Translator: Flying Lines
"All right. The Test of Entering Divine Gate is now at its end. Those who have failed please wait here for a moment. You will be allowed to stay in Luoyue Valley for 15 days before going home." The old man turned away. Ji Yuewu and the three candidates who passed the Test followed him toward the outside of the valley.
"So it is true that Ji Yuewu is born with a spiritual root of good quality. I'am afraid it is of good quality according to Elder Hu's reaction. She is sure to be a big shot in the future."
"You are right. And the boy surnamed Sun, who expected such an ordinary boy could be born with a spiritual root? When he returns to his clan, maybe his family line will thrive and even replace the direct line. Who knows?"
"And Shiao Lin, he doesn't have the spiritual root either, but he has good luck and a treasure to offer to Elder Hu."
The boys and girls talked about the Test in words full of admiration and jealousy.
"This is no ordinary place for you. No one shall make any noise, or you shall be expelled at once." A sudden shout frightened them and they all shut their mouths. The cultivator who gave the shout was quite satisfied and revealed a complacent smile. "Line up and follow me to the Fairy Yard. Though you don't have the spiritual roots to take on the journey of cultivation, the abundant nimbus in the valley could still benefit you."
Shiao Chen's mind had been in turmoil since the Test, so he heard nothing along the way to his room. When he finally came to his senses, it was already midnight.
He lay on the narrow stone bed, exhausted yet not able to fall asleep. In one moment he would see the extremely disappointed eyes of his father after he returned to Shiao's mansion, in another he would see himself become an almighty Immortal who could travel from the heaven to the hell on a flying sword……
The next day at daybreak, Shiao Chen was awakened by noises from outside of the door. He seemed confounded for a moment, and then he quickly cleaned his face with cold water and went out to the yard. All candidates who had failed yesterday's Test had gathered there, and in front of them was Elder Hu.
For some unknown reason, Shiao Chen's heart beat fastened. Was there a favorable turn?
"Elder Hu, the teenagers who came to the Yard are all here now, waiting for your command." A middle-aged man in a common black robe tried to please the old man.
"Em." Elder Hu slightly nodded his head and swept the teenagers with half-open eyes. "Luoyun Valley is in need of some lay disciples, so we assemble you here to offer you a second chance: if you are willing to stay as lay disciples, follow me to attend one more test. And if you are lucky enough to pass it, you can stay.
"Lay disciples are not equal to direct disciples, still we will teach you some cultivation methods. After you finish your assigned work every day, the time is all yours. You can use it to learn and practice. Diligence and a bit of luck may pave your way to be an Immortal!"
The announcement stirred up huge excitement from the teenagers. Even a lay disciple of Luoyun Valley could bring honor to the whole clan, let alone a slim chance to become a respectable Immortal.
Shiao Chen was more anxious than others. This was his last chance. He would never miss it no matter what.
"All right. Follow me."
The Dao Seeking Fall was a famous place in Luoyun Valley, which was said to be a masterpiece of Luoyun Immortal, the founder of Luoyun Valley and an extremely powerful cultivator in the Nascent Soul Realm. In order to test the disciples' determination in pursuing Dao, he had set up a formation through his magic power to forcibly channel the icy water from the top of the mountain down to the valley. Since then, Luoyun Valley had declined and none of his disciples had ever broken through the Nascent Soul Realm. Things had gotten even worse for this generation, and only the Chief Master had reached the Middle Phase of the Gold Core. Nonetheless, the Dao Seeking Fall had been reserved intact.
And it would be the very place to carry out the test for lay disciples today.
Elder Hu stopped. More than a hundred meters away, a steep slope came into sight. On it was a water channel of about one meter deep and dozens of meters wide abruptly inserted inside. Icy water ran from the top to the bottom, and the chill made the teenagers shiver even at such a distance.
Elder Hu seemed not notice it. He pointed to the channel and said, "Anyone who can climb to the top within 4 hours will be accepted as a lay disciple in Luoyun Valley."
The slope was built in the air with no support from the ground, and the water came from nowhere, which did not surprise the teenagers much, considering they were at a fairyland. They gained some confidence when they found the steep channel was no longer than 200 meters.
They waited for Elder Hu to announce the start of the test and then dashed to the channel, shouting in madness.
Comparing to others, Shiao Chen was thin and weak, so he lagged behind since the very beginning.
The water did not run fast at the bottom, and its low temperature was still tolerable. Some of the teenagers, who were in excellent physical fitness and had learnt Ku Fu, climbed up nearly 50 meters in a blink of eyes. After that, the current suddenly doubled its speed and its temperature dropped below the freezing point. Small pieces of ice were hidden in the current, sharp as knife when they rushed down with rapid flow. Any carelessness would led to a long cut.
The climbing became much harder from there.
Shiao Chen struggled for air, and he felt his lungs were burning. Great drops of sweat broke out from his forehead and fell into his eyes, burning like hell. The next second the sweat was washed out by icy water, so he could see a lit clearly.
The higher he arrived, the slower he climbed. He lowered his body as close to the bottom as possible with an effort to decrease the impact of the current, so he was basically immersed in the water. He used both his hands and feet to grasp the rocks and ledges at the bottom, trying his best not to fall. The clothes wrapped his knees and elbows were soon worn out, and bare skin was quickly cut by the ice in the water and rocks at the bottom. Blood spilled out from the cuts was soon washed clean by the icy water.
The other teenagers also struggled. Climbing the 200-meter long channel was as difficult as touching the sky. Cutting wounds increased with the passage of every second, and blood added red to the water.
The Dao Seeking Fall looked like an evil blood river from the distance, while the teenagers were like small fishes swimming against the current, miserable yet horrifying.
Even the several cultivators of Luoyun Valley couldn't help but reveal complicated looks.
"One hour till the end!"
The cultivator responsible for timing shouted. His voice, amplified by his true force, spread all over the mountain. Several strong teenagers were not far from the top then, but the current became more torrential and the small pieces of ice grew to big ones.
All of a sudden, a crushed ice crashed on the forehead of one of the teenagers and blood spurted out at once. He lost his balance and was washed down by the current.
At the same time, the cultivator in charge of safety flew to the channel and took the boy safe to the bottom of the slope.
Elder Hu shot a emotionless glance at the boy and instructed, "Treat his injuries and send him home after he recovers."
The boy, whose head was covered with blood, pleaded in a weak voice. "Immortal, please give me another chance. I beg you. I was so close.
"I am telling you the truth. I was just one way from the top. Why can't you give me one more chance? Why?" The boy's mind collapsed and burst into a rage of tears.
Elder Hu furrowed his brows, and snapped, "Cultivator requires both talent and opportunity! When the crushed ice hit you, you have lost your opportunity. Demanding is useless. Now leave us!"
A cultivator bowed in a respectful way, held the boy in his arms and fly away.
Seeing what had happened, the teenagers who were still struggling got despaired.
"Aa, I've run out of time!"
"Half of the distance has already taken me 3 hours, and the current runs faster and its temperature gets lower with every stop up, I think I'd better give up!"
"Forget about it. I am done. I am so tired!"
One by one, the teenagers cried in despair. They all stopped climbing, just holding tightly to the rocks, waiting.
All these whispers were heard by Shiao Chen, but he did not listen. At this moment his mind had long been disintegrated, yet he was still moving up bit by bit when others had all given up, all for the sake of his unyielding will.
His palms, elbows and knees were all badly mutilated. His face, arms and chest were covered with numerous wounds made by ice. However, neither the torrential cold water nor the sharp pain all over his body could stop him, not even the despairing wailing of other candidates.
He had only one belief in his heart. Keep climbing. Keep moving. Never stop!
Nothing could stop him. He must succeed. He must make his parents proud. No one should look down upon them any longer.
He must succeed. He had to!
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