Chapter 156: A Broken Statue
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: Novel Saga
The blue-robed girl stood on a boulder on a piece of green grassland. Her dress was fluttering in the gentle breeze. She looked like a beautiful nymph made of water. She carried a pleasant ambience of an orchid in this remote and desolate valley.
The goddess-like girl looked a little puzzled - as if lost in a deep thought. She was gazing blankly into the distance.
"Is that him...?" the girl's rosy lips finally moved after a long while as she mumbled to herself.
Suddenly, a shadow emerged in the distance, and advanced towards her with a lightning speed.
The blue-robed girl shook her head, and hid her puzzled facial expression. She then turned around, and looked towards the approaching shadow.
The shadow continued to grow bigger with each passing second until it finally became clear. It was the half-man and half-fish creature of the sea race. His body was covered with a suit of black armor.
His fish tail was swinging nimbly on the ground - it looked like a sea snake. He was so fast that he had arrived near the girl's side in the blink of an eye.
The voice of the black-armored man was deep and hoarse - as if two pieces of wood were rubbing against each other.
"Let's go," the girl said lightly. Then, she sprang-up from the megalith, and landed on the ground. After that, she turned around and advanced towards the northern direction.
The armored man hastily followed her.
There was a marshland between two hills in a hilly region. The place was reeking of blood. The smell was so nasty that it could make anyone puke.
A dozen or more corpses of yellow lizards lay prone on the ground in the marshland. They were of different sizes. Most of them were cut into two pieces. Blood had flowed out of their bodies, and had formed a small pool of blood in the marshland.
A maiden stood beside these corpses. Her yellow cloak was made-up of fox-leather; it was draped around her body. It was none other than Princess Huo Wu.
She held a water bag in her hand, and was slowly pouring water to wash the blood off her silver sword.
But, her clothes looked clean and spotless. There was not the slightest trace of blood on her clothing.
She pointed her feet on the ground once she had cleaned the bloodstains off the sword's edge. She then floated to the top of a hill - like a group of yellow clouds.
She considered for a while. Then, she pointed her feet on the ground once again, and drifted towards a certain direction.
There was a small gloomy canyon. A fierce fight between five barbarians and hundreds of blood-red bats was going on in that canyon.
These bats were of different sizes. But, all of them had a couple of things in common - they had sharp talons and long white incisive teeth. They were huge in number. It seemed from afar as if these bats had besieged the five barbarians like a fog of blood. Moreover, these bats kept on pouncing on the barbarians in order to injure them every now and then.
However, the five barbarians didn't reveal the slightest trace of fear. They had made a circle with their backs stuck together. Then, they had brandished their weapons that exuded a cold light. The cold light had merged into a huge patch of light that shielded them.
A bat would be cut into pieces as soon as it tried to approach them.
The five barbarians started to advance towards the opening of the canyon while they maintained their battle formation.
Three of the barbarians were clad in light-red barbarian clothing. There was a totem of a giant python on their exposed right arms. They were the tribesmen of the Fierce Snake Tribe.
The leader of this small group was a bald man. He had a pair of deeply sunken eyes with tiny pupils. His eyes would occasionally exude a burst of an ice-cold radiance. He was a Hou Tian consummate-stage warrior; the other two men attired in red were Hou Tian advanced-stage warriors. They all possessed remarkable strength.
The three of them wielded a long green whip in their hands. Their whips would trail a shadow in the air as soon as they'd flick them. And, any bat that touched them burst into thin air.
The other two barbarians were unusually tall. The color of their skin was dark. They wore a soft armor on their bodies; it seemed to be made-up of blue leather. Moreover, there was a mark of a black ox's head on their amours. This was the sign of the Wild Bull Tribe; it was one of the four powerful vicious tribes. It was considered to be one of the eight major barbarians' tribes.
These two barbarians were equally formidable. One of them had full braided hair. He was a Hou Tian Consummate stage warrior. Muscles were protruding out of his entire body; his muscles seemed like iron towers. The other swarthy barbarian was at the advanced stage of the Hou Tian realm. He held a gigantic axe in his hand. The axe looked extremely light and graceful in his hand; it seemed as if he was holding a rice straw.
The red bats were quite fierce, and didn't fear death. However, they couldn't penetrate the converged defense of the five barbarians. So, they were gradually strangled to death. The unimaginable number of the bats had been dramatically reduced to a hundred or even below within a few seconds. The barbarians had reached quite close to the opening of the valley by now.
These bats seemed to be afraid of the large column of sunlight that fell on the opening. Therefore, the remaining blood-red bats fluttered, and flew towards a distant place. They looked like a cluster of red clouds flying back towards the canyon.
"Phew, they've finally returned. This flat-hair scarlet bat isn't even a Hou Tian level beast. Its souls wouldn't be of any use for us. Still, these bats turned out quite difficult to deal with," an iron-tower-like robust barbarian let out a long sigh and said; he was one of the two barbarians of the Wild Bull tribe.
"I agree with you. But, this canyon is the only way to reach the northern region. So, we'll have to pass it at any cost. Speaking of which... Brother Mang Kun's strength is already quite close to a Xian Tian level Warrior. How could these bats be your match? Just take it as a warm-up," the bald man of the Fierce Snake tribe retracted his green whip and complemented with a smile.
A gleam of complacent look appeared on the face of the iron-tower like man as he heard these words of appreciation. He then burst out laughing.
"May I know what Brother Mang intends to do next?" the bald man looked towards the exit of the canyon and asked in a casual tone.
"We'll now proceed towards the depth of the Forbidden Area. These ominous beasts in the periphery are too weak to play around with. Their souls would be futile to collect since they are low-grade beasts. This year's reward is very alluring. So, let's move on... and hunt as many beasts as we can," the tower-like robust man gritted his teeth and said.
In the past, the warriors had been selected by their respective tribes to enter the Portal. Those warriors could keep thirty percent of the total beasts' souls that they hunted as their private property. This was decided after the completion of the competition. This rule was made to encourage warriors to hunt as many beasts' souls as possible. But, an unprecedented decision had been taken this time. And, this percentage had been raised from thirty to fifty percent.
"Haha... it seems that Brother Mang Kun wants to show-off his talent. So, I'd like to request Brother Mang to help me in exchange for all the beasts' souls we three people have captured so far..." the bald barbarian said with a dignified look in his eyes.
"Oh? What's the matter?" Mang Kun looked at the beast-soul bags that hung from the waists of the three men of the Fierce Snake Tribe. He then asked.
"I'd like to ask Brother Mang to kill someone for me," the bald man said slowly.
"Kill somebody? Which tribe does that person belong to?" Mang Kun's eyebrows snapped into a frown as he asked.
"That person doesn't belong to our race. It's the male human who has entered the Portal along with the Princess of the Da Qi Kingdom. Brother Mang must've remembered him," the bald man said in a sinking voice.
"I vaguely remember that person. Can it be that this person has offended your Fierce Snake Tribe in any way?" Mang Kun nodded thoughtfully as he asked.
"This person had killed the Young Master of our tribe a few months ago. It wasn't appropriate to get rid of him in the Holy Mountain. Now... that he has made it here... we want to settle our accounts by finishing him off," the bald man said in a tone filled with murderous intention.
"So that's how it is. Fine... I promise that I'll take care of him," Mang Kun gave his word without digging into the details.
"Wait a moment. Commander Qing Tong, That person's cultivation isn't that high if I remember correctly. He's just a Hou Tian middle-stage warrior, right? You can send any random warrior of your tribe to dispose him off. Why do you want us to help you?" the swarthy barbarian standing beside Mang Kun asked as a thought crossed his mind.
"That person had killed our Young Master. He seems to possess some skills. So, we need your help to deal with him. This way... we can ensure the safety of everyone involved in this matter," the bald man replied.
"That..." The dark-skinned man hesitated for a moment as he heard this ambiguous reply. It seemed as if he wanted to ask something else.
"Very well... where's that man? Let's hurry... and finish him off. Don't delay me and the others. We still have lots of beasts to hunt down." Mang Kun waved his hand and interrupted the dark-skinned man's questioning. Then, he said in an impatient manner.
"Thank you so much for your help!"
The bald man expressed his gratitude. Then, he took out a round disk made-up of bone. A vivid and life-like image of a python was carved on its surface. There was a curved scarlet pointer in the middle of that disk; it looked like a snake.
The bald man then started to chant an incantation. And, the pointer started to swing gently. It gradually stabilized, and pointed in a certain direction. It was the north-western side.
"Good, that person is in this direction. Let's go there," the bald man said. An ominous gleam was floating in his eyes.
He then started to lead the team in the designated direction.
An ominous beast that looked like a fiery-red wild boar stood by a pond. It was drinking water with its head lowered.
The beast was nearly thirty feet in length, and was as tall as an ordinary person. It had giant tusks, and its entire body was covered with scales. These features made it look like an extremely ferocious beast.
A shadow of a black arrow whizzed past from a nearby big tree and submerged into the boar's head. Only the tail of the arrow was sticking out.
The fiery-red boar issued a heart-curdling cry as its huge body was sent flying in the air. It collided and knocked down several big trees on its way. It eventually crashed to the ground.
Blood started to stream out of its head. Its body twitched a few times before it turned completely motionless.
Suddenly, a man jumped down from a tree beside the pond. He was clad in a black robe. It was none other than Shi Mu.
He strode to the red boar's side while holding the Sky Splitting Bow in his hand.
He then took down the beast-soul bag from his waist, and held it close to the boar's head. After that, he stimulated his Real Qi and infused it into the bag. A ball of red light floated out of the boar's head and disappeared into the bag.
Shi Mu had already collected twenty beast souls in his bag by now. However, most of them were either Hou Tian primary stage or middle stage ominous beasts.
He hung the bag at his waist, and prepared to leave the place. Suddenly, his brows twitched into a frown as a thought crossed his mind.
He turned around and extracted the black arrow from the boar's head. Then, he smashed its head with his blade. After that, he set out hurriedly.
Soon, he was walking between two lofty mountain peaks. There was a narrow valley between these lofty peaks. Shi Mu felt that the valley was gradually getting narrower as he continued to advance forward.
His eyebrows creased as he began to think if this path would eventually lead him to a dead-end.
He took out the hide-map and studied it. Unfortunately, this place hadn't been marked on the map.
Shi Mu turned around, and pondered over his next plan for a while. He had already walked deep into the valley. It would cost him a great deal of time if he thought of returning from there by following the old route.
He finally decided to continue to move forward after a moment's hesitation.
The more he proceeded... the narrower the valley became. It seemed as if the entire valley had been shrouded in an unending darkness. This darkness had been caused by the huge shadows of the two towering peaks that stood on both sides of the valley.
Moreover, numerous trees and dense vegetation could be seen in the middle of the canyon. A thick layer of withered leaves - like a piece of cloth - seemed to have covered the entire ground. It looked as if these leaves had been lying there for a long time. They exuded screeching sounds as they were stepped on.
Shi Mu's eyebrows wrinkled as he saw this. However, he continued to move forward.
He finally came to a stop after half-an-hour; there was a bitter smile spread across his lips.
He stood on a withered tree that lay on the ground. The canyon was closed from the front as he had expected. There was no path to go any further.
Moreover, the cliffs that stood on either side of the canyon were precipitous and extremely high. So, it was also difficult to guess how long it would take to climb up to get to the top. In addition, it was uncertain that whether or not Shi Mu will be able to find an outlet if he began to crawl-up.
Shi Mu sighed and decided to return by following the old route. Suddenly, he caught a sidelong glimpse of a black object that was hidden in the nearby bushes. It looked smooth and round. But, it was unclear what that thing was.
Shi Mu's eyebrows plunged into a frown. He pushed his way through the bushes and walked in that direction. He was startled as he saw the object clearly.
That black object was roughly one foot in size. It looked quite old. It seemed to be a fallen part of a statue.
Shi Mu's face revealed a startled look. He had only seen a desolate primitive world since he had entered the Forbidden Area. But, this statue seemed to be man-made.