“I do not think Right Protectorate can bear all the consequences.”
On the other side of the pool, a clear, hearty voice rang out. It was the Left Protectorate You Chan. Lan Ruo turned around to face her but his fingers did not stop. After he knocked Wan Mei unconscious, he summoned up his inner strength, which swept through his body, lifting the dark blue sleeves of his robe, and like an arrow position on a bow, was poised to give the final fatal blow at Wan Mei’s chest.
But at the crucial moment, Yue Ying attacked, facing his entire strength with ehr two palms. As the two great powers met, it pushed both parties 3 steps back.
Lan Ruo lifted his right palm up. But he could only yield 3 parts of his powers, and suddenly understood. “I just carried you for a moment, yet that was enough for you to poison me already? You are quite capable.”
“It is Protectorate Lan, you who is the one who is powerful. You can still use your powers despite being poisoned by me,” Yue Ying replied coldly, as she always did. She had always been arrogant and cold, did not know how to make allies and friends to pave a smoother path for herself. Her martial arts and manipulation of the human mind was not particularly good either yet she was able to survive in the Gate of Ghosts until now. That was because of her skill in the use of poison.
If you did not have the antidote to the poison that Heavenly Slayer Yue Ying had poisoned you with, then it would equate a one way journey to the underworld.
Lan Ruo’s palms had already started to darken, a faint white glow started to seep out from under his fingernails. He let out a bitter laugh as he knew he was poisoned badly and hid his hand under his sleeve.
Chan You’s footsteps grew closer and closer. He lowered his head and saw the shoes he gave her and then in a low voice asked, “Then Left Protectorate, how do you think we should resolve this?”
Before Chan You could respond, the unconscious Wan Mei started to shake uncontrollably, her hands clasped into the shape of a lotus flower, and she began to make a croaking noise in her throat. Finally she said with her eyes still closed, “The lotus has fallen, the color too dark, the sins too burdensome, no one can atone them….”
It was a ballad that only consisted of a dozen or so words yet she repeated it two times. On the other side, the followers of the religion seemed to have been struck by something, all of them appearing to act as if they had lost their souls.
25 years ago, that same ballad had been sung by someone by the side of the pool. At the time the stem of the lotus flower had been cut also, and only a withering stem was left. But the most horrifying thing occurred the next day. A plague swept through the entire Lan Zhao city and within one day a thousand people were sick or dead from the disease.
The bloody scene from that day immediately resurfaced in the minds of everyone present, and that giant shouted so loudly that almost the entire Lan Zhao city could hear what he said, “Then please can the Left Protectorate fulfill our wish and offer yourself to Heaven as a sacrifice!”
“What I meant was, I will offer myself as a sacrifice.”
You Chan turned to look at everyone, before coming to stand before Lan Ruo. She spoke in a calm, steady voice before moving to untie the belt around her robe. Her clothes were soon removed. As You Chan had trained in martial arts since she was young, her body was strong, her skin a light olive color, her breasts were not too big, but slightly perky, her waist small and her legs were long. Her beauty was just like her character, simple and clear.
“As I am a protectorate, then naturally I am not afraid to be sacrificed for the good of the sect.” She spread out her arms and gave Lan Ruo a meaningful smile. “Then I must Protectorate Lan to lead the ceremony personally.”
The ceremonial stage had been set up. Just on the western bank of the blood pool. An extremely wide wooden table stood at the centre of the stage, carved to resemble the shape of a lotus flower. You Chan half seated, half lay herself on top of it. All four of her limbs were tied onto the four legs of the table with a red cloth covering her naked body.
Countless followers of the sect stood below the stage. They all raised both hands in the direction of the blood pool, mourning for the loss of their lotus flower. A young female attendant dressed in green entered at that moment, greeted them in the Miao way and announced clearly, “The chief said she agrees for the Left Protectorate to be offered as a sacrifice. She will leave all the affairs to Protectorate Lan. If Protectorate Lan can prove that the reincarnation of the Lotus flower is legitimate, then the chief will leave her position.”
After she made the announcement, she hurriedly left but the chief never appeared before the followers, they can only turn around and focus on Lan Ruo. And he in turn remained silent amongst the thousands of believers. He was like the dark blue ocean, calm on the surface but strong undercurrents brew underneath.
Proving the legitimacy of the blood lotus on Wan Mei’s forehead, was not a difficult thing to do. What was hard was to explain why the blood lotus fell into the pool.
Every follower knew that the blood lotus flower absorbs the essence of the pool. And it was formed in the Yin year, month and day (1), at midnight, a sacred plant that would not either even after 1000 years. Even the thunder from the Empyrean Heavens could not strike it down.
But now if he told them it was all just a lie? Tell them frankly that the blood lotus flower was simply an exquisite piece of art work, that was why it can be cut down?
Impossible. The blood lotus flower was the core of their beliefs. A lie that could never be falsified.
Because he could not conjure up a solution, he remained silent. However that only spiked the impatience of the crowd. The giant who came forward before asked, “As the chief agrees, then the ceremony shall begin. The brothers who picked the red stick come forward.”
Underneath the red cloth was You Chan’s naked body. Both her legs were tied up to expose her private area which revealed all to everyone.
During the sacrificial ceremony, the 49 male followers of the sect would come up one by one to have sex and spend their seed deep inside You Chan. And then lay their final rest with You Chan at the bottom of the blood pool.
Some of the older male followers could still remember what happened 25 years prior where the cries from carnal pleasure caused them who are below the stage to suffer an erection and finally releasing themselves within their trousers.
Those memories seemed to eclipse with the scene in front of them. The 49 followers made their way onto the stage. Some were already lusting for her and hurriedly pressed their hands onto her breasts.
You Chan did not utter a word. She bit her lip and gazed red eyed at Lan Ruo’s back. A finger pierced her nether lips, and twisted and wormed it’s way inside her. The entire crowd fell silent, their hearts seemed to beat at unison, and their breaths grew heavy.
Meanwhile Lan Ruo’s did not look back. Not even for a moment from the start. He only squinted and unclasped his right fist.
A light breeze wafted between his five fingers. Gracefully he swept his right hand to and fro, and below the stage, Wan Mei watched coldly knowing exactly what his plans were.
He was casting an illusion spell. On top of that high stage, he intended to control the minds of a thousand people.
The poison had no doubt spread to all his organs. What he was gambling on was without question, his life.
The 49 participants were finally unrobed. They formed a tight circle surrounding You Chan. That finger between her legs had made itself to the pearl of arousal. You Chan held her breath, she could control her fear yet she could not control her pleasure.
With her private regions were wet, everything was ready. Those 49 jutting arousals were like arrows in battle, loaded and ready to fire. Tragedy seemed to be repeating itself once more.
Just at the moment when all thousand persons held their breath, a female voice broke the silence. It belonged to a young female follower, who pointing at the blood pool exclaimed , “Look!” She raised her finger, “Do you see that? There are waves within the blood pool!”
Hearing that, everyone turned around and saw that waves were indeed forming on the surface of the pool. First they were simply gentle ripples but slowly they reared their head, and one by one crashed onto the shore, their height reaching to the top half of a man, making the sky seemed to be raining blood.
The sacrificial ceremony halted there. Everyone got on their knees, their faces full of fear as they cupped their hands.
After the bloody rain, the waves seemed to be consoled and a whirlpool appeared in the middle of the pool. It spun faster and faster until it took up the entire pool.
The entire crowd fell into silence. Lan Ruo’s threw every ounce of power he had, it’s effect so mesmerizing that even Wan Mei would not help but be pulled into the illusion too and was forced to watch a red light that shone up from the bottom of the pool, before reaching the space between her brows.
Brighter and brighter the red light grew. The lotus flower on Wan Mei’s forehead started to grow leaves and left her forehead as the light withdrew. It finally landed onto the surface of the pool, grasped by the whirlpool, and then released a golden light.
The blood lotus was reborn, growing to the height of a man within a blink of an eye. It’s stem gracefully forming a curling spine, it’s petals tightly wrapped together however it had a devilish, seductive scarlet color.
Once more, the pool fell silent. The flower on Wan Mei’s forehead had disappeared. Only then did Lan Ruo’s lift up his head. In a voice that was both firm and sharp, leaving no room for questioning he uttered, “The blood lotus flower has reached it’s thousandth birthday. It requires a host to nurture it’s essence in order to quickly be reborn. Everything was just a misunderstanding. Our God is not angry, the sacrificial ceremony will end here. Please return.”
Turning to face each other, the believers were still in shock, still unable to digest what had occurred before them.
Raising his voice again, ” The blood lotus was just reborn. It requires rest. Please may you all return.”
Slowly someone stood up and turned to leave. Then one by one they emptied out and Lan Ruo’s finally relaxed his fist, beads of sweat hung on his forehead. You Chan was after all a powerful magic user and by then awoke from the illusion. Hurriedly she yelled out for the crowd to wait. “Wait!” She yelled struggling to free herself from the ropes. “Everyone look carefully, this was merely….”
On the stage, Lan Ruo’s hand shot out like lightening, and pressed onto her mute acupoint, forbidding her from finishing and hence she could only watch as the followers left one by one.
The illusion had disappeared by now. There was no blossoming blood lotus flower and Wan Mei’s forehead still had that spot of red. Only four people remained.
Slowly, Lan Ruo’s made his way in front of You Chan and released her mute acupoint before he went on to untie her.
It was a hard to come by chance. Wan Mei and Yue Ying exchanged a glance before Wan Mei pulled out her Shen Ying before cautiously crept behind Lan Ruo and began to cast the Absolute Darkness in Heaven technique.
The tail of the whip was about to strike his back, but Lan Ruo was still busy trying to untie the ropes. Meanwhile You Chan was engaged in a fierce internal battle, torn on what to do, but in the end she could not help but exclaim, ” Be careful, behind you!”
Lan Ruo’s eyes lit up, hurriedly picked up the scarlet cloth on the floor and launched himself into the sky to face Shen Ying (Wan Mei’s whip). The red cloth was immediately cut to pieces by Shen Ying, but somehow Lan Ruo managed to catch the tail of it, sent his internal powers back up the whip, which not only sent Wan Mei flying away, but also allowed him to take Shen Ying from her.
It merely took one attack to prove his strength. Lan Ruo was as deep and mysterious as the ocean. He truly was not one to be underestimated. Before he was afraid that the poison would spread across his body, that was why he did not face Yue Ying with his full power before and therefore he did not take her and Wan Mei’s life when he had the chance to.
But as the poison was already deeply rooted within his heart, and he would die without question so now nothing held him back. That kind of power was enough to halt Wan Mei and Yue Ying at their steps. He finally found the chance to untie You Chan.
Blood began to seep out from the corners of his eyes, dark colored blood that dripped onto You Chan’s chest, and which emitted a faint glow. You Chan felt her heart grow cold at the sight, as Lan Ruo sighed and assured her still in his normal gentle voice, “Alright, I am about to die now. You do not need to send anyone else to kill me now.”
That sentence was spoken very lightly yet it felt like a blade cutting through the depths of You Chan’s soul.
“It turns out that you knew all along,” she replied. Lifting her eyes, she did not know whether to laugh or to cry. “Could you tell me when you found out?”
“On the second day you became the Protectorate. The first time someone came to poison me.”
That lie that they were the closest beings in the world was finally torn apart. It shattered onto the floor, just like the so called love between them. “So that’s why you refused to let me see the Chief, so that’s why you never let me anywhere near the blood pool alone! As you knew long ago, then why did you not kill me? Why do you have to put up this act?!” She yelled, her voice growing sharper and sharper.
Lan Ruo lowered his head. Now blood had started to seep through his ears too. But instead of answering he asked, “Why? I should be asking you that. Why did you want to kill me, I have never done anything that goes against my conscience.”
“You feel no guilt.” You Chan’s face darkened at his reply. “The only people at guilt are the Blood Lotus religious sect! Only that Sect Leader of yours who has never revealed her face in these 10 years is at guilt! You are merely the stone that obstruct my path.”
“Why do you not tell me the truth?” In the end, she knelt before Lan Ruo, her fingers could not stop rubbing the blood that was now pouring out of every orifice of his body. “As you are unwilling to offer me out as a sacrifice, then why do you not tell them that all this was simply a lie! Including that plague that hit them 25 years ago!”
That sickly metallic scent of sin from the blood pool drifted towards them. Lan Ruo let out a bitter laugh and knew that there were no longer any secrets left. Everything had been exposed to the open.