The old man bowed towards him and walked out of the sealed area. As the ripples filled the air, his body disappeared, and Su Ming, along with the boy and girl, were the only ones left.
Without bothering about the boy and girl, Su Ming sat down cross-legged on the ground, then brought up the wooden slip to examine it closely.
The boy and girl from White Bull Tribe were very pretty, but in their fear, they looked as if they were shivering. They looked at each other, then sat down demurely at a spot not too far away from Su Ming. They remained silent, as if they did not know what to say.
Time passed by slowly, and soon, it was midnight. There were no stars in the dark sky. Even the moon was hidden behind the clouds, and only when it occasionally peeked out would moonlight shine gently on the ground.
It was quiet all around the area. Su Ming held the wooden slip in his hands and closed his eyes, sinking into his thoughts.
Perhaps it was because the boy and girl had remained immobile for too long in this freezing place that their bodies became rather stiff and numb. However, they did not dare stand up. They only used their hands to rub their arms.
When dawn arrived, due to the chilly air that originally existed in the place, the area turned much colder. The boy and girl had already exhausted their minds in the cold and fear, and they gradually began to feel drowsy. However, the moment they started nodding off, a strange cry suddenly came from the mountain range.
The sound came too suddenly, causing the boy and girl to be instantly shocked awake. When they looked over nervously, they saw a fiery red figure charging towards them through the dark from the mountain range not too far away. When it got closer, the boy and girl saw that the creature was a fire-red ape.
The Fire Ape scratched its head and circled around Su Ming several times before it looked at the boy and girl and bared its teeth, showing a ferocious look. It also put up a show that it was drooling and its saliva was dripping all over the floor as it walked towards them while growling.
The boy and girl’s faces instantly turned pale. The murderous aura spreading out from the Fire Ape’s body caused their originally freezing bodies to shiver even more.
When the Fire Ape rushed towards them, the boy let out a scream and rapidly moved back while rolling and crawling. However, when a huge gust of wind blew past his side, the Fire Ape instantly closed in on him. It did not chase him down, but only looked as if it was having fun while also regarding the boy with scorn. It sat down beside the girl, who looked pale but did not retreat, then turned its head to regard her closely.
The girl looked to be only fifteen or sixteen. She was fair skinned and her eyes were like that of a phoenix. While she might look terrified, she was looking resolutely at the Fire Ape.
The Fire Ape bared its teeth at her, but even so, the girl continued sitting there, though her face became even paler. However, she did not do anything that would show that she was overly panicking.
As if it felt rather bored, the Fire Ape laid down on the spot. Before long, it started snoring. Soon, the girl immediately noticed that it was no longer as cold in the area once it appeared. Waves of heat were spreading from the ape’s body, causing her freezing body to gradually become warm.
Her eyes instantly brightened up, and when she looked at the snoring Fire Ape, she no longer felt that it was ferocious. She was originally intelligent to begin with, and knew at that moment that the Fire Ape meant no harm.
"Thank you, senior," the girl stood up and said softly to Su Ming, who was meditating with his eyes closed not too far away.
Su Ming continued meditating there as if he did not hear it.
The girl was not bothered by it. She treaded lightly to the Fire Ape’s side and lifted her hand as if she wanted to touch the Fire Ape’s fur. But at that moment, the boy who had crawled into the distance and was so terrified that he was shivering immediately widened his eyes. He wanted to remind her of something in his panic but was afraid that the ape would wake up.
The instant the girl almost touched the Fire Ape, it opened its eyes and started growling and baring its teeth her. It looked incredibly terrifying, as if it wanted to devour her.
Fear emerged in the girl’s heart, but she smiled faintly and pressed her right hand resolutely on the Fire Ape’s fur, stroking it lightly. The boy’s breathing was practically frozen at that point.
The Fire Ape’s growls gradually weakened. It cast the girl a look, then decided to lay down once again, letting her stroke its fur. Before long, it looked as if it was enjoying itself, and it made the girl let out tinkling laughter in her joy.
"Ahu, come here. It’s alright, this place is warm," the girl called out to the boy.
The boy hesitated for a moment, then right when he was about to move his feet and walk over, the Fire Ape lifted its head and bared its teeth at him. The boy immediately froze in his footsteps, and did not dare get closer no matter what.
Yet even so, the spot where he stood gradually became less cold, and warmth spread through his body.
The night went by just like that. The girl lay against the warm Fire Ape and yawned, actually falling asleep while leaning against it. However, during that night, while being envious of her, though it was envy without any bitterness, the boy found himself to be terrified, and he could not sleep.
While these two teenagers’ personalities could not be entirely gauged with the Fire Ape’s arrival, but Su Ming could figure them out slightly. When the first rays of sunlight fell in the morning, he opened his eyes and swept his gaze past the boy and girl.
‘The boy is just envious, there’s no jealousy or bitterness in him. He might be weak-willed, but when he saw his companion doing something so risky, he panicked. He’s an honest fellow… but he needs to go through some hardships to become a stronger person.
‘As for the girl… This child is bold, but sensitive. She can tell from the details that as long as she doesn’t make any mistakes, she won’t be in danger. She can also tell that I made the Fire Ape come to get rid of the cold for them.
‘In fact, once she makes a decision, she won’t give up easily. If she can continue being like this, then she might be able to go farther than the boy in her path of cultivation. However, that sort of personality makes her rather stubborn, and it might cause her to show extremist behavior. She’s also the type to easily believe in other people, and she’s rather childish...
‘Then we talk about the chances of survival, then the chances of her dying are much higher than the boy’s. The two people sent by White Bull Tribe aren’t too bad.’
Su Ming averted his gaze and closed his eyes once again. He always used himself as the standard when he judged a person.
Time flowed by once again, and when noon arrived, the boy and girl had already woken up. The Fire Ape was nowhere to be found.The instant Su Ming opened his eyes once again, the three white Soul Stones placed before him suddenly shone with a gentle light.
It was as if they had absorbed the rays of the sun from the sky. However, that light was not strong. Su Ming cast them a look, and lifted his right hand to wave it at the sky. Immediately, a gap appeared in the seal in the air, causing sunlight to descend downwards without any obstructions, illuminating the three Soul Stones.
The boy and girl had also stood up and were looking at the three Soul Stones nervously.
"Se… Senior, can we go over?" The one who spoke was the girl. Her voice was weak. Clearly, in her eyes, Su Ming was still a person who deserved respect.
Once Su Ming nodded his head, the girl took a few brisk steps forward and sat down beside the three Soul Stones. The boy followed close behind with slightly shivering legs before he sat down. The two of them closed their eyes at the same time, then after they did something, the three Soul Stones immediately shone with a piercing light. The light spread outwards swiftly, and once it enveloped Su Ming, it shot into the sky in a strong ray!
The light lasted for the time it takes for an incense stick to burn before it gradually disappeared. As the light dissipated, Su Ming, along with the boy and girl, also disappeared. The gap in the seal in the sky also started closing up gradually, and only then did the place regain its peace and quiet.
When that strong ray of light rose, the old man lifted his head to look at the sky while within White Bull Tribe, and an expectant look appeared on his face.
‘The hope of White Bull Tribe… lies in the both of you…’
Soul Stones are not spirit stones!