Translated By – DemonKiller
Checked and Edited By – Livewidsmile
Proofread By – DemonKiller
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Chapter 0537: Dry Well
Ning Cheng originally wanted to buy a normal map for the Time Wilderness; however, he now had no chance. At this time, the cultivators participating in the Time Wilderness Tryouts have already started to board the battleship.
The Time Wilderness was not located within the Striking Order Star Land, nor could one create a Transfer Array that led to it. The only way to reach it was through a battleship.
This battleship took the nearly hundred thousand cultivators participating in the Time Wilderness Tryouts and rushed out of the Striking Order Star Land. In just half a day’s worth of time, it came to a stop in an empty part of the starry skies.
Ning Cheng’s Spiritual Consciousness had already noticed that the space in this location showed signs of extreme instability. No wonder one could not set up a Transfer Array that led to this location. A moment later, an entrance with a corrugated shape slowly appeared in front of the battleship. Seeing that, Ning Cheng did not have to guess about its identity and realised that it was the entrance to the Time Wilderness.
Heavenly Emperor Striking Order placed quite a bit of importance to this trial. Not only did he led the entire group personally, but he also specifically stood at the entrance and warned everyone. “The geniuses from my Striking Order Starry Skies, the entrance of the Time Wilderness will only remain open for thirty-six hours; if you lose this opportunity, you would then have to wait for when the Time Wilderness opens the next time, which is something that even I cannot predict.”
“Ten years later, a temporary public square will be set up at this location. As long as you geniuses remain alive, you will appear over this temporary starry sky’ public square ten years later. I hope that everyone pays attention to yourself and to each other while entering the Time Wilderness. That said, I wish all the participating talents good luck and I hope to see you all again returning safely.”
“Long live the Heavenly Emperor, Striking Order forever!” The cultivators yelled out excitedly.
The restrictions covering the battleship opened, and a large number of cultivators jumped into the entrance. Just like dumplings falling soup, they all disappeared in just a moment.
“Senior Apprentice Brother Ning, let’s go in too.” Ruan Mingshu, standing next to Ning Cheng, whispered.
“Ok. By the way, Junior Apprentice Sister Mingshu, do you have a regular Time Wilderness Map?” Ning Cheng asked as the thought passed through his mind.
“Yes, I have, didn’t you buy it?” Despite the surprise, Ruan Mingshu took out a jade strip containing a normal map and handed it to Ning Cheng.
Ning Cheng felt delighted. Receiving the jade strip and putting it away, he spoke, “Thank you.”
Ruan Mingshu showed a smile and took the initiative to fly into the entrance of the Time Wilderness. Zhao Yanxiang swept Ning Cheng with a gaze, as a flash of killing intent passed through and hid in the corner of his eyes before he followed Ruan Mingshu and entered the Time Wilderness.
Ning Cheng also saw Tang Yu enter; however, he did not see Shen Qinyu. He knew that Shen Qinyu could change her face, so it was entirely possible that she might even be around him. However, Ning Cheng chose not to spread out his Spiritual Consciousness. Following the rest of cultivators, he casually flew into the entrance of the Time Wilderness.
A force immediately whisked Ning Cheng away. At this moment, Ning Cheng could not even think clearly, as everything in front of him turned blank.
Not knowing for how long was he in such a state, Ning Cheng only sobered up after his foot smashed on to the hard ground. Although reinforced with his mid-level Celestial Novice Cultivation, Ning Cheng still ended up stumbling. All around him, Ning Cheng could only feel the aura of extreme vicissitudes resulting from the passage of time. It gave Ning Cheng the feeling that he stood in the middle of a fading whirlpool of longevity, all the while hungering for life that flowed out of those who came in. For a moment, only panic and fear filled Ning Cheng’s heart.
Ning Cheng immediately took control of his mind and stabilised his thoughts. Did everyone feel the same kind of panic and fear when feeling his or her longevity slowly dissipating?
Only a barren expanse, without any light or any water, without any life or even the slightest hint of grass anywhere. If Ning Cheng had to pick a colour to describe the scene in front of him, then a dull grey would the one. Although a strange choice of colour, it was the colour of time itself. Ning Cheng could not even reason out why such a thought emerged in his head.
Time, truthfully, had no colour, yet he still felt that this colour aptly depicted the shade of time.
Taking a deep breath, Ning Cheng quickly started walking forward. Although almost a hundred thousand cultivators had entered the Time Wilderness, he could not find even the barest hint of anyone in this place. From this, Ning Cheng could make out that the Time Wilderness definitely occupied a considerable area. Not only that, even with the help of his starry skies’ Sea of Consciousness, Ning Cheng could use his Spiritual Consciousness to sweep within a range of hundred miles around him.
A day later, Ning Cheng finally came to a stop in front of a withered thistle-filled forest. There finally was a different colour here, although still dull, it actually felt a lot brighter compared to the surroundings. One could even see many plants inside; however, these plants had no life in them.
Finding a secluded spot within this thistle-filled forest, Ning Cheng then took out the three maps.
Of the three, two came from Ruan Mingshu, one of which was something that the Ruan Clan had obtained in the past and the other was an ordinary map available everywhere for purchase within the streets of the Striking Order Star Land. The third map was what Ning Cheng had purchased from the auction for 110 million Green Coins, the sale where he felt ripped off.
Ning Cheng compared the two maps obtained from Ruan Mingshu and noted that they really were different. Although both maps were on jade strips, the one from Ruan Clan not only had more marked locations but also covered a lot more territory.
Ning Cheng then took a closer look at the map he bought from the auction. Not inscribed on to a jade strip, it was a map drawn over a leather-like scroll. Ning Cheng also could not make out the material of this scroll. However, the locations marked on the leather-like scroll map looked similar to the normal jade map. Even the pictures remained the same, except slightly coarse.
Sure enough, a lousy imitation that one could pick up from the street. Ning Cheng thought as he shook his head. However, he did not feel angry with the 100 million Green Coins he spent over it. The auction house had so many people attending, although he was deceived, Ning Cheng could only blame it on his incompetence.
Just when Ning Cheng was about to close this leather-like scroll map and put it away, a bright spot suddenly lit up on the leather-like scroll. Ning Cheng felt sure that this bright dot was not present when he examined it just a few moments ago, which caused him to stop rolling up the map immediately.
Soon Ning Cheng discovered that this bright spot was actually a direction indicator that pointed to a fixed direction.
Was it really a different map? Ning Cheng felt pleasantly surprised. He also guessed that the ‘map’ in his hand was most likely the one Fu Shougeng was looking for.
Ning Cheng also knew that his cultivation was a sore point. He had initially planned to find a place to go into seclusion for a time to see if he could improve his cultivation before looking for Ruan Mingshu. However, now that he discovered that this map came with directional instructions, Ning Cheng immediately gave up the thought of going into seclusion.
No matter who left the map and where it pointed, Ning Cheng decided to check it out.
Ning Cheng did not really know the extent of Time Wilderness’s size; however, he kept following the directional indicator for a few days and still did not meet a single person.
Apart from the bleak landscape all around, which one could even call as desolate, Ning Cheng felt no wonder that people classified it as ‘Wilderness’.
[TL Note – ‘Wilderness’ can also be interpreted as ‘Wasteland’]
After walking around in the Time Wilderness for a few days, Ning Cheng starting feeling more used to the surroundings compared to the fear and panic that arose when he first came in.
On the twelfth day, Ning Cheng came to a stop in front of a dry well. It felt strange seeing a dried up well in the Time Wilderness. After all, one could only see such objects in the mortal world. Moreover, what felt even stranger was that the well was very shallow. Even without Spiritual Consciousness, one could see the bottom of the well with their eyes with just the illumination of the grey light from the surroundings. Apart from a few broken stones and dead soil and sediment, it did not contain anything.
Ning Cheng opened the leather-like scroll map and compared the locations. Confirming that the bright spot on the leather-like scroll corresponded to the position of this dry well, Ning Cheng then carefully searched the bottom of the well with his Spiritual Consciousness. However, he could not find anything out of the ordinary.
Ning Cheng did not believe that someone would be so bored to create such a trick map to tease others. Thinking of this, Ning Cheng put away the scroll and directly jumped into the well.
After jumping into the well, Ning Cheng instantly knew that something had gone wrong. The well, on the first look, did not exceed three meters, both through his gaze and through his Spiritual Consciousness. However, after he jumped in, the well transformed into a bottomless pit, in which he started falling deeper and deeper. At the same time, his falling speed had also begun to increase the longer he sunk.
Ning Cheng felt startled. If he continued like this, would he not end up dead?
However, even if Ning Cheng wanted to fight against fate using Celestial Essence, it felt useless. Moreover, his speed of falling still increased with every passing moment. Horrified, Ning Cheng frantically waved the Twin Wings of the Heavenly Clouds.
To Ning Cheng’s relief, although waving the Twin Wings of the Heavenly Clouds did not stop him from falling, it at least slowed down his descent to something within a manageable range.
Just as Ning Cheng wanted to speed up with the Twin Wings of the Heavenly Clouds, his legs snapped with a crisp sound. At this moment, he had already landed at the bottom of the well.
Ning Cheng sucked in a deep breath; fortunately, he still had the Twin Wings of the Heavenly Clouds along with possessing a God Body, a result from refining his corporeal body. Otherwise, he would have turned into another fallen nameless starry skies’ cultivator.
Without regards to his broken legs, Ning Cheng immediately swept out with his Spiritual Consciousness. In just a short sweep, Ning Cheng found that there were many skeletons around him. However, because of his fall, along with the fluctuating air currents that it brought about, the intact skeletons around his landing spot had turned into fly ash instantly.
Looking up again, he wondered what happened to the entrance of the well. Moreover, even with the help of his Spiritual Consciousness, Ning Cheng could not find the opening of the well. Taking in all that, Ning Cheng took in a breath of cold air as he thought, what is this place?
However, sensing the dense Spirit Qi in the surrounding, Ning Cheng finally felt slightly relieved. At least one could cultivate in this place without any issues. As long as he could improve his cultivation, he could then wield the Twin Wings of the Heavenly Clouds with better efficiency and can then try climbing up.
Ning Cheng had only recently entered the Time Wilderness; however, he never expected that he would end up in such a dried up well.
For someone like Ning Cheng, breaking his legs did not constitute a severe injury. Under the operation of his Celestial Essence, in just half-an-incense-stick worth of time, Ning Cheng recovered from all afflictions.
Ning Cheng cautiously stood up, turned around, and took in everything at the bottom of the well. Although not too spacious, the bottom of the well was still around three feet in diameter, but filled with scattered bones of fallen cultivators. Just a casual footstep turned the bones into flying ash. As for any rings, Ning Cheng could not find any.
After carefully looking around for almost half a day, Ning Cheng finally found a concealed array formation in a corner. Seeing that the array formation did not pose any challenge, Ning Cheng then carefully opened the array formation and went in. Stepping inside, Ning Cheng only saw a small stone cave with a praying mat placed in the centre and nothing else.
Ning Cheng’s Spiritual Consciousness surrounded it in an attempt to analyse it up; however, he could not sense the praying mat at all.
What kind of praying mat was this? Ning Cheng carefully walked over to the praying mat before bending down and giving it a light prod. Immediately, an extremely dense amount of starry skies’ Essence Qi rushed into his body, filling it up almost instantly. The smooth and comfortable feeling that it brought completely wiped away the feeling of one’s longevity disappearing without even a trace left behind.
Such a good treasure. Ning Cheng almost exclaimed out in surprise. Since his advancement to the Celestial Novice Realm, Ning Cheng had not felt such a feeling in a long time. If he could cultivate over this praying mat, Ning Cheng felt that his cultivation would definitely improve.
Cultivation often involved slow progress; at the same time, Ning Cheng also felt acutely aware of the difficulty in trying to survive in this world. Now that he found such a fantastic opportunity to cultivate, how could Ning Cheng miss it? After using his Spiritual Consciousness repeatedly to check that this praying mat did not pose any problems or threats, Ning Cheng did not hesitate to sit down on it and start operating the Mysterious Yellow Formless Cultivation Method to begin cultivating.
Dense starry skies’ Essence Qi spewed out of the praying mat, almost taking a corporeal form, before surrounding Ning Cheng in just a moment.