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Chapter 85: Who
The people of Min Mountain Sword Sect were very honest and never deceitful. So without Geng Ren needing to put it in words, this octet knew that the next trial would be within this green palace.
“What is inside?”
As he looked at the green palace, Xie Changsheng felt the skin on his stomach turn cold, as though a blade had been thrust in. He gritted his teeth and turned to Geng Ren.
Geng Ren shook his head and said, “I cannot say beforehand what is inside. All I can say is just know that you will be very tired, maybe injured and stabbed many times after you enter. So, you have the right to give up right now.”
Xie Changsheng was furious. “Give up my ass! We struggled to get here, and you are having us give up? Do you know how much silver I spent to get this spot?”
Zhang Yi looked helplessly at Xie Changsheng and said softly, “Teacher has good intentions.”
Geng Ren smiled, not angry at all. “No matter. You spent money to get this spot. You got here to eat a bowl of my food. It really was not easy.”
Geng Ren looked at his bulging stomach, shook his head, and said, “Then be careful to not get stabbed. Otherwise, when the food spills to the ground, I fear you will not have an appetite in the future.”
Xie Changsheng’s chest moved violently. “As an elder, is not trying to frighten others boring?”
“This is the sincere suggestion of an elder.” Geng Ren looked at him in all seriousness and slowly said ,”Some cultivators truly have had experiences of being stabbed in the abdomen after they finally managed to get a full stomach… That kind of scene, even if you do not fear death, will greatly affect your appetite. Even after a dozen years, when you unconsciously think of that kind of scene when eating, especially when your food does not look very palatable and seems to have flowed out of your abdomen.”
Xie Changsheng suddenly froze. Although Geng Ren’s tone was flat, he could hear a deeper meaning.
Someone who had not seen a scene like this in person could not describe it in such a calm and sincere tone. Regardless of who it was, being able to kill the enemy and survive after getting stabbed through the stomach was a great person.
After being stiff all over for a long time, Xie Changsheng took a deep breath, bowed to Geng Ren and solemnly said, “I admire you.”
Geng Ren glanced at him and felt that him saying such a thing was really unnecessary.
“Teacher.” Though his voice carried some hesitation, Zhang Yi’s eyes held much more respect.
Geng Ren looked at him. “Yes?”
Zhang Yi pointed at the green palace and asked, “When can we enter that palace? Are there any requirements to enter?”
“Honestly, I do not know what is inside that palace.” Then, Geng Ren’s gaze upon Zhang Yi turned gentle as he slowly and clearly said, “I am just responsible for sending each of you in, but I can guarantee that what is inside is absolutely fair to each of you. As to the time of entry, it is fifteen minutes after you eat my food. So you do not have much time to prepare now.”
“If it is as Teacher says, and we are seriously injured after entering, we still have to wait for the people behind to enter, will it be far?” Zhang Yi hesitated and then asked.
“Maybe you will bleed for longer, or you will win more time to take care of your wounds.” Geng Ren said calmly, “The details will depend on one’s individual abilities.”
The words were clear enough. Zhang Yi had a feeling- if Geng Ren did not admire Ding Ning enough, he would not have spoken in such detail.
“Advance and retreat are difficult choices, but when to enter and when to withdraw requires good thought.” Geng Ren looked at Ding Ning and said.
Ding Ning looked at him and calmly said, “I choose to advance.”
Geng Ren said nothing else and looked quietly at the path that Ding Ning and the others had come from.
The valley was quiet. The sound of footsteps came. A moment later, a white figure appeared in everyone’s sight.
Ye Haoran had been the next to select his sword and follow Ding Ning and the others.
Ding Ning looked calmly at Ye Haoran who was slowly walking over. Ye Haoran still held the Cold Serpent Sword, he appeared to have no other swords. He had not spent a long time in the Sword Valley, so whatever sword he had picked would definitely be a small and short sword.
Geng Ren lifted his head slightly and waved his hand at Ding Ning and the others. “Go.”
The time to enter had arrived. Ding Ning stood up, but unlike before, he looked at everyone before starting off. He said seriously, “Take care.”
“Junior Sect Brother, Teacher Geng says that we should know when to advance and retreat. If it is not possible, do not force it.” Zhang Yi suddenly grew nervous. He hesitated and said, “You have to leave alive.”
“Any good cultivator is a treasure for the Holy One. This trial is not the final one-on-one battle. Even if we cannot avoid injury, Min Mountain Sword Sect would not let us die easily.”
Ding Ning shook his head. “I only want to have you all remember you are struck with the Seven Leaf Powder. You have to remember to only use seventy percent of your power. Even if you do not want to give up, pay attention to your wounds and do not let them affect your future cultivation.”
Zhang Yi wanted to say the same to Ding Ning, but looking at Ding Ning’s speckled hair roots and the gleaming light under Ding Ning’s skin, he could not say the words.
Ding Ning turned and walked towards the green palace.
What he really wanted to say at this time was, you really do not have to try. I really do not need your help. Yet, he knew very well, sometimes, friends would not think if their help was of meaning, but just wanted to help. Just like how in the bloody storm three years before Emperor Yuanwu’s ascension, some people knew what they did had no meaning, but still did it.
At a time like this, the best was to accept and not refuse.
Ding Ning and the others came in front of the green palace in a short time.
Dozens of stone stairs connected to the tightly closed green doors. The stone steps and doors were covered in thick moss.
When Ding Ning stepped onto the first stair, the green stone doors, as tall as two people, slowly opened.
A wave of mist surged out and moistened Ding Ning’s skin.
The chaotic sounds inside suddenly grew clear. There seemed to be a waterfall colliding with stones and plants of different elevations. It was pitch black and the mist was so heavy that one could not see clearly inside.
Ding Ning did not linger and calmly walked to the doors.
There seemed to be a very long passageway with water dripping down.
“Since we cannot sense, we have to go in to know what is inside. I am going in first.”
Ding Ning turned to say softly to Xie Changsheng and the others. Then he walked into the darkness ahead.
Xie Changsheng opened his mouth. Before he could speak, Ding Ning’s figure had disappeared from his sight.
“I will be the second.”
Xie Changsheng did not feel comfortable. While his stomach had felt cold since he heard Geng Ren’s explanation of the green palace, he still went ahead and entered the mist before Zhang Yi and Shen Yi.
He was thinking the ground ahead would be wet and he would just have to be careful. But unexpectedly, when he stepped, his body lost balance and he fell down!
It was empty under his feet. The passageway that appeared to exist did not exist at all.
Water droplets and sound attacked his body. The howling wind seemed to slice across his skin. His blood seemed to rush into his head in waves as though they were going to pop open his celestial aperture.
All these feelings were reminding Xie Changsheng that he was falling from the top of a waterfall towards the deep waters below.
Would he fall to death?
If there were deep waters below, who could guarantee hitting some stones if they were unlucky or dying of serious injury if they were more unfortunate?
Xie Changsheng wanted to shout furiously after the initial second which freak had set up this kind of trial. Yet, he was unable to shout a word.
He had fallen into a patch of something hard. The pain and the rush of blood caused him to almost vomit.
He felt his body was like a sticky little fish that was quickly sliding along this hard thing. The sound of water was close, but he did not crash into the water.
His fury finally could not be restrained by his terror and he shouted in shock. As he was shouting, a blinding light appeared in his sight.
He felt he was flying along a wave of energy and mist from the light.
In the next moment, his sight was filled with blinding light. With another bang, he fell onto solid ground. His vision darkened momentarily and he almost fainted.
The sunlight fell through the brambles by the stream. The dark red brambles were waist-high and moved slowly in waves.
Xie Changsheng coughed and inhaled as he struggled out of the undergrowth.
After many breaths, Xie Changsheng finally saw the environment he was in. Having been stabbed many times by the bramble’s thorns, he shouted in absolute fury. “Who was the freak to set this up!”
Translator Ramblings: Poor Xie Changsheng.