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Chapter 11: A Dogged Life
“You woke up at least eight hours earlier than I expected.”
An ordinary voice reached Ding Ning’s ears when he woke up.
The person who had spoken had ordinary features, the kind that would not attract attention if he walked on the streets outside. However, he had an illustrious yet terrifying past. He was one of the strongest people in Min Mountain Sword Sect, the “Person Chef” Geng Ren.
Ding Ning slowly turned his head. He looked at Geng Ren who stood by his bedside without much expression. He said seriously, “Thank you very much.”
Geng Ren nodded and said, “You are welcome. You can call me Sect Uncle.”
Ding Ning nodded and said, “Sect Uncle.”
Geng Ren gave a small smile, and then pointed to the left side of Ding Ning’s bed. “Ordinarily, reading when seriously injured is very harmful, but you are not ordinary so you can read this first.”
There was a thin book placed next to Ding Ning’s pillow. It was made out of ordinary silk pages, clearly a handwritten copy, not a rare ancient book. But if any other cultivator of Changling saw the name of this book, they would be stunned.
“Seven Booktrunks of Cultivation”, Ding Ning saw the name on the cover of the book but did not show the joy that Geng Ren had expected.
He thought for a moment and then looked at Geng Ren. “I want to return to Changling first.”
Geng Ren looked with surprise at Ding Ning. He thought that Ding Ning did not know what this manual was and explained gently. “This Seven Booktrunks of Cultivation is the introductory cultivation manual of Min Mountain Sword Sect, and also the main manual for vital energy. The most profound cultivation methods of Min Mountain Sword Sect are all based on the movements of this main manual.”
Ding Ning shook his head and said, “I know what kind of manual this is… I also know the Seven Booktrunks of Cultivation is one of the most secret records of Min Mountain Sword Sect. Even in Min Mountain Sword Sect, only some disciples have the opportunity to study it, and come into contact with the secret manuals that truly represent Min Mountain Sword Sect’s spirit.”
Geng Ren was even more shocked. But he did not know why Ding Ning wanted to return to Changling. He looked seriously at Ding Ning’s eyes and said, “You should know you do not have much time.”
“Right now, all of Changling is shaking because of your victory, but this has allowed them to miss a truth.”
Geng Ren paused and then said gently, “For other people, winning the Min Mountain Sword Trials means a golden future, but they have missed the fact your energies are too strong and you have to hurry.”
Ding Ning looked calmly at him and said, “I know.”
Geng Ren nodded and said patiently, “I know with your understanding, it may be fast to comprehend a method like this, but you may not know some things… some of the Min Mountain Sword Sect’s arts are not the same as other ones, or very different.”
Ding Ning looked at him but said nothing.
Geng Ren looked at him and said slowly, “While Min Mountain Sword Sect has many means that other sects cannot rival and have accumulated many things ordinary cultivation places do not have, some things are limited by one’s strength. Based on your present physical condition, there is only one method to resolve your illness.”
Ding Ning knew the method he spoke of. The meaning of this method to him surpassed even the legendary Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard. So, even when he guessed that Geng Ren was going to speak of this method, when he truly heard Geng Ren speak, his breathing grew faster, and his body trembled minutely out of his control.
Geng Ren looked at Ding Ning’s eyes and said in an even more serious and slow tone, “This method is unique in creating another energy sea, and that energy sea is used like the organs of the body, and even replace some of the utility of one’s organs. Yet it is not just hard to cultivate, its cultivation method must open many meridian points. Opening each meridian point requires time.”
“There are only a few people in Min Mountain Sword Sect who have managed to choose and comprehend this method.”
Geng Ren grimaced and said, “Even more importantly, not all Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivators qualify to choose this method. There are nine levels on the Sword Tower. One must make enough contributions to Min Mountain Sword Sect in order to go up a level.”
Ding Ning took a deep breath and said, “Since this method is so important, it must be in the tallest level of the Min Mountain Library. So… I must achieve a great contribution to Min Mountain Sword Sect to see it?”
Geng Ren nodded.
Ding Ning said, “An exception cannot be made?”
“These are the rules of Min Mountain Sword Sect.” Geng Ren grimaced. “In Min Mountain Sword Sect, only what cannot be broken are called rules.”
“Everyone abides by the rules. Min Mountain Sword Sect is much better than Changling,” Ding Ning said after a moment of silence.
Geng Ren thought that Ding Ning would have such a lament due to the history of White Goat Cave. He did not discuss it and said, “Since you know this, you should take care of your time.”
Looking at the book, Ding Ning said, “If possible, Sect Uncle, please prepare a carriage for me. I will start reading on the carriage.”
Geng Ren stilled and then nodded. “You have a different status now. Since you are determined to return to Changling, you need more than just one carriage prepared.”
Liang Lian slowly sat up on his bed.
His breathing had calmed down not long after he woke up. As his expression turned cold again, his breathing deliberately turned disorderly. Then, he coughed violently until bloody foam came out.
A deputy general in black armor lifted the curtain and entered.
Liang Lian looked at this deputy general who should have been waiting outside the tent. His gaze did not change. He waved his hand and said, “Have the advisor come in.”
This deputy general bowed his head, eyes flashing as he retreated.
A few moments later, the tent was opened again. The flapping of the war banners outside grew louder as the black robed Qi Pomo appeared in front of Liang Lian.
Liang Lian stopped coughing and looked coldly at Qi Pomo, saying, “What about those two?”
Qi Pomo gave a respectful shallow bow and said, “The unknown cultivator has entered the Great Floating Water Prison, Bai Shanshui escaped.”
Liang Lian stopped breathing and then coughed violently again. He threw up another mouthful of bloody mist.
Qi Pomo looked up and was about to speak when he seemed to feel a coldness from the deepest part of the world attack his mind. His expression immediately changed. He pushed off with his feet, his body flying backwards. At the same time, a multi-colored thin sword that looked like a plum branch with snow shot out of his right sleeve!
The large tent swelled up due to the sudden power, and gave off a tremendous explosion!
Liang Lian’s expression was cold as he sat motionlessly.
There was a clanging sound in front of him as his lifebond sword flowed like a black dragon out of the sea, immediately pushing away the thin flying sword coming out of Qi Pomo’s sleeve and stabbing into Qi Pomo’s body.
With a clatter, dozens of tears appeared on the tent as visible waves of energy spread.
With a scream, Qi Pomo’s body fell through the air and fell in front of the tent entrance along with the curtains.
Liang Lian vomited blood again.
The blood was bright red. It had brought along more serious injuries.
Qi Pomo’s chest had been torn apart by this blow, his shattered bones and organs exposed to the air. Yet he had not died. He looked with great disbelief and unwillingness, pieces of flesh and blood pouring out of his mouth as he said, “Why?”
“I understand you too well,”
Liang Lian looked coldly at the bright red bloodstains and then looked down, “You and I are the only survivors of many battles and the most skilled at pursuing survival.”
“You are also familiar with the places I am familiar with. If I kill you… I am the only person familiar with the places outside the forts. She wants you to replace me. Now that I have killed you, I am the only person who can lead an army at a place like that.”
“I die, you live, or rather, you die, I live.”
“You are a very smart person but you are not vicious enough and too slow. Even more importantly, your cultivation is far lesser. So, for these many years, even though we both survived, I am a general, and you are still just an advisor.”
Hearing this cold voice, Qi Pomo let out his final painful breath.
Liang Lian did not even look at his corpse nor at the soldiers who had come at the noise and were shocked speechless. He thought coldly of that perfect and cold woman.
He said to himself, I climbed out of the corpse pile. I managed to walk that kind of bloody path in Changling in those years… I have a dogged life. It is not so easy to make me die.
The war banners flapped in the wind and covered his voice.