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Fighting over a path was the easiest way to cause disputes and conflict, let alone during a time like the Grand Examination, where tensions were high, with the rules prohibiting examinees from taking the same route, someone would have to make the choice of choosing a new path – the Dallying forest covered a vast area, making it rare for two examinees to come across the same route, for Tang Thirty-Six to encounter that scholar from Scholartree Manor could be described as nothing else other than bad luck.
From the understanding Chen Chang Sheng and the others had of Tang Thirty-Six, the bad luck was definitely not Tang Thirty-Six’s, and indeed, the reality was as such. In the end, it was the scholar from Scholartree Manor that was forced to choose a different route.
That scholar stared in the direction of Orthodox Academy, his face full of anger, wanting to go forth and argue with them; his fellow students stopped him, causing him to notice the presence of Luo Luo; he couldn’t help letting out a few sneers.
The group from Scholartree Manor passed by the group from Orthodox Academy as they went towards the river, they used various methods, elegant to the extreme, to cross the River Qu; before leaving, they gave some mildly derisory glances towards Chen Chang Sheng’s group.
At this time, Su Mo Yu had exited the forest, he went to the location of Chen Chang Sheng’s group. For some unknown reason, this young expert from Li Palace College was not in his best condition today, the amount of time he took to complete the Dallying Forest was far longer than expected.
Tang Thirty-Six didn’t like this prudish and stubborn person, but Chen Chang Sheng didn’t feel overly averse to his presence; seeing his slightly pale face, he asked: “Is there anything wrong?”
Su Mo Yu replied: “I suddenly started getting signs last night of a breakthrough into the next realm. In forcibly suppressing it, my True Essence flow reversed, causing some shock to my sea of consciousness.”
The young geniuses within the top 50 on the Proclamation of Azure Clouds were generally all at the upper stage of the Meditative Realm, if they wished to, they could have attempted breaking through to the Ethereal Opening realm at any time.
The barrier to the next realm was too high however, and the process of breaking through, too dangerous, therefore, without being fully prepared for this process, very few would choose to suddenly attempt the breakthrough.
Su Mo Yu was exceedingly diligent in his cultivation, and had come before the barrier long ago, due to the Grand Examination, he had been restraining himself, yet, he couldn’t have expected that the signs of a breakthrough would appear just as the Grand Examination was imminent; what would have originally been a good thing had instead become a source of trouble.
Logically, this type of information concerning your own cultivation status should not be revealed to anyone else, not to mention that Orthodox Academy and Li Palace College were opponents, yet, for some unknown reason, seeing Chen Chang Sheng’s sincere expression, Su Mo Yu naturally told him everything without too much consideration.
Tang Thirty-Six’s expression relaxed, his thoughts towards him became a lot less belligerent – being trusted by someone, was a very pleasant feeling. He looked at Su Mo Yu and asked: “How long till you recover?”
Forcibly suppressing the signs of a breakthrough was something that could cause damage to the sea of consciousness upon even the slightest mistake; in the short-term, the sea of consciousness would become unstable, therefore, it was unsurprising that Su Mo Yu, even with his solid foundation and ability, would have spent so much time on the Dallying Forest. With sufficient time to meditate and rest your thoughts however, this type of condition shouldn’t persist for too long.
“If I can last until the second round of the duelling phase, I should have recovered by then.”
Su Mo Yu did a formal hand greeting to the group from Orthodox Academy and then said to Chen Chang Sheng: “I will wait for you on the Southern shore.”
Upon finishing those words, he walked to the riverside, the outline of his body became mildly distorted as he initiated Li Palace College’s wave riding art; his image gently swayed to and fro as he headed forwards; not taking long to arrive at the opposite shore.
Though his sea of consciousness was unstable, his True Essence capacity was unaffected and his cultivation art was sublime.
With the passage of time, more and more examinees exited the Dallying Forest and made their way across the river; some of them arrived after much difficulty, while some fell into the river, requiring the clergy of Li Palace to bail them out of the waters.
The number of examinees standing by the riverside became increasingly few and Chen Chang Sheng’s group of three became ever more conspicuous; conversely, the number of people on the Southern shore continued increasing; some of the examinees that had finished the Martial Trial much earlier, such as Gou Han Shi’s group from Li Mountain, successively left the towers and pavilions they had been waiting in. They were preparing to observe something, but it was unknown as to what, presumably, it was something related to Orthodox Academy.
From amongst the evergreen trees that were approximately the length of two people in height, startled birds suddenly flew out, followed by the sound of breaking branches; the ground lightly rumbled, waves even started appearing upon the River Qu near the shore and dust abounded. An extremely stocky figure appeared from within the sea of trees that proceeded to violently rush out, their clothing full of tears from passing undergrowth and branches.
Xuan Yuan Po had finally passed through the Dallying Forest.
The yao youth’s divine sense was fairly strong, otherwise, he wouldn’t have been chosen by his tribe to travel to the Capital for studying, but he was lacking in training for the use of perception through divine sense, with his disposition being overly simplistic and his spatial thinking being relatively weak; it was easy for him to hunt prey in the mountains, but for him to complete a labyrinth devised by some intellectual, this was very difficult.
Chen Chang Sheng and the others had been worried about this, upon seeing him come out of the forest, though a little worse for wear, they felt glad.
Xuan Yuan Po ran over to them.
Chen Chang Sheng had helped him shave away his facial hair the night before, revealing the tender face beneath that was more fitting for his age, yet, at this time, whether due to his worrying or some other unknown reason, after just half a day, he had already sprouted a thin layer of stubble.
The stubble, alongside heavy sweating from all the running he had done, caused him to have a look of anxiety on his face.
“I’m late, I’m late.”
Xuan Yuan Po ran to Chen Chang Sheng’s side, looking very concerned; he was afraid he had delayed things; he reached out, preparing to grab onto Chen Chang Sheng’s hand.
Minister Xin had visited Orthodox Academy to leak the exam topic, this was proof that he, or perhaps His Eminence, The Archbishop, believed crossing the river was the most difficult task for Chen Chang Sheng.
Chen Chang Sheng hadn’t said anything in regards to this, but Xuan Yuan Po and Tang Thirty-Six had privately agreed to some preparations, preparations that involved some sacrifice.
Xuan Yuan Po was preparing to grab onto Chen Chang Sheng’s hand, then throwing him across to the opposite shore.
Undetected, Tang Thirty-Six had lightly stepped behind Chen Chang Sheng, he and Xuan Yuan Po knew very clearly that Chen Chang Sheng would never agree to this method and that he would definitely start struggling. His task therefore, was to restrain Chen Chang Sheng when this happened.
Chen Cheng Sheng finally reacted, guessing what they had in mind, he said: “Don’t do anything reckless.”
At this moment, Tang Thirty-Six’s hand was only about a foot (1/3 metre) away from his back; he could have restrained him at a moment’s notice.
Xuan Yuan Po looked at Chen Chang Sheng and said: “We don’t know the reason, but we do know that you have a reason where you must place first upon the First Banner, I don’t have the need, I can wait for the next Grand Examination.”
While saying those words, the yao youth continued to have the honest expression he usually had, though, it was more serious than usual.
Chen Chang Sheng felt moved, but he wouldn’t accept this heavy act of friendship, he said: “I have my own method.”
He didn’t manage to finish his words, as Tang Thirty-Six’s hand was already upon his shoulder, Xuan Yuan Po’s hand flashed forwards – these two fellow students of Chen Chang Sheng knew him too well, they decided not to give him any chance to persuade them, yet, in the next moment, they found that their plans had come to naught, as Xuan Yuan Po’s hand hadn’t managed to grasp onto Chen Chang Sheng’s.
A small pair of hands came in from the side, grasping onto Xuan Yuan Po’s hand.
The hands belonged to Luo Luo.