Chapter 157: The Mystical Stone
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: Novel Saga
"Is it possible that this thing belongs to the barbarians' ancestors?" Shi Mu murmured to himself as he gazed at the black piece of statue.
He then looked towards the surrounding woods; a thoughtful look flashed across his eyes. He strode forward towards the left. He brushed his way through thistles, thorns, and thick patches of grasses. He soon arrived before a large piece of the statue.
It seemed to be the upper part of the statue. It lay obliquely on the ground amid dense bushes.
Shi Mu didn't identify these parts to be belonging to an animal or a bird. It rather seemed to be a sculpture of a strange monster; it was half-human and half-beast. There were two long ears at the top of its head. Its canine teeth protruded out of its mouth. In fact, these features somewhat illustrated the image of a werewolf.
Shi Mu's eyebrows creased. The appearance of the statue resembled the strange and distorted appearance of the totem warriors when they were under the effect of their totems. This statue seemed to be made by some barbarian ancestor.
Shi Mu looked towards the woods. He discovered that several broken parts of the statue were scattered over the place. Moreover, there seemed to be more parts lying further ahead.
Shi Mu was surprised. He started to advance in that particular direction. The deeper he entered into the forest... the more fragments of stones appeared before his eyes. They were scattered disorderedly on the ground. Those fragments seemed to be the other parts of the same statue. Several stone columns and dilapidated walls could also be seen lying on the ground along with them.
Shi Mu was awestruck. He eventually quickened his pace.
The surrounding trees grew scarcer as he strode deeper into the forest. He soon found himself stepping out of the forest. But, he was left startled at what he saw.
A vast open area in the middle of the forest appeared before his eyes. A dilapidated megalith building could be seen in the center of that vacant place. It was built against the wall of the mountain. It seemed to be a vestige of some ancient barbarian culture, or period that had been left behind in time.
Shi Mu approached the crumbled building. He found a few small altars, temples, and other things in the ruins.
There was a stone building with a dome in the middle of the remains. It looked relatively preserved. More than half of this building had collapsed, but it was still in a better condition than the adjacent buildings which had completely collapsed, and had turned into ruins. These crumbled buildings around the dome looked like numerous stars clustered around the moon.
Shi Mu swept his vision over the ruins. And, his eyes eventually fell on the dome.
He saw that more than half of the building had already crumbled to dust. However, a hundred feet statue stood upright inside it.
Shi Mu's eyes flashed. He noticed that this statue had a little similarity with the broken parts that he had seen earlier. Both of them looked like a half-human and half-beast.
This statue's face bore a little resemblance to a person's face. But, it had ferocious and contorted facial features. It had a pair of glaring eyes, and fierce bucktooth that stuck out of its huge open mouth. There were two long and curved horns - like that of a goat's - at the top of its head. Even its ears were a lot similar to a goat's ears. The upper part of its body was bare. But, it was laden with powerful and protruded muscles. Its hands were exactly like human hands, but its feet bore a striking resemblance to a goat's hooves.
One of the arms of the statue was raised high; the other one was hung alongside its body. It held a flute-like thing in its raised hand. But, there were only three holes in it. It was hard to tell what that thing was.
However, what surprised Shi Mu was the completeness of the statue. It was extremely well-preserved, and made a stark contrast with the dilapidated remnants in its periphery.
Shi Mu observed the statue from top-to-bottom several times. After that, he looked at the face of the statue once again. He continued to gaze at it for a while.
Suddenly, a fit of dreadful aura attacked him. The aura was so profound and imposing that Shi Mu found it difficult to breathe under its overwhelming pressure.
He felt a shiver run down his spine. He hastily averted his eyes from the statue. His body then slowly returned to its normal state.
Shi Mu felt an overwhelming fear in his heart. But, a trace of happiness surged in his heart at the same time.
This statue seemed to have the ability to manipulate one's mind. This vestige wasn't a trivial matter; it couldn't be taken lightly. In fact, it seemed to hold monumental significance to the barbarians in those days.
Shi Mu didn't look at the statue again. Instead, he stepped into the ruins, and began to rummage through the things that were scattered everywhere around him. He soon finished exploring the entire place. But, he didn't find anything important in the relics; a trace of disappointment appeared on his face.
Everything found in the place was either the debris of the crushed stones and buildings, or rotten woods. There wasn't a single valuable thing around.
Shi Mu was reluctant to admit his defeat. So, he started to explore once again. However, the result remained the same.
His facial expression changed a number of times. Finally, a wry smile spread across his mouth.
He felt that he was being overly avaricious.
He was about to turn around and leave. Suddenly, he caught a sight of a faint red glimmer from the corner of his eye. This red gleam was being exuded by the statue's hand that hung alongside its body.
Shi Mu strode in that direction, and discovered that the faint-red light in the statue's hand was coming from a fiery-red stone; it was as big as a fist. It couldn't have been found if Shi Mu hadn't been excessively attentive.
Suddenly, Shi Mu was struck by a strange idea. He clenched his teeth, and leapt forward to grab the stone. He took the stone, and started to run towards the road.
He continued to run madly until he left the ruins several feet behind. He finally came to a stop, and heaved a sigh of relief as he felt that there was nothing strange behind him. He then held the stone before his eyes, and sized it up carefully.
The stone had a texture of fine red lines on its surface; they looked like veins. Those veins-like red lines were flickering - as if the stone was alive. It felt warm to the touch; it looked rather strange. Anyone could tell at a glance that it wasn't an ordinary thing.
Shi Mu sized up the stone several times. But, he couldn't find anything specific about it. Hence, he carefully kept the stone with him. He thought that he should no longer linger there. So, he quickened his steps, and advanced on the way that he had come from.
Meanwhile, a group of five barbarians showed up at the entrance to the valley. It was the same valley that Shi Mu had chosen to enter. These people were the totem warriors of the Fierce Snake Tribe and Wild Bull Tribe.
The bald barbarian of the Fierce Snake Tribe held the bone disk in his hand, and looked at it. The snake-shaped pointer on its surface was pointing towards the depth of the valley.
"It looks like he's inside there." The bald man closed his eyes and considered for a moment. Then, he opened his eyes and spoke.
"Look at this terrain. This place isn't even marked on the map. It ought to be a dead end. Hehe... it'll be much easier to grab him now. This will also save us a lot of time. There's no way that we can let him slip out of this valley." A thin man of the Fierce Snake Tribe took out an animal hide map, and issued some hollow giggles as he looked at it.
"So what are we waiting for? Let's forge ahead!" Mang Kun snorted coldly as he said. His face revealed a discontented expression.
"Wait a moment!" the dark-skinned man of the Wild Bull Tribe called out. He scuttled a few steps, and arrived at the side of a nearby pond.
The corpse of a huge red wild boar lay on the ground. There was a deep scar on its head as if it had been smashed by a blade-like weapon. The boar's head seemed to be almost cleaved into two pieces.
"The Red-Flame Warrior Boar!" the man blurted out the boar's name. He seemed to be profoundly startled.
The others barbarians strode over, and saw the corpse of the boar. Their complexion also changed.
"Just look at the size of this warrior boar. This boar seems to be at the advanced-stage of the Hou Tian realm. It seems that it must've been killed in one fell swoop." The bald man's complexion became dignified.
"That guy Shi Mu is indeed strong! We can't be careless while dealing with him."
"Humph! He has merely killed a Red-Flame Warrior Boar. There's no need to make so much out of nothing. Let's hurry up and kill him quickly. I've already wasted a lot of time," Mang Kun snorted. Then, he turned around, and walked in the direction of the canyon.
The dark-skinned barbarian hesitated. But, he followed after him.
A trace of suspicion streaked across the bald man's eyes as he looked at the corpse of the boar once again. He felt that something wasn't right. But, he couldn't figure it out.
Therefore, he shook his head, and tried to kick this matter out of his mind for the time being. Then, he proceeded towards the canyon along with his fellow tribesmen.
In the depths of the canyon...
Shi Mu scuttled towards the exit of the valley with light footsteps.
Suddenly, his body froze on the spot as he passed through a clump of dense bushes. He looked ahead with a dignified look on his face. A pale-golden gleam lit-up in his eyes.
His complexion profoundly changed the next moment. His body flashed, and he quickly hid behind a huge old tree. Then, he started to climb-up the tree - like an agile ape.
He stopped after he had crawled halfway up the tree. He then looked ahead into the distance.
There were numerous shadows of huge and dense trees in the canyon. But, they couldn't block Shi Mu's line of sight. He could clearly see five barbarians at a distance of several hundred feet from the place where he stood. They were rapidly approaching towards the valley from the entrance.
These barbarians wore a desolate and menacing look on their faces. They were looking around vigilantly - as if they were searching for something.
"The Fierce Snake Tribe..." Shi Mu muttered as his eyes fell on the snake totem that was carved on the right arms of the three men.
Shi Mu closed his eyes, and recalled the cold and vicious eyes of the Fierce Snake Tribe's Chief. Shi Mu had seen those malicious eyes before he had set foot in this Forbidden land. He opened his eyes. His eyebrows creased, and a cold gleam crawled across his eyes.
Shi Mu jumped down the tree after a moment of consideration. He then took out the Sky Splitting Bow, and hid behind the dense bushes.
The three barbarians of the Fierce Snake Tribe were taking the lead. Suddenly, the bald man stopped. He raised his hand, and signaled the others to stop. He then tilted his head, and tried to hear any sound.
"What's the matter?" Mang Kun frowned and asked.
The bald man didn't reply, and continued to listen for a moment. A hint of doubt appeared on his face.
He had faintly heard a strange sound a moment ago, but it had been fleeting. So, he couldn't catch it. He began to suspect whether he had misheard it.
What a pity! The round disk that he held in held hand could only detect a rough direction; it couldn't be used for short distances. This disk had been given to them by the Priest of their tribe.
"Everyone must be on their guards. I'm afraid that the opposite party has sensed us..." the bald man sighed secretly. He then said.
'Whiz!' Suddenly, a faint rustling sound was heard from the woods. And, a black shadow flashed past their eyes.
"Over there! Pursue him!"
The bald man's eyes congealed. His heart brimmed with overwhelming happiness. His body flashed, and he pounced forward. He then rushed in the direction where the shadow had disappeared.
The other barbarians had also noticed a person's shadow that had flashed amid the woods. Therefore, they also sprang in the same direction.
The five men were extremely quick. Their figures flashed a few times before they arrived at the place where the shadow had vanished.
But, the place was completely empty. There was no trace of any person.
"Up there!" The bald man glanced all around. Suddenly, his eyes caught a glimpse of a shadow that was hidden on top of the tree. He then shouted out loud.
He wielded his arm, and the green whip in his hand sprang-up like a poisonous snake. The whip then transformed into several whip-shadows, and these shadows bombarded towards the top of the tree.
The other four men also launched their attacks as soon as they heard the bald man's words.
The branches and leaves of the tree shook because of the sudden bombardment of various attacks. This revealed the hidden black shadow. However, that thing wasn't the person's shadow. Instead, it was a cloak that was made-up of a grey-wolf hide.
The bald man and others were startled. Mang Kun snorted coldly. His gigantic axe darted high up in the sky the next moment - like lightning. It shredded the hide cloak into several pieces. The fragments of cloth filled the sky for a moment.
Suddenly, a dull thumping sound rang out from the whirling shreds. Then, a kind of an unknown white powder sprinkled from the sky, and enveloped the five barbarians.
The five barbarians had been gazing at the shreds that were whirling in the air. So, their eyes were invaded by the white powder before they could understand anything. They felt a fit of acute pain in their eyes. And, they eventually started to issue pitiful yells.
'Whiz!' A shrill whistling sound was heard.
"Watch out for the arrows!"
The bald man's eyes were still closed due to the severe pain. But, he still caught the shrill sound with his keen ears. His body moved aside, and evaded the attack. He shouted loudly at the same time in order to alert the other men.
Another couple of shrill whizzing sounds were heard before he could even finish his sentence.
"Ah!" a couple of miserable shrieks were heard.
The bald man felt a chill in his heart. He couldn't figure out who had been struck by the arrows. He tumbled to the ground and rolled to one side.
It seemed that the wolf-hide cloak that was hung on the tree was a trick.
The bald man rolled on the ground, and moved several feet away from the danger zone. He still felt a gnawing pain in his eyes, but it had relatively reduced. So, he managed to open his eyes.
Suddenly, a red blade-light flashed, and chopped something down in the nearby bushes.
Another blood-curdling screech was heard. It was followed by a dull thumping sound - as if a body had fallen to the ground.