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Chapter 76: Eight Swords
The sun was starting to set. A young woman whose clothes were covered in blood at the front passed by the first sword nucleus and then fell to the ground, lacking the strength to keep walking.
Not far ahead of her, there were about three hundred students gathered together. Behind her, not many students were still persisting in front of the first sword nucleus.
Of more than a thousand students, there were many students like her who chose to pass the test like Xie Changsheng had. Yet, even sore, there were only just three hundred students who had passed. So many could see the path, but could not go ahead. Many others were like this young girl who was bloodied. So, while the field was silent, there was a violent presence rippling around.
The sword manual forms engraved on the second sword nucleus were rare in the world, and refined. Even more importantly, each of the engraved sword marks were related to the sword moves they recorded. Through the width and direction of these sword marks, it was easier to understand where to use force in these moves and how fast or slow the strike should be.
This was like there was a Min Mountain Sword Sect teacher personally teaching them. Even if they had no opportunity to enter Min Mountain Sword Sect to study in the end, the more they grasped from these sword manuals, the more they would increase in strength.
So, whether it was students like Ye Haoran and Chen Liqiu who had followed Ding Ning and the others here, or those who had reached here like the young woman, none of them was in a hurry to leave.
No one moved to challenge the green jade mountain path ahead. Everyone was silently standing or sitting as they observed and focused on comprehending the sword moves.
The darkness swallowed the forests on the sides of the mountain path. It grew more wet until the wetness turned to dew in the mountain.
Many students’ hair and clothing were soaked by the due, yet they seemed to not know.
All their attention was focused by these masterful sword moves. They even forgot the passage of time.
If one had enough physical endurance and mental strength, they would hope they could continue to read until they understood all the sword manuals and grasped all the sword forms.
White slowly appeared in the eastern sky.
A night had passed. A student near the sword nucleus tiredly rubbed his eyes. He could see there was some whiteness on the black sword nucleus.
This was the early summer, and frost naturally could not appear. He naturally felt that this was the dew on the sword.
Yet, in the next moment, this student stopped breathing, his eyes going wide.
He thought he was seeing wrong.
The marks on the sword nucleus were disappearing.
Many gasps sounded, and formed a wave, telling him that he was not the only one to see this.
Many who were sitting, stood up.
The white on the black sword nucleus was like fine powder. They started to form the smallest sword marks. The powder fell from the surface of the sword nucleus. It was like a room that had been whitewashed. When the door was suddenly opened after being closed for many years, wind entered, and the powder on the walls started to fall.
Seeing such a scene, almost all the students were shocked speechless. They started to understand that the person who had engraved these marks had, in reality, turned the surface of the sword nucleus into powder with their power.
It was easy to cut or pierce hard steel, but to crush metal into powder, what kind of power would this take?
And this was happening to the sword after a day and night … What kind of strength was this?
Many tents had been set up in the mountains of Min Mountain Sword Sect.
These tents were for the officials and the teachers who came with their students to rest. Also, from the position of these tents, they could clearly see the entire competition.
Hearing the gasps on the mountain path, Palace Attendant Rong, sitting inside one of the tents, put down the teacup she held. She said to herself in a mocking tone, “You really do not have to rush for time?”
The Min Mountain Sword Sect naturally would not allow the students to stay forever in front of the sword nucleus.
This setup meant that the comprehension in front of the second sword nucleus was limited to a day and night. This total time seemed very fair but in reality, was extremely unjust.
The later someone arrived, the less time they had to comprehend. That young woman who had arrived in the dusk had almost less than half the time Zhang Yi and the others received.
From a certain point of view, Ding Ning had gained a lot of time. But starting now, these other students would want to be first. Once the competition started, if Ding Ning wanted to be the first to pass, he would not have enough time to cultivate and replenish his vital energy. Even a night of time was not enough for Ding Ning to fully replenish.
Also, she did not believe that Ding Ning could comprehend the sword manual on the sword nucleus from his brief gaze at the start.
Now that the sword marks had disappeared and the sword manual turned to dust, Ding Ning would not have time to look even if he wanted to.
“Stopping now will be your best result,” Palace Attendant Rong couldn’t help but say to herself.
When one was immersed in these sword marks and comprehending a part of a sword manual, being interrupted in the middle was a painful feeling. Especially when they were obtaining something and the sword move about to take form in their mind was suddenly broken off. That was even more uncomfortable.
Such was the case with Ye Haoran.
When the sword marks disappeared, he almost groaned in pain. But in the next moment, he instinctively turned to look at Ding Ning.
The gasps were rising around him in waves.
He saw the dew fall off Ding Ning’s eyelashes. Ding Ning had opened his eyes at this moment.
Palace Attendant Rong thought that starting at this sword nucleus, the other students would start competing to be first and win time for themselves.
Yet, most of the students had yet to recover from looking at the blank sword nucleus.
“We are going.”
Ding Ning told Zhang Yi and the others when he opened his eyes. Then he calmly walked forward.
So, he was still the first to go at the target.
The first ray of the morning sun fell.
Everybody’s gaze converged on him. His body seemed to give off an inexplicable light.
The field was completely silent.
All of the emotions calmed due to Ding Ning’s movements.
The bloodied young girl who had been the last to arrive had originally been filled with grief. But when she saw Ding Ning’s calm figure, she gradually forgot her own circumstances, and her attention was completely attracted.
“He seems to be very confident,” Chen Liqiu said, blinking his eyes hard to ease the soreness he felt.
After a moment of thought, Xu Lianhua said, “They want to pass together.”
Xia Wan frowned.”Let us see what they will do first.”
Ding Ning was not the only one advancing forward. Zhang Yi and the others, including the injured Xie Changsheng, were all following behind Ding Ning towards the green jade mountain path.
In Xia Wan’s view, there would be at least one or two of the group who could not pass through the path.
Yet, at this time, she found something she could not understand.
These people looked much more energized than the other students in the surroundings.
Ding Ning had cultivated for an entire night. That was akin to resting for the night. It was normal for him to be full of energy. But compared to the other people, Ding Ning, covered in dew, seemed like a new lotus leaf after the rain as he gave off a lively presence.
But, he wasn’t the only one. Zhang Yi and the others seemed to be in better spirits than other people.
They had all comprehended this sword nucleus. Why were these people not similarly tired?
She could not understand so she felt that something unexpected would occur.
The green jade path was very wide.
Zhang Yi and the others kept close to Ding Ning. So the group stepped almost in unison to the area where Gu Xichun and Ye Haoran and sensed an unusual presence.
Ding Ning’s expression was still calm. Zhang Yi and the others appeared nervous.
There were wild grasses growing on either side of the path. Previously, when Ye Haoran had stepped into this area, light green mist had risen on the path while the grasses had swayed. But when Zhang Yi and the others stepped, as the green mist rose from under their feet, the wild grasses on the two sides of the mountain path started to snap.
The grasses snapped right in the middle.
Many shadows appeared in the light mist in front of them, like countless waist-high grasses that suddenly grew.
The field was even more silent, as though there was no breathing.
Almost everyone knew that these were not grasses, but swords.
Ding Ning, Zhang Yi, Shen Yi … there were eight of them in this group. But there were many sword-shaped holes on the green jade path and there were far more than eight swords rising out of the path.
Everyone could imagine, even if the eight swords attacked eight different people at the same time, the attack would come like a storm, one sword after another. There would be no gap to rest, just like how Ye Haoran had endured those two sword strikes.
The time left for people to think was short.
The snapped grasses on the path had not fallen to the ground when the light green mist was torn apart by the chaotic and wild power.
The surroundings became unusually clear.
Dozens of green jade swords stood silently like guards. Of them, eight swords gave off different sounds and turned into light.
On the green path further off, more green jade swords silently rose up.
One sword was extremely fast, turning the shadow it cast extremely faint like an ink stroke that had been diluted by water. The sword appeared soft and powerless, but the air in front of the tip was compressed by the sword tip as though there were dozens of transparent flows moving around.
One sword was extremely violent, with the energies inside constantly exploding and causing the air around it to explode and form strange dust.
One sword seemed to turn into a metal ruler, the sword horizontal as it pushed foward. The primal energies of the universe gathered in front of it to form a green wave.
One sword advanced silently as it refracted lines of light. People could not see it clearly, it was as though a thin mirror.
All eight swords were different but they were all extremely smooth as though there were eight experienced swordsmen wielding these words.
The falling grasses were cut to pieces by the rippling sword energies and turned to powder.
The eight sword attacked in unison towards the eight figures.
Translator Ramblings: You can just imagine Ding Ning’s group walking forward like the Justice League.