This sight gave Shi Mu hope. Without hesitating, he took a white bottle out from his shirt and pulled the plug, swinging the bottle in the grey fog oozing out of the formula. Its contents - some mysterious black fluid - flowed out of the bottle and disappeared into the fog, which soon turned the small patch of drifting fog into a wildly rolling surge of air. It bellowed like an energetic beast, and, as if under some guidance, began to swirl about at a constant pace, forming a grey vapor vortex that was about three meters wide. In this process, large patches of grey fog fled from the vortex and spread in all directions. Eventually, the entire formula was shrouded in darkness.
Shi Mu gazed at the formula seriously. his lips quivered and his eyes were unblinking. After letting loose some incantations, he thrust his thumb into the formula. A streak of dark light shot from his fingertip and flew into the grey vortex, getting completely swallowed up in the dark swirling mess. A few seconds later, a succession of clear clanks rang out, made by the heavenly stones set around the formula breaking simultaneously. This was followed by a cracking sound, then a black electric arc, as thick as an arm, suddenly appeared in the middle of the vortex! After wriggling in the air for some time, the arc disappeared without warning just as it had come, accompanied by another cracking sound. This time, the entire stone house seemed to be shaking at this great energy!
Immediately, the light of the octagonal formula went out, and the vortex at the center was also gone, replaced by an indistinct, small human figure, around which were some remaining wisps of grey fog that floated like silk bands around the thin body, making it impossible to clearly see its face. Amazed by the sight, Shi Mu subconsciously stood up, his eyes drawn to the blurry silhouette. But he soon came to himself, and, acting quickly, grabbed hold of the meteoric iron blade that he had long placed nearby, just in case, whereas with the other hand he fished out a wad of paper charms from his shirt. He stood, ready and waiting, for a few minutes, but the figure remained glued to where it was, which made Shi Mu relax a little. He waited until the grey fog completely lifted, in which process the figure also grew clearer, until it showed itself as a human skeleton of greyish white color, a bit shorter than himself. It stood in the eye of the formula, its eye sockets flickering with green gleams.
Shi Mu approached it and felt the spirit sign he had planted on the skeleton before. So he was now sure that this skeleton before him was precisely the one he had chosen in the Death Space.
But upon taking a closer look at it, Shi Mu felt a bit of doubt. This skeleton did not tally with the one in his memory, which was a tattered, mutilated, one-armed patchwork of bones! However, this one standing in front of him had not a full equipment of limbs, but more wholesome bones with fewer fissures. Even the color of the bones deepened.
As Shi Mu lost himself in studying the skeleton, it raised its skull, the two beaming sockets directly facing Shi Mu, as if watching the young man in return. Shi Mu remained silent for another moment, and, convinced that this skeleton was not hostile, he spoke up, “Could I ask what your name is? Can you understand my language?”
However the skeleton gave no response. It stood in the same spot, unmoving.
Shi Mu frowned in disappointment. After all, it had cost him an arm and a leg to beckon this skeleton to this world, and it had turned out to be an inert and stupid creature. He suddenly felt a strong sympathy towards uncle Ju, who also used up every last of his penny to bring Vibrant to this space. But Vibrant, however useless it may be, can at least speak, whereas this skeleton cannot even understand human language.
Just as he was lamenting silently his folly, the green gleam in the skeleton’s sockets swayed, and slowly the skeleton nodded its head.
Shi Mu was exhilarated, and expectantly he said, “Try and move two steps forward.”
The green gleam swayed again, this time twice. After a long while, it seemed to have comprehended Shi Mu’s order. Staggering, it did as it was told.
“So you can understand. However, you seem to be a bit... slow.” For a moment, Shi Mu was confounded as to how to further communicate with his newly gained servant.
“Can you sit down?” He tried another order.
The skeleton swayed its head, and, like an obedient pet, it seated itself on the floor, its bones making creaking noises as it did so.
Shi Mu was at least satisfied with his pet/servant’s meekness, though it seemed a bit weak in the head. At last, he walked up to the skeleton, prepared for any possible sudden attack from it, and said to it slowly, “Alright, so I’ve brought you to this world, then I should at least show the quality of a responsible master. Now I’m gonna plant a magical contract in your body. Don’t be afraid, it’s going to be ok.” All the time, the skeleton sat facing him, its sockets glowed, and nothing abnormal happened.
Shi Mu relaxed his knit eyebrows, his heart resigning himself to this fate. Maybe it’s because he had talked too long this time, so however slowly he pronounced each word, what he said still eluded the skeleton’s poor intelligence. He did not waste more time explaining to a skeleton, so he rested his hand on its skull and began muttering the incantations. Instantly, black light shot up from his palm, and the skeleton did not resist at all. The only thing that happened was a slight dimming of the green gleam in its eye sockets. It sat patiently, letting the black light seep into its skull and turn into a black magical character. Shi Mu’s spirit power also melted into the skeleton’s spirit, along with the contract, and soon the master and the servant’s spirit elements blended. With the skeleton’s cooperation, the whole process went on extremely smoothly. Shi Mu heaved a sigh of relief, removing his hand.