The sound of the xun became clearer once the flap of the tent was lifted.
An old man sat inside. He held a bone xun in his hands and had it placed against his lips. His eyes were closed while playing a sorrowful tune. As the notes filled the air, Su Ming felt as if he had been separated from the world.
He walked into the tent quietly and sat before the old man. He closed his eyes and listened to the song. His heart soared with the melody, flying to some unknown place… but, perhaps, it was actually just wandering around.
Time trickled by, but Su Ming’s eyes remained closed. His soul continued wandering about, as if it could not find a place to stay.
The bald crane’s feathers were all standing on its body, as it remained outside the small tribe. It continued looking around with wide eyes. Terror was evident on its face. In its eyes, this entire area was empty, and besides Su Ming, no other person could be found.
Su Ming had sat down in the distance on this vast mass of empty land and had even closed his eyes, occupied by his thoughts.
If it was just that, the bald crane would not have been terrified. What caused it fear was the strange power within the island. It was invisible, and made the crane unable to move even a single inch.
The entire area should be empty, but it could occasionally hear the sounds of children playing and laughter ringing by its ears. It was as if there was a bunch of children it could not see playing tag around…
At times, a cold chill would also travel through the bald crane’s heart, as if the playing children had just phased through where it stood.
Its beak snapped open and closed a few times, but it could not move its body. It looked at Su Ming, looked at its surroundings, and a wave of fear towards the island stemmed right from the bottom of its heart.
Su Ming did not know how much time had passed. The sky was still dark, as if it would never know daylight. The song of the xun gradually weakened, and when it eventually faded away completely, an old voice reached his ears.
"You still came…"
Su Ming opened his eyes and saw the old man putting down the xun in his hand. There was a kind smile on his face, and his eyes looked like those of a normal person, but Su Ming knew… that he was blind.
"You knew I would come, senior?" Su Ming asked softly. This was the third time he had come to this place, and he had gained a different experience each of the previous two times.
"It’s because of your confusion that you are constantly wandering about. That is why… you come here." The old man looked over. The smile on his lips was incredibly kindly when he said words that Su Ming could not understand.
Su Ming remained silent for a moment before he suddenly asked, "What do you mean by ‘wandering’?"
"If you do not have a place in your heart you call home, you will wander no matter where you are…"
Su Ming’s heart trembled. The words reverberated in his soul, causing him to be stunned for a long, long time, as he sat there. He did indeed not have a place he could call home in his heart. Dark Mountain was fake, and besides Hu Zi, the ninth summit was deserted. He… had always been wandering in his life.
He did not know where his home was, did not know the laws of causality affecting all these things, and neither did he know where the start of this entire cycle lay...
"Who are you?" After some time, a brilliant sparkle shone in Su Ming’s eyes.
"When you know who you are, you will know who I am." The old man shook his head and caressed the bone xun in his hand. His fingers scraped the surface of the xun, creating scratching sounds.
That sound echoed in the tent before spreading outside.
"You saw what is outside, my child. Tell me, what did you see?" The old man turned his eyes towards Su Ming, but they looked blankly at the tent.
"This place doesn’t exist, the island is empty. All the members of the tribe outside should be dead. There’s a large amount of spectres occupying this land, and you should be one of them, senior," Su Ming said calmly.
"What you see might not be the truth, and what you believe doesn’t exist… might not necessarily not exist." The old man closed his eyes while speaking.
Confusion appeared in Su Ming’s eyes. That confusion ran deep, filling up his entire heart and surrounding his soul, refusing to leave.
"They exist. You saw them… but you refused to believe… Outsiders cannot see them, and they will be afraid. It is as if thousands upon thousands of people are asleep, but you are the only one who has opened your eyes. You are fortunate, but also unfortunate, because you don’t believe in what you see, and because the moment you believe, the world will no longer accept you…
"Because… you will have woken from your slumber," the old man said gently. There seemed to be a deeper meaning to his words, and it caused Su Ming to be uncertain about his words.
"Thousands upon thousands are awake, but you are still asleep… Is it because you don’t want to wake up, or is it because… you believe yourself to be awake? What does it mean to be asleep, and what does it mean to be awake? All of this… is just the world you see, and no one else… can see it," the old man said slowly. There was an ancient air to his voice, and if anyone heard it, they would feel as if they had just heard time itself.
"It is like fate, you can choose to submit to it or to fight against it. It is like life, where moments of joy and sadness exist together. It is like you and I. What I see, you cannot see, and what you see, I… cannot see.
"Do you understand, my child?" The old man opened his eyes and turned his blank eyes towards Su Ming as if he was looking at him as he smiled kindly.
Su Ming remained silent for a moment before he lifted his head and looked at the old man. A hint of understanding dawned in his eyes as he said slowly, "If I’m not bothered by my past, then why should I be bothered by my future? If I don’t cling to the idea of who I am, then why should I think about who is me…? The high winds may be strong, but they cannot extinguish the flames in my heart. Sooner or later… they will set the world ablaze!"
When the old man heard Su Ming’s words, delight appeared in his smile, and a hint of praise even bloomed on his face.
"Sooner or later, this world will be set ablaze! This… is Life. It is not your Life, not anyone else’s Life, but the world’s Life!
"Even the word Life itself goes through the same fate. Why cling to it…? In truth, you still don’t understand…" The old man smiled.
Su Ming fell silent.
"When you learn who you are, you are no longer you… When you no longer know who you are, you... will be you." The old man lifted his right hand, and the bone xun in his hand immediately flew up to float next to Su Ming.
"Take it. It will be… the guide pointing you back home."
The old man’s voice echoed in the air while Su Ming looked at the bone xun floating before him. More accurately speaking, the instrument was a beast’s spine, and the surface of it was incredibly smooth. The signs of time could be found on it as well.
"It will help you… fend a disaster you are bound to face in your life! This disaster… is about to arrive soon. If you can live through it, then another line will be added into your Life , and from then on, it will be difficult for anyone else to control your fate." The old man looked at Su Ming with a smile, then closed his eyes.
"We’ve met each other thrice now, but it is as if our meetings were in three separate cycles of our lives. The moment you walk out of this tent, I will give you… a three day long serendipity to activate the basis for you to build your Berserker Soul."
The old man’s voice was hoarse, as it echoed in the air. Su Ming’s gaze fell on the bone xun and he silently took hold of it. When he looked at the old man, a slight hint of confusion appeared on his face. After a long time, when the old man no longer spoke, Su Ming wrapped his fist in his palm towards the old man and bowed deeply.
He might not know his name or his origins, but he could sense the wisdom and the ancient air about the old man. After quietly bowing towards him, Su Ming looked as if he had straightened his thoughts a little. He turned around to walk out of the tent. When he lifted the tent flap and was just about to lift his foot to walk out, a shudder suddenly ran through his body, and he looked as if time had stopped for him. He even forgot to place his lifted right foot down.
His body trembled. His soul shuddered from what he saw, and disbelief appeared in his eyes. His heart also begun racing in his chest at that moment.
Because the moment he lifted the tent flap, he did not see the island, nor the black sky, and neither did he see the thick clouds that had covered the moons, much less the waves tumbling about in the sea around.
He did not hear the roars of the waves either, and neither did he see the light around him. He did not smell the stench from the sea breeze or the bitter sting of loneliness in the air.
The disbelief in Su Ming’s eyes made him unable to believe in what he saw, heard, and smelled. He turned around swiftly, wanting to see the old man in the tent, but he only saw emptiness. There was no tent behind him…
"A three day long serendipity…" The old man’s words rang again in Su Ming’s head. In silence, he closed his eyes, and tears flowed down…
He saw clear blue sky, and under that blue sky was a mountain with five summits that looked like five fingers, the Dark Mountain from his memories!
He smelled the presence of home, heard…
"Big brother La Su, I found you. So you were hiding here! You lost, now it’s our turn to hide and yours to search." A young voice filled with joy reached Su Ming’s ears.
Among the fog in the clouds.
Eastern Wastelands might share the same sky as South Morning, but the weather in the two lands was completely different. The sky above Eastern Wastelands was filled with moving clouds and wind, which made it look like the fog had fused together with the sky!
Not all places were filled with rolling clouds, though. There were quite a number of them where light would shine on the ground during the day, and from the distance, these scenes were filled with astonishing beauty.
The dark clouds and powerful light formed the sky above Eastern Wastelands!
The Dead Sea filled the area around the Eastern Wastelands. The waves roared and surged into the air as if they contained the power to destroy the world, but they could not even shake Eastern Wastelands. They could only continue howling and roaring by the edge, unable to cause too much change to the gigantic continent.
Ever since the land of the Berserkers was torn apart all those years ago, the Eastern Wastelands had become the biggest continent, and also an incredibly powerful existence!
At the center of Eastern Wastelands was a mountain that towered into the clouds, while in another spot, close to the edge of the continent, located near South Morning, was another important ground. At that moment, the world rumbled, and at the same time, two powerful rays of light descended from the endless sky with a presence that was able to cause an endless amount of people to be stunned with shock, and to freeze the circulation of the power in their bodies!
One of the two powerful rays of light descended on the mountain at the center of Eastern Wastelands. At its base were ten thousand people prostrating themselves on the ground in worship. There was a big hall at the top of the mountain. As rumbling sounds shook the mountain, the powerful ray of light, which was about several thousands of feet wide and connected the earth and sky, shrouded the hall.
1. La Su: The term used to call those who didn’t manage to become Berserkers. Also what the little girl from Su Ming’s tribe called him.
2. Life Matrix is created by Eight Characters/Eight Words forming a pattern which depicts your fate. When they say another line is added, it means that another line is added to this pattern, and it will make your entire Life Matrix become unpredictable.