The crimson dragon floated in midair and remained cautious as it surveyed its surroundings.
Su Ming had his eyes closed. His expression might be calm, but his heart remained uncertain, and that uncertainty stemmed from the strange snake’s current dejected look and the continuous forlorn cries.
The snake’s emotions had transitioned slowly from the excitement it felt in the beginning to its current sorrow. This gradual transformation made the snake look incredibly pitiful.
‘Have the Candle Dragon’s tribe always devoured their kin to grow since the beginning of time..?’ After an unknown amount of time, Su Ming opened his eyes and stared at the Candle Dragon’s carcass with a chilling glare in his eyes.
‘If that is the case, then this Candle Dragon that died a long time ago and only has a hint of its will left clearly wants to devour my snake so that it could use its life to revive itself…
‘But since the members of the Candle Dragon’s tribe have always devoured their own kind, then perhaps my snake can also devour this Candle Dragon!’
As Su Ming mulled over his thoughts, he looked towards the Spirit of Nine Yin.
"You mentioned that the giant eyeball we saw just now was the Candle Dragon’s second eye. How many eyes does this Candle Dragon have then?"
The Spirit of Nine Yin opened his eyes and replied in a whisper, "It has four…
"The Candle Dragon has two heads. One of them is a python’s head, and the other is a hidden head that is similar to mine. Each of these heads has two eyes, which is why it has four eyes.
"That giant eyeball just now is one of the python head’s eyes. We have detailed descriptions of the Sacred Nine Yin in the legends passed down among my people. Once it dies, it must be sealed, or else its blood and flesh will turn into Ominous Fog, its grudge will turn into Spirit Tears, its bones will turn into the Bone Fiend, and its eyes will turn into the Yin Funeral…
"That eye just now clearly woke up because the seal has weakened. Once it fixes its on something, then with my current level of cultivation, it will be difficult for me to escape, and I will need someone to save me." The Spirit of Nine Yin’s voice echoed in the fog and fell in Su Ming’s ears. Su Ming narrowed his eyes.
"If you are eaten by the crack in the pupil of the Eye of Yin Funeral, then will you turn into a Soul Catcher’s puppet?" he suddenly asked.
"Puppet..?" The Spirit of Nine Yin shuddered when he remembered what nearly happened just now, then shook his head.
"You won’t turn into a puppet, but all your flesh, blood, and essence will be sucked away, and you will turn into a dried corpse… But that’s not all. Your mind will be captured, and you will enter the Undying and Imperishable World created by an adult Candle Dragon.
"You will live a life akin to being sealed up for eternity over there. You will never be able to escape, and you can only fight continuously against the numerous living souls that have been killed by the Candle Dragon when it was alive. You have to fight endlessly, and even if you die, you will be revived shortly...
"And it will only stop when your will crumbles and you submit to the Candle Dragon. It will only stop when you become part of the Undying and Imperishable World…
"Your corpse will stay in the Candle Dragon’s body and turn into his flesh and blood. This is a fate more terrifying than death. Compared to that, it is much better to die in battle," the Spirit of Nine Yin said in a low voice, and Su Ming could feel the fear in his voice clearly.
Su Ming remained silent for a moment before he asked, "What if I don’t submit to it? Is it possible to walk out of the Undying and Imperishable World?"
"Walk out..?" The Spirit of Nine Yin cast a deep look at Su Ming.
"When a Candle Dragon is alive, it will need to receive offerings from all sorts of tribes and races. The more offerings it receives from the living, the stronger it will become… This is one of its inborn abilities. Look at your Soul Catchers. You should be able to imagine just how strong that ability is just by seeing how its dead will is able to create Soul Catchers in your tribe.
"The Soul Catchers are equivalent to the worshipers of the Candle Dragon. However, since there aren’t many Soul Catchers among you Shamans, that is why my people allowed you here.
"When it is necessary, the Candle Dragon will devour a certain race, but similarly, the races who offer themselves to it will obtain a privilege, and that privilege… is to enter the Candle Dragon’s Undying and Imperishable World!" The Spirit of Nine Yin’s voice became lower.
"A privilege?" A glint appeared in Su Ming’s eyes.
"That’s right. Training in the Undying and Imperishable World and going through all endless cycles of life and death will allow you to understand the origins of battle and forge you into the strongest warrior… Each of the races who make offerings to the Candle Dragon will choose their best to receive this privilege. He or she might not be able to increase his or her level of cultivation much, but that person’s brutality and decisiveness in battle is something no one else will be able to compare to.
"Because they have simply... gone through too many cycles of life and death. However, this will only happen when the Candle Dragon is alive. It can release the people it captured at will, that is why it is considered a privilege.
"But once it dies, then this will no longer be a privilege. This is a cage that is even more terrifying than death… Perhaps there are people who have indeed managed to walk out of the Candle Dragon’s Undying and Imperishable World, but no one from my race has ever been recorded to have done so."
Su Ming fell silent. The Spirit of Nine Yin stopped speaking as well.
When approximately two hours passed by, suddenly, the crimson dragon let out a low growl in midair.
Su Ming’s eyes sparkled. He saw the white figures appearing once again in the fog in the distance, and they did not come alone. There were eight of them, and they were drifting about in the fog while letting out wailing sobs.
When those wails fell into Su Ming’s ears, they annoyed him again.
But that was not all. Besides those white figures, another roar would occasionally echo from within the fog, and Su Ming could somewhat see bodies covered in scales as the fog tumbled about around them.
Apart from these creatures, Su Ming also saw a gigantic dark shadow in the fog. That dark shadow was one hundred something feet tall, and it was floating in the fog. When Su Ming saw it, he immediately had the feeling as if his gaze was stuck to it.
That dark shadow was clearly the giant eyeball that had disappeared just now - The Candle Dragon’s second eye!
"Don’t move!" The Spirit of Nine Yin’s eyes flashed and he stared fixedly at the creatures in the fog as he whispered.
"By right, they won’t come near. After all, they’re born from the Candle Dragon, and they only attacked us just now because we didn’t have the dead Candle Dragon’s will on us…
"Right now, those two people of yours are sensing its will and area about to turn into its worshipers. Since they’re doing this, they won’t attack.
"Once those two have been acknowledged, then with them around, we will be able to walk out, we shouldn’t be attacked anymore." As the Spirit of Nine Yin spoke, he swept his gaze across the area.
Su Ming did not act recklessly. As time passed, he found that the spirits in the fog were just as the Spirit of Nine Yin said. They were only lingering around and did not come too close. When he saw this, Su Ming sent a thought to the crimson dragon to placate it slightly, but he continued remaining on guard.
When another hour passed by, Su Ming’s pupils shrank. He saw the number of white figures in the fog increasing, and there were now about several dozens of them around.
Similarly, the ferocious beasts hidden in the fog had also increased. They stood close to each other and numbered to hundreds. Low growls and sobs fused together to turn into waves of sound.
Apart from that, as Su Ming and the Spirit of Nine Yin remained alert, sharp howls came from within the fog. They seemed to have come from a distance when they first sounded, but closed in within an instant. A dozen something rays of white light shot out rapidly from the fog and turned into arcs that impaled the ground hundreds of feet away from Su Ming and the group.
The dozen something rays of white light were gray bones. Once those bones impaled the ground, they immediately melted to turn into small gray humanoids that were filled with murderous aura.
The moment those small humanoids appeared, Su Ming fell into shock, because he realized that the appearance of these humanoids was incredibly similar to the small humanoid sealed within the mountain rock.
However, when he took a closer look, he found that they were slightly different. These small humanoids were all gray and not black. Their appearances were also indistinct and they did not have detailed facial features. There was a crack where their eyes should be, and another crack where their mouths should be.
"The Bone Fiends have also appeared. Looks like the seal hasn’t weakened but has been damaged…" The Spirit of Nine Yin’s expression immediately changed.
Su Ming’s expression turned dark. Without a single word, he stared at the creatures in the fog. When he looked over, another dozen something white figures had come.
Clearly, as time passed by, the amount of spirits in the fog would increase!
At that moment, Ahu, who had his eyes closed, suddenly started trembling violently. Pain twisted his features, but gradually, that pain turned into determination. However, in the midst of determination, Su Ming saw a hint of respect as well.
‘Acknowledgement… By what the Spirit of Nine Yin said, to obtain the right to practice the ways of the Soul Catcher, they must first acknowledge the Candle Dragon as their master…’ Su Ming remained silent. This was something concerning only White Bull Tribe, he had no reason to interfere.
After a moment, pain also appeared on Lan Lan’s face. She looked as if she was struggling, but those struggles did not last too long before they turned into an expression of respect that was similar to Ahu’s.
Soon after, the two of them opened their eyes almost simultaneously. A dark light appeared in their eyes before it disappeared slowly, and in Su Ming’s eyes, the two children already looked slightly different from before.
"Thank you for your help, senior!" Ahu stood up and wrapped his fist in his palm towards Su Ming as a form of gratitude. Lan Lan did the same thing by his side. Once they thanked Su Ming, they looked towards the creatures in the fog.
"This is a deal made between your Patriarch and me, you don’t need to thank me. Once I send you back to Shaman City, I will have fulfilled my end of the deal." Su Ming stood up and swept his gaze across the creatures in the fog.
"Senior, don’t worry. I can sense that they harbor no ill-will towards Lan Lan and me. We can leave without any problems," Ahu said quickly. When he walked forward, the creatures in the fog did indeed move away to reveal a path for them.
However, when Su Ming moved closer, the creatures in the fog immediately let out a shocking roar. The white figures shrieked and the fog beasts growled, the Bone Fiends howled and the giant eyeball in the distance floated out from the fog and stared at Su Ming.
"Take the two of them back to Shaman City," Su Ming stated after a moment of silence.