forward. With a dejected look, the bald crane quickly followed suit, all the while grumbling in its heart and lamenting that it had been careless… Not only did it not manage to run, a seal had also been placed in its body.
‘Damn it, how could I not have seen through this test…? This Berserker brat is too sly. Looks like he’s a person who is used to testing others. I’ll have to remember. I can’t fall for his tricks again!’ The bald crane lamented to itself and repeatedly reminded itself to be wary of the man’s tests.
Su Ming walked forward in the sky. He was familiar with the terrain here, and when he flew several hundreds of lis to arrive before an island surrounded by water, he came to a halt.
The vast expanse of water looked like a sea, but its color was not black. It was blue, and it covered a wide region. There was originally not supposed to be any sort of water here, it had been a world filled with glaciers and ice. Freezing Sky Clan was built on this glacier.
Yet now, as the calamity fell on their heads and South Morning was torn to pieces, the glacier became the sea around the island, drowning everything familiar to Su Ming.
"The ninth summit…" he mumbled under his breath as he looked at the seawater beneath him. Before his eyes, the image of the ninth summit of the past appeared. Gradually, an agitated look appeared on his face. He spread his divine sense outwards to cover the region.
With it, he saw the land, and also... a small mountain at the center of this vast expanse of sea...
The instant he saw it, Su Ming started trembling. His heart started racing, and his eyes started shining with eternal light. He walked forward slowly, towards that tiny mountain, or perhaps more accurately speaking, the portion of the mountain that was revealed on the surface of the sea, which was really less than one thousand feet.
He was like a wanderer that had wandered for decades, only to return home after many years to see unfamiliar sights laced with familiarity. The complicated feelings he harbored in his heart, along with his excitement and agitation, were difficult to put into words.
There was an ancient air to the sea breeze. When it blew past the surface of the sea, layers of ripples were formed on the water, causing the seawater to sparkle, giving it a nostalgic beauty.
The wind blew against Su Ming’s body, lifting his hair, making his robes flutter. When the wind touched his eyes, it turned into longing and nostalgia, making him
him move his feet to walk towards where the ninth summit had been located in the past.
Everything in Su Ming’s gaze disappeared at that moment. The only thing left in his field of vision was the mountain that was now less than one thousand feet in height.
Perhaps it should be said that this was just the peak of the mountain, because most of it was submerged under the seawater, including Su Ming’s cave abode, his second senior brother’s plants and flowers, his eldest senior brother’s isolation grounds, and Hu Zi’s house, where he slept… Everything was submerged under the water, and only the peak of the mountain remained eternally standing tall, surrounded by seawater.
It was as if it was also waiting for Su Ming, waiting for his return, or else, why would this mountain be the only one remaining while all the others had disappeared…?
All the things that had happened in the ninth summit in the past were clouded by nostalgia in Su Ming’s eyes. When he got closer, mixed feelings rose in his heart. It had been twenty years, and because of one calamity, so many things had changed.
In his divine sense, Su Ming saw the tip of the ninth summit, which was still about several hundreds of lis away from him. At that moment, there was a man standing outside the cave abode that originally belonged to Tian Xie Zi!
The man had a powerful back and shoulders, his body was incredibly well-built, but his hair was a mess. He stood there like a mountain that would never disappear. At that moment, he had his fists clenched while glaring right ahead.
Before him were two men dressed in Hanfu. Those two men were middle-aged, and one of them was glaring at this big man coldly while speaking slowly.
"The due date for your rent ends in three days. If you want to continue staying here, then you have to bring out even more offerings this time. If you can’t, then Heaven Gate will wipe away this mountain."
"Since we’re both from the same clan and are fellow disciples, here is my advice. If you don’t want to give up on this land, you’d best bring those offerings here," the other person stated coldly.
"You’re going overboard!" the man roared furiously. His face was filled with anger and pain. Over the years, he had given up far too much to protect the ninth summit.
When the calamity arrived, Freezing Sky Clan’s Heaven Gate activated their divine ability and protected this place with their Rune, but in the process, they made this place completely isolated from the outside world. Moreover, due to Heaven Gate’s, all
Gate’s, all factions of power had no choice but to submit to them.
The Great Frozen Plains had also been demolished because of all sorts of reasons and made to drown in the depths of the sea. The ninth summit, however, had been allowed to stay due to some mysterious reason, but there was a condition for its continued existence. This man had to bring out ten items from Tian Xie Zi’s cave abode and give them up as an offering, or else Heaven Gate would destroy the ninth summit.
The man knew that there was a strange seal to his Master’s cave abode. This seal prevented all outsiders from entering, and if anyone tried to force their way in, all the items inside would be destroyed in an instant. Only the disciples of the ninth summit could enter the cave abode freely.
"You’ve already taken most of the things Master left behind. Why can’t you just leave the ninth summit alone? I just want to protect my home. Master is gone, eldest senior brother is gone, even second senior brother is gone, and youngest junior brother has gone missing as well. I’m the only one left here. I’m the only one…
"I just want to protect this place. I just want to make sure it keeps on existing so that Master will have a home to return to when he comes back, and when my eldest senior brother as well as my second senior brother come back, they will be able to see their home!
"I want to let youngest junior brother be able to find his way back when he returns. This is the only thing I can think of, but you… how could you do this?! Master already doesn’t have much left, so how can you do this?!!" As the man cried out, tears fell from his eyes. The pain and suffering he had had to endure over the years was something no one could possibly know.
He was Hu Zi, the simple and honest Hu Zi who had some odd quirks and unique hobbies. However, twenty years had passed by since then, and the signs of age had appeared on his face. He was no longer the child who could sleep every single day and did not have to worry about anything because he had Tian Xie Zi’s protection. Now, he was the Hu Zi who wanted to protect the ninth summit so that he could give his Master and his junior brother a home to return to!
"You wouldn’t dare do this if Master was still around!
"Even if it was just my eldest senior brother, you wouldn’t dare do this either! And before my second senior brother left, you brother left, you wouldn’t have dared to humiliate the ninth summit!" Hu Zi yelled at the two people with anger burning on his face.
"Indeed, if senior Tian Xie Zi was here, we wouldn’t dare to do this, but he has gone missing for too long, and we don’t even know whether he’s still alive and well," one of the two people standing before Hu Zi said, shaking his head.
"If your eldest senior brother or your second senior brother were around, this might perhaps not have happened as well, but they’ve also gone missing.
"Honestly, you don’t have to be so angry either, we just came here to tell you the orders from the clan," the other person said coldly.
"The ninth summit belongs to Freezing Sky Clan, and Freezing Sky Clan belongs to Heaven Gate. Why would we need to force you if we want to take back this mountain? Three days later, we will come and retrieve the offerings. If you can’t produce them, then we will have to report this to the clan."
Once the two people finished speaking, they cast Hu Zi a glance filled with cold aloofness, along with a hint of disdain and mockery. They then turned into long arcs and charged into the sky, disappearing without a trace. The air around them distorted and it looked as if they had just entered a void.
Only Hu Zi remained standing on the ground alone. He sat down in anguish and clenched his fists tightly, but in the end, when his gaze landed on the ground and the ninth summit, he started crying.
"I only want to protect the ninth summit... I don’t want it to disappear. I want to find the warmth it had in the past. I want to keep our home intact for all of you… Master, where are you? Do you know that the ninth summit has reached such a state…?
"You went to Eastern Wastelands for South Morning, but do you know that our ninth summit is about to fall? I can’t bear with this for much longer…
"Eldest senior brother, where are you…? Second senior brother, why did you go out? Why didn’t you stay here and protect our home together with me…?
"Youngest junior brother, are you… are you… are you dead or alive? It’s been twenty years… Do you still remember the ninth summit? Do you still remember our Master, our eldest senior brother, our second senior brother? Do you still remember me…?" Tears fell down Hu Zi’s cheeks as he mumbled.
When a man cried in such a manner, it was enough to make all those who saw him feel their hearts shake.