Chapter 994 – Trial by Fire
After the disciples of Phoenix Cry Palace and Charming Phoenix Palace arrived, in the same evening the disciples of Praying Phoenix Palace also landed.
Praying Phoenix Palace was the opposite of Charming Phoenix Palace: their disciples were entirely male. As Charming Phoenix Palace represented yin phoenixes and Praying Phoenix Palace represented yang phoenixes, the meaning of Praying Phoenix Palace was that they were praying for a wife to match them.
Whether it was the male disciples of Phoenix Cry Palace or Praying Phoenix Palace, it was an honor if they could marry a proud phoenix bloodline disciple. And every Ancient Phoenix smelting trial was a prime opportunity for the male disciples to mingle with these female disciples.
They could show off their skills, obtain rewards, and also have chances to win the hearts of beautiful women; to these male disciples, what was better than this?
After the disciples of Praying Phoenix Palace arrived, the Ancient Phoenix smelting trial finally began.
The main venue of Fire Spirit Star’s Ancient Phoenix smelting trial was an underground divine pagoda named the 18 Hells of Flame. It was a spirit artifact level treasure that was a higher grade than Saint Artifact Pavilion. And the Ruby Sovereign was the artifact spirit of the 18 Hells of Flame.
The 18 Hells of Flame Pagoda was built extremely strangely. Normally, a pagoda was thicker at the base and thinner at the top, but the 18 Hells of Flame Pagoda was different. It was narrow at the base and grew thicker the further it extended downwards, as if a pagoda had been smashed underground.
A pagoda with 18 levels didn’t seem too great, but the 18 Hells of Flame Pagoda was actually 180,000 miles long, and every level represented 10,000 miles. From the surface of Fire Spirit Star, this pagoda passed straight into the planet’s core!
Whether it was a fire star or an ordinary planet, the deeper one went towards the core, the greater the temperature would become. The environment would become far more dangerous and terrifying.
The core of a blazing fire star was at least 10,000 times hotter than magma! At such a high temperature, even a Divine Transformation realm powerhouse would be burnt to ash if they touched it.
However, even though Fire Spirit Star was not a true fire star, it was still a celestial planet that converged a massive amount of fire origin energy. It wasn’t that much worse than a small fire star. Not to mention anything else, but the fire energy heavenly wind already surpassed the speed of sound. Every gust of wind blew for tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years around the entire star. The energy required for this was unfathomable.
If the surface was so horrifying then the inside could be imagined. The temperature and pressure reached a nearly unimaginable degree.
The first level of the 18 Hells of Flame Pagoda had the lowest temperature. But that was only relatively speaking. The first level continued for 10,000 miles and the starting temperature was the heat of magma. The closer one approached to the second level, the greater the temperature became. The very bottom of the first level had a temperature over a dozen times hotter than molten magma.
And temperature was only one of the dangers. The 18 Hells of Flame were filled with all sorts of various array formations, all of them designed to test and torture the trial challengers to their limits.
Lin Ming floated high above the skies of the 18 Hells of Flame Pagoda with the rest of the Phoenix Cry Palace disciples. The base of the pagoda and also the smallest point was much wider than the Eternal Demon Abyss; it was over 30,000 miles in diameter.
A pagoda body at least 30,000 miles wide and 180,000 miles high, Lin Ming had no idea what sort of supreme elder had used their great supernatural powers to insert this titanic structure into Fire Spirit Star.
Lin Ming could faintly feel that the heaven and earth origin energy of Fire Spirit Star was being absorbed into this divine pagoda. For hundreds of thousands of years, from the surface to the core, the 18 Hells of Flame Pagoda had been absorbing fire origin energy from all over the world. Lin Ming suspected that the Ancient Phoenix Clan supreme elder who had placed the 18 Hells of Flame Pagoda here wished to use the entire Fire Spirit Star as a sacrifice to refine the pagoda, increasing the grade of the pagoda by yet another level.
To use Fire Spirit Star as a furnace to refine the 180,000 mile long divine pagoda, such boldness surpassed Lin Ming’s imagination!
“Come, all disciples follow me to enter the 18 Hells of Flame. You will all cultivate in there and see just what level you can stay at.” Sun Cyprestar said as he led the crowd of disciples to fly into the 18 Hells of Flame.
In other directions, the disciples of Charming Phoenix Palace and Praying Phoenix Palace also flew into the 18 Hells of Flame.
As soon as Lin Ming entered the space within the 18 Hells of Flame, he could feel that the fire origin energy heavenly winds suddenly rose to another level!
This place was simply a sea of fire. Endless red mist filled this vast space, covering everything and making it hard to see through.
Lin Ming also knew that this red mist passed all the way through a bottomless pit into the core of Fire Spirit Star. The deeper one went, the more terrifying it would become.
Many of Phoenix Cry Palace’s disciples already had a hard time maintaining their protective true essence on the surface of Fire Spirit Star, let alone against the heavenly winds in the 18 Hells of Flame. There were four or five disciples that could not resist the pressure as their protective true essence immediately cracked apart like an egg.
These disciples cried out in terror as they saw the violent heavenly wind rush towards them, ready to rip them apart. But at this moment, a blue-green energy emerged out of thin air and wrapped around their bodies, isolating the heavenly wind outside so that these disciples weren’t torn to bits.
The several disciples were panic-stricken. At that moment they thought they would lose their lives.
They looked at the blue-green energy surrounding their bodies.
“You useless piles of garbage, humph, I really have no idea how you lot managed to pass the smelting trial qualifications. You just entered the 18 Hells of Flame and faced a bit of heavenly wind and yet you couldn’t even withstand that. Senior Ruby Sovereign even had to save you. All of you have shamed my Phoenix Cry Palace!”
Sun Cyprestar bluntly said, his nerves grating. The blue-green energy that had rescued these disciples had come from the artifact spirit of the 18 Hells of Flame, Ruby Sovereign. Ever since Sun Cyprestar agreed to Chu Redcloud’s bet, his mood had become extremely grim and he was worried about losing. Now that he saw the disciples he brought along being so useless, how could he not become mad.
At this moment, a clear and light laugh echoed out. Without looking, Sun Cyprestar could tell that it was Charming Phoenix Palace’s Chu Redcloud.
Behind her was the crowd of Charming Phoenix Palace disciples. The one leading these disciples was the blue-clothed Lu Xiaoyun, and behind Lu Xiaoyun was that strange little trickster girl who had been called Littlemoon.
Besides them, Charming Phoenix Palace still had 800-900 female disciples. Their average strength was indeed higher than that of the disciples of Phoenix Cry Palace. Even the weakest and most mediocre of Charming Phoenix Palace’s Firebird Hall disciples were able to maintain their protective true essence so that it didn’t shatter, albeit barely managing to do so.
In fact, within the Ancient Phoenix Clan, there tended to be more female talents than male talents. Back in Divine Phoenix Island, this was also the same situation. It was easier for purer phoenix bloodlines to appear within the bodies of women.
And within the entire Atlas World, 80% of the Ancient Phoenix Clan’s female geniuses were gathered at Charming Phoenix Palace.
Thus, Charming Phoenix Palace surpassed Phoenix Cry Palace and Praying Phoenix Palace in terms of talent. Correspondingly, the resources that the headquarters passed down to them also surpassed those of Phoenix Cry Palace and Praying Phoenix Palace.
Littlemoon clucked her tongue and smiled as she saw the disciples of Phoenix Cry Palace clumsily fumble around like swimmers that were drowning. She only looked to be 16-17 years old, but she flew through the heavenly winds like a nimble little fish in water, without seeming bothered at all.
“We’re going to go first. We’ll wait for you at the second level of the 18 Hells of Flame.” Chu Redcloud laughed as she spoke. She led her crowd of female disciples deeper underground.
“We’re keeping up!” Sun Cyprestar coldly said. “If you discover you cannot withstand going any further, stop where you are and begin cultivating. This portion of the smelting trial will continue for another 20 days, and after that you will all undergo a harsh and rigorous special training period. If you cannot continue then hurry up and get the fuck out of my way!”
Sun Cyprestar’s anger had reached the point where he began cursing. Then, he no longer cared about these low level disciples. He led the elite disciples of Phoenix Cry Palace deeper underground.
The further they went, the more violent and brutal the fire origin energy heavenly winds became. Here, the heavenly winds formed high speed rotating vortexes that spun around in the air. This wind was similar to endless sharp knives. If a martial artist with insufficient cultivation were to step into this wind, they would be directly torn to pieces.
Not just that, but the surrounding temperature soared higher and higher. They were already at a temperature that was eight or nine times hotter than ordinary magma.
This was still a temperature these geniuses could withstand. But, the true essence they consumed to maintain their protective barriers increased, making it increasingly difficult to continue.
There were constantly disciples that were left behind. They couldn’t continue any further because they reached the limit to maintain their protective true essence. Many of them even had their protective true essence shatter, forcing the 18 Hells of Flame artifact spirit to protect them and bring them back to a higher area.
Of course, the female disciples of Charming Phoenix Palace weren’t all peerless talents. Starting at a hundred miles, there were constantly female disciples that were left behind. These female disciples casually chose a place to sit down and began cultivating.
Within the 18 Hells of Flame there were many ways to train. One of the simplest kinds was to just stay within the 18 Hells of Flame and use true essence to resist the baptism of heat and pressure. This would continue until one’s true essence was completely exhausted, and there would even be some people that fell unconscious.
A martial artist’s body was similar to a lake, and true essence was the water within. Every time a martial artist exhausted their true essence and pushed it past the limits, that was the same as digging in the lake and making it even deeper. This process made one’s foundation more solid.
It was an extremely simple but also extremely effective training method.
As for the disciples of Praying Phoenix Palace, the performances of their disciples were about the same as those from Phoenix Cry Palace. By the time they reached 3000 miles deep into the 18 Hells of Flame, half of their disciples had needed to stop because they couldn’t withstand going any further.
Then 4000 miles, 5000 miles, 6000 miles!
They quickly flew deeper down. The temperature here was already over a dozen times that of magma and the velocity of the heavenly winds was over 10 times the speed of sound. Because the wind was too fast, the wind currents created terrifying sonic booms wherever they went. The sound of passing wind was like glass being etched with sabers; it was grating and excruciating to the ears!
Even for those junior disciples who were making their first trip to Fire Spirit Star and were able to easily withstand the surface heat and wind, at this depth, many of them felt their protective true essence waver, ready to pop apart like bubbles in the wind.
A high ranked Vermillion Bird Hall disciple’s protective true essence shattered and his body was sent flying backwards. His body was almost instantly wrapped up in a blue energy.
Lin Ming was left speechless as he saw this scene. The three great branch palaces had a total of nearly 3000 disciples here, and within the 18 Hells of Flame they were all scattered in different locations. Even so, that artifact spirit named Ruby Sovereign was actually able to divide its divine sense into 3000 sections, each part able to simultaneously look after a different disciple.
Moreover, when the protective true essence of these disciples shattered, there might only be a period of one thousandth of the blink of an eye before the fire origin energy heavenly wind struck them. But even in such a short period of time, Ruby Sovereign was able to form blue flame energy from the Concept of Creation and use this to protect the disciples.
This strength was truly startling!
“I really have no idea just what boundary this Ruby Sovereign has reached.” Lin Ming thought out loud.
At this moment, Sun Cyprestar said, “We’re just 2000 miles away from reaching the second level. Everyone, grit your teeth and continue forwards!”