Chapter 19: Brave Little Hai You Can Do This
Translator: Subudai11 Editor: Chrissy
When he left the Peach Blossom Village, Wang Lu was the last person to leave. He was truly alone.
Leaving the Village Head's guest house and looking at the empty village, Wang Lu was lost in thought.
His contemplation was abruptly ended by a tap on the back.
The black shadow who stood behind him said with a smile, "What are you thinking about? All the quests in the Peach Blossom Village has passed their deadlines. Even those who failed this trial and can't continue the Immortal Path have already been kicked out; the Spirit Sword Sect couldn't possibly keep them here for a lifetime. And since this trial is already over, there is no point in maintaining the rest of the villagers anymore; keeping the array for this trial requires money."
Facing Wang Lu's surprised look, the black shadow continued, "You're lucky to have finished your quest right before the deadline. Had you waited any longer, I would have been forced to chase you out."
Wang Lu somewhat curiously asked, "Are you a disciple of the Spirit Sword Sect?"
The black shadow did not answer, she just continued, "You have passed the trial of the Peach Blossom Village. I, as your witness, will take you to the next trial. Come with me."
With that, the black shadow immediately walked out of the village. Wang Lu hurriedly tried to keep up with it, refusing to take with him all the luggage and snack in the house.
The black shadow walked far ahead of him, seemingly in a hurry. Soon, they were already out of the village and ended up deep in the mountains where there was an endless maze. If a participant wanted to leave the Peach Blossom Village without finishing their quest, this maze would always lead them back to the village, no matter how hard they tried. However, the black shadow took no time to find its way.
Wang Lu was desperately trying to catch up, struggling to take a breath. Although there were many questions in his mind, he could not even speak.
The black shadow seemed to have intentionally done this. While leading Wang Lu on a long distance running, it said, "You have probably already guessed that the prizes for completing the Peach Blossom Village trial will be awarded according to the participant's completion rate, so I won't elaborate on this. However, when you are going to choose your rewards, please think twice. The rest of the trials are not so easy, the Spirit Sword Sect hasn't met a qualified participant in the Immortal Gathering for hundreds of years..."
Having said that, the black shadow suddenly stopped, turned around and smiled. "Farewell. I am really looking forward to seeing you on the mountain."
It then disappeared with a whooshing sound, revealing a narrow gap in between the mountain walls.
Wang Lu took a rough measurement of the gap in front of him. Luckily, his stature was medium, and prior to departure, he did not have the time to eat, so he was barely able to squeeze through that narrow gap.
The gap was narrow at the beginning, but as he walked further in, it got wider and wider. Not long after, he ended up in a spacious cave deep in the mountains. The cracks in the ceiling allowed patches of sunlight to light up the cave.
Taking advantage of the illumination from the sunlight, Wang Lu swept his gaze into the cave several times and shook his head with a smile.
Although the Peach Blossom Village had its flaw, it was designed with sincerity. However, compared to this cave, it was on an entire new level. In the middle of the cave, there was a wooden box with a blank signpost right next to it.
This was the Peach Blossom Village's quest reward. Wang Lu had used the chain of quests strategy to overcome the impossible and complete hidden quest. In theory, his rewards level should be astronomical. Although the box looked worn down, the level of the treasure inside it should be, without a doubt... unless the Spirit Sword Sect was completely shameless and pulled off the sort of crap excuse like data overflow  to cheat him out of his reward.
While he was thinking, words suddenly appeared on the blank signpost: "Quest Statistic:"
"Number of people involved: 120"
"Total Favorability: 12000"
"Average Favorability: 100"
"Key Task: Impossible To Complete"
"Quest Completion Rate: 100%"
"Total Score: ..."
Because of the limited space on the signpost, the last digits were crammed together, making them unreadable, but it was certainly an astronomical figure.
The total score of the Peach Blossom Village trial should be automatically computed based on the rules set by the designer, but the designer might have never expected an adventurer who smashes-all-the-things-along-his-way like Wang Lu to ever appear... Fortunately, there was no data overflow.
After giving out the total score, the signpost sank into the ground like it was being swallowed. The wooden box next to it seemed to "brew" for a while, sometimes gently vibrating, and some other times making fancy sounds.
Twenty to thirty minutes later, the wooden box opened by itself, and the items inside burst out, glittering with every color.
Above the clouds, a disciple dressed in black and white who was tasked with observing the animated clouds couldn't endure his loneliness anymore, so he took a long stretch.
"Alas, this Immortal Gathering is probably for nothing."
Next to him, a seemingly younger disciple who was also dressed in black and white curiously asked, "Senior martial brother, why did you say that? The way I see it, the progress rate of the one at the head seems pretty good."
The older disciple loudly hissed. "What pretty good progress rate? He had already wasted so much at the second boss monster. Besides that Hai Yunfan, whom I think only has twenty percent chance, no one else stands a chance against the last boss monster from what I see."
The younger disciple was perplexed. "I remember that the strongest monster in Red Ridge Mountains, Frozen Wind Valley, Cyan Cloud Peak, and Netherworld Path should only be at category 1 level sixth or seventh. It's difficult for mortals to deal with them, but those monsters shouldn't bother these people who were all rewarded from passing the Peach Blossom Village trial. Plus, some of them do have amazing talent."
The older disciple patted his junior brother's shoulder. "Junior Martial Brother, you are still too young. For several hundred years, nobody has completed our sect's Immortal Path. This record that has both shocked the world and made us the laughingstock of other sects; do you think there are only those few category 1 level sixth or seventh monsters waiting for the participants? So far, weren't you, me, and the other brothers were accepted into the sect when Master or the other Martial Uncles were out wandering in the world? Honestly, although your intelligence and personality can be considered as first class, if you also take this Immortal Path, you wouldn't make it to the end either."
The younger disciple clearly doubted those words, but he didn't say anything.
The older disciple patted his shoulder again. "Haha. If you don't believe me, just keep looking at them. Look, that boy Hai Yunfan is not far from the last obstacle."
After walking pass through the Netherworld Path, Hai Yunfan was indeed, not far from the finish line.
Since he left the Peach Blossom Village, more than two weeks had already passed. Right now, he was about to reach the end of this Frozen Wind Valley. However, the closer one is to completing a journey, the tougher it gets . So not only did Hai Yunfan not relax, he was even doubly cautious. The reason for that was because he knew what was waiting for him before the finish line.
For hundreds of years, nobody had passed through the Immortal Path of the Spirit Sword Sect... How could the end come so easily for him? Hai Yunfan wasn't a freak like Wang Lu; he was very clear about his qualities.
The third-rate talent, second-rate character, first-rate intelligence... and his exceptional judgement as the only skill that Hai Yunfan could rely on.
Previously, when he chose to depart from the Peach Blossom Village early, it was all because of the word judgement. Although his early departure caused him to lose his chance to acquire a better overall score, but by being the first to depart, there might be extra rewards for him.
After weighing the pros and cons repeatedly, Hai Yunfan finally made a judgement, and in the beginning of the Frozen Wind Valley, he found out that he had made a correct judgement.
And that reward was very simple: unlimited stamina throughout the rest of the trials in the Immortal Path. He also had a bonus, a seventh-rate magical tool, the Weakening Scarecrow which could significantly decrease the enemy's strength and could be used three times.
The Frozen Wind Valley was really tough to pass through. Not only was it similar to the Golden Bridge which rejected those with inadequate talent, it was also filled with illusions that could easily confuse the participants perceptions, just like the Cloud Wave Map. The participants would encounter a variety of situations, with some that should be tactically avoided, and some that should be faced head on.
This was a trial that tests numerous facets, so the participants must have a well-rounded abilities. Anyone who lacked an ability was likely to be stopped in their tracks halfway. However, the most important ability for the Frozen Wind Valley... as it turned out, was the ability to make a judgement.
Not going forward when one should go forward, not retreating when one should retreat, or only using 40-50% of one's skill when one should use 100%; those things were not going to get the participants anywhere in the Immortal Path. As it happened, Hai Yunfan's best trait was his judgement, and combined with some luck... he passed through challenges in the Frozen Wind Valley one after another, without even resorting to using the Weakening Scarecrow.
Of course, not using the bonus reward here had its purpose... Although a monster almost cornered him into a hopeless situation on one situation, Hai Yunfan still preserved his Weakening Scarecrow.
Because if one wanted to pass the last hurdle of the trial, the precious bonus reward from the Peach Blossom Village must be kept until then. Other participants might not necessarily know this, but Hai Yunfan knew that whether it was the Frozen Wind Valley or the Red Ridge Mountains... in the end, there would be a fierce and powerful monster awaiting for them. But exactly how formidable was that monster?
To the point where nobody had ever defeated it in hundreds of years.
Fortunately, in this Immortal Path, the Spirit Sword Sect had placed the Peach Blossom Village after the Cloud Wave Map. Through the quest rewards, the strength of the participants was enhanced. For example, if he used this Weakening Scarecrow on the last monster three consecutive times... perhaps it could weaken the monster enough for him to overcome it.
Thinking of this, Hai Yunfan entered the last valley of the Frozen Wind Valley. The path was winding, but Hai Yunfan stayed patient and vigilant until he came across a corner and finally saw the monster guarding the path.
Looking at the scene, Hai Yunfan frowned and fell into a deep thought.
"Strange, what breed is this thirty-three meters tall elephant-like monster which has icicles covering its whole body?" Hai Yunfan was quite knowledgeable, so he was quite familiar with the records of "The Monsters of Blue River", a monster guide widely circulated in the Immortal Cultivation World, which has an extensive catalogue of category 2 monsters. But at this time, he couldn't remember ever seeing this particular breed.
"To be honest, I always suspected that the ancestors of our sect had made an accidental mistake."
On the cloud above, the older disciple in black and white clothes started to spread a gossip.
The younger disciple curiously asked, "What mistake?"
"I suspect that when they designed the Immortal Path, they accidentally put the wrong word on the rules of the last stage; the monster guarding the path should have been a category 2 ninth rank, but it became category 3 ninth rank. It's just a one letter difference, no, it's just one stroke short!" 
Hearing the words category 3 ninth rank, the younger disciple couldn't help but exclaim in surprise, "Category 3 monster? Even if it's only ninth rank, doesn't it have almost the same strength as a cultivator at the Foundation Establishment Stage?"
The older disciple corrected his mistake, "That is only true for a run of the mill cultivator. For our Spirit Sword Sect's cultivator, we only need to reach the cultivation the first or second level of the Qi Cultivation Stage and we will be able to deal with that category 3 monster."
The younger disciple somewhat feebly said, "If that's the case, how can you let a group of people that haven't started cultivating deal with it? Even if they possess their family's magical treasures, it's still going to be very hard."
The senior brother threw his hands up in the air. "Who knows? That's the reason why no one was able to pass through the Immortal Path in hundreds of years: this category 3 monster. Although the difference in the category is only one, but the difficulty goes up to ten times, and category 3 ninth rank is just the minimum; it isn't unusual to meet an eighth or even seventh rank. This time, Hai Yunfan is quite lucky for encountering a ninth rank... That's why I said Hai Yunfan still have around twenty percent chance of success. Everyone else has zero chance."
While they were talking, great changes occurred in the animated clouds; the older disciple caught this change from the corner of his eyes, and he suddenly became enraptured.
"Oh, it has begun!"
The younger disciple hastily shifted his attention to observe the cloud as well. "Ah, yes, what a decisive reaction, immediately using the Weakening Scarecrow three times in a row!"
The older disciple nodded. "It's the right decision, although it's only a seventh rank magical tool, and only works on category 2 monsters or below in theory, but if it's only category 3 ninth rank, it's possible to drop its level by using it three times in a row."
The younger disciple still had some concerns. "But even if it's downgraded, it would still be category 2 first or second rank; even hundreds of elite soldiers from the mortal world wouldn't be able to do anything against it..."
The older disciple said, "Rest assured, this lad named Hai Yunfan is definitely hiding his trump card."
The younger disciple continued to worry. "Even if he possesses magical treasures, it would still be useless. For someone who haven't cultivated before, the more advance the tool is, the harder it is to display its efficacy. For example, those smuggled rank sixth or seventh magical treasures, in those young masters' hands, they were even worse than a rank ninth magical tool..." 
The older disciple conceded the younger disciple's point. "Yes, it's just a humiliation for our sect's cultivators... However, this Hai Yunfan is certainly not on the same level as those group of trash. Look."
Hai Yunfan was indeed not on the same level as Xie Qianlong and his ilk.
Because at least Xie Qianlong and company possessed magical treasures that were given to them by their family, while Hai Yunfan didn't have one.
The status of a prince of the Grand Cloud Empire was prominent, but it was only prominent amidst the mortal world. It was true that the royal family of the Grand Cloud Empire was on good terms with many Immortal Cultivation Sects, but not good enough to the point that they could exchange the magical tools of Immortals with mortal resources... Or, perhaps, they could, but definitely not with magical treasures.
Of course, a thousand-year empire could definitely find some magical treasures, but it would be of no use in the hands of someone who had not cultivated before. Except for some legendary magical treasures that were comparable to Immortal Tools, only magical tools that have practical purposes could be used by mortals. However, magical tools could not be taken up on the Spirit Sword Mountain; the Golden Bridge would have rejected them all first.
Hai Yunfan wasn't a beater like Wang Lu. He couldn't find the loopholes in the Immortal Path, and along the way, he did not rely on magical treasures nor did he cheat. He only came this far by relying on continuous effort.
But would continuous effort create miracles?
Hai Yunfan really hoped so.
Because if there weren't any miracles, then he would definitely be screwed.
Hai Yunfan wasn't a cultivator, so he had no way to accurately measure the rank of the monster; however, after using the Weakening Scarecrow three times in a row, the giant creature in front of him shrunk from the height of more or less thirty-three meters to twenty-three. Judging from this, he concluded that his fate had improved from getting crushed into meat paste to getting crushed into minced meat...
Although his life was on the line here, and although a hundred lives weren't enough to deal with this monster, Hai Yunfan still took out his sword, which was his family's heirloom, and bravely pointed it against the opponent.
 See chapter 18.
 Chinese idiom, literally means, "ninety li is merely a half of a hundred li journey"
 2 in Chinese is , and 3 is , only one stroke different.
 (Immortal tool > Magical treasure > magical tool)
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