The Spirit Fruit of Fear
“No, I cannot step back. The tree of fear is only a couple of meters away. If I retreat this time, I’ll probably never have the nerve to get any closer, no matter how many times I try in the future. Indeed, I need to destroy the fear brought by this illusion for once and for all!”
The determination deep inside his heart dragged him back from running away. Qinghan reinforced this resolution as he released more Battle Qi, and spurted to the ancient tree at the highest possible speed his legs could carry him.
One step, two steps… ten steps!
Finally, he could almost touch the ancient tree, where the reddish spirit fruit still was glowing with light. Seeing this, Qinghan revealed a smile of relief and jumped up, as he was trying to reach for the fruit.
However, success never came so easily. Almost most in an instant, he found himself surrounded by a group of ferocious, bleeding zombies, who were coming for him in large numbers, while their hands were scratching in the air, and mouths, that had blood oozing out, hanging widely open. When Qinghan directed his look towards those evil zombies, he was so stunned to find that all of them were the enemies he had killed, including Xue Yi, Ye Qingxie, Ye Bao, Ye Ron and Yao Kaka…
“Ye Qinghan, you’ve fallen into our trap! How dare you venture on the illusion land of the seven human emotions? Now, let’s play with you!” Ye Ron opened up his bloody mouth, ready to take a bite out of Qinghan’s leg.
“Ye Qinghan, today will finally be the day of your demise…”
“Finally, I can avenge myself!”
“Ye Qinghan, go die!”
Yao Kaka, Ye Qingxie, and the five brothers he had killed in the Wild Mountain Range, as well as a myriad of demons and barbarians, all flooded in Qinghan’s direction. It seemed as if they were all going to tear apart this unfortunate intruder…
“This is… but a mere illusion.”
Qinghan kept persuading himself to stay away from those imaginary crazy bastards. But… the unbearable, agonizing pain was so vivid when the zombies tore his body bit by bit. He could feel that his blood began to stream out from every wound, which made him feel so weak and fatigued. Now, he couldn’t even make a single move, for he felt as if he was going to die in the next moment…
“No… get the fuck out of my way!”
The last piece of sobriety in Qinghan’s mind managed to survive. It kept reminding Qinghan that all of this was but a mere illusion. If… if his emotions continued to be swayed by the visionary scene, he would enter in a vegetative state, where his soul would die but his physical body would remain sound and healthy. At that time, he would never wake up again…
This illusion of fear was so powerful!
“I’ve got no better means to deal with this situation. Alright, Little Black, come out and integrate with me. Slaughter!”
In the end, Qinghan summoned his battle beast out. Because, he clearly understood that Little Black would also die if his soul perished, since they were bonded together by a Soul Agreement.
“Why not fight a desperate fight and see if there is still any hope left?”
The cute shadowy figure emerged from within his chest; meanwhile, a strong force of energy was injected into his body. Qinghan was thrilled to find that the illusion of fear turned less powerful the moment he integrated with his beast. The speed of the walking zombies turned unbelievably slow, as their figure faded away.
“Ah? Is the integration saving my soul? It actually works!”
Out of sheer surprise and ecstasy, Qinghan rushed to the tree of fear, jumped up, and climbed on top of the highest branch, on which the red spirit fruit of fear hung.
– Buzz –
The whole world turned silent, as if time was frozen. Following a glaring beam of white light, the horrible scene vanished, revealing the brown soil and white fog… Qingan had never felt his heart so tranquil as at this moment.
“I eventually made it…”
With a slight leap, Qinghan jumped off the ancient tree. He collapsed on the ground all of a sudden, with the red spirit fruit firmly in his hands. He put on a bitter, yet satisfied smile, and after that, he lay silently and slept peacefully…
Roughly one hour later, Qinghan abruptly woke up. However, he was neither woken up by a nightmare, nor by having had a sufficient rest. Instead it was because he had reminded himself that he had to wake up as soon as possible. When you’re exhausted, it’s generally easier to fall asleep, but on the other hand, if you keep telling yourself an important event will be coming up the next morning, you’re bound to wake up early.
Qinghan was exhausted and could easily sleep for a whole day and night. But, the illusions that would come every day deterred him from relaxing himself. It was more likely for him to be attacked by illusions during his sleep. Therefore, he had to wake up anyway.
In order to put himself together, Qinghan massaged his head for a while to feel somewhat refreshed. When his eyes fell on red fruit clutched in his hand, and the ancient tree, he was struck by palpitation.
“What a close call! I was so reckless this time!”
Qinghan had almost lost his life in the illusion! If either his physical body or his soul had been damaged, he wouldn’t have been able to survive this trial. Especially if his soul was torched to death in the illusion, he would have no chance to escape from this mountain.
In his previous life, Qinghan had heard of a classic story, which he found strikingly similar to his current situation. When a person was banded, eyes covered up, he would grow increasingly fearful if his vein was ripped off, letting blood drop in a large bowl. The splash of blood would make this victim even more frightened. Subconsciously, he would believe to be bleeding to death.
While as a result, he would die an hour later. But the truth was, the bleeding from his wounds had actually already been secretly stopped. And the splashing sound was made by a leaking bottle…
When Qinghan was attacked by the illusion of fear, he had felt his soul being torn apart, bitten off, and crushed. If Qinghan had let these surreal, but indeed imaginary fear take charge of his mind, he would’ve eventually died.
At the last moment, thanks to integrating with Little Black, he had survived! His soul power had exponentially increased after integrating with Little Black, which had led to his final success in defeating the illusion of fear. When he had fetched the spirit fruit of fear from the tree, this sub-trial was finally over.