Fang Shen opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something, but he could not speak. He trembled. His heart clenched in pain and his face instantly turned pale. As he looked at Fang Mu lying on the bed, his struggles reached their peak.
"Brother…" Han Cang Zi looked at Fang Shen and spoke softly, but she could only utter that one word.
She could not help with his choice because she had already left Tranquil East Tribe and become a disciple of Freezing Sky Clan. She could not take Fang Shen’s place in making this decision.
"Fang Shen, you’re the tribe leader of Tranquil East Tribe. The fate of the tribe lies on your shoulders…" the Elder of Tranquil East Tribe said calmly.
"This day… was bound to come sooner or later…" Fang Shen looked at his son and the struggles in his heart reflected in his eyes gradually disappeared to be replaced by resolution. "Everyone will die in the end… He is my son… He shouldn’t be my son…" he mumbled.
Su Ming remained silent as he looked at Fang Mu lying by his side. He looked at his purplish black face and felt as if he could feel the boy’s pain. Perhaps he was only suffering from physical pain, but if Fang Mu could hear what was happening around him at that moment, then the pain he suffered would definitely stem from within his heart.
His fate lay in his father’s hands, and he would have no idea how his father would choose. Would he choose to ignore the danger of offending Si Ma Xin and take the big risk of saving his son’s life, or would his father… give up on him?
"He still has some consciousness left, he can hear your decision," Su Ming said languidly.
He had seen a single tear trickle down the corner of Fang Mu’s eye just now, but before it managed to fall, it had turned into a shard of ice.
Fang Shen trembled even harder. He staggered forward and walked into the room. The freezing air closed in on him. This man, who did not look old, looked as if he had become old in an instant. He trembled and knelt down beside the bed, then lifted his right hand without caring about the ice and touched Fang Mu’s face.
"Mu Er, I’m sorry… I’m first the tribe leader of Tranquil East Tribe, then only am I your father… That’s why over all these years, even if I knew about the source of your injuries, I pretended that I didn’t know. I pretended to search for ways to cure you to hide the fact that I knew…
"Whenever I saw you trying to prove yourself before me, my heart would clench in pain," Fang Shen mumbled and tears fell down his cheeks.
"Fang Shen, we can only let the boy die. We… can’t save him, and we mustn’t save him…"
The Elder of Tranquil East Tribe sighed, and a conflicted look appeared on his face.
"I can’t save him? That’s right. I’m a member of Tranquil East Tribe…" Fang Shen’s chuckles gradually grew into loud laughter. However, there was only grief in his laughter. "It’s precisely because I am the tribe leader, that’s why even if I knew all these, I could not tell him, I even had to put up a farce before him… Sir Mo, what are the chances of success to cure Fang Mu?"
Red appeared in Fang Shen’s eyes. He turned to look at Su Ming.
Su Ming looked at Fang Shen kneeling before him and a barely noticeable glint flashed in his eyes.
"I have no confidence, not even a tenth of it," he stated slowly. "But if I take action, even if I don’t succeed, Si Ma Xin will still discover it. That’s why you must think clearly."
Su Ming no longer looked at Fang Shen, but cast his gaze on Fang Mu.
‘Fang Mu, I’m sorry, I didn’t tell him the truth. I want to know what your father would choose to do in this situation,’ Su Ming thought silently.
This situation… reminded him of himself.
Fang Shen’s face was bloodless. He lowered his head slowly and looked at Fang Mu blankly.
The Elder of Tranquil East Tribe let out a long sigh before he spoke sternly. "Fang Shen, Sir Mo has spoken. The chances of saving Fang Mu are close to none. The outcome has already been decided!"
Han Cang Zi stood outside the house. Her face was bloodless. She leaned on the wall by her side as if she had lost all her strength. The grief in her eyes became more prominent.
Fang Shen was silent. After a long while, he stood up slowly and closed his eyes, cutting off his sight of his own son. His body was trembling as he turned around and walked out of the house as if that act itself was a struggle.
At the instant he turned around, he did not see that the ice shards under Fang Mu’s eyes had increased.
Fang Shen looked like he grew much older in an instant. He took one step forward with his back towards Fang Mu.
The instant his foot landed, he felt as if his heart had shattered. Right before his eyes, he saw Fang Mu sitting happily on his shoulders as he laughed happily and innocently.
Tears fell down Fang Shen’s eyes as he took his second step, but the moment his foot landed, Fang Shen let out a long sigh. He stopped.
"Elder," Fang Shen mumbled.
The Elder remained silent, but a fierce look appeared in his eyes.
"I’ve been the tribe leader for Tranquil East Tribe for 19 years. For the past 19 years, I’ve been the tribe leader of Tranquil East Tribe, not Mu Er’s father… but now, I will take up the responsibilities of a father!
"I, Fang Shen, will leave Tranquil East Tribe and resign from the post of tribe leader!
"From now on, I no longer have anything to do with Tranquil East Tribe. If Mu Er lives, I will bring him with me… If Mu Er passes why, I will kill myself as an apology."
"What are you saying?! Not even Sir Mo is confident he can cure your son! Why are you doing this for a boy who lost all hope of surviving?!"
The fierce look in the Elder’s eyes became sharper.
Fang Shen lifted his head and looked at the Elder of Tranquil East Tribe firmly.
"I’m his father!"
When the words fell into Su Ming’s ears, a shudder ran through his body. He looked at Fang Shen, then at Fang Mu, then let out a soft sigh. When he saw that the Elder of Tranquil East Tribe was about to fly into rage, Su Ming lifted his right hand and waved it at Fang Shen.
His actions were too sudden. As he swung his arm, a large amount of lightning appeared around Fang Shen. With a rumble, Fang Shen coughed out a mouthful of blood and he was flung out of the house. He fell outside, and while stunned, he struggled to get up, but with a shock from the lightning sparks surrounding his body, he fainted.
Soon after, a bell chime reverberated in the air from within Su Ming’s body. That bell chime did not spread too far outwards, only within the house. Yet when the Elder heard it, he trembled and staggered back. It was not until he retreated a few hundred feet that he managed to gain his footing.
His face was pale as he looked at Su Ming, as if he had just understood something. He silently looked at the unconscious Fang Shen before he let out a long sigh, then he lifted his right hand and slammed it on his chest. With that one strike, he coughed out fresh blood and fell to the side.
"When I first came to the Land of South Morning, I met you. That is our fate… Since that’s the case, I will shoulder the responsibility of facing Si Ma Xin… You… have a good father…"
With his right hand, Su Ming tapped the center of Fang Mu’s brows. The moment his palm landed, Fang Mu started trembling viciously. The ice on his body was instantly surrounded by lightning, and with a few cracking sounds, it shattered inch by inch.
Yet the moment the ice on his body shattered, freezing air spread out from within Fang Mu’s body once again, as if it was going to cover his body in ice once more. When what little remained of his life force was gone, Fang Mu would breathe his last.
A glint appeared in Su Ming’s eyes. Almost at the very instant the freezing air appeared, he lifted his right hand again, and with a flash of lightning, a white medicinal pill appeared in his hand.
The medicinal pill was about the size of an infant’s fist. It was round, and did not look as if it was supposed to be consumed. It looked like an enchanted treasure instead. The moment it appeared, an absorption force spread out, causing a large amount of the freezing air in the house to surge towards the pill, as if the medicinal pill itself was a void that sucked in all that existed.
Su Ming might not have known about the name nor the origins of the Berserker Seed planted within Fang Mu, but from the looks of it, there was a hint of the power from a Berserker Mark hidden within, nourishing it. As long as it was a Berserker Mark, then Su Ming was confident Spirit Plunder would be effective.
As of then, the hint of power from the Berserker Mark nourishing the Berserker Seed within Fang Mu waned and withered away. There was not much power left. It was precisely because of this that Fang Mu, who had lost a large amount of his life force, could still bear to withstand its existence, still hang on to life.
Extinguishing a waning Mark of a Berserker Seed was not something Su Ming had confidence only once in ten times to perform. He had but absolute confidence!
The moment he brought out Spirit Plunder, not only did it absorb the freezing air around him, but the purplish black hue on Fang Mu’s face also seemed to have come alive, turning into a layer of fog on his skin that started tumbling about as if it wanted to sink into Fang Mu’s body and hide itself.
Yet the moment Su Ming swung his right arm and Spirit Plunder slowly floated down to stick to the center of Fang Mu’s brows, the purplish black fog was immediately absorbed into the medicinal pill.
A large amount of purplish black fog was incessantly absorbed by the medicinal pill. Gradually, a layer of frost appeared on the medicinal pill, but the rate of absorption did not decrease by even the slightest. It only became faster.
After a moment, an indistinct roar came from within Fang Mu’s body. Once all the purplish black fog was absorbed, a purple snow flower appeared on Fang Mu’s face.
The snow flower had been buried deep within his body. Right now, it was finally forced out. As Fang Mu trembled furiously, the snow flower was drawn to the medicinal pill’s side. In an instant, it was taken in.
When the medicinal pill sucked in the snow flower, its color immediately changed to purple!
Cold, chilly air spread out from within the pill. Its appearance changed drastically. Once it spun a few circles slowly on Fang Mu’s head, it floated at a leisurely pace to Su Ming before landing on his right palm.
The instant he came into contact with the medicinal pill, a gust of freezing air seeped into Su Ming’s body, but it soon dispersed. At the same time, a similar presence to that of an enchanted treasure appeared on the medicinal pill.
Its color also started to change slowly, eventually returning to white once again. It was slightly transparent, and Su Ming could see a layer of purple snow sealed deep within.
"I can save you, but I can’t return you the life force you lost. Take care of yourself. Now, nothing connects us anymore," Su Ming stated calmly and put away the medicinal pill.
He looked at Fang Mu, whose face no longer had the purplish black hue and whose body was no longer covered in frost, struggling to open his eyes before he turned around and left.
Fang Mu opened his eyes weakly and saw an elegant back. For some unknown reason, when he saw that back, he thought he saw desolation and loneliness.
Han Cang Zi looked at Su Ming’s back outside the house and lowered her head.
The Elder of Tranquil East Tribe opened his eyes on the ground, and in his eyes were conflict and respect. He closed them once again.
By the side, Fang Shen too opened his eyes, trembling. There was gratitude and shame within them. He had not fainted.
At the foot of Tranquil East Mountain, Su Ming walked towards Han Mountain City in the dark. His long hair floated in the wind, blending with the darkness.
"Ahem… Master, you seemed to have been tricked…"
"Hah? Then why did you save him just now?"
Su Ming looked at the unfamiliar stars in the sky and did not reply.