Countless cultivators were sweating profusely as they huffed and puffed their way up. Enduring the insane amount of pressure on their shoulders, they continued their journey on the road with difficulty. Every step they took drained all their energy and they had to pause for a long while before they continued.
Since the test started, an hour has passed. Some cultivators, who were not capable enough, have been dejected back to the external world. The team of up to ten thousand cultivators has been cut down to five thousand.
This number was still decreasing.
After a few minutes, most people no longer had the physique to endure the test. Feeling the pressure of the stone road, they were teleported back to the external world.
Right now, the majority of the cultivators were breathing heavily. Against the severely difficult journey, most people have paused at the five hundredth step. Only a small portion of them have reached the thousandth step.
It was apparent how difficult the Palace of Fortune’s test was.
This, of course, was normal. After all, despite the countless number of fortunes in the Palace of Fortune, it cannot allow every cultivator to take as much as they want. Therefore, the Palace was programmed to weed out those who are undeserving.
"Phew… My god, this is far too difficult. I don’t know how much longer I can hang on."
"Yeah… same with me. It’s only been 500 steps… I wonder how many more there are."
"It appears that I am not fated to enter the Palace."
"Goddammit. So many treasures await, but I have no ability even to see them. I refuse."
"We can only blame the test for being far too difficult. This isn’t made for humans!"
There were around ten cultivators who crowded around the five hundredth step. As they breathed hard over the test, they also complained about the difficulty of it all.
Just as these people gave their all to stay where they were, a white shadow flashed past with ease.
The shadow was light on its feet and was gone in the blink of an eye.
This scene astounded everyone!
After a moment of silence, someone rubbed his eyes and said doubtfully, "That shadow… is a person, I think!"
"Sh*t! It really was a person!"
"How is that possible? How can someone walk the path so easily? Have I gone blind?"
"Yeah, even if he had the time to rest down there, he cannot treat the test as if it’s nothing!"
"Stop lying to yourselves. I saw it crystal clear. It was a cultivator, and he did not appear old in age. He’s probably an honorable apprentice from some powerful House."
"F*ck! How insane is this? He didn’t even pause! It’s like he felt no resistance!"
These cultivators exclaimed as they stared wide-eyed in the direction where Ling Xian disappeared. Their faces were full of disbelief.
To know that they too were foundational leveled cultivators. Despite their advanced training, every step they took was with difficulty. To have come so far was already very lucky of them.
However, Ling Xian achieved what they did in such a relaxed manner and in a way that almost made them appear silly.
How could they not feel shocked?
Similar events were happening to many cultivators ahead of them.
Those cultivators were taking a break on the stone steps when they saw the white shadow fly past them.
They too, were petrified from shock.
Sentences of disbelief began to dissipate.
"Holy, who is this person! How can he be so dominating!"
"He must be a Heaven’s Favorite! He must be one of the better ones!"
"Definitely! There is no other way for him to do this with so much ease!"
"Aye… This is why people say not to compare yourself with others. Comparing myself to him makes me feel like I am worthless."
"Right? I too, feel like I have wasted my life."
Every cultivator on the path felt the shock. They truly didn’t expect someone to be climbing up the stairs as if walking on flat ground, and for him to be outpacing them.
How capable did he have to be to achieve this?
To know that every single step was more pressuring than the last. If the first step made them feel like a mountain was collapsing on their chests, then every step was a taller mountain they had to conquer.
It was not hard to imagine just how suppressing the energy from the stairs were!
However, Ling Xian was climbing without stopping. Whether it was the first step or the one-thousandth step, he did not feel any repression. He simply ascended and kept his feet moving.
His flowy white robe and his relaxed stance became an attraction sight on the stoned path.
Every cultivator who saw Ling Xian became overly emotional as if they saw a ghost.
Right now, Ling Xian’s expression was calm. Standing on the one-thousandth step and peering up to the infinite flights of stairs that still remained, he muttered to himself, "It’s been an hour and a half. Without knowing how much more stairs I have to climb, I better hurry."
As he spoke, he marched onwards. But this time, he felt more of a push.
A shapeless force descended, carrying the strength of a thousand mountains and seas. This made Ling Xian frown, and he said, "It appears that every 1000 steps is a new challenge. It is no wonder that other than me, nobody else is here."
He guessed it right. The one-thousandth step was the division step that separated the easier challenge from the harder one. The first one thousand steps were enough of a test to reject those who were not capable enough. Those who stepped onto the one-thousandth step but were too weak were flung out by the resistance and deported to the external world.
Thus, he was the only cultivator here. Nobody else survived.
Right now, Ling Xian was facing his first hardship.
The shapeless force formed into waves that were as tall as the sky. They crashed forward and forced Ling Xian to retreat.
"Hmmph, you dare to try and stop me with this little power?"
Ling Xian scorned as he fought off the rolling power with his own spiritual energy!
After a loud rumble, the entire stone path was shaking!
The world spun as the two clashing forces finally fought off each other and disappeared. Ling Xian slowly edged forward another step and stepped onto the 1001st step.
However, what greeted him was something that was even more aggressive and ferocious than before!
Pity though, to Ling Xian, this was not nearly enough. He shrugged his shoulders and dusted off the tension that weighed mountains. Then, he marched onto the next infinite flight of stairs.
The relaxed ways he moved put every other person here to shame.
Just like that, Ling Xian walked on step by step as if he was simply walking on the street. In the blink of an eye, he arrived at the 1500th step.
"Eh? There is someone here."
Ling Xian suddenly realized. He quickened his pace by three steps and arrived before the man. Then, he slowly turned around to take a good look at the young man. He couldn’t help it but to gasp and question, "Friend, you look familiar to me."
The young man too, was a little startled. After realizing that this person was Ling Xian, his entire body shuddered. In that instant, he lost his composure, and the giant pressure from the road sent him flying.
"Dammit! Ling Xian! You h*e! You hurt me so bad that day, and today you ruin my chance at acquiring any fortune!"
The young man hung in midair. Feeling his own feet leave the ground, he cursed in an infuriated tone.
Luckily, Ling Xian had sharp eyes and fast hands. He extended an arm and pulled the man back onto his feet.
"Oh my god. Thank god." The young man settled down and patted his own chest as if to push down his pounding heart.
Ling Xian grinned. Staring at the young man, he laughed. "I remember now. You were the first person I defeated that day. Your last name is Fang, am I right?"
"Yes, it is me. I cannot believe that I was divided into the same group as you. How unlucky am I?" the youth with the surname Fang ranted. He was the first person from the Alliance to challenge Ling Xian that day.
Back then, he was instantly knocked out by Ling Xian.
"Hey, don’t say that. If I didn’t drag you back just now, you wouldn’t be entering the Palace at all." Ling Xian teased, he too, was a little surprised that he was put into the same group as this man.
"If you didn’t suddenly appear and scare me, I wouldn’t have lost my concentration. It’s nice of me not to blame you," Youth Fang pouted. Staring at the handsome young man before him, he was a little nervous.
Obviously, he was forced to remember how he was knocked out instantly the other day.
Ling Xian chuckled. "My presence alone swept you off your feet. Are you that scared of me?"
"Scared of you?"
Youth Fang made an awkward expression. "Fine, I admit that you are stronger than me. But you aren’t strong enough to make me feel fear."
However, as he spoke, his gaze floated. It was apparent that he didn’t even believe his own words.
Ling Xian realized this and couldn’t help it but smile. He did not blow his cover but instead, changed the subject, "How long have you been here?"
"Probably about 15 minutes." Youth Fang answered after thinking for a while.
"I see. To have been stuck here for so long means you are weaker than I thought." Ling Xian softly laughed.
Youth Fan was not happy about this. He looked at Ling Xian up and down and revealed an eerie smile, "Yes. I am weak. I am so weak I cannot be any weaker."
When Ling Xian displayed a trace of confusion, the youth chuckled. Using a sarcastic tone, he uttered out.
"Ling Xian. I am really weak. But you aren’t any better, are you? It’s been more than an hour, and you only arrived here. I think you aren’t any stronger than me."
"Ah, I see. You only said what you said to really accent your mocking tone." Ling Xian laughed, but he wasn’t angry. Staring at the youth, he said, "Someone mocked me like you are doing before, but he regretted it right after. You better not regret this."
"What do you mean?"
Youth Fang was confused, not at all understanding what Ling Xian meant.
He found out in the next second.
Because Ling Xian continued his walk.
He walked so nonchalantly and lightly. As if taking a stroll in his garden, his relaxed way was almost unacceptable.
The youth swore. Staring wide-eyed at the white shadow, his face was flooded with shock.
"How is it? Do you regret it yet?" Ling Xian contained a smile as he waved the youth goodbye.
"I regret it. I regret it!" The youth nodded like a hen pecking for food on the ground. His entire face blossomed into a flower.
To acquire fortune from the Palace, he no longer cared about his pride or face.
He forced the most likable expression he could muster and rubbed his palms together. Then, he made a statement that pushed Ling Xian into a state of shock.
"Brother, blood brother, take me with you."