Chapter 168 Cave Age
Even once Long Chen had disappeared into his cave, many people continued to closely watch.
But that cave was so quiet that it was frightening. Not the slightest sound came out, causing people to look at each other in dismay.
"It couldn't be that he died just like that without making a sound, right?" People wondered what was going on, as it had already been a while without any noise.
When other people entered their caves, it was never more than just a couple breaths before intense explosions would begin to ring out.
"There's no way! Even if he died, he should have at least let out a scream."
Tu Fang looked at that cave helplessly. He could have stopped such a thing from happening, but he had decided to keep his mouth shut when he remembered what the sect leader had told him before entering seclusion.
"If I remember correctly, it's been many years since anyone has ever come out of that cave! And it also seems that cave is the deepest of all the caves…" Tu Fang sighed sorrowfully inside.
What puzzled everyone was that no activity came from Long Chen even after all this time. That had no idea that Long Chen had already begun to fight with Gui Sha at this time. It was only that the cave was too deep, and this specific rock muffled most of the sound.
"There's someone coming out!"
Someone noticed that the sound coming from one of the other caves had faded away and a figure was slowly walking out.
"It's Tang Wan-er!" Her hair had already scattered and there were bloodstains on various parts of her body, appearing quite destitute.
Her entire face was now incredibly pale, but a trace of resolve had now appeared in her eyes that had not been present before. With the head in her hand, she walked out.
"Yes!" Tang Wan-er's people all let out cheers. There were even some women crying tears of joy. Qing Yu's hands cupped her face; she was already sobbing noiselessly.
An extremely rare smile appeared on Tu Fang's solemn face. That was the birth of a core disciple.
Tang Wan-er flew off the cliff and there was immediately someone who handed her her medal. There was no need for her to personally go over to them; that was the treatment core disciples had earned.
Rubbing that medal, Tang Wan-er was filled with pride. By relying on her willpower, she had finally taken that step. From this moment on, her heart had completely transformed.
For that, she would have to thank that scoundrel's reminder. Tang Wan-er smiled and looked over everyone, searching for that familiar figure. But she couldn't find him.
"Where is Long Chen?" asked Tang Wan-er.
Her faction became silent. It was Qing Yu who finally said, "He's in the trial."
"Which trial did he choose?" For some reason, Tang Wan-er had a bad feeling.
"... The core disciple trial," sighed Qing Yu.
"That fool!" If it was even possible, Tang Wan-er's face grew even more pale. She had just passed the core disciple trial and knew from her experience just how powerful that devil corpse inside was.
Tang Wan-er had brushed against death several times in their battle. She had used her full force, almost using up all her energy by the end. In fact, it was only because of her willpower that she had managed to endure long enough to cut off her opponent's head.
She was the number one genius of her powerful family. She had many life-preserving techniques, but she had practically used them all up. Only then had she managed to eke out a slight victory. For Long Chen to attempt the same, the chances of him passing were too uncertain.
Tang Wan-er was so angry that she stamped her foot and bit her lip. "Why does that scoundrel never listen!"
Qing Yu gently pulled the aggrieved Tang Wan-er into a hug, consoling, "Don't worry, Long Chen isn't crazy. He'll return alive."
"Tch, him?! Probably not even his bones remain anymore, so stop waiting-"
An inner disciple from Qi Xin's faction icily ridiculed Long Chen, but before he had even finished speaking, a figure had appeared before him and a wind blade was placed right against his throat, cutting him off.
"Do you want to say that again?"
Tang Wan-er angrily glared at that person, killing intent soaring from her eyes. Because wind blades could not controlled as perfectly as water blades due to the wind energy constantly needing to be in movement, her wind blade had already made several cuts against that person's throat, causing blood to flow down.
That person turned pale from fright. The current Tang Wan-er was like a beautiful death god, about to announce his final judgement at any moment.
"Wan-er!" Qing Yu was given a fright and quickly pulled her back. She couldn't possibly kill someone here, or the consequences would be far too dire.
"Bastard, you better pray that Long Chen's fine, or if anything happens to him, I'll cut your corpse into a thousand pieces!" Tang Wan-er icily shouted as she pushed away that completely terrified fellow.
That person fell flat on his butt, scared stupid. His companions quickly helped him up and brought him further away to recuperate.
Tang Wan-er took a deep breath, suppressing her anger. Looking at the cave Long Chen had chosen, she prayed, Long Chen, you better return!
After another quarter hour went by, Lei Qianshang and Yue Zifeng also came out. They were covered in wounds, but they had also passed.
Following them was Ye Zhiqiu. Her white robes had been dyed almost completely red, but her expression was as icy as ever. Only her eyes revealed a difficult to conceal exhaustion.
The three of them first returned to their factions, receiving a heroic welcome. Once Ye Zhiqiu returned to her faction, she asked Tang Wan-er, "Where's Long Chen?"
Tang Wan-er sighed and told her that Long Chen was currently in one of the caves.
Ye Zhiqiu consoled her, "Don't worry, Long Chen will be fine. I've always had a suspicion that Long Chen's strength has already surpassed our imaginations."
Tang Wan-er only nodded, taking Ye Zhiqiu's words as just her attempt to comfort her. But before his body came out, she would not be able to calm down. A roiling uneasiness filled her heart.
Normally when Long Chen was present he would infuriate her with just a single sentence, wanting her to beat him half to death. But when he wasn't by her side, she felt as if something was missing.
Suddenly everyone looked back up to the stone wall. That was because the loud explosions that had been coming from there had all of a sudden become silent.
"Qi Xin's also come out!" That person was precisely Qi Xin. But his current state was extremely miserable. Blood completely dyed his robes, and one of his arms was broken and just drooped there. A long cut stretched across his face, an extremely horrifying state.
But he also held a person's head in his hand, so he had clearly also passed. Once he came down, a crowd of cheers welcomed him.
He immediately swallowed a couple medicinal pills. His wounds were just too severe. He was the most miserable-looking of all the five core disciples.
There was no way around it. His water energy didn't pose that great of a threat to a corpse. His enemy hadn't feared him at all, causing him to suffer greatly.
Now all five monster-class experts had passed the core disciple trial, allowing Tu Fang to relax greatly.
But everyone was still looking at the stone wall. There was still not the even the slightest movement from Long Chen's cave.
Tu Fang sighed and turned around to another Elder. "Elder Li Qi, every year's trial records are handled by you, right?"
"Yes," nodded that Elder.
"Then do you know what the cave ages of their trials are?" asked Tu Fang.
Elder Li Qi nodded, and a notebook appeared in his hand. "Lei Qianshang's cave age was 317 years.
"Ye Zhiqiu's was 365 years, Yue Zifeng's was 396 years, Qi Xin's was 298 years, and Tang Wan-er's was 478 years."
A burst of questions rang out from the crowd. What was a cage age? What meaning was behind that? Was that when the cave had been excavated?
Tu Fang told them, "Some of you might not have realized, but the devil corpses you fought all had an expert's soul sealed within them. That soul could control the corpse to fight.
"Furthermore, the souls within these corpses are capable of cultivating themselves. As more time passes, their souls become to grow stronger, their strength also rising.
"Although all the corpse bodies are on the same level, the souls within them have not been sealed for the same times. So their strengths also vary.
"From the moment a soul is sealed within one of the cave's corpses, we begin counting the time to get the cave age.
"The higher the cave age, the stronger the soul within the corpse, and so the greater the strength of the corpse. The outer disciple trials' corpses all have weaker souls sealed within them, and the corpses themselves are also weaker.
"Those souls all have cave ages around ten to thirty years. As for the inner disciple trials, those corpses are a bit higher grade and have cage ages around fifty to a hundred years.
"So of two people with equal strength, one might easily pass, while the other might die inside. That's up to luck."
Hearing that, an uproar immediately exploded from the crowd. No wonder there were some people who were clearly stronger yet had failed to pass.
"If you want to become an expert, other than talent, perseverance, and intelligence, luck is also equally important. Those who are out of luck are fated to never be able to become experts.
"As for the core disciple trials, they are also the same. But the cave ages are between two to five hundred.
"Furthemore, those corpses are refined from experts of the Devil path and are incomparably hard.
"And the souls sealed within their bodies are Elders of Devil sects. Some of them were even stronger than us Elders.
"Most importantly, because they are Devil Cultivators, their Spiritual Strength is exceptionally strong and they maintain a powerful combat skill.
"Although those corpses limit their true strength, they are still incomparably terrifying," explained Tu Fang.
Hearing this, everyone understood just how powerful the opponents of the monster-class geniuses had been. No wonder even people as powerful as them appeared so miserable now. Qi Xin had even almost died.
As for Qi Xin, his expression became green as he listened to this. Wasn't this a slap in his face? He had fought against the cave with the lowest cave age, but he had ended up suffering the most injuries. Was Tu Fang using him as an example?
Everyone looked at those core disciples with great respect. That was especially true of Tang Wan-er. She should be the number one of the monsters.
Tang Wan-er suddenly asked, "Elder, I want to ask, just what is the cave age of Long Chen's cave?"
That Elder Li Qi with the notebook nodded and looked up that cave's cave age.
But when he saw that number, he let out a startled cry: