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Three days had pa.s.sed.
Ghost Li who have been keeping vigil in Ghost King’s stone residence, his countenance had changed from the initial calm and indifference to uneasiness and then anxiousness, and now he was already full of frustration and impatience. To him, even though he was prepared that a long period of time would be needed to study this exceptional astrolabe but he never expected that it would take three days and the crucial point was, although three days had pa.s.sed but Mr Ghost seemed not to have made any progress.
According to his initial thought, when Mr Ghost first encountered this astrolabe, he triggered the change in it, by right he should be more knowledgeable about this treasure and it would not be that difficult to comprehend its ingenuity after a few days of study. But who knows in those three days, as he kept vigil beside Mr Ghost, saw him kept flipping this treasure back and forth, not only constantly looking at it, Ghost Li even felt that Mr Ghost was memorizing every ancient character on the tiny moving cubes.
However, Mr Ghost seemed to be in a dilemma, or maybe it should be said, while studying this treasure, Mr Ghost met with a huge problem, and after a few days, made no progress.
Ghost King residence was much bigger than the other stone rooms in the mountain, divided into two rooms, the outer bigger room was where Mr Ghost and Ghost Li were in, the inner smaller room was naturally Ghost King’s bedroom. Although he was not in but in these three days, both of them did not step into the inner room, with their cultivations, not to say three days and nights, even if it was ten days and nights without sleeping, they could also sustain well.
However, the most agonizing part was, the word ‘waiting’.
For three days, Ghost Li never left this room, Xiao Hui naturally also stayed here too but due to its restless monkey nature, three days in the same place was suffocating for Xiao Hui. But right now Ghost Li and Mr Ghost were still staring at that astrolabe and couldn’t be bothered about Xiao Hui.
Xiao Hui scurried here and there in the room, in those three days it had already checked out every corner, right now it leapt up onto the big study desk often used by Ghost King, no one in the sect dared to do that but right now the owner was far away, n.o.body stopped it.
Xiao Hui being bored, one moment lay down on the big table, the next moment climbed up, the next moment danced, the next moment lay down with its belly exposed, until the last, afterall being too bored alone, it awkwardly sat up, kept scratching its head, its mouth making [zhi zhi] sounds, peering around, looking for things to play.
The room though big but it wasn’t that huge and so naturally, it gaze went to the inner room. Xiao Hui turned its head around and looked at Ghost Li, saw his somber face and rather hostile, clearly not in a good mood and Mr Ghost was focusing on studying the astrolabe in his hands, occasionally looking up, glanced up at Ghost Li and again looked back.
The two of them clearly had all their attention on the astrolabe, even if they had a little more alertness, at most they only looked at the other party, n.o.body had the least concern about the monkey over here. Xiao Hui shrugged its shoulder, pursued its lips, [zhi zhi] twice, swished its tail twice and turned around, glanced at that inner room and then jumped down from the table, slowly walked over.
The furnishings in Ghost King’s residence were not luxurious, instead it was extremely simple, evidently the owner of this place did not care for the secular luxury, the outer room was like this, the inner room too: a wooden bed, a round table, three round stools, four calligraphy paintings on the walls, the first was landscape, faint ink in white, a secular feeling; the second was a painting in spring, birds flying up to the flowers, full of spring: the third was a tiger crouching in the gra.s.ses, a different feeling from the other two, the tiger awe-inspiring, its stance powerful, clearly looking at the world with a dominating glare.
Xiao Hui naturally did not understand the paintings, they looked no different from a white banner but for the last painting, the tiger looked lifelike, Xiao Hui was shocked initially upon looking at it and then quickly got over it, grinning at the tiger and made a funny face, with a [pei] spat some saliva at it.
The three paintings were hung in a row on the inner room wall, complementing each other, although the paintings conveyed different meanings but at a glance they seemed to be in harmony, self-forming a pattern. And contrasting against these three paintings, on the other side of the wall, was a solitary painting.
There was no landscape in the painting nor any flowers or birds, it was a beautiful lady, and this was a meticulous drawing, extremely fine and detailed, down to the last finger, earrings, all extremely realistic, not to mention her dignified beauty, involuntarily evoking a feeling of adoration from the viewers, it could be said to be a rare painting in the world.
But a rare painting to the humans, to the monkey’s three eyes, obviously it would be very much discounted, Xiao Hui without any expression of being moved, glanced at it and then looked back to the tiger painting.
Not knowing to the monkey, what would a good painting looked like, or maybe a few monkeys vividly drawn?
Whether what kind of figure that the monkey preferred, clearly unable to be discerned but right now to Xiao Hui, it was still that tiger painting which mattered to it most, its three eyes blinked, leapt to the floor where the painting was hung on the wall above and looked up, the tiger had a commanding presence, the drawing skill was not amature, the strokes bold and vigorous, the tiger almost breaking out of the painting, roaring at the sky, thousands of animals in awe.
Xiao Hui looked at it for a long time, suddenly glanced outside again, saw that both of them were blocked by the stone walls, couldn’t look directly in, and after such a long time there was no movement outside, clearly both of them did not notice Xiao Hui’s movements.
The monkey turned back, scratched its head, the next moment, it seemed to make up its mind, leapt up into the air. The three drawings were hung up high, there was nothing below that it could use to climb up, for a normal monkey it would not be able to reach it but Xiao Hui was not an ordinary monkey, with such a jump, it could reach the top of the paintings, its monkey paw stretched out, easily took down that drawing.
Just that the drawing was rather long, following its descent, it slipped out and with a [pa] sound, dropped onto the floor.
Though this sound was not loud but the two exceptional figures outside, immediately were alerted, after a moment of silence, Ghost Li’s voice was heard, with a slight puzzlement called out, “Xiao Hui?”
[Suo suo, suo suo…]
Following which a strange series of dragging sounds were heard, under the stares of Ghost Li and Mr Ghost, the monkey ran out of the room, at the same time clutching a painting, a big portion of it was dragged on the ground, from the inner room to where Ghost Li was.
Both of them were stunned.
Xiao Hui held the drawing tightly, ran before Ghost Li and then [zhi zhi zhi zhi] unceasingly.
Ghost Li frowned, took over the paintings, opened it, saw the exceptional workmanship, the crouching tiger among the gra.s.ses, the strokes bold and vigorous, he a.s.sessed it with a few glances, looked at Xiao Hui, said, “Why did you take this painting for?”
Xiao Hui jumped, gesturing, its expression extremely excited, either pointing at the tiger or drawing a strange painting in the air, the next moment pointing to the north, happily being busy, confusing Mr Ghost who was watching from beside, although he was well knowledge and had vast experience but towards the monkey language from this monkey, he knew nothing, full of bewilderment, he could only turn and look at Ghost Li.
Who knew Ghost Li was also looking rather stunned too, watched Xiao Hui’s actions and unceasing [zhi zhi] sounds, Ghost Li glanced at the painting again, hesitated again and said, “You...don’t tell me you find this thing inside the painting looked very much like Big Huang and so wanted to take this with you and gift it to Big Huang later?”
Xiao Hui immediately nodded.
Ghost Li although was not in a good mood now but he was still unable to bear it, the ferocious tiger was lifelike and its demeanour was majestic, even though it was within the gra.s.ses, it was still awe-inspiring, how could it comparable to that big dog at Big Bamboo Valley which although had a fine coat of fur but was extremely lazy and greedy? And furthermore, to Ghost Li, he really couldn’t tell which part of the ferocious tiger exactly was similar to Big Huang.
Seemed like the monkey’s taste was really different from the humans.
But after being taken aback and finding it ridiculous, Ghost Li reminisced the time at the valley and Big Huang which was thousand of miles away, after a moment, with a faint smile at his lips, his expression also softened, quietly said, “This painting belongs to the Ghost King, we can’t take this away now but don’t worry, next time I will ask this from him for you.” after speaking, he gently rolled up the painting and placed it aside.
Mr Ghost couldn’t help but ask, “ Who is Big Huang?”
Ghost Li paused and then indifferently looked at Mr Ghost, said, “A dog.”
Mr Ghost stunned, for a moment was speechless and then with a cough, did not ask anymore and looked back at the astrolabe. Ghost Li patted Xiao Hui, softly gave a few instructions, nothing more than to instruct it not to run around and then turned back to the astrolabe, afterall, studying the astrolabe was then the important thing.
Xiao Hui sat beside them for a while and very quickly, started to be bored again, actually it could not be blamed, whoever it was that had to be with them for three days and night and watched them doing the same thing over and over again, would also be frustrated, what’s more a restless monkey?
By now, Mr Ghost seemed to discover something, suddenly pointed to those moving tiny cubes and said, “I see that the crux of this treasure, is these tiny cubes in orbit.” Ghost Li slowly nodded, evidently also agreeing but he slowly frowned, said, “But we have been looking at it for three days and still can’t tell how these cubes are able to orbit by itself, not sure if mister has any brilliant idea?”
Mr Ghost was silent for a moment, said, “Have you ever thought that, the cubes’ trajectories, are similar to the stars movements.”
Ghost Li’s body shook and then stared intently at the astrolabe, after a long time, clapped said, “It really makes sense.”
Mr Ghost said, “Actually I am not sure too but I feel that it is indeed so, just that though these cubes trajectories are following the stars but it still contain many undiscovered mysteries, I think, to comprehend the crux of this treasure, it will be these ancient characters on the cubes.”
Ghost Li nodded slowly. Both of them continued to converse and soon again their attention devoted to the astrolabe, Xiao Hui sat beside them for a while, again started to leave.
In the stone room, Mr Ghost and Ghost Li were heard discussing softly from time to time, Xiao Hui peered around for a moment, extremely bored again it quietly sneaked into the other room.
On the stone wall where the painting was pulled down by Xiao Hui, a few marks were revealed, it had a slight colour difference from the other walls, seemed like the painting had been there for some time already. Just that in this room, other than the four paintings, there was only the wooden bed and table and chairs, and nothing else interesting. Xiao Hui checked around and soon was bored again.
Just when it was at its extreme point of boredom, its three eyes suddenly blinked, as if discovered something and then jumped successively, its entire body suddenly jumped onto Ghost King’s bed, without any concern if it dirtied the bed or covers, it rolled and jumped. The furnishings were simple but it was also extremely clean, most likely Ghost King was also someone who loved cleanliness, not knowing if he saw this when he come back, would he be infuriated.
But right now Xiao Hui did not care about that, right now n.o.body was bothering it, it happily jumped and rolled on the bed, suddenly touched something at the corner of the bed, the entire bed shook.
Following which, the stone wall beside the bed, silently opened up a big crack and then retreated to both sides, revealing a big hole which one person could enter.
Xiao Hui, who already sensed something when the bed shook, had jumped down, crouched on the ground and suspiciously looked, until the wall silently revealed a secret door, it then slowly stood up, glanced at the door, only saw that it was in darkness, unable to see anything but nothing like ferocious animals ran out too, and the mysterious dark hole, seemed to be tempting the bored monkey, as if beckoning it.
Xiao Hui scratched its head, glanced back, in the outer room, Ghost Li and Mr Ghost again went into silence, seemed like another long day to study the astrolabe, the three-eyed monkey turned back, suddenly grinned, made a funny face and then lightly leapt, tunneled into the dark hole, the next moment disappeared into the darkness.
An indistinct wind, lightly blew from that mysterious hole, carrying a faint smell of blood! Entering into the secret door, an indistinct golden light glimmered in Xiao Hui’s third eye, radiating a strange glow, under this golden light, the darkness in the hole seemed to recede a little.
A tunnel which could only allow one person to traverse, making it difficult for one to pa.s.s but for a monkey, it was more than enough, Xiao Hui who was feeling adventurous, walked for a while in the tunnel and felt the ground depressed, the tunnel was heading downwards.
On both sides of the stone walls, as it gradually descended, the walls started to appear damp, some places even had water droplets dripping down in the darkness. In the silence, Xiao Hui’s figure slowly walked ahead, at times a light breeze with a strange faint smell of blood blew from the darkness ahead.
The tunnel going down was not steep but was quite long, Xiao Hui walked for a long time, it should be going deep down into the mountain. And at this moment, Xiao Hui suddenly stopped, at some place far ahead, a faint red glow was seen.
The monkey stood in the tunnel for a while, seemed hesitant and then glanced back at the path behind it, scratched it head, seemed hesitant whether to turn back and inform its master but that red light ahead, seemed to be luring it, the light flickering.
Finally, after calling out twice, the monkey still continued to move ahead.
Approaching the red light nearer and nearer, the blood stench in the tunnel turned thicker, Xiao Hui’s expression became nervous, stuck its nose out and sniffed, hesitation in its eyes. But looking at the red light which was just ahead, it still move ahead.
Finally the red light was before it, this was another entrance in this tunnel, Xiao Hui peered around it, with a leapt jumped out, the next moment it was already in another tunnel much wider than the tunnel before it.
Other than the tunnel that Xiao Hui came from, there was another tunnel connecting to it, just beside Xiao Hui, but it was also dark, not knowing where it led to.
And on the other side of the tunnel, was rather bright, especially the red light at the end of the tunnel constantly flickering, seemed like this was what Xiao Hui had saw from afar.
The tunnel was still empty, even at the end where the red light was, only the light flickered, there was no other sound.
Xiao Hui sniffed the air, the smell of blood seemed much thicker here, and the next moment, Xiao Hui’s gaze froze, on the tunnel entrance where it had just entered, on the dark walls, it had turned dark red, and where the water droplets were, in the light, it was extremely red, like blood.
One drop, one drop, slowly dripping!
Xiao Hui’s golden light at its forehead gradually lit up, after watching that blood droplet, it slowly turned back, watched the flickering right for a while before it moved again, heading towards that direction.
The red light flickered strangely, as if having a spiritual intelligence, lightly pulsing and then expanded aggressively, swallowing the approaching monkey in it.
It was already deep into the night, although the change in daylight could not be clearly sense in the mountain but outside it, the dense stars in the night blanket, starlight twinkling, like numerous nights before it, spilling onto the mortal world, illuminating some parts of the dark Majestic Fox Mountain too.
Under the starlight, a white figure suddenly floated from afar, light and swift, it did not seem to have any weight, like a fallen light in the breeze, blown over by the night breeze among the wild mountains, slowly landed at the summit. Enveloped by the faint starlight the white slender figure turned around, elegant eyebrows and beautiful eyes, snowlike skin, a faint allure that lingered, within the eyes, it was Xiao Bai the Nine-tailed Celestial Fox.
Right now, Xiao Bai was frowning tightly, her face also had a solemness rarely seen, she stood on the summit, the night breeze blew over, the surroundings was empty, there was not a single tree to block the wind, ruffling her clothes, even accentuating her curvy seductive figure. Xiao Bai looked around slowly, the mountain summit now, were full of stones and sands, not to mention trees, not even a strand of gra.s.s was seen.
Looking at the desolate scene, who would believe less than ten years ago, this was a place of beautiful scenery?
Though the rest did not know but Xiao Bai knew, because around Majestic Fox Mountain was where the demon fox tribe originated, she had also grew up here, the mountains and rivers, every tree and every gra.s.s, to her, was not like other places.
Just that, not knowing since when, all of them strangely disappeared, leaving only this desolation.
Xiao Bai slowly crouched down, stretched out her fair hand, lightly grabbed some earth, no, should be gravel, the cracks on the earth, leaving only gravel on the mountain, the hard gravel spread open in her palm, Xiao Bai carefully looked at it, her eyes glinting, as if looking for something.
After a while, she slowly closed her hand, turning it into a fist and slowly letting it go facing downwards, the gravel quietly slipped from her fingers but halfway was blown away by the night breeze, reflecting a hint of light under the starlight, disappearing into the darkness of the night.
The gravel here, was no different from the other places.
Xiao Bai slowly stood up, looked up at the sky full of stars, the starlight spilled onto her body, like a gentle hand lightly supporting her body, consoling her.
Suddenly, her eyes abruptly widened, as if recalling something but she was not seen making any big movements, instead she strangely lifted up her feet, like a secular young lady making a fuss, stamped her feet heavily down.
A deep groan, was heard in the wind, drifting along with the wind, a gust of dust floated up and gently floated down in the wind. The next moment, from the ground below Xiao Bai’s feet, [pi li pa la] a series of strange sounds were heard, undulating, after about the time to seep a tea, it gradually ceased.
Xiao Bai’s lips pursed, the white figure like a duckweed floating on the lake rose, as if being supported by the wind but her glistening eyes were only staring at the ground below her feet, the next moment, her body in the air, suddenly flung her sleeve and instead swept towards the ground.
This action was actually not light, even through the night breeze sharp piercing sounds were heard, when her sleeve swept past the ground, the gravel scattered, dust flew. Xiao Bai in the mid-air did not pause, her sleeve continued to dance downwards, after sweeping for seven times, the dust on the ground had already turned into a small grey tornado, mixed with pieces of gravel, spinning rapidly, sweeping underneath the night stars.
Xiao Bai with a light whistle, her body suddenly went up higher by more than a zhang, under the starlight, her white light floated like a fairy, dazzling and a different alluring beauty. As her body rose higher, the tornado immediately was also pulled up by an invisible power but it was headed in the opposite direction, the tornado speed was extremely fast, the next moment, the wind column mixed with innumerable gravel had landed far away, rumbling sounds were heard from the darkness, most likely it was the sound of the gravel hitting the ground.
And under Xiao Bai’s feet, on the summit, a six chi wide pit with more than a zhang deep appeared, Xiao Bai with a gesture could actually dug out such a big pit, the level of cultivation was already shocking but with her thousand-year of cultivation, it was also not that surprising. Just that although Xiao Bai clearly did not come to the mountain summit and dig a pit out of boredom, after descending from the air, her eyes did not leave the pit, floated over towards the deep pit.
Once entering the pit, Xiao Bai suddenly slowed her descent, as if something invisible was supporting her body below, and she watched the pit walls intently, using the faint starlight, stared closely.
Her fair hands, pressed onto the rough walls, forming a bright contrast, there was a strange feeling but Xiao Bai did not notice these, following her palms, following her slow descent, she carefully looked at the walls.
Reflecting into her eyes, were the blue-grey stone walls, rough and st.u.r.dy, where her hands touched it was also extremely cold. As her body descended, her eyes also looked down, after about a chi, it was still stones, nothing changed, identical to the mountain rocks everywhere.
She continued to descend, her fair hands against the walls, lightly going down, two chi deep, it was still blue-grey st.u.r.dy rock walls.
One, two chi…
Nothing changed, it was still the same solid rock, the icy feeling inherited for ten thousand years, until today it could see the day, from the thick rough surface, coldness seeped out.
Xiao Bai’s face did not have any expression, her body was still descending, the next moment, suddenly her eyes lit up, her body with a trembled, stopped.
About six chi deep, beside her hands, finally there was a change.
Faint red scar, like a tiny blood vessel, appeared on the surface.
Xiao Bai stared intently at the thin red scar for a long time, suddenly sneered and then continued down again, her eyes continued to stare at the rock walls. As expected, as she continued to descend, more strange things appeared before her, the rocks which should be st.u.r.dier as she descended, more red scars appeared, the colour getting deeper, after one zhang deeper, Xiao Bai slowly turned around, before her, it was already a red wall, thick cracks seen everywhere, and around her, it was not cold air anymore, instead a thick blood stench.
That terrifying blood red, a human-devouring horror!
Xiao Bai’s eyes revealed an abhorrence that could not be concealed, with a sneer, her figure moved, charged up into the sky, out of the pit and onto the side of the pit. The starlight again shone onto her body, like water, washing away the nightmare scene just now.
Xiao Bai’s face was indifferent, inhaled deeply, facing the incoming wind, looked up at the sky. The next moment, she suddenly laughed, muttered, “Thousand hundred years, there is always some who don’t know how high the heavens is, how deep the earth is, and wanted to do some stupid things, as for how exactly the outcome will be, let’s wait and see, he he he he…”
Cold laughter drifted in the night breeze, gone with the wind, not knowing to which corner of the earth, and under the night, among the stars, there was a beautiful white figure, hovering among the mountains, facing the wind, with an eternal beauty, solitary and standing lonely.
On this late night, there were many who couldn’t fall asleep too, as if bothered by some matters related to the heart, humans always have feelings that are indescribable.
Inside the cave, Ghost Li and Mr Ghost were still studying the astrolabe, they were already almost at the critical point, with Mr Ghost’s experience and knowledge, they had figured out some of the cubes’ words, although unable to fully comprehend the mysteries but clearly much better than before.
And at this tense moment, Ghost Li suddenly was aware, his eyes leaving the astrolabe for a moment, looked around, saw the empty room, Xiao Hui had wandered somewhere to play again, or maybe somewhere to sleep! His eyes swept around, saw the roll of painting beside it, paused for moment, as if thinking of something, a faint smile on his lips.
Just that the warm smile vanished quickly, he shook his head lightly, as if flinging away something that he should not be thinking, again back to the astrolabe.
On the other side of the mountain, in a quiet cold room, faint wisps of cold air drifted. Biyao was still sleeping, and beside her, Ghost King was quietly sitting.
Grey hair hung down from Ghost King’s head, reminder of the lost youth, and the person sleeping beside him, an indistinct heart pain. On such a night like this, like numerous nights in these ten years, he did not feel like sleeping.
He quietly waited, until dawn, until the next day, maybe, the next day, everything might change!
His hand, subconsciously curled, into fists.
Thousand of miles far away, the same late quiet night.
Qing Yun Hill Small Bamboo Valley, night breeze soughing, the bamboos rustled, Lu Xueqi sat up from her bed. This night, for some reason she was unable to sleep.
Tossing back and forth, for who?
She quietly got down, did not wear her shoes, barefoot walked on the floor, a cold feeling was felt from her soles, the floor was cold like water. She walked to the window, opened the windows, the sky of stars like ripples of water, spilled in, accentuating her beautiful face.
Lu Xueqi quietly looked at the stars, unmoving.
On a night like this, the person far away, would he also be under the stars?
The faint starlight, did it too shine on him?
She quietly watched the sky, did not move, as if, expecting something.
The stars, like eternally unchanging, saw all of the human hardships, looked through grat.i.tude, love, hatred and grievances.
Maybe, it would be better tomorrow…
In her heart, she thought like that quietly.
Tomorrow, what would it look like again?
n.o.body would know.