Chapter 226Overcome, Twofold, Seagod’s Light
(TL by Bagelson)
Sensing that Ning Rongrong could endure it, Tang San continued forward, very quickly charging past the one hundred eight steps point.
At the same time, the circumstances of Ning Rongrong’s body also really was cause for concern. Even though she clenched her teeth to bitterly keep from making a sound, her body still trembled constantly under the pressure. Leaning against Tang San’s back, how couldn’t he feel it?
Without the slightest hesitation, Tang San constantly increased the pace of the draining golden threads, and at the same time also released the energy of the domains as far as possible, protecting her.
But even so, when Tang San climbed a hundred twenty steps Ning Rongrong’s body was still somewhat unable to endure. Tang San clearly felt warm liquid flow from Ning Rongrong’s mouth, falling on his back.
This couldn’t go on. There was still the final leap in pressure of the last three steps after one hundred thirty three. She absolutely couldn’t hold up. Even though Tang San had completely calculated the difficulties, the strength of Ning Rongrong’s body was still a bit less than he had expected.
Sighing deeply, Tang San made his only possible choice. The golden blue light abruptly intensified. Ning Rongrong only felt a formidable abundant aura of life pour into her body like a spring. Just at this moment, everything around turned golden blue, including Tang San himself. It was Tang San releasing his Blue Silver Avatar.
Instantly, an almost substantial Blue Silver Domain wrapped up Tang San and Ning Rongrong in a golden blue sphere. Even though this increased the area of the pressure Tang San had to endure, it simultaneously protected Ning Rongrong as far as possible.
With the pressure suddenly lightening, Ning Rongrong’s heart still sank. She of course knew how much spirit power the Spirit Avatar consumed for a Spirit Sage. Let alone when Tang San had previously already spent a lot of spirit power to help the others pass, that absolutely wasn’t something that could be recovered by a couple of hours of rest. Her third brother endured so much for her sake. He still had to bring Xiao Wu to climb three hundred thirty three steps together! The pressure at one hundred something steps was so frightening, then the pressure past three hundred could well be imagined. Even if his spirit power had already reached the seventy sixth rank, it was still a heavenly moat.
This time, Tang San didn’t pause again, directly charging forward, heading straight for the one hundred thirty six step point.
The instant they reached the one hundred thirty sixth step, Ning Rongrong suddenly shuddered, a red light shooting out from her forehead like a bolt of lightning, actually breaking through the Blue Silver Domain protecting them. Tang San grunted, swiftly removing his Blue Silver Avatar and letting down Ning Rongrong.
However, like this the pressure he endured became even greater. Without the protection of the Blue Silver Avatar, the pressure here at one hundred thirty six steps was immense even for him. Especially when he had previously relied on the draining golden threads to pass his spirit power to Ning Rongrong.
Complexion slightly pale, seeing the intense red light rising around Ning Rongrong, Tang San no longer stayed and swiftly retreated down the mountain.
Encircled by red light, the strange red seven pointed star on Ning Rongrong’s forehead radiated dazzling splendor, layer after layer of red light sweeping down, jubilantly circling around her. A red light screen shot out from that heptagram, then quietly shattered. But unlike the black light screens of the others, it didn’t immediately transforms into specks of light and fuse back into her, but rather condensed into a red ring of light descending from above, perfectly straight enveloping Ning Rongrong, and finally slowly blending into her.
A voice echoed in Ning Rongrong’s mind: Peak level seven tests first trial, Overcome, Strengthen, Seagod’s Light, passed. Spirit power increase one rank. Possessed spirit ring abilities’ power increased by five hundred years.
Previously Oscar, Dai Mubai and the others had also heard their rewards like Ning Rongrong, but none above them had their spirit ring abilities strengthened by five hundred years. This was clearly the benefits of this peak level trial.
It might seem that spirit ability effects increasing by five hundred years might not be all the much, but Ning Rongrong now already possessed six spirit rings, that was an overall increase of three thousand years.
To her later spirit abilities, this five hundred year boost naturally wasn’t anything, but this had a significant effect to her first few abilities. Especially the first and second.
Her first spirit ability was just from a hundred year spirit ring, now it had suddenly risen to more than six hundred years. And her second spirit ring also grew from five hundred years to a millennia, making Ning Rongrong’s second spirit ring transform from yellow to purple. Even though the Nine Treasure Glazed Tile Pagoda wouldn’t be influenced by spirit ring quality, the stronger the spirit ring, the less spirit power the spirit abilities consumed. After these six spirit rings grew by five hundred years, when Ning Rongrong fully used her spirit abilities, her own consumption would lower a bit, and her support endurance would naturally also grow stronger. And Ning Rongrong’s spirit ring colors had also transformed, yellow, purple, purple, purple, black, black.
Descending the stairs, Tang San didn’t pause, immediately entering cultivation. He didn’t have much time, he only had one chance to pass the first trial. Overcome, Twofold, Seagod’s Light. It absolutely wasn’t child’s play. It was also impossible for his comrades to help him the way he helped them. He could rely only on himself. Let alone when he still had to bring Xiao Wu when climbing.
Nobody went to disturb Tang San. Ning Rongrong also didn’t have time to get excited over her spirit power breaking through the seventieth rank, and swiftly descended the stairs without the pressure of the Seagod’s Light, to sit together with Oscar to start cultivating, recovering her spirit power. The last to attack the stairs, Tang San, would need their help.
In order for the two of them to successfully pass the trial, Tang San had spent a lot of effort. Everyone were comrades, and they wouldn’t speak of gratitude, but they would also assist with all their strength as Tang San attacked the trial.
Tang San’s cultivation lasted a full six hours. When he awakened, the sky was already dark. Barely four hours remained to the end of this final day.
In six hours of cultivation, Tang San had not only recovered his spirit power as far as possible, but at the same time also adjusted his condition to its peak.
Opening his eyes, he attentively watched the long flight of stairs in front of him. There were no distractions in Tang San’s heart, he had no way back. He could only make an all-out effort to attack.
Before today, the highest Tang San had reached was the two hundredth step, and yesterday he had also cultivated at the one hundred fiftieth step. Even though his spirit power had only risen by two ranks in the last half year, these two ranks really were quite difficult for him. After all, his spirit power had already passed the seventieth rank. Each level that followed would require more and more. However, this half year had also compacted his Spirit Sage realm physique.
The Seagod’s Light didn’t have any sudden leaps in intensity after the one hundred thirty sixth step, only steadily increasing in pressure. But even so, once at the two hundredth step, the pressure was still twice that of the one hundred thirty sixth step. The pressure at three hundred thirty three steps could be imagined. But Tang San also guessed that, since the one hundred eighth and one hundred thirty sixth steps increased in pressure, then there was no reason it wouldn’t rise by the three hundred thirty three steps he needed to pass. One could imagine how immense the pressure would be after he reached three hundred steps.
Seeing Tang San awaken from cultivation, his comrades all surrounded him. Bai Chenxiang had also awakened by now, and the others had also all recovered. Everyones’ gazes focused on Tang San.
Dai Mubai’s forceful tiger palms grabbed Tang San’s shoulders,
“Little San, you can do it.”
Oscar lowered his voice:
“I will support you. Little San, you will definitely pass.”
Fatty stepped forward and gave Tang San a big hug,
“Third brother, I believe in you.”
Ning Rongrong stepped up to Tang San with a smile, softly hugging him,
Even though she smiled as she spoke, everyone heard the do-or-die resolve in her voice. She didn’t mention what would happen to her if Tang San couldn’t pass.
Zhu Zhuqing equally stepped forward, hugging Tang San;
“Third brother, for Xiao Wu.”
The last to step forward was Bai Chenxiang. She also equally wanted to embrace Tang San, but was in the end too shy. After all, she wasn’t as close to Tang San as Ning Rongrong or Zhu Zhuqing.
“Third brother, I know you want to play matchmaker for me and Fatty. I promise, if you safely pass the trial, I’ll give him a chance.”
Each of his comrades’ words raised a warm current in Tang San’s heart. Comforting heat flowed through each meridian, with incomparable fighting spirit gently ignited by these feelings. His eyes revealed unprecedented resolve, his comrades’ warnings thoroughly roused Tang San’s condition, his three vital energies climbing to a peak in an instant.
Taking Xiao Wu’s hand and looking around at his comrades, Tang San spoke in a low and firm voice:
“I won’t fail.”
Stepping up to the stairs, Tang San pulled Xiao Wu close and kissed her forehead, then turned her around and stood quietly behind her, unbraiding her hair.
The sandalwood comb had at some point appeared in Tang San’s hand, and he slowly combed together Xiao Wu’s long hair. The jet black hair turned supple and smooth in Tang San’s hands. He didn’t let a single strand off as he intently combed her hair together.
Right now, whether Tang San combing hair or Xiao Wu standing in front of him, both were very quiet. Their comrades all stood behind them, but nobody disturbed them.
Quietly watching Tang San comb Xiao Wu’s hair, Oscar subconsciously embraced the already teary Ning Rongrong, and Zhu Zhuqing also sank into Dai Mubai’s arms. Only when Fatty went to hold Bai Chenxiang, she slapped his hand away. However, Bai Chenxiang herself took the initiative to grip his fleshy palm.
Tang San’s hairdressing had levelled up considerably. Xiao Wu’s hair became extremely neat, and a scorpion braid gradually formed under Tang San’s deft hands. Starting from the back of her head, until it was finished.
Disregarding their comrades’ looks, after Tang San tied the final knot, he pulled Xiao Wu into a tight embrace from behind, all kinds of scenes from the past constantly flashing through his mind. Yes, for Xiao Wu, he absolutely couldn’t fail.
Silhouette changing, Xiao Wu was already carried on Tang San’s back. The next moment golden blue light abruptly emanated from Tang San.
After careful reflection, Tang San didn’t chose to use Dao Mubai’s spirit ability. After all, the cloned White Tiger Spirit Avatar couldn’t compare to the effects of his own Blue Silver Avatar, and even though the White Tiger spirit was a bit stronger overall, Tang San was even more skilful in his use of the Blue Silver spirit. Moreover, the White Tiger spirit could after all only be used to seventy percent effect, it on the contrary wasn’t any more effective than his own spirit.
Releasing the Blue Silver Avatar turned Tang San entirely golden blue, several strands of Blue Silver Emperor floating in the air and tightly binding Xiao Wu to Tang San’s back, and moreover binding every inch below her neck. Like this he could minimize the outside pressure to her.
Blue light rising from below his feet, in the Blue Silver Avatar condition, Tang San launched the Blue Silver Domain. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to release the Deathgod Domain at the same time, but rather that he could only completely use one domain in Blue Silver Avatar. If he used two domains, it would on the contrary reverse the effect. Consequently, he had decided earlier to alternate the use of the two great domains, using the most suitable domain in the most suitable situation.
Three big recovery sausages flew in front of Tang San, who ate them without the slightest hesitation. Four bright rays of light rose behind him at the same time, the Nine Treasure Glazed Tile Pagoda launching. At the same time Tang San also lit up, and started to climb.
When Tang San started climbing, everyone saw Tang San’s full strength for the first time. In just a flash, he had already carried Xiao Wu to shoot upward like a blue ray of light. In practically just a few eyeblinks, he had already climbed a hundred steps.
Nobody dared be neglectful, swiftly chasing after. Including Bai Chenxiang, they no longer needed to endure the pressure of the Seagod’s Light, and could once again climb without restraint.
Tang San maintained a shocking speed as he swiftly climbed within the Seagod’s Light. Moreover, his climbing method was a bit special. He didn’t directly advance head on, but rather moved forward at an angle. As he climbed, he suddenly passed from the left side to the right side over ten steps, then again suddenly moved to the left side in a few steps. Looking at it, it was a kind of serpentine pattern.
This was the comprehension Tang San gained from that time Xiao Wu climbed. Advancing in a curve could reduce the pressure as far as possible, saving him some physical strength and spirit power.
Past two hundred steps, Tang San’s speed immediately dropped. With the amplification of Ning Rongrong’s Nine Treasure Glazed Tile Pagoda, at this moment he felt full of spirit power to the point of bursting. Every spot on his body was brimming with power. Even though the pressure constantly assaulting him from the front was so formidable, it still couldn’t overwhelm him in the slightest. It seemed as if it could only be conquered step by step.
Tang San had already launched the Blue Silver Domain’s third evolution Boundless Nature, but only revolving around him and Xiao Wu, guarding Xiao Wu together with the Blue Silver Emperor. Under Tang San’s careful protection, even though they had now reached two hundred steps, Xiao Wu still didn’t suffer any pressure.
The other Shrek Seven Devils had already caught up by now, following close behind Tang San. Two hundred steps, their hearts all rose to their throats. In fact, just like when he carried ning Rongrong before, Tang San couldn’t use the Eight Spider Lances at the same time as he carried Xiao Wu.
Passing two hundred ten steps, Tang San secretly exclaimed in admiration. The Nine Treasure Glazed Tile Pagoda was worthy of being the the present day’s number one support spirit. Under Ning Rongrong’s assistance, even his present spirit power operation speed could stay level with the consumption. In other words, right now he was still in peak condition.
Two hundred twenty steps smoothly passed by. Even though the pressure was enormous, it still couldn’t stop Tang San’s progress.
However, these circumstances suddenly changed after he took another two steps.
As Tang San set one foot on the two hundred twenty second step, he suddenly felt the pressure around him undergo an unprecedented transformation. If the previous pressure could be said to squeeze a person into a ball, constantly enduring the ball’s elasticity, then what he faced right now was an iron ball, and the tangible pressure had to be shattered to forge forward.
What was going on? The sudden magnification in consumption made Tang San’s body tighten. Not only did his speed drop visibly, his spirit power consumption also multiplied exponentially. The golden mist rising around him had already turned into a barrier of light enveloping him and Xiao Wu.
From the foot of Seagod Mountain to the Seagod’s Hall were altogether one thousand one steps. Seagod Douluo Bo Saixi stood quietly before the Seagod’s Hall, looking quietly into the horizon.
A soft sigh echoed around her,
“It’s definitely very painful. This is the test I faced back then. The condition to pass the peak level eight tests is two hundred twenty eight steps. And starting from two hundred twenty two steps, those last six steps were like a trial of hell for me, I can’t forget it even today. Tang San, the road you have to climb is still extremely difficult. However, since the lord Seagod chose you, I believe. You can definitely succeed.”
Tang San naturally didn’t hear Seagod Douluo’s voice. The sudden spike in difficulty made his spirit power start to quickly drain away. But he didn’t pause, he didn’t dare pause. He knew that to him, this Seagod nine tests first trial, started now.
Walking forward with difficulty, two hundred thirty, two hundred forty, two hundred fifty. Thirty steps were conquered in succession under Tang San’s feet. But now, a dense mist rose from his body. Strangely, just as that water mist emerged from within him, it immediately transformed into bright crystalline droplets and finally shattered into dust.
Reaching the two hundred sixtieth step, Tang San paused for the first time. The considerable spirit power consumption made his meridians and bones issue pained sounds that only he could hear.
Oscar timely handed over a few large recovery sausages, and Ning Rongrong’s boost also grew stronger, improving the halted Tang San’s mind somewhat. At this moment, he still had two more sausages in his hand. One of them was pink, radiating a charming tint. And the other was completely deep green. This deep green sausage was the only one Oscar couldn’t use himself, and also the fifth spirit ability he had never revealed in front of the others.
Setting out again, the climb became increasingly difficult. Even Tang San’s Blue Silver Domain with the support of his Blue Silver Avatar began to tremble violently, and the pressure that could originally be kept outside began to infiltrate the sphere in traces. Not only did it constrict Tang San, it also began to cause pressure to Xiao Wu.
Xiao Wu quietly leaned on Tang San’s back. Even though the outside pressure invaded, she was still wrapped up in the Blue Silver Emperor, helping her block the overwhelming majority. The remaining fractions were resisted by the Eight Treasure Wishful Soft Armor. Under Tang San’s strict protection, the pressure Xiao Wu’s body endured was still actually insignificant.
At two hundred seventy steps, Tang San stopped for a second time. Sparkling and translucent sweat drops constantly shattered around him. His spirit power consumption had already reached a frightening level, and supporting his Spirit Avatar was also growing more and more difficult.
There were still sixty three steps to go! For Xiao Wu, suddenly shouting in his heart, Tang San started walking once again, the obsession in his heart starting to show its effect. For a split second, his speed was even a bit faster than before, going from two hundred seventy to two hundred eighty steps in one breath.
Switch over to Deathgod Domain? No, it still wasn’t time, Tang San didn’t do that. The Deathgod Domain would make it a bit easier for Tang San to split open the pressure in front of him, but at the same time it had no ability to help Tang San recover spirit power. In other words, if he switched over to the Deathgod Domain, he had to climb to the goal in one go. Otherwise, as long as he paused for a single step, he would immediately collapse.
Setting foot on the two hundred eighty first step, Tang San nodded forcefully to Oscar next to him. Even though making this motion was very difficult, he had to give Oscar a clear signal.
Oscar handed over two long since prepared sausages long since prepared in his hand. One red, one dark green, simultaneously fell into Tang San’s mouth. Practically without chewing, Tang San swallowed them.
These two sausages Tang San ate were precisely Oscar’s fourth spirit ability, Stimulating Pink Sausage, as well as Tang San’s fifth spirit ability, Limit Surpassing Dark Green Sausage.
The effect of the limit surpassing dark green sausage: instantly increasing spirit power thirty percent, duration three minutes. The price is being weak for three days after using it, injuring vitality. At the same time, it can be used at most once in a month. Can’t be used by sausage maker Oscar.
The effect of strengthening spirit power by thirty percent was extremely overbearing, but this limit surpassing dark green sausage was for last ditch use, it absolutely couldn’t be eaten lightly. If it was eaten to many times, the body would be in danger of collapsing. Consequently, in the previous climbing process, nobody ate Oscar’s fifth sausage while they felt sure of passing.
But Tang San right now had no choice but to erupt ahead of plan. Otherwise, if his spirit power was further consumed, he would certainly be unable to pass the trial.
If it was just him alone, Tang San could still risk it. But he also carried Xiao Wu. In order to protect Xiao Wu, he couldn’t consider anything else. As long as he could endure, he wouldn’t let Xiao Wu feel pressure.
Under the effect of the two great sausages, a surging heat instantly rose in his dantian. His originally swiftly draining spirit power swelled up like a volcanic eruption, not only making Tang San feel lighter, but also making him feel excited.
Without directly starting to climb, two rays of golden purple light shot out from Tang San’s eyes. The next moment, the originally only one meter or so diameter Blue Silver Domain under his feet abruptly erupted. In practically just an instant, it had covered the entire Seagod Mountain.
Even though Seagod Mountain was bathed in the Seagod’s Light, besides this stairway to the mountaintop, the whole mountain was practically covered in plants. All softs of plants made the whole Seagod mountain seem especially beautiful. And right now Tang San’s abrupt eruption used the Blue Silver Domain’s Boundless Nature to cover the entire Seagod Mountain.
Even though the Seagod’s Light was formidable, it was still unable to block domain and support type abilities. In an instant, the Seagod Mountain’s faint golden light turned completely golden blue.
The others didn’t have the terrifying pressure of the Seagod’s Light. The surroundings suddenly turned golden blue, but they could still clearly see the circumstances around Tang San. A palpitating feeling spread through their bodies. They discovered that Tang San’s Blue Silver Domain’s Boundless Nature really wasn’t aimed at him or the Seagod’s Light, but rather targeted all the plants on Seagod Mountain.
Even though Seagod Mountain wasn’t considered very tall, there was still a considerable amount of plants covering the mountain. To be able to cover all of it in the power of the domain clearly showed how frightening Tang San’s eruption of spirit power was.
Tang San’s original strength wasn’t enough to make Boundless Nature cover this kind of range, but under the effect of Ning Rongrong’s Nine Treasure Glazed Tile Pagoda and Oscar’s two great amplifying sausages, his instantly erupting domain ability had reached its target of enveloping Seagod Mountain.
Without stepping forward, this moment, the golden blue light covering Tang San grew unprecedentedly intense, one golden blue string after another rushed out from all directions, towards Tang San, converging on him.
That came from the plants of Seagod Mountain. Each plant seemed to have practiced with Tang San, under the formidable influence of the Blue Silver Domain, they not only declared their allegiance to Tang San, but at the same time the Blue Silver Domain’s Boundless Nature also roused their potential, and Tang San absorbed this energy through the domain.
The plants of Seagod Mountain were covered in the Seagod’s Light all year round, and they contained more energy than ordinary plants. Of course, any one of these plants wasn’t much before the Shrek Seven Devils, even more when Tang San only extracted a tenth of their energy. A tenth of their energy wouldn’t influence their growth and reproduction, and with the excitement of the Blue Silver Domain, they would instead grow even more healthily. Some might even have a chance to become plant type spirit beasts.
However, Tang San wasn’t absorbing just one plant, but rather all the plants on the mountain. As one tenth of the energy of countless plants converged on Tang San through the Blue Silver Domain, this energy was terrifying.
Tang San swelled up as if inflated, his whole body brimming with frightening power. If it was any other energy, the chaos might have already caused his body to directly explode. But such pure plant energy only had the intent to kneel before the Blue Silver Emperor, there basically wouldn’t be any backlash. Led by the aura at the heart of the Blue Silver Emperor, not only did it swiftly replenish Tang San’s consumed spirit power, at the same time it also restored the Mysterious Heaven Skill consumed under the pressure of the Seagod’s Light.
This was the special effect of different domains in different places.
The effect of Qian Renxue’s Angelic Domain was clearer the higher in the sky it was, the Seagod Douluo’s Seagod Domain was unparallelled in the great seas. And in places with large quantities of plants, Tang San’s Blue Silver Domain was undoubtedly the most tyrannical.
Of course, Tang San’s present circumstances were still extremely dangerous. Due to his body inflating, his defensive power had shrunk to a dangerous degree. And the spirit power converging on him from the plants already surpassed his own spirit power by far, if he couldn’t control it, he would immediately capsize.
Moving forward once again, Tang San began extremely carefully. He knew that his condition couldn’t last. Even disregarding the duration of Oscar’s two sausages, if the external and internal pressure of his body was maintained for long, he would also suffer incurable harm.
Two hundred ninety, three hundred. Supported by the Blue Silver Domain’s Boundless Nature, Tang San finally climbed past three hundred steps. It was also the instant he set foot on the three hundredth step that Tang San opened his mouth wide, spitting out a golden blue mist.
That wasn’t anything he wanted to do himself, but rather because the pressure brought by the Seagod’s Light after three hundred steps wasn’t as simple as just tangibility, but rather rose to an incomparably terrifying pressure. The gravity in his surroundings also tripled in an instant. Under such enormous squeezing, Tang San had no choice but to open his mouth and spit out a mouthful of the plant energy within his body. Otherwise, he would have imploded.
Within that golden blue mist was still a rich blood reeking aura. The seven apertures of Tang San’s head was also simultaneously touched by a bloody mist. The condition of his body fell in a straight line.
However, Tang San’s feet still didn’t stop, but on the contrary accelerated. He swiftly advanced five steps.
The final moment approached. Tang San knew that if he couldn’t get there in one move, then he would never have another chance to climb up. And the Blue Silver Domain he released was now also swiftly contracting. The energy already wasn’t enough to support releasing it over a wide area. The consumption of the energy from the plants also rose in a sharp line. Even Tang San himself didn’t know how long he could hold out.
“You can do it, little San (third brother).”
Everyone accompanying Tang San to climb the whole way shouted practically as one voice. They of course also saw how terrifying the pressure Tang San now endured was, and also knew even more that this was his only chance.
Ning Rongrong fiercely spit out a mouthful of blood that fell on her Nine Treasure Glazed Tile Pagoda. Instantly, the originally four rays of amplifying light suddenly intensified. What she spit out was a mouthful of her heart's blood, the effect of which could increase her boost by ten percent. But it would be followed by severely injuring her strength. But at this moment, Ning Rongrong couldn’t mind anything else.
It was as if the whole Seagod Mountain shuddered with each heavy step forward, three hundred six, three hundred seven …… three hundred twenty one, three hundred twenty two, three hundred twenty three…...
Only ten steps remained to the goal.
The scenery before Tang San’s eyes had already grown hazy, the Blue Silver Domain was also already once again back to a one meter diameter range around him. There were ten steps in front of him, but they had turned into a heavenly moat. The weight of his body, within that solidified pressure, it was already extremely difficult for Tang San to even breathe. One red strand after another constantly seeped out from his skin, turning into red solid forms like specks of stars in the air, then being crushed to dust.
Having climbed to here, Tang San’s body was already completely lacking. Confronting the last ten steps, his raised left foot was raised motionless in the air, no matter what was said he couldn’t place it on the stone step in front of him.
Just at this moment, warm energy flowed from behind Tang San, the power of a soul quietly awakening. Xiao Wu who had always been quietly leaning against Tang San’s back once again regained the life in her eyes, with the brilliance of a star.