Su Ming did not like nor hate this person, but his act of offering up three women from his tribe and giving up on having his entire tribe attack had left a rather deep impression on him.
At that moment, when Su Ming heard those words, he pondered over them for a moment before walking out.
The land was empty, but there was a place that sported a gigantic crack out of nowhere, and it was spread far and wide.
The old man from White Bull Tribe stood beside the crack and waited for a long time, but to no avail. So he went to the crack and stretched his head to look inside.
The old man did not hear Su Ming’s laughter in the seal. He only came here once every few days, and once he arrived at the place, he would walk around shouting the same words he said previously, though he himself did not know that his voice had already reached Su Ming’s ears. He looked at the crack and started mumbling under his breath.
"Damn what?" Before the old man finished mumbling, Su Ming’s cold voice rang out behind him, causing the old man to immediately be stunned. Once he turned around swiftly, surprised delight appeared on his face.
"What? Damn who? There’s no damning whoever anywhere. Greetings, Great Soul Catcher." The old man quickly wrapped his fist in his palm and bowed deeply towards Su Ming.
Su Ming cast the old man a glance. He did not speak.
The old man was being cautious and was sizing up Su Ming from the corner of his eye as well. Once he saw the mark of the peach blossom at the center of Su Ming’s brows, he quickly averted his gaze and put on a complaisant look.
"Sir, this old man told quite a number of the women in my tribe to make preparations this time. You’ll definitely be pleased with them. If you aren’t, then I’ll be a damned old fool from now on!"
"What damned old fool? Stop using the word ‘damn’!" Su Ming frowned.
"Okay, okay, then I’ll change it to boyo." The old man quickly nodded his head and put on a flattering smile.
As the old man’s expression fell into Su Ming’s eyes, he scrutinized him. He remembered that this old man was a very tactful person. It did not matter whether it was their first encounter with each other or his decisive act of sending the three women to him, they were enough to show that this old man was definitely not as he seemed.
"What is it? Speak up." Su Ming said calmly.
The old man was feeling rather nervous. When Su Ming was scrutinizing him, he immediately felt that he was being seen through. This sort of feeling, as if he was standing naked before someone else, made him instinctively avoid looking into Su Ming’s eyes.
"It’s nothing, really…" The old man hesitated for a moment, and once he said those words, Su Ming turned around and walked into the distance, no longer bothering with the old man.
The Patriarch was momentarily stunned, then quickly walked forward and spoke with a obsequious smile.
"Sir, please wait. This is… This is actually a very difficult thing for me to say. It’s like this. You know that the Catastrophe of the Eastern Wastelands is coming in a few years time, and most of the tribes in the land of the Shamans have already migrated.
"But White Bull Tribe is too small and we have a lot of normal tribe members. With my power alone and the other powerful Shamans in my tribe, it’s still impossible for us to protect them, that’s why… I’d like to ask whether you take on jobs." The old man no longer hesitated and rambled off rapidly as he chased after Su Ming.
Su Ming paused in his footsteps, then turned around to look at the old man.
"What are you using to hire me? If you truly have an attractive pay, why insist on finding me?"
"Sir, the most powerful Shaman around this area is Madam Ji… But Madam Ji has already gone missing…" When the old man said those words, he became even more cautious, even cast a glance at the mark of the peach blossom at the center of Su Ming’s brows.
"This is a remote place, and powerful Shamans seldom come here. We’re also at war now, so it’s really very tough for us to find powerful Shamans we can trust.
"Well, sir, we are kinda like neighbors, and I can trust you. As for the pay, well, I’m going to offer our ancestor’s priceless treasure. It’s also the sacred item White Bull Tribe inherited, and we offer our sacrifices to it." The old man looked rather pained when he said those words.
"Oh? If you give me your tribe’s inheritance, then you will have broken off your own tribe’s roots. What difference is there?" Su Ming knew that each Shaman Tribe had a different item of worship. Some of them contained strange powers while some of them were common objects, but no matter what, these were all a tribe’s soul.
Like the lizard statue from Lizard Shaman Tribe, the crane from Black Crane Tribe, and the mackerel pike from Autumn Sea Tribe. All of them were such items.
"If I don’t give you this item, it would be difficult to convince you. If our tribe stays here and doesn’t move, we will end up dying and being destroyed during the Catastrophe of the Eastern Wastelands, but even if we leave, as such a small tribe, it will be very tough for us to survive. No one knows how many of us will end up surviving either.
"In fact, there’s a high chance that all of us are going to end up dead. If that’s the case, then what use is the tribe’s sacred item? Instead of keeping it as our ancestors told us to, I’d rather use it in exchange for a slim chance of survival." The old man forced those words out of his mouth.
In truth, he had thought about what he just said for a very long time before he decided to go to Su Ming for help. After the few brief encounters they had, he had slowly come to realize that Su Ming was the type of person that if no one caused trouble to him, then he would not go and cause trouble to others.
But the most important thing about Su Ming was that if he truly wanted to snatch their things away, then he would not have waited for so long and still not acted.
"I can’t agree to this, I’m not leaving this place for some time." Su Ming remained silent for a moment before he shook his head.
When the old man heard his words, he looked rather disappointed, but judging by his looks, it seemed that he expected Su Ming to give that answer and was already prepared for it. He spoke once again.
"I understand that you have your problems. How about this? I won’t need you to protect us when we migrate, I just need some of your time to help two of my tribesmen to pass the Seal of Soul Catchers. I’ll still use the sacred item of our tribe as pay. Sir, how’s that sound?"
"Seal of Soul Catchers? How should I help? Tell me the details, but I might not agree to it." This was the first time Su Ming heard of that term.
"Hmm? Sir, you are a Soul Catcher, you should have gone through the Seal of Soul Catchers before…" The old man from White Bull Tribe was suddenly stunned, and a faint sparkle appeared in his eyes.
"I’ve gone through the Seal of Soul Catchers before, but I didn’t have anyone helping me, nor have I helped anyone before." Su Ming looked as calm as ever as he provided a vague explanation.
"Sir, you must have come from a big tribe, no wonder you don’t know about this helping thing. Ha… whelp, you can hear it as a joke. The chances for Soul Catchers to appear in small tribes like mine are very tiny. Even if they appear, most of them won’t be able to clear the Seal of Soul Catchers alone and obtain the Soul Catcher legacy. That’s how hiring powerful Shamans to help came about." The old man put on a confused look on his face before he spoke with a wry smile.
"It’ll be the Month of Spirits next month. Sir, you know that the Month of Spirits is the Month of Inheritance for Soul Catchers, set by the God of Shamans Temple. During that month, all the tribes that have the potential to become Soul Catchers will sense the call from the God of Shamans Temple, and the Soul Catcher’s Relocation will be activated with the mysterious power of the God of Shamans Temple.
"Right now, I managed to identify two of my tribe members who might have a Soul Catcher’s constitution. They will be sent by the power of the God of Shamans Temple to the World of Nine Yin. If it is their destiny, then they will be acknowledged by the Candle Dragon there and begin their path as Soul Catchers.
"Sir, I hope that by using the power of Relocation as a draw, you will go with them and help them so that they would successfully become Soul Catchers." Once the old man from White Bull Tribe finished speaking, he looked at Su Ming nervously. This was the final method he could think of. If Su Ming did not agree to it, then White Bull Tribe would have to forcefully migrate.
Su Ming remained silent for a moment before he shook his head. He did not have knowledge about this, and once he heard about it, he found that there was nothing too attractive about it for him.
"Sir, this is the first time you’re helping someone become Soul Catchers. Honestly, from what I know, there are many Soul Catchers who willingly use the chance to be Relocated to the World of Nine Yin with those who have a Soul Catcher’s constitution during the Month of Spirits.
"Because every Soul Catcher can only be actively involved in the Relocation once, and it is during the first time they go there. If these Soul Catchers want to enter the World of Nine Yin from then on, they will need to rely on the power of Relocation from the people by their side drawing them in.
"In fact, it’s not just Soul Catchers. Spirit Mediums, Thought Soothsayers, and the other Shamans will also use the chance to enter, because you must surely know about that legend saying that there is a corpse of a Candle Dragon buried in the World of Nine Yin.
"In fact, there is one more legend telling that the mysterious Curse came from the World of Nine Yin. Since this World was an ancient ruin to begin with, when it was first discovered, there are quite a few places that the members of the Shaman Tribe have not explored. There is only a small part in the World that is used for us to obtain the cultivation method of a Soul Catcher.
"Only after we discovered the place did we start researching the Curse…" The old man spoke in extreme detail. With his intelligence, he would have not have spoken in such detail if he was speaking to another Shaman. After all, this was not exactly a secret among the Shamans.
However, it was clear that the old man was speaking in such detail because he, with his intellect, had caught onto a faint trail that there was something off about Su Ming. However, to him, Su Ming’s origins did not matter. His only concern was his tribe’s survival.
Besides, Su Ming’s power had caused the old man to pretend as if he knew nothing even after discovering those clues. He would not tell others about it and bring disaster to his own tribe either.
There was the ghost of a smile on Su Ming’s lips. He looked at the old man and did not speak.
The old man let out a fake cough and continued speaking. "The Berserkers should also be looking for ways to enter the World of Nine Yin, because there is a plant called Nine Abyss Flower in that place. It can increase the chances of survival during the life and death disaster they have to go through when they enter the Berserker Soul Realm achieving great completion in the Bone Sacrifice Realm…
"Also, there are plenty of serendipitous encounters in the World of Nine Yin…" The old man continued speaking, but Su Ming still remained with that ghost of a smile on his lips, and it made the old man rather scared.
"Tell me your real motive," Su Ming said slowly.
"... About that, I wouldn’t dare hide it from you, Sir. My goal is that once those two tribe members of mine obtain the cultivation method to become Soul Catchers, then with their potential, they might be sought after by some middle-sized tribes. It’ll be best if they take those two away, and as a price, help our tribe migrate. If we can’t manage to do it and the two of them are still taken away, they will still be able to continue passing down the line of our tribe.
"Even in the worst case scenario, if the two of them can find other powerful Shamans and form a deal for us, it’ll still be better than our current situation." The old man spoke with a wry smile. After a moment of hesitation, he suddenly lifted his right hand and grabbed something from his bosom. When a dark light flashed, a round object appeared in his hand.
"This item is the sacred item of my tribe, please take it first!"
When Su Ming swept his gaze past that round object, his pupils shrank and a large storm raged in his heart!
"This is…" Su Ming waved his arm and immediately seized that round object in his hand!
Nine Yin: This one in particular is written as 九陰 (jiu yin), not 燭九陰 (zhu jiu yin). The difference between the two is that the latter is the Candle Dragon, the one which in this book lords over all Soul Catchers, and the former is a world in itself. The word 九陰 first appeared as 九陰真經 (jiu yin zhen jing) and was translated as Nine Yin Manual (well actually no, it was officially translated as Jiuyin Zhenjing) in Jin Yong's Condor Trilogy. So please don’t confuse the Candle Dragon and Nine Yin, they’re both different things and the Candle Dragon has an extra word in front.