Chapter 8: Junior Martial Brother You Know Me So Well
Translator: Subudai11 Editor: Chrissy
"This road... is so damn long."
Within the long and narrow valley, both the young master and his errand boy were quickly running out of breath.
Wang Lu wiped the sweat from his forehead as he said, "Oh, I can't feel the abundant 'help' like it was in the Golden Bridge just now... the baggage is getting heavier as well."
The errand boy sighed, "What abundant 'help'? Are you confused, Young Master?"
"Yes, I'm confused, so you carry the baggage."
While speaking, Wang Lu suddenly became excited, pointed ahead and said, "Look! The fog is getting thicker there; this is a clear sign that we are entering a new map!"
As always, his errand boy scratched his head in confusion. "What entering a new map?"
Wang Lu explained, "Did you really think that the Immortal Path was just a simple straight line? The people who designed this have certainly put many checkpoints to test a newcomer's various qualities. If the only qualifications for the Immortal Path were just potential and knowledge, then all you need is a Golden Bridge and a piece of paper. But how do you test temperament and affinity? A written exam? A multiple choice quiz? Personality test? If the Spirit Sword Sect really wants to test the newcomers, there has to be sufficiently complex scenarios designed in this Immortal Path. This might be a general scenario or an 'instance'. And I'm betting that this fog is a buffer zone before we switch map."
"Young Master, I have completely failed to comprehend what you're saying..."
Wang Lu didn't seem to care about his errand boy's confusion and just keep on explaining, "The Spirit Sword Sect is quite famous for its ancient tradition, so they have to be strict with the selection of their disciples. Therefore, their disciples are few. Generally speaking, to seek for new disciples, the elders in the sect will voluntarily descend the mountain. But that is not suitable to mass produce new disciples. That is why they open their door wide this time to attract many talented people. However, ancient sects are nevertheless ancient sects. Even if they want to mass produce new disciples, they're not going to do it half-heartedly. They will certainly have some kind of procedure, moreover, it is definitely more complex than what most people can imagine..."
Upon hearing this, the errand boy could not help but ask, "Young Master, how do you know so much about the Spirit Sword Sect?"
His young master had arrived in the Spirit Creek Town only a day earlier than him and spent the whole week cooped up in his room. When and where did he get so much information from? He wasn't really born with this knowledge, right?
"Of course, when I complete those chain of tasks... Why do you think I spent the whole day running around to complete those tasks? Each task has a description which I listened carefully. Now a lot of the players just want a quick success - they don't care about mission objectives or mission rewards. The true prize is, of course, precisely the mission summary! When I finished the final task, the elderly man at the town's entrance told me that this was the first time the Spirit Sword Sect had held an Immortal Gathering in the last 100 years. Clearly, the Spirit Sword Sect are inexperienced in running such an event. But exactly because of that, they've put in a lot of effort and attention to detail - going so far that they had even enlisted the help of a retired old man to guard the entrance of the town... The information here is staggering, but ordinary people wouldn't be able to see the value of information. Those princelings wanted information, but they weren't bothered to obtain it through a few simple tasks, so why would the people want to give the information? Just because they have money? When 500 liang of silver buys you a single radish, money is nothing..."
The errand boy completely did not understand his young master's rambling. But his tone remained somewhat dismissive, just like how it was back in the Wang Family Village. Surprisingly, his confidence in the Wang Family Village had remained unmoved to this point.
The young master was indeed the young master. He just couldn't help but admire him.
According to Wang Lu's assertion, the fog in the valley acted as a buffer zone before they changed map. Behind this dense fog, there will be brand new test - one which would test whether or not they were suitable to enter the Inner Court of the Spirit Sword Sect, the Misty Peak.
Although the errand boy did not truly understand the difference between the Carefree Peak and Misty Peak, but because the young master cared about it... it probably meant that it was important.
The area that the fog covered was much larger than they expected.
Wang Lu expected this to be a short buffer only. However, after the two of them had stumbled around for quite some time, they still couldn't find a way out. Even Wang Lu had become slightly unsure of what was happening.
"Young Master, could it be that we've gone on the wrong path?"
"Nonsense, there was only one path since the beginning. How can you say we've taken the wrong path?"
The errand boy wiped the sweat from his face, unable to answer.
Wang Lu was still carrying all the baggage. Although he had persisted in carrying it the whole time, he now felt quite tired. Although his confidence did not diminish in the least bit, he began to walk slower, observing his surroundings as much as possible.
Within this thick fog, their effective line of sight was around three meters. Wang Lu remembered that they were in a ten meter wide valley, and they had been walking straight forward the whole time...
"Wang Zhong, let's turn right."
"Ah, there's a cliff over there."
The errand boy paused for a second, then followed Wang Lu to turn right. Although he thought they would run into the side of the mountain in just a few steps...
"Hey, this is... weird. I remember before we entered the fog, the two sides of the valley stretched out really, really long..."
"We've left the valley a long time ago. The map change can happen unknowingly... I thought that the fog only acted as a 'buffer', but it seems like it's also part of the map."
As Wang Lu spoke, he bent down and twisted the dust on the ground with his fingers.
"Young Master, is there something wrong with the soil here?"
"How would I know? I'm not a geologist," Wang Lu said as he dusted off the dirt from his hands, "I thought that the dirt might give us some clues, but I guess not."
Wang Zhong suddenly said with trepidation, "Young Master, could there be some sort of danger here?"
Once Wang Lu did not have the confidence in knowing everything, the little errand boy lost his sense of security. To him, the surrounding fog suddenly became more ferocious, as if it can swallow him up at any moment. In the end, the Immortal Path was something the little errand boy from the Wang Family Village wasn't quite ready to face yet.
"Nothing dangerous, but no clues either."
"What!? Wouldn't we be trapped here forever?"
"Of course not. Not having any clues is probably the biggest clue in itself. As I've said before, the Immortal Path tests a person's overall quality. That said, this trial might be testing our luck; an important aspect of one's affinity with immortality. This is what I learned from completing those chain of quests. Immortal Cultivators attach great importance to one's fate."
"Um, so that means..."
Wang Lu smiled, "That means, there are no wrong turns in this place. Every direction symbolizes a person's chance... In other words, a new map will appear as long as we keep walking sincerely in a single direction."
"Young Master, how can you be so sure?"
"Remember how those two wearing blue and white said that every blade of grass and every tree that appears has a reason for its being? Wouldn't that mean every direction we walk in also has reason and purpose? At least that's how I would have designed this... Before, in the Spirit Creek Town, I already felt that the organizer of this Immortal Gathering seems to be quite professional himself, so I don't think we'll be disappointed. "
As he spoke, he suddenly raised his head. His gaze seemed to have passed through the thick fog, and towards the mountain peak in the distance.
"Spirit Sword Sect, wait for me..."
Meanwhile, far above the fog in the valley, the Misty Peak has been thrown into a great confusion.
"What the hell! Why is the Disciplinary Elder here!?"
"Quickly tell Master and Martial Uncle Zhou Ming to pack up their stands!"
"You, the black and white over there, go and stall the Disciplinary Elder!"
"Ha!? Senior Martial Brother, you're the Successor Disciple here, shouldn't you go?!"
"Come on, the Disciplinary Elder is even stricter towards Successor Disciples! If I go, I'll definitely be put into confinement until the Yuanying Stage!"
"Congratulations to Senior Martial Brother on his future prospects of reaching the Yuanying Stage!"
"Congratulation your uncle! I, your father, am still a step away from the Xudan Stage. I will be kept in confinement for one or two hundred years! Cut the crap and go and stall the Disciplinary Elder!"
"Which of you wanted to stall me?"
"... Senior Martial Brother Liu Xian, Junior Martial Brother Zhou Ming - what are you guys doing?"
"Wha, ah, ah, ah! Who?! Who is impersonating Junior Martial Brother Fang He?! How dare you impersonate the Disciplinary Elder! I'm going to report your crime to the head of the Brilliant Peak! Stay right there and don't you dare to run!"
"... Senior Martial Brother Liu Xian, have you had enough? And Junior Martial Brother Zhou Ming, don't try escape with the Light Shadow Sword. I've already put the Stars Shadow Curtain in place. You can't escape."
"... Senior Martial Brother Fang He, when the Sect Leader gave you the Stars Sword Manual, he didn't give it to you to use it against your fellow sect members!!"
"If I don't discipline my fellow sect members as the Disciplinary Elder, then who am I meant to discipline? The residents of the Spirit Creek Town? You... are all Elders of the esteemed Heaven Sword Hall. You have been assigned to monitor the Immortal Gathering, so you should not be this negligent. You people have even blatantly violated the sect rules and gathered together a crowd to gamble... In accordance with the sect rules, you are not allowed to leave the mountain for a hundred years."
"Aw, come on!? Where is this rule even from?"
Just as the Misty Peak began to get rowdy due to the quarrel of the Elders, all of a sudden, a ray of sword light shot out from the cloud layer, turning into a disciple wearing a black and white robe.
The disciple looked grim and serious, and he even ignored the overturned mahjong table, as well as the red-faced, quarreling Elders. "Reporting to the Elders, someone has emerged from the Cloud Wave Map."
"What? So fast!?"
The Disciplinary Elder and the Misty Peak Elder who had been arguing until their faces were red suddenly stopped and quickly walked to the edge of the cliff. When they looked at the image on the cloud layer, they were even more surprised.
"It's actually those two..."
The Brilliant Peak Elder, Zhou Ming, quietly walked over. "What do you mean 'those two'? Do you know them? Their results are pretty good; they walked out of the Cloud Wave Map in just four hours... Wait, only four hours!?"
At this moment, even the perpetually serious Disciplinary Elder, Fang He, couldn't help but raise his eyebrows. "Four hours? Doesn't that mean they weren't confused or got lost at all? The Cloud Wave Map should not only seal off all five senses, it should also double the doubt in one's heart. The only way anyone could manage to pass in four hours is if they have absolute confidence with themselves, otherwise, these two wouldn't have been able to walk in almost a straight line from beginning to end. What an exceptional character!"
Liu Xian was astounded/ "When was the last time we saw someone pass through at such a speed?"
Zhou Ming shook his head. "I've never seen it happen before."
Fang He softly replied, "Never seen it happen before? Junior Martial Brother Zhou Ming, your memory is getting worse and worse. We've all seen it happen before. The last person who was able to walk out of the Cloud Wave within four hours..."
"We've all seen it? The best result I've seen was probably from the Sect Leader who spent about eight hours, but these two only needed four hours..." Zhou Ming frowned, then he had a sudden thought, "Senior Martial Brother Fang He, do you mean..."
"... Who else could it be?"
An image went through the minds of the three people, and they collectively let out a sigh.
After a long pause, Liu Xian said, "As expected from the genius who even caught the attention of the Sect Leader. His talent and potential may just be third or fourth rate, but his character is definitely first rate."
Fang He shook his head. "We can't speak too early. The Cloud Wave Map is only the preliminary test. Their success will not only depend on their character, but also with their affinity with immortality. Let's see what the next part of the trial is... Hey, Senior Martial Brother, when did the Martial Peak design such a trial?
At this time, the clouds began to change. Apart from the two little animated clouds of the young master and errand boy duo, ten or so building structures also rose up, forming the model of a small village.
Fang He became more and more confused. "After the Cloud Wave Map... according to the entrant's performance... the next trial should be either the Red Ridge Mountains, Frozen Wind Valley, Cyan Cloud Canyon or the Nether World Path. If one can continue on the path to the end, then they will be eligible to enter the Misty Peak. But I don't remember this little village... Did Senior Martial Brother change the trials of the Immortal Gathering?"
Liu Xian was also very confused. "Junior Martial Brother, you know me so well. How could I randomly change the Sect's procedures?"
Fang He glanced back at overturned mahjong table, but did not say anything. He thought, "Although Senior Martial Brother is not exactly a model Elder, he is not someone who would make any major decision without authorization. Which meant..."
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