The most important part of the Floating Mountain Assembly was precisely each and every sect’s rookies, which were sent out to receive the test of the Illusionary lands’ Heavenly Stairs, but everyone jokingly called it the Heavenly Stairs.
On the way from the foot of The Floating Mountain to its peak, there were hundreds of steps carved into the stone. This narrow mountain path, filled with stairs, was precisely that Heavenly Stairs. On each step of this Heavenly Stairs there was an extremely strong hallucinatory spell formation, which was set up by a very strong elder, only to be aimed at qi layer disciples. On this Heavenly Stairs, every single step was for improving the innermost being. Therefore the stairway was sometimes also known as Heart Finding Path.
To open the Heavenly Stairs, at least ten JieDan stage experts were required to cooperate, moreover it could only be opened at the same time every year. In addition to that, the time it was open was very limited, therefore every sect would only send the disciples whom the sect focused on the most. Generally speaking, the higher a disciples could climb up the Heavenly Stairs, the more likely he was to have high achievements later, with some exceptions. Thus every sect would attach the highest importance to each year’s Heavenly Stairs assembly.
Every sect could only choose their two most outstanding disciples and in general all of the chosen were at least at the fifth qi layer or above, disciples who were allowed to go on training, to be refined by dangers. And this year Pure Yang Palace had chosen precisely Yang Chen and Gongsun Ling. In his previous life, Yang Chen’s aptitude was common, so he basically didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the ceremony for the Heavenly Stairs, but unexpectedly while he was only at the second qi layer in this life, he was still sent by the palace master.
Every year, ten sects are appointed to put forth ten JieDan stage experts to take charge of the Heavenly Stairs ceremony. There were already pre-made spell formations, so as long as these JieDan stage experts pushed their spirit power into them in the pre-ordained way, that would be enough. Certainly, if those JieDan stage experts wanted to, they could naturally cause some trouble in the exam.
The Life and Death duel was merely an appetizer at the Floating Mountain Assembly, all of the people still put their entire minds to the Heavenly Stairs. In the past, as long as they could climb up to twenty steps or above, they would be energetically cultivated by their sect. This was an opportunity for everyone, so every participant had rolled up their sleeves to prepare, fighting to get a good outcome.
Even if they couldn’t excel among their peers, the Heavenly Stairs was also known as Heart Finding Path, so for all of the disciples who were able to set foot on the stairs, this was still also a rare opportunity to temper their self discipline, more or less. There would always be great benefits. If one was chosen to climb, anyone would definitely treasure this opportunity. Only one person, Yang Chen, had never, from start to finish, hoped to get selected.
The Heavenly Stairs would open on this day, so following along the surroundings of the Heavenly Stairs, almost everything which could be used to sit and observe was occupied by disciples from every single sect. A large variety of talisman tools and talisman gems hovered over in the sky, but there were also many people flying in the air with the help of their own cultivation. Who would want to miss the opportunity of witnessing the most marvelous sight in the world.
Those disciples who were preparing to climb the stairway the heavens were really eager to try their luck and skill. Among them, there were more than ten new talents with a high reputation who were already planned to showcase their ability at the Heavenly Stairs to receive attention. Looking at their expressions, almost all of them exuded a lot of confidence.
The previous records of the Heavenly Stairs, were actually created by Shi Shan Shan of the Blue Jade Immortal Island. At the Heavenly Stairs, she had climbed over a full sixty three heavenly steps, which had surpassed all other cultivators before and since then. And now Shi Shan Shan is widely accepted as a cultivation genius, there were countless smart and elegant youngsters who looked forward to gain Shi Shan Shan’s favor, maybe they would have an opportunity to join the records, but that was simply wishful thinking.
The ten JieDan experts sat at their positions and soon, from the originally mediocre mountain steps, a feeble radiance began to twinkle. Looking at this, the rookies who were waiting to climb the Heavenly Stairs, all grew serious. These flickering mountain steps could only then genuinely be called Heavenly Stairs.
The first person to go up was a seventh qi layer disciple of the Fengyun Palace Hall. Everyone blankly stared at him while he was climbing steadily up to the third step of the Heavenly Stairs, reaching the third grade heavenly rank. Soon afterwards his steps began to become disordered, suddenly quickening, then suddenly slowing he climbed up until the fourteenth stair, after which he was not able to support himself anymore and a moment later the Heavenly Stairs shone brightly, as this disciple of the Fengyun Palace Hall was directly sent to the foot of the mountain.
Only after emerging at the foot of the mountain did the disciple of the Fengyun Palace Hall become aware of the fact that he had already been pushed out of the Heavenly Stairs. As he was unable to go and check the rank of Heavenly Stairs he was able to reach, he immediately sat down on the spot and began to meditate, as if he had a entered the mode of sudden enlightenment.
These kinds of circumstances were apparently a common thing, as everyone was aware of what was going on, but nevertheless nobody disturbed that disciple of Fengyun Hall. Everyone’s vision started focusing on the second person to climb up the Heavenly Stairs. And at the same time many people began to talk.
“Fengyun Palace Hall’s Fellow Daoist Xie was only able to climb fourteen steps of the Heavenly Stairs, what a pity! I’m curious about what sort of enlightenment he gained!”
“Nevertheless, we must look at the disciples of the Greatest Sky Sect, Universal Sect, Five Phases Sect, Clearsky Sect and Blue Jade Immortal Islands, the disciples of these big sects will surely be interesting!”
While everyone was discussing, this year’s new rookie disciples stepped forward one by one and in turn began to ascend onto the Heavenly Stairs. The radiance within the Heavenly Stairs continuously flickered, as if it wouldn’t dim.
In continuous turns, one climbed seventeen steps, another climbed twenty three stairs. These two disciples had a great reputation were both renowned rookies, especially that disciple who had ascended twenty three heavenly stairs, he was even more famous in the whole world. Everyone gasped in admiration when they saw this outcome, his reputation was not for nothing.
The two rookies of the Moyun Sect both went up fifteen steps or lower. Apparently these two rookie disciples had come with the purpose of cherishing this opportunity to temper themselves, so they did not care about this outcome. So when these two disciples went up and returned, their faces actually had a cheerful expression, as if they had profited quite a bit.
The Blue Jade Immortal Island sent a male disciple this time and when he managed to cross over the twenty eighth Heavenly Stair step, he immediately recited something. This was already the highest achievement within the ten disciples who had ascended the Heavenly Stairs today. After coming down from the Heavenly Stairs, this disciple of the Blue Jade Immortal Island didn’t immediately sit down in meditation to gain enlightenment, like the others, instead calmly sat at his original position, looking back at the performance of those disciples at the Heavenly Stairs, as if he was completely relaxed.
However, just as that male disciple had barely come into the limelight, immediately a female disciple of the Blue Jade Immortal Island snatched away all of the attention. A seventh qi layer disciple, the younger generation of Shi Shan Shan, climbed up to the thirty fifth step of the Heavenly Stairs. Apart from not being able to reach the level of Shi Shan Shan, she would be a talented and promising disciple for sure at any time in future.
This year the two rookie disciples of the Blue Jade Immortal Islands had both demonstrated extraordinary skill, these two rays shined exactly at the same time.
Very quickly, it was the turn of Pure Yang Palace’s two disciples to ascend the Heavenly Stairs.
Due to Yang Chen’s duel earlier, the Pure Yang Palace had left a deep impression on everyone’s mind. Yang Chen beheading Han Jiande with one slash of his blade had left an impression on the hearts of the other sects, even though they did not speak about it.
Everyone had always thought, that since both of them were from famous and upright sects, they had no need to fight each other to the death. Merely this Yang Chen from Pure Yang Palace was quite clever, he directly refused to compare notes, everyone knew about this. In addition to that, Yang Chen had made it clear beforehand, that he immediately conceded to comparing notes in order to experience his real strength, so he immediately asked for a life and death duel.
In order to save face, Han Jiande had initiated the life and death challenge towards Yang Chen. Many people selectively overlooked this little point, however. Perhaps Yang Chen defeating the sixth qi layer Han Jiande with the strength of the second qi layer made people feel that he was provoking their prestige as seniors, adding to that Yang Chen’s background as an executioner, made them not very fond of Yang Chen. By association, they had similar feelings towards the other disciple of Pure Yang Palace Gongsun Ling.
“Senior Apprentice Sister, the Heavenly Stairway illusionary spell is probably different from any illusionary spells you have studied.”
Just before Gongsun Ling was going to climb the Heavenly Stairs, Yang Chen called out to her and softly said:
“Sometimes, it will possibly attack the weak points in your nature. Senior Apprentice Sister, at the critical time you must be like the sound of thunder and hit like lightning, not just staying passive, but actively fighting back.
Gongsun Ling was astonished before Yang Chen had told her this, she absolutely hadn’t thought about it. Moreover, Yang Chen’s words were filled with total confidence, as if Yang Chen understood this Heavenly Stairs Illusionary Spell very clearly. This made Gongsun Ling helplessly amazed. Fortunately, Gongsun Ling was confident that Yang Chen would never harm her, so she faintly nodded and smiled towards Yang Chen, then she stepped onto the first Heavenly Stair step.
Among the ten JieDan stage experts, only Xu Cheng Xin was from the Pure Yang Palace, the other nine were holding back on restraining the excessive energy, wanting to shame the Pure Yang Palace by increasing the difficulty. As Gongsun Ling stepped on the first Heavenly Stair step, she immediately felt that mountainous pressure.
“Pure Yang Palace’s a second qi layer disciple was in the limelight a few days before, I do not know what this female disciple can show.”
“Humph, you are making things unnecessarily complicated, when have you ever seen a second qi layer disciple kill a sixth qi layer disciple? There is a difference of four realms between these two, or where have you ever seen a second qi layer disciple who can use a talisman gem? Pure Yang Palace certainly wants to mislead us this time with deceptions and deliberate falsehoods. If it were not that only qi layer disciples could ascend the Heavenly Stairs, maybe the Pure Yang Palace would have brought foundation stage disciples from the sect! Hahaha ……..”
Among the numerous comments, this voice was absolutely unique, the volume was also very high. At least all of the spectators heard it very clearly. Originally everyone was astonished that Yang Chen was able to kill Han Jiande, but having heard this voice, all of them came to the realization that it actually was like this.
A blade who could behead a disciple of the sixth qi layer in one slash, if that blade was said to be ordinary, who would believe it? That blade was a first rate talisman tool, or even a talisman gem for certain. And controlling a talisman gem was an ability only people above sixth and seventh qi layer possessed. For a sixth or even seventh layer cultivator with a talisman tool to surpass a sixth qi layer cultivator was not worthy to be bragged about.
Yang Chen was at second qi layer, these claims were Pure Yang Palace’s words and were also Yang Chen’s words, other people were naturally unable to test whether they were true or false, only if Yang Chen agreed to let these people’s spirit power enter his body and do as they please. Naturally Yang Chen could not allow this kind of thing and those other people were also not senseless enough to demand this kind of authentication of Yang Chen’s cultivation.
That person who said this had precisely used this one point to increase the suspicion of other people, so immediately a majority of people looked at Yang Chen with disdain, at the same time their looks toward Gongsun Ling had also turned somewhat abnormal. If Pure Yang Palace was using this kind of method, spreading obscure facts to win favors, that was really very low kind of thing to do.
All of these people were apparently under the impression, that their own discoveries within their hearts were the truth, also all of them were expecting that this time the Pure Yang Palace would not receive anything from the Heavenly Stairs. Obviously Gongsun Ling was already at the tenth Heavenly Stair step, but these meddlesome people had already started commenting, that Gongsun Ling could still walk only a few more steps, after that she would be immediately pushed out by the Heavenly Stairs.
Gongsun Ling was walking neither too slow, nor too fast on the Heavenly Stairs, but absolutely steady. So far she had shown no signs of any hurriedness. Under the people’s expecting gazes, she calmly and steadily ascended ten more steps and as before still did not show any signs of panic or instability.
“This Fellow Daoist Gongsun is a spell formation expert.”
Someone seemed to have realized something and loudly shouted.
Hearing this, everyone immediately felt contempt again. The Pure Yang Palace obviously knew that these Heavenly Stairs were an illusionary spell, so they actually sent a spell formation expert of the sect to go in. This Fellow Daoist Gongsun’s reputation was not prominent, so she must have been painstakingly studying the spell formations. If she achieved a good ranking this year by doing this, then it would surely mean that the Pure Yang Palace was committing all manners of crimes to gain fame and reputation.
What a pity, this Gongsun Ling was such a fine and beautiful woman, perhaps she had become the sect’s rookie by herself, there had to be some strength, surely. Merely under these sort of plans of the Pure Yang Palace, she had landed the label of a trickster as a good person, what a pity! Most people looking at Gongsun Ling’s elegant figure and dainty appearance, released a sigh within their hearts.
Regardless of what everyone was thinking, Gongsun Ling had steadily stepped onto the thirtieth step of the Heavenly Stairs at the same pace as before. After this step, even those people who held her in contempt, thinking that she was a formation expert, also could not help but feel admiration. To be able to climb up to the thirtieth step of the Heavenly Stairs signified an absolutely good talent. Spell formation experts are also cultivators, there was no rule that spell formation experts could not try to ascend the Heavenly Stairs.
Even in this situation, Gongsun Ling’s steps were as stable as before, merely her speed had slowed a little bit. Thirty first, thirty second, thirty third, thirty fourth, thirty fifth, when she had reached the thirty fifth step, Gongsun Ling had already equalled the record of that female disciple from the Green Jade Immortal Island.
But she was still not finished, as before she still firmly moved upwards, only the expression on her face had become very solemn, as if she was facing a very strong enemy. Sparkling and translucent beads of sweat appeared on her snow white skin.
Fortieth, Forty fifth, fiftieth, the spectators had already thrown away those scornful remarks beyond the topmost clouds. To be able to reach the fiftieth step of the Heavenly Stairs, required absolute talent within talent, this time, the Pure Yang Palace had picked up a gem.
On the fifty third step, Gongsun Ling’s figure began to shake. It seemed as if she had to face an immense pressure with every forward. She was a delicate woman with a feeble appearance, but her willpower did not lose to any of the men present on the scene. Gongsun Ling’s performance had already obtained everyone’s approval.
Fifty eight, fifty nine, sixtieth, sixty first, under the gazes of all of those nervous people, many of whom had even started counting, Gongsun Ling finally couldn’t persevere anymore. After she stepped on the sixty second step, her figure shook and she disappeared, emerging at the foot of the mountain.
As if there had been a huge explosion, an enormous noise flared up.