1297 The First Stage, Nuance
He briefly cast his senses about, and Lin Huang could already feel that there were quite a few Nuance-level Sword Daos. There had to be more than a thousand of them in total.
Lin Huang did not underestimate them in the slightest, though. He knew that any sword marks the ridiculous genius Great Heaven approved of and left as part of his inheritance trial would surely be the product of no ordinary sword cultivator.
According to what Sword11 said earlier, if anyone touched these marks with their Telekinesis, their consciousness would be dragged in by the marks. After that, they would be forced into the sword mark space, where they had to participate in a battle of minds against the Sword Daos in the marks.
If the sword marks contained Sword Dao of the first level, Nuance, you would also only be allowed to use Nuance-level Sword Dao in the sword mark space.
It was only after you defeated all the Nuance-level Sword Daos in the sword marks that he would be able to sense the level-2 Consonance Sword Daos. Similarly, only by defeating all the consonance-level Sword Daos in the sword marks would you be able to sense the third, Illumination-level Sword Daos, and so on.
Of course, you could also choose to follow the trial rules and ignore the hints that you sensed, sending your Telekinesis to any one of the other unemphasized sword marks. If you accidentally triggered a mark with Sword Dao true meaning or heavenly rule, though, an instant death was not impossible.
Since Sword11 had told him the general gist of it, Lin Huang naturally played the game according to the rules.
He swept his eyes across the sword marks he could sense, and soon Lin Huang decided on his target for this first test.
It was a barely-legible sword mark, as thin as a hair.
"This one looks quite weak, so let's try it out and see how tough it is."
Although Lin Huang's Sword Dao was now at the level-6, Deity, he had no intention of underestimating this level-1 Sword Dao test. After all, he was stuck at level-1 for the test too, and he did not know anything about the type of Sword Dao in the mark either.
After he chose his target for the first test, Lin Huang quickly reached his Telekinesis out and touched that hairline sword mark.
The next instant, Lin Huang felt his consciousness sway. When he recovered, he already found himself in a thick forest.
He hurriedly checked the strength of his consciousness projection. Not only was his Sword Dao forced back to level-1 Nuance, even his combat level had been forced back to the first stage of the holy fire-level— white flame-level. Not only that, he could not sense all of the techniques, secret skills, divine abilities, and divine techniques that were unrelated to Sword Dao anymore either.
At the same time, Lin Huang noticed that he was now holding a silver-colored narrow blade, a long sword that was merely a grade-3 relic.
Once he was certain about his current condition, he suddenly received a message in his mind, telling him about the trial's general rules.
He immediately understood. His Sword Dao and combat level had been forced down to match his opponent's standards, and the long sword relic was also automatically created according to his opponent's weapon level and commonly-used weapon. Even the backdrop of the trial was suitable for the owner of the Sword Dao in the mark.
There was only one way to pass this trial, and that was to kill the opponent who manifested in this space.
If the participant was killed by their opponent in this space, their consciousness would crumble and die. There would be a new corpse in Swordfiend Abyss.
If the participant felt like they really could not win, though, they could choose to admit defeat and give up on the test. Of course, that was if they managed to shout, "I admit defeat" first. Once they gave up, the participant would lose the right to proceed with the remaining tests, and they would be teleported out of Swordfiend Abyss.
That was probably how Sword11 managed to survive.
Lin Huang spent a few seconds digesting the rules, and then a figure finally formed slowly about ten meters away from him.
Lin Huang stared at it. It was a petite woman in black with short black hair that reached her ears. Her weapon was a graceful narrow shortsword that did not look even 30cm long.
With just a glance, Lin Huang could tell that this was a speed- or agility-type sword cultivator.
While Lin Huang was observing his opponent, the girl in black was looking at him as well.
Neither of them moved because there was a 5-second protection period before the match began.
5, 4, 3… 1.
As soon as the five-second countdown ended, Lin Huang held his sword up, but before he could even dash forward, the girl in black had already turned and ran, vanishing into the trees with a few leaps.
"Huh?" Lin Huang was confused. "Shouldn't she attack me head-on? This goes too?"
Still, he immediately understood that his opponent's approach was within the rules.
He could not use his Telekinesis, but Lin Huang still had his Sword Territory. That had something to do with Sword Dao, so it was not prohibited.
Nevertheless, the Territory's reach and power were drastically reduced, and now it only had a radius of 1,000 meters.
That was still more than enough for this battle.
Since his opponent was nowhere to be seen, Lin Huang had no choice but to keep his Sword Dao Territory open. He did not have the time to waste on a game of hide-and-seek.
As soon as his Sword Dao Territory was activated, he quickly sensed where that woman was hiding.
She did not go too far. Right now, she was hiding behind the trunk of a large tree in the direction she had earlier run to. She was only fifty or sixty meters away, and was currently watching Lin Huang's every move.
Lin Huang's lips curved slightly and he did not approach her without thinking. Instead, he leaped up and stood on the branch she had been standing on earlier, pretending to be looking for her.
Once he set foot on that branch, however, he felt a sudden sense of danger.
A colorless blade appeared out of nowhere, without any warning whatsoever, slicing right toward Lin Huang's face like a string.
Lin Huang abruptly swung his sword, and the dark red sword gleam instantly tore that blade to shreds.
The opponent's attack was not too strong, but it was very stealthy, and it nearly caught Lin Huang unawares.
Behind the tree, the woman looked a little disappointed that her first attack did not land. At the same time, she did not seem too surprised either. She remained on the same spot and did not move, as though waiting patiently for something.
"A string?" Lin Huang narrowed his eyes slightly. "No, this trial doesn't allow anything but swords… That was a sword gleam!
"Was that string the delayed activation of a sword gleam? That's some impressive sword technique. In other words, she set up several sword gleams I can't see in this distance spanning tens of meters. If I'm not mistaken, she should have a Sword Territory too. If I get within the attacking range of a sword gleam, her Sword Territory would instantly activate the sword gleams to attack me.
"Before she activates them, the sword gleams she sets up are colorless and formless, so I can't destroy them in advance either…" Lin Huang quickly thought of ways to handle this. "Still, for sword skills like this, the sword gleams won't be activated without a certain condition. There has to be an energy point or something that she used to store the energy for these sword gleams. She has to activate that energy point in order to achieve that instantaneous trigger.
"I can't use my Telekinesis to scout around right now, so I can't see the energy point she set up…" Lin Huang soon came up with a solution. "But I don't have to see it. Since it's an easily-triggered energy point, it must be very unstable. I just have to detonate the energy point she set up in advance, and her trick will be all but foiled.
"It doesn't matter how subtly and randomly she hid her energy point. I can destroy it with just one slash!"
A ruthless light shone in Lin Huang's eyes, and his Sword Dao erupted throughout his entire body.
The long silver blade he held began to glow with a blinding red light as he activated his Life Power.
Within seconds, the long sword in his hand seemed to turn into a red sun.
"Is that guy going big from the very beginning?!" The woman in black began to rapidly retreat without hesitation, running desperately away from Lin Huang. She knew that it would be all over for her if she was struck by this move.
When he sensed the woman in black's movements, the corners of Lin Huang's lips curved slightly, and his right hand suddenly swung his sword in the direction the woman was fleeing toward.
With that single swing, a red impact wave poured forth from the blade, drowning his opponent like a tsunami. It cleaved a deep fire-red trench through the forest.
"The participant has passed the first stage, Nuance!"
When he saw that pop-up before his eyes, Lin Huang knew that he had successfully killed his opponent.
One or two seconds after the pop-up, Lin Huang's consciousness returned to his body.