This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 101: Gentleman
He was very lucky and this was the result of a great gamble.
Zhang Yi vigorously rubbed his face to wake up quickly. Thinking of the deceased Xue Wangxu and then of Ding Ning who he did not know if he had passed or not, he grew sad again as he thought of Ding Ning’s situation.
Then, taking a deep breath he told himself: the more this was the case, the stronger he had to be.
He knew that there were very few people on Ding Ning’s side. Yet, he was the true eldest sect brother of White Goat Cave. No matter the time, he had to be a pillar beside Ding Ning.
Glancing at the closest green palace to him, Zhang Yi continued to advance.
He walked quickly as he swung his sword. Patches of brambles fell by his feet. He could sense many intimidating vibrations in the surrounding wilderness but as he could sleep in this kind of place, he would not split his attention to think of terrifying possibilities.
“He is actually very smart. He is using the stupidest method to remove the limits of the formation. At least he won’t waste time walking in circles.”
Seeing Zhang Yi moving again after sleeping, Tantai Guanjian could not help but whisper after returning to Jing Liuli’s side.
“He only slept for four hours, and many people’s opinions of him have changed.” Jing Liuli looked back coldly at Tantai Guanjian. She knew that Tantai Guanjian was starting to admire Zhang Yi. Otherwise, he would not have said such a thing.
Tantai Guanjian did not respond. His brows furrowed slightly as he looked calmly ahead of where Zhang Yi was heading.
Zhang Yi’s sword-wielding hand suddenly paused in front of his body. The heat emanating off the Sword Furnace sword in his hand hummed and blew his hair back. His pupils contracted slightly.
There was some unusual redness on the brambles ahead of him. He smelled a faint scent of blood. He was certain this was the blood of cultivators and it had not been on the brambles for long as it hadn’t solidified.
At this moment, he hesitated slightly. His brows felt a pinching pain like he had been stabbed by a needle.
This was a dangerous sword essence.
While it was not true pain, just an instinctive response in his senses, but he was certain this was a sword essence of a cultivator about to attack. To evoke in him such a feeling, this cultivator would be very powerful, likely stronger than him. Even more importantly, this cultivator was extremely close to him.
He inhaled. He calmly pulled back his heated sword and held it across his chest. Then he started to carefully search for the cultivator.
Unexpectedly, he easily found where this cultivator was.
Following along the scattered wet marks of blood and some trampled places, he saw a youth sitting dispiritedly by the brambles several dozen feet ahead of him.
The youth had disheveled black hair and a pale complexion. His robes were black but the collar was red. At this time, the uniform was full of holes, and yellow-black mud had been smeared over each hole.
This youth was extremely weak, but managed to sit up by leaning on a sword stabbed into the ground behind him.
When Zhang Yi’s gaze landed on him, this youth barely looked up.
Zhang Yi saw his face. He was shocked. “Xu Lianhua?”
Xu Lianhua looked dispiritedly at him, his body started to tremble. Complicated emotions appeared in his eyes. He almost couldn’t understand why Zhang Yi looked so energetic at this time and did not show any obvious injury.
“What is it?”
Zhang Yi used his sword to make a path in his shock. He walked up, and then couldn’t help but ask, “What happened?”
When he came closer, he started to smell something foul.
He unconsciously widened his eyes, and realized that the black mud smeared on Xu Lianhua’s body was not mud, but the excrement of some animal.
He had recognized Xu Lianhua at a glance because this youth from the Xu Marquessate Establishment was ranked sixth in the Book of Talents. If not for people like Lie Yinghong and Gu Xichun who suddenly occupied the top three, in the minds of most Changling youths, Xu Lianhua would be in the top three.
Xu Lianhua was in realm four and had an unique understanding of many sword manuals. Zhang Yi could not imagine what had happened to this delicate youth who had stood out from the students participating in the sword trial to look like this.
Seeing Zhang Yi’s eyes wide in shock, Xu Lianhua felt more complicated emotions. He ground his teeth slightly and allowed his head to fall. Then he managed to say, “If you do not want to deal with me, you can leave.”
Zhang Yi was even more shocked. “Why do I have to deal with you?”
“Because I rank ahead of you…” Xu Lianhua’s voice was hesitant, but thinking of how he was in such a dismal state, his heart hardened again. He said coldly, “Not just ranking, my cultivation is also higher than yours. If you deal with me now, you can stop me from passing and you will not have a powerful opponent in the following events.”
Zhang Yi stilled and then said gently, “Is hitting a person when they are down the conduct of a gentleman?”
Xu Lianhua struggled to lift his head and glance at Zhang Yi. He did not respond.
Zhang Yi stilled again.
He could see in Xu Lianhua’s eyes, other than irritation, immense distrust.
Zhang Yi’s expression grew stiff. He nodded and then turned towards the green palace, swinging his sword to cut down the brambles.
Then he immediately heard an unusual sound behind him.
He turned around and saw that the sword stuck in the ground could not keep Xu Lianhua upright. Xu Lianhua had fallen to the ground.
While Xu Lianhua had not fallen down out of weakness like he imagined and was struggling upright, he quickly saw something flowing out of Xu Lianhua’s tattered robes.
Xu Lianhua’s expression changed dramatically and his hands moved towards the flow.
Zhang Yi”s expression also changed. He could see the blood was mixed with the excrement of an unknown animal.
“You are seriously injured?”
He exclaimed. In the next moment, he thought of a certain possibility when he saw Xu Lianhua’s movements. His breathing stopped. “The sounds around here are made by beasts? The scene of blood will attract them?”
“Zhang Yi, what do you want to do!” Xu Lianhua did not answer his question and shouted weakly.
A sharp wind blew at his face and Zhang Yi was right in front of him. The small amount of vital energy left in his body gathered in his right hand and gushed out.
But at this time, with a zzt sound, Xu Lianhua suddenly froze.
Zhang Yi tore off half of his sleeve, bent down, and started to bandage his deep wound in a quick but panicked manner.
“Past sword trials never had an event like this, so we did not take along any blood-clotting medicines. I will do my best to bind it tighter, but when you reach the outside, you have to quickly put medicine on it. Otherwise, the wounds will grow more troublesome,” Zhang Yi said apologetically and nervously as he hurriedly bandaged the wounds.
“You want to help me?”
Xu Lianhua was frozen for a long moment. An odd light flashed through his eyes. He struggled to look up at Zhang Yi.
Zhang Yi was hurriedly looking over his body for other wounds. In Zhang Yi’s view, just the wound in his chest that already reached the lungs was terrible. So he instinctively said, “Letting someone die is not a gentleman’s conduct.”
If the words came from other people, Xu Lianhua would find it hypocritical. Because of his own extraordinary cultivator status, he would feel that person had other intentions and have even worse associations.
But, at this time, thinking of the conduct of the wineshop youth and this eldest senior sect brother of White Goat Cave, thinking of who they were fighting again, thinking of those lonely figures excluded by others at the beginning of the sword trials, he suddenly became silent.
When he saw how Zhang Yi’s nostrils tightened because of the noxious odor but showed no disgust in his eyes when bandaging and inspecting his wounds, he suddenly felt slightly moved.
A gentleman was as gentle as jade. For the first time, he understood the meaning of the words.
He took a deep breath. Ignoring his own wounds, he pushed Zhang Yi’s hands away decisively and with a certain arrogance.
Zhang Yi stilled and looked at him in bewilderment. He asked softly, “Why?”
“There are many insect swarms here, each one would be in the hundreds and each insect is akin to a realm three cultivator.”
Xu Lianhua took a deep breath, coughed, and then said quickly to Zhang Yi, “I stay here because I do not want to give up and put my hopes on stopping the bleeding and try to regain my strength. I didn’t have much hope to start with. If some more insect swarms are attracted here, you may not be able to even defeat me.”
“Insect swarm?” Zhang Yi was shocked.
He still wanted to speak, but was roughly interrupted by Xu Lianhua.
“Do not be so sentimental. Quick, go or you will be too late! Min Mountain Sword Sect has made such arrangements. If I admit defeat, I will not have any threats to my life. I am relying on that, wanting to last a bit longer. You want to stay here with me and withdraw as well?”
Zhang Yi hesitated for a few moments. Then he bent down and put Xu Lianhua on his back.
Xu Lianhua was puzzled and said, “What are you doing?”
“Cultivating for many years is hard. You have such injuries but are still unwilling to give up… I can understand such feelings.” Zhang Yi held him in one hand, a sword in the other, as he tilted his head and said softly, “No one wants to give up an opportunity to study in Min Mountain Sword Sect. If I can help, of course I will.”
Xu Lianhua hadn’t thought that after he spoke of such horrifying consequences, Zhang Yi would still make such a decision. He was stunned for a moment, and then shouted, “Zhang Yi, you are too sentimental!”
“What’s the problem with Zhang Yi’s head?”
Lu Qingli, the cultivator who had spoken in support of Xie Changsheng, shouted furiously. Many of the cultivators on the cliff could not understand when they saw Zhang Yi carry Xu Lianhua and move.
In Lu Qingli’s view, Zhang Yi appeared to be too sentimental. This display even reversed the opinions of him and many others concerning Zhang Yi. His own endurance was a problem. If he carried someone else, he would use up even more energy. Most importantly, he and many people on the cliff could see an imperial insect swarm roaming nearby because they had smelled blood from Xu Lianhua previously.
At this time, the best choice was to use Xu Lianhua to lure away the insect swarm and then leave as quickly as possible.
Translator Ramblings: The author describes Zhang Yi along the lines of a “nagging old woman” which doesn’t quite fit. So I end up using terms like “indecisive”.