Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Fang Lang woke from his memories and looked at his hands.
His fingertips were covered with thick layers of callous.
He bent his fingers slightly. As he placed his middle finger on his thumb, he felt the spiritual energy in his body coalescing and accumulating at his fingertip. The air between his two fingers vibrated as a pressure built.
Finger Flick Energy Wave—the skill required no sword to channel its destructive powers.
The technique blew Fang Lang away. It was much stronger than the Spirit Step and Sword Draw Technique.
Fang Lang grinned from ear to ear as he unclenched his fingers.
The Gathering of Swords brought him many rewards—the master-class technique was a new addition.
Old Jiang was very useful after all. Fang Lang had a feeling there was more Old Jiang could do for him.
Mentor Wen returned with Liu Bubai.
Both their expressions were vastly different. Liu Bubai had his hand over his mouth, an absent-minded look on his face. Mentor Wen, on the other hand, was beaming. Leading the team to victory in the Gathering of Swords was definitely the brightest moment of his career.
"Calm yourselves and get some rest. Beijiang Academy surrendered so as to conserve their energy for the upcoming individual event. It seems there's some changes to the event this year. Even I can't tell what changes they've made.
"Many talented sword disciples are participating in this year's Gathering of Swords. They're likely here for the individual event. Otherwise, people like the Drunken Blade Lord's grandson, Lu Ze, and Donglu's God of Blades's disciple, Lin Yun, wouldn't bother participating in the Gathering of Swords," Mentor Wen explained.
He urged Fang Lang, especially, to get some rest.
Fang Lang nodded. After Mentor Wen pointed it out, Fang Lang realized the unusual mix of participants in the competition.
Suddenly, silence enveloped the plaza of Mount Shu, as if a storm was approaching.
Every student sat cross-legged on the floor, taking in deep breaths and preparing themselves for the next event.
Fang Lang did not dwell on his new skill. He, too, sat cross-legged and channeled his spiritual energy according to the Tang Dynasty's Sword Scripture. He was replenishing his energy, both mentally and physically.
Less than an hour later, the great plaza of Mount Shu buzzed with excitement again.
Fang Lang opened his eyes. Beside him, Jiang Linglong had her eyes wide open, revealing her beautiful irises. They both gazed at the summit of Mount Shu.
The deafening roar of flight swords taking off filled the air.
A short distance away, Liu Bubai finally snapped out of his state of despair.
"Flight swords!" he exclaimed.
One after another, disciples of the Sword Guild landed elegantly on the summit of Mount Shu. They were all dressed in white and equipped with individual flight swords.
The flight swords they rode were all of high quality. The ruins on their flight swords spun at incredible speeds, suggesting magic was at play. Every student watched with admiration.
Suddenly, a gigantic flight sword flew in from above. It was so huge that the summit of Mount Shu was hidden behind it.
All the students were flabbergasted.
"The magnificent flight sword utilizes ninety-nine ruins to maintain its altitude. It could ferry hundreds of passengers at once!"
Liu Bubai explained to Fang Lang. His eyes sparkled with excitement.
As a flight sword enthusiast, this was the best day of Liu Bubai's life.
On the massive flight sword, Fang Lang saw a familiar silhouette—it was Chao Xiaojian, the man who tried to recruit Fang Lang.
"Mentors, follow the group on your own flight swords. The students will board the giant flight sword. We'll be departing for the venue of the individual event," said the white-haired man in a calm and soft voice.
Dressed in his white robe, Chao Xiaojian sat cross-legged on the sword guard of the giant flight sword.
His announcement echoed across the plaza.
The academy mentors were perplexed.
Nevertheless, they took out their Flying Sword Examination pass and stood on their flight swords. They bowed in acquiescence and their flight swords hovered in the air.
"Follow me." A representative from the Sword Guild led the mentors.
Hundreds of mentors followed the man. At that moment, the light from their flight swords filled the sky like a river stream. They took off into the horizon.
Mentor Wen gave the team a quick pep talk before he took off on his flight sword and joined the flock of departing mentors.
Suspense filled the great plaza of Mount Shu.
Fang Lang, Liu Bubai and Jiang Linglong were personally escorted onto the giant flight sword by the Sword Guild umpire. They were seated closest to the guard of the sword, nearest to Chao Xiaojian—rightfully so, as the champions of the Gathering of Swords.
Jiang Linglong sat cross-legged beside Fang Lang. Protected by the shield of ruins, her veil fluttered gently. Her body trembled, brimming with excitement.
Fang Lang contemplated, 'Jiang Linglong must have a reason for representing Luojiang Academy in the Gathering of Swords… Was it all for the individual event?
'What's so special about this year's individual event?'
600 students from 200 academies boarded the massive flight sword.
When all the students found their seats, the ruins glowed as they were activated. The ruins protected the passengers from turbulence, keeping out buffeting winds and other sorts of annoyances.
The flight sword howled as it soared through the sky but all the passengers heard was melodic instrumental music.
When it came to comfort, the extravagant flight swords were unbeatable.
Everyone on board wondered where the destination was but they bottled up their curiosity.
The traditional individual event took place on the great plaza of Mount Shu. They were changing venues for the revamped individual event.
At that moment, the students were filled with excitement and anticipation.
They held onto their seats.
In Chao Xiaojian's sleeve were nine spirit crystals. The crystals were flawless and emitted an intense and overwhelming aura. They were high-grade spirit crystals that cost a fortune.
Chao Xiaojian inserted all nine high-grade spirit crystals into the empty slots beside the Flying Sword Examination Pass.
The spiritual energy within the crystals were drained instantly.
On the guard of the giant flight sword, the 99 ruins spun simultaneously. As they spun in a clockwise direction, they formed a ring around the flight sword. Loud clicking sounds were heard, like interwoven coiled springs.
Soon, the flight sword with 600 passengers ascended vertically into the air and took off at the speed of light. It vanished into the summit of Mount Shu.
The giant flight sword utilized the high-grade spirit crystals for flight. It was faster than Mentor Wen's flight sword.
They flew between the valleys and into the clouds.
Half an hour later, the enormous flight sword gradually slowed down and ultimately landed on a giant palace in the sky.
"Where are we?"
Fang Lang took a deep breath.
He felt an intense pressure coming from the palace despite being a distance away. It was as if a formidable beast laid beyond the palace—sharp teeth and claws out—growling into the sky.
"The Great Barrier… and behind it lies the Sword Guild's demon portal."
A soothing voice spoke beside them. Jiang Linglong's veil fluttered as she stared up at the palace. Fang Lang could see the vague outlines of her delicate facial features. Her star-bright eyes shone.
'The demon portal?'
Fang Lang was shocked. He had heard rumors about the demon portal that connected the two realms together. It was a dangerous area and thus was guarded by one of the elite sects.
'This year's individual event is taking place in the demon world?'
Jiang Linglong turned her head and glanced at Fang Lang. "We can only stay within the Great Barrier. We can't cross the Sword Guild's demon portal. With our skills, we will instantly be crushed to death."
That was all Jiang Linglong said.
The giant flight sword landed and all 600 students got off.
With a wave of his hand, Chao Xiaojian stored the flight sword into his space ring.
The 600 students were surrounded by disciples of the Sword Guild. They were led into the palace.
Soon, they arrived at a large tunnel of the Great Barrier.
At the very end of the tunnel was a lone sword floating in mid-air—the sword tip pointing downward.
A drop of blood stained the blade. The crimson droplet clung to the sword, refusing to fall.
Outside the Great Barrier.
One by one, the mentors arrived on their flight swords. The disciples of the Sword Guild barred their way. The mentors were not allowed to approach the Great Barrier.
The mentors were unbothered as they observed the situation within the tunnel. The slightest change of expression reflected on their faces.
Mentor Wen narrowed his eyes. "So this is the revamped individual event."
He was once a member of the Sword Guild, so he had an inkling about the new event.
"This is the test outer sect disciples go through to join the inner sect. The tunnel is a thousand meters long. In order to enter the inner sect, the disciple has to pass the 800-meter mark. This is not a test of skill or strength but pure sword mastery talent.
"This is the first time outsiders are allowed to take part in this test. Jiang Pei, Lu Ze and Lin Yun are likely here for the sword. The sword has been there for centuries. No disciple has ever reached it.
"Those who are ignorant have no fear.
"Even if you manage to reach the 999th meter, there is no guarantee you can grab the sword. After all, the sword is like a woman. If you're not the chosen one, she won't even let you touch her.
"If she is interested in you, you'll reach her without effort."
The single drop of blood was strange and eerie. It captivated many students—their minds were gradually being taken over.
Chao Xiaojian snapped his fingers. The sound snapped the students out of their daze. Their fear was evident on their chalk-white faces.
"Don't stare at the blade.
"Listen up, the rules for the individual event are simple—walk along the tunnel. The distance you cover will be your score.
Chao Xiaojian's lips curled into a faint smile. "I know several are here just for the sword. This was once Sect Leader Taihua's sword, the Blooming Lotus.
"It goes without saying, anyone who can touch the sword is automatically the champion. In fact, the sword will be yours."
Chao Xiaojian shrugged.
The sword at the end of the tunnel was untouched for centuries. Every year, thousands of outer sect disciples would try their luck but no one has managed to retrieve it.
Therefore, the last sentence was spoken out of habit. Chao Xiaojian wanted to rile up the students.