In the small hole next to this one was a rusted iron sword. There were also some bone Vessels that had weathered away in some of the other holes.
He took a look around the area and saw that most of the items here were slightly broken. Even if some of them seemed to be in decent condition, once he approached them, they would crack just like the awl if he so much as touched them, as if they would completely shatter into pieces if he used even the slightest force.
"Oh well, Hu Zi already mentioned this before. Looks like it’s true…"
Su Ming shook his head and laughed bitterly. Once he averted his gaze, he grabbed the very first awl he took from this place, which he also broke earlier, and placed it into his storage bag before no longer paying any attention to the place. He walked into the deeper parts of the cave abode and into the second layer.
With his experience in the first layer, Su Ming did not expect much when he entered the second layer. However, right at the instant he entered the second layer, his heart started racing in his chest.
Right before his eyes were an innumerable amount of jades floating in the air. These jades were shining with a gentle light that illuminated the entire chamber of the second layer. Some of the jades even shone with a variety of colors that made them stand out at first glance.
"Could it be that Tian Xie Zi wasn’t lying about Freezing Sky Clan’s Arts and skills?!"
Su Ming was momentarily stunned.
The colorful jades did not seem fake. Even if the color was really fake, Su Ming could still clearly sense the mighty pressure and spiritual presence coming from them.
His breathing quickened and he took a few steps forward to take a closer look and grabbed a jade with his right hand. He placed it on his palm and focused his attention on it. Once he did so, he immediately felt as if his will was being absorbed into the jade, and a string of words and illusions appeared naturally in his head.
However, before he could pay attention to them, the words and illusions in his head swiftly faded away and disappeared.
Su Ming frowned and tried a few more times. Yet it was the same each time he tried. A glint appeared in his eyes and he let go of the jade before taking another one, but the results were the same.
"Is it because my level of cultivation is not high enough..?" he mumbled.
Not wanting to give up, he picked up a few dozen more jades and focused his attention on them one by one, but they were the same. The images only appeared briefly in his mind before they disappeared.
Even a simple jade that only had a small presence to it reacted the same way when Su Ming looked at it. Gradually, his face darkened.
Su Ming remained silent for a moment before he took in a deep breath and quelled the disappointment in his heart. Once he took a look at all the jades in the chamber and was marginally certain that all of them were fake, he laughed bitterly and shook his head before heading deeper into the chamber towards the third layer.
‘If the map in the third layer is also fake…’
Su Ming remained silent as he walked towards the third layer.
The third layer was built in a simple manner. It was the smallest in size, and there were stone shelves positioned around the chamber. There were some bamboo slips lying on the shelves along with some beast skins that were bundled together.
Su Ming stood in the third layer and suddenly felt nervous. He was torn between the desire to know whether the map of the Land of South Morning truly existed in this place and worried that he would not be able to find the Alliance of the Western Region once he found the map.
This was not the first time he felt so conflicted. He had been this nervous at the foot of Tranquil East Mountain when he held the borrowed map from Tranquil East Tribe in the past.
After remaining silent for a moment, Su Ming took a deep breath. He did not look at the bamboo slips, but picked out a beast skin from the large amount of beast skins lying around, opened it slowly, and looked.
There were some runic symbols that Su Ming had never seen before carved on the beast skin. With just one glance, he placed it back into its original spot and picked up another one.
Su Ming took out the beast skins one by one and opened them, but none of them were the map he wanted. When there was eventually only three beast skins left before him, his breathing quickened.
A corner of the second piece of the three remaining beast skins was exposed to the open, and it showed some faint lines that seemed to show the topography of a place. Su Ming hesitated for a moment before he gritted his teeth and grabbed that beast skin. He had a strong feeling that the beast skin in his hand was… the map he wanted to see!
To him, it did not matter whether he was taken into Freezing Sky Clan or acknowledged Tian Xie Zi as his Master. These were not important. What was important was his goal for entering Freezing Sky Clan – the map that would allow him to return to the Alliance of the Western Region!
That was why when Tian Xie Zi said he wanted to take Su Ming as his disciple and mentioned one thing among all the other benefits he offered, the one where he a map of the Land of South Morning that was even more complete that the one belonging to Freezing Sky Clan, Su Ming’s interest was sparked.
He did not care about entering Freezing Sky Clan. He only cared about the map.
That was why Su Ming agreed to acknowledge Tian Xie Zi as his Master!
At that moment, when he was continuously disappointed by what he saw in the first and second layers, his anxiety reached its peak when he held the beast skin in his hands.
His right hand shook as he opened the beast skin before him painstakingly slowly. When the beast skin was completely unfurled and Su Ming’s eyes landed on it, he trembled. He felt as if thunder was rumbling in his head, and he even felt as if there were buzzing sounds by his ears.
At that moment, he had forgotten everything. He forgot that he was within the chamber. He forgot that he was at the ninth summit of Freezing Sky Clan. He forgot that he was in the Land of South Morning. All his attention was gathered on his eyes, on his gaze that landed on the beast skin in his hands.
This was a torn and worn down beast skin, but even so, the map drawn on it was rather complete. There was an old and aged presence coming from that map, making all those who touched it to feel just how old that beast skin was.
This map should not be Tian Xie Zi’s work, but something that had existed since a long time ago.
There were five continents on the map…
With his eyes trained on the map, Su Ming sat down on the floor slowly. There was a lost and nostalgic look in his eyes, and with grief on his face, he caressed the map gently with his right hand.
He saw the Land of South Morning on the map, and also saw… the Alliance of Western Region just right above it…
"My home…" he mumbled.
Tears had started falling from his eyes some time ago. The tears slid down his face from the corners of his eyes and stained his clothes before seeping into the fabric.
Four of the five continents were located to the north, south, east, and west, and right at the center was the fifth continent. A cauldron was drawn on the spot.
The Land of South Morning was located to the south, and the Alliance of the Western Region was to the west, but there was a ravine between these two continents that seemed impossible to cross…
Su Ming’s tears stained his clothes, and some of them fell on the beast skin. He lowered his head and did not hear the sigh that came from behind him.
‘So you acknowledged me as your Master because of this..?’