Su Ming walked through the streets in Han Mountain City. He looked at the familiar houses around him as he walked past them quietly.
"Many years have passed since I came here."
Su Ming’s footsteps faltered. Before him was an inn. There were not a lot of guests inside at night. Most of them were drinking alone. Occasionally, they would talk to each other in whispers.
There was a table beside the door. The innkeeper was a man in his twenties. He had fallen asleep with his chin propped on his hands.
There was an indescribable feeling surrounding Han Mountain City. It was as if that feeling had turned into depression that fell upon the hearts of all those within the city. That was why there were so many people still drinking in the inns at night.
‘I’m here again.’ Su Ming looked at the inn. He remembered that when he first came to Han Mountain City, he met He Feng and Han Fei Zi in this particular inn. ‘When I first came here, I stepped into this inn. Now that I’m about to leave, I’m visiting this inn again…’
Su Ming smiled and decided not to walk further on. He stepped into the inn. The layout inside was the same as it was in his memories.
His arrival did not attract too much attention. Only the slumbering innkeeper opened his eyes slightly as if he was awakened by the wind Su Ming brought with him when he walked past. He cast Su Ming a glance.
Right now, Su Ming was walking around with his real appearance. Very few people in Han Mountain City had seen his real face before. Even if they did, they would find it hard to link him to the famous Berserker who Transcended after attaining great completion in the Blood Solidification Realm in Han Mountain, or even the equally famous Mo Su.
He walked into the inn and went to the same table he had taken in the past and down.
Soon, the innkeeper walked over to him, yawning, but he did not take his order. Instead, he placed two pots of wine on his table and some dishes to go with the wine before he left and returned to the table by the door, propping his chin on his hands once again to doze off.
Su Ming picked up the wine pot and took a sip. It was the same wine he had drunk in the past. When it entered his mouth, the liquid would burn his tongue and flow down his throat like a trail of fire.
It was quiet all around him. Only snoring sounds could be heard rising and falling in the inn. The rest of the people, including Su Ming, were all drinking their wine silently. Some of them were frowning, and there was a helpless sort of anger written on their faces.
Even the inn was enveloped in the same atmosphere within Han Mountain City. There was also an oppressive feeling in the air.
Su Ming lowered his head and drank the wine. He did not look at anyone else. During that night, no one in the inn bothered to observe him either. They were all troubled by their own thoughts.
Time trickled by. Approximately after the time it takes to burn an incense stick later, the sounds of footsteps traveled into the inn. Two men dressed in green robes walked inside and sat down together silently. They chose at a table by the side and sat with sullen faces, saying not a word.
"Another person came to drown his frustrations in wine. Han Mountain City has been drastically different from how it usually is for the past few days."
A middle aged man in blue robes sitting not far from Su Ming took up his wine pot and hiccupped, a clear sign that he was drunk. He laughed softly, but those who heard that laughter knew that it was one of self-deprecation.
"Everyone is disappointed because of Freezing Sky Clan this time. Who would have known…"
The silence that had hung in the air previously was now broken softly as another person put himself down.
"We’re disappointed, but there’s nothing we can do about it. The envoys from Freezing Sky Clan have already spoken. This time, they will only receive one disciple, and that is Han Fei Zi from Lake of Colors Tribe."
One of the men in green robes who had come in later slammed his right hand on the table.
"Innkeeper, bring us wine!"
That one slam and shout immediately woke the innkeeper, who quickly got up and sent food and wine to the two newcomers.
"What’s the use of getting angry at the innkeeper? Go and look for the envoys of Freezing Sky Clan instead. They didn’t say blatantly that they won’t take in anyone this time."
"Humph, they didn’t, indeed, but who exactly in Han Mountain City can meet their requirements to qualify entering the school?"
The man who had slammed his hand on the table laughed coldly as a helpless expression settled in his eyes. However, right till the end, the man in blue robes beside him did not speak. He sat in his seat without a word.
"Besides, it’s just a qualification. Once we obtain that qualification, we still need to partake in their subsequent tests before we can get into Freezing Sky Clan. In the end, aren’t they just blatantly telling us that they’re only taking in one person this time?"
"Freezing Sky Clan is powerful. If we want to enter, then we can’t go against their will. What else can we do..?"
A drunken old man dressed in plain clothes lying sprawled on a table lifted his head. With a drunken demeanor, he laughed sarcastically.
"I heard that Sir Nan Tian and the other powerful Transcended Berserkers visited the envoys of Freezing Sky Clan together, but they left dispirited. Sir Ke Jiu Si even left Han Mountain City in a fit of rage. Right now, the only powerful Transcended Berserkers within the city are Sir Nan Tian and Sir Leng Ying."
"The envoys from Freezing Sky Clan don’t even acknowledge Transcended Berserkers. What else can we do?"
Sounds of discussions filled the air inside the inn. Anything related to Freezing Sky Clan seemed to create a resonance with the crowd. The feelings of anger, helplessness, and depression within them grew stronger.
Su Ming sat the table in the corner and drank his wine as he listened to the words that reached his ears.
‘I see. Many things have happened here while I was out drawing my Berserker Mark. But no matter, I already expected that Freezing Sky Clan would do this.’
Su Ming picked up his wine pot and lifted his head to look at the people engaged in heated discussions. He got up and walked over.
He placed his wine pot on the table of the two men in green robes. Once he attracted their attention, Su Ming swept his gaze across the man who still remained silent before he looked at the man who had slammed his hand on the table.
"My fellow brother, may I sit here?" he asked with a smile.
The man frowned. He scrutinized Su Ming several times. At that moment, he was feeling peevish. He was just about to retort when his silent companion nodded his head.
When the man saw his companion nodding, he was momentarily stunned and rendered speechless.
Su Ming smiled and sat down, then picked up his wine pot and took a sip.
"I have a few questions I’d like to ask."
"Please, ask away."
The person who spoke was the silent man in green robes who had nodded just now. His voice was hoarse. This was the first time he had spoken since he came. Others might not think too much about it, but his companion, the man who had slammed his hand on the table just now, had a strange look on his face.
He knew that his companion was of high status and did not like to speak, preferring silence. There was also a prideful air carved into his bones. Usually, he would have ignored all those around him. If it had not been due to the same helplessness they felt at the moment, his companion would not have come drinking with him either.
"Was the requirement stated by Freezing Sky Clan to challenge the Chains of Han Mountain?" Su Ming looked at the man with a hoarse voice and asked languidly.
"No, ever since the Lord Divine General successfully cleared the Chains of Han Mountain, the envoys from Freezing Sky Clan declared that the requirements to enter the school will no longer be to challenge the Chains of Han Mountain," the man said hoarsely.
When he looked at Su Ming, there was a hint of hesitation and respect in his eyes.
"Sir, did you just come to Han Mountain City? How could you not know about this? Challenging the Chains of Han Mountain to enter the school is old news, the new requirements have been set.
"If you want to enter the school, you only need to do one thing. This thing is… haha…"
The person who spoke was a man sitting not too far from them. He held a pot of wine in his hands and emptied it in one swing. He laughed at himself.
"Speaking about it is easy. All you need to do is to challenge all the Transcended Berserkers in Han Mountain and the three tribes, and you can only use one hit every time you challenge them! If your challenge is successful, then you will qualify to enter the school, but that’s just the qualification. Whether you can enter Freezing Sky Clan depends on their subsequent tests."
"This isn’t a test, it’s blatant refusal! Freezing Sky Clan has made up their minds this time, they’ll only take away one person."
The sounds of discussions rose up once again inside the inn. Besides drinking their frustrations away with wine to deal with their anger towards the requirements set by Freezing Sky Clan, there was nothing else they could do to rebel against it.
"There’re still two more days. Once these two days are over, the envoys of Freezing Sky Clan will take Han Fei Zi away, and their journey to Han Mountain to take in new disciples will end. If we want to enter Freezing Sky Clan, we’ll have to wait another ten years."
"It’s not as if there’s absolutely no one who can do it!" The quiet man sitting beside Su Ming suddenly said. "If the Lord Divine General returns, he’ll definitely be successful!"
"It’s blatantly clear that the envoys from Freezing Sky Clan declared that they won’t use the Chains of Han Mountain as a requirement just so that they could direct this against the Lord Divine General. Even if the Lord comes back, it won’t be easy for him either."
"Besides the Lord Divine General, perhaps Sir Yun Zang, who went out to train in isolation, might stand a chance."
"There’s Mo Su as well. If this mysterious Transcended Berserker appears, he might stand a chance. Besides these three, no one else in Han Mountain can do it."
Su Ming didn’t speak any more. He sat by the table and gulped down mouthfuls of his wine. When the sky gradually brightened up, most of the people in the inn stopped talking amongst themselves. Some of them even chose to leave.
The hesitation on the face of the silent man beside Su Ming grew thicker. He looked at Su Ming, then after a moment of hesitation, he stood up and wrapped his fist in his palm towards him in a salute, then with his astonished companion, he left the inn.
At that moment, besides Su Ming left drinking wine in the inn, there were only three more people in there. However, those three people were drunk. They lay on the table asleep, and their snores could be heard shaking the roof.
"That person has Transcended."
Su Ming’s gaze fell on the quiet man from two people who were leaving the inn.
Once the man who Su Ming was staring at outside the inn took a few brisk steps forward, a grave look appeared on his face. The hesitation in his eyes turned into shock.
"Brother Yun, what’s the matter? Is there something wrong with that person?" his companion asked softly.
"Quiet! Say no more. He’s… That person is…"
The quiet man spoke with a hoarse voice, then he paused and took a deep breath before he turned around and looked at the inn behind him. He might not be able to see Su Ming, but there was deep respect in his eyes.
"He isn’t someone we can talk about or bother. Just now, he only spoke once to me, but it made my heart jump. Even my Qi became unstable."
"What?! Then what’s his level?!"
The man’s companion was shocked, and his expression immediately changed.
The man named Yun remained silent for a moment before he retorted, "Even the Elders of the three tribes aren’t able to make me feel so nervous. What do you think his level is?"