Chapter 489: Leaving the Realm
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“Yes, I got the memo,” Shi Mu replied, tossing a single Mid-rank Spirit Stone to Cai. He took out his own Qing Shan Order and stuffed that fist-sized blue Demon Nucleus into it, racking up the score counter engraved on the Order.
He beamed at the scores very briefly and took out his green cloak, deciding not to remain here any longer. Under that cloak, his entire presence was immediately masked, and in a flash, he had turned into a blurry green flying towards the horizon.
He had been hunting all kinds of demon beasts throughout the land for these past few days. The green cloak had been the major factor why he managed to avoid bumping heads with Qing Zhang Tian, the elegant youths, and everyone else involved in that Sylvan King affair.
It surprised him how unperturbed the rest of the realm was despite the emergence of the Sylvan King’s true form. He rationalized that maybe those who knew about the Sylvan King and dared to step into the game were powerful disciples from big-name sects and families after all.
Whatever the truth was, it worked to his advantage. He was left free to hunt demon beasts anywhere he chose.
A day later, on a col among small hills, Shi Mu sat cross-legged with a single piece of Mid-rank Spirit Stone in his one hand. Unlike most times when Cai left him alone, the parrot was perching on his shoulder, its eyes darting from here to there.
“Shi Tou, if I remember correctly… We’re not far from the end of the test, right?” Cai said suddenly.
Shi Mu nodded. There was no distinction of night and day here in this realm, which blurred the days together. However, if his calculation was not wrong, then there really wasn’t much time left.
“We’re in the very last few days! How is it that you’re so chill about it? Shouldn’t you be in a hunting frenzy for some last-minute scores?” Cai asked, puzzled.
“Well, I aimed to be among the first thirty-six in the ranking. Nothing beyond that,” Shi Mu replied.
In his post-Sylvan King Skirmish, Shi Mu had been systematically hunting demon beasts of certain stages and classes by having Cai scout them with its powerful vision. As a result, he had been rising through the ranks all the way into the ranks of the first thirty-six, with a position of being the thirty-fifth.
He wanted to stay at the thirty-fifth place and had done what he could to remain there.
As long as he was among the first thirty-six, he would be considered as a top tier disciple, which allowed him to share privileges of the elites. However, if he gets even higher in the list, he would have attracted some sort of attention, and that was never ideal for someone who had a lot of secrets.
Especially the fact that he was a practitioner of the Nine Revolutions Mysterious Art—let that be known, and he was most certainly attracting threats.
It was then when the jade pendant on himself suddenly scintillated before bursting into a shroud of dazzling white light, encasing Shi Mu.
He was stunned at first, but he understood the implication at the very net second. “Looks like it’s time now!”
He quickly stuffed Cai back into his Spirit Pet Pocket tied to his waist before the white light flared—and suddenly, they were gone.
Simultaneously, many parts of the realm were suddenly lit up with the same dazzling white lights, as if there were stars on the ground blinking together…
The surrounding around Shi Mu was a messy blur before suddenly, it stabilized into the same patch of clearing before the tree where he had been before the test.
Around him, shadows and silhouettes manifested. There were about thousands of them; A lot of them stood on the clearing in a confused stupor, some of them seemed to look quite appalled, and some of them even managed to assume some sort of battle stance. All of them were, quite apparently, the candidates of the test.
Shi Mu studied the crowd forming around him and sighed quietly. There were about millions of people who had joined the test—but those who made it out to the end of the test were less than a thousand.
Those who had left the Secret Territory halfway through via the means of crushing their own jade vault lost their place in Qing Lan Holy Sect, but at least they didn’t lose their life. Truthfully, one could still come back again when they’ve gotten stronger and more experienced as long as they weren’t too old. Things were still optimistic to these people.
No one could say the same for those whose grave was the earth and the leaves of the Secret Territory, though.
Those who could return to this square were, quite sufficient to say, the cream of the cream. There were even a few familiar faces—people Shi Mu had met along the way: The elegant youth, Qing Zhang Tian, Chi Ni ZI, The Wu Brothers, Zi He… and even Ma Long and Ma Lie, who managed to survived all the way to the end of the test.
Those who had been involved in the Sylvan King war, now gathered in the same space, were quick to notice each other too. And upon seeing their rivals their expressions changed quite sufficiently….
The elegant youth was glaring at Shi Mu with eyes like daggers. As a response, Shi Mu smiled, as if he couldn’t care less of his threat.
Lu Jing, too, turned to him with a look at the equivalence of a snarl. It was quite apparent that he had nothing nice to say about Shi Mu either.
The only person who was friendly to Shi Mu was Qing Zhang Tian, who nodded at him with a grin.
These people may all wear different expressions, tossing each other meaningful and often hostile looks, but none of them mentioned the Sylvan King at all—as if everyone had managed to reach an internal agreement to let it be slipped under the radar.
Quite a lot of the other survivors were murmuring about the appearance of those strange, life-threatening roots, however.
Shi Mu nodded at Qing Zhang Tian in response until his peripheral vision caught sight of Chi Ni Zi’s icy, belligerent glare at Qing Zhang Tian nearby.
Shi Mu remembered how Qing Zhang Tian had left Chi Ni Zi to fight that Root Colossus alone just so he could steal a few parts from the Sylvan King himself. Of course, the man would not let that passed!
He wondered about how the three-way fight among Qing Zhang Tian, Chi Ni Zi, and the Wu Brothers ended.
He looked at the Wu Brothers, whose faces were neutral instead of leering.
Shi Mu suddenly felt someone’s watching him. He turned and saw that it came from a green girl standing ten-odd yards away from him, alone. It was Jiang Shui Shui.
She was looking at him with a strange expression before suddenly pulling her eyes away from him in a flash. The entire gaze exchange really perplexed Shi Mu a little…
It was then when a new figure had joined the air above the square—an old man wearing a green robe and spotting really long eyebrows. As he stood, his baggy sleeves rattled in the winds.
It was Bei Gu from before.
“The test is over, ladies and gentlemen. We appreciate all of you who manage to survive and see it to the end. As per rules, whatever you had obtained during back in the Secret Territory remained yours except for the items inside Qing Shan Order. Now,” Bei Gu said, waving his hand. “We’ll select our one hundred and eight disciples from the scores you’d obtained. Please submit your Qing Shan Order now.”
A single spark of green light radiated from him as a single slab of green plate suddenly rose out from the earth.
The Qing Shan Order stored in Shi Mu’s sash suddenly lit up and flew towards the slab. He looked a little alarmed at first, but he did not make any move since everyone else around him was having their Qing Shan Order taken as well.
In that split of a moment, the air was filled with blinking green light. As the Orders melted into the slab, the surface of the slab rippled.
Bei Gu made a few handsigns and the slab continued to ripple for a while before stabilizing.
Lights flared from the slab as names started to surface. There were exactly one hundred and eighty names on the slab…
Though everyone already knew their own ranking, it was still quite an exciting scene to behold. Some of the crowd started murmuring, a few strained their necks trying to see who were those who made the cut.
Shi Mu was calm throughout the whole event. His name was among them, at the thirty-fifth position, allowing him to barely made the cut into the ranks of the Elite Disciples. He didn’t react more to that, really.
The one at the top spot was a guy named Zhao Ji. Sufficient to say, Shi Mu wasn’t the only one who was turning towards the elegant youth.
“So that’s his name. Zhao Ji, huh…” Shi Mu muttered.
The second place belonged to Qing Zhang Tian, the third was Zi He, and the forth was neither Chi Ni Zi or Lu Jing… It was Jiang Shui Shui.
Quite bewildered, Shi Mu couldn’t stop himself from staring at Jiang Shui Shui among the crowd for a second. The girl was formidable, he would admit that much, but she was not as exceptionally powerful the likes of Lu Jing and the rest.
He would expect some sort of power discrepancies between her and those who had gone after the Sylvan King, but he did not expect the girl to rise so high in the ranking at all!
Chi Ni ZI, Lu Jing, and the Wu Brothers followed—they were all among the top ten.
Ma Long’s name appeared on the slab too, somewhere close to the end. But at least she got into Qing Lan Holy Sect!
“Those of you among the one hundred and eight followed me, please. For those who did not make it—fret not. The Holy Land of Qing Lan has valuable gifts for your display of mettle as well,” Bei Gu finished.
Just like that, he shone in green light before sailing to the horizon. The succeeded candidates, including Shi Mu, quickly followed, leaving the rest of the crowd back in the square looking up at them in pure awe and jealousy.
It was then when another disciple from Qing Lan Holy Sect flew and took over the rest of the crowd.
“Brother Shi!” There was a palatable scent in the air as Ma Long flew next to Shi Mu. “Congratulations on being among the first thirty-six!”
“You’re too kind, Lady Ma. You’ve made it into the sect yourself, many congratulations,” Shi Mu replied with a smile.
“Hee hee. Well, how could this little girl here even compare to you? Please, let’s look out for each other once we’re training together,” Ma Long said, her lips quivering into a gleeful smile.
She was already a bewitching beauty on her own—yet when she smiled, it was like watching a flower bloomed before one’s very eyes. Normally, anyone would have easily be mesmerized by such a heart-throbbing sight…
“Of course. New disciples like us should help each other out the best they can,” Shi Mu replied as if he was blind to the beautiful smile itself.
Seeing that Shi Mu wasn’t in a mood for more banter, Ma Long kept quiet for the rest of their flight.
Many others in the crowd were chatting with each other too, their topics rather predictably centered around things like “let’s look out for each other” as they started to recognize each other as their peers. Of course, people like Qing Zhang Tian, Zhao Ji and those in the first ten had attracted the most people.
Shi Mu looked at them for a while before averting his gaze.
Bei Gu knew everything that was going on behind his back, but he didn’t actually care either. All he did was leading the crowd to a patch of woods close to the Sacred Tree of Qing Lan.
Erected before them was a large arch stone gate among the trees. It was about seventy to eighty yards tall, made out of some sort of green material. On its every part was an inscription of magical glyphs.
Shi Mu’s eyebrows creased a little. These glyphs were different from those he had seen before. Instinctively, he released his Spirit Sense to try to detect anything from it, but his Senses were immediately rebuffed from the gate.
“Here it is. The entrance to the Holy Land of Qing Lan,” Bei Gu said.
The crowd looked at each other. They could see the trees and the groves of the woods right through the gate! What sort of entrance was that?
Shi Mu’s eyes were glinting in gold as he stared at it, and then finally, he nodded slightly.
Watching Shi Mu’s expression, Ma Long blurted, “You saw something there, Brother Shi?”