Long Chen and the others appeared atop a mountain. In front of them was a huge stone staircase.
The staircase was extremely wide, with each step having a surface area of several thousand meters. The staircase soared high into the clouds, so high that it was impossible to see the end.
“This is the Xuantian Dao Sect’s martial gathering’s third trial: the Netherworld Heaven Staircase.” The vice sect master’s words rang out in everyone’s ears. “This staircase is made of stone from the world of the dead. The formation carved into it is able to grab hold of something that doesn’t exist in the physical world.
“Atop the Netherworld Heaven Staircase, each person will be able to gain karmic luck. Karmic luck is something ephemeral and mysterious, but it truly exists. Those who can become peak experts all possess extremely great karmic luck.
“No matter how high a person’s cultivation base reaches, no matter how strong they become, if their karmic luck is terrible, they will constantly run into pitfalls and dangers, and they will sooner or later fall. As for all of you, you’ve risen above countless others. You cannot argue that a great deal of that was because of luck. So this trial is extremely important to you.
“Do your best to climb as high as possible. With each step you take, more karmic luck will gather on you.”
Everyone was absolutely shocked. Those whose cultivation bases had reached their level had all come into contact with things that others couldn’t.
This so-called karmic luck was a blessing the heavens bestowed on its creatures. Although there was no solid evidence that proved karmic luck existed, anyone who had cultivated to their level firmly believed in it.
The slightest increase in karmic luck could completely change a person’s destiny. It could turn danger into safety, disaster to fortune. It was an extremely inconceivable existence.
It was completely unexpected for the Netherworld Heaven Staircase to be able to increase a person’s karmic luck. This was an absolutely heaven-defying treasure. They were all eager to get started.
The vice sect master continued, “There are nine hundred and ninety-nine stairs. Between each of the large stairs lie ninety-nine smaller stairs.
“Now according to the rules, I will explain the rewards for the Netherworld Heaven Staircase. Everyone should listen closely.”
There were actually more rewards? Everyone was ecstatic. This Netherworld Heaven Staircase was truly worthy of being the final trial.
“Any disciple who can reach the 333rd, 666th, or 999th step will receive a reward. As for what the reward will be, no one knows in advance, because those rewards are given to you by the Netherworld Heaven Staircase. It is decided by a person’s karmic luck. There are possible good rewards, and there are possible trash rewards. It will be up to your karmic luck.
“Furthermore, on the 999th step, there is a platform. The final reward is on that platform. As for what the reward is, no one knows. These rewards were set up by the head sect, but I can guarantee that the rewards will surpass your wildest imaginations.”
Shui Guanzhi and the other experts’ eyes began to shine. They had obviously decided that they had to get that final reward.
“Alright, it’s time. The Xuantian martial gathering’s final trial begins now!”
The eager disciples, who had long since been impatient to begin, charged.
But they had only just stepped onto the Netherworld Heaven Staircase when their expressions changed. They felt like they had entered water, and their footsteps became slow.
They not only felt physical pressure, but they also felt a pressure on their souls. Furthermore, a kind of lazy, weary feeling filled them, one made them feel like they would rather take a good nap than continue climbing.
Long Chen also felt this strangeness when he stepped onto the first step. He told his people, “The Xuantian Sea was a trial for your physical bodies, while the Nine Netherworld Path was a trial for your souls. This Netherworld Heaven Staircase combines both aspects and more.
“It targets a person’s physical body, soul, will, and even the desires deep within their heart. It will cause a feeling of laziness and other negative emotions well up within you. However, that should be nothing to you.
“Brothers, you’re all warriors who have tempered yourselves through blood and fire. Bring out your hot blood and youthful passion to let everyone see what true experts are!” encouraged Long Chen.
The Dragonblood warriors’ morale skyrocketed, and ignoring the negative emotions the staircase gave them, they rushed up.
At this time, the vice sect master waved his hand, and the stone stage beneath him and the other experts who had accompanied their disciples here began to rise into the air.
Sitting on the stage, it was possible to see everything happening on the staircase clearly.
“I wonder whether anyone will be able to get the final reward this time,” muttered one monastery head.
That was because in the past, no one had managed to reach the 999th step. And even if someone did manage to reach the 999th step, they wouldn’t necessarily be able to obtain that final reward.
“There’s a very high chance this time. At the very least, there’s a high chance for five people.” A rare smile appeared on the vice sect master’s face.
“Five? Isn’t there another person who just advanced to a rank two Celestial?”
The vice sect master’s expression became odd as his gaze fell on Guo Ran, who was currently waving a large flag and cheering for everyone. He sighed.
“To tell the truth, in all my years, I have never seen such a weak rank two Celestial. My eyes really have been opened to the world.”
Everyone else nodded as they looked at Guo Ran. He truly was a marvel among cultivators. Combined with Long Chen, they could be called the Two Great Marvels.
As they were talking, there were five people advancing at the same speed, far ahead of the others. They had already reached the hundredth stair.
These five people were Zhao Wuji, Shui Guanzhi, Zhong Wuyan, Yue Qianshan, and Long Chen.
It was impossible to help others on the staircase. So Long Chen didn’t need to look after the others. He advanced just as quickly as the Four Heavenly Geniuses.
This proved without a doubt that Long Chen’s power matched theirs. Many people who had been unconvinced before finally had to shut their mouths.
Long Chen might have defeated Shui Guanzhi previously, but many people thought he had just been lucky, and that Shui Guanzhi had simply been careless.
Then, the Four Heavenly Geniuses had made huge gains in the Xuantian Sea and the Nine Netherworld Path, while it seemed Long Chen hadn’t gained anything at all.
Due to that, many people thought Long Chen had lost the qualifications to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Four Heavenly Geniuses.
But now, the five of them were advancing at the same speed, and they seemed to be competing with each other. All of them refused to lose, so it clearly showed his strength.
The five of them had rapidly reached the hundredth stair. Long Chen immediately felt the pressure double, but they continued rushing forward without a pause. Obviously, they had already begun to compete to see who was the strongest.
Behind Long Chen was a mass of Celestials. They had reached the eightieth step, but the difference was already clear.
Meng Qi and Tang Wan-er were holding hands as they rapidly advanced, they were at the frontmost of the rank one Celestials. They seemed just like fairies who had descended on the world, and they were the most beautiful scene on the Netherworld Heaven Staircase.
Behind the Celestials were the ordinary disciples, with the Dragonblood warriors at the front. As for the ‘genius’ Guo Ran, he was actually shamelessly hiding amongst them.
However, to express his grand and noble character, he waved a banner back and forth, cheering everyone on. That righteous act of his made it seem like he had sacrificed his chance to compete for first place with the other top experts in order to help raise everyone’s morale.
The people behind the Dragonblood warriors were clearly slower. They were like a flock of sheep, and they ended up forming a twisting dragon on the staircase.
At this time, it was possible to tell a person’s overall ability. Many people had no problem with the pressure to their physical bodies and souls, but their wills were clearly a fatal weak point.
The person in the last place had only reached the sixth step. As he looked up at the endless staircase, a bewildered and lost expression appeared in his eyes.
The monastery heads didn’t feel any shock or anger at that scene.
That was because they knew just how bizarre the Netherworld Heaven Staircase was. They had also once climbed it, so they knew what agony these disciples were going through.
Once you were tired, once you were weary to the bone, or perhaps once your confidence lagged, negative emotions would erupt within you. A voice would tell you to give up, that you couldn’t hold on for much longer, so why must you force yourself?
It would entice you, seduce you, tell you that this staircase wasn’t as magical as you once thought. Karmic luck? That was just nonsense, a story to trick people.
That voice didn’t come from outside, but from within. It came from the lazy part of a person’s heart.
Every person had a lazy side. If your will wasn’t strong enough, you wouldn’t be able to suppress it. On the Netherworld Heaven Staircase, your will was constantly tested, and it would make it far too easy to give in.
This was something unrelated to talent. So each time the Netherworld Heaven Staircase was activated, a few extremely talented disciples would end up falling behind some disciples with a rather average talent. That was because their superior talent made their will less steady.
Suddenly, the staircase trembled slightly. Everyone was startled, and hastily looking up, they saw five people had already reached the 333rd stair.
When Long Chen and the others arrived at the 333rd stair, their shoulders sank slightly as a powerful pressure collapsed on them.
This pressure didn’t just target their bodies, but also their minds. It made them feel extremely weary. Long Chen felt that impact especially.
But he ignored it. This kind of weariness was just a feeling, or perhaps it could be called a misperception. You couldn’t be confused by it. If you were, it would give birth to negative emotions, and then it would be even harder to suppress it.
Each space beside the five of them trembled, and a ball of light appeared.
Those balls of light were only a foot wide. They were like small whirlpools, and it was impossible to see what was inside them.
“Those are your rewards. Reach into the light and pull out what you were given!” said the vice sect master.
Seeing that Long Chen and the others had received a reward, the disciples that were bitterly climbing were filled with anticipation. Just what would their rewards be?
“Since no one else wants to, let me go first.” Yue Qianshan reached into his ball of light and pulled out a certain item.Previous Chapter Next Chapter