Saturday, 16 January 2016

Chapter 86 - Long Journey


The surroundings were quiet and still, as if the only sound resonating in his ear was his own intense heartbeat sound, the fear of not knowing when death would arrive was like the bottomless icy cold sea, drowning Wild Dog in it.

He shivered involuntarily……

Countless eyes watched this human figure, so very pitiful and lonely but unexpectedly he persisted, that trembling hand holding on to that Black Heart Command, still very tight, very tight.

That image suddenly felt a bit familiar, as if many years ago, that stubborn and persevering youth with an unknown persistence.

The red light in his eyes slowly faded, his arms silently waved in the darkness, immediately the numerous black-attired men like tidewater, gushed out and completely disappeared in an instant.

The sound of Wild Dog’s panting slowly slowed down, in his heart he felt strange but still afraid, he slowly opened a narrow slit in his eyes but instead, without knowing when, he saw only two people were left in this place including himself.

The air that was filled with the bloody stench, also without knowing when, disappeared.

That person with his back facing him, stood at the edge of the Forsaken Abyss, silently gazing downwards, as if in that world’s deepest darkness, it had a memory of his past.

A wind slowly blew over, the human’s insignificant small body compared against this enormous Forsaken Abyss, looked so very fragile. A thought suddenly flashed across Wild Dog’s mind, now that nobody was around, if he pushed him down like this……

Once this thought was conceived, immediately like a fire burning it started to haunt him, burning until his whole body began to heat up and he could not resist not to try it. But just that although his mind was in a mess but his body, as if resisting his intention, stood unmoving.

Until that person turned around and looked at him.

Wild Dog felt a pail of cold water had poured onto his head, drenching him from head to toe.

“Just now were you thinking of pushing me down from here?” He indifferently asked, as if the matter was not related to him.

[Dang!]

The Black Heart Command slipped from Wild Dog’s hand and landed onto the ground. Wild Dog hurriedly picked it up, his face also pale by a few degrees but following which he stiffened his body, as if to give himself a boost of courage, he loudly said, “Kill me if you want, I, I am not afraid of you!”

This man who was addressed by others as “Ghost Li”, coldly looked at him and said, “I will not kill you. If you die, Blood Forger Hall will really be extinct, I’m afraid Elder Blackheart under the ground would also die with everlasting regret.” He walked forward, passing by Wild Dog and still speaking, “In the future, you will just follow me!”

Wild Dog was stunned for words, after which he loudly exclaimed, “You brought men to wipe out almost all of our Blood Forger Hall and you still want me to follow you?”

Ghost Li did not pay attention to him and continued to walk forward but his voice still travelled over clearly, “Your skills is too low and if it’s not for me now, for Ghost King Sect to kill you, it will be your that same sect comrades who had surrendered to us, like Nian Leader and the rest, who saw that you have persevere on Blood Forger Hall, wouldn’t it show that they are too shameless. They too will also want to kill you.”
Wild Dog was speechless, sweats appeared on his forehead but when he saw that that person’s figure was slowly submerging into the darkness, walking further and further away, he eventually with a stamp of his feet ran up with quick steps to follow up while loudly saying, “Humpf, I am not afraid of death but to revive Blood Forger Hall, I have to make myself put up with it……”

In the darkness, footsteps echoed, one after another, walking in this Thousand Bats Ancient Cave. Out of a sudden, as if he had suddenly thought of something, the person behind spoke, “Hey, Zhang Xiao Fan, why did you treat me this way……”  

His voice suddenly disappeared, in the dark depths, suddenly like a roar of an evil beast, a thick and heavy smell of blood immediately enveloped over. Wild Dog shuddered all over.

After a long while, that smell slowly dispersed and the person in front after being silent in the darkness for a long while, only then indifferently said, “That name, I have forgotten it for many years.”

Wild Dog let out a long breath but he really could not help but to speak again, “Then what shall I call you in the future?”

Without replying, that person walked forward again. Wild Dog grumbled a few words to himself, not knowing what was he cursing at but he still continue to follow.

In front of them, was still endless of darkness.

xxx

Qing Yun Hill.

This mysterious and mystical celestial mountain in the mortal's’ eyes, after ten years, was still like a paradise on earth.

The damages brought by the Good and Evil battle had already been repaired but just that the wound deep inside the heart, had it ever healed?

The big battle ten years ago, Morning Sun Valley leader Shang ZhengLiang and Sunset Valley leader Taoist Tian Yun unfortunately passed away and Long Shou Valley leader Taoist Cang Song betrayed the sect, other than Sect Head Reverend DaoXuan, half of the six main leaders were gone, it could be said that they suffered a big loss.

Morning Sun Valley and Sunset Valley leader positions had already been replaced with their respective elders, only Long Shou Valley which was the second biggest branch next to Sect Head’s sect, because of Taoist Cang Song, were not able to raise their heads in Qing Yun Sect and after the internal discussion within the branch, they surprisingly recommended the younger generation disciple, QiHao, to take over the leader position.

And as if like a trend, among the various big branches in Qing Yun Sect, opportunities for the younger generation to show themselves increased, like Return of the Wind Valley Zeng ShuShu, Big Bamboo Valley Song Daren, Small Bamboo Valley WenMin, Lu XueQi, were already helping their teachers to do more and more stuffs.

However within the Sect Head branch, these past few years, Reverend DaoXuan had gradually distanced himself from the secular world and left the daily trivial matters to his favourite pupil, Xiao YiCai, to handle.

xxx

Behind TongTian Peak Mountain, Founders Ancestral Hall

Warm sunlight shone on the majestic temple buildings, making it looked solemn yet mysterious. In the ancestral hall it was still gloomy, the faint lights from the eternal burning altar lamps, the candles and joss sticks were still holding a memorial for the countless Qing Yun Sect’s ancestors’ souls.

Lin JingYu, at the empty ground in front of the Founders Ancestral Hall, alone by himself, with his eyes closed and sitting cross-legged. The Dragon Slayer Sword which was emitting dark green light rays lightly floated at the top of his head, producing green halos which enveloped him, flashing mysterious strange light under the sunlight.

His face appearance, the look of the naivety had already disappeared, in addition perseverance and vicissitudes.

Behind him, deep inside the Founders Ancestral Hall dimness, a pair of eyes quietly looking at him. After a long while, a figure slowly walked out.

It was that mysterious old man with a face full of wrinkles, he unhurriedly walked out of the shadows and sat down at the Founders Ancestral Hall’s flight of steps, his gaze settling on Lin JingYu’s body. After a long time he indifferently said, “That is enough.”

The Dragon Slayer Sword dark green light rays responded and disappeared, Lin JingYu breathed deeply and opened both of his eyes, he stood up and turned his head to look at the old man, revealing a smile, saying, “Senior!”

The old man looked at his young face, a slight trace of smile emerging at the corner of his mouth and said, “Your aptitude is really good and also so hardworking, your improvement far exceeded what I have expected so much more.”

A look of gratefulness flashed over Lin JingYu’s face, he bowed deeply and quietly said, “Senior’s great kindness and favour, disciple will remember as long as I live.”

The old man gently waved his hand and turned but he sighed and said, “In a blink of an eye, it’s another ten years. I have nothing more to pass to you and you also have been here in Founders Ancestral Hall to accompany me for ten years, today you shall go back.”

Lin JingYu’s body shook, revealing a stunned expression but that old man disregard it and only said, “The things that happened within Long Shou Valley branch, do you already know?”

Lin JingYu recovered his senses, nodded his head and said, “Yes, a few days ago, QiHao senior brother came to see me and told me a little.”

The old man nodded his head and said, “Today I heard that the new generation of outstanding disciples in Qing Yun Sect are all gathering at TongTian Peak, maybe there is something. Just now there is also word from Sect Head, you should also go over.”

The corner of Lin JingYu’s mouth moved, looking at the old man, he looked as if he could not bear to leave. That old man smiled, a faint sadness seemed to appear on his face too but immediately it disappeared, he waved his hands and said, “You are already a grown man, don’t have to do this, you shall go!”

Lin JingYu took a deep breath, prostrated himself and said, “Senior, your kindness in imparting your knowledge in these ten years is like a mountain, disciple will engraved it deeply in my heart, in the future I will use all that I have learnt to uphold justice and eliminate evil, to repay my alma mater and not to let down my life’s aspiration!”

The old man, with a smile on his face, said, “Good, now go.”

Lin JingYu bowed again, looked at his surrounding scenery and eventually, abruptly turned, straightened his body and walked forward in big strides, leaving this Founders Ancestral Hall.

The sun shone onto his back, it also seemed to be slightly dazzling.

The old man watched his figure, staring blankly, without knowing when behind him, another figure appeared.

“He left.” That figure indifferently said.

The corner of the old man’s mouth twitched, he unhurriedly stood up, turned around and looked at this person, this supreme leader of Qing Yun Sect.

“Many thanks.” He suddenly said.

Reverend DaoXuan seemed to be slightly surprised, frowned and said, “What?”

The old man passed by him, walked towards the temple buildings in Founders Ancestral Hall, continuing, “Many thanks for allowing this young man to accompany me for ten years.”

Reverend DaoXuan was silent for a while, he too slowly walked into the Founders Ancestral Hall. In the center of the main hall, before the altar that enshrined numerous Qing Yun ancestors and elders’ spirit tablets, the lamps and candles flickered, causing the lights it had cast on a person’s face to be flickering in shadows too.

That old man walked to the front of the altar, took a brand-new candle from the incense table in front of the altar and lighted it from another candle, replacing the almost-burned down candle.

Reverend DaoXuan quietly watched his unhurried yet practised actions, suddenly said, “That year when I took a big risk, hid the truth from various teachers and elders to save you but you did not even said a single thank you. Why is it for a young man today, you thanked me instead?”

That old man did not speak and took a step back, placed himself in the shadows, his hand was still holding on to that replaced candle remnant. He raised his head and looked up, the Qing Yun Sect generations of ancestors’ spirit tablets, towering dignifiedly in front of him, sacred and solemn, like a mountain’s imposing manner, looked as if it could easily flatten him this tiny insignificant human.

He remained silent, did not speak and only continued to gaze like that.

Reverend DaoXuan behind him, could not see the old man’s expression at this moment but he could see that hot candle wax dripping from the candle remnant, drop by drop, it landed on that withered palm and then slowly coagulated.

That palm, also seemed to be trembling slightly.

In the depths of the shadows, far far away, a faint sigh seemed to be heard……

xxx

When Lin JingYu arrived at Crystal Hall TongTian Peak, there were already several men standing there. Among these men, there were some that he was familiar with, and some so unfamiliar that he had only saw their faces a few times, he just knew that they were all from the same sect.

But without exception everyone there knew, these young people standing here right now were all Qing Yun Sect’s outstanding young generation.

And within the crowd, none more outstanding than these two people, one naturally cold, distinct and beautiful Lu XueQi and the other one, now dressed in a branch leader’s apparel and with an extraordinary bearing, QiHao. Speaking of which, the other branches’ leaders had not arrived, QiHao was also the only leader out of the six to arrive.

QiHao turned to look and happened to saw Lin JingYu walking in and was surprised for a moment. And then after which he walked up with a big smile, with one grab he hugged Lin JingYu, took a good look at him from top to bottom, laughed and said, “Lin junior brother, aren’t you at Founders Ancestral Hall keeping vigil, why did you come?”

In those ten years, Lin JingYu had always maintained the excuse of maintaining vigil at Founders Ancestral Hall to others and for that mysterious old man, he was someone from Qing Yun Sect past days of secrecy and hard times therefore most of the people would not know and right now naturally he would not say anything. He only smile and said, “Ten years have ended so I came out too, by chance someone told me to make a trip here, I didn’t expect QiHao senior brother you are also here.”

QiHao smiled and said, “Sect Head Teacher Uncle gave notice for all of the branches’ outstanding disciples among the younger generation to come here and said there are important matters to discuss, I happened to be free so I came over to take a look.”

While the two fellow brothers were chatting, a man walked over, his build was tall and big, it was Big Bamboo Valley lead disciple, Song Daren. Not seen for ten years, his appearance however did not change much.

At that time Song Daren with QiHao and the rest were considered close so therefore he came over to exchange some greetings, after a while his gaze landed on Lin JingYu, smiling he said, “Have not seen Lin junior brother for several years, you have became even more handsome and tall, I guess your skills have again improved a lot right?”

Lin JingYu bend his head slightly, smiled and said, “Song senior brother you overpraise me.”

Song Daren was about to say more when a voice was heard from behind him, saying, “Ah, Qi senior brother, do you still recognize junior brother?”

QiHao looked towards the person who was speaking, smiled and said, “Zeng junior brother, even if I do forget someone, I will also not dare to forget you!”

The person who walked over was the most outstanding younger generation disciple of Return of the Wind Valley, Zeng ShuShu and walking beside him were the two beautiful ladies from Small Bamboo Valley, WenMin and Lu XueQi.

The majority of the people were all looking at that icy and cold Lu XueQi, only Song Daren looked towards WenMin. He [Hehe] with a laugh, WenMin with a smile on her face, gave him an angry stare.

QiHao and the rest had met WenMin and Lu XueQi before, Zeng ShuShu said, “Qi senior brother, that year when you took over the branch leader position, junior brother had committed a mistake and was being grounded by my father so was unable to come and offer my congratulations, please do not be offended!”

QiHao gave a big laugh and said, “Zeng junior brother what are you saying, as long as I receive your well wishes, it is enough.”

Zeng ShuShu smiled and nodded, he looked around and said, “Qi senior brother, this time Sect Head Teacher Uncle called us all here, not sure if it is for any big matter?”

QiHao waved his hands and said, “I don’t know the specific details too but I heard something happened somewhere in the West, Sect Head Teacher Uncle intend to send out our outstanding younger generations disciples to let them gain experience.”

“Ah.” All of them uttered a cry, most were quite curious and excited, Zeng ShuShu was also originally full of smiles but suddenly his face froze, as if he had thought of something, QiHao noticed it and asked curiously, “Zeng junior brother, what happened?”

Zeng ShuShu laughed bitterly and said, “Younger generation, outstanding disciples to leave the mountain and gain experience?” He gently shook his head, sighed and said, “These words, why do I find it so familiar.”

He and QiHao looked at each other, suddenly they both understood each other’s meanings, the four people that year, right now……

They turned their head unanimously and looked at that beautiful lady. Lu XueQi stood there quietly, as if she had not heard anything but again as if she had hid everything deep inside her heart, that bright pair of eyes moved and looked over at Lin JingYu, as if it wanted to look for a certain figure but eventually, it still moved away.

Right at this moment, suddenly in the great hall the resonant tone of the bells started, everyone immediately straighten and after a while Sect Head Reverend DaoXuan, accompanied by Xiao YiCai, walked out. He looked at the crowd, smiled while greeting them and sat down at the main seat.

Everyone bowed, QiHao stood at the front, Reverend DaoXuan smiled and waved, saying, “Enough, enough, all of you sit.”

But among the disciples, other than QiHao whose status had changed and sat at the right-hand side of Reverend DaoXuan, the rest of them remained standing.

Reverend DaoXuan looked at Xiao YiCai who was beside him and said, “YiCai, you shall brief them.”

Xiao YiCai nodded and reply, “Yes, Teacher.”

He walked out, looked around at the crowd and in a clear and loud voice he said, “Various fellow sect members, today we invited everyone here is because there is one thing that need our Qing Yun Sect most outstanding disciples to go and accomplish.”

When he spoke until here, there was immediately a stir among the crowd, Xiao YiCai smiled and continued, “Recently rumours were spreading everywhere, saying that recently inside the big marsh in the West, out of a sudden there were strange lights shining into the sky and ceaselessly for many days, most likely a sensational rare treasure will soon be born. By right if the Heaven send out spiritual beings, only the virtuous person can claim it and we are also not interested. But after this news was spread, it was heard that the Evil Faction evildoers moved out in big forces to the West, intending to get a share of the action.”

“What?”

“Hateful!” Qing Yun Sect young disciples immediately with fury written over their faces, one after another cried out.

Xiao YiCai waited till the clamour was reduced slightly, smiled and said, “If this news was false then it doesn’t matter but in case there is really such a rare treasure and lands into the Evil Faction’s hands, then aren't we playing jackal to the tiger. Qing Yun Sect have always lead as the world’s Good Faction leader therefore Sect Head Reverend had decided, to select the outstanding disciples from the younger generation of our sect and to go together to the West big marsh, to uphold justice and eliminate the demons.”

Speaking until here, he paused for a while and suddenly with a slight mysterious air, said, “Various junior brothers, on top of it there is another important matter, it was heard that today TianYin Temple and FenXiang Valley also sent out their disciples to the West big marsh. Ever since that big battle ten years ago, everyone should know in their hearts, these two sects openly are in harmony with us but in the dark have been eyeing the Good Faction leader position for a long time. Hope everyone will not cause our sect to lose face!”

A wave of uproar in the crowd, at once someone shouted, “Sect Head Reverend please do not worry, I and the rest will never cause Qing Yun Sect to lose face!”

“That’s right, this time we must show the Evil Faction and TianYin Temple, FenXiang Valley people our prowess!”

Reverend DaoXuan smiled and nodded, stood up and said, “This trip to the West, there may be perils, in addition the Evil Faction is dangerous and crafty, all of you must be on your guard at all times.”

Everyone responded at the same time, “Yes.”

Reverend DaoXuan spoke to Xiao YiCai, “Then you shall make arrangements, try to move out early.”

After speaking, his gaze, with or without intention, looked at Lin JingYu who was standing among the crowd and then turned and walked into the inner chambers. The crowd respectfully sent him off, until his figure disappeared Xiao YiCai then turned around and divided the members.

On the other side, Lin JingYu spoke to QiHao, “How come, Qi senior brother, you are not going this time?”

QiHao laughed in spite of himself and said, “Lin junior brother, I can’t leave.”

Lin JingYu then realized, his face turned red and said, “Ah, senior brother is already our branch leader, I did not think of that.”

QiHao patted his shoulder, smiled and said, “This will be your first time venturing out to the world, it is indeed a good opportunity, I look forward for you to exhibit your martial prowess and make a name for yourself in one move!”

Lin JingYu smiled and said, “Senior brother you must be joking.”

QiHao smiled but after which his face turned slightly solemn, he saw that nobody was around and spoke quietly to Lin JingYu, “Lin junior brother, to tell you the truth, ten years ago teacher...Taoist Cang Song betrayed Qing Yun and in the end caused our Long Shou Valley branch to hang our heads in shame. Especially Rising Sun Valley and Sunset Valley these two branches disciples, they looked at us like enemies. This senior brother of yours, I, in this position, have been really very difficult, therefore I am really looking forward to your trip this time, to help our Long Shou Valley gain some glory!”

Lin JingYu did not speak and after a while he nodded his head slightly and quietly said, “Qi senior brother, I understand, do not worry, I definitely will not make you disappointed.”

QiHao smiled, the tension on his face also lessened, he stretched out his hand to pat on Lin JingYu’s shoulder.

Just at this time, Song Daren walked over, looked at both of them, smiled and said,”Why, this time Long Shou Valley is sending Lin junior brother out?”

QiHao smiled and said, “That’s right, not sure who will be from Big Bamboo Valley?”

Song Daren [hehe] laughed and said, “Originally it was to be me, this good-for-nothing big senior brother, but later on my teacher’s wife find me stupid and so let my sixth junior brother, Du BiShu, to go.”

QiHao smiled and said, “Du junior brother has always been smart, with him in our Qing Yun Sect is like a tiger that has grown wings.”

Song Daren’s eloquence naturally was not as smooth and considerate as QiHao, after chatting for a while he was about to leave when he suddenly turned back and spoke to QiHao, “Oh right, Qi senior brother, my teacher’s wife recently missed my LingEr junior sister. After you return home, ask her to come back to Big Bamboo Valley and stay in a few days.”

QiHao smiled and said, “Song senior brother, you still do not know, this early morning before I left Long Shou Valley to come here, LingEr had already returned to Big Bamboo Valley. She said she missed her mother. Seemed like mother-in-law and she are really mother and daughter kindred spirits.”

Song Daren was stunned for a while and then laughed loudly, loud and clear, reverberating in this Crystal Hall.

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