Saturday, 16 January 2016

Chapter 96 - Mysterious Flower


Big Wang village.

Xiao Huan stood at the village entrance, looked towards the death marsh with concern. The weather was still fair in the morning but now the sky had darkened and another storm seemed to be coming.

Yesterday late in the night, she and her grandfather, Zhou YiXian and Jin PingEr etc were in the death marsh but after Jin PingEr made a trip out and came back again, she looked exhausted and in the same night, sent both of them out of the death marsh.

Xiao Huan had privately asked Jin PingEr but Jin PingEr only said, “The situation now in the death marsh has become more dangerous than I had expected, if both of you continue to remain here, it will only bring harm to yourself.”

Xiao Huan had always believed this sister’s words, that night she and Zhou YiXian left the death marsh and at the same time, kept to Jin PingEr’s instructions, to get ready and leave this place by today. Just that, she had known Jin PingEr for quite some time but last night was the first time she saw such solemn expression on Jin PingEr’s face.

She thought and thought and could not help but felt anxious for this sister.

“Xiao Huan!”

A familiar shout from behind, Xiao Huan turned and Zhou YiXian walked over, he said, “All the things are already packed, let’s go!”

Xiao Huan nodded but could not resist and asked Zhou YiXian, “Grandfather, do you think PingEr sister will have danger in the death marsh?”

Zhou YiXian was startled and rudely replied, “How would I know?”

Xiao Huan’s lips pressed tightly and she gave him a stare. Zhou YiXian after all still doted on this granddaughter, he sighed and checking to ensure nobody was around, he walked to Xiao Huan’s side and spoke in a low voice, “Those few days in the death marsh, we saw a few Chang Shen Hall disciples while following Jin PingEr but ever since after yesterday, have you seen any of the Chang Shen Hall’s disciples?”

Xiao Huan was surprised.

Zhou YiXian smiled, a different expression from his usual cheeky demeanour appeared, his eyes sharp and bright, he said, “Especially that day when you met that fish head monster, I heard it very clearly from the side, the ones meeting with Jin PingEr were exactly the other Evil Faction two big sects, Ghost King Sect and Wan Du Clan’s young and highly-skilled - Ghost Li and Qin WuYan. These three people at this timing meeting inside Chang Shen Hall headquarters where their main strength is, what do you think they are doing?”

Xiao Huan’s arched eyebrows frowned, after a long while she suddenly burst out, “Grandfather, don’t tell me you mean……”

Zhou YiXian cut in, “That’s right, I’m afraid the Chang Shen Hall which enjoyed a short period of fame in the past eight hundred years has extinguished in these three young fiend hands. YuYang Zi with such extremely high skills, even he would actually……” He heaved a long sigh, his expression suddenly became bleak, after being silent for a long while he said, “Now the internal fights in the Evil Faction are getting more intense by the day, Good Faction sects are also scheming against each other, ten years ago Qing Yun Sect suffered a heavy loss and until today it has not recouped. This world is going to suffer another abyss of misery again.”

Xiao Huan stared blankly, Zhou YiXian heaved a long sigh and suddenly perked up, [He he] he laughed and said, “If the world is going to be chaotic, let it be!, What is it to us? Let’s go, let’s continue to bring benefit to the people.”

Xiao Huan was speechless, Zhou YiXian seemed not to mind at all and walked over to pick up the bundle, he held that bamboo pole with the banner, [Immortal Guide], turned his head and about to call Xiao Huan when suddenly he stared dumbfoundedly, his eyes staring past Xiao Huan.

Xiao Huan saw her grandfather’s strange expression and quickly turned around, she too got a shocked, Wild Dog Taoist with his unlucky face and gloomy expression, walking over from the death marsh, he looked around and saw Xiao Huan and Zhou YiXian standing at the village entrance.

This early morning, Wild Dog Taoist who had been following Ghost Li all along, was suddenly ordered to leave the death marsh by Ghost Li. Wild Dog was astounded but he somehow knew in his heart that the death marsh now was extremely dangerous and it was also good for him to leave, just that being coldly told off by that young Ghost Li’s stiff face, he was very offended and grumbled and indignantly walked out.

Now that he unexpectedly met Xiao Huan at the village entrance, Wild Dog without knowing why, his heart palpitated and subconsciously made a detour to the side, what exactly was he afraid of?

Unexpectedly after not more than two steps, Xiao Huan’s voice was heard from behind, “Priest, wait!”
Wild Dog was startled and slowly turned around, Zhou YiXian frowned and walked to Xiao Huan, he angrily said,  “What do you call him for?”

Xiao Huan stared at Zhou YiXian and did not bother about him, a smile appeared on her face and she walked over, taking out an umbrella from her bundle, she said to Wild Dog Taoist, “Priest, I have not return your umbrella to you.”

Wild Dog glanced at that umbrella, his face showed conflicting expressions, for a moment he felt dazed and also did not also stretch out his hand to receive, Xiao Huan did not mind and pushed the umbrella into Wild Dog Taoist’s hand, smiled sweetly at him and said, “Thanks to you the other day.”

Wild Dog Taoist suddenly felt something brightened in front of him, his vision seemed to blur, subconsciously he swallowed.

Xiao Huan walked back to Zhou YiXian, took over Zhou YiXian’s bundle and said, “Let’s go Grandfather!”

Zhou YiXian stared at that still dazed Wild Dog and walked off with Xiao Huan, he was still muttering, “Why do you keep smiling happily at him?”

Xiao Huan annoyingly said, “Grandfather, he is a good person!”

Zhou YiXian [Pei] a sound, said, “He is a good person then won’t I be Buddha reincarnation?”

Both Xiao Huan and Zhou YiXian’s figures gradually went further away and their voices also gradually faded, Wild Dog stood at where he was, his hand still holding the umbrella and not moving. Not knowing how much time had passed, he suddenly stamped his feet and walked forward in big strides, headed towards the direction where Xiao Huan and Zhou YiXian walked to.

After their figures disappeared one after another, Big Wang village again resumed its quietness, at a corner several zhangs from the village entrance, a man and a woman stood there, the guy wearing a long white robe while the girl had a veil covering her face, it was Qing Long and YouJi.

Qing Long indifferently said, “Zhou YiXian’s background, do you know?”

Hiding behind the black veil, YouJi did not speak, the black veil swayed slightly, she seemed to be shaking her head.

Qing Long pondered for a while, his eyes seemed to be reflecting his deep thoughts and said, “This person seemed not that simple and his granddaughter actually have dealings with HeHuan Sect Jin PingEr, we have to watch them more in the future.”

YouJi after remaining silent for a while, indifferently said, “Let’s go! The important matter that sect head instructed us to do, we cannot delay it anymore.”

Qing Long looked at her, a trace of worry flashed past his eyes but his expression did not change, he said, “That’s right, let’s go!”

After speaking, both of them unhurriedly walked out of Big Wang village but their directions were opposite from Zhou YiXian and the rest, they were heading towards the death marsh.

A wind blew out of nowhere, sweeping past Heaven and Earth, carrying a faint smell of desolate.

The sky seemed to turn darker.

[Boom!]

A thunder rumbled in the clouds, big drops of rain immediately fell in succession, drenching Heaven and Earth, everywhere was grey and gloomy, Ghost Li stood on top of a big tree, watching.

Behind him was still the enormous miasma wall, actually if according to conventional logic, usually whenever the miasma emanated from the mountains’ dirty waters encountered the rain, it would weaken and be still but this toxic miasma in the innermost marsh seemed not to fear the rainwater at all, no matter how the wind blow and rain fell, it was still as lofty.

Ghost Li slowly turned his head over and looked ahead but unexpectedly in this inner marsh, it had a dense forest growing in it and in this wailing wind and weeping rain, the forest looked to be endless, who knew how far it would go? In addition the rain was considerably big and although his vision was now much clearer than being in the miasma but he still could not see very far.

[Zi zi, zi zi!]

Suddenly the branch beside jumped, it was Xiao Hui who had left just now and was now bouncing back, within two or three jumps it jumped back to Ghost Li’s shoulder. Its hands carrying a few wild fruits plucked from somewhere, grinning it passed one to Ghost Li, the other hand covered with three or four wild fruits. It opened its mouth wide and munched.

Ghost Li smiled, received the fruit and took a bite too, it felt unripe but it also had another kind of taste.

The rain became heavier, thunders clapped ceaselessly, Ghost Li did not use his magical weapon to block and allowed the rain to drench him, Xiao Hui sat at Ghost Li’s shoulder, its hair turning wetter by the moment but it did not seemed to mind and only cared about the fruit in its mouth, [Ka ji ka ji] happily munching, its long tail stretching behind Ghost Li and swaying here and there.

Ghost Li slowly ate the wild fruit in his hand and suddenly softly said, “Xiao Hui, did you also recognize her just now?”

Presumably Xiao Hui’s mouth was still chewing the fruit, it muttered a few unintelligent sounds, a pair of monkey eyes turning round and round and looking at Ghost Li.

Ghost Li did not seemed to be expecting any answer from the monkey and continued to say, “Why didn’t she kill me? Hasn’t she always abhor the Evil Faction people?”

[Rumble!]

Xiao Hui did not answer but a splitting sound of thunder was heard in the sky.

Ghost Li slowly raised his head, the sky of falling raindrops, like knife like sword, transforming into thousands and thousands, pelting down…

His body trembled slightly, suddenly his thoughts flew, as if he had returned to that night when he was still a child, himself with that benign-looking old monk outside the village, quietly and calmly speaking to himself.

This scene, was actually engraved deep inside his heart, for all these years, it never seemed to fade at all.

Both of his hands clutching tightly, his nails piercing deep into his palms, even his body, also started to shake. The Soul-Absorbing stick in his sleeve, like always, also almost lighted up at the same time, the familiar ice cold feeling swept over his whole body, the vicious energy from the Sinister Orb also seemed to accumulate in his eyes, little by little.

Xiao Hui at his shoulder, nervously called out.

In the sky, a flash of lightning broke through, Ghost Li howled and leapt up, his entire body bathed in a surge of red light, his right hand stretched out, the Soul-Absorbing stick already in his hand, the dark-green light gathered in the rain to form an enormous light beam, striking down with a loud bang.

Right now his eyes were already totally infused with blood-red light, his expression baleful and his face distorted, he growled in a low voice, like a wild beast.

The enormous green beam of light that struck down suddenly, that big tree which he had stood on earlier, had already been splitted into two, each side crashing down in opposite directions.

[Rumble!]

Another crash of thunder sounded in the horizon.

Xiao Hui jumped aside and watched him silently.

Ghost Li, with one leg kneeling in the extremely filthy mud that was soaked with rain, his right hand tightly clutching the Soul-Absorbing stick, his whole body trembling, a menacing look flashed in his eyes but on his face was instead agony.

Who would know, his growing pain…

A gentle and righteous Yang energy, faintly leapt up inside his body.

On the clothes that were drenched by the rain, on his right arm, a round faint light suddenly lighted up, this righteous Yang energy was extremely pure, it rose up from the ‘Inferno Mirror” tied on his right arm and entered into his body, gradually resisting that Sinister Orb’s fiendish energy.

After a long time, the blood-red light in his eyes slowly disappeared, his expression also turned mild and in relative, the brilliant light from both the Soul-Absorbing stick and Inferno Mirror also gradually weakened and disappeared.

Ghost Li, as if after a big battle, slowly stood up, looking exhausted. These ten years, day and night he had trained with the Evil Way Tian Shu and so, day and night immersed in the fiendish nature of the Sinister Orb. He had too, countless times like today, almost taken over by the Sinister Orb evil energy but because he had Tai Chi Xuan Qing Way and Great Brahman Wisdom in his body, which were Good Faction supreme ways of cultivation, he then barely managed to resist it.

But the most crucial part was, every time when his consciousness was on the verge of collapsing, the other mysterious magical weapon, Inferno Mirror, on his body would always emit a mysterious and pure strong Yang energy and forcibly pulled him back from his degeneration into the Evil destructive road.

Just that, he himself also did not know, how much longer could he still resist this natural evil Sinister Orb, and to him, everytime he recalled the past, he would remember BiYao. That kind of torture, it was really an unbearable anguish. If it was not for his perseverance character, most probably he would have became mad long ago.

And all these things, even the shrewd Ghost King had never detected it, he never noticed that his most capable aide was instead bordering on madness day and night.

He slowly stood up, opened his mouth and then discovered his voice had turned hoarse, “Xiao Hui, let’s go!”

Xiao Hui blinked, jumped down and leapt up to his shoulder.

Ghost Li gently smoothed Xiao Hui’s hair, his lips moved but eventually he did not say what he wanted to say, took a deep breath and strided, walking towards the deep of the forest.

In the inner death marsh which was surrounded by the ceaseless rain, other than the storm noises, nothing could be heard between the Heaven and Earth, the ancient and dense forest was silent, the rain hitting the leaves and raindrops rolling and dropping.

In the horizon, another thunder!

The rain continued for an hour and had no intention of stopping.   

Lin JingYu wiped the raindrops from his face but the next moment, another batch of raindrops rained down. He smiled bitterly and gave up.

In the ancient forest, there was only his figure. Alone in this perilous and unfamiliar wildlands territory, there was really an unseen feeling of fear.

Initially Qing Yun Sect and Tian Yin Temple, FenXiang Valley outstanding disciples entered the inner marsh together. But while traversing that miasma wall, first was because of a sudden event, they encountered the strange storm eye in the middle and it broke their formation, without waiting for them to gather their senses, an enormous strange beast suddenly appeared in the miasma, passing through them.

Because of the degree of visibility in the miasma, nobody could see clearly what the monster looked like and that monster seemed to be only passing by and did not attack them but because its body was so huge, although everyone was highly skilled but in the moment of panic, each flew off in fright and with the miasma storm, they were separated.

Lin JingYu kept flying and with the protection of the Dragon Slaying Sword, broke out of the miasma and came to this ancient inner marsh forest. And the location of where he had broke out, was actually just mere several miles from where Ghost Li was.

These two childhood friends, once as close as real brothers, yet was unaware of this situation. Just that even if they knew, what they faced might be an even more painful scene?

Lin JingYu naturally was unaware of these, he raised his head and looked at the sky which was still full of gloomy heavy clouds, this rain seemed like it would go on for half a day, he cursed under his breath, after thinking for a while, he eventually still strided forward ahead.

There was actually no path at all to traverse the forest. Other than those big and tall trees, the forest was full of thick and luxuriant thorny undergrowth, with a variety of bizarre plants. Unusual animals and poisonous insects never seen outside the death marsh appeared occasionally in front of Lin JingYu.

Only in a short while, Lin JingYu had already faced countless dangers, if not for his sharp-wits and intelligence and in addition his skills improved much over these ten over years, he would have suffered badly.

[Wu!], the Dragon Slayer Sword making a streak of bluish green light, severing a crimson poisonous snake which had leapt from the tree beside into two, at the same time, Lin JingYu finally could not take it, he immediately leapt up into the air, using the magical weapon strength and soared up into the sky.

He was only slightly relieved when he was in the air, at the same time he was surprised, this inner marsh was really full of surprises, the dangers faced far exceeded the outer marsh, where exactly did those numerous bizarre poisonous insects come from?

He looked down, the remnants of the crimson poisonous snake were still writhing on the ground, it looked like it was not dead yet and other than this poisonous snake, he had just faced attacks from poisonous scorpion, toad and a variety of lizards, danger really lurked everywhere.

Initially Lin JingYu wanted to conserve energy and travelled by walking but now no matter what he  dared not land casually, he glanced around in the mid-air and suddenly shook.

Deep of the forest in front of him, behind the blanket of rain, a gold light flashed past, mingled within the storm, a person’s faint shout was also heard.

Lin JingYu was delighted, without any hesitation, he quickly urged his magical weapon and flew towards where that gold light flashed.

Travelling by air, his speed was unbelievably fast and very soon, he was near that area, he surveyed carefully and was shocked, a vast empty ground appeared in the forest and in it, a waterlogged depression stood in the middle and an extremely weird flower bloomed in the center of it.

The flower was enormous, its diameter stretched for several zhangs wide, if not for his own eyes he would find it hard to believe that such species existed in this world.

Looking down from the sky, the bottom end of the flower body appeared to be green and the upper part was splitted into numerous branches, assuming a brilliant red in color. In the middle, the distinction between the red and green areas were obvious, marking a clear boundary. And on the very top of those numerous red branches, a small ball as crystal-clear as a dewdrop and over it the wet surface glistered, not sure if it was wet because of the rain or it was actually like that? (Note 1)

In this storm, the strange flower swayed gently with the wind, a faint sweet smell floated in the air.

Lin JingYu was astounded, following which his attention was drawn to the two persons and one beast beside the strange flower, looking at them, immediately his face showed delight, standing there was Return of the Wind Valley Zeng ShuShu and Tian Yin Temple Fa Xiang.

Meeting familiar faces in this unfamiliar place, Lin JingYu was extremely happy, he could not help but called out to them.

The two people heard the shout and were surprised, they turned and saw Lin JingYu dashing down and were ecstatic but after a while, Zeng ShuShu gestured for Lin JingYu to look ahead, Lin JingYu calmed his heart down and immediately was shocked by that strange monster up ahead.

Actually the strange beast which was facing Fa Xiang and Zeng ShuShu was extremely bizarre but because one, Lin JingYu was greatly astounded by that huge strange flower in front of them  and second, he was over delighted when he saw them and thus did not pay attention to that strange beast. Now that he looked, this strange beast looked like a wild duck, almost as tall as a human, its body green in color, faint red eyes, red tail and fangs in its mouth with two wings in its back, it seemed to be a ferocious bird species. (Note 2)

That strange beast growled, both wings shook and immediately a burst of wind and rain swept over.

Lin JingYu landed beside Zeng ShuShu and Fa Xiang, three of them backfacing that strange flower, Lin JingYu frowned and stepped back.

Unexpectedly Fa Xiang’s countenance changed, he quickly pulled Lin JingYu back and quietly said, “Do not go near that flower!”

Lin JingYu was stunned and stopped but he looked at Fa Xiang, the smiling expression on his face suddenly turned cold and he indifferently brushed off Fa Xiang’s hand.

Fa Xiang frowned and sighed, he withdrew his hand. He knew that Lin JingYu still remembered that tragic episode in Grasstemple village and still could not let go.

Zeng ShuShu suddenly raised his voice and called out, “Watch out!”

Both of them got a shock and looked ahead, that strange beast moved its wings and leapt into the air, charging over.

Zeng ShuShu urgently said, “Fa Xiang senior brother, we will do as plan.”
  
Lin JingYu was about to react but hearing his words, he was startled and stopped.

That strange beast was fierce and swift, in the blink of an eye and it was already in front of them, Fa Xiang and Zeng ShuShu suddenly shouted in a low voice at the same time and scattered off in different directions. Although that strange beast looked ferocious but it was not too bright and it paused for a while at the spot at where it had landed and seemed to think for a moment which enemy it should pursue but at this moment, Fa Xiang’s [Reincarnation Pearl] and Zeng ShuShu [XuanYuan Sword] had already hit down at the same time from the sides.

But that strange beast seemed not to fear at all, it opened its mouth and roared loudly, [Peng peng] two sounds, these two magical weapons hit onto its body and caused it to flew back but that beast bared its fangs and brandished its claws in mid-air and seemed unharmed. This degree of endurance caused Lin JingYu’s countenance to change. If it was him, he might not be able to withstand the full-strength blows from Zeng ShuShu and Fa Xiang.

It looked like that strange beast was flapping its wings and would retaliated back fiercely once it stabilized itself, Lin JingYu concentrated and prepared himself but at this moment his body shook, his mouth ajar and he could not speak.

That beast flew backwards and there was none other than that enormous big flower behind it. The beast moved in the air and touched the red branches crystals, suddenly, that beast howled, the cry was full of fear and shock.

In a moment, the strange flower had already started to have an amazing transformation, all of the flowers suddenly seemed to come alive, one after another from all directions it started to gather around this strange beast and that red sparkling round ball on top of the flower branches in fact had a strong adhesive strength. That strange beast was stuck on top of it and even though it exerted strength and struggled, it was unable to pull free. In less than a moment, more and more flower petals surrounded it layer by layer and finally wrapped up this almost as tall as a human strange beast and even that strange beast’s cry was also gradually muffled.

Fa Xiang and Zeng ShuShu who had created this trap, saw right in front of their eyes how terrible the strange flower was, their countenance, like Lin JingYu, also changed.

After a long time, the strange flower totally covered this strange beast and its figure could no longer be seen, tranquillity returned to the place and only the sound of wind and rain remained in-between Heaven and Earth.

The three of them faced each other, Fa Xiang sighed, pressed his palms together and chanted softly.

Note 1: [Divine and Evil  The strange. Hundreds of Flower Chapter] Man-eating Flower: A strange species in the wildlands, measured zhangs when the flower bloomed, top red bottom white, the red bead on its extreme top adhere onto humans and living things and swallowed hem.

Another note: From [Modern Insectivorous Plant Complete Collection], this thing was suspected to be a living thing from [Bladderwort Family]. South America, Asia (had not inquired thoroughly for North America, seemed like it had also dispersed there?) had its dispersal footprints but the plant size was not big, insectivorous did not have major threat to human.  It appearance was similar to what ancient books described, it could be an aquatic animal bladderwort, it could be drosophyllum.

Note 2: This animal was quoted from [Classics of Mountains and Seas. Classics of Mountains Fifth Scroll. ZhongShan Classic. Qing Yao Mountain]  
  

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