Chapter 15: Metamorphosis
Translator: Mogumoguchan/Zenobys Editor: - -
There was a saying that went like this, "If you only have fighting spirit but no physical abilities to support it, in the end, you will still lose." Su Ming had been learning under the elder since he was young. The elder had a lot of scrolls in his house and Su Ming had read almost all of them. There was a lot of knowledge there and he always wanted more.
The wisdom left behind by his ancestors had made their way into Su Ming's head gradually as time passed by. However, they never had a chance to shine. As Su Ming was in pursuit of someone's life, the little bits of wisdom that had been residing in his head began to surface.
Yu Chi was feeling extremely anxious. He originally thought that he could not escape and had made up his mind to give it his all in an attack of desperation. Yet right before his eyes, he saw the distance between them increasing. Then just as he thought he could escape, the distance between them closed once more and this process kept repeating itself.
After this happened a few times, he no longer had any desire to give it his all for a fight to the death. It was hard for him to get into that state of mind anymore.
However in Su Ming's eyes, the Berserker from the Black Mountain Tribe was just a prey, and a terrified prey at that. As soon as he started feeling the slightest bit of hope, he could slowly tear him apart.
Su Ming used this method to wear down Yu Chi's confidence and courage. As the pursuit continued, he would widen the gap and let the other man have the illusion of safety.
Su Ming vaguely remembered one of the scrolls saying that once the prey went through a long period of time switching between the state of anxiety and relaxation, its fatigue and suffering would increase exponentially. That sort of torture was enough to destroy one's soul.
Su Ming only understood the logic behind it the last time but when he was giving chase, he slowly began to fully comprehend. The knowledge he had obtained slowly became instincts. He did not even need to do it on purpose, his body moved on its own and brought him the results that he wanted.
That day marked the first time Su Ming killed someone and the first time he hunted a human for the purpose of killing him. It was the first time in his life that he was experiencing a change in his personality. Yu Chi on the other hand was the only person who would experience the process of Su Ming change.
Yu Chi could feel it clearly but he did not know what caused the change. He only felt his confidence and courage diminishing after the strange scene of his companion's death, They were gradually worn down bit by bit during the chase.
In fact, at one point, he no longer had the urge to turn his head back anymore. Although Su Ming was a second level Berserker in the Blood Solidification Realm just like him, he had the feeling that once he turned back he would surely die. If he continued fleeing, he felt that he would have a chance of surviving.
He was so afraid that he did not feel his exhaustion building up. This was especially so when he discovered that the young man had disappeared at some point when the distance between them kept increasing. The exhaustion almost made him sink into his knees when he finally realized but he could not rest. He chose instead to grit his teeth and persevere.
Unfortunately, this did not last long. When he saw Su Ming's silhouette appear at the corner of his eye again, the exhaustion he felt immediately increased by tenfold. It almost drove Yu Chi mad.
"He's a Fallen Berserker! He's definitely a Fallen Berserker!" Yu Chi felt himself trembling in fear. As he was escaping, he came to a junction. If he turned left, he would have gone into the deeper parts of the forest and left Black Flame Mountain. If he turned right, he would have gone around Black Flame Mountain and gone back to the Black Mountain Tribe.
Su Ming had known about that junction for a long time. He narrowed his eyes and ignored his own fatigue. He focused all of his energy to his feet, increasing his speed by one explosive burst. He did not give chase, choosing instead to cut through the forest and approach the right turning at the junction.
It was clear that he had predicted Yu Chi's choice to travel right. That was why he chose to turn right and close the distance between them. As he rushed forward, Su Ming brought out his bow and shot a few arrows at the direction of the right turning. As the arrows whistled through the air, all of them hit the trees on the right path. The arrowheads buried their way into the stumps and their fletchings even hummed as they vibrated in the air.
The humming sound seemed to possess some sort of strange force. As the sound traveled into Yu Chi's ears, he hesitated.
Su Ming pursued Yu Chi at full speed once more and attacked with his bow again. Yu Chi let out a hysterical cry and was about to turn right when Su Ming suddenly increased his speed, giving Yu Chi a false impression.
He had a feeling that if he ran to the right, Su Ming would most definitely catch up to him. If he escaped to the left, he would then be able to widen the distance between them because Su Ming made the wrong decision.
He could still hear the humming sound from the arrows. Yu Chi gritted his teeth and changed his direction, turning left instead. Very soon, he disappeared into the forest.
A frightening look crossed Su Ming's eyes amid the fatigue and his lips curled up in a cold smile.
Quickly, he pulled out the arrows from the trees and continued pursuing the man from the Black Mountain Tribe.
"If you can control the direction of your enemy's escape, then you can control his body," Su Ming murmured. He remembered reading these words somewhere in one of the beast skin scrolls. He was not able to understand them before but now he understood what they meant.
As he gave chase, time passed by slowly. Very soon, night came and the moon rose up high in the sky. As the moonlight touched the snow on the ground, it reflected a white light which illuminated the forest in a silvery gleam even though it was night time.
During the chase, Su Ming had already changed Yu Chi's course of escape three times, gradually controlling the other man's body to run in the direction he wanted.
He touched the unconscious little monkey lying against his bosom, a gentle expression appearing in his tired and bloodshot eyes. Yu Chi had thrown the little monkey away in the opposite direction during the first time Su Ming forced him to change his course. However because of that, the distance between them increased.
Throwing away the little monkey had worked out for Yu Chi. Su Ming immediately ran towards the little monkey, causing Yu Chi to let out a sigh of relief and his speed increased.
In spite of that, it did not last long. Soon after, Yu Chi noticed arrows upon arrows whistling by his side, all coming from behind. This again almost drove Yu Chi mad.
The stars in the sky shone brightly like eyes that were looking at the chase in the forest.
Yu Chi was already exhausted. His footsteps faltered but what he felt physically was inconsequential. What mattered most was his mental state. It was already broken. He regretted it. He regretted discovering the little hole. He regretted chasing after the Fire Ape. All of this would not have happened if he had not done any of it.
Before him, there was a forest filled with a variety of plants. Even though it was winter, he still could not see into the deeper parts of the forest. When Yu Chi was still hesitating and contemplating on going into the forest, Su Ming's silhouette appeared at the edge of the forest.
He stood there, breathing heavily. Huge amounts of white mist flowed out from his mouth and his eyes were laden with steely coldness. He did not immediately give chase but chose to wait.
"This place will be the burial ground I give you! If you can step out of here alive even with such exhaustion, you can count yourself extremely lucky!" Su Ming's muttered once his breathing began to even out.
Just as he finished speaking, a terrifying cry traveled across the forest in the quiet of the night. The cry echoed in the forest, causing a shiver to travel down the spines of all who heard it.
After a while, the cry gradually grew weaker before finally turning into a faint moan.
Su Ming walked towards the direction of the voice in solemn silence. He walked into the forest slowly with each step carefully calculated. Every time he took a few steps forward, he would look around before choosing to either retreat, go around a certain place or leap forward.
It was the hunting spot for the Dark Mountain Tribe. That area of the forest was filled with traps and the locations of the traps were unknown to all except the members of the Dark Mountain Tribe.
Even Su Ming only knew the locations of most of the traps, not all of them.
If Yu Chi had been in perfect condition when he went in, he might have been able to get out alive. However due to the condition he was in, he sealed his fate once he stepped into the place. It was the same as stepping into his own death trap.
Su Ming walked forward carefully. The moans gradually became weaker as they traveled to his ears. As Su Ming walked forward slowly, he saw that Yu Chi was impaled to a tree by a line of sharpened, and thick wooden spikes, the size of adult men.
His entire body was drenched in his own blood but he was not dead yet. He was still shivering and moaning weakly..
Su Ming stepped forward quietly and once he was by Yu Chi's side, he looked at him. After a long while, he took out his horn and sliced Yu Chi's throat.
Yu Chi struggled furiously for a few moments before breathing his last. Before his eyes lost their life, they were focused on Su Ming and filled with hatred.
Su Ming was silent. He cut through the trap's ropes and took away whatever remained on Yu Chi's corpse. He brought out the small amount of Scattering Blood powder he had left and turned the corpse into a pile of bones. He then turned it into dust by touching it.
He turned around silently and walked out of the forest. Once he was out, he looked at the moon in the sky with uncertainty in his gaze. It was the second time he killed someone. He could not describe how he felt. There was nervousness, fear, uncertainty...
After a long while, he let out a sigh. The Black Mountain Tribe was from the same denomination as the Dark Mountain Tribe but after so many years, they had turned into mortal enemies. If one of the tribes became stronger, the other would have been faced with the threat of being massacred. All of the men would have been killed and the women would have been taken away to help with the reproduction of the tribe.
It was good thing that this had not happened. For many years, the elders of both tribes had been on the same level. They would not easily incite war.
He took a deep breath. Fatigue took over Su Ming's entire body. He gritted his teeth and dragged his exhausted body far, far away...
When dawn arrived and the sun rose, Su Ming returned to the place he used for the quenching of herbs in Black Flame Mountain. His face was a sickly yellow. He crawled into the cave, and once he was inside, he fell to the side and fainted.