This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 90: Riddle
Did he want to take care of all trouble in one swoop?
Or, was he hoping for a more powerful species to deal with the ice worms?
Jing Liuli took a deep breath and shook her head. She felt if this was her, she would not have thoughts of such a fluke.
“I do not understand what you want to do next… so if you are really able to pass here at the lowest possible cost due to your upcoming actions, then you will be stronger than me in some kinds of ideas and strategies.”
She looked at Ding Ning’s silent upright figure, and spoke softly, not disguising her own thoughts.
The movements in the deep red brambles grew more evident, but Ding Ning still attracted the attention of the green-robed man behind Jing Liuli to him.
The man’s eyes shone with unusual light, seeing something unusual.
In front of Ding Ning, multiple fine white flowers were blooming. After killing a dozen ice worms with one strike, Ding Ning had continued to swing his sword without resting. This swing created heavy wetness. A patch of rain and cloud suddenly appeared in the sky ahead of him and then crystal clear rain started to fall.
“This is the swordsmanship of the Zhou Family Ink Garden.”
Jing Liuli did not turn to look at the green-robed man’s expression. She seemed to speak to herself. “One sword to create rain. This move is masterful. But if he uses his full power, it will not just have such strength.”
The green-robed man did not respond. What Jing Liuli had pointed out was exactly what he saw.
This move from the Remnant Scroll of the Zhou Family Ink Garden was exceptional in power and covered a large area. It was the best move to use against large numbers of enemies. But just by observing the flowers blooming on Ding Ning’s Last Flower Sword, he was sure that Ding Ning had not used his full power. This strike would not kill any of the ice worms.
The green-robed man was one of the strongest in Min Mountain Sword Sect, and he was even more powerful compared to the world.
He was Tantai Guanjian. No one was more experienced than him in evaluating the quality of swords, and measuring the amount of sword energy.
Since the destruction of three dynasties, almost all the famed swords in the world belonged to the Qin. Due to the loss of the Ba Mountain Sword Field, all the famed swords belonged to Min Mountain Sword Sect and Spirit Void Sword Sect. So, the sword in Min Mountain Sword Sect right now surpassed the famed Ba Mountain Sword Field of the past.
Consequently, his judgement would not have any problem.
The rain fell cutting the brambles in the middle. The ice worms bathing in the rain rolled in pain, their armor shattered, but neither did the worms die, nor were they even seriously injured. This meant that their counterattack would quickly come.
In the next moment, the hundreds of ice worms, in pain due to the rain, retaliated.
They gave a strange hiss in unison. Hundreds of balls of roiling ice energy appeared in the air and then turned into hundreds of ice spikes. One or a few of these ice spikes were at most equivalent to an attack from a realm three cultivator. For the cultivators who were able to reach this sea of brambles, this would not be a danger. Yet, when it was an attack of hundreds of spikes, it was completely different.
All of the ice worms in front of Ding Ning disappeared into the white cold mist. The tips of the whistling ice spikes flashed in the cold mist. Even the slightly cool stream water became bone-chillingly cold, and a layer of ice even formed quickly on the surface.
Many fine pieces of ice first arrived and blew onto Ding Ning’s face. His clothes were covered in frost. The coldness turned his lips pale. He felt like he would not be able to withstand a blow.
And yet, he did not even take a step.
He stood still, the thin ice that had formed around his legs did not show even one crack.
However, the cracks in the Last Flower remnant sword shone again. He swung his swords towards the cold mist ahead.
In the next moment, the white cold mist swept across the iced-over stream and drowned out Ding Ning’s figure.
“He still has not used his full power.” Jing Liuli turned around, and said to Tantai Guanjian in all seriousness.
The moment she said the first word, countless glowing lights appeared in the white mist sweeping past Ding Ning like more ice spikes were shooting out.
In the next moment, what flew out were irregular pieces of ice.
“This is the Arrow-Defeating Move of the Wei Dynasty’s Cold Hall.”
Tantai Guanjian nodded in response, his eyes filled with amazement.
This was one of the moves within the dozens of sword manuals carved onto the second sword manual. This move was used on the battlefield against arrow barrages. It was refined in how it could twist the arrows around, turning them without breaking them, and even spin back out without losing speed to hit the other arrows in the surroundings. It used the attack against itself. Thus, the sword-user could guarantee their own safety among tens of thousands of arrows. Those skilled in this move could even protect an area within a hundred feet of themselves and turn the arrows within this range into debris.
But sword moves like this that relied on technique were harder to master than those that relied on vital energy. Ding Ning had just stood for a short time in front of the second sword nucleus. He had not just told Zhang Yi and the others to learn the sword manual of Cloud Water Palace, he was displaying the sword move of another sword manual.
Also,to most cultivators, between being able to understand and being able to use in real battle was an insurmountable gap.
“In all of Min Mountain Sword Sect, only you can use something after understanding it.”
Tantai Guanjian looked at the mist that had thickened due to the pieces of ice and inhaled sharply. He said to Jing Liuli, “Being able to provoke more black ice worms to breathe at the same time is akin to having more people use their vital energy when one is surrounded. The ice presence that has just formed in these black ice worms is not great in amount, just like how cultivators cannot attack multiple times due to a lack of vital energy.”
“Having more energies use up their vital energy at the same time is a good response to being surrounded.” Jing Liuli nodded expressionlessly. She agreed with some of Tantai Guanjian’s words. But then she raised an objection. “There are too many black ice worms. If he just thinks as such, then there is no meaning. Also, he has sensed that there is another swarm of beasts coming in so he will not think like this.”
Tantai Guanjian shook his head gently in helplessness.
Many blue reflections of light appeared in the dark red brambles. The answer would quickly appear, so he did not need to spend more effort to see what Ding Ning would do next.
The white mist that had swept the stream and consumed Ding Ning’s body did not fade. A patch of clouds and rain once again appeared in the sky above the stream.
A harsh rain once again fell towards the swarm of black ice worms.
Hundreds of black ice worms were in pain due to the rain. As they hissed, they gathered ice energy in their mouths. Hundreds of ice spikes shot into the white mist again.
Unlike last time, even though Tantai Guanjian did not think further, his eyes still could not help but fill with amazement.
When the pieces of ice flew out, a straight sword light appeared in the white mist. The sword light split the cold mist and Ding Ning’s figure appeared clearly in his and Jing Liuli’s sight.
Ding Ning’s body seemed to fly with this sword light and he landed among the black ice worms. His sword was very quick, but when his feet landed on the ground, it changed from a chopping move into a horizontal push towards a black ice worm below him.
A circle of energy spread around this black ice worm. The ice worm’s armor completely split apart and flew outwards.
The sharp pieces of ice even cut Ding Ning’s skin in several places, creating bloody wounds.
Even so, Jing Liuli and Tantai Guanjian were certain that this black ice worm was not dead.
Ding Ning did not immediately withdraw his sword. His body was slightly bowed, his blade pressing heavily on this black ice worm.
This black ice worm trembled slightly and twisted.
Ding Ning was surrounded by black ice worms, but for some reason, these worms did not immediately attack him and retreated slightly in apparent terror.
“A horse herd has a stallion, a wolf pack an alpha. I had not expected these worms to also have a leader,” Tantai Guanjian immediately said with great emotion.
“It is not so simple.” Jing Liuli shook her head.
Then she added softly and sternly. “Controlling this swarm of ice worms by controlling the leader worm still has no great meaning. If he just does not want to be killed by these black ice worms, he just had to use the time to flee this place, like Xie Changsheng.”
“This is like solving a riddle.” Tantai Guanjian grimaced. “Having watched the Min Mountain Sword Trials for so many years, I have never worked so hard and struggled so much.”
Jing Liuli said coldly. “After me, no one like him has ever appeared.”
Translator Ramblings: I would call this the queen worm except I’m not sure this is a queen-like colony of worms.