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Chapter 70: Beginning of the Sword Trials
While complicated and elaborate rituals could add to the enigma and profundity of the ceremony, everyone knew Emperor Yuanwu disliked such pomp and circumstance. So his recitation to the heavens and the ancestors was just a few dozen phrases that clearly described his accomplishments after his enthronement and the reason he was making Fu Su crown prince.
After sealing the gold slip in his hand underneath the mountain rocks in front of the sacrificial altar, this greatest emperor in the history of the Qin turned around. His bright yellow figure started to disappear from everyone’s sight. Once again, everyone felt a stabbing pain when they looked towards the higher parts of the mountain.
A gaze that did not carry much emotion swept across these students and the teachers.
Many people sensed this gaze and looked back. They discovered that this was a palace attendant standing behind the officials of the Clan Law Bureau.
The students and teachers who knew the identity of this palace attendant all suddenly became stiff. Even though their eyes were in pain, they didn’t dare to let tears fall from their eyes.
They feared that this palace attendant would think they were crying for Xue Wangxu’s death. Perhaps, just the clear expression of sympathy would bring them detrimental consequences in the impending Min Mountain Sword Trials.
The Min Mountain Sword Trials was held so much earlier. How would it be strange if some of the tests in the Min Mountain Sword Trials were changed?
What’s more, the tests for the annual Min Mountain Sword Trials would be different every year. Adjusting one or two of the Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivators responsible and some of the tests was much easier than holding the Min Mountain Sword Trials early.
The middle-aged official in black robes who had scolded Zhou Wangnian previously, slowly walked next to Zhang Yi and Shen Yi.
Xue Wangxu had passed away. Ordinarily, he could not let Xue Wangxu’s remains stay here. But he felt great sympathy towards the experiences of Ding Ning and the others. He thought, in the management of this matter, the palace attendant had gone too far. So, he worried greatly for the emotional backlash of Zhang Yi and the others.
Yet, unexpectedly, when he stopped and before he could speak, Zhang Yi turned around in front of him, and bowed deeply to him.
“Please, Official, take good care of Cave Master’s remains. After the Min Mountain Sword Trials finishes, we will bring Cave Master’s remains to White Goat Cave for burial.”
This official in black robes frowned slightly. He had not known what to say, but when Zhang Yi rose, he already had spoken.
“Senior Sect Brother, why?”
Shen Yi could not understand Shen Yi’s actions. He looked in sorrow and shock at Zhang Yi and exclaimed out loud.
Zhang Yi wiped his tears. He had been crying endlessly.
This wiping motion caused him to look extremely sentimental, but his tear-streaked face flashed with an unspeakable determination.
“With Cave Master here, none of us can think. We need to think about what we need to do next,” he looked at Shen Yi and answered.
The middle-aged official in black robes stopped breathing for a moment. He looked at Ding Ning who was still standing with his eyes tightly closed, as though he was separate from the world. Then he looked at Zhang Yi, and felt great respect for Xue Wangxu.
“This is why you were able to leave so calmly. No matter who possessed such students, you are worthy of being proud,” he spoke softly and sincerely. This middle-aged official in black robes did not call other people to help. He carried Xue Wangxu like he was helping an old friend walk as he moved to the back.
“Senior Sect Brother, what are we going to do?”
Shen Yi had been holding his tears back. In Guanzhong, crying in front of enemies was an embarrassing display of weakness. Yet, in this moment, his tears still fell.
He had been allowed to become a student of White Goat Cave, but in reality, he had never cultivated in White Goat Cave or even entered the library cave of White Goat Cave, always keeping Xue Wangxu company. So, in actuality, he was Xue Wangxu’s last personal student, and Xue Wangxu was his teacher.
At this time, he was just thinking, Ding Ning had not opened his eyes, he had not seen his teacher from the last time. How could someone take Teacher away?
He could not think of anything else.
“Win for Teacher’s spirit in heaven.” Zhang Yi turned. He cried as he looked at Ding Ning and said, “This is what Little Sect Brother needs to do.”
He had once again said the wrong appellation. But everyone knew that Ding Ning was the “little sect brother” he spoke of.
Shen Yi was slightly dazed. He seemed to have an epiphany amidst his grief. If he could not help Ding Ning do something, if Ding Ning could not win at the Min Mountain Sword Trials, then everything Ding Ning was doing right now would become meaningless.
Xie Changsheng’s cold voice sounded. “Ding Ning is not as sentimental as you.”
Shen Yi’s gaze landed on Xie Changsheng.
Xie Changsheng sneered at him and Zhang Yi, and continued to say “The important person in the palace won’t allow him to win, but if he does, it will be a great slap to that important person’s face… So Ding Ning is not sacrificing to Cave Master’s soul in Heaven, but to slap the important person for Cave Master. You should know whose intentions were behind White Goat Cave merging into Green Vine Sword School. If a student of the forced White Goat Cave managed to win the Min Mountain Sword Trials, what would the cultivators of the world think?”
At Xie Changsheng’s words, even Nangong Caishu and Xu Heshan felt a cold sweat trickle down their backs.
“How can a student of a cultivation place abolished by that important person in the palace win with glory at the Min Mountain Sword Trials? Does not this prove that the cultivation place is excellent and should not have been abandoned?”
Xie Changsheng sneered at the few who appeared lonely in the crowd. His words slowed. “I do not know what you think. But at the Min Mountain Sword Trials, I just want to do one thing, help Ding Ning win.”
Nangong Caishu’s hands uncontrollably trembled. When she thought closely about Xie Changsheng’s words, she felt great terror.
But she still nodded and said, “I am the same.”
Shen Yi instinctively looked at Zhang Yi.
He was not afraid, he was just in the habit of listening to Eldest Sect Brother’s opinion.
Zhang Yi looked at Xie Changsheng and said, “I cannot represent your opinions, but of us three White Goat Cave sect brothers, the one with the greatest hope of winning is Ding Ning. The Min Mountain Sword Trials is full of experts. Shen Yi and I have no chance at all.”
He looked very sentimental and spoke subtly, but everyone understood his meaning.
“What is the first test?”
He Zhaoxi’s voice sounded at this time.
He usually came hurriedly, busy with cultivation and seldom conversed with others. Since he had seen Xue Wangxu, Ding Ning and the others, he had maintained his silence. When he said these words, Xie Changsheng suddenly grew restless.
“How do we know what is going to happen next! Only that person who Ding Ning saved the life of knows what the next tests are.” He looked up irritably at the sacrificial altar on the horizon, and spat after he spoke.
“This has nothing to do with Fu Su. He cannot decide anything happening here.” Xie Rou lectured in a low voice, but her eyes were filled with an insuppressible fury and anxiety.
No matter how they discussed and how these people planned on helping Ding Ning at the cost of themselves, the final result would depend on the rules of the trial. The rules of this competition were not decided by them.
They were like a little group of ants on a hot stove.
Thousands of young men and women stood on the mountain path to Skyscraper Peak. The mountain wind blew at their clothing, and the morning sunlight gilded them in gold.
The ceremonial music still played, but a clear ring came from the depths of Min Mountain as though someone had lightly flicked a sword from a long distance away.
The crowd was in uproar.
Ripples seemed to twist on the empty mountain path. A swordsman in indigo robes stepped out of empty space and appeared in everyone’s sight.
This indigo-robed swordsman’s clothing was only one color, but it was pure indigo. It was not possible to have this kind of indigo anywhere else in Changling. His features were dignified and stern. His age could not be estimated, and he emanated an indescribable authority and sharpness.
The Min Mountain Sword Sect and the Spirit Void Sword Sect were the strongest sword cultivation places in the world. None of their teachers were astounding people. But the eyes of most students before the mountain path did not stay long on this indigo-robed swordsman.
After the appearance of this indigo-robed swordsman, a strange layer of light slowly faded from the mountain path. on the empty mountain path that ascended the mountain, a door suddenly rose.
A tightly shut green jade door.
This indigo-robed swordsman stood to the side of the jade door. The mountain path behind the large doors seemed to have suddenly been erased. As if there had been a part of a painting that had suddenly become blank while the other scenes still existed.
This indigo-robed swordsman was neither humble nor haughty as he looked at the people below and calmly spoke, “The trial has begun. Please enter.”
Translator Ramblings: And the trials are finally starting!