If he did not do this, he would not be able to quell the pain in his heart. If he did not do this, he would not be able to force down the anger burning in his soul!
He was angry, and that anger was burning so furiously that it had reached its peak, turning into a calm look on his face at that moment. However, once that anger under that calm facade erupted, it would be able to burn the world.
Su Ming turned around quietly and looked at his Master’s cave abode. He swept his gaze around the area, and found it empty. He had come to this place before, and he knew that his Master had left behind a large amount of items in the multiple floors in his cave that he had collected.
Now, this floor was empty. In silence, Su Ming walked down to another floor. When he eventually walked through the entire cave, the sullen look on his face had fused with his anger, and it had turned into a terrifying, unsettling wave of ripples around him.
His Master’s cave was practically empty. There were only a few items left behind, and the rest were all gone.
Su Ming’s heart clenched in pain. He walked out of the cave quietly and stood outside to look at the world in the distance. The words Hu Zi had said just moments ago echoed in his ears. His Master often stood here and stared at the land of the Shamans with a dejected look on his face…
His Master had gone to the land of the Shamans in search of him, but he had been unable to find him.
"Master…" Su Ming stood there and closed his eyes. A long time passed. When he opened his eyes, he walked down the mountain using a trail that now existed only in his memories. Eventually, rolling seawater appeared before him, but Su Ming did not stop there. He walked into the sea, and under the water, he saw the complete ninth summit…
As grief filled his face, he walked through the seawater, right down to the submerged stairs of the ninth summit. This flight of stairs was originally covered in plants, and when he walked on those stairs, he should have felt as if he was stepping on dust.
But Su Ming could see that the stairs were incredibly clean. It was clear that Hu Zi always came to this place to clean it.
The memories in Su Ming’s mind were incredibly clear, and they were overlapping with the desolate view his eyes perceived right then. He could even hear the faint sound of the high wind in his ears above the ninth summit, could even see his second senior brother standing on the stairs with the side of his face turned towards the sun while smiling towards him.
The sorrow on Su Ming’s face became deeper. It was quiet all around him. In the midst of that silence, he walked forward slowly, passing by Hu Zi’s cave abode to reach his second senior brother’s house. His house was incredibly neat and tidy, but submerged under the seawater. His herbal garden laid in waste…
Second senior brother’s smile, his figure, and his identity as a Phantom appeared in Su Ming’s heart, causing him to stop silently, and he stood there for a long, long time...
Perhaps there were tears in his eyes, but they fused with the sea and he could not see them.
"Second senior brother…"
Su Ming turned around. On the way here, he saw many plants that had died in the sea. Those… were all the marks his second senior brother had left behind.
When Su Ming reached the foot of the ninth summit, he went to his eldest senior brother’s isolation grounds. Over there, he went to the karst cave based on his memories that was now submerged in seawater.
As he looked at the familiar place, his eldest senior brother’s voice from the past appeared in his ears. The concern in his voice still sounded as strong as ever in his heart.
"Eldest senior brother…" Su Ming mumbled in anguish. His eldest senior brother was a quiet and reserved man. He was a person of few words, and did not like speaking too much, but he cared for his junior brothers and his Master deeply.
After a long while, Su Ming left, dispirited.
He walked through every single spot in the ninth summit, walked past every single mountain rock in his memories. Everything here carried his memories and the warmth he felt here in the past.
Eventually, he came to his cave abode from all those years ago. He looked at the protruding platform, then at the dead plants that his second senior brother had planted after he left. And he sat down there quietly.
He sat alone, on the ninth summit located in the depths of the sea, and looked into the distance.
In his eyes, he saw murky seawater, but in his heart, he saw the frozen world from the past.
The ninth summit was an ice mountain, and beneath this ice mountain was a true mountain. This mountain would not melt… it would never melt!
Su Ming closed his eyes. As he sat there, his heart gained peace.
It was just like in the past. However, now, his Master’s constant roars to the sky were gone, his eldest senior brother’s divine sense covering him while he was in isolation was absent, and his second senior brother’s warm and gentle smile was missing. Once so many things had vanished, could this… still be considered the ninth summit?
"This is the ninth summit. This is my home in the Land of South Morning," Su Ming declared under his breath. He was the only person in this endless seawater, and his presence stood out like a sore thumb as he sat on the platform.
Yet his distinct presence shone with loneliness, longing, and reminiscence.
What sort of longing would make a person defend the ninth summit without any care for the consequences?
What sort of longing would make a person sit quietly at the depths of this lonely sea to search for the hints of the past?
"Master, I’m back… I came back to the ninth summit. I’m back home." Su Ming sat on the platform, just like he did in the past. As time passed, he continued sitting there, day by day…
On the third day, Su Ming opened his eyes and lifted his head. He looked towards the surface of the sea above his head, and a chilling look full of killing intent that surged into the sky appeared in his eyes.
He stood up and walked back through the path he had come. Gradually, he emerged from the sea and walked up the stairs leading to the peak of the mountain. He arrived at the top, and heard Hu Zi’s snores still traveling through the air. When he heard those sounds, the very first smile since Su Ming had entered the submerged ninth summit appeared on his lips.
"Senior brother Hu Zi, take a good rest. You… have me to handle everything!"
Su Ming sat down cross-legged outside his Master’s cave abode on the mountain. The sea breeze lifted his hair and made his robes flap loudly in the air. His expression gradually turned cold and detached, and he closed his eyes.
The bald crane was by his side. Over the past few days, it remained there, not daring to leave due to the seal on its body, and grumbling immensely in its heart because of it. However, when it saw Su Ming return from the depths of the sea and saw him sitting quietly outside the cave, it suddenly shuddered.
It had noticed the killing intent within Su Ming’s body. That killing intent burned so greatly that it surpassed what he possessed in Scour Sieve Island, making the bald crane’s heart shudder and not dare to get closer to him.
In fact, it could even see the air around Su Ming freezing through his divine abilities.
The small snake crawled out of Su Ming’s storage bag and lay sprawled across his shoulders. It had also noticed Su Ming’s killing intent, and was hissing while staring at the sky coldly.
Time trickled by slowly. Two hours later, distortions suddenly appeared in the sky above the ninth summit, and from those distortions, two long arcs flew out and charged straight towards the ninth summit.
Before they even got closer, a cold voice echoed in the air.
"Time’s up. Bring out the offerings and come with us to meet Sir Si Ma. Once you receive the Nine Punishment Lashes, you can keep your ninth summit protected for another month."
Su Ming opened his eyes, lifted his head, and looked towards the sky.