Nine Heavens

Nine Heavens

Chapter 7 - Chapter 7

Mirror Sea Sect was a small sect, so the trials were not very complex, mainly divided into two parts.

The first was to assess the disciples' progress, through sparring between disciples or guidance from elders, to determine if outer sect disciples were qualified to enter the inner sect, and if inner sect disciples were qualified to learn the next level of advanced techniques.

The second was to have disciples go deep into the Mirror Sea Mountains for trials. Long before the trial convention, Mirror Sea Sect would release some low-level demon beasts in the various peaks for disciples to hunt, which was a common practice for many sects to train their disciples' combat skills.

For someone like Lu Yanping who was already ranked as the top disciple, he was envied by others. Even without passing the trials he could learn the sect's advanced techniques. But it was different for others.

Many people worked hard and practiced diligently in hopes of showcasing their skills at the trial convention to gain the attention of the sect elders. Not to mention those outer sect disciples who wanted to enter the inner peaks, even those who were already inner sect disciples hoped to gain rewards through the trials.

Because this year's trial rewards were especially generous. In addition to the usual pills and some defensive magic treasures, it was said there would also be a Congealing Frost Sword personally refined by Elder Chen.

In fact, after a few to a dozen years of cultivation, as long as they weren't especially poor in aptitude, outer sect disciples could generally reach the 5th or 6th level of Qi Refining. This was just the average level in Mirror Sea Sect. If it was a top tier sect like Shangxuan Sect or Tianyan Sect, even ordinary outer sect disciples would at least be at the Foundation Establishment stage.

At its root, it was because the path of cultivation was easy at first and difficult later. The period from Qi Refining to Foundation Establishment was relatively easy. The further one went, the harder it became. Reaching the Core Formation stage was already considered not bad, let alone attempting the Nascent Soul stage.

So many newly initiated cultivators were led astray by their initial smooth progress. When they encountered obstacles later on, it was very easy to fail.

Due to Zhou Yin's outstanding performance this time, he attracted the attention of Mirror Sea Sect's upper echelons. Plus his injuries had not fully healed yet. In order to demonstrate fairness, the sect leader specially exempted him from sparring with others.

After confirming his cultivation had indeed reached the 7th level of Qi Refining, he was considered to have passed the first trial, which made quite a few people secretly envious and jealous.

But Huang Wenjun and the others were not so lucky. In the three consecutive days of sparring, they were not assigned to the same group. When facing those higher level inner sect disciples, they had to use all their skills, resulting in exhaustion.

Every day they returned to the inner peak as tired as dogs. Even Liu Xiaowan, who usually paid attention to her appearance, was no exception. Although the male disciples she sparred with held back more or less out of awe of her delicate beauty, it meant she faced even fiercer attacks from the female disciples assigned to spar with her.

Their bedraggled state, compared to Zhou Yin who spent his days leisurely reading books, his body clean and tidy, was even more apparent.

"Ah Yin, we're fighting for our lives out there, and you don't even go out to cheer us on!" Huang Wenjun complained as he returned covered in dust.

Zhou Yin's gaze shifted from the book and gave him a look as if bestowing alms: "If I go watch, will you be able to win more impressively?"

He had just finished bathing, wearing a white robe, his wet hair adding a jade-like delicateness to his profile. He Yun's heart immediately raced at that glance. She subconsciously smoothed her hair, noticing her own disheveled state, feeling slightly vexed.

During today's trial, she saw many male disciples in the sect, which opened her eyes. Among them were quite a few outstanding handsome ones. But when it came to bearing and temperament, none could compare to the person before her eyes.

Huang Wenjun was at a loss for words. He argued: "If the other side hadn't cheated and used an Earth Beckoning Spell, almost burying me alive, I wouldn't have been so flustered!"

"Win or lose, there are only two outcomes. No need for excuses." The nonchalant words contained some cruel yet realistic principles, only the spirited youth didn't take it to heart.

He chuckled and leaned in, whispering: "It really is a pity you didn't go watch. There's no shortage of beautiful women in the inner sect. Just take that Chen Yuanzhi for example, she's much prettier than Xiaowan and He Yun."

Youths admire beauty. It wasn't just Huang Wenjun. Judging from the sparring situations these past few days, whenever Chen Yuanzhi participated in a trial, the spectator crowd was always several layers deep.

The demonic cultivation grandmaster, completely uninterested in this topic, allowed Huang Wenjun to chatter on and on like a torrent, while he himself expressionlessly read his book, completely unaffected.

Three days later, he saw that Chen Yuanzhi who Huang Wenjun had mentioned countless times, describing her as a celestial maiden descending to the mortal world.

Her exquisite features were nearly flawless. Although still a bit immature, one could already foresee her future peerless grace and charm. Wearing fiery red-colored robes made her skin appear even more like gleaming snow.

No wonder those Mirror Sea Sect disciples were all so enamored with her. Such looks, not to mention in the mortal world, even in the cultivation world were quite outstanding.

"So you're Zhou Yin? You don't look like much. Why did Sect Leader make an exception for you? And you, don't look at me with such pitiful eyes, it's sickening!" She looked Zhou Yin and Liu Xiaowan up and down, her expression undisguisedly arrogant.

For the second trial, those outer sect disciples who passed the first assessment would be randomly assigned to a group, together with inner sect disciples also sent out for the trial. They would go deep into the Mirror Sea Mountains to exterminate low-level demon beasts. The group's score would be based on the number of demon beasts hunted.

Those demon beasts were all specially released by the sect to test the disciples. As long as they were careful, there was basically no mortal danger.

However, in past years there were a few disciples who suffered serious injuries or even died due to being too arrogant. So everyone didn't dare take it lightly.

As for Zhou Yin, Liu Xiaowan, Chen Yuanzhi, Lu Yanping, and Song Shushan, five people who couldn't be considered familiar were assigned to the same group through a random drawing, standing before the teleportation formation.

To be precise, it was Liu Xiaowan and Zhou Yin who were unfamiliar with Lu Yanping and Chen Yuanzhi. Song Shushan was a very ordinary disciple in the inner sect with average aptitude at the 8th level of Qi Refining.

Usually he had no presence. Facing Lu Yanping, he was restrained and ill at ease.

Liu Xiaowan was timid, Zhou Yin was cold, Chen Yuanzhi was willful, and Song Shushan was cautious. This combination of four people with completely different personalities, two of whom were women, gave the eldest disciple Lu Yanping a big headache.

He originally didn't need to participate in the trial at all, but the sect leader Zou Jingyuan valued this disciple who would inherit his mantle, hoping that he could establish authority among the second and third generation disciples through his own strength, in preparation for taking over as the sect leader in the future.

At this moment, facing Chen Yuanzhi's provocation, Liu Xiaowan shrank her neck and hid slightly behind Zhou Yin, while Zhou Yin...

Zhou Yin didn't even look at her, only looking at the sword in his hand with a slight frown.

Since they were going to face demon beasts, even if they were low-level, a wooden sword was not going to cut it, so disciples who passed the first trial could receive a sword personally bestowed by the sect leader.

The sword was forged by the sect's most skilled refiner, Elder Chen. In terms of quality, it naturally couldn't compare with the Congealing Frost Sword that was given as a reward, but it was much better than the swords in the mortal world. It was imbued with defensive and five-element attributes, and when combined with the user's spiritual power, it could exert even greater power.

The sword in Zhou Yin's hand was called Melting Water, which matched his own water spiritual root. However, in his view, this kind of low-quality, low-grade magic weapon could only deal with ordinary demon beasts. If they encountered unpredictable variables, it would depend on luck.

Seeing that her words were ignored by the other party, Chen Yuanzhi's face flushed red with anger.

Having been born as the only daughter of an elder in the sect, and with Elder Chen doting on his only daughter and indulging her every request, coupled with her outstanding appearance, she had been pampered by everyone in the sect since she was young. How could she have suffered such cold treatment? She was about to summon her precious sword.

"Senior Sister, calm down!" Song Shushan was so frightened that he didn't dare to reach out to stop her.

"Junior Sister," Before things got out of hand, Lu Yanping hurriedly interrupted. "It's getting late, let's set off quickly, lest we fall behind others. By then, the Congealing Frost Sword you want the most will be snatched away."

At the mention of the Congealing Frost Sword, much of Chen Yuanzhi's anger dissipated. She glared resentfully at Zhou Yin and the others, snorted, and turned to leave.

Liu Xiaowan secretly breathed a sigh of relief. When she looked up and saw the comforting gaze that Lu Yanping cast over, she couldn't help but blush and lower her head.

Lu Yanping smiled slightly, "Although this time it's all low-level demon beasts and not much of a threat, the Mirror Sea Mountain Range is too vast after all, with many places that even the elders of the sect have never been to. We don't know where the teleportation array will send us, so it's best for everyone to be careful."

But the last sentence seemed to be said while looking at Liu Xiaowan, and her face instantly turned even redder.

The teleportation array was just an ordinary one, unable to pinpoint the exact location, only able to roughly determine the range and send them to any part of the Mirror Sea Mountain Range. The Mirror Sea Mountain Range was vast and boundless, so disciples from different groups generally wouldn't run into each other.

In other words, from the beginning to the end when the designated time was up and they were teleported back, it might be just the four of them fighting side by side.

As soon as the five of them stepped into the teleportation array, the light suddenly intensified, so dazzling that it made people unable to open their eyes. After about half a cup of tea's time, the light gradually faded, and the eight trigrams diagram engraved on the ground had long disappeared.

What appeared before their eyes was a vast and unending stretch of mountains, one after another, shrouded in clouds and mist, with ancient towering trees, as if it had never been set foot in by humans since ancient times, tranquil and silent.

Chen Yuanzhi was a little stunned, "Where is this?"

"Naturally, it's the Mirror Sea Mountain Range." Lu Yanping replied casually while looking around, frowning slightly.

The surrounding vegetation was completely different from what they were used to seeing in the back mountains. He had come here to train several times in the past few years, but had never been to this area. It seemed to be a place deep within the mountain range, even more rarely visited by people.

The few of them walked forward through the knee-high grass. It wasn't Lu Yanping's first time accepting this kind of trial. His Foundation Establishment stage cultivation put him above the common disciples of the Mirror Sea Sect. This kind of test for Qi Refining stage disciples basically posed no threat to him, so his expression was very relaxed.

With the eldest senior brother by her side, Chen Yuanzhi naturally also showed no nervousness, and even revealed an excited eagerness to give it a try.

This was a not-so-dense forest, just with thick tree trunks. Each tree was at least a thousand years old, not to mention those large trees that required five or six people to encircle with their arms. The wind blew, making the branches, leaves and grass rustle. Other than that, no bird or insect calls could be heard.

Chen Yuanzhi even bent down to pick a wildflower, looking at its eight-pointed star-shaped petals and taking a sniff, "This flower is so pretty!"

The fresh flower and the beautiful girl complemented each other.

For such a pretty girl, who also had the background of being an elder's daughter, Lu Yanping had always been indulgent. Hearing this, he also laughed, "That's called a Shattered Star Flower. Legend has it that it was formed from fallen stars from the sky."

"Really?" Her eyes widened.

"Of course it's just a legend." Lu Yanping chuckled.

Liu Xiaowan watched them chat and laugh, feeling a little envious. She also bent down to pick a flower and secretly put it in her sleeve.

The demon beasts seemed to have all disappeared without a trace. After about one stick of incense had passed, there was still no sign of any demon beasts.

"Senior Brother, did we go the wrong way?" Song Shushan asked.

"Let's just keep walking forward for now and see." Lu Yanping said.

The others had no objections, but after another stick of incense had passed, Chen Yuanzhi gradually began to show an impatient expression.

"How much longer do we have to walk? The last time I did the trial, it wasn't this troublesome. I could quickly encounter demon beasts. We must have gone the wrong way!"

Lu Yanping frowned and looked around. Just as he was about to speak, he heard Zhou Yin say, "Something's not right here."

"What's not right?" Song Shushan was startled and asked subconsciously.

"In a place like this, there are no ordinary birds and beasts. It's not normal." Zhou Yin looked up at the sky, his expression as indifferent as ever.

"What do you know about what's normal? Even we haven't sensed any demonic aura!" Chen Yuanzhi retorted without thinking. For some reason, she really enjoyed being at odds with Zhou Yin.

But the other party didn't answer her, his gaze falling on the front right.

Song Shushan looked in the direction of his gaze and couldn't help but exclaim, "Look, what is that?"

Vines were entangled around the thick tree trunk, and behind the trunk, a head of jet-black long hair could be seen.

The person slightly turned their head, revealing an elegant and beautiful side profile, looking gentle and graceful, as if leaning against the tree trunk taking a nap.

Author's Note:

Setting reminder:

1. Lu Yanping and Chen Yuanzhi were among those who previously introduced Zhou Yin. In the Mirror Sea Sect, they belong to the second generation.

2. If the character pairing appears, I will let you know. I'm a good kid and don't play around with pairings ( ̄(エ) ̄)ノ


Hello! I'm Echo, and I've always been fascinated by how stories can connect us across different worlds. When I'm not translating, I'm probably playing guitar or experimenting in the kitchen. I hope my translations resonate with you, just like a good melody

Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@ohce.