Fang Cang Lan’s face turned pale, but determination could be seen on her face. When Su Ming pulled her away, she lifted her hand without any hint of panic and pointed forward with one finger.
The protective screen of light outside Southern Swamp Island started shining with a brilliant light that spilled out in all directions before gathering to one point and turning to a powerful ray of light that went charging towards the illusory figure before Su Ming.
They crashed into each other in an instant, and as booming sounds reverberated in the air, Su Ming let go of Fang Cang Lan’s hand with a grim face. All his power of Bone Sacrifice erupted forth from his body, and he took a step towards the illusory figure.
Almost the instant he took that step, Fang Cang Lan immediately sat down by the side without caring about how dangerous the place was, neither was she worried about Su Ming being distracted. Instead, she closed her eyes, and after casting some unknown divine ability, she suddenly cried out.
"Thirty-two feet to his left. Seventy-nine feet to his right. Two hundred forty-eight feet to his front. These are his dimensional realm loci!"
The instant Fang Cang Lan said those words, the eyes of the semi-transparent figure charging towards Su Ming flashed and he looked straight towards her. When that illusory figure closed in, golden light shone about Su Ming’s body, and he pointed towards the spot thirty-two feet away from the figure’s left. A cracking sound immediately rang in the air, and the transparent figure froze momentarily.
The instant it froze up, Su Ming laid out his right palm straight and pressed towards his right. A strong force moved to the spot seventy-nine feet away from the figure’s right. Rumbling sounds reverberated in the air, and the cracking sounds rang out once again. The transparent figure let out a low growl and lifted his arms as if he was about to form a seal. He did not go on to attack Su Ming, but pushed his palms in Fang Cang Lan’s direction!
Right at that moment, Su Ming formed his left hand into a fist and hurled a punch straight towards the third dimensional realm locus, exactly Two hundred forty-eight feet before that figure. The instant his punch landed, the area around the semi-transparent figure distorted, and as if space itself was collapsing, a large suction force appeared, causing the figure to be instantly sucked inside, disappearing without a trace.
Yet even though it disappeared, the killing intent within the palm strike aimed towards Fang Cang Lan after it formed that seal still remained, and it was about to touch her.
With Fang Cang Lan’s power, there was no way she could possibly dodge that strike. She lifted her head and looked towards Su Ming. There was a look in her eyes saying that she did not want to part with him, but she was smiling.
When everything seemed to have been set in stone and could not be changed, a sharp glint appeared in Su Ming’s eyes and he lifted his left hand to point towards the sky while pushing his right hand in the direction of the ground.
"The past… the future…"
As Su Ming whispered, shadows of himself overlapped and intersected with each other. Time seemed to be flowing backwards around them, and the entire world froze at that instant. The palm strike closing in on Fang Cang Lan also froze, and even began showing signs of reversing.
Su Ming did not hesitate. He took a step forward and warped, appearing right before Fang Cang Lan. When he lifted his right hand, time was restored, and during that instant, the movement for everything around them increased, as if these things wanted to catch up to for the time they had lost.
The palm strike crashed into Su Ming’s right hand. With a shocking boom rising into the air, the palm strike shattered. A trickle of blood flowed out of Su Ming’s mouth, but he continued standing there and did not move, because right behind him was Fang Cang Lan, a woman who had been exposed to a life-threatening crisis because of him.
Fang Cang Lan stared at the figure before her with a dazed expression, and the gentleness in her eyes grew stronger with each passing moment.
The disappearance of that palm strike caused the air around them to return to normal. Yet strangely, even though there was such a strong ripple of power in this place and such a loud bang in the air, no one in Southern Swamp Island caught on. It was as if they did not hear or feel anything.
"This is that power I was talking about. But it has a bit more intelligence compared to last time…" Fang Cang Lan spoke softly and stood up, walking up to Su Ming and wiping away the blood at the corners of his mouth.
But the instant her hands touched Su Ming’s blood, that blood on her finger started rotting away and turning black in the blink of an eye. Soon, it turned into a wave of aura of death that spread out, causing both Su Ming and Fang Cang Lan to be stunned by the sight.
Her eyes went wide. She did not know what had happened. When she lifted her head to look towards Su Ming, she saw a hint of grief in his eyes.
Her heart lurched in her chest, but just as she was about to ask, Su Ming closed his eyes.
Su Ming was not unfamiliar with that semi-transparent figure. He felt a hint of Di Tian’s presence on that figure just now, but that presence had been incredibly faint, and it felt as if it had come forth through an endless amount of dimensions.
When Fang Cang Lan activated her divine ability in an attempt to help Su Ming probe deeper into his memories, they failed, and had even attracted Di Tian’s presence over. If Su Ming had still been the same as he was before, then Fang Cang Lan would have definitely died.
"Dimensional realm locus… Is that the name for the three spots that were connected to the space here just now that allowed that semi-transparent figure to come here?" Su Ming opened his eyes and looked towards Fang Cang Lan.
"How did you learn about them?" he asked calmly.
"I… I don’t know either. The instant I sensed that presence coming, I saw those three spots around him. He seemed to have also used those three spots to arrive to this place.
"The distance between him and those three spots would never change."
Confusion appeared in Fang Cang Lan’s eyes as she whispered. She was still caught in the sight of witnessing Su Ming’s blood turn black before changing into the aura of death on her finger.
Su Ming’s expression grew more complicated. The sight of his blood turning into the aura of death kept repeating itself in his head, along with the three spots Fang Cang Lan had mentioned just now.
After a long while, Fang Cang Lan looked towards Su Ming and bit her bottom lip.
"Why did your blood turn that way on my hand?"
"I’m tired, Cang Lan." Su Ming then fell silent and sat down cross-legged on the ground and slowly closed his eyes.
Fang Cang Lan stood by the side quietly for a long while before she discovered, in her anguish, that this Su Ming was different from the Su Ming she knew in the past. Right now, his emotions changed constantly, and he swung between moments of friendliness and aloofness.
‘All of this must be related to his blood turning into the aura of death on my finger. I will definitely find the reason behind this!’ Determination appeared in Fang Cang Lan’s eyes. She cast Su Ming a glance before turning around and leaving.
As she was leaving, she did not hear him mumble his next words.
"Thank you, Cang Lan."
Su Ming had originally planned to ask Fang Cang Lan to use her unique abilities to look into the memories of Di Tian’s servant, whom he had captured, but the sight just now made him temporarily give up on this idea.
It was far too easy for unforeseen circumstances to happen in this matter. Su Ming knew that if they attracted that semi-transparent figure containing a hint of Di Tian’s presence here again, it would be difficult for him to protect Fang Cang Lan with his current level of cultivation, especially when it would definitely come prepared this time.
He sat quietly and looked at the sky turning dark, then at the darkness gradually disappearing to welcome a new day. During these few days, the islanders had been repeatedly fortifying the Rune under Zong Ze’s arrangements. They tried to make the island sink into the bottom of the sea once again. It was not impossible, but they needed time to be able to do so.
Su Ming was not worried about Fang Cang Lan. This woman had changed greatly, and his impression of her changed a lot from what it was in the past. It did not matter whether it was her intelligence or her decisiveness, with these things along with her strange divine abilities, they were enough to ensure her safety, despite her low level of cultivation.
After all, this was a woman who would dare to try to kill a Berserker in the middle stage of the Berserker Soul Realm even though she was only in the Bone Sacrifice Realm. Su Ming would not dare to underestimate this sort of person.
"This is the first time I’ve seen such a person like you. I wonder how many are there in the land of the Berserkers who are like you…?" Su Ming mumbled to himself.
The instant his blood turned into the aura of death on Fang Cang Lan’s finger, he was reminded of the moment he flew out of the vortex with the ancient bronze sword from the True Sacred Yin Realm, and how he had felt as if he was nearly drowned by a thick wave of aura of death the moment he saw the stars and the galaxy.
If he minimized that feeling several times and turned it into a drop of blood, then it would be exactly like what he saw on Fang Cang Lan’s finger just now.
"32, 79, 248…"
Su Ming looked at the horizon connecting the sky and the sea in the distance and mumbled under his breath. His expression grew more complicated with each passing moment, and a nostalgic look appeared in his eyes as he uttered those three so called dimensional realm loci.
When Fang Cang Lan had first mentioned those three spots, Su Ming had not thought much about them, but once his blood turned into the aura of death, he had been stunned, and those three numbers began appearing in his head nonstop.
He had a vague feeling that these three numbers were familiar. Very familiar… That sense of familiarity was the sort that was carved into his soul, engraved into his bones. It was a sort of familiarity that he would never forget.
"If there is a fourth dimensional realm locus, then would it be located 371 feet away…? If there is a fifth, would it be located 563 feet away…? If there is a sixth dimensional realm locus, would that be a spot 781 feet away…?" he whispered to himself softly in agony. How could he forget these six numbers? How could he not be familiar with them?!
‘32, 79, 248, 371, 563, 781… Elder, what were you trying to tell me…? You gave me these six numbers when we were in Wind Stream Tribe before I went to climb those stairs on their sacred mountain. You asked me to remember them well, and I originally thought they were just locations for me to rest, but now… only now do I know that they aren’t…’ Su Ming closed his eyes, and tears fell down his cheeks.
‘Elder… are you… really my elder…? Are you really Dark Mountain Tribe’s elder…? Are you really the elder who taught me how to be a person since I was young, taught me how to exercise caution, taught me how to reason, taught me how to fight…?
‘Elder, who… are you?’ More tears fell from Su Ming’s tightly shut eyes. ‘Elder, is Dark Mountain real? Are Bei Ling, Lei Chen, Wu La, Bai Ling… Are all of them real?’
Su Ming opened his eyes and looked towards the sky and the sea. He looked into the distance just like that until his tears became dry, until a thick wave of sorrow appeared and found permanent residence in his body, until he stood up and did not even cast a glance at the woman who had been watching him over these past few days from another mountain far away.
He took a step into the sky.