Xu Yangyi sighed gently. Afterwards, he walked up the hundred-meter-wide heavenbound stone altar with incredible caution. It was a mystery how long he walked. The heavenly altar didn’t have the slightest hint of a visible end. Furthermore, there wasn’t even the scrap of another object. It was like a deathly silent, solitary road leading to an infinite extreme.
Dull, dry, and lonesome. These feelings were like his shadow, inseparably following him on left and right. He didn’t say a word, only walking up step by step like a song pressed down on replay.
“Seems there’s no change…” Xu Yangyi faced upwards and looked. At this moment, he was already several hundred meters into the area. Boundless, thick fog lingered at his side as if he was an immortal. “But, it’s changed a lot already…”
“Right now, its total length is only less than fifty meters wide.” He took out several more three-eyed spirit apes and set them free. “The further I go up, the narrower it gets. By the time it gets so narrow that it can’t go any further, I’ll have to see what trick it can still play.”
Time passed like flowing water. He couldn’t even remember how long he had stayed here. Even now, his two legs strode mechanically. According to his memories, he’d walked at least 4,000 to 5,000 steps.
Xu Yangyi didn’t stop because he clearly saw above… in a place roughly a hundred to two hundred meters away, the red light formed from the burning flames had disappeared.
Over yonder was the heavenly altar’s summit! This region was already so narrow that there was only less than ten meters of width. It could be imagined… that the peak might’ve only been one or two meters wide!
Who had established this place? Could it be they weren’t afraid of falling to their deaths? How high would they have to look down to even tremble in fear? Joking crudely in his heart, he intended on continuing upwards. Yet all of a sudden, a grand and imposing voice echoed at his ear side without a sliver of a warning!
The moment that this voice rang out, Xu Yangyi felt as if his spiritual sense and qi sea would instantly collapse! To Qi Condensation cultivators… this was a frightening heavenly might! So distinctly felt that it could crush everything, a terrible spiritual force caused him to suddenly break out into a cold, dripping sweat!
Someone’s here? Xu Yangyi’s gaze quickly turned solemn. He absolutely hadn’t expected that there would actually be someone in this place! This area… was one of the Eight Great Deadlands. There were Tang-era wall carvings. How could there possibly be anybody?! If there was someone… how long had they stayed here? Five centuries? A millennium?
Xu Yangyi immediately ceased his footsteps, cupping his hands without the slightest hesitation. “Junior entered this place by mistake. I pay respects to Senior.”
There was no voice whatsoever.
Xu Yangyi had a legion of thoughts in his mind. The other’s voice seemed not to contain any malice, but this place was too odd. Surprisingly, it was concealed within the Yellow Springs Path! If he left according to the other’s intent… how would he exit? At this moment, even if he knew the other was an old senior of unfathomable depth, he still had to forge ahead!
“Senior.” After a full half-hour passed, Xu Yangyi cupped his fist again. “Junior bears no ill intention or curiosity. I was merely forcibly pulled into this place by a red Transference Formation. I ask forgiveness for disturbing Senior. If Senior is willing to inform me how to leave, my thanks would be endless.”
He said these words. In his heart, his pulse was similar to a pounding drum. His face seemed unperturbed, yet his palms were slick with cold sweat.
A secret realm… In such a place, life and death were ruled by fate, riches and honor with the heavens. In no way did Cultivation Civilization care for what occurred within a secret realm. Even if it was known on the outside who murdered and plundered, vengeance still couldn’t be openly aired by any means. This was Cultivation Civilization’s unwritten rule.
In other words… if this senior wanted to crush him to death between his fingers, he basically wouldn’t need to waste a shred of power! Moreover, no one would even avenge him!
He could only pray that this senior wasn’t some old monster. He had already mounted the tiger’s back and was hard-pressed to get off. Whether he stuck out his head or pulled back, all that remained was a blade. It would be better to sacrifice everything; perhaps he would even come out with a destiny from this gamble!
Another ten minutes passed. There still wasn’t the least bit reaction. Xu Yangyi’s head was hung low and the look in his eyes twinkled. He suddenly came up with an idea. Perhaps… there wasn’t anyone here at all!
There were many, many methods to leave behind a voice or image. Perhaps… this was a diversion that someone had arranged!
He gently pursed his lips, narrowing his eyes and laughing. “I am unsure how long Senior has cultivated here. The outside world now has already changed immensely. How about Junior explains it to Senior?”
There still wasn’t a response.
The light of his eyes brightened up by a fraction. His foot probingly shifted forward by ten centimeters. Prompt, the god-like voice was heard at once.
Xu Yangyi didn’t speak. The shift of his right foot had brought another command of ‘Halt, mortal’. He didn’t stop and moved to the left and then the right. So long as his foot moved, the voice immediately rang out. Ten minutes later, he softly licked his lips, mumbling to himself as he looked at the peak of the thick fog. At this moment, he was nearly certain. There absolutely wasn’t anyone above! This was a mechanism. Only if his foot moved would this voice ring out straightaway.
“Anyways…” Xu Yangyi murmured, “since the third time around, I felt something was off with you.”
“A cultivator is still a human, but one that transcends men. Likewise, we possess the seven emotions and the six pleasures. In history, there’s never been any cultivator that hasn’t talked with someone after exiting seclusion. Even if someone was more used to seclusion, they would still be compelled to find someone to talk with. That’s still not to mention… that this place is even more like a prison!” 
“A person that can’t leave, spending countless years in the same environment, and finally someone comes in. If you’re a living person, what kind of reaction would you have?” he laughed. “Talkative? Excited? Not bothering to wait for a level of close friendship?”
All these things were possible. There was no way that one could be so indifferent, so casual, so… machine-like!
He didn’t speak, but he didn’t go up. Instead, he prudently controlled several three-eyed spirit ape-puppets to venture forward. These puppets vanished into the heavy mist without a trace of sound, like stones cast into a great lake. Ten-odd minutes passed and they returned unhurriedly in ease.
Xu Yangyi finally let loose a deep sigh. If there was someone above, it was impossible for these puppets to come back. Without any further hesitation, he immediately lifted his leg up and walked towards the summit. On the contrary, he wanted to see who was playing god and masquerading as the devil here! Ultimately, what was in this place where the command “Mortal, halt” was issued?
Over a dozen minutes later, everything at the summit was laid bare before his eyes. There within was a platform. A roughly meter-wide platform stood tall and upright as the sole marvel within the boundless sea of clouds. In this place, the mist was quite weak. From here, one could see the surrounding thick fog revolving around this region layer by layer. It was akin to the eye of an ocean! The nexus of a maelstrom of clouds and mist!
And yet, it was like ascending the pinnacle of Mount Tai, the eye gazing to the extremes within the cloud sea. Mountain range upon mountain range of fog sea and the sentiment of overlooking the peak was enough to cause one’s mind to sway. To turn towards the heavens and scream.
Fairly timid people wouldn’t dare stand on this platform because it was a square meter in size. As for the surroundings, everything was an ocean of clouds, so deep that the bottom couldn’t be seen! It made the mists here appear to be supreme treasures brimming within an immortal palace! Yet in this place that could only take one action, an item was placed.
It was… the point of a broken sword! It was inserted into the platform at an angle. It was thrust one third of a way in and formed a slender crack. It was different from a normal ancient sword. Even the point of this sword was the size of a palm. To say it was a sword point still wouldn’t be wholly correct. The length was approximately half the size of an adult’s forearm. It was less of a menacing sensation of longness and sharpness, and instead more of a kind of richness and smoothness crafted by the heavens. That of a pointless heavy sword able to function with great skill.
On its surface, there were a few incomprehensible drawings engraved. As for the entire sword point, it was covered in rust. Its original color simply couldn’t be made out, completely unknown as to how long it had been placed here.
The voice of ‘Mortal, halt’ echoed continuously like a beeping sound in the wake of Xu Yangyi’s strides. Each time, it caused his spiritual sense to feel as if the world was ending. Nonetheless, the instant he stepped onto the platform the voice was no more.
Xu Yangyi was absent of the slightest trace of contempt. Such a vast, tall platform and such a profound space… A Transference Formation hidden in the Yellow Springs Path had brought him in just for this sword tip. If it was an ordinary item, he absolutely wouldn’t be convinced!
He didn’t directly take it but instead controlled the three-eyed spirit apes to fetch it. Oddly, the sword tip really was just like an ordinary item. There was no treasure light and it moreover didn’t hold a divine ability. As several three-eyed spirit apes placed the sword point in front of him, he was somewhat incredulous.
It was too ordinary… so ordinary that it was strange! Mumbling to himself for ages, he finally extended his hand and gripped the sword point. At the same time, a kind of supreme disgust was felt from inside his heart, without the faintest omen!
It was a kind of feeling… that couldn’t be put into words. It was as if Xu Yangyi, or something or someplace on his body—perhaps his bones or blood—completely rejected this item! It was just like… a sparrow and an ear of rice, a snake and a badger! But simultaneously, there was also a kind of weird sensation linked to his bloodline. If it truly had to be compared, it was like… a fed-up pair of husband and wife, obviously abhorring each other yet unable to separate.
“What is this thing?” Xu Yangyi tightly furrowed his brows. Although he didn’t want to admit it and painstakingly wanted to forget, he distinctly remembered the scene of his body sprouting with countless leaves better than anyone else.
Could it be… his bloodline? At this time a distinct cracking noise entered his ear. At first, he didn’t care, but in the next second, he immediately raised his head and looked at the place where the sword point was originally deposited.
The noise… was coming from the inside of the crack! There was no denying whether or not he misheard because in the following second, another sharp crack was heard! It was like something was splitting open!
Xu Yangyi gasped coldly. His indecision nonexistent, he immediately took the sword point and charged down over a dozen steps in the next bound! There were only two reasons for this sound.
Unexpectedly… the sword point had already been run through this thousand-meter-tall heavenly altar! The exterior seemed incredibly imposing, but in reality, once this sword point was pulled out, this altar would promptly be crushed like sand!
The other reason… was that this sword point was truly suppressing something. At this moment… this thing had been set free by him! But regardless of which one, the result was unquestionably terrible!
Craaaaaack… Before he even jumped down less than a hundred meters, the entire heavenly altar started to rock violently! This cracking noise under his foot spread like a mountain disintegrating. From the initial sound, it now echoed throughout the expanse!
“FUCK!” Xu Yangyi’s eyes reddened. If he fell down from such a high place, there was no doubt that he would die! Likewise, if something came out, he was still doomed to die! Even now, he used Life Sacrification, Starfire, and Wind Brandishes Traces, but the distance apart from the altar’s base was still far and fleeting!
At this moment… BOOM! In the wake of a great volcano-like rumble, a ray of light suddenly illuminated the entire area behind him! He gritted his teeth and turned his head. In his eyes, an extremely slender radiance like an immortal spring, fiery trees and silver blossoms, caused the moon in the sky to lose color!