Tian Xie Zi turned around and with brightly shining eyes, he looked at Su Ming, who may have been tired, but whose eyes were as calm as still water.
He looked at his fourth disciple and waited for his answer.
"Master, this is my Creation," Su Ming looked towards the direction of Lizard Shaman Tribe and stated slowly.
"I don’t really understand eldest senior brother’s Creation, but I can tell that the skill he is training with is the fusion of ice and fire. Ice is cold, and fire is hot. They are like two complete opposites, and the fusion of these two defies common sense, making it difficult for others to understand it.
"Yet if he is successful in fusing two elements that contradict each other, then he’ll be able to clear his mind. This is eldest senior brother’s Creation." Su Ming averted his gaze from Lizard Shaman Tribe and looked at Tian Xie Zi.
Tian Xie Zi remained silent for a moment before he met Su Ming’s gaze.
"Your eldest senior brother’s Creation is the Sound of Creation."
"Sound is noise, and isolation is silence. It is still combining two complete opposites. Isolation is ice, and noise is fire, it is the same," Su Ming said calmly.
"Let’s talk about second senior brother next. He possesses a pair of Hands of Creation. During the day, he creates life for the plants, and during night, he destroys the plants’ lives by pulling them out from their roots…"
Su Ming’s murmurs echoed in the forest.
"These are also two opposites and defy common sense. Creating and destroying is like life and death. Second senior brother’s Creation is the fusion of life and death, the combination of creation and destruction."
Tian Xie Zi’s face was calm, but his heart was shaken. He did not expect that Su Ming, who had not been long in the ninth summit, would have made such discoveries and arrived at such conclusions.
"Continue!" he said.
"Third senior brother trains with two complete opposites as well. His is a mindset that defies common sense, a fusion between truths and lies. The truth is reality, and the lie is his dream.
"He is trying to fuse reality and dreams together. By being constantly drunk, he can linger in a state between being awake and being asleep. If the day comes that he truly wakes up… then his Creation will be complete."
Su Ming’s gaze fell upon Tian Xie Zi once again and he asked softly, "Master, am I right?"
"That is indeed the road your third senior brother is taking." A praising look appeared in Tian Xie Zi’s eyes and he nodded his head.
"It’s not." Su Ming’s voice was weightless, but his words were filled with determination.
Tian Xie Zi frowned.
"This is the road you want them to take…" Su Ming shook his head. "Because they cannot be understood, because they have to fuse those two opposites, that’s why people think that all those within the ninth summit are weird. Eldest senior brother is always in isolation, so he seems slightly more normal than us, because he rarely ventures out and the people don’t really understand him.
"Second senior brother plants flowers during day and destroys them at night. Using ‘weird’ to describe his actions is no longer sufficient.
"Third senior brother is constantly drunk and always talks about bringing people into his dreams. When those who don’t understand hear him, they might think he’s crazy. Because these things defy common sense, because they are different from other people, because they are not understood by others, that is why they are praise worthy to you. They have become the vice that is the meaning of your middle name, the Xie in Tian Xie Zi!"
When Su Ming reached this point of his speech, he stopped talking.
Tian Xie Zi was silent.
Both Master and disciple remained silent in the forest for a moment until Su Ming whispered, "Master, this is your path… not mine."
"Then what is it that you pursue?" Tian Xie Zi looked at Su Ming and a complicated look appeared in his eyes.
"I don’t know…" Su Ming shook his head. He cast a glance towards Lizard Shaman Tribe once more before he turned his gaze towards the sky. "If there really is one, then I think it should be… to open my eyes."
Su Ming closed his eyes.
"What do you want to see when you open your eyes?"
As Tian Xie Zi looked at Su Ming, the look in his eyes became even more complicated. He looked at Su Ming and found himself seemingly looking at his past self, at the time when he talked to his own Master. Their words might be different, but they had the same expression on their faces.
"Perhaps it is to see the world that others can’t see."
Su Ming opened his eyes, and a brilliant light could be shining within them. There was a firm resolution within that light, along with determination and aspiration.
"Why do you want to see a world that others can’t see?" Tian Xie Zi asked calmly. His voice was laced with curiosity and echoed in the surroundings.
Su Ming was silent. After a long while, he looked back at Tian Xie Zi.
"To see myself… my true self," he mumbled.
A smile appeared on Tian Xie Zi’s face, then it gradually grew wider before it escalated to a full blown laughter. His laughter reverberated through the forest and floated into the skies.
"Good. What you pursue is not the vice I want either. You want to open your eyes to look at a world that no one can see, and that means that the entire world is drunk, and you are the only one sober!
"This is not a vice, this is a state that has far surpassed a vice. This is… a life which I don’t even know the name of! Su Ming, if you eventually manage to do it someday, then you must be prepared. You might find yourself unable to tolerate this drunken world anymore!
"Because you… will be awake!"
Su Ming shuddered. He looked at Tian Xie Zi and nodded.
"Come. I’ll take you home now…"
Tian Xie Zi patted Su Ming’s shoulder and waved his arm. A huge gust of wind appeared out of nowhere and lifted both Master and disciple into the air before they disappeared into the vast sky belonging to the Shaman Tribe.
"But before we go back, I want to bring you to some places. Once you see these places, you will gain a deeper understanding of the blood feud between the Shaman Tribe and the Berserker Tribe… It will also prepare you for when you open your eyes and see a bigger world."
Tian Xie Zi’s voice echoed in the air before they gradually disappeared.
Within Sky Mist Barrier, at the borders of the Land of South Morning belonging to the Berserker Tribe was a mountain range. The sky above that mountain range distorted, and from within the distorted ripples, Tian Xie Zi and Su Ming walked out.
"Take a close look at the ground below you and tell me what you see." Tian Xie Zi looked at the mountain range below him and his voice fell into Su Ming’s ears.
Su Ming’s fatigue remained, but his wounds were already under control. He looked at the place where Tian Xie Zi pointed. That place was filled with mountain ranges, and at first glance there was nothing strange about it. The only thing that stood out was perhaps the few mountains that were rather desolate and barren. There were absolutely no plants growing on them.
Su Ming frowned. He descended from midair and stood on one of the barren mountains. Then he crouched down and grabbed a handful of sand from its surface. When he placed it by his mouth, a bright glint appeared in his eyes.
"There’s a faint stench of blood…"
Su Ming lifted his head and looked around. The instant he swept his gaze across the place, he suddenly focused his eyes on a certain spot.
That was a mountain ridge, and it was filled with a desolate air. Even the sand was bleak.
He walked towards the mountain ridge with uncertainty in his heart. Gradually, a grave look appeared on Su Ming’s face. He lifted his right hand and pushed his palm towards the ground through the air. A large gust of wind instantly roared through the air and lifted the sand around the area, turning into a vortex. The wind rose and blew away the sand layer by layer.
Some broken wood and shattered stone bowls were revealed buried under the sand. There were also… human bones that had turned brown due to time.
The entire place was filled with broken bones…
Su Ming swept his gaze across the broken bones. Some of the bones were rather thin, some thick. Eventually, Su Ming’s eyes fell on a rather complete skeleton.
It was a child’s skeleton. Only the upper half of it remained, but he could see that many the bones were broken. The child’s hands suggested that he or she had been holding onto something before death, but that thing was no longer around.
A shudder ran through Su Ming’s body and he lifted his head swiftly to look at Tian Xie Zi standing in the sky.
"This was once a tribe…"
"It was a rather big small-sized tribe. There were about 700 people in it, though they had less than forty Berserkers in their tribe. The others were either normal tribe members or toddlers.
"300 years ago, we failed to defend a part of Sky Mist Barrier and some Shamans entered our land. This tribe was one of the tribes they destroyed.
"The men, women, old, and young were all killed brutally!"
Su Ming lowered his head and looked at the child’s bones. He fell silent.
"If you go east from here, you will find more than 40 of such tribes that were destroyed in this fashion… There are tribes here that were destroyed 300 years ago, and there are also those that were destroyed far earlier in the passage of time."
Su Ming took a step forward. Instantly, he started charging towards the east. Tian Xie Zi followed behind him, no longer speaking. He simply watched as Su Ming moved through the ruined tribes.
As time passed by, Su Ming’s face became darker with each ruin he passed. Once an entire day went by, Su Ming stood on a plain of grass with dark clouds covering the sky. Lush grass grew underneath his feet on the plains, but it could not hide the blood and slaughter that had occurred in this place before.
Tian Xie Zi moved to Su Ming’s side and said calmly, "This is just a part of it…
"In the Sky Mist Barrier, entire tribes that were massacred like this amount to too many. Thousands of years have passed by since then, and this has turned into the hate between us and the Shaman Tribe. Unless one of us dies, we will never stop fighting against each other…"
Su Ming closed his eyes and only whispered his thoughts after a long time had passed, "The Shamans… are very strong."
"That is true." Tian Xie Zi turned his gaze to the sky in the distance.
Su Ming hesitated for a moment, then started, "Then the so called Sky Mist Shaman Hunt…"
The one who answered Su Ming’s question was Tian Xie Zi, who was standing by his side. "To the Shaman Tribe, this once in a decade activity is known as the Berserker Hunt."
Su Ming’s pupils shrank. The bloodiness within those two simple words could not be formed by killing just 10, or 100, or 1000, or even 10,000 people. This was a mass slaughter that had happened throughout the ages. As people spoke and listened to these two words, they would feel a murderous aura spilling out from within them.
"This is just like an agreement made by both sides, a massacre that occurs once a decade…" A glint shone in Su Ming’s eyes and he looked towards Tian Xie Zi.
Tian Xie Zi looked at Su Ming. After a long while, he nodded his head.
"This… is a game."
"A game?" Su Ming looked at the grass plains under his feet and let out a chuckle.
"The game is played by both sides. The reason why it has lasted for thousands of years is because both sides have their own goals. As for what the goals are… well, you have to find the answer yourself.
"Now, tell me. Do you… still want to join Sky Mist Shaman Hunt?"
Tian Xie Zi turned around and walked towards the sky.
Su Ming stood there for a while before he turned into a long arc and flew back to his Master’s side, who was waiting for him in midair.
"I will join Sky Mist Battle… As a member of the Land of South Morning, I will take part… in this game."
Su Ming’s voice was calm. He and Tian Xie Zi turned into two long arcs, moving in the direction of Freezing Sky Clan. They gradually flew into the distance and disappeared.