HSSB272: The voice beside his ears
Looking at the tightly shut stone door, Xu Fei fell into deep thought.
Generally speaking, when martial practitioners entered secluded cultivation, others were strictly forbidden from disturbing them, intruding into their seclusion grounds. In some situations, a death enmity could even be established.
Within the same clan, when a martial practitioner was in secluded cultivation, even if it was the clan’s seniors, they would generally only enter having been given prior permission.
Otherwise, except for the most serious of situations, one would not lightly intrude into the seclusion grounds of others.
This was not just a matter of manners. When martial practitioners were cultivating, sometimes, a tiny bit of disturbance could cause all their earlier work to be for naught, even being heavily injured as a result.
Suddenly being disturbed by others in the most critical moment of their cultivation, the results would be disastrous beyond imagination.
This was why in entering secluded cultivation for a long time, most people would invite others to stand guard for them, or establish a powerful formation to guard over them.
As a direct disciple of Broad Creed Mountain, while Lu Wen’s seclusion ground had no guards, the clan had long since set up a guardian formation here.
The stone chamber that Lu Wen was in now was not Lu Wen’s original dwelling, but one of many seclusion grounds that Broad Creed Mountain had specially prepared for its top disciples.
In entering secluded cultivation before, Xu Fei had also done so in a similar place.
However, looking at the stone chamber in which Lu Wen was currently located, Xu Fei just had some sort of an uneasy feeling.
After relinquishing the position of Suzhou City’s Acting Elder and returning to the clan, he had received a new assignment, not at the Disciplinary Hall that his Master Shi Tie controlled, but at the Martial Inheritance Hall that Yan Di had been at.
Xu Fei was currently a subordinate of the Martial Inheritance Hall, its youngest Principal Elder.
Allocating and managing the stone chambers of seclusion of the clan’s disciples was a responsibility of the Martial Inheritance Hall.
Xu Fei had the ability to open Lu Wen’s stone chamber on his own, with this solely being out of consideration for the latter’s safety.
Once, there had been a martial practitioner who had undergone cultivation deviation in the midst of secluded cultivation, suffering a heavy backlash and dying from grave injuries within the enclosed chamber, not discovered till a long time after.
Therefore, in order to prevent similar such situations from occurring, the Martial Inheritance Hall had specifically made some arrangements.
However, this was only in the rarest of situations. If it wasn’t necessary, Elders of the Martial Inheritance Hall would not intrude into where others were undergoing secluded cultivation.
After considering for a moment, while he still felt it to be a little inappropriate, Xu Fei still reached out and pressed his hand on the door of the stone chamber.
After a while, the great stone door swung open, and Xu Fei entered carefully within.
Passing through the corridor, Xu Fei came to the innermost part of the chamber, seeing a man currently seated there in the meditative position.
This man’s beard was filled with stubble, his face having been enveloped by his long hair, resembling a barbarian.
Whoever looked at him, on first glance, they would also be unable to easily link it to the graceful Lu Wen of the past.
However, Xu Fei still recognised Lu Wen instantly. Still, what caused him to take more note was the fact that Lu Wen’s body was currently clearly trembling as it seemed like he was shivering.
Xu Fei was unable to feel Lu Wen circulating his qi at this moment. The trembling of his body seemed not to be from cultivating, but from intense emotions.
“Something’s wrong!” Xu Fei’s heart sunk abruptly as he hurriedly neared Lu Wen.
Xu Fei did not conceal his approach, but Lu Wen seemed not to see him, just sitting there, his body trembling uncontrollably.
Carefully observing his face, Xu Fei was shocked to discover that Lu Wen’s eyes were currently shut tight, his face pale and full of sweat, as though he was suffering from a great sickness.
Xu Fei called out in a low tone, “Junior apprentice-brother Lu!”
Lu Wen seemed to abruptly awaken as he finally opened his eyes, but as he looked ahead of him, his eyes appeared unfocused.
Carefully observing his pupils, Xu Fei clearly saw a faint bloodred light flickering within.
Accompanied by Lu Wen opening his eyes, from him emanated a faint air from which Xu Fei could truly feel resentment and unwillingness.
It was clearly the emotions of a human, yet gave off a tangible feeling at this moment.
Xu Fei’s expression turned grave.
Through the interrogation of those who had been bewitched by the Decimating Abyss and plagued by devilish intent, Broad Creed Mountain and Xu Fei by extension now had a general understanding of some things.
Falling to the dark side occurred in phases.
Evil intent, stubborn intent, venomous intent, longing intent-these were possessed by most people, or it could even be said by everyone. It was just that most people could control those, rather than letting these negative thoughts take control of themselves.
However, when any one of these intents were stimulated by the Nine Underworlds, breaking past a certain threshold, they would transform into devilish intent.
The devilish intent would grow stronger and stronger, accumulating as it was hard to turn back, finally resonating with the devilish qi of the outside world, turning from illusory inside to real outside as one truly fell to the dark side.
The characteristics of fallen practitioners were very obvious. Their eyes became yellowed, radiating an evident bloodred light.
However, before truly falling to the dark side, those who bore devilish intent would appear no different from ordinary people on the outside.
There was only one exception. It was when one’s intents broke past the threshold, transforming into devilish intent. At that moment, some characteristics could also be visibly seen.
These characteristics, were like how Lu Wen was at this moment!
At this moment, Lu Wen was shockingly at the point where the stubbornness within his heart was on the verge of transforming into devilish intent!
Although Xu Fei was right before him, Lu Wen’s eyes were unfocused, as though he couldn’t see Xu Fei at all.
He muttered indistinctly in a low voice, “Yan…Zhao…ge! Yan…Zhao…ge! Yan…Zhao…ge…”
Seeing this, Xu Fei sighed inwardly, but did not dare to hesitate at all as he extended his hands, forcefully slamming them on Lu Wen’s shoulders!
“Junior apprentice-brother Lu!”
Lu Wen didn’t react, as though bewitched by the devil.
Xu Fei asked in a deep tone, “Junior apprentice-brother Lu, do you cultivate just to be more powerful than junior apprentice-brother Yan?”
Hearing these words, Lu Wen’s entire body shuddered intensely as he ceased his mutterings, but his eyes still remained lifeless.
Xu Fei asked, “In having entered the clan and painstakingly cultivated for so many years, what exactly was it for? For what was it that you picked up martial arts in the first place?”
Lu Wen’s expression changed.
His face revealed a painful struggle at times and a crazed resolve at others, the two flickering intermittently.
Xu Fei lightened his tone, “Junior apprentice-brother Lu, think about it carefully. What exactly do you want; what exactly was it for that you have reached where you are today?”
Lu Wen’s body gradually ceased to tremble, the bloodred light within his eyes also gradually fading.
On seeing this, Xu Fei finally let out a breath of relief.
After a while, Lu Wen’s eyes finally regained their focus, as he said hoarsely while looking at Xu Fei, “Senior apprentice-brother Xu…”
Xu Fei said, “Stabilise your heart.”
Lu Wen nodded slowly, closing his eyes once more. His face was full of weakness, pale as paper, beads of sweat trickling down like rain, but his body was no longer trembling, his expression also having turned calm.
Xu Fei looked at him, “Junior apprentice-brother Lu, I know that you have only just stabilised your emotions, and may not be willing to think back on some things, but this matter concerns the foundation of our clan, and cannot be delayed. There are some things that I have to get to the bottom of as soon as possible.”
“Earlier, was it that someone came into contact with you, stimulating the stubbornness within your heart, causing it to become heavier and heavier, even to the point of connecting with the Nine Underworlds?”
Opening his eyes, Lu Wen slowly nodded, “Someone indeed spoke softly by my ear. Accompanied by his voice, there seemed to be a voice reverberating unceasingly within my heart, growing stronger and stronger, till it completely consumed my entire mind.”