Even as Bai Xiaochun started to look around for Du Lingfei, someone inside the grand hall on top of the main mountain peak looked down, casting a gaze onto the lands below that caused the sky to grow dim and a huge wind to kick up.
The Heavenspan Sea went still, as did the waterfalls and the surface of the lake. Because of that gaze, the entire island began to tremble.
Everyone in the square, including Bai Xiaochun, felt their minds reeling madly. All talk ceased, and all hearts began to race as an indescribable pressure suddenly weighed down on all of them.
It was so intense… that none of them could move a muscle!!
Not even Bai Xiaochun and the other devas could move. The level of pressure weighing down on them was so intense that rumbling sounds filled their bodies.
“The Celestial!” This was not Bai Xiaochun’s first time sensing the might of the Celestial. Back in the Wildlands, he had felt this very same pressure.
Now, though, things were different than in the Wildlands. The Celestial’s aura seemed more explosive and violent, to the point where Bai Xiaochun felt his internal organs trembling.
It was energy that surpassed the Deva Realm by many times, and even the demigod level. This was the absolute peak level of power in this world!
“He's not injured?!?!” Bai Xiaochun thought, shivering. The other devas were shaking uncontrollably, so there was little need to mention the Nascent Soul experts, whose minds were almost complete blanks.
It was at this point that a young woman walked out from the palace at the foot of the huge statue. She wore garments adorned with phoenixes, and radiated nobility. She was none other than Du Lingfei!
As she floated there in midair, with the enormous statue behind her, she spoke in a mighty voice that echoed out in all directions.
In immediate response, everyone in the square, including Bai Xiaochun, involuntarily clasped hands and bowed deeply to the statue of the Celestial.
Their combined voices created a sound wave that caused heaven and earth to tremble. Their voices quavered with zeal and fervor, the raw adoration for someone who commanded the ultimate level of power!
As everyone bowed, Du Lingfei turned to the side in deference. Then, when the crowd below had finished offering formal greetings, she turned back and looked over the crowd. Her gaze lingered on Bai Xiaochun for only the slightest moment, and didn’t reveal any sign of recognition.
“Fellow Daoists, you already know the rules of this trial,” she said coolly. “The first person to emerge will become the Celestial’s next apprentice.
“In terms of the time limit… there is none!” With that, she waved her hands, whereupon the special guards in the square began to distribute jade slips to all the cultivators present.
“These jade slips will record your activities in the trial by fire, and when you find the exit, they will act as authentication devices to bear witness to your success!” After finishing her explanation, she extended her hand to summon a violet rock. Waving her hand, she sent the rock flying down toward the lake below.
The rock became a violet beam of light that, just before it hit the surface of the lake, exploded. Water sprayed out in all directions, and then… a huge stone gate rose up from the bottom of the lake!
It was fully 300 meters tall, and radiated an aura of profound ancientness. It was engraved with countless vicious and snarling faces, lifelike to the extreme, to the point where it was almost possible to hear them howling.
Black mist swirled off of the surface of the gate, transforming into ninety-nine black dragons whose howls shook heaven and earth. Each dragon was 3,000 meters long, and they all twisted and spun up into the sky, as though they wished to break through to the area beyond the heavens.
Compared to the dragons, the stone gate was so tiny as to be insignificant.
Everyone in the square was shaken to the core by what they were seeing.
As the dragons howled, a cold snort suddenly echoed out from the enormous statue of the Celestial, a snort that was as heaven-rending and earth-crushing as a bolt of lightning from the heavens.
The dragons’ howls of rage transformed into piteous wails of despair and defiance, and then they shattered into pieces.
The entire process only lasted for a few breaths’ worth of time. The dragons collapsed into black mist that swirled around the stone gate and transformed into an enormous vortex.
As the vortex spun, immense levels of power gripped the stone gate, tugging at it… until cracks began to spread out on its surface!
At the same time, a dark and sinister aura began to seep out from the cracks, making it seem as though all the lands would be plunged into wintery cold!
It was a frigid qi that seemed capable of freezing souls. Even Bai Xiaochun shivered as he looked at the cracks which, despite not seeming very big, were actually dozens of meters wide.
Not even by calling upon the full power of his deva cultivation base was he able to see the world that existed beyond those cracks clearly.
Despite that, both Bai Xiaochun and everyone else present could tell… that this trial by fire would be very difficult. The twin Master Cloud Lightnings, Master Thousand-Ghost and Guru Spirit Immortal all had very serious expressions on their faces, and it was the same with all of the various Nascent Soul cultivators.
Song Que, Bai Lin, Zhao Tianjiao, Heretic, and everyone else present was completely shaken.
The gate leading to the trial by fire was completely bizarre, and at the same time, led almost everyone to the same question: why was the Celestial using these rules and this dangerous trial by fire in order to select a new apprentice?
After all, the Nascent Soul cultivators who were participating in the trial were cunning foxes whose understanding of the art of scheming surpassed cultivators of lower levels. It would be almost impossible for them to avoid being suspicious of situations like this.
Everyone in the crowd was so shocked that none of them noticed how Big Fatty Zhang’s eyes were wider than anyone else's. And that was because… he had seen this stone gate in his dream!!
“One last reminder….” Du Lingfei said softly. Instantly, the cultivators in the square looked over at her.
“The trial by fire consists of an enormous land that, despite not being endless, is so huge it defies description…. It consists of four main areas: a deep marsh, a wild jungle, a vast plain, and a barren desert!
“Whatever magical items you bring with you into the trial by fire will not function…. Pay attention to your spiritual power. In the land of the trial by fire, spiritual energy is scarce….
“To come out on top in the trial by fire, and in fact, to simply survive, you will need to carefully control your spiritual power. However… there are many unbonded magical items inside. If you can acquire them, they will increase your battle prowess and make it much easier for you to succeed!
“You won’t be the only ones inside the trial. I will lead a group of Heavenspan Island’s special guards inside, and we will be tasked with supervising, appraising, and adjudicating disputes!” Du Lingfei’s words caused most of the crowd in the square to relax a bit. Now that they knew they wouldn’t be alone, but would have Heavenspan Island’s special guards in the trial with them, they felt much safer.
Furthermore, Du Lingfei, who was the Heavenspan emissary, would also be going in. Because of all of that, everyone felt much less nervous. The twin Master Cloud Lightnings, Master Thousand-Ghost and Guru Spirit Immortal were also relieved.
Although they weren’t personally aware of all the details of Du Lingfei’s identity, they had been devas for many years, and had many speculations. The fact that Du Lingfei was personally entering the trial by fire led them to the conclusion that, although there would be danger, it truly was being held to pick an apprentice for the Celestial!
When Du Lingfei saw everyone breathing sighs of relief, she reached out and pointed at the stone gate.
“Let the trial by fire… begin!”
A gravitational force sprang out from the vortex, causing rumbling sounds to fill the air. At the same time, the cracks on the door widened, sending even more frigid qi out.
Although the frigid qi was intense, it couldn’t match the burning passion in the hearts of the trial-takers. Without any hesitation, they began to fly into the air, and then pass through the stone gate!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Top sponsors: Bad news. Last night at about 2:00 a.m. Baby Deathblade woke up crying, which woke me up. I couldn't go back to sleep until about 7:30 or so, after tossing and turning for a few hours, and then getting up to do some random work (but not translating). 30 minutes later, BDB woke up. Then, only an hour or two after that, he had a meltdown that resulted in me going to his art class with him. After I got back, I was dead tired and collapsed. After finally waking up, I accomplished no translating. Having lost an entire day of work, I won't be able to add a new tier this week. My apologies, I'll try to add a new tier for those who are interested next week. I should have an extra chapter on top of my weekly quota which I can release as a bonus chapter. I'll do that in the next day or two hopefully.
TLDR; no new tier this week