A Martial Odyssey Book 2: The Celestial Realm – Chapter 18

The Despairing Heavenly and the Perpetual Darkness

The Ascension Goddess looked coldly at Ximen Nanqing, “You don’t seem to be agreeable with my decision, am I right?”

Ximen Nanqing hummed coldly, “Not so easy. You seem to have forgotten that this is still my celestial domain and that my reinforcements are coming soon.”

The Ascension Goddess looked at She Weilun and the two clan division leaders that were standing beside Ximen Nanqing before chuckling softly.

She subtly glanced at the carnage and the dead corpses that were littered everywhere before smiling.

Sometimes, silence was deadlier than words!

She Weilun and the two clan division leaders had broken into cold sweat. They had caught her hint immediately. What good would their reinforcements be? Their fates would be the same as those lying on the ground!

In the entire Dominating Aura Clan, they knew that only Ximen Nanqing was the Ascension Goddess equal in match.

She Weilun was now trembling. He had already noticed that the Stellar Heaven Fairy was looking hatefully at him and could find any excuse to kill him even at a cost of her own attainment.

He had finally known fear!

He really did not know how he was going to get out of this situation today!

After witnessing the invaders’ martial prowess, he knew that both groups were completely out of his league.

When he thought how he had offended Yi Ping’s group, he was now regretting bitterly. It was because even if he had his full martial strength back, he would not be their match!

He had been with Ximen Nanqing for a long time and he knew that he could not give up his position of power without a fight. He was only afraid that Ximen Nanqing would ruthlessly use him to weaken his opponents’ strength first so that he could strike at an opportune time.

At this moment, Lele said coldly Ascension Goddess, “Yi Ping is not going to be the lord of any domain.”

She nodded to Lie Qing, who had responded by leaping forward and had raised her hand forward with the full martial power of her Invincible Divine Force!

The Ascension Goddess responded with her Denunciation Force and Yi Ping who was standing next to her was repulsed backward by her martial force.

Yi Ping thought, “Even with the internal strength of my Absolute Equilibrium Force, she could still push me with her mere execution of her martial force alone? And she is surrendering to me?”

His thoughts were quickly interrupted by a thunderous explosive impact as Lie Qing and the Ascension Goddess struck their palms together!

Because he was so near, he mustered his Boundless Force martial power just to stabilize himself on the ground but so mighty were their clashes, their exchanges had generated a furious bursting martial windforce that forced him to slide backward until Lele caught hold of him!

Lele said softly, “Ping’Er, are you alright?”

Yi Ping nodded but his attentions were quickly returned to the duel between the Ascension Goddess and Lie Qing who were surrounded by a wall of martial force and roaring twisters!

Yi Ping gasped, “This is…?”

Shui Yixian the Celestial Fairy said quietly as she stood gracefully besides Yi Ping, “I have only heard of it but never seen it before. This natural phenomenon can only happen when both practitioners’ martial force has reached a limit break and they must be equaled in martial force in order to see it.”

Ji Lingfeng the Heaveness nodded quietly, “This phenomenon actually has a name and is called the Ultimate Dragon Vortex. Their divine swords are counterparts to each other and even their resultant martial powers are on par.”

Yi Ping was startled, “The Ultimate Dragon Vortex? Why is it called that?”

Through the Great Emptiness Translucence, Yi Ping could sense that Lingfeng was looking extremely anxious.

Lingfeng replied quietly, “The weaker side will be forced to combat the exterior force that is being generated at the same time. It is like fighting against a weaker version of the Divine Calamity but with a super exponent constantly exploiting to find a weakness.”

Yi Ping stared at the two shadowy blurs inside the whirling twisters and the howling windforce as he broke into cold sweat.

Lie Qing was being surrounded by a dark halo and there were nine faint blue wisps around. The number of blue wisps actually represented the martial power of her Invincible Divine Force! The Invincible Divine Force had five staging altogether, the Virtuous Level, Pious Level, Righteous Level, Holiness Level and the Divine Level. And Lie Qing was on the Holiness Level and was displaying the Ninth Invincible Force.

The Ascension Goddess was being surrounded by her Denunciation Force and the bright halo of her Despairing Heavenly Divine Sword was constantly moving and blinking.

Inside the whirling twisters, Lie Qing and Ascension Goddess were constantly exchanging shadowy blows and blinking sword strokes. In a blink of an eye, they had exchanged more than a dozen of epitome techniques which only caused the howling of the bursting windforce to howl eerier!

Everyone was holding their breath and they could only imagine the furious and thunderous exchanges. It was because the howling winds had drowned out all other sounds!

Yi Ping was panicky shouting, “Enough! Enough! Enough!” But his voice was completely drowned by the howling of the furious winds!

Yi Ping tried to barge into the furious twisters as he raised his entire martial power to barge into the Ultimate Dragon Vortex but he was quickly repulsed by an irresistible force!

However that did not stopped Yi Ping as he immediately exercised his entire martial power as he displayed the Asper Divinity Horizon Hand, not once but three times continuously, sending powerful waves of martial force rippling around him and rippling through the Ultimate Dragon Vortex!

There were three thunderous earthshaking thunderous impact and powerful martial windforce that swept through the area when Yi Ping had clashed with the Ultimate Dragon Vortex!

All the maidens gasped in startled surprise as they displayed their martial power to steady themselves, even the four priests and Ximen Nanqing did the same. However, She Weilun and the two injured clan division leaders of the Dominating Aura Clan were flung off and had crashed with a powerful impact on the collapsing city walls!

The collapsing martial force of the Ultimate Dragon Vortex could not be described with mere words for it was not just martial force alone; it also contained the deadly martial energies of the Denunciation Force and the Invincible Divine Force!

Even super exponents like the Celestial Fairy, the Universal Old Man, Ximen Nanqing, the Heaveness, Shen Xingyue and the four priests were panting breathlessly and were feeling wobbly!

As for the rest of the maidens, they were all forced to dozens of steps backward and they were feeling weak as though they had been afflicted by sword energies!

The Ascension Goddess had an uncanny ability to sense energies, was startled when Yi Ping had suddenly barged into the Ultimate Dragon Vortex!

Lie Qing too, was startled.

In that single instant, the Ultimate Dragon Vortex had died down just as quickly as it had appeared.

Yi Ping began to stumble backward but luckily, he was immediately helped by Yu’Er, Mei’Er and Youxue! Yi Ping immediately coughed out several bouts of blood!

Yixian, Lingfeng, Yunzi, the Stellar Heaven Fairy, Lele and Xingyue were not slow either. They quickly began to clear his vital channels by striking his accupoints!

The Asper Divinity was the most powerful stance of the Divine Horizon Hand and it required the entire martial power of the practitioner to execute. After using it, the practitioner would be drained by it. The physical exertion was so great that using it a second time would be fatal to most practitioners and their blood would even reverse, causing instant death!

Yi Ping knew of the risks and he could never use the Asper Divinity two times continuously unless he had no other choices. Once, he had used the Asper Divinity five continuous times and it was fatal to him. He could not have survived if not for the intervention of the Heaveness.

But earlier, when he had tried to use the Asper Divinity to dispel the martial windforce that was surrounding Lie Qing and the Ascension Goddess, he was met with the entire martial force of the Ultimate Dragon Vortex!

He was startled. Not only did his first Asper Divinity failed to make any impact, he was also at risk of being assaulted by the entire martial force of the Ultimate Dragon Vortex!

Therefore, he immediately reacted by fighting back with his most powerful martial power skill again. The second time that he had used the Asper Divinity, he could feel that he had made an impact and had caused the martial force of the Ultimate Dragon Vortex to weaken.

Out of desperation, he began to use the Asper Divinity a third time when it became apparent that the martial energies of the Ultimate Dragon Vortex had suddenly exploded outward and was attempting to overwhelm him!

At the same time, the Ascension Goddess and Lie Qing were also flung off to opposite ends of each other.

Lie Qing gasped aloud when she was smashed into the city wall. Immediately, there was a thunderous impact as the section of the wall collapsed under her impact!

The Ascension Goddess crashed backward with a thunderous impact into a huge tree and she coughed out a bout of blood upon impact!

Yi Ping struggled against his injuries as he shouted panicky to the others, “Qing’Er! Quick, go and check on her…”

Before the dust had cleared, Lie Qing had picked herself up and she was staggering as she smiled weakly, “Ping’Er, I am alright. I am lucky that I am protected by my Golden Invincible Body…”

Yixian and Lele were already on her side as they pulled her aside.

Yixian said gently, “Qing’Er, you ought to recuperate first, your internal injuries are not light…”

Lele said anxiously, “Look at you. You almost got yourself killed and you can still smile!”

In the meantime, the four priests had surrounded the Ascension Goddess who was leaning against the big tree but they did not dare to touch her.

The priest with the white eyebrows said, “Your Esteem, may we aid you in clearing your energies channels?”

The Ascension Goddess was trembling but she was also looking at Yi Ping and Lie Qing at the same time, “No need. I will recover shortly. The Celestium Silk has saved my life.”

Yi Ping was already beside Lie Qing in an instant as soon as he could move again as he called softly to her, “Qing’Er, are you alright? I got a big scare just now…”

Lie Qing smile happily but her eyes were also teary, “Ping’Er, thank you! You have saved my life once again. You shouldn’t have done that. It is even more dangerous for you.”

Yi Ping had cuddled Lie Qing in his embrace and was holding her head to him. He was trembling nonstop and he was saying to her, “Qing’Er, you are safe now…I am so glad…I have almost lost you for the second time in this accursed place…”

Yu’Er and Mei’Er had looked away for their eyes had turned red and they were teary.

Lele sighed softly to herself, “Ping’Er likes Qing’Er the most?”

Xiao Youxue and the Stellar Heaven Fairy were also thinking the same, “Lie Qing has his heart?”

Lingfeng was smiling. She thought, “So this is true love? I wonder, I wonder…”

Shen Xingyue was pondering the same too but she was determined not to leave him even if he had changed his heart. It was because she had lost him once before. Sometimes when a person had lost something, it was already too late for regrets. Only then would they cherish for something that they had lost. She also knew that Yi Ping did not want to hurt any of the maidens.

Dugu Yunzi and Shui Yixian nodded quietly to each other. They were glad that Lie Qing was safe and were secretly enjoying this touching moment.

Meanwhile, Lie Qing and the Ascension Goddess were both secretly relieved.

It was because when Lie Qing and the Ascension Goddess had suddenly found themselves in the Ultimate Dragon Vortex, they knew that they were caught in a perilous situation!

They had never encountered this phenomenon before and were secretly afraid. Even though they had never encountered this phenomenon before, they already knew how fearsome this Ultimate Dragon Vortex was. When there was any letdown in their attacks, they could sense an overwhelming martial energy from the Ultimate Dragon Vortex that was attempting to overcome them. Left with no other choices, they continued on their crazed attacks on each other!

The Ascension Goddess was trembling. It was not envy or her injuries that had caused her to tremble. It was because she had suddenly recalled her nine heavenly tribulations!

Her protégé master had once warned her, “Soon you are about to ascend. However, the celestial path that you are going to face is going to be more arduous that you have thought. The Divine Calamity and the Divine Wrath are just one of the nine heavenly tribulations that you are going to face. Not many of the celestial practitioners will get to face the ultimate tribulation which is the Celestial Wrath. Most didn’t survive long enough to encounter it.”

She had replied, “Master, please enlighten me!”

Her protégé master closed his eyes and said, “Soon I will pass away.”

She was startled and shocked, “Master?! It is impossible? You are one of the most powerful celestials of the Ascension Sect. Surely nothing will happen to you…”

Her protégé master smiled weakly, “It is because I have divulged too much of the heavenly secrets. However, my sacrifices will not be in vain. You ought to remember that there is another realm above this realm. You must transmigrate to Beyond to fulfill the destiny of the Ascension Sect.”

He paused for a while before saying solemnly, “With much difficulty, I have managed to divine one of your future nine tribulations. In time to come, you will encounter a most difficult heavenly tribulation that may take away your life. No matter what you do, be wary of the wielder of the Perpetual Darkness. The Perpetual Darkness Divine Sword and your Despairing Heavenly Divine Sword have the same origin but this same origin is also your bane in the future. Both divine swords will attempt to destroy each other.”

She was shocked, “Shen Xingyue? That young maiden that has just joined us? How is it possible? She will become our enemy? The Perpetual Darkness is now with her…so I will see her in the celestial realm…”

Her master was silent for a while before he replied, “I do not know. Her tribulations are even more arduous than yours.”

She asked quietly, “Master, please advise me. How do I avert this heavenly tribulation?”

Her master sighed softly, “These two dark divine swords are once used by the most powerful of the Dark Celestials. There is darkness in the recess of these two divine swords. The divine swords by itself aren’t dark in nature but they are destined to clash again. Only through the will of a righteous man can the darkness of these two divine swords be dispelled.”

She was relieved to hear that, “There are so many righteous men…”

Her master said sharply, “There are none.”

She was startled, “How is it possible?”

She was now trembling…

Her master said, “There are fearless men, there are loyal men but they are all not righteous men. True righteousness is a self-belief that the weak will overcome the strong, good will triumph over the evil, his courage alone will bring hope to the desperate and his light shall dispel the darkness. There are no men that will not fall in to temptations of power and lust, have the good heart to forgive and fault himself first.”

She was startled, “Indeed, such a blameless person shall not exist in the entire fraternity…”

Her master nodded sadly, “The only way to avert this heavenly tribulation is to avoid confrontation with the Perpetual Darkness until you are fully prepared. You can only prolong the inevitable but not stop it from happening.”

She said quietly, “I am sure that in this vast fraternity, there must be such a person. After I have ascended, surely there must be plenty of such righteous heroes in the Celestial Realm?”

Her master sighed, “The Celestial Realm isn’t as good as you have imagined…”

She asked curiously, “Meaning?”

But her master smiled gently, “That is for you to find out. However, you are destined to meet such a righteous man in your lifetime and only once.”

She asked quietly, “Master, I am afraid. What if I have missed him? There are so many people. What if I have met him in a crowded streets and I didn’t know it is him?”

Her master said, “You can’t miss such a heroic man, especially with your Purity Spirits. His righteousness will be like a bright beacon to you. You probably can sniff him out from a thousand miles away…”

She was suddenly startled because all of a sudden, she saw blood trickling from the tip of her master’s mouth. “Benevolent Master! What is happening? You…”

Her master halted her as he said weakly, “My time is running out fast. I have revealed too much of the secrets of heaven. This is my retribution. My beloved protégé, there is something that I must tell you and you must never reveal to anyone. Promise me that.”

She cried out, “Master! Don’t say anymore. Take a rest please…”

Her master said sternly, “Promise me! Or I won’t die in peace! Make an oath to the Heavens!”

She suppressed her tears as she murmured, “I…I promise. I promise not to reveal to anyone. If I will to reveal to anyone the revelation of my master, my spirit will be destroyed and while I still live, I will never find rest.”

Her master said, “Good, good. That is my good protégé…There are two most mysterious places in the Celestial Realm, the Stellar Sanctuary and the Astronomic Stellar Formation. It is said that the secrets of immortality lies in these two places. When you are in the upper realm, seek the Astronomic Stellar Formation first for the key to unravel the Stellar Sanctuary lies in that place…”

She was gasping in horror for she could see that her master was drying out rapidly in front of her.

But her master continued to mutter weakly, “The righteous man, he is the key to the Astronomic Stellar Formation!”

That night, she cried alone for she had lost her benevolent master forever. Her benevolent master had brought her up and had sacrificed his celestial practice to reveal as much heavenly secrets to her so that she would have forewarnings.

That was also the last time that she had cried too. It was because since then, she had discovered the cruel realities of the Celestial Realm where only the strongest survived and where those in power ruled the weak.

In her dreams, she had asked herself often. “I am so wrong. There is no righteousness in this realm. I have become a bully myself. Is that what I really want? I have lost all my innocent in this place and my spirit has become impure…”

But now when the Ascension Goddess saw Yi Ping, she was smiling again.

“He really exists…”

Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Shui Yixian, Shen Xingyue and Ji Lingfeng as they encircled her group.

Shen Xingyue said coolly, “My dear protégé sister, the fight isn’t over yet!”

The four priests immediately had already formed a protective circle around the Ascension Goddess began to hum coldly, “You have to get past to us first!”

The Ascension Goddess smiled weakly at them but she was also discreetly looking at Yi Ping.

Yi Ping caught her spellbinding glares and he was flushing. He thought, “Why is she looking at me like that? Why is that she is always looking at me?”

Indeed while the Ascension Goddess was talking earlier, her sight had never left Yi Ping. When she was in a duel with Shui Yixian, Shen Xingyue and Ji Lingfeng, she was still discreetly looking at him curiously.

The Ascension Goddess seemed to be saying as she looked intently at Yi Ping, “I have surrendered. I know you are a hero as well as the leader of this group. Surely you are not going to let me come to harm?”

Yi Ping suddenly said aloud, “Xian’Er, Xingyue and Lingfeng, she has already surrendered. Let her go.”

The Ascension Goddess fluttered her sleeves as she arranged her dressing, “Thank you! Master of the Domain!”

Yi Ping was startled, “When did I become the Master of the Domain?”

The Ascension Goddess smiled, “Ximen Nanqing had already fled during the confusion. If you are not the Master of the Domain, who else can it be?”

Yi Ping was startled as he quickly looked around.

Indeed, Ximen Nanqing had already fled!

All the other maidens were startled.

Mei’Er asked the Universal Old Man, “Aren’t you suppose to keep a watchful eye over him?”

The Universal Old Man smiled bitterly, “Am I supposed to kill him then? If he wants to leave, I can’t stop him right?”

Yunzi said, “Ximen Nanqing is a dangerous opponent. We must be wary of him in future.”

Xiao Youxue sighed softly, “I have never expected him to be a coward. Frankly speaking, I do want to be the first kick his butt.”

Yi Ping nodded, “Just let him be for the time being. Remember, we are here to free the people and to give them back their freedom. As for the dead here, even though they may be dark celestials we should at least give them a decent burial…”

“Yi Ping!”

Yi Ping was startled. It was because the Ascension Goddess was calling out for him.

He turned and looked at her.

The Ascension Goddess said quietly as she gave him a forlorn glance, “I am leaving now. We will soon meet again…”

But she quickly changed her tone as she hummed, “However the next time we have met, you won’t be so lucky. All domain lords are expected to pay homage at the congregation of the Holy Ascension Sect next year. As a domain lord, you are naturally invited.”

Yi Ping said, “I don’t want to be any domain lord so you don’t have to invite me. I am not interested in any congregation.”

The Ascension Goddess smiled, “Don’t be too hasty first. You surely be interested.”

She looked at Lingfeng and the Universal Old Man before saying, “The Holy Ascension Sect has already divined the next appearances of the Stellar Sanctuary. This will save you a lot of troubles and possible bloodshed if you are willing to convene with the Holy Ascension Sect.”

Lingfeng and the Universal Old Man looked at each other and their first thought was, “Is that even possible?”

The Ascension Goddess manifested a number of spellbinding expressions to Yi Ping, “Farewell! Let’s hope that the next time we have met, we are no longer enemies!”

She took one last look at Yi Ping before she turned around as she walked away with the four priests.

Yixian said quietly when the Ascension Goddess had left, “Ping’Er, we must be extra vigilant against her. Earlier, she doesn’t even bat an eyelid when she fought against us. She didn’t use her full martial strength at all.”

Lingfeng said quietly, “She didn’t even need to turn around and she can parry, evade all our attacks…”

Shen Xingyue said, “She is able to ‘energy sense’ all our movements and attacks even before we ourselves have decided on the next moves. She has purposely created her own openings to lure us in order to predict our moves. That is why we can only use martial power to defeat her. I didn’t expect her Purity Spirits to be able to reach this martial level of expertise.”

Yi Ping nodded, “So that is why I have lost the first time! I have got to fight her again! Next time, let me be the one that try first. Maybe I can find a way to defeat her.”

Lele giggled, “Ping’Er, I can’t believe that you are such an idiot. She is such a charming maiden and you actually want to use her as your punching bag?”

Yi Ping was a little startled, “Did I say something wrong?”

Lingfeng laughed softly, “I wonder who the one that becomes a punching bag…is!”