Chapter 103: Halfway to Sword Intent
There was a huge stone in the lake under the huge waterfall.
Ye Chen sat on the rock with his legs tugged under his body, the Hidden Cloud Sword was in its scabbard and on his lap. He was drifting in and out of this bliss, where he could forget about everything, including himself.
The loud sound of the waterfall hitting the rocks did not affect Ye Chen at all. In his senses, the world was no longer the same, the sounds had completely disappeared, the waterfall seemed to fall slower and slower, eventually moving in slow motion, inch by inch. From time to time, few drops of water would splash out, which looked like the brightest crystals under the sunshine.
When the waterfalls completely froze in time, Ye Chen suddenly opened his sharp eyes.
He took out his sword, swung it in the air and made a slicing motion!
The whole movement was completed smoothly, without any hesitation or restraint.
Suddenly, the waterfall in front of him was sliced in half. It started to fall in two streams, as if it was supposed to be that way.
With loud sounds, the water started to fall on the rocks once again.
"Only half a step away from reaching sword intent. Too bad, it would be the hardest part ever, requiring a lot of training for a long time." With that sword attack, Ye Chen almost sensed the sword intent, but he still could not manage to see through it completely, so it could only be counted as half step to sword intent. That was still a big gap from the true sword intent.
He let out a breath, it was like fog and shot out like an arrow at the same time, Ye Chen slowly stood up, he slightly shook his body which wore off his half-step sword intent, making other people hardly notice it.
After enjoying the view for a while, Ye Chen went back the way he came earlier.
Outside the yard, Wu Zongming saw that Ye Chen had come back, he laughed, "It is so hard to find you."
Ye Chen said, "There are only three days left to the Inner Disciple Ranking Competition. I just wanted to improve my skills as much as possible."
"You are not aiming for the top ten inner disciples, are you?"
"Yes, more or less."
Wu Zongming opened his eyes wide, "Really!? The top ten inner disciples are the closest in strength to the core disciples. Some of them can even able to actually compete with the core disciples, and most importantly, they are almost all Late Condensing Reality Realm warriors, with the power to instantly kill normal warriors in the same power level."
The top ten inner disciples were the most powerful of the inner disciples of the whole martial institution. Each of them was a martial genius with high talent, comprehension ability and mentality. They might not be able to compete with the core disciples yet, but as long as they had enough time, no one could really say how far they could go. So for any martial institution, the top ten inner disciples were just as important as the core disciples, they would never be ignored or underestimated just because of the temporary gap between their power levels.
Ye Chen shook his head and laughed, "Since when have you become so unambitious? It is only the top ten inner disciples. I heard that there were always a couple of people being kicked out of the top ten position, and someone new would join in. "
Wu Zongming opened his mouth, but he did not know what to say. He also felt he was being a little bit unambitious. He remembered when Ye Chen was brave enough to challenge Zhang Haoran who was at the peak of Mortal Realm Stage 10 while he was only at Mortal Realm stage 6, and now he had already reached the Mid Condensing Reality Realm. There was no reason forbidding him from becoming one of the top ten inner disciples. He knew he had thought about it as well.
"You are quite right. I used to be the first ranked outer disciple, so I never had much pressure before. But once I became an inner disciple, I was surrounded by talented warriors; with my power level and potential, I was never the top again, so I chose to hide my true feelings and planned to take small steps as that was the safer option. Now that you mentioned it, I just realized why the gap between me and Zhang Haoran has been growing. It is because I lost my passion and motivation, and became an ordinary member of the inner disciples." If it wasn't for Ye Chen, Wu Zongming would never have realized it. But he had witnessed Ye Chen's improvements, and he knew that it was not just a coincidence for Ye Chen to reach where he was right now, he understood that he should really learn from him.
Wu Zongming's satisfaction from reaching the Mid Condensing Reality Realm by taking the Zhen Qi pellet had disappeared completely, he sighed, "I just had an enlightenment. I thought I could use the Zhen Qi pellet to decrease the gap between us, but now, I think it has only brought us more and more apart. At least my passion and determination is not as strong as yours."
Ye Chen opened the gate of the yard and invited Wu Zongming to come in. While he was walking, he said to him, "Actually, talent is just like a stepping stone, it can make you look taller than other people. But if you want to become even taller, it is not enough just with your talent, you would have to find your own path and walk your own way."
Wu Zongming forced a smile, "The 'path' and the 'way' is still far away from me, I have no idea what kind of state you have already reached."
"Oh, by the way, what are you here for?" Ye Chen asked.
Wu Zongming tapped on his forehead then said, "I almost forgot why I am here. The ranking competition is in three days, and we have to take the draw now."
"Yes, except the top ten inner disciples from last year, everyone else have to draw lots and register their names. Otherwise, it would take way too long on the day of the competition."
"That is true, then let's go!"
On their way there, Ye Chen got to know a few things about the competition. The contestants of the inner disciple ranking competition were separated into ten groups, and each group contained about fifty people. The top ten inner disciples would be among them as well. There would be ten rounds of competitions within each group. Only the top three of each group would have the chance to take part in the final competitions, where they would be competing against each other for the top ten inner disciples rankings for this year. And the rest of the contestants would be ranked by the number of times they had won.
In the Martial Arts Plaza.
There was a huge drawing box in the middle of the plaza, with two registration staffs standing right next to it.
By the time they reached, there were already a lot of inner disciples there.
"Damn, what bad luck! How did I end up in 'Ghost Sword' Li Kuang's team?"
"You call that bad luck? I got 'Blood Shadow' Dao Meng Chong on my team. Who could beat him? There is no way other than to give up if I ever have to face him."
Ye Chen was at the back of the line, he looked pretty confused.
Soon, it was his turn.
He reached his hand into the drawing box, and took out a skinny wooden board. It read, "Group 7, No.28. Ace contestant of the group: Feng Ping."
Right next to him, the registration staff wrote down Ye Chen's name and his number.
After drawing the lots, the two left the crowd. Wu Zongming asked, "Which group are you in? Who is the ace contestant?"
"Group 5, Feng Ping."
"Feng Ping!" Wu Zongming froze a little, he carried on talking, "He is ranked sixth in the top ten inner disciples. He has a crazy good movement art, rumor says he could walk on wind as if there is no gravity. He is one of the trickiest ones to compete with. Luckily, I did not get him, otherwise I am afraid that I would not even be able to touch the edge of his clothes."
Crazy good movement arts!
Ye Chen was interested. Movement arts were his advantage as well, he wondered how good this Feng Ping was.
As for Wu Zongming, he was in third group, with an ace contestant called Xiao Ye, who was ranked even higher in the last inner disciple competition. He was ranked higher than Pei Shaoqing and Li Kuang. He had also mastered great defensive arts and attacking arts, due to that he got the title "Mad man".
After leaving the plaza, the two went their separate ways.
On the third day.
The night before the day of competition, Ye Chen had finally reached the peak of the Mid Condensing Reality Realm and had increased his Zhen Qi by three times. Meanwhile, his Pure Jun Zhen Qi Art had also reached the peak of the seventh stage, where he could almost form his Qi swords into solid objects, which was way more powerful than the sword light.
Now that everything was done on schedule, it was time for the ranking competition.