Chapter 15: The Hunt
One month has passed quickly.
Lu Xiankai has picked up the twelve basic stances of the Ode Swordplay fairly quick. Yuwen Feng and Ma Biao have no issues as well. Chu Hai has some difficulties with his positioning and timing. Even though Ma Biao has been coaching him but it is still difficult for him.
Soon everyone in the team has gotten used to each other and their quirks. Occasionally Ma Biao would voice complaints against Lu Xiankai for his irritating woodcarving as he made one wooden sword after another.
Today seems like a normal day until Master Practitioner Longxi announced that they are all going to have a special trial, catching everyone by surprise.
“What special trial?”
Master Practitioner Longxi smiles mysteriously as he shouts. “Follow me!”
They are even joined by the other Master Practitioners and protégés of the other halls. It gets more and more mysterious as their three hundred group expands to a group of five hundred.
Beside Master Practitioner Longxi, there is Master Practitioner Wuxi and the other Master Practitioners of the other Halls. Even Enlighten Celestial Qiu Shengjun is presented with two other Enlighten Celestials. All in all, at least fifty celestial practitioners are also presented.
“Where are we going?”
“I have heard that we are going to the Thousands Stinging Swamp to take our trial.”
“What is that place?”
“What a horrible name…”
Indeed, they are marched to the Thousands Stinging Swamp, marching from morning to night. It is an impressive sight as five hundred protégés of the Honor Ode Clan marches together.
When they have reached, almost everyone is exhausted from the continuous marching.
Chu Hai is in daze and it looks like he is going to collapse but Ma Biao keeps him going.
Master Practitioner Longxi says to them, “You will be divided into nine groups. Each group will have seven to nine teams of 4 protégés each. The newer protégés will be in a bigger group because you are going to need all the support from each other. In each group, a medical practitioner team will be attached to support aid. Each group will also be led by a team of celestial practitioners.”
“Nightfall is the best time to hunt,” he continues. “You must be wondering what your quests will be, right? You are going to hunt for the horns of the Myriad Centipede, a fourth grade demonic beast in the Thousand Stinging Swamp.”
Almost everyone is gasping with shock. It is because not even a Master Practitioner will find a Myriad Centipede to be an easy foe. Moreover they are all juniors.
Master Practitioner Longxi adds coldly, “Expect no help from your masters. This is your trial. You may even die while undertaking this quest. But the good news is, if your group manages to take the horns of the Myriad Centipede and return, you will be automatically promoted as official protégés.”
He pauses awhile before adding, “You have but 3 days to complete the trial.”
Lu Xiankai thought, “The horns of the Myriad Centipede can be grinded into powder and made into healing potions and even poisons. It is a rare celestial ingredient. Slaying the Myriad Centipede won’t be easy for these juniors. It seems that the Honor Ode Clan is already preparing for the coming ascendant event of the immortal sword. Even First Young Master Xue Yizhong has been pushing himself hard to become a Golden Celestial.”
He ponders further, “At this stage, they are not willing to sacrifice their more experience protégés for this undertaking. But if they sent the juniors then it will be a good exposure to them and will quickly level them. But if they have really encountered the Myriad Centipedes, how many of them will survive the fight?”
Lu Xiankai and his team found themselves assigns to the first group. There are seven sword protégé teams, one medical practitioner team and even a team of celestial practitioners.
The celestial practitioners in their group are the future leaders of the clan so they gather the group and say, “We shall take the lead and the rest of you will follow us.”
Lu Xiankai notices that the four celestial protégés had joined the same time as them a month ago. As celestial protégés and practitioners, they are also Celestials.
“I am Yin Tianxing, the leader of the celestial team. And of course, I am also a Celestial.” The young celestial looks cocky as he smiles, “You lot won’t be able to defeat a Myriad Centipede, let alone hurting it for it is protected by its thick plated armor. We have to use celestial swordplay of course. Therefore we want the rest of you to support us as we preparing the celestial stances. Am I clear?”
Chu Hai and the rest of the group shouts excitedly, “We understand!”
Lu Xiankai sighs often, “This Yin Tianxing is using the rest of you as cannon fodders…”
Suddenly Lu Xiankai notices a maiden that stands among the medical practitioner team. She is the same maiden that has taken the initial test with them a month ago. In fact, several of the sword protégés are also looking at her because she is really an attractive maiden.
Yin Tianxing says, “We shall move ahead first and camp for the night. The other groups are already making their way into the Thousand Stinging Swamp. We have only 3 days to complete our mission.”