No Way Out
The moment the illusion had disappeared, the bronze ring on Qinghan’s left hand flickered before it exulted the white flow. Instantly, the flow penetrated into his whole body. He felt even that his soul was completely refreshed. Gradually, he dropped the dagger in his hands, and the redness in his eyes slowly died away. He was sober again.
– Hu, Hu! –
Being exhausted, Qinghan bent himself gasping hardly. He looked terribly fatigued. Although in the illusion, he had tried his utmost to stay sober, yet he found his willpower vulnerable in front of the frenzied murderous intent. He had no clue, up until now, that the hidden force had driven him to be a maniac in slaughter.
It was just like, when one decided to do something indecent, he did know the amoral side of the consequences, but he just couldn’t convince himself not to do it because of his weak willpower. Afterwards, he might have some remorse, but that couldn’t change anything.
The difference was… Qinghan’s driven power of his killing action was from the mysterious Luo Shen Mountain. When he was in the illusion, he simply was deprived of the ability to control himself mentally, as if his soul was possessed by some evil spirit.
“Boss, you survived yet another scene! This ring is awesome! I never knew it has the function to heal your soul!” Little Black conveyed his voice in the summoning space, as he comforted his master.
As a battle beast, Little Black also had a soul. In the illusions, he was also affected in one way or another. Therefore, Qinghan had asked him to stay in the summoning space, lest his beast be killed by his own uncontrollable killing intent.
“Heaven, the illusions have become much more powerful now. For me, it’s just a matter of time to die in this damn mountain if the illusions keep coming, and keep becoming more powerful.” Qinghan was completely thwarted at this stage, for he couldn’t turn to anybody for help.
“You woke up, eh? So quickly! It seems your battle beast’s soul level is pretty high as well!” A moment later, the familiar voice rang out once again, from somewhere within the mountain.
This time, Qinghan jumped up from the ground, as some traces of surprise and excitement appeared on his face.
“This voice… ha, it’s not an illusion. Yeah, now I’m definitely sure about this!”
Every time the illusion had gone away, he was sober with the aid of the white flow. He was, therefore, quite certain that this voice wasn’t coming from an illusion. Remembering what this voice had told him this morning, Qinghan began to believe in its credibility.
“Ancestor, ancestor! Where are you? Why did you convey your voice to me? Are you going to help me out?” A second before, Qinghan had been so desperate and helpless; now, however, he was excited by his prediction that this person, who called himself ancestor, might lend him a hand, thus helping him out of this misery. Almost hysterically, Qinghan screamed to the air, as his head turned around in every direction.
The voice came again, which sounded very gentle and a little bit cheerful, as if he was happy with Qinghans’ recognition.
“Hey, kid. Don’t be so excited. Errr… Honestly, I can’t sneak into the Luo Shen Mountain and help you. Neither am I in the vicinity of this mountain. Hmm, Actually, I’m on my way to Concealed Island. Remember, kid, no one can save you except yourself!”
“You’re not here? You can’t save me?” Soon, after hearing this negative response, Qinghan was dejected like a withered flower. How could he walk out of this mountain on his own?
But a second later, Qinghan inquired curiously, “Are you really… Ye Ruoshui? My ancestor? But… I was told that you died five hundred years ago! How can you survive for five hundred years? A-are you a ghost?”
“Hehe, apart from ghosts, what kind of existing entity can survive five hundred years?” Ye Ruoshui was both amused and irritated by Qinghan’s ignorance.
“Besides the ghost? Let me think…” Qinghan winked his eyes in confusion, and a little while later, he exclaimed jubilantly, as if he had unraveled the most abstruse mystery, “Ohh, the immortals! Heaven… are you an immortal?”
“Hehe, theoretically, I’m not an immortal. I’m simply a cultivator that reached the Heaven-Immortal Realm. Hey, kid, if you’re still dubious about my identity, I have nothing to say. But if I weren’t Ye Ruoshui, why would I bother to talk to you?” Ye Ruoshui replied.
“Errr… yeah, I heard that Heaven-Immortal Realm cultivators can live for 10,000 years. I never knew that our Ye Family has such a super advanced cultivator!” Qinghan thought to himself.
This also reminded him of what Ye Qingniu had told him back in Immortal City. According to Ye Qingniu, there were ostensibly three immortals on the Flaming Dragon Continent. Could that mean, there were more unknown immortals, like Ye Ruoshui, besides the publicly recognized three?
It took Qinghan several minutes to pull all his thoughts together. Eventually, he laughed out, for he realized that the Ye Family hadn’t abandoned him despite the catastrophe he was suffering right now. Honestly, he had been thrown into such a dire environment, that he desperately needed some kind of help.
Immediately, Qinghan made a bow, and shouted loudly, “Ancestor, please save me! You are a Heaven-Immortal Realm cultivator; you must have some way to help me out. I guess… I’ll go mad if I stay here any longer. Plus, my food and water isn’t enough to sustain me any longer. I’ll probably starve to death!”
However, this time, it took several seconds before a response came.
“Don’t worry. I’ll give you some tips on how to survive in this mountain!”
“Listen, first you have to understand that the Luo Shen Mountain is created by an immortal. He designed the mountain in such a way that no one can walk into the mountain until the opening of the Heaven Path. Therefore, unfortunately, no one can save you. Secondly, you should be aware that there are numerous fruits in the ancient trees around you, which will ensure your intake of nourishments. This way, you won’t starve to death. Additionally, these are actually spirit fruits, which will somehow enhance your cultivation. Thirdly, if you’re determined to get out, you have to pass the three trials and enter the Small Immortal Pavilion to get the Immortal Sword. This way, you can survive this whole ordeal.”
“No one can walk into the mountain, even including immortals? I have to get the Immortal Sword after passing the three trials?” Qinghan murmured to himself, and became more clear about his current conditions and what he should do in the following days.
However… why did he have to pass these three almost insurmountable trails? Why wouldn’t he just wait for the opening of the Heaven Path five years later, and get out? The likelihood of his success in passing all three trials was miserably low. He had heard that even cultivators in the peak level of the Realm of the Emperor had ended trapped in the third trial and never came back out again. Based on his current cultivation level, he was most likely doomed to die in this mountain.
When Qinghan expressed all his confusions to Ye Ruoshui, the latter explained rather concisely.
“Haven’t you noticed, that as time goes on, the illusions become more and more powerful? I can assure you that if you fail to pass the Illusion Trial within a year, your soul will be annihilated directly. You’re given no alternative at all! The only thing you can do is to courageously go forward and pass the three trials! Remember, your sister and your future wife are waiting for you to return home!”
There was no way out! He had to struggle in the mountain until he passed all three trials, otherwise, he would… die!