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Chapter 45: Accept the Challenge
The blue-robed youth who was blocking the way used a sword of dust to stop Jing Liuli’s carriage. His was an interesting name – Chen Fuchen, meaning Floating Dust.
Seeing Jing Liuli who had stopped the carriage, the blue-robed youth bowed slightly towards the carriage behind Jing Liuli and said, “This one is Chen Fuchen and wants to challenge Ding Ning.”
When Chen Fuchen’s soft and faint sword essence appeared, the passersby on the street had sensed the extraordinary nature of this youth. When they heard the name “Ding Ning,” gasps immediately filled the air.
With the Min Mountain Sword Trials having ended many days ago, Ding Ning’s name was so famous that it immediately stirred everyone’s emotions.
“Inside the carriage is the Falling Parasol wineshop youth?”
“That’s the victor of the Min Mountain Sword Trials, Ding Ning?”
Many people exclaimed in shock as their gazes were unconsciously attracted to the seemingly ordinary carriage. The curtain slowly opened outwards. Ding Ning walked out.
The surrounding people saw this calm youth and then the broken sword at his waist. Immediately, numerous exclamations sounded and swept the street in a wave.
Ding Ning had won the Min Mountain Sword Trials. For Changling’s commoners, he was just a myth. No matter how great his power, they had not seen it with their own eyes. Now, someone was challenging him in the street. This was a chance for them to see him fight with their own eyes.
This was truly a great spectacle in the streets.
Ding Ning looked calmly at the blue-robed youth who had looked like he was ready to fight and did not immediately respond.
Jing Liuli frowned slightly and said in a voice only she and Ding Ning could hear, “You should decide fast whether to accept or not. Otherwise, the shops here will collapse because of the crowd.”
“This is not a question of accepting or not, but how to deal with him.” Ding Ning’s gaze stayed on the blue-robed youth as he said slowly in a voice only the two of them could hear, “There are many choices in a fight. You can just kill him, injure him severely, or force the other to abandon his sword and forfeit. This is something you must consider after you become the master of Min Mountain Sword Sect in the future. Since you take me as your teacher and learn from me, this is one of the most important things you need to learn in my opinion.”
Jing Liuli was slightly annoyed and thought, this was only a sword fight, how could it be so troublesome? Yet she felt Ding Ning’s words were unusually correct so she controlled her emotions and said softly, “What to do?”
“The tea house he walked out of is expensive, and cannot be affordable to ordinary people. While he came out of there, and his clothes are luxurious, his expression and actions were slightly cautious. He was more relaxed when he walked out. This means he does not come from a wealthy family. You can see the skin on his face and his hands are slightly rough. They have not been taken care of like nobles are. He speaks naturally when he says he is Chen Fuchen. This means it is his real name. His cultivation is high, but his real name is not known in Changling. This means he comes from an outside commandery. See how heated his gaze is. He greatly desires fame… after seeing so much, you can generally judge that he is a youth of ordinary birth who has cultivated diligently in an outside commandery, and desires to become famous in Changling. He likely knows not the dangers of Changling and is being used,” Ding Ning whispered softly and then said, “After knowing all this, it is up to you how you fight him. You need to know that when you fight in Changling, you definitely cannot just consider which of the two swords are stronger.”
Jing Liuli’s expression grew solemn as she listened. She felt she had overlooked many things in the past. Or rather, her status as the next master of Min Mountain Sword Sect caused her to overlook too many things. Because she did not need to judge certain things as Tantai Guanjian and others would indoctrinate her with the conclusions.
“Regardless of whether I have to judge on my own or not, I need to have my own judgement on some matters,” she took a deep breath, nodded and said.
Ding Ning smiled and did not say anything else.
As a smile appeared on Ding Ning’s lips, Chen Fuchen’s eyebrows rose. His sword essence had long been restless and eager. The reason he had been able to wait for a while was that Ding Ning’s calm gaze invisibly intimidated him.
In his view, Ding Ning had gotten famous in the Min Mountain Sword Trials yet he was unknown. He needed to step on Ding Ning to get famous. He was a junior right now, and waiting was normal.
The other reason was that there were not enough people coming in to visit after they heard… To him, the more people were watching this battle, the more people would help spread his name in the future. Yet the streets were filled with people. If he waited longer, he feared there would not be even room to fight.
His eyebrows rose, and his lips moved. His sword lifted up slightly and he was going to speak.
But Ding Ning looked at him and said at this time, “How do you qualify to challenge me?”
At those words, the surroundings went silent. The chaotic streets immediately became soundless.
In the hot heat, the people who had come to watch crowded together. They were not restless and they unconsciously felt that Ding Ning was correct.
Chen Fuchen was shocked.
Previously, he had only just felt the cultivators of Changling were proud, and in all the rumors the cultivators of Changling were famed for their bravery and never feared accepting any challenge. Dodging a challenge would cause them to be looked down as weak and cowardly so he had never considered this problem before.
“My cultivation in realm five,” he took a deep breath and said what he thought was the most convincing reason after a pause.
There were cultivators present and they naturally knew what it meant when this blue-robed youth had realm five cultivation at such an age.
Yet Ding Ning’s expression remained calm. He looked at Chen Fuchen and said clearly, “So what? Some of my opponents in the Min Mountain Sword Trials passed realm five long ago.”
Chen Fuchen froze.
Many of the cultivators who felt that the blue-robed youth qualified to challenge Ding Ning also stilled.
“If you want to challenge me, you need to first have some fame in Changling. You are too impatient.” Ding Ning did not give them much time to think. “If you cannot even win against my attendant, how do you qualify to challenge me?”
Gasps sounded at Ding Ning’s words. Chen Fuchen and everyone else focused on Jing Liuli.
Chen Fuchen’s body trembled minutely. He felt he was being scorned, and became angry.
“If I win against your attendant?” He took a breath, pushed out his chest, and said directly, “Will you fight me then?”
“If you can win against her, I will accept your challenge.” Ding Ning smiled and sat back in the cabin.
His faint smile angered Chen Fuchen even more. His anger seemed to burn in his eyes.
“Then I will challenge you first.” He took a deep breath and emphasized each word as he looked at Jing Liuli. At the same time, he raised his sword that he held tightly.
His sword was in a wooden scabbard. The wood scabbard was a metallic grey color, and the patterns were unique, like layers of feathers. His sword hilt was made from a certain kind of jade stone. As his presence surged, white cloudy energies seemed to float out of his light grey sword hilt.
Hearing his angry and cold words, Jing Liuli’s brow did not even twitch.
She looked calmly and gravely at the sword of dust in front of him like she could see something and said in a calm tone, “I accept your challenge.”