Perhaps it was due to the illumination from the moon, because the ground was silver, causing the night to no longer seem dark. When Su Ming lifted his head, he could see a faint light flickering on the double-story building at the upper half of the mountain.
Su Ming held a white strand of hair in his hand, and there were seven knots on it. When he averted his gaze from the double-story building, he looked towards the strand of hair on his hand, and his eyes sparkled.
He immediately started moving his hands. In an instant, he tied the eighth knot. At the moment it was formed, Su Ming's heart shuddered. He instantly felt a faint wave of power gathering on that knot, as if it was trying to struggle and fight against it.
At the same time, the white-haired old woman who had been waiting for over a month at the ground floor of the double-story building swiftly opened her eyes, and a strange light shone in them.
'You finally appeared!' She formed a seal with both her hands and pointed at the statue with one finger. Immediately, the female statue before her shone with a gentle light, and once it enveloped the old woman, she closed her eyes.
Right then, an illusory shadow appeared beyond the gentle screen of light and around the old woman within the building.
That illusion was of a white strand of hair. It circled the entire room, and as it went around, another knot appeared on it. An ancient presence spread out in all directions, and as the long strand of hair circled, knots were continuously formed on it, and the ancient, primitive presence grew stronger with each knot.
"I am your master. You must obey all of my words!"
An unclear voice reverberated in the room, or more accurately speaking, it echoed in the old woman's mind, causing her body to tremble. She continued changing the seals in her hands and directed the gentle light to fight against the knots in the hair that had appeared around her!
By then, there were eight knots. Each of them contained that ancient presence, causing the voice in the old woman's heart to feel as if it had Branded her soul, and it would not leave.
This scene could not be detected with any sort of divine sense, and if anyone pushed open the door to the tower at that moment, they would not be able to see the illusion of that long strand of hair. They would only be able to see the old woman sitting alone in the building and meditating.
This was a battle of the mind, and it belonged to only Su Ming and the old woman!
At the same time the old woman started fighting against the knots in the strand of hair, Su Ming's heart shuddered, and the world around him started changing rapidly. Moments later, he saw a gigantic lotus before his eyes.
Faint mumbling sounds came from the lotus, uttering words that Su Ming could not hear clearly. A woman gradually walked towards him. Gentle light shone from her body, and when she walked over, he immediately recognized that she was the statue from the ground floor of the double-story building!
However, the woman before him looked as if she had been revived, and with a smile along with an air of holiness, she approached him slowly.
"My protector from my previous life, I've waited for you for many years… You're finally here." The woman's voice was soft and gentle, and there was an air within her words that shook Su Ming's soul.
"You once told me before you died that if time could turn back and if we could go back to the past, we would meet each other again… If you didn't remember me anymore… you would still want us to walk in the snow till our heads turned white."
The woman wore a long white robe, and when she arrived before Su Ming, she looked at him with a gentle look in her eyes and a holy expression on her face. Her beauty seemed to have turned into a radiance that made the world lose its color, and it seemed to have Branded itself in Su Ming's soul.
"Come with me… Let me help you release the seal in your memories…" The woman smiled gently and stretched out her hand before Su Ming, as if she was waiting for him to take hold of it.
Su Ming lifted his head and looked at the beautiful woman before him. She seemed somewhat familiar, but this sort of familiarity… was something Su Ming did not want!
When he looked towards her, he tied the ninth knot on the strand of white hair in his hand, all while having an aloof expression on his face!
At the instant the ninth knot appeared, grief immediately entered the woman's face. Tears fell from her eyes, and they landed on the lotus with a light patter.
With that sound, Su Ming's world was shattered, just like how that tear disintegrated…
At the same time, the ninth knot instantly appeared on the illusory strand of hair surrounding the old woman and the gentle light, and a layer of black smoke spread out. It charged towards the gentle light around the old woman, as if it wanted to rip it apart and rush into the old woman's body.
Her face turned pale. The seal in her hands changed once again, and she started mumbling under her breath, as if she was chanting. She even bit the tip of her tongue and coughed up a mouthful of blood.
That blood instantly disappeared right after it left her mouth.
Soon after, the world that had shattered before Su Ming rearranged itself, but it had turned into another world, and it was dyed in the color of blood…
That blood red shade was not due to blood though, but the maple leaves that had filled the entire sky. They were crimson red, and as they floated down from the above, they drifted with the wind before slowly scattering on the ground.
Su Ming was sitting cross-legged, dressed in a brilliant, long red robe. Lying in his arms… was a woman of incomparable beauty. She was staring at him blankly, and blood was flowing from her mouth, but there was a beautiful and gentle smile on her lips.
She lifted a shivering hand and touched his face. The gentleness of her expression brought back the sense of familiarity to Su Ming, once he saw her. This time, it came charging towards him like an ocean in an attempt to drown him.
"Don't you remember…? You didn't manage to remember me in this lifetime… I will wait for you, and I will wait for us to meet in our next life. I will wait for you to remember me in our next life…"
As the woman spoke, her face gradually turned pale and her breathing slowly scattered. However, her gentleness was Branded into Su Ming's eyes, causing his heart to tremble.
"Kiss me…" The beautiful woman caressed Su Ming's face and uttered the final sentence in her life.
The familiarity in Su Ming's heart turned into a great wave of grief and pain at that moment, for the woman's voice gave him the feeling that he had lost his entire world. He shivered and dipped his head down, looking like he was about to kiss the woman's lips.
Yet right at the instant his lips were about to touch hers, Su Ming closed his eyes, and in his anguish, he spoke softly.
"I only want to use this place to restore my cultivation base and reach the Berserker Soul Realm… I don't have any intention of harming you. Once I leave, I will return to you your freedom… There is… no need for you to do this!
"You forced this familiarity onto me. This memory is also a part of your Soul Capturing Art." When Su Ming opened his eyes, clarity shone within them. At that moment, he tied the tenth knot on the strand of hair in his hand!
At the instant it appeared, the woman before him smiled brokenly and shattered along with the world.
At the same time, the old woman within the gentle light on the ground floor of the double-story building shivered. Her hair no longer remained white, but slowly turned black. The wrinkles on her face gradually faded away and were replaced with smooth, rosy-colored skin.
Her age also regressed, turning her from an old woman to a middle-aged one, and her appearance, too, changed into one of extreme beauty!
She also looked incredibly similar to the woman on the statue, besides her age. So similar, in fact… that they looked like the same person!
The gentle light around her was instantly devoured by the illusory strand of hair once the tenth knot appeared, and that hair charged towards the old woman before it surrounded her. A powerful will that she could not fight against crashed into her and turned into a mighty force of pressure within her soul at that instant!
"I am your master. My will is your will, and you must obey all of my words!"
The old woman shuddered again, and her appearance changed once more. Within an instant, she turned into a girl of twenty, and there was no longer any difference between her and that statue!
Her eyes flew open, and at the same moment a purple glare shone within them, the world that had shattered rearranged itself once more before Su Ming's eyes. He did not see the woman though.
He saw Dark Mountain, the familiar land of his hometown, the familiar voices, and the chimney smoke from his tribe in the morning!
He saw a man with long purple hair holding onto a long blade with an aloof expression on his face. He was walking towards Dark Mountain Tribe, and Su Ming could not see that figure's face. He could only see his back and his long hair dancing in the wind.
Screams of pain and shrill howls came from the men and the women in the tribe. Their faces were filled with despair and lament. Lei Chen shouted and demanded answers from the man while tears fell from his eyes. Chen Xin was stunned. Bei Ling was filled with grief… and elder's face was pale. His eyes… were filled with sorrow.
Su Ming saw the entire tribe being killed by that purple-haired person within an instant. Lei Chen's head flew into the air and fell by Su Ming's feet. Bei Ling protected Chen Xin and was turned into dust. Tong Tong cried, and when the purple-haired person walked past the little girl, he seemed to hesitate for a moment before taking her life.
Everything turned into a mess before Su Ming's eyes, one covered in blood. He was stunned. He looked as if he had lost his right to speak, until he saw the purple-haired person turn his head to look at him.
Only then did Su Ming see that purple-haired person's cold face, and it was his own.
The man was still holding onto a bleeding human head, and when he looked towards Su Ming, he threw it at him. It landed before Su Ming, right beside Lei Chen's head. The hair on that head was white… and it belonged to his elder.
Even in the moment of death, he still kept his eyes open, and within them was anguish and regret. It made them look almost blank.
The purple-haired man walked towards Su Ming, and when he was right before him, he stabbed the blade in his hand into the ground. With an aloof expression, he tore his shirt open to reveal his chest.
"Kill me!" That was the two words this purple-haired man spoke since the start.
"Kill him… If you kill him, you can take revenge for Dark Mountain… Kill him, and you will be released from your pain… Kill him…"
A voice echoed in Su Ming's ears. He watched in silence, anguish slowly creeping onto his face. He grabbed the purple long blade before him and slowly lifted it from the ground. Then, he turned around and swiftly cut down the space behind him!
Right then, the entire world, along with the long blade in Su Ming's hand, shattered into pieces with a bang… The beautiful woman, who had appeared at some point behind him, also shattered when the blade cut through her, looking stunned even as she broke into pieces.
As the long blade and the world shattered, Su Ming's hands… tied the eleventh knot on that strand of hair!
"Knots are also disasters … I understand now," he mumbled.
Knots are also disasters: A case of lost in translation. 结 and 劫 are both pronounced as jie2, so it's a wordplay. What Su Ming means here is that if he tries to use these knots to do something to someone else, he will face disasters.