Thursday, 28 January 2016

Chapter 111 - Inferno Altar


Ghost Li threw the already-dead grey pig at the corner and inspected the hole where it had been. And as expected, an extremely fine string extended out from the hole and connected to a bell over a distance. Most probably the reason why he and Jin PingEr failed to sneak in was because of this tiny small grey pig.

He had once saw it in the ‘Divine and Evil  The strange’ remnant hidden secretly in Ghost King Sect, the grey pig’s snout was extremely sensitive and far exceeded the mortal animals. These few days he had been trying to think of ways to conceal himself but he had never expected that he would be detected by this kind of small animal.

Just that even though he had finally understood this crucial point but Ghost Li instead frowned, standing in the dark corner, he stood quietly. The grey pig, an unusual animal, although not considered an ancient celestial beast but it was rarely seen and only to be found in some forest deep inside the southern border ten thousand great mountains. And FenXiang Valley actually had such animal and these few days he had been trying to get into FenXiang Valley through different places and without exception, he was always discovered. The number of grey pigs in FenXiang Valley was not considered little, which was really astonishing.

The most important point was, they could domesticate this amount of grey pigs to that degree at the same time, such skill in taming wild animals, not just Central Plains Good Faction, even within the Evil Faction, it was unheard of but it was heard that there was this unusual skill among the southern border barbaric tribes.

Ghost Li looked up and turned around, gazed ahead and suddenly discovered that, in that hubbub far away, deep inside FenXiang Valley, it was still serene, the heavy darkness like a dark curtain enveloping, not knowing how many secrets it concealed.

That commotion at the valley entrance gradually died down, in the far distance someone was heard speaking loudly but the sounds of fighting had already stopped, seemed like FenXiang Valley had already contained the situation.

Who was it exactly, that had the audacity to provoke FenXiang Valley? Ghost Li looked away, in his heart he unconsciously thought about Jin PingEr, this mysterious seductive girl, right now most likely would be still in that chaos!

Right now, Ghost Li had already from his concealed corner, slipped deeper into FenXiang Valley. Along the way, there was not anymore of that warning alarm triggered by the grey pigs, most likely FenXiang Valley scattered those keen snout small animals at the perimeters corners of the valley, once within the middle of the valley, there was no longer a need to worry.

The late night, the valley which had calmed down from that commotion seemed especially tranquil. Following Ghost Li, like a ghostly figure, drifted on the buildings’ paths, that world under the dark curtain slowly revealed itself.

FenXiang Valley known as the world’s Good Faction pillar, although usually it handled matters in a low-key manner but it was after all still a huge sect that had prospered for eight hundred years. And what gradually emerged along the way, was the heritage of this powerful sect.

Under the night sky, ten over big or small paths were seen, connected with each other, like the blood vessels of a human body, scattered and extending deep into the FenXiang Valley’s darkness. Flanking both sides of the road were either the common disciples’ residences or the lofty impressive temple buildings, mixed within these buildings were mostly gardens, there were green bamboos, winter cherry blossoms and also brightly-coloured magnificent Chinese peony, each in groups, looking at it from afar, it blended well into the surrounding buildings, each with its own flavour.

Because of this hubbub, even though it was late in the night, from time to time there was still FenXiang Valley disciples moving around, Ghost Li had to carefully conceal himself in order not to reveal his tracks. The expressions on those disciples instead looked calm, without the shock and terrified expressions at the beginning of that commotion, a look and one would know that the situation at the valley entrance had already been settled.

The small number of FenXiang Valley disciples moving around were naturally not a problem for Ghost Li, for ten years his body had Buddhism, Evil and Taoism, these three family of cultivating enlightenment, with the mysterious strange skills from the Tian Shu as foundation, his skills improved by leaps and bounds, even the learned and versatile Ghost King was extremely astonished and baffled, in the end it could only be accredited to the Buddism theory of cultivating together, maybe there really was some mysterious unknown alliance that mutually enhanced each other.

Just that the dark place where Ghost Li was concealing himself, even as he held the ordinary FenXiang Valley disciples with disdain but the several paths lying ahead instead troubled him, he did not know which way to go. He secretly sneaked into FenXiang Valley was because he wanted to search this FenXiang Valley thoroughly to find out just what secrets they had inside this valley, the best would be if he could find out the relationship with those southern barbaric tribes.

To know all these, naturally he would need to go into the places where the important figures were in FenXiang Valley, just that lying before him, those paths looked like a maze, really perplexing.

Just when Ghost Li was frowning in contemplation, considering whether to catch a FenXiang Valley disciple and interrogate him, suddenly a strange movement on his shoulder and a soft moan came from Xiao Hui.

Ghost Li was shocked and turned his head to look and his body shook. Xiao Hui the monkey, used its hands to grab his clothes tightly, the monkey’s face contorted, both of its eyes closed tightly in pain. It was after all human psychic and knew now was not the time and therefore bore it.

Ghost Li was not ordinary alarmed, for some reasons, after entering the valley, Xiao Hui seemed somehow abnormal. Looking at it now, its body seemed to be in severe pain.

Stretching his hand to gently embrace Xiao Hui, Ghost Li carefully assessed it, he felt the monkey’s body quivering in its hands, obviously it was using all of its effort to suppress the inexplicable pain. Ghost Li felt even more worried and quietly asked, “What is it, Xiao Hui?”

As if it understood its master, Xiao Hui’s head tilted and slowly opened its eyes.

Golden light with faint dark red lights, like a demonic ghost fire in the night and even more like a pair of devil eyes from the nine nether world, appeared in front of Ghost Li.

The temperature in the surroundings suddenly seemed to turn chilly.

Xiao Hui’s breathing slowly became louder, Ghost Li clearly felt, the monkey’s hands that were clutching onto both of its hand, gradually increased in strength, its nails sinking deeply into the flesh.

The monkey’s mouth slowly opened and closed but that demonic golden light in its eyes instead stared firmly at Ghost Li and did not even relax for one moment. From that, Ghost Li suddenly felt a sense of familiarity, like the blood-devouring glare he had when he was crazed...

In that instant, Ghost Li suddenly felt coldness in his entire body, he abruptly turned and looked at his own hand. Inside that sleeve, without knowing since when, the top part of the Soul-Absorbing stick where the Sinister Orb was, emitted faint black-green light with traces of blood light.

Sinister Orb!

The most sinister and the most vicious thing in the world, was actually so unfathomable…

Like something suddenly emerging from the depths of his heart, in that instant Ghost Li felt a bitter taste in his mouth, he dumbfoundedly turned his head over, looked at Xiao Hui. Xiao Hui seemed to sense something too and quietly called out twice.

Ghost Li calmed himself down and then realized, behind the golden light in Xiao Hui’s eyes, there seemed to be a panic look. He inhaled deeply and then revealed a smile on his lips, softly said, “It’s alright.”

Xiao Hui seemed to understand its master’s words, its eyes blinked and then slowly closed it, after a while, that inexplicable pain gradually receded, the pressure in Xiao Hui’s hands also gradually decreased.

Ghost Li stood in the darkness, slowly embraced Xiao Hui in his bosom.

The night was as cold as water.

In the darkness ahead, the figures of one man and one monkey, in a dim, dark corner, lightly glimmered.

Without knowing how much time had passed, Xiao Hui seemed to be asleep, quietly lay in Ghost Li’s embrace.Ghost Li did not even care that he was in a perilous FenXiang Valley, stood straight in the darkness, gently hugged the monkey.

Suddenly, Xiao Hui’s body moved, raising its head up. Ghost Li lowered his head down to look, the golden light in the monkey’s eyes had already all disappeared and revert to its usual lively look.

Ghost Li’s heart immediately felt like it was released but without waiting for him to speak, Xiao Hui seemed to struggle and then pointed its arm to a road outside. Ghost Li was surprised, looked over and after a while, two people walked over from that path, Ghost Li recognized them.

Li Xun and YanHong.

Ghost Li frowned, he had knew these two people ten years ago and they were already outstanding talents. Although things changed in these ten years and they did not meet again but to people who were cultivating, ten years was like a snap of one’s fingers. Both of them looked exactly like ten years ago, just that looking at their movements, their skills most likely were incomparable to what they were ten years ago.

Both of them unhurriedly walked over, they seemed to be conversing. Nearing, YanHong was heard saying, “Senior brother, why did those monsters suddenly charge in?”

Li Xun frowned, showing his puzzlement too. But his expression was solemn and he coldly said, “Those uncivilized beasts, who knows what they are thinking! If you ask me, those human fishes dared to invade the valley then we should not let them return, why do we still need to bother ShangGuan teacher uncle?”

YanHong gently said, “Senior brother, don’t get angry, the valley master has far foresight and there must be something else in this matter that we do not know for now. In the beginning when we made representations with those barbaric tribes, it was because of ShangGuan teacher uncle, who displayed his remarkable ability and awed them, those barbaric tribe then viewed the elderly as celestial being. As long as the elderly appear, those monsters will definitely obediently leave. The valley master asked us to invite ShangGuan teacher uncle out, most probably is because of that.”

Li Xun humphed, said, “I naturally know all these but I just don’t understand, with our FenXiang Valley’s honor, why do we still have to grovel to those monsters and now even invite ShangGuan teacher uncle out, if this matter leaks out, wouldn’t our FenXiang Valley become a laughingstock of the world’s Good Faction?”

YanHong smiled and said, “Senior brother, I guess those barbaric tribes still have their uses, therefore the valley master tolerated them. Until the future…” Speaking until here, she suddenly stopped but her eyes looked at Li Xun, seemed to convey even more words.

Li Xun’s lips twisted, a trace of resentment on his handsome face, looking at it from afar, it seemed to add on a degree of attractiveness. But he did not reply and only softly sighed, unhurriedly walked along with YanHong on to the small path beside, after a while disappeared into the night darkness.

In the darkness, a dagger-like stare watched their back figures. Ghost Li’s mind thought rapidly, the party that invade FenXiang Valley tonight was actually those human fishes whom he himself had been pursing. Recalling back three days ago that night, where he eavesdropped on LuShun and that human fish, that tall human fish seemed to be the tribe leader.

Seemed like tonight’s matter was most likely because that human fish tribe leader was assassinated by Jin PingEr, the remaining human fish tribe in their rage, came to seek revenge. With these thoughts, Jin PingEr’s figure involuntarily flashed past Ghost Li’s mind and he felt even more wary against this girl.

He stood in the darkness for a while and then seemed to make a decision, looked towards Xiao Hui in his embrace. Xiao Hui’s eyes blinked and then suddenly it moved, scurried up to his shoulder and grinned, seemed like it had fully recovered.

Ghost Li was relieved, smiled faintly and said, “Let’s go see what kind of person is that ShangGuan teacher uncle, shall we?”

Xiao Hui “Zi zi” called out twice, waved its hand and pointed towards the path that Li Xun and YanHong walked.

Ghost Li soundlessly laughed in the darkness, his figure suddenly rose, quick like a ghost, went off towards that secluded small path.

Far away, a FenXiang Valley disciple was walking heading this direction at the same time, suddenly his vision blurred, a ghost figured seemed to flash by on that path to the valley’s restricted area, ‘Inferno Altar’, he looked again but there was nothing. He was stunned and then shook his head, muttered to himself and then continued to walk on, disregarding it.

The path was surprisingly long, evidently where that ShangGuan teacher uncle was at a very secluded place. Ghost Li, after travelling for a while on this path, did not see the rest of the buildings anymore, on both sides of the road were all trees and vegetation, the night breeze blew over, under the faint moonlight in the horizon, the trees’ shadows looked like some evil demons dancing, revealing some abnormalities.

Ghost Li carefully followed along the path, after walking for quite a while, the path did not split like the other paths, seemed like this path led directly to where that ShangGuan teacher uncle was.

FenXiang Valley occupied a massive space, this small path, twisting and turning, leading even deeper into the valley.

Suddenly, a white rectangular object suddenly appeared ahead, Ghost Li focused and saw it was a stone tablet, engraved on it were two lines of eight characters:

Inferno restricted area

Disciple to stop here

Ghost Li frowned, hesitated not because ahead could be some mysterious place of FenXiang Valley but because of these two words, ‘Inferno’, quietly touched a place in his heart.

He could not help but glanced at his right arm, underneath the clothes, ‘Inferno Mirror’ was quietly lying on his arm.

He paused for a while then sneered, lifted his feet to walk past this stone tablet.

That stone tablet seemed ordinary but it seemed to be a dividing border, after that stone tablet, for some reason, that small path was still twisting and extending ahead but the trees and vegetation beside the path clearly turned sparse.

First the green grass slowly disappeared then it was the short shrubs and then even the exuberant forest also thinned. Cracks also started to appear on the ground and the remaining trees were all withered and yellow, seemed like this area clearly lacked water, the ground seemed scorched.

Would it have any relation to that two words, ‘Inferno’?

Xiao Hui, on its shoulder, softly called out, its body also moved and seemed restless. Ghost Li gently patted its body, Xiao Hui then gradually calmed down. The surrounding scene was indeed weird but it seemed not to be an important place inside FenXiang Valley, if not, on his way here, not even a single disciple was seen guarding this place.

Ghost Li’s thoughts turned, following the small path, passing the last turn.

Suddenly, he who had always been imperturbable, his body shook, before him was a big empty ground, a hot burst of air assaulted him from somewhere.

An enormous round-shaped altar stood in the middle of the ground, its bottom suspended in the air, thirteen enormous stone pillars made of white jade stone and almost three zhangs high supported the entire altar. A total of twelve white jade stone pillars were at the altar’s perimeter, each one almost as thick as two persons’ arm's length encircling it and the thickest white jade pillar in the middle of the altar, was almost five or six persons’ arm's lengths.

And on top of the altar, all of the structures were build from a type of crimson strange stone material, the platform, railing were all without exception. In the middle of the altar, a building stood towering majestically, presenting a pagoda design. There were a total of three levels and the higher each storey was, it was half the size of the storey below it but each storey looked to be an unimaginable ten zhangs high.

Looking at it from afar, this altar looked just like an enormous ball of burning crimson fire, directly piercing the firmament. Ghost Li stood below the altar and like an ant, extremely insignificant.

Ghost Li inhaled deeply, the architecture before him was really overwhelming, the works of the Gods, these four words to describe it seemed fully deserving. Unexpectedly FenXiang Valley would have such majestic building inside it. He thought for a while and then recalled that stone tablet, and somehow knew, the place in front of him, would most likely be the legendary FenXiang Valley’s - Inferno Altar.

He calmed himself down and then silently drifted over. Other than this Inferno Altar, there was nothing else in the surrounding, nowhere to hide himself. But luckily there was not any guard in this place and he was fast, very quickly his figure reached the bottom of the altar.

Once neared the altar, the heat in the air immediately increased more than several folds, even with his current skills, he felt a burst of agitation in his heart, sweat appeared on his forehead. Ghost Li frowned, secretly alarmed and then remembered that Xiao Hui might not be able to tolerate the heat and turned to look, Xiao Hui was instead scratching its head and picking its ear, seemed not to be bothered at all with the heat.

Ghost Li was surprised, felt that Xiao Hui was behaving abnormally recently, especially after it had swallowed the divine medicine at that Celestial Emperor Treasury in the death marsh, its body started to gradually evolve.

But whatever it was, under the current circumstances, Xiao Hui who was not bothered by the heat was better than bothered by it, Ghost Li at that moment did not have the luxury to dwell on it. He was just pondering on how to go up this altar when footsteps sound were heard from above the altar.

Ghost Li frowned and quickly looked around, there was nowhere to hide at all, after hesitating for a moment, he flew under the altar and hid behind one of the huge thick white jade pillars.

Hiding behind the pillar, he subconsciously touched the stone and felt a burning pain, his reaction was extremely fast and immediately withdrew his hand.

Even the pillars was boiling hot under the altar.

The footsteps became louder, evidently someone was walking down, suddenly an aged voice was heard unhurriedly saying, “Since the valley master invited, I naturally must go. Just that all of you have to tell me, why did those human fishes suddenly became so violent and actually attacked the valley?”

Ghost Li hiding within in the pillar’s shadow, looked out and saw Li Xun, YanHong following the back figure of a grey-clothed elderly, respectfully walking down.

       

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