AGM 567 - Trials of the Life and Death Cavern
Qin Wentian walked through the cavern. An old-looking demon ox was standing at the other end.
That's right, this ox demon was standing there upright like a human, the sight of this causing Qin Wentian to feel more than a little awkward. But as he stared at the facial features of this ox, Qin Wentian felt a little weird, because from its features he actually felt that he could distinguish this from the other demon oxen in the world, similar to humans who had different features.
When humans look at humans, it was easy to distinguish one from another. But when they were looking at another species, they would feel that all of them looked the same. Yet this ox demon was clearly different from others; it even had a trace of the spiritual qi of humans and it was evident that this ox demon was none other than the gargantuan ox that stood guard on the outside.
"You find this strange?" Right now, the physique of this ox demon wasn't as gargantuan. He stared at Qin Wentian and grinned, "The gargantuan form outside is nothing but my clone. I'm the one tasked with the responsibility of administering the matters of the Life and Death Cavern in the Immortal Martial Realm."
Qin Wentian's countenance faltered slightly. In that case, there must be a variety of mysterious places in the Immortal Martial Realm with different guardians there controlling the test.
"Senior ox, my speed isn't slow at all. I should be considered to have passed the test right? Anyway, wasn't that test a little too unfair?" Qin Wentian inquired.
"Haha little boy, talking to me about fairness? I allowed you to come here earlier because I have some expectations of you. To tell you the truth, those whose speed that I felt to be too slow, were all trampled to death by me. They truly died. But as for people like you whose strength reached a certain level, although I stomped on you, I didn't crush you and transported you to the Cavern of Life and Death in advance instead. However, don't feel you are fortunate yet. In here there's only two paths for you to walk. Either life, or death."
The ox demon stared at Qin Wentian as he grinned again. "The Cavern of Life and Death has a total of four trials. Cavern of Cultivation Level, Cavern of Innate Techniques, Cavern of Mandates, Cavern of Combat. Now you have a choice to choose which path you want to take and you better hear me clearly. If you pass the trial, you live. If you fail, you die. There's no third option."
Qin Wentian frowned, it was useless to talk logic to this ox demon. Since he was already transported here, he could only obediently take the test, there were no other choices. However, the ox demon just said that he sent Qin Wentian here in advance? Could it be that if they continued on walking the floating bridge, it would similarly led them to this place?
"What differences are there regarding the four trials?" Qin Wentian asked.
"Idiot. You should already know by hearing their names. Cultivation level: You have to break through your current cultivation level by a given amount of time..." The old ox explained, causing Qin Wentian's heart to tremble. In that case, for the Cavern of Innate Techniques, one must comprehend a certain innate technique in a given amount of time? For the Cavern of Mandates, one must break through to the next boundary in a given amount of time as well?
"How tough," Qin Wentian cursed silently. Cultivation level wasn't something one could break through simply because one wanted to. That Cavern was definitely a death trap, he must never choose that. In that case, he can only choose the three other trials.
"Within a certain period of time wishing for me to break through with no rhyme nor reason? Totally impossible, isn't the level of difficulty too high?" Qin Wentian asked again.
"Just say straight what you want to say, don't try to play mind games with me, little boy. I will give you a hint. Other than the Cavern of Combat, the other three trials will allow you to contemplate first before taking them, and from a certain perspective, this can also be considered a stroke of great fortune. I will never allow ordinary humans to enter this place." The old ox laughed evilly as he added, "Have you made your choice?"
"I have a total of four Mandates." Qin Wentian replied.
"Choose one you like and if it's within the boundary of my control, you can proceed." The old ox replied. For some of the more unique Mandates, the Immortal Martial Realm might not be able to set a test for them. But for the more ordinary ones, the Immortal Martial Realm would definitely be able to.
"Mandate of Demon," Qin Wentian gambled.
"Release your will of the Mandate of Demons," the old ox grinned. Qin Wentian released his will from the Mandate of Demons, allowing the old ox to feel it. At this moment, Qin Wentian's cultivation base and Mandates which were suppressed earlier had all been completely restored.
The old ox turned and entered a particular cavern for a moment before he walked out again. When he stared at Qin Wentian once more, that gaze of the ox actually caused Qin Wentian to feel a little scared.
"Two hours. Evolve your Mandate of Demons to the Perfection Boundary and you will be considered to have passed. If not, just die," the old ox smiled happily, causing Qin Wentian's countenance to pale instantly.
"Senior, are you kidding?"
Two hours to evolve one's Mandate to the Perfection Boundary? What joke is this? If two hours were sufficient, the entire Royal Sacred Region would be littered with people whose Mandates reached perfection.
"In here, there's only life or death. There are no jokes. Your two hours already started one minute ago." The smile on the old ox's face got even more radiant.
"Bastard." Qin Wentian cursed in his heart as he hurriedly rushed into the cavern designated. He knew it was pointless to plead with the demon ox. In here, it was the controller; unless Qin Wentian could kill it, there was nothing he could do to change its mind.
In the cavern, resplendent astral light circulated. It was as though he entered into a mysterious space. Everything disappeared as a mountain range appeared in front of him. And right ahead, there was a baby black eagle.
That eagle was very young and slowly learning how to fly. It flapped its little wings and let out a few adorable chirps.
Its wings slowly developed as the black eagle gradually matured. It started to soar through the air, from slow to fast and gradually, it could move in the wind as natural as a fish in water. After a period of time, its wings developed more and more as the sharpness in its gaze became more pronounced.
It started to hunt, soaring through the horizons, pouncing on prey in the ocean, fighting against the other demons and growing up in adversity.
Its eyes gradually turned cold as a tyrannical qi filled with boundless sharpness emanated from it. It swooped down from the heavens as it slammed its sharp talons onto a huge python; it entered a forest of demons and slew powerful opponents while contempt for those weaker gradually seeped into its aura.
The black eagle got increasingly stronger. Its wings had already reached the span of 1,000 meters and it was like the sovereign of the skies. Standing on a mountain peak and gazing at its subjects below. Just a single glance was sufficient to cow all others into submission.
Qin Wentian was like a spectator watching the life of the black eagle from its own perspective. He went wherever the black eagle went, and he could clearly sense that imposing tyrannical aura, as well as that pride of lone arrogance, disdainfully looking down on its subjects.
It was a demon, a demon that fought against the heavens and the earth. It stood upon the ground staring at the sky as though it wanted nothing more than to tear it asunder.
When that scene disappeared, Qin Wentian still felt that he was inside the mind of the black eagle as the memories of the events earlier continuously flashed through his mind.
The Mandate of Demons was naturally comprehended from demons. If one wanted their Mandate of Demons to reach perfection, they had to comprehend the lone arrogance of demons, the pride and imposing manner of demons, the disdain and contempt for humanity of demons.
Qin Wentian closed his eyes, and in this state he even forgot the passing of time. Demonic qi gushed out from him, the astral energy in his body seethed and surged, frantically absorbing astral energy from the constellations even in this place, filling his Yuanfu up completely.
However, how could it be so easy to achieve a breakthrough in Mandates? Although his comprehension of the Mandate of Demons had improved, to breakthrough wasn't something that could be done overnight. Qin Wentian forgot the flow of time, but time still flowed by. Soon after, an hour had already passed.
Qin Wentian recalled the days back when he transformed into the body of a primordial great roc, wreaking havoc everywhere in Grand Xia, his sword splitting the Pill Emperor Hall. He had never seriously contemplated himself back then. At that time, everywhere he passed the demons there all bowed to him in complete submission. When he stood there on the mountain peak gazing at his countless demonic subjects, how imposing was he?
Usually when he used the will from the Mandate of Demons, although he had that imposingness and regal demonic aura, it was far from being able to compare to himself back when he was a primordial great roc. During that period of time, everything felt so real because of the fact that back then was a true demon.
"In fact, I've already felt before how the Mandate of Demons at the Perfection Boundary felt like. Back when I took the form of the primordial great roc, the essence of humanity burned away from me, leaving behind only pure demonity. Naturally, that being I was and the feeling back then, that was the great perfection boundary," Qin Wentian mused. His eyes closed as his demonic qi swirled about. The demonic qi actually caused a pair of demonic wings to form behind his back without him willing it. The center of his brows radiated a terrifying sharpness, Qin Wentian was trying to return back to the days when he was a primordial great roc to recall the feeling of the Mandate of Demons at perfection.
An extremely fearsome demonic qi kicked up a storm, enveloping his entire person within. Crackling sounds echoed out causing the entire space to tremble and finally when Qin Wentian opened his eyes once more, the imposingness, the pride, the contempt for humans, the coldness, and the lone arrogance of a true demonic being could be seen flickering within.
"BOOM!" The demonic qi erupted in a tempest, blasting against the ceiling. Qin Wentian stood up, turned about, and walked outside.
After exiting, Qin Wentian faced the ox demon as his back was actually covered with cold sweat. The process of comprehension forced him to be in a state of total immersion. He had even forgotten the duration but even so, he used almost two hours before he finally succeeded. This sort of trial was simply a dead path.
"Congratulations to you for passing the test of the Life and Death Cavern," the ox demon laughed. Qin Wentian wasn't as excited as he imagined he would be. He then asked, "Since senior is the person controlling the test here, senior should know about my friends situation. Has he passed?"
Fan Le should have also been brought to the Life and Death Cavern. But what he didn't know was that after he was brought in here, the ox demon's actions caused the other participants to be seized with terror as they all ran away while Ouyang Kuangsheng was brought into here for the test as well.
"You wish to help him?" the old ox grinned, as though it was plotting something nefarious.
"Yes." Qin Wentian nodded his head.
"Take this trial once again and if you pass, I shall consider sparing him. Anyway you don't merely have a friend taking the test of the life and death cavern." The words of the old ox caused Qin Wentian to turn ashen.
Taking the trial once again?
He was already exceedingly lucky that his Mandate of Demons had a sudden breakthrough to the Perfection Boundary. If it wasn't for him transforming into the form of an primordial roc years before, he would surely have died here today. If he were to take the trial once more, the danger could be easily imaginable.
"The trials here in the life and death cavern is an exceptionally important one that would affect your ranking in the Immortal Martial Realm. Not only that, it can even make your strength increase further. Such a good deal offered, why not take it?" the old ox continued to cajole Qin Wentian.
"Dog shit," Qin Wentian cursed in his heart. Ranking? He didn't care about ranking. What he wanted was his strength to increase! But first, only passing the test would result in an increase in strength. If he failed, it meant death.
"If I take the trial again, would senior promise me to help my friends?" Qin Wentian asked.
"I will take that into consideration. The tests here in the Life and Death Cavern, I'm the decider of things." The old ox still had a mischievous grin playing on his face, Qin Wentian didn't have any ways to get more information out of it.
"Fine. In that case, I choose the trial of the innate techniques. I hope that senior will keep your promise." Qin Wentian steadied his heart. Other than Fan Le, the ox demon said that there was still one more friend of his currently taking this test and it was unknown whether he would pass or fail. In that case Qin Wentian could only go all out and stake his life upon it. If he failed, that meant death, but he still had another true-self out there. But even if he didn't have another true-self out there, he would still have made the same choice.
To him, the lives of his brothers were even more valuable than his own!