He had by then recovered a six-tenths of his cultivation base, and he could do many things that he previously could not. It did not matter whether it was about wiping away the clues of his identity, which he left at the gate where the sacred python was, or about the uncertainties and doubts in Zhang Ren and Zuo Xing Xun's hearts.
Before long, Su Ming returned with a calm expression on his face. He went back to his room and lay down on his bed. He closed his eyes and started taking a catnap.
In the upper region of the mountain that belonged to the Inner Sect of Evil Spirit Sect was a huge hall that towered into the clouds. It was black, just like the other buildings, and filled with a ghastly feeling.
Within the hall were two old men, and their facial colors were gray, causing them to look incredibly sickly. They did not move, and even when they breathed, no movement of their chests could be detected.
Behind them was a gigantic statue. It was incredibly big, carved in the image of a man wearing a ghost-patterned robe. This man seemed to be middle-aged, and there were numerous ferocious ghost faces embroidered on his robe. He was stepping on a huge python, and it was hissing while having most of its body wrapped around the man.
In the man's right hand was a shield, and there was an innumerable amount of vengeful souls stretching out from it. Each of the faces could be seen clearly, and all of them gave off a forlorn air.
A wicked air surrounded that statue, but right on top of it was a black lotus, and sitting on it was a woman. She had a dignified expression on her face, and was incredibly beautiful. There was even a holy air about her.
Holiness and wickedness. These two completely different presences fused together on the statue, and all those who saw it for the first time would find that there was something strange about it.
There were several bells hanging off the python under the man's feet. When there was no wind blowing, there would be no sound, but at that moment, right at the instant Zhao Chong died, one of the many bells started moving on its own, and let out a clear bell chime even without wind.
The sound started without warning, and it rang clearly through the quiet hall. Then, as the sound gradually spread, the bell shattered with a crack and fell to the ground.
At that moment, the two old men, who were sitting so still in the hall that they seemed like corpses, slowly opened their eyes. They were calm as they looked at the shattered bell on the ground.
"This Origin Bell is half black. It's from a Berserker who changed to practice the Evil Arts…" One of the old men averted his gaze after casting a glance at that bell before he spoke hoarsely. When his voice reverberated through the quiet hall, dark flames immediately lit up all around them within the originally dark hall, causing light and darkness to begin criss-crossing with each other as those dark flames swayed in the hall.
The other old man let his eyelids fall slightly. After a moment, his words tumbled out of his lips slowly. "This is Outer Sect's Sect Elder Zhao Chong's Origin Bell."
"Zhao Chong… Is he the person whom the sect secretly baited into practicing the Ten Thousand Evil Ghost Dao?"
"I remember that he took in a disciple a few months ago…"
"Investigate this matter. No matter what, we will have to provide a reason if a Nascent Soul cultivator died within the sect." There seemed to be a lack of harmony between these two old men as they spoke. It was as if they were both giving each other irrelevant answers, as if their final few sentences were not actually directed at each other.
Once they finished speaking, two indistinct figures appeared out of nowhere behind the two old men. Once they bowed towards them, they turned around and left the hall.
When the two indistinct figures left, the dark light in the hall faded away, and the hall returned to its silent darkness once again, and no bell chimes could be heard any longer. The two old men also closed their eyes.
As for Su Ming, at the instant he returned to his room and lay down for a nap, a faint light shone behind his shut eyelids.
He might have recovered a six-tenths of his cultivation base, but it would still be to his benefit if he did not reveal himself, because this place was incredibly suitable for him to recover his cultivation base. Besides, Su Ming had a greater goal in mind.
If he could restore himself to the peak of his condition, then he was prepared to use this place and its dense power of the world to help him break into the Berserker Soul Realm. If he let this place slip out of his hands, then it would be incredibly difficult for him to find another one where the power of the world would be this thick.
He had never tried reaching the Berserker Soul Realm, but his Master had mentioned a few things multiple times when he was still in the ninth summit. He had to search for a place with enough aura to support himself when he was trying to reach a breakthrough into the Berserker Soul Realm, or else, it would be a high chance that he would end up failing halfway through.
Su Ming knew that it would be incredibly difficult for him to try and reach the Berserker Soul Realm. After all, all his bones in his body were Berserker Bones. If that was the case, he had to find an ample supply of the power of the world for him to absorb, and this place… was the most suitable!
That was why he did not want to expose himself unless it was absolutely necessary.
At that moment, the light in his eyes disappeared. He could sense two figures appearing in the courtyard right outside his house. These two people's level of cultivation was slightly higher than that of Zhao Chong. They might not have reached the level equivalent to the middle stage of the Berserker Soul Realm, but they were already infinitesimally close to it.
'There are a lot more powerful warriors in Eastern Wastelands compared to South Morning… especially since the Immortals descended to this place. This is the key reason why the number of powerful warriors in Eastern Wastelands is so much greater than South Morning.'
Su Ming did not even move a finger, just closed his eyes and 'slept'.
Once he sensed the two figures appearing in the courtyard, they charged straight towards Zhao Chong's house, stepped through his door, and moved into his room.
When Su Ming saw this, he smiled coldly in his heart. The whole reason behind why he went to the karst cave a second time was so that he could prepare for everything that was going to happen at this moment.
He could sense the two figures disappearing from Zhao Chong's house, a clear sign that they had been Relocated into the karst cave.
After the time taken for an incense stick to burn, they reappeared. They did not immediately leave after rushing out of Zhao Chong's house, but instead went to Su Ming's house.
He was pretending to be asleep and his breathing was even, as if he was completely unaware of what was happening, but he had his divine sense faintly spread out. If anything happened, he would be able to determine whether he should take action.
The two people phased through the walls of Su Ming's room, and when they floated inside room, one of them smiled coldly and lifted his right hand, going straight for Su Ming's throat.
The other person's eyes sparkled as he kept his eyes glued to Su Ming's body, to observe each and every single one of his actions.
All of this might have seemed to have happened slowly and over a long period of time, but in truth, only a moment had gone by since the two figures stepped into Su Ming's room to the moment they struck. As of then, one of the figure's fingers were about to touch Su Ming's throat.
He shuddered, as if the sudden cold air had chilled him in his sleep. He turned his head around, and his eyelashes fluttered, as if he was about to open his eyes. It did not matter whether it was his expression or his behavior, all of them looked incredibly real, making it seem as if he was a real teenager, about twelve or thirteen years of age.
However, there was killing intent hidden within his heart. If these two people were just testing him, he would let them go, but if they wanted to kill him, then he might really have to attack.
Yet at the moment his eyelashes fluttered and it looked as if he was about to open his eyes, the person's index finger froze, and when Su Ming opened his eyes, the person was already gone with his companion.
A glint appeared in Su Ming's eyes and he no longer bothered himself with them. He closed his eyes and continued taking his nap.
Soon after, the two figures who had tested Su Ming just moments ago appeared behind the two old men within the black and quiet hall, which was located at the top of the mountain belonging to Evil Spirit Sect.
However, the two had blended together with the darkness, and no one could see them clearly.
"All the dried corpses of Zhao Chong's disciples, which he had absorbed previously in his karst cave, have turned into ashes and buried his original body."
"His storage bag is still around, and all his other items are also present. Not a single thing is missing."
"There are no traces of anyone else in the karst cave. There isn't any sign of anyone fighting or casting any Arts in there."
"From the condition of the Relocation Rune, we were able to tell that it was only activated once before us. Someone went in, but no one came out."
"We've also investigated the disciple Zhao Chong received eight months ago. This child is just a mortal and is a bit of a loner. He did not show any signs of venturing out of his room during the past eight months, but he had an abundance of life force within him…"
"We've asked the disciples who brought this child to the mountain. Their reports are normal, and they didn't find anything strange about him, nor did they suspect anything about the child."
"We've also asked the sacred python of the Outer Sect's mountain gate. It does not have a deep impression of this child."
"We've also investigated the strange behavior of the vengeful souls on the mountain trail eight months ago when this boy went up the mountain. From our investigations, we found that it was due to Shanhen acting on his duty and feeding them that day."
The two figures spoke one after another. Their voices were cool, and they did not add a single thought of their own. They only reported what they had discovered, because it was not part of what their duty to make any sort of judgments.
The hall was silent. After a long while, an old voice spoke up.
"Its normal that he's overflowing with life force. Zhao Chong must have given the child a lot of Soul Nurturing Cores."
"The dried corpses disintegrated into ashes to bury Zhao Chong's body… Looks like this is the karma that all those who practice Ten Thousand Evil Ghost Dao have to suffer…"
"This should have nothing to do with the boy… Have him go to Conscience Interrogation Hall to receive an interrogation. If there is indeed nothing wrong with him, then don't bother with him anymore."
"Even if there is nothing wrong with the child, he cannot stay in the Outer Sect… Have him placed in the labourers' lounge. This matter is dismissed." The old voices in the hall ended the investigation of incidents brought by Zhao Chong's death, and the hall slowly returned to silence.
When the next morning arrived, Su Ming was summoned by an expressionless Outer Sect disciple and brought to a spacious region near the Inner Sect of Evil Spirit Sect. There was a double storey building there.
Once the Outer Sect disciple delivered Su Ming to this place, he turned around and left.
"Come in…" A woman's cold and detached voice came from the double storey building.
1. Shanhen/Shan Hen: And here we have the next character under the familiar name series from Dark Mountain. Shanhen is written as山恨 (shan1 hen4), and Shan Hen is山痕 (shan1 hen2). The pronunciation for their names is slightly different compared to the others, who have the exact same pronunciation but different characters. Shanhen (山恨) means Mountain and Hatred respectively, and Shan Hen (山痕) is Mountain and Scar respectively.
Just keep in mind that Name-Stuck-Together is Immortal, and Name-Not-Stuck-Together is Berserker, and you're good to go.
By the way, Shan Hen was the traitor in Dark Mountain Tribe and also their chief of hunters.