HSSB279: Someone who came back from hell
Like Zhang Yao, Ye Zhongzhou and the others who had been captured by Liu Shengfeng back during the Turbid Wave Pavilion incident, these Broad Creed Mountain martial practitioners had evidently also been harmed and tortured.
Their captors had attempted to force them into despair, hatred and rage and, unable to easily extricate themselves from these negative emotions, they would finally lose control of their minds. With devilish intent rapidly being nurtured and born within them and under the influence of the aura of the Nine Underworlds, they would quickly fall to the dark side.
These Decimating Abyss martial practitioners were varied in their cultivation bases, but Yan Zhaoge paid special attention to five of them.
Amidst the breathing of the five, their breaths resembled thunder, the pulsing of their acupoints resembled true divinities, their aura-qis filled with spirituality yet having returned to simplicity-they were clearly all Martial Grandmasters.
The five Martial Grandmasters varied in their cultivation bases as well. Of those, Yan Zhaoge and Xu Fei both recognised one of them, a white-haired old man, as a late Spirit Vessel Martial Grandmaster of Broad Creed Mountain.
However, his eyes were yellowed and they emanated a bloodred light; he had clearly already fallen completely to the dark side.
However, what drew Yan Zhaoge’s and Xu Fei’s attention the most was still the one beside that white-haired old man.
It was the masked man whom they had once clashed with.
The gazes of the other Decimating Abyss Martial Grandmasters were also fixed on Yan Zhaoge, Xu Fei and Ah Hu.
There was only that man, who was completely enveloped in a black robe, who now suddenly raised his head. His gaze burned as he looked at Shi Tie, who was currently battling with Sima Chui overhead.
His entire face was completely concealed by his mask, with only two yellowed eyes visible that emanated a piercing, bloodred light.
Though Shi Tie was busy suppressing the golden tower whilst also clashing with Sima Chui, he could still sense and observe the many things that were happening around him.
The arrival of the group below did not escape his eyes.
Looking at the pupils of that masked martial practitioner which seemed to be blazing at this moment, Shi Tie’s eternally firm, unchanging gaze abruptly flickered.
On the side of the Decimating Abyss, that white-haired old man was looking at Yan Zhaoge’s group.
The other Decimating Abyss martial practitioners were also looking warily at Yan Zhaoge, Xu Fei and Ah Hu.
Seeing Shi Tie, Yan Zhaoge and the others, the faces of the captured Broad Creed Mountain martial practitioners regained their glow.
After glancing at that white-haired old man, Yan Zhaoge’s gaze came to rest on that masked person once more.
Gazing at him, Yan Zhaoge said slowly, “Got a new mask?”
“But it holds no significance at all. Whatever there was to see, I already saw it back in that foreign dimension.”
Yan Zhaoge sighed, “It is senior apprentice-brother Shi, Shi Songtao, isn’t it? While we hoped that you could return safely, we really never thought that it would be in this manner.”
That masked martial practitioner now finally retracted his gaze that had been on Shi Tie, looking indifferently towards Yan Zhaoge.
Yan Zhaoge shook his head, “Do you think that I was bluffing? Even if I had not been certain earlier, the way you looked at eldest apprentice-uncle just now has already made everything clear.”
Looking at the mask on the other party’s face, Xu Fei could not help but reveal a desolate look within his gaze.
Yan Zhaoge said quietly, “If I do not guess wrongly, in not using your original martial arts, it is actually not that you are afraid of us seeing through your identity. It is because you hate Broad Creed Mountain, hate the martial arts that eldest apprentice-uncle passed down to you, therefore purposefully discarding and not using them.”
“Using a mask to hide your face, it is also from not wanting to be recognised, but more from not wanting others to mention that you had once been a Broad Creed Mountain disciple, eldest apprentice-uncle’s son.”
Yan Zhaoge’s tone was complicated, “You hate everything of your past being mentioned; it’s not that you are ashamed of what you have become.”
On hearing his words, the Decimating Abyss martial practitioners here had various different expressions spring up on their faces, clear looks of shock evident within their gazes.
Swivelling his head to look at the one beside him, that white-haired old man also had a rather strange expression on his face, “You…you are Songtao, Shi Tie’s son? That year, didn’t you…”
That masked martial practitioner remained silent, but his gaze that was focused in Yan Zhaoge’s direction clearly held more anger.
Yan Zhaoge sighed, “Since your identity has already been exposed, why do you still continue wearing that mask? Within your heart, it is not that you have no face to meet people ah.”
The black mask finally came off, revealing a face that was familiar whilst also foreign to Yan Zhaoge and the others.
It was a youth who looked to be in his early thirties.
His features bore a great ninety percent resemblance to Shi Tie’s, as if they had been etched out on the same stone.
Xu Fei’s mouth was full of bitterness as his virtually forced out from the gap between his teeth, “Senior, apprentice, brother, Shi!”
This Martial Grandmaster who had nearly assassinated Xu Fei in the Devilish Domain Grand Formation at Clear Concealed Lake was, shockingly, precisely the long-lost son of Shi Tie, the past genius of Broad Creed Mountain’s direct lineage, Shi Songtao!
Shocking Sima Chui into retreat with a single fist, Shi Tie’s gaze fell on Shi Songtao, not shifting away in a long time.
Having removed his mask, Shi Songtao no longer cared that his voice would be recognised, as he finally opened his mouth and spoke, “Long time no see, how’ve you been. I’m back from hell.”
Those simple words of greeting instead caused chills to run down their bodies.
The venomous resentment and coldness contained within that mild tone seemed to cut right into their bones.
Xu Fei asked with great difficulty, “Senior apprentice-brother Shi, have you been in the Decimating Abyss all these years? Was it them who saved you that year?”
Shi Songtao nodded mildly, “Otherwise, would it be you lot?”
He raised his head to look at Shi Tie on the tall golden tower, “Would it be him?”
Standing on the air, Shi Tie resembled a statue of stone as he remained completely unmoving.
“Junior apprentice-brother Xu, what do you want to say? Do you want to say that your Master, my father, had his own difficulties, and had no choice but to do what he did?” Shi Songtao’s tone was indifferent to the point that everyone was pervaded by a bone-deep chill, “Difficulties; everyone has those. However, this doesn’t mean that others would be able to understand them, to accept them.”
Shi Songtao raised his head to look at Shi Tie, “He chose to safeguard Broad Creed Mountain’s interests, choosing to take care of the many, whilst sacrificing me in the process.”
“Sacrifice me; he just sacrificed me.”
Shi Songtao said mildly, “But if it were just that, I would actually not hate him. As the one who gave birth to me, I could just take it as returning this life of mine to him.”
“However, the ones who were sacrificed, was not just me!”
Shi Songtao’s tone finally fluctuated, bloodred light shooting out from his yellowed pupils as there seemed to be flames blazing within, “My wife, my son, were also sacrificed!”
“Yuzhen, my wife. She was not a Broad Creed Mountain disciple, but just because she married me, just because she was the daughter-in-law of Shi Tie, she had to become a sacrifice for Broad Creed Mountain as well?”
“Jun’er, he was just three that year, just an ignorant child-he also had to lose his life because of this?”
Shi Songtao stared at Shi Tie, “There are some questions that I have always wanted to ask you.”
“If those who had encountered danger were other Broad Creed Mountain disciples, and you could safeguard the clan’s interests whilst also saving us, which side would you choose?”
“If two sides met danger, and one side consisted of other Broad Creed Mountain disciples, while the other consisted of our family of three, which side would you choose?”
Shi Tie’s face was expressionless like a statue, but his low, heavy voice reverberated within the air, “This has nothing to do with who it is.”
Hearing his words, Shi Songtao chuckled, “Indeed an answer befitting of you.”
“In your heart, the group is more important than the individual; the greater number is more important than the smaller number. Responsibilities towards the clan preside over individual feelings.”
As he said thus, Shi Songtao suddenly strode out, “Then, why don’t you try making another choice right now.”