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Chapter 24: Present and Future
“Ding Ning, how are you?”
Seeing Ding Ning spit blood, immediately, Fu Su cried out in shock. .
Ding Ning did not respond to him, and first tried to regulate his breathing. Then he bent down, grabbed a handful of dry earth and threw it hard in front of him.
The dirt spread apart in the mist in front of the formation door and became absolutely still. The grains of dirt were surrounded by the mist, turning into lines just like the trees and grass, before charging back towards Ding Ning.
Ding Ning’s clothes were unusually dirty, covered in mud and water mixing with his blood.
Forefather Zhou did not care about Ding Ning’s wounds. When the dirt had become still in the mist ahead, and turned into chaotic lines just like the grass and trees below, he immediately thought of something.
Ding Ning was silent.
All things in the world had their own energies, but the essence energy of all things flowed inside, and could not be recklessly expelled.
The floras at the formation door, once touched by presence not usually at the formation door, would immediately expel their own essence energy. As a result, the numerous flora here was like rash assassins. Their cultivation was low, but the chaotic presence they expelled formation was an enormous chaotic formation.
This was the legendary “chaos thicket.”
The ultimate “sword cemetery” formation of the dynasty after Emperor You originated from this very “chaos thicket.” However, this kind of formation essence was hard to understand for even those above realm seven. It had long been lost and even though he had never seen it, he had not expected it to appear here.
“How to breach this?”
Forefather Zhou turned to Ding Ning who did not seem to be deep in thought or moving. He said with a sneer, “Since you have been attacked by the formation door and threw up blood, then you must have sensed the true essence of this formation door. Do not tell me you are unable to think of any solution.”
“It is not possible to find a solution to the true chaos thicket quickly.”
Ding Ning adjusted his breathing, looked at him calmly and said, “But this chaos thicket is maintained by the entire formation … the person who set up the formation back then, wanted it to exist for countless years, so it has a fatal shortcoming.”
Forefather Zhou’s eyes flashed with heated flames. “What shortcoming?”
Ding Ning said calmly, “Its power comes from the sun truefire. You are not capable of blocking the solar truefire from the entire formation, but you may be able to block off the solar truefire of this formation door.”
Forefather Zhou immediately frowned deeply. He said coldly, “It is not so simple. It cannot be so simple.”
Fu Su also understood Forefather Zhou’s meaning. He looked at Ding Ning and shook his head, saying, “The entire formation is like a bowl filled with water. When there is less water in one part of the bowl, water from other places will naturally gather, and come with momentum. The place with less water will experience the impact of the entire formation.”
“I understand this.” Ding Ning nodded and turned to look at Forefather Zhou. “So you must be very quick.”
Forefather Zhou stilled, but his eyes glimmered with light. He understood.
“When there is less part in a part of the bowl, water will naturally come from other places. But if one is fast enough, they can pass through before water from other places gathers.” Ding Ning took a deep breath. Then he continued, “We also need to clear the way in order to pass through quickly enough. You have to open some passageways as soon as possible and let the energy inside pour out.”
“Ding Ning, I have to admit you are a true genius.” Forefather Zhou looked profoundly at Ding Ning, with a hint of a snarl on his face.
He looked up. He narrowed his eyes as he gazed at the golden pillars of light. The cold fiendish energy in his body was slowly released. His almost frozen energy sea could not withstand hard battle, but it was not difficult for him to slowly release the cold fiendish energy inside his body to block the golden light from the formation door.
Threads of black energy spilled from his fingertips like cold poisonous snakes and rose upwards.
The threads of pleasure in his heart seemed to rise like these energies.
He had waited for thirty years. Also, his body and cultivation status meant he could not force his way in through the formation door like he had three decades ago. But the performance of the wine shop youth today had caused him to come alive like a withered branch in spring. All of the waiting had been of value.
But at this moment, he sensed something unusual.
He suddenly turned his head, his slightly black face turning pale white.
What was happening?
Ding Ning and Fu Su also felt that unusual presence at the same time and turned around in unison.
The trio looked up at the sky where multiple white clouds were floating in the air. The rays of the sun gilded the edges of the white clouds gold, but at this moment, a ball of black light was rising below these white clouds.
Soundlessly, the rays of golden light landed on the pitch black ball of light. No light appeared underneath the black ball. Cold black curtains of light came from where the golden rays of light and the black ball of light were in contact and spread outwards.
That patch of sky was growing black at a visible rate into something like a black seal. It was not like black night, because there would be moonlight and star light in the night sky.
This thick black color was suffocating. Fu Su finally reacted. Looking at the black sky that had almost covered half of the mountain valley and the border of where the golden light and black color met, he said in shock, “There is someone else here?”
Ding Ning did not speak.
Forefather Zhou did not speak.
At this moment, with a muffled explosion, someone seemed to move an enormous mountain and threw it unreasonably onto the surface of the serene lake.
At the same time the sound occurred, the ground under the trio’s feet started to vibrate.
Then a wild wind rose.
The energy and the lake-like mist in the mountain valley split to the sides.
Ding Ning’s clothes flapped in the wind. His thin body appeared to be almost blown away by the wild wind and mist. But he still tried to narrow his eyes and look towards where the black ball of light was rising.
There was light underneath the black sky.
He saw an old figure that seemed to be burying with clean white flame.
A wide path appeared in front of this old figure. All of the weeds and trees on the path were cut down and fell to the sides of the path.
Forefather Zhou’s body was soaked in sweat.
This was the exact solution that Ding Ning had spoken of.
However, this person was even more vicious. He had not opened, but forced open the door when the power of the formation ran out.
This kind of method meant this person was far stronger than him.
Who could possess such power?
Who could have discovered the formation here, and intended to enter today?
The mist in the mountain valley was expelled out by the explosion of power. While they were many miles away, when Ding Ning and the others saw the old man, the old man also saw Forefather Zhou, Ding Ning, and Fu Su.
The old man’s eyes flashed with a hint of surprise.
This old man was the king of Chu. He had arranged and schemed for the Deer Mountain Conference to be held at this time at Deer Mountain. After obtaining what was here, he would return to Deer Mountain, and confirm with the strongest people in the world. Of course, he had not expected someone else to discover the secret here. Also, they appeared to have entered the formation before, and had come today preparing to enter.
But even if there were countless people that had discovered the secret here, only the first person who entered would obtain what was inside.
First come, first served. The one step was fate.
So, the king of Chu looked without any murderousness at Ding Ning, Fu Su and Forefather Zhou. He smiled gently before he started to step onto the wide path that had appeared in front of him.
The wind rose again.
The mist that had parted to the sides of the mountain valley rushed back with a stronger wind.
“Who is it?”
The half-fish half-bird spirit beast was hovering over a white cloud in the windy sky. On top of the beast, the beauty in palace attire had a grim expression.
“The king of Chu.”
The man with the white hair, the Qin Dynasty’s imperial tutor, whispered emotionally, “No wonder it is Deer Mountain, no wonder it is this time.”
The beauty in palace attire looked at the walking king of Chu and coldly said, “What do we do?”
The emperor’s tutor said peacefully, “Stop him from entering the formation.”
The beauty in palace attire said, “You stop the king of Chu. I will deal with Forefather Zhou.”
The emperor’s tutor shook his head, looked at her beautiful eyes, and said, “You should know that I cannot face the king of Chu alone.”
The beauty in palace attire stopped breathing.
She knew the other spoke the truth. But this choice meant abandoning Fu Su and Ding Ning.
This meant that Fu Su and Ding Ning would die.
“The Deer Mountain Conference is the Qin Dynasty’s present, the crown prince is the Qin Dynasty’s future. One side is the present, the other is the future. Without the present, there is no future.” The white-haired old man turned to look at the king of Chu who was stepping into the formation door. He said, “Both the Holy One and the empress would choose the present. We have no choice.”
As he spoke, his body gave off an extremely serene and faint presence. His body seemed to swell without limits.
There seemed to be a standing giant appearing between the sky and the earth that was looking in the distance. Numerous stars outside the world seemed to dim.
In the sky, an enormous presence suddenly formed and then landed.
The king of Chu suddenly looked up.
The moment he lifted his head, that enormous presence was already landing on the black ball of light in the sky.
Translator Ramblings: The emperor’s tutor (帝师) is usually translated as the imperial preceptor but the thing is, the position only appeared formally during the Yuan Dynasty, which is about 1000 years after the Warring states. So it is the “emperor’s teacher/tutor” and not the imperial preceptor.