The deafening sweep of the third breath spelled the gruesome fate glistening above the head of the Xiao Clan’s drunken and hedonistic youngster.
An invisible toll of death and liberation seemed to have swept across the alarmed streets of the Peaceful Road.
The invisible fluctuation enveloped all wakening existences, returning them to a deep sleep to pass the night unhindered.
As for the youngster…
Pained shriek after blood curdling cry tore their path from his throat to flee into the atmosphere, scarlet trails of liquid seeping from every pore of his body.
The youngster rolled on the ground as he gasped for breath, his hands clinging and wrenching at various parts of his body in agony.
His delicately trimmed and maintained nails transformed into brutal torture weapons as they pierced through flesh and bone to scoop the mutilated substance and sacrifice it onto the ground, and the pupils of his eyes melted into murky seas of boiling fluid.
A small pool of blood enriched and besotted the ground on which he lay, the cobbled stones singing their jubilation towards their heavenly blessing.
The youngster attempted to crawl away from his predicament, whilst his nails continued their torment on his body.
Though they ruptured his liver and extinguished his left kidney, the youngster appeared to not have registered the pain, instead ramming his forehead onto the ground of the Peaceful Road as though to obtain salvation.
The young girl remained unmoving as she observed the flailing body before her in silence, the pair of scarlet irises flickering with interest.
“…help… help me…” the youngster cried in a weakening voice, his crossed body gorging a path of blood and spoilt spiritual essence.
He had, in his current agonizing and crippled condition, traveled a rather astonishing distance of thirteen meters.
All the while, the youngster’s nails, limbs, and every weapon he possessed continued their duty of eviscerating his body to an astonishing degree, scooping, extracting, then sacrificing it to the ground for a sliver of penance.
It seemed he found a brief enjoyment and solace from harming his body, and the river of blood roiled in his suffering.
The metallic odor ravaged the solemn atmosphere of the Peaceful Road with a tinge of bloodlust and rage, but none of the residents aroused their consciousness to confront the anomaly.
The young girl’s eyes were akin to indomitable sentinels as they followed each movement of the youngster, electing to remain in position to obtain an overview of his circumstances.
An Fei lightly blinked her eyelashes, a hint of unease quickly concealed underneath the malignant shine of moonlight.
All she had done was inject spiritual essence into his body, which should merely have blown him backwards, or if the diagram manifested within his body – explode his physique into smithereens.
She had not expected such a rather brutal… and coldly satisfying scene to occur.
…was the spiritual essence from the Sanctum that lethal to practitioners of the Shattered Star Continent?
If that were the case, had someone dared to infuse their spiritual essence into her body, wouldn’t she suffer the same fate?
Drag her body as that of a measly caterpillar, scooping her internal organs as penance to the earth as she sought a twisted and depraved pleasure derived from the penultimate manifestation of pain?
Then… she would have to watch out for herse-
“Ahh… ah – argh! H-h-HELP! HELP!”
As An Fei suddenly found herself lost in her thoughts, the youngster appeared to have tapped into an unknown reserve of vitality and strength.
Ignoring the ravaging and harvesting conducted on his own body, the youngster gathered his vitality into a single breath, pain cries streaming from his half-removed lips and larynx.
The originally quiet scream quickly rose in volume and intensity, and permeated the entire Peaceful Road as though it had been enhanced with spiritual essence.
The solemn and respectful atmosphere of the streets finally collapsed into a dismal chaos, and the trembling sound and sensation of encroaching footsteps could be heard soon after.
The footsteps appeared to be hurried and full of righteous gusto, and belonged to many, many people.
An Fei noticed that the cobbled stone ground visibly shook with each powerful step that rang across the Peaceful Road, and a few alarmed shouts pierced through the night sky.
The coldhearted and sadistic moon observed on, casually dispersing its silver rays onto various portions of the street, even highlighting the plight of the youngster of the Xiao Clan for several moments.
The stars dared not chastise their unruly neighbor, still unable to overcome their shock at the unexpected circumstance –
A powerful cry approached from the entrance of the Peaceful Road the filtered into the rest of Bone Spirit Town’s streets, and the slamming of metal onto stone crashed throughout the entire area.
An Fei narrowed her eyes as an entire platoon of thirty men in armor, three elderly scholars in dark robes, and a young lady in a pure white dress raced into the road of the jianghu.
They were headed in the direction of which the remnants of the youngster lay.
The target in question seized on his final, diminishing hope, his mangled and boiled eyes landing onto an obscure figure dressed in a pure white dress and bathed in a dense sheen of moonlight.
“Elder… sister…” the youngster croaked, blood seeping from the holes torn in his lungs, larynx, and his cheeks.
The young lady’s eyes stretched to their limits upon recognizing the collapsed youngster’s identity, and she rushed towards the broken figure whilst ignoring the elders’ startled calls.
No more than three steps taken, and the youngster’s hand slammed onto the ground of cobbled stone.
The young lady in the white dressed screamed in shock, her hands reaching towards the youngster’s outstretched arm.
She rushed towards his figure, her numb legs forcing her to crawl the later half of the distance when her eyes glanced upon the trail of blood and suffering he had experienced.
“Young Miss, what happened… to the Young Master…?”
One of the elders carefully approached the grieving young lady in the white dress, his countenance overcast by a shade of depression and mourning.
Just as he took a step forward to lay a consoling hand on her shoulder, the old man’s expression abruptly changed and he couldn’t help but muster all of the spiritual essence stored within his frail body.
“Young Miss!” the elders howled.
“You must come back immediately!”
“Ah?” the young lady gaped, her tearstained countenance blinking sorrowfully towards the three agonized elders behind her.
The slivers of spiritual essence finally breached into the youngster’s dantian, only to discover a hidden cache of malignant spiritual residue swirling within the depths.
With a frenzied roar, the purple-colored spiritual essence of the Sanctum raged forth, a tsunami of divine intent and immortal strength demolishing the roots of spiritual essence of the youngster without leaving a single trace.
And once its supporting structures had collapsed, the walls of the dantian began to contract upon itself, just as the numerous unrestricted reservoirs had done so earlier…
Black veins tore through the youngster’s body, ripping and catalyzing the flesh, blood, and bone into a grey mineral powder.
Not only that, the instant the veins ripped into the cranial regions, the entire body vanished into a flowing stream of stars as a fierce explosion of light erupted in the Peaceful Road!
The three elders gasped as they clutched their fiercely beating hearts, worrying that it may tear through their ribcage to seek liberation.
Swallowing their fear, the three old men rushed forth to yank the young lady back to safety the moment the explosion tore through the atmosphere.
A cloud of dust and rabid smoke enveloped the area in which the youngster once lay, and only settled after a few moments. The streets regained a collective sigh of relief, before a tensed atmosphere quickly usurped its former ally.
“This…” one of the elderly men gasped in shock, his countenance darkening with an ugly shade.
The youngster’s body had completely vanished, as well as the trail of blood, half-mutilated and ravaged internal organs, as well as the clothes on his body; everything had been replaced by a large depression in the ground that tore through the cobbled stone and the solid foundation underneath.
The unusual formation carved into the Peaceful Road appeared to be akin to a pathway leading to a sacrificial alter, beaming with the aura and scent of blood, even though the actual substance had long since combusted.
A sacrificial altar towards a bloodstained lotus flower, one that could not be sated regardless of the lives poured in each passing moment.
“Show yourself! Who are you!?”
One of the powerful men slammed their weapon onto the ground, before pointing the edge towards the indistinct figure of An Fei.
The moonlight lazily glanced off of the sharp blade, glinting into her eyes with a happy wave of mockery and schadenfreude.