The echoing deep voice of the Venerated Skeleton was long and deep.
Suddenly, Longjing Tea seemed to see some kind of hallucination.
The Venerated Skeleton’s weathered and corroded armor blended well with the surrounding tombs. It appeared to be seamlessly integrated with a remarkably consistent style. It was almost as if it was meant to be here—in the tombs of this ancient dynasty that had faded away nearly a thousand years ago.
His voice did not seem to originate in front of the players.
He stood there, like someone reciting softly to the future, from a lost past.
At this moment, Annan watched everything through Longjing Tea’s eyes.
He bore the unmistakable traces of being influenced by something divine, though players couldn’t perceive it.
[You got the new mark “Novice Influence: Ancient Whispers”]
[If it is not removed in time, you will fall into a random nightmare with the keyword “moth” after seven days (Difficulty: Hard).]
Annan frowned slightly.
The influence was low rank and not commonly used in rituals but somewhat cherished due to its hard-earned nature.
In other words, it necessitated an ancient transcender or ritualist who had undergone multiple life-extension rituals and effectively depleted their own lifespan twice to activate it.
This influence wasn’t within the “bone” and “betrayal” realms held by the Venerated Skeleton.
Judging from His age…
Since Annan had gained the influence, it meant that even Annan didn’t understand the secret that the Venerated Skeleton was about to reveal.
Annan concentrated his attention, listening to the secrets told underground nearly two thousand kilometers away.
The Venerated Skeleton walked alone ahead, occasionally reaching out to touch a tombstone by the roadside. Even though these tombstones didn’t bear the names of the “residents” buried there, it didn’t hinder the Venerated Skeleton from identifying them.
Longjing Tea and his two companions walked side by side with their illuminated hands raised. Their nervousness was evident in their occasional glances, ensuring that the person next to them was still present. It was as if they might suddenly vanish in the next second.
A very faint glow burned silently in the pitch-black underground… The cloak of the Venerated Skeleton in front casts a deep invisible shadow.
At first glance, the surroundings revealed only massive stone pillars and tombstones the size of small garages.
Other than that, there was nothing else.
The players were transcenders, and even some players were ghosts themselves. They were not afraid of ghosts.
However, this ancient history inflicted a great sense of oppression.
So much so that the players didn’t even dare to say a word.
They didn’t even engage in a private chat on their friend page and forgot to start a livestream. They simply held their breath, taking careful, light steps as they followed quietly behind the Venerated Skeleton.
Suddenly, without warning—the Venerated Skeleton stopped.
His stature was so tall that it completely covered the way ahead. Longjing Tea couldn’t see what was in front of the Venerated Skeleton for a moment.
However, Dove saw it.
She reacted immediately, sent a screenshot to the forum, and activated the live broadcast feature.
She instantly realized that the situation in front of her might be so critical that she had to record it.
It was a tomb that looked no different from the surrounding “garages”.
However, what made it unique was a stone statue standing before it.
The first and only thing Dove saw “beyond the tombstones” was—
A short stone statue, not even reaching two meters after including the half-meter pedestal. That was because the person carved in the statue was quite petite.
It was a kindly-looking old woman with a gentle smile; a thin and petite figure. She slightly hunched her body, squinting her eyes. Her appearance was quite ordinary, with a face covered in wrinkles, much like a grandmother who’s so good-natured she hands out candies to children.
However, even the Venerated Skeleton had His head bowed.
Then, her identity was self-evident.
This old woman was the first of the twelve upright deities, whose appearance and figure were the closest to ordinary people, without any special features.
She was the deity that Elegy Dukedom believed in, “the Bone Picker”, “the Unseen Deity of the Living”, “the Silent Deity”, “the Mother of Ashes and Charcoal”, the Deity of Death and Earth. She was commonly known as Bone Burying Grandma.
The Bone Burying Grandma was the protector of all the unburied. She would gently bury and rebury the remains of those who had died unexpectedly. Only the dying could see her.
At the same time, the Grandma was also the upright deity who disliked responding to advanced rituals the most. Except for requiem and bone burial rituals, almost all rituals related to Bone Burying Grandma were difficult to receive a response.
Her silent character was comparable to the Silent Lady.
The ritualists understood this as a result of the “stability of the earth” and the “irreversibility of death.” Because both the “earth and the departed remain silent.”
However, although the Grandma was silent, compared with the upright deities such as Red Knight, Old Grandmother, and Father Flint, the Grandma had a better temper—probably on the same level as Grail-holding Lady and Lady Luck. None had seen her angry before.
Or rather, from the history dating back to the Third Age, the Grandma had never gotten angry. Throughout the span of two thousand years, she had never initiated an attack on any mortals or transcenders… not even in the case of the exceedingly rare ” death defiers”, to whom she typically paid little attention.
Especially after Bell Ringer Oik was born, she cared less about those “resurrected ones”.
To the extent that when ritualists were preparing rituals, those “ingredients to prevent offending a deity” typically didn’t include considerations for the Bone Burying Grandma.
When people were seeking power from fire, light, war, and veto, they would be mindful of the accuracy of their rituals and whether any materials within them might violate the taboos.
For example, Father Flint hated water—whether in a cup, well, swamp, or on the ritualist’s body.
Therefore, after summoning Father Flint’s power, He would always dry the ritualist’s body. Conversely, if the ritual area was too humid (such as holding a ritual in a swamp), then not only was it impossible to borrow Father Flint’s power, but it might also attract Father Flint’s attack.
On the other hand, Mr. Ray had requirements on the nature of the ritualist. Because He was the Purification Deity, if the ritualist’s mind were disordered, entangled with impure intentions, the residual effects left after His departure would cleanse those influences away.
On the other hand, if the ritualist were a villain and did not repent, the power of light would burn him to death.
However, the ritual of Bone Burying Grandma was simple.
The bone burial ritual used by Delicious Wind Goose with the assistance of Wandering Child, strictly speaking, lacked proper offerings. With the ritual site hastily evacuated using transcended abilities, it lacked solemnity and was less than earnest.
However, they still managed to borrow power that wasn’t cut short.
Longjing Tea thought to himself if Bone Burying Grandma hadn’t such a good temper.
Then, the blasphemous act of the Venerated Skeleton worshiping in front of her statue was enough for the Bone Burying Grandma to appear and fight him on the spot.
Indeed, the Venerated Skeleton was worshiping before the statue of the Bone Burying Grandma.
Worse still, the process was pretty official.
The Venerated Skeleton knelt on one knee before Bone Burying Grandma.
His left hand hung straight down, a gesture of respect to the earth. He lightly touched his forehead, eyes, ears, and lips with His right hand, then placed it over His heart.
This interpretation signified a vow not to think, look, listen, speak, and live—a set of five principles for the deceased.
If the deceased violated the rules, he would be judged as abnormal.
The Venerated Skeleton was undoubtedly an anomaly.
Look, the dead body is talking…
“Man will face death eventually.”
The Venerated Skeleton said calmly in front of the statue of Bone Burying Grandma.
Even though he didn’t turn around or mention anyone by name, Longjing Tea quickly caught on—the Venerated Skeleton was speaking to him.
So, after gathering his courage, he asked, “Then you…”
“—therefore.” The Venerated Skeleton uttered in a low, hoarse, old voice.
“Resisting death is the greatest betrayal a man can commit.”
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