Sending the Divine

Sending the Divine

Chapter 36 - Flames of Karma

The giant tree roots loomed over them, giving Shi Jingzhi a strange feeling as if they were crickets in a jar being observed from the outside. 

Fortunately, none of the statues showed any signs of movement. Shi Jingzhi trembled in place for a moment before resigning himself to the situation.

Without hesitation, he took a few steps forward and grabbed Yin Deng. 

The scene before them was terrifying, and the little girl's legs went weak with fear. She clung to Shi Jingzhi's thigh, crying so hard she almost passed out.

Yin Ci had been standing frozen in place since he saw the tree root statue. It wasn't until he heard the little girl's cries that he snapped out of it. 

"The goddess is lying," Yin Deng cried hoarsely. "Sister is here, and Brother is also here. They never ascended to heaven."

Shi Jingzhi and Yin Ci exchanged a glance. 

Shi Jingzhi said, "Don't cry... When you came down, do you remember how you did it?" 

"I... I dreamt that my sister was crying and I wanted to comfort her. But she couldn't see me, so I wanted to get closer, closer." 

With courage, Yin Deng lifted her head slightly and pointed to the stone platform closest to the statue. 

"When I fell, I woke up. It was my brother who saved me. He's here..." 

Previously distracted by the giant tree roots, the two only now noticed the stone platforms around them. 

On each small platform stood a statue of flesh. They all faced the largest status on the central stone platform, like a hundred birds facing the phoenix. Compared to the one in the middle, they were much smaller in size and far less exquisite. 

The small statues were also supported by human bones and made with rough craftsmanship, with many details distorted and deformed, almost like... 

"Trial products." Yin Ci whispered, "They are clay models." 

The situation became clearer now - someone had built flesh statues at the bottom of the forbidden area, and they were built with great care. The status was based on the tree root giant, and countless flesh clay models were made during the manufacturing process to ensure a flawless finished product. 

Underneath the feet of the statue were thick white cloths and several chains coiled around. No wonder Su Si said that the white-clothed monsters had their "internal organs exposed," as they were originally made of living flesh. 

The deformed flesh statues were not presentable, so they were wrapped in white cloth and tightly bound with ropes. 

Before the final product was made, it served as a practice dummy, and after practice, it could still be used as a puppet. The "immortals" here were truly cunning. 

Considering that the residents of Yuanxian Village were completely unaware of everything, there was only one person who could have done such a thing - the goddess herself. 

But why did she create such a monstrous statue? What was the purpose of the flesh statue? The giant tree root statue was covered in vines and looked like it had been around for hundreds of years. Where did it come from? 

For over three hundred years, Yin Ci had wandered the world alone, with nothing becoming clearer and everything growing darker. Besides demons, demonic talents and other such trivialities, he seemed to know nothing of the "hidden side" of the world. 

The scenes before him were even more absurd than his nightmare. 

Thinking of his nightmare, Yin Ci couldn't help but touch his face. This time, his features were still there, and the strange roots hadn't appeared on his face. The familiar feel of his Ghost Skin Suit came back to him through his fingers.

Shi Jingzhi remained silent for a long time. Finally, he squeezed out a bit of composure from his bones, half-crouched down, and placed his hands on Yin Deng's shoulders.

"Yin Deng, you said earlier that your sister is here, and your brother is also here... can you communicate with them?"

Yin Deng shook her head vigorously and wiped away the tears on her face. "They can't speak, but I just know." 

She pointed to the flesh statue on the central stone platform, and then to a clay statue not far away, saying, "That's my sister, and that's my brother. I can feel that they're here." 

Perhaps it was because young children have a spiritual sense and can see things that adults cannot. Regardless of which statue it was, they all looked like a bloody mess, and it was unclear how the child could recognize them.

Yin Ci quickly calculated in his mind. 

If they brought Yin Deng up and exposed the white-clothed monsters in front of everyone, the villagers would definitely notice something was wrong. They could then stir up trouble and at least someone would be willing to send them away. 

It was a possible solution.

...But that wasn't their main concern at the moment. 

The goddess knew the secrets hidden in the forbidden area, yet she still let them in. It probably wouldn't be easy to leave now. 

It was clear that Shi Jingzhi was considering something similar. He paced back and forth, trying hard to ignore the statues around him. 

"Ah Ci, I'll carry you on my back, and you can hold onto Yin Deng. Let's try to climb back up...look..." His eyes caught something in his peripheral vision, and he froze in place. The second half of his sentence came out trembling, ending in a groan. 

Following Shi Jingzhi's gaze, Yin Deng let out an inhuman scream and fainted on the spot. 

The tree root statue began to move slowly. No, it wasn't the statue moving, but a huge worm demon that had burrowed out of the tree root. 

The giant worm slithered and coiled around the statue, causing rocks and dirt to rain down. After a moment, it settled into position, its head hanging down towards the group. At first glance, it looked like a rotting intestine coiled around the tree root statue. 

Who knows which rule they broke that disturbed this thing. 

As they got closer, the master and disciple had a clearer view. 

The giant insect had a reddish-brown body with a hard and rough exterior, similar in texture to old tree bark. It had three black holes on its head, with no visible eyeballs. The holes were separated by seams in the shape of the Chinese character for "person," dividing its entire head into three sections. 

In between the seams, jagged and uneven yellowish teeth grew densely together, resembling human teeth. Muddy saliva dripped down from its mouth.

The giant insect hovered inside the tunnel, blocking the walls tightly. The long, hand-shaped objects that had been scraped off revealed their true identity. 

They were insect eggs. 

The insect eggs were about half the size of a person and had a hard, spindle-shaped shell. One end could easily be inserted into soil or rock, while the other end was connected to a long, thin arm-like structure that allowed them to crawl freely. 

They numbered in the thousands, quietly nestled behind the roots of the tree god statue. But now, after being swept away by the giant worm, the eggs fell one after another into the water. 

Strangely, they seemed uninterested in the human flesh in the pond. They swarmed and wriggled, piercing the thick skin of the giant worm and wildly flailing their deformed arms.

Unfortunately, this heartwarming scene of parent and child reunion did not move Shi Jingzhi. Fox Shi's eyes darted around, as if he wished he could just end it all right then and there. 

In comparison, the white-clothed monsters seemed positively refreshing and charming. 

But it was too late for them now, they had no way out. 

Shi Jingzhi attempted to cover the flag with Yang fire, but he was like a damp matchstick and couldn't produce a spark for half a day. The giant worm opened its mouth full of teeth, and Shi Jingzhi looked like he was about to vomit again.

"Shizun!" Yin Ci exclaimed helplessly.

Hearing his disciple's cry, Shi Jingzhi regained some clarity. He gritted his teeth, wrapped up the fainting Yin Deng and the Hanging Shadow Sword, and threw them to Yin Ci. "Master will deal with this thing. You don't have any internal energy, so take her and hide!"

This was indeed a reasonable statement.

Facing such a huge monster, not having internal energy could be fatal. While Shi Jingzhi could still use brute force to break through, Yin Ci could only carve patterns on its body until they found its weakness.

Yin Ci held the Yin Deng in one hand and the sword in the other, quickly jumping off the stone platform. 

With a less-than-graceful leap, Shi Jingzhi managed to cling onto the giant insect's body. In the next moment, countless insect eggs reached out towards him, visibly exploding upon impact. 

The resulting blaze quickly engulfed the long arms of the eggs, causing them to crackle and emit an indescribable stench. The giant insect writhed in pain from the Yang fire, struggling against the cave wall. 

Shi Jingzhi managed to stabilize himself by planting the flagpole into the thick skin of the insect, while Yin Ci took advantage of the terrain and hid under a withered lotus leaf to ensure that Yin Deng was not affected by the thrashing insect. 

Although the insect eggs suffered heavy casualties, the giant worm only suffered a minor injury. Shi Jingzhi looked pitiful as he poked at the worm's body, resembling an ant trying to gnaw on an elephant. The giant worm grew annoyed by this persistent ant and, unable to shake it off against the rock wall, began to curl up and thrash against the wall in an attempt to crush the pesky ant.

The entire forbidden area shook slightly as the giant worm drew closer, causing more intact insect eggs to fall and almost pushing Yin Ci into the water. 

What a shame. 

If Shi Jingzhi's martial arts were more qualified, or if he could control his aura freely, this giant insect would not be his opponent. However, Shi Jingzhi lacked practical experience and was still in the stage of begging for food with a golden bowl, with no idea how to control his power. 

Yin Ci pondered for a long time but couldn't find the weakness of the worm insect demon. With the two of them, one with intention but no strength, and the other with strength but no intention, and would only have their time wasted by this thing. 

The injury of Yin Deng was strange, and she was an important witness, and must not die down here. 

To ensure that everyone survives, there is only one way to go now - he has to provoke this fox. 

According to Yin Ci's observation, Shi Jingzhi was most afraid of two things. First, he was afraid of not being able to survive, and second, he was afraid of losing his disciple. Currently, his fear of death was having a reverse effect, causing him to hesitate and not act decisively. 

He needed a strong dose of medicine to ignite his madness once again.

Just then, Shi Jingzhi couldn't hold on any longer and fell onto the stone platform. He hit the ground hard and immediately coughed up a mouthful of blood. The giant worm had no intention of letting him live and was about to crush him.

Yin Ci placed Yin Deng on a withered lotus leaf and rushed towards the stone platform. He hugged Shi Jingzhi and with a quick jump, they both hung onto the outer edge of a lotus leaf, barely stabilizing their bodies. 

As the giant insect missed them, it collided with the stone platform where Shi Jingzhi had been standing, shattering the pillars into pieces. The debris shot into the shallow pond, mixing with blood and dust. On the platform stood a small clay statue, which the insect crushed into a pulp. It slid back into the pool, leaving a trail of blood and further clouding the already murky water.

"Ah Ci?" Shi Jingzhi was still in shock.

"Shizun, look! That thing only dares to attack the white-clothed monsters, but won't touch the central flesh statue." Time was of the essence, and Yin Ci got straight to the point. "Remember to step there."

Shi Jingzhi gave him a deep look, then wasted no time and charged out again, flagpole in hand. 

With its weakness grasped, his attack gradually became more organized. The giant insect had been unable to squash the ant for a long time, and as it grew increasingly agitated, its movements became more and more violent. 

Yin Ci moved Yin Deng further away and deliberately moved towards the center of the battlefield. He had made up his mind to be a lively fish in the pond, waiting to be swept up by disaster.

In the end, Yin Ci was indeed swept up, but it was not quite as he had planned.

Shi Jingzhi's battle was reaching its climax, and with one final blow, he could kill the insect demon.

The creature had been harassed by Shi Jingzhi, suffering more and more burns. It could no longer bear it and was about to unleash a devastating blow, but suddenly froze in mid-air. After a moment, it curled up into a ring and stiffly fell, just avoiding the stone lotus in the center of the forbidden area. 

"I was wondering why it was shaking so violently. It takes some skill to survive under the control of the Root Guardian for so long," a cold voice sounded.

Just before the insect demon went berserk, the goddess descended from the sky.

The insect eggs intertwined with each other, forming a net of hands that held her in mid-air. She glanced at the chaotic forbidden ground below and raised her hand to cast a spell. A tree root shot out from the stone wall and pierced a large hole in the giant insect.

"These creatures without intelligence are really stupid. They almost ruined my plan," she said.

The giant worm screamed in pain and dared not move. The insect eggs seemed to have received some instructions. They swarmed up, interlocking their arms and pulling the status of flesh in the center of the stone platform to a safe position, suspended in mid-air. 

After a long and grueling battle with the giant insect, Shi Jingzhi was exhausted and had reached the end of his rope. He stopped and gasped for breath on the central stone platform, the Yang fire on the flag flickering on and off, unable to stop the arms of insect eggs. 

With the departure of the statue of flesh, all that remained by Shi Jingzhi's side was a pool of living flesh. Without any weaknesses, the killing intent of the goddess spread like a tide. 

Fortunately, compared to the giant worm, the goddess looked completely normal, and Shi Jingzhi's courage returned somewhat. He sneakily glanced at Yin Ci's hiding place and deliberately provoked her, "So you're still willing to come down. Why bother? If you had come to save the Yin Deng earlier, everything would have been fine." 

The goddess smiled coldly, "This little bastard has a sharp tongue. Even at death's door, you still want to protect others?" 

Another tree root sneaked out and aimed straight at Shi Jingzhi. He quickly took a defensive stance, but the root suddenly changed direction, accelerated sharply, and slammed into Yin Ci who was hiding into the bottom of the pool, pressing him into the muddy flesh.

Bubbles emerged from the murky bottom of the pool, followed by a pool of blood, and then everything went still. The water surface quickly returned to calm, but Yin Ci did not resurface, without even a struggle.

Shi Jingzhi never expected her to attack her own disciple. He froze like a statue.

The sound of water had stopped, the giant insect no longer screeched, and the birds were silent. Shi Jingzhi was a little dazed. The moment was too fast, too fast for him to react or even confirm what had just happened. 

He tightly grasped the flagpole in his hand - the giant insect was covered in burns from his attack. With just a little more effort, they could win. 

At that time, he would drag Yin Ci up to the ground and scold him, or maybe even beat him up. Once he dealt with this disobedient disciple, the Ku Mountain Sect could find another way out...

They were so close to victory.

But then the goddess appeared, crushing Shi Jingzhi's newly risen hope into the mud. It was like climbing to the top of a mountain in a blizzard, using all his strength and becoming exhausted, only to be pushed off the edge at the last moment.

Shi Jingzhi was cold all over.

If only the goddess had come a little earlier, he wouldn't have had such unrealistic hopes. If only she had come a little later, they would have already escaped the giant insect and found another path. Why? Why did she have to come at this exact moment? 

Why did she have to casually destroy his things in front of him? 

The uncontrollable emotions of resentment, grievance, fear, and hatred mixed together, overwhelming Shi Jingzhi who was too exhausted and too sad to control them. This time, he let go of the reins and didn't try to control them anymore.

Finally, the desire for life was poured into madness, and the two merged into one. A strong evil spirit suddenly burst out from the depths of his exhausted bones. 

The golden Yang flames rose up into the sky like a spear. 

They were ignited by one person, seemingly endless, and the entire forbidden area was illuminated white. The flames erupted at the center, and the twisted shadows of many stone platforms were cast on the wall of the pit. 

The shadows were projected onto the giant statue of tree roots, and the indifferent god's face was half-shrouded in shadow, with a hint of mockery.

If there really was a hell in this world, the flames of hell would be no different. 

The net of hands instantly turned to dust, and the goddess was caught off guard, almost being buried in the sea of fire. A thin root caught her just in time, allowing her to narrowly escape the flames and avoid being burned alive.

Standing on the central stone platform, Shi Jingzhi's long hair was disheveled and his expression was blank. The unparalleled sense of oppression erupted once again, like a young dragon venturing into the sea or a young tiger roaring in the mountains. 

The flesh status on the platforms were blown away by the wind and fell into the water, splashing countless dazzling water droplets.

Fortunately, Shi Jingzhi remembered Yin Deng, and the aura around him scattered in all directions, but did not harm her surroundings.

It is said that the power of one can overcome ten. Shi Jingzhi did not use any spells or martial arts. He relied solely on this almost terrifying power to indiscriminately destroy everything above the forbidden area.

The flames burned brighter and brighter. 

The forbidden area was narrow, and the golden flames were raging. The goddess was in a desperate state, trying to avoid the flames. The heat was so intense that it made it difficult to breathe. Her hair was burnt to a crisp, and her ethereal clothes were reduced to ashes. 

But due to the flesh statue beside her, she dared not run away and could only futilely erect layer after layer of barriers, trying to gain some breathing space.

Finally, the golden flames burned over half of the goddess's body. At the moment when she had nowhere else to go, she opened her mouth and shouted loudly, seemingly calling for help from someone invisible. 

However, Shi Jingzhi's senses were in chaos, and he couldn't hear a single word.

He only saw more tree roots rolling over, separating the goddess from the flames. Strangely, the golden flames also hit those tree roots, but they remained unscathed. 

The giant worm was not so lucky. It couldn't withstand the overwhelming golden flames, its skin charred and cracked, half-roasted alive. 

Unfortunately, no matter how talented Shi Jingzhi was, he was still just a mortal. The Yang fire burned uncontrollably for a long time, but gradually weakened. 

Meanwhile, the goddess remained standing.

"I underestimated you," she said.

Confirming that the flesh statue beside her was also protected by the roots and not burned, the goddess ignored her own injuries and let out a sigh of relief. At this moment, half of her body was dark red and swollen, with no trace of immortality left. Instead, she looked like an evil spirit that had infiltrated the mortal world.

"...Humans are not gods, and their strength is limited. You deserve praise for being able to stand after using that move just now." 

Shi Jingzhi held onto his 'Cure All With Medicine' flag and was unable to move a single inch. His face was as pale as paper, sweat pouring down like rain, and his lips had lost all color. 

She was not wrong. This time, he was almost at the end of his rope, struggling to even breathe. 

But despite suffering such a huge loss, the goddess did not show any resentment on her face. Instead, she even revealed a strange joy: "Although you have made a mess of this place, your immortal fate is quite strong. You alone can replace all the materials in this pool."

Shi Jingzhi glared at her in anger, unable to even muster the strength to speak. He could only use his last bit of energy to straighten his back and force himself to stand.

The goddess did not expect him to answer. She snorted coldly, raised her right hand, and several tree roots rushed towards him like living creatures. Shi Jingzhi thought he was about to be entangled by the roots when...


The roots collided with a sword, making a not-so-crisp sound.

A hand hooked onto Shi Jingzhi's waist, pulling him back. The jet-black sword flashed again, sweeping away a malicious tree root. Shi Jingzhi slowly turned his head and saw a familiar yet unfamiliar face.

As cold as snow, peerless in elegance.

Under the Ghost Tomb, they had met once before.

Shi Jingzhi understood that the person in white was not the "enemy" or "senior" he had glimpsed before. At this moment, the other party used a voice he was familiar with, but the warmth in the voice was gone, leaving only cruelty and arrogance.

"What a pity for my Ghost Skin Suit."

The person whispered in his ear.

"Shizun, since I brought you in, I will definitely send you out... Don't be angry about this, okay?"

Author's note:

Demon Lord Yin: As long as I have the initiative, this little window paper won't count as being taken off! (?)

Fox Shi: ??? 

Fox Shi: (takes out a small notebook and beginning to record the number of beatings owed by his disciple)


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