Chapter 135 - The Island of Starlight
"The Eternal Doom Spell?" Shi Mu's face darkened.
"As far as I know, this vicious spell is barely known, even among the barbarians, and would only be used on extreme occasions, because this spell requires the Totem warrior to offer his own spirit to the monster sealed in his tattoo. After devouring its master's soul, the totem monster would then enter the enemy's body, and gradually corrode his spirit. This process would generally last as long as a year. After that, the monster's power will break out and send the enemy down into the deep abyss of despair, torturing him until his whole body festers, then he will bleed to death. The more horrible aftermath is that the enemy's spirit will, thus, fall into the eternal doom." Feng Li answered haltingly.
Shi Mu's face blanched immediately at this dreadful news, and his body was struck out of balance, shaking involuntarily out of extreme fear. He subconsciously propped himself up against the desk to keep himself from falling.
"Don't worry, brother Shi! To the best of my knowledge, there's a way to lift the curse." Feng Li hurriedly supported Shi Mu.
"Spit it out! I almost fainted!" Shi Mu relaxed slightly and raised his voice, throwing Feng Li a half-blaming look. But he soon came to himself and apologized for his rudeness. Feng Li shook his head, apologizing for delaying in telling him the remedy. He scratched his head. Then, after a pause, he continued,
"Generally speaking, there are two ways to lift a curse like this. One is to seek help from an Earth-Grade or the above level saint, and asking this saint to impose another seal upon the totem to suppress the monster forcibly. But the sealing consumes a large amount of the saint's spirit power, and there's a small chance of getting the saint involved. The monster may infect the saint, too. By all means, to suppress it could only be counted a temporary measure..."
Shi Mus stroked his jaw thoughtfully, his face gloomy. The seven sects were now fully engaged in the war with the barbarians, hence even a Xiantian saint had become immeasurably important, let alone an Earth-Grade saint. Even if he reported this to the union, probably nobody would care about a disciple at such a critical juncture, not to mention the risk involved.
"Can I hear the second solution?" Shi Mu asked after a long deliberation.
"The second way is that brother Shi must learn this Totem Art yourself. Whoever is cursed with this spell only needs to seal another bigger, more powerful monster inside him, and this monster will gradually tame the previous, weaker one, absorbing its power for its own use." Feng Li answered after a short pause.
"To seal an even fiercer monster?" Shi Mu was astonished. During the past few years of fighting with the barbarians, he had gradually come to know a little of the secret Totem Art.To enact it, one had to seal a certain monster's spirit inside one's body in order to take on the sealed animal's attributes. But the process of sealing demanded far more effort than usually imagined, usually involving great pain and peril.
Shi Mu's expression changed several times as he pondered over the two choices carefully. Eventually, his face became determined one as Shi Mu, with clasped hands, said, "Thank you very much, brother Feng. I know it will be quite difficult, but the second choice seems to be more likely to be accomplished than seeking an Earth-Grade saint's help."
"Don't mention it. I'm only telling you what I know. As for how to find a monster's spirit that is stronger than the one you carry now, I'm totally at my wit's end." Feng Li's face was lined with worry when he replied with a deep sigh.
"It's all right. It's a lot better than waiting for my death." Shi Mu forced a comforting smile, as if he was consoling Feng Li for his loss. By now, he had set his mind on journeying to the barbarian's wasteland for even the glimpse of hope to undo the spell that was placed upon him. But Feng Li was clearer than anyone of the multitudinous perils that awaited Shi Mu in the depths of the wasteland. He changed to a more solemn tone, warning Shi Mu, "do pay attention to one thing when you arrive in the wasteland."
"What?" Shi Mu frowned apprehensively.
"I don't know which tribe the green-skinned barbarian you killed belongs to, but his tribesmen, especially the Totem warriors, might be able to sense the Eternal Doom Spell cast on you." Feng Li said seriously, looking directly into Shi Mu's eyes, searching them.
Shi Mu was profoundly shocked. This was the first time he had heard of such a thing, which further increased a risk that was already terrible enough. But this time he did not faint, knowing that Feng Li probably had a remedy for this issue.
"But there's also a way to fix this problem," Feng Li went on, which was quite a relief to Shi Mu, "I once saw the unicorn viper's blood for sale in this stronghold of Lan City. You might as well buy some before you set out for the wasteland. Apply the blood to the tattoo on your body. The unicorn viper is one of the higher-ranking monsters among the beasts in the wasteland, thus it may be able to contain the spell for some time." Feng Li suggested.
This would be the most uplifting news Shi Mu had heard today, if it wasn't mixed with a deep sorrow and danger. For the following time, Feng Li briefed Shi Mu about the basics of the barbarians' wasteland, and did not leave until he thought he had told him all there was to know for his dangerous trip.
When he stood up to excuse himself, Shi Mu stopped him, his clear, resigning eyes glistened gratefully. He hesitated, and then asked, "brother Feng, could you clear up my confusion on something?"
"Please say it, brother Shi." Feng Li's eyes flashed.
"Since this Eternal Doom Spell is, as you have said, rarely used, its remedy must be equally secret. How did you know about it?" Shi Mu asked, hesitating a little.
Feng Li stirred upon hearing the keen question. He raised his eyebrows nervously, then returned a heavy, embarrassed silence. Finally, Shi Mu reopened his mouth and tried to ease the atmosphere, "If this question embarrasses brother Feng, then there's no need to answer it."
"That would be most kind of you." Feng Li seemed much more relaxed, and quickly left the room.
Shi Mu closed the door. His eyes sharpened, keenly aware that Feng Li's life story must be more complex than what he already knew. Though by now, his suspicion about Feng Li's true identity had been largely dispelled, he thought it still inappropriate to return the token to Feng Li. After mulling over the issue for a while, he shook his head and decided to drop the matter for the time being, diverting his attention to the Sealing Art Feng Li had mentioned.
He had read from the ancient books kept in the Black Demon Sect that the barbarous wasteland was fraught with many perils. Ever since ancient times, the seven sects had sent strong warriors there, many Xiantian Saints among them. Even so, few had ever returned from that gruesome place, and most were declared missing after sneaking into the enemy's land.
However, no matter how abominable the journey felt to him, he had no other way. Before he set out, he still had arrangements to make. The union should be notified of this matter, otherwise he would be deemed a deserter and thus listed as wanted. After a long time, he pushed the door open and headed for the Great Hall in the stronghold, where he could exchange for the materials he would need.
Two days later, in the early hours of the morning, Shi Mu left the city after confirming Feng Li's information by collecting whatever intelligence he had available. He had also left a letter on his desk for the Black Demon Sect's leaders. Then, solely by himself, Shi Mu departed for the barbarous wasteland, with quiet, yet unfaltering, steps.
Approximately a hundred miles off the east coastline of the Heavenly Qi Country, there laid a group of small islands, dominated by a large one, which was the eastmost island in the archipelago. This was Starlight Island, and it was shaped like a half-opened fan. The landscape rose all the way from the east to the west, and thus shielded the entire archipelago from the east.
On the eastern part of the island towered a rolling mountain that was three hundred meters above open fields at its foot on the west. The ground was fertile, and fresh water was just enough for people to survive. For the past few decades, this favorable island had attracted a large number of poor people from the Heavenly Qi Country. Thus, together with the local freshmen, Starlight Island now boasted a population of over a hundred thousand people.
Since the East Sea abounded in sea monsters, whose hides and bones are the best material for making pills and magic weapons, the island had also drawn many warriors and Adepts, and a port had flourished. The warriors came in groups to hunt for sea monsters, which they then brought back to their countries to sell. A major industry gradually developed. Thanks to this, Starlight Island saw a daily hustle and bustle, and business thrived day by day, even beating many wealthy coast towns in the Heavenly Qi Country.
However, the semblance of peace and wealth in this island was constantly under the watch of five thousand permanent soldiers, placed there by the Qi court. The island was also heavily guarded. So far, nobody had complained, since the army had neither affected their lives nor brought trouble to the warriors when they came to the sea.
This night, the earth was covered by a total darkness. At this hour, all the common people and warriors on the island were soundly asleep, restoring their energies for the next day's busy work. At the beach, a file of fifty soldiers were patrolling with torches, the torchlight forming a winding dragon, when looked at from afar. As they walked further down the beach, their feet made receding crunching noise on the sand, leaving footprints, which were soon covered by sands again. In a short time, the beach, again, fell into a silent darkness once more.
However, a moment afterwards, the blackish sea water near the beach suddenly surged, though no wind was in the air. A black line, several meters high, suddenly rose from the sea's surface, roaring and nearing the beach at an alarming speed. If at this time someone had been walking nearby, they would be surprised to find the wave strewn with dark heavily armed figures. Some of the figures had fish scales all over their bodies. Some had fishtails. Others were clad in solid tortoise shells. Despite their various appearances, all of the alien creatures shared the same thing: a pair of evil eyes.
At the same time, in the biggest camp of the military station on the island.
Sitting by a dark-purple wooden desk, a middle-aged general was reading a scroll by candlelight. He had a scar on his right cheek, and his eyes were serious and alert. He was completely armored, and a naked silver blade was within his right hand's reach. The blade was covered with magic characters that were light gold in color. This was the general of Starlight Island, a consummated Houtian warrior.
"Who's there!" Suddenly, his eyes flashed, and the silver blade was quickly grasped by his hand. He raised his head abruptly and shouted fiercely.
The only reply was an ear-piercing sound.
The roof of the camp suddenly collapsed, and down wriggled five or six gigantic deep blue tentacles, flinging themselves down toward the general's head at a striking speed. Meanwhile, the air in the room felt strangely thicker, as if it had been filled with deep sea water, rushing and circling the general torrentially from all directions.
Ha! The general cried, and the silver blade shone glaringly. His eyes widened in rage, and his face flushed violently. Exerting his strength, he got rid of the pressure, stomping and leaping up into the air. Simultaneously, his silver blade danced wildly, producing a light shield that firmly protected him from behind.
Four of the blue tentacles struck at the light screen from four different directions, and the light screen ceased swirling immediately, eventually dispersing after a moment. The middle-aged general's face changed his countenance to a look of horror, and he fell down, staggering. Before he could take another action, two cold tentacles had wound around his neck and waist, and pulled with an irresistibly giant force.
With a clear sound, the general's head was torn off his body. His face still contorted in fear and anger. A shower of blood fell, along with a headless body and a wretched head.
The six blue tentacles then squirmed, and soon gathered into a blue whip that wound around the slender arm of a girl in a white dress.
The girl looked up at the night sky, and suddenly opened her mouth. Though no sound came out, the air rippled, spreading violently up into the air. Next, from all directions on the island, raucous shouting resounded. Starlight Island woke up with a start, finding herself lit up by numerous torches that seemed to drive the night away......
The same scene was also seen near the coastlines of both the Yan Fire Country and the Huang Bright Country.
[ED: HMMM. HMMM. I seem to remember that there was a holy pearl girl back in chapter 2... I wonder if she is this girl in a white dress? (If not, she is probably connected to this new enemy in some way...) XD ]
[TL: Eli, we are not leaking the future plot again...I doubt if this is the girl, haha.]