"Elder, I didn’t want to do it. It’s just that they went overboard. They snatched Xiao Hong away," Su Ming mumbled.
"They?" The elder was stunned.
"One of them was a Berserker at the second level of the Blood Solidification Realm and the other was a Berserker at the third level." Su Ming placed the cork back on the bottle then put the bottle on the table beside him.
"Black Mountain Tribe? How did you manage to escape?" The elder narrowed his eyes. A cold and steely look settled in his eyes.
"I didn’t escape. They died." Su Ming lifted his head and looked at the elder.
The elder was stunned but was also visibly moved. After falling silent momentarily, he decided not to ask Su Ming about the details. Su Ming was like his own child. He took care of him as he grew up and he knew of his character.
"You met them at Black Flame Mountain right? The information you gave us last time was really useful. You should have been rewarded for that but because you hid the fact that you’ve become a Berserker, that reward is canceled. Now that you’re a Berserker, stay. I will tell you about some of my experiences training in the Ways of the Berserker. I’ll also card through the blood veins in your body." The elder looked at Su Ming and smiled.
"Elder…" Su Ming scratched his head sheepishly. After a moment’s hesitation, he opened his mouth and spoke softly, "I’m sorry. Aren’t you going to ask me how I became a Berserker?"
"Why should I? Everyone has their own secrets. I just need to know that my Su Ming has finally become a Berserker." The elder laughed happily.
Su Ming’s eyes were teary. He looked at the elder and nodded. He would never forget the elder’s kindness towards him or the Dark Dragon’s Saliva that had been flowing in his veins or all that had happened. All of these things were imprinted on his mind and soul.
"Elder, I have some pills… Here…" Su Ming looked at the elder and spoke softly.
"Pills?" The elder asked in bewilderment, then shook his head and laughed.
"You’re talking about herbs, right? I know that you must have gotten yourself some rare herbs but I’m the elder of Dark Mountain Tribe. Unless they’re really very rarely seen, I’ve seen every… What?!"
Before the elder finished speaking, Su Ming produced two small bottles and placed them before the elder.
The two bottles were filled with green pills and they were letting out a nice therapeutic scent. Both bottles had about a dozen pills within them.
The elder’s face turned solemn. He took one of the bottle containing the pills and inspected them. Once he was certain that it was nothing like he had ever seen, he took a sniff and his countenance immediately changed.
"What a strange medicine! I just took a sniff and I can already feel my blood circulating faster!"
The elder mumbled and scrutinized the pills further. After a moment, he closed his eyes and began to think. When he finally opened his eyes, he looked at Su Ming.
"These are called pills?"
Su Ming nodded his head and pointed towards the bottle containing the pills. He started introducing the effects and the methods of using the pills to the elder. The elder drew a sharp breath and his demeanor changed completely once he listened halfway.
There were no signs of hesitation. The elder immediately waved his right hand and right before Su Ming, an illusion of the statue of the God of the Berserkers appeared. The shape of the statue was that of the half human, half beast statue of the God of the Berserkers from Dark Mountain Tribe.
The moment the statue appeared, a gentle energy spread around the room.
"Continue." Su Ming looked at the elder’s solemn face and felt his heart pounding against his chest. Then he continued to slowly tell the elder all the effects of the Scattering Dust.
The elder was already standing. Once he finished listening to Su Ming, he took out one of the Scattering Dusts and observed it carefully. Then he swallowed it in one bite. He believed in Su Ming. There was practically no hesitation in his movements. He then took out a small purple bottle and drank down what little that remained in the bottle.
He sat down with his legs crossed once again. Very soon, his body let out a bright and bloody red glow. The light was glaringly bright and it covered the entire room. Su Ming took a few steps back. His eyes were filled with admiration.
He could see the many blood veins on the elder’s body. He could not tell just how many there were but the presence of a Qi much stronger than the tribe leader’s filled the entire room.
Su Ming drew a sharp breath. He watched the God of Berserker’s glowing statue floating midair and knew that if it were not for the illusion of the statue, the light released by the elder would have covered the entire tribe. It could possibly have been seen even from afar.
The light disappeared just as quickly as it came. As the elder opened his eyes, the red light that enveloped his entire body also dissipated. His eyes were filled with a layer of excitement. He looked at the Scattering Dust and took a deep breath.
"Su Ming, you must remember one thing!" The elder lifted his head and looked at Su Ming.
Su Ming immediately stood to attention.
"From today onwards, do not tell anyone about the pills! Even if I asked you again, you mustn’t speak of it! From today onwards, I will not ask you anything about this!"
"Even within the tribe, you must remember not to talk about this to anyone! Not even to Lei Chen!" The elder spoke sternly as he looked deeply into Su Ming’s eyes.
Su Ming hesitated for a moment.
The elder sighed. He understood Su Ming. He knew that Su Ming was an honest man. That was why he chose to speak sternly again.
"Su Ming, listen to me. You mustn’t tell anyone!"
Su Ming nodded silently as his gaze was filled with resolution.
"The tribe… is not safe…" The elder muttered but his words surprised Su Ming momentarily. It dawned on him especially when he remembered how the elder had hidden his Qi from the three leaders of the tribe.
"There is a traitor in our tribe! Right now, only the tribe leader and I know about this. No one else knows about it. The traitor has hidden himself too well. We don’t know who it is…"
"With the information you brought to us, perhaps my old arch nemesis from the Black Mountain Tribe has really found a way to reach the next level… I’ve been feeling that the weather around the area has been a bit odd lately… It’s as though a major disaster is about to approach."
"Su Ming, these pills of yours are good so I’ll be keeping them. Don’t give me more of these. If I can really break through to the next level, these will be enough. But if I can’t, even if you give me more, it’ll still be useless…"
"I’m not lacking in herbs, it’s just that I’m stuck and I just need a chance to break through…" The elder sighed. He spoke to Su Ming a little more about his experiences training in the Ways of the Berserker. Then he took out a strange object made of twigs. The elder’s gaze was filled with nostalgia when he looked at the item.
After some time, he gave the item to Su Ming solemnly.
"I got this when I was out adventuring during my younger days. This thing is called a bamboo slip. You will only see these in big tribes. There are a lot of uses of herbs recorded in this bamboo slip. Take it."
Su Ming took the bamboo slip and was marveled by it. He put it away in his bosom and was just about to go back to his own house when the elder looked at Su Ming solemnly.
"Su Ming, I’m happy that you became a Berserker but you must understand that once you become a Berserker, you are no longer the same as the normal members of the tribe. The road to become a practitioner of the Ways of the Berserker is extremely difficult. The slightest mistake can bring about death. You must have felt it when you were at Black Flame Mountain."
"But we are members of the Berserker Tribe. We cannot fear death, much less give up because the road ahead is too hard to walk."
"I know what your dreams are. You want to leave this place and travel to see the world. I fully support you!"
Su Ming listened quietly and nodded.
"You are a good child. I’ve watched over you for many years and I know that. But my training is insufficient and I can’t help you too much… I thought it would be fine if our Su Ming couldn’t become a Berserker. However, if he did manage to become a practitioner of the Berserker Arts, then I will do everything that I can to make your journey as easy as possible…" A smile gradually appeared on the elder’s serious face and he waved at Su Ming to approach him.
"Come, sit down before me and circulate the blood in your veins as you usually do when you train."
Su Ming looked at the old man whose hair was speckled with white and whose face was covered with wrinkles. The elder was smiling kindly at him. He knew that there were no blood ties between him and the elder but the affection they felt towards each other could overcome all blood ties.
"Elder…" Su Ming mumbled.
"Come here already." The elder laughed heartily.
Su Ming sat down before the elder obediently and took a deep breath. Then he slowly began to move the Qi around his body. Soon, the six blood veins manifested. As the six blood veins began to give out a red glow, the vague shadow of a seventh blood vein appeared and started to manifest slowly.
Su Ming had been unable to manifest the seventh blood vein for the past month. He had not even been able to summon an illusion of it. This was largely connected to the internal injuries he had obtained. Since the elder had healed his internal injuries, the seventh blood vein appeared naturally when he activated the Qi in his body.
"You’ve already inherited the knowledge from the statue of the God of the Berserkers. You know that the Berserkers will need to manifest 11 blood veins if they want to reach the third level. As for the fourth level, they will need 25 blood veins."
"You will need 53 blood veins for the fifth and there will only be more for the rest of the levels… As for the 11th level of the Blood Solidification Realm, you should need 781 blood veins."
"But the manifestation of blood veins required may not be the same for some people. Most of the Berserkers will need the same number of blood veins to reach the next level, but there are some people who are capable of increasing the number of blood veins in their body. The more blood veins you have, the more likely it is for you to reach the Awakening Realm!"
"From what I’ve heard, all the Berserkers who have managed to reach the Awakening Realm have always had more than 900 blood veins during the Blood Solidification Realm! Take for example the elder of the Wind Stream Tribe. I’ve known him for many years and I know that he had 917 blood veins many years ago!"
"I’ve heard before that in middle sized tribes and in some big tribes, there are those in the Blood Solidification Realm who have manifested more than 930 blood veins."
"This is the Blood Solidification Realm of the Berserker tribe… There have been some people in the history of the Berserker Tribe who have manifested 999 blood veins during the Blood Solidification Realm. These people have all become very famous and powerful people."
"There are even rumors that if you manifest 1,000 blood veins, you will obtain completion in the Blood Solidification Realm. But that sort of completion could only be seen during our ancestors’ time more than thousands of years ago. It’s extremely rare nowadays. I can say that no one has reached completion in the Blood Solidification Realm. As for the details, I don’t know about it because I don’t have enough information." The elder’s voice seemed to hold a strange sort of power that echoed in Su Ming’s head as he moved the Qi in his body.
"After Blood Solidification is the Awakening Realm. Awakening actually means to gather all the manifested blood veins and refine them into the purest form of Berserker Blood. Then you draw your own personal solidified Berserker Mark on your body… The Berserker Mark has to come from your own heart and desire… I’m excited to see what Berserker Mark you would draw should you reach the Awakening Realm someday."