The effect of that Rune was to shine and let out heat, giving the false impression that people were looking at the sun.
The blue sky was also peeled off layer by layer before Su Ming’s eyes, revealing the black seawater behind it. The sky was actually a protective screen of light. Perhaps it had concealing abilities when seen from the outside, but from within, it turned into an expanse of blue sky.
This was an island that had sunk to the depths of the sea. Perhaps it did not sink in the beginning, but someone had forced it to do so with an Art, causing this place to be isolated from the world, and no matter how hard the Eastern Wastelanders searched, it would still be difficult for them to find where Southern Swamp lay.
Su Ming spread his divine sense outward and swept through the entire Southern Swamp Island. Once he did so, he immediately noticed strong waves of ripples coming from two spots.
He was familiar with one of these ripples. That one naturally belonged to Zong Ze. As for the other one, it was slightly jumbled up, but it was still powerful. Judging by the presence in those ripples, he could tell that to whoever those ripples belonged to had already reached the peak of the middle stage of the Berserker Soul Realm, and he seemed to only be one step away from entering the later stage!
Perhaps more accurately speaking, he already had moved one step into the gates of the later stage of the Berserker Soul Realm.
The instant Su Ming noticed the two ripples, they also noticed him. Those two ripples instantly spread out, but before they could locate him, he had already made his divine sense disappear without a trace. They could not find him.
There was a cave abode located to the left of one of the two tallest mountains in this mountain range. At that moment, the long-haired Zong Ze swiftly opened his eyes in there. A brilliant flash flickered in his eyes and he stood up. With one step, he appeared outside his cave abode and stood on the mountain. His long robes fluttered in the wind and he had his hands placed behind his back with a grave expression on his face as he cast his gaze towards the ground.
"What a powerful presence… Looks like we have a visitor," Zong Ze mumbled. He did not look too different from how he had been all those years ago, but he did seem slightly older. He also had a wave of aura of death in him, but he had hidden it away.
To the right of the mountain was another cave abode. It was incredibly luxurious, filled with jewels and treasures. There were also panting and moaning sounds echoing from inside it.
A naked man sat in the main chamber of the cave abode. His skin was the color of bronze. He did not have any hair, and his expression was cold. There was not a hint of emotion on his face.
There were seven women who were completely uncovered around him. These women hugged his body and their eyes were misted with lust. With lascivious expressions on their faces, they shifted their bodies about, as if they were asking for sex. Panting sounds echoed in the air, and all those who heard it would find it hard to control themselves.
These seven women were incredibly beautiful, they flushed red skin was especially filled with an appealing charm that would steal breaths away.
The instant Su Ming swept his divine sense across the place, the bald man who had been meditating with his eyes closed opened his eyes swiftly. His expression visibly changed, and almost the instant Zong Ze walked out, he appeared in midair, and a long white robe was already covering his body.
He stood in midair, and once he met gazes with Zong Ze, he, too, cast his eyes to the land below.
"I can’t find him. Is he a powerful Shaman?"
"His presence vanished almost the moment he spread it out. It’s difficult for me to tell," Zong Ze stated languidly with a calm face as he stood further in the distance.
The bald man fell into a moment of pensive silence, then declared coldly, "Seal off the Rune leading outside. No matter who he is, he will eventually appear!" .
Almost the instant Zong Ze and the bald man started searching for the stranger, Su Ming, who stood just outside the Rune, seemed to have ceased to exist, causing Zong Ze and the bald middle-aged not to notice him.
‘The Immortals’ Restraining Presence Seal is really ingenious.’
Su Ming slowly loosened his right hand, which had been kept in the position of the seal.
Neither Ya Mu nor Zi Yan had noticed what had happened just now. Once they finished providing their explanations to the eight people, they appeared beside Su Ming.
"Senior Su, I’ll take you to junior sister Fang right now," Zi Yan said softly.
"No need, I’ll go there myself," Su Ming said lightly. He took a step forward, and he instantly disappeared from his original spot.
Zi Yan was momentarily stunned, then a rather melancholic look appeared on her face. She looked at the mountain range in the distance and started mumbling in a voice that only she could hear.
"Cang Lan, he’s here… Compared to me, you are lucky, but I will never regret the decision I made in the past. If we wanted to survive, then one of us had to give up more…"
As slight hints of pain, melancholy, and complicated feelings rose in her heart, she remembered that person who had loved turning his head to the side so that the sun would shine on his face when he saw her, the person who thought that by doing so he would be very elegant…
As she was immersed in her own thoughts, a pair of arms appeared behind her and pulled her into a warm embrace.
"Zi Yan…" Ya Mu’s voice traveled gently into her ears.
That voice and the embrace snapped her out of her thoughts. Even though this embrace was not the one she wanted, it still managed to produce a warmth that she had never had before in her heart. This warmth was not love though, just mere feelings of being moved.
Tears fell from the corners of Zi Yan’s eyes. Once she wiped them away, she turned towards Ya Mu and put on an attractive smile.
‘Zi Yan, I will protect you. Even if the world is no longer here, even if my life ends, my soul will stay by your side. I will use every fiber of my being to protect you…
‘I know that you simply aren’t repulsed by me. You don’t like me… but I believe that someday, you will change.’ Ya Mu hugged Zi Yan and mumbled softly in his heart. He was serious.
Yet even though Zi Yan was smiling in his embrace, the tears at the corners of her eyes were filled with mixed emotions. They might no longer be flowing down, but they had landed in her heart, turning into the figure that had constantly stood under the sun all those years ago.
‘There are no ‘what ifs’ in this world… just as there are no longer any ‘what ifs’ left for my defiled body…’
Zi Yan closed her eyes, but due to Su Ming’s appearance, it had now become too difficult for her to once again bury the memories she had once sealed away.
The man-made sun in the sky gradually turned dark and gained a red hue, becoming a setting sun. If Su Ming had not used his divine sense and just looked with his naked eye, he would have been unable to tell that this was fake.
Under this setting sun, the shadows of the mountain range started appearing on the green grass. Among one of the mountains in that mountain range was a tower.
This tower was simple but elegant. There were not many ornaments decorating it. As the setting sun cast its last remaining rays of light over the land, it dyed everything in a shade of reddish orange. There were originally two people living in that tower, but two years ago, after Zi Yan was given to Ya Mu, there was only one woman left there.
She was a woman who looked around thirty years old. Not many signs of age could be seen on her face, and she looked to be at the prime of her life. Perhaps she was no longer young based on her true age, but even time seemed to have been moved by her quiet nature and did not want to visit her too often.
She sat there quietly and looked at the setting sun in the sky. She simply sat there, quietly looking at the sun’s hue and the blue sky. Sunlight fell on her face, and she turned into an incredibly beautiful sight.
In fact, the fine hairs on her face could be seen under the sunlight. The gentleness that existed within her quietness made all those who saw it to instinctively want to protect her.
"Master, why must you do this…?
"Sir Yun Lai has been good to you over the years, and he is kind to me as well. What’s wrong with agreeing with him?
"Besides, Sir Yun Lai already said that if you agree, he will help you break through your current level of cultivation to reach the middle stage of the Bone Sacrifice Realm. I can also become his foster son.
"My status in Southern Swamp Island will also rise considerably. If I can get Sir Yun Lai’s direct legacy, then I will have a chance to reach the Berserker Soul Realm. Master, stop being so stubborn."
As the woman watched the sunset in the tower, a discordant sound that did not fit into the tranquil atmosphere echoed in the air constantly. There was an anxious and agitated edge to that voice, and the person who spoke was a boy of about seventeen or eighteen years, and he was standing right beside her.
"Let me be alone for a while." As the boy continued pestering the gentle woman, she frowned and spoke softly. Even her words were incredibly soft and meek, and it was as if not even a single bit of temper could be found in her.
"Master! I just don’t understand what you’re thinking. We’ve suffered so much before and after the calamity, and after so much trouble, we got to meet Sir Yun Lai, and he likes you, why are you refusing him?
"Aunt master Zi Yan didn’t refuse him in the past and took to his offer immediately. I know, she did it to protect you, but don’t you want to repay her for the suffering she had to endure over the years?" The boy’s words held an agitated edge, and his voice started sounding piercing to the ears.
The woman shuddered and bit her bottom lip.
"With Sir Yun Lai’s power, he can get whatever woman he wants, but he’s an upright man. He doesn’t like to use force and would rather have the person submit to him willingly. If that wasn’t the case, with your current level of cultivation, do you think you could have refused himi?!" The boy continued speaking, and his voice grew sharper.
Trembling, the woman turned her head slowly to look at the boy.
"Sir Yun Lai is also Southern Swamp Island’s guardian. He let us have a safe place to live. What sort of right do you have to refuse a person like this? What’s so bad about becoming a concu…"
Before the boy could finish speaking, the woman lifted her hand and slapped him.
The boy staggered backwards, then lifted his head to glare at his Master and started shouting loudly.
"Even if you don’t think for yourself, you should think for me! I want to become Sir Yun Lai’s foster son! I want to learn his cultivation methods!"
The woman stared at the boy, at his face, currently twisted in ferociousness. Sharp stabs of pain struck her heart. She had heard such words from this disciple of hers for many years, but that sharp voice of his sounded extremely unfamiliar to her at that moment.
She looked at the boy. His face was so incredibly familiar to her, because his face was similar to that person’s from her memories. It was why she had accepted this person as her disciple all those years ago.
"I’ll fulfill your request. I’ll agree to it. Once you become Yun Lai’s foster son, you will no longer be my disciple." The woman closed her eyes, and fatigue filled her face.
The boy was momentarily stunned, then with a face filled with delighted surprise, he immediately rushed out of the tower. Clearly, he was off to tell his future foster father, Yun Lai, that piece of news.
The sound of the boy’s retreating footsteps made the woman’s heart clench in even more pain. She slowly opened her eyes and stared at the setting sun in the sky for a long, long time…
"This is not real."
Right at that moment, a voice sounding like a sigh filled with deep emotion came from behind her.