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Chapter 72: So This Was How It Was
On the sacrificial altar, many officials were hurriedly putting away ceremonial items.
Standing in a corner, Huang Zhenwei was gazing at the jade door.
As the bureau chief of the Clan Law Bureau, he had been present today, dressed up grandly. But compared to the Deer Mountain Conference, he appeared very tired, and even had an indescribable fragility about him.
“What do you think of Ding Ning’s actions?”
A cool female voice sounded behind him.
Huang Zhenwei turned in slight shock, and became even more shocked when he saw the other’s appearance.
He looked at Pan Ruoye who was dressed in light purple palace attire. He directly expressed the shock he felt. “I’ve heard that Palace Master Pan is elegant and does not concern yourself with matters of the world. Why would you mention Ding Ning specially?”
“If I was not concerned with the matters of the world, I would not have gone to Deer Mountain.”
After using up the energies she had accumulated for dozens of years, Pan Ruoye was as weak and tired as Huang Zhenwei. She spoke softly without expression. “We have some karma. Bureau Chief Huang is one of the smartest people in Changling. It is ordinary to want to hear Bureau Chief Huang’s opinion.”
“I do not dare.”
Huang Zhenwei raised his folded hands in greeting and sighed softly. He said, “He is astounding, but acting like this is fighting with his back to the water. He has not much room to retreat … he wants to be first in all things, he will have great expenditures. In the later stages of the trial, when these students fight each other, he will be at a disadvantage.”
Pan Ruoye was silent for a moment and said, “You mean that he is unlikely to win in the end?”
Huang Zhenwei nodded.
He had no advantages to start with, and he had added a chain to himself … He thought, even if it was his teacher making a judgement, he would think that Ding Ning could not win in the end, unless a miracle occurred.
There were not so many miracles in the world.
In the eyes of Palace Attendant Rong, there were no miracles in the world.
Zhang Yi passed through the light of the jade doors.
Then he was stunned.
Behind the doors was not a new world, but a vast green jade mountain path that went up directly. But it looked completely different from the outside.
The mountain that this path was on did not look flat like it did on the outside, but unusually steep. This mountain path seemed to be embedded vertically on the steep walls. Along the green jade path were valleys, canyons, and towers.
At this time, at the end of his sight, was a copper colored palace. On the mountain path between him and this copper palace were three floating pitch black metal pillars.
At first glance, he thought these were metal pillars.In the next moment, he realized that these were three sword nuclei. These three had not been completely forged, but under the swings of the blacksmiths, they were nuclei that had a preliminary shape.
Ding Ning was standing silently under the first sword nucleus.
The sword nucleus was large, slightly taller and wider than him.
Zhang Yi was the second to enter so he could follow his “little sect brother.” So after he recovered from his daze, he moved quickly behind Ding Ning.
As it floated in front of him, the black sword nucleus seemed to be wrapped in a mysterious power. The surface of the sword nucleus was rough. It appeared to have no special patterns, just the uneven bumps formed by the forging. But these bumps and the shadow on the sword blade seemed to twist in Zhang Yi’s eyes and perfectly block this entire mountain path.
Zhang Yi’s breathing involuntarily stopped. He could sense a strange energy flow, but he was not sure what it was. But he was certain that the strange flow of energy blocked the mountain path in front of him. If he could not understand, he could not pass through this sword.
“This sword nucleus tests perception. Do not think of anything else. Just grasp the direction of flow for one of the sword energies.”
Ding Ning’s voice sounded softly at this time.
After turning slightly to speak to Zhang Yi, Ding Ning closed his eyes again.
Zhang Yi was stunned again.
He could sense the physical energies in Ding Ning’s body moving with rhythm. So, at this moment, Ding Ning was not quickly comprehending, but in a cultivation state so he could replenish vital energy.
Since he said it was testing perception, how could he pass by cultivating vital energy and not perceiving?
The first green jade doors did not have any difficulty. Any person could comprehend. After the demonstration, everyone could copy and pass.
The Min Mountain Sword Sect had not wanted to eliminate any student at the first jade doors. Just like Zhang Yi had said, they were using this to warn any person who entered the Min Mountain Sword Sect to study to remember to respect their teacher and know their manners.
Many students did not feel good that they were not the first to realize the way to pass and only passed after others had demonstrated. Especially some of the prouder and exceptional talents who were even less willing and urgently followed.
It would take a long time for thousands of students to bow and pass. Especially, when some students near the front did not immediately bow. This delayed the others even more.
But when most students entered the jade doors, there were people all around the black sword. Just like previously when there was a dense crowd, no one had passed by this black sword nucleus.
Under the shadow cast by the black sword nucleus, a pale youth dressed in crimson robes turned around, and looked dazedly at Ding Ning who was nearby.
He was Jian Damei, a student of Chonghua Sword School. He ranked twentieth on the Book of Talents. But even him had expended great mental effort in his comprehension and his robes were soaked in sweat.
Only just now had he sensed there was a speedy energy moving around the sword . But he did not understand the connection between this speedy burst of energy, the sword nucleus and how to pass this test.
He was even more bewildered by why Ding Ning was still cultivating and replenishing his vital energy at this time.
When did Ding Ning want to start comprehending this black sword?
A youth in pure white robes suddenly relaxed from his frown. He looked to be of similar age to Zhang Yi. He was fully grown so he looked tall and upright. He had handsome features, his long black hair tied up with a white jade ring, rendering him a clean look.
He had come in near the middle, but he could clearly sense the energy on the black sword. He had sensed the way to pass this test, so he decided to pass.
But at this time, Jian Daomei’s pupils contracted fiercely.
This youth in pure white robes suddenly froze.
Ding Ning’s eyes were open.
Without any extra movements, Ding Ning started to walk towards the black sword floating in front of him.
When most people were guessing what he was going to do, Ding Ning pulled out his sword.
He pulled the Last Flower Remnant Sword from his waist, and then made a simple stab at a part of the sword .
There was a vibration.
This sound was not loud, but many people unconsciously shook.
The surface of the black sword suddenly lit up. Layers of heated red light appeared from the shadows of the bumps as though fire was about to erupt!
But in the next moment, nothing happened.
The black sword didn’t even sway. The red light on the sword nucleus instantly receded like the tide.
Ding Ning had put his sword away and passed by the sword .
All the students were shocked speechless.
“Little Sect Brother …”
Zhang Yi called out.
He once again said the wrong appellation. But in his call, his joyful surprise exceeded his shock.
Even with Ding Ning’s reminder at the start, he had only just managed to learn the method to pass. Ding Ning’s performance now caused him to realize that Ding Ning had known the way to pass this black sword at the start!
In the time that he had taken to pass through the jade doors and follow behind Ding Ning, Ding Ning had comprehended the way to pass this black sword!
His little sect brother … was really divine!
As Zhang Yi’s heart filled with joyful surprise, that youth in pure white robes who had been preparing to move frowned deeply. His eyes were cold.
He had understood from the start?
What kind of comprehension speed was this?
Also, Ding Ning had stopped replenishing his vital energy when he was thinking of passing the black sword. Was this a coincidence?
Jian Daomei looked dazedly at Ding Ning’s back behind the black sword. His body involuntarily trembled.
He did not believe that what he had seen was real. Yet, Ding Ning’s sword strike just now had resolved his last doubt and caused him to understand the connection between the flowing energy and the sword nucleus.
“So this is how it is!”
More and more people understood and felt even greater shock.
A youth in inky Daoist robes walked towards the black sword nucleus.
Many recognized him as Fan Xingling of the Tung Temple.
Fan Xingling had only just had an epiphany and unconsciously followed. He was certain that if he stopped the flow of the energy with his sword, the energies inside the sword nucleus would still for a moment. Then, he could pass by, just like Ding Ning had, without any eruption.
So he also attacked with his sword.
His sword was a pitch black sword three feet long. With a clang, his sword stabbed towards a part of the black sword nucleus.
The surface of the black sword nucleus lit up immediately. But for some unknown reason, in the next moment, the red light coming out of the uneven surface of the black sword nucleus did not disappear silently but gave off loud roars.
It was like many people were swinging burning red hammers at this sword nucleus.
Pang pang pang pang ….
Fan Xingling’s black sword seemed to be hit by these rushes of hot air.
His body shook and fell backwards. He opened his mouth and threw up a mouthful of blood.
Translator Ramblings: Being a copycat doesn’t always pay off.