Standing before the ninth obelisk, Jiang Chen wondered if he had opened a portal and arrived in a different world. The difficulty of the ninth obelisk was increased by at least five times. Jiang Chen sent his consciousness towards the ninth obelisk to activate it. A great pressure fell from above, as though the sky had collapsed on top of him. Jiang Chen was genuinely suppressed by the aura and pressure emitted by the ninth obelisk. He would have wet his pants if his dao heart and consciousness hadn't been so unwaveringly resilient. The ninth obelisk was immensely packed with substance. He seemed to have opened the gates of hell itself. Sometimes, he would be pelted by eerie winds filled with rage or baleful killing intent, other times he would hear wraiths shrieking and wailing. He could even hear an approaching army from hell.
"Young one, welcome to the Pelagic Dragon Obelisk. This is the final obelisk and your final test. If you overcome this challenge, you shall soar through the heavens like a dragon. If you don't, you will forever splash in mediocrity like a mere fish in the sea. The opportunity to reach the very peak will slip from your hands, and you will never become the brightest pearl in the oceans." There was less teasing and more seriousness to the voice.
Jiang Chen wore a somber expression while enduring the hellish attacks on his consciousness. He mused deeply on the meaning behind those words as he built a defense to the attack. The voice had spoken quite loftily and made exaggerated claims of soaring like a dragon once he passed this challenge. Jiang Chen didn't necessarily agree with any of it, but the words had incited the competitive spirit deep inside of him.
"Remember, your fate as a true dragon or a mere fish depends on whether you can withstand this one month-long test. You will face all kinds of challenges in the coming month. Your dao heart must remain untainted and your consciousness whole."
There was nothing for him to understand this time. It was a pure tempering of his dao heart and consciousness. The task might sound simple, but it was definitely the most difficult thus far, as the voice clearly stated that he would be facing all kinds of different, multifaceted challenges. Even someone as knowledgeable as Jiang Chen couldn't afford to take the trial lightly.
The Pelagic Dragon Obelisk was simply too mysterious. It felt like he'd fallen into a world within the obelisk after linking his consciousness to it. There was an odd sense of realism to this particular world. Eerie winds of hell, baleful killing intent, and wailing sounds of spirits immediately flooded his five senses. He withstood this hellish torment for seven to eight days until the scene before his eyes suddenly changed into another. The scene of hell was swept away into nothingness. The horrors from only a moment before were nothing but a nightmare. However, the next scene dumbfounded him.
I… what's happening? Have I returned to my past life? Jiang Chen truly felt like he'd returned to his previous life. The scenery before his eyes was something that had appeared in numerous dreams in his current life. This was the world that he'd once known. The majestic Taiyuan Sky Palace, the bustling Taiyuan Realm, and the numerous scriptures in Tianlang Library...
Jiang Chen suddenly found himself inside the pagoda, leisurely reading the books and scriptures within. The pageboy off to the side was fanning Jiang Chen and was seemingly made of real blood and flesh. There was no obvious flaw that Jiang Chen could spot. In fact, he could even see the tiny pores on the pageboy's face.
"Chen'er, why do you bury yourself in books all the time? Father will take you on a visit today to a nice place you've never been to."
Jiang Chen felt a lump in his throat when he heard this voice. His eyes welled up with tears. Father! He would never forget this voice, even after ten reincarnations. This was the very man who had given him a long and fulfilling first life. He was a great man, but an even greater father. He had sacrificed everything to refine the Sun Moon Pill so that he could extend his son's life for millions of years.
Father… father… All kinds of emotions roiled inside Jiang Chen. He desperately wanted to shout for his father, but his voice wouldn't come out no matter how hard he tried or how much he concentrated. He frantically searched everywhere, but there was simply no sign of his father.
Father… Jiang Chen's body was trembling before the obelisk. His consciousness was in great disarray and his emotions out of control. His eyes were bloodshot as tears swam in his eyes. But he wasn't aware that any of this was happening. He was too deeply entrenched in the illusionary realm.
Clang! Suddenly, a great tremor befell the world. Row after row of bookshelves toppled over. Books fell from the shelves and scattered all over the floor. Bam! The board over the library's door soon followed suit and crashed down while the thick walls were torn apart like paper. Jiang Chen escaped from the pagoda and noticed that Taiyuan Sky Palace was also crumbling into ruins.
A mysterious force of destruction had appeared in the sky and was destroying everything, including the palace. Powerful experts swarmed out of the palace, but every single one of them collapsed before the destructive force. Blood splattered throughout the air. Their bodies were like blood-filled bags that exploded whenever they came into contact with the mysterious force.
"Chen'er, Chen'er! Run!" Jiang Chen suddenly heard his father yell in his ears. The Celestial Emperor was someone who was always calm and composed. At this moment, however, his voice was filled with a horror and despair that had never been heard before. He leapt off his throne and came running towards Jiang Chen at lightning speed. It looked like he was trying to save his son from something. Unfortunately, the destructive force struck and trapped the emperor when he was only twenty meters away.
Bam! The force swept through the emperor, instantly crushing him into smithereens. No! Jiang Chen's mind almost fell apart when he saw the realistic and incredibly ruthless scene. There was constant ringing in his ears, and all he could see was pitch black. It felt like a million arrows had pierced through his head.
No! Jiang Chen cowered in anguish. He could feel the energy within the sky and earth condense into a lethal arrow. It was about to strike him in his consciousness.
Hmm? Suddenly, a formation appeared all over him. An immensely bright light appeared within his consciousness, which was on the verge of collapse. It was frighteningly powerful, like the boundless stars in the Milky Way. Convoluted thoughts, negative emotions, and all kinds of destructive forces were condensed into a single arrow. However, they were all caught by the bright light before they could reach the deepest parts of his mind.
Jiang Chen was trembling violently and immediately opened his eyes. Upon further inspection, he realized that he was still sitting before the obelisk. He was drenched in sweat from head to toe. The constant ringing in his head was slowly dissipating. His mind was also becoming less and less confused.
Why did this happen? Jiang Chen shuddered in trepidation. He was too deeply entrenched in the illusionary realm and was thoroughly frightened by the mortal dangers he had faced. He shuddered again at the thought of what could have happened.
Whatever happened before was merely illusion, but the destructive force formed by his negative emotions and inner demons had been anything but fake. His mind had genuinely been under siege. His conscious would have instantly collapsed if his inner demons had penetrated it. He would have become a slave to his inner demons and a walking corpse, never to regain consciousness. The chain seal within his conscious had been triggered during that extremely precarious moment. Like the boundless Milky Way, the chain seal devoured all of the negative energy. It protected Jiang Chen's mind from danger.
The chain seal was ever-present, and he had first noticed it when he broke through to the origin realm under the Precious Tree of the Rosy Dawn in the Precious Tree Sect. The mysterious seal had caused a strange anomaly in the heavens and earth when he had broken through. There were nine droplets surrounding the chain seal. It didn't seem particularly remarkable or unique, but there was a frightening amount of power contained within the seal. It made the restricted area within Jiang Chen's consciousness seem like the vast cosmos, deterring all unwanted visitors. He could sense exactly how much power was contained within the seal. If released, it could instantly destroy the entire Divine Abyss Continent.
It's the seal again. Jiang Chen sighed gently. However, there was no doubt that the seal had helped greatly this time. In fact, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that it had saved his life. Jiang Chen was now certain that the seal had something to do with his reincarnation. It was definitely somehow related to his father from his previous life.
Why were the convoluted thoughts that attacked my consciousness and the incident at Taiyuan Sky Palace so realistic? Did I truly live through all of that in my previous life? His mind was still a little hazy and fuddled. He was now a lot more vigilant after soaking up this lesson.
The Pelagic Dragon Obelisk is truly a difficult test. Jiang Chen finally knew why it was the ninth and final obelisk in the pagoda. A powerful obelisk that reflected the darkest inner demons of a cultivator was indescribably scary.