Covered by the darkness of night, Long Chen climbed to the peak of a mountain. The bright moon hung high above, lighting up his surroundings so that he could see the scenery hundreds of miles around.
At this time, Long Chen no longer had to be as worried as he had been while being chased by Marquis Ying. This was an exceptionally good spot for him to cultivate.
Within this primal forest, the spiritual qi in the air was several times greater than in the capital. He needed to borrow that advantage to advance another level.
Ever since he had run into Marquis Ying after killing Xia Changfeng, he had repeatedly fought on the brink of death. Long Chen’s resolution had actually greatly advanced from that.
He could feel that a certain bottleneck was starting to weaken. This was his best opportunity to attack the next realm.
The peak of the mountain top could only be reached by climbing up extremely steep cliffs, so he had no need to fear any beasts disturbing him. Sitting cross-legged atop a boulder, his twelve cyclones began to revolve.
Space trembled and twelve huge vortexes appeared behind his body, growing to a terrifying size of three hundred meters.
This was the first time Long Chen had fully summoned his cyclones outside his body since arriving past the tenth Heavenstage.
That was because he was afraid that this oddity would alarm his opponents. It was unheard of for someone to possess ten or more cyclones in Qi Condensation. But in this place, he finally had free rein to use his full power to absorb heaven and earth’s spiritual qi.
Those twelve huge cyclones were like twelve gaping maws, like whales drinking in water, greedily absorbing spiritual qi and sending it to Long Chen’s FengFu Star.
Space started to warp as all the spiritual qi within hundreds of miles began to gather towards Long Chen, practically so dense that it could be seen with the physical eye.
In just six hours, Long Chen’s FengFu Star emitted an explosive sound. That was because his spiritual qi had reached a critical boundary, a sign he was about to enter the next realm.
But Long Chen still wasn’t the slightest bit excited because he knew that this was just the start. There was still a long process he had to work his hardest to get through.
Back when he had condensed his tenth cyclone, he had experienced the trouble of being ‘close’ to advancing. He was already used to how unorthodox the Nine Star Hegemon Body Art was.
For most martial artists, advancing would only require breaking past a single barrier, which was often thought of as breaking out of a single pair of ‘shackles’. Extremely talented people might have to break through multiple shackles. But no matter how talented someone was, to break through out of Qi Condensation would definitely never require breaking out of more than nine shackles.
But when Long Chen had broken through to the tenth Heavenstage, although he hadn’t been counting, he was sure he had long since surpassed a thousand shackles.
The next two times he had broken through, Long Chen hadn’t even bothered remembering how many barriers he had had to break through of. In any case, it was just a continuous charge by him until he finally broke through.
So when his FengFu Star emitted this first sound, Long Chen wasn’t at all excited. He simply continued absorbing energy.
More and more energy began to pour into his FengFu Star. It began to quickly circulate, at the same time emitting continuous explosions.
Long Chen didn’t bother with that. He simply did his best to absorb more and more energy. Clouds and winds gathered around him. The energy all around charged towards him.
Hundreds of miles away from Long Chen was an enormous tree. At the top of the tree was the forest god’s white-dressed figure which was now watching him.
“What a powerful foundational aura. It looks like the human race will gain another astounding figure.” After muttering that, her figure faded away.
Long Chen’s FengFu Star was incessantly trembling. This wasn’t out of Long Chen’s expectations.
This continued for three full days. Long Chen’s FengFu Star was beginning to circulate slower, and in the end, it completely paused. Long Chen couldn’t help celebrating. This was the true sign he was about to make a breakthrough.
Suddenly, heaven and earth trembled. The twelve cyclones behind Long Chen slowly separated, revealing a thirteenth cyclone amongst them.
When this thirteenth cyclone appeared, the originally sunny and cloudless sky immediately turned dark with pitch-black clouds. Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed. Everything within thousands of miles went completely dark.
“What’s going on?!” Long Chen was completely horrified. He realized that all those black clouds were like a huge whirlpool, and the whirlpool’s center was right above himself!
It looked nothing more than a huge demonic eye. It expressionlessly focused on Long Chen. At the same time, a terrifying destructive will pushed down upon him.
Long Chen immediately realized he was unable to move an inch. He was unable to even bat his eyes.
He wildly cursed inside as he saw more and more black clouds gather in the sky. The lightning within the sky gradually converged at the center of the black clouds.
“Is it going to strike me?!” Even if Long Chen was stupid, he would still be able to predict what was about to happen. He madly struggled.
But it was as if his whole body was being pressed by a huge mountain. Despite his best efforts, his body merely continuously trembled.
The huge boulder beneath his foot cracked. Such a sturdy boulder was actually unable to bear the pressure.
Long Chen couldn’t help trembling in fear. He tried running, but he felt as if a whole mountain was crushing him from every direction. He was only able to make very limited movements and was simply unable to flee.
“This is heavenly punishment. You are unable to flee. Gather your full strength to resist.”
As Long Chen was wildly cursing inside and was incredibly anxious, a voice suddenly rang in Long Chen’s ears.
“Forest god?” Long Chen immediately recognized that voice. But heavenly punishment? He was infuriated. How many evil people existed in the world, and yet the heavens decided to punish him?!
Hearing that voice, it seemed the forest god knew the origin of this terrifying heavenly punishment. Since she had given him a warning, she definitely wasn’t trying to hurt him.
Putting away his anger, he rubbed his ring and his broadsword appeared in his hands. He pushed his power to its peak.
The thirteen cyclones revolved around Long Chen. A halo of light enveloped Long Chen. It was as if a god from the heavens had reincarnated within him and was disdainfully looking up at the sky.
The forest god saw the thirteen cyclones and the halo of light from the distance. She was deep in thought.
Long Chen pushed his thirteen cyclones to the max. Energy from heaven and earth was continuously streaming into his body. Now that his meridians had been transformed by the forest god, he was able to control an even greater amount of energy.
The black clouds in the sky were becoming increasingly thick, and the lightning was become more and more concentrated.
Suddenly, the sky became completely silent. A bolt of lightning several feet wide shot straight down from the center of the black clouds towards Long Chen, its power seeming to want to destroy the heavens and exterminate the earth.
Long Chen watched as that terrifying lightning bolt descended. He felt an endless destructive will coming from it. Raising his broadsword with both hands, a strange light appeared over his sword.
“Split the Heavens!”
The mountain peak which was hundreds of meters tall was destroyed. Rocks crumbled as that one lightning bolt completely flattened the mountain.
Long Chen vomited three consecutive mouthfuls of blood. His body was charred all over and he could even smell his own flesh cooking.
His full force blow was like an ant waving its antenna in front of an elephant. He was unable to shake that lightning bolt in the slightest. He had been essentially powerless.
This made him feel completely dispirited. In front of that lightning, he felt that he was completely insignificant. His joy from advancing to the thirteenth Heavenstage was immediately extinguished.
“You did very well.”
The sky once more returned to its sunny state as the black clouds scattered. It was as if everything before had been just an illusion. The white-robed woman appeared in front of Long Chen.
Long Chen was about to say something when he once more vomited more blood. That thunderbolt had greatly shaken his internal organs.
The forest god waved her hand and a drop of green liquid came from her body and fell into Long Chen’s mouth. Long Chen only managed to sense that it tasted sweet before it quickly slid down his throat and rapidly spread throughout his body. His wounds began to quickly heal.
The black burnt parts of his skin slowly fell off. In less than an incense stick’s worth of time, his body had recovered eighty to ninety percent. This was much more miraculous than any healing medicinal pills!
“No need to be surprised. The first heavenly punishment is mostly focused on destroying your will. If your will wasn’t sturdy enough, your mind and soul would have been exterminated by the heavenly punishment,” explained the forest god.
“What is this heavenly punishment?” asked Long Chen.
“It is the will of the Heavenly Daos. Anyone that can threaten the Heavenly Daos will attract its punishment when advancing.”
Threaten the Heavenly Daos? Could that be pointing to the Nine Star Hegemon Body Art?
“There are some things that I can’t tell you too much about, or it wouldn’t be beneficial to you. Rest a while and consolidate your cultivation base. I will be returning.”
Without waiting for Long Chen’s response, her figure turned into a wisp of mist that slowly disappeared in front of Long Chen’s eyes.
Seeing her disappear, then looking at the flattened mountain peak, and then looking towards the completely cloudless sky, Long Chen felt as if he had been dreaming.
Thinking back to that bolt of lightning, Long Chen shivered. That lightning bolt was something he had been completely unable to resist. Why hadn’t it killed him?
Then was it really as that woman had said, and the first heavenly punishment only tested his will? If his will had broken down, he would have been destroyed beneath that heavenly punishment?
That heavenly punishment had released an unstoppable aura. He had been trying to flee, and it was only with the forest god’s warning that he had dared to face the heavenly punishment head-on.
Without her warning, perhaps he would have already been exterminated in both body and soul. Lingering fear filled him.
At the same time, he also understood just how important a powerful will was for martial cultivators. Cultivation was fundamentally a path of no retreat.
He took a deep breath. With the forest god’s warning, it seemed as if he was seeing an even vaster world unfurling before him.
Space trembled as Long Chen returned his thirteen cyclones into his body. He wanted to clearly test whether his cyclones had changed.
Long Chen noticed that they hadn’t grown any larger. But what amazed him was that after the heavenly punishment, there was now a link between all thirteen cyclones. They were completely tied together.
Now the thirteen cyclones had a ring of light connecting them. They were no longer independent but had formed a single whole. Spiritual qi flowed throughout them.
Under Long Chen’s control, the ring of light, which was really his thirteen cyclones, lightly trembled and began to quickly revolve. The ring of light spun around, forming a huge whirlpool that madly absorbed heaven and earth’s spiritual qi.
The absorption speed was at least ten times greater than before. Even if Long Chen fought a powerful enemy again, he would not have to worry about running out of spiritual qi like before.
Back when he had fought alongside Wilde against Marquis Ying, it was precisely because the consumption had been too great that he had run out of spiritual qi, making it so he was unable to continue fighting. Now that his thirteen cyclones had linked together, he would basically never have to worry about that problem again.
Furthermore, he also noticed that when the mysterious ring had connected his thirteen cyclones, another thing had appeared in his body which was filling him with strength.
Slowly closing his eyes and examining his body, Long Chen suddenly shook and went crazy with joy.Previous Chapter Next Chapter