The mountains were hazy and lush with green.
The bamboo forest in Green Bamboo Sanctuary could be called the most beautiful bamboo forest in the World of Seven Continents.
With the elegant and subtle bamboo incense lingering, Jing Yue and the rest of the sect members gradually entered the depths of the bamboo forest. When the wind blew, the mist shimmered, and all the light and shadows melted within the greenery.
After walking for a quarter of an hour, Jing Yue found no more pathways in front of him. He took out a piece of emerald green bamboo leaf, which was a token distributed by Green Bamboo Sanctuary to each practitioner, with simple runes painted on it.
Jing Yue urged some spiritual energy into it and the bamboo leaf immediately lit up with a faint glow, and a translucent barrier slowly emerged. As soon as he moved, Jing Yue had stepped into the enchantment.
Once in the secret realm, it was still a large bamboo forest, but in the center of the bamboo forest stood a towering giant bamboo. The bamboo stem had a thickness of ten feet, the height of the bamboo could not be seen, and half of the body was covered by clouds and mist.
Jing Yue, “Is that the Heavenly Bamboo?”
Zheng Bai, “Yeah, it's spectacular, isn't it? Although it looks close from here, if you walk with your legs, it’d take you two days to reach there.”
After that, he gently blew on the bamboo leaf in his hand and the bamboo leaf immediately became bigger, like a small boat floating at his feet.
The others followed Zheng Bai's actions and the bamboo leaf boats flew up into the air. Within a quarter of an hour, they came to the edge of the heavenly bamboo.
Jing Yue sat on the bamboo leaf boat and circled the bottom of the heavenly bamboo a few times. Suddenly, there was a blur in front of his eyes, and the next moment, he had appeared in front of a wooden house.
And the bamboo leaf boat under his feet transformed into a green silk ribbon, wrapped around his right wrist. A string of words the size of rice grains appeared on the silk ribbon. Fortunately, Foundation Establishment cultivators had good eyesight and could still see them clearly.
Jing Yue stared at the silk ribbon and studied it for a while. It turned out that he had entered the formation of the heavenly bamboo and was about to face the first test.
Following the instructions on the silk ribbon, he walked into the wooden house and saw a chubby boy squatting on the ground, throwing dice by himself.
Jing Yue knew that all of this was an illusion created by the natural formation of the bamboo leaves. It was said to be ‘a world in a leaf and a test in a leaf’. The difficulty of the test was not arranged from simple to complex. There was no logic or rules bound to it, all depending on luck.
Therefore, luck also played an important role in the contestant’s strength on the heavenly bamboo.
And the first test he encountered was very simple. He just needed to throw the dice against the child, and if the points he collected were larger, he would win.
Jing Yue walked over and the boy raised his head. “Gege, do you want to play dice with me?”
Jing Yue, “Sure.”
This test was practically given to him for free. Only with a nudge from his divine consciousness, Jing Yue cast a few sixes. Amid the child’s awestruck gaze, he waved his sleeves and stood up.
Although it was a different kind of cheating, he still held his head high!
Then, he saw three bamboo shoots growing in the corner of the wooden house, forming a triangle, and the center of the bamboo shoots seemed to be a clear lake with shallow ripples.
This was the teleportation array of each illusion. After the contestants entered the heavenly bamboo, if they pass the test, they would be teleported to the upper layer of leaves. If they failed the test, they would fall to the next layer and start over again.
In other words, with one failure, they would fall behind by two tests.
The higher the success rate, the lesser number of trials. The faster the climbing speed, the greater the chance of winning the top spot.
Throughout all the previous bamboo-picking events, the one who picked the bamboo core in the shortest time was Qin Yanzhi, 800 hundred years ago. From beginning to end, he only failed once.
Jing Yue entered the teleportation formation. After brief darkness and light, he came to the second illusory formation.
The thick fog obscured his vision. As Jing Yue was waiting to check the content of this test, he suddenly had a foreboding! He tapped his toes lightly and flew backward. A dark shadow burst out of the fog and attacked where he was originally standing.
Jing Yue was taken aback. “It’s you!”
The opponent also had a strange expression on the face but didn't say a word and rushed forward.
Amid the sparks and clashes, Jing Yue had learned that his test was to last for a quarter of an hour in the hands of the sneak attacker but he did not expect that the opponent was an acquaintance. It was Meng Shan’s sister, Meng Wan.
He had heard before that contestants may enter the same illusory array and the tasks of the two parties may be the same or different.
Meng Wan concealed herself in the fog again. The mist was like her faithful aide, helping her hide easily.
Jing Yue guessed that Meng Wan's test was most likely a successful sneak attack on her opponent, that was, him.
He rolled his eyes and suddenly laughed.
Jing Yue quietly took out a talisman from the storage bag and released his spiritual consciousness. Everything in the mist instantly became clear.
He saw Meng Wan lying in ambush at his 5 o’clock direction, saw Meng Wan approaching him silently, saw Meng Wan's slender legs flexing forcefully, and her entire person flew into the air and stabbed him with a sword!
Jing Yue didn't evade but only activated a talisman when Meng Wan was one foot away from him.
Then, he saw Meng Wan staying in an attacking posture, her body a little stiff and petrified, and in the blink of an eye, she turned into a gray stone statue, and fell heavily on the ground with a loud thud.
The mist dissipated instantly. It turned out that he and Meng Wan were in a dojo. The teleportation array appeared again in the corner.
Jing Yue’s eyes curved as he said with a smile, “Thank you, Meng-shijie. Oh, by the way, the Rock Transformation Talisman made by your brother is so useful. I must thank him properly when I return.”
Meng Wan, “…”
As a stone statue, she couldn't move or speak. When she thought of maintaining such an unspeakable posture for two hours, she really wanted to hang Meng Shan up and whip him!
Aarrgghhh! Meng Wan, who was as cold as a snow lotus in the eyes of thousands of people, had already gone berserk in her heart.
At this time, in the distant Nine Heaven Academy, Meng Shan snapped his fingers. “I finally discovered the mystery behind the wood sparrow beast-suppression talisman!”
Suddenly, his body was inexplicably cold and he couldn't help but sneeze.
Perhaps in the second illusion, running into another contestant was really unfortunate, so the luck returned to Jing Yue in the following trials.
He went through dozens of weird tests in a row, such as guessing riddles with old ladies, painting the portrait of the girl with five faces, and imitating the sounds of birds and beasts. Fortunately, they were all very simple.
After he solved the dilemma of the three monks carrying water, Jing Yue stepped into the teleportation formation again.
When he opened his eyes again, Jing Yue felt that he was being pressed down to the ground. The force on his body felt as heavy as a boulder. His shoulders, back, and legs felt like they were nailed on the surface, unable to move, and he could even feel the coolness of metal.
Jing Yue had no spiritual power in his body. He couldn't see the test notification on his wrist for the time being so he had no idea what was happening. Thus, he calmly looked up and observed, only to find that the environment in front of him was completely unfamiliar.
There were a lot of people standing right in front. The middle-aged man in the front row was blond and blue-eyed, with a high nose and deep-set eyes. Wearing a loose white robe, he held a half-foot-long wooden staff in his hand, and wore a necklace on his chest with a cross-shaped pendant.
Behind the middle-aged man stood several people covered in iron armor. Even the face was covered, only a pair of eyes were exposed, which were also of different colors.
Jing Yue turned his eyes and looked left and right.
On the left was a row of low stone houses but the style was not similar to that of the World of Seven Continents. To be precise, it was different from any era in the big world he lived in.
On the right, there were men and women, all of whom look foreign. The men wore short robes, trousers fitting tight to the thighs and enclosed in half-length leather boots. The women’s clothes were very revealing, half the breasts exposed, the cuffs were wide, and the skirts were fluffy, which look quite exotic.
At this time, the middle-aged man wearing the cross was asking him harshly, “Charles, are you still unwilling to confess?”
Jing Yue fell silent for a moment while he lamented. The illusory array this time was a bit powerful, completely building a whole new world. He wasn’t too surprised. After all, everyone knew that there was only one big world in one universe, but there were hundreds of millions of small worlds. This projection should be a replica of the worldview and laws of a certain small world.
And when he heard the name Charles, he had some fragmented memories in his mind, which at least allowed him to understand the current situation.
It turned out that his soul was attached to a man named Charles, a citizen of the Kingdom of Domas. The highest power in this country was not the imperial power but the church. The people of the church had divine power, which was a power similar to spiritual energy, but it was too weak to be mentioned.
The person wearing a cross-shaped necklace in front of him was the church pastor, the one wearing iron armor was the church knight, while the rest of the onlookers were civilians in the small town at the border of Domas.
The reason Charles was in such a miserable situation was that he ate meat, while the people in this kingdom could only be vegetarian. In their opinion, only people who were impure and full of sin would eat meat. Once someone eating meat was found, the church would cut their stomachs open and pull out their intestines in front of the entire city, and label this torture as purification.
But Charles was not caught—he was reported, and that person was a child he picked up when he was fifteen. Louis was only two or three years old then. Charles felt compassionate at that time and kept him by his side all the time since.
Charles was an orphan with no ability to earn money. In order to feed the two, he had to hunt wild game secretly and eat meat to satisfy their hunger. Unexpectedly, Louis awakened his divine power at the age of 18 and was admitted to the church to become a knight. Now, he brought people to arrest Charles, and they found some chicken reserves in his room.
Obviously, the story of a farmer and a snake.
As for the test, Jing Yue’s hands were bound so he could only scan with his spiritual sense, and the task was to help clear Charles from the accusation.
Seeing that he hadn't spoken for a long time, the pastor said, “Don’t think that you can escape from punishment if you kept silent. Whether you admit it or not, the Lord will judge you.”
Jing Yue, “Since Louis said that I ate meat and I raised him from childhood to adulthood, don’t you doubt that he also ate some?”
Pastor, “He awakened his divine power and naturally is pure.”
Jing Yue, “…” Could this really be that straightforward? That’s easy to handle then.
He noticed that there was divine power in Charles's body, but unfortunately, it was blocked by impurities in the meridians. Thus, he randomly chose a technique and activated it, forcibly opened the meridians, and the divine power immediately gathered in his dantian. Next, Jing Yue used his divine consciousness to temper his divine power more firmly. At this time, Charles was almost equivalent to a level-3 Qi Refining cultivator.
However… Jing Yue glanced at a man next to the pastor. The exposed eyes of the other party not concealed by the armor were full of triumph, which made him annoyed and his hands itchy. Even if this was an illusion, he wanted to take care of this little turncoat on behalf of Charles.
Jing Yue, “I can prove my innocence, but first, you have to let go of me.”
The pastor chuckled and slowly said, “My child, you are special. No one has ever dared to speak to me like this.”
Jing Yue, “…” From his point of view, the pastor was no more than a level-1 Qi Refining. So audacious? He seemed even more confident than Ji-ji at this point.
The corner of the pastor's mouth curled up haughtily. “Interesting. In that case, I'll give you a chance.”
He had expressed his stance and the person holding Jing Yue immediately let go.
Jing Yue stood up and flexed his arms. He combed through the information in Charles’s memory and said, “In fact, the food that looks like chicken is not meat but vegetarian. I just have a special way of cooking it.”
“Hahaha…” Louis couldn't help laughing wildly and said to the pastor with one hand on his chest, “My lord, why do you waste time with this sinner?”
Jing Yue pretended to be distressed. “Louis, I raised you up after all. Now that I'm trying to clear my name and the pastor is willing to give me a chance, why are you so impatient?”
Louis angrily said, “I’m just obeying the Lord's will! You can’t escape from evil! Even if you try to tempt me to fall, my devotion to the Lord protects me and gives me the right to the path of light!”
Jing Yue, “Don’t you want to erase the traces of your past? Aren't you afraid that I will pester you to repay your debt?” Ignoring Louis's flushed eyes, he said, “Pastor, I need some vegetarian food from you and you can witness it with your own eyes.”
Seeing his calm eyes, the pastor hesitated for a while before he nodded to a knight beside him.
When a basket of soybeans was placed in front of him, Jing Yue thought silently. In his lifetime, he was not good at a lot of things, but apart from birthing children, there was nothing else he couldn’t do. When he was a rogue cultivator, those years were not for nothing!
Jing Yue first soaked the beans. To speed up the process, he even urged some spiritual power secretly. Next, he used the tools to grind the beans into soy milk, and then put it in a large pot to boil…
Step by step, when the soy milk was finally made into tofu skin, and the tofu skin was made into vegetarian chicken, everyone was stunned. For the first time, they found out that soybeans could be used in this manner!
Jing Yue marinated the vegetarian chicken with several seasonings, cut them into slices, and put them on the plate. It looked exactly like the chicken found at Charles's house!
Jing Yue, “The truth is right in front of you. Nothing is impossible.” He said to the pastor again, “My lord, this is called mock chicken. Please verify.”
The pastor frowned. With a dignified expression, he picked up a piece of mock chicken with his fingers, gently tore it open, and observed it for a while. Then, he asked the knights to bring the chicken they had found, and also tore it apart for comparison.
On the side, Jing Yue wasn’t worried at all. The composition of the chicken that Charles stored had been quietly tampered with by him. This method required very precise control over the divine power. As for these people in front of him… they could neither do it nor even imagine it.
Sure enough, the pastor found absolutely no difference in the texture, appearance, and smell of the two. His brows tightened and he ordered a knight, “Kill a chicken and bring it here.”
When the pastor compared the real chicken and found that there was a slight difference between the real chicken and the mock chicken, he had to believe what Jing Yue said.
His brows relaxed as he said, “It turned out to be a misunderstanding.”
Louis, “My lord…”
Jing Yue, “It’s not a misunderstanding but slander. I have raised Louis for more than ten years but he bit the hand that fed him in return. How could a person with such inferior character serve the Lord?”
Louis jumped in anger. “Bullshit! Since we have lived together for more than ten years, how can I not know what you can do! You must have been possessed by the devil!”
Jing Yue smiled strangely. “The devil?”
For some reason, when Louis saw his smile, deep anxiety welled in his heart.
Jing Yue stretched out his hand. The palm of his hand was brimming with wisps of silver thread, and it finally gathered into a little light. The light was sacred and pure and everyone who saw it felt humbled and yearning.
In astonishment, the pastor blurted out, “This is the divine power of the priest!”