More importantly, the protection of the Earth Bodhisattva Orb caused the earth attribute creatures to tremble beneath the earth. None dared approach the intimidatingly radiant treasure.
Though Jiang Chen hadn't unleashed its terrifying earth pulse yet, the orb’s natural power was enough to scare many organisms into submission. In this way, he passed through the gravitational cave with leisure.
In fact, he didn’t take much longer than he had in the fourth cave. In terms of ease, the fifth surpassed its predecessor.
Everyone was astonished when Jiang Chen emerged. The elders who’d expected him to fail were paralyzed with shock. Though there had been an emotional component in their prediction of his failure, they really hadn’t wanted him to pass the trial.
Even if he were to pass, he should’ve been exhausted by the ordeal. How could he still be so energetic and laid-back?
Reality had overturned their expectations. It was a bit hard for them to accept this.
“Good work, brother.” After a brief period of recovery, Yan Qingsang had recovered enough of his vitality to cheer Jiang Chen on.
He too was impressed at the ease with which Jiang Chen had passed five trials. Before his brother had exposed his identity, Yan Qingsang had thought that he was only capable in pill dao and ancient jade. Only afterwards had the Yan genius begun to take an interest in his brother’s martial dao talent as well, culminating in his current respect.
But what he’d just seen clued him into a new truth. This young man from the human domain had martial dao talent that far surpassed his own. Even someone as proud as Yan Qingsang had to defer to his incredible skill for teaching and altering the martial dao of others.
Maybe Huang’er’s fate really will change through his efforts? A pleasant daydream popped into Yan Qingsang’s head. He absolutely didn't mind if Jiang Chen could cut Xiahou Zong down. In fact, he would celebrate with every fiber of his soul.
However, Xiahou Zong was supposedly the foremost genius of Eternal Divine Nation. It wouldn’t be easy to kill him in the first place.
Even so, a seed had been planted in Yan Qingsang’s heart. At the very least, though it felt like most couldn't defeat Xiahou Zong – himself included – the same wasn’t necessarily true for Jiang Chen.
Good luck, Jiang Chen. Yan Qingsang cheered for his friend from the bottom of his heart. If you can defeat Xiahou Zong and save Huang’er, I’ll drink myself under the table at your wedding!
This was the first time he was seriously considering this possibility. He would be more than pleased if this were to pass.
Meanwhile, Jiang Chen had entered a trance-like state that completely ignored all outside interference. He dashed into the sixth cave in the blink of an eye.
The sixth cave was the cave of illusions. It brimmed with hallucinations, delusions, and other fantastical images. Someone that entered the cave wouldn't be privy to that information though. What their eyes and ears could sense seemed all too real.
As soon as Jiang Chen entered the sixth cave, he cast his consciousness all around him to examine his surroundings.
A limitless ocean was before him with no apparent end. Skeletons and debris was scattered about on the nearby coastline.
“Hmm? What is this place?” The Nine Winding Caves had sent him to a variety of locations, but an ocean was a first.
Suddenly, a voice boomed forth from the void.
“Lost one, nothing can get across this ocean. Look at what drifts upon it – all cultivators who have attempted to force their way past.” The voice was completely detached, uncaring about all things in the world. A closer glance revealed that it came from a man on the coast, a fishing rod in the waters. He was perfectly still, as if he had been sitting there for dozens of millennia.
Jiang Chen blinked. He glanced at the watery domain. A slight breeze picked up on the relatively calm waters, sending ripples across its surface. Corpses and bones were revealed by the movement of the waves, seemingly fated to spend eternity adrift.
“Lost one?” He blinked. “Are you talking about me?”
“Is there another human around here? Human, I will ask one question of you. You have studied martial dao all your life, but do you know what sacred place is on the other side of the ocean?”
“No idea.” Jiang Chen didn’t want to fall into another’s tempo. He resorted to disinterest to curb further conversation.
Pacing nearer to the coast, he began to observe every detail of this place with his consciousness. The ocean was rather misty and mysterious.
“Stop here, young man. The world of martial dao has no room for delusion. If you don’t even know what’s on the other side, how do you have the courage to venture on?
“The limit of martial dao is in these waters. Turn back to safety.”
Jiang Chen burst out into laughter. “What gives you the pluck to say that this is the limit of martial dao?”
He didn’t particularly hate the voice, but the bold statements it was making seemed patently absurd. Suddenly, a flash of inspiration dawned. Maybe this was another kind of test!
He abruptly raised both arms, charging up a powerful attack which he hurled at the empty space in front of him.
“False phantasm, begone!” No matter what he perceived all around him, Jiang Chen’s goal was singular and clear. He didn't want to be defeated by any of the caves.
Every detail within this sixth cave was designed to entrance. The environment almost had a natural ability to induce him into thinking a certain way. But Jiang Chen would have none of it.
Even if this sixth cave had a guardian, what right did he have to say that these waters represented the limit of martial dao?
He’d never heard of such a ridiculous thing. Therefore, he felt this had to be a deception. A closer sweep with his consciousness revealed no signatures of life whatsoever.
Abruptly, Jiang Chen realized that he’d been fooled.
His potent strike caused the space all around him to collapse into nothingness, the projected images and other sensory mirages disappearing into the ether.
Was that it?
As he walked out of the sixth cave, Jiang Chen was somewhat incredulous. He hadn’t expected the sixth trial to be so civil and polite. It was all too unbelievable.
“The sixth cave was a realm of illusions. Nothing in there was real.” Jiang Chen calmed down as soon as he came out. Careful consideration revealed the truth to him.
The name of the cave was the Illusory World. It had no offensive power whatsoever. All of its effects were involved in creating hallucination and apparition to guide people’s thoughts.
Someone who didn't possess an iron will would be easily led astray, and lose himself in thought and in the cave. He wouldn’t find the exit no matter what direction he went in then.
Jiang Chen had used his extremely keen perception and decisiveness to cleverly pass the sixth trial.
This piece of news spread through the sacred land like wildfire. Elders who hadn't come to the hall to watch the evaluation streamed out of their residences one by one, coming to the Nine Winding Caves to spectate the exciting proceedings.
The hubbub instantly increased near the caves.
That someone had passed the sixth cave was known to basically everybody by now. Someone who did so would be a personal disciple of a sacred land master. Even if Jiang Chen didn't continue on, he would receive that lofty standard of treatment.
But the young man was dissatisfied with his achievement. He felt that he could press on forward.
“What, is that kid still not satisfied? He wants to challenge the seventh too? Where does his courage come from? Doesn’t he know that the difficulty will only shoot up again from here?”
“Haha, maybe he’s overconfident? The seventh cave will endanger his life.”
“Never mind. Young people have their own ambitions. Perhaps Shao Yuan is going for the fame!”
“Don’t say that. This young man is still full of vigor despite passing six trials. His potential hasn’t entirely manifested yet.”
“He might very well surprise us yet again with the seventh cave.”
“Yes, just like what he’s done so far. I’m not sure I would be surprised if he did, really.”
Beginning from the third cave, everyone had realized that the young man had extraordinary promise. As expected, he had passed through cave after cave with perfect cadence; and now, he was past the sixth!
The difficulty of the trials was common knowledge. The fifth and the sixth caves especially caused even the most powerful of geniuses to stumble if unprepared. But this outsider with an unassuming appearance had surpassed many who’d been born within the sacred land!
Passing six trials was already third place in terms of overall achievement. Many had managed to attain this result, of course, but few could claim to have done so in recent years. And yet, someone had crashed through all six of his trials today with incredible ease. This revelation shook the entire Eternal Sacred Land.
The three primes behind closed doors were stunned as well.
“He passed the cave of illusions? The young genius that Ziju Min recommended is rather remarkable.”
“A pillar of the sacred land, to be sure.” The will of the primes praised the pill sovereign’s find and character.
Ziju Min was exceptionally pleased to hear it. But he was more curious whether the young man could succeed in his challenge against the seventh cave too. He sincerely hoped that the young genius could work a miracle.