Thursday, 28 January 2016

Chapter 108 - Ancient Temple


In the southern border badlands, at the extreme south of the Divine Land, legend said that it was inhospitable, abounded with poisonous insects and ferocious beasts. And the most glaring difference with the Central Plains was in the extreme south, lofty majestic mountain ranges, one after another, like erupting abruptly out of the ground, towering into the clouds, cutting off the south from the north.

Since ancient times, because of the fertile Central Plains, very few people ventured into the southern border, there was no other reasons, first the road was precipitous, second too many ferocious beasts and poisonous insects, miasma and unclean water and the most of the land was barren, unable to be cultivated. Later on without knowing since when, a rumour started that in the infinite great mountains of the southern border, there were different kinds of barbaric tribes which devoured raw meats and were savage and bloodthirsty, and among them there were even horrible cannibals, as such even lesser people dared to venture in. Instead the world shook in dread, worried day and night that one day those barbaric tribes would suddenly ran out from those great mountains and invade the Central Plains, endangering the world.

But for the past thousand years, there were no rumours of wild tribes attacking people. Although occasionally at the southern border frontier, from time to time there were sightings of queer creatures that looked like the tribes but most probably the rumours died off and people gradually forgot about it. In the current times, even for the people living at the fringe of the southern border, probably only the mothers would say, ‘If you don’t listen, those monsters from the wild tribes will come and catch you’ these kind of words while coaxing the children to bed, in normal days, nobody had seriously considered if those tribes really existed in the deep mountains, not to mention those living thousands of miles away in the Central Plains.

Speaking of which, that ten thousands great mountains shrouded within the layers of mists had already became a place forgotten by the people.

But even though the common people had forgotten about those tribes but some true enlightened Taoist priests did not. Regardless whether it was Good or Evil Faction, as long as those who were slightly more senior would know for the past thousand years, the reason why the south’s tribes were unable to scourge the world was because of the Good Faction huge sect, ‘FenXiang Valley’.

The majestic ten thousands lofty mountains, isolated the communications between north and south. The Central Plains folks were unable to travel down south and those wild tribes were unable to travel up north but a thousand years before, an unimaginable great calamity descended from Heaven, innumerable number of common people within a radius of thousand miles died. After the calamity, someone discovered that in the middle of the lofty mountain ranges, the mighty lightning from the sky actually cleaved off somewhere in the lofty mountains, revealing a three chi wide, black and gloomy small path.

And it was from then on, rumours started that in the ten thousands great mountains, concealed strange wild tribes and from time to time, invaded and harassed the common folks. The common people living at the border was miserable until the appearance of FenXiang Valley.

Among the various sects in the Good Faction, FenXiang Valley had the most mysterious origin, the earliest record was at one thousand and five hundred years ago which mentioned a group of FenXiang Valley disciples roaming the world. If to compare only the history, in the world only Qing Yun Sect and the Evil Sect’s histories were longer than FenXiang Valley, even TianYin Temple was shorter.

But even though it was so, this sect had always been the the most low-profile. Although a few highly skilled cultivated Taoist priests would emerge from time to time but their influences over the world’s matters were not great. Until eight hundred years ago, at the fringe of the southern border near that dark tunnel, this sect found a mountain valley and settled down and since then known as the ‘FenXiang Valley’. And in the eight hundred years, unbelievable highly skilled martial fighters came forth in large numbers, their powers flourishing by the day and until today, it was already standing equal with Qing Yun Sect, TianYin Temple, becoming one of the three great sects of the world’s Good Faction.   

And fittingly, the current valley master of FenXiang Valley, Yun YiLan, together with Qing Yun Sect Reverend DaoXuan, Tian Yin Temple PuHong, were the Good Faction’s main pillars. Just that this person had always been low-keyed and his reputation were inferior to the other two.

Because of the location, FenXiang Valley almost instinctively took up the responsibility of guarding that dim, dark small path, known locally as the ‘Black Hole’. Since then, there were no more rumours of creatures from the wild tribes harassing the common people. Hence to the local common people, FenXiang Valley had an extremely high prestige and revered by the people like immortals.

All of these information were recorded in the Evil Sect Ghost King Sect and in these ten years, Ghost Li had read it and now slowly recalled it in his head. It was already the third day he had travelled south since the day he had approached Zhou YiXian to inquire about the human fish tribe. Making haste during the journey, he had managed to reach the area near the ten thousands great mountains.

The night was already late, this night, the moon was right in the sky, the clouds were slightly thick, a few stars missing but the moonlight was clear and bright, shone onto the world, illuminating the hill where he was settling at.

Ghost Li stood on the hill, gazed towards the south, frowning slightly. Xiao Hui the monkey was still crouching at his shoulder, holding a wild fruit plucked from somewhere, gnawing deliciously at it.

On his journey here, for the first two days he was still able to find the signs left behind by Kill-the-living Monk but today, Kill-the-living Monk seemed to have vanished. However from the messages that he had left in the previous days, the Kill-the-living Monk who was skilled in the art of pursuing had already confirmed that those mysterious human fish people were swiftly moving south, their goals obviously trying to return to their southern border lair.

Unless, Kill-the-living Monk already had a confrontation with those mysterious human fish people?

Ghost Li sighed softly, a trace of worry flashed through his eyes. The barbaric tribes were obviously very much different from Central Plains figures and this had been mentioned many times in the Ghost King sect remnant records. Those people there never knew what was enlightenment and cultivation but seemed to have all sorts of strange witchcrafts, inconceivable.

Kill-the-living Monk was young and had a fiery character but was an outstanding figure among the younger generations of the Ghost King sect and usually followed around Ghost Li, a capable man.

Now that he had mysteriously disappeared, Ghost Li felt worried. Right now he gazed ahead, in the heavy black night, shadows seemed to be moving in the southern area, like some enormous animal was making threatening gestures, most probably that must be the legendary ten thousands giant mountains. And at some place below that range of mountains, would be the legendary mysterious FenXiang Valley.

The southern border had always been FenXiang Valley territory, an Evil Sect disciple venturing in alone, needless to say, it was dangerous.

While Ghost Li was pondering, suddenly he had a sense and raised his head to look, only a moon hung solitary in the horizon, traversing through the faint dark clouds, suddenly it felt somehow unnatural.

A dark red light suddenly appeared in the night sky, under the clear moonlight, swept past the horizon and landed among the mountains in the south.

Ghost Li stared at that strange red light, both of his brows slowly knitted, after a moment he made up his mind, patted Xiao Hui on his shoulder and the dark-green light below his feet lighted up, the Soul-Absorbing Stick gleamed with faint light, supporting him and Xiao Hui, slowly rose and abruptly increased in speed, pursuing in that red light direction.

x x x

Since when, the dark clouds in the night sky gradually increased in numbers, that solitude moon in the horizon, the moonlight gradually darkened and a gloomy unnatural atmosphere that seemed to exist only in southern border, turned thicker and thicker in this night.

That mysterious red light flew for a while and landed between the mountains which were about ten miles south away from where Ghost Li was hiding. There were many mountains in the southern border and vegetations abounded on the mountains, just that in the forest on this nameless small mountain, there was a desolate ancient temple. That red light landed before that temple, wavered and a bony old person walked out.

He glanced around the surroundings and after checking to see that there was no one around, he walked into the ancient temple.

Wild mountainous terrain, dilapidated ancient temple but someone still came in the middle of the night, naturally there was something secretive. After a moment, in the shadows of the forest outside the ancient temple, Ghost Li’s figure slowly emerged. He studied the nameless ancient temple for a moment and then raised his head to look at the sky again. The clouds had turned darker, gradually obscuring the moon.

His figure flashed and he silently moved towards the ancient temple.

This ancient temple evidently was in a disrepair for a very long time, crumbling fences and dilapidated walls inside the temple, even the main hall from the outside also looked extremely broken-down, everywhere were holes. The cold night breeze blew over, the broken windows [zhi ya] swayed, the quiet noise seemed especially miserable in the night, with an added feeling of uncanniness.
[Translator's note: crumbling fences and dilapidated walls - an idiom]

[Bo!]

A light sound, seemed like someone lighted up a fire, a faint light lighted up in the great hall, just that this light was dim and could only brighten the main hall a little, the slightly further areas from it were still shrouded in darkness.

“Ji ji, ji ji ji, ji, ji ji ji ji ji…” suddenly a weird noise rang out in the great hall, the noise was like the crying of the ghost in the night but also seemed like the sound made by a poisonous insect traversing in the night, made one had goosebumps upon hearing it, extremely unbearable.

Ghost Li hid within the shadows and looked towards the great hall.

Under the dim light in the great hall, other than that elderly man seen earlier, there were two other men, one seemed thirtyish, average build and the other man, taller but for some reasons, he was covered tightly with a cloak from head to toe, even the top of his head was not revealed and that weird noise actually came out from the bottom of this person’s cloak.

The noise reverberated in the dim ancient temple, getting more and more eerie, like an evil ghost  awakening.

Ghost Li watched coldly, this was also the first time he had heard such strange language, naturally he did not know what was being said but looking at the other two men’s expressions, he knew there would be outcome. As expected, after that mysterious man temporarily stopped after speaking for a while, the middle-aged man standing beside him who had been listening intently, turned and spoke to that elderly, “Tribe leader said that this time that they did not accomplish anything and instead lost men and also exposed their tracks, are all because of your inaccurate news. The God of Beast Great King after hearing these has already flew into a rage…”

When that middle-aged man mentioned the word, ‘God of Beast’, his voice suddenly dropped and that tall figure cladded under the cloak also shivered.

That elderly frowned and said, “Our original agreement was to inform God of Beast Great King the location of the ‘Celestial Emperor Ming Stone’ and according to what we know, that rare stone is indeed at the Celestial Emperor Treasury in the death marsh, why are we being blamed for incorrect information?”

He glanced at that mysterious figure hiding in the cloak, a sneer suddenly brushed past his lips and he said, “I’m afraid it’s more likely due to your inability?”

Once the words were out, that mysterious figure wrapped in the cloak immediately responded with a series of sounds, “Ji ji, ji ji ji ji, ji ji ji...“ The sounds came out repeatedly, even though Ghost Li who was hiding at the side could not understand the meaning but listening to the sharp and urgent sounds, it was obvious that the mysterious figure was enraged.

After that mysterious man “Ji ji ji ji” for a while, the expression on the middle-aged man who was translating also gradually changed. When he finally waited until that man stopped, the middle-aged man hesitated for a moment and said, “Tribe leader said although they have never been to the death marsh but they also know that it has always been secluded but this time, a great number of Central Plains cultivated martial experts suddenly appeared there, naturally, naturally it is your information which is inaccurate.”

That elderly seemed surprised that the middle-aged man had finished, that mysterious man had spoken for a quite a while but when this middle-aged man translated, it was only this sentence, most likely the mysterious man had included many crude and vulgar words in-between and the middle-aged man did not wish to translate that.

That elderly pondered for a while, looked as if he did not wish to offend the mysterious man and said, “The appearance of the Celestial Emperor Treasury this time had unusual astonishing signs, shocking the world, most likely those Central Plains cultivated martial experts also heard about it and swiftly went over, this is not something that we can control.”

That mysterious man hiding inside the cloak had not appeased and made another series of strange sounds, the middle-aged man listened and nodded, spoke to the elderly, “Tribe leader said that the Celestial Emperor Ming Stone is really very important to the God of Beast Great King, stakes are high, this time because they had returned empty-handed, God of Beast Great King was infuriated and killed a number of the tribe people on the spot…”

When the elderly heard it, his face became somber and seemed to be in a heavy mood but a in his eyes, a mocking look seemed to flash past involuntarily.

The man in the middle continued to translate, “Therefore please quickly find out who have the rare stone now so that they can again go get it and offer to the God of Beast Great King!”

Ghost Li who was hiding, suddenly had a thought, after hearing them mentioned this Celestial Emperor Ming Stone a few times, could it be that strange stone which was swallowed by Xiao Hui?

The elderly was heard saying after hesitating for a moment and then nodding his head, “Alright, leave this to us, within three days, we will give you a reply.”

The mysterious man humped once, “Ji ji ji ji” said a few times, the middle-aged man nodded to the elderly and said, “Tribe leader agrees, after three days, we will meet here again.”

That elderly nodded, was still waiting for him to go on when that mysterious man instead turned and walked out, and did not even regard them with a look, extremely arrogant and rude.

That elderly’s expression changed, filled with rage while looking at that mysterious man’s back, the middle-aged man hurriedly pulled him and shook his head, the elderly glanced at him and held himself back.

Until that mysterious tall figure disappeared into the darkness, the elderly suddenly [pei] a sound, scolded, “What is that thing, a bunch of bastards only!”

That middle-aged man smiled obsequiously, said, "Teacher uncle, don’t always get angry, don’t stoop to their level.”

That old man sneered and said, “I can’t be bothered with them” after which he turned and looked at him and said, “Speaking of which, SunTu, you must have suffered a lot while living with those bastards for three years in order to learning their bird language?”

The middle-aged man who was called SunTu, smiled and said, “Disciple has received great kindness from teacher sect but because disciple’s aptitude is too low and was agonizing on how helpless disciple was in repaying valley master and various teacher uncles’ generosities, happened that there is this opportunity, how can disciple not put in all of his efforts!”

When Ghost Li suddenly heard the words, “Valley master”, his heart immediately turned cold.

That teacher uncle instead smiled and looked approving, he stretched his hand and patted SunTu’s shoulder. Suddenly he sneered again, “Luckily valley master is brilliant, know that I have always been level-headed therefore send me to meet those bastards, if it’s ShangGuan Ce that old fellow who came, he would have messed up the whole thing there and then!”

SunTu forced a laugh, his expression looked odd, respectfully replied with an acknowledgement but seemed afraid to comment anything on that ShangGuan Ce.

Ghost Li who was at the side, was now without any doubts. ShangGuan Ce was one of the south ‘FenXiang Valley’ well-known top figures and although he never roamed the world but his reputation preceded him. Especially ten years ago at Qing Yun Sect battle, Ghost King deployed a clever tactic and sent ZhouYin to impersonate as ShangGuan Ce and assassinate Tian Yin Temple’s monk, and it really worked, almost doomed Qing Yun, Tian Yin Temple these two big sects. At that time, Ghost Li was a Qing Yun disciple called Zhang Xiao Fan and also at the scene, therefore he had deep impression of that name.

After hearing the two of them addressed that mysterious man as “bastard”, that mysterious man’s identity could also be surmise, just that FenXiang Valley who had always been awe-inspiring righteous, could actually revealed such unimaginable evil aura now.

Ghost Li coldly looked at the two people in the great hall, in the darkness, a cold and disdain sneer on his lips.

In the scene, the two of them discussed a little while more and SunTu blew out the candle in the great hall with one breath. Both of them headed outside and appeared to be leaving. Ghost Li frowned in the darkness and was just hesitating when suddenly, a strange cry was heard outside the ancient temple!

The people inside the temple were shocked, the elderly and SunTu stopped in their tracks.

The cry was shrill and angry, and also carried a feeling of panic but it seemed to be coming from some wild beast and not human cries. Just that Ghost Li analyzed it slightly and immediately recognized the sound was made by that mysterious figure who was hiding in the cloak, he frowned subconsciously. At the same time, the elderly and SunTu also recognized it and immediately their expressions changed greatly, they both soared up at the same time and flew out of the temple.

In the deep wild mountains, there was actually still an ambush happening!

The moonlight cold and chilly, as if the unnatural aura had deepened.

x x x

Outside the ancient temple, at the back of a hill far away.

A purple light suddenly flared in the night, charged halfway into the sky and suddenly struck down.

About several zhangs away, Ghost Li also felt that piercingly cold murderous aura. His pupils contracted and he instantly recognized what magical weapon it was.

The two people from FenXiang Valley flew but that elderly was obviously higher skilled than SunTu and in a short while, increased the distance to several zhangs between them and at the same time a dark red celestial sword appeared in his hand, flying swiftly towards where that purple light had flashed.

Just that without waiting for him to reach the back of the hill, a loud roar of despair reverberated in the dark night. That elderly’s expression changed greatly and went even faster, [hu] a sound and he had already flew over, Ghost Li quietly followed from the other side and came around to the back of the hill.

A blood stench assaulted the nose immediately, the cloak which had been sliced into two floated down, dark red blood splashed everywhere. The revealed identity of that mysterious figure was actually a fish-head-human-body human fish but right now had been chopped into two from the head to the crotch, cleaved into two in one stroke, its corpse fell onto the ground but the killer had already vanished.

That elderly was shocked and angry, this killer had killed in an instant and disappeared, the skill level was definitely not low. Although he extremely disliked these human fish but he knew that the valley master had important matters with these barbaric tribes and now that a murder had happened right before his eyes, if the other side pursued it, he would have a hard time explaining.

By now SunTu had also arrived and saw the butchery, immediately he was speechless.

The elderly expression was very ugly, suddenly he soared up, the dark red light supporting his feet, he flew to mid air and glanced around but everywhere was darkness, in the sea of forests, how could he find the killer?

Suddenly, he shouted loudly, “Whichever master is here, please come out, FenXiang Valley LuShun will like to consult!”

The voice spread far away, immediately in the sea of forests and mountains, a faint echo reverberated everywhere, “LuShun will like to consult...LuShun will like to consult…”

Just that other than that, there was no other sound.

LuShun’s eyes looked like it was going to spit fire, after a while he landed and spoke quickly to SunTu, “Clean up the tribe leader’s body and bring it back to the valley, the killer has just acted and still must be around, even if I have to dig for three chi, I must find this person.”

SunTu quickly nodded and said, “Teacher uncle be careful.”

Before he could finished his words, LuShun had already soared up and vanished into the dark forests. SunTu turned around and saw the cleaved corpse, the strong stench of blood everywhere and he could not help but revealed his disgust, made a [pei] sound.

Ghost Li slowly retreated, thought for a while in the darkness and carefully scrutinized the surroundings, after which he looked back at that ancient temple and immediately silently went over.

The cold night, dark clouds obscured the moon.

Although it was only a short while but in this ancient temple, it seemed to suddenly darken down, the occasional moonlight peeking out from the dark clouds illuminated this place slightly but returned back to the darkness after a while.

Ghost Li unhurriedly walked out, stood in the ground before the great hall, a pair of eyes staring at the hall.

The cold breeze blew over, the broken windows making [zhi ya] uncanny sounds, quietly groaning in the darkness.

“GongZi is really amazing, I can hide from LuShun but I can’t hide from you!”

In the main hall’s darkness, a faint voice suddenly rang out, softly floated out.

No comments:

Post a Comment