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Chapter 124: The Altar

Chapter 124 - The Altar

Ghost Li was in a startled but saw Xiao Bai's eyes were full of tenderness, glistening with water like it was about to flow out, reflecting his own face in it, his heart involuntarily jumped.

"You are drunk." Ghost Li said, beads of perspiration appeared on his head.

Xiao Bai right now could no longer stand on her own, all of her body's weight leaning onto Ghost Li. Her white teeth bit gently on her red lips, a low moan escaped from her mouth, a coquettish demeanor that mesmerized one's soul, slowly, she leaned her head against Ghost Li's shoulder.

"You..." This intoxicated, stunning girl, softly said.

Seemed like the after effects of the alcohol was too strong, she gently rubbed her head on Ghost Li's shoulder, it could be she was having a headache! But her voice, was still softly speaking at Ghost Li's ears, saying,

"You this person, have been living too hard! Do you know it? Little fool!"

Ghost Li was in jitters after being called "Little fool" by her but the words were spoken with tenderness and her body was giving off a faint whiff of fragrance every now and then, lingering around.

The ultimate was, her that exceptional beautiful face lazily lying on his shoulder, her entire body leaning against him, he did not dare to move and could not move.

If this was in Central Plains, it would invite numerous slanderous gossips but the custom of southern border was liberal, most of the Miao people did not mind and instead most assumed they were a couple, especially after Xiao Bai's incredible feat really shocked the Miao village, so much less even commented.

Only some young Miao men who adored Xiao Bai, felt depressed.

While Ghost Li was at a lost, also at the same time somehow his heart was musing over what Xiao Bai said just now, the words, "living too hard" slowly resounded in his heart, for a moment lost in thoughts.

Then at that moment, suddenly [zhi zhi] sounds were heard beside him, it was Xiao Hui. He then recalled that Xiao Hui has been playing by the side and because the liquor challenge was too stunning, he himself for a moment forgot about Xiao Hui, he turned his head to look.

Unexpectedly, Ghost Li almost choked on his words again.

Xiao Hui had ran up from the shore and crouched near where Ghost Li, Xiao Bai were, its three eyes roving around, extremely curious about the situation.

Now that the liquor challenge was over, the Miao people were busy clearing up, some walked over to lift those fallen drunk soldiers, Ghost Li was also holding up the liquor-sodden Xiao Bai and did not know whether to laugh or cry.

And the current scene was even more chaotic, not to mention the drunken Miao people lying around everywhere, the long pointed spears, weapons etc, rattan amours including those big wine bags that were dropped onto the ground by the drunken Miao people, littering everywhere, and some of the bags were not even sealed properly, leaking the remnant of the liquor slowly, infusing the air with a thick strong liquor fragrance.

The monkey nature was inherently inquisitive and Xiao Hui was a spiritual intelligent animal, its inquisitiveness was ten times stronger than normal monkeys. Taking advantage where nobody was watching, it slyly sneaked to a fallen drunk Miao soldier lying on the ground by the side, its head looking around once to check its surroundings and then after ensuring nobody was watching it, it carefully picked up the wine bag that had fallen beside the soldier.

The smell of the liquor immediately surged up, Xiao Hui breathed in deeply, its three eyes spinned around, making a bewildered expression, evidently it had never encountered such a thing before.

Very carefully it sat on the ground, turning its monkey head around, looked cautiously around once more and then slowly put it into its mouth, drank a mouthful.

After drinking, Xiao Hui placed the wine bag down, its monkey mouth opened and closed, opened and closed! Suddenly looking exulted, it seemed to like this taste very much and could not help but make [zhi zhi] sounds.

It was also at this moment, Ghost Li heard the sounds and turned over, the first look and he saw that even the monkey was also drinking, after the initial shock, the anger was not something trivial. Thinking to himself that things nowadays had really became crazy, whether was it fox or monkey, all had started to drink "alcohol"...

"Xiao Hui, come here!"

Ghost Li loudly called out, Xiao Hui was startled, looked over to Ghost Li, saw its master face was stern, scratched its head and put down the wine bag, ran towards Ghost Li.

After a few steps, it suddenly thought of something and turned its head around again, ran back to that drunkard and grabbed the wine bag with half a bag of wine left and then dragged it back with it.

Ghost Li felt exasperated but then noticed many of the Miao people had also witnessed the monkey's actions and all started laughing loudly. The Miao people were straightforward and outspoken, especially most of the men loved to drink, when they saw that this monkey actually shared their passion, a bond was formed and they felt that with the world in view, their Miao tribe liquor was still the best in the world, if one does not believe, you could see that even a monkey could not help but drink one mouthful...

For a moment, many of the Miao people actually became excited, the crowd took out bananas and fruits, threw it all towards Xiao Hui, clearly showing their fondness towards it, giving it food.

Xiao Hui at the beginning was shocked, the sky had suddenly changed its countenance and innumerable strange objects had started to drop down, it had no way to hide, as such it became enraged, [zhi zhi] shrieked out and made fierce expressions to the Miao people. However, after a while it looked around carefully, the objects were all lovely fruits, how could it not be delighted, immediately it stretched its hand to the ground and picked up a few bananas, and then slowly slipped back to Ghost Li, sat its butt on the ground and ate the banana. And the wine bag that it was holding in its hand, was brought back with it.

Ghost Li watched Xiao Hui, saw it eating happily and at times stuck out its head and put the wine bag into its mouth, drank up a mouthful.

The monkey had took a few mouthfuls of the strong liquor and yet its face did not seemed to look red, apparently it was able to hold its alcohol well. Ghost Li was about to say something but looking back at Xiao Bai who was still leaning on his shoulder and intoxicated, he suddenly sighed, swallowed his words and did not say anything.

Instead Xiao Hui was grinning happily, saw that Ghost Li kept passing glances, it stretched out its monkey hand and took a banana from the ground, and passed it to Ghost Li, seemed like it was quite loyal and wanted to share the good things with Ghost Li. Ghost Li was silent, conflicting expressions shown on his face and finally he slowly shook his head, turned around and did not look at the monkey again.

The monkey shrugged its shoulders, could not understand why its master was not interested in those delicious food and instead happily devoured it, ignoring him. It peered around, scurried out and grabbed a few more bananas back, placed it on the ground in front of it and slowly savoured it.

The complete disarrayed scene was what greeted the Miao tribe leader Tu MaGu when he came down from the altar.

The soldiers who were responsible for guarding the altar were all drunk and sprawled all around, the air was filled with the liquor fragrance; in the distant, crowds of Miao people stood around and watched, loud laughters were heard from time to time; as for the two Central Plains people, the guy was still standing at where he was previously, just that his expression looked uncomfortable while the girl seemed to be drunk, her face was glowingly flushed, leaning entirely on the man but she could still stand, at least this was better than those Miao soldiers who were lying drunk on the ground.

Even the strange three eyed monkey that came along with them, sat at their feet and with every bite of the fruits, it drank one mouthful of the liquor, looked to be in high spirits.

Tu MaGu was not a fool, after a few more looks and again at the wine bags littered on the ground and the Miao onlookers' expressions, he knew these were not any scheme devised by the Central Plains people and instead it was his own men who were useless.

When the tribe leader walked down, someone had already ran forward, spoke quietly in his ear and briefly explained everything.

Looking at those drunken soldiers, Ma TuGu was fuming with anger, thinking to himself that those useless things could actually disregard the sacred task of guarding the altar. And even more abominable was, twenty over men competed against one delicate woman and yet collapsed drunk, if this was spread around, their Miao tribe's reputation would fall into disrepute and mocked behind by the other four tribes in the southern border until their deaths.

He then decided, he had to deal with these useless Miao people after he returned, Ma TuGu forced a smile and pretended to look nonchalantly at the scene, walked towards Ghost Li.

Ghost Li by then had also saw Ma TuGu walking over, his heart thumped once, even though this liquor challenge was not fought using real weapons but the mass of Miao people sprawled drunk on the ground, anyone could tell that the Miao people had been disgraced. When Ma TuGu came down from the mountain, Ghost Li from a distant saw something amiss with his expression, evidently he was very angry.

Although right now he was walking over with a forced smile but how could Ghost Li not discern the unhappiness in his heart. Ghost Li could only lament Xiao Bai in his heart for creating such a mess. When Tu MaGu came near, Ghost Li forced a smile and said, "Sir, I, I this friend of mine, she, she really do not know her etiquettes and so created so much..." Tu MaGu shook his head, said, "You don't have to explain, I already know it all, actually it is all because my men are too useless." Ghost Li kept quiet and then carefully said, "Then is the great shaman willing to see us?" Ma TuGu glanced at him and then looked at Xiao Bai with her eyes half closed, panting slightly and leaning on Ghost Li, laughed wry and said, "You all can go up! The great shaman has agreed to meet both of you." Ghost Li was exulted, hurriedly said, "Thank you Sir."

Tu MaGu said, "I am the Miao tribe leader, you can just call me Tu MaGu."

Ghost Li was stunned, although he could tell that this elder was held in high prestige by the Miao people but he did not expect that he was actually the tribe leader, immediately he nodded and said, "As such I thank you tribe leader." Tu MaGu shook his head, said, "Quickly go up! The great shaman is still waiting for all of you!"

Ghost Li acknowledged and wanted to set off for the altar but was held back by Xiao Bai, looking at her soft-like-boneless body still leaning weakly onto him, if he were to walk off like that, she would have to fall onto the ground. He spoke in a low voice to Xiao Bai, "Xiao Bai, I am going to see the great shaman, stand on your own and wait here for me alright?" Xiao Bai, unclear if she had heard him clearly in her intoxication but upon hearing Ghost Li's voice beside her ear, she did not open her eyes, her face smiled, extremely lovely but she did not speak, only her hand which had grabbed on to his clothes, tightened.

Ghost Li was helpless, besides this was an unfamiliar place and with Xiao Bai in this state, if he were to leave her alone here, inevitably he would feel uneasy. He thought of many ways and he could only sigh, stretched his hands out to support her and walked up the mountain together.

Tu MaGu led the way, Ghost Li supporting Xiao Bai following, Xiao Bai's body was still weak and even her steps were light, most of her weight was on Ghost Li's hand. Ghost Li frowned and felt an inexplicable feeling, suddenly, he seemed to recall something and turned around, indeed Xiao Hui was still there, at the same spot eating its fruits and drinking, making [zhi zhi] laughing sounds from time to time, so happy that it forgot itself.

Ghost Li kicked with his leg, a banana flew up and hit just right at Xiao Hui's head, scaring Xiao Hui, its monkey head turned around violently, using its hand to rub the area where it was hit. Ghost Li angrily said, "Going." Then supporting (carrying?) Xiao Bai and followed Tu MaGu up to the altar.

Xiao Hui scratched its head, stood up and threw down the fruits in its hands (actually it had eaten much of it), at the same time shook that wine bag. That soldier had a strong alcohol tolerance and drank much of the liquor, including that wine bag had fallen onto the ground and much had flowed out. The remaining liquor, after being drunk by the monkey for some time, had reached the bottom. Xiao Hui threw the wine bag on the ground and was about to follow Ghost Li, suddenly it paused and made a hiccup sound, its monkey's face too slowly turned red, looked like the Miao liquor was really extraordinary, right now the alcohol was slowly travelling up to its head. But Xiao Hui was after all a spiritual animal, although its face was gradually turning red but it still behaved as normal and quickly ran over to follow Ghost Li.

Just that while following behind on the way up, the Miao soldiers who were standing guard were now lying on the ground drunk, their wine bags littered the ground. Ghost Li supporting Xiao Bai walked past ahead, Xiao Hui walked and walked, suddenly it stopped and picked up another big wine bag from the ground, it raised its hands to shake it, [gu lu gu lu] a splashing sound was heard, seemed like much still remained, the monkey could not refrain from showing its delight.

With the pleasant surprise, Xiao Hui immediately became happy, picked a wine bag from the right hand side, shook it once or twice; picked up another from the left, shook it again. While it walked on, it keep picking, too bad the monkey only had two hands, dropped one after it picked another, but because of its greediness, it refused to give up any, it placed all of its collection together, a total of seven, eight wine bags but it was unable to bring it along, anxiously it could only make [zhi zhi] shrieks.

It was about to look up and seek help from its master but unexpectedly it got a shock, its master and that Miao elder had already walked far and almost reaching the altar. Xiao Hui [zhi zhi] shrieked, jumped here and there frantically, grabbed its ear and scratched its cheeks, like ants on a hot stove, finally it made a painful decision, grabbed up two wine bags, both hands dragging behind on the ground, ran with all its might up the mountain.

Luckily the wine bags made by Miao people were thick and sturdy, if not, to be dragged by it like that, it would have broke long ago. Looking at the monkey's amusing sight, sounds of laughters from among the Miao crowd onlookers, wafted over from far, reverberated in the Seven Mile Cave.

Xiao Hui rushed along the way and finally caught up to Ghost Li at the entrance of the altar, panting heavily.

Ghost Li gave a sideways glance, the monkey's mouth was opened and its tongue rolling out, panting with loud breaths but its hands were still tightly holding onto the two wine bags, he was stunned and then shook his head, turned his head back.

Tu MaGu made a gesture towards the altar, said, "Follow me!"

Ghost Li nodded and said, "Many thanks."

Tu MaGu smiled and went in first, Ghost Li behind him also followed in. Once entering the altar, the dimness enveloped over, greatly contrasting with the bright sunshine world outside. The great shaman master might had gave some specific instructions as on their way in, Tu MaGu and Ghost Li did not encounter anyone else in the altar. Xiao Bai was deep in her intoxication, Ghost Li's heart was preoccupied and did not observe the surroundings, only Xiao Hui dragging the two big wine bags behind them, hiccuped every once in awhile, its monkey eyes peering curiously around. In the dim altar, on those rock walls, the red colours could be faintly seen, looked to be painted with fresh blood. And at the corner of the rock walls, savage-looking ornaments of ferocious beast bones were frequently seen there. Xiao Hui [zhi zhi] called out twice and seemed uneasy, it quickened its steps and followed Ghost Li closely but its hands which were still holding on to those wine bags, never once let go. Their way in was quite smooth and very quickly they reached the deepest part of the altar, the stone chamber where the great shaman was.

Ghost Li suddenly frowned, even though right now he was feeling quite nervous but he could sense the icy cold energy emitted by the Sinister Orb in his body suddenly stirred, in this stone chamber, there seemed to be a enigmatic unfathomable energy, triggering the Sinister Orb. Tu MaGu turned around and said to Ghost Li, "Here it is, the great shaman is inside, let's go in!"

Ghost Li nodded and followed Tu MaGu in, one glance and they saw the hunched figure back facing them, sitting in front of the fire. Tu MaGu signalled to them to wait and then walked forward, stopped at where he did previously, respectfully said, "Great shaman, they are here."

The great shaman's aged voice was heard speaking unhurriedly, to Ghost Li's ears, it was actually fluent authentic Central Plains language, saying, "Invite them over! Tu MaGu, there is nothing more for you to do here, you can go!"

Tu MaGu acknowledged, turned and spoke to Ghost Li, "Then you all shall have a talk with the great shaman! I will go out first."

Ghost Li nodded and said, "Tribe leader, I really thank you."

Tu MaGu smiled and said, "It was nothing." Speaking, he glanced at Xiao Bai who was in the crook of Ghost Li's arms, mused to himself that there was actually such a girl with such remarkable alcohol tolerance in this world, it was really unbelieveable. While musing, he unhurriedly left.

Until Tu MaGu's figure disappeared, Ghost Li turned over and looked ahead. That hunched figure flickered ceaselessly in the firelight, flickering between the darkness, giving a surreal feeling and full of mystery. He was still hesitating on how to beseech him when the great shaman's voice spoke, "Young man, come over!"

When Ghost Li heard the elderly voice, reverence suddenly rose in his heart, immediately he acknowledged with a word, "Yes." He, while supporting Xiao Bai, slowly walked over, about six chi behind the elder, he paused for a moment and did not continue, stood where he was.

Xiao Hui, dragging the two big wine bags, also followed along, closely trailing Ghost Li's feet, its three eyes unceasingly glancing left and right, assessing the surroundings and lastly it's eyes stopped at that strange Dog deity statue, it could not stop looking at it. "Take a seat!" The great shaman's aged voice quietly said.

Ghost Li obeyed, Xiao Bai by now could not stand and the liquor's full strength had seemed to suffused her, she looked to be very drowsy, leaned against Ghost Li, rubbed her head against Ghost Li's shoulder a few times and then fell into a deep sleep. As for Xiao Hui, it seemed to be also affected by the quiet atmosphere in this stone chamber, it did not dare to even breathe loudly, quietly sat beside Xiao Bai, placed the wine bags beside it, quietly took one and drank a mouthful. Its monkey eyes rovered and looked towards that great shaman.

"You all are looking for me, what is it for?" The great shaman was still facing the fire and did not turn around.

Ghost Li said, "Great shaman, I have a friend, she lost two of her souls and seven mortal forms, leaving only one remnant of her soul, now that it has been a total of ten years, like a dead person. I heard that great shaman you know the Soul Return Unusual Art and would be able to save her. Please great shaman you must, must save her..." At the last words, his voice seemed to quiver. Ten years of agonizing wait, bitter search, as if all at this moment, gushed up to his heart.

The great shaman did not speak and remained silent, the stone chamber seemed to sink into tranquility, only that fire in front of the great shaman, crackled and burned, wavering between darkness and light. After a long while, the great shaman broke the silence and said, "That friend of yours, how did she have this illness?" Ghost Li hesitated for a moment, unhurriedly said, "Ten years ago I with...fought with the enemies, the other party had unfathomable powers and used a celestial sword with mighty power to strike down, I was helpless to block it. She, she disregarded her life, ignited all of her body's blood to fuse with her three souls and seven mortal forms, that then managed to save me but she herself had already became..." His voice choked, paused for a long while and then continued, "But luckily she had a rare treasure 'HeHuan Bell' on her, at the critical moment it hooked one of her souls in, this then let us have a glimmer of hope. Great shaman, I beg you to please save her."

The great shaman's back figure suddenly seemed to age by a degree in the firelight, he slowly said, "The friend that you mentioned, is she from the Evil sect?" Ghost Li got a shock, he was afraid of the Evil sect notoriety and therefore did not dare to specifically mention it, unexpectedly the great shaman after hearing his words, would suddenly bring it up directly. While he was still at a lost, the great shaman's aged voice again said, "She must be a girl! And the incantation that was used, would be the Evil sect secret skill 'Infatuation Curse', right?"

[Translator's note: 'He','She' intonation are the same]

Ghost Li was greatly shocked, surprised and delighted, surprised that this elder in the deep dark altar of the southern border, would actually be an exceptional person that had kept away from the worldly affairs; delighted because the more powerful his ability was, then the hope of saving BiYao would even be bigger. Immediately disregarding everything, he hurriedly nodded, said, "Great shaman is indeed discernible, it is as such. But although the world has vilify the Evil sect but this friend of mine, she really has a heart of gold, I beseech great shaman to use your miraculous hands and bring her back to life, save her this once!"

The great shaman's shoulders, seemed to move slightly, in the burning crackling fire sounds, there seemed to be a soft sigh, that sound was faintly grieved, indistinctly heart-broken.

"The Good and Evil sects of your Central Plains, to me this wildlands barbarian, do not have any special distinctions, you don't have to worry about this."

Ghost Li was exulted, was about to say something but the great shaman continued on to say, "The Soul Return Unusual Art that you said, I indeed know a little. But as to whether can it save your friend, I do not have much confidence..."

Ghost Li's heart trembled, his eyes felt warm, for these ten years, the moment now, finally within the layers of darkness, he saw a weak ray of hope. However, the great shaman still continued on, "But before this, I still have a question, you must first answer me."

Ghost Li nodded hurriedly, said, "Great shaman, please speak."

The great shaman unhurriedly said, "Who was it that told you, the great shaman in the Miao altar, inherited this Soul Return Unusual Art?"

Ghost Li was stunned upon hearing it, involuntarily turned to Xiao Bai. Xiao Bai's soft body had already slipped down from his shoulder, using Ghost Li's thigh as her pillow, with a faint smile on her lips, was sleeping soundly.

Ghost Li was concentrating fully on his talk with the great shaman and hence did not notice her. And looking further ahead, Xiao Hui's face was also florid, the two bags of liquor remnants appeared to have been drunk finished, mouthful by mouthful, by it. Right now it was leaning against Xiao Bai, using Xiao Bai's stomach as pillow, four of its limbs sprayed open, sprawled out on its back on the floor, its stomach rose up and down, fast asleep. Ghost Li turned his head back, looked at the great shaman's figure, for the moment he did not know what to say, shook his head and smiled wry.