"Please accept our greetings… Sir Su Ming!"
The crowd that had been asked to attack the screen of light moments ago were standing before Su Ming and looking at him with respect on their faces. Some of these people had seen him before, and right then, their hearts were filled with mixed feelings, but they did not dare reveal it. Their faces were filled with extreme respect instead.
No matter what race it was, all powerful warriors would be respected. This respect might be sincere, and it might also be due to fear. The strong reign supreme - This was a universal law that would never change.
The crowd before Su Ming’s eyes acted precisely this way.
They were the survivors left behind after Heaven Gate collapsed, and they had seen how Su Ming had murdered his way through the numerous layers. As their words traveled into the air, Su Ming’s gaze landed on them, and the people lowered their heads, not having the courage to look at him.
Su Ming’s gaze was not that fierce, but simply a clear gaze filled with a profound look. Yet this ordinary look in his eyes made all the people who saw it feel as if their inner thoughts had been seen through, and it felt as if they could keep no secrets from him.
Shock filled their hearts within that instant. As they lowered their heads, Su Ming looked at them. There were some among them whom he could recognize vaguely, but he could not remember their names. These were the people he had met by pure chance when he still stayed in the ninth summit.
After all, to the people who knew Su Ming, only twenty something years had passed. Twenty years might bring about many changes, but to those who walked down the path of cultivation, their memories would not have faded away too much.
But Su Ming had gone through a countless amount of reincarnations in the Candle Dragon’s Undying and Imperishable World. His will might have become stronger, but unless his memories were about certain people and certain incidents, everything else had faded away, as if they were lifetimes apart.
In fact, even the emotions and feelings he had harbored for certain relationships in the past had largely faded away, just like how he felt towards a certain person. He stood in midair and swept his gaze across the crowd before his eyes fell on a person in white, who was as beautiful as she had been all those years ago.
Hu Zi’s loud snores would still occasionally travel through the air. His voice broke the silence that fell among the crowd due to Su Ming’s appearance.
Su Ming lifted his foot and took a step towards the ninth summit. When his foot landed, he vanished before reappearing in the sky above the ninth summit. When he took another step, he stood at the peak of the mountain.
Besides Bai Su and her father, there were some other Heaven Gate survivors who had ran to the mountain. One of them was the old man in white robes, who was one of the Lords of Heaven Gate who had his life force scattered and had fallen into a state of unconsciousness as if he had died.
The Berserker Threads in the old man’s body had not vanished after Si Ma Xin died, but had instead buried themselves deep into his body and stayed there still and unmoving, as if they had lost their life.
The old man might be injured badly and had his life force scattered, but he was also gradually waking up. After all, if he had dared to take such a risk, then he would naturally have a way to recover his life force. In fact, everything that had happened to him beforehand might have just been an illusion.
At that moment, the reawakened old man in white saw Su Ming arriving, and with an excited look on his face, he went up and wrapped his fist in his palm before he bowed deeply towards him.
"I am Lin Hai Zi. Greetings, Lord of Freezing Sky’s Great Frozen Plains."
Once the old man said these words, the rest of the people on the ninth summit, besides Bai Su and her father, wrapped their fists in their palms and greeted Su Ming.
"Greetings, Lord of Freezing Sky’s Great Frozen Plains!"
These words were voiced by many and turned into a wave of sound that echoed in the air above the surface of the sea, refusing to fade away even after a long time.
After the crowd did this, Bai Su’s father, who was the old man with the complicated expression on his face, also lowered his head and wrapped his fist in his palm towards Su Ming.
At that moment, all the people in the area were voicing their respect towards Su Ming with voices filled with admiration. They might not know what had happened in the sea, but when the Threads from the Berserker Seeds in their bodies sank into silence as if they had lost their lives, these people sensed Si Ma Xin’s death, and felt the threads controlling their fates over the past years abruptly snapping.
As Su Ming walked out from the sea, all the people in the mountain understood that no matter what the process had been, the fight between Su Ming and Si Ma Xin had ended… with Si Ma Xin’s death!
"Lord of Freezing Sky’s Great Frozen Plains, Sir Su Ming, what has happened to Si Ma Xin…?" The old man in white hesitated for a moment before finally asking. Si Ma Xin might be dead according to what he could sense, but the old man still felt a little wary. He wanted to hear it from Su Ming’s own mouth.
"Si Ma Xin is dead!" Su Ming stated slowly, not too bothered by the old man attaching the title of Lord of Freezing Sky’s Great Frozen Plains to his name.
At the instant he heard Su Ming’s words, the old man sucked in a deep breath, and an excited expression appeared briefly on his face. He looked at Su Ming and wrapped his fist in his palm before bowing towards him once more.
As Su Ming returned and reported Si Ma Xin’s death, the remnants of Heaven Gate felt at a loss in the midst of their excitement. They were lost as to where they should go next, and lost as to where their destinies laid.
When the night arrived, Su Ming sat outside Hu Zi’s cave abode in the ninth summit, who was still in deep sleep. Besides a white figure beside him, there was no one else around. The entire area was very quiet, and only the swishing sounds of waves could be heard faintly, along with Hu Zi’s snores that would occasionally travel outwards.
The remnants of Heaven Gate were scattered everywhere on the mountain. They did not get closer to this spot. Occasionally, someone would lift their heads and automatically look towards the figure under the moon at the top of the mountain. When they looked over, their gazes would be filled with gratitude and respect.
Bai Su sat beside Su Ming. They had been sitting side by side for almost two hours while watching the sky gradually turn dark and the sea turn dim. Neither of them spoke.
In truth, they were not the only ones there. Not too far away was a cliff, and at the edge of the cliff was a bald crane, who was lying on the ground in a lackadaisical a manner. There was a shining stone in its claws. It continued looking at it, and occasionally, its beak would curl up in a smug grin, and it would let out cackling sound.
"Are you going to leave again?" After a long while, when the bald crane looked away from the stone and cast a few scrutinizing glances towards Su Ming and Bai Su, Bai Su broke the silence.
"I will head off to Eastern Wastelands." Su Ming looked at the black seawater and spoke unhurriedly.
"I wish you a good life…" Bai Su lowered her head and looked at the seawater, as well, while speaking softly.
Su Ming did not speak. He turned around and looked towards Bai Su. Her dark locks were incredibly long and covered her face, blocking her countenance from his gaze, and also hid away the hideous scar on her face.
"I was immature in the past. Thank you for being tolerant towards me. I’m very happy to have met you again..." Bai Su spoke softly. She did not look at Su Ming, but lowered her head to look at the sea. There was a gentle smile on her face and it contained a hint of being carefree along with a hint of nostalgia.
After a long time, she stood up and walked past Su Ming.
"The ninth summit is your home. Leave at peace. I will stay here and take care of the place… If the day comes that I’m no longer in the world, I will leave my body behind… and atone for the harm I’ve done to you in the past," she said quietly. T
The instant she walked past Su Ming, he suddenly lifted his hand and grabbed her arm. She trembled lightly. She did not break free from his grip, and simply allowed him to hold her arm, but she kept her head turned downwards.
Su Ming stood up and looked at Bai Su, then lifted his right hand and moved away the dark locks on her face. She clearly flinched and moved away slightly, but he still saw the hideous scar on her face.
Bai Su closed her eyes, and tears fell down her cheeks. She lowered her head, as if she did not want him to see that ugly scar.
"You don’t need to atone for anything. What has happened belongs solely to the past. I only want to see the adorable girl from all those years ago, the girl who had the wild beauty within her," he said softly while looking at Bai Su.
"People grow up eventually, don’t they…? I’m no longer who I was in the past, and neither are you." Bai Su opened her eyes and looked at Su Ming. Her gaze no longer contained the wild nature from his memories, but had turned into signs of age and time.
There was also a deeply rooted fatigue and a look screaming that she was helplessly struggling against fate within her.
"My pa once told me that I’m burdened with the Life of a stone falling into the river in the sky. The splashes when the stone fell into the river have turned into me, and I’m destined to have tears as my companions. I’m destined to only be the splashes from the river forever…" Bai Su looked at Su Ming and struggled violently against the hold on her right hand, as if she wanted to break free from his hand.
"Wait for me. I’ll search for a way to return to the Alliance of the Western Region, and if I find it… come with me to the Western Region." Su Ming did not let go. He looked at Bai Su, at this woman, and spoke slowly.
"The stone falling into the river in the sky is destined to be alone forever due to the fall. Even if there are splashes in the river, no one will be able to find the stone, because there is simply too much water in the river, and I… am merely a few drops within it.
"Su Ming, I will stay here and take care of the ninth summit for you, but I… will not leave with you." Bai Su turned her head around and broke free from his grasp. When she turned around once more, her dark locks danced in the air, cutting through some of the tears that fell from her eyes, causing the broken droplets to scatter into the air. When they floated past Su Ming’s eyes, Bai Su left into the distance.
Su Ming quietly looked at her figure disappearing from his sight. Then, Dark Mountain’s Bai Ling and the Celestial Maiden from the World of Nine Yin manifested in his head. The figures of these three women seemed to have fused together at that instant.
"The Life of the stone falling into the river in the sky… will only appear when the falling stone appears, will only be special because of that falling stone, and will be alone because of itself. In the end, the splashes caused by that falling stone will fuse into the river, and no one will be able to find the stone ever again."
An old voice spoke from the other side of the mountain. Along with it came a pale old man with a complicated expression on his face. The old man’s life force was dim, as if there was not much life within him and as if all traces of his life could be wiped away at any given moment. He walked towards Su Ming. The old man was Bai Su’s father, and he’d been a middle-aged man with a great reputation in Heaven Gate all those years ago.
Twenty years had gone by, and time had left too many of its tracks on his body.
"This is her Life, if she cannot break free from it, then she is bound to end up that way."
1. Life of a stone falling into the river in the sky, with capital L for Life: 天河落石 (tian1 he2 luo4 shi4), originally translated as Falling Stone in Galaxy, because that was what 天河 means, which is another name for milky way, by the way, but when I read the description for Bai Su’s Life, I changed my mind and decided to go for stone falling into the river in the sky instead, sounded more accurate that way.
Do remember that Life = life/vitality + fate.