Sunday, 29 April 2018

Chapter 230 - Wound


Qing Yun Hill, Big Bamboo Valley.

It was deep in the night, only the sound of the bamboo leaves rustling was carried over by the wind, reverberating in the night sky. The lights were long turned down, the Big Bamboo Valley’s disciples had also retired for the night, only at the back of the Observed Silence Hall, there was still a solitary light, giving off light in the darkness by itself.

The night breeze blew lightly, coming in from the half opened window, making light [wu wu] sound, also caused that lamp on the table in the centre of the hall, wavered, casting light and darkness.

A fair hand stretched over, blocked the wind, soon the light ceased wavering and again emitted light. Suru sat lethargically beside the table, it was already late but she did not look sleepy.

The wind outside the house, still kept blowing, onto the door and window, frequently making light sounds. Suru stood up, walked slowly to the window but did not close it immediately, instead looked out.

The firmament like ink, it was the darkest moment.

She concentrated and listened, but in this late night breeze, it did not have the sound that she wanted to hear.

Suru’s face had a faint bitter smile, she quietly closed the window, returned to her seat. Both she and Tian Buyi were not extravagant people, there were not many things in this bedroom. And on the table, other than a cloth bag, there was another small round mirror.

She took the mirror over, a dignified beautiful lady appeared in the mirror, her hair thick, her skin like a young girl, without any wrinkles. She and Tian Buyi as husband and wife, cultivated for a few hundred years and achieved this level of Taoism, her appearance unchanging.

After looking for a long while, Suru gently sighed and placed it aside, took the cloth bag and opened it.

In it were all ordinary stuff, a few needlework, a piece of cloth, scissors, powder, ordinary items that a common housewife would have, to mend and make clothes for their husband and children. Suru took the cloth, threaded the needle, using that lamp and carefully started to sew.

A cold wind, suddenly gust in, that lonely lamp was immediately extinguished.

“Ah!”

A soft cry, Suru frowned in the darkness, a stabbing pain on her fingertip. With her cultivation and skills, she actually was hurt by a small tiny needle, even she herself also found it funny. Just that for some reason, in the darkness, the chilly night breeze blew past, Suru’s heart felt heavy, like a heavy stone stuck in her heart.

She sighed, put down the needlework, walked to the window. The scenery outside the window was still the same, however her husband who had viewed it with her countless of times, had left for a long time.   

After daybreak, maybe she should sent Daren and the rest of them down the mountain to search, they couldn’t keep on waiting like this.

Suru thinking of this, an image of Tian Buyi flashed past her mind, her heart felt anxious.

The night was still late!

She watched the sky for a long time, her lips slightly moving, not knowing what she said, after a long time, she quietly lowered her head, sighed and again closed the window.

Outside the house, the wind seemed to be stronger.

Majestic Fox Mountain, Ghost King sect.

The same late night, there was also someone awake, but perhaps the mood was different.

Concealed deep inside the mountain, above the blood pool, Ghost King and Mr Ghost stood side by side. Mr Ghost was still cladded in black, unable to see his expression, and Ghost King’s face had uncontained excitement and delight.

He did not look tired from staying up, in fact, with his skills, even if he did not sleep for a few days, it would not have an impact, and right now his face, not only there wasn’t any tiredness, instead it was glowing with a faint red light, full of vitality, focusing completely on the blood pool below.

Filled with fresh blood, the pool was different from the usual, again there was a change. The four great beasts were still incarcerated inside, even TaoTie which was resisting with all of its might, looked exhausted, slumped in the pool, not moving for a least half a day.

And right now, the pool which had been quiet usually, was no longer so, on the vast surface, bubbles were seen and at the same time, rupture sounds were heard unceasingly, and the speed of it was not less than ten over times from the initial, and the number of bubbles also increased aplenty. The entire blood pool, looked like it was boiling, an invisible force gradually awakening from deep inside. And in this space, the blood stench, increased more than ten times.

In the air, was the pivot cauldron of the Four Divinities Blood Formation, also different from usual, the crude ancient cauldron, had absorbed much spiritual and evil energies from the pool and beasts, gradually emitted a faint redness, and this cauldron which seemed to be made of bronze, right now displayed a transparent and light yellow amber color, giving off a solemn appearance.

On the cauldron, those mysterious engraved characters, each and every one of them were already lit up, as if again received life, glowing. And the center diagram, that hideous deity effigy surrounded by four spiritual beats, had been oscillating between light and darkness, was still red like blood, greedily sucking the spiritual energy provided below the cauldron.

And the air around the cauldron, in this sealed chamber, still had the mist-like vortex carrying wind and thunder powerful forces, churning around it. And even Ghost King and Mr Ghost, could still clearly feel, the terrible power that this cauldron possessed, and this strange power, kept on increasing.

And like Ghost King, Mr Ghost was watching the cauldron closely but his eyes were cold and sharp, compared to Ghost King, he was missing that fervour, more calmness.

Mr Ghost watched the cauldron for a long time, and spoke, “Now that things are proceeding smoothly, and all are as what the inscriptions on the cauldron stated, moving ahead, in forty-nine days, this phenomenal Four Divinities Blood Formation would definitely be a success!”

Ghost King inhaled deeply, his whole face red, his eyes revealed his fervour glint, stepped forward and couldn’t help but let out a long whistle, said, “Good, good, good, I am already impatient for it!”

Mr Ghost glanced at him, said, “Sect head be patient, the days are still long.”

Ghost King lifted his head up and laughed loudly, suddenly turned around and come to Mr Ghost, pat his hand heavily on his shoulder. Mr Ghost seemed surprised, his eyes puzzled but still did not move, stood where he was. The next moment, Ghost King’s hand was still on his shoulder but there was nothing more, he only [ha ha] laughed and said, “Good, good, good!”

He laughed, extremely happy, then as if recalling something, he kept his laughter and solemnly said to Mr Ghost, “Thanks to you.”

Mr Ghost dipped his head slightly, said, “This unequalled formation is able to succeed, is all sect head’s good fortune, and if it’s not for this Hidden Dragon Cauldron, I am also helpless.”

Ghost King smiled, shook his head and said, “The Hidden Dragon Cauldron is my Ghost King sect’s valuable treasure but for many years no one is able to comprehend the inscriptions, only you at the end gave me a helping hand, mister is Heaven’s bestowed to me, to accomplish my dominance!”

Mr Ghost was silent for a moment, said, “Sect head is too kind.”

Ghost King [he he] laughed, turned and again looked at that cauldron, his eyes again flashed with wild excitement, couldn’t help but started to laugh loudly again.

Mr Ghost only quietly stood behind Ghost King, watched Ghost King’s somehow mad demeanour, did not speak. Right now if anyone who knew Ghost King was to walk in and see, most likely the person would be shocked, Ghost King had always been ingenious and reserved, never had such mania expression, but in Mr Ghost’s eyes that was watching Ghost King, there was no shock.

Not knowing if it was because Mr Ghost had frequently spent time with Ghost King alone and so was already accustomed, or because he was someone reticent, others could not tell at all.

Anyway, in this concealed blood pool within the mountain, within the thick stench of blood, Ghost King complacently planned the future, that arrogant laughter reverberated unceasingly, gradually enveloped the entire chamber. And behind him, was a silent figure,

Below Qing Yun Hill.

The abnormal dark clouds in the firmament had long dispersed but the layer of clouds were still there, in the inky dark sky, the rain was still pouring, washing this somewhat silent mortal world.

In the wilderness, the storm in a flurry, the chillness penetrating the bones. The place where the abandoned morgue once stood, after an intense fight, was totally in ruins, even the ground, was dug up by huge force, after being washed by the storm, turned into dirty mud.

The sky was dusky, there was actually not a ray of light. In the wilderness, in the storm, there was only a faint blue light, wavering slightly.

Lu Xueqi who loved cleanliness, her white attire already mud-stained but she seemed not to care at all. Not far before her, was Tian Buyi’s body lying quietly, his eyes were closed, so peacefully as if he was sleeping. The storm hit upon his face, wailing sounds in the wind, as if crying.

Ghost Li was still unconscious, using Tian Ya faint blue light, his face was as pale as a dead person, and his expression, was full of pain and anguish, if it was not for the fact that his chest was still slightly rising up and down, it would make one mistaken. Right now, his body in Lu Xueqi’s embrace, Tian Ya quietly glowing, around Lu Xueqi and Ghost Li, it propped up a small gap, the unseen force blocking the rain.

And not far from them, Xiao Hui the monkey, no longer its usual self, quietly sat on the ground, the rainwater soaked its fur and water beads dripped past its face and onto the ground. A gust of cold wind blew over, Xiao Hui’s three eyes blinked, seemed to feel cold and quietly edged near Ghost Li.

Lu Xueqi quietly looked down, glanced at Xiao Hui, then stretched her hand over, gently carried Xiao Hui into Tian Ya’s halo, let it crouched on Ghost Li’s body. Xiao Hui glanced at Lu Xueqi, its mouth made light sounds of [zhi zhi zhi zhi] and then its head gently dropped down, leaning against Ghost Li’s chest. Its head turned sideways, its eyes watching ahead, Tian Buyi’s quiet body.

Like a dream? Like an illusion?

That was like a long and distant dream, but it did not have the slightest joy, because until the end, it was actually a nightmare.

Ghost Li’s body moved, his pale face’s anguish expression seemed to increase. The next moment, following a painful groan, he slowly woke up.

Light in front of him, faint blue light, gently floating around him.

Sounds around him, it was the storm, the wind and rain, the storm soughing.

Xiao Hui suddenly straightened, looked at Ghost Li.

The cold wind blew again.

Ghost Li shivered and then saw Lu Xueqi’s gaze, that face which was as white as his, in this storm night, the only one beside him.

Ghost Li’s lips, trembled slightly.

The pain in his chest had lessened much, Ghost Li glanced at his chest, saw several white bandages in different sizes wrapped around, looked at they were tore from some clothes, and as his mind became clearer, he soon felt the broken bones in his chest, were all mended. Just that Tian Buyi’s punch was something not trivial, his entire body’s meridians suffered shock, although Lu Xueqi treated him afterwards but most likely he had to rest for many days before he could recover.

With such thoughts, he subconsciously looked over, saw his mentor who raised him up. Ghost Li did not speak, he seemed not to have even the strength to talk, in the storm, Tian Buyi’s face was wet with water, quietly lying in the dirty mud water.

Who would know, he would be like this after he died?

A low hoarse cry emitted from his throat, Ghost Li’s body rolled down from Lu Xueqi’s embrace, landed in the mud, and then struggled to crawl to Tian Buyi. Lu Xueqi was stunned and then instinctively moved to pull him. But when her hands touched Ghost Li, Ghost Li was heard saying quietly, “Don’t pull me.”

Lu Xueqi was nonplussed, slowly took back her hand. Her gaze watching Ghost Li, following him, watched as he left Tian Ya’s halo, step by step crawled towards Tian Buyi. The storm was heartless, charging coldly, soon soaked his body, on the way, the mud water covered his body.

Xiao Hui followed Ghost Li, watched his master’s plight and seemed to be worried, frequently jumped beside him and wanted to support him but as Ghost Li was much bigger than Xiao Hui, Xiao Hui couldn’t use much strength, couldn’t help but feel anxious, [zhi zhi zhi zhi] called out.

Finally, Ghost Li reached where Tian Buyi was, where he touched, was long icy-cold. Ghost Li gritted his teeth, his body slightly trembling. His eyes, carefully assessed Tian Buyi, like a returning son after many years, only to have despair.

From his face, water beads dripped down, landed on Tian Buyi’s already frozen face.

The storm intensified.

His gaze, slowly came to Tian Buyi’s chest, although his clothes had been rearranged but that horrible huge wound, was still glaring. Ghost Li like being pierced, froze.

Then, he slowly turned and looked.

Behind him, was Lu Xueqi’s lonely and mournful figure. In the storm, she quietly met Ghost Li’s gaze, her face pale, her hands in her sleeves, tightly curled into fists, her nails digging deep into her flesh.

That moment of stares, not knowing what kind of grief was it again?

Ghost Li’s face, gradually turned vacant, even the initial anguish, also disappeared, only vacant. And so he vacantly turned over, again looked at Tian Buyi, the storm blew, Tian Buyi’s face, not knowing since when, splattered with the ground’s mud.

Ghost Li slowly stretched his hand over, wiped the rainwater on Tian Buyi’s face. When he touched the cold skin, his hands seemed to be burned, instinctively shrank back and then again stretched out, carefully, cautiously wiped the mud and rain from Tian Buyi’s face.

And then, he supported himself up, crawled near his mentor’s body, using his own chest, blocked the storm for Tian Buyi, not allowing this cold bitter rain, to touch his body.

Lu Xueqi quietly watched all of this, did not stop him, on her beautiful face, there was only desolation.

“When I was young, my family broken…” Ghost Li’s voice, suddenly carried over in the storm, he spoke slowly, like every word, tossed in his heart numerous times and then slowly spitting out.

Lu Xueqi quietly walked near him, and Ghost Li’s body was still unmoving, still blocking the rain from Tian Buyi’s body.

“It was teacher who brought me to Big Bamboo Valley, taught me and raised me, his loving-kindness, I can no longer repay in my lifetime.”

Ghost Li’s body, wavered, not knowing if it was because of exhaustion, looking as if he could no longer sustain. Lu Xueqi’s countenance changed, stretched her hand out to support him but when her hands touched Ghost Li, Ghost Li instead shifted slightly away, avoiding her.

Lu Xueqi’s hands, froze in the air.

Ghost Li with effort hugged Tian Buyi’s body, embraced his head deeply, at the same time his face, revealed deep anguish, his mouth mumbling.

Lu Xueqi stood beside him, in the storm, she was still clearly heard his words, Ghost Li only kept repeating one sentence:

“My lifetime, can no longer repay...My lifetime, can no longer repay…”

Lu Xueqi’s lips, trembled, her eyes, brushed past Tian Buyi’s face, who would know, on the same night, this person once smiled and talked to her, made promises to her, allowing her in her despair, to see the faint ray of hope.

That single sword stroke, that single wound…

The person wounded, but was more than one!

She sadly smiled, turned over, her body involuntarily wavered, brows frowning, a mouthful of blood spat out. Drops, landed on her clothes, and also on the ground, but the storm was heartless, not long after, eroded by the rainwater.

She looked up, the cold rain landed on her face, the firmament like ink, a stretch of darkness.

Wasn’t it soon daylight?

But why, this heaven and earth, even at this moment, other than this storm, leaving only, a stretch of darkness?

Tears at the corner of Lu Xueqi’s eyes, in this storm, quietly trickled down.

     

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