The thin stone road ascended upwards as if it was directly heading towards the ninth Heaven – there was no end in sight.
The uneven and unpatterned stairs appeared old and mysterious. The path was not drowning in heavenly light nor was it exuding monstrous power. However, it still pressed on everyone’s chest as heavy as a mountain.
After the first few dozen cultivators were flung backward by it, everyone felt a chill down their spines.
However, due to the temptation of the Palace of Fortune, not many people could contain themselves. Despite the eeriness posed by the stone road, many cultivators made their second attempt at this test.
The result was just the same. All these people were thrown out the moment they touched the steps.
Ling Xian held onto his slight frown as he observed those who were being resisted by the stairs. He noticed that these people’s training were merely in the beginning stages of the foundational level. Their Qi appeared weak, caused by an over-consumption of medicinal Dans.
"I see… These people are not capable enough to step onto the stone road." Ling Xian suddenly realized.
The others too noticed this and sighed in disappointment. Those who were self-aware became crestfallen.
Conversely, those who were confident about their own abilities began to laugh and marched forward onto the stone road.
This time, there was no more sudden flinging of the cultivators. However, this group of people’s faces turned paper white when they touched the steps. It was obvious just how suppressing this path was.
That was normal. This was the Palace of Fortune’s test after all. If any cultivator could enter, then it wouldn’t be legendary. It would be a normal Palace.
As people noticed that some have successfully stepped onto the road, the rest of them began to converge hopefully.
However, Ling Xian remained where he was. He slowly closed his eyes and dialed up his spiritual energy to the peak. He planned to reach the top in one attempt!
After about an hour, everyone had gotten rather far on their journey. Only then did Ling Xian slowly open his eyes. A blinding white light quickly flashed before his eyes and faded just as fast.
"I am now in my prime condition. It is time for me to climb."
Ling Xian curved up his lips. Looking at the mysterious road before him, he stepped forward in giant leaps and stepped onto the road.
Immediately, he felt a gigantic force inching closer to him, just like a tall mountain that collapsed right on top of him.
Sadly, to Ling Xian, who was almost at the undefeatable realm of the foundational level, this kind of pressure was not even as strong as an itch. He shook it off and aimed for the second step.
Luckily, after an hour, there were no more cultivators around to witness this. If others saw how easily he surpassed the first step, they would be puking blood from disbelief.
"I see. So every step is more pressuring than the last."
Faced with the continuously increasing amount of pressure, Ling Xian treated it with a smile. As composed as always, he didn’t see much of it. It was as if the extreme pain others were going through was nothing to him.
Very quickly, he arrived at the one-hundredth step. His face was not red, his breathing was not hasty, his stance was not fatigued, there wasn’t even a drop of sweat.
It was as if he was taking a stroll in his own back garden, relaxed and tranquil – his favorite pastime.
"Eh? I am seeing people already."
Ling Xian suddenly exclaimed as he noticed the silhouette of a
youth. He couldn’t help it but be a little surprised that after an hour, a person has only reached so far.
However, when he remembered just how forceful the road resisted them, he suddenly understood.
It was true, the force of it all was nothing to him and could be easily overcome. But to others, even those in the same level as him, they had to pay a price to conquer it.
Step… step… step…
Ling Xian took three more steps and stopped right behind the youth. He patted the person’s shoulder and said, "Friend, are you tired?"
The youth froze for a second as he turned around with difficulty. Seeing that it was a person behind him, his eyes became proud.
He thought he was the last person to be here and was deeply saddened by it. Now that he saw Ling Xian, he became confident, believing that he was not the worst of the pack. There was now someone worse than him.
"Haha, I was rather exhausted just now. But after seeing you, I am not anymore." The youth began to laugh, his tone full of joy.
"Why is that?" Ling Xian frowned.
The youth snickered, "Because you are behind me, which means you are the weakest one out of everyone here."
"I see. You are treating me as someone below you, therefore my failure is your success." Ling Xian lost his composure and chuckled.
Teasingly, the young man said, "I originally wanted to help you out a little. But since you don’t look very stressed about this, you can do this on your own."
"You are the one who said it. Don’t regret it." Ling Xian sarcastically laughed. He then marched forward 10 whole steps under the shocked stare of the youth.
The 10 steps were taken as if he flew. As if he was walking on flat ground. As if the suppressing pressure from the path was never there in the first place.
The youth stood with his eyes and mouth wide.
He stared at Ling Xian in disbelief.
Can you not be so insane!
This is a test posed by the Palace of Fortune, it is not your backyard. How can you walk so leisurely?!?
The youth cursed in his mind. The way he looked at Ling Xian was full of shock, jealousy, and even hatred.
"Friend, you are now the last one again. Work hard, I shall wait for you up there. I sure hope I will get to see you again today." Ling Xian faintly grinned and waved goodbye to the dumbfounded youth.
Then, he ignored this little interruption and paced onward.
"Friend! Wait for me!"
The youth crazily shouted, wishing that Ling Xian would slow down and help him out.
Sadly, within the blink of an eye, Ling Xian was gone.
"Is the Palace of Fortune your backyard? My god, are you crazy?"
Now that Ling Xian could no longer be seen, the youth cried though no tears fell out. He slapped himself as a way to remind him what a great opportunity he missed.
At this moment, the youth was full of self-loath. He hated himself for mocking Ling Xian, hated himself for treating Ling Xian as a failure to seek self-confidence from.
What self-confidence! He asked for self-humiliation!
Remembering how he claimed Ling Xian to be the weakest of the pack, the youth became so ashamed he wanted to find a crack in the ground and crawl in.
How is a cultivator who could walk this path as if it was flat ground be the weakest of them all?
If Ling Xian was the weakest, then what does that make him, and the rest of cultivators? A bunch of dogs and pigs?