When they met again, that shocking power of cultivation and the strength that could seal the whole world with just a wave of his arm had shocked Zong Ze, but he had been able to tell vaguely that Su Ming was not himself when he was in that state!
Then there was their encounter this time. He met Su Ming once again, but this time, the shock Su Ming had brought to him had surpassed those two previous times. That was not because Su Ming’s level of cultivation had surpassed Hong Luo’s, but because Zong Ze could tell that this Su Ming who was standing before him was the real man himself!
They had met three times, and each time, he was different. Among all the people Zong Ze had met in his life, only Su Ming had been able to give him such intense feelings.
"Your carelessness this time has caused Southern Swamp Island to no longer know peace… From now on, the islanders who have survived through the calamity will have to face life threatening dangers once again and be hunted by Eastern Wastelanders…" Zong Ze did not look at the torn pieces of flesh left behind him, but let out a sigh instead.
Su Ming was silent. He did not speak. Almost the instant he killed Yun Lai, he sensed a faint tremor traveling through the ground of the entire Southern Swamp Island.
Those tremors did not start off strong, but quickly turned into booming sounds. The man-made sky started flickering non-stop, flashes of brightness followed quickly by darkness. When Su Ming lifted his head to look, the man-made darkness let out a brilliant flash, and then the entire Southern Swamp Island was instantly illuminated. However, that light was like a flash of lightning that sliced through the sky before it disappeared without a trace.
Banging sounds came from above, and as the light faded away, the stars in the man-made sky started dimming in a manner as if they were all connected together. Eventually, they became dark once again, but the darkness at this moment and the darkness just moments ago were different in their very nature!
The darkness just moments ago was due to the man-made sky that had lost all the spiritual Qi needed for its operations, but the darkness right now was because of the change that had appeared in Southern Swamp Island. The man-made sky exploded. Although the protective screen still existed, the screen had become transparent, and the intense darkness that fell into Su Ming’s eyes was… the color of the Dead Sea outside!
As he saw the darkness of the Dead Sea, Zong Ze too saw it, and Fang Cang Lan, who was standing on the mountain on the ground, did as well. All the Shamans and Berserkers living in Southern Swamp Island, too, saw it clearly.
Some of the people who had survived through the calamity had been lucky, but a lot more of them had experienced different trials and tribulations. These experiences varied, but there was one shocking similarity between all of them, and that was the unswerving determination that was born out of these experiences!
If they did not have determination, then it would be difficult for them to struggle and survive in this chaotic world. If they did not have determination, then it would be difficult for them to crawl out of death. If they did not have determination, it would be difficult for them to still be able to open their eyes after countless people had died in the Land of South Morning!
That was why even though this change had appeared in Southern Swamp Island, even though more than a few people had seen Yun Lai’s death and Su Ming’s appearance, they only had shock on their expressions. There was little panic evident in them, much less any form of commotion traveling out of their mouths.
Instead, they looked at the sky quietly and silently felt the tremors shaking the ground beneath their feet as Southern Swamp Island slowly rose to the surface of the sea.
Zi Yan looked at all of this with a stupefied expression as she stood in the crowd. The things that had happened were entirely within her expectations, but she did not expect that it would end up this way. She might have been Yun Lai’s concubine before and believed that she knew a lot about him, but she still did not know that Southern Swamp Island’s Rune was linked to his life!
Fang Cang Lan remained silent. She knew about the Rune being linked to Yun Lai’s life. This was also the reason why she was confident she could kill or heavily injure Yun Lai through her multiple preparations. She also knew that the Rune in Southern Swamp Island would crumble after Yun Lai died, along with the fact that the island would once again appear on the surface of the sea after his death.
But… Firm resolution appeared in her eyes.
‘Zi Yan has already suffered for me for many years. She might be together with Ya Mu now, but she doesn’t know that she still has Yun Lai’s seal in her body. She might look as if she has regained the freedom to live and die as she wishes, but in truth, her life is still in Yun Lai’s hands.
‘Zong Ze would not interfere much in this matter either, unless Ya Mu became a Latter Shaman… This is what I saw in Yun Lai’s memories…
‘If Zi Yan could suffer for me, then I could also bear living in infamy and being ridiculed for the rest of my life for her. Even if the entire Southern Swamp Island had to pay for this, as long as Zi Yan could obtain true freedom, it’s worth it!’
This was what Fang Cang Lan had told herself in her heart when she set her plan to kill Yun Lai all those years ago.
There was a second stage to her plans, and she had already made detailed preparations for it. Once she killed or heavily injured Yun Lai, she would leave quietly with Zi Yan and head to other islands to begin a new life.
However, Su Ming’s appearance had thrown all her plans into chaos…
Su Ming could feel the tremors in the island becoming more intense under his feet. Booming sounds rolled into the air from beneath him. He noticed Southern Swamp Island rising up, and in silence, he noticed the seawater at the depths of the Dead Sea looking as if it had been split apart. A massive area on the surface of the sea also sank down, and waves started rolling towards the edges of the pit.
In just a moment, with a shocking boom that shook the sky and earth, an island emerged from the very depths of the sea on the originally empty surface. The instant it appeared, a large amount of seawater rolled about, causing booming sounds to reverberate in the air. The people could see an arc shaped screen of light covering this island, and as it appeared on the sea, the light from the world outside instantly shot through and fell on the island!
Su Ming lifted his head and looked at the clouds in the sky outside the screen of light, then listened to the roaring waves of the sea around him. Zong Ze’s voice reached his ears.
"The crash of the Eastern Wastelands in our land caused South Morning to be split into pieces… turning into three much smaller continents and the numerous islands around the edges of these continents… The three much smaller continents are protected by Runes, prohibiting all outsiders from entering, as if they are sealed off.
"Besides the three much smaller continents there are numerous islands that vary in sizes. Most of these islands are uninhabited, and only some of them serve as a home for those who survived through the calamity, just like us.
"Compared to the three sealed off continents, those who live on the islands face a whole lot more dangers, and many of these dangers come from Eastern Wastelands instead of from the Dead Sea…
"Once South Morning shattered because of the Catastrophe of the Eastern Wastelands, a disaster also fell on the latter. Their continent also collapsed and many islands appeared, but since there were a lot more powerful warriors in Eastern Wastelands compared to South Morning, that was why the damage to their land was much smaller compared to ours, and their continent was not torn to pieces.
"There were too many casualties in South Morning, and Eastern Wastelands did not suffer much damage. This caused a huge disparity between our strengths. The Eastern Wastelanders hunt those of us from South Morning for entertainment. To them, all of us from South Morning are inferior, be it who are Shamans or Berserkers. Take for example, that Scour Sieve Festival of theirs. It is a bloody festival hosted by Scour Sieve Island, the biggest island located outside the Eastern Wastelands, and their aim is to hunt those of us from South Morning.
"This Scour Sieve Festival is hosted once every two years, and now… it’s almost here. If Southern Swamp Island appears on the surface of the sea now, we’ll definitely catch the attention of the Cultivators from Eastern Wasteland. Su Ming… you really shouldn’t have killed Yun Lai." Zong Ze looked at the sky outside the screen of light, then at the sea around him, and there was a sense of age in his voice when he spoke.
"Sir Zong Ze, do you happen to have a map of the islands surrounding Eastern Wastelands, especially of Scour Sieve Island?" Su Ming turned his gaze away from the sky to look at Zong Ze as he asked calmly.
A brilliant sparkle appeared in Zong Ze’s eyes and he looked at Su Ming with a stern expression on his face.
"Do you know that Scour Sieve Island is the biggest island outside Eastern Wastelands and that old Mo Luo1 on the island has already reached the peak of the later stage of the Berserker Soul Realm, and he is already halfway to attaining great completion in the Berserker Soul Realm? I fought against him once, and I lost. This person’s divine abilities are unpredictable, and he also has the power of Great Yu Sky Palace. Based on your race’s words, he is someone who has gone to Great Yu Dynasty before.
"Once this sort of person attains great completion in the Berserker Soul Realm, then it would be the same as him reaching the pinnacle of being an End Shaman. That stage belongs to those who have the right to explore becoming Hollow Shamans.
"You do indeed have extraordinary power, but do you have confidence to be able to fight against him?" Zong Ze asked solemnly.
"I once heard from someone that among your Medial, Latter, and End Shamans, the End Shamans have power that is equivalent to the Berserkers who have attained great completion in the Berserker Soul Realm. Is that true?" Su Ming did not answer Zong Ze’s question, but instead threw out his question lightly.
"In theory, that is true. But in truth, the Berserkers’ constitution has a long history and serves the main cultivation system for Berserkers after the first God of Berserkers created it, but the Shamans’ constitution was created by our Lord of Nine Li after he discarded his identity as a Berserker all those years ago.
"Due to the strangeness of our divine abilities, all our Realms that are below End are stronger than the Berserkers’, but… if we compare the Berserkers who have attained great completion in the Berserker Soul Realm to End Shamans, then End Shamans… are not their opponents.
"If I truly go and fight against them, then with my experience, I can tell that I will be able to fight against a Berserker in the later stage of the Berserker Soul Realm, but I cannot win against those who have attained great completion. In fact, even if the old Mo Luo is halfway through attaining great completion, since he has mastered the power of Great Yu, I still cannot hope to be his opponent.
"Unless, that is… a Hollow Shaman like the Great Patriarch appeared among us Shamans again!"
Su Ming nodded his head. He did not speak.
"From what I know, besides the old Mo Luo, this Scour Sieve Island also has an End Shaman, Bao Shan, the traitor of our people… and there are also three Berserkers in the middle stage of the Berserker Soul Realm who are as powerful as Yun Lai. There are also quite a number of Berserkers in the initial stage of the Berserker Soul Realm and Latter Shamans who are still affiliated with our precious mountain.
"This sort of strength is simply not something we can stand up against. That is why most of the islands around this area, including Southern Swamp Island, have decided to hide," Zong Ze stated in a low voice.
"Senior Zong Ze, how many years do you have left?" Su Ming suddenly asked.
Zong Ze fell silent, and after a long while, he closed his eyes. The aura of death he had hidden in his body became a little more distinct.
"Less than ten years."
"I am a Berserker. I have lived in the land of Shamans for many years. Now, after the calamity that fell on South Morning, the Shamans and Berserkers have fused together…"
Su Ming’s gaze landed on Zong Ze, and he slowly shifted his eyes away. He looked towards Fang Cang Lan, whose expression was filled with a complicated array of emotions, then at the Shamans and Berserkers who had walked out of their own cave abodes.
"I have not done anything for the Berserkers before… Now, let me do one thing for all of you." Su Ming looked at all these people, who were dressed in ragged clothing, looked at them needing to hide themselves even though they had survived through the calamity, and all of this… was because of Eastern Wastelands...
1. The relationship between Scour Sieve and Mo Luo: Scour Sieve Island/Festival/Temple is actually named after Mo Luo, which are based on the characters of his name. Mo Luo is the pinyin for these two words 摩罗, and scour sieve is the meaning for the words. Treat it as Mo Luo deciding to name the island/festival/temple after the meaning of his own name, which is the same for Tian Lan (天嵐), which is the surname for Tian Lan Meng, Tian Lan You, and Sky Mist’s ancestor. And Sky Mist City/Wall is the meaning of 天嵐.