The so called qualifications checking was quite a simple process – one only had to report their full name and the Shangxian they served. The person in charge of the checking then had to check that with the information they hold in their record books to prove its validity. And according to that book, Wu Yu was 15 years old today, just meeting one of the requirements for participation.
“You’re at the 6th Heavenly Stage of the Mortal Body Forging Phase?” The qualification checker raised his head to look at Wu Yu with a doubting stare. It wasn’t because he wanted to deliberately give him trouble; it was just that in his record book, there were was nothing about Wu Yu’s Cultivational Status (the Stage and Phase of Cultivation he was at).
“You’re right.” Wu Yu nodded his head.
It was going to be noon soon, and the majority of servants who were going to participate in the exam had already passed qualification checking, coming at a total of about 300.
Before the exam, all participators had to confirm their identities as well as confirm their Cultivational Status.
Behind the qualification checker were 100 healthy and young battlehorses, each dark black and with a fiery temper. And it seemed like they were not in a good mood today, because they were all panting loudly, bashing at the green stone floor with their enormous strength. Wu Yu was sure that the floor would crack if the “assault and battery” from the horses continued.
The battlehorses were all tied together with a thick rope, agglomerated to one point, and Wu Yu, under the supervision of the qualification checker, grasped hold of the rope. The test to check whether one had reached the 6th Heavenly Stage was very simple – one only had to show that they could keep the horses in check with their strength and they would pass!
“Who is that?”
“I don’t know him!”
A portion of the spectators had not ascended the peak, remaining at the bottom of the mountain to spectate the qualifications checking. Wu Yu almost never ventured out of Yan Li Mountain, so not a lot of people knew him in the Celestial Sect.
The qualification checker shook his whip, and instantly the air soon filled with whip shadows, striking onto the hides of the horses. The horses, stimulated by the pain, started to go berserk, running all over the place.
That strike with the whip left Wu Yu in admiration.
The anger within the horses erupted, rope pulled taut, their feet sending swathes of dust into the air; it was like Wu Yu was standing on a battlefield!
He knew that this was going to happen, so he grasped hold of the rope tightly with one hand, slightly bending his knees and digging his feet in the ground. HIs muscles, tendons, bones and organs all provided him with power, giving him the strength of a giant Beast.
The 100 berserk battlehorses were pulled back!
The qualifications checker passed him a red rune sheet and said “This is a Red Fire Rune; if your life is in danger or you want to withdraw from the exam, then shatter it. A red light will start encircling you, and Disciples within the Sect will come and save you.”
“It’s actually a rune sheet!” Wu Yu looked at the red rune sheet, trying to figure out its composition, but the runes were too complicated, so in the end he had to give up. However, he did notice the flow of Celestial Power flowing through the rune.
Reportedly, rune sheets could only be created by strong Celestials.
He carefully hid the red rune sheet, then entered a small hole in the mountain. Above the entrance of the hole were three big words – Celestial Ascendance Road!
The entrance exam, first stage.
“That Wu Yu, still not back!” Sun Wudao looked around left and right. By his side sat a fat servant who had stolen Wu Yu’s spot on the podium.
And with the blink of an eye, it was noon. From Sun’s vantage point, he would be able to clearly see the first servant to dash out and complete the Celestial Ascendance Road.
The battle on Celestial Ascendance Road, the battle on Celestial Ascendance Podium… whoever managed to survive those two tribulations would ascend to become a “Celestial” and a real Disciple of the Sect!
All around him were tens of thousands of servants, all craning their necks, moving their heads around, jostling for space. However, they did not dare make any sounds in case they angered the Celestials, so the wait for the start of the entrance exam passed silently.
Celestial Cranes danced in the sky, and riding them were the true Disciples of the Sword to Heaven Sect. They were grouped together in groups of two or three, looking down from above to watch the spectacular entrance exam that was to happen.
But the most attention catching person today was the Coordinator of today’s event, the Daoist Arts Keeper Elder!
On top of the Celestial Ascendance Podium floated a white jade podium, several array diagrams blinking with light on its underneath. It was as if the wind was blowing upon it, keeping it afloat in the air.
And on the white jade podium were three white jade chairs, the one in the middle the largest and the grandest. On it sat a white eyebrowed, white haired, white robed old man, face stern and strict, mighty and majestic.
He was the Daoist Arts Keeper Elder, “Woodsong”.
The seat on the left was empty, but the seat on the right was occupied by a white robed girl, who happened to be Su Yanli! Upon noticing that Su Yanli was sitting atop the flying podium, many servants of Yan Li Mountain instantly felt proud of themselves because they had such an august and mighty master!
“Niece Yanli, any good servants from your Yan Li Mountain participating in the entrance exam this time?” Woodsong asked casually.
He knew that with Yanli’s temperament and personality, she would not pay close attention to normal servants.
“Yes. One. His name is Wu Yu.” Su Yanli replied.
“In what ways is he unique?” Woodsong, now piqued with curiousity, asked again.
“I don’t know. That’s why I came today to spectate the entrance exam.”
“Oh so that’s why! Then we’ll have to pay close attention today…” Woodsong laughed mirthfully. Even his laugh was dignified, making people feel reverent towards him. After all, he was one of the most powerful beings in the Sword to Heaven Sect.
Su Yanli actually came!”
Situ Jin and his cronies were also on the scene, flying high in the sky on their Celestial Cranes, hogging one of the best vantage points of the entrance exam battle zone.
“Situ Jin, what’s so interesting about a bunch of servants trying to enter the Sect? We were directly initiated into the Sect from outside, which means we’re ten times stronger than these servant brutes!” The red clothed girl boasted arrogantly.
“Huaqian You, we have quite a lot of time on hand, so why not watch these servant brutes fight it out and find something to laugh about.” Situ Jin laughed.
The red clothed girl’s name was Huaqian You, and the tall blue clothed girl’s name was Liu Muxue. The other male in the group, lanky and gangly, was called Wang Yiyang.
In the Mortal Realm, they were all Martial Art Geniuses, the offspring of Martial Art Families. Situ Jin, especially, was the brood of a Hidden Martial Art Family*, chosen to enter the Sect along with his three brothers. The big brother was called Situ Hong, he was the second brother, and the third brother, as well as the most overpowered one, was called Situ Bright.
“Situ Jin, let’s not be so proud of ourselves. There are, reportedly, three servants who have reached the 7th Heavenly Stage, stronger than us by one stage.”
“7th Heavenly Stage… that’s my brother’s Cultivation Status!” Situ Jin envied.
Reportedly, the battle of the Celestial Ascendance Road below had started.
“Let’s guess who the first three to reach the end of the Celestial Ascendance Road will be!”
“Once you enter this door, fate will decide whether you live or die!”
Engraved upon a stone tablet in front of Wu Yu were these 13 words, written in lifeblood, overwhelming the mind, stupefying the soul!
“The Dao* of Cultivation is merciless and cruel. Once one sets off on that path, there is no looking back!”
Another stone tablet.
“To cultivate is to plunder. Only the strong can uphold justice”
The last stone tablet, and the largest one.
“That’s right. To cultivate is to plunder from the Heavens and the Earth; and the only way to uphold justice is to be strong!” Wu Yu, who had experienced some pretty rough times, really connected with the words on the stone tablets.
The 300 servant disciples participating in the exam were now inside the mountain, enshrouded in darkness. Because there were no friends here, only rivals and competitors, the servants all put a little space in between each other.
Very soon the exam would officially commence; Sun Wudao was at the exit of the Celestial Ascendance Road, along with numerous Shangxians who were waiting to spectate the event. To Wu Yu, who desired to enter the Celestial Sect, today was the most important and most significant moment of his life!
There was no way that he wasn’t excited!
“Only if I pass this test will I have the qualifications to challenge Hao Tian Shangxian!”
East Yue Wu Kingdom, he had to go back.
All of a sudden, chatter filled the cavern.
“That’s Zhao Danlong! He has reportedly reached the 7th Heavenly Stage, with the strength of 200 battlehorses! His specialty is his Family in the Mortal Realm’s Middle Class Technique <>! To add to that, he’s only 14 this year!”
Listening to the discussions taking place, Wu Yu quickly identified him, an arrogant and snobbish teen.
In actuality, all the 300 servants here were geniuses of the Mortal Realm too. Wu Yu, who was 15 years old, was the oldest one out of the lot, and not by a bit. The youngest one here seemed to only be 11 years old!
“Hey, isn’t that Ju Huo? He’s also reached the 7th Heavenly Stage, and is reportedly brought up by a mighty tiger in the wild. His master, a Core Disciple, really likes him, and has given him the Technique <> and the Peak Footwork Technique <>. What adds to that very impressive resume is that he’s only 13 this year!”
The person whom the crowd was talking about was a youngster draped in Beast furs, staring at the congegration with the eyes of a wild Beast.
There were a total of 3 servants who’d reached the 7th Heavenly Stage – the last one was called “Qing Mang”, a short 12 year old little girl. She had a distinctive pair of Azure eyes, and was also the servant of a Core Disciple. Her parents were normal, ordinary people, and reportedly had no strength when she first arrived at the Sect, aged 7.
Her specialty Martial Arts were very powerful, <> and <> (a Footwork Technique) respectively.
Even though the three were very powerful, Wu Yu’s mission was to enter the Sect, not to become number 1, so there was no necessity for him to become enemies with them. He also quite respected the 3 teens, especially the 12 year old Qing Mang, because she, at this very young age, was already a 7th Heavenly Stage Expert!
“But, it’s obvious that Situ Bright is more overpowered.”
As Wu Yu lamented, 20 Celestial Sect Disciples appeared at the front, the leader a black robed black haired teenage male, eyes deep and profound, horrifying and powerful. Only a Core Disciple could be that terrifying.
“Participants, the Celestial Ascendance Road will open soon. You will face three waves of attacks on the road from a bunch of wild Beasts close to becoming Daemons. The test, I warn you, is quite dangerous, to the point that some of our Outer Disciples may not be able to pass it. If you feel that your life is in danger, then do shatter the red rune sheet the qualifications checker gave, and we’ll come to get you.”
The Core Disciple’s words terrified quite a number of people, their faces turning pale and colourless.
“Among the 300 of you here, only the first 100 to dash out of the Celestial Ascendance Road will have the opportunity to battle it out on the Celestial Ascendance Podium. So this ⅓ chance… I hope you guys will do your best to grasp hold of.”
“Remember, only if you pass the exam can you step onto the path of becoming a Celestial, and from then on live a hearty life, slaying daemons and demons! If you can’t face a few hundred wild Beasts, then how are you going to slay daemons and demons?
“The disciples of my Sword to Heaven sect are sword wielding heroes! It’s time to start the exam, but I pray you engrave this word into the very bottom of your hearts before you set off – KILL!”
As he uttered the final word, the cavern started to shake. A door descended onto the wall, opening to show a road leading into darkness and blood and slaughter.
“The Battle of the Celestial Ascendance Road, Start!”
Only 100 people would make it into the final round.
The road was quite wide.
The 300 servants all scrambled to get in front, charging onto the path, scared of missing the chance of getting into the first 100. Wu Yu, however, was quite relaxed, because he understood deeply that those at the front would always suffer the strongest attacks.
Drawing his metal sword from its wrappings, he set off with a steady pace, moving forward at the center of the path.
The majority of the people had already entered the door into the darkness, and unexpectedly, what waited on the other side was a wide expanse of space; and though dim and gloomy, one could see that there were quite a lot of plants and vegetables growing underneath the ground.
The 300 servants spread apart, each clenching their teeth, swiftly speeding ahead.
“Red Horned Qiu Snake!”
Just as they entered the expanse, somebody screamed and shrieked.
To be able to make a 6th Heavenly Stage expert scream so tragically.. the Red Horned Qiu Snake must be quite a terrifying beast.
This made Wu Yu think of the snake daemon Wan Qing.
In front, a head the size of a washbasin suddenly popped out from next to the underground plants, emitting a stench that pounced at their noses. It was a black snake with a triangular head, featuring blood red horn on top of its forehead, as sharp as a sword, carrying venomous poison.
The servants, startled, looked around for any other snakes, and as far as the eyes could see, inside the packed and dense field of underground plants, there hid several hundred cold-blooded Red Horned Qiu Snakes!
Hidden Martial Arts Family* – Basically a Martial Arts Family that doesn’t participate in worldly affairs. They are usually stronger than ordinary Martial Arts Families though.