Chapter 4: The Piercing Light
Translator: Mogumoguchan/Zenobys Editor: - -
It was late at night. Su Ming laid on his bed and looked at the darkness around him, unable to sleep. His elder's words kept repeating themselves in his head and he kept remembering the scene from eight years ago.
With a long sigh, Su Ming sat up and quietly pushed open his wooden door. A light breeze blew through his messy hair. The breeze felt cooling, as if it had arrived with the night to cool down the earth.
It was quiet. There were only a few soft cries from birds and other animals from Dark Mountain, which was located in the distance. The settlement was mostly dark. The only sources of light were from the bonfire in the center of the tribe. Some of its embers scattered into the air. There were also torches placed on the giant wooden wall around the tribe, which seem to crackle as they burned in the night.
Su Ming lifted his head and looked at the sky. The moon and stars shone brightly in the sky, and it was a sight to behold. The river of stars seemed to never end, and it gradually clouded Su Ming's eyes with uncertainty.
'The tribesmen are kind to me...but it's obvious that I look different from them... Perhaps this is the reason why I failed when I worshiped the statue of the God of Berserkers...
'Without a Berserker Body, it will be impossible for me to train in Berserker Arts, then I will be trapped here forever, unable to leave, unable to see the world as depicted in the beast skin scroll...'
Su Ming sat down quietly outside and leaned against his house. As he looked at the sky, his uncertainty grew stronger.
"Since the creation of the world and of man, the Berserker Tribe has existed and it still exists to this date... The people who hold the Berserker's Power are known as Berserkers. They can fly in the skies, move mountains and turn the tides in the sea...Those who have the Berserker Mark can read the future and obtain the power of the sun, moon, and stars..." The young man looked at the sky and murmured softly as he sat in a corner in Dark Mountain Tribe that night.
At that time, he did not realize that the black stone hanging from his neck was emitting a dim glow once again...
Time passed by quickly and the third day arrived.
As it was the day of the Awakening for the La Sus in Dark Mountain Tribe, the entire tribe bustled with activity that morning. Almost all the tribesmen came out with their La Sus and gathered at the square.
An entire day was required for the Berserker's Awakening ritual, especially for the La Sus who were 16 years old. It was like a coming of age ceremony. The La Sus who had completed the Berserker's Awakening could even choose their own partners on this day.
Drum rolls with a strange rhythmic pattern resounded in the tribe. Backed by the drum roll, the La Sus stepped forward from the crowd and stood in the center.
There were approximately 30 people participating in the Berserker's Awakening this time. Most of them were teenagers. Although they were still young, their bodies were strong and muscular, and they exuded an air of toughness.
Even the girls had a similar build to the men. Hence, Su Ming was especially eye-catching among the crowd. He looked clean and handsome, an odd addition to his surroundings.
Even so, the people there already accepted Su Ming a long time ago. Even though he looked different from the rest of them, they did not ostracize him but accepted him as part of the tribe.
Once they surrounded the La Sus who were ready to partake in the Awakening, Dark Mountain Tribe performed a traditional dance as a sign of worship to heaven. By doing so, they used their bodies to convey their respect and sacrifice to heaven and earth.
"Su Ming, I heard from the others that you also went to Dark Dragon Mountain and even got some Dark Dragon's Saliva?" A good-natured voice sounded from Su Ming's side amidst the cheers from their dancing tribe members.
It was a young man of the same age as Su Ming. His skin was rough and he had a large build, almost twice Su Ming's size. His eyes were bright and he smiled boyishly as he looked at Su Ming.
Su Ming smiled weakly as he looked at the young man speaking to him. The young man's name was Lei Chen. He was one of his few close friends within the tribe.
"I brought some back. I went to look for you yesterday but your father said you went with the hunting team to the mountains. Once the Awakening ceremony ends, come to my place and get some."
The young man called Lei Chen lit up brightly and moved towards him, the boyish smile still on his face.
"I could have returned earlier, but we ran into a mink deer on our way back. I remember you said that you needed mink deer blood for your medicine so I followed it. That's why I came back late."
Su Ming knew that while his friend spoke of the encounter like it was no big deal, mink deer were exceptionally hard to kill and were very dangerous. Hence, he felt touched when he heard his friend's words.
As the two of them spoke, the cheers around them gradually grew silent and the crowd made way for the elder. The elder wore a sack cloth and held a black cane made of bone in his hand. He walked towards the teenagers as he was escorted by a few tribe members.
His appearance brought about silence. The teenagers looked at him respectfully, obviously afraid of the man.
"Offer the sacrifice to our Berserker Ancestors!" His grandfather's eyes were bright as he looked at the people gathered around him, his gaze pausing momentarily on Su Ming. As he spoke, he waved the black cane in his right hand. Immediately, several well built men stepped forward from within the crowd. Each of them carried with them a tied up wild beast on their shoulders.
The wild beasts were still alive and crying out in rage. They struggled fiercely but to no avail.
There were 49 different types of beasts and they were all lifted up moments later to be placed around the teenagers. Their cries resounded throughout the settlement, and their cries sounded like they had the power to pierce through souls. Yet, they were surrounded by the tribesmen of Dark Mountain Tribe. They were pressed down, making it impossible for them to break free.
The men standing by the beasts did not hesitate. All of them lowered their heads at the same time and took out sharp stone knives in their left hands. They then stabbed the beasts' throats, cutting off their heads in the process.
Their cries were cut off abruptly as they were beheaded. It was a shocking sight and it made some of the La Sus partaking in the ritual turn pale in fear.
Su Ming also looked pale but he bit his lip and bore through it. He cast a glance at Lei Chen and saw that his friend's eyes were filled with a scary glint. His eyes were filled a thirst for blood as if he was used to it or even enjoyed it. He looked completely different from the good-natured person Su Ming spoke to earlier.
More fresh blood spilled forth like a fountain and filled the air with a foul stench. The blood splattered onto the La Sus, on their hair, their bodies and the ground under their feet.
"You are fortunate because there are no longer any wars between tribes. But at the same time, you are unfortunate..." The elder looked at the teenagers standing before him and spoke softly.
"When I was young and went through my Awakening, I had to behead one of our enemies and drink their blood to complete my Berserker's Awakening."
"Compared to the present, you are fortunate... but you are also unfortunate because you only saw the blood of beasts and have never touched the heads of your enemies..." The elder mumbled and looked at the La Sus before raising the bone cane in his right hand and pointing forward.
He raised his left hand, which was clenched in a fist and opened it. Immediately, a powerful gust of aura blasted forth from his body. The aura surrounded them and formed a powerful blast of wind that surrounded the entire Dark Mountain Tribe.
Marks manifested on the elder's face, which then intertwined with each other and formed a picture that looked like a python.
The python looked as if it was alive and real. It appeared on the elder's face in the form of an illusion, raising its head and roaring into the sky. Even if they could not hear it, all the members of Dark Mountain Tribe, including the stronger leaders shivered and took a step back.
'The Mark of the Dark Python...This is the elder's Berserker Mark...'
Su Ming stared at the elder with a dumbfounded expression. As he looked at the Marks on his face, he was filled with awe. The last time he saw this was nine years ago. When he saw it again this time, the shock was even stronger than before.
'The elder could destroy the entire tribe alone if he wanted to. He has such power and yet, he is only at the ninth level of the Blood Solidification Realm... Just how powerful are those who have Transcended then...?
'Then there are those who have reached the Bone Sacrifice Realm, which is after Transcendence... It was written in the beast skin scroll that the powerful ones in the Bone Sacrifice Realm are extremely rare even within medium-sized tribes. Only the truly big tribes would have a few Berserkers who have reached the Bone Sacrifice Realm.'
Su Ming felt his heart tremble. His desire to become a Berserker was growing stronger.
"We offer the blood on the ground and the bodies of the beasts to summon Dark Mountain's statue of the God of Berserkers!" The elder's voice rang through like thunder and broke Su Ming's train of thought. As the elder spoke, the carcasses of the beasts exploded. Their flesh, blood, and even the matter spilled on the ground and on the teenagers were absorbed by an unknown force. They gathered midair into a giant blob of blood and flesh.
"Berserker's Awakening!" The big man standing by the elder's side, the tribe leader of the Dark Mountain Tribe shouted.
All of the La Sus, including Su Ming, bit down their tongues with no hesitation and coughed out a mouthful of fresh blood. Their blood flew into the air and was absorbed by the blob. A thunderous roar sounded, after which the blob of blood and flesh transformed into a black statue.
It was a terrifying statue that was half man, half beast, and it had an air of ancient savagery. In one of its hands, it held a long dragon and in the other it held a giant spear. Its gaze was filled with madness and blood thirst.
Its appearance brought forth darkness in the sky, as if the sky was subjugated by its power.
"Dark Mountain's statue of the God of Berserkers..." Su Ming's heart beat thunderously against his chest, it felt like it was about to burst. However, at that moment, the stone on his neck emitted warmth into his body, making the uncomfortable feeling disappear.
It stunned Su Ming momentarily. He was about to instinctively look down when the elder spoke.
"Come forth in order and enter the statue of the God of Berserkers to worship him!"
The moment he finished speaking, a young man walked forward briskly and stood underneath the statue. Then he just disappeared. After a while, at the very place he disappeared, the young man was teleported back looking disappointed. He stepped aside without a word.
"Next!" The one who spoke was the tribe leader of Dark Mountain Tribe. His gaze was serious. He looked at each and every one of the La Sus.
One by one, the La Sus who were at the age of Awakening stepped forth. They disappeared and reappeared again after a while. This continued until a girl stepped into the statue and it glowed a brilliant shade of red.
The entire tribe looked forth in excitement, even the elder focused his gaze on the statue. They saw that the statue glowed red nine times consecutively before the girl was transferred back.
"She possesses a Berserker Body!"
"The statue has shined nine times. This is proof that she has a Berserker Body!"
When the girl appeared, her face was bright with happiness.
"Your name is Wu La, no? Very good, come stand by my side." The elder smiled faintly and nodded at the girl as he looked at her.
As he watched the girl move towards the elder, Su Ming fell silent. Then he gritted his teeth and walked towards the statue. His actions immediately caught the attention of the other members of the tribe.
The members of Dark Mountain Tribe were mostly kind towards the young man who was obviously different from them. They kept their gazes on Su Ming until he stood underneath the statue.
Su Ming took a deep breath and cast a glance at his elder, who was looking back at him not far away. He closed his eyes. The moment he did so, he felt an indescribable force enveloping his entire body like he was being sucked into mud. When he opened his eyes, everything around him had changed.
This was not Dark Mountain Tribe, but a small space which was completely dark save for the black statue emitting a red glow floating before him.
This statue was the same as the statue he saw outside and it emitted the same aura of ancient savagery.
As he watched the statue of the God of Berserkers, Su Ming fell silent and bowed deeply towards it.
Once he was done, Su Ming's face was filled with bitterness. He knew it. If he had the Body of Berserkers, he only needed to bow once for the statue to emit a red glow. This was just like nine years ago. There was absolutely no change within the statue.
"There is no way I can become a Berserker..." Su Ming bit his lip and sighed. Then, he turned to leave.
However, at the very moment he turned around, he froze and turned back to look at the statue. He was shocked!
At the same time, he saw the stone he had been ignoring all this while emitting a piercing light...