Reverend Ecstasy

Emissary of Mayhem

Emissary of Mayhem

Smell, sight, hearing, touch and taste; of the five traditional senses, Blood Spirits had none—replacing the whole package with a gift they used to lead their murderous hunts: Blood Sense. Blood Sense functioned in a similar manner to a cultivator's Spiritual Sense, not only enabling Blood Spirits to communicate but also locate and appraise all experts within a limited range. That range expanded with the Blood Spirit's level—going from 3 to over 60 km for the strongest of the lot. Thanks to that absurd range, most cultivators couldn't escape a Blood Spirit's attention. Worst, unlike a cultivator's Spiritual Sense, the Blood Sense remained in a perpetual state of activation, protecting the Blood Spirits from sneak attacks.     

However, the same Blood Sense that made Blood Spirits such thorny opponents also barred them from latching on mortals and low-level cultivators. In their eyes, mortals didn't have a shape, whereas Qi Refiners looked no different from insignificant red dots. Now, three of those red dots hid amidst coiling waves of Blood Energy—indistinguishable from the mass. Thus, assuming that another expert controlled the Blood Spirits, Xinzi, Dong Ling and Chun Xu still had nothing to fear—or so they thought, at least.     

At first, Dong Ling's hands clenched hard at Xinzi's arm. But after reminding herself that the Blood Spirits couldn't see them, she relaxed. Xinzi's eyes went back and forth between the Blood Spirits and fruit trees—Chun Xu's face contorted. "Why are you stopping here? Don't tell me you want to harvest those Blood Fruits?" She asked.     

Where Blood Spirits go, Blood Fruits follow is a well-known saying among scholars of the cultivation world. From times predating the establishment of the White Immortal sect, Blood Spirits had been infesting this valley, which made the existence of Blood Fruits inevitable. But while the fruits could boost their Blood Energy, for obvious reasons, the trio couldn't afford to harvest them.     

Stomping her foot, Dong Ling cursed the Heavens for putting so many top-tier goodies in her path but preventing her from pocketing them. Still, she too realized that if they let greed take over, the fruits would get them all killed. Focused on scanning the area, Xinzi ignored them both. More Blood Spirits came from the horizon, stopping above other Blood Trees in the vicinity. Intrigued, Chun Xu followed Xinzi's gaze and, following brief confusion, noticed the abnormal patterns that caught the monk's attention.     

"Instead of gravitating towards areas of greater Blood Energy, they leave them to guard Blood Trees. This pretty much confirms that someone controls the Blood Spirits. But why does it feel like…" That the droves of Blood Spirits didn't fight for the fruits seemed suspicious enough. But as she studied the ghosts in flight, Chun noticed that a good portion possessed strong but unstable auras "...newborns."     

"No more teleportations. From now on, we walk." Xinzi cut Chun Xu's thoughts.     


"Because we have a massive Soul Refining Workshop hidden nearby. If we walk, I can watch out for it and perhaps even take advantage of it. But with teleportation talismans, you have to pray and bet on our good fortune. Which one will it be?"     

"Walk—of course walk."     

"That's what I thought." The trio set off without further delay. And while Xinzi's face betrayed nothing but caution, Chun Xu and Dong Ling read in his sharp and dry tone an atypical frustration.     

They weren't incorrect. That someone controlled all that went on in the Blood Spirit Valley and even set up a Soul Refining Workshop to turn stragglers into artificial Blood Spirits annoyed Xinzi more than Xia Hu's antics. In other circumstances, the monk would focus on an escape plan. But now…     

'I can't be wrong. That thing is here. Without it, how long will it take before I can complete the task? Can I afford to miss this chance? But even if I refuse to give up, the person controlling this place doesn't seem to be a low-level cultivator—if a cultivator it even is. Just my luck that when the end seems in sight, the stars refuse to align.' For the imperceptible split of a second, Xinzi's gaze hardened. It was almost as if Heaven played a joke on him, teasing him with an object he likely couldn't afford to compete for. Still, he refused to give up, and if push came to shove…     

"Burly boy!"     


"You finally own up to your name."     

"That isn't fair. With a fairy holding my arm, I can barely gather my thoughts—much less resist you."     

"What fairy?" At first, Dong Ling frowned and pouted at Xinzi. But once she realized that only she held his arm, her lips curled into an "O" shape and an approving nod followed. "Smooth criminal..." Dong Ling said. The exchange forced a frown onto Chun Xu's face, but as the two engaged in their usual banter, the flow of Blood Energy turned chaotic. Paced waves of blood fog became raging typhoons of tyrannical Blood Energy that threatened to choke the trio to death.     

Unable to withstand the rising storm, the trio dropped to their knees. The oppressive waves forced Dong Ling and Chun Xu to shut their eyes close, but Xinzi's remained wide open—scanning the waves' spiraling patterns to lock on the root of this change. Where the waves gathered, an oval portal materialized. Shaped like a vortex of coiling blood energy, the portal emitted an enrapturing scent that dispelled both Chun Xu and Dong Ling's nervousness. Their eyes glazed over and, driven by formless forces, the two stood up.     

"Fascination, Blood Spirit Refinement and Teleportation—a fifth-layer Triple-Inlaid Array of superb craftsmanship and impeccable structure. Throughout Dongli, no one can force his way through, and if I choose to teleport, the vibrations will hijack my talismans to suck me in anyway." Xinzi praised the formation's arrangement and stood up. Drawn by the Fascination, Dong Ling and Chun Xu ambled at the portal. Should they set one foot in, Xinzi would have to watch their flesh break down and their souls transmogrify as they perished and morphed into Blood Spirits.     

"Interesting. My humble self will take on this challenge," Xinzi said and joined his hands in a prayer sign. Lianist chants poured out of the lotus monk's lips, and his eyes shone in lustrous hues.     

"Sinking in Indulgence." The Lotus' golden light illuminated Xinzi's flesh as he unleashed the full measure of his profane enlightenment. To protect himself from overzealous priests, Xinzi mastered the Lianist word Penitence—using it as an insignia for his Enlightened Monk status. However, it was through Indulgence and not Penitence that Xinzi achieved enlightenment. The Golden Lotus didn't mind, and as with all others, welcomed his chant. The veil of darkness clouding the sky split at the center, revealing a host of mesmerizing stars that lit up the night.     

"Offending the Law." Dark-blue waves dropped from the heavens, spreading towards Dong Ling, Chun Xu and the dozens of Blood Spirit hovering above the trees. The Lianist chants failed to shake the fifth-layer Fascination the girls suffered. The Blood Spirits, however, shook uncontrollably. Until they consumed enough Blood Energy to complete a Sanguine Reincarnation, Blood Spirits had neither Qi nor Soul Force. To them, the former was of no consequence, but without the latter, they couldn't resist mental strikes. This made them vulnerable to Lianist Chants and other tricks such as Xia Hu's Mental Repression.     

"Offending the Earth." At first, the ghosts writhed and bashed head-first into one another, but as the chants progressed, their still lips cured into broad grins that revealed their lack of teeth. Greed, gluttony, lust and thirst for the lives they lost through reckless gambits or maniacal wars overwhelmed the Blood Spirits—superseding their master's mental control.     

The Blood Spirits arched their heads back and lunged at both the myriad of Blood Fruits left unclaimed and one another! Instantly, a blood storm pervaded the atmosphere. Foul energies rose up as one Blood Spirit after the other perished in a chaotic contest for Blood Energy!     

"Rankling the Seas and Heavens." As Dong Ling and Chun Xu neared the blood portal, lightning flashed across the night sky. Dozens of Blood Spirits shot toward the Blood Portal, thirsting for the tyrannical concentration of Blood Energy at its core. Force-fed by the suicidal wraiths, the formation expanded past its limits and neared a full-blown explosion.     

Racing past Dong Ling and Chun Xu, Xinzi grabbed them both, vanished, and reappeared at a safe distance from the portal. The runic seals and tools holding the triple formation together broke down.. The portal turned into a flaming red star, and as both ladies regained their senses, Xinzi activated a teleportation talisman—the portal exploded afterward, erasing all things in the vicinity.     

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