AGM 184 - Monument of Yellow Springs
Choosing an ancient path at random, Qin Wentian and Mo Qingcheng proceeded on their way. To their surprise, the journey was smooth and they encountered no difficulties.
After embarking on the pathway for a while, they discovered that the many pathways ahead eventually congregated together, forming a broad main road. Further up ahead, they saw several cultivators already standing there, with their gazes turned forward.
"Ouyang Kuangsheng, no wonder the journey through this pathway was so smooth." Qin Wentian and Mo Qingcheng halted their steps right where the various pathways congregated. Shifting their gazes ahead, they could see the corpses of several other cultivators strewn about, dying the ground a bloody red.
BOOM. Suddenly, Qin Wentian felt the blood within his body pulsing intensely, causing him to be alarmed. Inclining his head, he saw that further along was a stone monument with the words 'Yellow Springs' inscribed upon them. The monument floated in the air about 10 metres from the ground.
"How strange." Mo Qingcheng, too, could feel the blood pulsing in her body, causing her heart to tremble.
This time around, the test was set within the ancient pathway of the Yellow Springs. As the Buddhist saying went: Coming face to face with the Yellow Springs, only with Buddhist's enlightenment is one allowed to shed the abyss of worldly suffering. Only by turning back will you be able to see the shore (Repent and you shall be saved).
Rumour has it that if one came face to face with the Yellow Springs' ancient pathway during the Celestial Lake Palace test, one must definitely turn back to seek out other paths. Many of the other cultivators had unsightly expressions upon their faces; since from the start all the various paths eventually congregated here, this meant that each and every cultivator entering the Refinement Grounds of the Celestial Lake Palace would end up here as well.
If one didn't dare to proceed forwards, they could turn back (repent and see the shore), and other pathways will open for them. This was the meaning behind the Buddhist saying from earlier. However, if one dared to proceed through the Yellow Springs' pathway, that would undoubtedly lead to a shortcut.
"I just don't believe that the Yellow Springs pathway is as fearsome as the rumors described," an unknown person stated hesitantly. After which, he stepped forwards, choosing to enter the pathway, yet doing so with extreme caution.
BOOM. The blood within his entire body pulsated, as he felt the intensity of the surging of his blood explosively increase.
Taking another step forward, his countenance turned ashen as his blood vessels could be seen popping out and protruding all over his body.
Releasing his Astral Souls, the Astral Light shrouded his body in a protective radiance. He gritted his teeth and continued slowly making his way forward.
BOOM. The pulsating of his blood caused his heartbeat to escalate. His entire countenance was covered in a bloody shade of red, as terror painted over his features. Booming sounds rang out as his heart pounded wildly.
"Retreat." A notion of thought appeared in his mind, as he retreated with crazy speed. However, the pulsing of his blood became more alarming in intensity, eventually culminating in a bloodcurdling screech. The other cultivators only saw his blood vessels erupting, and like a fountain his blood sprayed out, falling like rain from the clouds. His heart was the last to explode and what was left of him, was only a bloody pulpy mess.
"Let us turn back," Jiang Ting, who was beside Ouyang Kuangsheng, spoke out.
"Encountering the Yellow Springs is a rare opportunity, if we are able to get past this, we will definitely reach the celestial lake. I want to give it a try." As he stepped forwards, Ouyang Kuangsheng's heroism reached to the clouds. Jiang Ting's countenance changed as she quickly said persuasively, "Kuangsheng, do not act on impulse."
"Jiang Ting, if you all want to turn back, you guys go on ahead without me." Ouyang Kuangsheng laughed out loud as he continued forwards. Similar to before, the intensity of his blood pulsing heightened, and his heartbeat escalated.
It was as though a gale of raging wind gusted over the ancient pathway. Ouyang Kuangsheng's blood seethed, but his steps were filled with an unbreakable determination, projecting an aura of courage as he advanced.
So what of it, if he were to face the Yellow Springs? Since he had already decided to enter, he would never turn back. Even if he ended up dying, so be it.
Those from the Ouyang and Jiang Clan were all extremely nervous as they locked their gazes upon this youth so blessed with unsurpassed talent. The weakness of Ouyang Kuangsheng was that he was too impulsive, and all consequences be damned. As long as he set his mind upon something, his will would never waver, regardless of what others said or did. Even if this pathway of the Yellow Springs led to hell, he would still be determined to walk on it.
Coming face to face with the Yellow Springs, repent and you shall be saved, yet he stubbornly refused to turn back.
"If I meet my end here, go find someone better." Ouyang Kuangsheng had already advanced his way beneath the Yellow Springs Monument. His resolute expression remained unchanged, his long hair danced about in the wind, seeming as though he had no other concerns in the world.
Jiang Ting's heart pounded madly from his behavior. Ouyang Kuangsheng halted his steps and released his Astral Souls. Watching his movements, her heart leapt to her throat, only to see a few moments later Ouyang Kuangsheng continue to slowly advance, as though every step he took was a remarkably challenging feat.
Gradually, Ouyang Kuangsheng's position got further and further from the Yellow Springs Monument. With visible effort, he turned his body as he smiled at Jiang Ting and the others, "Go."
Jiang Ting and the rest, could only nod heavily in agreement.
"What should we do?" Mo Qingcheng looked towards Qin Wentian.
"I wish to give it a try as well." Qin Wentian gazed at Mo Qingcheng, startling her with his answer. However, she recovered swiftly and with a laugh said, "Then I shall accompany you."
"No, wait for me here. If I'm unable to persist, I will return." Qin Wentian gently pinched Mo Qingcheng's nose as he smiled. He didn't want Mo Qingcheng to be too worried.
"Okay..." Mo Qingcheng nodded. Qin Wentian turned about and proceeded to head towards the Yellow Spring Monument. His heartbeat escalated as his blood seethed and surged. As for why Qin Wentian wanted to attempt this was due to the pressure emanating from the Yellow Springs pathway; he could feel the power of his own bloodline throbbing in resonance. Such a sensation made him thirst for more.
As his blood rushed through him with greater intensity, his heartbeat pounded frantically. He didn't realize that behind him, Mo Qingcheng had actually took a few steps forwards.
Qin Wentian could faintly sense that he was unable to control the power of his Bloodline Limit for much longer. That outpouring of energy soared, as his hair turned inky black, whisked about by the wind. As the roaring sound of rushing blood became increasingly louder, he could feel the countless streams of energy within its flow.
Finally, he arrived at the point below the Yellow Springs Monument. Halting his steps, he closed his eyes as he turned his perception inwards within his body. It was as though there was a blood-colored seal jumping about in excitement. And from the aura emitted from the blood seal, he could sense the terrifying amounts of energy contained within.
"Is this the physical materialization of the Bloodline Limit?" Qin Wentian's heart was trembling. To think that he had actually managed to sense the reason for the resonance of his bloodline. He had a faint feeling that from now on, he could freely control this source of energy, integrating it into his attacks.
Was this a breakthrough? An advancement in the leveling up of his bloodline.
Inclining his head, Qin Wentian's vision turned blood red, as a tyrannical pressure gushed forth, so massive it felt as though it could reach the heavens. His was a Monarch-level bloodline, how would this mere monument be able to faze it?
Countless blood-colored imprints rose up into the air, flying towards the Yellow Springs Monuments. In that instant, the monument glowed with a resplendent crimson light, shaking as it flew towards Qin Wentian, as though the two forces were having a confrontation.
Mo Qingcheng turned pale white as she witnessed the scene, nervous to such a degree her heart felt strangled. She bit down on her lips until fresh blood flowed, taking yet another step forwards against the tremendous pressure.
At this moment, Qin Wentian still had no awareness of Mo Qingcheng's actions. The imprints originating from his blood seal smashed towards the stone monument, and the monument's speed gradually slowed as the once resplendent crimson light turned dull.
Mo Qingcheng felt the sense of pressure growing weaker and weaker, and upon raising her head, she saw the monument fall from the air to land in front of Qin Wentian, as pressure no longer emanated from it.
"What, my bloodline can actually control this monument?" Wonder appeared on Qin Wentian's face. He felt that he had somehow formed a connection, binding him with the Yellow Springs Monument. Very quickly, Qin Wentian deposited the monument into his interspatial ring.
The alluring eyes of Mo Qingcheng flickered. "This..."
Ouyang Kuangsheng had turned to witness the confrontation, so stunned he remained rooted to the spot. Qin Wentian had actually subdued the Yellow Springs Monument?
Qin Wentian calmed the power of his Bloodline Limit, returning to Mo Qingcheng's side. He saw the traces of blood and bite marks on her lips, and he felt incomparably touched knowing that she had stepped onto the Yellow Springs pathway out of worry for him.
"Silly girl." Qin Wentian cupped Mo Qingcheng's face with his hands. Mo Qingcheng beamed with a sweet smile as she replied, "Let's be on our way."
"Okay." Qin Wentian nodded in agreement. However the very next moment, sounds of footsteps rang out as a few silhouettes appeared, coming out from one of the various pathways. Amazement was etched on the faces of the new arrivals upon seeing both Qin Wentian and Mo Qingcheng.
"You're alright?" Qian Mengyu asked in astonishment, she had initially thought that with how things had turned out earlier, Qin Wentian would surely have been finished.
"My luck is pretty good." Qin Wentian smiled. "We are on our way, do you want to go together?"
Glancing at the three others behind Qian Mengyu, Qin Wentian sighed silently. It seemed like they had suffered many casualties, to think that they were only left with four people.
"Fine." Qian Mengyu agreed, as they both proceeded ahead. After several moments on the pathway, apprehension and vigilance could be seen in their eyes when they saw Ouyang Kuangsheng standing amidst a sea of corpses.
Upon noticing them, Ouyang Kuangsheng could only smile bitterly. Those that exited the Yellow Springs pathway would certainly be able to enter the celestial lake. However, the test earlier was 'spoiled' by a freak that had caused the entire Yellow Springs pathway to vanish. This meant that for later cultivators, there would be no test to obstruct their way. No one else would know that this test had ever existed.
Turning, Ouyang Kuangsheng no longer bothered with them as he sped forwards, hoping to be one of the first few to step into the celestial lake.
Qin Wentian and his party members also sped up, following closely behind Ouyang Kuangsheng, and all of them eventually exited this ancient pathway.
Those from the Greencloud Pavilion intentionally pulled Qian Mengyu back from following Qin Wentian and Ouyang Kuangsheng, widening the gap between them. Their actions caused Qian Mengyu to stiffen slightly, but she soon understood the meaning behind it. They were afraid that Ouyang Kuangsheng might launch a sneak attack.
After Ouyang Kuangsheng and Qin Wentian exited the ancient path, the first thing they saw were a pair of ancient trees, each standing at both sides of the road. Dazzling starlight could be seen flowing from the branches of the trees, originating from its fruits.
"Haha, light at the end of the tunnel, indeed." Ouyang Kuangsheng instantly sprinted towards one of the trees as he leapt upwards and began rapidly plucking the fruits.
Qin Wentian locked eyes with Mo Qingcheng, as they sprinted towards the other tree to pluck its fruits. Their speed was amazingly quick so by the time Qian Mengyu and her company arrived, about half the fruits had already been plucked clean.
"Stellar Fruits." Those from the Greencloud Pavilion were thunderstruck, as they, too,hurriedly sprinted towards the ancient trees.
"What are the use of these Stellar Fruits?" Qin Wentian looked towards Qian Mengyu as she asked.
"The Stellar Fruits are only useful in this spatial dimension; eating it will replenish one's Astral Energy, and could be considered an extremely useful treasure inside the Refinement Grounds." Ouyang Kuangsheng explained. He had already harvested all the fruits from the tree he'd run to.
Qin Wentian's eyes brightened as he shifted his gaze to those from the Greencloud Pavilion. "There're plenty of fruits here, let's split them equally according to our number of people."
"Why must we split them equally?" A female cultivator standing next to Qian Mengyu questioned, a sharp light glinting in her eyes.
Qin Wentian's eyes turned frosty as he stared at the female cultivator, "What do you mean?"
"We allowed you to tag along and this could already be considered us taking care of you. Naturally, it will be up to us to decide how the fruits should be split. But don't worry, you will surely get your share," the female cultivator coldly stated, contempt apparent in her tone. This fellow was truly indulging in his own wild fantasies, he actually wanted to split the fruits equally?
From her point of view, the fact that they allowed Qin Wentian to follow them earlier was already a kindness bestowed to him by their Greencloud Pavilion. If it were not for them blocking the combined assault by the Beast King Hall and the Skydemon Sect back then, Qin Wentian would have already died.
"So, you mean that the fruits won't be split equally?" QIn Wentian's voice got colder by several degrees. He was the first to obtain the Stellar Fruits, and also the one who suggested the equal split. However, it appeared that those from the Greencloud Pavilion didn't appreciate this kindness, and on the contrary, they still felt that he was too greedy.
Ouyang Kuangsheng was similarly dumbstruck, but soon after, an expression of interest appeared on his face. They took care of Qin Wentian? Forming an alliance was originally of mutual benefit to all parties and they would naturally face incoming danger together. But from the tone of her words, it was as though allowing Qin Wentian to join them was an act of charity on their part.
"Brother Qin, even if you want to split, you should be splitting the fruits with us." At this moment, another row of silhouettes appeared by the ancient path's exit. These new arrivals were none other than Mu Baifei and the others. The one who spoke was Yi Xiang, as his eyes narrowed, looking at Qin Wentian. Naturally, it went without saying how important the Stellar Fruits were within the Refinement Grounds.
Qin Wentian glanced at Yi Xiang, Mu Baifei and the rest of the members from his earlier alliance. There wasn't a single kind soul amongst this group of people, indeed.
TN Note: → Yellow Springs (the underworld/hell of chinese mythology)