He respected this old man, but not because even Tian Xie Zi had to sit down quietly before him when he came to him.
He respected this old man, but not because he was mysterious, neither was it because of Tian Xie Zi, whose robes even had to change its color when he came before him.
Su Ming respected this old man for one reason alone - He repaired that ordinary bone xun for him. That xun contained all of Su Ming’s memories, and the act of repairing his xun was an act of kindness to him.
He was grateful to this old man, that was why he respected him. For this alone, no matter how high Su Ming’s level of cultivation would become, and even if the old man was truly just an ordinary person, that respect would never change.
"I will forever remember the kindness of you repairing my xun!" Su Ming wrapped his fist in his palm towards the old man and bowed deeply towards him.
The old xun maker continued smiling, then groped about at the straw mat beside him with his right hand. Very soon, he brought out the bone xun that belonged to Su Ming.
"There are some things that can’t be considered as acts of kindness. Since you believed that a blind man like me could repair your xun and trusted me with it, then it was tied to me through fate, and you were also tied to me through fate.
"This is fate, it is not an act of kindness." The old man lifted the bone xun with his right hand, and with his left, he brushed against the surface of that xun lightly.
"Come. Sit before me… The xun is incomplete, but the broken parts on its body aren’t the main cause for it. The main cause is that it no longer has a soul. Did its previous owner pass away when he was playing a song?" the old man asked softly.
Su Ming sat down silently before the old man. He looked at the bone xun in the old man’s hands, and a hint of sorrow appeared in his eyes.
"That should be the case then…" The old man sighed.
"Its owner’s life was not the only thing that disappeared, what went with it was the xun’s soul. That is why it is no longer willing to make any sound. That is the main cause for it being broken." The old man lifted his hand and pushed the bone xun in the direction before Su Ming.
It was only during this moment that Su Ming could tell from the details that the old man was indeed blind.
"Can it… Can it still produce sound?"
Su Ming took the bone xun. There were cracks on that thing before, and now they had all turned into red, blood-like lines. It looked as if the cracks were sewn together, and the xun was much heavier. It felt heavy in his hands.
"I can only repair what is broken outside. As for the fact of its soul refusing to sing, that is not something I can change with my power. The only person who can change it is you," said the old man softly.
"I have always believed that xuns have songs, that is why they moan when they sing… If xuns didn’t have souls, how could they bear the weight of the people’s emotions? How could they produce sound and let people get immersed in their songs?
"However, there are some who can sense the xun’s soul, and others who cannot." The old man trained his eyes on Su Ming, but the emptiness in his eyes made it seem as if the world he saw was different from the people around him.
"Xuns have souls…" Su Ming mumbled. He remembered holding that xun during many nights when he felt lonely while quietly playing a song that only he could hear. The sorrow in the song was like moonlight falling down onto the ground, and it allowed Su Ming to recount his memories time and again.
"The xun’s soul is dead… That death is vague and cannot be explained with words, but right when I saw it, I knew that its soul was no longer present.
"If you want it to sing once again, and sing with a voice that belongs to you, a voice that you want to hear, then you will need… to give it a new soul!" The old man’s voice echoed in the house with an ancient tone.
The children’s playful laughter occasionally traveled in from the tribe outside. Sometimes, they sounded close, and sometimes, they sounded as if they were far away, causing Su Ming to feel a little dazed as he continued listening to it.
"How can I do that?" Su Ming lifted his head and looked at the old man.
"Forget it." The old man remained silent for some time before he closed his eyes.
Su Ming looked at the xun in his hands blankly for a long time before he got up and bowed deeply towards the old man. As he turned around and was just about to leave, he suddenly stopped in his tracks.
"Senior, the Land of South Morning will be plagued with a lot of disasters, especially where the tribe is located, since it’s not too far away from Sky Mist City… If you can, please migrate to the center of the land. The battle this time might not be like the previous battles that only occur once a century," Su Ming said softly and lifted the flaps to the house before he went out.
The moment one of his feet stepped out of the house, the old man’s ancient voice came from behind him.
"There is no place in the world that is absolutely safe, but similarly, there is no place in the world that is absolutely dangerous. Do plants have a choice where they grow?"
Su Ming stopped for a moment. He had a somewhat hazy notion of what the old man meant. In silence, Su Ming walked out of the house and into the small-sized tribe.
As he looked at the bright sky, a conflicted look appeared on his face, but there was a firm resolution within his heart. He knew that he was about to face a disaster the likes of which the Land of South Morning had never seen. He also knew that there might be countless people dying in this disaster.
He could also choose to run and find a place to isolate himself, so that when the disaster arrived, he might be able to escape from the crisis. Yet he could also choose not to run and make himself stronger as he went through the baptism of the disaster!
If he trained normally, then during the span of time that would last less than a decade, his growth would slow down. If he wanted to live and make himself stronger, then he must have a heart that did not fear death.
If he could not find any serendipities, then he would battle till he found himself a serendipity. If he could not get any fortuitous encounters, then he would kill until he obtained a fortuitous encounter. If he ran into a wall during his training, then he would use fresh blood to solve that problem. If his life was in danger, then he would use the desperation that would appear within him during the crisis and create a path of survival for himself.
"There is no place in the world that is absolutely safe, but similarly, there is no place in the world that is absolutely dangerous…" Su Ming mumbled, and as he walked further into the distance, his footsteps grew increasingly more firm.
Su Ming continued walking down the village this way. He did not activate his speed, neither did he circulate even the slightest bit of his power, not even his Qi. With just his body, he walked through the mountain range and the forest within, just like an ordinary person.
He walked in the direction of Sky Mist City.
His destination was Sky Mist City, but the destination within his heart was Dark Mountain. He might be walking down this path, but in his mind, the path he saw… was still Dark Mountain’s.
He was walking on his path back to his home. He was walking through his memories, as if he was reminiscing.
The mountain range rising and falling, along with the humidity, as well as the swamps in the forest, did not make Su Ming stop for too long. Three days passed by as he continued walking this way.
In truth, if Su Ming activated his speed, the distance which he had just traversed during those three days could be instantly traveled, but he did not do it.
In the beginning, he was intentionally trying to forget his own power, and to forget everything. Yet gradually, as he walked through the mountain range, the forest and the plains, when he could not see anyone else in the vast world before him, he slowly began to be able to get into a condition as if he had forgotten everything.
He forgot his power, forgot that he was walking on the lands of South Morning, forgot his own goals, forgot many things… and when the fourth night arrived, Su Ming became tired in that forest.
He leaned against a big tree, exhausted, and lifted his head to look at the night sky, at the moon that was partially hidden behind the many leaves within the forest, and as he looked at them, Su Ming brought out his xun.
He placed the xun by his mouth and closed his eyes before gently blowing into it. Yet even after a long time, no sound broke the calm of the forest. Still, nostalgia appeared on Su Ming’s face, as if he was immersed in the xun song playing in his memories.
In this silence, there were three people charging towards the edge of the forest from Sky Mist City, to a spot in the forest that was rather far away from where Su Ming was, but not too far away.
Those three people were incredibly careful as they moved forward. The person leading the team had his eyes closed. Around them, in an area of several thousands of feet was an invisible wave of ripples that was echoing in the air. When those ripples touched the trees, they would bounce back a little, only when they touched the small beasts in the forest would a large amount of ripples gather.
Under the moonlight, the picture of a bat could be seen carved onto the leader’s face. It was not a Berserker Mark… It was a Totem!
It was the Totem of the Shamans!
One of the two people following behind that person was incredibly brawny and looked as if there was an enormous power stored within his body. The bulging muscles made him seem like a small hill. With every single step he took, he would make the earth seem like it was trembling, but strangely, not one sound was made.
That person carried a gigantic battle axe on his shoulders. There was a dark reddish brown stain on the blade of the axe, and that was the stain left behind when blood dried up.
The other person was a petite and thin figure. Judging from the curves of the person’s body, it could be seen that it was a woman. She had a normal looking appearance, and the skin tone of her face leaned on the darker side. Her gaze was electrifying, like lightning. Of the three of them, only the woman was relaxed at the speed which they were using to travel at that moment. It was as if she even had to slow down to achieve that speed so that she could move with the other two.
There was a poisonous snake tattooed on the woman’s face, causing her to look rather ugly.
Before long, as the three people charged forward, they stopped within the forest. At that moment, they were only 50,000 feet away from Su Ming. Yet clearly, these three people had not noticed his existence, and Su Ming was immersed in the soundless song. None of them knew that their race’s mortal enemy lay 50,000 feet away from them, and should they run into each other, they would definitely fight to the death.
"This is the place. According to our promise, we have to wait here for about two hours for Wu Duo. Ying Huan, you’re the fastest among us. Patrol the area 100,000 feet around here once to make sure that this place is safe.
"From what the map says, there should be no tribes here. The closest tribe is still a little far off from this place. There should be no Berserkers appearing in this place, but we still need to be careful."
"If Wu Duo doesn’t appear two hours later, I will leave." The woman among the three people turned around and cast a glance at the person who spoke just now, then said those words before she disappeared into the darkness.
"Wu Duo likes killing. If he doesn’t come, I will leave as well." The man with the battle axe on his shoulders sat by the side and cast a cold glance at the person with the bat tattoo on his face.
"Don’t worry. He needs the Shaman Crystals we brought with us. He’ll definitely come. Then it won’t be a waste for us sneaking into the land of the Berserkers after so many of our people died. With his Spell, we can turn into Berserkers and avoid… the Catastrophe of the Eastern Wastelands."
The man with the bat tattoo on his face spoke with a gruff voice. The moment he mentioned the Catastrophe of the Eastern Wastelands, his breathing quickened slightly.