Chapter 50: Lotus Sword Mansion Trial (2)
In order to reach the iron pagoda in the horizon, Yuan Ji and Ling Feiyang must first traverse the dangerous vast valley that was populated with dangerous desolate beasts.
And after moving cautiously for about twenty miles, they soon encounter their first desolate beast.
The looming shadow of a large desolate beast that was five times their height was seen between the cliffs. It had three long black horns on its massive head and four massive claws which it used to move its heavily armored body around.
Yuan Ji and Ling Feiyang were both slightly alarmed; it was because their divine sense had indicated to them that this desolate beast was a sixth rank profound desolate beast.
There were altogether nine ranks to a desolate beast in the Celestial Realm and every rank had three classes to denote the threatening level of the desolate beast; Primordial, Profound and Epic.
A profound class desolate beast is twice as powerful as a primordial class desolate beast of the same rank while an epic class desolate beast can be many times stronger depending on the species of the desolate beasts.
The epic class of any desolate beasts is always more dangerous and mysterious that any primordial and profound class. Luckily epic class desolate beasts are not easy to be encountered and are extremely rare.
A sixth rank primordial desolate beast is more than a match for an upper golden supremacy to handle alone and moreover this is a sixth rank profound desolate beast.
Yuan Ji nodded as he said with a wary tone, “It is a Black Tyrannical Demon Beast. Very strong and heavily armored at the same time. If given a choice, we should avoid fighting it but it is now blocking our way.”
Ling Feiyang smiled, “We can always take a detour and find another way.”
Yuan Ji frowned. From her expression, it was more like a challenge to fight the desolate beast rather than retreating away from it.
So he said, “We may as well fight it and be on our way to the iron pagoda. If we can evade these desolate beasts which are everywhere, this won’t be a trial anymore.”
Ling Feiyang smiled, “I will follow your lead.”
“Great saint, why don’t you make the first move?” Yuan Ji grinned at her. This was a perfect opportunity for him to observe her skills.
Ling Feiyang nodded as she took out a metallic silver fan from her spatial belt.
With a wave of her hand, the blades of this metallic silver fan had suddenly expanded and formed into a beautiful blue long sword.
A shaper divine sword that could take the form of a fan!
Yuan Ji was startled by it.
Yuan Ji was gasping softly and he was also looking sheepish now. It was because Ling Feiyang’s sword was actually a heaven-step divine sword which was a step higher than his earth-step divine sword.
He was bitterly thinking, “She is from a top unorthodox clan. Therefore it is not surprising that she has a divine sword. So she is just keeping her trump cards while we are fighting against each other three days ago. I should have guessed it.”
The reason why Ling Feiyang had decided to reveal her heaven-step divine sword was because she did not want to expend too much of her profound strength during the trial and that would affect her performances at the later trials.
At the same time that Ling Feiyang had revealed her divine sword, Yuan Ji had also taken out his divine sword with his left hand.
With light steps and a startling speed, Ling Feiyang had dashed to the unsuspecting Black Tyrannical Demon Beast and she was quickly followed by Yuan Ji.
Her sword lights were accompanied by the sword shadows from Yuan Ji as the two of them slashed their swords against the large desolate beast.
With just a few slashes, the profound powers that channeled through their divine swords had quickly penetrated through the thick armor of the large desolate beast.
In just ten blinks of an eye, the Black Tyrannical Demon Beast had crumbled onto the ground and it had vaporized into a dark smog.
Under their fierce barrage of sword slashes, the Black Tyrannical Demon Beast did not even have a chance to retaliate. All in all, they had unleashed more than one hundred slashes in just ten blinks of an eye, averaging five slashes each with each blink of an eye.
“What a pity. There is no spirit core to be taken.”
Ling Feiyang smiled gently as she looked at Yuan Ji before adding further, “So what do you think of our first time cooperation?”
Yuan Ji smiled bitterly. First time cooperation? More like second time.
But he quickly said, “Not bad. But it is only a sixth rank desolate beast.”
Ling Feiyang nodded and smiled, “I wonder how where did you learn your sword art from? Your master must be equally impressive. It will be my honor to know the name of your master and maybe I can even pick up a few tips.”
Yuan Ji was frowning. “You’re already a great saint in your cultivation. Both my master and I are not on your level. Moreover, my master is not around anymore…”
Ling Feiyang smiled, “Or maybe I can have some pointers from you instead?”
Yuan Ji hummed coldly, “Your swordplay isn’t less superior to mine. In fact, it is a lot superior to mine in many ways. As you can see, my swordplay is actually quite ordinary. If I’m not mistaken, you have actually slashed more strokes than me earlier.”
Ling Feiyang smiled gently, “Maybe you have reacted slower than me. You are way faster when we are dueling a few days earlier.”
“Haha. Maybe today I’m not in the right form.” Yuan Ji laughed softly before he turned his back to continue his way.
“You mention that you’re the only personal protégé of your master. Then you must be really be so exceptional good?” Ling Feiyang quickly caught up to him as she asked.
Yuan Ji was secretly cursing her. “Are you here for the trials or to check me out? She is trying to probe me to get a hint of my identity. I ought to be careful when I’m answering her questions.”
But he quickly replied with a soft chuckle, “Actually I was the weakest back then. Haha.”
“Oh? And yet you’ve managed to become a personal protégé?” Ling Feiyang asked curiously.
Yuan Ji laughed, “My old master had set a criteria to the ordinary protégés that whoever wishes to become a core protégé and his personal protégé had to first survive a beating from him first. If we can endure for an hour or we can beat our master then we are qualified.”
“Then you must be quite extraordinary back then?”
“I was only a first realm practitioner level back then. How can I endure a beating from a sixth realm golden celestial like my master?” Yuan Ji smiled.
“But eventually you did. How did you manage to do it?” Ling Feiyang was really curious to know.
“After getting beaten up dozens of times, I’ve finally figured out a way.” Yuan Ji replied proudly and his eyes were beaming. “I’ve beaten dozens of my seniors to become my master one and only personal protégé.”
“You must have undergone a rigorous body tempering training to be able to endure an hour of beating from your master?” Ling Feiyang offered a quick guess.
“You got to be kidding me.” Yuan Ji laughed out loud. “I was only 16 then. A punch from a golden celestial will surely break my bones and my master is quite a sadist. He makes sure that we are all lying on the bed for several months each time we attempt to pass his core protégé examination.”
“But I pass it within a minute and emerge unscathed.” Yuan Ji laughed aloud.
Ling Feiyang was startled as she gasped with shock, “You’ve beaten your master up?”
Yuan Ji took an amused look at her, “Rather than say I’ve beaten up my master, I will rather say that I had surrendered to my master. Haha.”
Ling Feiyang: ???
“I told my master that I had finally figured out his impossible to pass test. Therefore if he is willing to let me pass, I will surrender all my sect’s contribution points and everything to him in the future. He will be my Great Dao and I will devote my life to become his core protégé. That’s how I had become my master’s personal protégé.”
Ling Feiyang was startled, “You…you bribe your master?”
Yuan Ji rolled his eyes before he answered her, “Rather than saying that I had bribed my master, I will say that my master wanted me to bribe him.”
Then he laughed, “I had actually regretted being his personal protégé for uncountable number of times. If I know that being his core protégé will be such a nightmare thing, I would rather not offer myself in the first place. But in the end, I never regret it because to me, he is the best master ever.”
Ling Feiyang returned a light nod, “A strict master will always bring the best of his personal protégés. Without him, there won’t be the present you now.”
All of a sudden Ling Feiyang was staring at him as she asked, “Have you heard of the name of the Sword Saint Ji Yuan?”
Yuan Ji: …
“Why is she asking me about myself?”
He retained his composure and answered her, “I have heard of him before. Why did you mention him for?”
Ling Feiyang said slowly, “He is one of the greatest swordsmen in the Desolate Celestial Fraternity. You can say that he is even in the top twenty ranking.”
Yuan Ji coughed weakly, “But he isn’t in the top five. Haha.”
Ling Feiyang smiled, “You never know. His sword art may be ordinary but somehow he can be a Sword Saint. You must know that there are only around twenty Sword Saints in the entire Desolate Celestial Fraternity and each one of them is extraordinary in their own ways.”
Yuan Ji was rubbing his chin as he pondered, “Is she hinting me that she knows something? It is impossible that she can recognize my swordplay as from the Orthodox Sword Sect and moreover I have been using my left hand as my sword arm.”
“I’ve a copy of the sword manual of the Orthodox Sword Sect. The swordplay inside is indeed extremely ordinary but yet the Orthodox Sword Sect is able to produce three generations of sword saints in a row. Sword Saint Ji Yuan and Sword Saintess Ye Chengxi are the two more recent Sword Saints. Don’t you feel that this is indeed very strange for such a little known sword sect? You must know that even in the top seven major orthodox clans, it is extremely difficult to produce two generations of Sword Saints.”
“What is so surprising about that? As far as I know, more than half of the Sword Saints aren’t from the seven major orthodox clans, five major unorthodox clans and the three heretic palaces.” Yuan Ji pointed out.
When he had said that, he was also secretly cursing. “It seems that I have a traitor in the ranks of the Orthodox Sword Sect. Luckily, there nothing extraordinary about the sword manual of the Orthodox Sword Sect but why did she have to use the word ‘extremely ordinary’. She can simply say the sword manual of the Orthodox Sword Sect is ordinary. And why did she study my sect’s sword art for? Is she too free?”
Ling Feiyang continued, “Not everyone that is good with their sword art can be a Sword Saint. In order to be a Sword Saint, they have to be acknowledged by the sword altar in the Swords Valley of the Souls. I am definitely not qualified to do so.”
Yuan Ji hummed coldly, “You can definitely be one if you try a little harder.”
Ling Feiyang smiled, “Do you know that the Sword Saint Ji Yuan is renowned for killing his opponents even when the odds are stacked against him? Even if he has only 1% chance, there is still a chance for his opponent to get killed by him.”
Yuan Ji rubbed his chin as he tried to recall silently, “Is she sure about that? I usually don’t try to fight when the odds are less than 30%.”
He laughed, “I had heard after he had gained the title of Sword Saint, he was defeated ten times in a row. He must surely be the most disgraceful Sword Saint ever.”
Ling Feiyang chuckled softly, “I beg to disagree with you. But after losing ten times in a row, he was nearly undefeatable for a long time. I suspected that he had lost on purpose to distract his challengers to the ten earlier challengers.”
Yuan Ji was rubbing his chin. This part was indeed true. He had purposely lost his duels because he was troubled by the daily challenges and he could not cultivate in peace. Was it so obvious?
“Have you heard of the Black Hand Guild? It is the number one assassin guild in the Desolate Celestial Fraternity. At that time the guild leader of the Black Hand Guild was assassinated by Ji Yuan. The odds of that happening were only 1%. At that time, Ji Yuan had only just reached the initial sixth realm level while his opponent was an initial seventh realm expert that was surrounded by many high level cultivators. Yet Ji Yuan could assassinate the top assassin in the Desolate Celestial Fraternity.”
Yuan Ji frowned lightly. That happened like two to three hundred years ago and he had almost forgotten about it.
“Not only did he assassinate the top assassin in the Black Hand Guild, he had even made a secret covenant with the Black Hand Guild to forget about the matter. This is originally a secret that no one is willing to talk about and therefore in the fraternity, there are very few people that knows about it.” Ling Feiyang said coolly.
This time Yuan Ji was looking at her coldly before he said, “Then why are you telling me? Do you want the whole Black Hand Guild to come after me? And how do you know about this matter?”
This was an originally a secret that no one had known about it. The reason why he was able to make a covenant with the Black Hand Guild was because he had threatened to tell the entire fraternity that their leader was in fact assassinated by him. If this matter was to leak out then the Black Hand Guild would lose its reputation and there would be many cultivators that would be looking to seek vendetta with them.
Moreover at that time he had killed most of the top experts in the Black Hand Guild.
At that time he was the target of an assassination by the Black Hand Guild. Therefore out of desperation, he had taken the fight all the way to the secret stronghold of the Black Hand Guild.
“How do I know about this matter? You are asking?” Ling Feiyang was now smiling.
Yuan Ji returned a light nod.
“What if I tell you that I’m now the new master of the Black Hand Guild, will you believe me?” Ling Feiyang smiled.
Yuan Ji slowly nodded his head before he said, “Should I call you Ling Feiyue instead? Since you have already known that I am Ji Yuan, we can all stop our pretenses. So, you are planning to kill me now?”
It had suddenly dawned upon him why he was being aimed by Ling Feiyue in the past. It was because she had a connection with the Black Hand Guild?
“Indeed we should drop all our pretenses.” Ling Feiyue was smiling delightfully now. “So you are finally admitting that you are indeed Ji Yuan. Do you know that I’ve been looking for you all this while?”
Yuan Ji smiled bitterly as he flipped his sword in front of him, “I’ve heard of your 10,000 high grade spirit stones bounty for me so how should I not know?”