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Aerial Rain
Translating Web Novel

THDP Ch 147 Part 2 – The First Hundred Li (II)

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A deep tolling of a bell rang out after another stick of incense. The sound was so profound it seemed to spread across the entirety of Jingyuetian. The area in front of the Ten Absolutes Mountain quieted down as the leaders of the top ten sects from the four realms returned to their respective groups.

Yan Shunbei stepped forward and spoke, “I, as the humble leader of Jingyuetian, have been guarding the Ten Absolutes Mountain, passed down in my sect for nearly ten thousand years. Now, it is time for the once-in-a-decade opening of the mountain.” He paused, then slowly continued, “This year, it is not only the decennial opening but also the centennial, millennial, and even…”

He looked around, his voice not loud, but clear enough to reach everyone present, “the once-in-ten-thousand-years opening.”

All the cultivators remained silent, Meng Qi and Sikong Xing listening quietly.

“Based on past experiences, each time the opening coincides with the centennial or millennial opening, the trial becomes more dangerous than usual. This being the first ten-thousand-year opening, the perils within are self-evident. All of you can choose for yourselves whether to proceed.”

With just a few simple words, Yan Shunbei made the situation clear. He stepped aside after speaking, seeming reluctant to say more. The crowd quickly became noisy again. Apparently, many sects were hearing this for the first time.

The vast square in front of the Ten Absolutes Mountain was bustling. Over the centuries, the ranks of the top ten sects in the four realms changed frequently. Some sects might decline, while new ones could rise to prominence. For example, sects like Tianhai Pavilion, who had become more powerful after regaining a lost legacy and finally rose to become one of the top ten sects of the Northern Realm. Therefore, for many people, this was their first time knowing such a fact about the Ten Absolutes Mountain.

Meng Qi stood silently. She had known about the increased danger beforehand, but she was determined to enter regardless of the risk. Paying no attention to the heated discussions around, she focused inward, scanning her spiritual sea. There, the Five Spirits Cauldron floated, her golden core next to it, rotating slowly. Strands of spiritual aura trickled out of the golden core first entered the cauldron, and then fell into the sea below. It was a bizarre sight, but one that Meng Qi had been used to by now.

The bamboo slip left to her by Lin Yan was wrapped in spiritual aura. There were still some contents she couldn’t read, but she had fully memorized the accessible parts. Returning to her senses, Meng Qi quietly waited for the crowd to calm down. Not only she, but Yan Xuan and Sikong Xing also remained silent. Sects with a long history didn’t speak much either, understanding that opportunity always came with risks.

Moreover, the sect leaders present had attended the last auction at the Heaven Auction House. Although most of them didn’t manage to purchase a jade slip, entering the Ten Absolutes Mountain might lead to unexpected opportunities — perhaps, they could even hope to gain some indirect benefits from the owners of the jade slips.

The square buzzed with chatter for a while before one of the sect leaders spoke up: “Thanks for your kind warning, Sect Leader Yan, but since we’re all here and are cultivators, it wouldn’t make sense to run away just because we hear of danger, hahaha.”

His hearty laughter was soon echoed by others, and quickly someone else said, “Right, right. We’ve made up our minds, so we won’t hesitate or be afraid.”

Some sect leaders added, “Since this is a once-in-ten-thousand-years opening, it’s an even more reason to go in and experience it yourself. Missing out on such an opportunity, I fear, would be a lifelong regret.”

“Sect Leader Yan, no need to dissuade us,” a lazy voice called out from the crowd. A man in a dark blue robe strode confidently towards the center of the square – it was Ling Ji.

Many people recognized Ling Ji and greeted him with respect. He casually returned the greetings and walked up to Yan Shunbei: “Let’s start. There’s no need to wait any longer. The sooner they climb the mountain, the sooner they can finish and return home. If these kids are quick enough, they might even make it back for the New Year.”

Laughter erupted from the crowd. When someone of Ling Ji’s status cracked a joke, people would certainly respond enthusiastically, regardless of what they thought inside.

“By the way, where’s Meng Qi?” Ling Ji, now standing beside Yan Shunbei and towering over the crowd, scanned the assembly for the blue-robed girl.

Meng Qi was taken aback; she hadn’t expected Ling Ji to openly look for her in front of so many people.

“Meng Qi.” Ling Ji’s eyes were sharp, and he quickly spotted Meng Qi. In a flash, he was standing in front of her. “Are you ready?” he asked.

At that moment, there were no less than a thousand cultivators on the square; all their gazes were focused on two people: Ling Ji and Meng Qi.

“Yes,” Meng Qi nodded, somewhat dazedly.

“It’s fine, just climb as much as you can, and if you can’t go any further, find a place to rest. Then, wait for the Ten Absolutes Mountain to close, and you’ll come out with the others,” Ling Ji advised. He raised his right hand, but when his eyes locked with Meng Qi, his hand paused mid-air, as if hesitating.

A few seconds passed, and Meng Qi suddenly felt a weight on her head as a hand came down and landed on her hair. “I’ll be waiting here,” Ling Ji gave Meng Qi a slight smile, but his eyes betrayed a hint of worry.

The entire square remained silent as the crowd watched this scene with total befuddlement, as if witnessing something out of a fantasy. Ling Ji of Duankong Sect was well-known, of course. He was the most talented swordsman of his generation, the man who had braved the perils of the Starfallen Sea several times, and a person whose heroic feats spread wide and far throughout Three Thousand Worlds.

But Ling Ji was also known for his laid-back, even solitary, demeanor, preferring the free life of wandering. So, it came as a great shock when he forcefully took the leadership of the Duankong Sect from his seniors, prompting many to suspect a shift in the sect’s direction. Since Ling Ji, who seemed to have retired from worldly affairs for eighteen years, had reemerged so forcefully, people had been speculating about his motivations.

Everyone on the square watched the scene unfold in astonishment.

What was going on…?

Hadn’t the Duankong Sect been looking for this girl before?

But Ling Ji’s actions toward Meng Qi… what did it mean?

Everyone had a head full of questions, but no one dared to ask Ling Ji directly. After all, questioning him would mean facing his sword – and who dared to challenge the edge of Ling Ji’s blade?

Meanwhile, some people were starting to realize the implications: Ling Ji had said he would wait here for Meng Qi, so what would he do if Meng Qi never returned?

The faces of some in the crowd paled at this thought, while others showed faint smiles.

“…Okay.” Meng Qi was momentarily dazed, but then nodded, whispering in a voice only they could hear, “Thank you, Senior.”


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