Chapter 59: Second-Stage Astral Realm

Looking at Xiang Shaoyun heading toward the sixth room, the overseer asked anxiously, "Palace master, will...this be fine?"

"Nothing bad will happen. Since he has the courage to try it, it can only mean that he has yet to reach his limits. I am quite looking forward to the surprise he is about to give me," Yang Gaochuan said. After a slight pause, he muttered, "Right, there is an elder guarding the sixth room too. I need to remind him to take it easy and don't mess the kid up too badly."

"It's too late for that. The kid has already gone inside," the overseer said.

"Shit! When one gets old like me, one will be slower to react. Oh well, let's go see what happens," Yang Gaochuan said, slapping his forehead.

As for the overseer, he wiped the sweat off his forehead and muttered, "Good luck, kid."

Meanwhile, Xiang Shaoyun was already within the sixth limit room. This room had a very serene ambiance. There was even an old man seated on a praying mat. At present, the old man had yet to do anything to him.

"Greetings, senior," Xiang Shaoyun bowed and greeted the old man. Although he couldn't sense the old man’s strength, he was sure the old man was certainly seated here in meditative cultivation all year long. That much was obvious from the layer of dust on him.

The old man's eyes remained shut, yet an ancient voice rang out, "Only first-stage Astral Realm. Too weak. Leave."

Xiang Shaoyun blanked out. He had never imagined that the old man would tell him to leave.

"Senior, I am here to challenge the limit," Xiang Shaoyun clarified.

"I repeat, leave," said the old man with a tone that allowed no argument.

"Umm...can you let me stay here for half an hour instead? Just half an hour will do!" Xiang Shaoyun negotiated. He only needed half an hour to complete the challenge. If he could just wait here, that would be much better.

"Leave!" The old man's voice turned aggressive.

"Come on, senior. Please don't be so heartless. Alright, I'll buy you a pot of wine or two," Xiang Shaoyun flattered.

"Scram!"

Xiang Shaoyun was not done with his flattering when the old man suddenly bellowed. The voice reverberated throughout the room, causing Xiang Shaoyun's ears to pulse. His blood went berserk.

Heaven Conquering Overlord Manual!

Xiang Shaoyun quickly circulated his cultivation manual and forced his blood to calm. When he looked at the old man again, with a pale face, he said, "Senior, you don't have to be so fierce even if you're chasing me away, right?"

"Scram! Scram!"

The old man repeated the word two times with more force. The sound waves roiled out like a storm, sending Xiang Shaoyun crashing into the wall. From the crash, he coughed up a mouthful of blood. It would seem he had sustained quite a heavy injury. The old man had injured him just with sound waves alone. What kind of strength was that?

"He is at least a late-stage Transformation Realm expert, or even stronger!" Xiang Shaoyun lay weakly on the ground and muttered to himself. At present, he could only feel that his flow of blood was in complete disorder. Even his organs had suffered differing extents of damage.

Xiang Shaoyun stood up and circulated his cultivation manual to stabilize his injuries. He grumbled, "What a bully!"

"You can still stand? No wonder you can reach this room. I've decided to give you a chance to challenge this room," the old man said, finally opening his ancient eyes.

"This is not fair. You first injured me before allowing me to challenge the room. That's the same as cheating!" Xiang Shaoyun protested.

"It doesn't matter. I will consider that as part of the challenge. It will only benefit you in your assessment," the old man replied indifferently. He then said, "Now, let us begin. How long can you resist the suppression of my presence?"

Right after saying that, an immense pressure swept out of the old man and pressed down on Xiang Shaoyun. Presence was something incorporeal, something that couldn't be touched or seen, yet it existed.

Those with weak presence were normally timid. And those with powerful presence could threaten the universe.

To start utilizing the power of presence, one must first reach the Transformation Realm. After all, that was a power for the strong, a force capable of causing the enemy to cower by mere presence. And presence was precisely the limit being challenged in the sixth room.

Only those capable of resisting the old man's presence suppression could pass the challenge. This old man was no regular Transformation Realm expert. He was a person with an extraordinary power of presence. The only thing Xiang Shaoyun felt was a suffocating sensation before an incorporeal pressure crushed down upon him.

After coughing up another mouthful of blood, Xiang Shaoyun was sent flying again. This time, the old man was no longer holding back. He continued his suppression, not even giving Xiang Shaoyun a chance to stand up.

Xiang Shaoyun felt like a mountain was pressing down on him. Even his bones started making cracking sounds, as if they were on the verge of breaking apart. If this continued, he could very well be crushed to death.

Xiang Shaoyun had challenged multiple limit rooms, but he had never felt so powerless. Crushed to the ground, he couldn't even fight back. The very thought of his helplessness vexed him greatly.

Damn it! Have I fallen so low to the point I can't even raise my head anymore? No, I, Xiang Shaoyun, am a giant among men, one who will keep on fighting in the face of all adversaries! Nobody can hope to break me! Not even a Transformation Realm expert! Xiang Shaoyun roared inwardly as he started circulating his Heaven Conquering Overlord Manual again. His nine stars pulsed repeatedly as he squeezed out all the power available to him. Even the astral cosmos sea in the middle of his nine stars started shining resplendently.

Like a volcanic eruption, the power within Xiang Shaoyun's body surged.

Completion-phase, first-stage Astral Realm versus Transformation Realm's presence.

No, that was still far from enough. He was still completely no match.

"If the first stage is not enough, I'll try the second stage! Go!" Xiang Shaoyun yelled as his nine stars erupted with power. All his energy converged together while his 365 acupoints shone brightly within him, creating a scene akin to the Milky Way. Power was being pumped through his meridians without stop, forcefully enlarging his nine stars, and with it, he started growing in strength.

Hmm? He's breaking through right here? How brave! the old man's face twitched as he thought to himself.

Bang!

Second-stage Astral Realm!

After reaching the completion phase earlier, Xiang Shaoyun did not stop. As if he had gone mad, he unleashed all the energy he had been suppressing all this while and charged straight into the second-stage Astral Realm before stopping. It was also at this moment that he felt the pressure on him weakening. Both his hands pushed on the ground as he tried standing back up again.

"Even after a breakthrough, you are still a mere second-stage. You won't be able to do much. Just stay down," said the old man as he increased the pressure on Xiang Shaoyun.

Once again, Xiang Shaoyun was pressed down into the ground. The pressure on him was extremely terrifying, and not even someone at the fourth or fifth stage of the Astral Realm would be able to endure it.

Xiang Shaoyun was only a brand new second-stage Astral Realm cultivator. Even if he was strong enough to fight those above his level, he could at most fight a fourth-stage cultivator. If he tried his best, he might even be able to face a fifth-stage cultivator. But to be victorious against his current opponent, it would be harder than reaching the heavens.

Too weak. Still too weak! Will I never be able to straighten my back? One must never abandon one's spine, but facing absolute strength, the so-called spine is so weak! Xiang Shaoyun thought in indignation.

While he was on the brink of giving up, he suddenly thought of something. Wait, if this room is testing how one can resist the pressure from the presence, so long as I comprehend the power of presence, won't I be immune to it? Yes, that must be it! This room not only tests one's willpower and strength, but it also tests one's comprehension power!

At this thought, Xiang Shaoyun focused his mind on figuring out how to comprehend the power of presence.

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