When the area beside Su Ming turned into white snow once again, and the low house as well as the weeds in the snow appeared… his field of vision returned to normal. He had returned to the foot of Evil Spirit Mountain.
At the same time, black smoke surrounded the double-story building at the upper middle section of Evil Spirit Sect. The old woman whose face had turned into that of a young woman was trembling at that moment, gritting her teeth while fighting back with a pale face.
Yet all of this changed completely the instant the eleventh knot formed on the illusory white strand of hair!
Its appearance caused the voice that was echoing in the woman's soul to instantly become several times louder, as if it had turned into some sort of law that was booming in the girl's soul. Eventually… that voice was Branded into her soul!
"I am your master. You must obey all of my words!"
The young woman shuddered and coughed up a mouthful of blood, and the black smoke around her swiftly charged into her body. In the blink of an eye, all of it disappeared into the young woman's body and vanished without a trace.
Soon after, the illusory strand of hair with the eleven knots dissipated, as if nothing had ever happened here. However, the young woman's pale face was a clear sign that what had happened just now was true.
'Just who is that person?!' The young woman closed her eyes. She had lost utterly and completely, in a battle of divine abilities in the area where she was the most skilled.
Right up till the end, she had not seen the person's face. The illusion she had forced on her opponent just now was due to her Art. If she had successfully caused him to be immersed in her Art, then she would have been able to see his face, and she could have turned the tables around and made him her slave!
But she failed… Anguish appeared on the young woman's face. She knew full well what those words that were Branded into her soul meant. At that moment, she could not do anything to harm him. This was not a game of words. They were a surge that had Branded itself in her soul.
She knew that even though she did not know who that person was, he would come at some point.
This was a battle of Arts without any sort of physical clash. The battle between the young woman's Soul Capturing Art and Su Ming's Grass Knots Art had swept through their bodies and souls like a storm.
When the eleventh knot had appeared, that battle of Arts ended.
The result of this battle was not death, but a control over the loser's soul.
Su Ming opened his eyes, as he remained seated on the snow at the foot of Evil Spirit Mountain. In his hands he held the white strand of hair. There were eleven knots on it, and he had twisted them around to form a small humanoid.
A hint of fatigue appeared in Su Ming's eyes. The battle of Arts just now was much more dangerous than he had imagined it might be. He had to admit, he had underestimated the old woman. Perhaps more accurately speaking, he had underestimated the young woman who had turned into that old woman.
'This person's Soul Capturing Art has already reached a level where it could affect memories… If she had been a little better with it, then the results of this battle would be harder to judge…'
Su Ming's eyes flashed. He grabbed the weeds by his side and swiftly started weaving them into a small humanoid. After a moment, a weed doll appeared in his hand.
Within that doll was the white strand of hair with eleven knots tied to it.
Once Su Ming finished weaving, he took a look at the grass figure, and he could sense her presence through it.
'She hasn't lost her will. She just has to listen to the person holding onto the doll. This is something her soul cannot resist.'
Su Ming looked at the sky and put away the doll before he closed his eyes and started meditating to train. This was one of the few times when he cleared his mind and trained after coming to this spot. As of then, every part of his plan was ready, and he even had the most important key to launch it. Su Ming could finally calm his heart and wait for daylight to arrive while meditating.
The night passed by quickly. When the morning sun started shining and fell on the ground, it caused the snow to reflect its piercing rays of light, and at that moment, Su Ming opened his eyes. He stood up and smoothed out his robes before he started walking into the distance at a moderate pace until he reached the administrative hall for the laborers.
He saw Qian Chen scolding a few laborers with a scathing tone as he pointed his finger at them. His spit flew everywhere, but the laborers, who had their heads dipped down, did not dare move away, and could only voice their acquiescence.
The difference between Qian Chen's current smug expression was too great compared to how he had behaved previously with Su Ming. Su Ming cast him a glance and let out a dry cough.
When that cough reached Qian Chen's ears, his scolding came to an abrupt halt. He shuddered, and then turned his head around. Once he saw Su Ming, he put on an obsequious expression on his face without a single moment of hesitation and quickly ran over. Once he stopped before him, he looked as if he was about to kneel down and worship him.
"Greetings, senior brother Chen. Senior brother, do you need anything? You can just tell me, and it doesn't matter whether it is possible for me to do it, I will not back down and will complete your request!"
His attitude immediately made the laborers that were scolded widen their eyes, and dumbfounded expressions appeared on their faces.
"Give me a plate to head to the Outer Sect," Su Ming said flatly. He wanted this plate because the number of restrictions increased the further he headed up Evil Spirit Sect. Even though it was not impossible for him to head up without a plate, but if he had it, it would be much easier for him.
Once Qian Chen heard his words, he immediately patted his chest and brought out a blue plate from his bosom, which he handed to Su Ming respectfully.
"Senior brother Chen, this place might only be blue, but it is the plate with the highest authority in the laborers' lodge. With this plate, you can even head to the Inner Sect… but you will be stopped at the mountain gate leading to the Inner Sect. You will only be able to go in when the people from the Inner Sect summon you."
Su Ming received the plate and gave Qian Chen a nod.
The man's spirits were instantly lifted. Su Ming's nod was the greatest acknowledgment to him, and it made him feel quite excited.
Su Ming no longer paid anymore attention to Qian Chen. He took the plate, turned around, and left.
Even after Su Ming left into the distance, Qian Chen continued standing in his spot respectfully for some time, to send him off, before turning around with a brilliant smile. He waved his hand at the laborers, and it was clear that he had decided to let them off because his mood had become much better.
Su Ming walked up the stairs leading to Evil Spirit Mountain. There were statues erected on the sides, and vengeful souls surrounded them, but they did not dare approach. Su Ming walked up the stairs. He did not choose to secretly move during the night, but had instead chosen to move in the morning.
Due to the blue plate, all the hidden seals were released as the blue plate shone. Su Ming moved past them with ease as he walked forward, and when he arrived at the alley leading to Conscience Interrogation Hall, which was the double-story building, he was blocked off by two Outer Sect disciples standing there.
These two disciples' faces were apathetic and their eyes were cold, as if there was not a hint of emotion present within them. They were staring at Su Ming at that moment without a single word as they blocked his path.
With a cool look on his face, he threw the blue plate in his hand towards these two.
"Chen Su, from the foot of the mountain. I've come on orders from Conscience Interrogation Hall."
One of the two indifferent Outer Sect disciples received the plate and cast Su Ming a glance with a frown on his face. He had not received any orders about anyone coming up from the foot of the mountain, but once he cast a glance at the blue plate, he turned around and headed to Conscience Interrogation Hall without a single word.
The young woman was meditating silently with a sullen face within the double-story building at the moment. She had originally thought the person would arrive the previous night, but she had seen no traces of him even after waiting for an entire night. It was bright by then. She believed that the person would be wary, and would only appear at night.
Just as she was feeling frustrated and annoyed, she lifted her head with a frown on her face and looked outside the building.
After a moment, a respectful voice traveled into the building.
"Hall Master, a disciple from the foot of the mountain by the name of Chen Su is seeking audience."
The young woman was feeling incredibly frustrated. Once she heard Chen Su's name, the dumb looking boy from a few months ago appeared in her head. She had paid no attention to him once she sent him away, and now that she heard the Outer Sect disciple's words, she learned that he had been sent to the laborer's lodge. The young woman did not think too much about it and immediately shouted at the disciple.
"Why are you asking me for permission when a laborer asked for an audience?! If several dozens of laborers ask for an audience, are you going to come and ask several dozens of times?!"
An awkward look immediately replaced the indifferent expression on the disciple's face outside the building. There was also a hint of wariness in it. He quickly knelt on the ground and voiced his acquiescence while hate burned in his heart towards Su Ming. Once he got up, he was prepared to leave and return to teach that nobody a lesson when the young woman's voice suddenly came from the tower again.
"Wait, did he say why he's seeking an audience?"
A thought suddenly took shape in the young woman's heart. She had a feeling that it was a little too ridiculous and inconceivable, but she still instinctively threw that question to the disciple.
"Hall Master, that person said he came here on your orders, or else I wouldn't have come and asked you about it…" The Evil Spirit Sect disciple sounded as if he was wronged.
A glint swiftly appeared in the woman's eyes, and after a brief period of silence, she spoke.
"Bring him here!"
The Evil Spirit Sect disciple was momentarily stunned. He might not understand what was going on, but he did not dare show it on his face. He was also beginning to feel uncertain about Su Ming, so he put away the idea of revenge and swiftly walked towards the mountain gate leading to Conscience Interrogation Hall.
Before long, under his guidance, Su Ming appeared in this place once again. He remained as cool as a cucumber all along the way and looked at the plants that still lived despite it being winter, sensing the thick power of the world in this place. When he arrived outside the double-story building, the Evil Spirit Sect disciple hesitated for a moment before he took a few steps backwards and stopped there.
"You may leave now," the young woman's voice said from the double-story building. It voice was incredibly cold, and the Evil Spirit Sect disciple immediately voiced his obedience once he heard her words and lowered his head before he quickly left.
Once he left, only Su Ming and the young woman remained in the area.
"When have I ever sent you an order to see me?!" After a moment, an impatient and cold harrumph traveled out of the double-story building.
Su Ming remained as calm as ever, and once he cast a glance at the building, he spoke unhurriedly.
"Why are you still not greeting me even after you saw me?"
Once those words were said, they reached the young woman's ears and brought her such a shock that she felt as if the world had shattered!