This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 135: Lacking One Person
Bai Shanshui’s voice was extremely soft like insects in summer. Zhangsun Qianxue heard her clearly but chose to keep her silence. However, the coldness in her eyes intensified. The weeds on the wall behind Bai Shanshui that were covered in frost were blown away by the breeze.
This represented the strength of Zhangsun Qianxue’s murderousness. Bai Shanshui felt truly cold. She adjusted the collar of her robe, her expression unchanged as she calmly walked into the dark Changling alley.
So what if her country was dead, and she had lost her home, she walked as she pleased in Changling as a proud lonely ghost.
Bai Shanshui slowly looked up, but her proud eyes started to show unusual emotion as her brows furrowed.
The darkness and the layers of Changling’s streets and alleys blocked her sight. She could not see far, but there was the smell of smoke in the wind. In the distance, a building was burning. She was certain the place that was burning was on the street where her inn was located.
She had originally wanted to return to that street but as she confirmed where the smoke came from, she decisively turned around. She walked towards another street, and then headed out of the city.
In the wineshop of Falling Parasol, Zhangsun Qianxue sat down by the bed. She was used to not having to ponder over matters, yet her peace of many years had finally been interrupted. There seemed to be a pebble that fell into the still lake inside of her, and created waves.
After many breaths, she still could not sleep so she looked towards the window and thought angrily when the trials would finish.
The night was continuing, and so was the Min Mountain Sword Trials. However, fewer and fewer students were standing in the mountain valley filled with sword marks and many cultivation teachers.
“Xie Rou, bye.”
The students knew that raising doubts was useless. However, upon hearing Lin Suixin’s words, a student whose chest and abdomen was injured by a sword and was receiving treatment from a Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivator could not help but shout in fury, “This is not fair. I fought for three rounds. She fought for one and entered the top ten.”
Seeing this student who had lost in the third round and could not enter the top ten, Lin Suixin glanced coldly at him and said, “In reality, you should thank Gentleman Xu.”
Many students stilled, and did not understand Lin Suixin’s meaning.
“Just now, at the exit to the last event, the person who said a few words to you was Gentleman Xu,” Lin Suixin did not look at the students’ expression and slowly said.
Many students started to realize something and quickly paled.
Zhang Yi looked at their reactions and was more confused. He turned to Ding Ning and the others, asking, “Who is Gentleman Xu?”
“His surname is not Xu, he comes from the Xu Lands.” Xu Lianhua took a deep breath, looked at Zhang Yi and said, “Only a few know his true name, but I think you should know the story of cutting meat for one’s parents.”
“The elder at the exit was…” Zhang Yi was so shocked he was speechless.
The Xu Lands had a gentleman, courteous, righteous, and generous. One year, there was a drought, and the Xu Lands had no harvest. That person gave away all his wealth. One day, many starving people caught a whiff of meat coming out of that person’s home and were furious, thinking this person- a false gentleman, said that the granary was empty but was still having meat at home. They knocked on the door in their anger, and the truth caused them to cry. The home’s granary had been empty for a long time, and his parents had not eaten for many days. To save his parents, he had cut himself to make soup.
A deed like this was naturally recorded in many history books. To similarly courteous and righteous people, the gentleman from the Xu Lands could be called a saint, but Zhang Yi had not expected that person to be a disciple of Min Mountain Sword Sect, or for him to be standing at the door to the green palace.
“The Bitter Vine Sword Mountain’s most likely candidate for the trials was not you, but your junior sect brother Qi Qiuhan. Other people do not know why Qi Qiuhan’s advancement was lesser than you in the last two years, but do you not know?”
Seeing the student whose face had turned ashen and clothes soaked in sweat, Lin Suixin continued expressionlessly. “For every student that participates in the Min Mountain Sword Trials, the Min Mountain Sword Sect will have their considerations. Before this last event, Gentleman Xu will examine your character. If he did not feel you had scope to change, you would not have appeared here. You were allowed to participate in the final competition, and you fought an extra battle. You did not grab the opportunity. What else do you have to say?”
The student was so ashamed he trembled all over. He did not even dare to lift his head, much less speak.
Some of the other students, who had been arranged to fight an extra round or did not have any byes, thought of their past events. Their sweat formed, they did not dare to look at Lin Suixin.
“The Min Mountain Sword Trials are the trials for Min Mountain Sword Sect to select students.” Lin Suixin paused. He ran an expressionless gaze over everyone and slowly said, “All processes are to choose the students most suitable to enter the sect.”
But after many breaths, footsteps sounded. A yellow-robed youth took a few steps forward and bowed to Lin Suixin. He said, “I, Xiao Qinglin, think that I have no flaw in my conduct. Also, I do not feel I am weaker than Xie Rou. But I will have an extra fight compared to Xie Rou. I still think this sword trial is unfair. Even from the perspective of selecting for the sect, I do not feel I am lesser than Xie Rou.”
Lin Suixin looked at him and said, “She is richer than you.”
The yellow-robed youth shook and paled. The surrounding students were in uproar for they had not expected Lin Suixin to say such a thing.
Yet, Lin Suixin seemed to not see their reaction and continued expressionlessly. “The Min Mountain Sword Sect has many cultivation methods that use a lot of money. Only people like her can afford it. So, when a cultivator like her enters the sect to study, her future achievements will be greater than yours.”
The yellow-robed youth stilled, and understood.
“There are many factors affecting a cultivator’s future. The Xie Family is wealthy, she is braver than you, her friends are much stronger than yours. Of course, nothing is absolute, but after considering all factors, she is better than you.”
Lin Suixin glanced at him and then looked at the students who were upset yet unable to speak. He said coolly, “The Min Mountain Sword Sect never considers a student’s family, but if they can possess the means of cultivation.”
“You still have your last battle.” Lin Suixin’s gaze lingered on the yellow-robed youth. He said, “Xiao Qinglin, facing Yi Xin.”
Xiao Qinglin understood the meaning in Lin Suixin’s words.
This was his last opportunity to enter Min Mountain Sword Sect to study. If he could defeat Yi Xin and display power that would draw the attention of the Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivators in this battle.
But did he have such abilities?
The more he understood, the more despair he felt.
Palace Attendant Ron stood in front of her tent and looked down at the mountain valley. There were multiple battles occurring, but when she looked at the remaining students, these battles had already ended.
“Ding Ning, Yi Xin, Zhang Yi, Xie Rou, He Zhaoxi, Ye Haoran, Gu Xichun, Dugu Bai, Mu Weicheng …”
Her lips curled slightly as she recited the names. Then she suddenly paused, shock flashing in her eyes.
The top ten of the trials would qualify to enter Min Mountain Sword Sect to study yet based on Lin Suixin’s current arrangements, there would only be nine people left after the battles finished.
Lin Suixin was casual, but people like him could instantly calculate the paths of millions of swords. He could not make a mistake if he said that ten would enter the final round.
Then who would be the last person to receive a bye?
As the students on the two sides of the hut decreased, the cultivation teachers had complicated gazes.
Previously, Ding Ning had been in the minority, but now he had the majority.
While bravery was just one of the criteria that Lin Suixin considered, Ding Ning’s side was mostly able to remain due to its own strength. Yet many cultivation teachers could not help but think of the different results of their students had they been on Ding Ning’s side.
Ye Haoran put away his sword and turned around.
His opponent, a student in blue robes, covered his throat, angry and afraid, but did not dare to make a sound. There was a thin bloody line on his throat that was bleeding blood.
He Zhaoxi, who had fought with his opponent for a while before winning, struggled to walk towards Ding Ning and the others.
“Why are there only nine people?”
After Ye Haoran’s victory, some cultivation teachers discovered the problem Palace Attendant Rong had discovered, and were surprised.
Translator Ramblings: Even with mystical cultivation powers, money is a power on its own.