Chapter 284: Trial After Trial
The three bridges were obviously there for Jiang Chen to choose from.
Although there were no clear indications on the path, Jiang Chen was well aware of the fact that there was only one bridge that was the right path.
Choosing the wrong bridge meant that he was out, because there was no way to backtrack on the path of rebirth. One could only keep moving forward.
Jiang Chen looked out on the bridges and he saw that there were shadows moving on the bridges in the mist. Although his line of sight wasn’t the best, he could still see figures moving about on all three bridges.
This meant that there was someone on each of the bridges.
“A moment, didn’t they say that one is always alone on the path of rebirth? Why is it that there are figures on all three bridges?”
Jiang Chen felt that it was a bit odd and utilized the God’s Eye to peer upon the bridges.
Indeed, there were people walking on all the bridges towards the shore on the other side. Each bridge was filled with many people.
It looked like the bridge was quite slippery, as people continuously fell off the bridge and landed in the frothing river waters below.
The even more frightening thing was that when they fell into the waters, it was like falling into a pot of boiling oil as their bodies melted, leaving behind only a pile of white bones in the blink of an eye.
“How can this be?” Jiang Chen was startled. White bones could float on top of the water? Judging from the water’s momentum, it could basically churn everything away, so how could it possibly leave the bones behind?
If one of the three bridges was the right one, why would the people on them fall down instead?
“This is a trial of the heart and not of the others. Everything on these bridges must be fake.” Jiang Chen made his judgement.
He stood there for a moment and he went over all the clues in his mind again, suddenly feeling a flash of inspiration.
“Yes yes, they said that one is always alone on the path of rebirth. How is it possible that other people would appear? Since this is a solitary path, then everything I see must be illusionary. Everything, including even these three bridges, must be an illusion. These figures are just a reminder for me.”
Those stark white bones were an illusion.
Even that roaring river was most likely fake as well!
Having practiced the Boulder’s Heart, Jiang Chen’s instinct would continuously give himself hints as soon as these kinds of thoughts appeared, seeking to make the thoughts more resolute.
He gave a long whistle and ignored the three bridges, leaping directly into the frothing waters.
When he stepped on the water, Jiang Chen discovered that it felt like he’d stepped on something hard. He took a close look and realized that he was still on the flat plains.
What great river in front of him? What bridges? Where had all the figures and white bones gone?
“Indeed, fabrications. It was all just a fabrication.” Jiang Chen sighed softly, even more impressed by the person who had brought the path of rebirth into existence.
If one didn’t have strong power of the heart on this path of reincarnation, and lacked sufficient powers of deduction and logic, or overlooked the organizer’s words, then he would’ve surely embarked on the wrong path as soon as he’d set foot on any of the three bridges and he might’ve been disqualified immediately.
It was precisely because Jiang Chen had remembered that sentence — you are forever alone on the path of rebirth and you won’t bump into anyone.
Since this was a trial of the heart, it wouldn’t be so silly as to make people choose a meaningless decision and rely on luck to make it across the swift river.
Since it wasn’t a game of chance, this meant that it was most likely that the three bridges were fake.
The river then was fake as well.
Jiang Chen’s deductions were reasonable.
“Perhaps the words on the stone marker were a hint. What is the Bridge of Helplessness? It’s a bridge on the path to the underworld. Perhaps the three bridges were called thus to hint that if you took these bridges, you wouldn’t be able to make it past the path of rebirth at all.”
These were Jiang Chen’s thoughts.
“If anyone else meets the bridges, I believe that many of them will be disqualified. The word of at least two thirds of participants being disqualified in the first trial were most likely not an over exaggeration. It’s very possible that many would’ve fallen in the first test.”
After all, the three bridges were right there, and according to customary logic, many would choose to pass through one of them.
If one’s heart was resolute and their powers of deduction strong, then one might consider the fact that without any clear hints, it was a game of chance if one would select the right bridge when it came down to choosing one amongst the three.
But it was a bit nonsensical to have a game of chance here. The path of rebirth was one of the trials, why would a game of chance be used to determine a practitioner’s future?
“I wonder if my three followers can make it past this trial?” Jiang Chen suddenly thought of his three followers who were also participating in the selection.
However, he didn’t have time to consider.
The path of rebirth’s continual tests had made it so that Jiang Chen didn’t dare think lightly of it anymore. Its first test had been enough to shock him slightly.
The test of the Bridge of Helplessness made Jiang Chen treat the trial with even more gravity.
Even though he had his advantages, it would be difficult to ensure that he’d have full confidence in passing if he relaxed his guard.
Jiang Chen suddenly felt a wall of heat hit his body, as if a strong current of hot air was rushing towards him from the front.
A stone marker suddenly appeared in front of him.
The second test of rebirth — Ocean of Divine Ashes.
Wham, wham, wham
Fire columns that shot into the sky were hovering on the path ahead, like ancient fire dragons spitting out gouts of flame.
Jiang Chen looked out and he saw that it was a vast expanse of fiery ocean wherever he looked, with no end in sight. The fiery ocean filled the heavens, and the tongues of flames gave rise to a mass of burning flames, giving one the feeling that they were in a fiery purgatory.
The strong scene of fire continued to rampage wildly, projecting the feeling that it would break through the boundary and rush to Jiang Chen’s feet.
“Ocean of Divine Ashes?” Jiang Chen halted and frowned as he looked at the fiery ocean.
His first thought was that this fiery ocean was an illusion.
However, that feeling that everything would go up in flames, and the fiery ocean that felt like it would burn everything in sight made his entire body burn hotly as well. This kind of suffocating feeling felt quite very real indeed.
“There is no way backwards on the path of rebirth!” Jiang Chen had once again reached an obstacle and he was faced with a difficult decision.
Several red twisters rose in the fiery abyss, roiling with immense fire spirit power like crazed fire dragons and they hurtled towards Jiang Chen.
That momentum that they had was as if they were hated rivals with Jiang Chen and they wanted to swallow him where he stood.
Jiang Chen was shocked, and his first thought was to back up.
But a thought continuously appeared in his heart, and that was that he couldn’t retreat.
There was no retreat on the path of rebirth!
The path would be thrown into chaos as soon as he took a step backwards and he’d be disqualified.
“Fake, fake, it’s all fake. As real as it feels, it’s still fake.” Jiang Chen repeated to himself.
When this thought grew in his mind, he grit his teeth and charged forward, rushing headlong into the fire dragons.
He actually really wanted to activate the Lotus of Fire and Ice and see how it’d do, but reason told him that it wasn’t time yet. If anyone was surveilling this trial, his trump card would be revealed there and then.
The ravaging fire dragons crashed into Jiang Chen, dispersing into nothingness like a soft breeze.
Jiang Chen rushed into the fiery ocean like an arrow loosed from the bow.
As he neared the unbridled heat waves, they continued to weaken and waver until they slowly disappeared.
“Fake again!” Jiang Chen wiped off some sweat. “It was a frightening thing to be caught between life and death. Even though I knew it was fake, it was still tough to charge into an ocean of fire. Since there is no way to turn back on the path of rebirth, I can only move forward. But to be honest, how many practitioners would dare make such a decision in the heat of the moment?”
Jiang Chen’s performance at the Ocean of Divine Ashes was much more resolute than before.
His Boulder’s Heart had also thoroughly been deployed to full effectiveness as he’d triumphed over that feeling of fear.
They said that one felt great horror when caught between life and death, but if they could triumph over this life and death, they would discover that this trial of life and death was still just an illusion.
After the Ocean of Divine Ashes, Jiang Chen’s mentality was even more bolstered.
The two trials had enabled him to slowly become used to the tests on the path of rebirth.
“No more hesitation, I need to keep moving. There will surely be more tests on the path of rebirth.” Jiang Chen made his way hurriedly and he didn’t hesitate any longer.
After the two tests, Jiang Chen didn’t run into anything else for a full half day.
The day passed, and night descended upon the path of rebirth.
As night fell, the inky black sky seemed to be an enormous monster filling the skies, making one’s emotions become heavy involuntarily.
Jiang Chen continued to walk as he discovered that he’d arrived on a path of flowers and shrubbery.
It was a sea of flowers that greeted his eyes.
The faint fragrance from the flowers seemed to follow him wherever he went, suffusing the air with fragrance.
“Jiang Chen you brat, I’ve waited for you for so long. You took your time getting here!”
Jiang Chen suddenly heard a sound as he looked around and discovered that he’d made it to the tutor manor beneath the cover of the night.
Those quiet surroundings, the familiar doorway, and the familiar figure. It was Dan Fei!
“Come on, I’ve waited for you for a long time.” Dan Fei smiled sweetly and walked forwards with the flowers’ fragrance, grasping Jiang Chen’s arm.
“Sister Dan Fei?” Jiang Chen started slightly.
“Still calling me sister at a time like this? Are you really a dunderhead?” Dan Fei’s jade finger poked at Jiang Chen’s forehead softly.
Her lithe figure softened as she collapsed into Jiang Chen’s embrace. Jiang Chen’s body grew hot as he held a soft, sweet smelling body in his arms.
Her skin was as flawless as jade, her breasts firm and perky, and that kiss that imprinted itself on Jiang Chen’s lips was oh too real.
In the next moment, Dan Fei’s slender hands had actually reached down and grabbed Jiang Chen’s private parts.
Suddenly, the light clothes on her body began falling to the ground like a peeled egg, glistening and unblemished, full of a fatal temptation.