This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 112: The First Opponents
Xu Lianhua wanted to say, how about you cook some noodles for us as well? But looking at Zhang Yi’s clean features, he felt defeated and swallowed his words.
Cloud and rain formed ahead of the huts and rain came down. Then, smoke rose out of the mountain valley.
Zhang Yi had not spoken for nothing. He really used a metal pot to catch the rain from his sword essence and started a fire.
Many of the teachers on the cliff saw the smoke rising out of the mountain valley and were filled with emotion. This was a solemn sword trial, but Zhang Yi burning water added a hint of life and humanity.
Many people knew that Xue Wangxu had been recuperating in Falling Parasol after his battle with General Liang and been taken care of by Zhang Yi and the others.
Seeing Zhang Yi skillfully making fire and burning water, many could easily imagine Zhang Yi carefully taking care of Xue Wangxu in Falling Parasol, and grew more silent.
Unlike other people, the vice bureau, Sikong Lian, of the Bureau of Ceremonies, started to show signs of joy in his gaze.
Before all of this, he had been very pessimistic. There were too few people on Ding Ning’s side. In the following event, this youth would have to encounter more and harder battles. This was a simple truth.
But the situation had reversed somewhat. The cause of this change was Zhang Yi, who most people had ignored previously and thought was mediocre.
To be able to indiscernibly reverse the entire situation, how could such a person by mediocre?
The wood burned hot under the stove and the water was about to boil.
More students started to stream out of the mountain path.
Other than Ding Ning, most had been at about the same. So when Gu Xichun had reached the exit, many others had been close as well.
A young woman dressed in light linen appeared in Xu Lianhua’s sight. His eyes immediately lit up.
Laying down and looking at the exit without any composure, he immediately waved to the girl.
The girl stilled slightly and then walked towards Xu Lianhua.
She entered the crude hut, and as she walked through the gap that Zhang Yi had made, she could not help but glance at Zhang Yi.
“You are fine?” Seeing the plainly dressed young girl in front of him, Xu Lianhua sat up and asked simply.
This young girl was the best student of Plain Mind Sword Study. Seeing the criss-crossing gauze covering Xu Lianhua’s body, Xia Wan’s brows furrowed, and a hint of joy flashed through her eyes.
“I obtained the Many Treasure Sword from the Han Many Treasure Pavilion when choosing the sword.”
She glanced at Ding Ning behind Xu Lianhua and Yi Xin next to him. Then she saw the black ice worm curled up next to Ding Ning. Her eyes widened to their limits.
After a long moment of amazement, she recovered. She looked back at Xu Lianhua and explained. “There are many objects in the Many Treasure Sword. The gear line could be used to deal with the insects in there.”
Xu Lianhua looked up slightly at the black sword that Xia Wan carried on her back and asked, “Something similar to a horse-tripping rope?”
Xia Wan nodded and said ,”Similar.”
Xu Lianhua said, “Good luck!”
Xia Wan did not say anything and just looked at him.
“Zhang Yi is boiling water for me.” Xu Lianhua looked at her and spoke.
With these words, Xia Wan saw what he meant.
Then she sat down next to Xu Lianhua and said tiredly, “Drinking something warm will be comfortable.”
Unable to break free of her natural curiosity, she asked softly, “What is with that worm?”
Ding Ning did not close his eyes and rest. Too much rest would sedate one’s reactions. He always kept his body adjusted in a state best for battle.
“In reality, Xie Changsheng has a high chance of coming out.” As Xia Wan and Xu Lianhua talked, he did not turn but spoke softly to Xie Rou. “While I cannot predict that there would be an event like this after the Sword Valley, the sword he chose was perfect for this event.”
“He Zhaoxi’s endurance is the best. I thought that he would come out sooner than my senior sect brother Zhang Yi. I seemed to have underestimated my senior sect brother.”
Ding Ning looked at Zhang Yi who was tending the fire. He lowered his voice. “Actually, among all the people… I worry the most about Shen Yi. With equal luck, the swords that Xu Heshan and Nangong Caishu chose and their sword arts are more suitable than him.”
Xie Rou looked at his profile and felt extremely moved.
While Ding Ning appeared absolutely calm most of the time without any special emotions and seemed to keep people at bay like the glaciers at the top of the mountains, she knew that he and Zhang Yi were the same in many aspects. At this time, she was shocked once again.
She saw another person walk out of the mountain path and then walk straight towards Zhang Yi who was tending the fire, towards where she, Ding Ning and the others were.
There were many students walking out right now, including those ranking near the top. Yet everyone who had walked out, including Ding Ning, had not been this relaxed.
This was a relaxation that came from the bones, and was almost a happy feeling. The terrifying sea of brambles appeared to be his own home to him. He seemed to have eaten lunch at home and then easily left through the door.
This was a youth that appeared smaller and thinner than Ding Ning. He wore ordinary indigo robes. However, he had attracted attention even at the start of the trials. Now, when he appeared in a relaxed state in front of everyone, his body seemed to shine and easily attack attention.
As he walked closer, the information on this person jumped out of Xie Rou’s mind.
Dugu Bai. The son of Dugu Liangsheng, the youngest of the Qin Dynasty’s titles marquises.
The blood of the Dugu family was special. They usually only had one child, and often, the child was sickly in childhood. They would only start showing their cultivation talent when they were at around fourteen or so.
The cultivation talent of the Dugu Family was also special. Their cultivation speed was fast, and the Dugu Family liked extremely simple sword forms that they could use to great power.
When Dugu Liangsheng became a marquis, the Dugu Family reached a peak in their power. But they did not use spirit medicines on Dugu Bai, allowing their most trusted soldiers to take Dugu Bai to travel to all kinds of desolate and deserted places and even the battlefields. According to Dugu Liangsheng, this was to use the primal energies of the universe and fighting spirit as medicine and to have the heavenly path raise this person. Thus, Dugu Bai became the first genius of the Dugu Family to be healthy in childhood.
So when the Book of Talents came out, everyone in Changling, including Xu Lianhua and the others, felt that Dugu Bai would be ranked first.
Zhang Yi was stunned.
He never disguised his emotions, so when Dugu Bai walked by him, he was at a loss.
“What are you doing?” Dugu Bai asked curiously.
He was the strongest cultivator in the history of the Dugu Family in childhood. But Zhang Yi still felt that Dugu Bai’s face was more waxy-yellow compared to other people of similar age and his voice was too sharp.
“I am boiling water.” He thought that if the Dugu Family did not have such an inherited affliction, it would be even better. But he did not dare to neglect and bowed.
Dugu Bai stilled and forgot to return the greeting, saying, “Just boiling water?”
Zhang Yi was dumbfounded.
“Then I will ask Brother Zhang to serve me a cup of hot tea.”
Dugu Bai smiled, bowed in return and then walked through the hut towards Ding Ning.
Xu Lianhua and Xia Wan could not help but exchange looks, filled with disbelief.
Dugu Bai’s expression and the words made them feel that Dugu Bai would make the same choice as them.
“You are Ding Ning. I know you. I am Dugu Bai.”
Everyone present knew he was Dugu Bai, but when he walked in front of Ding Ning, he still said these words.
Under the shocked gazes of the people on the cliff, Dugu Bai sat down next to Ding Ning.
“I have some sword forms that I do not quite understand. You are better than me in this. I think we can discuss them,” Dugu Bai said seriously, seeing Ding Ning had no intentions of refusing.
“This is not an excuse to sit here?” Ding Ning looked at him and asked softly.
Dugu Bai shook his head. “Of course not. Also, if I want to sit here, i do not need an excuse.” Saying so, he could not help but laugh.
This young talent, publicly recognized as the top of the youths attending the sword trials, had a smile tinged with innocence and childishness, but also an unspeakable dominance and pride.
Translator Ramblings: Just to show how slow the story is … I think it was volume one that Dugu Bai was mentioned and now he’s here.