Nonetheless, even though he was exhausted, there was still joy on his face. When he stretched out his right hand, there was a black little rod the size of a finger’s segment lying on his palm silently.
If he took a closer look, he would find that it was the strange rod shaped insect snake hybrid.
The snake had its head lowered. If Su Ming did not look carefully, it would be difficult for him to see that the creature’s eyes were also closed. There was an exhausted air coming from it that was similar to Su Ming’s own exhaustion, and along with it was also a strong sense of feebleness.
It was clear that the things that had happened just now not only injured this highly intelligent snake physically, but mentally as well.
Yet Su Ming could clearly feel that the snake was different after it went through the process of changing owners. Its soul had just gone through a change, and there was an intense, malicious killing intent that Su Ming felt as if he could touch spreading out faintly from its body.
"When you wake up from your sleep… then I will have another trump card by my side!" Su Ming mumbled and stroked the rod insect with his left hand.
The insect did not move. The struggles and resistance it once showed could no longer be found.
After being silent for a moment, Su Ming placed the insect into Han Mountain Bell once again. He might still be sealing up the creature, but the meaning behind his action was different this time. Previously, he had sealed it up to capture it, now, he was protecting it.
He would use Han Mountain Bell’s might to protect the incredibly weakened snake and allow it ample time to recover until the moment it fully awakened!
Once he put away Han Mountain Bell, Su Ming took a deep breath. The world outside was darkening once again. Before long, darkness would completely fall upon the land. Su Ming stood up and walked out of his cave abode.
The moment he got out, a cold blast of wind blew against his face and lifted his hair and clothes. It made Su Ming feel some of his fatigue leave his body. He breathed in the chilling air and a cold sensation spread into his body until it filled him from head to toe.
Yet this chill only affected his body. Su Ming’s heart remained warm because he was standing on the ninth summit, his home.
When Zi Che saw Su Ming walking closer to where he sat not too far away, he immediately stood up and bowed respectfully towards him.
"Greetings, uncle master Su."
Su Ming did not speak. He looked at the world in the distance and at the dim light in the horizon that seemed like a bonfire that was about to be extinguished. He looked at the light as it was gradually swallowed up by the darkness, and he continued watching until the world turned completely dark.
There was not a hint of impatience on Zi Che’s face. Instead, he simply stood by the side respectfully and waited for Su Ming’s command. He had already thought things through thoroughly. In these three years, he would make a place for himself in the ninth summit, because he had already understood how the ninth summit worked!
Time trickled by, and after a long while of Su Ming staring at the darkness in the distance, his voice came forth slowly from within the darkness, "Who is Bai Su?"
Su Ming hadn’t asked about Bai Su previously even though that question had been lingering in his heart. Yet now, when he was fighting against Si Ma Xin with the rod insect acting as the medium, he sensed Si Ma Xin’s plans and a vague speculation formed in his mind.
Zi Che was silent for a moment before he spoke respectfully, "Uncle master Su, Bai Su is a disciple of Freezing Sky Clan’s seventh summit. She rarely speaks and I don’t know much about her. But from what I understand about Si Ma Xin, he wouldn’t have gotten into contact with an ordinary disciple without reason. The girl only has mediocre potential. If Si Ma Xin got into contact with her, then there must be something unusual about her, perhaps it’s her status,"
Su Ming thought for a few moments before he turned around and walked off the platform he was standing on. Zi Che quickly followed behind him, and the two of them walked through the ninth summit at midnight.
Besides the moaning sounds of the wind, there were no other sounds at this time. It was quiet all around them. Su Ming’s footsteps were unhurried, but there seemed to be a rhythm every single time his foot landed. Zi Che followed behind him, and the more he looked, the more shocked he became.
‘As I thought, all the people in the ninth summit are monsters. Su Ming’s walk alone is strange. If I look at it for a long period of time, I’ll start feeling as if my mind is being stepped on.’
Zi Che licked his lips and eagerness appeared in his eyes.
As the two of them continued walking, an attentive look suddenly appeared on Zi Che’s face and he turned his head swiftly towards a dark place not too far in the distance. Just now, he seemed to have seen a person floating by in the corner of his eye.
"That’s my second senior brother."
Before Zi Che could make any sort of warning, Su Ming’s calm voice had already traveled into his ears.
Zi Che was stunned, but before he could wrap his mind around it, he immediately narrowed his eyes. He just saw a strange figure floating by from that dark spot not too far away.
That figure suddenly stopped. Whoever it was, he or she lowered their body and looked around before lowering their head and grabbing a few plants. Then that person floated to another spot.
That figure was like a ghost, and all those who saw it would feel primal fear blossoming in their hearts.
Zi Che watched the figure’s actions. It silently floated around, making Zi Che’s skin crawl. It was night at the moment, and it was quiet all around them. The sudden appearance of such a strange person, and especially after learning about his identity, made Zi Che feel shaken.
Zi Che took a deep breath. His gaze fell on Su Ming, who was still walking forward slowly, not turning his head around. Zi Che quickly caught up to him, and after a moment of hesitation, he asked in a whisper, "He… Er… What is second uncle master doing?"
"He’s stealing his own plants," Su Ming stated calmly.
Very soon, he arrived at Hu Zi’s cave abode. Su Ming had already promised Chen Xiang to help her persuade Hu Zi. Since he had received Chen Xiang’s gifts, then there was no way he would forget about this task.
"Stealing his own plants…"
There was a strange look on Zi Che’s face as he walked over to the cave, along with bafflement. The ninth summit was becoming even more difficult to figure out to him.
Su Ming did not hear his third senior brother’s snores as he stood outside Hu Zi’s cave. He went in and saw that the cave was empty. His third senior brother had gone somewhere.
Su Ming felt the beginnings of a headache blooming in his head. He could already imagine it. Whenever nighttime came and Hu Zi did not have anything else to do, he would definitely go out and ‘explore’ with that mysterious smile on his face.
Right now, he would have gone to some other summit and would be crouched in a corner with a grin as he peaked on other people.
Zi Che was standing behind Su Ming. When he saw that the cave abode was empty, he did not think too much into it, but when he saw Su Ming frown, a thought suddenly struck his head and he remembered the rumors regarding Hu Zi circulating within Freezing Sky Clan.
When he remembered these rumors, a shudder ran through Zi Che’s body and his expression became weirder.
Su Ming walked out of the cave with a frown, then lifted his head to look at the night sky. After a moment of silence, he walked into the distance. He did not speak throughout the way, and Zi Che too remained silent behind him. The two of them walked silently for about the time it takes for an incense stick to burn before Su Ming suddenly stopped.
At the same time, a soft giggle that made Zi Che’s hair stand on end came from a place not too far away.
That giggle was like the shrieks of nocturnal birds, and in the quiet midnight, that sound was incredibly distinct.
That bone-chilling giggle was followed by a voice that seemed to be moved by something.
"As expected, I’m just the smartest person around. Second senior brother, o second senior brother, I won’t tell you just who’s stealing your flowers. Ah… it’s not a good thing being too smart. Look at me, I’m too smart, that’s why I’m lonely… too lonely…"
Zi Che’s mind was blank. Naturally, he had recognized the voice to be Hu Zi’s, but he just could not tell how Hu Zi was smart…
In the midst of his confusion, Zi Che stole an instinctive look towards Su Ming.
Right before his eyes, he saw Su Ming’s frown disappear, and he bent his tall and straight back, then with his back lowered, he moved softly forward.
Zi Che’s mind was already in a mess. The Su Ming right before his eyes seemed to have changed from what he usually saw. That posture of his with his back bent made Zi Che gulp a few times, but he then imitated the actions and moved forward quietly with a crouched back.
Before long, a large stone appeared before them. Zi Che saw a man crouching behind the stone like a tiger with his head stretched out as he looked out from the edge of the stone.
Su Ming was already used to Hu Zi’s actions. With his back arched, he approached the stone and crouched down beside Hu Zi. His senior brother turned around and cast a glance at Su Ming. He was just about to speak when he saw Su Ming lifting his right index finger and making a shushing sound with a bitter smile.
Hu Zi’s eyes sparkled and an approving look appeared on his face before he whispered, "Not bad, youngest junior brother. Looks like you’ve adopted my good habit, and now I won’t be lonely anymore. I’ll take you around and let you see every corner of Freezing Sky Clan."
Zi Che was also crouching by the side. Curiosity was burning within him, and he could not help himself from lifting his head and looking out the edge of the stone. The moment he saw what was there, he blinked and found himself speechless.
There was a frozen river lying between the mountains behind the stone, and there was a sunken area in the middle of the ice. It was about 100 feet in breadth, and there was an ice block that was about a few dozen feet tall standing in it.
There was a dim light shining in the ice, and he could vaguely see a woman’s figure on it. She seemed to be… bathing there.
As the woman bathed, she kept looking around her carefully.
Since only the woman’s back was in sight, they could only see her long hair, not her face, and since the view was a little muddled, it would have been difficult for anyone to see her face anyway.
"What… What is this..?"
A baffled look appeared in Zi Che’s eyes. He simply couldn’t wrap his head around why this illusion would appear on the 100 feet tall ice.
He also instinctively looked around him and found the area to be in silence. It was clear that no one was around bathing.
"Heh heh, this is your Grandpa Hu’s greatest invention. So what if the seventh summit has a tight defence? I don’t even have to go there and I can still see what I want from here."
There was a proud look on Hu Zi’s face, and he seemed delighted with himself.
Zi Che was stunned and the question slipped off his tongue before he even knew it.
"… Uncle master Hu, since you can see it here, then why don’t you just go out and watch by the ice instead of crouching down here..?"
When Hu Zi heard his question, he immediately glared at him condescendingly.
"This is the only way you’ll feel as if you’re peeking, do you understand?!"
Zi Che laughed bitterly. For some reason, that woman’s blurred out back was somewhat familiar, but he just could not place a finger on it. When he looked at it once again, the reflection of the woman on the ice turned around and the side view of her face, though still blurred out, was revealed.
The moment her face came into view, Zi Che’s jaw fell slack and veins began popping on his face.