It was his turn to register, and the disciple who was registering was yawning and gesturing for him to write his own name. Su Ru Hui wrote “Jiang Que Xie” and put down his pen, then walked to another queue arranged for him.
At this moment, someone stopped behind him and whispered, “A Qi, we’re from the Paradise Pavillion. The Secret Sect is about to conduct a trial, so stick with us and we’ll protect you.”
Su Ru Hui turned to look at them. One had a scarred face, another had pockmarks, and the third was hook-eyed.
They looked somewhat familiar. They were probably among the thugs who had surrounded Su Ru Hui at the bank that day.
The system explained in real time: [These three thugs sent by Han Ye all have hidden illnesses. From left to right, this one is impotent, that one is an eunuch, and the last one has hemorrhoids.]
Su Ru Hui: “…”
Su Ru Hui was an undercover agent planted by Han Ye in the noble families. Anyone who could be brought out to protect him must be Han Ye’s trusted confidants. Su Ru Hui went along with them and said, “Thank you so much, brothers.”
He turned his eyes and met the gaze of a young man on the opposite team. They were pitch black, like two pieces of clear glass. He had just felt someone staring at him and thought it was the three skinny guys behind him. He didn’t expect it to be the “mysterious youth.” He wore narrow-sleeved black clothes and looked fifteen or sixteen years old.
The system noted: “[This unremarkable-looking mysterious youth hates dogs and Su Ru Hui the most in his life.]
Su Ru Hui was surprised. He was so likable, yet this person actually disliked him.
There must be something fishy about this person.
Su Ru Hui smiled at the mysterious youth.
The youth, caught in the act of peeking, remained calm and averted his gaze.
“Name,” said the officer from the Secret Sect with a tired expression.
The youth paused, realizing that he had forgotten to come up with a suitable alias for himself.
After seeing Su Ru Hui, he casually said the first name that came to his mind: “Su Yu.”
Su Yu, or Sang Chi Yu, turned around and walked to the other side of the team. Su Ru Hui was a few feet in front of him, leaning lazily against a crooked tree. That guy never stood or sat still, always looking like a hoodlum. He was too noticeable, and Sang Chi Yu saw him as soon as he arrived.
Why was Su Ru Hui here? Sang Chi Yu furrowed his brow. Kun Lun Secret Sect was not a good place, and Su Ru Hui died the last time he was here. Why did he come back? Sang Chi Yu remembered that Su Ru Hui was afraid of the cold and hated going to cold places. He remembered a time when this guy was confined to bed with a lingering illness in the Immortals Cave, shivering even in the face of a raging fire.
As he was thinking, there was suddenly a commotion on Su Ru Hui’s side. Sang Chi Yu looked up and saw a giant man blocking Su Ru Hui’s way. Despite the bone-chilling weather, the man wore only a single garment, his biceps bulging and looking terrifying. He looked Su Ru Hui up and down. “You’re Jiang Que Xie? I saw you writing your name just now. You’re Sang Chi Yu’s husband?”
“Yeah, that’s me,” Su Ru Hui replied candidly. “What advice do you have, big brother?”
As soon as he spoke, many people looked over at them.
The big Han (1) man sneered. “So, you are the one who married the disabled son of the Sang family. I heard that your husband drank a secret medicine and entered the Black Street, becoming a useless dog, a scum of society. In order to restore his spiritual power, he didn’t hesitate to associate with the scum of the Black Street. Everyone knows that the Sang family sacrificed their lives to resist the evil people of the Black Street, and yet Sang Chi Yu betrayed the Secret Sect and became a villain! Jiang Que Xie, since you followed Sang Chi Yu, how dare you show your face here?”
Sighing, Su Ru Hui turned to look at Han Ye’s men, who said they were going to protect him. They had no intention of helping and were just standing by, watching the show.
“They are unreliable,” Su Ru Hui lamented.
“Yeah,” the people around whispered, “this guy is really bold. His husband defected and he still dares to come and join the Secret Sect.”
“After all, he is from the Jiang family. His sister is Jiang Xue Ya. With the Jiang family backing him up, the Secret Sect has to give the Jiang family some face.”
“You don’t know the whole story. Jiang Xue Ya was supposed to marry Sang Chi Yu, but Jiang Que Xie was pushed out to be the substitute. The Jiang family abandoned him long ago.”
The place suddenly became lively, like a pot boiling over a low flame, with bubbles popping up.
“I’m not hiding it from you.” Su Ru Hui lazily smiled. “He divorced me, and now I’m his ex-wife. We have no relationship anymore.”
A man becoming an ex-wife sounded ridiculous. The big Han man sent Su Ru Hui a disdainful gaze.
Jiang Que Xie was from a noble family, and although he wasn’t favored, he still lived a life of luxury, unlike commoners who had to endure hardship. This man had a fair face and sharp features, with eyes that often carried a smile, softening the sharpness and vigor of a young man and giving him a gentle appearance. He was tall and thin, like a small white poplar tree, lean but powerful. His demeanor was somewhat casual, not like a noble, but had a bit of a rogue air.
However, compared to the muscular Han man, he was still inferior.
Everyone couldn’t help but think: a nobleman, a pampered man who enjoys good food and wine every day, dares to come and join the army?
The big Han man was about to continue mocking him, but Jiang Que Xie suddenly wiped away his tears and said, “I was originally a good son of the Jiang family. Although I have no spiritual power, I have aspirations. Unfortunately, my father favored my sister and ordered me to be the substitute. I accepted my fate and married Sang Chi Yu. As a wife, I have to do my duty. I provide him with good food and drink. I get up before dawn every day to make him breakfast. On the first day, I made steamed chicken, on the second day, meat buns, and on the third day, salted egg yolk rice balls. I, a young master who has never done any manual labor, have roughened my hands for him. Except for not giving birth to a child for him, I have done everything. Who would have thought that he would abandon me and never ask about my life or death.”
The big Han man was stunned and didn’t know what to say.
“This big brother!” Su Ru Hui said with grief, “Do you know that Sang Chi Yu is the number one hypocrite in the world? He made me work like a horse during the day and bullied me in every possible way at night. He used candles to burn me, whips to beat me, and ropes to tie me up!”
The big man’s face turned red and he said anxiously, “Please don’t say anymore, keep it in your heart!”
Su Ru Hui said emotionally, “I know that I have been pampered and indulged since childhood, and I have no ability compared to you big brothers.”
Unexpectedly, he had such self-awareness, and many people present started to change their minds about him.
“But Sang Chi Yu deceived my body and mind, and he deserves to die.” Su Ru Hui’s voice was powerful. “So I made up my mind to join the Frontline Guards, and from now on, I will be at odds with that ungrateful man! Big brother and everyone, let us unite and punish the ungrateful man, and overthrow Sang Chi Yu!”
Someone nearby sighed. “Jiang Gongzi, I didn’t expect you to have such hardships!”
The big man who was looking for trouble blushed. “Gongzi, I thought you were a spoiled rich kid. I was too narrow-minded.”
Others were indignant. “So Sang Chi Yu is such a person! Jiang Gongzi, you said it very well. Let’s punish the ungrateful man and overthrow Sang Chi Yu!”
Everyone was angry and shouted, “Punish the ungrateful man, and overthrow Sang Chi Yu!”
From time to time, someone would come forward to comfort Su Ru Hui and express sympathy for his miserable past, encouraging him to look forward and live well. In the blink of an eye, several people, including the big Han man, had recognized Su Ru Hui as their younger brother.
Sang Chi Yu, who witnessed the whole process, remained expressionless. He had known Su Ru Hui’s ability for a long time. Su Ru Hui could even call a chicken on a tree or a duck in the river as his brother, let alone these people.
Just as everyone was clamoring, someone suddenly banged the table, and the whole scene fell silent.
The Secret Sect military officer who was registering the roster put away his book and slowly said, “The time has come. Registration is closed. There are a total of 130 people present. Next, I will announce the rules of the trial. The rules are simple. You will have three days and two nights to climb the Kun Lun snow line by any means necessary. Three days later, we will meet at the finish line. The first fifty people will enter Kun Lun, and the rest will be eliminated.”
Everyone looked at each other and whispered.
Su Ru Hui furrowed his brow. “This rule seems a bit off. The border is at the foot of Kun Lun, a distance of over ten miles. It’s neither far nor near, and three days and two nights is more than enough time. The so-called selection process is just a way to set a threshold to eliminate some people who can’t make it. Using this level of trial to select people will inevitably lead to many people arriving at the same time, rendering the selection meaningless.”
Soon someone raised a question about Su Ru Hui’s concern. “What if multiple people arrive at the same time?”
“Also,” someone else raised their hand, “there are no towns or villages along this path. What if someone is injured by wild beasts?”
The young officer casually replied, tapping his ear, “Can’t you understand what I’m saying? You have three days and two nights. We don’t care how you do it or what you encounter. On the third day at noon, we will arrive at the finish line. If you can make it, good for you. If not… that’s your own fate.”
Su Ru Hui was suddenly shocked.
He knew what this guy meant. Three days and two nights was too much time. There would definitely be people arriving at the finish line at the same time. Kun Lun’s intention was for them to fight amongst themselves, with the last fifty people standing being the winners. And they couldn’t arrive early. If they did, they’d just be a sitting duck.
Suddenly, a “beep” sounded in his ear. The system had issued a new mission.
Mission: Stay alive!
Mission description: Survive the inhumane trial for three days and two nights.
Mission reward: One unknown secret about any person, 10% release of system permissions, and unlocking the danger warning function.
Su Ru Hui felt a sense of unease in his heart due to these strict rules. He didn’t have time to worry about whether or not to accept the mission. He calmly stepped back from the crowd.
This place was bound to become a slaughterhouse soon, and he didn’t want to be the lamb.
There were still many people who didn’t understand the rules, but many had quietly gripped their knives at their waist.
Sang Chi Yu turned his head and saw Su Ru Hui slip into the alleyway like a sneaky little mouse. In the blink of an eye, Su Ru Hui disappeared without a trace. Sang Chi Yu wanted to find him, but Su Ru Hui had slipped away too fast.
Suddenly, there was a loud bang, and the military officer’s voice thundered out, “Time’s up, the trial begins!”
1. Han – the majority ethnic group in China and one of the world’s largest ethnic groups, with an estimated 1.2 billion people worldwide identifying as Han.