She could not describe what she felt, but she could tell that it was different from before. In the past, when she went to see Si Ma Xin, she would be filled with warmth. Whether she was just talking or playing chess with him, every single gaze of his would make her heart pound as if there was a horde of deer running rampart within her.
Yet now, while the feeling was not gone per se, it had become much weaker. This brought about a mix of emotion in her heart, along with great confusion.
She quietly left the seventh summit and walked on the familiar path leading up to the first summit. Yet as she walked on this path this day, she felt that the trail had become much shorter.
Bai Su was not overly familiar with the first summit. She might have come here several times, but she only knew the road leading to Si Ma Xin’s cave abode. When she arrived outside it, she saw Si Ma Xin sitting by a stone table dressed in a long robe and looking as handsome as ever.
There was a gentle look on Si Ma Xin’s face, and his smile was very captivating. His eyes shone like stars when he looked at Bai Su.
"Su Su, you haven’t come here to see me for more than a month, is there something wrong?"
"Big brother Si Ma…"
Bai Su’s paused in her footsteps. She did not know what to say. The wildness of her disposition disappeared without a trace at that moment and was replaced with docility, obedience, and that complicated feeling that still remained within her.
"Come, sit before me."
Si Ma Xin looked at Bai Su. The moonlight made his smile even more captivating; this was Si Ma Xin’s unique charm.
Bai Su walked quietly forward, sat down before him, and dipped her head down. She looked like a completely different person compared to when she was in the ninth summit. It was as if they were from two separate worlds.
Bai Su’s thoughts were a little messy. She had no idea why, but ever since she came here, her heart had been racing. However, she still knew at the very least that the reason for it was not because of Si Ma Xin but that hint of uneasiness lying deep within her heart.
She could not find the source of the uneasiness. She just had a feeling that she should not be here.
"Su Su, what’s wrong? Why do you look so troubled?"
There was worry on Si Ma Xin’s face, and he lifted his right hand to grab Bai Su’s hand.
Yet before he could even touch her, she pulled her hand back as if shocked by lightning. She lifted her head to look at Si Ma Xin with nervousness and a short moment of bewilderment.
"It’s… It’s nothing… Big brother Si Ma, I’m fine."
Bai Su forced out a smile. She saw the worry in Si Ma Xin’s eyes, but for a reason she did not even knew, when she saw him, a person sitting cross-legged and allowing her to throw her tantrums suddenly appeared in her head.
"Su Su, have you talked to your father about Freezing Sky Cave?"
Si Ma Xin was not bothered by Bai Su’s expression or actions. He still looked calm when he spoke gently. Even his voice felt like the spring wind. In the freezing weather, his smiles could make people’s hearts feel warm. That tone, smile, and expression were something Si Ma Xin could put on with ease. He was already used to it, used to all the girls looking at him differently when he spoke to them in that voice.
He believed that Bai Su was the same.
‘What’s wrong with him? I haven’t seen him in seven days. What is he doing in his cave..? Did something happen to him..? No, it shouldn’t have...’
Bai Su’s mind wandered. There was a single thought that had been lingering in her mind for the past few days, and it was about why Su Ming had not come out of his cave for seven days.
She had a lot of questions about it, but as time passed by, those questions were also tinted with a hint of slight worry.
"Su Su!" Si Ma Xin frowned.
Bai Su was stunned and snapped out of her stupor. Immediately, she returned to her docile self with a hint of nervousness.
"Big brother Si Ma… I…"
"Su Su, if something happened to you, you must tell me. Don’t be like this. It’ll just make my heart ache for you when I see it…" Si Ma Xin said softly. "If you’re troubled because of me going into Freezing Sky Clan, then I can give it up. For you, I can give it up." Gentleness appeared in Si Ma Xin’s eyes.
"If you’re troubled because I told you to get closer to Su Ming, then I can also give it up. I told you, for you, I can give up on everything."
Si Ma Xin’s voice was laced with a strange attractive quality that made it very pleasant to the ears.
Bai Su looked at Si Ma Xin, at the man before her, and Su Ming’s face appeared faintly in her mind once again. These two completely different people treated her in absolutely different ways, and the way she acted before them was also different.
"Su Su…" Si Ma Xin looked intently at Bai Su.
"Big brother Si Ma, don’t worry. I’m fine… I already told my father, and he has agreed to let you go into Freezing Sky Cave," Bai Su said softly, biting her lip.
Joy blossomed in Si Ma Xin’s heart, but on his face was only a look of worry.
"I don’t care about that, I only care about…"
"Big brother Si Ma, I’m tired…"
This was the first time Bai Su had interrupted Si Ma Xin’s words. Fatigue and confusion fused together on her face. She stood up gently, left her seat, and walked away.
When Bai Su disappeared in the distance, Si Ma Xin calmly picked up the wine cup on the table, took a sip, then placed it down slowly. He closed his eyes and immersed himself in his thoughts for a moment before standing up and walking to his cave abode. His expression remained calm and not a hint of change due to Bai Su’s expressions and actions could be seen on him.
Yet after he left the table, the stone chair he had sat on shuddered and cracks appeared on it. In an instant, it turned to dust and scattered into the wind.
The eighth morning arrived with the sun rising into the sky. When the first rays of sunlight shone on the land, Su Ming opened his eyes and looked at the light outside his cave. Gradually, a dark expression appeared on his face.
‘It’s been eight days… and Zi Che isn’t back yet.’
Su Ming got up, walked out of the cave onto the platform, and frowned.
Zi Che had said before he left that he would need at most three to five days before he could return, and he also said that most of the trading squares were courteous towards those of Freezing Sky Clan. Most of them were also fair towards those who came to trade.
After all, that place belonged to Freezing Sky Clan, and there were few who would dare to offend Freezing Sky Clan in the Land of South Morning!
Freezing Sky Clan was also very close to the Great Tribe of Freezing Sky. The tribe and Freezing Sky Clan complemented each other. Although the two of them seemed like two completely different forces, they came from the same root.
All the disciples in Freezing Sky Clan would go to the Great Tribe of Freezing Sky to be given a title once they reached a certain level of cultivation. They would treat the Great Tribe of Freezing Sky as they would their own Master. The area around this place might not be impenetrable, but accidents rarely happened in the area near where Freezing Sky Clan disciples regularly went to.
While Zi Che might not have reached the Bone Sacrifice Realm, he was one of the best among those who had reached the later stage of the Awakening Realm. He was also ranked within the top ten in the Great Frozen Plains ranking boards. He might not be as prodigious as Si Ma Xin, but it was still enough for people to look up to him.
This sort of person did not lack experience venturing out either. He understood the area around the place very well, that was why Su Ming let him go alone so that he could save up more time for his own training.
Yet now, eight days had gone by, and there were no news from Zi Che. Su Ming did not believe for one second that Zi Che would leave without a reason. This brought nothing beneficial to Zi Che, unless he betrayed his own Master because of this and never returned to Freezing Sky Clan, for as long as his power could not surpass the ninth summit’s and as long as his Master could not surpass Tian Xie Zi, then the only thing left waiting for him was the punishment for not fulfilling his promise.
Su Ming and Zi Che had been around each other for quite some time. He could tell that Zi Che was not someone so foolish. He was a person who knew how to act accordingly, and most importantly, the seal on his person was only lifted for ten days.
Besides, while Su Ming was not very good, he was not bad to him either. In this sort of situation, Su Ming could not find reason for Zi Che to not return.
‘Unless something happened to him…’
A freezing glint appeared in Su Ming’s eyes and a murderous aura accumulated within his body. After the experiences he gained during those few days he was in the Shaman Tribe, the murderous aura within his body was no longer empty inside but was now filled with bloodiness.
Almost at the instant the murderous aura within him gathered together, Su Ming lifted his head and looked in the horizon. Over there, a long, dim arc was flying crookedly towards the ninth summit.
The person within the long arc was Zi Che. His face was pale, and there was fresh blood flowing out of his mouth. When he arrived at the ninth summit and the long arc disappeared to reveal his body, Zi Che coughed out a large mouthful of blood.
Within his blood were black bugs that were densely packed together. They squirmed around and devoured each other in a crazed fashion. Just the sight of it was terrifying to behold.
Zi Che’s face was bloodless. There was a wound on his chest so deep that his bones could be seen. There was also black arrow on his right leg. Black mist seeped out of it, turning into ghosts that were laughing hideously.
Zi Che shuddered and fell to his knees with a bang. His eyes were dull, and with a broken laugh, blood spilled out of his mouth once again. Those black bugs could still be seen in his blood. There was only a thread of life left within him, and that small thread was clearly because his enemy did not want to kill him. That small hint of life was left on purpose.
"Zhuo Ge, the Black Arrow Berserker of the Great Tribe of Freezing Sky’s Northern Frontier Tribe…"
The moment Zi Che uttered his last word, he fell to the side, unable to cope with his injuries any longer.
Su Ming stood by the side, his expression growing terrifyingly dark. The murderous aura in his right eye surged like raging clouds, but his left eye was as calm as the water in an ancient well. His hair danced in the air. Wind blew past, but it could not blow away the murderous aura coming from within him.
A cry of surprise came from the mountain stairs ahead of Su Ming. That sound came from Bai Su, who would come every day around this time. She stood there and stared at Su Ming with wide eyes. This was the first time she saw Su Ming acting this way!
The killing intent in his right eye and calmness in his left eye created a powerful contrast that made her breathing freeze for a moment.