A Martial Odyssey Book 1: The Divine Calamity – Chapter 66

The Dark Celestials

When Lingfeng realized that Yi Ping was reading her thoughts, she was immediately flustered and rebuked him gently in his thoughts, “How dare you read my thoughts…”

She quickly willed her Great Emptiness Translucence into a formless mirror that deny her thoughts from him.

Immediate, Yi Ping could no longer see or share in her memories.

Lingfeng laughed softly, “You are just a peeping tom.”

Yi Ping was silent.

Lingfeng asked, “You are upset?”

Yi Ping quickly recollect his thoughts, “I am not. It is just that I have been thinking, why should you give up being a Celestial and instead choose to be a mortal? Today, I have finally realized that only the Universal Old Man and you are the real Celestials and you shouldn’t be in the lower world. You and I, our gap suddenly seems so vast and…”

Lingfeng said convivially, “I used to be your grand protégé mistress and now I am just your older protégé sister. Our gap has closed down considerably already! Why, you are jealous of me?”

Yi Ping said, “That is not what I mean…”

Lingfeng interrupted, “I know…I hope we can be like before again.”

Yi Ping was silent for a while before he said, “I hope so too. Lingfeng, I thought that I am a goner. Why is that I am still alive?”

Lingfeng said, “I am now invigorating your meridian channels with the Divine Invigorate Skill and is transferring the essence of the Divine Dragon Pill that I have consumed earlier to you.”

Yi Ping was startled, “Lingfeng, if you give me the Divine Dragon Pill, that will be detrimental to your future attainment. Even though I may be stupid, I know for a fact that extracting the essence of the consumed Divine Dragon Pill from your body is harmful and your martial skills will surely deteriorate! Let go of me now!”

Lingfeng said, “It is already too late. Stop struggling. If you distract me, not only will you die, I will suffer serious internal injuries and may die too. I hope you know what I mean…”

She was taking too long to heal his injuries. In the past when she was the Heaveness, this was just an easy matter to her. Even though she had recalled her Divine Invigorate Skill but her mortal body was not strong enough to co-ordinate with her efforts. It seemed that from now on, she had to relearn and started her divine practice from scratch again…

Yi Ping sighed, “Your sacrifice is too great. I am not the White Sage. You should know this. I am just an illiterate person that knows just a few necessary words and I am not interested to be a Celestial or follow in the footsteps of the White Sage. I may know these maidens in previous incarnations but that is in the past. I should cherish what I have now. I am not the one that you are looking for…”

Lingfeng said softly, “That is true. When I come into contact with your Great Emptiness Translucence, I can already feel that it is different from him. It is full of love and affections, devoid of materialism. But how do you know that this is not the staging that I have always been yearning for? Maybe that is why I choose to be transmigrated as a mortal. Maybe you are the one that I have been waiting for and not the White Sage that you have mentioned?”

Yi Ping was startled, “That is quite improbable. Even though I have some visions of the White Sage through the Emptiness Translucence but I am not him. Like I say, I wish to lead an ordinary life.”

Lingfeng said almost inaudible in his mind, “You have misunderstood me. I don’t wish to ascend as a Celestial Being either. I just want to lead an ordinary life. Why do you think I have transmigrated as a mortal? I want to be with you, do you understand?”

Yi Ping was stunned at her bluntness.

He asked, “Are you Lingfeng or the Heaveness?”

Lingfeng said, “Even you can’t tell the difference?”

Yi Ping answered with a deep sigh, “I can’t. Can you enlighten me?”

Lingfeng said melancholy, “Whether I am the Heaveness or Lingfeng, is it important to you? I am still the Lingfeng you have known. I don’t even want to recall the past.”

Yi Ping said quietly, “But I know that you have changed. Your air has totally changed. You have exactly the same air as the Heaveness in my visions. You have tried to conceal it but somehow I know that you are no longer the Lingfeng sister that I have known.”

Lingfeng said nonchalantly, “Since you have known, why did you ask?”

Yi Ping was quiet again but he mustered his courage to ask, “Will you leave?”

Lingfeng asked instead, “Do you hope that I can stay?”

Yi Ping sighed, “I don’t know…”

Lingfeng asked, “You don’t know?”

Yi Ping said, “If I ask you to stay, is it selfish of me?”

Lingfeng sighed melancholy, “So you want me to stay? Why don’t you say to me directly then?”

Yi Ping was startled, “I am afraid…”

He could hear her soft laughs as she said, “You are really so dense. What are you afraid of? I have already given you so many hints. I am willing to stay. Whether I am the Heaveness or not, I am still the Lingfeng that you have known.”

Yi Ping was relieved, “Lingfeng…”

“Yi Ping…”

Yi Ping was suddenly jolted, “Since you have transmigrated as a mortal, you shouldn’t remember anything. How did you recall the Great Emptiness Translucence and remember everything? It is as if, you have never passed on…”

Lingfeng was silent for a while before she said, “You…you are right! This time you are so brilliant!”

Yi Ping was startled to hear her praising him for the first time and he was momentarily confounded.

Lingfeng pondered, “I have regained my memories when I am struck by the Universal Force…”

All of a sudden, she said excitedly, “That’s right! The clues to the final transmigration! Why didn’t I think of that previously? The immortal being that left the clue in the Stellar Sanctuary was looking for the Universal Force in the lower world! There are no Universal Force in Beyond! The lower realm is the closest place that is near to the source of the Universal Force!”

She was suddenly saddened, “But what the point of knowing that now? I am no longer a Celestial. This knowledge has come too late…”

Yi Ping said, “Lingfeng, don’t be sad.”

She replied, “I am not.”

Yi Ping said, “That is good…”

All of a sudden, he had thought of Yixian and he knew that she was facing the Divine Calamity very soon. So he asked, “Lingfeng, Heaveness…”

She was suddenly solemn, “Promise me not to call me by my celestial name. I am really sensitive to it. And don’t tell others that I am the Heaveness previously, especially to Shen Xinyue and the Celestial Fairy.”

Yi Ping said, “I promise but I hope that you can use your past experience as a Celestial to help them to overcome the Divine Calamity…”

Lingfeng said, “I can’t and I will end up doing more harm than good.”

Yi Ping was clearly disappointed at her downright rejection.

She added gently, “It is not that I won’t try to help. But I have never experienced the Divine Calamity in the first place.”

Yi Ping was stunned, “You have never experienced the Divine Calamity before?”

She said, “Do I sound like I am lying to you? During my time, there is no Divine Calamity and things aren’t as hard as now. It is only when I have transmigrated to the Ninth Heavens to a place we call Beyond, we are forced to experience the Divine Wrath. Ninth Heavens may sound like a beautiful place but to us, it is actually a terrifying place where we have to undergo what is known as the ‘Nine Great Heavenly Tribulations’ and eighty-one minor crises in order to reach the final ascension level.”

Yi Ping asked out of curiosity, “Which level are you at previously?”

Lingfeng replied coldly, “I am already at the final ascension level.”

Yi Ping asked, “Is it hard to reach that final ascension level?”

Lingfeng explained patiently, “Extremely difficult. Even though I have not experienced the Divine Calamity before but I do know that after overcoming the first Divine Calamity, a Celestial Seeker has to first overcome the ‘Three Divine Calamities’ in order to transmigrate to the Ninth Heavens. After that, they have to face multiple Divine Wraths. Many don’t even survive on their first attempt. When a Celestial has overcome the ‘Nine Great Heavenly Tribulations’, they have to face what is known as the Celestial Wrath which is even more terrifying than a Divine Wrath. Altogether, it is said that there are just seven Celestials that can attain to that level. The Universal Old Man and I are one of them.”

Yi Ping was stunned and he could not imagine how arduous that journey was and how long it had taken her to reach the final ascension level.

He muttered, “I cannot imagine the difficulties that you have faced in the past. For you to give up all your hard earned attainment must be very hard on you…”

Lingfeng said casually, “It is precisely because I have reached the highest state in the Great Emptiness Translucence that I cannot feel any sense of loss or regrets. So you really do not have to feel pitiful for me.”

Yi Ping muttered, “Where is this Beyond that everyone wants to transmigrate to?”

Lingfeng said patiently, “Above the region of death.”

Yi Ping asked again, “Where is the region of death?”

Lingfeng said enigmatic, “You are really curious. Isn’t that for you to find out yourself so that you can attain to a higher level in the future?”

Yi Ping teased her, “I don’t really want to be a Celestial. I am asking my grand protégé mistress and older protégé sister for the answer.”

Lingfeng laughed softly, “I can tell you but you must not reveal it to anyone. Or else your life span will surely be reduced drastically and even your descendants will suffer.”

Yi Ping reluctantly agreed, “That is so serious?”

Lingfeng said, “So do you still want to know?”

Yi Ping said, “Will I affect you?”

Lingfeng said, “A little.”

Yi Ping said, “Then better not.”

But Lingfeng said, “The region of death is at 9000 meters above where no humans can survive. The Ninth Heaven can be entered at that point only. Not higher, not lower!”

Yi Ping was startled, “Lingfeng, why did you tell me…”

Lingfeng said, “Because that is my business and I like to do so.”

Yi Ping was stunned.

Lingfeng said, “You can find the highest mountain when it is time for you to ascend. But you better be prepared to build an altar of heaven first and figure out a way. Because there are no mountains in the entire world that can take you to the region of death.”

Yi Ping was stunned again, “Then how do I reach the Ninth Heavens?”

Lingfeng said, “If you can move the Heavens, the Ninth Heavens will descend to you. That is all I can tell you. Wait for the changing winds. That is all I can reveal to you.”

Yi Ping tried to change the conversation, “That’s good enough already. There must be many highly attained and admirable Celestials in the Ninth Heavens. How I wish I can meet them…”

Lingfeng was heard sighing, “Maybe when you have met the Dark Celestials, then you won’t find them so admirable after all.”

Yi Ping was startled, “There are Dark Celestials in the Ninth Heavens?”

Lingfeng nodded, “You may think that is improbable but there are many of them actually.”

Yi Ping was somewhat stunned as he asked quietly, “Won’t the Divine Calamity dealt with them?”

Lingfeng said, “Yes and no. There are always highly attained Celestials that strayed from the path and walked on the dark side. Most Dark Celestials are hard to identify. That is why the Celestials in Beyond do not trust one another easily.”

She paused for a while before saying, “There are three types of Dark Celestials. First is the Ancient Dark Celestials. In the time before the Intermediate Era, there was no Divine Calamity in the lower world. Those who can ascend and transmigrated are able to reach the Ninth Heavens. Such is the grace of the Heavens upon all the mortals. In those years, mortals aged gradually and many could live to almost a thousand years. Six hundred years of age was just the beginning for the mortals, similar to a twenty year mortal!”

Yi Ping was startled, “Mortals can live that long?”

Lingfeng said, “If you read your classics, most Sages are able to live hundreds of years. Never mind, I know you don’t read.”

Yi Ping thoughts were full of awkwardness but Lingfeng seemed to have changed and did not try to tease him.

She patiently explained, “But something else had happened that caused their mortality to reduce to just a hundred and twenty. The reduced life-span became a trial to overcome the tribulations of eventually ascension. The Dark Celestials that overcome the Divine Calamity was able to transmigrate to Beyond are the second type of Dark Celestial.”

Yi Ping asked, “These Dark Celestials can overcome the Divine Calamity?”

He was also curious to know of the event that had caused mortality to reduce so drastically but he decided not to ask for the time being.

Lingfeng said, “That’s right! Either they are very powerful or they have actually taken advantage of the Divine Descendant to transmigrate to the Ninth Heavens during that time.”

Yi Ping sighed, “Why must Heavens allow the Dark Celestials to exist?”

Lingfeng said, “Because Heavens is merciful and no matter how harsh things are, there are always a way out.”

Her voice became almost inaudible, “We have been looking for a way out of Beyond for a long time too…”

She quickly said, “The third type of Dark Celestials is those that have joined the dark side willingly after they had ascended as a Virtuous Celestial.”

Yi Ping asked curiously, “But once they are in Beyond, isn’t there such a thing as the Divine Wrath to deal with them?”

She paused for a while and appeared to be melancholy, “Once they have reached Beyond, good and evil no longer exists. What is good, what is evil? The Divine Wrath won’t deal with them as they have already ascended as a full Celestial. But killing another Celestial directly is forbidden and detrimental to the practitioner’s progress.”

Yi Ping said, “That is a relief to hear that. At least there is no more killing in Beyond…”

Lingfeng hummed coldly, “No more killing? That when you are wrong. There are many ways to kill a Celestial. For example, the most often used method is to injure the Celestial while not killing directly. In this way, the weakened Celestial would be killed by the Divine Wrath or spent too much recuperating rather than actually making progression in their state of divinity and eventually be killed.”

Yi Ping said, “I didn’t expect that the Ninth Heavens to be exactly the same here. I wonder how powerful a Dark Celestial is…”

Lingfeng laughed softly, “You! You…are just a martial idiot! You really think that martial skills can get you everywhere? Let me tell you this. Not all Celestials can fight.”

Yi Ping was somewhat startled, “They can’t fight then how do they reach the Ninth Heavens?”

Lingfeng said, “Your previous incarnation can’t fight at all. He is just a scholar. The Divine Calamity is a Divine Calamity that tests one’s limit. In order to ascend as a Celestial, you have to overcome yourself first. Sometimes it may be easier for a non-martial exponent to ascend but it is no less dangerous. In Beyond, the martial Celestials are the majority since those Celestials that couldn’t protect themselves can’t really survive on their own.”

Yi Ping was not paying attention anymore. He was extremely worried. “Yixian had learnt the Divine Emerald Skill to the tenth level. Does it mean that her Divine Calamity will test her to the very limits?”

Lingfeng said coolly, “Unfortunately yes. If she had stopped at the ninth level, things may be easier for her. The tenth level of her Divine Emerald Skill is said to be the ultimate and also an absolute defense martial force field. But the Divine Calamity will breech her Divine Emerald Skill for sure. Pity, there is no eleventh level in the Divine Emerald Skill. Even if it exists, she doesn’t have the time to divine that understanding.”

Yi Ping sighed softly…

While Yi Ping was sighing to himself, Lingfeng was startled!

It was because Yi Ping was now absorbing the essence of the Divine Dragon Pill at an alarming pace!

She was taking all necessary precaution to slowly transfer the essence of the Divine Dragon Pill to him because the Divine Dragon Pill itself was an extremely potent miracle pill. Even if an internal martial expert would to take one, it was not without its own risks. Taking two Divine Dragon Pills out of greed at the same time would kill anyone, including the Celestials.

But now, Yi Ping seemed to be absorbing the essence of the Divine Dragon Pill rapidly from her as though there was a vacuum in his body!

Lingfeng was very much perplexed for she had never seen anything like that before. She began to analyze and had come out with a conclusion; he could have reached the physical limit break and had undergone a startling physical transfiguration!

No matter if a person was a mortal or a celestial being, the physical limit would never change. The most adept mortals could be capable of utilizing a tenth of their physical limit while the most powerful celestials may be able to utilize up to one third of it. There were no exceptions for both mortals and celestials; none was able to reach the physical limit break!

But somehow, Yi Ping had reached beyond his physical limit break after he had used the Asper Divinity five times in a row. Now that she had recalled it, she had a startling thought all of a sudden; how did he even manage to unleash the Asper Divinity more than two times continuously in the first place?

Was it even possible for a mere mortal to achieve a physical transfiguration without becoming a Celestial Being in the first place?

But because she had no answers for that, her thoughts quickly shifted to her new awareness as she thought. “So I am the Heaveness. I am now able to feel despair, love, hurt, joy, the seven emotions and the six desires of a mortal. This is a wonderful feeling…”

Just as she was deep in thoughts, she could sense that Yi Ping had awakened and had gently stepped backward awkwardly…

Yi Ping was looking at her with embarrassment but he had also felt a deep sense of appreciation for her.

When the other maidens saw that Yi Ping had opened his eyes and had recovered his countenance, they quickly surrounded him in amazement!

At this distance, they were slightly taken back. When Yi Ping had opened his eyes, his eyes were golden but it quickly grew dim and normalized it in an instant.

All the maidens except Shen Xinyue did not think much of it, thinking that it came from the reflections of the Twin Sisters’ golden swords which were still glowing with a brilliant golden light!

Yu’Er and Mei’Er quickly sheathed their divine swords into their scabbards as they were afraid that its brilliant light would cause Yi Ping to feel discomfort.

As soon as they had sheathed their golden swords, many of the onlookers were feeling much better, their nausea had somewhat eased slightly.

Shen Xinyue was thinking, “Did I just see his eye pupils turned golden?”

Youxue quickly asked, “Ping’Er, are you alright?”

Lie Qing asked in surprise, “How did you recover…”

She looked suspiciously at Lingfeng…

Lingfeng pretended to be startled, “I don’t know either…”

Yu’Er and Mei’Er did not care to know the reasons. They were simply too overwhelmed with joy as they embraced cuddly around him as they cried joyfully, “Master, we are so worried for you…”

Yi Ping sighed weakly as he looked at them with heartfelt emotions for he was deeply touched by their concerns for him.

The first thing that he had awakened and said was, “Have we won?”

Yunzi smiled and said, “Yes, we have won! Xiao Shuai and Han Shaodong have admitted defeat!”

Lele said coolly, “That’s only because of me. I should be given some credits.”

Yixian, Lie Qing and Shen Xinyue were exchanging knowing glances at each other. They simply could not believe what they were seeing and they were eyeing Lingfeng with some suspicious.

Even Ji Wuzheng, Dugu Zhen, Xiao Shuai, Han Shaodong, the Martial Sage and many others were incredulous!

Xiao Shuai was stunned, “Is he human?”

He was saddened for he knew that it was over for them. Their lofty ambitions of ascending as Celestials were shattered; they had completely lost!

Han Shaodong and the Martial Sage had walked quietly next to him as they said, “Brother, this time we have completely lost.”

Xiao Shuai nodded slowly as he looked at the direction where Yi Ping was.

After he had lost in such complete manner, he had finally realized that certain things could not be forced. He had already lost two of his sons and his mentor master Yuan Shao. If he persisted further, he may lost even his other son, Xiao Fan, his daughter Xiao Youxue, his nephew Xiao Fei and even his grandson Xiao Ao.

When he saw Xiao Fan, Xiao Youxue and Xiao Fei discarding their prides and pleading for his life, he was extremely touched and he knew that he had erred horrendously.

It was because the protégés of the Virtuous Palace was all trained by him and he knew that they all carried a strong sense of pride. He knew that they would never beg anyone for anything. That was what he had taught them and he had ensured that it was the unwritten rule; for a swordsman to lose their pride, they would lose their honor and fighting spirits!

He had only himself to blame for his sons’ death. Actually, he did not feel any remorse over the death of his two sons’ death. It was because he knew them to be as scheming as him. He had the intention to appoint Xiao Fan, his illegitimate son as his successor but he was wary that his other two sons might harm him. He knew for sure that Xiao Yuanjia and Xiao Da would definitely scheme to get rid of Xiao Fan just as they had always schemed against each other.

His injuries were not light and practitioners of the Divine Virtuous Force were fearful of getting internal injuries. Even though the Divine Virtuous Force was a powerful martial force skill, any internal injuries that were sustained were extremely difficult to treat and could even cause a deterioration of their martial skills!

When he had forced himself to fight Yi Ping again after sustaining internal injuries from the Twin Sisters, he knew that he was already hovering on death’s door and could not sustain any more serious internal injuries. But pride kept him going.

That was also the same for Han Shaodong, the Martial Sage, the Sword Sage and the Element Sage.

He was now looking at Yan Nanfei and Shangguan Qingyun who had managed to revive the Sword Sage and the Element Sage…

He was not someone who valued brotherhood or friends. But somehow, he was being sentimental about it. Maybe it was because they used to fight alongside one another and they had been fighting for the same cause as him even though they all had their differences.

All of a sudden, he seemed to have enlightened as he stared into the blank air.

Yixian had quietly approached him as she said gently, “It seems that you have finally seen through the illusions of life. The oppressing aura in your eyes is gone now.”

Han Shaodong and the Martial Sage were also sighing weakly as they looked at Yixian.

Han Shaodong said weakly, “I don’t think we can live for long and is just sustaining ourselves through our internal strength. Xian’Er, it is good to see you again. But it is a pity, we cannot be a Celestial anymore…”

Yixian expressions were full of sorrows as she said gently to them. “I am about to experience the Divine Calamity soon. If you are interested, you are invited to witness it.”

Xiao Shuai, Han Shaodong and the Martial Sage were stunned.

Xiao Shuai began to tremble as he muttered, “If my Golden Rejuvenate Pills are not stolen and if this plan of ours had succeeded, we may invoke the Divine Calamity and ascend as a Celestial under the auspicious seven stars…alas…”

Han Shaodong said regretfully, “We are so close to the Heavenly Relic for ourselves and becoming a Celestial. So close yet so far now.”

Yixian asked, “Why do you want to become a Celestial?”

They went silent. It was because they all had their own selfish reasons for it.

The Martial Sage was the first one to find an excuse, “Xian’Er, you may not know this. The Celestial Palace is our common enemy. Do you know how many martial exponents have been killed over the years by them? Why do you think that with the martial skills of the Three Sages, we are still being forced to go into hiding? If we can be Celestials, then we can join you as a Celestial too. Isn’t that a good thing?”

Yixian smiled gently at them, “You have all misunderstood. I am not going to become a Celestial anytime soon. In fact, I am asking you to witness my demise.”

They were shocked.

Han Shaodong stammered, “Xian’Er, what do you mean?”

Yixian said gently, “Only the virtuous can ascend as a Celestial. The Divine Calamity is just a divine tribulation that acts for the will of the Heaven. I have killed numerous exponents in my life. My Divine Calamity is the worst type and I probably won’t be able to survive the ordeal. Even if you have the Golden Rejuvenation Pills, the Heavenly Relic, the blood of the Holy Maiden and the auspicious signs of the seven stars to aid you, the result will still be the same; death awaits you.”

Xiao Shuai was startled, “Is that the truth?”

Yixian said gently, “There no need for me to lie to you. After you have witnessed the Divine Calamity with your own eyes, you will understand.”

The Martial Sage was stunned, “Xian’Er, you will die? How come?!”

Yixian smiled gently, “You do not need to feel regrets for me. I am really happy to meet and know all of you and…”

She paused and looked lovingly towards Yi Ping who was still being surrounded by the other maidens who were showering him with all kinds of love and concern. “…and knowing my husband Yi Ping is the best thing that has happened to me.”

She looked at them and said, “The number of people that you have killed or ruined is enough to invite the wrathful retribution of the Divine Calamity. That is not something that mere mortals like us can overcome. That is why none of you will be able to survive the Divine Calamity. Look at the number of people that have already been killed today.”

Shen Xinyue who had extremely keen hearing had overheard their conversation. She walked quietly besides Yixian, “There is a blessing in disguise too. Earlier, I have sensed the creation of the Universal Force when everyone was struck by it. Those who had survived this battle have the residue of the Universal Force in their bodies. Given time, it is still possible to become a Celestial without the aid of any external help. However it is still dependable upon the state of divinity of the practitioners and the providence of the Heavens. That Universal Force is actually the benevolent type. It just that its shockwaves are so great that many could not withstand it and hence, so many is killed by it.”

Xiao Shuai was startled, “We can still become a Celestial?”

Shen Xinyue said, “In order to ascend, first know how to become a Human Sage and do no evil. That will clear the hurdles for you and makes the Divine Calamity less malevolent.”

Xiao Shuai, Han Shaodong and the Martial Sage were all looking at each other as they stammered, “It is that simple?”

Shen Xinyue said, “It is that simple and it is all in the ancient classics. It is just that it is too obvious and everyone is looking the other way.”

Xiao Shuai, Han Shaodong and the Martial Sage were extremely ashamed. They had read the ancient classics numerous times when they were young but as they grew up, they had forgotten about it…

All of a sudden, there was an evil laughter that resonated throughout the surroundings, startling everyone!

It was Zuo Tianyi and he was dragging Gu Tianle, who was motionless!

There was a frightening sword energy aura around Zuo Tianle and the air in the surroundings was chilly and filled with the spectral of death!

Yi Ping, Xiao Shuai, Han Shaodong and Lingfeng were to first to raise the alarm, “Is this the Infinity-Zero level?!”