Chapter 254: Mechanism
“If my guess isn't wrong, the thirty-six luminous pearls above us form an ancient formation whose chi movement fills the entire room. If we wantonly destroy any part of this stone room, we'd trigger its explosion and blow ourselves to bits,” Ye Chen warned softly. “So, we have to find out where the mechanism is.”
When Tantai Ling heard this, she looked up at the thirty-six luminous pearls above her. Only then did she realize its subtle shape. The study of formations was widespread in ancient times but was slowly lost over time. Even the Oracle Sect, which was known to master formations, only had a superficial understanding. To think that Ye Chen was this knowledgeable, Tantai Ling shot Ye Chen a surprised look. He had gained her regard once again.
“Within this stone room, the mechanism is well concealed. How do we find out where it is?” Tantai Ling asked.
Ye Chen frowned in deep thought. His gaze fell upon the candle holder, which was firmly planted into the stone table. It could not be budged, which was rather odd. Suddenly, his eyes lit up. That was it – light!
Ye Chen picked up the chunks of candles on the stone table and examined them. These candles had decayed to the point of losing their function. He searched through the armguard's s.p.a.ce and found a few candles amid a pile of junk. At this moment, Ye Chen had to thank his father and his granduncle. Before he left the valley, they had prepared many things for him including various living essentials. One of these was the candles.
Ye Chen inserted three candles onto the candle holder and then lit them up. He observed that the mingling flames cast streaks of light into every corner of the stone room.
“This won't do.” Ye Chen shook his head. The candlelight was too messy. “It looks like we must lit them one by one!”
Tantai Ling watched as Ye Chen busied himself, her eyes quiet as still water, flashing with surprise and curiosity at last. This youth before her was steadfast and strong. Although he appeared young, his deep eyes contained wisdom that belied his age.
First, Ye Chen lit one candle. The light beams shone out.
There were six beams of light, illuminating over eighty percent of the slabs in the stone room.
“This must be the chi flow of the formation. If we trigger this flow, the formation would explode,” Ye Chen said. Soon, he extinguished the candle and lit up another, then the third.
In this manner, the position of the mechanism was close to being revealed. Tantai Ling looked around and said, “There are three slabs in total that weren't lit up by the beams of light.”
“The mechanism must be behind these three slabs.” Ye Chen walked to one of the slabs and tried to move it by pressing it in.
This slab was able to move back slightly, creaking loudly.
Ye Chen became nervous. If his conjecture was erroneous and he activated the formation above, they were done for. After a while, the formation at the top of the room remained silent. Ye Chen sighed in relief, then walked toward the second slab.
Ye Chen pushed in all three slabs. There was a thundering “rumble” and the entire stone room quaked violently.
“What's going on?” Ye Chen's heart leaped into his throat. He suddenly noticed the slabs were rapidly sinking in the wall at the front of the room, revealing an entrance where a long staircase snaked downward.
The chilly stench of decay drifted from below. This force had suppressed Ye Chen's Astral Body and he had to forcefully mobilize his Astral Body to withstand the corrosion of this energy.
“This must be it,” Tantai Ling said as her face slightly paled. She had not fully removed the dark energy from her body. Although her strength was partially recovered, she was still in an injured state.
“Should we head down only after you've recovered?” Ye Chen looked toward Tantai Ling. After all, Tantai Ling was too frail for now.
“Even though that Peerless Power is no more than a corpse, his corpse isn't something ordinary people can touch.” Tantai Ling nodded slowly. The white gauze glowed blindingly and wrapped around her body, resisting the onslaught of that energy.
Tantai Ling sat upright with wisps of light circling her.
Ye Chen sat crossed-legged at a considerable distance from Tantai Ling with his back to her. He was unwilling to let anyone observe his current emotions. With his head lowered, he recalled Little Tanuki's voice and expressions, slowly overlaying it with her appearance after her transformation and her mild, sweet smile. In moments of silence, Ye Chen could not stop himself from remembering all these.
Little Tanuki was dead. Each time he thought of this, Ye Chen felt as if his heart was chewed upon by ten thousand ants. This anguish had made him feel like bursting out in tears.
There was Little Wingsy as well. Although the time he had spent with Little Wingsy was shorter, Ye Chen had considered Little Wingsy as his own little brother long ago.
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Ye Chen should not have come underground in the first place!
Ye Chen turned back and said nothing else.
Tantai Ling suddenly felt that certain matters that had gnawed at her were now transforming. It turned out that one did not need to have a reason for anything.
“Perhaps one day, you'll discover that the so-called affection of the human world is nothing more than a pa.s.sing blink compared to the boundless path of martial arts. The unfurling years would ultimately erase all traces of emotions. Being emotionless is the pure Martial Truth.” Tantai Ling combed her somewhat messy hair back with her dainty fingers. Her n.o.ble complexion looked like a flawless jade sculpture. The calm expression on her face betrayed no trace of emotions. Her beauty was out of this world and the words she said had an air of worldliness.
“Anyone who said this would not possibly understand. True affection would not be erased by time. Still, one day, you'll understand.” Little Tanuki's image rose in Ye Chen's mind. He understood that no matter how much time pa.s.sed for him, he would not possibly forget Little Tanuki.
Tantai Ling did not reply.
Neither of them spoke for a long time and the stone room was silent.
After an hour, Tantai Ling finally had somewhat recovered. She stood up and looked toward Ye Chen. “Let's go.” Tantai Ling who stood up once more now exuded a force that was distinct from before. A seven-colored halo circled her body as she headed toward the stairs.
Even if Tantai Ling had not returned to her peak, she was nearly there.
Ye Chen stood up and followed behind Tantai Ling. The Celestial Chi within his body had undergone a subtle transformation after experiencing all these unusual stimulations. It had advanced further, getting closer to Heavenly Venerable Rank. Moreover, the Celestial Chi within his body was more frenzied than before, causing Ye Chen to feel somewhat agitated.
Ye Chen knew that what had happened to Little Tanuki and Little Wingsy had affected his moral compa.s.s. Now, he was faced with two options. One was to forget what had happened to Little Tanuki and Little Tanuki and re-stabilized his moral compa.s.s. The other was a self-destructive path, which might result in him turning demonic.
However, forgetting Little Tanuki and Little Wingsy was impossible.
Ye Chen did not know what the consequences would be, but no matter what they were, he must bear them!
As he trailed behind Tantai Ling, Ye Chen's left hand gripped the h.e.l.l Rupture Sword and his right hand materialized the Celestial Chi Flying Dagger. He did not know what would be waiting for them below this ancient tomb.
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