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“This place is…” Xu Yangyi sucked in deeply. “The honeycomb wall!” Unexpectedly, he’d already arrived in front of the honeycomb wall! From the Yellow Springs Path, he was directly transferred over!
“A forced transference…” He narrowed his eyes and sized up the wall. Yet at this moment, he felt a kind of… thirst. And also… a kind of crisis as if he was facing a great enemy.
In the surroundings, nothing seemed to exist. Perhaps this instant was merely a hundredth of a second, but he truly felt that apart from himself, everything in the surroundings appeared to be stirred up by a giant hand. The environment started to turn vague, and the entire scenery was pulled. But in a fleeting moment, things returned to their original state.
Buuuuuzzzz… The Animus Armament on his chest was trembling incessantly like an addict seeing a drug they hadn’t taken for a long time. This feeling of excitement and expectation silently extended up to his brain, influencing Xu Yangyi at the same time. Like it came from ancient times, a summons was earnestly calling out to him from these holes.
“I finally made it…” he took a deep breath. The alligator gars, livyatan, and Yellow Springs Path had been overcome, one obstacle at a time. At last… he’d arrived before the suspected entrance of Danxia Temple!
Since time immemorial, how many people had laid eyes on this door? How many people had entered in the past? However, not a single person left! Now, he and the Xingtian Legion were substituted in. And yet… he was still unsure.
“Commander?” Yao Xintan looked at Xu Yangyi in shock. Even if he was unaware of Xu Yangyi’s mental stirrings, realization still dawned on him that his commander’s current aura and strength were frightening.
“Nothing.” Xu Yangyi smiled as he lifted up his left hand and his right hand stroked the Animus Armament. After a brief moment, his vivid excitement settled down. From caution, his gaze arrived at resolution. In the end, he surprisingly laughed.
What is this? I came here just to calm my heart. No matter what… the Animus Armament chose me. If I don’t go take a look, it’ll be hard to soothe my heart and thoughts.
Besides, there was the sword point. However, the feeling that it carried was extremely difficult to explain, that of rejection and expectation. Likewise, it was gently shaking.
Taking a heavy breath, Xu Yangyi collected his mind and carefully looked at Yao Xintan. Yao Xintan’s face carried a deep exhaustion. Xu Yangyi understood. Sleep didn’t come easy for those who were able to come out from that path. He said softly, “The others… are they fine?”
Yao Xintan sighed deeply. “Fellow Daoist Yang… Fellow Daoist Song… didn’t make it…”
Xu Yangyi shut his eyes somewhat painfully. Perhaps at the start he didn’t believe too much in these people… but over the course of two battles, he understood. Humans weren’t grass; who could be without emotion?
Before entering the door, Yang Xueqing, Gao Wuguo, Song Zifu, Zhou Tingting, and Cheng Jianfeng were all people who had originally vowed to return on the rooftop. However, they were already separated by the two realms of heaven and man.
“Do you regret it?” In silence, Xu Yangyi suddenly spoke.
Dazed, Yao Xintan staunchly answered, “I’m scared, but I don’t regret it. We said… that only in the defiance of the heavens is a cultivator’s true nature revealed.”
Xu Yangyi opened his eyes and powerfully shook the other’s hand. “By rising straight up to azure skies can a great hero’s aspirations be rewarded.”
Yao Xintan had said Xu Yangyi’s words from back then, the speech that Xu Yangyi had given to him at that time. Nevertheless, the wisp of graveness that arose in the duo’s hearts was replaced again by firm conviction.
A million cultivators… 20,000 Foundation Establishment. How many people had been frightened of unknown dangers ahead in cultivation? From here on, if they bound their feet and didn’t advance into the future they would become a handful of yellow earth in a century. The hundred years of time only set aside for a Qi Condensation cultivator’s life… wasn’t a lot.
Xu Yangyi turned around and deeply studied the giant honeycomb wall in front. It resembled a titan, separating all secrets.
“I’ll take this and record it all on a jade slip.” He fished out a cigarette and lit it, breathing in deeply. “This is the best present I can give to these Fellow Daoists.”
Yao Xintan suddenly bounced on his feet, and his lips formed a thin line. He observed Xu Yangyi and nodded forcefully.
Xu Yangyi didn’t take another drag but rather inserted the cigarette in the ground. After he left, he bowed deeply. “I have no wine or offerings, so I’ll have to rely on this cigarette. An offering to all cultivators who devote themselves wholeheartedly to advancing bravely on this searching path and cutting their way through thistle and thorn.”
Yao Xintan felt his eyes become a little damp and forcefully blinked. It wasn’t the stir of emotion, yet it was. These emotions weren’t from Xu Yangyi’s attitude towards the legionnaires who had passed away. Instead, these words spoke of what was in his heart.
Who wasn’t searching about on this path? Who wasn’t using their lives to obtain destiny?
The dead had already passed and the living were as such. At this moment, all the cultivators who arrived here, regardless of good and evil, felt the heaviness of the two-character word for cultivation.
After a few seconds, Xu Yangyi straightened his figure and lifted his chin towards the coffin. “What’s his cultivation?”
Yao Xintan answered without the slightest hesitation, “Initial-stage Foundation Establishment.”
“How did he get in?” Xu Yangyi seemed pensive. “Master said that only Qi Condensation can enter this secret realm. Half-step Foundation Establishment is already peak battle strength inside this place.”
“He suppressed his cultivation.” Yao Xintan glanced all around and said lowly, “It’s not that there aren’t these kinds of secret arts or magik treasures. Also… he isn’t the only Foundation Establishment Senior that snuck in here!” His finger pointed to the other side. “Although our Yao Clan isn’t as good as it was in the past, I’ve still seen many seniors. If I haven’t remembered incorrectly, that woman should be the majordomo of Nanhe’s Zheng Clan. Senior Zheng Miaoxin.”
Xu Yangyi’s gaze followed over. Exhaustion coloring her face, a woman around thirty-something years old was closing her eyes in rest. She indifferently petted a persian cat in her hand.
“And on that side, that old man really isn’t half-step Foundation Establishment. I once saw him fifteen years ago. He’s a regional director of one of the Bountiful Treasure Pavilion’s regions, initial-stage Foundation Establishment. I don’t exactly remember where, but it should be the Pearl River Delta. I didn’t expect… that he would also come…”
Xu Yangyi gently nodded, his gaze seriously memorizing the appearance of these three people in his heart. He tilted his head and murmured, “Are their lifespans about to end?”
Yao Xintan nodded. “If it weren’t for this, there’s no way that they would willingly rush into such a terrible place.”
Xu Yangyi mumbled for a brief moment. “How many cultivators are still left here?”
“123 people still remain, altogether twenty powers. Humanity’s Seven Noble Lineages have all entered and the Five Great Demon Clans have, as well. The Three Great Sects aren’t an exception either. There’s also a CSIB expedition team. Lastly… there’s Beijing’s well-known Gao Clan, Shanghai’s new first-rate Huang Clan, Shanghai’s Zhao Clan, and Xichuan’s Baili Clan.”
“Where are the other clans?”
Yao Xintan faintly shook his head. His expression was somewhat dejected.
Xu Yangyi firmly kept these names in mind. He didn’t forget a single one. Contrary to expectation, there was reason in this. The giant door’s final path converged to this place. Although he didn’t wish for this, it didn’t surprise him at all.
At the beginning… over a thousand people had entered that gate. The door was akin to sparkling pearls and gleaming treasures, endless in its amount of auspicious qi. Yet as for those who arrived before this door… only a tenth remained!
Next… apart from from the demons that still might have survived, the Xingtian Legion’s greatest and most dreadful opponent… were these people! Down below, it was unknown what kind of dangers and destinies existed. However… it was a paradise where all cultivators would murder and plunder, a return to ancient cultivation! In a secret realm, life and death wasn’t discussed!
“How did you guys get in?” Xu Yangyi asked as he walked with Yao Xintan.
“We walked the Yellow Springs Path and another 300-plus meters to get here. There are no less than a hundred entrances here. We were the first. The day afterwards, the others came one after another,” Yao Xintan said.
Xu Yangyi nodded and patted Yao Xintan’s shoulder. “Walk. Let’s get back to our territory.”
Xu Yangyi and Yao Xintan returned to the squad together. Each person wore serious heaviness on their face. Nonetheless, they didn’t cower back. They had already come here; how could they possibly even return?!
“Commander. We even thought that you disappeared. You’ve come out after so long.” Qin Xueluan laughed and placed two items in his hand. “For you. What do you plan to do?”
The items… were two magik artifacts. One was a small exquisite wooden sword and the other was a pair of gloves wrapped in silver thread. These… were Song Zifu’s and Yang Xueqing’s remnants.
The gazes of all the legionnaires silently looked towards him. Xu Yangyi bowed prudently. In accordance to the highest respect for the departed, he took the items with both hands.
“How did they die?”
Qin Xueluan sighed deeply, “Badly mangled corpses… walked out by themselves… When they reached the end of the Yellow Springs Path, they fell over…”
Xu Yangyi nodded. “After we return, we’ll give them a grand burial ceremony. I’ll personally go to their clans and look for talented cultivators to bring into the Xingtian Legion.”
His voice was gloomy, but after he said these words, the light of everyone’s eyes was no longer so grave. Even a few people gently sighed. The most dreadful feeling that nothing could surpass was to leave nothing behind after having walked the world. They heaved out a sigh of relief because of Xu Yangyi’s way of handling things. At the same time, they sighed for the value of their own existences, as well.
“Where are the Zhao Clan’s people?” Xu Yangyi glanced at the somber group and asked.
“We’re here.” Zhao Wuye’s voice was somewhat hoarse. Perhaps he had screamed too much in the Yellow Springs Path. He squeezed out a smile and said, “I am lucky to see Fellow Daoist.”
Surprisingly, not a single one of them had died. All of them had walked out. Even the several remaining people were the same. It was just… that right now, each person’s complexion and spirit was rather poor.
Xu Yangyi looked at everyone, walked to center, and nodded. After two seconds of silence, he said calmly, “Cultivation in itself is to defy the heavens. Originally, I didn’t want to say these words, but I have no choice to speak now.”
“Before coming, everyone made preparations, preparations of sacrifice. But everyone further understands that in the same time of danger, enormous opportunity is concealed.” He paused, and his gaze brushed over each person’s body. “The Rootless Nine Bends Aqua, the ambergris, and the demon core. Which one of these things can be ordinarily gained without spending all of one’s heart?”
“Now that you’ve seen someone’s sacrifice, so what? Are you afraid?”
He looked into everyone’s eyes, all his spiritual pressure suddenly erupting! Like the autumn wind sweeping away fallen leaves, it sailed through the surrounding space! The berserkness of this aura even caused a few people to cast an eye over.
“You… advanced to the late stage?!” Mo Yeyu said incredulously, his eyes quickly saucering.
“I’ve had my own opportunity, as well. I’ve gained a lot in this place,” Xu Yangyi said indifferently, yet his voice gradually became louder. “What I want is a firm shield and a sharp spear. Not gold and jade, but to break apart sand castles in one strike. With your attitudes right now, how many of you will be able to get out alive after going in?”
1. The imagery of a cigarette on the ground comes from traditional Chinese custom of incense sticks stuck into the ground for death services.
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