The old man’s voice was undoubtedly akin to a sudden clap of thunder when it landed in Zhou Yuan’s ears, causing the seas of his heart to churn. All it had taken was a single look for this old man to discover everything that had happened to him.
The girl in green walked to the old man’s back and glanced at the shocked Zhou Yuan. Tuntun started to jump with the intent of throwing itself into her arms, but was instead ignored as she picked it up and offhandedly threw it into a water jar.
Tuntun appeared a little upset, but since it knew of the girl’s obsession with cleanliness, it could only obediently start to wash itself. It was an exceptionally comical scene.
However, Zhou Yuan was completely indifferent to this amusing scene. All he could do was stare in shock at the mysterious old man in black. A long while later, his shock finally started to recede as a glimmer of hope began to shine in its place.
Since this old man was able to discover the problems of his body in a single glance, the former was definitely no ordinary individual. Perhaps, the predicament of his eight meridians would really be solved in this place.
Zhou Yuan took in a deep breath, suppressing the intense emotions that were surging in his heart, before he cupped his hands together and spoke in a respectful manner, “This junior one is known as Zhou Yuan. Greetings elder.”
The old man nodded and replied, “It is indeed someone from the Zhou clan.”
The old man eyed Zhou Yuan, who seemed to desire to speak. It was as if the old man knew what Zhou Yuan was thinking in his heart as the former smiled in a strange manner and said, “I know what you’re thinking. You’re not wrong, I can indeed help you solve your eight meridians problem. However, why should I help you?”
Zhou Yuan was taken aback. After some silence, he seemed to consider what to say before he gave his answer, “Junior neither knows where this place is nor who elder is. However, since my Zhou clan forefathers left behind a secret cavern that led to this place, elder should have some relation to my Zhou clan forefathers.”
The old man in black did not comment when he heard this.
By this time, Zhou Yuan had already completely regained his calm. He stared at the old man and slowly continued, “Given junior’s current state, I have nothing that could possibly move elder. However, I can tell that elder has likely been… waiting for me, right?”
In the split second that the elder had looked at him earlier, Zhou Yuan was able to ascertain with his sharp senses that a strange light had flashed in the depths of the old man’s eyes.
The slowly rocking recliner finally slowed to a stop at this moment as the old man’s eyes faintly narrowed. It was impossible to tell if he was furious or pleased as he stared at Zhou Yuan and said, “Little child, your words are rather bold. Do you really believe that you have anything that is worth my waiting?”
In response to the old man’s words, Zhou Yuan merely smiled as he shook his head. “I do not know the answer to this question, but elder might perhaps be aware?”
The old man in black stared at Zhou Yuan with eyes that were filled with ancientness. Although the former did not give off a terrifying aura, a pressuring feeling had emerged, causing the entire ancient forest to become deathly silent.
Outside the cottage, the tactful youth wore a slight smile as he looked straight at the old man without any fear like a newborn calf.
He believed that the secret saying in his Zhou clan was not a shot in the dark. There surely must be a reason as to why he was able to come here. In addition, he believed in his intuition.
The oppressive feeling akin to billowing thunderclouds lasted for a rather long time until a helpless smile surfaced on the old man’s expressionless face. He lay on in the recliner and sighed, “Looks like I have really grown old. Can’t even scare a little baby.”
Behind the old man in black, the girl in green’s bright eyes swept across Zhou Yuan as her clear voice sounded in an indifferent manner, “He’s acting. In fact, he’s very afraid.”
Zhou Yuan’s face turned a little rigid. Soon after, he revealed an awkward smile. His back was indeed already wet with cold sweat. After all, no matter how calm he was, he could not possibly fully keep his composure in the face of his only hope.
“Elder…” Zhou Yuan anxiously looked towards the old man.
“Aih.” The old man withdrew his aura, looked towards Zhou Yuan and said, “I can solve the problem of your eight meridians, however, I have one condition.”
“Condition?” Zhou Yuan was stunned, but he very quickly nodded his head in an earnest manner. “Please tell me.”
The old man softly sighed, tilted his head and looked at the elegantly standing girl beside him as he slowly said, “I want you to leave this place with Yaoyao, and protect her.”
“Yaoyao?” Zhou Yuan was stunned once again as he too looked towards the girl in green. This was evidently her name and was a good match for her pretty and tender look.
“Grandpa Hei.” The girl in green bit her red lips as a look of unwillingness and resistance was revealed on her aloof and pretty face.
The old man lightly patted the girl’s hand as he gently said, “Yaoyao, grandpa Hei has something to do and will have to leave for some time, I cannot continue staying by your side.”
The crystal clear eyes of the girl called Yaoyao dimmed. She looked at Zhou Yuan and softly said, “Grandpa Hei, he is too weak.”
An awkward expression filled Zhou Yuan’s face. It was indeed true that he was practically powerless as someone who had yet to open even a single meridian channel.
The old man could not help but chuckle upon hearing this. His gaze swept over Zhou Yuan as he said, “Although this kid is weak now, it is hard to say what he will become in future.”
“Grandpa Hei, will I still be able to see you in future?” Yaoyao asked in a low voice. As an intelligent girl, how could she not sense that the old man’s actions was similar to entrusting her to someone else. It was evident that he was going to do something extremely dangerous, so dangerous that he might even pay with his life.
The old man in black did not reply, but instead gently patted Yaoyao’s little hands.
He then turned his head, looking towards Zhou Yuan as he smiled and said, “So how about it?”
A serious expression covered Zhou Yuan’s face. He respectfully bowed to the old man as he slowly said, “Although I do not have any power now, I can promise elder that if anyone wants to hurt big sis Yaoyao, he will have to first walk over my corpse.”
Although the youth’s voice sounded rather immature, it had an unquestionable tone that made one raise one’s brows.
Upon hearing this, a satisfied smile was revealed on the old man’s face.
“Since that is so…” The old man chuckled as he stared at Zhou Yuan and said, “I’ll now solve the problem of your eight meridian channels…”
Zhou Yuan immediately felt a surge of excitement as he eagerly gazed at the old man in black.
A strange smile emerged from the corners of the old man’s lips when he saw Zhou Yuan’s expectant gaze, before the former suddenly waved his sleeve.
The earth shook and an enormous crack opened below Zhou Yuan’s feet, forming a deep abyss. With a single gulp, it swallowed the pale and horrified Zhou Yuan.
Zhou Yuan’s body frantically fell as a shriek emerged from his mouth. While this happened, a sticky and viscous black liquid appeared from the darkness and wrapped around his hands and feet.
As the black liquid creeped up inch by inch, an intense pain washed over Zhou Yuan as if the skin of his body was being melted away.
The most alarming thing was that the black liquid was invading his body through his pores and destroying the inside of his body. Wherever the black liquid passed, everything; his blood, his flesh, his channels, were being completely eroded away.
Along with the intense pain, fear invaded Zhou Yuan’s heart and he started to smell the scent of death.
He knew that he would really die if he allowed the black liquid to continue its destruction.
Zhou Yuan frantically struggled, activating the three Genesis Runes he had inscribed on his body without any hesitation. However, the moment the three Genesis Runes started to glow, the black liquid surged over and extinguished their light. In the end, even the three runes were wiped away by the black liquid...
Zhou Yuan’s heart turned completely ice-cold when the three runes were utterly destroyed.
The black liquid continued to spread and eventually covered Zhou Yuan’s eyes. Intense pain exploded and seemed to erode even his eyes as the entire world faded into darkness.
In the darkness, Zhou Yuan could feel the intense pain that originated from inside his body as the black liquid descended layer by layer.
The smell of death grew increasingly strong.
This was no illusion. If he was unable to stop the black liquid, he would really die!
“I cannot die in this place!”
“I still need to help mother recover her lifespan! I still need to avenge father for the loss of his arm! And there is still the sacred dragon blessing that was stolen from me!”
“How can I possibly die here without completing all of that?!”
“I cannot die!”
In the darkness, an angry and unresigned roar echoed in Zhou Yuan’s heart, a roar that contained the deep desire to live.
Just as death approached, Zhou Yuan mind suddenly sank into his body. In that moment, he was barely able to discern eight faint meandering paths of light in the deepest depths of his body.
These eight paths of light were akin to eight hidden dragons.
“Are these… the eight meridian channels of cultivation?!”
Zhou Yuan’s heart violently shuddered as he stared at the eight paths of light while comprehension started to bubble forth within him. These eight paths were the eight meridian channels that had never revealed themselves since the beginning!
It was when death truly approached that they seemed to sense danger and immediately started to slowly squirm while emitting low dragon roars.
Dazzling light abruptly exploded from the deepest recesses of Zhou Yuan’s body. As the light unfurled, the black liquid began to dissipate at a speed which could be detected by the naked eye.
In a short span of several breaths, the darkness had completely withdrawn.
Zhou Yuan’s tightly shut eyes also opened at this moment as bright light once again flooded them. He fell down on his bottom, sweat flowing down his young face as if he had been fished out from a body of water.
Zhou Yuan gasped for breath as his gaze darted all around him. He was currently still in front the cottage, as if everything from before had been an illusion.
“Was what happened earlier a hallucination?” Zhou Yuan was taken aback.
“What do you think?” An elderly voice was transmitted from his front. The old man in black was currently faintly smiling as he looked at Zhou Yuan.
Zhou Yuan’s expression fluctuated indeterminately. He had clearly felt how real death had been just moments ago. He slowly lifted his hand as his pupils abruptly shrank.
He had seen something black stealthily fade away at his fingertips.
It was exactly the same as the black liquid from before.
“It was real?!” Zhou Yuan’s heart shuddered. He was now certain that everything that had happened previously was real. This old man’s methods were just too unimaginable.
The old man chuckled and said, “Feel the interior of your body.”
Upon hearing this, Zhou Yuan closed his eyes and concentrated. It was at this same moment that his heart suddenly thudded like thunder and a look of disbelief emerged on his young and pale face.
It was because he could now clearly sense eight meridian channels in his body. They were akin to hidden dragons that had flown out from the abyss.
These eight meridian channels were the very same meridian channels that marked the beginning of one’s cultivation!
Zhou Yuan abruptly opened his eyes that were now filled with surging emotions. He stared at the old man in black as he spoke in a trembling voice.
“My… my eight meridians have appeared?!”