Chapter 58 – The Ten Thousand Killing Array
The youth had a long scar from an old knife wound on his face. His name was Wang Mang and he was 18 years old. He had joined the Sky Fortune Kingdom’s army as a mercenary when he was 15, and had been sent to the frontier where he killed many people. On the border, he had been stabbed, and at the border, every day for three years he had lived on the edge of death – until he had finally reached the Third Stage of Body Transformation. He had rich combat experience and his strength was high. During the entrance examination, his fist strength at the Strength Trial had reached 2500 jins, and he had also reached the third floor of the Exquisite Pagoda.
“These juniors who got the top three spots really think they can surpass us with their strength. If it wasn’t for the Exquisite Pagoda deciding an opponent’s strength based on their skeletal age, I would have reached the fifth floor!” said a youth at Wang Mang’s side. His name was Li Tie, and he was Wang Mang’s ally. His had also tested his fist strength at 2500 jins and had reached the third floor of the Exquisite Pagoda.
Fist strength was not a domain in which mercenaries excelled. Fist strength mainly depended on one’s own talent and cultivation based on the skill manual they followed. These mercenaries’ skill manuals were very ordinary, and their strength could only be so strong. Their formidable aspects lay in their rich combat experience, skillful blade techniques, and sharp fighting instinct to surprise an enemy and kill them.
Therefore the dreadful nature of these two youths lay in actual combat, in particular life and death situations, and not tests.
“Wang Yanfeng, Lin Ming! These two kids are just little flowers that grew up in a greenhouse. Our fighting ability was learnt at the end of a knife’s blade while fighting for our lives, how could they even be our match?”
In the Exquisite Pagoda, they were restricted by their skeletal age and were stopped at the third floor. But the ranking war did not have this limit, and all participants were treated impartially! This was their turn to shine!
The Ten Thousand Killing Array that the Seven Profound Martial House used for the ranking war was in a mountain valley not too far from the Exquisite Pagoda. The mountain valley was covered in sharp bamboo, and the thick, angry bamboo leaves gave off a chilly, withering aura.
In the center of these layers upon layers of bamboo was a clearing, in which there was an ashlar square a thousand steps wide. At the center of the square was a ten by ten foot wide altar. The altar was engraved with a variety of luminescent runes and symbols; this altar was the Ten Thousand Killing Array which was used in the ranking war.
By the time Lin Ming’s group had arrived at the ashlar square, there were already many people gathered there.
Because the Ten Thousand Killing Array consumed a colossal number of true essence stones every time it was activated, it would only be opened once a month at an appointed time. At that time, all the martial artists of the Seven Profound Martial House could voluntarily participate in the ranking war, but they also needed to pay a fee of one true essence stone as collateral. If they their ranking was lower than 100 and they rose 5 spots, or if their ranking was higher than 100 and they rose three spots, they would be given back their true essence stone. Otherwise, the Seven Profound Martial House would keep it.
This sort of stipulation was so that disciples who hadn’t made any significant progress would not hold the viewpoint that they should come regardless of whether they advanced or not. It would just cause too many disciples to want to be tested, and there wasn’t enough time in a day to do that.
Hong Xi said, “New disciples who are participating for the first time in the ranking war do not need to pay a fee of a true essence stone. You only need to use the jade slip that you were issued to participate in the Ten Thousand Killing Array assessment. In the Ten Thousand Killing Array, your true body will not be injured. Once you die in the illusion, the assessment will end and your final ranking will be based upon the score you achieve from killing your enemies.”
Hong Xi said this and then dismissed the troop. Lin Ming entered the ashlar square, as he wanted to take a look at this Ten Thousand Killing Array altar. At the same time, he discovered two people he knew; these two people were Liu Mingxiang and Zhang Cang, who had come to provoke him just a few days ago.
Meanwhile, Zhang Cang also discovered Lin Ming. He looked at him with a hint of disdain in his smile.
“Lin Ming? I had forgotten, but it seems that the Ten Thousand Killing Array assessment also allows new disciples to participate. Heh heh, I am highly anticipating your performance. I hope you can enter in the top 180, otherwise it’s just too boring.”
“You don’t need to worry about my ranking. How come Zhu Yan didn’t come?” Lin Ming pointed this out, as he knew that the last time Zhang Cang had provoked him was because Zhu Yan was pulling the strings behind the scenes.
However Zhang Cang did not mind; he just didn’t care how Lin Ming came to know about this matter.
Zhang Cang sneered and said, “Zhu Yan is a disciple of the Heavenly Abode and his ranking is 39. With that ranking, every rank above it is difficult. How could he come every month? Do you even understand about these boundaries?”
Lin Ming replied, “I’m not interested in you or your crap. After the month ends, we will come to a resolution. At the appointed time, I hope you can still smile afterwards.”
“Haha, that was exactly what I was going to say to you.”
News of the gambling match between Zhang Cang and Lin Ming had been spread around, and many people knew about it. Some people took pleasure in others’ misfortune and wanted to watch the new first place disciple suffer a humiliating loss, but there were also some people who loathed Zhang Cang’s actions. Zhang Cang was bullying a new disciple after all, and the despicable action of trying to take his new true essence stones was despised by them.
At this time, Wang Yanfeng bumped into Liu Mingxiang. With Liu Mingxiang’s arrogant nature and Wang Yanfeng’s proud character, this naturally spelled disaster.
By now, the ashlar square’s altar suddenly shot out an abundance of light rays, and each rune and symbol on the altar began to blaze into existence one after the other; the ranking war had started.
In the Ten Thousand Killing Array’s altar were 12 positions, 12 people could participate in the assessment at the same time.
After the assessment, the Ten Thousand Killing Array would directly reflect the combined killing score onto the ranking magic array to get the final ranking.
Lin Mingxiang saw the Ten Thousand Killing Array revolve and light up and laughed, “Wang Yanfeng, there is no need to say anything puerile, why don’t we try our hand in the Ten Thousand Killing Array and see exactly who is inferior?”
“That’s just right for me!” Although Wang Yanfeng had received a setback by Lin Ming, his spirit hadn’t dropped. Although he knew that it wasn’t possible to win against Liu Mingxiang, he still dared to challenge him.
“The newborn calf does not fear the tiger. This Wang Yanfeng has some guts.”
“What use are guts, his age is too small, there is no way for him to win.”
“New disciples that could enter past 180 are already rare. 150 is a peerless talent, and 130 could even be said to be a miracle of heaven that is rarely seen even every decade. Ling Sen and Ta Ku were unable to. This Liu Mingxiang is rank 125, and he might even advance this time, what chance does Wang Yanfeng possibly have to win?”
Lin Ming listened to others’ comments. His eyes turned to the Ranking Stone and sure enough, Liu Mingxiang was rank 125. He was within the upper middle rankings of the Earth Hall.
In the entirety of the Earth Hall and the Heavenly Abode were 230 disciples. It was a very good result if a new disciple could reach at least rank 200. Wang Yanfeng could easily accomplish this, but he wanted reach a much higher and loftier goal, and Lin Ming was the same. These recent days, he had learnt about these approximate Ranking Stone requirements. If he wanted to rank above 180 he would need at least 100 points. If he wanted to rank above 150 he needed several hundred points. And killing someone that was equal to the peak of the Third Stage of Body Transformation only gave 50 points.
Twelve disciples stepped onto the altar and firmly stood there. The deacon who was responsible for activating and maintaining the array said, “There is no limit to the assessment duration. If you defeat an enemy at the Second Stage of Body Transformation you will gain 1 point. If you defeat an enemy at the peak of the Second Stage of Body Transformation you will gain 5 points. A Third Stage Body Transformation opponent will give you 10 points, and the peak of the Third Stage of Body Transformation will give you 50 points. A fourth Stage Body Transformation opponent will give you 100 points, and a peak Fourth Stage Body Transformation opponent will give you 500 points. A Fifth Stage Body Transformation Opponent will give you 1000 points, and a peak Fifth Stage Body Transformation Opponent will give you 5000 points.”
“The highest level combatant you will face is at the Pulse Condensation Stage. If you defeat one, you will gain 10,000 points. After entering the magic array, you may use your thoughts to select a weapon to wield. Death results in failure and ejection from the array.”
After the deacon’s voice faded, the altar flashed with a bright light. The 12 disciples inside the altar blurred a little as if they were covered by some invisible force.
In the altar, Wang Yang opened his eyes and arrived in a lifeless white world. In front of him was every weapon imaginable; heavy swords, soft swords, longswords, broadswords, short swords, katanas, spears, axes, hammers, and so forth.
“Come to me, long sword.” As soon as Wang Yanfeng thought this, a long sword appeared in his hand. In the Sky Fortune Kingdom, 90% of martial artists used a sword, and among those, 80% of them used a longsword. A longsword was a fantastic weapon; it was dynamic and relentless, swift and fierce.
The test finally started, and seven or eight vicious beasts appeared in front of Wang Yanfeng. There were also three or four martial artists whose strength ranged from the early Second Stage of Body Transformation to the early Third Stage of Body Transformation.
Wang Yanfeng coldly gazed at them. He had to defeat these opponents. When the real fight began, Wang Yanfeng found that the assessment was actually very simple. Every time he killed an enemy, a new one would immediately appear to replace it, except that this new opponent’s strength was more formidable!
Wang Yanfeng had only killed five or six, when martial artists at the Fourth Stage of Body Transformation began to appear.
When he accumulated 110 points, Wang Yanfeng gave a stuffy humph as he received a minor wound. When he gathered up to 180 points, a martial artist managed to pierce a sword into Wang Yanfeng’s stomach. In that final moment, Wang Yanfeng sliced off that martial artists head, and at the same time he was stabbed through the heart.
Final score – 190 points.
After dying, Wang Yanfeng was shot out of the Ten Thousand Killing Array. He looked pale, but luckily he had managed not to faint because of his previous experience at the Exquisite Pagoda. Wang Yanfeng had adapted to this sort of illusory killing realm, and his although his entire body was wracked with aching pain, he hadn’t truly been injured. These aches were only because of the phantom nerve stimulations from being killed.
As Wang Yanfeng looked around the altar, his complexion sank. He was unexpectedly the first one to be eliminated! Besides him, all 11 other people were still on the altar!