Saturday, 16 January 2016

Chapter 85 - Ten Years


Black dark clouds hovered in the night sky, the gloomy canopy in the sky seemed to be pressing towards the ground, drifting down from the vaults of heaven in the piercingly screaming cold wind, the drizzling rain rolled over the vast earth.

Within the wilderness, no villages could be seen ahead and the ground could not be seen at the back, lush growth everywhere. Only an ancient path extended over from far away, and again all alone by itself extended out to a distant place.

Within the dark clouds in the night sky, a deep low thunder sound rumbled, the rain between Heaven and Earth gradually became heavier.

The earth solemn and quiet, other than the sounds from the wind and rain, everywhere was pitch black. Only on the ancient road, a lonely lamp burned, revealing a little light.

This is a little house in the wilderness, the owner’s surname was Ho, a forty-something middle-age man who was born in a town called Xiao Chi Town, which would take a day of travel from here. At this desolate place beside the ancient road, he built up a simple and crude house with his own hands and provided a place for the travellers travelling from South to North to have a place to rest and have tea, thus making a few hard-earned money.

Right now shopkeeper Ho was sitting behind the counter at his own shop, concentrating to hear the wailing storm outside his house. His brows frowned slightly and he softly sighed, this kind of bad weather, most unlikely there would not be any more customers coming in.

This small house of his was built between Xiao Chi Town and a big Kongsang Mountain, the ancient road in front of his door, ever since ancient times it had always been a road for merchants and travellers and it also led to a big city at in the further East area, a must go-through route to East ChangHe City, therefore there would be travellers travelling at any one time.

Right now in this stormy night, in this wilderness small shop, there was unexpectedly a few customers who were silently sitting in the gloomy, dim small house, avoiding the wailing wind and weeping rain.

“Pi pa.”

The lampwick in the oil lamp in front of shopkeeper Ho made some light cracking sounds and roused this honest middle-aged man from his drowsiness. The sound of the storm outside his house pressed in in waves, [Wu wu] like it was choked. It seemed like tonight those customers would not be able to leave.

As he was thinking, he raised his head to look towards the customers in his shop. The simple and crude small house had only five tables and three of the tables were seated with customers.  The table at the extreme corner sat one single man and that area was one of the dim areas where the lamp’s light could not reach properly. That man sat there solitary, even his face was indistinct.

And the two tables nearby, one table was seated by an old man with an uncommon bearing and a young lady. Beside the old man’s hand, a bamboo pole was leaning against the table with a cloth banner at the side, written on it “Immortal Guide” four words. Seemed like he was a Jianghu fortune-teller.

As for the last table, it was the table with the most number of people, merchants travellers who were travelling the same way, a total of four people. The corner behind them was stacked full of goods and right now it seemed that there was a young man among them who was softly berating the awful weather.

“Alright, don’t say it anymore.” An old who looked oldest among the four people commanded him, turned his head over and smiled at shopkeeper Ho, with a slight apologetic tone he said, “Shopkeeper Ho, this rain is so heavy and the winds are so strong, we still make you accompany us throughout the night.”

Shopkeeper smiled and shook his head, this group of merchants frequently traveled via this ancient road and stopped over at his small shop frequently so they were also considered regular customers. He immediately said, “It is alright, it is a common affair for me to stay up throughout the night but today, ever since from daytime, dark clouds have been hanging over the sky, why did Sir you still hurry on with your journey?”

The elderly was stunned with what he heard and he and his companions looked at each other, he bitterly laughed and said, “Actually how could we not know that the weather is bad today but being away from home, we really have our difficulties.”

Shopkeeper Ho made an “Ah” sound.

The elderly raised the cup in front of him and drank it down in one gulp, he said, “Shopkeeper Ho, the ways of the world nowadays are tough!”

Shopkeeper was shocked and said, “What happened?”

That elderly gave a bitter laugh and said, “Since ten years ago, the Evil Faction that had disappeared for a long time suddenly appeared again, I heard that they even had a big fight with those celestials from the Good Faction at Qing Yun Hill. After that for these ten years, not only was the Evil Faction not destroyed by the Good Faction, it instead flourished as the days goes by and everywhere we go we heard they are fighting and contending with the Good Faction.”

Shopkeeper Ho silently agreed, that elderly sighed and continued, “They fight their own fights and we commoners are unable to intervene too but just that with these fights, the whole world is in chaos, nowadays robbers and bandits run amuck and those that robs and plunders the houses are numerous. We who make our living travelling, are on tenterhook everyday, fearing that we will run into bandits which is why we are travelling in haste, unexpectedly we are obstructed here by the storm, troubling shopkeeper Ho.”

Shopkeeper Ho shook his head and said, “It doesn’t matter, you don’t have to be troubled by it……”

While he was still speaking, suddenly a voice was heard from across that far corner, indifferently speaking, “So since you said it this way, this gentleman without a doubt, believe that all of the great disorders presently happening under the sky, robbers and bandits running amuck, are all caused by the Evil Faction as mentioned in your speech?”

That elderly was shocked, without having the chance to speak, the fortune-teller and the young lady sitting at the table in front, also turned to look at them. That young lady’s gaze was bright, her appearance beautiful and with light dimples at the corners of her mouth, looking lovable.

She suddenly smiled lightly and spoke to the elderly merchant, “This Sir!”

That elderly looked at her and said, “What’s the matter, miss?”  

That young lady softly said, “Sir, your face is thin with many wrinkles but the shape of your face is unbroken, destined that although there will be many twists and turns in your life but your life will still be considered safe and sound. Just that six points away from the middle of your forehead, there is a small scar, horizontal in the middle of your face. It obstruct your life line, wealth line and foretell that during your old age, there might be a big calamity. Looking at your age now, why not speak less as it will also reduce the sources of disaster.”

The group of merchants changed their countenance together, that elderly even stood up and stared closely at this elderly and youth but both of them instead did not have any reaction, looking perfectly composed. After a long while that elderly’s expression was undecided, looked around at his surroundings and finally sat back down, cupped his hand towards the young lady and said, “Thank you Miss for your guidance.”

Once he sat back down, the small shop immediately became quiet. That mysterious guy at the corner also seemed to quieten down and did not speak anymore.

Just that this night was long and endless, it was really difficult to bear and after a long while, the merchants began to chat, but all they could chat was again that Good and Evil great battle ten years ago at Qing Yun Hill.

These merchants were just ordinary commoners, naturally they would not be at the actual scene but hearsay was created because of this. In addition, those Good Faction cultivated masters had always been very secretive so it was the best topic for these commoners to gossip about.

As they chat along, a few of those young guys’ voices became louder, the rest of them heard it and began to pay attention to it.

“......anyway, at that time Qing Yun Sect’s situation was already in imminent danger, luckily DaoXuan the old immortal used his powers to create and lightly dabbed with his fingers, immediately a chi long lightning with thunder crash came down from the sky. I heard that loud deafening sound was heard within the vicinity of hundred of miles, this then made the Evil Faction retreated!”

“Nonsense!”  Suddenly a soft shout was heard but it came from that unordinary bearing old man who was seated together with the young lady, everyone was surprised and looked at him, the old man was heard saying, “If DaoXuan was really that powerful, how could it be that the Qing Yun Hill battle, so many people from Qing Yun Sect died and even two of the seven branches leaders also perished. Numerous senior and elder disciples were injured or dead, you think those devils in Evil Faction eat nothing but plain cooked rice?”

Everyone was speechless, the young lady beside him frowned deeply and quietly said, “Grandfather, I had just ask them not to talk too much, how come you are speaking so much?”

That old man Hehe laughed, the face with divine demeanour suddenly displayed slight arrogance, he softly replied, “Xiao Huan, don’t scare me. I have allowed you to read my life fortune long ago and although my whole life I will roam around but I will have luck when I am old and destined to be safe and sound with my family to send me off on my funeral, hehe, doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter!”

The young lady had just sipped her tea and almost choked on his words, she coughed a few times and stared angrily at that old man, that old man instead was immensely pleased with himself and was not worried at all.

This old man and young lady were indeed the Jianghu fortune-teller, Zhou YiXian and his granddaughter, Xiao Huan, who travelled around the world. It had been ten years since the Good and Evil big battle at Qing Yun Hill and Xiao Huan had already passed her puberty and grown up, blossomed into a beautiful girl but just that she still followed Zhou YiXian to roam the ends of the earth.

Right now Zhou YiXian as if his addiction was stimulated, disregarding that this was the first time he had met those people, he pulled his stool and actually sat among those merchants and started to talk loudly and arrogantly regarding that battle at Qing Yun. Xiao Huan who was beside felt depressed due to his actions but could do nothing to stop him.

Zhou YiXian was an excellent talker, also he depended on his glib tongue to travel around the world. His description was vivid and lifelike, far exceeding those young men earlier on and even shopkeeper Ho could not bear it after a while and walked over. The crowd gathered around, listening to Zhou YiXian haughty described in-depth, laughing and recollecting about the past……

“Ah!”

While listening to the exciting parts, the few young men exclaimed out at the same time, one of them could not help but asked, “Sir, couldn’t it be that you were at the scene too, how did you come to know the details so well?”

Zhou YiXian was stunned, following which he lightly patted his clothes, shook his head and sighed, “All these fightings and killings, already all along I do not wish to be involved, simply let those Qing Yun Sect juniors to handle it!”

Everyone was shocked and immediately filled with a deep veneration, unexpectedly at this moment, a sound of “Pu” was heard from beside, it was Xiao Huan who had spitted out the mouthful of tea she had just drank, coughing non-stopped.

Zhou YiXian gave her a stare and turned his head back, Hehe laughed slightly. At this time, a young guy sitting beside said, “Sir, then in the end that disciple surnamed Zhang in Qing Yun Sect, what happened eventually, was he really kicked out of Qing Yun Sect?”

Zhou YiXian frowned his brows, was silent for a while then shook his head and said, “I am not sure about this, the situation was chaotic at that moment, it seemed like that Zhang Xiao Fan had also fainted and eventually was snatched by the Evil Faction people. Since then there was no traces of him.”

The crowd around him sighed, actually Zhang Xiao Fan’s existence was a secret and was an important big secret to Qing Yun Sect and TianYin Temple which absolutely would not be told to outsiders but on the day that the secret was revealed, there were considerable number of people present, especially the Evil Faction members were at the scene too, therefore as time passed by the rumours actually started to spread around. Just that what Zhou YiXian was describing now, was as if he had personally saw everything at TongTian Peak in Qing Yun Hill.

Shopkeeper Ho sighed and said, “Wondered how is that young man now?”

“How is he now……” suddenly, again that mysterious guy who was sitting at the corner spoke, carrying with it an indistinct shift.

Zhou YiXian turned his head over and looked at that man sitting in the dim shadows, he said, “Why, this brother, could it be that you know?”

That man was silent for a while and unhurriedly said, “Of course I know but just that even if you are someone who once saw him, now most probably you might not be able to recognize him already……”

Xiao Huan frowned her brows and said, “ What happened to him?”

But that man did not speak anymore, only made his own figure disappeared into the darkness.

The storm outside the house filled up the whole sky and covered the land, the melancholy seemed to have increased by a few degrees……

xxx

Kongsang Mountain, Thousand Bats Ancient Cave

Eight hundred years ago, here was where Evil Faction senior Elder Blackheart started the period of Blood Forger Hall’s golden age, took over the command of the Evil Faction and intimidated the world. But as of now the later generations disciples were unworthy and the place became desolate and dilapidated, really pathetic.

And that Forsaken Abyss hidden in the depths of this Thousand Bats Ancient Cave, right now  had been taken over by a large number of enemies that had appeared out of nowhere.

Using ancient seal character calligraphy strokes, like dragons flying and phoenixes dancing, “Forsaken Abyss” three big words were engraved at the side of an enormous rock, Blood Forger Hall’s last generation of disciples were all gathered here, their backs against the enormous rock and if they were to retreat a few more steps, it would be that bottomless dark Forsaken Abyss.

And their numbers were left with only less than ten people, including Nian Leader, Liu Gao, Wild Dog Taoist etc, each of them with injuries and their faces exhausted and terrified. On the ground in front of them, several bodies lay disorderly, the black-attired men whose numbers were several times more than them surrounded them, each and every one of them had a human skull sewn on their chest.

Nian Leader breathed deeply, forced himself to calm down and was the first to spoke but suddenly discovered that without knowing when, his voice had already turned hoarse, “Various, various Ghost King Sect friends, we, Blood Forger Hall, are only a tiny small branch within the Holy Sect and have never dared to offend Ghost King Sect, don’t, don’t know Ghost King Senior why must he treat us like this?”

“Heng!” a sound of contemptuous snort was heard from among the numerous black-attired men, on his chest a golden human skull was sewn on it, completely different from the people around him, a black-attired man walked out. Looked to be the leader, he coldly said, “Nian Leader, the situation in Holy Sect today is already very obvious, Ghost King Sect Head had also sent out letters to you several times but you still are like the grass on top of a wall, today you deal with us and tomorrow pay obeisance to Chang Shen Hall, unless you do not regard Ghost King Sect Head in your heart at all?”

Nian Leader’s face turned pale, he knew that currently within the Holy Sect, with the internal fights for the top within the four big powerful branches turning more and more savage day by day, all of the small branches without exception attached themselves and often there would be rumours that they were exterminated by a mysterious person. And now that Ghost King Sect suddenly attacked in force, his years of painstaking effort and hard work to run and manage this Blood Forger Hall were almost extinguished in one stroke, plus the situation right now before his eyes was also quite obvious.

And really as expected that black-attired man sneered and said, “Nian Leader, I say it once more to you, Ghost King Sect Head today is a man of great talent and bold vision and the day that he will unify the Holy Sect is just around the corner. It is because our Sect Head think highly of you then that is why he decided to take in your Blood Forger Hall under his banner, you better not not know how to appreciate favors.”

Speaking at the last part, his voice was already filled with threats.

Nian Leader’s forehead was full of sweats, although the situation was clear and his tiny small Blood Forger Hall no matter what, would not be able to win over Ghost King Sect but could it be that the inheritance passed down by forefathers be ruined at his own hands?

The decision was really not easy to make!

The black-attired man saw the hesitation on Nian Leader’s face, his face immediately turned cold and he suddenly said, “Nian Leader, I give you one word of advice, the one you are facing now is me and you are considered lucky but do you know who is the one leading the attack on Kongsang Mountain?”

Nian Leader’s body shook, the black-attired man was already sneering and said, “I see that you have already guessed, that’s right, it is indeed our Ghost King Sect deputy Head Ghost Li (translator’s note: also have the meaning of strict or severe). If he comes, all of your outcome may……”

Halfway through his words someone beside him suddenly coughed lightly twice, this black-attired man’s face changed immediately and seemed to have thought of something, his face also turned pale, seemed like even to him, this name also conveyed a deep meaning of fear.

And at this moment, a thick stench of bloody smell suddenly drifted in, without knowing from where did it come from, it suddenly filled up the entire big space. All of the black-attired men from Ghost King Sect immediately straighten and drew their bodies taut, the black-attired man that was leading also turned slightly pale, looking at him carefully, you could faintly see a slight twitch at the corner of his eye.

What kind of person, actually made him this afraid?

The sound of footsteps gradually rang out and seemed to be coming from the depth of this endless dark abyss, slowly walking out.

One step, one bloodstain!

All of the black-attired men suddenly like a flood of water, separated into two sides, creating a path.

Faint green light with a slight red color, lightly rippled in the darkness, unhurriedly moving forward.

The Blood Forger Hall members’ faces all without exception paled, without any color at all.

Ten years ago, there was not Ghost Li this number one figure in Ghost King Sect but a rumour spread within the sect that after the Good Evil bloody battle ten years ago, Ghost King Sect Sect Head Ghost King took a Good Faction traitor into his sect, regarded him as his own child and even passed down the entire Holy Sect Classic <<Tian Shu>> second volume that was said to have fall into Ghost King’s hands.

And this Ghost Li other than his skills had improved by leaps and bounds, his character had changed even more drastically, his appetite for killing and devouring blood had reached the stage where it struck terror into the Evil Faction disciples.

In the recent years, the internal struggle within Evil Faction had became more and more severe as the days passed and Ghost Li, who originally was a honest and simple disciple from Qing Yun Sect, suddenly became the first ranked warrior in Ghost King Sect, leading the Ghost King Sect disciples marching unhindered in massacre, exterminating numerous sects. The “Devour Soul Stick” (this name was given by the Evil Faction disciples secretly) in his hand had devoured countless people’s fresh blood, in addition with Ghost King’s favourable treatment, he had very quickly became a, below one man and above a million, figure in Ghost King Sect.

And this man, ten years ago, these people in Blood Forger Hall had all saw him before.

In the crowd, Wild Dog Taoist looked over at him, the man who was slowly appearing from the darkness and carrying that strong bloody stench, as if it was diffusing out from the depths of his body.

Innumerable people stood in that area, yet not a single sound.

His face, still looked like as before, without much changes. The look of his brows was still vivid in his mind, just that Wild Dog’s heart was instead, pengpeng started thumping non-stopped, as if standing in front of him, was not a person but a cruel mad beast.

“All of you……”

He unhurriedly spoke the first sentence, his tone calm and with a quiet sternness reverberated in the place, “surrender or not?”
  
Countless stood behind him yet nobody dared to stand near him.

The Blood Forger Hall members looked at each other, Nian Leader sweating profusely, even the wounds on his body did not seemed to hurt but just at this moment, suddenly a strange cry was heard, “Go and die!”

Everyone turned pale and only saw that in the next moment on the ground beside Ghost Li, a glint of dagger was suddenly exposed out and stabbed towards his lower abdomen. And the assassin with his hair dishevelled and his expression hysterical yet vacant, both of his legs were already chopped off by somebody, blood streaming down.

This person seemed to be a disciple under Blood Forger Hall, his body sustained heavy injuries and in his fear and pain he finally lost his mind, shouting crazily while stabbing towards Ghost Li. Just that after a short while, the mysterious green light mixed with bloody red light, sent out from Ghost Li’s right hand, enveloped this person.

The bloody stench in the air, again increased by a few degrees.

The withered corpse fell sideways lifelessly, the Blood Forger Hall members’ faces again turned pale by a few more degrees, a few young disciples’ bodies started to tremble, Ghost Li’s eyes instead were gradually suffused with light red glimmer, again he unhurriedly asked, “All of you, surrender or not?”

And that extremely ugly-looking black Devour Soul Stick in his hand (firestick…...) slowly also started to light up.

Behind him, all of the black-attired men seemed to suck in a breath of air together and at the same time stepped forward.

Unparalleled, horrible odor swept over like blotting out the sky and covering the earth, drowning all of the Blood Forger Hall people.

Suddenly, a loud cry exploded out among the Blood Forger Hall members, “No, don’t want, I, I, I surrender!”

Following this voice a young disciple ran out, leaving the Blood Forger Hall crowd and dashed towards the Ghost King Sect but subconsciously he stayed far away from where Ghost Li was.

This opening, immediately created a reaction, the Blood Forger Hall members you looked at me, I looked at you, time to time there would be people walking out, Nian Leader gave a long sigh, knowing that finally the situation was hopeless, laughed miserably and said, “Forget it, forget it!”

While speaking, he stepped forward from the crowd, the rest of them followed behind, he slowly walked towards Ghost Li and facing him, took out a palm-sized black plate from his bosom, engraved on the top was a black heart, presented it with both hands to Ghost Li, laughing miserably and said, “This is Blood Forger Hall ‘Black heart command’, Blood Forger Hall eight hundred years foundation finally this day considered the end……”

“Rubbish!”

At this moment, suddenly a loud shout but that shout carried a slight quiver of fear, came from their back. Everyone was surprised and turned to look, in front of that enormous rock, there was still one man standing there and who did not follow them to walk forward together.

Wild Dog Taoist!

Wild Dog Taoist stared at Nian Leader breathing heavily but he still loudly said, “Boss, when you brought me into Blood Forger Hall, we, in front of Founder Blackheart idol, swore a heavy oath, this, this life to be unswerving, you, you how can you do this?”

Guilt flashed over Nian leader’s face, he lowered his head and quietly said, “Wild Dog, the circumstances forced us to do this, don’t seek your own death, quickly come over!”

Wild Dog Taoist, under the stares of numerous people, especially that indistinctly effusing horrible red light pair of eyes up front was like penetrating into his heart, raising the hairs on his body and even both of his legs could not stop slightly trembling due to the extreme fear.

But, even in his trembling state he slowly shook his head and said, “Can’t do, boss, can’t do, you can ask me to do anything but to betray Blood Forger Hall, can’t do!”

He faced the other party, looking vacantly and empty as if everything was destroyed, he softly said, “I have looked like a strange monster ever since from young and everyone despised me, even my own parents also threw me away. I was brought up by wild dogs, suffered extreme hardship and humiliation and only when I entered Blood Forger Hall, it was then my turn to bully others and I was able stand tall and proud. At that time I swore a heavy oath in front of our forefather, this life I am Blood Forger Hall’s, no regrets even in death……”
The crowd was stunned, Nian Leader noticed that Ghost Li’s expression was slowly darkening, his heart panicked, he had never expected that this wild dog who had always bully the weak and fear the strong, only cared for his life and feared death would now became like this.

But surely he could not because of one person, Wild Dog, and disregard his own life, at that moment he hardened his heart and said, “Good, you are great, then you shall hold up Blood Forger Hall by yourself!”

Speaking, his hand swang and threw over the Black heart command in his hand, Wild Dog subconsciously caught it but following which his body started to tremble violently and panting heavily.

Nian Leader and the rest submerged into the group of Ghost King Sect black-attired members, leaving Wild Dog standing all alone under the enormous stone which was giving off light, facing the numerous black-attired men and standing not far from him, that devil who was said to have an appetite for killing and devouring blood!

A savage stare looming in the distance landed on Wild Dog’s face.

Wild Dog felt himself had seen an evil spirit, if not for the enormous stone supporting him behind, he don’t even know if he could even stand. Just that, in this extreme fear, he still quietly used his quivering voice to say, “Just kill me!”

While speaking he held the Black heart command tightly in his hand and closed his eyes, the cold metal plate seemed to infuse into his body, waiting together for the arrival of destruction and death!


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