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Chapter 115: The Last to Exit
Chen Liqiu bowed slightly to express his respect to Ding Ning. Then he turned to look at Xu Lianhua and Xia Wan.
“I do not want you to be on his side,” he said after a moment of silence, “this is an unwise action.”
Xu Lianhua looked at his good friend’s face that shone yellow in the sunlight. A small mocking smile appeared at the corner of his mouth. Then he lowered his head.
For him, bowing his head was sometimes so others could not see his disappointment and sorrow.
“People will always do unwise things during their life… because some things are more important than wisdom, intelligence, for example, friendship,” said Xu Lianhua looking down slowly.
The mountain breeze blew at Chen Liqiu. The breeze of the early spring was warm, but Chen Liqiu felt cold at this moment.
He and Xu Lianhua had been acquainted for a long time, so he could understand the meaning in Xu Lianhua’s words. If today, it was not Ding Ning, but Chen Liqiu who was a disciple of White Goat Cave, Xu Lianhua would sit by Chen Liqiu’s side out of friendship.
Yet, now, he was not willing to sit next to Xu Lianhua. So, friendship no longer existed.
Chen Liqiu tasted bitterness. He did not try to persuade Xu Lianhua. He took a deep breath, and turned to look at Xia Wan.
Xia Wan turned her head and avoided his gaze.
Chen Liqiu received an answer.
He felt slightly sad but did not think that his choice was incorrect.
In his view, friendship could be chosen. He could clearly choose a bright future. So why would he walk with other people on a narrowing dead-end road?
He silently turned around, preparing to pass back to the other side of the hut.
“Do you want to drink hot water?”
A slightly restrained but polite voice reached his ears.
His eyebrows rose. He looked towards the voice and saw Zhang Yi looking sincerely at him holding a bowl of hot water.
Chen Liqiu met Zhang Yi’s gaze.
Zhang Yi’s eyes were very sincere.
“I do not understand.” Chen Liqiu did not reach to take the bowl in Zhang Yi’s hand and turned to leave. He smiled mockingly and whispered. “Who will risk death just for a bowl of hot water?”
Hearing his words, Xu Lianhua remained silent.
He thought Chen Liqiu’s words were correct. But some things only concerned a person’s feelings and had nothing to do with right or wrong.
“Could it be him?”
Xia Wan whispered softly as she turned back to look at Chen Liqiu as he turned and walked away.
Dugu Bai, who had been concentrating on making his wooden swords and didn’t look at Chen Liqiu, answered confidently. “If this is the last chess piece she has hidden, Chen Liqiu will not come over to say these things.”
Xia Wan took a sip of hot water.
When a person was starving for a long time, even drinking pure water would taste sweet. But at this time, she tasted bitterness.
While she had Xu Lianhua, Dugu Bai, and Yi Xin by her, on the other side was Ye Haoran, Gu Xichun .. and Chen Liqiu now. Of the five top students on the Book of Talents, three were fated to be their opponents.
She understood Chen Liqiu’s strength and knew that he was much stronger than him. In ordinary times, Xu Lianhua and Chen Liqiu might be evenly matched, but Xu Lianhua was heavily injured, so how could he fight?
“There is also Lie Yinghong and that… pawn…” She took a deep breath and spoke slowly.
She did not finish, but everyone present understood her meaning.
“Why hasn’t Lie Yinghong appeared yet?”
Nangong Caishu, who had been treating her left arm injury, spoke coldly.
No one knew that Lie Yinghong was unable to come because of Shen Yi and Xie Changsheng. In their view, Lie Yinghong’s appearance was just a matter of time.
There were sixteen students on the other side of the hut. In terms of numbers and ranking on the Book of Talents, their side was at a disadvantage.
Chen Liqiu walked away.
It became quiet again, but so silent it was disturbing.
“In reality, it is not so complicated.”
Ding Ning liked calm but he did not like the people around him becoming anxious. He said calmly, “With so many people, the chances of winning at the end are high.”
Everyone’s gaze focused on him.
Even Dugu Bai, who was carving his fifth wooden sword, looked up at him.
“I do not understand where your confidence comes from, but I feel that one should do some reckless things in life, to be proud of.”
Yi Xin suddenly laughed and said sincerely, “Even if we fail this time, it is reckless enough that I will feel proud. But I still hope that you will win in the end.”
Xia Wan did not speak, but her feelings inexplicably calmed. She started to understand this was because of meaning… if one felt something was meaningful, their past cultivation would become meaningful. Her eyes shone with another kind of light. She thought that this might be the truth described in the Plain Heart Sword Manual.
Nangong Caishu’s eyes lit up at this time.
“He Zhaoxi is coming out!”
She gave a joyful shout.
A figure that looked tired but healthy walked out on the mountain path.
“I am fortunate you are by me, otherwise, I would cry myself to death,” Xu Lianhua said self-deprecatingly to Xia Wan.
“Lucky that I did not have many friends to start with so I would not feel like that.” Dugu Bai also smiled.
In their sight, the bloodied He Zhaoxi started to walk towards Ding Ning and the others without hesitation the instant he saw them.
“Making friends depends on timing.” Yi Xin added.
Then he smiled.
Xia Wan’s heart felt warm. She couldn’t help but laugh. She knew she might have just lost a friend, but she had gained many true friends here.
“I really cannot understand how they can laugh in a situation like this,” A youth dressed in light blue brocade frowned and spoke to the person next to him when he saw the smiles of the people in the distance.
This youth was Zhou Wangnian, who had argued with Xie Changsheng at the start of the trials.
Right now, the back of his robes were covered in wounds, some of them reaching the bone. A student behind him was bandaging him up.
For some reason, compared to his back wounds, these people’s smiles made him feel colder.
The simple hut separated the two sides. There were fewer people on Ding Ning’s . Ding Ning and the others were just sitting. But almost everyone on the other side, including Zhou Wangnian, felt the increasing pressure when Ding Ning and the others gazed at them.
Time slowly passed and the sky gradually darkened.
From the start, when students appeared in twos and threes, the time between them lengthened until now, when it had been a long time since someone appeared.
Zhang Yi’s heart suddenly sank.
Some cultivators dressed in green robes appeared in his sight… These cultivators were walking towards the mountain valley from various mountain paths on the cliff walls.
The cultivators of Min Mountain Sword Sect continued to appear. In his view, this was only one possibility. The sea of brambles was closed.
He felt no joy that Lie Yinghong had not yet appeared. He just thought that Shen Yi and the others had not appeared yet.
A strange noise sounded.
Most of the students in the valley discovered this truth.
Xu Lianhua and Xia Wan couldn’t help but exchange looks. Heavy footsteps suddenly sounded at this time on the cliff.
It was the ending time. Almost everyone’s breathing deepened alongside the heavy footsteps.
The footsteps hit their hearts like a drum.
Nangong Caishu’s eyes widened to their limit.
She and everyone else saw the figure. But because she knew the figure best of everyone present, she was the first to exclaim.
Nangong Caishu had seen correctly.
Walking out was not Lie Yinghong, but Xu Heshan.
“Why is it like this?”
Zhou Wangnian could not help but shout.
Everyone knew that Lie Yinghong, ranked first on the Book of Talents, was very strong while Xu Heshan was not important in their view.
Many of the students near him also frowned.
Xu Heshan was on Ding Ning’s side.
At this time, even though Ding Ning only had one more person, the air around them grew much heavier.
But all of the sounds suddenly disappeared.
As Xu Heshan appeared to hear Nangong Caishu’s shout, he suddenly paused.
Xu Heshan looked up.
He looked at where Nangong Caishu and Ding Ning were. He opened his mouth, wanting to speak, but he couldn’t make a sound. He threw up a mouthful of blood.
As the blood sprayed out of his mouth, everyone saw his hands were pressing hard on his abdomen.
Blood had been seeping through his fingers. He seemed to have used up all his energy. His hands could no longer press down and relax.
As his hands fell away, a gush of blood and intestine spilled out of his wound.
Everyone stopped breathing.
Nangong Caishu’s body froze, and her face turned stark white.
A sword light fell from the sky and reached Xu Heshan the moment he fell.
The light flashed, and Xu Heshan’s figure disappeared from everyone’s sight.
Yet, that scene was deeply engraved into everyone’s mind.
Long before entering the sea of brambles, Geng Ren had said this event would be difficult. People had the risk of having their intestines sliced open. But no one had expected it to actually happen.
Even if this kind of wound would not be completely fatal, this scene was hard for young students like them to tolerate.
Zhou Wangnian’s body uncontrollably trembled.
“Maybe this is the outcome of being on his side,” his voice trembled as he said to himself.