A pair of feet wearily trudged on the dried, cracked and dusky yellow ground. A few clouds of dust rose along with his movements, and it felt as if even the dust itself did not have the slightly bit of energy.
Lin Dong raised his head and stared numbly at the unending barren land around him. His originally keen and acute gaze unexpectedly turned somewhat blank at this point in time.
He had already been travelling for a month…
After a month, all he saw was the same unending barren land. A dark and gloomy yellow seemed to bob up and down as it continuously reflected in his pupils. It seemed that even the colour of his pupils was being changed due to this endless barren land.
After walking for a month, Lin Dong’s skin had already turned withered and tinged with yellow. His black hair had also dried up and turned yellow. If one were to see him from far, he would look just like a terminally ill person.
Lin Dong licked his dry, rough and pale lips, before stretching out his hands. His originally slender hands had turned abnormally rough. Soon after, he slowly clenched his fists. The abundant and vigorous they once held had already faded away…
This barren land was absorbing his energy.
Lin Dong could feel that as he was travelling across this domain, his energy was slowly fading bit by bit. He had previously attempted to quietly sit down in order to defend himself against this erosion. However, it was of no avail. Lin Dong knew that once his energy had completely dissipated, he would have failed the trial. As for the Great Desolation Mysterious Scripture, that was simply out of the question…
“As expected, this is not simple at all.”
Lin Dong murmured to himself while bitterly laughing. He looked down at a stalk of withered grass below his feet, which still had a withered flower attached to it. Bending down to pick it up, he touched it with his finger, causing the flower to transform into dust and scatter away with the wind.
“However…it would be too embarrassing to give up now…”
A somewhat ugly arc appeared from the corners of Lin Dong’s mouth. After a while he spat out a mouthful of air before dragging his seemingly lead filled-feet as he continued his slow walk forward.
As Lin Dong continued to trudge on, at another spot in this endless barren land, stood a muscular and sturdy figure. Swaying to and fro, he finally collapsed powerlessly with a loud thud. His entire body had withered, however, no fresh blood flowed out. Specks of light emerged from within his body as his body continued to disappear.
As the specks of light started to rise from between his eyes, an unwilling and deeply tired expression filled Jiang Hao’s cracked face.
On the surrounding ground were a few cracks. Obviously, these cracks were forcefully created by him. However, in this strange place, it was obvious that using force alone was not going to solve the problem.
Jiang Hao muttered to himself as his vision started to turn blurry. After a while, his body finally turned completely into specks of light and disappeared from this boundless barren land.
Following his disappearance, the land turned even more deathly still, as a dark and gloomy atmosphere filled the area, as if the land had died.
One month within the Great Desolate Tablet was equivalent to one month outside.
Although one month had past, the skies and forests surrounding the Great Desolate Tablet were still filled with a large crowd of people. This crowd apparently did not disperse even as time passed. On the contrary, as time continued to pass, even more senior direct disciples arrived after hearing the news. Currently, the entire spectacle was quite majestic and vast.
At this moment, every pair of eyes from the surrounding mountains and forests were locked onto the five glowing pillars of light in front of the Great Desolate Tablet. Within the five pillars of light sat five cross-legged figures. They were as still as monks in meditation.
Hovering in the sky, Chen Zhen, Wu Dao and the rest all had solemn expressions. During the past one month, they did not move as well and continued to observe the five as well as the Great Desolate Tablet.
A faint buzzing noise suddenly rang out within the quiet mountain range. Immediately, everyone’s attention turned to focus on one of the light pillars in front of the Great Desolate Tablet.
The pillar of light gradually dimmed…
“Jiang Hao has failed…” said Ying Xiaoxiao in a low voice, while quietly clenching her slim and tender lily-white hands after seeing this scene.
Upon hearing her words, there were a slight change in Ying Huanhuan and Qing Ye’s expressions. Only at this moment, did they finally realize the dreadfulness of the Great Desolate Tablet.
Under the attentive gazes of countless people, the pillar of light started to rapidly weaken before completely dissipating with a cracking sound. After losing the light pillar, Jiang Hao’s body fell, back facing the ground, his face as white as sheet.
Chen Zhen gave a soft sigh before waving of his sleeve. A gentle wave of energy descended down towards Jiang Hao and supported him, before some Desolate Hall disciples rapidly came forward to help him.
“They were able to endure for one month. That is already quite decent…”said Wu Dao after remaining silent for a while.
Chen Zhen laughed bitterly, before nodding his head and saying softly, “Let’s wait and see…”
As they were talking, Chen Zhen’s eyes could not help but shoot a worried look at Lin Dong’s body. With his shrewd and ruthless eyesight, he could tell that Lin Dong was not in good shape. However, at this moment, there was no way for anyone to help him. Within the Great Desolate Tablet, one could only rely on oneself…
Under the anticipation of innumerable people, time continued to pass quietly. Unknowingly, another half a month had passed.
During this half month, Chen Zhen, Wu Dao and the rest’s expression had grown increasingly tense. From time to time, their actions revealed some impatience. It was obvious that their hearts were not tranquil and calm. That was because, Fang Yun and Song Zhou had also failed after Jiang Hao…
Furthermore, most importantly, Pang Tong’s light pillar, the disciple with the most experience in Desolate Hall, had started to dim. It was obvious that he was about to fail too.
Within a short half a month, four out of the five senior direct disciples in Desolate Hall had already failed miserably!
The pillar of light around Pang Tong’s body finally dissipated completely. A disciple was already prepared as he immediately rushed over and carefully supported his body. Looking at Pang Tong’s deathly pale face, feelings of dread inevitably surfaced within his heart. The Great Desolate Tablet was truly dreadful… even the most talented Desolate Hall direct disciples had failed one after another…
After Pang Tong was carried away, the originally peaceful and quiet atmosphere started to turn sad and depressive. It felt as if the air had solidified.
“Only Lin Dong is left…” said Ying Xiaoxiao with a soft sigh.
Ying Huanhuan gently nodded her head as she bit her red lips. Her fine and slender hands were already twisted together, causing a dark green colour to appear on her originally semi transparent jade-like skin.
Two figures were standing at a mountain peak some distance away from the Great Desolate Tablet. Both of their gazes shot through space and looked at the area where the vast crowd were waiting.
“Lin Dong doesn’t seem to be in good shape…” said the blue-robed old man who was standing beside Ying Xuanzi.
“He might be able to endure five more days.”
Ying Xuanzi said with a soft voice before giving a helpless sigh. Were they all going to fall again this time?
After five days, it was still the same…
On the fifth day, when the scorching sun was rising towards the centre of the sky, a pale white colour suddenly appeared on Chen Zhen, Wu Dao and the rest’s faces, while an uproar started to rapidly spread across the vast crowd.
This was because the pillar of light enveloping Lin Dong had started to dim. From their previous experience, this was clearly an omen of impending failure.
Ying Huanhuan’s jade-like hands started to clench tightly, before she tightly gripped Ying Xiaoxiao’s wrists and her big eyes started to turn red. Although she was extremely confident in that fellow’s resilience, she knew that this setback was not something that Lin Dong could easily disregard. She could already imagine his forced smile in the near future…
Ying Xiaoxiao looked at the young lady beside her, who could not bear to see Lin Dong fail, before she sighed and shook her head. This matter… perhaps this was how it would end…
Under the regretful gazes of innumerable people, Lin Dong’s pillar of light slowly started to grow dimmer.
As an uproar was stirred in the outside world due to the weakening of the pillar of light. Lin Dong’s body finally collapsed heavily onto the ground in the endless barren land. A painful sensation spread across his entire body.
Right now, Lin Dong’s skin was thoroughly cracked and he looked extremely hideous. Furthermore, the energy within his body had disappeared completely. There were even specks of light floating out of his body from time to time.
Lin Dong’s mouth was shaking as he fuzzily stared at a stalk of withered grass in front of him. He knew that he was already at the end of his limits and did not have the energy to continue walking forward.
He stared at that stalk of withered grass for a while, before reaching out with his hand and inserting it into the withered and yellow ground. He proceeded to grab the whole withered plant including its roots.
When the withered plant left the ground, lin Dong stared at the roots that were hidden beneath the surface. Reaching his finger out to touch it, the entire plant and even its roots completely turned to dust and floated away.
The dust floated and scattered in front of Lin Dong’s face. His face turned gloomy with uncertainty as he stayed in this way for close to half an hour. The only thing he heard was his hoarse voice which rang across the silent domain.
“The Desolate Spirit shouldn’t be like this…”
Lin Dong slowly raised his head and looked towards the grey and dusky sky. From its colour, it was as if even the sky had died. Looking once again at this piece of land, although there were withered grass around, all of them were dead…
However, desolation was not like this. After desolation, life would stay hidden, waiting for the time to bloom. After desolation, there would also be an abundance of life…
However in this land, even the sky and earth were dead.
Lin Dong lowered his head and suddenly extended his hands to dig the ground in front of him, causing dried dust and sand to fly into the air. Although he had hardly any strength left, by relying on sheer willpower, he was able to brandish his palms mechanically.
Another lump of dull yellow dust was clawed up from the ground by Lin Dong. The dust scattered before his eyes. Yet, in that moment, his pupils had shrunk into the size of a needle as he scanned the dust. Within the dust, he had seen a floating black dot…
This black dot gave him the same feeling as the black dot on the surface of the tablet. It felt mysterious and sinister and seemed capable of swallowing all life from the heavens and earth…
Without even blinking, Lin Dong’s gaze followed the black dot as it fell to the ground before disappearing. Immediately following its disappearance, Lin Dong turned as still as a statue, and he did not even move a single inch.
Specks of light started to scatter from within Lin Dong’s body. Half of his body had already turned to light and scattered away. However, as his body was scattering, a fierce glint suddenly reappeared in his blank and dead eyes.
Taking in a deep breath of air, Lin Dong lifted his head and stared at the endless stretch of land. Although there was no one here, an extremely earnest expression appeared on his face. Soon after, a youthful voice consisting of a single chain of words started to ring out.
“Return my strength to me… Great Desolate Tablet… you are sick, you must be treated…”