"Shi Mu, you don’t have to come with me," Princess Huo Wu’s graceful eyes turned towards him as she said.
Shi Mu was surprised by her words. He stopped and turned around to look at her. A trace of inquisitive look flickered in his eyes.
"You’ve finally obtained the beast soul and the secret totem technique after going through several hardships. So, it would be better for you to calm down and set your mind here. You should try to lift the danger concealed within your body. I have Priest Yan Ya by my side. He’ll dispatch a few men with me for my protection. So, my security isn’t a problem. As far as I know… the barbarian secret totem technique can’t be practiced easily. You can easily turn to Priest Yan Ya and others for guidance if you stay here. But, you’ll miss out other people’s assistance once you’ll leave the Holy Snow Palace," Princess Huo Wu said.
"Thank you so much for your concern, Princess," Shi Mu replied courteously by cupping his fist in his other hand as a sign of respect.
Princess Huo Wu smiled faintly. Then, she drew out a palm-sized purplish-golden token from her waist; it had seven corners. Some ancient strange charms were engraved on one of its sides. The word ‘Union’ was engraved on its other side. She handed it over to Shi Mu.
Shi Mu felt surprised as he received the token.
"This is the purplish-golden token of the union of the seven sects. You can keep it. Now, you can freely access the union at any time. Moreover, you can go to any stronghold of the union to request any assistance. We’ve succeeded in forming an alliance with the barbarian race owing to your meritorious deed. So, I’m handing this over to you in gratitude," she said.
"How can I keep this?!" Shi Mu was startled. He tried to give the token back to her.
"Brother Shi doesn’t need to decline it. This thing isn’t useful for me. I personally wish to get rid of this trouble. As for my previous pledge to you… I feel rather guilty in my heart. So, just consider this as a little compensation from my side," Princess Huo Wu replied with a soft smile.
She had spoken in such a manner that there wasn’t any room left for Shi Mu to decline her. So, he had to accept the token.
"Oh… by the way, Priest Yi He harbors a grudge against you. He won’t dare to tamper with the secret totem technique in front of the High Priest. But, you’ll need to be extremely vigilant on your way back to the human world," the Princess added in low voice.
Shi Mu knitted his brows, and slowly nodded.
Meanwhile, Priest Yan Ya arranged the security troops for the Princess. He then walked over with a team of around twenty people.
The group consisted of a few people, but each of these barbarians possessed an astonishing strength that was beyond the Hou Tian advanced-stage. The leader of this troop was a young and married woman. She had cold eyes, and she wore a mask on her face. She had an extremely intense and fluctuating aura around her; she was a Xian Tian level warrior.
"This is our tribe’s elder – Lang Qing. She’s now in-charge of Princess Huo Wu’s safety," Priest Yan Ya said in a confident manner.
"Thanks for your help, Elder Lang Qing," Princess Huo Wu said with a faint smile.
There was ice-cold expressions in the eyes of the masked woman. But, they slightly dissipated as she heard the Princess’s words. She nodded to Princess Huo Wu.
"Priest Yan Ya, I might need your help regarding one matter..." The Princess then brought-up the matter of Shi Mu. She told him that Shi Mu must stay in the Holy Snow Palace for practicing the secret totem technique under the guidance of Yan Ya.
"Princess Huo Wu, please leave this matter to me. Little Brother Shi Mu may look up to me if he needs anything," Priest Yan Ya patted his chest and replied.
"Now, I’m relieved," the Princess nodded as she said. She then turned around and advanced down the mountain with the masked woman and other warriors.
Shi Mu returned to his room in the Green Tooth Tribe’s palace. After that, he sat cross-legged on his bed. His face blazed with excitement as he looked at the blue spicule in his hands. He was now all-set to start studying it.
There was a rhythmic knock on his door.
Shi Mu gawked for a moment. He glanced at the spicule in his hand in a reluctant manner. Then, he put it back into his bosom. After that, he got up and went to the door.
He saw the smiling face of a young Priest as he opened the door. He was clad in a long white robe.
"I’m Priest Mo Zhu of the Holy Snow Palace. May I ask if Your Excellency is the warrior Shi Mu from the human race’s diplomatic mission?" he asked.
"So, it’s Priest Mo Zhu. I’m Shi Mu. Please come in," Shi Mu nodded and replied.
"There’s no need for that. Warrior Shi Mu, I’ve come here looking for you. The High Priest has summoned you," Mo Zhu said. Then, he sized him up in an inquisitive manner.
"Priest Mo Zhu, do you know why the High Priest has summoned me?" Shi Mu was alarmed. But, he asked without batting an eyelid.
The two races had already signed the peace agreement. However, Shi Mu was merely Princess Huo Wu’s bodyguard. So, why would the High Priest summon him all of a sudden?
"I’m not clear about it," Mo Zhu shook his head and replied.
Shi Mu felt helpless. He was slightly disturbed. He followed Mo Zhu and advanced towards the Holy Snow Palace.
The two of them arrived in front of a side hall in the depth of the Holy Snow Palace after a quarter-of-an-hour.
"Warrior Shi Mu, I won’t continue from here." Mo Zhu stopped at the door and made a gesture for him to enter the hall.
Shi Mu sucked in a deep breath. Then, he stepped into the side hall and looked around.
It wasn’t a big hall. Only four long and thick pillars could be seen in the entire hall. A butter torch had been hung on each of the pillars. They were swaying and making the whole space look a bit murky.
The hall was decorated in a simple manner. There were only two seats apart from the central arrangement. There was no trace of any other decorative stuff. The High Priest Bi Lige was resting on the main seat with his eyes closed.
"So, it’s Shi Mu. Come and sit. You don’t have to be formal," Bi Lige’s muffled voice resounded as he heard the sound of Shi Mu’s footsteps.
"Yes." Shi Mu’s heart skipped a beat. He hastily rushed forward, and greeted the High Priest. He then casually looked at the chair on the left of the High Priest. After that, he sat down in a respectful manner.
"I’ve summoned you because of the ‘Eternally Doomed Soul’ curse on your body. I presume that your plan would be to begin comprehending the secret totem technique… and then proceed with sealing the beast soul, right?" Bi Lige opened his eyes and asked in a sluggish manner.
"Yes, that’s exactly my plan." Shi Mu’s heart fluttered. But, he replied with a composed look on his face.
"I’m afraid that you won’t get rid of this curse if you rashly opt the ordinary totem warrior’s way to seal the beast soul. In fact, you might end-up getting caught in a life or death situation," Bi Lige shook his head as he replied.
"Why would the High Priest say this?" Shi Mu was thunderstruck; he almost jumped-up.
Then, a strange thought crossed his mind. He thought that the Fierce Snake Tribe’s Priest Yi He must’ve tricked him with this secret totem technique. But, Shi Mu had already examined it thoroughly after he had received it. He had also noticed that the totem pattern recorded on the spicule was exactly the same as the pattern that the Fierce Snake Tribe’s people had on their bodies. However, some of the recorded patterns were almost similar to the Flying Raven Tribe’s secret totem technique.
Several thoughts crossed his mind, but he was wise enough to not say anything.
"You don’t have to be suspicious of the authenticity of the secret totem magic you’ve been given by the Fierce Snake Tribe. This is a different matter. Keep listening to me." Bi Lige seemed like a Prophet. He sighed and said.
Shi Mu’s heart fluttered again, but he nodded in agreement. He leant half of his body forward to listen to the High Priest with rapt attention.
Bi Lige began to speak. Shi Mu got a thorough understanding of the barbarian’s secret totem technique from his words.
An ordinary barbarian had to ask each of the tribal Priests to portray a totem on his body if he wanted to become a totem warrior. Only then, he could try to seal a Hou Tian ominous beast soul. He would become a totem warrior if the seal turned out to be successful. Then, he could draw the spiritual energies from inside the beast soul by tempering it in order to refine it. Subsequently, he could enhance the power of the beast soul. And, the beast’s soul could also enhance its own cultivation in this manner.
Therefore, the cultivation level of the barbarian totem warrior was closely related to the beast soul that was sealed inside his body. An ordinary level beast soul could – at the most – ascend up to the Hou Tian consummate-stage. Only a few high-grade rare beast souls could step into the Xian Tian level. Moreover, the majority of beast souls of the Hou Tian totem warriors would stop at the consummate-stage. So, they would then try to seal a primary-stage Xian Tian beast soul in order to enhance their strength. They could achieve this by relying on their own strength along with their beast soul’s strength.
The common people could only seal a primary-stage Hou Tian beast soul in the initial stage. But, their success rate was less than ten percent. The higher the cultivation of a beast soul… the lower the probability of success of sealing that soul. Moreover, the sealing process might end-up causing the beast soul to back-bite if the level of the beast soul was very high.
"... and you wish to seal the soul of the three-headed python. This beast possesses the blood of the nine-headed golden flood dragon. Therefore, it’s not only an extremely high-ranked beast soul… but it’s also a Xian Tian middle-stage beast. Do you wish to seal its soul directly? You can acquire the strength of Xian Tian middle-stage warrior if you succeed. But, the possibility of failure is on the higher side. In fact, it’s next to impossible," Bi Lige said with an expressionless face.
Shi Mu felt as if he had been struck by lightning. His face turned pale. He now understood the essence of the practicing ways of the barbarians. He was in an ecstatic mood after he had received the Fierce Snake Tribe’s secret totem technique. But, it had now disappeared.
"Shi Mu, you can practice the Fierce Snake Tribe's totem technique. But, you can’t use it to enhance your cultivation. Instead, you can only untie the Fierce Snake Tribe’s Eternally Doomed Soul curse with it. You don’t require to completely seal the three-headed python’s soul. You can terminate the seal by guiding the three-headed python's soul to devour the cursed beast soul as long as you have the Fierce Snake Tribe’s totem technique. The success rate would be high if you do so; apart from a little wastage of the beast soul." Shi Mu had become depressed. But, Bi Lige’s words jolted him out of his stupor.
Shi Mu was awestruck for a moment. Then, his heart was overwhelmed with joy. Bi Lige was the highest authority on the barbarian’s totem technique. So, each-and-every of his words was bound to be true.
"High Priest, why did you tell me all these things?" Shi Mu’s facial expressions became normal after a while. His eyes flashed as he asked.
"Shi Mu, the necklace that you have on your body… doesn’t that belong to our barbarian race?" Bi Lige asked instead of answering Shi Mu’s question.
Shi Mu was taken aback. Then, he recalled the necklace given to him by Feng Li.
Suddenly, an invisible force enveloped him.
He was alarmed. He raised his head and looked up at the High Priest. The High Priest remained motionless. But, his pale yellow eyes had turned brighter.
Shi Mu felt a slight chill in his heart. He felt as if the old man’s pale eyes could penetrate into his body, and could see through every secret of his’.
"Yes, that’s right," Shi Mu’s heart quivered as he replied.
"Take it out… and give it to this old man. I want to have a look at it," the High Priest asked flatly. But, his tone was brimming with dignity.
Shi Mu loosened his expression after a bit of hesitation. He then took off the strange necklace from his neck. A queer ape-like ominous beast was engraved on its surface.