Go and create a miracle quickly, brave Little Hai
Leaving the Village Chief’s backyard and looking at the empty village, Wang Lu was deep in thought. He was the last one left behind in the village. He was truly alone.
His deep thinking was disturbed by a tap on the back. The black shadow stood behind him, smiling.
“All the quests in the Garden of Peaches have been completed. Even the challengers who have failed this trial have been kicked out already. There is no point in maintaining the forms of these villagers anymore. A waste of money. So why are you in such deep contemplation?” It caught a surprised look on Wang Lu’s face before continuing. “You have fortunate timing. Had you waited any longer in the Village Chief’s residence I would have been forced to kick you out.”
Wang Lu asked with curiosity, “Are you a senior brother from the Spirit Blade Sect?”
The black shadow did not answer, but went on saying, “You have passed the Garden of Peaches. I, as your witness, will lead you to the next stage. Follow me.”
Wang Lu quickly followed the black shadow out of the village, leaving behind all his luggage and snack in the house.
The black shadow moved quite quickly and led Wang Lu far away from the village. They ended up deep in the mountains which was the original site of an endless maze before the Garden of Peaches was created. However, the black shadow took no time to find his way.
Wang Lu struggled to catch a breath. With all the questions on his mind, he could not say anything.
“The prizes for completing the Garden of Peaches will be awarded according to one’s performance. But since you’ve already guessed it, I will not elaborate on this. Please consider the prizes carefully before making a selection. The rest of the stages are not easy, the Spirit Blade Sect hasn’t seen a qualified challenger from Celestial Gathering for hundreds of years…”
The black shadow suddenly stopped, turned around and smiled. “Good luck. I really hope to see you on the mountains.”
It disappeared in a flash, and revealed a narrow gap in between the mountain walls.
Wang Lu measured his size against the gap. Luckily, he was able to fit because he had not eaten yet.
The path started out narrow and got wider further in. Before long, the path opened up into a spacious cave hidden in the mountains. Patches of sunlight that filtered through the cracks in the ceiling lit up the cave.
Wang Lu checked out the interior of the cave several times and shook his head with a smile.
Compared to the clearly flawed design of the Garden of Peaches, but with sincerity, this cave was below standard. In the middle of the cave, a box was placed there with a blank signpost beside it.
Although the box looked worn down, the content within had to be a high-leveled treasure, unless the Spirit Blade Sect was completely shameless and instituted ‘data overflow’. (Editor’s note – Wang Lu theorized that the number of points correlated to the quality of the prize. ‘Data overflow’ would be a situation where points that exceeded the highest quality prize would count for nothing. Had data overflow been instituted, Wang Lu would not have needed to work as hard for maximum prize, which would probably irritate him more than his massive let-down of a pageboy.)
While he was thinking, words appeared on the blank sign: “Conclusion of assignment:”
“Number of Targets Conquered: 120”
“Total Favourability: 12000”
“Average Favourability: 100”
“Key Assignment: Mission Impossible”
“Assignment Completion: 100%”
“Total Score: …”
The figures in the last line were tiny and unreadable due to the limited space on the sign and astronomical number of score.
The overall result of the Garden of Peaches should be run basing on the rules set by the designer, but the designer might not have ever imagined an adventurer who destroys-all-the-things-along-his-way like Wang Lu would ever appear……Fortunately, the data did not overflow.
The signpost sank into the ground immediately after giving out the total score. As for the wooden box beside, it seemed to ‘brew’ itself for a while, sometimes shaking or making sounds.
Five minutes later, the wooden box opened by itself, and the items inside burst out, shining intensely with every colour.
Above the clouds, a disciple dressed in black and white who was forced to stare at the changes of the clouds couldn’t endure the loneliness anymore, and stretched.
“-sigh- We’re probably going to work for nothing in this Celestial Gathering.”
A younger disciple also dressed in black and white beside him asked, “Senior brother, why talk like that? The progress rate of the ones ahead look pretty fine to me.”
The older disciple jeered. “Pretty fine, wasting so much at the second last monster already. Besides that Hai Yun Fan, no one else stands a chance against the last monster from what I see.”
The younger disciple was surprised. “I remember that the strongest monster in Red Ridge Mountains, Frozen Wind Valley, Azure Cloud Canyon, Nether World Path should only be at the sixth or seventh rank of the first level. They aren’t easy to deal with for mortals, but they shouldn’t bother these people who all got the prizes from the Garden of Peaches. Plus, some of them have great talent.”
The older disciple patted his junior brother’s shoulder. “You are still too young junior brother. Our sect’s Immortal Path hasn’t had a single person that completed it in hundreds of years. This sort of record that has both shocked the world and caused others to view us as jokes- do you think that it was created by just a few monsters of the sixth or seventh rank of the first level? Until now, weren’t all of us: you, me, and the other brothers, accepted into the sect by master or martial uncles (TLN: a martial uncle is someone’s master’s junior or senior brother) when they were out wandering in the world? Honestly, although your talent and affinity can be called first classed, you wouldn’t make it to the end either if you were let on the Immortal Path.”
The junior brother was obviously not convinced, but didn’t say anything.
The senior brother patted his shoulder again. “Haha. Keep watching them if you don’t believe that. Look, that boy Hai Yun Fan is not far from the last stage.”
Hai Yun Fan, who was walking on Nether World Path, was indeed, not far from the end.
It had been two weeks since he left the Garden of Peaches, and he was just about to finish the path of the Frozen Wind Valley. But rumors say that the toughest part of the journey is towards the end. So instead of slacking, Hai Yun Fan was even more cautious. [TLN: ‘the toughest part of the journey is towards the end’ (行百里者半九十) A Chinese saying. The original text was ‘halving the journey of a hundred miles at ninety (miles)’, which means you have to be more serious towards it as it gets closer to success.
The Immortal Path of the Spirit Blade Sect that has never been accomplished by anyone in hundreds of years… How could the end come so easily? He wasn’t a natural monster like Wang Lu, Hai Yun Fan identified his abilities very clearly.
The third-rate talent, second-rate affinity, first-rate comprehension and intelligence, and his extraordinary judgement – the only skill that Hai Yun Fan was proud of.
Leaving the Garden of Peaches early was all because of the word ‘judgement’. Indeed, leaving early reduces assignment completeness, but there might be extra perks for the first to leave.
The prize was unlimited stamina throughout the trials of the Immortal Path, and a seventh-rate magical tool, the Reducing Scarecrow, which can decrease the enemy’s strength on three occasions only.
It was difficult proceeding along the path of the Frozen Wind Valley. Like the Golden Bridge, it also rejected those who were not naturally talented. Illusions were everywhere just like the Cloud Wave Map which bewitched the perceptions of the challengers. If one lacked an ability, it might spell out the end for that challenger. Fortunately for Hai Yun Fan, the most important ability for the Frozen Wind Valley was the skill of judgement. Not advancing when one should advance, not retreating when one should retreat, or only being able to use 40-50% of one’s power- such things were fatal on the Immortal Path. Luckily, Hai Yun Fan’s forte was his judgement- and with some luck… he passed through challenges in the Frozen Wind Valley one after another, and did not even resort to using the Reducing Scarecrow.
If one wanted to pass the last stage of the trial, the precious prize from the Garden of Peaches must be kept until then. Whether it was the Frozen Wind Valley or the Red Ridge Mountains, Hai Yun Fan knew that in the end, there is always a powerful and destructive monster that awaits. And exactly how strong is the monster?
To the point that no one ever beat it in hundreds of years.
Luckily, the Spirit Blade Sect had put the Garden of Peaches on the Immortal Path. Through the prizes given upon completing assignments, the strength of challengers was elevated. If the Reducing Scarecrow was used three times in a row, it could weaken the end-stage monster enough to pass.
Thinking of this, Hai Yun Fan walked into the last valley of the Frozen Wind Valley. The path was winding, but Hai Yun Fan stayed patient and alerted until he came across a turning, and finally he saw the monster waiting there. Hai Yun Fan frowned and fell into a deep thought.
Weird, what breed is this thirty meters tall mammoth-like monster with icicles covering its whole body? He was quite familiar with “The Monsters of Blue River”, a monster guide passed down in the Xiuxian world, but he couldn’t remember seeing this particular species.
“Frankly, I’ve been wondering this whole time if the ancestors of our sect made a mistake.”
The younger junior brother asked his senior brother, “What mistake?”
“I suspect that when they designed the Immortal Path, they put the incorrect word on the rules of the last stage, the guarding monster should have been ninth rank of second level, but it became the ninth rank of third level. They probably made a mistake with a stroke!” [TLN: two in Chinese is 二, and three is 三, only one stroke of difference.]
Hearing the phrase ‘ninth rank of third level’, the junior brother couldn’t hold his surprise. “Level three monster?! Doesn’t it hold a power close to a Foundation Establishment stage cultivator?”
“But they have to have the cultivation of first or second rated, Qi Cultivating stage. How can you let a group of people that haven’t start cultivating face it? It’s still hard even if you possess magical treasures passed down in the family.”
The senior brother threw his hands up in the air. “Who knows? That’s why no one was able to finish in hundreds of years: this third level monster. The difference of one level, but the difficulty goes up from ten times, and ninth rank of third level is just the minimum, it isn’t rare to encounter an eighth or even seventh rank. Hai Yun Fan is lucky this time, for meeting a ninth rank……so that’s why I said everyone except Hai Yun Fan doesn’t stand a single chance.”
While they were talking, changes occurred in the clouds again, the senior brother’s eyes lit up, suddenly became enraptured.
“Oh oh, it’s started!”
The junior brother closed in at once. “Ah, such a decisive reaction, using the Reducing Scarecrow straight up! Three times in a row!”
The senior brother nodded. “A very good choice, although it’s only a seventh rank magical tool, and theoretically only works on monsters of the second level or below, but if it’s only ninth rank of third level, it’s possible to downgrade it by using it three times in a row.”
The junior brother was a bit worried. “But even if it’s downgraded, it would still be of the first or second rank of the second level, over hundreds of elite soldiers wouldn’t be able to do anything about it……”
“Don’t worry, this Hai Yun Fan must be hiding some secret weapon.”
The junior brother continued to worry. “It’s no use to hide magical treasures. To people who haven’t cultivated before, the higher the tool’s level is, the harder it is to exert its effects.”
“Yes, it’s just a humiliation of us cultivators……but this Hai Yun Fan is certainly not on the same level as those other pieces of trash.”
Hai Yun Fan was indeed not on the same level of Xie Qian Long and his people.
Because at least Xie Qian Long and his people held secret weapons given to them by their family, whereas Hai Yun Fan did not a single one.
The crown prince of the Cloud Mountain Empire was prominent, but only prominent amidst the mortal world. It is no secret that the royal family of the Cloud Mountain had good relationships with many Xiuxian sects, but not that good to the point that they would be able to exchange the magical tools of Immortals with mortal resources.
Surely, a thousand-year empire can find some Magical Treasures, but what use is it for a person who had not cultivated to hold a Magical Treasure? Apart from some legendary Magical Treasures that were comparable to Celestial Tools, there was nothing else that would be of more value to mortals than Magical Tools. However, it was unfortunate that Magical Tools could not be taken over the Golden Bridge. [TLN: from how things look, it seems that Celestial Tools > Magical Treasures > Magical Tools]
Hai Yun Fan wasn’t a beater like Wang Lu. He couldn’t find the flaws of the Immortal Path, he did not rely on secret weapons nor did he cheat along the way. Only through continuous effort did he manage to come this far. [TLN: the word ‘beater’ came from an anime, which is the combination of ‘beta tester’ and ‘cheater’]
But would continuous effort create miracles?
Hai Yun Fan hoped so.
Because if there weren’t any miracles, then he would definitely be dead.
Hai Yun Fan wasn’t a cultivator, and couldn’t judge the level of the monster accurately, but after using the Scarecrow three times, the enormous creature shrunk from the height of thirty meters to twenty-one. Extrapolating this, his end result had improved from being crushed into meat paste to being crushed into minced meat…
Life and death were on the line in the Immortal Path, and a hundred lives weren’t enough to pose a threat to this monster. But Hai Yun Fan still took out his heirloom, a sword, and bravely pointed it against his opponent.