In a flash, both parties of the barbarians had gathered in the square surrounded by the rocks; the two contrasting groups glared at each other provocatively. There was a strong sense of opposition in the air.
After everyone had entered the stone formula, a chant sung in obscure language was heard from the altar. Shi Mu and the princess found themselves standing in the peaceful barbarians’ side; their eyes looking in the direction where the song was coming.
On the black altar, the great shaman Billigerd was in a hypnotized state while dancing in a bizarre manner with a withered branch in hand. At this moment, though those turbid eyes of his did not brighten the least, the limbs seemed to have shaken off their stiffness, moving agilely that made a striking contrast with his earlier tottering steps. The eight shamans knelt down around the altar with intense faces, their arms lifted while their mouths muttered some prayers.
Then in the next moment, the heaven energies around the altar became rather agitated. With the altar as the center, neighboring areas within a radius of about three hundred meters were affected by this outburst of energy. Light dots appeared indistinctly and thickly in the air, and then as if at an agreed moment, all of them rushed to the great shaman from every direction like big waves. Upon their arrival, the mighty currents of the light dots centering around the great shaman began to swirl above his head, forming a visible vortex that sent powerful energies into all directions like torrential waves.
High above in the air, clouds gathered, driven by the wind, and raged like a storm. The sun was eclipsed by the dense clouds until its original scathing brilliance was completely obliterated.
Just as the whole valley became murky and gloomy, the great shaman stopped his dance abruptly; his limps frozen in a most strange posture. The chanting of the eight shamans also snapped to a stop suddenly. However, in the stone formula, all the barbarians were under great excitement; their eyes blazed eagerly.
In the next moment, the wizened branch in Billigerd¨s hand glared with red lights, and then released an overpowering energy that threatened to devour the heaven and the earth. Red light flashed skyward, and Billigered¨s qi transformed into a mightily powerful and sacred one. At the same time, the black magical characters on the huge rocks of the stone formula began to echo with a red glow.
Shi Mu was shocked at the mind-blowing scene, as well as by the great shaman¨s true strength. So all the time the old man had been hiding his abilities! In his secret admiration, Shi Mu was disturbed by an unexpected warmness in his chest. Startled, he slipped his hand into his shirt. At the same moment, the girl in blue dress standing opposite Shi Mu also felt something as her beautiful eyes penetrated the crowd until they alighted on Shi Mu¨s face. Suddenly, her face lighted up with a tremor of pleasure. She opened her mouth, as if about to say something, but was prevented when a large patch of red light suddenly cascaded down from the air and enveloped everyone.
When the red light disappeared completely, it was a bleak quietude that reigned the area. Both the valley and the stone formula was empty.
When he came to, Shi Mu found himself in a pitch-dark space only disturbed by irregular shots of fuzzy light that reminded one of meteors in the night sky. His body was floating in the dark, like a fallen leaf in midair. He was totally deserted in the space with no foothold.
But reassuringly, this hanging-in-the-air state did not persist. After some time, he felt his body pulled down by a terribly mighty force, and before his eyes, myriad stars glittered in heaven. The splendor of the spectacle dazzled him, and then with a sudden brightness and an ear-deafening noise, his body hit hard on something rough. His shoulders felt a scathing pain. While sucking back a breath of cold air, he struggled to his feet.
The view before him eventually became clear once more. As far as his eyes could see, it was a dense forest that was standing in front of him. The trees were unusually tall and mighty, and one could see hundreds of them towering up with heavy and luxuriant foliage that covered up the sky. On the ground, bushes and shrubs and grasses grew in clumps: a picture of vigor.
Shi Mu took a deep breath, and felt his lungs filled with a rich supply of heavenly energies. Although he had heard much about the portal as well as the world inside it from shaman Yanya and Minh Tu, it was totally different when he was actually in the scene.
After a full immersion in this new world, he returned his attracted eyes, and swept the surroundings with a pair of vigilant ones. His hands were gripping his black blade tightly.
Everything seemed quiet and normal.
He then heaved a sigh of relief, and then took out a patch of yellowed hide from which he had received from Minh Tu. It was a rough map of the space. He looked around, and then climbed onto a biggest tree within his sight. In a flash, he had arrived at the top where he gained a vantage point to have a panoramic view of the surrounding areas.
Now he had a rough idea that he was in a dense forest sandwiched by two mountains. On his right hand was an even denser forest, whereas on his left, the land caved in and formed a low-lying field, beside which lied a tranquil lake. Shi Mu consulted the map and soon found out that he was at the southeast section of the world.
Shi Mu sank into a quiet contemplation, and though his face looked as calm as usual, his eyes were thoughtfully confounded.
This map only showed a limited area that had been searched before, and was called the periphery region of the space. Up in the north end of the map was marked a giant river that traversed the world from east to west. The land on the north of the river was named the Middle Land.
From what he had learned, the environment of the Middle Land was much more dangerous than that of the periphery region, bounding in fierce beasts of Xiantian level. Though the barbarians had opened the portal uncounted times in their history, the Middle Land had only been visited by bold Xiantian barbarians; therefore, information about the area remained scant, though not none. The depth of Middle Land was called the Central Area of this space, only having been visited by a few Earth Grade barbarian saints who claimed that there were a large amount of savage beasts above their own level, making the area truly primordial and savage. About how large this space inside the gate was, nobody knew; all they could say was that it was boundless, and that no one had ever reached the end.
Shi Mu followed his eyes to the north. He knew clearly that the primal target in this trip was to hunt a multiple-headed viper above Xiantian Level, which entailed an inevitable excursion into the depth of Middle Land.
Thinking this, he retraced his line of sight, jumped down the tree like an ape, and quickly made for the north.
The space within the gate overflowed with heavenly energies, rich in all kinds of rarities. He had not traveled far before he discovered several kinds of heavenly herbs rarely seen in the outside world. Correspondingly, fierce beasts equaled the herbs in number, making him weigh the pros and cons before finally giving up to pick some herbs within reach while mostly concentrating in pushing on with his journey. After all, he could not stay in this wonderland forever, the time limit was only ten days.
After an hour, Shi Mu came to a natural stone bridge. Standing at one end of it, a giant green wolf at least three meters in length blocked his way at the other end. The bridge couldn’t be counted a long one, at most fifty meters or so, but it served to connect two cliffs that otherwise could only be linked by a roundabout that would take at least half a day’s time.
“The Green Demon Wolf!” Shi Mu looked at the giant wolf up and down, murmuring to himself. The wolf was certainly in its prime judging by its muscled body and the bushy and bright mane. It even had a green horn on its head. Those enormous and bloodshot eyes were staring fiercely at Shi Mu.
It may have been Shi Mu’s fearless eyes that piqued the wolf, sending it to howl viciously and swooping down on Shi Mu with fiendish claws. It moved with incredible speed and agility, biting at Shi Mu¨s neck with its mouth widely opened, exhaling a puff of fishy wind. The tusks were as sharp as daggers.
Shi Mu jerked his body aside and the next moment, vanished into thin air. The green demon wolf unexpectedly missed its target. But before it turned around, Shi Mu had reappeared at its back, his face unperturbed, and punched heavily onto the wolf’s head. The fist took on a jade-like blue color, glowing like a stone.
A dull thud sounded out; the fist had found its way onto the wolf’s skull. A terrible force like that of a falling boulder, attacked the wolf’s head with a crack. As a result, the hefty body of the animal was throwm backward into the air and then tumbled to the ground.
A hint of surprise crossed Shi Mu’s eyes. The wolf was at most in the middle stage of Houtian level, but his full-strength Stone-Breaking Fist only cracked its skull. It should have ended its life in one blow.
But if a barbarian were present at the scene, he would have been under great shock. The Green Demon Wolf had a reputation of being as solid as metal, especially for its skull. Never had a barbarian attempted to kill such a wolf by smashing its brain.
The demon wolf let out a painful groan, and then leaped up to its feet. The eyes dilated in an outrage, and the horn on its head flashed with green light.
Suddenly, a green electric current as long as half a normal human’s height shot out from its horn and flashed towards Shi Mu at lightning speed. Shi Mu, who seemed to have already been prepared for this sudden attack, spat out a ball of white breath that clashed with the green electric current.
Boom! The two exploded simultaneously and died out. But before the air regained its lucidity, a black shadow had darted out of the chaos and shot towards the wolf’s heart - undoubtedly, it was the black blade.
Blood splashes! Although the monster had tried to duck, it only half-managed it; one foreleg was stabbed, bleeding profusely. Shi Mu seized the chance to stride to the wolf¨s side, and then kicked at its waist with his foot that was hard like steel.
The wolf was sent flying backwards, and then thudded onto the ground; its waist bone had already cracked and contorted. It howled in agony, struggling on the spot. But Shi Mu continued the attack with strong punches on the wolf’s head. This time, it failed to survive the rainstorm of fists, and its head cracked like a melon; the brains flowed out like a red and white river. The huge monster’s groan snapped short, and its bulky body stopped twitching finally.
A ball of green light the size of a fist emerged floating above the smashed head, and a fuzzy miniature image of a wolf peeped through the light. Shi Mu was attracted by the light ball. With a curious face, he took out a bag made of red hide that he had obtained from the Sacred Snow Palace. Some obscure characters of black magic were written on the bag’s surface to seal animals’ spirits. Shi Mu instilled some magic power into the bag, and it immediately bulged with light, and then drew the green light ball into it.
Shi Mu nodded, satisfied, and retrieved his black blade to cut the dead wolf’s horn off. The wolf was not a strong one, technically speaking, but its horn was a valuable material for making magical weapons. Considering that the smell of blood may cause further trouble, Shi Mu kicked the dead body off the bridge and then resumed his journey in a great haste. Up to the north. Nonstop.
Translated by: HJ
Translated by XianXiaWorld