This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 86: Bramble Sea
This was a plain covered in waist-high, deep red brambles. The branches of these brambles were very thin, just a few fractions the thickness of a little finger so they could ripple gently in the gentle breeze.
Yet, these thin deep red brambles were covered in hard and brittle long thorns. Having fallen, Xie Changsheng had many wounds, and there were countless thorns which had broken inside of his skin.
Maybe because of the formation, this bramble plain looked endless like a deep red ocean. Only on the horizon, in a place that appeared to take days to reach, could he make out some tall green palaces.
The sunlight was blinding, warm when it fell onto his body and very realistic.
While Xie Changsheng had fallen in the dark, rain and mist, unable to see the surrounding scenery, he was certain he had fallen from a tall height, going along a passageway or hole until he fell to this place.
It had not taken long.
So this plain should be a certain secret part of Skyscraper, or many an empty valley at the base of the mountain. But his intuition said that this was likely within Skyscraper.
In many cultivation records, many powerful sects would first choose for spirit veins when choosing their sect location. Over time, they would carve their mountain like jade, setting up formation along the winds and waters, or hollowing out the mountain to create underground palaces or palins.
These places could be used to accumulate spirit energy, act as practice grounds, used for farming or storehouses. After many sects were destroyed, these places could occasionally survive over time, and become the remains and secret hoards that cultivators spoke of.
A place like this to all cultivators of Changling was a great shock. But what irritated and angered Xie Changsheng was there was a winding stream flowing through the pains, less than ten feet from where he had fallen down.
Falling from the air, landing in the stream was naturally better than landing among the thorny brambles.
Yet, the organizer caused him to land directly in the thorny brambles.
“So evil. Just like seeing a person extremely thirsty and not giving them water, but putting the water in front of him and then tying up his hands and feet. Evil!”
Looking at the quietly flowing stream full of soft grasses in front of him, Xie Changsheng cursed the organizer of the trials. But in the end, he could not endure the pain of the small thorns in his skin and started to pluck them out, his writhing face a proof of his agony.
Having a thorn stuck in a hand was an experience many people would have. If one took the thorn out, the pain would quickly disappear and the person would forget. But if the thorn was not plucked out, this kind of pain would continue, especially when one touched that place and caused heart-aching pain. Over time, the flesh around the thorn would even swell and get infected. This was why one had to take a nail out of the eye and the thorn out of the flesh.
Yet, after landing in this brambles, countless thorns had stabbed into Xie Changsheng’s body all over. How could he pluck them all quickly?
After about fifteen minutes, Xie Changsheng chose to give up and gave a furious howl. .”Do you know how painful this is! You thought of such an idea. Why don’t you try!”
Xie Changsheng’s angry shout spread far in this sea of brambles but did not echo.
Ding Ning, Zhang Yi and the others should have also been sent into this deep red bramble sea, yet they seemed to have been completely consumed and were not present.
There were no signs. Where should he go next?
Based on ordinary thinking, the distant green palaces should have an answer, or maybe they were the exit for this test.
Yet, what if those green palaces were red herrings and one could not follow ordinary ways of thought?
Moving through this bramble sea was not easy.
Xie Changsheng quieted down after his shout. He looked quickly at the surrounding brambles. These brambles should be nothing unusual. Also, because the red brambles covered everything on the plains, it wasn’t possible to even see if there were paths. Even the stream in front of him disappeared among the red brambles after winding for a while in his sight.
Xie Changsheng never lacked bravery so he quickly made a decision.
He walked towards the stream ahead.
The moment his feet stepped into the cool water, Jing Liuli voiced such an opinion.
Her crystal-like eyes showed clear displeasure.
As the organizer of this great event, she was standing with the green-robed man brimming with sword essence on a cliff behind Xie Changsheng.
This cliff reached upwards, the peak seemingly stabbing into the blinding light and melting into the sun. There was a narrow slit underneath her where steam roared. Heat and steam constantly streamed up, and then was broken apart by layers of gentle power before being blown upwards and evenly spreading around this vast red plain.
The cliff she was on was completely blocked by a formation. Xie Changsheng could not sense the cliff and her existence. Even if he knew, he definitely could not get close to this formation.
Yet, she could clearly hear Xie Changsheng’s angry shouts.
“Moving in the stream is naturally easier than moving through the brambles. Since he fell into the brambles first, he should understand that this situation is supposed to be hard. A smart person would feel that there are dangerous things in the stream. Also, after so many thorn wounds, the wounds will become more easily prone to pus and rot in the water if they are not treated.”.
Previously, she had no opinions about Xie Changsheng. But after saying that he was ignorant, she couldn’t help but speak more.
Hearing her words, the young man in green robes smiled and said, “He does not know that this sea of brambles is a test for all disciples of Min Mountain Sword Sect, and cannot avoid complaining like this. The men of Guanzhong are straightforward in personality. This is why they have such a saying. After Junior Sect Brother Qing took over this sea of brambles, it has been sealed up for ten years. What has Junior Brother Qing created here?”
Jing Liuli did not immediately answer and said, “You will know when you see it.”
The young man in green robes grimaced and said, “Is it fine to throw them in here without any warning?”
Jing Liuli turned to glance at him and said, “If they only have to consider survival, they will not need to think about any other things. It is not important whether they have warnings or not.”
The young man in green robes stilled and said, “Let’s try to not have any fatalities.”
Jing Liuli’s expression darkened and she said, “If they are too stupid and seek their own death, no one can stop them.”
There was a slowly moving stream ahead of Ding Ning.
He had fallen just ten feet away from this stream. His body was covered in wounds longer and stronger than those of a cactus. But compared to Xie Changsheng’s fury, his mind was extremely calm. This kind of physical pain, compared to some of the physical and mental pains he had experienced was nothing.
Unlike Xie Changsheng and the others, he had never entered the Min Mountain Sword Sect, but had great knowledge about the sect. Based on the speed he had fallen in the darkness, and general feeling of time, this dark red palin would have originally belonged deep within Skyscraper.
So this was the famed Qing Yaoyin’s farm.
Because this generation’s Min Mountain Sword Sect master and some people of the Ba Mountain Sword Field swore to never interact, the Min Mountain Sword Sect had not contributed to the Qin Dynasty’s final wars against the Han, Zhao and Wei dynasties. They had closed themselves off for many years, and were not even pulled into the three bloodiest and most chaotic years of Changling. So, many of the strongest and most exceptional Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivators were able to peacefully cultivate in the sect, growing stronger until Min Mountain Sword Sect became the strongest sword sect in the world alongside Spirit Void Sword Sect.
But in these sword sects, there were some strange abnormalities. For example, possibly the greatest poison master in the world was the person chef Geng Ren. This Qing Yaoyin was also one of those.
He was most skilled in farming. But he did not raise ordinary birds and beasts. The rumor was that he raised many strange insects and beasts, forming an unique food chain.
The top of this food chain would form things extremely useful to cultivators, possibly vicious beasts cultivators could control, or monsters that produced valuable items that cultivators needed. These beasts and what these beasts could produce were terrifying to ordinary cultivators. So even in Min Mountain Sword Sect, Qing Yaoyin had a nickname called the demon farmer.
Min Mountain Sword Sect had once created several farms for him. The largest of these farms was a certain plain within Skyscraper. It had once been the site of tests for Min Mountain Sword Sect disciples, and was now the dark red plains he was located in.
In the information Ding Ning had obtained, this place had been sealed off for many years.
What kind of unique world had formed in this farm?
Translator Ramblings: I wonder if the author likes using Xie Changsheng as a direct comparison for Ding Ning.