expression, he seemed to know ShangGuan Ce. The black-attired man did not speak while he was recovering from the initial surprise and then unhurriedly said, “We have not met for almost eighty years right, old pal?”
ShangGuan Ce’s creases on his face looked as deep as being engraved by a knife, said, “You all, “ He spoke each word by each word slowly, “In the end still could not resist coming out?”
The black-attired man’s black clothes ﬂuttered in the night breeze but his body was still hovering in the air unmoving, like his voice, he faintly said, “The Beast Deity is already impatient with waiting.” ShangGuan Ce unhurriedly said, “At that time Yun YiLan senior brother and I had said before the Beast Deity...”
The black-attired man suddenly interrupted, said, “Your valley master senior brother’s words, do you believe it yourself?”
ShangGuan Ce suddenly did not speak.
The black-attired man smiled faintly, said, “Old pal, you and I serve different masters, the future is fraught with dangers, please take care of yourself!”
After speaking, he hugged the black staff in his hand, leaned back and retreated, in a blink, he had disappeared into the darkness.
ShangGuan Ce’s eyes twitched, his body moved and seemed to have the intention to do something but that two balls of crimson ﬁres in the darkness suddenly ﬂared, roars ﬁercely rang out. The black-attired man’s voice, rang out from distantly, “Old pal, your skills are high and far surpassed me. But I have the ferocious dragon and including the Black Staff Jade Bone, you cannot stop me. We have many years of friendships, better let me go based on our sentiments!”
ShangGuan Ce’s ﬁgure ceased suddenly. After a moment, the two crimson balls of ﬁres also gradually disappeared in the dark.
Between Heaven and Earth, leaving him standing on this desolate mountain valley, after a long while, he let out a long sigh.
The night, became deeper.
In the Seven Mile Cave, the once ﬂourishing beautiful land, right now was like being drowned in a sea of inferno, everywhere was wailing cries. The Miao revered great shaman was seriously injured, his life and death undetermined, Li tribe who had pinned their high hopes on Ah HeTai had suddenly disappeared, the Seven Mile Cave suddenly had many other outsiders, among them a ﬁgure that suddenly appeared like an evil spirit.
Under such circumstances, Li, Miao tribes had no morale to ﬁght anymore, the Li tribe slowly retreated out of the Seven Mile Cave and the Miao tribe did not have the spirit to pursue, all were trying to save their homes and care for the injured, at the same time, countless stared with hostility at the outsiders remaining in Seven Mile Cave.
Yet those people’s attention, were never once on the surrounding Miao tribe people, their eyes right now concentrating only on that red and blue lights battling in the sky.
The Central Plains Good and Evil, the new generation of young cultivated martial experts, in this foreign unfamiliar valley, with a hint of dreariness, ﬁghting a life and death battle.
Lu XueQi’s TianYa blue light surged stronger and stronger, covering the Heaven and Earth, whistling while approaching, as if while she wielded with her fair hands, the sky turned and the earth moved, the sound of the winds intensiﬁed, it had a power that was unstoppable.
Under her light of her sword, her face could be faintly seen, that determined and haggard face, without a trace of expression, and her attacks, merciless.
The wind sounds of the swords, sharp sounds pierced the sky, covered Heaven and Earth, gushed in from all directions and then dispersed.
Ghost Li laughed wildly, leapt and soared in the rain of swords, the Sinister Orb seemed to have its own spirit, the excited red glow shot out for thousands of zhangs, like a ferocious ghost screaming to the sky, baring its fangs and brandishing its claws battling.
That sword like snow, ﬂuffed down, someone made a long howl, travelling up to the sky.
TianYa Sinister blood, Sinister blood TianYa!
Unexcelled in the world and with the ability to change situations, after the rare heartless magical weapons, following closely, whose was it, what kind of gaze?
Lu XueQi did not know, that layers and waves like great billows, like huge waves, like ghost wailing, like nightmare- screaming-blood-devouring red light, arrived with a loud boom, the malevolent evil force made her entire body of blood almost wanted to spill out of her body.
TianYa like snow, transformed into an enormous celestial sword that could split the Heaven, struck down with a boom, slicing the red light into two. The enormous evil force rebounded, Lu XueQi her white clothes ﬂuttering, was thrown up to the sky, looking at her ﬁgure, swaying in the wind, her sharp sword gesturing, traces of sharp sounds, in that instant wind and clouds ﬂocked together again, gathered thickly before her.
Her hair swayed in the wind, brushing against the fair face, it was a beautiful face. Inhaling deeply.
She walked seven steps, like a fairy dancing in the clouds, before she start to chant, a strong wind scattering the last clouds, turned into a vortex, shaking violently.
“Nine heavens enigmatic shrine, become God of Thunder.
Brilliant heavenly might, with the sword leading!”
The ancient incantation, mysteriously reverberated again in the horizon, that white ﬁgure reﬂecting in whose eyes, like a lily dancing in frenzy!
Ten years of time, in this foreign land where the wind and rain showered, where Heaven and Earth were changing countenance, where the wind and clouds were gathering, one by one surfaced.
The enormous and deep dark vortex, spinned rapidly in the horizon, thunderous lightning, the wind screaming. Lu XueQi hovered in the air, her white clothes ﬂapping. Qing Yun Sect’s supreme skill, ‘Celestial Sword Wield Thunder True Formula’ displayed out in her hands, presenting a majestic scene, its might unparalleled. Right now, comparing against Tian BuYi in LiuBo Hill battle, it was in no way inferior.
The surrounding Good Faction people, not one was not awed but this scene, to Ghost Li’s eyes, he trembled unseen.
Deep inside the clouds, under the TianYa Sword, while the inﬁnite blue was bursting forth in full brilliancy, in Lu XueQi’s ﬁgure, a faint golden color indistinctly seen, faintly digniﬁed and also unusual.
This was not Qing Yun Sect skill!
The sounds of the intense wind increased, this thought ﬂashed past Ghost Li’s head, in his eyes and heart, behind his savage laughter, what was left?
The cold eyes, looking down from the sky, behind the red light, that cruel evil ﬁgure. Lu XueQi’s eyes were bright as frost, a long whistle, the body of lightning cried out together, reverberating far away, like tearing the Heaven and Earth.
High up in the clouds, numerous lightnings gathered swiftly, the rumbling thunder sounds exploding endlessly in the horizon. In the next moment, deep inside the dark vortex, the enormous lightnings completed their gathering, charged down from the sky, landed on TianYa Sword.
That brilliant dazzling light, was just like it was on her hand.
“Good sword skills!”
Ghost Li laughed loudly, his laughter extremely desolate, thundered up from the red light, heart-wrenching.
That white ﬁgure high up there, with her exceptional graceful bearing, in the end it was this high and unreachable. …
The Sinister Orb spilled out boundless light, right now, red, green, black three colours were all controlled by Ghost Li vividly and brilliantly, the evil aura thick and heavy, wailing and screaming to the horizon, making one’s hair stands on the ends.
Lu XueQi’s face was even colder, the last hesitation in her eyes, ﬁnally broke.
The lightnings with a long whistle, the deities and Buddhas in the heaven, sang out together!
Distantly, someone suddenly cried out.
Ghost Li who was fully immersed in defending himself against that unparalleled power in the sky, suddenly a sharp sound from the back, in the ﬂint-spark moment he forced his body to shift, [pu] a sound, a ﬂat sharp Jade Ruler, like an all- conquering celestial weapon, pierced out from his right shoulder. Ghsot Li roared loudly, turned around and saw Li Xun holding the Jade Ruler, hatefully looking at him.
He screamed to the sky, the Soul-absorbing stick with its boundless red light, instantly fell and cleaved down, Li Xun’s eyes shrank but without any fear, he pulled with his right hand, [si…] and pulled out the Jade Ruler, following with a fountain of blood.
The red light smashed down, Li Xun defended with his might, FenXiang Valley skills were really remarkable and on top of that, Ghost Li with his severe injury, the red light wavered, in such circumstances, the red light was blocked by Li Xun.
Just that the Sinister Orb was no ordinary sinister object and furthermore it was forged with Ghost Li’s blood, the next moment inﬁnite evil power attacked across the Jade Ruler, the right hand which was holding onto the Jade Ruler, under this inconceivable evil power, his hand could be seen withering rapidly. Li Xun was greatly shocked, he struggled with his might but Ghost Li right now was almost berserk, suddenly stretched his hand out to grab, his ﬁve ﬁngers becoming a claw, grabbed tightly onto his right hand.
Li Xun felt great pain and sweats appeared, at this perilous moment, a low Buddhist chant was heard beside him, accompanied with a sound of sigh.
A stream of gentle golden light surged over, digniﬁed and peaceful, it was Tian Yin Temple ‘Great Brahman Wisdom true way’ !
The exceptional Buddhism skills, conﬂicted with the Sinister Orb, seeped into every openings, the extremely ferocious power of the orb was forced back one chi by him.
Taking this chance, FaXiang pulled Li Xun with one hand and swiftly retreated back but his eyes, were full of compassion, looking at that man’s ﬁgure swaying in the wind. The enormous electrical white light in the horizon, from that moment descended, with supreme power, accurately hit Ghost Li!
Chapter 129 - Intention
Everyone collectively held their breaths.
That ﬁgure, disappeared in that enormous white beam of light.
The white-attired girl standing high up in the clouds, maybe she had exerted too much of her strength! She actually staggered and no longer able to maintain her balance, slowly descended.
But, but, from where did a laughter out of a sudden came from?
That desolation was out of this world!
Red light suddenly appeared in that white beam of light, red as blood, that man drenched in blood, like a mad demon appearing suddenly, lifted his head up to the sky and howled. The night was dark.
Hair in disarray, clothes torn, the sprayed blood like mist, only that Sinister Orb was brilliantly shining, illuminating the entire night sky.
He raised his head and stare, charging up.
The wind biting cold, heavy with smell of blood, Lu XueQi’s face was as white as snow, without any trace of blood. Watching that ﬁgure leaping over, TianYa subconsciously stabbed out.
Blue light covered a thousands zhangs, in an instant pierced through the red mist, just before him.
That wound, right in front of her eyes.
TianYa trembled! That stare, so intently, insane yet so familiar.
Maybe it still remembered, many years ago, that once fearless young man….
The red light exploded, swallowing both their ﬁgures.
Wailing ghost cries, ﬁlled the sky.
The Good Faction members cried out in shock, each scrambling to ﬂy up. Just that before they could react in time, there was another white ﬁgure, ﬂew up like lightning.
In the red light, the hand wet with blood, like a grinning devil demonic claws, grabbed for her.
Just that, TianYa quietly hung down. She in the storm, stood solitary, facing him, quietly watching.
That bloody hand, pressed upon her clothes, the evil surging power, howling just beside the palm.
That insane blood-red eyes, was just before her.
Whose heart, pounded slightly...
The red light scattered, a ﬁgure, dejectedly fell.
Lu XueQi in the mid-air, shut her eyes tightly, on her clothes, there was a blood-red stain, a ghastly sight.
After the storm, would there still be tears…
Reaching before the Good Faction people, that out-of- nowhere white ﬁgure snatched up the unconscious Ghost Li, carrying him and ﬂew off sideways, it was Xiao Bai.
She assessed Ghost Li’s injuries, frowning tightly, shook her head and sighed, quietly said, “Really can’t stand you, even if you value sentiments you don’t have to make it so tragic right…”
Ghost Li did not reply, unconscious people would not be able to speak. After the initial shock, the Good Faction members shouted out in anger, Xiao Bai raised her eyes and looked, her bright eyes captivating, for a moment made the crowd paused.
Lu XueQi slowly landed, that bloody handprint seemed to be carved onto her clothes, especially conspicuous on her white clothes, the crowd could almost imagine, how close had the demon’s hand brought death to this girl!
She in the end, avoided this calamity however the one severely injured was instead that Evil Sect sorcerer.
The well-known ﬁgures of the Qing Yun Sect younger generation, were really exceptional. Xiao Bai swept her gaze over them and lastly on Lu XueQi, appraised her carefully and nodded, a slight smile on her lips, said, “Truly an exceptional beauty, no wonder guys fall head over heels for you.” After speaking, she ﬁrst looked at Ghost Li whom she was carrying and then, with or without intention, glanced sideways at Li Xun who was looking in pain.
Anger ﬂashed past Li Xun’s face, half of his right hand because of the Sinister Orb’s attack in the battle had shrivelled up and looked terrible, he did not know if it would impede his future trainings and right now, after hearing this seductive girl’s sarcastic words, immediately he angrily said, “Who are you, this Ghost Li is a heinous Evil Sect evildoer, if you are sensible...”
Xiao Bai suddenly burst out laughing, facing this group of Good Faction people, she deliberately hugged Ghost Li tighter to her, causing them to glance elsewhere uncomfortably, at the same time, indifferently said, “Don’t you know, I have never been sensible!” Li Xun was speechless, for a moment did not know what to say, at the same time, the pain in his right hand was intensifying, he was feeling even more anxious in his heart.
And also at this moment, suddenly an exclamation, came from the back.
“Nine-tailed evil fox! She is the nine-tailed evil fox!”
Everyone was stunned, Lu XueQi and FaXiang were unaware of FenXiang Valley’s Inferno Altar secret but FenXiang Valley disciples were in a pandemonium, the person who had shouted out, was the most senior person there, LuShun.
Xiao Bai glanced a few times at LuShun, contemplated for a while, nodded and said, “You this old man, is the coward who hid behind Yun YiLan and ShangGuan Ce those two old thieves at that time?”
LuShun’s face immediately turned red with anger, his ﬁnger pointing at Xiao Bai, was so incensed that he was shaking slightly, in the furtive glances at him made by those around him, he bellowed, “What are you all looking at, still not moving, go catch this evil demon!”
Xiao Bai laughed lightly, carrying Ghost Li and was about to ﬂy up, LuShun was the ﬁrst to ﬂy up and blocked her but Xiao Bai with a snort, not even taking a glance at him, her white ﬁgure shifted and a faint light ﬂew out from her sleeve, hit LuShun’s sword.
LuShun in the mid-air, with a mufﬂed groan, fell backwards down.
Everyone was shocked, LuShun although not as famous as his fellow FenXiang Valley valley master Yun YiLan and ShangGuan Ce but he was still considered a senior ﬁgure in FenXiang Valley. But with this nine-tailed celestial fox, he was defeated in just one round, how high the evil demon’s skills were, one could imagine.
Immediately everyone started shouting, leapt up together, Xiao Bai frowned slightly, her expression showing disdain, her ﬁgure wavered and ﬂashed past several people in succession, about to ﬂy up when suddenly behind her a pure Buddhism incantation was heard and a golden light surged over.
Xiao Bai frowned, for the ﬁrst time her face revealed shock, she turned and waved her sleeves, a faint green light ﬂew out and blocked that golden light.
“The Great Brahman Wisdom “ she looked at FaXiang, nodded and said, “Didn’t expect that TianYin Temple has such a talent like you, really a mighty Good Faction sect that can stand shoulder to shoulder with Qing Yun.”
FaXiang brought his palms together and said, “Many thanks for patron’s praise.” Although his words were courteous but after he placed his hands together, the golden light became even more powerful, a golden dazzling pearl ﬂew out from his sleeve, spinning rapidly towards Xiao Bai.
Xiao Bai with a snort, withdrew the green light, her body together with Ghost Li ﬂoated up, straight up towards the sky, after a moment, at where she was standing just, a loud boom and a radius of two zhang crater emerged in the ground. Unwilling to be entangled in this anymore, Xiao Bai took the opportunity to escape but unexpectedly dazzling blue light [si si si] sharp sounds instantly exploded, charging towards her, it was Lu XueQi’s TianYa Celestial Sword which had arrived. Xiao Bai’s face turned cold, suddenly stretched and directly plunged her hand into the thousands of lights, a [zheng] crisp and clear sound resounded, the light from Lu XueQi’s sword disappeared, shock registered on her face, TianYa had also returned to her hand.
Xiao Bai did not hesitate further, carrying Ghost Li and like an apparition, disappeared in the mid-air, the crowd was shocked, after a moment, someone saw a white ﬁgure, like lightning swept towards the opposite shore and shouted out loudly.
Xiao Bai was seen entering a wooden house. The next moment, before the rest arrived, again ﬂew out from the window, other than Ghost Li on her shoulder, there was another small grey ﬁgure, it was the monkey Xiao Hui who was still snoring…
Until the group arrived, Xiao Bai was already nowhere to be seen. The Good Faction people cursed in anger but most of them were secretly shocked, the skills of the nine-tailed celestial fox were that high, they really could not underestimate.
By then, the battles in Seven Mile Cave had ﬁnally ceased completely, what was left, were an inferno sea and innumerable Miao commoners’ heart-wrenching cries.
From far, the injured Tu MaGu tribe leader was yelling, leading a group of people and running up the mountain, evidently to check on the great shaman’s injuries. And over there, the great shaman was already surrounded by people, the shoutings reverberated over from far.
The group returned to where they were previously, the ﬁery ﬂames making a racket, crackling sounds of the ﬁre devouring the woods made repetitively and there were even big wooden beams crashing down frequently, the situation was really devastating.
FaXiang shook his head and sighed, compassion ﬁlled his face, he was the ﬁrst to ﬂy into the inferno ﬁre and help those Miao commoners in putting the ﬁre out. Following his lead, the rest of the FenXiang disciples also followed.
By then Li Xun could feel the pain in his right hand had slightly subsided, seemed like as long as he circulated his internal energy to resist it, he was not in danger, he then felt slightly relieved.
Just when he was deliberating if he should follow the rest to help with the ﬁres, a voice was heard suddenly behind him, “Li senior brother.”
Li Xun was surprised and turned around, Lu XueQi was standing there, TianYa was back in its sheath and held in her hand, her white clothes under the ﬁre’s reﬂection, rippled. That bloody handprint on her clothes, looked even more glaring and she, seemed to have no intention of concealing it.
Her face was as cold as usual, gazed indifferently at Li Xun.
Li Xun for some reason, felt uncomfortable with her gaze, said, “What is it, Lu junior sister?” Lu XueQi quietly watched Li Xun, after a while, then unhurriedly said, “That wound at Ghost Li’s right shoulder, was it inﬂicted by you using Jade Ruler?”
Li Xun’s mouth suddenly felt dry, after a moment honestly said, “Yes.”
The hand which held TianYa, instantly tightened, on her fair skin, a faint green revealed. Just that her face, was still cold and aloof like snow, without any expression.
She nodded slightly, turned and left.
Li Xun suddenly felt an inexplicable anger, shouted, “Lu junior sister, what do you mean by this?”
Lu XueQi’s body paused, under the surrounding raging ﬁre ﬂames, her white ﬁgure seemed to be burning too.
“Good ruler skills! Amazing!” The faint voice, from that ﬁgure back-facing him, travelled over, one word by one word, drawling and extremely clear.
Li Xun suddenly was speechless.
Lu XueQi walked on, suddenly in a big house above her which had been burning for some time, with a loud crack, an enormous beam burning with ﬁery ﬂames fell towards the direction of her head.
Li Xun was shocked but before he could shout out, Lu XueQi with a soft whistle, for some reason, in that whistle, it contained grief and indignation. Her left hand waved, TianYa Celestial Sword still in its sheath ﬂew up, the blue light exploded, in the rumble, broke this enormous wood into pieces, innumerable ﬁre sparks ﬂew out, covering the sky, after a moment, fell like rain, extremely magniﬁcent, obstructing between Li Xun and her, drowning out her ﬁgure completely.
Li Xun watched that ﬁre rain in the sky, for a moment was stunned, gazed dazedly. The late night.
Xiao Bai transformed into a lightning-fast white light, traversed between the lofty ridges and towering mountains, leaving the Seven Mile Cave far away. About slightly after an hour, she then found a deserted place halfway up a lofty mountain and stopped there.
She gently placed Ghost Li down on the ground, looking at this man covered in blood, large amounts ﬂowed down to his hand, slowly absorbed in by the Sinister Orb which was glowing in red. The Sinister Orb was as if it was a spirit accompanying beside Ghost Li, incessantly devouring its master’s essence.
Xiao Bai heaved a sigh, stretched her hand and tried to take the Soul-Absorbing stick from Ghost Li but unexpectedly even though he was unconscious, his hand was still gripping the evil stick tightly, as if this thing, was his only support.
Xiao Bai after trying twice to pull it from his hand and failed, shook her head and gave up. Looking at her own hand, her middle ﬁnger on her right hand which was originally fair, had now slowly turned red and indistinctly trembling.
Xiao Bai smiled, quietly said, “What a good TianYa sword, it is really as reputed, a worthy celestial weapon…”
[Pu tong] a sound was heard suddenly beside her, Xiao Bai was startled and turned to look, it was Xiao Hui who was still unconscious, fell from her shoulder and happened to land beside its seriously injured master, its mouth still making [ze ze] sounds, its hand stretched out to scratch its head and then it fell asleep again.
Xiao Bai found it infuriating and funny at the same time, loudly said, “Damn monkey!”
“Your idiot master is almost dying!” [Hu hu..]
“...” Xiao Bai was speechless, rolled her eyes at the monkey, with one kick pushed the monkey away and then crouched down beside Ghost Li, assessed his injuries and then shook her head while sighing.
The night was as cold as water, chilling deep into the bones.
That chill, seemed to have experience it many years ago?
While Ghost Li dazedly woke up, that thought ﬂashed past his head.
Opening his eyes, the ﬁrst sight, was the sky full of stars.
The southern border night sky, right now, was not in ﬂames, there was no racket and ﬁnally it revealed its original tranquil appearance. In the sky, innumerable clusters of stars twinkled. Big or small, like human eyes, maybe with some mischief, ridiculing and watching the mortal world.
Excruciating pain from his right shoulder and then his entire body, aching all over. Even him who was of a strong character, could not help but suck in a mouthful of cold air.
“You are awake.” A calm with some concern voice, was heard beside him.
Ghost Li turned and saw Xiao Bai’s face.
He forced himself to sit up and inadvertently moved his wound, he could not help but frown. Xiao Bai looked at him and said, “You are quite seriously wounded, better take a good rest ﬁrst!”
Ghost Li looked down, saw his right shoulder was bandaged with white cloth, the other smaller wound areas had also telltale signs of being cared for. There was no other people around so naturally it must be Xiao Bai’s efforts while he was unconscious. He quietly said, “It must be you who saved me, thank you.”
Xiao Bai shrugged her shoulders and said, “I did not do anything, it is also mainly because of your tough life, even I also did not expect that you would be able to survive under those circumstances.”
Ghost Li grunted, ﬂashes of the Seven Mile Cave battles recalled in his mind, suddenly felt downhearted, lost for thoughts at where he was and did not wish to speak anymore.
Xiao Bai faintly said, “Speaking of which, the Miao commoners in the Seven Mile Cave are the most unlucky! Their houses were burned, casualties and dead innumerable, even their revered enigma great shaman, I think he is also most likely…”
Ghost Li suddenly was shocked.
“What happened to him?” Ghost Li’s voice suddenly turned hoarse. Xiao Bai, still with her expression of indifference, said, “I remembered that old man ﬁghting with that strange person up in the sky, defeated when his strength was gone, he was severely injured, even their sacred weapons…”
“How is he, is he dead?” Ghost Li abruptly crawled up, cut off Xiao Bai’s words and evidently not interested in the Miao’s sacred weapon. Just that when he stood up, his face grimaced in pain, his legs weakened and his body wavered, almost collapsing.
Xiao Bai was about to support him but Ghost Li had already with big breaths, stabilized his body with difﬁculty but his forehead was drenched in cold sweats.
Xiao Bai slowly withdrew her hand, quietly watched him, said, “Why are you doing this?”
Ghost Li breathlessly said, “The great shaman, what exactly happened to him, is he alright?” Xiao Bai said, “When I took you away, I saw the Miao people clustering around him, whether he is alive or dead, honestly, I also don’t know.”
Agony and regret ﬂashed past Ghost Li’s eyes, he gritted his teeth, turned and left but in a few steps, suddenly a mufﬂed groan, the white bandage cloth over his right shoulder wound had already turned red, at the same time his face was convulsing.
Xiao Bai behind him, faintly said, “You better rest ﬁrst! Qing Yun Sect’s Celestial Sword Wield Thunder True Formula, how would it be that easy to take down.”
Ghost Li felt his body channels were in a mess, his breathings in disarray, his cultivated Qing Yun skills, TianYin Temple Great Brahman Wisdom and also the secret TianShu skills, all had jumbled up into one big mess, ever since he had turned his back on Qing Yun ten years ago, massacred thousands in the Evil Sect internal ﬁghts, his injuries today was considered the most severe. Lu XueQi’s cultivation and training, really progressed at a tremendous pace!
While he was bitterly thinking about this, he was still forcefully trying to bear the pain in his body and slowly stepping forward, making his way ahead.
“You disregard your life and death just to see that great shaman, is because of BiYao right?” Xiao Bai’s voice, faintly heard behind him.
Ghost Li did not reply, only slowly made the second step.
Xiao Bai behind him, looked at that stubborn ﬁgure, heaved a long sigh, shook her head, laughed bitterly, said, “You are great, you are great!” speaking, she slowly followed along. Just that after a while, she suddenly said, “That white-attired lady who fought with you tonight, comparing to BiYao, who do you like better?”
Ghost Li’s body abruptly stopped, he whipped his head around, stared at Xiao Bai, Xiao Bai’s countenance did not change, under the ﬁerce stare of Ghost Li, was still smiling at him.
Ghost Li, breathing with heavy breaths, slowly turned his head around, the next moment he unhurriedly, as if speaking to deep down inside his heart, quietly said, “In this world, only BiYao is true to me!”
Xiao Bai was silent.
“For her, even if I died, what does it matter?” Ghost Li slowly continued then moved his body, walked ahead.
In the horizon, starlight resplendent, spilling onto the world.
Xiao Bai sighed, followed along, after walking a few steps, she suddenly turned back to look at the place where they were resting previously, loudly called out, “Damn monkey, we are leaving!” [Hu hu…]
Xiao Bai, “...”
Chapter 130 - Pursue
The sky gradually lightened up, after ablazing for a night, the inferno in Seven Mile Cave ﬁnally burned out. Just that after the ﬁre, what was left were only broken walls and smoking burnt woods.
FaXiang and the rest although highly skilled but after hard at work for the entire night, their bodies inevitably would feel worn out, a few lower-skilled FenXiang Valley disciples had smudges of black ashes on their faces.
However when they again gathered together and felt a sigh of relief, glancing around, the Miao commoners’ eyes were full of hostility, not a slightest goodwill towards the help that they had rendered.
FaXiang made a bitter laugh, although he felt indignant but he was unable to explain anything, he was about to turn and speak to the rest when suddenly there was a commotion within the group of FenXiang Valley people. FaXiang was surprised and took a look, ShangGuan Ce descended from the sky and landed, walked unhurriedly towards them.
Yesterday he was the ﬁrst to ﬂy off and after a night he was the last to arrive, this senior from FenXiang Valley made everyone turned and looked at each other.
“He he!” a cold laughter came from FenXiang Valley LuShun, “Senior brother, you are really early!”
ShangGuan Ce was expressionless but he was frowning tightly and obviously he looked troubled. He could not be bothered with LuShun, walked around and surveyed the surroundings, shook his head slightly, sighed and spoke to Li Xun, “The matters here are more or less settled, bring the juniors back to FenXiang Valley ﬁrst!”
Li Xun actually also felt disgruntled and had many questions, he wanted to question this teacher uncle where exactly had he gone last night, if not with ShangGuan Ce this highly-skilled senior around, it would be much easier to deal with Ghost Li and there would not be so much trouble. Just that those were only his thoughts, in the end he did not have the guts to offend FenXiang Valley ShangGuan Ce whose status was on par with the valley master, Yun YiLan, he immediately acknowledged with a “Yes.”
LuShun stood at the side and was infuriated, said to ShangGuan Ce, “What do you mean by this, last night you ran off and today you are giving orders upon your arrival?”
ShangGuan Ce indifferently said, “I met with some incidents last night, I will tell you the details after we return to the valley.”
LuShun’s face changed and was about to comment further when ShangGuan Ce, clearly irritated, with a slight anger said, “Lao Si, we will speak when we are back!”
[Translator’s note: Lao Si means number four, a kinship term]
ShangGuan Ce’s expression was stern but not angry, after being shouted by him, LuShun for that moment did not dare to speak anymore, Li Xun hesitated for a moment but eventually still inform ShangGuan Ce, “Teacher uncle, after we return, that nine-tailed celestial fox…”
ShangGuan Ce shook his head and said, “The nine-tailed celestial fox’s issue is not urgent, we will speak when we are back.”
Li Xun did not dare to comment further, nodded his head and led the group off, before he left, he could not help but turn to look at Lu XueQi who was standing together with FaXiang.
That white-attired girl’s face was cold, did not even glance at him.
Li Xun with a long sigh in his heart, like turning over a bottle of ﬁve ﬂavours, an indescribable feeling, he left slowly. LuShun although not very willing but also followed along.
ShangGuan Ce sighed, turned and cupped his hands before FaXiang and Lu XueQi, said, “Both made great efforts to assist our lowly valley, my humble self is really grateful.” FaXiang and Lu XueQi did not dare to be lacking in manners, returned the gesture, FaXiang smiled and said, “ShangGuan teacher uncle is too polite, Qing Yun, Tian Yin Temple and FenXiang Valley are part of Good Faction family, coming to each other aid is one’s duty. But teacher uncle’s expression don’t look very good, not sure if something happened last night?”
While speaking, he looked at ShangGuan Ce, an amiable smile on his lips, an indescribable compassion and calm, it was a look of a Buddhism holy monk.
ShangGuan Ce humphed in his heart but a grateful smile appeared on his face, said, “It is not considered any serious matter, old man me met a few thieves and wasted some time, that is all. But since most of the affairs are already settled, our lowly valley really do not dare to further trouble both of your good-selves, both please return! In the future if there is any chance, my humble self with valley master Yun senior brother will deﬁnitely pay a visit to your sects.”
FaXiang and Lu XueQi looked at each other, both of them were clever people and how would it be that they would believe the nonsense that ShangGuan Ce encountered thieves. The mountain bandits and rogues that could rob ShangGuan Ce most likely were not even born yet! But even though they knew ShangGuan Ce had the intention to evade but they could not expose him there and then, both of them could only bow and nod in agreement.
ShangGuan Ce made a few polite exchanges and then left.
Watching his ﬁgure disappearing into the high clouds, Lu XueQi suddenly spoke, “He has much on his mind.”
FaXiang smiled, said, “Yes! Wondered what exactly ShangGuan teacher uncle had done last night…” he suddenly stopped, Lu XueQi’s face other than being cold and detached, it was still cold and detached, not a single trace of smile, looking at her, this white-attired girl gazing afar, her eyes clouded with complicated thoughts, she looked to have much more on her mind than ShangGuan Ce.
What was she thinking again?
FaXiang softly chanted and did not speak. Mountaintop.
Xiao Bai supporting Ghost Li, gazed towards Seven Mile Cave, watching the remaining last two outsiders also heading towards the sky, gradually disappearing.
“They have left.” Xiao Bai smiled, said.
Ghost Li silently looked away from the clouds, paused for a while and said, “Let’s go down!”
Xiao Bai nodded but looking at Ghost Li’s body, gently said, “Why not take a rest ﬁrst! Your wound is again bleeding so much.”
Ghost Li shook his head, said, “My body is of no concern, ﬁnding the great shaman is more important.”
Speaking, he was the ﬁrst to stood up. [Zhi zhi, zhi zhi] The familiar shrieks sounded, a grey ﬁgure jumped out from beside and leapt up Ghost Li’s shoulder, although its movements seemed slightly unsteady but the monkey, after waking up from a drunken stupor, was clearly in a good mood, grinning all the way.
Xiao Bai also stood up, walked to Ghost Li, angrily stared at Xiao Hui, said, “What are you smiling about, last night your idiot master nearly died you know?”
A low growl, it was Xiao Hui baring its teeth, making angry body gestures, revealing its sharp teeth and staring around, its two monkey hands clenched in ﬁsts, waving up and down, looking to challenge someone.
Xiao Bai humphed, said, “Stop pretending, ﬁring after the horse!”
[Translator’s note: A Chinese chess term to mean belated action or effort] Xiao Hui rolled its eyes at Xiao Bai, [zhi zhi] called out twice, shrank its body and pulled Ghost Li clothes, a nonchalant look, sticking close only to its master.
Ghost Li patted its head, did not say anything, continued to walk down the hill, Xiao Hui turned around, looking extremely conceited, stuck out its tongue at Xiao Bai.
Xiao Bai with a wry laugh, shook her head and sighed, followed along, muttering in her breath, “This era, even monkey also has character…”
They walked into the Seven Mile Cave and met the Miao people again, each one of them had hatred in their eyes and one of them even recognized Ghost Li’s bloody demonic appearance, a terriﬁed look revealed on his face.
Xiao Bai saw Ghost Li walking with difﬁculty, hurried up to support him, when Ghost Li tried to shrug it off, she quietly said, “I’m afraid those Miao people will not let us see the great shaman.” Ghost Li supported by Xiao Bai, was really not used to it and was about to struggle free and walk by himself, after hearing Xiao Bai’s words, was stunned and said, “What is it?”
Xiao Bai looked ahead, Ghost Li followed her gaze, both of them were heading to the altar but at the foot of the mountain, several sturdy Miao men were assembled there, guarding the only path up the mountain. And when they saw these two outsiders approaching, as if they were facing strong foes, some of the soldiers already had their spears ready, facing Ghost Li and Xiao Bai.
Ghost Li was silent but his footsteps never stopped, continued to walk towards the group, Xiao Bai beside him, glanced sideways at him, said, “If they do not let us go up, what do we do?”
Ghost Li did not answer.
Crouching at Ghost Li’s shoulder, Xiao Hui, was also peering around, its expression was extremely surprised, it did not understand why only after one night, the place had totally changed. When they came near, as Xiao Bai expected, all of the Miao soldiers, not one back away, each with hostile looks, gathered at the path to the mountain, weapons out of their sheath, facing both of them.
Ghost Li’s lips twitched, agitation ﬂashed in his eyes, just that at this moment, he knew he should not force his way in, against the Miao soldiers he still would be able to explain himself but once if any of the Miao people was hurt, even if the great shaman was well and safe, he would not be able to help him and treat BiYao.
He breathed deeply, humbly said, “We wish to see the great shaman.”
The Miao soldiers, either they did not understand or were ignoring them, their expressions did not change. Even Xiao Bai also frowned, felt that it was a thorny problem.
At this moment, behind the group, Tu MaGu’s voice was heard suddenly, “The great shaman is severely wounded and unable to receive guest, all of you better leave!” The group parted to make a path, Tu MaGu unhurriedly walked out from the back. Looking at his cold expression, bloodstained clothes, evidently he did not have it easy too last night. Right now his expression towards Ghost Li and Xiao Bai was completely different from the previous day.
Ghost Li remained silent for a while, said, “Is the great shaman alright?”
Tu MaGu with a smirk, said, “Thanks to both of you, the elder is not dead yet.”
Ghost Li heaved a sigh of relief but Xiao Bai could not bear it anymore, indifferently said, “The great shaman’s injuries are not caused by us, tribe leader, even if you are angry, you should not vent it on us.”
Tu MaGu, since last night was already seething with anger, the reason why he was still speaking to the two outsiders was because they did not hurt any of the Miao people and Ghost Li even saved a child. But after hearing Xiao Bai’s detached words, immediately his anger boiled and both brows drawn into a line, looking to explode. Suddenly, hurried footsteps were heard from behind the crowd, a young shaman-looking Miao person ran down from the mountain, after assessing the two outsiders, he went near Tu MaGu and whispered to him.
Tu MaGu was clearly stunned, disbelieving what he had heard, questioned quietly in Miao language and that young shaman resolutely nodded.
Tu MaGu heaved a long sigh, turned and said, “The great shaman wants to see both of you, follow this shaman and go up!”
Ghost Li and Xiao Bai were both surprised, Xiao Bai frowned and thought to herself how would the great shaman knew they had come, Ghost Li instead was delighted, since the great shaman was willing to meet him, most likely he would also be willing to treat BiYao.
They followed the young shaman and passed through the crowd, walked up the mountain, the Miao’s stares revealed their bewilderment and anger but the great shaman clearly still dominated over them, not one walked forward to stop them. Instead after they had just left, some Miaos spoke in gibberish to Tu MaGu and following which, many more joined in, probably most of the people did not wish for the evil outsiders to enter the altar again.
Tu MaGu berated them with a few words, at the same time glanced towards the altar, the commotion from the Miao crowd then gradually lowered down.
Ghost Li and Xiao Bai followed the shaman who was leading the way, walked up to that platform in front of the altar, both of them noticed almost at the same time, the front part of the platform, originally constructed and levelled using enormous stones, were laced with innumerable cracks, extending out in all directions from where the great shaman had stood last night, and in the centremost, the rocks had been smashed into pieces.
Both of them glanced at each other, Xiao Bai’s expression did not change much but Ghost Li felt slightly shocked. The southern border at the periphery, had never attracted the Central Plains cultivated sects’ attentions, not only the Good Faction did not think much of this place, even the Evil Sect also disdained it. Now that this time he had witnessed it himself, the enigmatic shaman skills of the southern border, were really something not to be triﬂed with.
[Hu hu lu lu…] The shaman before them urged them with strange Miao words, Ghost Li and Xiao Bai turned and walked over.
Deep inside the altar, the dimness in it was like an endless tunnel, swallowing their ﬁgures in it.
In the direction of the south, far from the Seven Mile Cave, that stretch of lofty mountain valleys, undulating mountain ranges, were the ten thousands great mountains that the southern border people’s countenances changed upon hearing its name.
Over here, sunlight almost was never seen, dark clouds swirled around, black wind howled. Occasionally some brave hunters during the famine years ventured into the mountains to hunt but not one came out again. And among the southern border ﬁve tribes, eons ago their ancestors had already passed down a warning, to never enter that sinister mountain range, because in there, there was the abominable Devil King which all southern tribes feared and his terrible barbarians henchmen.
For so many years, this warning had been passed down from generations to generations and had always been known among the southern border ﬁve tribes, with the passing of time, the ten thousands great mountains shrouded within the black clouds, became even more mysterious.
A dark shaman clothed in black, like a spectre, suddenly appearing beside this mountain cave, even though it was already daylight but around him, darkness seemed to be still enshrouding him.
Behind him an enormous beast slowly appeared, its four paws treading the ground, the sharp claws protruding out was extremely sharp, its back arched, on its long and thick neck, was an enormous head, with one glance, almost could believe it was the legendary celestial dragon in Central Plains legends. However after taking a closer look one would discover the differences, the huge beast had a ferocious mouth of a prey, extremely sharp jagged teeth, the eyes giving off ominous glare frequently, guardedly surveying the surroundings, like it was choosing the humans to devour.
The dark shaman in front of the enormous beast, almost only one third of its height but for some reason, this ferocious beast was instead extremely respectful to this black-attired man.
The dark shaman was like the ferocious beast beside it, extremely vigilant and also checking the surroundings, after ensuring that nobody was following them, he turned to the ferocious beast, nodded and said, “You can go back.”
A mufﬂed sound emitted deep from the beast’s throat, looked like it agreed but this sound seemed just like a roar, deafening.
The dark shaman seemed used to the ferocious beast’s reaction, after a moment, his ﬁgure ﬂashed and disappeared into the stone cave, blending into the darkness. And the ferocious beast was too huge to pass through the cave, it looked as if it was about to do something when it froze. In the deep low growl, the ferocious dragon slowly turned around, as if there was some movement that alerted the sensitive dragon, it again surveyed the surroundings, at the same time its nostrils expanded and shrank unceasingly, obviously its sense of smell was very sharp and was snifﬁng the air.
However, all was quiet, nothing happened too and after the dragon sniffed for a while, it did not detect anything and seemed to be perplexed. After a long while, it ﬁnally decided to give up, turned around again, growled and leapt, in the loud rumble, this beast actually headed straight up to the lofty towering mountain range.
Its body strong and vigorous, its legs tearing along, the sharp claws entrenched deep into the rocks, like a steel nail hammered deeply in, stabilizing its body, it was seen dashing along the mountain ridge, in the next moment it had dashed up the lofty mountain top and disappeared into the dark clouds.
And in that gloomy cave, after a long time, behind a stretch of grass and ﬂowers, a long sigh was suddenly heard, as if being tensed up for a long time and ﬁnally could relax. After a while, the light yellow ﬁgure of Jin PingEr drifted out from the ﬂowers and landed outside that dark cave. She faced that entrance, her face expression pondering, after a while, she seemed to make up her mind, clenched her teeth together, her ﬁgure shifted and also ﬂoated into that cave, towards that mysterious world, quietly slipping in.