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Chapter 20: Trace of Evil

 Chapter 20 Trace of Evil A

Instantly, everyone's eyes landed on this unremarkable Bamboo Peak disciple. Tian Bolis and Surin looked at each other. Surin smiled, nodded.

The Bamboo Peak disciples surrounded him. Ludaxin hit heavily on Shaw Danon's shoulder, said: "You stinking brat, never knew you had such luck."

Shaw Danon scratched his head and stuck out his tongue. Amandla regretfully slapped his head: "I should have put a bet on who may get the number one wax bead. Heh, heh, must be unexpected!"

"Get out." Hidi pushed him away, then told Shaw Danon: "Xiao Fan, you are going to be useless in round two anyway, give this to me!"

Shaw Danon never expected his Shijie would say that. He was startled, then said: "Oh." He proceeded to hand the paper to her.

Xavion said quietly: "Xiao Shimei, don't mess around."

Hidi chuckled. She held out her finger and flicked against Shaw Danon's forehead, said: "Silly, I was just joking."

Shaw Danon blinked, and laughed.

Vasp Caelo frowned, announced: "Good, the sortation has completed. In a moment, come see me and report what number you received. Later they will be posted on a list on a red board, so you can check who your opponent is. Now, Head Shixiong has prepared a speech."

The disciples immediately grew quiet. Master Doyal Shen left his seat and walked slowly to the front. His eyes swept across the disciples, then said: "Everyone, all of you are Jadeon's hope for our next generation. Everyone here possess great potential. In the future, the position of master, elder, or even the head may be succeeded by one of you."

Many Jadeon disciples were excited.

Master Doyal Shen showed a gentle smile: "Of course, to get this far and attain the seat of elder and master, you all need to work hard."

Everyone said at same time: "Yes."

Master Doyal Shen held his long, then nodded: "We Jadeon clan, since Master Jadeon to now have always been a well known faction of Good. Today, we are the leaders of the Good cultivators in this world. The Good rise up while the Evil hid themselves. People live peacefully. The remaining Evil, however, are treacherous and vicious. Their hearts never die. In the recent years, there are signs of Evil preparing to rise up again. In the times like this, they need the Good to get rid of them. So everyone must focus on cultivation, strengthen your mind. If we are strong, the Evil can find no opening for them!"

All the disciples shouted: "Understand Headmaster's teaching!"

Master Doyal Shen smiled: "Good, good. Another thing I want to announce: To encourage Jadeon disciples, I have discussed with masters and elders and it has been decided from now one, the winner of Seven Peaks Tournament will receive a small prize."

"Ah!!"

Master Doyal Shen looked at those young disciples, said: "The reward for this session is: Union Mirror."

"What is that?" Shaw Danon had never heard of it before. He turned to Hidi and Amandla, but they were also confused. Other young disciples appeared to be lost, too. But, for the older disciples, such as Kevern, Xavion and Baako, their faces shone with the rare excitement and yearning.

Hidi noticed Da Shixiong knew something. She got closer and asked: "Da Shixiong, what is Union Mirror?"

Xavion whispered: "Union Mirror was the esper of Master Wu Fang Zi, the tenth head master of Jadeon. I had never seen it before, only heard master told me it is one of our faction's treasures. Extremely powerful. The one unique feature of it: if the spirit power of the caster is strong enough, Union Mirror can reflect all attacks. The caster will be undefeatable."

Everyone's mouth opened wide, Amandla stammered said: "That, that means invincible?"

Xavion shrugged: "I am not sure how it looks exactly anyway. But master shouldn't be wrong about it this time," he peaked at Master Doyal Shen, then whispered: "it seems the masters had to pay a great price into holding this tournament."

Everyone's faces were strange. Most people swallowed. With the treasure in front of them, even as cultivators, their stable minds were shaken.

Master Doyal Shen stopped for a moment, smiled as he watched the disciples were discussing about the tournament. After a while he said: "Good, so bassically that is it. All of you return and take a rest, for tomorrow morning the contest will begin."

Together the Jadeon disciples saluted, said: "Yes, Headmaster."

Master Doyal Shen nodded: "Go."

The disciples left the hall, leaving the elders and the heads remaining. Master Doyal Shen turned and smiled to the elders: "Shixiongs, you shall rest, too. Beginning from tomorrow, there will be many competitions that need all of you to take care of."

Some elders had wrinkles all over their faces, while others appeared very young. They said nothing and left the hall. Finally, only the heads of the seven houses were in Crystal Hall.

Master Doyal Shen slowly took back his kind smile. His eyes swept through the six other people, said: "Okay, only seven of us are here now."

On the right, Head of "Sun Rise Peak" Shang Zheng Liang frowned, asked: "Head Shixiong, what do you want to tell us?"

Master Doyal Shen nodded. Slowly said: "I checked Master Spirit."

Everyone was shocked.

※※※

After the incident at the stairs, the disciples were still frightened as they were passing the pond. This time Water Kirin was peacefully sleeping.

Passing the Rainbow Bridge back to Cloud Sea's square. Baye said a few things to Shaw Danon then left with disciples from Dragon Head Peak. Shaw Danon went back to Bamboo Peak's people, listened to Xavion talk about things that need to be regarded and about lodging. As Shaw Danon was listening to him, he suddenly recalled, cried: "Damn!"

Everyone was surprised. Hidi asked: "Xiao Fan, what it is?"

Shaw Danon looked around, said urgently: "I was talking to Baye and forgot about Ashh. Now, I have no idea where he went."

Everyone realized they hadn't seen the figure of the grey monkey. They immediately searched the square. The disciples from other houses were already gone, but there was no sign of Ashh.

Shaw Danon was anxious. Since two years ago he brought Ashh from the ancient valley, for two years, he and the monkey (plus Big Yella later on) had lived together. Peak of Widows was inconceivably large. How could he ever be able to find him again if Ashh went into the forest and looked for wild fruits.

Shaw Danon suddenly heard Hidi "Huh?" He turned and saw Hidi grinned and pointed: "Look."

Everyone could not help but laugh. Ashh was sitting on Big Yella's back. It screamed and waved at Shaw Danon. Big Yella's jaw was closed tightly. Its mouth was holding a bone.

Big Yella carried Ashh and arrived in front of them Ashh jumped on Shaw Dannon's shoulder. Shaw Danon patted its head and made a mad face: "Where did you go?"

Ashh wasn't scared. It grinned, pointed to Big Yella, then gestured with its hands. Shaw Danon watched it for a moment, then suddenly asked: "Where did you find this bone?"

Ashh gestured again and pointed to one end of the square. Shaw Danon looked at Xavion. Xavion quickly looked around and saw no one nearby. He whispered, embarrassed: "That place is Peak of Widow's dinning hall."

Chapter 20 Trace of Evil B

Everyone was startled, laughed, then shook their heads. Xavion lead them to one end of the square, said: "We shall go to the dormitory now. Xiao Shimei, you are a girl, we have arranged for you to join the Bamboo Height's Shimeis. No problem, right?"

Hidi shook her head, smiled: "I wanted to talk more with Baako Shijie anyway. Plus, I can help Da Shixiong to say some nice words to her."

They laughed. Xavion blushed and pretended not to hear anything and walked away. Shaw Danon glared at his monkey: "Stupid monkey, next time if you go and be a thief, watch how I am going to punish you."

Ashh "creek creek" screamed and grinned. It was either that he didn't understand or didn't care about Shaw Danon.

Shaw Danon scolded again. Then he turned back and shouted: "Hurry, you stupid dog, all you know how to do is eat."

Big Yella raised its eyes and saw everyone was walking far away. It stood and caught up with them lazily with the bone in its mouth.

※※※

In Crystal Hall, the seven houses' heads were there. All their attention was on Master Doyal Shen.

"Sun Set Peak's" head master Tian Yun was the first to get up; said: "Head Shixiong, did you find out what happened to Master Spirit?"

Master Doyal Shen sighed, slowly said: "I had carefully checked. Master Spirit had nothing unusual."

"What?" Every master was surprised.

Master Doyal Shen looked at his Shixiongdi, said: "Indeed. I had repeatedly checked many times. Everything was normal for Master Spirit. I really can't understand why it suddenly became so aggressive, then left so quickly."

Tian Bolis pondered for a moment, said: "I think the target of Master Spirit was the disciples. Can it be one of the disciples had provoked it?"

Head of "Bamboo Height" Master Shui Yu said: "Impossible. If a disciple really made it mad, then why would Master Spirit give up after the first strike?"

The tone of Shui Yu's voice was extremely cold. The voice made people feel chilled. Tian Bolis stopped speaking.

The oldest looking Ceng Shu Chang, the head of "Peak of Wind," said: "Head Shixiong has a conclusion already?"

Master Doyal Shen sighed: "Not to conceal it from you, I am also confused by it. Master Spirit is our mountain guardian. It cannot be underestimated. I wanted to use the secret 'Psychic Art' to investigate, but then..."

Master Doyal Shen unexpectedly stopped. Tian Bolis asked: "Head Shixiong, what was it?"

Master Doyal Shen was embarassd: "Psychic Art is a simple trick. It can help us to communicate with Master Spirit. But when I tried to use it, Master Spirit was sleeping already, I could not do anything about it."

They were stunned.

Master Doyal Shen coughed, said: "No need to worry about it at the moment. We can plan later when Master Spirit wakes up. There is one more issue laying in front of us. I want to discuss with all of you."

Seeing Master Doyal Shen's serious look, seemed it was not a minor issue, they removed their smile from their faces and sat silently.

Master Doyal Shen also returned to his seat. Pondered for a moment, then said: "You know the 'Kongsang Mountain' (Note 1) three thousand miles east from here?"

They were startled. Master Vasp Caelo said: "Head Shixiong, are you referring to the Kongsang Mountain that contains 'Cave of Fangs'?"

Master Doyal Shen Nodded: "Exactly."

Ceng Shu Chang frowned: "I heard 'Cave of Fangs' is a natural cave, immeasurably deep. The climate there is ice-cold and wet. Only countless numbers of bats live there. It is said to be be home to more than millions of them inside the cave. This kind of barren place, why does Shixiong mention it?"

Master Doyal Shen said slowly: "All of you may not know, even though no life goes near that place now, eight hundred years ago it was a major hideout of the Evil. The climate there is just right for the Evil to practice their curses. Later, the Daoist from the side of Good went there and wiped them out. The Evil fled away and left this place deserted."

Master Shui Yu spoke coldly: "So, what are you trying to say, Head Shixiong?"

The manner of Shui Yu was impolite to Doyal Shen. Everyone knew, however, Master Shui Yu always spoke like this. Master Doyal Shen also didn't care. He sighed and said: "Shui Yu Shimei, I had received a letter from Incense Valley half a year ago. It said that near the Cave of Fangs, there is signs of Evil remaining active. So, they want to ask my opinion. After some consideration, I sent my disciple Yi Cai to quickly investigate Kongsang Mountain."

Sun Rise Peak's Shang Zheng Liang smiled: "Isn't that great? Enu Shizhi's potential and cultivation had earned him the champion position of last session's Seven Peaks Tournament. With him there, what can not be accomplished?"

Master Doyal Shen smiled back: "Shang Shixiong praised too highly of him. After Yi Cai had gone for a few months, he sent a letter back to me. The Evil people truly had been active around Cave of Fangs. But their purpose, it is more surprising."

Everyone was surprised. Ceng Shu Chang asked: "What is it?"

Master Doyal Shen was still remaining calm. He said: "According to Yi Cai's letter, he had captured an Evil follower. After interrogating him, Yi Cai found out Cave of Fangs was the head quarters of 'Blood Forger' faction, eight hundred years ago. During that time, Blood Forger was one of the five largest Evil factions. After they were defeated by our Good ancestors, they had fallen. The Cave of Fangs was also deserted. In recent years, Blood Forger has shown signs of rising. Although all important Blood Forgers were slain by the Good in the Cave of Fangs' battle, there was a secret cave that has not yet been found. There are many unique treasures and evil incantation scrolls that had not been discovered."

Everyone understood. Master Cang Song laughed coldly: "Evil minded people, wishful thinking!"

Master Doyal Shen shook his head: "No matter if this rumor is true or not, according to what I know, after the battle eight hundred years ago, the side of Good didn't find any treasure storeroom located in Cave of Fangs. If there really is an undiscovered secret cave, I am afraid there will be an extremely evil object that we must be wary of."

Master Tian Yu asked: "Shixiong, what is the extremely evil object, is it really that important?"

Master Doyal Shen said quietly: "Sinister Orb!"

Master Vasp Caelo was surprised, said: "Didn't that disappear along with Elder Blackheart's death, already?"

Master Doyal Shen shook his head: "Though Elder Black Heart is dead, that doesn't mean Sinister Orb will have vanished from this world. The evil object like this cannot be controlled by normal people. The evil disciples may hide it since they can't use it. Elder Black Heart was from Blood Forger. Sinister Orb may very possibly be inside of the secret cave."

They were silent for a while, then Master Shui Yu coldly asked: "What is the will of Head Shixiong?"

Master Doyal Shen said: "After I received Yi Cai's letter, I immediately informed Incense Valley and Skysong Temple. They replied and said they will send their best disciples to Kongsang Mountain to stop the Evil followers."

Tian Bolis frowned: "Then you are saying"

Master Doyal Shen smiled: "This time is a rare chance for our disciples to earn some experience. There are many prodigies in Jadeon, but most never go out there and practice. Also, these years the world is so peaceful, there have not been battles with the Evil for a long time. From this chance in Seven Peaks Tournament, I decide to send our top four disciples to Kongsang Mountain. It can stop the Evil Follower's plot and also allow our disciples to gain experience. And..." he exchanged his smile for a solemn look: "I heard both Skysong Temple and Incense Valley have some very talented disciples. If we do not do anything about it, we can't hold our position as leader of Good any longer. Then, I will have no face to see my master and ancestors!"

They nodded. Master Vasp Caelo said: "Head Shixiong is very correct."

Master Doyal Shen looked at the other masters, said: "So, that means everyone is fine with it?"

They nodded.

Master Doyal Shen said: "Good, then that is set. I had already prepared rooms for Shixiongs in Crystal Hall. Please, you may all go rest now." Then he clapped his hands three times. Several children came in. "Lead the heads to their room."

The children answered. The heads got up and saluted to Master Dayol Shen, then left.

Note 1: Kongsang is name after the mulberry forest near the town. Kongsang town is the birth place of Confucius.