Volume 1, Chapter 82 Part 2: Nine Deaths for One Life (02)

Chapter 82 Part 2

Nine Deaths for One Life (02)

Gong Sang Mo looks around, trying to figure out ways to slow down his descend.  Nobody knows what is waiting at the bottom of the cliff, he must not let Yun Qian Yu face the danger all by herself.

He kicks the wall of the cliff in a bid to slow his speed.  Unfortunately, the wall is too slippery and does nothing to slow him down.  And it is not safe to be too close to the walls of the cliff lest a certain part of it juts out.

The cold wind causes his limbs and body parts to turn rigid.  He wants to scream Yun Qian Yu’s name but couldn’t. 

Just when he is starting to panic, a long white ribbon is flung towards him.  A dagger is tied at the end of the ribbon.

Judging from the jasmine embroidered on the ribbon, he knows that it is the ice-silk ribbon that he gave Yun Qian Yu.

His heart leaps in glee.  That smart girl.

He takes the dagger and plunges it into the snow-covered wall.  Then, he pulls one side of the ribbon as hard as he could.  A pale-blue silhouette quickly drifts towards him.

He reaches out to Yun Qian Yu and nestles her safely in his arm.  Then, he kicks the wall and pulls the dagger out and they are rapidly descending again, just narrowly missing a huge jutted part of the wall.

The speed in which they are falling is too fast, none of them gets the chance to even say anything.  Gong Sang Mo simply hugs Yun Qian Yu tight; loving that fool so much.

Yun Qian Yu hugs him back tightly.  She finally understands the things that she never could everytime she stood in front of Yun Tian’s grave.

Why did he choose death in order to be reunited with his beloved?  It’s because his love for her overpowers everything else.  What is the point of living if one can’t be with their loved ones?  Hardship is nothing when it is shared with the person that you love.

Now, Yun Qian Yu finally understands why Yun Tian chose love over life.

The two of them pass through a layer of clouds.  They can finally see the bottom of the cliff now.

Yun Qian Yu does not know what to say.  Just how high is this cliff?  They have been falling for a while now, and the bottom is still so far away.

The fur coats are no help, simply flinging around by the force of the wind.

The winds are getting colder the lower they fall.  Yun Qian Yu suddenly realizes that none of them has used their inner power to help their descend.  She immediately gathers her inner power.

Gong Sang Mo, who has been too distracted by his worry for her to think about anything else, gathers his inner power as well.  He cannot believe he forgot to activate even the most basic form of protection.

The speed of their descend gradually becomes elegantly slower.

Yun Qian Yu looks around.  Whilst she still cannot see the bottom of the cliff clearly, the walls of the cliff are covered in ice, slippery rocks and dead trees.

Going down is easy, one only needs to jump off, but how do they get out?  The surface of the walls is slippery and impossible to climb on.  Even if one miraculously manages to climb up, how long could a person possibly climb for?

Gong Sang Mo naturally understands Yun Qian Yu’s worry.  He hugs her tighter.

Yun Qian Yu buries her face on his neck to avoid the prickling coldness of the wind.

After a while more, Gong Sang Mo signals something to Yun Qian Yu: they are about to touch the bottom.

Yun Qian Yu looks down.  He’s right, the bottom of the cliff is now visible.  Just, what exactly is this place?  The bottom of the cliff is lined with thousands and thousands of stone pillars.  Even from above, the pillars seem to stretch into oblivion.  Maneouvering their way out of the stone maze will be really tricky and energy-consuming.

Yun Qian Yu who is very quick-witted knows that the stone pillars are not something to be taken lightly.  The position in which the pillars are arrayed are inter-connected in a matrix formation.  If you take a couple of steps the positions of the stones will change.  They might have to walk their way to the lunar new year.

Gong Sang Mo has turned solemn.  It is not that he underestimates ‘Nine Deaths for One Life’, it is just that he did not expect to face hurdles the very moment they reach the bottom of the cliff.

No, they must not reach the bottom.  If they are entrapped within the stone maze, it will be hard for them to break through it.

He looks around and spots a tree protruding from the cliff side around 10 metres from them. 

He wraps Yun Qian Yu’s ice silk around his palm, waiting for their chance.

Yun Qian Yu naturally understands his intention and is willing to cooperate.

When they are a couple of metres away from the tree, Gong Sang Mo throws the ice-silk, channeling his inner power into the throw just for good measure.  The ice-silk is wrapped snugly around the tree.

Both of them immediately stops falling as they dangle underneath the tree.

Gong Sang Mo holds Yun Qian Yu tightly in one hand, and the ice silk in another.  Yun Qian Yu, on the other hand, hangs on to him like a koala bear.

It is then that the fatigue and pain catch up to them.

Both of them descend on the tree.  Lucky the tree is strong enough to accommodate their weights, allowing them to sit on the branch side by side.

Gong Sang Mo’s beautiful eyes are not looking at the scenes below.  Instead, he trains his eyes on Yun Qian Yu.

Their hair are messy and their clothes are tattered like beggars’.  Yun Qian Yu’s cotton dress are ripped on certain places.

Their state of haggardness does not stop Gong Sang Mo from hugging Yun Qian Yu tight.  He cradles her head from behind and brings their heads together.  He narrows his phoenix eyes before eagerly planting a kiss on her lips.  Her lips that has been cold from the wind is now being warmed by him.

Yun Qian Yu did not expect that kiss and didn’t really have the time to react to it.

She stiffens for a moment.  Then, understanding his state of emotions, she wraps her arm around his waist and reciprocates.

Gong Sang Mo’s urgent kiss turn soft as he gently pecks her lips.  His warm lips seem to give great effect on Yun Qian Yu.  She feels as though the warmth has spread to her entire body.

She feels as though her energy is completely depleted.  She leans her body against Gong Sang Mo.

Like a man lost in pleasure, Gong Sang Mo continues savouring Yun Qian Yu’s lips.

Desire fills his extremely handsome face.  His obsidian-like phoenix eyes are now watching Yun Qian Yu darkly.

Yun Qian Yu’s eyes are closed and her delicate cheeks are flushed red.  Her originally beautiful face is even more radiant and lustrous right now.

Her normally indifferent front is no longer there.

Gong Sang Mo finally recovers his rationality and lowers his head to look at the beautiful woman that he is embracing. 

“Yu Er, I am so lucky to have met you,” he whispers.

Yun Qian Yu slowly opens her eyes and looks at Gong Sang Mo, who is staring at her in pure and unadulterated love.

She gives him a brilliant smile; meeting him was the best thing that has ever happened to her.

“You little fool, I decided to come down here to cultivate Xue Lian Han Gong.  Why on earth did you follow me?” Gong Sang Mo lovingly pinches her in the nose.

“Because I want to cultivate Zi Yu Xin Jing,” replies Yun Qian Yu smoothly.

The truth is she knows; even if Gong Sang Mo wants to cultivate Xue Lian Han Gong, he could have done it the right and proper way.  Why did he have to kill Long Xiang Luo with his own hands and suffer this sort of punishment from the sect?  It must have been because if Yun Qian Yu does it herself, it might affect her prospect with Su Huai Feng.

Her reply, on the other hand, reminds Gong Sang Mo that Yun Qian Yu is at the ninth level of Zi Yu Xin Jing and is in the brink of mastering it.  Perhaps, this trip can help her as well.

“Let’s compete, Yu Er.  We’ll see who mastered their arts first,” suggests Gong Sang Mo with bright eyes.

“Alright,” replies Yun Qian Yu, a little excited now.

“What is the prize for the winner?” asks Gong Sang Mo, raising his eyebrows.

“What should it be?” replies Yun Qian Yu thoughtfully.

Gong Sang Mo looks around before leaning towards Yun Qian Yu’s ears, whispering something that made her turn scarlet.

He laughs, “That should be it, then!”

She rolls her eyes at him.

Due to their sweet interaction, the trial of ‘Nine Deaths for One Life’ that ought to be tense ends up becoming a lot lighter.

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Yun Qian Yu pats her burning cheeks before pointing at the stone pillars in front of them, “We better figure out the way to break the formation.”

Gong Sang Mo nods, pulling Yun Qian Yu tighter against him so that he could use his body to shield her from the wind as they study the formation below.

They train their eyes on the stone formations.  The stone formations are around 20 meters away from them, just enough distance for them to study the entire formations.

Two hours passed and none of them has any idea how to break it.

Yun Qian Yu leans her head against Gong Sang Mo’s chest as she irritatedly asks, “Who came up with the trial of ‘Nine Deaths for One Life’?”

“The Senior Ancestor who founded the sect,” replies Gong Sang Mo.

“He is really good,” sighs Yun Qian Yu.  The cliff itself is deep enough on it’s own, the fact that he could array these huge stone pillars into a matrix formation at the bottom of the cliff is really outstanding.  The trial is called ‘Nine Deaths for One Life’, it implies that this is only the first of the tests.  If even the first one is already this hard, how hard would the others be?  Yun Qian Yu rarely admire a person.  This Senior Ancestor has now become one of the few that she respects.

She looks at Gong Sang Mo.  Would Gong Sang Mo be as powerful as that Senior Ancestor once he complete Xue Lian Han Gong?  Flowers bloom inside Yun Qian Yu’s heart; this man belongs to her.

“Indeed.  I heard that Senior Ancestor only managed to fully master Xue Lian Han Gong because of an accident.  He spent 10 years to complete the trial site for ‘Nine Deaths for One Life’ after that.  He put it as the worst punishment possible for a promising student.  For so many years, no one could understand his meaning.  By the time Shifu grasped the meaning, the other Senior Brothers are too old to try this.  He sought another disciple, me.  But then, he couldn’t bear to let me come here either.  Had it not been for the trial underneath Tian En Temple’s pagoda, I would never figure it out myself.  That’s one of the reasons why I killed Long Xiang Luo, so that I would have no other choice but to go here.  Once I fully master Xue Lian Han Gong, I will be able to protect you without any worry.”

His words touched her, and at the time, sparks an idea inside her head.

“Sang Mo, since the Senior Ancestor intends to make this the place to master Xue Lian Han Gong, this will not be the only test.”

“Are you saying that these stones are just a brick in the door?” asks Gong Sang Mo.

“Yes, the formation will only serve to send us to the entrance of the trial.”

Both of them looks on.  The formation stretches on forever.  They will need three days to figure out the array of the stones alone.  These stones are only here to serve as a blindfold to their eyes.  The most important thing is to read into the array of the formation.

Both of them can suddenly see a pattern.  Upon closer look, they manage to read the format.  The stone pillars no longer appears to be arranged at random order.

The sun is now high up above their head.  It is already noon.  They are only given three days to complete the trial, it will not bode well for them if they cannot find their way in before the sun sets.

Although they do not know why the Senior Ancestor put on that time limit, they know that it will be very imperative for them to adhere to the time-line.

Both of them study the array of the formation together as the sun slowly moves to the west. 

Yun Qian Yu looks at the sky, panicking a little now.

Gong Sang Mo remains calm as he studies the formation without blinking.

As the sun moves, the shadows of the stones move as well.   His eyes light up, “I got it, Yu Er!”

Yun Qian Yu looks at him, overjoyed.

“Look at the shadows of the stone pillars.  They are forming a pattern, aren’t they?”  he points at the stone pillars in the middle.

Yun Qian Yu look at the direction he is pointing at.  The shadows of the other pillars change according to the position of the sun.  The ones in the middle however, does not change regardless of where the sun is.

“The design is very clever,” praises Yun Qian Yu.

“The question now is, how do we get there?” asks Gong Sang Mo, frowning.

Yun Qian Yu also looks at the distant formation forlornly.

One must know that they are about 20 meters above the pillars, hence, them being able to see the formation clearly.  Once they get into the maze, it will be hard to navigate their way to the middle.

If they use qinggong, they will have to occasionally land on some pillars, and when they do that, the formation will change again and they will be back to zero.

As they are busy mulling over their dilemma, a huge white eagle swoops down from the sky.  It’s wings are gigantic, probably around 4 meters long each.

Their eyes brighten.

They look at each other, nodding before eyeing the eagle in calculation.

The eagle suddenly notices two people sitting on a tree branch.  It locks it’s eyes on them, before flying towards them fiercely.

Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo are delighted.  They didn’t have to even lure it in, it is willingly turning itself in.

They get ready as the eagle approaches. 

When the eagle is close, they jump towards it, hanging onto it’s gigantic talons.  The eagle swerves away, trying to avoid from colliding with the cliff wall. 

The eagle is furious and flies up, trying to shrug off the two hitchhikers.

They hold on tight, refusing to let go no matter what the eagle does.  They look at the center of the formation closely, trying to weight their chances.

When the eagle swerves again, it flies close to the eye of the formation.  They look at each other, knowing that the opportunity is getting close.

“Jump!” yell Gong Sang Mo.

They let go at the same time.  Gong Sang Mo immediately pulls her over to him and hugs her tight.  Nothing can set them apart.

When the eagle realizes that the two people have jumped, it trains it’s eyes on them furiously before giving chase.  It’s fierce eyes are burning in anger.

Gong Sang Mo can sense impending danger.  He turns around and discovers the eagle flying towards them.

They are about to reach the ground.  He hugs Yun Qian Yu tight and shield her tightly below him before lifting one hand towards the eagle.  A pale white lotus appears on his palm, directed towards the eagle.  The eagle screeches and veers away.

While Gong Sang Mo deals with the eagle, Yun Qian Yu keeps her focus on the ground below.

“We are here,” says Yun Qian Yu.

He lets go of her.  They descends towards the eye of the formation while holding hands.

Both of them divide the work, channeling their inner power to the couple of stone pillars surrounding the eye of the formation.  The sound of muffled explosion can be heard beneath them.

They land on the eye, as they look around all vigilant.

It is at this moment that the white eagle regained it’s strength and make it’s way towards them, this time followed by an even larger white eagle.

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Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo’s faces darken.

Since the eagle could not beat Gong Sang Mo, it actually went and seek reinforcement!  Just one look and one would know that the eagles are a pair.  Now, the pair of eagles are hell-bent on attacking them.

Gong Sang Mo does not know what to feel.  He does not wish to hurt these animals gravely, otherwise, the first eagle would have died long ago.

Unfortunately, the eagles does not know that.

As the eagles are getting nearer, Yun Qian Yu looks at the stone pillar that is quaking underneath their feet, hoping that the entrance would be open soon.

Just as the eagles are about to reach them, the ground underneath their feet gives way and Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo disappear from sight.

The two eagles hang around, searching for the two people desperately.  They look at each other and then rush on towards the particular stone pillar, hell-bent on chasing after the two people.

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