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Chapter 84: True Courage
“Then if I ignore this and fight at full power, would you just stand by and let me die of poison?”
Xie Changsheng shouted at Geng Ren, his face still black, “If I die of poison, whose head will this be on?”
“The Seven Leaf Powder will only only throw the body into chaos, not kill. If you really ignore the Seven Leaf Powder and forcibly use your vital energy, you can experience the pain that terminally ill people feel.”
Geng Ren was not angry at all and laughed in amusement. “That kind of pain is not one you can tolerate with a moment of courage. Also, you were the one to stir the poison’s effects. If you are killed by someone else’s sword in the trial, it cannot be counted on my head.”
Xie Changsheng said angrily, “Killed only because of the poison’s effects. The poison counts on your head!”
Geng Ren smiled slightly and said, “I only heed to the orders of my sect. If you want to blame, then you can only blame the Min Mountain Sword Sect. I am not the strongest of the Min Mountain Sword Sect, if the sky falls, it is not my turn to support it.”
Xie Changsheng could not speak.
The strongest of Min Mountain Sword Sect was naturally the sect master. But among all the rumors of the world, the master of Min Mountain Sword Sect was one who liked calm and rarely left the mountain, but he was an extremely petty-minded, protective, and vindictive person.
Who dared to blame the master of Min Mountain Sword Sect?
Soft chewing sounds were heard.
Xie Changsheng turned in shock and saw Ding Ning had picked up his bowl and started to eat. Just like how Ding Ning usually ate in Falling Parasol, he felt that Ding Ning was having a good time eating.
Geng Ren looked at Ding Ning with the same gentle smile, but his eyes showed a hint of admiration.
To the members of the Min Mountain Sword Sect, the Min Mountain Sword Trials was a major event. Every sect member would naturally be paying attention to the progression of the trials.
He admired all of Ding Ning’s previous exploits. But even so, with his status in the Min Mountain Sword Sect, he could not go over the trials and give Ding Ning the qualifications to enter Min Mountain Sword Sect to study.
Sometimes, the rules were the rules. When there were no rules, there was no order.
Looking at Ding Ning eating, Xie Changsheng could not muster his anger, but he was still discontent. He turned back to Geng Ren and said, “Even if this is extremely special, and everyone can only use seventy percent of their power, but the more powerful use their seventy, and the less powerful their seventy … then would not those with stronger cultivation still have their advantage over those weaker? What is the meaning in weakening everyone equally?”
“What, do you want to even take away other people’s natural advantages in cultivation?” Geng Ren seemed to find Xie Changsheng interesting and laughed again. “If that is so, then what is the use in those people working diligently? Nobody will have to work to form vital energy, and fight with vital energy.”
Xie Changsheng stilled and was unable to argue back.
Geng Ren looked meaningfully at him and continued. “Also, seventy percent, but is every person able to be so precise in their control? Fighting after taking this is akin to ordinary people walking on the edge of the cliff blindfolded. The closer to the edge, the more benefits there are, but if you go a line over, you will fall off the cliff and die. Some people, out of caution, will take fewer steps and stay away from the edge. Then they will only be able to use fifty or sixty percent of their power. Those braver will take a few more steps, and be closer to the edge. Maybe they will surpass sixty percent. As to seventy percent … that is too difficult for you.”
Xie Changsheng’s expression grew uglier but Zhang Yi grew more respectful as he listened. Hearing this, he bowed to Geng Ren and said, “Teacher’s explanation is very detailed and we have benefited greatly. Thank you.”
Geng Ren bowed slightly in greeting. If he had not said it himself, no one would have connected him to the terrifying “person chef” of legend.
He Zhaoxi picked up his bowl again. His appetite was large to start with. After learning that it was not akin to normal poisons, once again, the food became delicious in his eyes. But he still felt a thread of wariness so he put down the bowl and asked respectfully, “Teacher, is there any degree of poisoning for this?”
“Actually, as long as you eat half a bowl, it is the same no matter how much you eat. To be on the safe side, I have to watch each of you eat one bowl with my own eyes. The poison is extremely interesting, it is fine no matter how much you eat. In any case, it is not a fatal poison. After a few days, the poison will naturally wear off without a trace.” Geng Ren explained patiently.
They had to eat, and eating more was fine. The braised pork and the vegetables were delicious, and it had been made personally by a legendary cultivator like Geng Ren. Everyone was reassured and started to eat.
“It is really fine to eat more of this Seven Leaf Powder?”
A moment later, Xie Changsheng suddenly changed his expression and shouted out loud, “Why does my stomach feel pain?”
Hearing his shout, everyone else immediately grew nervous. Geng Ren only glanced at him with an unchanging expression. “You did not eat for a day and night, and you ate four bowls in one go. Of course your stomach hurts from overeating.”
Xie Changsheng immediately froze.
Nangong Caishu and the others wanted to laugh, but could not.
“There is enough time. When the following trial begins, you should be fine.” Zhang Yi looked solemnly at Xie Changsheng and comforted him.
“Elder, do we have to wait for the other students who are able to reach this place before starting?”
Ding Ning suddenly spoke up and interrupted. “It probably is not so simple?”
“Hm?” Geng Ren made a sound of surprise and looked over. He saw Ding looking calmly at the areas divided by the sword marks. His eyebrows rose slightly and he asked, “Why do you feel it is not so simple?”
“When I first saw the setup here, I thought that what will occur will be one-on-one matches for promotion. But after Elder,” Ding Ning turned back to look at him, “since Elder said that Min Mountain Sword Sect only needs people who can truly kill and not sword dancers, and Elder said that a cultivator will experience many battles. Those battles will not be one-on-one fair battles with boths sides well-rested, but rather ambushes, pursuits or fighting or being chased for a long time on the battlefield, even after injury. To be as close to those situations as possible, just restraining vital energy is not enough.”
Pausing, Ding Ning continued. “Since someone like Elder was dispatched to use so much effort to make food and add poison, it will not just be for appearance. So I feel what is next will not be as simple … maybe it will make us truly tired and even injured.”
Geng Ren’s appearance was mediocre, and his expressions after appearing were also mediocre. But when he heard Ding Ning’s words, his expression grew solemn and shone with a strange light.
“Your deduction is correct, because the person in charge of the trials is also a genius. Geniuses frequently pursue perfection and the extreme.” He looked gravely at Ding Ning and nodded, saying, “Those that attend the trials and are able to reach this step are geniuses one in a thousand, yet the more accomplished a genius is, the fewer the defeats or hard battles they previously had. Many people may have not even endured any serious injury. For a cultivator, injuries are important experiences. Many people would feel great terror when they think about enduring dozens of bleeding wounds and still having to fight. If they truly end up with a situation with a sword in their stomach, I fear they will not be able to even fight at all, much less seek life in death.”
“Most young people understand the so-called courage is important, but they do not understand what is true courage because they had never encountered a situation like this.” Looking at Xie Changsheng and the others who had paled, Geng Ren added. All along, his expression remained somber.
Because he had a different look on Ding Ning due to this talent and the other even won some of his respect, he hoped that Ding Ning could win in the end, just like Jing Liuli had. So his words right now were not idle chatter, but truly teaching something like a teacher passing on experience.
Zhang Yi could sense this so he had a solemn expression and prepared to bow in thanks.
But Xie Changsheng did not accept such goodwill. He shouted with a cold expression, “Who thought of such a freakish idea? Are you going to stab us in the stomach?”
“How many sword stabs you receive will depend on you.”
Geng Ren was still not angry. He admired Xie Changsheng’s straightforwardness. He turned to look to the side after speaking to Xie Changsheng.
This mountain valley had originally been a vast flat clearing, but at this time, an enormous green shadow was slowly appearing through the air.
An enormous palace appeared out of thin air into a corner of this valley.
The mountain valley they had previously passed also had a green palace, but that had just been a shadow. Yet, all of them were sure that what appeared now was tangible.
Other than the color and the realistic reflection, this green palace had a smell, and strange sounds within that formations could not mimic.
Translator Ramblings: Xie Changsheng is the comedic relief.