Chapter 357: The Competition Begins

During the half-month of interaction with Yang Qi, Father Leviathan and the other Demon Sages got to know Yang Qi quite well, and soon, they felt like they were dealing with a deva from heaven.

And of course, they all sincerely took him to be their young master. They were happy that he was the son of the Holy Mother; it meant there was hope for her faction. He had incredible potential, and was no hedonistic silkpants. He was like a sleeping lion who, upon awakening, would be completely and utterly invincible.

Of course, Yang Qi benefited significantly during the half-month that passed. Father Leviathan and the other Great Sages all had extensive experience and knowledge, and were able to provide detailed explanations to Yang Qi about a variety of subjects, and answer many questions.

Yang Qi took all of that knowledge and assimilated it, making him even more stable in his current level, and advancing his enlightenment to the ultimate degree.

He was truly coming to understand what it meant to be Never-Dying.

However, he was now absolutely convinced that the only way to break through to the final transformation of the Legendary level was to enter hell.

The current heaven and earth was just not suitable, and that was no fault of his own.

“The most critical aspect of the Great Sage level is understanding of magical laws.” At the moment Father Leviathan was explaining important information about the Great Sage level.

“In some ways, it's similar to reaching the Never-Dying Transformation in that it involves becoming one with all creation. That is how the most ancient of daoist texts describe the process of becoming a sage. Surpass the mortal and enter the saintly. The combination of man and dao. The first step in the Great Sage level is about further strengthening the fusion with one’s magnetic field. The personal domain must have a life force magnetic field, to make one able to live and never die. Even if one is chopped into countless bits, as long as a single drop of their quintessence-blood is left, that person can be born again. It’s actually a higher state than the Never-Dying Transformation. Because of that, the first step is called the Born Again Step. It's reminiscent of the ancient phoenixes who were reborn in fire.” [1]

“Senior Leviathan, thank you very much for your detailed explanation,” Yang Qi said enthusiastically. “What about the second step of the Great Sage level?”

“The second step involves sending one’s nascent divinity mark out into the void and outer space. After finding the correct location, you brand your mark upon it. Later on, if you die, you can achieve nirvanic resurrection, and start a second life from out in the void. Because of that, this step is called the Nirvanic Resurrection Step. As for the third step, it involves taking one’s power and incarnating it as countless particles within one's body, each one of which could be reformed into a whole body. This is the Eternal Sands Step. According to the stories, the kingdom of the ancient legion of gods had an eternal river filled with sand, which is the origin of the name. A Great Sage in the Eternal Sands Step will have incredible magical powers of incomprehensible might. Young Master, it seems to me that you already have particles in you, each of them a unique entity of sorts. It’s actually very similar to the Eternal Sands Step. I find that extremely marvelous.”

Thanks to Father Leviathan’s detailed explanation of the Born Again Step, Nirvanic Resurrection Step, and Eternal Sands Step, Yang Qi’s eyes were sparkling with enlightenment.

“Young Master, allow me to continue with further explanation,” said Snake Nine-Yangs, who had started out his cultivation as a heaven-snake. “The fourth step goes even further. It's called the True Real Step, and involves scattering one's vital energy to become particles, which can each become a separate incarnation. In this way, it is possible to create true and real things out of the void, or transform one thing into another. For example, water could be used to create oil. Stone could become metal. Or, one’s vital energy could be turned into spirit stones. Cultivators with these powers are exceptionally strong, and can summon energy weapons that become absolutely real. For example, Young Master, that spear of yours can already kill Great Sages, but when you reach the fourth step, you can turn it into something real.”

“The fifth step is about gaining enlightenment of the domain of time,” said Tiger Overlord. “Space pertains to the magical laws of immortals, but time belongs to the legion of gods. Gaining enlightenment of the magical laws of time actually violates the dao of heaven, and thus, this level is extremely difficult. If you succeed at it, you can call yourself a high-level Great Sage. This step is called the Light King Step, because light is the physical manifestation of time, and of course, kings are entities who control everything. In any case, the domain of time involves controlling light, and thus, some people call the fifth step the King of Light.”

“Time is light. Light is time. The King of Light. The Light King. So, it's about controlling time.” As Yang Qi tried to digest the information, he realized that he felt like someone who had just entered the Energy Refinement phase of the Energy Arts level.

After all, energy warriors were very different from sages.

Crane Aeonson furthered the explanation. “The sixth step is about gaining enlightenment of the workings of heaven. One refines and tempers one’s psychic abilities, and begins to contemplate the past, present, and future. Such individuals can divine information about energy arts, the fate of individuals, and such things. It's called the Heavenly Workings Step. Cultivators in this step are not to be trifled with. First, they have a very deep understanding of heaven and earth, just like the cicada who can sense the coming of fall before the first autumn wind blows. People like that can perceive deep secrets about energy arts, and can turn the foul and rotten into the rare and ethereal. They can take ordinary energy arts and use them in spectacular and mighty ways.

“Seventh step Great Sages continue to gain enlightenment about the power of the planets. Because of that, it's called the Planet God Step. They can control entire planets with ease, even crushing or refining them into objects of their own desire. Or, they can push them to higher levels of existence, even ensconce them with god-spirits. Great Sages such as this are truly terrifying. With Planet God power, they can easily travel among the planes of the universe. The eighth step is called the Without Limit Step and the ninth is the Epic Saga Step. As for those two, they’re difficult to explain. It would be better to wait until you reach them before trying to understanding them. In fact, not even we really comprehend their true nature.”

Father Leviathan shook his head. “As for me, I'm in the ninth step, the Epic Saga Step. That said, Yan Wubing has an even more profound cultivation base than me. He’s already started to produce immortal motes. I’d say he’ll reach the Demi-Immortal level sooner rather than later. In contrast, I'm not even able to gather immortal energy yet.

‘Born Again, Nirvanic Rebirth, Eternal Sands, True Real, Light King, Heavenly Workings, Planet God, Without Limit, Epic Saga….’ Yang Qi reviewed all of his newfound knowledge, information which would be of immense help going forward.

Each of the nine steps was harder than the one before it. Now, he knew why he could kill Great Sages in the fourth True Real Step; it was because, thanks to the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, he had eight hundred forty million particles in him, which made him very similar to Eternal Sands Step cultivators.

That was one of the invincible aspects to this godly-class energy art of his; even in the Energy Arts level, it actually contained elements of the Eternal Sands Step.

With all of this new information, Yang Qi felt more confident than ever, and knew that he just had to continue working hard at his cultivation.

After the Great Sage level was the Demi-Immortal level, and then, the Demolishing level, and after that, the Godmyth level, which was something Yang Qi could hardly think about at the moment. That was something that only immortals could strive for.

Right now, the top priority was to get into that hell, reach the Never-Dying Transformation, and after that, break through to the Great Sage level.

Unfortunately, his current cultivation base was nowhere near strong enough to break through the barriers of a hell plane. Besides, he had experienced hell monsoons, and even that level of power was terrifying.

The mere vibrations of a hell could cause hell monsoons, which were themselves strong enough to destroy planes and planets. From that, it could only be imagined how terrifying a true hell must be.

Thankfully, he simply had to wait for the training competition to begin, and the immortal world to open a passageway to hell.


Ding Dong! 

Even as Yang Qi was discussing matters with the Demon Sages, the sound of tolling bells reached their ears. The bells were so loud that everything trembled visibly, and everyone who heard them knew that they were a summons of sorts.

With that, Father Leviathan and the others rose to their feet. “Young Master, the time has come to go to Mount Sumeru, the main peak of the Hanging Mountain. When the Sumeru Bell tolls, its sound will echo out for several days and nights, to reach countless planes of existence. It is the official summons from the immortal world. Starting today, people from distant planetary systems will come to participate in the training competition. Come, we’ll lead the way, Young Master. This will be a good opportunity for you to learn about who the top geniuses are. Some of them will be from the Quake-Dawn Cathedral, with whom you already have a grudge. However, most of them took hundreds of years to reach the Great Sage level; none of them can match your speed, Young Master. You only took a short twenty years to do almost the same thing. Perhaps it has something to do with how, when the Holy Mother was pregnant with you, she cultivated the Red-Dust Spectral-Dream Heart-Sutra, and eventually lost her energy arts.”

Yang Qi also stood, and for some reason, it seemed as if the Plateau of the Leviathan as a whole were respectfully sending him on his way.

As for Father Leviathan and the others, they also looked at him with deep respect, as though he were someone very, very important.

And in fact, he was becoming just that.

With that, they flew up into the sky, with Father Leviathan leading the way toward a certain space-time wormhole, which was as blue as the sea. In the blink of an eye, they disappeared into it.

After the time it took an incense stick to burn, they emerged from the other end, and Yang Qi saw an enormous golden mountain hanging in the middle of the darkness up ahead.

This was the main peak of the Hanging Mountain, Mount Sumeru. Of course, Sumeru was a reference to an enormous mountain of the gods from the distant past. [2]

Mustard seeds are incredibly small. And thus was born the saying about a mustard seed which contains Mount Sumeru, which was also used to describe people with extraordinary abilities. After all, how could the world’s smallest thing contain the world's largest thing? [3]

As soon as Father Leviathan looked around, he exclaimed, “Look. There are so many people gathered in front of Mount Sumeru!”

Already, the top experts of the times were gathering in the area.

1. Again, the characters are the same as the Chinese phoenix (feng huang), but the description is that of the western-style phoenix who is reborn in fire. Whenever I see armchair "translation experts” complaining that using “phoenix” is incorrect and that “feng huang” is different, I roll my eyes. Even Chinese authors use “feng huang” to describe the birds that are reborn in fire.

2. In real life, Mount Sumeru, or Mount Meru, is an important mountain in the cosmology of numerous religions.  

3. A mustard seed which contains Mount Sumeru is a real-life saying, although I couldn't find a very good link to go into detail. If you google “mustard seed Sumeru” you might be able to find more information.

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Deathblade's Thoughts

I originally translated Planet God Step as the Star God Step, and had to later go back to make changes. I talk about the whole planet/star confusion in this video. (this link is mirrored in a later chapter)