Chapter 34: Spirit Horse Forest (Part Two)
Xia Qiu knew little about the spirit world and didn’t know how to answer him. But hearing the name of the Feather Crane Immortal, she felt it sounded like a beautiful and gentle woman.
The youths had returned to the capital city and handed the land rune to Lord Yong before setting out to join Ouyang Hongye and his team in Nanzhe. Due to their agreement with the Yama King, they didn’t tell Lord Yong and Elder Cheng how they found the land rune. Anyway, the two elders were exhausted and had no energy to ask for the details.
To activate the land rune, Ouyang Xiaoleng must unleash the power of the Silver Fox God in his body.
Following Lord Yong’s instruction, he stood in the Tianquan Hall and fully unleashed the godly power from this body for the first time; he revealed his original form as a Spirit Fox King. He grew taller and had fox ears on his head while his hair turned silvery.
Ouyang Yong and Shi Wangcheng loosened the chains formed by their spirit powers around the Azure Dragon column and White Tiger column; meanwhile, Ouyang Xiaoleng scattered the land rune on the ground around the two godly columns. As the golden powder fell to the ground, the two columns stopped shaking.
To travel long distances in the spirit world, Xia Qiu must have her own spirit horse, but she had to find it by herself. Ouyang Yong let Thorn take her to Yanming the stone spirit. An oracle, Yanming also managed the maze path leading to the Spirit Horse Forest in the capital city.
Situated close to the northern border, the Spirit Horse Forest was the territory of the spirit horse clan which was also called the Dark Night Fairies. They looked like horses in the human world but had great intelligence and speed, immortality, and inexhaustible stamina. They chose their users and would serve their users solely until the latter died; then the horses would return to the Spirit Horse Forest until their next users appeared.
The entrance of the maze path leading to the forest was in a cave in the mountain behind the North Star Palace. When Yanming the stone spirit led her to the entrance of the cave, she remembered she had passed it when she entered the North Star Palace for the first time.
Yanming stopped and handed her a red string, saying, “You have to walk on by yourself. Walk straight forward and you’ll enter the Spirit Horse Forest. Then secure the string on the tree directly behind you; that’s your exit from the forest!”
She asked in confusion, “What should I do?”
“You don’t need to do anything. If a spirit horse belongs to you, it will choose you and teach you the secret words to summon it. When you chant the words silently, it will appear before you. Remember to come back through the same route you go in. Don’t go to them without invitation; they are suspicious and it’s dangerous if you anger them.”
She nodded and walked forward with the string in her hand. The cave was dim; after walking about 50 steps, it became brighter; after another 100 steps, she found she was in a dense forest. She froze for a few seconds and remembered Yanming’s instructions, so she tied the string around a branch on the tree behind her.
It was daytime, but the huge canopies blocked sunlight. Gurgling sounds of water came from the distance. She walked forward and saw a river; across from the river, many spirit horses were drinking from the river, showing no interest in her.
Sure enough, the spirit horses looked no different from the ordinary horses she had seen; but they felt different. Some of them were saddled and the color and style of the saddles seemed to show their different statuses. She observed them and was disappointed when none of them had the intention to approach her. Yanming told her not to linger too long in here, but she didn’t know how long was too long. Reluctant to leave, she walked along the bank of the river. If she didn’t have her own spirit horse, she’d not be able to travel freely in the spirit world and couldn’t go on trips with Ouyang Xiaoleng.
Before she knew it, she stepped into the river and moved toward the spirit horses. The water wasn’t deep but was very cold. The spirit horses looked alerted when she stepped into the river and stomped their hooves to warn her. The closer she went, the more frantically they stomped. Finally, they got angry and galloped toward her together.
Seeing so many spirit horses galloping toward her, she realized she had made a fatal mistake. In her fear, she felt as if the air around her had frozen. At this moment, the crisp sounds of hooves hitting the ground broke the silence as a pure white spirit horse appeared between her and the other spirit horses.
It faced them fearlessly and even Xia Qiu could sense the unusual presence emitting from it. Its kingly presence soon subdued the other spirit horses and they retreated to the opposite bank of the river.
The white spirit horse turned around and walked toward her. Its gait was so beautiful and elegant, and its silvery mane shined with a moonlight luster in the wind. Gazing at her with its bright and clear green eyes, it stopped before her and spoke, “I’ve waited for you for a long time.”
The white horse shook its head and then lowered it; in a deep and booming voice, it said the words with a snort.
“Me?” Xia Qiu didn’t know how to respond to a horse which could speak.
The white spirit horse answered firmly, “Yes. I’m surprised that my second pact partner is also human.”
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