Chapter 28: Scarlet Punishment
North of Northface City lay an extremely tall, continuous mountain range.
To the north of the mountain range was a boundless prairie. That place was the dwelling place for large numbers of Vicious Beasts, and to the south were the human kingdoms.
The mountain range was the boundary between man and beast. Every so often, large numbers of Vicious Beasts would trespass over the boundary, invading man’s territory. These were known as the beast tides.
The organized resistance of humankind had been battling for a thousand years. The blood that had been spilt there had dyed the entire mountain range a deep scarlet, and so it became known as the Scarlet Mountain Range.
Although the beast tide was not occurring at that moment, many vicious beasts still dwelt in the Scarlet Mountain Range.
Thus, this place was one of the battlegrounds between humans and beasts along this border, although it was one of the smallest ones.
Every year, many martial artists and Origin Qi scholars would gather to hunt Vicious Beasts for the purpose of harvesting resources, and - most importantly - awakening one’s bloodline power.
This was a place of intense competition, and no two parties could coexist.. Every year, large numbers of martial artists or Origin Qi Scholars would all die in the Scarlet Mountain Range.
Scarlet Punishment was when the clan would throw offenders into the Scarlet Mountain Range, forcing them to live there for a certain period of time to cancel out their offenses. The duration was decided based on the severity of the offense. This period of time was equivalent to a prison sentence -- the difference being that even while the duration was much shorter, the level of danger was extremely high. One wrong move could turn the prison sentence into a death sentence..
For Su Chen to voluntarily bring up Scarlet Punishment truly shocked everyone present.
To volunteer for such a punishment, how seriously did he take this matter?
Even more, Su Chen was only a martial artist in the ninth layer of Body Tempering, not even an Origin Qi Scholar. And yet he still dared to go to the Scarlet Mountain Range?
There, Vicious Beasts ran rampant. Any one of them could torture Su Chen to death.
According to the Su Clan’s rules, if a disciple voluntarily brought up Scarlet Punishment, it was not proper to refuse them.
That was because while this was a punishment, choosing to go there also symbolized one’s bravery. Even more, it represented the determination of mankind to resist the Beasts.
“Absolutely not!” Tang Hongrui began to yell piercingly.
Su Changche also knitted his eyebrows: “Why do you want to go there?”
Su Chen replied, “I want to obtain the bloodline of the cloud bat. Only in this way will I have any hope of competing in the Hidden Dragon Institute’s qualifying exams next year.”
Cloud bats were a type of Vicious Beast. This Vicious Beast’s innate vision was extremely poor, yet it could use echolocation with pinpoint accuracy. If he could obtain the cloud bat’s bloodline and control a location-determining Origin Skill, it would enable even a “blind” man like him to do battle.
Of course, Su Chen was making things up. But this explanation was more than sufficient to fool everyone else.
His true reason was actually very simple. He needed to get stronger!
The information Gu Qingluo had divulged gave Su Chen a great sense of urgency. In the future, perhaps there would be opponents whose strength greatly surpassed his wildest imaginations. As for himself, his loss of sight had cost him a whole three years. In those three years, he had to fully focus his efforts on just maintaining his right to participate in the Hidden Dragon Institute’s qualifying exam, to speak nothing of performing well. The elevation of opponents, however, was more than enough to cause a right to participate to only remain a right to participate.
If Su Chen didn’t want to miss the day of “battling to enter the Hidden Dragon Institute,” he would have to continue striving.
The Scarlet Mountain Range was the best decision.
That place had its dangers, but it also had many opportunities!
He had decided when he left the Lin Clan to go to the Scarlet Mountain Range. The matter with Su Yue had only given him an excuse to do so. To get an opportunity to go to the Scarlet Mountain Range and give his enemy a beating, how was this not worth it?
But to everyone else who heard this words, they were all shaken by Su Chen’s attitude of never giving up.
Hidden Dragon Institute?
A blind person actually still wanted to compete in the exam for the top school in the entire Long Sang Country, the Hidden Dragon Institute?
What kind of ambition was this!
Even Su Changche couldn’t help but say, “Is the Hidden Dragon Institute that important to you?”
Su Chen tilted his head, then replied, “No. Actually, it isn’t that important to me.”
“What?” Everyone felt muddle-headed.
What did he mean?
“It is only another goal,” Su Chen replied. “A goal that constantly pushes me forward, one that makes me unwilling to give up. This is just like how I believe that old beggar’s words, how I trust that my eyes will definitely recover. Humans always need goals, need hope, in order to keep fighting. My belief that my eyes will recover is my hope, and the Hidden Dragon Institute is a goal that I set for myself so that I won’t give up.
Upon speaking to here, Su Chen paused, then said, “I just don’t want to stop here.”
The cloud bat was fake, but what he said at this moment was genuine.
The Hidden Dragon Institute wasn’t actually something so important that Su Chen couldn’t abandon it.
However, because he had this goal, Su Chen had the motivation and strength to persevere.
“You are not afraid of the dangers of the Scarlet Mountain Range and the possibility you might lose your life?” Su Changche asked again.
Su Chen replied: “As a man, my ambitions are lofty. How could I run away out of fear, cursing my bad fortune?”
When everyone heard this, their hearts began to thump simultaneously.
These words finally moved Su Changche. He let out a long sigh, then said, “I understand…… Scarlet Punishment for a hundred days. Before time runs out, you are not allowed to return.”
Once Su Changche spoke, the matter was as good as settled. No matter how much Tang Hongrui objected, it was of no use. She could only sit to the side and cry.
“Grandson obeys your command!” Su Chen’s expression did not change as he said, “Right. Grandfather, I also want Zhou Hong and Mingshu to be my servants.”
“Okay. If there’s nothing else, the matter is settled.” Su Changche didn’t waste any words. He turned around and left.
Upon seeing Su Changche leave, Su Changqing ferociously glared at Su Chen before also leaving.
Including Su Keji and Yan Wushuang, the Su Clan had yet another person who hated Su Chen completely.
But Su Chen did not worry, nor did he care at all.
After looking around, Su Chen said, “Come, lend Su Yue’s carriage to me.”
His own carriage had been destroyed and he needed to find a new one, so he decided to just use Su Yue’s.
Although this was not entirely according to the rules, the people nearby had already gone to find Su Chen a carriage.
After today’s battle, Su Chen had ostentatiously and completely confirmed his own status.
Although he couldn’t yet shake the elders of the clan, no one from the same generation and below dared to provoke him anymore.
The matter of Su Yue’s carriage being led away by Su Chen very quickly reached Su Changqing. The veins on Su Changqing’s forehead jumped furiously, but in the end he only said, “If he wants it, give it to him.”
Of course, he could only say that long after Su Chen had already left. .
Meanwhile, Su Chen’s carriage had arrived at the True Jade Pavilion. He made Zhou Hong wait outside and entered himself.
At the moment, Tang Zhen was on the third floor of the pavilion. Upon seeing Su Chen arrive, his face sank slightly. “You’re late.”
Although Su Chen was a young master, Tang Zhen’s personality was very straightforward. He would not hesitate to criticize Su Chen when teaching him. In the entire True Jade Pavilion, only he really dared to criticize Su Chen for being late.
Su Chen didn’t put on the airs of a young master, instead cupping his hands and saying, “Something happened on the way here. My carriage broke, delaying my arrival.”
Tang Zhen’s expression warmed. He smoothed his beard and said: “Since it’s like that, then forget about it. Come, today I want to teach you……”
Su Chen replied, “Head storekeeper, in a few days I will need to temporarily stop our lessons.”
“Why is that?” Tang Zhen stared dumbly, so surprised that even his voice changed.
He actually liked this student of his, Su Chen, a lot.
Although Su Chen couldn’t see, he was modest and studious. He was also extremely bright, and could remember many things after only being told once. In four months of studying, Su Chen already had a considerable understanding of the history of the Primordial Continent, and he could explain many things logically and clearly. Even if he could not inherit Tang Zhen’s ability to inspect treasures, he at least could inherit his learnings. From a master’s perspective, knowledge was more important than skill. Thus, at some point, Tang Zhen had begun to see Su Chen as the inheritor of his life’s knowledge.
Now, for the disciple that he liked the most to actually say that he didn’t want to learn anymore, how could he not be surprised, not be panicked?
Su Chen thus told him everything that had happened earlier.
Upon hearing that Su Chen had beaten Su Yue ferociously and crippled Mo Dayan, as well as Su Chen voluntarily bringing up the matter of Scarlet Punishment, Tang Zhen felt completely muddle-headed.
“Thus, head storekeeper, I can only study for three more days here. In these three days, I want to learn in-depth about how to discern things visually, not just with cultural relics but also how to differentiate between different herbs and vegetation.”
Since he was headed to the Scarlet Mountain Range, Su Chen definitely needed to have some knowledge of plants and the like as a survival tool. Thankfully, the True Jade Pavilion also accepted rare herbs, and head storekeeper Tang had a similarly rich experience in this aspect.
However, Tang Zhen couldn’t raise his enthusiasm. “You can’t even see. What do I use to teach you?”
Su Chen laughed, then turned around and walked towards a shelf full of antiques. . He pulled out an ancient jade from behind him, then leisurely said, “This must be the Idle Cow Patterned Tricolored Jade, right? Head storekeeper said that it was sleek and lustrous, somewhat transparent, and slightly blemished. I never knew what sleek and lustrous meant, or transparent, or how it was slightly blemished….... Now I finally understand.”
Tang Zhen was instantly shocked into a stupor.
He stared at Su Chen, dazed. “You……”
Su Chen turned his head around, looking at Tang Zhen. The eyes which had been lifeless just a moment ago suddenly recovered their vitality; they were bright and full of expression.
Tang Zhen instantly realized what had happened. He rushed over to hug Su Chen and yelled loudly, “Your eyes……”
“Shh!” Su Chen placed his finger on Tang Zhen’s lips: “No one else knows about this yet apart from head storekeeper.”
“You don’t plan on telling other people?” Tang Zhen finally reacted, then said, mystified, “Why not?”
Su Chen gently smiled. “Because I discovered that sometimes, being blind lets you see more.”