Chapter 367: Stone Statue
Translator: Irene Editor: TYZ/CakeHermit
Carrying the statue back to the bamboo garden, Ai Hui closed the door before placing it on his table. Like a snake, the impatient bandage charged forward and coiled itself around the stone statue.
Ai Hui almost let out a laugh; the stone statue looked like a silly, lifeless mummy. Its heavenly charm was all gone.
Perhaps there was something powerful hidden within the statue?
Ai Hui was very curious. Of course, he already knew the power of the bandage, but for the family heads of the Ye Residence to have been stumped over the statue for so many years, it most definitely wasn't a simple object.
Ai Hui dared not look down on aristocratic families at all. Their accumulated power was shockingly deep, be it in terms of riches, treasures, or even their grasp of elemental energy.
The construction of the treasury and the method of sealing the cases were things he'd never seen before.
Perhaps the family had no outstanding representatives, but their hard work contributed to the succession of each generation for hundreds and thousands of years. Along the way, their accumulated experiences were intimidatingly profound and and extensive.
Aristocratic families were the people standing at the peak of the Elemental Era.
The bandage had actually responded to a secret these people weren't able to unravel. How exciting!
Ai Hui suddenly stood up straight, his eyes glowing.
The face of the stone statue was starting to melt.
A change was occurring!
Ai Hui became very agitated, but calmed himself down quickly. Pricking up his ears and listening, the coast was clear. The stone statue had no elemental energy waves. It was like a candle that, upon heating, melted gradually.
Ai Hui stared intently at that statue. It most definitely was ordinary granite, he'd checked carefully!
Had his eyes deceived him?
As the statue's face melted, its coarse lines smoothed out and its uneven face softened significantly. The blurred facial features became more distinct.
Seeing the face of the statue becoming delicate and refined, that faint heavenly charm became more intense. Ai Hui was completely captivated, as if the stone status was a gaze-swallowing whirlpool. Ai Hui stared blankly at it, unable to turn his eyes away.
The stone statue in his vision started to turn blurry.
The world turned hazy as the sky merged with the ocean. He saw an unending chain of massive mountains, steep and majestic. The ancient trees reached high up into the sky, the fields were vast, and all kinds of unusual beasts were running and flying around.
Ai Hui guaranteed that he'd never seen any of these unusual beasts. Having stayed in the Wilderness for such a long time, he could be considered an expert when it came to recognizing most of the wild and dire beasts. These unusual beasts were even more primitive and barbarous, definitely foreign to him.
Scanning across the towering mountains and precipitous ridges, his gaze landed on a small valley.
From what he saw, Ai Hui reckoned this valley's terrain was very suitable for outdoor camping.
There was a meandering brook, its stream small so flooding wasn't a concern. The mountains on both sides served as partitions. They were steep and made of granite. The valley was wide, yet its mouth was extremely narrow, making it a place that was easy to guard and difficult for intruders to attack.
There was a fence made of thick, solid logs at the valley mouth. What use could such a crude defensive measure have? Ai Hui couldn't wrap his head around it. Inside, there was a tent made of animal skin and cogon grass, and within it were people lighting a fire for cooking and skinning the wild beasts. It was a rather lively scene.
Ai Hui seemed to have thought of something.
Observing for a little while, Ai Hui felt that the savages had tedious lives. They were uncivilized and appeared quite ignorant. When Ai Hui and gang were in the Wilderness, their lives had been arduous too, but compared to these savages, they were much better off.
Some time later, the tribal chief took out a sheet of animal skin and drew a rough human figure on it with charcoal and beast blood.
His strokes were very crude. Saying that it was a human figure was partially a guess.
The animal skin painting was propped up by a tree branch and stones were piled up to form a simple sacrificial table. The chief butchered a wild beast, placed it on the table as an offering, and led the worshipping process as everyone started kowtowing.
Years passed and the chief kept changing. The clothes worn by tribe members underwent developments too, from the initial animal skin to sackcloth. The drawings on the animal skin gradually became clearer and started to carry a unique, heavenly charm.
Ai Hui reacted suddenly. Could it be...
He took a closer look at the human figure on the animal skin and found that it was indeed similar to the stone statue.
With changes to the animal skin, the tribesmen became increasingly pious and offered sacrifices more regularly. As the offerings grew, the human figure on the skin became more exquisite and lifelike.
The tribe, having been through years of campaign, was now influential and powerful. City walls were built and he overlooked them all.
Enemies infiltrated into the sacrificial hall and burned the animal skin.
The chief transmitted an order, seeking treasures from respective cities in order to create and refine a demonic god portrait. Gathering treasures, reputable priests, painters, and warlocks from all over into the hall, after twenty-two years of blood, sweat, and tears, a new demonic god portrait was finally completed.
Campaigns against enemies and for power began abruptly as well.
In the span of sixty years, countless captives were detained and offered as sacrifices.
The heavenly charm of the demonic god portrait intensified, making it terrifying to look at.
More years passed as the tribe rose and fell, prospered and fell into decline. However, that portrait remained undamaged. It was always as good as new and sacrifices were constantly being offered to it.
On a windy, rainy night, a lightning bolt from outside the windows illuminated the dark, spacious sacrificial hall and also that portrait that hung down from the wall.
The demonic god's eyes moved and a smile surfaced on the corner of its mouth. This smile carried an evil energy, making its gentle face appear increasingly flirtatious and enticing.
Suddenly, a leg extended out from the portrait.
The demonic god had actually come alive. He moved his body, seemingly interested in all that was going on. All of a sudden, as if he sensed something, he raised his head and looked in Ai Hui's direction.
Seeing the demonic god's eyes momentarily disrupted Ai Hui's line of thought.
Just then, the Skyheart Flaming Lotus Lamp sensed danger and abruptly started operating, allowing Ai Hui to regain a trace of clarity. He tried with all his might to shut his eyes and block off his vision.
His rough breaths were like moving bellows, causing Ai Hui to sweat profusely. That moment of struggle had practically exhausted all his strength.
He calmed down five minutes later, but not without some lingering fear. He'd always thought himself to be firm and invulnerable to evil disturbances, especially after training his Skyheart Flaming Lotus Lamp. He could remain unmoved even when facing One Thousand Yuan.
Just then, however, his mental state had been completely out of his control. He couldn't think at all. If not for the lamp, he wouldn't have even been able to shut his eyes.
It was Ai Hui's first time experiencing something so strange, terrifying, and dangerous.
Unlike real combat, psychic attacks couldn't be warned against. Any slight inattentiveness would lead to an attack, causing one's body to lose all control. The mind would not be able to overpower the body to execute even the most basic resistance. The victim would be completely at the enemies' disposal.
He never wanted to experience this ever again.
Shortly after, Ai Hui's body tensed up as the Skyheart Flaming Lotus Lamp circulated unsteadily. He gathered all his focus so that whenever something felt amiss, he would shut his eyes again.
He slitted his eyes and looked outside.
He saw a stone statue.
Where was the sacrificial hall? Demonic god?
Ai Hui was stunned. Had he been dreaming? Those scenes he'd just witnessed were too vivid. It felt as though he'd lived thousands of years alongside the tribe and demonic god.
But at this moment, he was still in his room.
But such a lifelike fantasy...
Ai Hui looked at the time and realized that not even half an hour had passed.
How mystical. That dreamlike sequence had simply been too real and he could still recall all the fine details. The mirage bean pods sold in markets couldn't be compared to what he'd just seen.
He felt somewhat regretful, but also relieved. The scene in which the demonic god had walked out of the portrait left a deep impression on him; he still had some lingering fear.
His gaze fell upon the stone statue and his pupils suddenly shrank.
The stone statue on the table looked exactly like the demonic god!
Ai Hui remembered the demonic god's appearance clearly, there was no mistake. The statue was, at this moment, no longer that crude piece of stone but extremely refined and lifelike.
It had a graceful figure, its waist appearing weak and delicate and its upper body masculine. It had an androgynous face with a soft outline, but a masculine nose and lips. Its eyes were cold, but the outer corners curved out beautifully.
It was Ai Hui's first time seeing such androgynous and conflicting features that somehow managed to fit nicely together, leaving a deep impression on him.
Exactly the same!
Was that vision the demonic god stone statue's doing?
It was possible!
Was that the origin of this stone statue? Ai Hui was quite convinced since there was no other possible explanation.
He never imagined that there would be such a story behind the stone statue. Ai Hui clicked his tongue in wonder and looked all over the statue.
The statue was now exquisite and lifelike, but its heavenly charm was gone. It looked like an ordinary stone statue.
So, the heavenly charm had contained the statue's history, Ai Hui suddenly realized.
No matter how he looked at it, however, the demonic god statue was still just the demonic god statue and the granite was still the granite. There were no changes. Had he just spent so much effort just to get a fine stone statue?
Ai Hui didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
What he saw next, on his bandage, shocked him.
Its blood eye was gone; it had regained its previous white color and was now empty.
Seeing the two snow-white bandages on the table, a thought came to him as he unfolded them and laid them flat, then pieced them together. He remembered that they were originally one piece when he'd first seen them.
When placed alongside each other, the middle sections started to fuse together, forming a piece of white cloth.
This was actually possible?!
Ai Hui opened his eyes wide as he'd never thought they could be welded together.
Wait a minute!
Ai Hui's body stiffened. He stared blankly at the white cloth on the table as an image of the demonic god portrait hanging in the sacrificial hall emerged in his mind.
After the demonic god walked out of the portrait, it became a sheet of white, and its size... was approximately the same size as the white cloth in front of him.
The bandage... was the canvas of the demonic god's portrait?