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Chapter 168 – Fighting Out One's Own Price
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Time incessantly pa.s.sed and the examinees outside grew increasingly solemn, the shock in their eyes deepening. None of them knew just when this match would be decided. With Tianhai Shengxue's departure, Gou Hanshi and Zhexiu were undoubtedly the two strongest examinees. Logically speaking, this battle should not have persisted for so long.
This match had taken so much time for a completely different reason than the match between Chen Changsheng and Luoluo. Sounds continued to emerge from the Hall of Washing Away Dust, at times like thunder and at times like mighty waves. Beautiful strands of cloud occasionally appeared in the deep blue sky, the result of this miniature world being disturbed by collisions of true essence. These sounds and sights were all proof of the ferocity with which the battle inside was progressing.
All was quiet outside the Hall of Washing Away Dust. Everyone was staring at the tightly shut door, listening to the sounds coming from within. The mood was extremely tense, as no one knew the situation inside. When the time finally exceeded an hour, even the three disciples of the Mount Li Sword Sect began to look worried.
After Tang Thirty-Six said those words to Chen Changsheng, he never spoke again. He grew graver and graver, his eyes more and more serious, his posture more and more erect. It was like he was expressing his respect towards some person.
When an hour had pa.s.sed but the battle still continued, Xuanyuan Po turned to Tang Thirty-Six and asked, "Do you know anything? Nothing will go wrong, right?"
After a pause, Tang Thirty-Six said, "That wolf cub is putting his life on the line."
In the last round, Zhexiu had taken the silver banknote and nodded his head in satisfaction, then said that he would fight well. As a result, he had beaten that nominal schoolmate of his from Star Seizer Academy out of the Education Palace. This round, he had said nothing at all, but facts proved that he was putting his life on the line.
There were many methods of fighting. Fighting well was one method, and fighting while putting one's life on the line was another.
No matter how strong Zhexiu was, there was still the gap of Ethereal Opening between him and Gou Hanshi that was difficult to cross. If he was not fighting with all his strength, how could he possibly last this long?
Chen Changsheng had remained silent this entire time.
He was well aware of why Tang Thirty-Six had suddenly said those words to him.
The fighting will Zhexiu had displayed and the price that he was paying was naturally not something that that light silver banknote could buy. A mercenary beginning to put his life on the line was proof that they really wanted to obtain the item they were being paid with.
"The wolf is the most patient and persevering animal in the world."
Luoluo listened to the sounds occasionally rising from the Hall of Washing Away Dust, and an anguished expression appeared on her small face. "When Zhexiu hunted down and killed his first demon soldier, he was only eleven. That time, he pursued that demon soldier for three months. Only when that demon's muscles were exhausted, his strength was completely used up, and the demon was unbearably weak did Zhexiu successfully complete his hunt."
Chen Changsheng thought that the patience and endurance of the Wolf tribe was truly dauntless to the extreme.
What he did not think about was how this glory was only the most superficial aspect of the story.
After a momentary silence, Luoluo continued, "But no one knew that the illness in his body suddenly broke out at the time. Coupled with the fact that he had not eaten for ten-some days, only drunk some water thawed from snow, he was truly only one step from death. If not for the fact that the demon soldier had had a mental breakdown and given up, Zhexiu might have been the one that died."
The forest's edge was utterly silent.
Tang Thirty-Six looked at the door of the Hall of Washing Away Dust and said with very mixed emotions, "The dictionary of that wolf cub doesn't contain the words 'surrender' or 'mercy'. If this weren't the Hall of Washing Away Dust, where the s.p.a.ce is limited and the match has to go a certain way, if he and Gou Hanshi were to engage in a life-or-death battle in the real world, it truly would be difficult to know who would last until the final moment."
Chen Changsheng silently gazed at the Hall of Washing Away Dust.
Above the circular building, the clouds in the blue sky were torn into strands. A shrill howl could occasionally be heard, perhaps the roaring of the wind or the howling of a wolf, but each sound shook the heart to the core.
Chen Changsheng's gaze stopped at the door, but he felt like he could see into the hall, could see the expressionless Zhexiu engaging in silent battle with Gou Hanshi, blood slowly dripping onto the ground from his fingers.
Although he stood in the testing ground of the Grand Examination, he seemed to look into the past, a thin youth silently sneaking through a blizzard, his body extremely frail from weakness, swaying and on the verge of collapse.
But no fear or desire to retreat could be seen on the youth's immature face. He stared at the st.u.r.dy back of the demon soldier in front, waiting for the soldier to collapse before he did. His eyes were br.i.m.m.i.n.g with hatred and persistence, because he was precisely a youth of the Wolf tribe.
Just like Tang Thirty-Six had said, if Zhexiu were to engage in a life-or-death battle with Gou Hanshi in the real world, it was truly difficult to predict just who would persevere until the end. However, the Education Palace was a miniature world, not the real world, so the one to persevere until the end was still Gou Hanshi, this Mount Li disciple who had grown up in poverty and was well-versed in the Daoist Canon.
With a somewhat grating creak, the door of the Hall of Washing Away Dust slowly opened and Gou Hanshi walked out. Upon reaching the stone steps, he gave two painful coughs. His complexion was somewhat wan, his steps a little slow. Guan Feibai and Liang Banhu went up to meet him while Qi Jian anxiously searched their traveling bags for medicine.
Zhexiu had also come out of the Hall of Washing Away Dust. However, he had not walked out, but been carried. Blood trickled down the edge of the stretcher and dripped onto the floor, the sight rather hair-raising. His pale was devoid of emotion, seeming very calm, and his two eyes were tightly shut, so it was impossible to tell just what he was thinking.
Like a wolf, he had engaged in a silent and persistent melee with Gou Hanshi for more than a hour, inflicting significant injuries on Gou Hanshi, but he had also paid an enormous price. With his current injuries, it was impossible for him to continue fighting, and his life was even in danger. He should have been sent out of the Education Palace to receive treatment, but earlier when the supervising Li Palace priest in the Hall of Washing Away Dust intended to do just that, he was repulsed by the indifference and persistence in the youth's eyes and had no choice but to carry him out of the Hall of Washing Away Dust.
Zhexiu won the respect and fear of all the examinees present for his feat of forcing Gou Hanshi into this sort of situation, but of respect and fear, it was ultimately fear that was the dominant emotion. The crowd silently stared at the b.l.o.o.d.y stretcher and Zhexiu atop it, but no one came forward to express their concern or comfort. He had partic.i.p.ated as a student of Star Seizer Academy, but he had dealt serious harm to his schoolmate from Star Seizer Academy in the previous round, so now even Star Seizer Academy did not care for him. The Li Palace priests carrying the stretcher looked at the examinees outside the Hall of Washing Away Dust, not knowing where to put it.
At this point, Chen Changsheng propped himself on the white poplar tree and stood up with some difficulty.
Luoluo understood his meaning and patted Xuanyuan Po on the back to indicate that he should bring the stretcher back. Xuanyuan Po did not dare to object and went forward, receiving the stretcher alone.
The stretcher was brought to the forest's edge, Zhexiu quietly lying upon it. His face was pale, his body covered in blood. He did not move or speak, only opened his eyes, but he seemed very calm.
With a rip, Xuanyuan Po began to bandage his wounds. Chen Changsheng fed him medicine. Luoluo looked at him with a very conflicted expression. Tang Thirty-Six sighed, "Why fight so bitterly?"
Zhexiu expressionlessly said to him, "More money."