Chapter 3 – The Prickling Silence
Translated by Putty
Edited by Hydramon
Deep into the night, Su Ming lay in his room as he stared into the pitch black darkness, unable to fall asleep. Grandpa’s words lingered in his ears, causing the scene from 8 years ago to continuously replay in his mind.
With a long sigh, Su Ming sat up and silently pushed open the wooden door. A gust of cool wind blew over his messy hair. The wind was very cool, as if it had descended with the moonlight that sprinkled onto the land.
The surroundings were very tranquil, with only the occasional cry or two from the Wu Mountains. Most of the tribe area was covered in a shadowy darkness with only some scattered flames remaining from the bonfire at the centre and the torches that hung from the surrounding wooden walls. In this late night, faint burning ‘pa pa’ sounds could be heard.
Su Ming raised his head to look at the sky, where the bright moon shone in an almost starless night. His eyes unfocused as he admired the seemingly eternal milky way above him.
“The people in the tribe have treated me very well……but I clearly look different from them……Perhaps, this is related to my failure in calling on the Barbarian Statue…. Without the Barbarian Body, I cannot Barbarian Cultivate. I can only spend all my life here incapable of leaving, incapable of seeing the world described by the Animal Skin Book……” Su Ming sat down in silence and leaned against his house, watching the sky.
The sense of loss in his eyes became even thicker.
“Ancestors of the Barbarian tribe opened the skies and created men. Their legacy has been passed on for thousands of generations till today…..The ones who grasp the Barbarian Ways, soaring through the skies, boring through the ground, moving the mountains, and flipping the seas……With the Barbarian Mark, one can break the heavens and pluck the sun, the moon, and even the stars from the sky……” In the late night, within the Wushan Tribe dwelling, a youngster gazed at the sky as he mumbled……
The current him did not notice the black colored shard that hung from his neck once again flashing weakly.
Time passed in an instant and it quickly came to the third day.
As this generation’s La Su Barbarian Enlightenment day, the entire tribe was abuzz since early in the morning. Practically every tribe member was out as they brought the La Su from their families and gathered at the plaza in the middle of the tribe dwelling.
The Barbarian Enlightenment ceremony usually needed a whole day. In particular, the La Su’s 16 years old’s Barbarian Enlightenment was akin to the rite to adulthood. After completing the Barbarian Enlightenment today, the La Su would even be able to selecta mate.
A drumbeat with an odd rhythm resounded across the tribe dwelling. Following the appearance of the drumbeat, the La Su walked out of the crowd, one by one, to stand in the center area.
This time, there were over thirty La Sus who had completed the Barbarian Enlightenment, most of which were youngsters. Although they were young, their bodies were extremely large and well built, displaying a valiant presence.
Even the girls were the same. As such, Su Ming was exceedingly distinct in the crowd, his delicate features even more out of place with these surroundings.
Despite this, the people here had long accepted Su Ming’s existence. He may have a different appearance from them, but they did not exclude him. Instead, they integrated him into their tribe. Despite his odd appearance, they did not exclude him but instead integrated him to become a member of their tribe.
After circling these La Su who were preparing for the Barbarian Enlightenment, all of the Wushan tribe members started the original dance one after another. They were dancing as a tribute to the heavens and using their bodies to express the reverence and scarification they felt.
“Su Ming, I heard from others in the tribe that you went to Black Dragon Mountain a few days back and even brought back Black Dragon saliva.” While the surrounding tribe members were happily singing and dancing, a simple and straightforward voice was heard from Su Ming’s side.
It belonged to a youngster of the same age, whose skin was rough and had a rather sturdy body which was almost twice Su Ming’s in girth. The youngster was looking at Su Ming with a pair of bright eyes as he let out a silly laugh.
A small smile appeared on Su Ming’s face as he gazed at the youngster who had spoken. This youngster was called Lei Chen and was one of the few good friends Su Ming had in the tribe.
“I brought some back and went to find you last night, but your father told me you went to the mountains with the hunting squad. Later on, after the Barbarian Enlightenment is over, come to my place and take some.”
Lei Chen’s eyes shone as he hastily walked forward, his silly laughter sounding out.
“I could have returned earlier, but I encountered a Sable Deer. You previously said that you needed a Sable Deer’s blood to make medicine, thus I chased it and ended up returning very late.”
Su Ming knew that though the other party had played it down, the reality was that a Sable Deer was extremely difficult to kill to the point of peril and a warm feeling bubbled in his heart.
While the two chatted, the surrounding sounds of singing gradually quieted down. The crowd split open to reveal the Wushan Tribe’s Grandfather. Wearing a coarse set of clothes and holding an entirely black bone cane in his hand, he walked over while being escorted by a few tribe members to stand before the youngsters.
His appearance caused the surroundings to fall into complete silence. Reverence revealed itself on the youngsters’ faces; they were clearly very afraid of this Grandfather.
“A sacrifice for the Barbarian Ancestors!” Grandfather’s eyes were bright as they swept across the crowd, slightly pausing on Su Ming. As the words were spoken, the bone cane in Grandfather’s right hand waved, and ten or so huge men hurriedly walked over from nearby, carrying some binded beasts.
These beasts were still alive as they let out mournful growls while constantly struggling to break free to little avail.
There were a total of forty nine different beasts. A short while later, they were all carried over and circled around the youngsters. Wave after wave of growling and howling reverberated about, condensing together to bring about a penetrating power that battered at the soul. It was only the surrounding tribe members’ existences that firmly suppressed this power, not allowing the beasts to break free.
The huge men that stood beside these beasts did not have the slightest hesitation as they all bowed their heads together. Sharp stone knives appeared in their left hands which were directly stabbed into the beasts’ necks, chopping off their heads.
The growling and howling noises reached their peak, seemingly able to make the world shudder, and causing fearful expressions to be revealed on the thirty plus La Sus’ faces.
Su Ming’s complexion was pale, but he gritted his teeth and endured. His gaze turned to his side and swept across Lei Chen, only to see an ominous look in his friend’s eyes.
Within those eyes was a bloodthirsty look, as if he was already long conditioned to such a situation and even faintly enjoyed it. Compared to the simple and honest demeanor he had before, it was as if he was a completely different person.
An even larger amount of blood suddenly spurted out like a fountain of blood, emitting a pungent smell. The blood sprayed toward the thirty La Sus, falling on their hair, bodies, and the ground beneath their feet.
“All of you are fortunate because there are no wars between the tribes these days. Yet at the same time, all of you are also unfortunate……” Grandfather looked at the youngsters before him as he softly spoke.
“When I was young, for my sixteen year Barbarian Enlightenment ceremony, I needed to chop off the head of an enemy tribesman and drink his blood to complete the Barbarian Enlightenment. Compared to now, all of you are fortunate……yet it is unfortunate that all of you have only seen the blood of beasts and do not have the chance at an enemy’s head……” Grandfather muttered as he deeply glanced at the La Sus before him. Lifting the bone cane in his right hand, he pointed it forward.
The fingers on his left fist abruptly opened as a strong aura suddenly spread out from his body. This aura rolled over the surroundings, taking the form of a violent wind as it blew over the entire Wushan Tribe.
Lines of Mark appeared on Grandfather’s face, intertwining together and to everyone’s astonishment, turned into the picture of a python’s head.
The vivid appearance of the python head looked truly realistic as it seemed to face the sky and emit a soundless hiss. Though no one could hear it, every member of the Wushan Tribe, including the sturdy Chief, could not help but tremble as they retreated a few steps back.
“Wu Python Mark……this is Grandfather’s Barbarian Mark……” Su Ming blankly stared at Grandfather, looking at the mark on Grandfather’s face as shock filled his heart. The last time he had seen this scene was nine years ago. Now that he saw it again today, he could feel that it was several times stronger compared to the past.
“Grandfather’s power alone is enough to exterminate the entire tribe. Even being so strong, he is only at the 9th Layer of Condensing Barbarian Blood……I wonder how powerful an Open Earth Stage practitioner would be…… Or even the Bone Sacrifice Stage after the Open Earth……It was written on the Animal Skin Book that a Bone Sacrifice Stage practitioner was extremely rare even in a mediumsized tribe. Only those almost unimaginable largesized tribes possessed a few Bone Sacrifice Stage Barbarian practitioners.” Su Ming’s mind shuddered. In his heart, the desire to become a Barbarian practitioner grew even stronger.
“Offer the fresh blood and the beast’s body to the Wushan Barbarian Statue!” Grandfather’s thunderlike voice derailed Su Ming’s train of thought. As Grandfather’s voice rang out, the surrounding beasts’ bodies immediately exploded. The blood and flesh on the ground, and even those on the youngsters, were all sucked up by an invisible power to condense together in the sky, forming a huge ball of flesh.
“Barbarian Enlightenment!” The tall and sturdy man, the chief of the Wushan tribe, beside Grandfather shouted out.
Including Su Ming, all of the La Sus did not hesitate as they bit off the tips of their tongues, spitting out a mouthful of fresh blood. Their blood swiftly soared into the sky and was absorbed by the ball of blood and flesh before a huge boom rang out. To everyone’s astonishment, the ball of blood and flesh transformed into a black statue.
Half of the statue was in the image of a person while the other half was a ferocious beast. The statue was filled with a wild and primitive aura. In one hand, it held a dragon and the other hand grasped onto a huge spear while its eyes were colored with madness and bloodthirst.
Its appearance caused even the sky to darken, as if being suppressed by the statue’s power and might.
“The Wushan Barbarian Statue……” Su Ming’s heart thumped in his chest, seemingly about to explode. But the fragment that hung from his neck faintly shed a warm current which fused into his body, causing the unbearable feeling to fade away like smoke.
This sensation caused Su Ming to be stunned for a moment, and just as he was about to look down, Grandfather’s voice once again rang out.
“Come forward one by one and enter the Barbarian Statue to pay your respects!”
As the voice faded, a youngster quickly walked forward and stepped into the area under the Barbarian Statue as his whole body abruptly disappeared. Not long after, in the place he disappeared, the youngster once again appeared, having a dark look on his face as he stepped back to one side without speaking a word.
“Next!” The owner of this voice was the Chief of the Wushan Tribe. He had a grave expression on his face as his gaze swept across the La Sus.
One by one, the Barbarian Enlightenment La Sus continued to walk forward. After disappearing for a while, they once again appeared until one of the girls stepped into the Barbarian Statue and it emitted a scarlet flash.
Immediately, all of the tribe members were shaken and even Grandfather looked over with rapt attention, only to see the scarlet light continuously flash nine more times before the girl’s figure once again materialized.
“A Barbarian body possessor!!”
“Nine flashes of the Barbarian Statue indicates the possession of the Barbarian Body!”
After the girl appeared, delight filled her face.
“You are called Wu La, right? Very good, come to my side.” A small smile surfaced on Grandfather’s face as he looked at the girl and nodded his head.
Watching as the girl walked toward Grandfather, Su Ming was silent. He gritted his teeth and stepped forward, walking toward the Barbarian Statue. When he walked out, he immediately drew the attention of the surrounding tribe members.
Most of the Wushan Tribe members felt kindness and pity toward the youngster that looked distinctly different from them. Their gazes concentrated on Su Ming until he came to stand below the Barbarian Statue.
Su Ming took in a deep breath as he glanced at Grandfather, who was also looking at him from nearby. He closed his eyes, and he felt an indescribable energy surround his body; it felt as if he was being blended into sludge. When he opened his eyes, the surroundings had already changed.
This was not the Wushan Tribe dwelling but a huge empty space. A pitchblack darkness filled the surroundings and only the black statue that floated toward his front emitted a scarlet light.
The appearance of the statue looked exactly like the one he had seen outside, as it emitted a primitive aura.
Gazing at the Barbarian Statue, Su Ming was silent for a moment before he deeply bowed towards it.
After bowing for a long time, a bitter look appeared on Su Ming’s face. He knew that if he possessed the Barbarian Body, only one bow was necessary for the Barbarian Statue to emit scarlet flashes. Yet the scene before his eyes was no different from nine years ago.
“I will never become a Barbarian practitioner in this life……” Su Ming bit his lip as he let out a long sigh before turning to leave.
But just as he turned, his body suddenly jolted and he immediately turned back to look at the Barbarian Statue, dazed!
At the same time, he saw the fragment, that he had neglected on his chest, emit an eye-