A shudder ran through Su Ming's body and a boom immediately echoed in his head. That voice was aged with the endless vicissitudes of life, as if it contained eternity, as if it had been floating in the rivers of time for many years, as if it reverberated in the soul itself.
It made Su Ming's soul tremble. In an instant, his eyes became clouded with perplexity.
The hoa.r.s.e and aged voice lingered in his mind and spread throughout his entire body like a layer of ripples, causing his body to freeze momentarily.
"You… are… finally… here…"
'Han Mountain's ancestor!'
Su Ming's expression immediately changed. It was fortunate that he was currently wearing a mask and had his head lowered, so no one noticed his strange behavior. That voice continued reverberating in his head until it eventually sounded like thunder rumbling, causing Su Ming's face to pale as if he was experiencing nightmares.
"Sir Mo Su?"
Dong Fang Hua's anxious voice traveled into Su Ming's ears from his side. Dong Fang Hua was the first who noticed Su Ming's peculiar behavior. He saw him becoming still the moment he stepped onto the red ground as if he had frozen up.
"It's nothing… The ground in the tunnel is just a little strange."
Su Ming took a deep breath and moved forward on the red ground. Before him, Nan Tian and the others were looking at him with a questioning look.
Nan Tian narrowed his eyes and took a close look at Su Ming. He did not believe in his words completely, but could not find any clues about anything wrong either.
"This is your first time here, so it's natural that you're baffled. The ground becomes even redder the further we go into the tunnel. It'll be as if we're looking at blood.
"It's highly likely that it'll be the same when we arrive in the tomb of Han Mountain's ancestor."
As Nan Tian spoke, he turned around and continued onward.
Dong Fang Hua followed beside Su Ming with his heart racing against his chest. He was standing closest to Su Ming just now, that was why he could feel something that Nan Tian and the others did not sense. During that instant, he seemed to have seen Su Ming's hair floating without wind. There were also some strange changes on the mask over his face. He could not explain that feeling, but it was as if the mask had suddenly come to life.
He did not dare say more. Instead, he followed behind Su Ming, moving forward cautiously.
Su Ming did not say a word during the entire journey. He did not even need to ask. Dong Fang Hua, Nan Tian, and Xuan Lun's expressions alone were enough to tell him that they did not hear the aged voice just now. He was the only one who had heard it.
It was faint, but Su Ming could feel a weak sensation as if he was being summoned. That sensation traveled slowly towards him from the end of the tunnel. As he got nearer, that sensation as if he was being summoned became stronger.
'I knew it. Han Mountain's ancestor is not dead. That voice definitely belonges to him, but why did he say… finally…?'
Su Ming clenched his right hand. His fingernails dug into flesh, and it hurt.
Yet compared to the confusion that was brought by the huge mystery that existed in his heart, that pain made him feel that he was real, that he existed.
He needed pain so that he did not feel empty.
He did not want to think about Han Cang Zi's pitying and her complicated gaze. He did not want to explore why Nan Tian did not mention the G.o.d of Berserkers who sealed away the Fire Berserker Tribe with the Eternal Creation Art.
He especially did not want to ponder why that aged voice said 'finally'…
'Just what happened to me? What have I forgotten? I didn't forget anything, but..!'
Su Ming tightened his fist even further.
It was just as Nan Tian had said. As they moved forward, the red ground became more vivid until it eventually reached a startling shade. It was as if they were walking on a dried up sea of blood.
Nan Tian might have come to this place many times before, but every single time he walked on the red ground, a feeling that was akin to terror would arise uncontrollably in his heart. Even if he knew that there was no danger within the tunnel, he could not help but stay on full alert and be incredibly vigilant.
Behind him, Chou Nu's face was pale, his heart thumping against his chest. The red ground gave him a vague sense of agitation, but he could still resist it.
Xuan Lun was the same as Su Ming. This was also the first time he came to this place. He tried not looking at it, but when he walked further into the tunnel, he found that he could not ignore the red ground. A vicious look appeared on his face as he continued looking at it. It was faint, but he seemed to see an innumerable amount of murdered souls emerging from the surface of the ground screaming at him in hatred.
Xuan Lun let out a cold harrumph, clearly unbothered. He was cruel by nature and had killed far too many people in his life. He made his decision. He wanted to see just how many illusions would appear on this path.
"You must focus when you travel on this path… It won't cause any real harm to us. This place is strange in the sense that it'll create different illusions in everyone's eyes, though they aren't powerful illusions. I've experienced this many times before, just bear with it, and it'll soon be over."
Nan Tian's voice traveled into their ears as if it came from a far distance, through thousands of mountains and rivers.
A smile appeared on Dong Fang Hua's face. It was an incredibly complacent smile showing a hint of obsession. He walked past Su Ming with huge steps, and as he looked at the red ground, the smile on his face grew wider.
On the red ground, he saw himself successfully reaching Transcendence. He saw himself successfully sacrificing the 13th piece of his spine, reverting it into a real Berserker Bone, then continuously reaching breakthroughs until he reached the Berserker Soul Realm.
He saw himself standing between the heavens and earth laughing with his head thrown back at the sky once he became a Berserker Soul. He saw countless people from all sorts of Berserker Tribes kneeling and worshipping on the ground. These people looked at him respectfully. They were watching him, Dong Fang Hua, creating his own statue of the G.o.d of Berserkers the moment he reached the Berserker Soul Realm!
Su Ming walked silently onward. There was a dazed look in his eyes. As he continued forward, the red ground allowed him to see his tribe and the familiar Dark Mountain.
He saw Lei Chen laughing boyishly. He saw Liu Di leaning against a house with his eyes closed as he played a song with his xun.
He saw Chen Xin holding Bei Ling's hand with a beautiful smile on her face. Bei Ling's back was positioned towards him with the wind blowing against his hair…
He saw Wu La. The girl who was not considered very beautiful had her face covered in blood as she laid in his arms mumbling Mo Su's name.
He saw a little girl holding onto Pipi. She was blinking, and with the naïve voice of a child, she whispered into his ears, "Big brother Su Ming, I have a secret. Once you're back, I'll tell you."
He saw the elder…
He saw Bai Ling standing alone in the snow and wind… He saw her hair gradually turn white. She was looking at a fang in her hands. The snowstorm was too great and it blocked his vision, but it did not manage to cover his eyes from seeing the tears on Bai Ling's face.
Su Ming bit his lips as he took in those sights. All these wonderful and sad moments were shown to him one by one on the red ground. At that moment, he suddenly shuddered. He saw a giant black hand descending from the sky on the sights on the ground. With one mighty swing, all those familiar people and familiar sights turned into smithereens.
Behind the broken shards was a dark void, and within that void was a pair of eyes.
Those eyes were looking at him coldly. They were heartless, as if all the emotions that existed in the world did not exist within them. There was also an aloofness that seemed to belong to a ruler.
"You truly… disappoint me…"
Su Ming's mind trembled. A wave of anxiety that he had never felt before surged forward, causing him to instantly wake up from his stupor. He was still on that path, and the ground was still red underneath his feet.
Nan Tian had his eyes closed as he stood unmoving. His expression was incredibly strange. Sometimes, he would smile, at other times, a twisted look would appear, and occasionally, he would look incredibly smug, as if he was enjoying the fruition of his schemes.
Xuan Lun leaned against the wall with a vicious look on his face. There was a hint of cruelty within that look, but also a hint of powerlessness.
Chou Nu knelt on the ground and could not stop panting harshly. The murderous gleam in his eyes seemed to say that he was burning with anger, but there was also a hint of weakness within that rage.
Dong Fang Hua seemed to have gone mad. He was walking back and forth repeatedly with his arms outspread as he laughed loudly with a satisfied and boastful look on his face. He was immersed in his own world and did not want to wake up.
As he looked at these people, an urge rose in Su Ming. If he attacked them now, he could kill all these people without a hitch, including Xuan Lun and Nan Tian.
'Nan Tian would not allow himself to sink into a hopeless situation, but right now, he lost his awareness and sank into the illusion… He came to this place many times before. He wouldn't make such a mistake…
'If that's the case, he's either doing this on purpose, or… a change that he doesn't know about has come to this place.'
Su Ming closed his eyes. He remembered the aged voice that had appeared in his mind when he first stepped on the red ground.
He also remembered the things he saw when he was trapped within the illusion, all of which eventually came to a stop when that pair of aloof eyes appeared within the darkness along with the words that seemed to have come from a distance.
'Did the change in this place happen because of me..? Han Mountain's ancestor, for what reason did you do this..?'
Su Ming opened his eyes and looked before him. They were already at the end of the tunnel. Right in front of him was a smooth stone wall. A complex picture carved out by numerous ravines covered the wall.
Waves of dark light shone out of the stone wall. When Su Ming looked at it, he felt a strong repelling force coming from it.
"This should be the place where the seal is," Su Ming muttered.
He swept his gaze over Chou Nu, Dong Fang Hua, Nan Tian, and Xuan Lun. Somehow, he kept having the feeling that there was something within the four people's expressions and att.i.tudes.
'They're the same as me. They saw something unique to their sights from this red ground…'
Su Ming fell silent. That pair of eyes and the words left behind a deep impression in his mind.
"You truly… disappoint me…"
There was no hint of emotion in that voice. It was cold, like ice that would never melt.
'Those words, and that gaze… why did they appear in my illusion… Why did I become nervous after I heard those words..? I was really nervous… and very afraid…'
Su Ming did not choose to kill. He stood there instead and looked first at Dong Fang Hua. He watched him walking back and forth with a distinctly complacent look on his face.
'What we see is different, but what we experience is the same. Perhaps I can find an answer from them…'