Yang Ye had just stepped foot onto the 21st level when he saw an old man grinning at him. There were no wrinkles on the old man’s face, and if it was just based on appearance, then the old man could even be said to be a middle aged man. However, the old man’s gray beard that grew down to his chest and the snow white hair on his head gave his age away.
The old man gazed at Yang Ye with a smile that was extremely amiable and like a gust of spring breeze.
“This is my opponent?” Yang Ye was slightly bewildered as he gazed at the old man. Based on his preconceived ideas from before, Yang Ye originally thought that it would be a Sword Servant that awaited him on this level, but he’d never expected that an old man would appear here instead. Moreover, this old man’s expression was too alive.
“Not bad. You arrived here with a strength at the ninth rank of the Mortal Realm. Both you and that little girl aren’t bad at all!” Right when Yang Ye was bewildered, the old man had spoken.
“You….” Yang Ye opened his eyes wide, and he said with disbelief, “You can speak?”
The old man smiled as he nodded and said, “I know you’re extremely curious, but I don’t have the time to explain. I came here to tell you that you don’t have to continue.”
When he heard this, Yang Ye couldn’t be bothered about the questions and shock in his heart as he asked. “Why?”
Because the 20th level is already the limit for someone below the First Heaven Realm!” The old man explained. “Being able to arrive here with a strength at the ninth rank of the Mortal Realm is sufficient to prove your natural talent and potential. Once you leave this place, the Sword Sect will focus on fostering you. As for the difficulty of this level, it already isn’t something you can resist.”
Yang Ye went silent for a long time before he said, “Senior, I know that you’re telling the truth, but I still want to ask you if I can give it a try?” In Yang Ye’s opinion, this was an opportunity, an opportunity to ceaselessly improve himself, and he didn’t want to give it up.
As he gazed at Yang Ye’s firm expression, the old man smiled and said, “You’re just like that little girl from that day, both of you yearn for battle. However, I want to tell you that the difficulty of this level is beyond your imagination. You have to understand that the little girl from before had a much more superior natural talent and strength than your own, yet she was still unable to persist through this level.”
Yang Ye knew who that little girl the old man spoke of was. Since she could arrive here, her natural talent and strength were definitely not inferior to his own. However, he didn’t care because he didn’t have any intention to compare himself to her. He just wanted to fight, so he still said firmly, “Senior, I want to give it a try!”
The old man sighed. “I knew you wouldn’t give up. Let me first tell you the difficulty of this level, and then you can decide if you want to give up or not. At this level, it isn’t a battle with a Sword Servant any longer, and it’s a sword formation instead. In this sword formation, 100 energy swords formed from Profound Energy would attack you after every five breaths of time, and your goal is to persist within the sword formation until these energy swords aren’t of any threat to you any longer.”
“I want to give it a try!” Yang Ye gazed at the old man and spoke firmly.
The old man smiled bitterly and shook his head as he said, “I haven’t finished speaking. The might of this sword formation isn’t the main point, and the main point is the sword formation isn’t an illusion any longer. In other words, if you die within the sword formation, then you’ll really die!”
“It isn’t an illusion formation any longer? I’ll really die there?” Yang Ye was shocked in his heart upon hearing this. At this moment, the old man’s words ceaselessly resounded in his mind.
The old man continued. “I’m not lying. If you fail at this level, then you’ll cease to exist in this world. The reason I’ve made an appearance here is that I don’t want the Sword Sect to lose a genius.”
“Senior, did that person choose to continue challenging this level?” Yang Ye asked in a low voice.
The old man knew who Yang Ye was referring to, and he immediately shook his head and said, “She didn’t choose to continue because she knew that 100 energy swords every five breath of time was absolutely not something she could go against. Of course, it isn’t something you can go against as well. I can clearly tell you that her strength far exceeded yours!”
Yang Ye went silent, and he hesitated this time. If that sword formation was still an illusion formation, then he would absolutely not hesitate because he wouldn’t die. No matter how terrifying it was, it was just an illusion formation in the end. So, he wouldn’t fear it at all. However, the old man told him that it wasn’t an illusion formation, and it was a real sword formation. Moreover, it was a sword formation that surpassed a First Heaven Realm expert and a King Rank Darkbeast!
Yang Ye was truly hesitant.
Right at this moment, the old man waved his hand, and then a sword, a scroll, and an armor appeared before Yang Ye. Right when Yang Ye was puzzled by this action, the old man said, “If you chose to withdraw, then this high-grade Profound Rank sword, high-grade Profound Rank technique, and high-grade Profound Rank armor will be yours.”
“Why?” As he gazed at these three treasures, Yang Ye asked with a puzzled expression. From the beginning, the old man before him seemed to be unwilling to allow him to continue. Moreover, the old man’s origins were extremely mysterious. Why did this old man make an appearance here? Why is he giving me three treasures just to make me give up?
The old man smiled and said, “I know what you’re puzzled about. I can’t tell you about a lot of things. I can only tell you that I’m obstructing you because I’m a member of the Sword Sect. I don’t wish for a genius of the Sword Sect to perish. You ought to be clearly aware that the Sword Sect can’t afford to lose a genius now!”
Yang Ye went silent when he heard this. After a long time, his gaze descended onto those three treasures, and the hesitation in his eyes was extremely obvious.
Yang Ye was truly hesitant right now. Two types of voices had appeared in his mind. One said ‘Take it and leave of course! What’re you hesitating for? Only an idiot would risk his life to overcome that terrifying sword formation. If you leave now, then not only would you become renowned throughout the Sword Sect, you’d even obtain three Profound Rank treasures. How great is that? What’re you still hesitating for?’
On the other hand, the other voice objected ‘Don’t take it of course. The path towards the Martial Dao requires a fearless heart. If you give up the on challenging this level because of unknown difficulties and for the sake of treasures, then your heart towards the Martial Dao would be flawed. In the future, you’ll choose to shrink back when you encounter difficulties….’.
Meanwhile, the first voice interrupted the second voice. ‘Is this shrinking back? Is it shrinking back when you’re facing an opponent that’s impossible to defeat? This is being sensible! Moreover, not to mention whether you’ll be able to pass through the sword formation, so what if you do succeed? It would be none other than a slight increase in strength. But what if you fail? Have you thought about your mother and younger sister? What would they do if you die? Would the Liu Clan let them go?”
The second voice went silent. Obviously, Yang Ye’s younger sister and mother were the most important in his heart.
The old man smiled as he gazed at Yang Ye. He didn’t say anything, and only a strange glow flashed occasionally through his eyes.
After a long time, Yang Ye smiled and said, “Right, if I died, then what would my younger sister and mother do? For the sake of my younger sister and mother, I can’t die. So….” As he spoke, his hand stretched towards the three treasures before him. However, at this moment, Yang Ye hadn’t noticed that when he spoke those words, a wisp of disappointment had obviously flashed through the old man’s eye.
Right when Yang Ye’s hand touched the scroll, his hand suddenly shrunk back, and then he looked at the old man and said with a smile, “So, Senior, I want to continue!”
The old man was stunned, and then he said with astonishment after a long time, “You… you want to continue?”
Yang Ye nodded while his eyes didn’t carry a trace of hesitation. There was only a firm expression in his eyes as he said, “The path towards the Martial Dao is bound to be full of bumps. If I don’t have firm confidence and fearless courage, then I’m bound to be unable to go far on the path towards the Martial Dao!”
A wisp of approval flashed past the old man’s eyes, and then he asked. “Then what about your younger sister and mother? What would they do if you died in the sword formation? Aren’t you being a bit too selfish by disregarding your loved ones for the sake of our own Martial Dao and improvement of strength?”
Yang Ye smiled and said, “Senior, the strong are respected in the southern territory. Only by possessed strength would I be able to take control of my own fate, and only then would I be able to better protect my loved ones. If I don’t become strong, then the lives of my younger sister, mother, and even my own life wouldn’t be in my own control in the end. Moreover, if I allow my younger sister and mother to be the excuse for shrinking back this time, then when I encounter difficulties in the future, I’ll definitely utilize them as the excuse to be a coward and shrink back. So, I want to continue!”
Actually, Yang Ye’s desire to continue wasn’t merely for the sake of improving his strength now, and he was doing it for the sake of eliminating his inner demons. Yes, when those two voices appeared in his mind, he knew that he already had inner demons. If these inner demons weren’t eliminated, then his will wouldn’t be firm, and his heart towards the Martial Dao would have been shaken. That was absolutely a calamity to him.
In order to completely eliminate these inner demons, he had to continue challenging this level. Because he’d become fearful after he heard the old man. Yes, that moment of hesitation was actually because of fear, and he’d constantly been avoiding this fact. So, that voice that asked him to shrink back had appeared within his mind.
At the bottom of it all, that voice was something he’d made up in order to conceal the fact that he was afraid. As for his mother, younger sister, or the treasures, they were all excuses.
The old man gazed at Yang Ye while the approval in his eyes wasn’t concealed at all. He said, “Everyone has their own inner demons, but many people either avoid or submit to these inner demons. Young man, you were able to swing your sword and eliminate your inner demons. Not bad, not bad at all. Finally, congratulations. You’ve passed.” As soon as he finished speaking, the old man’s figure gradually vanished like the Sword Servants from before, and the three treasures vanished along with the old man.
It really was an illusion. But the illusion this time was really realistic! As he gazed at the spot where the old man vanished, Yang Ye muttered in a low voice.
After he decided to continue, his mind had cleared up greatly, and he thought of numerous things. One of them was that this scene before him was still an illusion, but he wasn’t sure. Because the old man was too realistic! Now, as he watched the old man vanish along with the three treasures just like how the Sword Servants from before had vanished, he’d confirmed his suspicions.
Yang Ye took a deep breath, and then he didn’t look back as he walked towards the stairs that led to the 22nd level. Now, he was truly fearless towards the next challenge he would face.
When Yang Ye arrived at the 22nd level, the others outside the pagoda seethed with excitement!