The altar glowed while ethereal light seethed from it, and then a figure that sat cross-legged was far while its appearance gradually grew clearer.
It was an old man that wore a black robe of unknown material. His figure was extremely emaciated like an air dried piece of bamboo. The wrinkles on his face crisscrossed like ravines, and the snow white hair at his temples fluttered lightly with the wind.
He was truly too old. No matter if it was his skin or the hair at his temples, they revealed the heavy traces of age, and he emanated an aura of ancientness and experience that assaulted the face.
However, his eyes were black and shiny like the most brilliant star in the sky. It was clear, calm, tranquil, and seemed to be able to peer into all the secrets in the deepest depths of one’s heart.
He didn’t seem to possess any aura, and he seemed like an extremely ordinary old man. However, when everyone shot their gazes over to the old man, a strand of reverence couldn’t help but arise in their hearts.
It was like they were facing a monument that had stood towering while withstanding the elements for countless years, and it was extremely shocking.
The Temple Guardian!
In practically an instant, everyone instantly recognized the old man’s identity, and they didn’t doubt it at all.
Because he sat cross-legged on the altar, because his entire body was covered in an ancient and mysterious aura, and all of this was the best proof.
No one spoke, and all of their gazes converged on the old man. At this moment, the atmosphere in the surroundings seemed to be silent and solemn.
The old man’s gaze was clear and serene, and it carried a strand of wisdom and indifferent from seeing through the affairs of the world. He seemed to have already experienced too many scenes like the one before him, so as soon as he appeared, he said, “All of you’re probably already clearly aware of the rules. If you want to enter the Ancestral Root Grounds, then start undergoing the test.”
His voice was hoarse, low, and distant. It seemed to resound through the horizon, yet it clearly resounded in the ears of all.
All of their spirits were refreshed when they heard this, and their gazes suddenly emanated a wisp of blazing anticipation.
The old man’s shriveled lips couldn’t help but curl into an arc of recollection when he saw this. In the boundless years of the past, he’d seen numerous gazes like this, but he still couldn’t help but sigh with emotion every single time he saw it.
“Senior, then I’ll be the first to receive the test.” Suddenly, Luo Shaonong who stood at the front roared with laughter, and then his entire body emanated a strand of a mighty and wild aura.
“So, it’s a little kid from the Luo Clan. No wonder.” The old man’s eyes were filled with wisdom and experience, and he nodded and said, “Which test do you choose?”
Luo Shaonong’s heart shook. He seemed to have never expected that the old man would instantly see through his identity, and his originally unruly and wild expression became serious. He pointed at the door of life and said, “That one.”
“Go on, you have the time for an incense stick to burn.” The old man waved his hand.
The blood colored door before the temple that was branded with the ‘生’ character opened abruptly. Behind it was deep darkness, and it caused others to be utterly unable to see the scene behind it clearly.
Luo Shaonong immediately led the group that stood behind him to swiftly step foot into the door of life and vanish.
The door closed once more, and it isolated everything within it from the outside world.
“The door of life has already opened. Who’s willing to accept the test of the door of death?” The old man spoke slowly.
Everyone glanced at each other. Compared to the unfathomable and mysterious door of death that was filled with killing intent with every step, most of them would rather choose the door of life.
After all, even though the door of life was filled with an inexhaustible swarm of ancient corpses, it didn’t contain any uncertain dangers. So, they just had to work hard to charge their way out of it.
“This humble monk is willing to give it a try.” Right when everyone was hesitating, a calm voice resounded.
Along with this voice, the Buddhist Sect’s Jia Nan who wore a moon white monk’s robe, straw sandals, and held a cane made from withered wood passed everyone and moved forward.
His expression was calm and tranquil as usual, and his entire body carried a firm aura and a Buddhist aura that was unlike the aura any other cultivator possessed.
Everyone felt surprised. However, when they noticed that it was Jia Nan, all of them revealed expressions of understanding. Jia Nan was an existence at the 7th position on the Domain Enlightened Chart. So, no matter if he chose the door of life or door of death, it was still a matter of course.
As expected, said Chen Xi in his heart. Based on his intuition alone, Chen Xi knew that Jia Nan who cultivated in the path of true self would definitely not fear the test of ‘death’.
“Persisting in self to return to one’s original state. Seeking the truth and Buddha…. Hah! I never expected that after so many years, the Buddhist Sect finally has a Holy One that had comprehended this path towards the Dao. This heart of yours can be said to be extraordinary.” The old man glanced at Jia Nan before a wisp of surprise flashed in his clear eyes, and then he recovered his composed and tranquil expression as he waved his hand and said, “Go on, you have the time for an incense stick to burn.”
Jia Nan pressed his palms together, and then he swiftly entered the door of death and vanished.
“Everyone else wait calmly. More time to prepare isn’t disadvantageous at all.” The old man swept the others with his gaze before he closed his eyes, and he seemed to have fallen into deep sleep.
At this point, there were people undergoing the test behind both the doors, so if the others wanted to undergo the test, they had to wait for Luo Shaonong’s group and Jia Nan to complete the test.
“How long do all of you think Young Master Shaonong will take to smoothly pass through the test?”
“It definitely won’t be the time for an incense stick to burn.”
“Isn’t that obvious!? In my opinion, 10 minutes would be sufficient.”
“Haha! 10 minutes? Aren’t you underestimating Young Master Shaonong’s ability? I’m sure that Young Master Shaonong will definitely pass through smoothly within an eighth of an hour!”
“Then what about Jia Nan?”
“Jia Nan? I don’t know. The members of the Buddhist Sect have always been mysterious. However, since Jia Nan was able to ascend to the 7th position on the Domain Enlightened Chart, he definitely won’t be much inferior.”
The crowd discussed animatedly, and all of them were guessing exactly how long Luo Shaonong’s group and Jia Nan would take to pass through the test. No one felt that these two people would be eliminated.
Chen Xi didn’t have the mood to pay attention to this, and he seized this opportunity to continue contemplating the Mysterious Sword of the Heart.
Presently, along with the transformation of his cultivation in the Dao Heart, and his attainment of the first forging, even his Sword Dao had broken through once more, allowing him to attain the first level of the Sword Emperor Realm.
Even though it was still the Sword Emperor Realm, it was a completely different realm when compared to the past. Moreover, the might of his Sword Dao couldn’t be compared to the past as well.
For example, when he fought Yuqiu Jing in the Soulsever Bottle Gourd earlier, the reason Chen Xi was able to easily destroy the strongest attack of Yuqiu Jing who’d attained the Sword Emperor Realm as well was because of his breakthrough in the Sword Dao.
This caused Chen Xi to have an even deeper understanding of how formidable the Mysterious Sword of the Heart was. For the sake of improving his combat strength, he’d practically made use of every single shred of time he could utilize to comprehend and contemplate the Mysterious Sword of the Heart.
“Eh, I never expected that Fellow Daoist actually arrived here as well. This is truly slightly surprising to me.” Suddenly, a voice resounded by Chen Xi’s ears, and it jolted him awake from his deep contemplation.
He raised his eyes and look over, and then he saw that Gongye Zhefu had suddenly brought Zhen Liuqing over to where he stood.
At this moment, Gongye Zhefu was looking at Chen Xi with surprise while Zhen Liuqing was looking somewhere else instead. Her expression was tranquil as before, yet she gave others the feeling that her mind was preoccupied with something else.
On the other hand, many cultivators in the surroundings gazed at Chen Xi with slight surprise. Even Le Wuhen, Yuqiu Jing, and the others were no exception. They seemed to have never imagined that a renowned figure on the Domain Enlightened Chart like Gongye Zhefu would actually recognize Chen Xi.
The atmosphere was slightly strange, and too many gazes had shot over here from the surroundings. This caused Chen Xi to instantly frown, and his expression became indifferent as he said, “Are you? I’m very surprised to see Young Master Gongye here as well.”
These words alone caused everyone in the surroundings to instantly and acutely noticed a trace of confrontation in the air, and all of them couldn’t help but be surprised. Could it be that there’s enmity between this fellow and Gongye Zhefu?
Le Wuhen revealed a pondering expression.
Shentu Yanran’s black brows raised instead. She glanced at Zhen Liuqing that stood by Gongye Zhefu’s side before she glanced at Chen Xi, and then she faintly guessed something in her heart.
Yuqiu Jing felt slightly happy from Chen Xi’s misfortune, and a wisp of a faint arc had appeared on the corners of his mouth.
As for the others, all of them had various different expressions.
“Haha.” Gongye Zhefu laughed, and then he suddenly placed his arm around Zhen Liuqing’s shoulder and said, “Fellow Daoist, I advise you not to have any ideas about Liuqing, and it’s best if you give up. Otherwise, I won’t let you off like I did that day.”
His voice was indifferent, yet it was filled with an arrogant and domineering tone.
From the beginning until the end, Zhen Liuqing remained silent, and it was utterly impossible to notice even a trace of emotions from her expression.
On the other hand, the others in the vicinity erupted into an uproar when they heard Gongye Zhefu.
“My ears still work fine right? That fellow is actually trying to fight Gongye Zhefu for a woman?”
“Who’s that fellow? Could it be that he doesn’t know who Gongye Zhefu is? He actually dared to act in that way? He’s simply willing to risk everything for the sake of satisfying his lust.”
“If I’m Gongye Zhefu and someone dared to try and seize my woman…. Haha! I wouldn’t be so nice.”
Even Le Wuhen, Yuqiu Jing, and the others were shocked in their hearts, and they felt slight disbelief that Chen Xi had actually done such a thing.
At this moment, Chen Xi was disdained upon, ridiculed, and even vilified by all of these voices and discussions.
However, his expression was still calm as if he didn’t hear them at all. He just glanced calmly at Zhen Liuqing that remained silent, and then he sighed in his heart and moved his gaze towards Gongye Zhefu before he said, “You came here just to warn me?”
Gongye Zhefu laughed lightly, and then he shook his head and with a bearing of superiority before he said, “No, don’t misunderstand. I didn’t come to look for you.”
As he spoke, he shot his gaze towards Shentu Yanran that stood by Chen Xi’s side, and then a wisp of a brilliant smile that was extremely charming suffused the corners of his mouth. “Young Miss Yanran, can we speak somewhere else?”
He seemed as if he’d completely disregarded Chen Xi.
This caused a wave of roaring laughter to instantly arise in the surroundings, and they looked at Chen Xi as if they were looking at a clown while their gazes were filled with pity and ridicule.
Chen Xi puckered his lips and fell into silence while a wisp of seething killing intent had arisen in his heart. He was very clearly aware that Gongye Zhefu was doing just as he’d done in Phoenix Percy City, and Gongye Zhefu had intentionally brought Zhen Liuqing over to humiliate him in public!
Even though Chen Xi didn’t know the reason, it was already not important.
Suddenly, he felt his palm being held by a warm and soft palm, and then Shentu Yanran’s pleasant and melodious voice resounded by his ear. “I’m sorry but I’m busy now.”
Chen Xi’s figure shook while he glanced at Shentu Yanran with slight astonishment. Yet he noticed her turn around to gaze at him with her starry eyes that were soft like water and glistened with tender feelings.
What… is she doing?
“Why? You wouldn’t act like this in the past.” Before Chen Xi could recover from his shock, Gongye Zhefu had frowned while his violet pupils suddenly constricted when he noticed Shentu Yanran and Chen Xi’s hands that were held together.
“Could it be that you haven’t noticed…?” Shentu Yanran didn’t even spare a glance at Gongye Zhefu, and she just stared at Chen Xi as she spoke in a gentle and melodious voice. “I have to accompany him.”